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  • “We commit to instill new life in the discussions on the reform of the Security Council” a Joint press statement of the group said.

      Ernesto Araújo, Foreign Minister of Brazil, Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Minister for External Affairs of India, Motegi Toshimitsu, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, and Niels Annen, Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office on behalf of Heiko Maas, Foreign Minister of Germany, met virtually during the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

     The joint statement said that the world of today is very different from what it was when the United Nations was created 75 years ago. There are more countries, more people, more challenges but also more solutions. Our working methods need to keep pace and adapt.
    The Ministers highlighted the urgency of reforming the United Nations and updating its main decision-making bodies, in order to better reflect contemporary realities.

    They expressed disappointment at attempts to derail this process and committed to addressing the issue in a meaningful way and with increased urgency.

    The Joint statement said that as part of reforming the Security Council an expansion of the Security Council in both categories will be indispensable to make this body more representative, legitimate, and effective and it will enhance its capacity to deal with the complex challenges the world faces today on questions of international peace and security. 

    “Only if we manage to reform the Security Council will we stop it from becoming obsolete. Broader membership of the Security Council, with increased and enhanced representation of countries with the capacity and willingness to contribute to the maintenance of international peace and security, including from Africa, will allow it to preserve its credibility and create the political backing needed for the peaceful resolution of today’s international crises,”  said the statement.

    The group of Ministers expressed their concern at the lack of any meaningful movement forward in the Intergovernmental Negotiations (IGN) on Security Council reform and expressed their concern that – after two sessions in February and March – the IGN was adjourned due to COVID-19 and no further meetings were held thereafter. They said that in the prevailing situation virtual meetings or a written process could have taken place to allow for progress to be made in the previous session.

    The statement said, “The recent session demonstrated yet again that the IGN lacks the necessary openness and transparency and is constrained by flawed working methods. The IGN should be guided by the decision-making requirements and working methods laid out in the Charter of the United Nations and in the rules and procedures of the General Assembly.”

    G4 Ministers stressed on leaving behind debates based solely on general statements, without substantive text based negotiations actually taking place in an intergovernmental setting.

     Underlining the overwhelming majority of UN Member States who firmly support a comprehensive reform of the Security Council it demanded that the IGN in the current session should start immediately as a direct continuation of the previous session.
     The ministers emphasized the need for an enhanced role of developing countries and of major contributors to the United Nations to make the Council more legitimate, effective, and representative. They underlined that Africa needs to be represented in both the permanent and non-permanent categories of mem…

  • The Prime Minister today chaired a meeting to review COVID preparedness and response with Chief Ministers and other dignitaries of seven states. The meeting was attended by Home Minister, Defence Minister, Health Minister, Chief Ministers of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Delhi, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh along with respective Home Ministers, Health Ministers, Chief Secretaries, Health Secretaries, Home Secretaries and DGPs. Officials of PMO, Cabinet Secretary, Member NITI Aayog and Secretaries of Health, Home, ICMR and other officials attended the meeting.

    A detailed presentation on the COVID status on India was made by Secretary (H). It was highlighted that these 7 States are contributing to 62% of active cases in the country and approximately 77% of the deaths due to COVID. The presentation highlighted the district of concern in terms of case trajectory, testing conducted, fatality & sample positivity rate in these states.

    The Chief Ministers also briefed the PM about the status in their states, and various initiatives being undertaken to control the situation. Hon’ble Prime Minister requested all concerned to maintain strict follow up to ensure that the chain of transmission of virus can be suppressed in these states, besides taking adequate testing to assist in early identification of cases, focusing on fatality reduction and promoting COVID safe behaviour to prevent further spread of infection in the community.

    Prime Minister exhorted that it is important to identify high burden districts and deepening the COVID Appropriate behaviour by undertaking various media campaigns. He suggested that for sustainable COVID management, awareness of the community and its involvement is paramount and there is a need to continue Jan Bhagidari and Jan Andolan for COVID management. He highlighted the need to promote COVID appropriate festivities in the coming days. He highlighted the need to focus on strict enforcement and surveillance in containment zones, undertaking contact tracing and monitoring comorbid and elderly patients specifically so as to ensure that the infection spread can be halted. He highlighted the need to ensure adequate supply of oxygen, medicines and equipments besides effective implementation of standard treatment guidelines across all health facilities to decrease case mortality. He mentioned that while it is important to upgrade the health infrastructure, it is equally important to ensure that citizens are made aware of the same including ensuring seamless hospital admission processes at the field level. 

    He mentioned that the battle for COVID management is still far from over and all states need to continue their on-going endeavour and have a mission-mode approach for managing the Pandemic situation in the country.

  • Two new species of a plant group known for their varied medicinal properties have been discovered in the Western Ghats – one of the thirty-five hot-spots of biological diversity in the world. The plant group known as pipeworts (Eriocaulon), which completes their life cycle within a small period during monsoon, exhibits great diversity in the Western Ghats, having around 111 species in India.

    Most of these are reported from the Western Ghats and Eastern Himalayas, and around 70% of them are endemic to the country. One species, Eriocaulon cinereum, is well known for its anti-cancerous, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and astringent properties. E. quinquangulare is used against liver diseases. E. madayiparense is an anti-bacterial from Kerala. The medicinal properties of the newly discovered species are yet to be explored. 
    Scientists from Agharkar Research Institute (ARI), Pune, have found two new species of pipeworts in Maharashtra and Karnataka. They found the new species while exploring the biodiversity of the Western Ghats. They wanted to trace the evolutionary history of the genus Eriocaulon and made extensive efforts to collect as many species as possible from India, especially from the Western Ghats.

  • The team is developing new disease control strategies which they can use as vaccines that activate the rice immune system and provide resistance to rice plants from subsequent infections by pathogens. Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae, or commonly known as Xoo infection, cause huge yield losses to rice cultivation throughout the world. Treatment of rice with cellulase, a cell wall degrading enzyme secreted by Xoo induces rice immune responses and protects rice from subsequent infections by Xoo.

    The team led by Dr Lavanya carried out biochemical and functional studies on plant cell wall degrading enzymes secreted by Xoo, which has provided key insights into the mechanisms by which the Xoo pathogen interacts with rice plant and cause disease. 
    Using the leads obtained from her Ph. D work, Dr Lavanya, along with her research group have zeroed in on few molecules derived from either the Xoo bacterium and from infected rice cell walls which they hope to develop into vaccines.

    Currently, Dr. Lavanya’s group is working on a cellulase protein secreted by Xoo. This cellulase protein has the features of a typical vaccine as it is a potent elicitor of rice immune responses. Pre-treatment of rice plants with this protein provides resistance to rice against subsequent Xoo infection. In order to study how exactly this protein induces the rice immune system, her group is testing whether any surface exposed peptide of this cellulase protein is being recognized by the rice immune system leading to the activation of immune responses. They are also exploring whether the rice cell wall degradation products (sugars) that are released by the activity of this cellulase protein on rice cell walls elicit rice immunity. The elicitor molecules (peptide/sugars), once identified, will be used as a vaccine to activate the rice immune system and induce resistance in rice plants to subsequent infections by pathogens. 

    So far, improving the resistance of rice plants by introducing Resistance “R” genes has been the best way to control this disease which involves breeding or gene manipulation techniques that are laborious and time-consuming. Also, the introduced of “R” genes provide only race-specific resistance that will prevent infections by only specific strains of Xoo. But the elicitor molecule that will be identified in this work will have the potential to induce a broad-spectrum resistance, which will be effective not only against Xoo but also against other pathogens.

