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  • Burning into flames…this is the effigy of Ravana signifying the victory of good over evil. On one hand there is celebration of victory of good over evil, while on the other hand, the fight against Covid-19 pandemic continues. Dussehra was celebrated with religious gaiety and traditional faith throughout the country amid covid restrictions.

    In Karnataka….Ayudha pooja was offered across the state on teh occasion of dasara festivities.

    Ayudha pooja is performed on assets, and instruments and people in Karnataka even offer pooja to their vehicles and all the assets they use for the livelihood.

    Ayudha pooja was also performed by the Royal Wadiyar family in a simple manner inside the palace keeping in view the Covid -19 protocol.

    The Mysore dasara is a world famous festivity during the navratri…now all eyes are on the Jumbo savari, the grand Elephant march which will mark the end of the 10 days celebrations on the occasion of Viajydashmi on Monday.

    It is believed that on the day of Dussehra or Vijayadashami, Lord Rama defeated King Ravana in his quest towards rescuing his wife Sita. This is also the day when Goddess Durga slayed the buffalo demon Mahisasura.

  • Rajnath Singh on tweeter said that:  Shastra Pujan is an integral part of India's military tradition. I was privileged to attend the Shastra Pujan ceremony held at the headquarters of 'Trishakti Corps' at Sukna on the auspicious occasion of Vijayadashami.

    Rajnath Singh said that India wants an end to the border tension with China in eastern Ladakh, but at the same time asserted that Indian soldiers will never allow even an inch of the country to be taken away by anyone.

    After performing the Puja, Raksha Mantri inaugurated a new road in Sikkim through a video-conference from Sukna. He dedicated the 19.85 Km Alternate Alignment of the National Highway 310 from km 0.00 to km 19.35 to the Nation. Raksha Mantri while addressing the gathering on the occasion complimented the Border Roads Organisation for its unwavering commitment towards delivering outstanding quality infrastructure in record time and optimal costs.

    Raksha Mantri said that the construction of 225 km double lane road to 'Mangan-Chugthang-Eumsemdong' and 'Chuganthang-Lachen-Jima-Muguthang-Nakula' is planned under the Bharatmala project in North Sikkim. These works are planned in 9 packages with an estimated cost of Rs 5,710 crores.

     

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi remembered first Home Minister of Independent India Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel.

    As Sardar Patel devoted his entire life for the unity of the country, his birth anniversary on the 31st of October as 'National Unity Day'.

    In his Mann Ki Baat address, PM Modi also talked about another aspect of Sardar Patel's life which is maintaining sense of humour irrespective of how difficult the situations are.

    Prime Minister Modi said Sardar Patel invoked the mantra of 'unity in diversity' in the mind of every Indian.

    Referring to 'Valmiki Jayanti,' the Prime Minister said Maharishi Valmiki ji always emphasized positive thinking and his conduct, thoughts and ideals are the inspiration and guiding force for our resolve for a New India.

    Prime Minister Modi urged people to take inspiration from great men who teach us to continue to move forward with strong determination even in adverse circumstances.

  • The cabinet meeting Chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina decided that no one will be allowed to enter offices without the mask.

    It decided that all offices must install notice boards saying ‘no mask, no service’ in order to control the spread of COVID 19 virus in the country.

    Briefing media after the Cabinet meeting in Dhaka on Sunday, the Cabinet Secretary Khandaker Anwarul Islam said that people at all public and private offices, social institutions, haat-bazars, shopping malls, other establishments, educational institutions, mosques or other places of worship throughout the country must use mask in view of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, reports the official news agency BSS.

    Involving community leaders in the campaign to wear mask, the Cabinet Secretary said that the government has also talked to the Islamic scholars and religious leaders to publicise this at all mosques through the Imams.

    In the meanwhile, with 23 deaths reported on Sunday, the death toll in the country due to COVID 19 has gone up to 5803.

    The total number of people infected by Coronavirus has also gone up to 398815 with 1308 fresh cases reported on Sunday.

  • He said all citizens should maintain mutual brotherhood, even when many continuously try to sow the seeds of suspicion in our minds, and try to divide the country.

    With an aim to encourage mutual brotherhood and unity among countrymen, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged people to instill a feeling of affection and affinity in speech, behavior and actions.

    He even urged citizens to visit the website ekbharat.gov.in and contribute as much as possible.

    Highlighting various issues in his Mann Ki Baat address, the Prime Minister laid special emphasis on promoting brotherhood and communal harmony among citizens.

  • Indian Ambassador to China Vikram Misri addressing the gathering which was also attended by the top diplomats from Bangladesh and Nepal said, Durga Pooja reminds us of our shared heritage in the Indian subcontinent.

    The central message of this festival, the victory of good over evil is timeless and ever relevant, he added.

    Ambassadors of Bangladesh and Nepal in China also shared their festivalgreetings through a recorded message.

    A joyous Indian Community led by Beijing Bongs gathered from various parts of China to get soaked in the pious aura of goddess Durga with traditional pooja amid the beatsof ‘Dhaak’.

    At the event, Chinese artists also performed including Kathak danceand a soulful music performance by artists from Chinese Conservatory of Musicon a Yanqin – Chinese equivalent of Santoor.

    "The event was sponsored by Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India".

     

    Report by: Anshuman Mishra, Prasar Bharati, Beijing

  • Here's a look at what the PM said:

    "Today is the festival of Vijaydashami, that is Dussehra. On this auspicious occasion, heartiest greetings to all of you. The festival of Dussehra is one of the triumph of truth over untruth. But, simultaneously, it is also the festival of victory of patience over crises. Today, all of you are carrying on with immense patience, celebrating the festival with restraint….and hence, in our ongoing fight, our victory too is assured. Earlier, people used to throng Durga Pandals for a Darshan of Maa. The atmosphere would be almost that of a carnival…but it was not possible this time. Earlier, grand fairs used to be held on the occasion of Dussehra…but in present times, they took on a different form. The festival of Ramleela too was one of its major attractions….but now, that too has been restricted to some extent. Earlier during Navratra, the notes of Garba of Gujarat would reverberate all over….this time all grand events have been curtailed. Many more festivals are on the way in the days to come. There is Eid, Sharad Poornima, Valmiki Jayanti, followed by Dhanteras, Diwali, Bhai dooj, the Pooja of Chatthi Maiyya and the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev ji…..during this crisis-laden period of Corona, we have to exercise patience, observe restraint.

    Friends, when we talk about festivals and make preparations for them, the first thought that strikes us is when to go to the market, what all has to be purchased. Children especially are enthusiastic about it, wondering what they would receive this time in the festival season. The fervour of festivals and the glitter and sparkle of the marketplace are interconnected. But this time when you go shopping, do remember our resolve of ‘Vocal for Local’. While purchasing items from the market, we have to accord priority to local products.

    Friends, amid the gaiety of festivities, we should spare a thought for the lockdown period. During the lockdown, we closely came to know about those members of society, without whom our lives would be miserable. Sanitation workers, brothers and sisters working as domestic helps, local vegetable vendors, milkmen, security guards….we have now felt the significance of their roles in our lives in a better way. During the moment of crisis, they were with you; they stood by all of us. Now, during the festivities, amid the rejoicing, we must take them along. I earnestly urge you to ensure, in whatever way, in making them a part of your celebrations. Treat them as members of your own family…..you will see for yourself  how your joy rises by leaps and bounds.

    Friends, we must also think of our braveheart soldiers who are firmly stationed on our borders in the line of duty, even during these festive times…all in the service and security of Mother India. We have to celebrate our festivals bearing them in mind. We have to light a lamp at home in honour of these brave sons and daughters of Mother India. I would also like to assure our brave soldiers that despite they being away at the borders, the entire country is with them, wishing well for them. I also salute the sacrifice of those families, whose sons and daughters are on the border today. I express gratitude to each and every person who is away from home and family on account of discharging duty to the country in one way or the other.

    My dear countrymen, today when we are going vocal for local, the whole world are also becoming a fan of our local products. Many of our local products have the potential of becoming global. One such example is Khadi. Khadi has remained a symbol of simplicity over a long period of time but now our khadi is getting known as an eco friendly fabric. In terms of health, this is a body friendly fabric, an all weather fabric and now it has also become a fashion statement.

    Not only is the popularity of khadi rising it is also being produced in many places of the world. There is a place in Mexico called Oaxaca, there are many villages in this area where the local villagers weave khadi. Today the khadi of this place has gained popularity by the name Oaxaca khaadi. How khadi reached Oaxaca is no less interesting. In fact a young person of Oaxaca, Mark Brown once watched a movie on Mahatma Gandhi. Brown got so inspired by watching this movie on Bapu that he visted Bapu’s ashram in India, understood him and learnt about him in depth. It was then, that Brown realised that khadi was not just a cloth; it was a complete way of life. Brown was deeply moved by the way khadi was intertwined with the rural economy and self sufficiency.  It was here that Brown resolved to work on khadi on his return to Mexico.  He introduced the villagers of Oaxaca in Mexico to khadi and trained them. And now Oaxaca khadi has become a brand. The website of this project bears the inscription ‘the symbol of Dharma in motion’. You can also find a very interesting interview of Marc Brown on this website. He narrates that initially the people were wary of khadi but ultimately they got interested and a market got ready for it. He states that these are matters related to Ram Rajya, when you fulfill the needs of the people, the people start connecting with you.

