Draft e-commerce policy

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The government has released the draft e-commerce policy. The policy focuses on six broad issues of the e-commerce sector, which includes
  • data,
  • infrastructure development,
  • e-commerce marketplaces,
  • regulatory issues,
  • stimulating domestic digital economy and
  • export promotion through e-commerce.
Features of the Policy
The important features of the policy are:
  • Every e-commerce company will have to construct a registered business entity in India as the importer on record or as the entity through which all sales in India are transacted. This is aimed at ensuring compliance with extant laws and regulations for preventing deceptive and fraudulent practices, protection of privacy, safety and security.
  • e-commerce companies are mandated to disclose seller details such as their name, address and contact numbers. Sellers will also be required to provide an undertaking to the platform on the genuineness of their products.
  • Trademark (TM) owners will be given an option to register themselves with e-commerce platforms and whenever a trade-marked product is uploaded for sale on the platform, the platform shall notify the respective TM owner.
  • The policy says that framework will be created to provide the basis for imposing restrictions on cross-border data flow from specified sources including data collected by IoT devices installed in public space, and data generated by users in India by various sources, including e-commerce platforms, social media, search engines.
  • The policy grants data the status of the capital. The policy imposes conditions on a business entity that collects or processes any sensitive data in India and stores it abroad.
  • The conditions state that all such data stored abroad shall not be made available to other business entities outside India, for any purpose, even with customer consent.
  • The policy further stipulates that the data shall not be shared with a foreign government, without the prior permission of Indian authorities.
  • The policy calls for a Suitable framework for sharing of community data that serve the larger public interest (subject to addressing privacy-related issues) with start-ups and firms. The implementation of this shall be undertaken by a ‘data authority’ to be established for this purpose.
  • The policy stresses on developing physical infrastructure for a robust digital economy and suggests steps for developing the capacity for data storage in India.
  • The policy aims to invite and encourage foreign direct investment (FDI) in the marketplace model alone.
  • The policy mandates the online marketplaces not to adopt business models or strategies which are discriminatory and which favour one or few sellers/traders operating on their platforms over others, the draft clarifies. The policy also enlists certain steps which have to be followed by all e-commerce websites/applications.
  • On the issue of taxation related issues in the sector, the draft policy mentions the current practice of not imposing customs duties on electronic transmissions must be reviewed in the light of the changing digital economy and the increased role that additive manufacturing is expected to take.
  • On export promotion through e-commerce, the policy states that there is a need to incentivise and reduce administrative requirements for outbound shipments through this medium.
  • The policy calls to raise the cap of each export order placed online and dispatched through courier or postal mode from current 25000 to make Indian e-commerce exports attractive even for high-value shipments through courier mode.

National Policy on Software Products – 2019

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National Policy on Software Products 2019
  • The policy is aimed at developing India as a Software Product Nation. An outlay of Rs 1500 crore divided into Software Product Development Fund and Research & Innovation fund is envisaged to implement the programmes/ schemes envisaged under this policy over a period of 7 years.
  • The Policy is aimed at giving a direction for the formulation of several schemes, initiatives, projects and measures for the development of Software products sector in the country as per the roadmap envisaged therein.
Five Missions of the National Policy on Software Products – 2019
  • To promote the creation of a sustainable Indian software product industry, driven by intellectual property (IP), leading to a ten-fold increase in India’s share of the Global Software product market by 2025.
  • To nurture 10,000 technology startups in the software product industry, including 1000 such technology startups in Tier-II and Tier-III towns & cities and generating direct and indirect employment for 3.5 million people by 2025.
  • To create a talent pool for software product industry through (i) up-skilling of 1,000,000 IT professionals, (ii) motivating 100,000 school and college students and (iii) generating 10,000 specialized professionals that can provide leadership.
  • To build a cluster-based innovation-driven ecosystem by developing 20 sectoral and strategically located software product development clusters having integrated ICT infrastructure, marketing, incubation, R&D/testbeds and mentoring support.
  • In order to evolve and monitor scheme & programmes for the implementation of this policy, the National Software Products Mission will be set up with participation from Government, Academia and Industry.
The Indian IT Industry is predominantly a service Industry. It is necessary to move up the value chain through technology-oriented products and services to ensure sustainability. Hence to create a robust software product ecosystem the Government has approved the National Policy on Software Products – 2019 to develop India as the global software product hub, driven by innovation, improved commercialisation, sustainable Intellectual Property (IP).