    According to Dr Lavanya, this study will reveal novel elicitors of rice defence responses and provide new knowledge about the basic aspects of plant-pathogen interactions that might lead to new ways of reducing yield losses for a crop that at least half of the world’s population depends on.

  •  During the monsoon session of the upper house 25 bills were cleared. Chairperson M Venkaiah Naidu said Rajya Sabha consistently recorded its highest productivity in the last four sessions and it was praiseworthy. Lok Sabha was adjourned sine die, eight days ahead of the scheduled end of the monsoon session, in the wake of coronavirus pandemic. In his valedictory address, LS Speaker Om Birla thanked all members who participated and contributed to the successful conduct of Monsoon session following covid-19 protocols.

    Rajya Sabha was also adjourned sine die on Wednesday eight days ahead of the scheduled end of the Monsoon session, amid concerns of spread of coronavirus among lawmakers. In his Valedictory address, Chairperson M Venkaiah Naidu said that the session was historic in some matters as special seating arrangements were made for MPs in adherence to social distancing guidelines. Apart from this, the house continuously worked for ten days without any leave.

    With the passage of 25 bills, Rajya Sabha recordes showed 100% productivity during the monsoon session. 198 MPs participated in discussions.  During the session, key bills like three bills related to agriculture sector, Bilateral netting of qualified Financial Contracts Bill, Foreign Contribution (Regulation) amendment bill, Jammu and Kashmir Official Languages Bill were passed

    On the last day of the monsoon session, the Rajya Sabha bid farewell to 11 of its members who will retire in November this year. On Sunday, eight opposition members were suspended for the rest of the session for their misconduct  with the deputy chairperson of the house, against which the opposition staged a protest in the Parliament complex.

  • Responding to the allegation levelled by the Chinese Communist party mouthpiece Global Times in an article on Tuesday that CBOs in Myanmar are opposing China due to Western funding, the SGM denied the charge and said that it opposed the project because people of the region are getting no benefit out of it. 

    The work on the Chinese Oil and natural gas pipeline in Myanmar started in 2009. It was opposed by the local communities since its beginning provoking several protests in Rakhine, Shan and Magwe demanding fair compensation for loss of land and livelihood.

    Another NGO Equality Myanmar said that the majority of projects causing environmental destruction and human rights violation are Chinese mega projects, reports Irrawaddy.

    The twin pipelines carrying gas and oil connect the deep water port of Kyaukphyu in Rakhine State of Myanmar with Kunming in Yunnan province of China.

    - Rajesh Jha/Dhaka

  • A deluge hit Mumbai leaving roads water logged and slowing down life in the maximum city to a crawl. Public transport services were hit and normal life affected in the financial capital due to heavy downpour and waterlogging. Road traffic was also badly hit. Kurla, Sion, Dadar, Matunga, King's circle, Andheri Sub-way were some of the areas that resembled mini-ponds.

    The Met department said that Mumbai received one of the heaviest showers of this monsoon season, in the last 24 hours and more rainfall is predicted. The Bombay High Court on Wednesday suspended its hearings scheduled for the day, including all virtual hearings, in view of the heavy rainfall in the city and suburbs. BMC urged Mumbaikars to not venture out unless necessary. It also advised offices except essential services to remain shut for the day. According to BMC, all pumping stations are working in full capacity to pump out water from the waterlogged areas. BMC Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal reviewed several areas in the city. He also visited Bandra Kalanagar Pumping station. 

    Mumbai and subburban locals were badly hit. Central Railway's Suburban services were suspended since 5 am. All suburban local services between Virar and Churchgate have been restored. Local trains were running between Churchgate & Dahanu Road on fast corridor, while on slow corridor, special suburban services were running between Bandra and Virar. There have been several route diversions of BEST buses as well. Though air operations in and out of Mumbai were normal. According to the Maharashtra Relief and Rehabilitation Minister Vijay Wadettiwar, five teams of the National Disaster Response Force are on standby in view of heavy rains that have lashed Mumbai, Thane and Palghar districts and caused water-logging in many areas. 

     

  • In a unique initiative, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will interact with fitness influencers and citizens during a nation-wide online Fit India Dialogue to celebrate the first anniversary of the Fit India Movement on Thursday.
    The online interaction will see participants sharing anecdotes and tips of their own fitness journey while drawing out guidance from the Prime Minister on his thoughts about fitness and good health. Among those who will participate range from Virat Kohli to Milind Soman to Rujuta Diwekar in addition to other fitness influencers.

    In times of COVID-19, fitness has become an even more important aspect of life. This dialogue will see a timely and fruitful conversation on nutrition, wellness and various other aspects on fitness. Envisioned The Prime Minister as a People's Movement, the Fit India Dialogue is yet another endeavour to involve citizens of the country to draw out a plan to make India a Fit Nation. 

    In the past one year, since its launch, various events organised under the aegis of the Fit India Movement have seen enthusiastic participation of people from all walks of life and from across the country. The Fit India Freedom Run, Plog Run, Cyclothon, Fit India Week, Fit India School Certificate and various other programmes have seen a combined participation of over 3.5 crore people, making it a true People's Movement.

    The Fit India Dialogue, which will see participation of fitness enthusiasts from all over the country, further strengthens the vision that it is the citizens who are to be credited for the success of the nationwide movement.

    Anyone can join the Fit India Dialogue over the NIC link, https://pmindiawebcast.nic.in from 11.30 noon on September 24.

  •  The FCRA regulates the acceptance and utilization of foreign funds by individuals, associations and companies among other provisions, the bill proposes to enable the Centre to allow an NGO or association to surrender its FCRA certificate. It also proposes that not more than 20 per cent of the total foreign funds received can be spent on administrative expenses. Presently, the limit is 50 per cent.

    Under FRCA, election candidates, editor or publisher of a newspaper, judges, members of any legislature and political parties are prohibited from receiving foreign donations. The Bill adds public servants (as defined under the Indian Penal Code) to this list of prohibited persons. A key amendment proposes to introduce the requirement of Aadhaar, the biometric ID, stating that applicants must now provide Aadhaar details of all its office-bearers as an identification document.

    The Bill also prohibits the transfer of foreign grants received by an entity to a partner organisation or an associated person, which is a usual practice also foreign contribution can now be received only in an account designated by the bank as "FCRA account" in a branch of the State Bank of India, New Delhi. No funds other than the foreign contribution should be received or deposited in this account.
    Minister of State for Home, Nityanand Rai moved the bill for passage in the Upper House. Replying to a debate on the bill, minister said that the legislation was not against any NGO and is an effort to maintain transparency. This amendment is in the interest of good NGOs which want to do good work in the country.

  • However this hasn’t stopped him from making the most of his sporting dreams, as he won the gold medal in men’s F46 Javelin at the 2004 Athens Paralympics and followed it up with another gold in the men’s F44/46 Javelin at the 2016 Rio Paralympics. 

    Jhajharia, who is a Sports Authority of India coach in the SAI centre in Gandhinagar, will be a participant at the Fit India Dialogue, the only differently-abled fitness influencer to be present in the nationwide event, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be interacting with fitness influencers and citizens, to celebrate the first anniversary of the Fit India Movement on September 24, 2020.

    The Fit India Dialogue is yet another endeavour to involve citizens of the country to draw out a plan to make India a Fit Nation. Jhajharia spoke of his enthusiasm on being a part of the programme and said, “I am very happy to have got a chance to speak to our beloved Prime Minister. It is very important to remain fit because a fit country is a successful country. I think the Fit India Movement has had a massive impact on people and has reached every household of India. Our Prime Minister’s personal involvement and his clarion call to the youth of India has really made a difference.”