    Friends,this time on Gandhi Jayanti the khadi store in Cannaught Place at Delhi witnessed purchases of over one crore rupees in just a day. Similarly the khadi masks have also become very popular during Corona. Self help groups and other such institutions are making khadi masks in many places of the country. There is a woman Suman Devi Ji in Barabanki of U.P. Suman ji , alongwith her friends of a self help group started making Khadi masks.

    Gradualy more and more women started joining her and now together they are producing thousands of khadi masks.  Our local products have this beauty that often a complete philosophy is enshrined in them.

    My dear countrymen, when we take pride in our own things, the world’s curiosity around them also grows – Just like our spirituality, Yoga, Ayurveda has attracted the whole world. Many of our indigenous sports also attract attention the world over. Nowadays our Mallakhambh too is gaining popularity in many countries. When Chinmay Patankar and Pragya Patankar decided to teach Mallakhambh out of their home in America, little did they know how successful it would be. Mallakhambh training centers are running at many locations across America. A large number of American Youth are joining and learning Mallakhambh. Be it Germany, Poland or Malaysia - Mallakhambh is becoming popular in around 20 other countries. And now, its World Championship has also been started which sees participants from many countries. Ancient India had many such sports which would bring about extraordinary growth within oneself - they give new dimensions to our mind and body balance. However, probably our young friends of the new generation are not that acquainted with Mallakhambh. Do search more about it on the internet and see for yourself.
    Friends, our country has many forms of martial arts. I would like our young friends to know more about them learn them and over the course of time bring about innovations in the same. When there are no major challenges to face in one’s life, the best of one’s personality also fails to surface – hence always keep on challenging yourselves.

    My dear countrymen, it is said that learning is growing. Today in Mann ki baat I will introduce you to a person who has a novel passion. This is the passion of sharing the joys of reading and writing with others. He is Pon Mariyappan from Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu. Thoothukudi is also known as the Pearl City. Once it was an important centre of the Pandyan Empire. My friend from this town Pon Marriyappan  is associated with the profession of hair cutting and runs a salon. A very small salon.  He has done an exemplary and an inspiring piece of work.  He has converted a small portion of his salon into a library. If a customer, while waiting for his turn, reads something from the library and writes on that,  Pon Marriyappan, offers him a discount…..isn’t it intresting?

    Come lets go to Thoothukudi …lets talk to Pon Mariyyapan ji

    P.M.  Pon Marriyyapan ji Vannakaam, How are you?

    Pon  : Respected Prime Minister, Vanakkam

    P.M:  Vanakkam vanakm, how did you get the idea of this library?

    Pon Mariyappan: I have studied up to class 8th. I could not further my studies beyond that due to family circumstances. When I see educated people, I feel something amiss in me. So, I thought why not establish a library, which would benefit many people, this became an inspiration for me.

    Prime Minister: Which book do you like a lot ?

    Pon Mariyappan: ‘Thirukkural’ is very dear to me.

    Prime Minister: I felt very happy talking to you. Best wishes to you.

    Pon Mariyappan: I too am feeling extremely happy while talking to respected Prime Minister.

    Prime Minister: Best wishes

    Pon Mariyappan: Thank you Prime Minister Ji.

    Prime Minister: Thank you.

    We just spoke to Pon Mariyappan ji. See how he dresses people’s hair, he gives them an opportunity to dress up their lives too. It felt nice to learn about the popularity of Thirukkural. All of you too heard about the populairity of Thirukkural. Today, Thirukkural is available in all languages of India. Given an opportunity, one must read it. In a way, it is a guide for life.

    Friends, but you will be happy to know that all over India there are several people who get immense happiness spreading knowledge. These are people who are always eager to get everyone inspired to study. A teacher from Singrauli in Madhya Pradesh, Usha Dubey ji in fact, has turned a scooty into a mobile library. Every day she goes to some village or the other with her mobile library and teaches children there. Children lovingly call her ‘kitabon waali Didi’, the elder sister with books. This year in August, at Rayo village in Nirjuli of Arunachal Pradesh, a Self Help Library has been set up. In fact, when Meena Gurung and Dewang Hosayi from this village learnt that there was no library in the area they extended a hand for its funding. You will be surprised to know that there is no membership for this library. Anyone can borrow books for two weeks. One has to return them after reading. This library is open all seven days, 24 hours. Parents around are quite happy that their children are busy reading books… especially when schools too have started online classes. In Chandigarh, Sandeep Kumar who runs an NGO has set up a mobile library in a mini van, through which, poor children are given books to read free of cost. Along with this I know two organisations in Bhav Nagar, Gujarat which are doing marvellous work. Of these one is Vikas Vartul Trust. This organisation is very helpful to students who are preparing for competitive exams. This trust has been working since 1975 and provides 140 magazines, along with 5000 books. ‘Pustak Parab’ is a similar organization. This in an innovative project which provides literary books along with other books, free of cost. In this library, books related to spirituality, ayurvedic treatment and many other subjects also are included. If you are aware of other such initiatives, I urge you to certainly share that on social media. These examples are not limited just to reading books or opening libraries, but are also symbolic of that spirit of the New India, where in every field, people of every stratum are adopting innovative ways for the development of the society. It has been mentioned in the Geeta-

    Na hi gyanen sadrishyam pavitramih vidyate.

    Meaning, there is nothing as sacred as knowledge in this world. Those who spread knowledge, who take such noble initiatives, I commend all such great people from the core of my heart.

    My dear countrymen, in a few days we will celebrate Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel’s birth anniversary, the 31st of October as ‘National Unity Day’. Earlier too, we have talked in detail on Sardar Patel in Mann Ki Baat. We have talked about the many dimensions of his great personality. You will come across few people whose personality has so many elements- depth of thoughts, moral courage, political genius, in depth knowledge of the field of agriculture and spirit of commitment to national unity. Do you know of one thing that showcases the sense of humour of Sardar Pate? Just visualize the image of the Iron-man who was interacting simultaneously with kings and royalty, managing the mass movements of revered Bapu, and also fighting against the British… and in all these his sense of humour too was in full form. Bapu had said that the jestful banter of Sardar Patel made him laugh so much that he would get cramps in the stomach. This happened not just once but several times during the day. In it there is a lesson for us too… keep alive your sense of humour irrespective of how difficult the situations are, not only will this keep us at ease; we will be able to find solutions to our problems. This is exactly what Sardar sahib did.

    My dear countrymen, Sardar Patel devoted his entire life for the unity of the country. He integrated the Indian public with the Freedom Movement. He endeavored to connect the issues of farmers with Independence. He worked for the integration of the Princely States with our nation. He was invoking the mantra of ‘unity in diversity’ in the mind of every Indian.

    Friends, today through our speech, our bearing and our actions, every moment we have to carry forward the entire spectrum of values that unite us… so that a sense of ease and belongingness is inculcated in the mind of the citizen living in one part of the country for the citizen living in the other. Our ancestors have made these efforts incessantly for centuries. Now, for example His Holiness Adi Shankaracharya was born in Kerala and established four important mathas in all four directions of India… Badrikashram in the North, Puri in the East, Sringeri in the South and Dwarka in the West. He also traveled to Srinagar and that is the reason, a 'Shankracharya Hill' exists there.

    Pilgrimage in itself knits India in a common thread; the chain of Jyotirlingas and Shaktipeethas binds India with the common thread. Our centres of faith established from Tripura to Gujarat and from Jammu and Kashmir to Tamil Nadu, unite us as one. The Bhakti movement became a mass movement throughout India, uniting us through Bhakti, devotion.These elements with the strength of unity have been assimilated in our day to day lives. The various rivers in our country are invoked before each ritual, ranging from the Indus located in the far north to the Kaveri, the lifeline of South India. Often people in our country say or chant while bathing with a hallowed belief, the mantra of unity:

    GangeCheYamuneChaive Godavari Saraswati.

    Narmade Sindhu Kaveri Jale asminn Sannidhim Kuru

     

    Similarly, the holy sites of Sikhs include 'Nanded Sahib' and 'Patna Sahib' Gurdwaras. Our Sikh Gurus too have enriched the spirit of unity through their lives and noble deeds.

    In the last century, in our country, we have had luminaries such as Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar who forged unity among us all through the medium of the Constitution.

    Friends,

    Unity is Power, Unity is strength,

    Unity is Progress, Unity is Empowerment,

    United we will scale new heights

    Although, there have also been forces which continuously try to sow the seeds of suspicion in our minds, and try to divide the country. The country too has given a befitting reply to these ill-intentions every time. We have to constantly try through our creativity and love to bring out the beautiful colors of 'Ek Bharat-Shrestha Bharat' even in the smallest of our tasks! New colors of unity have to be filled in, and every citizen must fill them. In this context, I urge all of you to visit a website - ekbharat.gov.in. This website displays our many efforts made to advance our campaign of national integration. It also has an interesting corner –The sentence for the day. In this section, we can learn how to speak a sentence in different languages ​​every day. You can also contribute to this website, for example every state and its culture has different kinds of cuisines. These dishes are made with special local ingredients comprising grains and spices. Can we share the recipe of these local foods along with the names of the local ingredients, on the ‘Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat website?

