News

  • In West Bengal, Domestic Flight operations from Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata began this morning.

  • Karnataka government will soon launch a project to maintain the health database of all its citizens. A first of its kind initiative State Health Register will be a robust and standardized health repository of all the citizens.

  • A total 9.67 crore farmers have been benefited and an amount of more than 19 thousand crore rupees has been released under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) scheme during the last two months.

  • Railways has transported 48 lakhs passengers to their home states through Shramik Special trains. Railways Ministry said, a total of three thousand 543 Shramik Special trains have been operationalized from various states across the country in the last 26 days.

  • Amidst a wave of locust swarms sweeping across western and northwestern India, Department of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare has stepped up locust control operations in Rajasthan, Punjab, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.

  • Health Ministry has said that lockdown has garnered multiple gains and primarily it has decelerated the pace of spread of the disease.

  • Health Ministry has advised States and Union Territories to organize home deliveries of essential medicines like calcium, ORS, zinc, contraceptives, iron folic in containment zones to ensure maternal and child health care amid the Corona virus pandemic.

  • There is a major relief to the students appearing for the pending Class 10th and 12th examinations conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education from 1st of July this year.

  • Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan today said, Aarogya Setu has become world's largest contact tracing app reaching over 11 crore 40 lakh people in 40 days.

  • Center has asked the states to ensure refund of seven days extra charges taken by the hotels for quarantine from the Indians coming back from abroad.

  • The Indian Air Force has operationalised its new squadron “Number-18 - Flying Bullets” with the Light Combat Aircraft LCA Tejas today.

  • Indian Council of Medical Research, ICMR said that a total one lakh 16 thousand 41 samples of corona virus were tested in the last 24 hours.

  • The 25,500-capacity ground was set to host a test match between England and West Indies in June before the tour was pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The government gave elite sport the green light to return in June behind closed doors but the cricket season, which was suspended in March, will not return until July at the earliest.

    “The 25% capacity is something we’ve been looking at... It may end up having to be lower than that,” Gould said.

    “There is work ongoing but at a very gentle pace. One of the issues cricket has is we can only play in the summer. Therefore we’d like to understand possibilities of getting fans in later on in the summer. But we’re not going to do anything that doesn’t get full clearance. We’re not going to do anything other than follow government guidelines.”

    According to sources, England and Wales Cricket Board is looking at setting up ‘bio-secure’ venues at grounds with on-site hotels in Manchester and Southampton for Pakistan’s visit in August.

  • France counted 1,197 foreign investment projects last year, up 17% from 2018 and ahead of Britain with 1,109 projects (up 5%) and Germany with 971 (unchanged), according to a Survey done by consultants EY.

    Two thirds of business leaders surveyed by EY at the end of April expected to revise their French investment plans this year and 15% expected to push them back to 2021. None expected to cancel projects or increase them.

    President Emmanuel Macron has eased labour laws on hiring and firing, transformed a payroll tax credit scheme into a permanent business tax cut and set a flat 30% tax for investors as part of a drive to make the French economy more attractive internationally.

    A series of violent anti-government protests against his reforms in 2018 and 2019 and then weeks of transport strikes against a pension overhaul at the end of last year and early this year had little effect on foreign investors’ enthusiasm.

    Since the coronavirus outbreak, Macron’s government has refocused on containing the economic fallout and aims to boost the recovery by pushing French companies to relocate production activities in France.

  • Such moves could mark the opening salvoes of the U.S. response as President Donald Trump weighs how far he is prepared to go after the State Department’s assessment on Wednesday that Hong Kong is no longer autonomous enough from Beijing to deserve special treatment under U.S. law that helped make it a global financial hub.

    Internal U.S. deliberations, unfolding amid increased U.S.-China tensions over the coronavirus pandemic, are continuing and final decisions have yet to be made, as per sources.

    But they suggested that the severity of U.S. measures could depend, at least in part, on the extent to which China’s Communist Party rulers implement planned national security rules in the former British colony. Beijing says there is no threat to Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy and that it would counter any foreign interference.

    David Stilwell, assistant Secretary of State for East Asia, said the long list of potential U.S. responses could be “across the spectrum,” including visa and economic sanctions.

    Another option under consideration would call for suspending Hong Kong’s preferential tariff rates for exports to the United States, according to sources. Such action could put Hong Kong’s goods under the same tariffs that Trump has slapped on exports from the Chinese mainland.