    Jhajharia, who is a Khel Ratna recipient also thanked the Prime Minister for constantly promoting sports, “He is very involved with sports, he posts on social media whenever athletes win medals on the international arena, this is very motivating for us.”

  • U.S. President Donald Trump told the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday that it "must hold China accountable for their actions" related to the COVID-19 pandemic, demanding that the United Nations must hold Beijing accountable for failing to contain the coronavirus that has killed nearly one million people across the world, including 2 lakh Americans.

    The US  president promised to distribute a vaccine and said: “We will defeat the virus, and we will end the pandemic” and enter a new era of prosperity, cooperation and peace.

    After President Trump blasted China over the COVID-19 outbreak, China`s President Xi Jinping has responded to his allegations, calling for enhanced cooperation over the pandemic and stressing that China had no intention of fighting "either a Cold War or a hot war with any country.

  •  India has the highest recovered cases in the world. It contributes 19.5% to the global recoveries as India records more recoveries than the new cases, many States/UTs follow the suit17 States/UTs have more new recoveries than new cases. 

    75% of the new recovered cases are being reported from ten States/UTs, viz. Maharashtra, Karnataka , Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Delhi, Kerala, West Bengal and Haryana. Maharashtra continues to lead with more than 20,000 new cases of recovered patients. Andhra Pradesh contributed more than 10,000 to the single day recoveries. 

    Vaccine Innovator, Bharat Biotech today announced, a licensing agreement with Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis for a novel chimp-adenovirus, single dose intranasal vaccine for COVID-19. Bharat Biotech owns the rights to distribute the vaccine in all markets except USA, Japan and Europe. Phase I trials will take place in Saint Louis University's Vaccine & Treatment Evaluation Unit, Bharat Biotech, upon obtaining the required regulatory approval, it will also pursue further stages of clinical trials in India and undertake large scale manufacture of the vaccine at its GMP facility located in Genome Valley, Hyderabad. This intranasal vaccine candidate has shown unprecedented levels of protection in mice studies; the technology and data having been recently published in the prestigious scientific journal Cell and in an editorial in Nature.

  • The Rajya Sabha has been adjourned sine die, earlier the upper house passed The Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020, The Industrial Relations Code, 2020,  and The Code On Social Security, 2020 today aims at amending the laws relating to Trade Unions, conditions of employment in industrial establishment or undertaking, investigation and settlement of industrial disputes. 

    Replying in Lok Sabha, Labour and Employment Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar said that three labour reform bills will prove to be a Game Changer and these three bills fullfills PM Modi's resolve for universal social security. He said, the government is committed for the welfare of the workers and in the last six years several steps have been taken in this direction.

    Speaking in Lok Sabha, Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar  said that these historic bills will ensure justice for the workers. He said, several provisions have been made in the Bills including guaranteed minimum and timely wages, free health check-up facility and allowances for migrant workers to visit their homes once in a year.

  • Bharat Biotech owns the rights to distribute the vaccine in all markets except USA, Japan and Europe.
     
    While the Phase I trials will take place in Saint Louis University’s Vaccine & Treatment Evaluation Unit, Bharat Biotech, upon obtaining the required regulatory approval, will pursue further stages of clinical trials in India and undertake large scale manufacture of the vaccine at its GMP facility located in Genome Valley, Hyderabad.
     
    We are proud to collaborate on this innovative vaccine. We envision that we will scale this vaccine to 1 billion doses, translating to 1 billion individuals vaccinated receiving a single-dose regimen. An intranasal vaccine will not only be simple to administer but reduce the use of medical consumables such as needles, syringes, etc., significantly impacting the overall cost of a vaccination drive.

    Our experience in viral vaccines, manufacturing capabilities, and distribution continue to be our strong suit in ensuring safe, efficacious, and affordable vaccines. It is prudent for Bharat to be involved in diverse but tenable projects to provide a much-needed vaccine against COVID-19 reaches all citizens of the world.” Dr. Krishna Ella, Chairman and Managing Director of Bharat Biotech, stated.
     
    This intranasal vaccine candidate has shown unprecedented levels of protection in mice studies; the technology and data having been recently published in the prestigious scientific journal Cell and in an editorial in Nature.

  • New recoveries in India have exceeded the new cases for the fifth consecutive day.

    89,746 recoveries have been registered in the last 24 hours in the country, whereas the number of new confirmed cases stands at 83,347.

    With this, the total number of recoveries are 45,87,613. The Recovery Rate is 81.25% today.

    India has the highest recovered cases in the world. It contributes 19.5% to the global recoveries.

    As India records more recoveries than the new cases, many States/UTs follow the suit.

    17 States/UTs have more new recoveries than new cases.

    75% of the new recovered cases are being reported from ten States/UTs, viz. Maharashtra, Karnataka , Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Delhi, Kerala, West Bengal and Haryana.

     

    Maharashtra continues to lead with more than 20,000 new cases of recovered patients. Andhra Pradesh contributed more than 10,000 to the single day recoveries.

     

  • The heavy downpour led to waterlogging at various low-lying  areas including Sion, Goregaon, Andheri, Jogeshwari, Malad and Borivali. IMD Mumbai's Deputy Director General, Krishnanda Hosalikar said, till 5.30 this morning Colaba observatory recorded 122.2 mm of rainfall whereas at Santacruz recorded 273.

    IMD Mumbai also stated that as per the latest satellite and radar observations, Mumbai city and suburbs are very likely to receive moderate to intense spell of rainfall. It said that water-logging, flooding in many parts of low lying areas and river banks would be expected.

    Besides, it has also cautioned people living in vulnerable places to take extra care. Heavy downpour caused water-logging on the railway tracks at Sion railway station on the central line where  passengers were seen stranded at the station.

    Deputy Director General of IMD Mumbai said, several areas of Mumbai, Thane and western suburbs of the city received around 150 mm of rainfall.

    He said the intermittent intense spells that would continue is likely to cause flood like situation affecting the early morning traffic movement. Central railway have said that special mail/ express trains are being rescheduled.

    It also said that due to continuous rains and waterlogging at Sion-Kurla, Chunabhatti and Masjid stations suburban services are being suspended between Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus to Thane and from between Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus to Vashi. 

  • Local media reported that Dr Zhang Wenhong, leading figure in Shanghai's fight against COVID-19, said this while speaking at a forum in Shanghai on Sunday.

    He said 'Europe is already having a second wave, saying vaccine will be the only way to contain the pandemic – but that could take some time to be produced.

    His remarks come even as China’s southwestern Yunnan province goes into ‘wartime mode’ to tackle an outbreak of cases. Since the health crisis began at the end of last year, more than 30 million coronavirus infections have been reported around the world and almost 950,000 people have lost their lives to Covid-19.

  • The Cabinet Secretary of Bangladesh Khandekar Anwarul Islam told media in Dhaka on Tuesday that the government is planning to launch a massive awareness programme before the emergence of the second wave of COVID 19 infections. 

    Cabinet Division has issued directives to ministries to devise their work plan in the next two weeks to deal with the possible next wave of coronavirus infection.

    He however clarified that it is not certain that the second wave is coming but the country is making preparations to meet any such eventuality. The Cabinet secretary also said that the government has no plan to impose another lockdown but it will observe the situation before taking any decision. 

    Earlier on Monday, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had also asked everyone to be prepared to tackle a second wave of Corona in the winter months.