    What can be a better way to propagate unity and immunity! Friends, on the 31stof this month, I will have the opportunity to attend many events to be held in and around the historic Statue of Unity in Kevadiya…do connect with these.

    My dear countrymen, on the 31st of October we will also celebrate 'Valmiki Jayanti'. I pay my obeisance to Maharishi Valmiki and extend my heartiest greetings to the countrymen on this special occasion. Maharishi Valmiki’s lofty ideals continue to inspire millions of people and provide them strength. He is a beacon of great hope for millions of the impoverished and Dalits… instills hope and trust within them. He says that if anyone has will power, one can achieve anything with ease. It is this will power, which provides the strength to many young people to do extraordinary things.

    Maharishi Valmiki emphasized positive thinking - for him, the spirit of service and human dignity were of utmost importance. Maharishi Valmiki's conduct, thoughts and ideals are the inspiration and guiding force for our resolve for a New India. We will always be grateful to Maharishi Valmiki for composing an epic like Ramayana to guide the future generations.

    On the 31st of October we lost former Prime Minister of India, Smt. Indira Gandhi. I most respectfully pay my tributes to her.

    My dear countrymen, today, Pulwama in Kashmir is playing an important role in educating the entire country. Today, when children all over the nation do their homework, or prepare notes, somewhere behind this lies the hard work of the people of Pulwama! The Kashmir Valley meets almost 90% demand for the Pencil Slats, timber casings of the entire country, and of that, a very large share comes from Pulwama. Once upon a time we used to import wood for pencils from abroad, but, now our Pulwama is making the country self-sufficient in the field of pencil making.  In fact, these Pencil Slats of Pulwama are reducing the gaps between states!  Chinar wood of  the valley has high moisture content and softness, which makes it most suitable for the manufacture of pencils. In Pulwama, Oukhoo is known as the Pencil Village. Here, several manufacturing units of Pencil Slats are located, which provide employment, and, in these units, a large number of women are employed.

    Friends, Pulwama gained this recognition when individuals of this place decided to do something new, took risks and dedicated themselves towards it. One such enterprising person is Manzoor Ahmad Alai. Earlier, Manzoor bhai was a simple workman involved in woodcutting. Manzoor bhai wanted to do something new so that his coming generations wouldn’t have to live in poverty. He sold his ancestral land and established a unit to manufacture Apple wooden boxes. He was engaged in his small business when he came to know that Poplar wood , Chinar wood is being used in manufacturing pencils. After getting this information, Manzoor bhai channeled his entrepreneurial spirit and started the supply of Poplar wooden boxes to some famous pencil manufacturing units. Manzoor Ji found this to be extremely profitable and his income grew considerably at the same time. With the passage of time, he bought pencil slat manufacturing machinery and started the supply of pencil slats to some of the biggest companies of the country. Today, Manzoor bhai’s turnover from this business is in crores and is a source of livelihood for around two hundred people. Today, through Mann Ki Baat, I, on behalf of all countrymen commend Manzoor bhai and the enterprising brothers and sisters of Pulwama along with their families - All of you are making invaluable contribution in educating the young minds of our country.
    My dear countrymen, during the lockdown, many instances of technology based service delivery were explored in the country and it is not that only the big technology and logistic companies are capable of the same. A self help group of women in Jharkhand have accomplished this feat. These women worked to deliver vegetables and fruits to households directly from the fields of the farmers.These women got an app ‘Ajivika Farm Fresh’ designed through which people could directly order vegetables to be delivered at their homes. Through this initiative, the farmers were ensured of a fair price for their produce and fresh vegetables were also available for the buyers. This idea of ‘Ajivika farm fresh’ app is gaining a lot of popularity there - fruits and vegetables worth more than 50 Lakhs were delivered by them during the lockdown. Friends, with emerging possibilities in the agriculture sector, more and more youth are now engaging themselves in this field. Atul Patidar of Barwani in Madhya Pradesh has connected four thousand farmers in his area through the digital medium. Through the E-platform farm card of Atul Patidar, farmers are now able to get the essentials of agriculture - such as fertilizer, seeds, pesticide, fungicide etc home delivered - the farmers get what they need at their doorstep. Modern agricultural equipment is also available for hire on this digital platform. Even during lockdown, thousands of packets containing seeds of cotton and vegetables were delivered to farmers through this digital platform. Atul ji and his team are working to impart technological knowhow to the farmers and also teaching them about online payment and procurement.
    Friends, recently, one incident in Maharashtra caught my attention. There, one farmer producer company procured corn from the corn producing harvesters. This time, the company paid not just the cost of the corn but also an additional bonus with it. This was a pleasant surprise for the farmers. When the company was asked for the same, they said that under the new farm specific laws framed by Government of India, farmers are able to sell their produce in any part of the country and are getting good prices for the same. Thus, the company thought of sharing their extra profits with the farmers. The farmers had a right to it and hence the bonus was shared with them. Friends, the bonus amount may be small but this initiative is big. Through this, we come to know that on ground, the new agriculture laws are full of possibilities in favour of the farmers.
    My dear countrymen, in today’s Mann Ki Baat, I have had the opportunity to bring forth extraordinary stories of my countrymen, the country and the facets of our traditions. Our country is full of talented people. If you too know of any such individual, speak and write about them and share their accomplishments. My best wishes to you and your family for the forthcoming festivals. However, do remember and more so during the festivals - wear your masks, keep washing your hands with soap and maintain two yards of social distance. Friends, we will speak again in next month’s Mann Ki Baat.

    Many Many thanks."

  • Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh will also be present on the occasion.

    PM Street Vendor’s AtmaNirbhar Nidhi (PM SVANidhi) scheme was launched on 1 June, 2020 to help poor street vendors, impacted by COVID-19, resume livelihood activities.

    Till date, a total of more than 24 lakh applications have been received under the scheme, out of which more than 12 lakh have been sanctioned and about 5.35 lakh loans have been disbursed. In the state of Uttar Pradesh, more than 6 lakh applications have been filed, out of which about 3.27 lakh have been sanctioned and 1.87 lakh loans have been disbursed.

    The interaction will be witnessed by beneficiaries of the Scheme from across the state of Uttar Pradesh.

    It will also be telecast Live on DD News.

  • The Inaugural Session of the Conference will be live streamed and available on the link https://pmindiawebcast.nic.in/.

     

    Background:

    The Central Bureau of Investigation organizes this National Conference coinciding with ‘Vigilance Awareness Week’, which is observed in India every year from 27th October to 2nd November. Activities in this conference would be focused on Vigilance issues aimed at raising awareness and reaffirming India’s commitment to promotion of integrity and probity in public life through citizen participation.

    The three day conference would discuss the Challenges in investigation in foreign jurisdictions; Preventive Vigilance as a Systemic Check against Corruption; Systemic improvements for financial inclusion and prevention of bank frauds; Effective Audit as an Engine of Growth; Latest amendments to the Prevention of Corruption Act as an impetus to the fight against corruption; Capacity Building and Training; Multi Agency Coordination-an enabler for faster and more effective Investigation; Emerging Trends in Economic Offences, Cyber Crimes and Transnational Organized Crime-measures to Control and Exchange of Best Practices among Criminal Investigative Agencies.

    The Conference shall bring policy makers and practitioners on a common platform and will act as an enabler to combat corruption through systemic improvements and preventive vigilance measures, thereby ushering in good governance and accountable administration. This is a significant contributing factor for enabling ease of doing business in India.

    Union Minister of State (Independent Charge), Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh will also address the Inaugural Session.

    The participants of the Conference include Heads of Anti-Corruption Bureaux, Vigilance Bureaux, Economic Offence Wings/CID from States/UTs; CVO’s, CBI officials and representatives from various Central agencies will also participate. The inaugural session will also be attended by Chief Secretaries and DGsP of States/UTs.

  • Over 70 lakh 78 thousand patients have recovered from this highly infectious disease in the country so far. The active caseload of the country has also fallen below 8.5 per cent. The total positive cases in the country today stands at six lakh 68 thousand 154 which comprises merely 8.49 per cent of the total reported cases.

    With a high number of COVID patients recovering every day along with a steadily falling and sustained low mortality rate, India’s trend of decreasing active cases continues. The recovered cases are nearly 10.6 times more than the active cases. Nearly 62 thousand patients recovered and were discharged in the last 24 hours whereas the new confirmed cases reported in the same time span stood at around 50 thousand.

    The Health Ministry said that enhanced countrywide medical infrastructure, implementation of the Centre’s Standard Treatment Protocol by all the States and Union Territories and total dedication and commitment of doctors, paramedics and frontline workers have led to a persistent increase in the number of total recoveries in the country. It said, this has also led to a commensurate dip in the fatality rate which stands at 1.51 per cent.

    During the last 24 hours, nearly 11 lakh 41 thousand COVID samples were tested in the country. With this the cumulative testing figure has further risen to over 10 crore 25 lakhs.

    The Health Ministry has said India has come a long way from just one COVID testing lab in January this year to around 2003 such labs today.

  • According to a government press release on Saturday, the issue was discussed between Bangladesh and the World Bank on October 22 as part of the annual meeting between the two. 

    Bangladesh also requested the World Bank to release dollar 250 million on an urgent basis under the COVID 19 recovery and response project to overcome the impact of COVID 19 on the country.

