The Hindu Daily Review | Current Affairs Based | 1st November 2018

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♦ India moves up to 77th rank in Ease of Doing Business Index

  • India jumped 23 positions in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index on Wednesday. It is now ranked 77 out of 190 countries.
  • It was ranked 100 last year and 130 in 2016 and 2015.
  • There has been a successive increase in the Doing Business scale.
  • The rise in the ranking comes as a shot in the arm for the Narendra Modi government, which faces strong dissenting voices from the Opposition ahead of next year general election.
  • In its annual Doing Business report, the World Bank said India improved on six of the 10 parameters relating to starting and doing business in a country.
  • The parameters include getting permission for constructions, getting electricity and credit, paying taxes, doing trade across borders, enforcing the contracts and resolving insolvency.
  • India was in 142th rank when the Modi government came into being in 2014. 

PM dedicates Sardar Patel’s 182-metre-tall ‘Statue of Unity’ to nation

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday dedicated to the nation a 182-metre-tall statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel built near the Sardar Sarovar Narmada dam.
  • Built at a cost of ₹2,989 crore, the “Statue of Unity” has been described as the world’s tallest statue, as it is 177 feet higher than China’s Spring Temple Buddha, currently the world’s tallest statue.
  • As Mr. Modi unveiled the statue, Air Force planes showered flower petals on the statue in a grand inaugural event on the banks of the Narmada.
  • Mr. Modi paid tributes to Sardar Patel on his birth anniversary. He recalled the contribution of Sardar Patel in unifying the country after Independence — the great leader brought more than 500 princely states on a common platform to join the Union of India. 
  • “Without Sardar, we would not have imagined a railway line from Kashmir to Kanyakumari,” Mr. Modi said.
  • The Prime Minister also took the opportunity to hit out at those who have criticised his government for spending approximately ₹3,000 crore to build the world’s tallest statue.

Delhi to host South Asia connectivity conference

  • South Asian region, one of the least integrated regions in the world, but one that is home to a quarter of the world population is deservedly back in focus, as the world readjusts to new power equations. 
  • This is more than evident as Delhi gears up to host an important South Asia Regional connectivity conference on 1st and 2nd November 2018. 
  • he conference being organised by leading think tank CUTS International with the support of US Government, East West Centre and FICCI will be inaugurated by Foreign Secretary of India along with Ambassadors of US and Japan, key representatives of FICCI and East West Centre. 
  • The two days conference is part of ongoing efforts by CUTS International to create a multi-discipline, multi-country platform for policy discussions by connecting policy makers, private sector, think tanks, experts, and trade and investment promotion bodies from South Asian countries and key actors in the Indo-Pacific. 
  • Key speakers from the region will deliberate on critical regional connectivity issues including digital economy, infrastructure and energy sectors. 
    Indo Pacific region is fast emerging as a pivot that is crucial to balancing global power and hence there is revived interest in the potential of South Asia. 
  • The World Bank estimates that removing barriers and streamlining customs procedures alone would quadruple inter-regional trade from $28 billion to $100 billion in South Asia. An optimum integration of the region, therefore, can create much greater prosperity. 
  • India’s centrality in the Indo-Pacific region and more specifically in the South Asian region is well recognised and also finds a place in the strategic outlook of democracies in the Indo-Pacific.
  • India-US-Japan trilateral cooperation, India-Japan-Australia trilateral, emerging India-Indonesia-Australia trilateral, India-US-Japan-Australia quadrilateral cooperation, India’s ASEAN policy, and Asia-Africa Growth Corridor conceived by India and Japan are examples of this centrality. India is also engaging other major powers including Russia and France besides partners in Gulf and Africa for its concept of Indo-Pacific that extends from Eastern Africa to Pacific. 

Indian universities need place in global rankings: NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant

  • “If India wants to develop a Brand India in education, it needs to become the education and research hub of the world… [And] its universities need to have a place in global university rankings,” said Amitabh Kant, CEO of NITI Aayog, the government’s policy think-tank. 
  • Currently, three Indian institutions feature in the top 200 of the QS World University Rankings of 2019, all three of which were awarded the ‘Institute of Eminence’ tag by the government in July this year. None features in the top 200 of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. 
  • He said that the government’s initiatives like awarding the tag of ‘Institutes of Eminence’ to universities were “critical” and said that this was so that India could have at least 10 institutions in the top 200 global rankings of universities in 15 years’ time. 
  • Kant reiterated that only government institutions would receive additional funding of Rs.1000 crore in the next ten years. 
  • Kant said institutions need autonomy to develop cutting-edge technology and courses. He was speaking at the fourteenth edition of the Higher Education Summit held in the city. 
  • Kant also said that the government was promoting foreign collaboration, as institutions did not require the approval of the University Grants Commission (UGC) to have academic collaborations with foreign universities.
  • He said that the government’s move to allow multiple accreditation agencies apart from the existing government-funded National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) would foster competition and increase credibility of grading. 

Dilbag Singh appointed full-time DG of Jammu-Kashmir Police

  • The Jammu and Kashmir government on Wednesday appointed Dilbag Singh as full-time Director General of Police. Singh was made the state DGP as per the guidelines of the Supreme Court, officials said in Jammu. He took over as interim chief of the state police force on September 6 after his predecessor S P Vaid, caught in a verbal duel with the new Jammu and Kashmir administration, was shunted out and posted as transport commissioner.
  • An order to this effect was issued by Principal Secretary Home, R K Goyal, which read that he shall also hold additional charge of the posts of Director General of Police (Prisons) till further orders and Director, Fire and Emergency Services, till December 31.
  • The name of Singh, a 1987-batch IPS officer, was cleared by the State Administrative Council headed by Governor Satyapal Malik here. A panel of three names for the post was submitted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) last week. The Supreme Court on September 20 had made it clear that Singh will continue in office till the UPSC scrutinises and provides a panel of three police officers for regular appointment of the police chief.

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