UPSC 2017 IAS Exam: PIB Summary and Analysis July 17

Innovation in Higher Education
  • Innovation and upgradation of infrastructure in higher education institutions is an on-going endeavour and the Central Government is making a constant effort in this direction.

General Development Assistance

  • The University Grants Commission (UGC) under the Scheme “General Development Assistance” provides financial assistance to eligible Central Universities, Deemed Universities, State Universities and colleges. The main objective of the grant, inter-alia, is to set up new infrastructure and strengthen/upgrade existing infrastructural facilities in the institutions.

Central Government’s new initiatives in the field of higher education

  • The Central Government has launched several new initiatives viz. National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF), Impacting Research Innovation & Technology (IMPRINT), Uchchatar Avishkar Yojna (UAY), Global Initiative of Academic Networks (GIAN) & Global Research Interactive Network (GRIN) in the field of education to encourage innovation and research in the country.

SWAYAM

  • The initiative of SWAYAM has been launched which intends to provide massive open online courses (MOOCs) for the students across the country with the objective of expanding the reach of quality education to the students using the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools.

RUSA

  • Under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA), financial support is provided to improve infrastructure availability in the State Higher Educational Institutions and also to promote research and innovation.

Digitization of School Records

Prelims fact

The National Academic Depository (NAD)

  • The National Academic Depository (NAD) which is a 24 X 7 online store house of academic awards digitally lodged by various academic institutions / school boards / eligibility assessment bodies has been established.
  • The academic awards to be lodged on NAD shall cover degrees, diplomas, certificates, mark-sheets including awards issued for skill development.
  • The University Grants Commission (UGC) has been designated as authorized body to operationalise NAD.
  • The Aadhaar will be used for registration and usage of the digital database. However, in the event of non-availability of Aadhaar, a unique NAD ID will be generated to facilitate digital services to NAD users.

Improving The Quality of Higher Education

  • The Union Government has been taking a series of measures to improve the quality of higher education of the nation.
  • Several premier higher educational institutions in the country like the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISERs), Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs) and a few Central Universities have featured among the world’s best ranked higher educational institutions.
  • Global academic rankings of the World Universities are carried out by multiple agencies.
  • In one of such kinds of ranking exercises, the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2016-17 has listed 31 Indian Universities among the world’s best Universities.

Ranking of Indian Universities

  • Indian Institute of Sciences (IISc), Bangalore and the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (IITD) have been included in the top 200 in QS World University Rankings 2017.
  • IISc is placed in the 152nd position while IIT Delhi has secured 185th Rank.

Initiatives

  • In order to improve quality, the Central Government has launched several initiatives viz. National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF), Impacting Research Innovation & Technology (IMPRINT), Uchchtar Avishkar Yojna (UAY) and Global Initiative of Academic Networks (GIAN) in the field of education for the qualitative development of education in the country.

National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF)

  • Under the NIRF, Educational Institutions are ranked by an independent ranking agency on the basis of objective criteria.

IMPRINT

  • Under the IMPRINT, the Government has taken the initiative to address major engineering challenges through the collaborative efforts of the IITs and Indian Institute of Science (IISc).

UAY

  • The objectives of UAY scheme are to promote innovation in IITs, addressing issues of manufacturing industries; to spur innovative mindset; to co-ordinate action between academia & industry and to strengthen labs & research facilities.

GIAN

  • GIAN scheme facilitates partnership between Higher Educational Institutions of the country and other countries in order to tap international talent pool of scientists and entrepreneurs.

 

Minister of Railways Inaugurates Sindhudurg leg of the Science Express
  • The IX Phase of the prestigious Science Express exhibition train which is on a Nationwide tour since 17 February 2017 reached Sindhudurg in Maharashtra today i.e. 17 July 2017.
  • This phase of train is being referred as ‘Science Express Climate Action Special (SECAS)’ highlighting the global challenge of climate change.
  • SECAS is focusing on Climate Change and Science & Technology. The exhibition conveys message about Climate Change and is also a good opportunity to generate dialogue and discussion.

BACKGROUND

Prelims fact
  • Science Express is a flagship programme of the Dept. of Science & Technology (DST), Govt. of India.
  • It is an innovative mobile science exhibition mounted on a 16 coach AC train, traveling across India since October 2007.
  • Since then, it has made eight tours of the country, traveling about 1,53,000 km and exhibiting at 495 locations.
  • Science Express has become the largest, the longest running and the most visited mobile science exhibition and has twelve entries in the Limca Book of Records.

Various phases :

  • Science Express Phase I to IV showcased cutting-edge research in Science and Technology being carried out worldwide.
  • Phase V to VII was based on the theme of biodiversity and as ‘Science Express Biodiversity Special (SEBS)’, it showcased the rich biodiversity of India and its conservation measures.
  • Phase VIII as ‘Science Express Climate Action Special (SECAS)’ highlighted the global challenge of climate change.

Climate Change

  • Climate Change is an important environmental issue, with many short term and long term impacts. From shifting weather patterns that threaten food production, to rising sea levels that increase the risk of catastrophic flooding, the impacts of climate change are not just global in scope and unprecedented in scale but they also more severely affect the poor and marginalized people. However, there is very little understanding about climate change and its impacts. The state-of-the-art exhibition on board the SECAS aims to create awareness among various sections of society as to how climate change can be combated through mitigation and adaptation.
  • The Paris Agreement entered into force on 4 Nov 2016. The Paris Agreement’s central aim is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change and to strengthen the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change.

The broad theme covered is as follows:

  • Understanding Climate Change – Insights in the climate as a system, the greenhouse gas effect and the underlying reasons for climate change with key message that the current change in the climate is due to human activities.
  • Impact of Climate Change – How temperature rise, monsoon variations, sea level rise are predicted to affect vital sectors like water, agriculture, forests and biodiversity, and human health and ways to reduce these.
  • Adaptation – Concepts of adaptation and examples from day to day life, adaptation strategies and stories from field. Adaptation options in urban and rural contexts and the adaptation actions India is taking.
  • Mitigation – Concept and definition with examples, emphasis on restoring balance, enhancing sinks and reducing emission through Renewable Energy (RE) technologies. Various programmes implemented by India and low carbon strategies and ambitious goal to increase RE footprint.
  • International Negotiations for Climate Change – Introduction to UNFCCC, IPCC and internationally agreed action & targets. Explaining concept of equity and common but differential responsibility, Kyoto protocol & other key outcomes of major COP, Paris Agreement, etc.
  • Positive Actions – What can one do at school, on roads, at home and in offices and focus on concept of lifestyle choices with the key message ‘Increase your Handprint. Decrease your Footprint’.

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