Nine national scientific missions

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The Prime Minister’s Science, Technology and Innovation Council (PM-STIAC) has identified nine national missions to address major scientific challenges to ensure India’s sustainable development. Through the nine missions, the PM-STIAC aims to facilitate collaboration to solve complex problems.
Nine Missions Identified
  1. Natural Language Translation : Through a combination of machine and human translation, the mission aims to enable access to teaching and research material bilingually i.e. in English and one’s native Indian language.
  2. Quantum Frontier : This mission aims to initiate works in control of the quantum mechanical systems, with a large number of degrees of freedom, as one of the great contemporary challenges in fundamental science and technology.
  3. Artificial Intelligence : The mission focuses on efforts that will benefit India in addressing societal needs in areas such as healthcare, education, agriculture, smart cities and infrastructure, including smart mobility and transportation
  4. National Biodiversity Mission : This mission involves
    • Comprehensive documentation of India’s biodiversity with the potential for cataloguing and mapping all lifeforms in India including associated cultural and traditional practices.
    • Assessment of the distribution and conservation status of India’s biodiversity.
    • Development of a cadre of professionals adept at handling large sets of environmental data for management and monitoring of biodiversity.
    • Expansion of knowledge in ecosystem functioning that will inform restoration efforts.
    • Establishment of a vibrant biodiversity based economy on a solid foundation of reliable information, engagement with the public.
    • Enhanced options for agricultural production and livelihood security and the general well-being of society.
  5. Electric Vehicles : The mission aims to reduce India’s fossil fuel emissions and mitigate emissions by making Electric Vehicles economical and scalable through focused research, development and innovation and building of indigenous capacity.
  6. BioScience for Human Health : The mission through the use of healthy and disease samples aims to understand the impact of nature and nurture on health. The mission aims to construct comprehensive reference maps of genomes and to understand the dynamics of how exposure to different environments have an impact on our bodies.
  7. Waste To Wealth : The mission aims to identify, develop and deploy technologies to treat waste to generate energy, recycle materials and extract worth. The mission will work to identify and support the development of new technologies that hold promise in creating a clean and green environment.
  8. Deep Ocean Exploration : The mission aims to scientifically explore the deep oceans towards improving our understanding of the blue frontier. The information from this mission will address issues arising from long term changes in the ocean due to climate change.
  9. Agnii : This mission aims to support the national efforts to boost the innovation ecosystem in the country by connecting innovators across the industry, individuals and the grassroots to the market and helping commercialise innovative solutions. It will provide a platform for innovators to bring their technology ready products and solutions to industry 6 and the market thereby helping propel techno-entrepreneurship which can usher a new era of inclusive socio-economic growth.

National Supercomputing Mission

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National Supercomputing Mission initiated in 2015 is being implemented and steered jointly by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) at an estimated cost of Rs.4500 crore over a period of seven years.
Objectives of the Mission
  • The Mission envisages empowering India’s national academic and R&D institutions spread by installing a vast supercomputing grid comprising of more than 70 high-performance computing facilities.
  • To bring supercomputing within the reach of the large Scientific & Technology community in the country.
  • To provide a significant qualitative and quantitative improvement in R&D and higher education in the disciplines of Science & Technology.
  • To enable the country with a capacity of solving multi-disciplinary grand challenge problems.
The mission envisages installing vast supercomputing grid comprising of over 70 high-performance computing facilities spread across the county.