    In the meanwhile, Bangladesh reported 28 deaths and 1557 new infections on Tuesday taking the death toll to 5007 and total number of infections to 3,52,178. Over the last few weeks, the recoveries have been higher than the new cases of Coronavirus infection bringing down the number of active cases to 86,925. The recovery rate in Bangladesh has slowly gone above 74 percent. 

  • US President Donald Trump said, he is imposing sanctions on Iranians for violating a UN arms embargo and demanded enforcement by US allies, who roundly dispute that he has any such authority. Donald Trump further said, his actions sent a clear message to the Iranian regime and those in the international community who refuse to stand up to Iran.

    The Trump Administration said, it was imposing sanctions on 27 individuals and entities under a UN resolution including Iran's Defence Ministry, its Atomic Energy Organization and Venezuela's leftist leader Nicolas Maduro, whom Washington is trying to topple.

  • In his message on the occasion of World Rhino Day, Prakash Javadekar said Environment Ministry has launched a National Conservation Strategy for Indian One-Horned Rhino.

    He added that the conservation initiatives for rhino has also enriched the grassland management which help in reducing the negative impacts of climate change through carbon sequestration.
     
    The National Rhino Conservation Strategy for India was launched last year to conserve the greater one-horned rhinoceros.

    This is a first of its kind for the species in India which aims to work for the conservation of the species under five objectives.

    The objectives include strengthening protection, expanding the distribution range, research and monitoring, and adequate and sustained funding.
     
    One horned rhino was close to extinction with a population of less than 200 in the beginning of the 20th century.

    It is the only large mammal species in Asia to be down-listed from endangered to vulnerable in the International Union for Conservation of Nature, IUCN Red list in 2008

  • In all, one lakh one thousand 468 COVID patients have recovered and were discharged from the hospitals during the last 24 hours. The Health Ministry said, the total number of recoveries has reached 44 lakh 97 thousand and 867.

     The constant increase in recoveries has led to decrease in the actual caseload and currently it comprises only 17.54 per cent of the total positive cases.

    Effective implementation of 'Test,Track and Treat' approach has led to higher recoveries and lower fatality. Currently, India’s Case Fatality Rate is at 1.60 per cent.

    The total number of positive cases has now reached 55 lakh 62 thousand 483. Presently, the total number of active cases in the country is 9 lakh 75 thousand and 681. In the last 24 hours, 1053 deaths have been reported taking the toll to 88 thousand 935. In the last 24 hours, 9 lakh 33 thousand 185 tests were conducted.
     

  •  The Bill allows the central government to regulate the supply of certain food items only under extraordinary circumstances such as war and famine. It will replace the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 which was promulgated in June this year.

    Replying to a discussion on the Bill, Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Danve Raosaheb Dadarao said that this is important legislation which will promote local for vocal initiative. He said, this legislation has been brought for the farmers due to the Covid-19 pandemic situation and subsequent lockdown, which created problems in the demand and supply chain. 

    It will provide freedom to farmers to sell their produce as per their choice and create balance in demand and supply chain. He said, this Bill will provide assistance in the food production and create a storage system.
     
    Participating in the discussion, Amar Patnaik of BJD said that several good provisions have been ed  in the legislation which will make the entire regime more stable. RCP Singh of JD (U) said it will ensure the better production of food grain and create robust storage facilities in the country. 

    K. Ravindra Kumar of TDP advised the government to adopt cautious approach on the sensitive issue. G.K. Vasan of TMC (M) said that restriction on the movement of essential items lead to black marketing of the products. Gopal Narayan Singh of BJP said that government has taken several steps for the welfare of the farmers.

  • Addressing the convocation of the IIT Guwahati through video conferencing today , PM Modi expressed hope that the dream of the young minds would shape the reality of the country in coming days. He said the NEP is aimed at connecting education with technology.
     
    The Prime Minister said that the National Technology Education Forum is being set up under NEP. PM Modi said that there are ample provisions under the NEP for research and funds to be provided in this direction.

    The Prime Minister appreciated the fact that 300 students are awarded PHD degrees today. Appreciating the role of the IIT Guwahati in its fight against the Covid -19 pandemic, the Prime Minister said that the institute would help the region in mitigating flood and landslide as well as promoting local resources through research .
     
    The Prime Minister hoped that the institute would play a role in setting up Indian Knowledge Institute and a Centre for Disaster Management and Risk Reduction.

    The Prime Minister said that Assam and North East are full of possibilities and resources and hoped that IIT Guwahati would  extend support in mitigating flood, landslide and disaster.

    Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal in his address appreciated the role of the institute in fighting against the Covid -19 pandemic.

    Sonowal said that  IIT Guwahati has benefited the state in disaster management and risk reduction . Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank said that the institute played an important role in nation building and urged the students to prepare for future challenges.

  • The first part of ‘Nrityanjali’ will showcase 10 films on the life and works of India’s leading classical dancers. The festival will be streamed on Films Division website www.filmsdivision.org/Documentary of the Week/ and its YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/FilmsDivision. All films will be streamed live, simultaneously, for three days.

    Details of films/documentaries to be screened:

    • Sitara Devi” (20 min./1995/Amar Varma), a film on doyen of Kathak Dance, hailed as the Queen of Kathak by Rabindranath Tagore, honoured with many awards including Padma Shri, Sangeet Natak Akademi Award and Kalidas Samman.

     

    • Yamini Krishnamurthy” (20 min./1981/Balwant Gargi), is on the leading Bharat Natyam exponent who also excels in Odissi and Kuchipudi. She has been honoured with Padma Vibhushan, Sangeet Natak Akademi Award and Natya Shastra Award.

     

    • Raja-Radha” (22 min./1989/Kunwar Sinha), a biographical film on the well known Kuchipudi dancer-couple Raja and Radha Reddy, who gave new dimension to the traditional Kuchipudi dance and  honoured with Padma Bhushan, Sangeet Natak Akademi Award and Nritya Choodmani Award.

     

    • Guru Amubi Singh” (17 min./1976/Ashish Mukherjee), a film on the grand patriarch of Manipuri dance, beautifully demonstrates the Guru’s finely honed style of dancing based on the spontaneous rhythm of nature. He  received many honours including Padma Shri and Sangeet Natak Akademi Award.

     

    • A Luminous Jewel –Pt. Birju Maharaj” (95 min./1980/V.B.Chandra), comprehensively depicts the life and art of Pandit Birju Maharaj, one of the greatest exponents of Kathak who has been  bestowed with many coveted honours including Padma Vibhushan, Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, Kalidas Samman, Lata Mangeshkar Puraskar and National Film Award.
    • : 2 :

     

    • Kalamandalam Gopi” (43min./1999/Adoor Gopalakrishnan), is on the art and life of eminent Kathakali artist, Kalamandalam Gopi, well known for the romantic and dramatic portrayal of the virtuous ‘pachcha’ roles in Kathakali. He is a recipient of Padma Shri and Sangeet Natak Akademi Award.

     

    • Padma” (35 min./1998/Suresh Menon), a biopic on the acclaimed Bharatanatyam dancer Dr. Padma Subramanyam, talks about her life and art. She is a research scholar, choreographer, composer, Indologist and a teacher of repute and a recipient of many honours like Padma Bhushan, Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, Kalidas Samman and Kalaimamani Award.

     

    • Kanak Rele” (22 min./1997/G L Bhardwaj), a biographical on the classical dance exponent-choreographer, Dr. Kanak Rele, who is internationally known as an exponent of Mohini Attam. She is the founder-director of Nalanda Dance Research Centre, Mumbai and has been conferred with many awards including Padma Bhushan, Sangeet Natak Akademi Award and Kalidas Samman.

