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06 Sep, 2019

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Institution of Eminence Scheme


GS-II: Institution of Eminence Scheme


The HRD Ministry has awarded the status of Institute of Eminence to the IIT-Madras, the IIT-Kharagpur, Delhi University, Benares Hindu University and the University of Hyderabad. Four private universities the Vellore Institute of Technology, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Jamia Hamdard University and the Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology were issued Letters of Intent to grant them the status. The new greenfield Bharti Institute, a project of Satya Bharti Foundation, has also been issued the letter.


Excellence and Innovation: To provide for higher education leading to excellence and innovations in such branches of knowledge as may be deemed fit at post-graduate, graduate and research degree levels.

Specialization: To engage in areas of specialization to make distinctive contributions to the objectives of the university education system.

Global Rating: To aim to be rated internationally for its teaching and research as a top hundred Institution in the world over time.

Quality teaching and Research: To provide for high-quality teaching and research and for the advancement of knowledge and its dissemination.


  1. Global Ranking
  2. Public Institution
  3. Private Institution
  4. Greenfield Proposals


Autonomy: Institutions with the OE tags will be given greater autonomy and freedom to decide fees, course durations and governance structures.

Grant: The public institutions under the IOE tag will receive a government grant of 1,000 crores, while the private institutions will not get any funding under the scheme.

Source: The Hindu

Travel and Tourism Competitive Index 2019


GS-III: Travel and Tourism Competitive Index 2019


A report released by the World Economic Forum ranking the travel and tourism competitiveness index of 140 economies was released.

About the Index

  • Published biennially by the World Economic Forum, the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report and Index benchmark the Travel & Tourism (T&T) competitiveness of 140 economies.
  • The study scored countries on four indicators enabling environment travel and tourism policy and enabling conditions, infrastructure natural and cultural rankings.
  • The four broad indicators looked at 14 variables, which were further subdivided into 90 indicators such as property rights, efficiency of the legal framework, quality of electricity supply, female labour force participation, visa requirements and the number of World Heritage cultural sites.

India’s Progress

  • The biennial report shows that India has made the greatest improvement since 2017 among the top 25 per cent of the countries that were previously ranked.
  • Overall, India is ranked 34, up six places from 2017.
  • India’s highest improvement was in enabling environment, by 10 places to 98.
  • The least improvement is in infrastructure as well as in natural and cultural rankings, by just three places each, but India’s rank was already high in the latter.

Global scene

Spain, France, Germany, Japan and the United States are the world’s most travel-ready nations.

Japan remains Asia’s most competitive travel and tourism economy, ranking 4th globally.

China is the largest travel and tourism economy in Asia-Pacific and 13th most competitive globally.

Source: IndianExpress

Putting the pedal to the medal

GS-III : Economic Issues Terminology

GS-III: Putting the pedal to the medal


The automobile industry is cyclical. It is also a lead indicator for economic growth. And it has been experiencing signs of a slowdown. The decline began in the last quarter of the calendar year 2018 and intensified with the passage of every month in 2019.


Though the industry goes through cycles of ups and downs the current slowdown is something to worry about seriously. The current downturn is like nothing that the industry has seen in a long, time in terms of depth, scale, and character.

Commercial vehicles – Revision in axle-load norms

  • In 2018, the government revised axle-load norms (for the first time since 1983) for cargo carriers by between 12% and 25%. It was aimed to legalize overloading and help reduce freight costs for both consignors and consignees.
  • By applying the higher cargo rules to all trucks on the roads, government raised existing carrying capacity and forced per-tonne freight rates down.
  • This occurred at a time when carrying capacity was increasing due to the introduction of GST.


  • Vehicle manufacturer’s practice of clogging the pipeline by over-producing vehicles without care for demand, and dumping them on dealers to sell became a painful issue now.
  • Because of the approaching deadline for the transition to BS-VI norms from April 1, 2020, dealers are saddled with the inventory of BS-IV vehicles that they need to clear out before the deadline.
  • Manufacturers are unable to plan their production schedules for BS-VI vehicles.

Way Forward

The government should reduce GST on the automobile industry from 28% to 18% as per the demand of the industry but not for all the vehicles with manufacturers and dealers.

Source: The Hindu

Mapping lightning across India


GS-III: Mapping lightning across India


For the first time a report has mapped lightning strikes across the country, and the lives they have claimed.

About the report

It has been prepared by Climate Resilient Observing Systems Promotion Council (CROPC), a non-profit organisation that works closely with India Meteorological Department (IMD).

What has the report found?

  • Lightning strikes have caused at least 1,311 deaths in the four-month period between April and July this year, according to a first-of-its-kind report on lightning incidents in India.
  • UP accounted for 224 of these deaths, followed by Bihar (170), Odisha (129) and Jharkhand (118).
  • It counted 65.55 lakh lightning strikes in India during this four-month period, of which 23.53 lakh (36 per cent) happened to be cloud-to-ground lightning, the kind that reaches the Earth.
  • The other 41.04 lakh (64 per cent) were in-cloud lightning, which remains confined to the clouds in which it was formed.

Why are these finding are important

The report is part of an effort to create a database that can help develop an early warning system for lightning, spread awareness, and prevent deaths.

Between 2,000 and 2,500 people are estimated as killed every year in lightning strikes in the country.

It is possible to predict, 30-40 minutes in advance when a lightning strike heads towards Earth.

The prediction is made possible through the study and monitoring of the in-cloud lightning strikes.

Timely dissemination of this information can save several lives.

After carrying out a pilot project in 16 states, the IMD has begun providing lightning forecasts and warnings through mobile text messages this year.

Source: Indian Express

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