Improving Research Ecosystem in India

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The central government has launched the following schemes to improve the research ecosystem in India:

  • Prime Minister’s Research Fellowship : To attract the bright and meritorious students into research within the country, the Prime Minister’s Research Fellowship has been initiated. Students selected for the fellowship are given fellowship for 5 years – Rs.70,000/- per month for the first two years, Rs. 75,000/- per month in the third year and Rs.80,000 per month in 4th and 5th year with an annual research grant of Rs. 2 lakh.

  • Setting up of Research Parks : The Government has approved setting up of Research Parks at IIT Kharagpur, IIT Bombay, IIT Delhi, IIT Guwahati, IIT Kanpur, IIT Hyderabad, IIT Gandhinagar and IISc Bangalore.
  • Impacting research Innovation and Technology (IMPRINT) : IMPRINT India scheme aims to provide solutions to the most relevant engineering challenges and translating knowledge into viable technology (products or processes) in ten selected technology domains.
  • Uchhatar Avishkar Yojana (UAY) : Uchhatar Avishkar Yojana has been launched to promote innovation of a higher order that directly impacts the needs of the Industry and thereby improves the competitive edge of Indian manufacturing.
  • Smart India Hackathons : Smart India Hackathons are organized on yearly basis since 2017 to find out digital solutions to various problems faced by the people and gives hands-on working and research opportunity for engineering students.
  • Institution’s Innovation Council (IIC) : Institution’s Innovation Council (IIC) have been established in 960 Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs) for promoting the innovation ecosystem within their campuses.
  • Trainee Teacher Scheme : A Trainee Teacher Scheme has been initiated in NITs with the objective to attract, motivate and sponsor best graduate engineers for part-time M.Tech and PhD programmes.

Further schemes like Colleges with Potential for Excellence (CPE), University with Potential for Excellence(UPE), Centre with Potential for Excellence in Particular Areas(CPEPA), Special Assistance Programme (SAP), Major Research Project (MRP) have been initiated by the government to boost the research ecosystem in the country

Young Scientist Programme

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Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has announced Young Scientist Programme to inculcate and nurture space research fervour in young minds. Young Scientist programme is part of ISRO’s efforts to reach out to the student community.

About Young Scientist Programme

The modalities of the Young Scientist Programme are:

  • It would be a one month programme.
  • Mostly 8th standard passed out students will be given lecturers and access to research laboratories.
  • 3 students from each of the 29 States and 7 Union Territories will be selected for the Young Scientist program
  • The students will be exposed to the practical experience of building small satellites.

ISRO also announced about setting up of an incubation centre in Tripura, Trichy, Nagpur, Rourkela, and Indore.

Defence : Norms for the manufacturing of defence items relaxed

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  • The government has relaxed norms for the manufacturing of the defence items.
  • As per new norms, manufacturing of items of defence aerospace and warships will now be covered by Industries (Development and Regulation) Act and will not require any licence from the Commerce and Industry Ministry.
  • The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, has issued a clarification on the list of defence products requiring a compulsory licence under Industries (Development & Regulation) Act, 1951 (IDRA), and Arms Act, 1959.
  • The new norms together with enhancing the ease of doing business will aid in attracting investments and fasten the process of indigenisation of defence production.

National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems (NM-ICPS)

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National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems (NM-ICPS):

  • It will be implemented by Department of Science &Technology under Ministry of Science and Technology for period of five years.
  • The objective of Mission is to addresses ever increasing technological requirements of the society.
  • It also takes into account international trends and road maps of leading countries for next generation technologies.

Implementation of this mission will develop and bring

  • Cyber Physical Systems (CPS) and associated technologies within reach in the country,
  • Adoption of CPS technologies to address India specific National / Regional issues,
  • Catalyse Translational Research,
  • Produce Next Generation skilled manpower in CPS,
  • Accelerate entrepreneurship and start-up ecosystem development in CPS,
  • Place India at par with other advanced countries and derive several direct and indirect benefits.
  • Give impetus to advanced research in CPS, Technology development and higher education in Science, Technology and Engineering disciplines.

