News: The Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog, and the U.S. Agency for International Development announced a new partnership under the Sustainable Access to Markets and Resources for Innovative Delivery of Healthcare initiative, which aims to improve access to affordable and quality healthcare for vulnerable populations in cities, rural and tribal regions.
About Atal Innovation Mission:
The Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) is a flagship initiative set up by the NITI Aayog to promote innovation and entrepreneurship across the length and breadth of the country.
AlM’s objectives are to create and promote an ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship across the country at school, university, research institutions, MSME and industry levels.
The Atal Innovation Mission has following two core functions:
Entrepreneurship promotion through Self-Employment and Talent Utilization, wherein innovators would be supported and mentored to become successful entrepreneurs.
Innovation promotion: to provide a platform where innovative ideas are generated.
Atal Tinkering Labs
To promote creative, innovative mind set in schools. At the school level, AIM is setting up state of the art Atal Tinkering Labs (ATL) in schools across all districts across the country.
These ATLs are dedicated innovation workspaces of 1200-1500 square feet where do-it-yourself (DIY) kits on latest technologies like 3D Printers, Robotics, Internet of Things (IOT), Miniaturized electronics are installed using a grant of Rs 20 Lakhs from the government so that students from Grade VI to Grade XII can tinker with these technologies and learn to create innovative solutions using these technologies.
This will enable create a problem solving, innovative mind set within millions of students across the country.
Promoting entrepreneurship in universities and industry. At the university, NGO, SME and Corporate industry levels, AIM is setting up world-class Atal Incubators (AICs) that would trigger and enable successful growth of sustainable startups in every sector /state of the country, thereby promoting entrepreneurs and job creators in the country addressing both commercial and social entrepreneurship opportunities in India and applicable globally.
News: India has agreed to provide a grant to Sri Lanka to implement a ‘Unitary Digital Identity framework’, apparently modelled on the Aadhaar card.
Aadhaar is a 12-digit unique identity number that can be obtained voluntarily by the citizens of India and resident foreign nationals who have spent over 182 days in twelve months immediately preceding the date of application for enrolment, based on their biometric and demographic data.
The data is collected by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), a statutory authority established in January 2009 by the Government of India, under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, following the provisions of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, benefits and services) Act, 2016.
Aadhaar is the world’s largest biometric ID system. World Bank Chief Economist Paul Romer described Aadhaar as “the most sophisticated ID programme in the world”.
Considered a proof of residence and not a proof of citizenship, Aadhaar does not itself grant any rights to domicile in India. In June 2017, the Home Ministry clarified that Aadhaar is not a valid identification document for Indians travelling to Nepal and Bhutan.
On 23 September 2013, the Supreme Court issued an interim order saying that “no person should suffer for not getting Aadhaar”, adding that the government cannot deny a service to a resident who does not possess Aadhaar, as it is voluntary and not mandatory.
On 24 August 2017 the Indian Supreme Court delivered a landmark verdict affirming the right to privacy as a fundamental right, overruling previous judgments on the issue. A five-judge constitutional bench of the Supreme Court heard various cases relating to the validity of Aadhaar on various grounds including privacy, surveillance, and exclusion from welfare benefits.
3. DEBT TO GDP RATIO
News: Finance Secretary T.V. Somanathan hit out at global rating agencies’ comments about India being the most indebted emerging market and about the lack of clarity on a fiscal consolidation path in the Union Budget, arguing they appeared to adopt ‘double standards’ in their assessments of emerging economies and developed markets.
About Debt to GDP Ratio:
The debt-to-GDP ratio is the metric comparing a country’s public debt to its gross domestic product (GDP).
By comparing what a country owes with what it produces, the debt-to-GDP ratio reliably indicates that particular country’s ability to pay back its debts.
Often expressed as a percentage, this ratio can also be interpreted as the number of years needed to pay back debt if GDP is dedicated entirely to debt repayment.
The debt-to-GDP ratio is the ratio of a country’s public debt to its gross domestic product (GDP).
The debt-to-GDP ratio can also be interpreted as the number of years it would take to pay back debt if GDP was used for repayment.
The higher the debt-to-GDP ratio, the less likely the country will pay back its debt and the higher its risk of default, which could cause a financial panic in the domestic and international markets.
A country able to continue paying interest on its debt—without refinancing, and without hampering economic growth—is generally considered to be stable. A country with a high debt-to-GDP ratio typically has trouble paying off external debts (also called “public debts”), which are any balances owed to outside lenders.