Thursday, 27 October 2016

IIAS Shimla invites applications for the Award of Fellowships

IIAS Shimla | Award of Fellowships

The Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS) invites applications for the Award of Fellowships for advanced research in the following areas (ref. advertisement no. 05/2016):
(a) Social, Political and Economic Philosophy;
(b) Comparative Indian Literature (Including Ancient, Medieval, Modem Folk and Tribal);
(c) Comparative Studies In Philosophy and Religion;
(d) Comparative Studies in History (Including Historiography and Philosophy of History);
(e) Education, Culture, Arts including performing Arts and Crafts;
(f) Fundamental Concepts and Problems of Logic and Mathematics;
(g) Fundamental Concepts and Problems of Natural and Life Sciences;
(h) Studies In Environment;
(I) Indian Civilization in the context of Asian Neighbours; and
(j) Problems of Contemporary India in the context of National Integration and Nation-building.

For details please visit IIAS website: The prescribed application form can be downloaded from this website of the Institute. Applications on the prescribed form may be sent to the Secretary, Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla-171005. Applications can also be made online. Only applications in the prescribed application form would be considered by the Institute. Applications must reach the institute by 30th November 2016.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

New Book | Doing Business 2017: Equal Opportunity for All | Comparing Business Regulation for Domestic Firms in 190 Economies

Doing Business 2017: Equal Opportunity for All.
A World Bank Group Flagship Report, Comparing Business Regulation for Domestic Firms in 190 Economies.
by World Bank Group, New York, 2016. ISBN: 9781464809484.

Doing Business 2017: Equal Opportunity for All, a World Bank Group flagship publication, is the 14th in a series of annual reports measuring the regulations that enhance business activity and those that constrain it. Doing Business presents quantitative indicators on business regulations and the protection of property rights that can be compared across 190 economies—from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe—and over time.
Doing Business measures regulations affecting 11 areas of the life of a business. Ten of these areas are included in this year's ranking on the ease of doing business: starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency. Doing Business also measures labor market regulation, which is not included in this year's ranking.
Data in Doing Business 2017 are current as of June 1, 2016. The indicators are used to analyze economic outcomes and identify what reforms of business regulation have worked, where and why.

Main Findings
  • Doing Business 2017: Equal Opportunity for All finds that entrepreneurs in 137 economies saw improvements in their local regulatory framework last year. Between June 2015 and June 2016, the report, which measures 190 economies worldwide, documented 283 business reforms. Reforms reducing the complexity and cost of regulatory processes in the area of starting a business were the most common in 2015/16, as in the previous year. The next most common reforms were in the areas of paying taxes, getting credit and trading across borders.Read about business reforms.
  • Brunei Darussalam, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Belarus, Indonesia, Serbia, Georgia, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain were the most improved economies in 2015/16 in areas tracked by Doing Business. Together, these 10 top improvers implemented 48 regulatory reforms making it easier to do business.
  • Economies in all regions are implementing reforms easing the process of doing business, but Europe and Central Asia continues to be the region with the highest share of economies implementing at least one reform—96% of economies in the region have implemented at least one business regulatory reform.
  • Doing Business includes a gender dimension in four of the 11 topics sets. Starting a business, registering property and enforcing contracts present a gender dimension for the first time this year. Labor market regulation already captured gender disaggregated data in last year's report.
  • This year's report expands the paying taxes topic set to cover postfiling processes—what happens after a firm pays taxes—such as tax refunds, tax audits and administrative tax appeals.
  • This year's report also includes an annex with analysis on a pilot indicator on public procurement regulations.
  • The report features six case studies in the areas of getting electricity, getting credit: legal rights, getting credit: credit information, protecting minority investors, paying taxes and trading across borders as well as two annexes in the areas of labor market regulation and selling to the government. The case studies and annexes either present new indicators or provide further insights from the data collected through methodology changes implemented in the past two years. See all case studies.

Table of Contents
About Doing Business
Reforming the Business Environment in 2015/16
Case studies
Getting Electricity: Factors affecting the reliability of electricity supply
Getting Credit: Legal Rights - Two approaches to developing an integrated secured transactions regime
Getting Credit: Credit Information - Casting a wide net to expand financial inclusion
Protecting Minority Investors: Achieving sound corporate governance
Paying Taxes: Assessing postfiling processes
Trading Across Borders: Technology gains in trade facilitation
Annex: Labor Market Regulation - What can we learn from Doing Business data?
Annex: Selling to the Government - Why public procurement matters

Top 10 Countries
1 New Zealand
2 Singapore
3 Denmark
4 Hong Kong SAR, China
5 Korea, Republic of
6 Norway
7 United Kingdom
8 United States
9 Sweden
10 Macedonia, FYR

BRICS Ranking
40 Russian Federation
74 South Africa
78 China
123 Brazil
130 India

Monday, 24 October 2016

Ecological Wisdom in the New Urban Era | Current Science, Guest Editorial

Ecological Wisdom in the New Urban Era

Guest Editorial by Harini Nagendra. Current Science, 111 (8), 25 October 2016, 1283-1284.

