Union Environment Minister launches Global Cooling Prize

The Global Cooling Innovation Summit was inaugurated by Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan on November 12, 2018, in New Delhi.

While speaking at the inaugural event, the Union Minister announced the launch of the Global Cooling Prize, an international competition to incentivize the development of a residential cooling technology that will have five times less climate impact in comparison to the standard Room Air Conditioning (RAC) units sold currently.

The Minister said that concrete and collective actions are required to address the colossal challenge of global warming. He added that India is close to doubling its research and development activities in this regard.

Global Cooling Innovation Summit: Key Highlights

The two-day summit is a first-of-its-kind solutions-focused event, which has been organized to explore concrete means and pathways to address the climate threat that comes from the growing demand from room air conditioners.

It has been jointly organized by the Department of Science and Technology along with Rocky Mountain Institute, Alliance for An Energy-Efficient Economy (AEEE), Conservation X Labs and CEPT University.

The summit saw the launch of the Global Cooling Prize, which is an Innovation challenge that aims to spur development of a residential cooling solution that has at least five times less climate impact than the standard air conditioners.

It is expected to witness participation from distinguished speakers from around the world, including innovators, philanthropists, venture capitalists, and other industry leaders.

Global Cooling Prize

It is an innovation competition with wide global reach and participation that aims to achieve dramatic breakthroughs in cooling technologies.

The key objective of the competition is to develop a climate-friendly residential cooling solution that can provide access to cooling to people around the world without warming the planet.

It aims to develop a cooling technology that requires radically less energy to operate, utilizes refrigerants with no ozone depletion potential and with low global warming potential and has the potential to be cost-effective at scale.

Key Highlights

The competition aims to rally a global coalition of leaders to solve the critical climate threat that comes from growing demand for residential air conditioning by harnessing the power of innovation.

The competition is designed to incentivize the development of a residential cooling solution that will have at least five times less climate impact than the standard RAC units.

The technology could prevent up to 100 gigatons (GT) of CO2-equivalent emissions by 2050, and put the world on a pathway to mitigate up to 0.5˚C of global warming by 2100, all while enhancing living standards for people in developing countries around the globe.

The awards programme will call worldwide attention to the most promising ideas across the globe and will celebrate successes and facilitate endeavors of innovators through providing recognition, encouragement, and support.

Over US$3 million will be awarded in prize money over the course of the two-year competition.

Up to 10 short-listed competing technologies will be awarded up to US$200,000 each in intermediate prizes to support the design and prototype development of their innovative residential cooling technology designs.

The winning technology will be awarded at least US$1 million to support its incubation and early-stage commercialization.

Background

  • There are currently 1.2 billion room air conditioning units in service around the world.
  • It is estimated that the number of units will increase to at least 4.5 billion by 2050.
  • India alone will see over 1 billion air conditioning units deployed in the market by 2050.
  • The energy consumption associated with comfort cooling represents one of the largest end-use risks to the climate, putting the most vulnerable populations at risk.
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Economist Intelligence Unit survey: Delhi ranks 112 on Global Liveability Index, Mumbai 117

Both political and financial capitals of India have fared poorly on the Global Liveability Index, 2018, with Delhi ranking 112 and Mumbai five places behind at 117. The rankings of 140 global cities, based on their living conditions was released by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) Tuesday, a day after the Indian government released its Ease of Living Index. The EIU is part of UK magazine The Economist and provides forecasting and advisory services through research and analysis.