NM-ICPS

  • It is comprehensive mission to address technology development, application development, human resource development & skill enhancement, entrepreneurship and start-up development in CPS and associated technologies.
  • It aims at establishment of 15 numbers of Technology Innovation Hubs (TIH), six numbers of Application Innovation Hubs (AIH) and four numbers of Technology Translation Research Parks (TTRP).
  • These Hubs & TTRPs will connect to Academics, Industry, Central Ministries and State Government in developing solutions at reputed academic, R&D and other organizations across the country in a hub and spoke model.
  • They have four focused areas along which mission implementation will proceed viz.
    • Technology Development;
    • HRD & Skill Development;
    • Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Start-ups Ecosystem Development;
    • International Collaborations.
  • Strategic approach involving a suitable mix of Academic, Industry and Government is proposed to be adopted.
  • Strong Steering and Monitoring Mechanisms in the form of Mission Governing Board (MGB), Inter-Ministerial Coordination Committee (IMCC), Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) and other Sub-Committees will guide and monitor the Mission implementation.

Significance of Mission

  • It will act as engine of growth, benefiting national initiatives in health, education, energy, environment, agriculture, strategic cum security, and industrial sectors, Industry 4.0, SMART Cities and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • It will help bring paradigm shift in entire skill sets requirement.
  • It will boost job opportunities by imparting advanced skills and generating skilled manpower as per requirement of the industry and society.
  • It will support and encourage Central ministries and departments, state governments and also industry to effectively use CPS technologies in their projects and schemes for the benefit of the society.

Draft National Policy on Electronics (NPE)

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  • Draft NPE aims to promote domestic manufacturing in entire value-chain of ESDM sector for spur economic development in the country.
  • It also aims to double the target of mobile phone production from 500 million units in 2019 to 1 billion by 2025 to meet objective.
  • It replaces existing incentive schemes like Modified Special Incentive Package Scheme (M-SIPS), with schemes that are easier to implement such as interest subsidy and credit default guarantee etc.
  • It also takes into consideration interest subsidy and credit default guarantee in order to encourage new units and in expansion of existing units in electronics manufacturing sector.
  • The set target of $400 billion turnover under it, includes targeted production of 1 billion mobile handsets by 2025, valued at $190 billion (approximately Rs. 13 lakh crore) and also 600 million mobile handsets valued at $110 billion (approximately Rs. 7 lakh crore) for export.

  • It also proposes to push development of core competencies in all sub-sectors of electronics including electronic components and semiconductors, automotive electronics, defence electronics, industrial electronics, strategic electronics etc.
  • It also proposes to set up 20 greenfield and three brownfield electronic manufacturing cluster projects have been sanctioned with project outlay of Rs 3,898 crore, including Rs 1,577 crore from Central Government.
  • It proposes suitable direct tax benefits, including inter-alia investment-linked deduction under Income Tax (IT) Act for electronics manufacturing sector, for setting up of new manufacturing unit or expansion of an existing unit.
  • The proposal includes increasing tax benefits on expenditure incurred on R&D, enhancing rate of duty drawback for electronics sector, reimbursement of state levies and other levies for which input tax credit is not available, allowing duty free import of second-hand capital goods for electronics hardware manufacturing etc.
  • It also proposes cess on select electronic goods resources to promote certain critical sub-sectors of electronic manufacturing such as semiconductor wafer fabrication and display fabrication units.

Technology in Administration : Examples

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  • #LooReview Campaign
    • Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs + Google
    • Under Swachh Bharat Mission – Urban
    • Allows all citizens to locate public toilets in their cities on Google Maps
    • Rating of Public toilets

 

  • Rail Heritage Digitisation Project
    • Union Railway Ministry + Google
    • Aims to showcase India’s rail heritage to the national and international audience in an online story-telling platform.