Current Affairs: 12-08-2017

PRELIMS

Odisha govt and Facebook launches ‘SheMeansBusiness’ programme

Topic: Role of women and women’s organization

Why in news?

Odisha government has launched ‘She Means Business’ programme of Facebook for women entrepreneurs. Odisha government’s partnership with Facebook aimed to reduce the digital divide and empower nearly 25,000 women entrepreneurs and SHGs.

Highlights of the programme:

  • Under the scheme 25, 000 women entrepreneurs and self-help group (SHG) members will be given training on digital marketing skills within next one year.
  • Facebook will also make a database of entrepreneurs in the state and will monitor their growth, turnover and profit after one year. While success stories among them will be highlighted to inspire others.
  • Women entrepreneurs will get hands on training on digital marketing free of cost and they need not create their website to promote their business. The platform will also facilitate vertical integration.

Background:

As many as 201 million monthly active people on Facebook in India on their mobile and 57% of people on Facebook in India are connected to at least one small business. Moreover, 1.99 billion interactions generated between businesses and people in India through Facebook. Number of new women-owned small and medium business pages on Facebook in India has increased approximately six-fold in the last four years (between 2012 and 2015).

 

BIMSTEC meeting

Topic:Bilateral, regional and global groupings

Why in news?

  • The 15th ministerial meeting of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation concluded recently in Kathmandu, endorsing the memorandum of understanding for the establishment of BIMSTEC grid interconnection and also agreed to expedite the negotiations for BIMSTEC Free Trade Area Agreement.
  • The meeting of the BIMSTEC also pledged to deepen cooperation for shared prosperity in the region. The meeting decided to establish cells focused on areas, like energy, environment and culture, among others, for effective cooperation and to elevate BIMSTEC as a vibrant and visible regional cooperation. The meeting also decided to form an eminent persons’ group to prepare the future roadmap of BIMSTEC.

What you need to know about BIMSTEC?:

BIMSTEC or the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation is a regional organisation which comprises of seven member states which lie near the Bay of Bengal.

  • This sub-regional organisation was started on June 6, in the year 1997 through a Bangkok Declaration.
  • BIMSTEC consists of seven countries: 5 come from South Asia, including India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Sri Lanka; and 2 come from Southeast Asia, which includes Myanmar and Thailand.
  • BIMSTEC headquarters are situated in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
  • The whole region which constitutes the BIMSTEC is home to over 1.5 billion people. The population counts for around 22 percent of the total world population. These countries have a combined GDP of $2.7 trillion.

 

Central Board of Film Certification

Topic:Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.

Why in news?

Pahlaj Nihalani has been recently removed from the position of CBFC chairman and Prasoon Joshi was appointed.

More about CBFC:

  • CBFC is a statutory body under Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
  • It regulates the public exhibition of films under the provisions of the Cinematograph Act 1952.
  • Films can be publicly exhibited in India only after they have been certified by CBFC.
  • The Board consists of non-official members and a Chairman (all of whom are appointed by Central Government) and functions with headquarters at Mumbai.
  • It has nine Regional offices, one each at Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Thiruvananthapuram, Hyderabad, New Delhi, Cuttack and Guwahati.
  • The Certification process is in accordance with The Cinematograph Act, 1952, The Cinematograph (certification) Rules, 1983, and the guidelines issued by the Central government u/s 5 (B).

 

MAINS

Science enthusiasts stress need for scientific temper

Topic: GS-3, science and technology

Context:                                               

On Wednesday July 9, 2017, scientists, students, educators and science enthusiasts marched in 25 Indian cities, demanding better propagation of the scientific temper – a fundamental duty listed in Article 51A (h) of the Constitution.

Introduction:

  • Breakthrough Science Society organsied ‘India March for Science’, with the demand for inclusion of development of scientific temper in the Fundamental Rights, rather than limit it to Fundamental Duties, and increased allocation of funds for science and technology.
  • India has not produced any Nobel Prize winner in science in the last 85 years, largely because of the lack of a scientific environment in the country.

Meaning of scientific temper:

  • Scientific temper is an attitude of logical thinking
  • The scientific temper is a way of life which uses the scientific method and which may, consequently include questioning, observing physical reality, testing, hypothesizing, analysis and communication.
  • The term ‘scientific temper’ was coined by the Jawaharlal Nehru in his book “The Discovery of India”, which was published in 1946.

