PIB – 20th Jan 2021

Nomination of members to the National Startup Advisory Council

  • Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) had constituted the ‘National Startup Advisory Council’ in January 2020 to advise the Government on measures needed to build a strong ecosystem for nurturing innovation and startups in the country to drive sustainable economic growth and generate large scale employment opportunities. 
  • The council shall, inter alia, suggest measures to:
  1. Foster a culture of innovation amongst citizens and students in particular;
  2. Promote innovation in all sectors of economy across the country, including semi-urban and rural areas;
  3. Support creative and  innovative ideas through incubation and research and development to transform them into valuable products, processes or solutions to improve productivity and efficiency;
  4. Create an environment of absorption of innovation in industry;
  5. Facilitate public organizations to assimilate innovation with a view to improving public service delivery;
  6. Promote creation, protection and commercialization of intellectual property rights;
  7. Make it easier to start, operate, grow and exit businesses by reducing regulatory compliances and costs;
  8. Promote ease of access to capital for startups;
  9. Incentivize domestic capital for investments into startups;
  10. Mobilize global capital for investments in Indian startups;
  11. Keep control of startups with original promoters.
  12. Provide access to global markets for Indian startups.
  • The Central Government has now decided to nominate the non-official members on the National Startup Advisory Council representing various stakeholders such as founders of successful startups, veterans who have grown and scaled companies in India, persons capable of representing interest of investors into startups, persons capable of representing interests of incubators and accelerators, representatives of associations of stakeholders of startups and representatives of industry associations.

Government announces 23rd January to be celebrated as “PARAKRAM DIWAS’ every year

  • In order to honour and remember Netaji’s indomitable spirit and selfless service to the nation, Government of India has decided to celebrate his birthday on the 23rd day of January every year as “PARAKRAM DIWAS” to inspire people of the country, especially the youth, to act with fortitude in the face of adversity as Netaji did, and to infuse in them a spirit of patriotic fervour.

Curtain Raiser: Indo-French Exercise Desert Knight-21

  • Indian Air Force and French Air and Space Force (Armée de l’Air et de l’Espace) will conduct a bilateral Air exercise, Ex Desert Knight-21 at Air Force Station Jodhpur from 20 to 24 Jan 21.
  • French side will participate with Rafale, Airbus A-330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT), A-400M Tactical Transport aircraft and approximately 175 personnel. The Indian Air Force aircraft participating in the exercise will include Mirage 2000, Su-30 MKI, Rafale, IL-78 Flight Refuelling Aircraft, AWACS and AEW&C aircraft.
  • The exercise marks an important milestone in the series of engagements between the two Air forces. As part of Indo-French defence cooperation, Indian Air Force and French Air and Space Force have held six editions of Air Exercises named ‘Garuda’, the latest being in 2019 at Air Force Base Mont-de-Marsan, France. 
  • As measures to further the existing cooperation, the two forces have been gainfully utilising available opportunities to conduct ‘hop-exercises’. 
  • The French Air and Space Force deployment while ferrying to Australia for Ex Pitchblack in 2018 was hosted by IAF at Air Force Stations Agra and Gwalior for exercise with fighters and MRTT aircraft. Presently, the French detachment for Ex Desert Knight-21 is deployed in Asia as part of their ‘Skyros Deployment’ and will ferry in forces to Air Force Station Jodhpur.
  • The exercise is unique as it includes fielding of Rafale aircraft by both sides and is indicative of the growing interaction between the two premier Air Forces. 

India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to establish Quantum Computing Applications Lab, Powered by AWS

  • The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) in India will establish a Quantum Computing Applications Lab in the country, in collaboration with AWS, to accelerate quantum computing-led research and development and enable new scientific discoveries. 
  • The MeitY Quantum Computing Applications Lab will provide quantum computing as a service to government ministries and departments, researchers, scientists, academia, and developers, to enable advances in areas such as manufacturing, healthcare, agriculture, and aerospace engineering. 
  • AWS will provide hosting with technical and programmatic support for the Lab. 
  • This MeitY initiative will provide scientific, academic, and developer communities access to a quantum computing development environment aligned with the government’s science and technology priorities.
  • Quantum computing is an emerging field that harnesses the laws of quantum mechanics to build powerful tools to process information. It has the potential to solve computational problems that are beyond the reach of classical computers, and lead to new breakthroughs that can transform chemical engineering, material science, drug discovery, financial portfolio optimization, machine learning, and much more
  • The MeitY Quantum Computing Applications Lab will help government bodies and the scientific community to identify problems and opportunities rapidly, and test real-world challenges through experiments and prototypes in a low risk environment. 
  • Outcomes from these experiments will help researchers evolve the problem statements, proof-of-concepts, and prototypes that will lead to the development of new applications, models, and frameworks in quantum computing.

NITI Aayog to Launch Second Edition of India Innovation Index 2020

  • NITI Aayog will release the second edition of the India Innovation Index 2020 on 20 January in a virtual event. 
  • The release of the second edition of the index—the first was launched in October 2019—demonstrates the Government’s continued commitment towards transforming the country into an innovation-driven economy.
  • The India Innovation Index 2020 seeks to rank the states and union territories based on their relative performance of supporting innovation, and to empower them to improve their innovation policies by highlighting their strengths and weaknesses. 
  • The ranking methodology is designed in a way that states can draw lessons from the national leaders in innovation. Hopefully, this will lead to a healthy competition among the states and union territories, thereby fostering competitive federalism.
  • The states and union territories have been divided into 17 ‘Major States’, 10 ‘North-East and Hill States’, and 9 ‘City States and Union Territories’, for effectively comparing their performance. 
  • The states and union territories have been ranked on two broad categories: outcome and governance. Overall, the framework of India Innovation Index 2020 consists of 36 indicators, which include hard data (32 indicators) and four composite indicators.
  • India Innovation Index 2020 builds on the previous year’s methodology by introducing more metrics and providing a holistic outlook of the Indian innovation ecosystem. The framework has been updated to include globally considered parameters for measuring innovation (such as the percentage of gross domestic product spent on research and development), while also retaining the parameters specific to the Indian economy.
  • The index captures the trends and provides detailed analyses of the various factors that drive innovation at the country, state, and district levels. It is believed that these analyses would enable policymakers in identifying catalysts and inhibitors of innovation at the national and sub-national levels.