  • Piyush Goyal says Aatmanirbhar Bharat entails a confident, self-reliant and caring nation. Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal has said that the concept of Aatmanirbhar Bharat campaign entails a confident, self-reliant, caring nation which takes care of all the strata of the society and nurtures development of all parts of the country.

    Union Minister Piyush Goyal said this at a meeting with the industry and trade associations through video conference. The Minister said, Aatamnirbhar Bharat campaign will inculcate the spirit of oneness among 130 crore citizens of the country and will support the Indian companies.

    He said, in the last three decades post-liberalization, the country progressed but the focus was city-centric. He said, the rural and backward areas remained deprived, forcing millions of people from there to migrate to cities for employment and opportunities. Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal also said, the fight against the COVID-19 can not be undertaken by the government alone, it is the nation’s fight and all stakeholders have to play an important positive role.

  • It will be extended automatically through the system for three months without the need for the visa holder to visit the passport department in person. This will be done free of charge.

    Saudi Arabia has also announced lifting of restrictions in the coming days. Restrictions in place to control the spread of  coronavirus, including bans on domestic travel, holding prayers in mosques, and workplace attendance in both government and private sector are likely to be relaxed from today.  

    Some economic and commercial activities including opening of restaurants will also be allowed.

  • The death toll due to COVID-19 in the United States has crossed one lakh, the highest in any country across the world as the pandemic wreaks havoc by affecting lives and disrupting economic activity.

    One-third of the deaths have been reported in the world's financial capital New York and neighbouring areas Connecticut and New Jersey. The wave of deaths had a devastating impact on the US economy which has entered into recession with over 35 million losing their jobs in the last three months.

    "With the 100,000th recorded American death due to COVID-19, our nation marks a somber milestone. All across the country, families are mourning loved-ones lost to this disease," said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer.

    "It is difficult to comprehend the scope of this tragedy, and each of these 100,000 Americans is a parent, grandparent, sibling, child, and valued community member," he added.

    As per the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 has impacted all age groups and communities in the country.

  • Railways Ministry said, a total of three thousand 543 Shramik Special trains have been operationalized from various states across the country in the last 26 days.

    Railways had started running Shramik Special trains from 1st May, to move migrant workers, pilgrims, tourists, students and other persons stranded at different places due to lock down. 85 per cent of the expenditure of Shramik special trains is being borne by the Centre and states are paying 15 per cent in the form of fare.

    The top five States from where maximum trains originated are Gujarat, Maharashtra, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. While the top five states where maximum trains terminated are Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha.

    IRCTC has distributed more than 78 lakh free meals and more than one crore water bottles to travelling migrants. In addition to Shramik specials, Railways is running 15 pairs of special AC trains and has decided to run 200 more trains from 1st of June.

  • he maximum temperatures are likely to recede from Thursday in north India, which is reeling under a severe heatwave, the India Meteorological Department said.

    The temperatures north and central India have soared over 47 degrees Celsius at a few places since the past four-five days.

    The maximum temperature in Churu, which had recorded 50 degrees Celsius on Tuesday, was 49.6 degrees, followed by 48.9 degrees in Ganganagar and Bikaner districts of Rajasthan.

    Bathinda in Punjab recorded 47.5 degrees Celsius, while it was 47.2 degrees in Delhi.

    "Under the influence of a western disturbance and an east-west trough and likely occurrence of rain/thunderstorm from May 28-30, maximum temperatures over plains of north India likely to recede from May 28 onwards with substantial reduction of heat wave conditions from May 29," the IMD said.

    Western disturbance is a cyclonic circulation which originates in the Mediterranean Sea. Traversing central Asia, it brings rains to the hills and plains when it comes in contact with the Himalayas.

  • The earlier highest of  137 patients was recorded on Tuesday while 406 people have tested positive in last five days. Almost all of these cases are from foreign repatriations or navy personnel. Out of the total infections, 727 are active cases while 732 have recovered.

    Ten persons have died of the pandemic so far. No community case has been reported in Sri Lanka for over a month leading to curfew relaxation all over the country. The curfew is in place from 10 PM to 4 AM.

    The Ministry of Health has issued a comprehensive set of guidelines focused on the “new normal” with timelines on when most activities can resume. The document notes that bars, nightclubs,  zoo and museums will remain closed until further notice. Restrictions on social gatherings have also been mentioned including no more than 10 people at most social events.