    In order to mitigate the COVID 19 impact on the labour market, financial and social sectors,  Bangladesh requested the World Bank to speedily disburse the 3rd installment of dollar 250 million budget support in the current financial year. 

    By Rajesh Jha

  • The FATF strongly urged Pakistan to swiftly complete its full action plan by February 2021. It said, Pakistan needs to do more to check terror funding, adding that the 6 items which Pakistan is yet to address are serious deficiencies.

    The implementation plan to curb money laundering and terror financing was supposed to be put in place by the end of 2019. However, the deadline was extended in the wake of COVID pandemic.

    The FATF is an inter-governmental body set up in 1989 to combat money laundering, terror financing and other related threats to the international financial system. It currently has 39 members. These include two regional organizations - the European Commission and Gulf Cooperation Council.

  • Ministry of Finance in a statement said,  the due date of furnishing Income Tax Returns  for taxpayers whose accounts require to be audited, has  been extended till 31st of January, 2021. Due date for furnishing of Income Tax Returns by the taxpayers who are required to furnish report in respect of international and specified domestic transactions has also been extended to 31st January, 2021.
     
    The date for furnishing of various audit reports including tax audit report and report in respect of international and specified domestic transaction has also been extended to 31st December, 2020.
     
    Besides, the due date for payment of self-assessment tax has also been extended to provide relief for the second time to small and middle class taxpayers. The Ministry said, the due date for payment of self-assessment tax by taxpayers whose self-assessment tax liability is up to one  lakh rupees has been extended to 31st January, 2021.

  • The camp has been sanctioned at a total cost of approximately Rs. 18 Lakhs (plus air travel and medical expenses). Campers will be staying in the residential facilities at DPS, Sonepat. The camp will abide by the Standard Operating Procedures set up by the Sports Authority of India for the resumption of sporting activities. This will be the first national camp for Table Tennis that will be held after the announcement of the nationwide lockdown due to coronavirus in March this year.

    Four-times Commonwealth Games gold medalist Achanta Sharath Kamal will be a part of the men’s training group where he will be joined by Manush Shah, Manav Thakkar, Sudhanshu Grover and Jubin Kumar. The women’s training group will comprise of Anusha Kutumbale, Diya Chitale, Suthirtha Mukherjee, Archana Kamath, Takeme Sarkar and Kaushani Nath. 

    Archana Kamath who is a part of the Target Olympic Podium scheme development group and a semifinalist at the 2018 Youth Olympics is happy to be returning to a camp environment and getting to see her teammates after a long time, “I had been training at home in Bengaluru but looking forward to return to a camp environment where I can get to see my compatriots in the Indian team after a long time and train with them.” Kamath added that while her ultimate goal is to qualify for the Olympics and play in them, for the moment she is just focusing on the present and thinking of one match at a time. 

    India have performed very well in Table Tennis in recent times winning 8 medals at the 2018 Commonwealth Games as well as winning medals for the first time ever at the Asian Games the same year.

    By Tapas Bhattacharya

  • The active cases now comprise only 8.71% of the total positive cases of the country.  The active cases are on a continuous decline on a daily basis. This is a result of the successful TEST, TREAT, and TRACK strategy of the Union Government implemented by the  States/UTs. There has been a progressive dip in the day-on-day active cases during the past few weeks. 

    The declining trend of the active cases is complemented by the unbroken rising number of recovered cases. The total recovered cases have crossed the 70 lakh mark and stand at 70,16,046. The national Recovery Rate has further improved to 89.78%.

    61% of the Total Recovered Cases are from 6 States/UT viz. Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi. 77% of the new recovered cases are observed to be concentrated in 10 States/UTs.

    Maharashtra has contributed the maximum with more than 13,000 single day recovery. 53,370 new confirmed cases were recorded in the last 24 hours. 80% of the new cases are from 10 States and UTs. 

    Kerala is reporting the maximum addition with more than 8,000 cases followed by Maharashtra with more than 7,000 cases. 650 case fatalities have been reported in the past 24 hours.

    Of these, ten States/UTs account for nearly 80%.  Maharashtra has reported maximum with 184 deaths.

  • Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the WHO, said at a press briefing that the world is now at a crucial moment facing the pandemic and that it would be tough for countries in the following months.

    "We are at a critical juncture in this pandemic, particularly in the northern hemisphere. The next few months are going to be very tough and some countries are on a dangerous track. Too many countries are seeing an exponential increase in cases and that is now leading to hospitals and ICU running close or above capacity and we're still only in October. We urge leaders to take immediate action, to prevent further unnecessary deaths, essential health services from collapsing and schools shutting again," said Tedros.

    Tedros also called on governments to take comprehensive measures. Countries which have brought the epidemic under control should not let down their guard and those which are still seeing surges in cases should make adjustments on their measures, Tedros said.

    He also said that it is necessary for countries to inform their people about the current outbreak situation in their countries and what they should do in response.

    Systems that will make it easier for citizens to follow containment measures should be established, which means if people need to be quarantined or if businesses must be temporarily closed, the government will do what it can to help individuals, families and businesses, he said.

    Last but not least, Tedros said, if the governments could improve their contact tracing systems and can isolate all cases and contacts, then the mandatory isolation could be avoided.

  • OCN said last week that thousands of dead seal pups had been found at Pelican Point peninsula, a tourist destination known for its colony of seals and school of dolphins.

    Naude Dreyer, a marine biologist at OCN, said investigations in the past week had revealed a spike in the number of dead female adults.

    He said investigations had mainly centred on the Pelican Point Beach, so the overall number of dead seals could be higher.

    The Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources said last week it would send samples to South Africa to determine the cause of death. Dreyer said this had not yet been done because of the need to observe strict guidelines on shipping dangerous animal products.

    The ministry was not immediately available for comment.

    OCN said last week starvation was the most probable cause as fish, the seals' main source of food, have moved from Pelican Point, but other reasons could be toxins or disease and nothing could be ruled out without a full study.

  • The camp comprising 11 players (5 male, 6 female) and four support staff will be conducted by the Table Tennis Federation of India at the Delhi Public School, Sonepat. The camp has been sanctioned at a total cost of approximately Rs. 18 Lakhs (plus air travel and medical expenses).

    Campers will be staying in the residential facilities at DPS, Sonepat. The camp will abide by the Standard Operating Procedures set up by the Sports Authority of India for the resumption of sporting activities. This will be the first national camp for Table Tennis that will be held after the announcement of the nationwide lockdown due to coronavirus in March this year.

    Four-times Commonwealth Games gold medalist Achanta Sharath Kamal will be a part of the men’s training group where he will be joined by Manush Shah, Manav Thakkar, Sudhanshu Grover and Jubin Kumar. The women’s training group will comprise of Anusha Kutumbale, Diya Chitale, Suthirtha Mukherjee, Archana Kamath, Takeme Sarkar and Kaushani Nath. 

    Archana Kamath who is a part of the Target Olympic Podium scheme development group and a semifinalist at the 2018 Youth Olympics is happy to be returning to a camp environment and getting to see her teammates after a long time, “I had been training at home in Bengaluru but looking forward to return to a camp environment where I can get to see my compatriots in the Indian team after a long time and train with them.” Kamath added that while her ultimate goal is to qualify for the Olympics and play in them, for the moment she is just focusing on the present and thinking of one match at a time. 

    India have performed very well in Table Tennis in recent times winning 8 medals at the 2018 Commonwealth Games as well as winning medals for the first time ever at the Asian Games the same year.

  • "This is a new era. An era of true peace. A peace that is expanding with other Arab countries - three of them in recent weeks," he said in a televised statement.

    Netanyahu thanked U.S. President Donald Trump and his team for their role in brokering the deal, and said Israeli and Sudanese delegations would soon meet to discuss cooperation in areas "including agriculture, trade and other areas important to our citizens."

  • India is an important player in the global Oil and gas sector being the 3rd largest consumer of crude oil and the 4th largest LNG importer. Realizing the need for India to graduate from a passive consumer to an active and vocal stake-holder in the global Oil & Gas value chain, NITI Aayog initiated the first roundtable of global Oil & Gas CEOs with the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India in 2016. 

    The growth of the event was apparent as around 45-50 global CEOs and key stakeholders who shape the global Oil & Gas sector assembled every subsequent year to interact and discuss the issues and opportunities with the Hon’ble Prime Minister. The impact of the annual global CEO’s interaction can be seen in the gravity of discussion, quality of suggestions and the seriousness with which they are acted upon. 

    This the 5th such event organized by NITI Aayog and Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas. Around 45 CEOs of major Oil and Gas companies will attend the event this year.  

    The objective behind the meeting is to deliver a global platform to understand best-practices, discuss reforms, and inform strategies for accelerating investments into the Indian Oil and Gas value chain. The annual interaction has gradually become one of the most important gatherings of not only intellectual debate but also of executive action. The event also grows in stature with the rise of India, the world's third-largest energy consumer, which is likely to see over USD 300 billion investment by 2030 in the Oil & Gas sector to meet rising demand. 

    Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Minister of Steel will provide the opening remarks. The opening remarks will be followed by a comprehensive presentation giving an overview of the Oil & Gas Sector, and explaining the ambition and opportunities in the Indian Oil & Gas Sector.     