The 21st century is increasingly referred to as the urban era. By 2050, two thirds of humanity will squeeze into congested urban environments. More than 90% of this urban growth will come from Asia and Africa, with three countries – India, China and Nigeria – accounting for 37% of the increase (United Nations, World Urbanization Prospects: The 2014 Revision. United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, New York, 2014). By 2050, estimations indicate that India will add as many as 404 million people to its burgeoning cities and towns. Of the world's ten largest cities, three are located in India – Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata. Three of the world's ten fastest growing cities are in India as well – Ghaziabad, Surat and Faridabad. ...

Call for Papers | 2nd India International Science Festival 2016 | 7-11 December at CSIR-NPL, New Delhi, India

2nd India International Science Festival

CSIR-NPL, New Delhi, India

7-11 December 2016

Call for Papers: Submission of Abstract till October 31, 2016

Science for the Masses: Today in India as many as 833 million Indians, or 69% of the population, live in rural areas, with persisting structural problems such as, agriculture, health, water, sanitation, housing etc. A large part of rural India is looking forward to better times along with the rest of India. On the other hand, having a significant percentage of population in the youth category India's demographic dividend is also a global talking point as well. All these necessitate that, the country continuously strives for growth and development through investment in science and research. In this background, the Ministry of Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Govt. of India and Vijnana Bharati, have planned to organise the 2nd IISF-2016 jointly at CSIR-NPL & IARI campus from December 7-11, 2016.

About IISF 2016
The series of India International Science Festival (IISF) is an integral part of India's long term vision in developing and widening the spectrum of scientific temper in India and abroad. To display India's contribution in the field of S&T and to motivate the young scientists to find solutions to the burning issues of our society; the 1st IISF was held at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) New Delhi in December, 2015.The festival primarily aimed to involve and include commoners with a view to improve their scientific understanding, temperament and appreciation for various feats in science & technology by showcasing Indian achievements. Indeed, the event was a great success with the participation of more than 3000 young scientists across the country. The mega S&T expo attracted more than 3 Lakh people. VIBHA has become the Guinness Book World Record Holder for the successful conduct of the 'Largest Practical Science Lesson' by 2000 students from prestigious schools of Delhi.

IISF 2016 Activities
  • DST-INSPIRE National level camp
  • Science Village/ Mega Student Camp
  • Involving Students in Guinness Book of World Records
  • Young Scientists Meet
  • Scientific Workshops
  • National Level Competition (Ideas for Bharat Nirman)
  • Industry Academia Interaction
  • Showcasing Outstanding Achievements
  • Mega Science, Technology & Industry Expo
  • International Science Film Festival
  • Outreach and Pre-event activities
  • Cultural Programs

Thursday, 20 October 2016

21 Day Training Programme on Geospatial Technologies | 1-21 December | TERI University, New Delhi, India

21 Day Training Programme on Geospatial Technologies

Organized by : TERI University in association with NRDMS, Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India

1-21 December 2016

Venue: TERI University, New Delhi

Call for Participation
NRDMS, Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, New Delhi, sponsored 21 Day Training Programme on Geospatial Technologies (Equivalent to Refresher Course) is being organized by Department of Natural Resources, TERI University, from 1 - 21 December 2016. the objective of the programme is a follows:
- Impart basic knowledge principles and applications of Geoinformatics
- Hands on training through open sources platform
- Expert lecture on environment, society, natural resources, climate change and sustainability - key competence of the TERI University
- Three to four days project work for participants to use Geospatial techniques in various domain fallow by the expert lecture.

Who can apply?: The NRDMS (DST) training programme is open for participants of colleges/universities faculty; scientists; state/central government officials; disaster management planners, research scholars/ fellows in the field of Geography, Geology, Geophysics, Oceanography, Water resources, Climatology, Atmospheric Science, Environmental Science, Ecology, Economics and secondary school teachers who wish to develop their skills in geospatial technologies. The candidate must be nominated by their respective organization.

How to apply: Interested candidates are required to send duly filled application form and forward the completed application by email to or send the application to Dr Vinay S P Sinha, Programme Coordinator, MSc. Geoinformatics, Department of Natural Resources, TERI University, 10 Institutional Area, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi 110 070, India latest by 1st November 2016. Selected candidates will be informed by 5th November, 2016 either by email or phone.

Course Coordinator : Dr Vinay S P Sinha, | Tel: +91-11-71800222

New Book | Guidelines on Urban and Peri-Urban Forestry

Guidelines on Urban and Peri-Urban Forestry
by F. Salbitano, S. Borelli, M. Conigliaro and Y. Chen. FAO Forestry Paper No. 178. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, 2016. ISBN 9789251094426.