PARAMETERS OF THE GLOBAL LIVEABILITY INDEX:

The list ranks 140 cities on a range of factors, including:

  1. Political and social stability.
  2. Crime
  3. Education
  4. Access to healthcare.

The survey rates cities worldwide based on 30 qualitative and quantitative criteria, which fall into five general categories:

  1. Stability
  2. Healthcare
  3. Culture and environment.
  4. Education
  5. Infrastructure

As per Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) Global Liveability Index, 2018, the top 10 cities to live in the world are:

  1. Vienna
  2. Melbourne
  3. Osaka
  4. Calgary
  5. Sydney
  6. Vancouver
  7. Tokyo
  8. Toronto
  9. Copenhagen
  10. Adelaide

EIU’s Global Liveability Index, 2018, puts the following cities at the bottom of the list:

a. Senegal’s Dakar at 131.

b. Algeria’s Algiers at 132.

c. Cameroon’s Douala at 133.

d. Libya’s Tripoli at 134.

e. Zimbabwe’s Harare at 135.

f. Papua New Guinea’s Port Moresby at 136.

g. Karachi at 137.

h. Nigeria’s Lagos at 138.

i. Dhaka at 139.

j. Damascus at 140

For India, only New Delhi and Mumbai could make it to the list with:

New Delhi at 112th position.

Mumbai at 117th position.

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India slips 3 notches to 11th spot in AT Kearney FDI Confidence Index

India has slipped by three notches to 11th position in the FDI Confidence Index 2018 of global consultancy firm A T Kearney.

The AT Kearney Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Confidence Index, created in 1998, is an annual survey of the business executives that ranks countries which are likely to attract the most FDI in the next three years.

The Index is calculated as a weighted average of the number of low, medium and high responses to questions on the possibility of making a direct investment in a market over the next three years.

The United States (US) topped the index, followed by Canada at 2nd and Germany at the 3rd place.

China falls three spots to 5th place this year, the lowest ranking of the country in the history of the Index.

Switzerland and Italy entered the top 10 for the first time in more than a decade, pushing out India and Singapore to 11th and 12th spots, respectively.

Only four emerging markets appear among the top 25 countries for FDI intentions- China, India, Mexico, and Brazil.

The newcomers to the Index are all European countries- Denmark (20th), Portugal (22nd) and Norway (23rd).

The countries, that appeared on the 2017 Index but do not appear this year, are all emerging markets: Thailand, the United Arab Emirates and South Africa.

India was ranked 11th, down from 8th in 2017 and 9th in 2016.

Fall in India’s rankings may be due to teething troubles in the implementation of goods and services tax (GST) and Government’s demonetization decision in 2016.

These policies may have deterred investors in the short term as they have disrupted business activity and weighed on economic growth

Several of India’s reforms such as removing Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) and liberalizing FDI limits in key sectors such as retail, aviation, and biomedical industries have maintained India’s high rankings in terms of FDI attractiveness.

In future, potential investors are likely to be cautious as they are monitoring political risks such as China abolishing presidential term limits and upcoming general election in India. But for the sheer size of Chinese and Indian markets, will continue to be drawn for investors and they will remain highest-ranking emerging markets on the index.

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India slips to 7th position in business optimism ranking: Report

India has slipped in the business optimism index to the 7th position in the September quarter, from the second slot in the previous three months, showing clear signs of lag in the economy, says a survey.

Indonesia is at the top, followed by Finland (2nd), the Netherlands (3rd), Philippines (4th), Austria (5th) and Nigeria (6th), as per Grant Thornton’s International Business Report (IBR).

According to the quarterly global survey on business optimism, Indian businesses have expressed low confidence over revenue expectations in the next 12 months.

They also saw a drastic fall in confidence for profitability with 54% showing optimism as against 69% in the last quarter.

Other parameters like expectations of an increase in selling prices and exports have also suffered a slight fall in optimism in this quarter, the survey said.

There were clear signs of lag in the economy which caused the drop in ratings, Grant Thornton India LLP Partner India leadership team Harish HV said.

Indian businesses, however, remained optimistic about an increase in employment as 54% respondents expressed the need to increase hiring in the next 12 months, a three-point rise from June quarter.

Other areas where the optimism remained intact were the investment in plant and machinery and research and development (R&D).