Legal aspects:

Article 51A in the 42nd Amendment of the Constitution in 1976 says “ It shall be the duty of every citizen of India to develop the scientific temper, humanism, and the spirit of enquiry and reform.

Need of scientific temper:

  • The objective is to create awareness that the future of the country is based on science.
  • Fastest uplift of mankind has been possible by scientific practices.
  • The scientific temper is important because this kind of attitude enable in general public the ability to take rational decision.
  • The development of scientific temper among the citizens is essential for the overall development of the nation.

Government spending on science and technology:

  • India spends a little under 0.9% of its GDP on science and technology.
  • In India, about 80% of the expenditure on science and technology is spent by the Government with the private sector contributing only about 20%.
  • In both these two indicators, India is a laggard compared to both the developed and the developing economies.
  • India’s scientific intensity is low which is reflected in the multitude of national rankings, such as Global Innovation Index, International Intellectual Property Index, Global Competitive Index, and Bloomberg Innovation Index etc.

Comparison of Spending on GDP with other Countries:

  • As per information provided by Ministry of Science & Technology on 27.11.2014, the Indian investment in science and technology in terms of Gross expenditure on Research and Development (GERD) during 2011-12 has been 36.2 billion US$ Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) whereas China, the US and South Korea invested 205.4, 429.1 and 58.4 billion US$ PPP respectively.
  • India’s investment is higher than many countries such as Brazil 27.4, Canada 24.7 and Sweden 13.4, Mexico 8.1and Finland 7.9 billion US$ PPP during 2011-12.
  • In absolute terms, India’s national R&D expenditure during 2011-12 has been estimated to be of the order of Rs.72620.44 crore.
  • India invested 0.88% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) towards Research and Development (R&D) whereas USA and South Korea spent 2.76% and 4.04% respectively during 2011-12.
  • However, the private sector contribution in R&D as percentage of GDP in India is only one-third while two-third is being contributed by the public sector. The private sector participation in India’s R&D has not kept pace with many developed and emerging countries in the world.

Government initiatives:

  • The Kothari Commission (1964-66) felt that India’s development needs were better met by engineers and scientist than historians. The committee emphasized the need for developing scientific temper among the children.
  • National Education Policy, 1968, had also emphasized that with a view to accelerate the growth of national economy, the science education and research should receive high priority.
  • The Government of India, through the National Council for Science and Technology Communication dedicated the 28 February National Science Day.
  • The purpose is to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of enquiry and reform.

Challenges:

  • Financial support to even premier institutions like IITs, NIITs, and IISERs has been slashed.
  • Universities are facing shortage of funds to support research
  • The present allocation for science and research at 0.8% of GDP is very less, and demanded that at least three 0% should be allotted for better research and development.

Problems:

Though the numbers of efforts are being made for developing scientific temper among the students through school education system, but there are several problems and challenges in achieving the goal of providing minimum science for all.

  • The traditional chalk and talk method of teaching science which hardly creates any interest among the students towards science.
  • Lack of trained teachers and science communicators in the schools.
  • Lack of interactions between science communicators and teachers/students is another big challenge.
  • Science laboratories are not used for experimentation discovery.

How to boost scientific temper?

All major breakthroughs in human history have come through science. But unfortunately, a lot of non-scientific things are being introduced these days. In order to strengthen scientific temper following need to be done:

  • The youth should be clearly told the difference between science and fiction.
  • Ancient science should be viewed through the prism of modern science.
  • It is important to ensure that the education system imparts ideas that are supported by scientific evidence.
  • Aim of education should be to open up the mind.
  • Scientific courses in schools curriculum must be strengthened and the spread of unscientific ideas must be stopped.
  • The policies of government should be based on scientific evidence.
  • Corporate social responsibility funds should be channeled towards scientific research.
  • Make special efforts for developing scientific temper by organizing different types of programme

Conclusion:

For the overall development and growth of the country and society, it is necessary to develop scientific temper among all the people irrespective of their age, caste, creed, religion etc.  For desirable outcomes, one needs efficient management of the allocated resource and processes to ensure project success without fear of project failure. This requires a collaborative platform involving all stakeholders, such as, academic and scientific institutions, scientists, faculty members, industry, financial institutions and the Government.

 

 

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