     

    • Sonal” (60 min./2004/Prakash Jha),  a biopic documents the  glorious career of eminent danseuse Sonal Mansingh, as a Bharatanatyam and  Odissi dancer-choreographer  and as one who is equally adept in other dance forms like  Kuchipudi and Chhau. She is a recipient of  Padma Vibhushan, Sangeet Natak Akademi Award and Kalidas Samman.

     

    • Dreamer - Swapna Sundari” (29 min./1998/Baba Majgavkar), a biographical film on Swapna Sundari, an exponent of Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam. She has written books like The World of Kuchipudi Dance and Tracing the roots of the classical dance. She is the founder-director of Kuchipudi Dance Centre, New Delhi. Swapna Sundari has received many honours including Padma Bhushan and Sangeet Natak Akademi Award.

      Indian Classical Dance is an umbrella under which various performing arts whose theory and practice can be traced to the Sanskrit text, Natya-Shastra, the foundational treatise by Bharata Muni. Prominent traditional dance forms like Bharat NatyamKathakKuchipudiOdissiKathakaliSattriyaManipuri and Mohini Aattam, include music and recitation in local language or Sanskrit, and they represent a unity of core ideas in a diversity of styles, costumes and expression.

  • The website, available in both English and Nepali versions, is a one stop, user friendly window for all information related to education projects under GOI-assisted post-earthquake reconstruction initiatives.

    The website is accessible at www.goicbrinepal.com. It has been conceptualized and developed by the Central Building Research Institute (CBRI), Roorkee under India's Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR).

    The CBRI, Roorkee, is the Design and Project Management Consultant for the project, and a premier National Laboratory under the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR). It is a pioneer in India for research in the field of shelter planning, building materials, structures, foundations and disaster mitigation. 
    After their role in the education sector projects, the CBRI, Roorkee has also been appointed as the Design and Project Management Consultant for health sector projects under GoI's post-earthquake reconstruction initiative.

    An Agreement for their role in the health sector was recently signed between the Indian Embassy, on behalf of the Government of India, and CBRI, Roorkee. 
    Steady progress has been recorded under the Government of India's commitment of US$ 1 billion for post-earthquake reconstruction projects in Nepal.

    In the housing sector, over 46,000 out of 50,000 houses have been completed for GoI supported beneficiaries in Nuwakot and Gorkha districts. Education, health and cultural restoration projects including 70 schools, 1 library, 147 health facilities and 28 cultural heritage sector projects are under implementation for reconstruction/retrofitting. 
    Government of India remains committed to continue supporting the socio-economic development of Nepal, including through post-earthquake reconstruction projects in Nepal. 
     

  • Slumbering through the dense jungles, rhinoceros evoke awe and fear in equal measure and are a sight to behold. But the myth of medicinal value and the menace of poaching brought the species on the brink of extinction.

    In order to save the majestic animal, World Rhino Day is observed throughout the world on 22nd September. Started in 2010, the day was created as an attempt to generate awareness about the endangered animal.

    The aim was to ignite consciousness to the horrors of poaching on a global scale. India is home to Greater one-horned rhinoceros, a symbol of the Indian subcontinent.

    Greater one-horned, or Indian, rhinoceros once roamed from Pakistan to the Indo-Burmese border, and in parts of Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan.

    But by the beginning of the 20th century, hunting and habitat loss had reduced the species to just few hundred. Historically, Indian rhinos were found in the northern part of Indian subcontinent, in the floodplains of Indus, Ganges, Kosi, and Brahmaputra rivers.

    However, as of now they are confined to only 10 Protected Areas in India and Nepal.

    The highest concentration of the Indian rhino is found in the Kaziranga National Park in Assam which has a population of approximately 2400 individuals as per the 2018 estimation.

    Indian government through its National Wildlife Action plan and National Rhino Conservation Strategy of India brought a more focused approach in conservation.

    India has been leading from the front in the preservation and conservation of Rhinos. Currently, it has a population of approximately 2980 rhinos spread in seven Protected Areas.

    Since 1999, the species is growing at an annual rate of around 3.5% in the country. The country has re-established two new rhino population during the last decade.

    Manas where the population was wiped out on account of poaching, through the Indian Rhino Vision 2020 program the rhino population has been re-established and currently it has around 40 rhinos.

    A small second rhino population was also re-established in Dudhwa National Park, Uttar Pradesh through the conduct of wild to wild translocations in 2018.

    Rhino breeding program under the Patna zoo is doing well too and is a very successful model of ex-situ rhino conservation. During the last 15 years more than 10 calves have been born in the zoo which is a record in itself.

    The National Rhino Conservation Strategy was adopted for India in 2019 which outlines the roadmap for the conservation of the species in the country.

    Recently Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change initiated DNA based forensics investigation of rhino crime cases in India in Rhino bearing areas like in Assam, West Bengal, and Uttar Pradesh.

    All these measures have definitely helped in sustaining and preserving the species and World Rhyno day through its campaign generated more awareness regarding the challenge.

     

    Tapas Bhattacharya’s report

  • More than 1 lakh (1,01,468) new recoveries have been registered in the last 24 hours in the country.

    In another landmark achievement, the trend of very high number of single day recoveries has sustained for the past four consecutive days.

    With this, the total number of recoveries are nearly 45 lakh (44,97,867). This has resulted in the Recovery Rate touching 80.86%. 

    79% of the new recovered cases are being reported from ten States/UTs, viz. Maharashtra, Karnataka , Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Delhi, Kerala, West Bengal and Punjab.

    Maharashtra continues to lead with more than 32,000 (31.5%) new recovered patients. Andhra Pradesh contributed more than 10,000 to the single day recoveries.

    India’s landmark achievement of recording the maximum  number of recoveries has positioned it as the top country globally.

    The continuous streak of very high level of recoveries in the country is a testimony of the Centre-lad proactive and graded strategy of TEST TRACK TREAT. The effective clinical management and treatment protocols issued by the Union Government have been updated from time to time with the emergence of new medical and scientific evidence.

    The Union Government has also allowed for rational use of ‘Investigational Therapies’ like Remdesevir, convalescent plasma and Tocilizumab. Adoption of measures such as proning, use of high flow oxygen, non-invasive ventilation, and use of steroids and anti-coagulants have resulted in a high recovery rate in COVID patients. Other measures have supplemented the effective COVID management through supervised home/facility isolation for mild/moderate cases, improved ambulance services of for ferrying patients for prompt and timely treatment.

    Ministry of Health in active collaboration with AIIMS, New Delhi has been conducting the 'National e-ICU on COVID-19 Management' exercise which handholds ICU doctors of State/UT hospitals through the Centers of Excellence. Held twice a week, on Tuesday and Friday, these tele-consultation sessions have played a crucial role in India's high recoveries and steadily declining case fertility rate. So far, 20 such National e-ICUs have been held covering 278 hospitals of 28 States/UTs across the country.

    The Centre has been deputing multi-disciplinary teams to support and assist efforts of the State/UT Governments. Regular high level review has ensured adequate availability of medical oxygen in hospitals and health facilities across the country. These have together have played a critical intervention role in India’s high recoveries and maintained low Case Fatality Rate (CFR), which currently stands at 1.59%.

  • These States/UT are Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Delhi and Punjab.

    More than 63% of the Active Cases of the country are concentrated in these seven States/ UT. They also account for 65.5% of the total confirmed cases and 77% of the total deaths. Along with the other five States, Punjab and Delhi have reported an increase in the number of cases being reported recently. Maharashtra, Punjab and Delhi are reporting high mortality with more than 2.0% Case Fatality Rate (CFR). Other than Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, their positivity rate is observed to be above the national average of 8.52%.