    This is to be followed by the interaction session with global CEOs and experts. Key global Oil and Gas stakeholders like H.E. Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber CEO, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, UAE, H.E. Saad Sherida al-Kaabi, Minister of State for Energy Affairs of Qatar, Deputy Chairman, President & CEO, Qatar Petroleum, H.E. Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, Secretary General, OPEC, Austria, will lead the session with their inputs on the Oil and Gas sector. 

    Dr. Igor Sechin, Chairman & CEO, Rosneft, Russia, Bernard Looney, CEO, BP Ltd., Patrick Pouyanne, Chairman & CEO, Total S.A., France, Anil Agarwal, Chairman of Vedanta Resources Limited, Mukesh Ambani, Chairman & Managing Director, RIL, Dr. Fatih Birol, Executive Director, International Energy Agency, France, Joseph Mc Monigle, Secretary General, International Energy Forum, Saudi Arabia, and Yury Sentyurin Secretary-General, GECF will also share their inputs to the Hon’ble Prime Minister. CEOs & Experts  of major oil & gas companies like Lyondell Basell, Tellurian, Schlumberger, Baker Hughes, JERA, Emerson and X-Coal, Indian Oil & Gas Companies will also present their perspective. 

    Prior to this the Prime Minister will inaugurate the India Energy Forum by CERAWeek, now in its fourth year.  It is hosted by IHS Markit, a world leader in critical information, analytics and solutions.  The event will convene an international group of speakers and a community of overa a thousand delegates from India and over 30 countries, including from regional energy companies, energy-related industries, institutions and governments.

  • Foreign currency assets, a major part of the overall reserves, increased by 3.539 billion dollars to 512.322 billion dollars.

    Gold reserves went up by 86 million dollars in the reporting week to reach 36.685 billion dollars. The country’s special drawing rights with the International Monetary Fund remained unchanged at 1.480 billion dollars; while reserve position with the IMF declined by 11 million dollars to 4.634 billion dollars. 
     

  • The North's state-run television KRT said on Wednesday the yellow and fine dust may contain harmful substances, such as heavy metals and pathogenic microorganisms that may include viruses. North Korea's official party newspaper Rodong Sinmun said on Thursday that the new coronavirus infections continue to spread around the world, the need to deal with the yellow dust and take thorough measures has become more critical.

    The claim that the virus that causes COVID-19 could spread to North Korea from the Gobi desert, 1,900 km (1,200 miles) away, appears unsupported. Two meters (6 feet) is a common social-distancing metric, although the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says droplets containing the virus can sometimes linger in the air for hours.

    On Thursday, the Russian embassy in North Korea wrote on Facebook that North Korea's Foreign Ministry had ordered all visitors to the country and its staff to wait out the dust storm inside.

    North Korea has reported no confirmed cases of the coronavirus, a claim that health experts question. Pyongyang has imposed strict border controls and quarantine measures to prevent an outbreak. Analysts say an outbreak could be devastating for the economically and politically isolated country.

  • The decision was announced by the President of FATF Marcus Pleyer.

    The FATF strongly urged Pakistan to swiftly complete its full action plan by February 2021. It said, Pakistan needs to do more to check terror funding, adding that the 6 items which Pakistan is yet to address are serious deficiencies.

    The implementation plan to curb money laundering and terror financing was supposed to be put in place by the end of 2019. However, the deadline was extended in the wake of COVID pandemic.

    The FATF is an inter-governmental body set up in 1989 to combat money laundering, terror financing and other related threats to the international financial system. It currently has 39 members. These include two regional organizations - the European Commission and Gulf Cooperation Council.

  • The year 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the United Nations and its founding Charter. This anniversary comes in a time of great disruption for the world, compounded by an unprecedented global health crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with severe economic and social impacts. But it is also a reminder that times of struggle can become an opportunity for positive change and transformation.

     

  • Briefing media in New Delhi, Consumer Affairs Secretary Leela Nandan said, a stock limit has been imposed on the onions with effect from today which is 25 Metric Tonnes for Wholesalers and 2 Metric Tonnes for Retailers for a period up to 31st December 2020.  

    She added, in order to moderate the price rise, the government took a pre-emptive step by announcing a ban on onion export on the 14th of last month so as to ensure availability to domestic consumers at reasonable rates, before the expected arrival of Kharif onion.

    The Secretary said, the retail price rise has moderated to some extent, but recent reports of heavy rainfall in the onion growing districts of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have created concerns about damage to Kharif crop. She said, the developments on the weather front have contributed to the sharp increase in onion prices.

    Nandan said, to tide over the present situation, the government has stepped up disposal of onions through the built up buffer stock of one Lakh Metric Tonne from the Rabi onion-2020. The release of onion from the buffer stock is being carried out swiftly but in a calibrated manner from the second half of September to major Mandis as well as to retail suppliers in major cities and also through State Governments.

  • Mumbai will have Partly cloudy sky with one or two spells of rain or thundershowers. The minimum temperature was 25 degree Celsius and the maximum will be around 34 degrees.

    In Chennai, there will be Generally cloudy sky with Light rain. The temperature will hover between 26 and 34 degree Celsius.

    Kolkata will have Generally cloudy sky with Heavy rain. The minimum temperature in the city was 25 degree celsius while the maximum will be around 28 degrees.

    On to the North, in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir,  the minimum temperature was 16 degree Celsius in Jammu while the maximum will be around 32 degrees. The city will have a mainly clear sky.

    In Srinagar, the sky will be Mainly clear sky. The temperature in Srinagar will hover between three and 24 degree Celsius.

    Leh in Ladakh will have mainly clear sky. The minimum temperature was minus five degree Celsius and the maximum will be around 20 degree Celsius.

    Gilgit will have Mainly clear sky becoming partly cloudy towards afternoon or evening. The temperature will hover between four and 26 degree Celsius.

    Muzafarrabad will experience Mainly clear sky. The minimum temperature was 10 degree Celsius and the maximum will be around 30 degrees.

    Chandigarh will witness mainly clear sky, the minimum temperature was 14 degree Celsius while the maximum will be around 33 degree Celsius.

    In Ahmedabad, it will be Mainly Clear sky. The temperature will hover between 23 and 36 degree Celsius.

    Guwahati will have Generally cloudy sky with Light Rain or Drizzle. The minimum temperature in the city was 23 degree Celsius while the maximum will be around 30 degrees.

  • Prime Minister launches the ‘Kisan Suryodaya Yojana’ for the farmers of Gujarat. He inaugurated the Paediatric Heart Hospital attached with U.N Mehta Institute of Cardiology and Research Centre and a Mobile Application for tele-cardiology at the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital in Ahmedabad. He also inaugurated the Ropeway at Girnar on the occasion.

    To provide day-time power supply for irrigation, the Gujarat Government under Chief Minister Vijay Rupani had recently announced the ‘Kisan Suryodaya Yojana’. Under this scheme, farmers will be able to avail power supply from 5 AM to 9 PM. The state government has allocated a budget of Rs.3500 crore for installing transmission infrastructure under this scheme by 2023. 234 ‘66-Kilowatt’ transmission lines, with a total length of 3490 circuit kilometers (CKM) will be established under the project, in addition to 220 KV substations.

     

  • They are Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir.

    Ministry of Finance in a statement said that the borrowing is at an interest rate of 5.19 percent.

    It is intended to make weekly releases of  six thousand crore rupees to the States.

    It said, tenor of borrowing is expected to be broadly in the range of 3 to 5 years.

    The Government  has evolved a special borrowing window to address the shortfall in the GST collection during the year 2020 - 2021.  

    21  States and two Union Territories opted for this special window involving back-to-back borrowing coordinated by the Ministry of Finance.

  • "We are at a critical juncture in the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in the Northern hemisphere," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference. "The next few months are going to be very tough and some countries are on a dangerous track."

    "We urge leaders to take immediate action, to prevent further unnecessary deaths, essential health services from collapsing and schools shutting again. As I said it in February and I'm repeating it today: This is not a drill."

    Tedros said too many countries were now seeing an exponential increase in infections, "and that is now leading to hospitals and intensive care units running close or above capacity -- and we're still only in October".

    He said countries should take action to limit the spread of the virus quickly. Improving testing, tracing of contacts of those infected and isolation of those at risk of spreading the virus would enable countries to avoid mandatory lockdowns.

    The WHO also said it is preparing guidelines on use of the drug remdesivir for COVID-19 and should be able to release them in three to four weeks.

    The United States has given full approval for remdesivir to treat infections, the first COVID-19 treatment to receive regulatory endorsement there.

    However, a large WHO study earlier this year on COVID-19 patients in hospital found that the drug probably had no effect on their survival rate.

  • Zverev, who won the bett1HULKS Indoors last week, was serving for the match at 5-3 in the second, before the Frenchman broke serve and went on to take a tight tiebreaker.

    The German world number seven regained his focus and claimed the only break in the decider at 3-3. He held his nerve to set up a semi-final encounter against Jannik Sinner with a 6-4 6-7 (5) 6-4 victory.

    In the last quarter-final, Canadian fifth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime beat Japan's Yoshihito Nishioka 6-3 6-4 and will next face Diego Schwartzman for a place in the final.

  • U.S. President Donald Trump, seeking re-election on Nov. 3, sealed the agreement in a phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and Transitional Council Head Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, senior U.S. officials said.