  • In Assam, over 2.71 lakh people are reeling under the fury of floods in 11 districts. New areas have been inundated due to breach in river embankments and incessant rains. Several rivers are flowing above the danger level. Relief and rescue measures are being taken by the Administrations in the flood-hit areas. Forest Minister Parimal Suklabaidya has visited Kaziranga National Park to review the flood preparedness.  

    Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal  reviewed the flood situation in Guwahati with senior officials and instructed all concerned departments to provide all necessary help. Public Health Engineering Minister Rihon Daimari said that instruction has been given to provide safe drinking water in the flood-hit areas. He said that  utmost care to be taken to ensure hygiene and cleanliness at relief camps.  

    Over 16 thousand people are taking shelter at temporary relief camps at Goalpara, Nalbari and Tinsukia districts. Proper social distancing is being maintained in the relief camps.

  • There is a major relief to the students appearing for the pending Class 10th and 12th  examinations conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education from 1st of July this year.

    Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank has informed that students who have moved to another state or district during the lockdown can appear in these exams from their current district or state. He said that the students don't need to travel to their previous exam centres in order to appear in these examinations.

    The HRD Minister said that the students need to inform their schools regarding their choice of district for appearing in the Board exams. The schools will then coordinate with CBSE in order to arrange and inform about the new examination centre to the students. HRD Minister said that the government has been continuously working to make every arrangement for the students so that they can appear in the exams without any hassle.
     

  • The Fire Service officials of Dhaka informed that five bodies were recovered which included four males and one female, reported the official news agency BSS. The reason for the fire is being investigated.  

    According to police, the fire broke out in the Corona isolation unit of the United Hospital situated in the Gulshan area of Dhaka. United Hospital is a COVID-19 designated hospital.

    Further details are awaited.

  •  As of Wednesday, there are active swarms of immature locust in Barmer, Jodhpur, Nagaur, Bikaner, Ganganagar, Hanumangarh, Sikar, Jaipur Districts in Rajasthan and Satna, Gwalior, Seedhi, Rajgarh, Baitul, Devas, Agar Malwa district of Madhya Pradesh.

    At present 200 Locust Circle Offices (LCO) are conducting survey & control operations in close coordination with District Administration and agriculture field machinery of the affected States. Locust control operations are in full swing in coordination with State Agriculture Departments and Local Administration. In Rajasthan 21 districts, in Madhya Pradesh 18 districts, in Punjab one district and in Gujarat 2 districts have undertaken Locust control till now. For effective control of locusts beyond Scheduled Desert Areas, temporary control camps have been established in Ajmer, Chittorgarh and Dausa in Rajasthan; Mandsaur, Ujjain and Shivpuri in Madhya Pradesh and Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh.

    So far (till 26.05.2020), control operations against Locusts have been done in 47,308 hectare area in total 303 places in Rajasthan, Punjab, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh by LCOs in coordination with District Administration and State Agriculture Department. 89 fire brigades for pesticide spray; 120 survey vehicles; 47 control vehicles with spray equipments and 810 tractor mounted sprayers have been deployed for effective locust control, as per requirement during different days.

    Usually, the locust swarms enter the Scheduled Desert Area of India through Pakistan for summer breeding in the month of June/July with the advent of monsoon. This year, however the incursions of locust hoppers and pink swarms have been reported much earlier because of presence of residual population of Locusts in Pakistan which they couldn’t control last season. Since 11th April 2020, locust hoppers and from 30th April, 2020, the incursion of pink immature adults has been reported in bordering districts of Rajasthan and Punjab, which are being controlled. Pink immature adults fly high and cover long distances during day hours from one place to another along with the westerly winds coming from the Pakistan side. Most of these pink immature adults settle on the trees during night and mostly fly during day.

    Concerned over the early attack of locust swarms this year, the Union Minister for Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare, Narendra Singh Tomar chaired a meeting with the pesticide manufacturers and all related stakeholders on 6th May, 2020 to review the preparedness for locust control in the affected States. Following directions of the Agriculture Minister Shri Tomar, a video conference was conducted under the chairmanship of Secretary (DAC&FW) Shri Sanjay Agarwal was conducted on 22nd May, 2020 with the District Administration and District Agriculture Officers of locust threatened districts of Punjab, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh along with the representatives of NDMA.  Locust awareness literature, SOPs, approved pesticides and awareness videos were shared with the States in the meeting. Earlier, a video Conference was held on 5th May, 2020 with the Principal Secretary (Agriculture) and DMs of the locust prone districts of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Punjab under the chairmanship of Secretary, DAC&FW to review the preparedness and further coordination with the locust States for taking necessary action.