    The Centre has been leading the fight against COVID in the country in effective collaboration and close coordination with the State/UT governments. The Union Government is supporting them to ramp up the healthcare and medical infrastructure. The clinical management capacities of the doctors manning the ICUs have been substantially upgraded through the e-ICU tele-consultation exercise undertaken by Ministry of Health & Family Welfare in collaboration with AIIMS, New Delhi.

    High level review with the States/UTs has ensured adequate availability of medical oxygen in the hospitals and COVID healthcare facilities. The Centre is also regularly deputing multi-disciplinary teams to States/UTs to support and handhold them in matters of containment, surveillance, testing and efficient clinical management of the positive cases.

    The Central teams also guide the local authorities in effectively managing the challenges related to timely diagnosis and needed follow up.

  • While exercising India’s Right to Reply, India’s First secretary at the permanent mission in Geneva, S. Senthil Kumar denounced Pakistan for trying to divert the attention of the Council with its “imposturous political propaganda full of disinformation and gratuitous references about India’s internal matters”. “It will be better for Pakistan to set its own house in order before it speaks about others,” he said 

    Highlighting the atrocities committed by state actors in Pakistan Occupied parts of Indian Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Laddakh, Indian statement said that it’s well documented that a large number of Kashmiri detainees are in secret detention facilities in Pakistan and Pakistan Occupied Territories now for several years and they have been severely tortured by the security forces. “Cases of enforced disappearances, murders, detentions, custodial deaths and torture of civil rights activists, representatives of local political parties and journalists are common and a standard practice adopted to silence voices against the Government and deep state in Gilgit-Baltistan,” said Kumar

    Highlighting OHCHR’s recent press briefing where it has expressed serious concern about the numerous instances of incitement to violence against journalists and human rights defenders in Pakistan, in particular against women and minorities, India said that especially worrying is accusations of blasphemy – which can put accused individuals at imminent risk of violence.

    A Special Procedures of the HRC had recently called on the Pakistani authorities to end the secret detention of human rights defender Idris Khattak, whose whereabouts are not known for more than nine months. Talia, the 20-year-old daughter of Idris Khattak, is still waiting for a fair trial for her father.  

    Exposing the fallacy of Pakistan’s so-called military-run ‘democratic’ system India’s statement said that Human Rights Defenders in Pakistan are being silenced everyday through intimidation, secret detention, torture and enforced disappearances with the direct involvement of the Pakistani Government. “Targeting of journalists through threats, assaults, arrests instilling extreme fear and self-censorship,” said the India first secretary in his statement.

    Flagging the case of Pakistan’s women journalist and human rights defender Marvi Sirmed, receiving highly derogatory and violent messages on social media the Indian representative  also highlighted how journalists Ahmed Noorani and Gul Bhukari and their families have been receiving death threats daily and live in an atmosphere of constant fear and terror. 

    While mentioning the recurring abductions under-aged Hindu and Christian girls India pointed how enforcement agencies, in Baluchistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh law, have been given a free hand and are authorized to arbitrarily detain any person, including those below the age of 18 years. 

    “Security forces in Pakistan have gained proficiency in unlawful killings and kidnapping of people in so called counter-terrorism operations. This has been compounded by a weak judiciary in Pakistan which has consistently failed to protect even the basic human rights of the people in Pakistan,” said India.

    Indian representative urged the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention to take note of these and other similar cases as well.

    By: Abhiskek Jha

  • The Ministry said, it has been brought to its notice that many countries are not accepting the International Driving Permit issued to Indian citizens and that officials there ask for the validation of IDP in accordance with International Convention of Road Traffic of 19th September 1949.

    In an advisory issued to Transport Secretaries, Commissioners of States and UTs, the Ministry has also provided a copy of the stamp as being placed by some of the RTOs and accepted internationally for reference.

  • In an online interaction with the media, the Union Election Commission (UEC) of Myanmar pledged to hold the elections while ensuring measures to prevent the spread of Coronavirus in the country. 

    Last week 24 parties including the military backed main opposition Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) had demanded postponement of elections citing problems in campaigning and other public health related issues. 

    The ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) headed by the state Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi supports holding elections on the date announced by the UEC. 

    In the wake of the lockdown, political parties have stopped campaigning in Yangon, reports Reutres.

    However, to ensure social distancing during the polls scheduled to be held on November 8, the UEC has increased the number of polling stations from 40,000 to 50,000.

    In the meanwhile, a stay at home order has been issued for the entire Yangon Region excluding Cocogyun Township after a record 671 new Corona cases were reported on Sunday. Yangon is the biggest city of Myanmar. Garment factories have been asked to shut down operations from 24 Sept till October 7. Private offices have been asked to allow employees to work from home. 

    On Monday also 264 new Corona positive cases were reported from Myanmar taking the total number of infections in the country to 5805. Death of 94 people due to Corona has been reported so far. 

     

     

    Rajesh Jha/Dhaka/21.9.2020

  • This increase in MSP is in line with the recommendations of Swaminathan Commission.

    In view of nutritional requirements and changing dietary pattern and to achieve self-sufficiency in pulses and oilseeds production, the Government has fixed relatively higher MSP for these crops.

    The highest increase in MSP has been announced for lentil (Rs. 300 per quintal) followed by gram and rapeseed & mustard (Rs. 225 per quintal each) and safflower (Rs. 112 per quintal). For barley and wheat, an increase of Rs. 75 per quintal and Rs 50 per quintal respectively has been announced.

    The differential remuneration is aimed at encouraging crop diversification. 

    The increase in MSP for Rabi Crops for marketing season 2021-22 is in line with the principle of fixing the MSPs at a level of at least 1.5 times of the All-India weighted average Cost of Production as announced in Union Budget 2018-19. The expected returns to farmers over their cost of production are estimated to be highest in case of Wheat (106%) followed by rapeseed & mustard (93%), gram and lentil (78%). For barley, return to farmers over their cost of production is estimated at 65% and for safflower, it is 50%.

    Support is in the form of MSP as well as procurement.  In the case of cereals, Food Corporation of India (FCI) and other designated State Agencies would continue to provide price support to the farmers. Government has set up a buffer stock of pulses and domestic procurement of pulses is also being done under Price Stabilization Fund (PSF).

    The Umbrella Scheme “Pradhan Mantri AnnadataAaySanraksHan Abhiyan” (PM-AASHA), comprising Price Support Scheme (PSS), Price Deficiency Payment Scheme (PDPS), and pilot Scheme of Private Procurement and Stockist Scheme (PPSS) will aid in procurement of pulses and oilseeds.

    Despite global COVID-19 pandemic and consequent nationwide lockdown, timely intervention made by Government has led to an all-time record procurement of wheat at about 39 million tonnes for RMS 2020-21. Around 43 lakh farmers benefitted under procurement operations period which is 22 percent higher than the RMS 2019-20. In 2019-20, 390 lakh tonnes of wheat is estimated to be procured, while in 2014-15, 280 lakh tonnes was procured. In 2019-20, 15 lakh metric tonnes of pulses is estimated to be procured, while in 2014-15, 3 lakh tonnes was procured. In 2019-20, 18 lakh metric tonnes of oilseeds is estimated to be procured, while in 2014-15, 12 thousand metric tonnes was procured. 

    The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020 and The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, 2020 have been promulgated so as to provide alternative channels for farmers to sell their produce outside traditional APMC mandi system and to encourage private participation in agribusiness. The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 has been promulgated to build efficient agri-food supply chains and attract more private sector investment in value-addition, scientific storage, warehousing and marketing infrastructure.

