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2nd Feb Current Affairs

India Innovation Index by NITI Aayog

In News:

Second edition of the NITI Aayog’s India Innovation Index has been released.

Performance of various states:

  • Karnataka is the most innovative state for the second year in a row.
  • Maharashtra pipped Tamil Nadu to the second spot.
  • Bihar was featured at the bottom of the list.

About the index:

The index attempts to create an extensive framework for the continual evaluation of the innovation environment of states and union territories in India and intends to perform the following three functions:

  • Ranking of states and UTs based on their index scores.
  • Recognizing opportunities and challenges.
  • Assisting in tailoring governmental policies to foster innovation.

The Index is calculated as the average of the scores of its two dimensions – Enablers and Performance.

The Enablers are the factors that underpin innovative capacities, grouped in five pillars: (1) Human Capital, (2) Investment, (3) Knowledge Workers, (4) Business Environment, and (5) Safety and Legal Environment.

The Performance dimension captures benefits that a nation derives from the inputs, divided in two pillars: (6) Knowledge Output and (7) Knowledge Diffusion.

Significance of the index:

India has a unique opportunity among its myriad challenges to become the innovation leader in the world. Cluster-based innovation should be leveraged upon as the focal point of competitiveness.

The index is a great beginning to improve the environment of innovation in the country as it focuses on both the input and output components of the idea.

The index is a good effort to benchmark the performance of the state with each other and promote competitive federalism.

Four indigenous martial art forms included in Khelo India Youth Games

In News:

The Khelo India Youth games were launched in 2018 as a multidisciplinary grassroots event for under-17 years and under-21 years.

Details:

Conducted annually, the best performers are given an annual scholarship of ₹5 lakh for eight years to prepare for international sporting events.

In a recent move, the Sports Ministry inducted four indigenous martial art forms — Kalaripayattu of Kerala, Mallakhamb of Central India, Gatka of Punjab and Thang-ta of Manipur — into the Khelo India Youth Games (KIYG).

What is Mallakhamb?

It is a traditional form of gymnastics performed with a wooden pole (made of wood from sheesham or Indian rosewood and polished with castor oil), a cane, or a rope.

Though Madhya Pradesh declared Mallakhamb the State sport only in 2013, it had been developed as a competitive sport since 1981, with rules and regulations introduced at the first National Championship that year.

Gatka:

It is a style of fighting with wooden sticks that originated in Punjab in the 15th Century. The bana and chola are worn for ritualistic performances but when performed as a sport, the practitioner wears track pants and T-shirt, and the stick is no longer the size of a man.

Thang Ta:

  • It is a Manipuri art form.
  • It combines ritual, demonstration and combat and involves a variety of dance forms and warrior drills.

Kalaripayattu:

  • It is a Martial art which originated as a style in Kerala during 3nd century BC to the 2nd century AD.
  • The word kalari first appears in Sangam literature to describe both a battlefield and combat arena.
  • It is also considered to be one of the oldest fighting system in existence.

Mercy plea of Rajiv case convict

In News:

Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit has told the Supreme Court that a decision on the mercy petition of AG Perarivalan- a convict serving a life sentence for the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, will be taken within four weeks.

What’s the issue?

The petition has been pending with the Governor since December 30, 2015.

Citing inaction on part of the Governor in deciding on his clemency plea moved under Article 161 of the Constitution, Perarivalan has come to Supreme Court for passing necessary directions.

What is Article 161?

Article 161 gives the Governor the “power to grant pardons, reprieves, respites or remissions of punishment or to suspend, remit or commute the sentence of any person convicted of any offence against any law relating to a matter to which the executive power of the state extends”.

Article 72 vs Article 161:

The scope of the pardoning power of the President under Article 72 is wider than the pardoning power of the Governor under Article 161.

The power differs in the following two ways:

The power of the President to grant pardon extends in cases where the punishment or sentence is by a Court Martial but Article 161 does not provide any such power to the Governor.

The President can grant pardon in all cases where the sentence given is sentence of death but pardoning power of Governor does not extend to death sentence cases.

Significance of pardoning powers:

The pardoning power of Executive is very significant as it corrects the errors of judiciary. It eliminates the effect of conviction without addressing the defendant’s guilt or innocence.

Pardon may substantially help in saving an innocent person from being punished due to miscarriage of justice or in cases of doubtful conviction.

The object of pardoning power is to correct possible judicial errors, for no human system of judicial administration can be free from imperfections.

U.S. resumes WHO support

In News:

The U.S. has resumed its funding for WHO as President Joe Biden shifts towards greater international cooperation in the fight against COVID-19.

Background:

Last year, US President Donald Trump had put a hold on America’s funding to the World Health Organization, accusing it of becoming China-centric during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The US is the largest contributor to the WHO.

How is the WHO funded?

There are four kinds of contributions that make up funding for the WHO.These are:

Assessed contributions are the dues countries pay in order to be a member of the Organization. The amount each Member State must pay is calculated relative to the country’s wealth and population.

Voluntary contributions come from Member States (in addition to their assessed contribution) or from other partners. They can range from flexible to highly earmarked.

Core voluntary contributions allow less well-funded activities to benefit from a better flow of resources and ease implementation bottlenecks that arise when immediate financing is lacking.

Pandemic Influenza Preparedness (PIP) Contributions were started in 2011 to improve and strengthen the sharing of influenza viruses with human pandemic potential, and to increase the access of developing countries to vaccines and other pandemic related supplies.

WHO’s current funding pattern:

As of fourth quarter of 2019, total contributions were around $5.62 billion, with assessed contributions accounting for $956 million, specified voluntary contributions $4.38 billion, core voluntary contributions $160 million, and PIP contributions $178 million.