Although cities occupy only 2 percent of the planet's surface, their inhabitants use 75 percent of its natural resources. The world is urbanizing quickly, too: by 2050, 70 percent of the global population will live in cities and towns. Sustainable urban development is crucial, therefore, for ensuring the quality of life of the world's people.
Forests and trees in urban and peri-urban environments, if properly managed, can make important contributions to the planning, design and management of sustainable, resilient landscapes. They can help make cities:
  • safer – by reducing stormwater runoff and the impacts of wind and sand storms, mitigating the "heat island" effect, and contributing to the adaptation and mitigation of climate change;
  • more pleasant – by providing space for recreation and venues for social and religious events, and ameliorating weather extremes;
  • healthier – by improving air quality, providing space for physical exercise, and fostering psychological well-being;
  • wealthier – by providing opportunities for the production of food, medicines and wood and generating economically valuable ecosystem services; and
  • more diverse and attractive – by providing natural experiences for urban and peri-urban dwellers, increasing biodiversity, creating diverse landscapes, and maintaining cultural traditions.
To support the world's cities in reaping the benefits of urban and peri-urban forests, a few years ago FAO initiated a collaborative process to develop voluntary guidelines aimed at optimizing the contributions of forests and trees to sustainable urban development. Scientists, practitioners and public administrators from cities worldwide were brought together in a series of workshops to discuss the elements and key challenges of urban forestry, and a smaller team of experts was assembled to distil this vast knowledge.
This document is the ultimate result of that process. It is intended for a global audience, primarily comprising urban decision-makers, civil servants, policy advisors and other stakeholders to assist in developing urban and peri-urban forests as a way of meeting the present and future needs of cities for forest products and ecosystem services. The guidelines will also help increase community awareness of the contributions that trees and forests can make to improving quality of life, and of their essential role in global sustainability.
I thank all those involved in producing this document, which, I have no doubt, will help ensure that cities worldwide maintain and enhance the well-being of their citizens and the global environment.
René Castro-Salazar | Assistant Director-General, FAO Forestry Department

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

New Book | UNESCO Global Report on Culture for Sustainable Urban Development

UNESCO Global Report on Culture for Sustainable Urban Development
by UNESCO Publishing, Paris, 2016. ISBN 9789231001703.

With over half of the world's population now living in urban areas, the road to sustainable development passes through cities in every corner of the globe. As the United Nations works to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the New Urban Agenda, to be adopted at the Third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) in October 2016, it is critical to bring together the best policies to make the most of our cities.
The challenges we face are steep and cities are on the frontlines of sustainable development issues such as education, food security, water management, the development of inclusive societies, and effective institutions. Yet cities are also one of humanity's most brilliant inventions for crafting solutions for the future. Fundamentally, cities bring creative and productive people together, helping them to do what they do best: exchange, create and innovate. From the ancient cities of Mesopotamia to the city-states of the Italian Renaissance and the vibrant metropolises of today, urban areas have been among the most powerful engines of human development. Today, we must once again place our hope in cities.
Culture lies at the heart of urban renewal and innovation. This Report provides a wealth of insights and concrete evidence showing the power of culture as a strategic asset for creating cities that are more inclusive, creative and sustainable. Creativity and cultural diversity have been the key drivers of urban success. Cultural activities can foster social inclusion and dialogue among diverse communities. Tangible and intangible heritage are integral parts of a city's identity, creating a sense of belonging and cohesion. Culture embodies the soul of a city, allowing it to progress and build a future of dignity for all. This reflection has been at the core of UNESCO's work over the last decades, notably through the development of programmes such as the Creative Cities Network, the Learning and Smart Cities initiatives and the protection of historic urban landscapes. This vision has received new energy with the explicit recognition of the role of culture as an enabler of sustainable development, and as one of the key conditions to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 11 to 'Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable'.
A human-centred city is a culture-centred space. We must translate this reality into more effective policies and sustainable urban governance. Cities have become living laboratories for determining how some of the most pressing challenges we face are negotiated, managed and experienced. We must strengthen the cultural assets of cities, the heritage that provides a sense of meaning and identity to their inhabitants, and the creative opportunities that enhance the vitality, liveability and prosperity of our cities.
This Report would not be possible without the contributions of a number of key partners of UNESCO. In this regard, I particularly wish to thank the Government of the Kingdom of Spain and the Hangzhou Municipal People's Government, whose support for UNESCO's work in the field of culture and sustainable urban development has been instrumental in bringing this publication to fruition.
Irina Bokova | Director-General of UNESCO

Table of Contents
Part I | Global survey on the role of culture for sustainable urban development
Part II | Culture for sustainable cities: a thematic approach
Section A People Building on the power of culture to promote human and inclusive cities
Section B Environment Improving the quality of the built and natural environment through culture
Section C Policies Integrating culture in urban policies to foster sustainable urban development
Conclusions and Recommendations | Culture for transformative change in cities