    Under the Scheme for Agriculture Infrastructure Fund, Rs 1 Lakh Crore will be provided by the banks and financial institutions as loans with interest subvention of 3% per annum and credit guarantee coverage under CGTMSE (Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises) for loans up to Rs. 2 Crore. The scheme will support farmers, PACS, FPOs, agri-entrepreneurs, etc. in building community farming assets and post-harvest agriculture infrastructure.

  • 1803 students including 687 BTech and 637 MTech students will be conferred degrees.

    Chief Minister of Assam Sarbananda Sonowal, Union Education Minister, Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, Union Minister of State for Education Sanjay Dhotre and other dignitaries will participate in the event. 

  •  In less than 15 months' time, First Cargo Ship set sail to the island nation from the Indian Port of Tuticorin.

    The maiden voyage was launched in an e-flag off ceremony jointly by MOS (Independent Charge) Ministry of Shipping Mansukh Mandaviya and Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation of Maldives Aishath Nahula. Speaking on the occasion, Mandaviya noted that this service is another milestone in the comprehensive bilateral relations between India and Maldives. He mentioned that this direct cargo service will further cement the close ties between India and Maldives by enhancing people-to-people contact and boosting bilateral trade.

    An MoU between the Ministry of Shipping in India and the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation, Maldives to commence the Cargo Ferry service was signed during PM’s visit to the Maldives last year in June, PM had opted the Maldives for his First state visit in his second term as the Prime Minister of India.

    Commencement of the cargo ferry service was announced by the External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar during his virtual meeting with the Foreign Minister of Maldives Abdulla Shahid on August 13 this year.

    The Cargo Ferry Vessel MCP Linz operated by the Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) will connect Tuticorin and Cochin ports in India with Kulhudhuhfushi and Male ports in the Maldives. The vessel is expected to arrive in Kulhudhuhfushi on September 26 and Male on September 28.  The ferry service will run twice a month. 

    This vessel provides direct cargo connectivity between India and the Maldives on a predictable and affordable basis for the first time and will lower costs and times for traders in both countries. To begin with, India will subsidise the service at approx. USD 3 million. 

    The MCP Linz is a combination vessel which can carry 380 TEUs and 3000 MT on bulk cargo and will have a turnaround time of 10-12 days for its voyages. The vessel has reefer plugs for refrigerated containers.

    This vessel provides direct cargo connectivity between India and the Maldives on a predictable and affordable basis for the first time and will lower costs and times for traders in both countries. To begin with, India will also subsidise the service at approx. USD 3 million. 

    The expansion of the Hanimaadhoo Airport (through an Indian Line of Credit) and the Cargo Ferry Service connectivity to the northern port of Kulhudhuhfushi will underpin the economic development of northern Maldives and facilitate investments in tourism and other engines of prosperity.  Besides the expansion of markets for MSMEs in India, the Cargo Ferry service will provide an opportunity to Maldivian exporters of tuna and other marine products to the Indian market and springboard to Europe through Cochin and Tuticorin ports. For instance, Cochin Port has weekly connectivity to Europe through a 6500 TEU vessel.   

    The Cargo Ferry Service is another commitment delivered by India to connect Indian and Maldivian markets, unlock the trade and investment potential between the two nations, and strengthen people-to-people contacts for mutual prosperity. 

     

     

    By: Abhiskek Jha

  • A new study by the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG), shows wet monsoon conditions in the North-Western Himalaya between 1200 and 550 BCE. This condition prevailed till 450 AD, coinciding with the Roman Warm Period (RWP). It was followed by reduced precipitation and a weak ISM till 950 AD and then strengthened during the Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA) between 950 and 1350 AD. During the Little Ice Age, there was a pronounced reduction in monsoon precipitation. 

    The study carried out with lake sediments from Rewalsar Lake, a freshwater lake from Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh, could resolve the long debate among scientists about whether such events were local or global. Sediments from this lake preserve signature that can be used as proxies to understand monsoon variability in the past.

    In the recent study published in the journal ‘Quaternary International’, researchers obtained grain size data, stable isotope ratios of carbon and nitrogen, total organic carbon (TOC), and total nitrogen data from the sediments of the lake. They retrieved a sediment core of 15-meter length from the center of the lake at a water depth of about 6.5 meters using piston corer, which was used as a sample.

    The chronology of Rewalsar Lake sediment was then established based on the Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (a form of mass spectrometry to separate a rare isotope from an abundant neighbouring mass) (AMS) 14C radiocarbon dates of fourteen samples and the age ranges from approximately 2950 years to 200 years ago. 

    Calculation of Total organic carbon TOC, Total Nitrogen TN, and depleted Carbon isotope ratio values during the interval 1200 to 550 BCE indicated wet monsoon conditions in the North-Western Himalaya. This condition prevailed till 450 AD, coinciding with the Roman Warm Period (RWP). This was followed by reduced precipitation and a weak ISM till 950 AD. The ISM became comparatively stronger during the Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA) between 950 to 1350 AD.

    During the Little Ice Age, there was a pronounced reduction in ISM precipitation, as indicated by relatively low C/N ratio and decreased TOC content. The findings pointed out to revival of wet climatic conditions with a strong ISM around 1600 AD following the Little Ice Age, which prevails in present times.

    The variability of ISM in historical past needs to be ascertained to understand present, and future behaviour of ISM as climate shifts and water supply has dictated flourish and demise of ancient civilizations. 

     

     

     

    By- Tapas Bhattacharya

  • The proposed university would facilitate and promote studies and research and help achieve excellence in the field of forensic science in conjunction with applied behavioural science studies, law, criminology and other allied areas.

    The Lok Sabha also passed the Rashtriya Raksha University Bill. The Bill seeks to provide for the establishment of the Rashtriya Raksha University, Gujarat. The key objectives of the University include providing dynamic and high standards of learning and research, and providing a working environment dedicated to advancing research, education and training in the domain of policing.

    The Bilateral Netting of Qualified Financial Contracts Bill was also passed yesterday. The Bill seeks to provide a legal framework for bilateral netting of qualified financial contracts which are over the counter derivatives contracts.

    The Lok Sabha also passed The Salaries and Allowances of Ministers (Amendment) Bill, 2020. 

  • He informed that ICMR has been conducting large-scale sequencing of nationally representative strains of SARS-CoV-2 virus collected over the past several months over different time-points and detailed results on mutations and evolution of the virus will be available in early October.

    The Minister was answering  questions posed by his social media interactors on the Sunday Samvaad platform. These questions covered a multitude of queries concerning not only the current situation of COVID but also the government’s approach to it and related topics like India’s growth in the field of Science.

    Speaking on the concrete measures that have been planned to handle such public health emergencies in the future, he said ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’ will strengthen the nation to an extent where it will be able to overcome any eventuality including another pandemic. He emphasized that ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ highlights the commitment of the Government for increased investments in Public Health and other health reforms to prepare India for future pandemics.

    The Health Minister added that a major proposal is under consideration at the Expenditure Finance Committee level. They include strengthening surveillance of infectious diseases and outbreak response, establishment of dedicated infectious disease management hospital blocks in district hospitals and establishment of Integrated Public Health Laboratories.

    On the matter of availability of Medical Oxygen in the country, Dr. Harsh Vardhan assured that there is enough Oxygen being produced in the country and that the Health Ministry is closely monitoring the situation. He took the occasion to remind everyone that the Health Ministry had dispatched Oxygen concentrators to the rural parts of the country specifically to avert the logistic issues coming to light.

  • Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has said that all the uniforms that will be made in the schools will be made by the women of Self Help Group.