    Trump's decision this week to remove Sudan from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism paved the way for the accord with Israel, marking a foreign policy achievement for the Republican president as he seeks a second term trailing in opinion polls behind Democratic rival Joe Biden.

    Netanyahu hailed it as a "new era" for the region, but the Palestinian leadership, watching as more of their Arab brethren appear to give their quest for statehood a lower priority, called it a "new stab in the back."

    Israel and Sudan plan to begin by opening economic and trade links, with an initial focus on agriculture, the joint statement said. A senior U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said such issues as formal establishment of diplomatic ties would be resolved later.

    In recent weeks the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain became the first Arab states in a quarter of a century to agree to formal links with Israel, forged largely through shared fears of Iran.

    The military and civilian leaders of Sudan's transitional government have been divided over how fast and how far to go in establishing ties with Israel. A sticking point in the negotiations was Sudan's insistence that any announcement of Khartoum's delisting from the terrorism designation not be explicitly linked to relations with Israel.

    The Sudanese premier wants approval from a yet-to-be formed parliament to proceed with broader, formal normalization, and that may not be a quick process given sensitivities and civilian-military differences. It is still unclear when the assembly will be created.

    "Agreement on normalization with Israel will be decided after completion of the constitutional institutions through the formation of the legislative council," Sudanese Foreign Minister Omar Gamareldin said on state television shortly after Friday's announcement.

    The new agreement was negotiated on the U.S. side by a team that included Trump son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, who called the normalization deals the start of a "paradigm shift" in the Middle East.

  • For the first time in the last seven years, the Steering Committee meeting of the Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection Program (GSLEP) – an inter-governmental alliance of the snow leopard range countries –  was held virtually.

    The meeting was presided over by the Minister of Forest and Environment from the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal Shakti Bahadur Basnet and Mirslav Amankulov, Director of State Agency for Environment Protection and Forestry, Kyrgyz Republic, who serve as the present Chair and co-chair of the GSLEP Steering Committee respectively.

    Also present were Environment ministers of the Kingdom of Bhutan and Pakistan, Vice Ministers from Mongolia and Uzbekistan, senior officials from all snow leopard range countries, and heads or senior representatives of international organizations such as the International Snow Leopard Trust, the GEF Small Grants Program, Global Tiger Initiative Council, Terrestrial Ecosystem Unit of UNEP and UNDP.
     
    While appreciating the conservation work done by the countries and the GSLEP Secretariat, the Steering Committee drew attention to the conservation challenges and significant impacts on available funding for field conservation efforts posed by the COVID-19 pandemic; calling upon multilateral and financial institutions for renewed emphasis and urgent measures to strengthen conservation efforts in Asia’s mountains.

    Recognizing the close links between human health and the health of wildlife and ecosystems, the delegates of the meeting appealed the global community to intensify their support for snow leopard conservation and the welfare of local communities who live in high mountains, and support community-based conservation efforts.

    They called for stronger measures for the disruption of illegal wildlife trade and reduction in wildlife consumption; and significant steps towards green development in high mountains. They also expressed the need for prioritizing stronger disease research, surveillance and monitoring in snow leopards and other high mountain wildlife, and for strengthening the public and animal health infrastructures in Asia’s High mountains. 
     
    The dignitaries at the meeting appreciated the request of nearly 5,000 citizens from across 80 countries drawing the attention of national leaders and officials to strengthen snow leopard conservation efforts and minimize the risk of disease transmission between wildlife and people. A policy brief on managing snow leopards in conflict situations, and a new conservation education and awareness strategy that is sensitive to the COVID-19 related lockdowns and challenges were released.

    The meeting was organized on a virtual venue (http://join.globalsnowleopard.org) where the work being done by snow leopard range countries, conservation organizations and specific projects and programs are on display for delegates and visitors.

  • The campaigning will end on Monday for this phase. Polling will be held on 28th October in 71 assembly segments spread over 16 districts.

    Senior BJP leader and Prime Minister Narendra Modi today alleged that the parties who are standing against the NDA are opposed to the growth of the country.

    Addressing an election meeting at Bhagalpur the Prime Minister criticized  the previous regime in Bihar, which he said supported the Maoists and wants to make the state sick and helpless, while the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) wants to work to help people.
     
    The Prime minister invoked the  reign of “crime and ‘loot” during the 15-year rule of the RJD, as he sought people’s vote for the NDA to ensure the state’s continuous journey towards development.  

    He accused the opposition parties of betraying the people of Bihar and their pride. PM sought votes for another term of the NDA government under Nitish Kumar.

    He said the people of Bihar know that it is important to make Nitish Kumar the Chief Minister again for faster development of the state.

    Appealing to the people of the state PM Modi said  each and every citizen of Bihar must cast their vote in the upcoming Assembly elections, following all COVID-19 guidelines  and social distancing norms.

    Earlier in the day Prime Minister addressed rallies at Dehri-on-Sone  in Sasaram and Gaya in the state.

    Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi today started his poll campaign with election rallies  from Hisua and Kahalgaon. He alleged that NDA government both in Centre and state has failed to fulfill promises. He said in Kahalgaon, the BJP is promising 19 lakh jobs at the time of elections but they must give account of their performance in the last seven years.

    BSP chief Mayawati and RLSP president Upendra Kushwaha led Grand Democratic Secular Front (GDSF) today launched the poll campaign jointly from Kargahar in Rohtas districts.

  • Britain on Thursday said that it will start to process BNO visa applications for residents in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) from January 31, 2021. Britain had announced plans to extend the immigration rights of BNO passport holders on 1st July, the day after China imposed stringent national security law on Hong Kong.

    As per new visa rule, BNO Visa holders will have the right to work and study in the UK for a period of five years. They can apply for citizenship after the sixth year. Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Friday that it reserves the right to take further measures and demanding that United Kingdom immediately correct its mistake.

    By Anshuman Mishra

  • His family has come to take him back and he will be in home isolation. Ankit who is a part of the national camp which had commenced on October 5 at SAI Sonepat after submission of negative Covid RT-PCR reports, had his sample taken once again on October 12th as per the SOPs set up for the camp where it came to be positive.

  • PM Modi said, NDA government abrogated Article 370, but the opposition wants it back. He categorically said, the government is firm on this decision. He said, opposition is also misguiding people over new Farm Laws. PM Modi said, Mandi and MSP are excuses for the opposition as it wants to save the brokers and middlemen.

    PM Modi said, the people who once ruled Bihar are again looking at the developing state with their greedy eyes. But, Bihar must not forget who pushed them backward, that was the time when there was worsening law and order situation and corruption in the state. He exhorted people to vote for the National Democratic Alliance to speed up the ongoing development works in the state. PM Modi said, Nitish Kumar-led NDA Government in the state is essential for prosperity of the people of the state. He congratulated the people of Bihar for their strong fight against COVID-19.
     
    Addressing another election meeting at Gaya, Prime Minister and Senior BJP leader Narendra Modi slammed the Mahagathbandhan for supporting Naxals. PM Modi said, in the last few years, a lot of efforts and strict actions have been taken to limit the activities of Naxals in the country. Naxal presence has now been restricted to limited areas.

    PM Modi further said that the NDA is committed to empowering Bihar. He said, the opposition is rattled by development measures undertaken by NDA Government.

  •  It has crossed the landmark of 10 crore (10,01,13,085) total tests on Friday.

    In an another achievement, 14,42,722 tests were conducted in the last 24 hours. The country’s testing capacities have multiplied manifold with nearly 2000 labs across the country and with collaborative efforts of the Centre and State/UT governments. More than 15 lakh samples can be tested every day.

    Progressive countrywide expansion in testing infrastructure has played a crucial role in the steep rise of testing numbers. With 1989 testing labs in the country including 1122 Government laboratories and 867 Private laboratories, the daily testing capacity has got a substantial boost.

    High level of comprehensive testing on a sustained basis has also resulted in bringing down the national positivity rate. This indicates that the rate of spread of infection is being effectively contained. The cumulative rate continues to decline as total tests cross 10 crore.  The national positivity rate is 7.75% today.

    This is a result of successful TEST, TRACK, TRACE, TREAT and TECHNOLOGY strategy of the Central government effectively followed by States/UTs.

    Higher testing across wide regions has resulted in early identification of positive cases, prompt tracking through efficient surveillance and tracing, and timely & effective treatment in homes/facilities and in hospitals for the severe cases.

    These measures in tandem eventually lead to lower mortality rate.

    The last 1 crore tests were conducted in 9 days.

    15 States and UTs are exhibiting higher Positivity Rate compared to the national figure, indicting the need for higher levels of comprehensive testing in these regions.

  • Amber Dubey, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation said, “NTPC will use the drones to carry out terrain mapping, stockpile volumetric analysis, aerial inspections and other applications at the three NTPC sites.

    This will provide NTPC excellent data with high accuracy at a fraction of the cost. This is in line with Government of India’s attempts to promote use of industrial drones in infrastructure, mining, agriculture and disaster relief etc.”