According to IBR, India tops the chart in citing regulations and red tape and lack of ICT infrastructure as the biggest growth constraints with 69% and 46% voting for it respectively.

Indian businesses also identified a shortage of finance and lack of skilled workforce as pain points of India Inc taking the 2nd and the 3rd spot respectively.

Globally, the overall position for business optimism remains relatively high at 49% in the September quarter. This is down 2 pps on the June quarter and follows five consecutive quarterly increases in business sentiment.

The IBR provides insight into the views and expectations of more than 10,000 businesses per year across 36 economies.

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Business sentiment in India weakest since 2014; ranks 6th on optimism index: Grant Thornton

After topping the chart for four years, India has been ranked 6th on the global optimism index in the first quarter of 2018, a survey by Grant Thornton’s International Business Report (IBR) said. The report says the business optimism in India has deteriorated while entering the last year of the current regime. Though the initial years of the Narendra Modi-led government saw India on top of the chart, the confidence has shaken since Q3 2017 with a weakening currency and a surge in oil prices, the report said, adding that the business optimism is at an all-time high of 61 per cent, the highest in 15 years, globally.

The report was prepared based on the results of a survey of 2,500 businesses in 37 economies. “The reversal in sentiment amongst mid-sized businesses in India in the last three quarters is startling.

The report claims the underlying pessimism is reflected in other parameters as well, including revenue, selling prices, profitability, employment, and exports expectations. Revenue expectations have been slipping from the top position in Q2 2017 to 14th in the fourth quarter of FY18. The country’s ranking on the expectation for higher selling prices dropped from 6th in Q1 2017 to 7th in the first quarter of the current financial year. Employment expectation was also ranked 6th in the first quarter. India’s profitability has also been ranked 13th in the first quarter. In terms of export expectation, India was ranked 9th in the first quarter of current fiscal from 18th spot in the last quarter of 2017, said the report.

While Indian businesses have shown interest in investing in new buildings in recent years, they haven’t given much impetus to investment in plant and machinery, said the report.

The businesses in India have been citing regulations and red tape, availability of skilled workforce, lack of ICT infrastructure, and the shortage of finance as the biggest growth constraints claimed the report.

Commenting on the global optimism being at an all-time high, Francesca Lagerberg, Global Leader Network Development at Grant Thornton said: “Businesses report healthy and widespread levels of optimism. This is a welcome indication that the global economic recovery is finally broad-based. We haven’t seen such high optimism levels for some time, not least in Spain, Italy, and Greece. Why is business optimism so high? A likely factor is that globally, the economic fundamentals are strong. The strongest they have been since the financial crisis. GDP growth in most regions is growing. We are seeing a broad-based and inclusive spell of economic growth across markets.”

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2018 Global Slavery Index

The Global Slavery Index 2018 estimates that on any given day in 2016, there were 15,000 living in conditions of modern slavery in Australia, a prevalence of 0.6 victims of modern slavery for every thousand people in the country.

“In the context of this report, modern slavery covers a set of specific legal concepts including forced labor, debt bondage, forced marriage, slavery and slavery-like practices, and human trafficking”.

It is used as an umbrella term which refers to situations of exploitation that a person cannot refuse or leave because of threats, violence, coercion, deception, and abuse of power.

North Korea is at the top of the list with 104.6 per 1,000 and Japan registering the lowest prevalence rate of 0.3 per 1,000.

Globally, nearly three-quarters (71 percent) of modern slavery’s victims are women and girls. There are more female than male victims across all forms of modern slavery.

The 10 countries with the largest number of absolute numbers of people in modern slavery include India, China, Pakistan, North Korea, Nigeria, Iran, Indonesia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Russia, and the Philippines. These 10 countries account for 60 percent of people living in modern slavery.

Findings from the Index highlight the connection between modern slavery and two major external drivers – highly repressive regimes, in which populations are put to work to prop up the government, and conflict situations which result in the breakdown of rule of law, social structures, and existing systems of protection.