    On 11th March, 2020 a High- Level virtual meeting on Desert Locust in South-West Asian countries was held at the office of the FAO representative in India. Representatives of four member countries (Afghanistan, India, Iran and Pakistan) and the Plant Protection Division of FAO, Rome also participated in the meeting. The MoS (Agriculture & FW) Shri Kailash Choudhury and Secretary DAC&FW attended the meeting. It was decided to hold the virtual meetings of technical officers of member countries every Monday via Skype and nine meetings have so far been held. Advisories have been issued to the States of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Haryana and Punjab regarding the locust attack and necessary measures to be taken for effective control and pesticides that are to be used for effective Locust control in the cropped area.

    Currently Locust Control Offices have 21 Micronair and 26 Ulvamast (47 spray equipments) which are being utilized for locust control. On approval of the Agriculture Minister Shri Tomar, supply order for additional 60 sprayers has been placed to M/s. Micron, United Kingdom. e-Tender has been invited for the empanelling agencies to provide services of drones for aerial spraying of insecticides for effective control over tall trees and inaccessible areas. Ministry of Civil Aviation has approved “Conditional exemption to Government entity (DPPQS) for use of Remotely Piloted Aircraft System for anti-locust operations” on 21st May, 2020 and in accordance with this order, two firms have been finalized through tender for use of the drones for spray of pesticides for Locust control.

    Meanwhile, supply order for procurement of additional 55 vehicles has been placed to strengthen the control potential. Adequate stock of Pesticide is being maintained (53,000 litres Malathion) with Locust Control Organizations. Under Sub-mission on Agriculture Mechanization, assistance for 800 tractors mounted spray equipments has been sanctioned for Rajasthan costing Rs. 2.86 crores. Also, under RKVY sanction for hiring of vehicles, tractors and for purchase of pesticides has been issued for Rajasthan worth Rs. 14 crores. Under RKVY sanction for purchase of vehicles, spray equipments, safety uniform, android application and training has also been issued for Gujarat at a cost of Rs. 1.80 crores.

    As per FAO’s Locust Status Update of 21st May, 2020, the current situation remains extremely alarming in East Africa where it is an unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods. New swarms will migrate to the summer breeding areas along both sides of the Indo-Pakistan border as well as to Sudan and West Africa. As vegetation dries out, more groups and swarms will form and move from these areas to the summer breeding areas along both sides of the Indo-Pakistan border. Good rains are predicted during the first half of June along the Indo-Pakistan border that would allow egg-laying to occur.

    During 2019-20, India witnessed a massive locust attack which was successfully controlled. Starting from 21st May, 2019 till 17th February 2020, a total of 4,03,488 ha area was treated and locust was controlled. Along with this, the State Agriculture Department of Rajasthan and Gujarat coordinated Locust control in cropped areas of the State. During 2019-20, Control operations were done in 3,93,933 ha area of  11 districts of Rajasthan; 9,505 ha area in 2 districts of Gujarat and 50 ha area in 1 district of Punjab. Senior Locust Forecasting Officer of FAO who visited India on 16-17 January 2019 also appreciated the efforts of India in Locust control.

    Everyday Locust Control Organizations and District Authorities and State Agriculture Department officials with control spray vehicles of LCOs, tractor mounted with sprayers and fire tenders, are undertaking Locust control operations in early morning hours. The immature locust is very active and their mobility makes it difficult to control the swarm at one location and it takes 4 to 5 days of control at different locations to control a particular locust swarm.

    Locust is an omnivorous and migratory pest and has the ability to fly hundreds of kilometers collectively. It is a trans-border pest and attacks the crop in large swarm. Found in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, they inhabit some 60 countries and can cover one-fifth of Earth's land surface. Desert locust plagues may threaten the economic livelihood of one-tenth of the world's human population. Swarms of locusts in the desert come to India from Africa/ Gulf/ South West Asia during the summer monsoon season and go back towards Iran, Gulf & African countries for spring breeding.

    In India more than 2 lakh square kilometers area comes under Scheduled Desert Area. Locust Warning Organization and 10 Locust Circle Offices (LCO) of Government of India are situated in Rajasthan (Jaisalmer, Bikaner, Phalodi, Barmer, Jalore, Churu, Nagaur, Suratgarh) and Gujarat (Palanpur and Bhuj) are responsible for monitoring, survey and control of Desert Locust in Scheduled Desert Area in coordination with State Governments.