    The conditional exemption is till 31st December 2020 or until the full operationalization of Digital Sky Platform, whichever is earlier. Conditions and limitations to National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Ltd to carry out  research  and   inspection  activities  at  National  Thermal  Power  Corporation  (NTPC)   Sites   - Vindhyachal Super Thermal Power Station, Madhya Pradesh/Gadarwara Super Thermal Power Stat ion, Madhya Pradesh /Sipat Super Thermal Power Station , Chhattisgarh   using  Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems:

     

    1. This exemption to National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Ltd from the relevant provisions of CAR Section 3, Series X, Part I, is subject to exemption from Rule 15A of the Aircraft Rules, 1937 by Ministry of Civil Aviation.
    2. The National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Ltd shall obtain necessary clearances from (a) Local Administration (b) Ministry of Defence (c) Ministry of Home Affairs (d) Air Defence clearance from Indian Air Force and (e) Airport Authority of India (AAI) prior to operation of Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS).
    3. The National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Ltd shall only operate the RPAS which has been voluntarily disclosed to Government of India and issued with a valid Drone Acknowledgement Number (DAN) (i.e. D1DXOOS1T and D1DXOOS24 for NETRA PRO of M/s ldeaForge Technology Pvt Ltd).
    4. The National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Ltd shall submit a comprehensive brief on the scope of operations and the copy of SOP to Flight Standards Directorate (FSD), DGCA. Operation of Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) shall be carried out only after the vetting/ approval of SOP.
    5. National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Ltd shall take necessary permission regarding Aerial Photography, if applicable, from Directorate of Regulations & Information, DGCA.
    6. The photographs/video-graphs, if taken through RPAS shall be used by National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Ltd only. National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Ltd shall be responsible for security of RPAS and data collected through RPAS.
    7. The operation of RPAS shall be restricted to day operations (from sunrise to Sunset), within Visual Line Of Sight (VLOS).
    8. The National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Ltd shall indemnify DGCA from any legal cases or any other issues arising due to these operations.
    9. The National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Ltd shall ensure that the RPAS is in working condition and shall be responsible for any eventualities due to malfunction I disorientation of equipment.
    10. In case of any injury to any person due to physical contact with the equipment, National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Ltd shall be responsible for medico-legal issues.
    11. The National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Ltd shall have adequate level of insurance to cover any damage to third party resulting from accident I incident occurred during the operation of RPAS.
    12. The National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Ltd shall ensure that hazardous material or variable payload are not carried in I using the RPA under any circumstances
    13. National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Ltd shall ensure safety, security and privacy of public, property, operator etc. Further, in case of any eventuality, DGCA shall not be held responsible.
    14. National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Ltd shall not operate the RPAS in no-fly zones specified in Para 13.1 of the CAR Section 3, Series X, Part I without the approval of concerned Ministries/ authorities.
    15. RPAS shall not be operated in the vicinity of airport as per the provisions of the CAR. If operated near the airport, approval from Airports Authority of India (AAI) shall be taken in advance regarding time and area of operations of RPAS.
    16. National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Ltd shall ensure that only trained I experienced bonafide personnel operates the RPAS.
    17. This letter shall not override other restrictions I SOP on Remotely Piloted Aircraft System framed by other Government Agencies.
    18. In case of incident/accident during at any phase of the operations, reports to be submitted to Air Safety Directorate of DGCA.
  • Himachal Pradesh has also secured second position at the national level for construction of roads under PMGSY.

    Union Ministry of Rural Development has declared the list of top performing 30 districts in the country for implementing the PMGSY programme.
     
    Mandi district has received top position for constructing roads under PMGSY of maximum length in 2020-21. Six more districts of Himachal Pradesh have also secured position among top 30 best performing districts, which include Chamba, Shimla, Kangra, Una, Sirmour, Hamirpur and Solan.
     
    The state has also improved its performance under PMGSY programme by constructing 1104 Kilometres roads this year from April till date.

    PMGSY is a programme funded by the Union government to connect habitations having population of more than 250 in the state.
     
     

  • The active caseload of the country has fallen below 7 lakh for the first time after two months (63 days). The active caseload was below the 7 lakh mark (6,97,330) last on 22nd August.

    The total positive cases of the country today are 6,95,509. They comprise merely 8.96% of the total cases.

    With a high number of COVID patients recovering every day along with a steadily falling and sustained low mortality rate, India’s trend of registering decreasing active cases continues.

    India is also reporting a high number of recoveries. The total recovered cases are nearly 70  lakhs (69,48,497). The difference between active cases and recovered cases is also consistently increasing and stands at 62,52,988 today. The recovered cases are nearly 10 times more than the active cases.

    73,979 patients have recovered and discharged in the last 24 hours whereas the new confirmed cases are 54,366. The national Recovery Rate has further progressed to 89.53%.

    Enhanced countrywide medical infrastructure, implementation of the Centre’s Standard Treatment Protocol by the States/UTs, and total dedication & commitment of doctors, paramedics and frontline workers have led to a persistent increase in the number of total recoveries with commensurate dip in the fatality rate. Today it stands at 1.51%. These have together resulted in a consistent slide in the active cases.

    24 States/UTs have less than 20,000 Active Cases.

    81% of the new recovered cases are observed to be concentrated in 10 States/UTs .

    Maharashtra has contributed more than 16,000 to the single day recoveries followed by Karnataka with more than 13,000 recoveries.

    54,366 new confirmed cases were recorded in the last 24 hours.

    78% of these are from 10 States and UTs. Maharashtra and Kerala contribute maximum to the new cases with more than 7,000 cases followed by Karnataka with more than 5,000 cases.

    690 case fatalities have been reported in the past 24 hours. Of these, nearly 81% are concentrated in ten States/UTs.

    Maharashtra  has reported the maximum single day deaths (198 deaths).

  • The  'COVIRAP,' diagnostic machine evolved by the IIT Kharagpur researchers, for its efficacy in COVID-19 detection has been successfully validated by the Indian Council of Medical Research.

    The innovation has made "high-quality and accurate COVID testing at a level of RT=PCR testing affordable for the common people with a testing cost of around ₹ 500/- which can further be reduced through government intervention.

    We are dependent on RT-PCR for accurate testing of COVID-19 and whose results take time to come.This new testing method implements a highly reliable and accurate molecular diagnostic procedure that can be conducted in an ultra-low-cost portable device unit developed by the research team of IIT Kharagpur.

    What is special about this affordable, portable and user-friendly testing machine is that with only just machine, testing of samples of several people can be done together. And there is no need for trained personnel to operate this machine. The test results are rendered via a custom-made mobile application for dissemination without requiring manual interpretation.

    COVIRAP technique is also special as this technique is capable of detecting extremely low levels of viral loads. In practice, this means that very early stages of infection can be detected, thereby isolating the patient and arresting the uncontrolled spread of infection in the community via asymptomatic patients. Through COVIRAP, testing of other diseases like influenza, malaria, dengue, TB and several other diseases can be done apart from COVID-19.

     

    Nishant Saurabh's Report

  • It has been listed under Appendix I of the Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals, and in 2002 its status was elevated to 'requiring Concerted Action'. 

    Living at extreme altitudes in the steep mountains of the Himalayas, and in a bitterly cold climate, snow leopards are among the most difficult of the world's top predators to study.

    Himalayas act as the water-tower of the Indian sub-continent, with all the major rivers of northern India originating from the Himalaya Mountains. Snow leopard is the apex predator in the Indian Himalayas, and is considered as the 'flagship' for conservation of the high-altitude landscape. To safeguard the specie, International Snow Leopard Day will be celebrated on Friday. A number of factors have contributed to the decline in the Snow leopard populations globally.

    These include a reduction in prey populations, illegal poaching and increased human population infiltration into the species habitat. There are increasing occurrences of human wildlife conflict owing to the increasing interface between humans and wildlife. Illegal trade of wildlife parts and products and other natural resources is also a key concern in the efforts towards conservation.

    Potential snow leopard habitat in India is about 1,30,000 sq.kms, which generally comprises of areas above 3,000m altitude. Recent studies indicate that the Indian snow leopard habitat provides ecosystem services worth 4.20 billion US dollar every year to human communities residing in snow leopard landscapes as well as people living in downstream areas.

    Owing to the importance of this landscape, the Government of India has considered Snow Leopard as the flagship species for the Himalayas. In an act of cooperation for the goal of conservation of the species and its habitat, Governments of the Snow Leopard range countries have joined hands pledging to secure a better future for the species.

    Tapas Bhattacharya's report

     

  • Covaxin's third phase trials will start in the first week of November.

    Under the Phase 3 trial, vaccine will be administered to 22 thousand people across 19 places.

    The government aims to vaccinate 20 to 25 crore people between January and July next year.

    The government has also sought a list of all those who will be given the vaccine. Initially vaccine will be given on priority basis.

    It is to be noted that India manufacturers around 60% of vaccine supplies worldwide.

  • In its special weather bulletin released at 9.00 a.m. on Friday, the BMD said that the deep depression over Northwest Bay and adjoining areas has moved northeastwards. It was now centred about 445 kilometres from Chattogram and Cox’s Bazar ports, 240 kilometres from Mongla port and 280 kilometre from Payra port. 

    The BMD predicted sustained wind speed of about 50 kilometres per hour (kmph) within 48 kilometre of the deep depression centre rising to 60 kmph in gusts/squalls. The bulletin warned that the low lying areas of the coastal districts of Bangladesh and their offshore islands ‘chars’ are likely to be inundated by the wind driven surge of 3-5 feet above normal tide. 