    He was speaking at the credit distribution function of self-help groups of the credit camp program in the capital Bhopal. He said that through this arrangement, the groups will get employment of 400 crores.

    The women of the group will buy clothes, dress themselves and will also supply. The Chief Minister further said that the responsibility of ready-to-eat nutritious food distributed in Anganwadi centers will also be given to women self-help groups instead of giving it to the contractor. 

  • He added farmers will continue to get MSP. He was brefing the media on Sunday

    Parliament  passed the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill 2020 and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill 2020 with Rajya Sabha approving it on Sunday amid uproar by the opposition. The House also negated the oppositions’ amendments to send the Bills to the Select Committee. Speaking on the Bills, Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar said that the government has taken several steps for doubling the income of farmers after consultations with the famers and States.
                       
    The two Bills aim at increasing the availability of buyers for farmers’ produce by allowing them to trade freely without any license or stock limit resulting in better prices for their produce. They will replace two ordinances promulgated by the Central Government in June this year.

    The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill allows intra-state and inter-state trade of farmers’ produce beyond the physical premises of APMC markets. As per the Bill, State governments are prohibited from levying any market fee, cess or levy outside APMC areas.

    The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill creates a framework for contract farming through an agreement between a farmer and a buyer prior to the production of any farm produce.

  • People who have been suspended include, Congress members Rajiv Satav, Ripun Bora and Nazeer Hussain, TMC members Derek O’Brien and Dola Sen, CPI(M) MPs K.K. Ragesh and Elamaram Kareem and Aam Aadmi Party MP Sanjay Singh. Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, V. Muraleedharan moved a motion to suspend these members for creating ruckus and disrespecting the Chair by their unruly behavior. The motion was accepted with voice vote and Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu announced the names of the suspended members.

    Chairman Naidu also condemned Sunday's incident terming it unacceptable and condemnable. He also said that the incident has tarnished the image of the Upper House and it was a bad day. Chairman also said some members used un-parliamentary language and threatened Deputy Chairman Harivansh. He added that the agitating members also defied social distancing and other Covid norms.

    The Chairman rejected the no confidence motion moved by the 46 opposition members against the Deputy Chairman citing that the notice was not in the proper format.

  • 93,356 patients were discharged in the last 24 hours.  12 States and UTs have registered Recovery Rate more than the national average.

    79% of the new recovered cases are from 10 states/UTs.

    The total recovered cases are close 44 lakh (43,96,399) as on Monday. India tops the global figure of total recoveries. It accounts for more than 19% of the world total.

  • These clone trains primarily 3-AC trains with fewer halts, higher speeds and a departure time before the parent train come as a boon for the passengers who have to travel in an emergency or have made last-minute plans. Waitlisted passengers on high traffic routes can hope to reach their destinations two-three hours before the corresponding parent train.

    10 trains will operate between Bihar and Delhi under the East Central Railways. These trains will originate and terminate at Bihar's Saharsa, Rajendra Nagar, Rajgir, Darbhanga and Muzaffarpur.

    The two trains operating under the Northeast Frontier Railway are also from Katihar to Delhi and back.

    The Northern Railway will also run 10 trains which will operate between Delhi and Bihar and back, West Bengal to Delhi, Punjab to West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh to Delhi among others.

    The South Central Railway will operate two trains between Danapur (Bihar) to Secunderabad and back. The South Western Railway will operate 6 trains between Goa and Delhi, Karnataka-Bihar and Karnataka-Delhi.

    The Western Railway will run 10 trains between Bihar (Darbhanga)-Gujarat (Ahmedabad), Delhi-Gujarat, Chhapra to Gujarat, Mumbai-Punjab, and Ahmedabad-Patna.

  • Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official said Iran could have enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon by the end of the year and that Tehran has resumed long-range missile cooperation with nuclear-armed North Korea.

    He did not provide detailed evidence regarding either assertion. The new sanctions fit into U.S. President Donald Trump's effort to limit Iran's regional influence and come a week after U.S.-brokered deals for the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain to normalize ties with Israel.

  • According to health minister Matt Hancock, the country is at a tipping point on COVID-19.

    He has also warned that a second national lockdown could be imposed if people don't follow government rules designed to stop the spread of the virus.

    Earlier, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the UK is experiencing the start of a second wave of COVID-19 and stricter lockdown measures will be introduced across the country.

    The UK currently has more than 3.94 lakh COVID-19 cases with a death toll over 41,700.

  • Faraway doctors are helping treat rural American COVID-19 patients all thanks to technology. Vast stretches of rural America lack easy access to advanced medical care.

    Rural areas tend to have higher rates of underlying health conditions, their populations often are older and poorer making them more vulnerable to COVID-19.

    Tele-ICU generally requires physicians working remotely to hold a license in each state where people are hospitalized.

    The Trump administration has eased rules on telehealth during the pandemic and expanded reimbursement by Medicare. Shares of telemedicine companies have soared as patients embraced online visits.

    South Carolina remains a hot spot for coronavirus infections.

  • The United States continues to top the list being the worst-hit country by the pandemic so far with the highest number of COVID-19 cases. The U.S. has crossed the 70 lakh mark in terms of Covid-19 cases with deaths now crossing 2.04 lakh.

    In terms of the death toll, Brazil stands second on the tally with 1.36 lakh deaths. There are 45.44 lakh cases of COVID 19 in Brazil.

  • The Core Commanders are sitting across the table after a gap of one and half month to discuss the border situation.

    However, in the backdrop of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in Moscow and High powered China Study group meetings recently, along with the core Commander,  the Joint Secretary from external affairs is also joining in Monday's meeting at Moldo.

    This is a significant development as far as the talks between India and China to arrive into certain implementable decisions to restore the peace and tranquility in the region.

    Talks began at 10 on Monday morning following the military and the Covid-19 protocols.

  • The schools in many States and Union Territories will partially reopen from today for students of 9th to 12th classes on a voluntary basis. These include Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Nagaland, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Chandigarh. Under Unlock 4, the central government has permitted the states to reopen schools from September 21.

    However, the states have the authority to decide whether they want to resume schools from September 21 or not. Citing the high number of coronavirus cases, many states including Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal have announced not to resume classes from Monday.

    According to the Unlock 4 guidelines, schools are allowed to open with 50 percent teaching and non-teaching stuff. Students of class 9 to 12 are permitted to go to school — strictly on a voluntary basis. Students will have to get a consent slip from their parents to visit the schools. However, the students and teachers who live in the containment zones, are not allowed to attend schools.

    All the coronavirus preventive measures such as maintaining social distancing, covering face with a mask or cover, washing or sanitizing hands need to be strictly followed. Thermal scanners for screening the body temperature of students and teachers are mandatory at the school entrance.

    Schools have been advised to arrange different entry and exit gates if feasible. Government has asked schools to continue the virtual classes.

  • Nation's lead  tourist attraction, Taj Mahal and Agra Fort, have reopened for visitors on Monday, after an unprecedented closure of six months, due to COVID-19 pandemic.

    The Archaeological Survey of India officials have made all necessary arrangements for the reopening.

    Also, Mahabodhi temple, the first world heritage site of the Bihar at Bodh Gaya is scheduled to reopen for the devotees and visitors.

  • At least 10  people have lost their lives and 11 are admitted to the hospital in Bhiwandi of Thane District near Mumbai.

    A three-storied building collapsed in Patel Compound area Monday morning.

    35 people have been rescued by locals. At least 20-25 people are still feared to be trapped, as per initial information.

    NDRF teams have reached the site of building collapse and have launched relief and rescue operations.