Among 167 countries, India ranked 53. However, in absolute numbers, India topped the list on prevalence.

The index estimates that on any given day in 2016 there were nearly 8 million people living in “modern slavery” in India — a claim strongly contested by the government on the grounds that its parameters were poorly defined and too wide-ranging.

The report said that in terms of prevalence, there were 6.1 victims for every thousand people.

The Indian government questioned the definition of modern slavery used in the research and also the sample size for interviews and the questions posed to those surveyed.

Ministry of Women and Child Development termed the index flawed in its interpretations and as the terminology used is very broad-based and words like “forced labor” need a more detailed elaboration in the Indian context where the socio-economic parameters are diverse and very nuanced.

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Ease of Doing Business Index

Andhra Pradesh scored the top position in the DIPP (Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion) and World Bank’s jointly released ease of doing business index for states, leaving behind industry-focused states such as Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka.

The next two spots for ease of doing business were grabbed by Telangana and Haryana respectively. It must be noted that Telangana dropped to the second spot after topping the rankings last year.

Performance of states:

The top rankers are Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Haryana. Jharkhand and Gujarat stood fourth and fifth respectively.

Delhi is placed at 23rd among 34 states and Union territories. Its rank also worsened from 18th in 2016.

Karnataka has occupied the eighth spot, against 13th in 2016.

The rankings are based on the performance of states in implementing the Business Reform Action Plan (BRAP).

DIPP, Ministry of Commerce and Industry in collaboration with the World Bank conducted an annual reform exercise for all States and UTs under the Business Reform Action Plan (BRAP). The aim of this exercise is to improve delivery of various Central Government regulatory functions and services in an efficient, effective and transparent manner.

The reform plan includes 372 recommendations for reforms on regulatory processes, policies, practices, and procedures spread across 12 reform areas including labor regulation enablers; contract enforcement; registering property; inspection reform enablers; single window system; land availability and allotment; construction permit enablers etc.

BRAP 2017 includes two new sectors i.e. Healthcare and Hospitality.

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India Climbs To 57th Position in Global Innovation Index Rankings

India was ranked 57th in the latest Global Innovation Index (GII) rankings released in New York. India was ranked 60th in the year 2017 which shows that it has been constantly climbing up its GII rankings since 2015.

According to reports, India has maintained its top place in the central and South Asia region and has consistently moved up the global ranking from 81st in 2015 to 57th in the year 2018. The country has climbed for the third year in a row, as it was ranked 66th in the year 2016.

On the global front, Switzerland maintained its number one position in the Global Innovation Index rankings. Other countries that fell in the top 10 list were Netherlands, Sweden, the UK, the US, Finland, Denmark, and Germany.

China, scored the rank 17th rank this year, which is an upgrade from the previous 44th rank in 2017.

GII is a leading benchmarking tool for business executives, policymakers and others seeking insight into the state of innovation around the world. The ranking is constantly being used to evaluate progress on a continual basis

The Global Innovation Index Ranking considers 80 factors before ranking a nation. This includes:

  • intellectual property filing rates
  • mobile application creation
  • online creativity
  • computer software spending
  • education spending
  • ease of starting business and
  • scientific & technical publications, among others.

GII rankings are published by the World International Property Organisation (WIPO) which works in association with the Cornell University and a graduate business school INSEAD. ICII works with the GII team and assists in bringing out the annual ranking.

The GII report is an indication that India has been improving on the basis of certain indicators like human capital (graduates in science and engineering), the growth rate of GDP per worker, exports of information and communication technology (ICT) and services, productivity growth, and creative goods.

India has outshined on innovation relative to its GDP per capita for eight years in a row, mentioned the report.

However, the country still has to improve on other indicators like political stability and safety, ease of starting a business, overall education, and environmental performance.

To be noted, India was ranked 100th in terms of ease of doing business globally and had leaped over 30 positions due to the major reforms and policies introduced and implemented during PM Modi’s regime.