    The bulletin advised fishing boats and trawlers over north bay and deep sea not to venture in deep sea.

    In the meanwhile, large parts of Bangladesh continued to receive rain and thundershowers under the impact of the depression over the Bay of Bengal.

    Drizzling has continued in the capital city Dhaka for more than 24 hours till Friday morning.

     

     

    Rajesh Jha/Dhaka

  • During the debate, Trump insisted that Covid-19 would soon go away through medical breakthroughs and pointed to his own recovery. He defended his push to reopen the United States as soon as possible. He said, US has a vaccine that's coming, it's ready, it's going to be announced within weeks.
     
    Biden assailed President Trump as having no plan to stop a dark winter of coronavirus deaths. Biden said, anyone who's responsible for that many deaths should not remain as president of the United States.
     
    This was their second and final presidential debate before November 3 elections. Taking queue from the first meeting, the event organisers have muted both Trump and Biden while the other delivers responses to each of the six debate topics. Their first debate was punctuated by frequent interruptions, leaving the two men talking over each other.
     
    Americans are set to elect a new president on November 3. At least 35 million people have already cast their ballots, more than a fourth of the total 2016 vote.

  • This computer application matches human face from a digital image already stored in the database.

    The computer and the human interact to map the facial features. In a Similar way, a live image of the student will be matched with the photograph on the CBSE admit card already stored in repository, and once successful, the certificate will be emailed to the student.
     
    This application is now available on “Parniaam Manjusha” and Digi Locker at https://digilocker.gov.in/cbse-certificate.html for all 2020 records.

    CBSE has already pushed 12 crores digital academic documents in Digi locker which can be opened by a student to access Mark sheets, Pass and Migration Certificates. The latest facility of Face Matching will immensely help foreign students and those who are unable to open Digi locker account for any reason such as Adhaar Card or wrong mobile numbers.

  • French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced a curfew imposed last week on Paris and eight other cities would be extended to 38 more departments, confining 46 million out of the country’s 67 million population to their homes from 9 pm to 6 am. “A second wave of the coronavirus epidemic is now under way in France and Europe. The situation is very serious,” Castex said at a news conference.

    Shortly after the measures were announced, French health authorities reported a record 41,622 new confirmed cases, bringing the cumulative total to 999,043.

    In Spain, which this week became the first European country to pass 1 million cases, Health Minister Salvador Illa said the epidemic was now “out of control” in many areas. Regional authorities debated a curfew but stopped short of taking a decision.

    After Europe appeared to have gained a measure of control over the epidemic following the dramatic lockdowns of March and April, a surge in cases over recent weeks has put the continent back at the heart of the crisis.

    While hospitalisations and deaths have not so far overwhelmed health systems as they did during the initial wave early this year, authorities in many countries worry the situation is rapidly reaching a tipping point. Germany, which reported more than 10,000 daily cases for the first time, extended travel warnings for Switzerland, Ireland, Poland, most of Austria and Italian regions including Rome.

    “We still have a chance to slow a further spread of the virus,” Lothar Wieler, of the Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s infectious diseases agency, said in Berlin. More than 5.3 million people across Europe have contracted the disease and over 204,000 have died, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. That compares with 8.3 million cases in the United States and 7.7 million in India.

    Belgian Foreign Minister Sophie Wilmes went into intensive care on Thursday, just a day after German Health Minister Jens Spahn tested positive.

    The resurgence over recent weeks stands in contrast to several countries in Asia, from China to South Korea or New Zealand, where draconian lockdowns and rigorous contact tracing have helped contain the disease.

    Grappling with the enormous costs of the coronavirus, Europe’s leaders are desperate to avoid a repeat of the blanket lockdowns that shut down their economies in the spring.

    As cases have surged and health services have come under increasing pressure, they have been forced to impose and expand local restrictions aimed at reducing public gatherings to ever wider areas.

    Italy’s three most populous regions -- Lombardy around Milan, Lazio, around Rome and Campania around Naples -- have already imposed overnight curfews. Britain also tightened restrictions on three more areas on Thursday.

    Amid the growing public alarm, Germany’s statistics office noted that sales of toilet paper rose almost 90% last week from pre-crisis levels with almost equally sharp jumps in sales of disinfectants and soap.

    Only Sweden, a European outlier which has relied largely on voluntary measures to promote social distancing, was an exception, declaring senior citizens no longer need to isolate themselves given lower COVID infection rates than in spring.

    As the crisis has intensified, much of the public goodwill seen in the first phase of lockdowns has evaporated and central governments have engaged in angry spats with local authorities from Manchester to Madrid over issues ranging from health and welfare to transport and schools.

    With winter coming, health services are looking ahead with apprehension as the wave of COVID patients coincides with the usual seasonal respiratory illnesses.

    “We are already swamped,” said Bruno Megarbane, head of intensive care at the Lariboisiere hospital in Paris. “So, indeed, there is the fear that we will face a very difficult situation.”

     

  • Snowden, 37, fled United States and was given asylum in Russia after leaking secret files in 2013 that revealed vast domestic and international surveillance operations carried out by the U.S. National Security Agency where he was a contractor.

    U.S. authorities have for years wanted Snowden returned to the United States to face a criminal trial on espionage charges brought in 2013.

    “His (Russian) residency permit was expiring and we asked to extend it,” Anatoly Kucherena, his Russian lawyer, told Reuters. Kucherena said the coronavirus pandemic had made the process longer than usual.

    “We submitted the documents in April and we got the permanent residency rights (on Thursday),” he said.

    Separately, Kucherena told the TASS news agency that Snowden was not considering applying for a Russian passport at this stage.

    U.S. President Donald Trump said in August he was considering a pardon for Snowden.

    Snowden keeps a low profile in Russia. He has praised the country’s natural beauty and the warmth of its people, while using social media to criticise government policy from time to time.

  • India will be hosting the Dialogue in New Delhi.

    Briefing media in New Delhi Thursday evening, External Affairs  Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said both sides will also exchange views on regional and international issues.

    He said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper will have bilateral meetings with their counterparts, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar.

    They will also be meeting NSA Ajit Doval and there will be a joint call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

    The spokesperson said India and the US have comprehensive global strategic partnership which includes political, security, defence, economic, commercial, technology and people to people contact.

    The first two 22 Ministerial dialogues were held in New Delhi in September 2018 and in Washington DC in December 2019.

    The agenda for the third dialogue will cover all bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest.
     

  • A rapid estimate of the economic value of some prominent services generated from snow leopard habitats in India is nearly $4 billion a year, the bulk of which comes from hydropower and generated electricity (US$3 billion), followed by livestock and agriculture (US$0.5 billion), and tourism (US$0.4 billion). Owing to the importance of this landscape, the Government of India has considered Snow Leopard as the flagship species for the Himalayas. In an act of cooperation for the goal of conservation of the species and its habitat, Governments of the Snow Leopard range countries have joined hands pledging to secure a better future for the species. Conservation efforts and initiatives are being undertaken through the various programmes such as the Global Snow Leopard Ecosystem Protection Program (GSLEP). Technical and financial support has been provided from United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) through projects in 9 of these 12 countries. 

    The Snow Leopard acts as an INDICATOR of the health of the entire ecosystem in which they live, due to their position as the top (apex) predator in the food web. It has been listed under Appendix I (species that are the most endangered) of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). It has also been listed under Appendix I of the Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), and in 2002 its status was elevated to ‘requiring Concerted Action’. The Snow Leopard is also listed as Endangered in the IUCN Red List. India has listed the Snow Leopard in Schedule I of Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, according highest degree of protection. 

    The SECURE Himalaya project is a part of “Global Partnership on Wildlife Conservation and Crime Prevention for Sustainable Development” (Global Wildlife Program) funded by the GEF and is being implemented in Botswana, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, the Republic of Congo, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe in Africa. The SECURE Himalaya project has a budget of USD 11,544,192 and is expected to leverage USD 60,820,000 as co-financing from the range states. The Himalayan region is the center of the globally endangered Snow Leopard’s (Uncia uncia) range. The total habitat of the Snow Leopard in India is around 75,000 square km. The Western and Eastern Himalaya (including Nepal) forms an important link between the Central Asian and East Asian populations of snow leopards, and serves as a vital corridor for the genetic interchange between these populations.While an exact population count is unavailable, the Snow Leopard numbers have been estimated been 300 to 700 in India. The distribution of Snow Leopard in India includes five states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand in the Western Himalayas and Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh in the Eastern Himalayas. 

    Threats

    A number of factors have contributed to the decline in the Snow leopard populations globally. These include a reduction in prey populations (which includes the Blue sheep, Tibetan Aragali and Himalayan Tahr), illegal poaching and increased human population infiltration into the species habitat. There are increasing occurrences of human wildlife conflict owing to the increasing interface between humans and wildlife. There has been severe habitat degradation of the snow leopard and the habitat of its prey due to unsustainable infrastructure development and land use practices, over-exploitation of bio-resources especially high value medicinal and aromatic plants and over grazing in high altitude pastures. Illegal trade of wildlife parts and products and other natural resources is also a key concern in the efforts towards conservation. Limited options for alternative livelihoods and inadequate knowledge about the fragile Himalayan ecosystem pose severe threats to the snow leopard habitats.

    - Tapas Bhattacharya