India is also continuously improving its relations with neighbor countries and is forming cross-border startup hubs to facilitate more knowledge sharing between the countries. Several MoUs have already been signed with Portugal and Israel so far.

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Global Real Estate Transparency Index 2018

The latest JLL Global Real Estate Transparency Index (GRETI) released today shows that Ireland’s property market ranks within the most “highly transparent” markets in the world. Ireland is ranked 9th globally, in terms of the most transparent countries.

The index which is published biennially, measures transparency in 158 metropolitan areas, across 186 unique indicators. This year’s survey saw a 36% increase in the number of indicators and factors which contribute to the overall scoring. New topic areas included regulations and market practice around anti-money laundering stops, beneficial ownership as well as a significant increase in questions around sustainability and the use of property technology.

The 2018 Global Real Estate Transparency Index covers 100 markets and is based on 186 indicators.

These variables are divided into six areas –performance measurement, market fundamentals, governance of listed vehicles, regulatory & legal frameworks, transaction process and environmental sustainability.

The Index scores markets on a scale of 1 to 5 (with 1.00 being the highest possible score). Depending on their overall performance, markets are assigned to one of five transparency tiers.

  • Highly Transparent.
  • Semi-Transparent.
  • Low Transparency.

India has moved up just one spot from 36 in 2016 to 35 in 2018.

The UK, Australia, the US, France, and Canada are the top five countries.

Sri Lanka is at the 66th position and Pakistan at 75th among south Asian countries. Venezuela is the least transparent market with 100th rank.

Among BRICS nations, both China and South Africa remained on the same rank 33rd and 21st position, respectively, while, Brazil slipped to 37th position and Russia remained at 38th rank.

India is one of the 10 countries that have registered maximum improvement in transparency in real estate over the last two years. Since 2014, India has moved up by five spots from 40th in the global real estate transparency index.

However, India has moved up just one spot despite the implementation of the Real Estate (Regulation And Development) Act or RERA. RERA was implemented in May 2016 to bring accountability and transparency to the sector. However, unlike a few states such as Maharashtra and Karnataka, several states have been slow in its implementation.

India is thus yet to figure among the transparent markets, despite the regulatory changes and the possibility of a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) listing.

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India’s rank marginally improves in peace index

India’s rank has marginally improved in “global peacefulness”, at a time when there is an overall decline of global peace owing to escalation of violence in West Asia and and North Africa.

Pakistan’s rank too has improved marginally, according to the Global Peace Index (GPI), released by Australia-based Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP).

India has moved up four places to the 137th rank among 163 countries. The improvement is due to a reduction in the level of violent crime driven by increased law enforcement. India was ranked 141 last year.

India was also among the countries with the biggest decreases in the number of deaths, along with Sri Lanka, Chad, Colombia, and Uganda.

Iceland remains the most peaceful country in the world, a position it has held since 2008. New Zealand, Austria, Portugal and Denmark also sit in the top five most peaceful rankings.

Syria remains the least peaceful country in the world, a position it has held for the past five years. Afghanistan, South Sudan, Iraq and Somalia comprise the remaining least peaceful countries.

Amid continuing social and political turmoil, the world continues to spend enormous resources on creating and containing violence but very little on peace.

The countries that displayed the most significant growth in heavy weapons capabilities over the last 30 years are primarily in unstable regions where there are high tensions with neighbouring countries. These include Egypt, India, Iran, Pakistan, South Korea, and Syria.

Overall, the global level of peace has deteriorated by 0.27% in the last year, marking the fourth successive year of deteriorations. Ninety-two countries deteriorated, while 71 countries improved.

The four most peaceful regions – Europe, North America, Asia-Pacific, and South America – all recorded deteriorations, with the largest overall deterioration occurring in South America, owing to falls in the safety and security domain, mainly due to increases in the incarceration rate and impact of terrorism.

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