  • On 26.05.2020, 255 Shramik Specials were originated. Till now, around 48 lacs migrants have been transported through Shramik Special Trains in 26 days.

    These 3543 trains were originated from various states. The top five States/UTs from where maximum trains originated are Gujarat(946 Trains), Maharashtra(677 Trains), Punjab(377Trains), Uttar Pradesh (243 Trains) and Bihar (215 Trains).

    These “Shramik Special” Trains were terminated in various States across the country. The top five states where maximum trains terminated are Uttar Pradesh(1392 Trains), Bihar(1123 Trains), Jharkhand(156 Trains), Madhya Pradesh(119 Trains), Odisha (123 Trains).

    IRCTC distributed more than 78 lakh free meals and more than 1.10 crore water bottles to travelling migrants.

    It may be noted that trains running today are not facing any congestion.

    In addition to Shramik specials, Railways are running 15 pairs of special trains connecting New Delhi and plans to start 200 more time tabled trains on 1st June.

  • Prime Minister recalled Rajapaska’s contributions to the development of Sri Lanka in his long political career, and wished him all the best for his future.

    Prime Minister also conveyed his condolences at the sudden and untimely demise of Arumugan Thondaman, a prominent leader of the Indian-Origin Tamils in Sri Lanka. Prime Minister recalled the role that Thondaman had played in taking forward the development partnership between India and Sri Lanka.

    The leaders discussed the health and economic impact of the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic and the measures being taken in the two countries to counter them. Prime Minister Modi assured Rajapaksa that India stands ready to extend all possible support to Sri Lanka during this challenging time.

  • Those tested positive Navy were undergoing quarantine at different facilities.

    The country has witnessed the highest daily number of 137 virus cases on Tuesday. Out of those cases, 127 were returnees from Kuwait who while 10 of them were Navy personnel, all under quarantine.

    No community case has been reported in Sri Lanka for over a month leading to curfew relaxation all over the country. The curfew is in place from 10 PM to 4 AM.

    In the meantime, the COVID recoveries reported reached 732 on Wednesday, while the number of active cases who are under medical care stands at 711. Ten persons have died of the pandemic so far.

  • Enhanced focus on healthcare has become imperative and our government is committed to provide world class healthcare to all citizens, he said.

    While speaking to media Dr Sudhakar said that Covid-19 experience has demonstrated the necessity of having robust, real-time public health data and therefore, there is a need to maintain repository of health data of each and every citizen. He said that Government will be undertaking a survey of all 6.5 Crore people in the state using a team of Primary Health Centre officials, revenue officials, Education department staff and ASHA karyakartas.

    They will visit each household and collect health data of all the members of the family. This will not only help the government to provide better health care, but will also help efficient resource allocation, management and better implementation of various citizen centric schemes in the state, the Minister added.

    Public-Private Partnership: It’s our vision to provide world-class health care to all citizens in the state and we need accurate data to make our vision a reality. The Health register is a futuristic project which is taken up in the interest of the people. The project will include 50% partnership of private hospitals. The data collected will help us to prioritise healthcare based on geography, demography and other targeted measures.

    Our Chief Minister B.S.Yediyurappa has assured all support for the project and a detailed discussion will be undertaken in the upcoming cabinet meeting, said Dr.Sudhakar. The Minister also assured that he is committed to ensure that all citizens of the state have access to world class healthcare.

  • The agenda included the election of next President of NDB, appointment of Vice-President and Chief Risk Officer and membership expansion.

    In her opening remarks, the Finance Minister commended the contribution of NDB in funding the infrastructure development, which has positively impacted the development agenda of the member countries, including India. Within a short span of time, NDB has approved 55 projects of member countries for an amount of $16.6 billion, which is quite a remarkable achievement. Smt. Sitharaman also mentioned that the Bank has successfully created a niche for itself and proudly stands shoulder to shoulder with the peer MDBs.

    The Finance Minister appreciated Mr. K. V Kamath, the outgoing President of NDB for his stellar stewardship in very quickly giving shape to the vision stated by the BRICS Leaders in 2014. The swift response to COVID-19 through launch of the COVID-19 Emergency Programme Loan product will be remembered as one of his contributions.

    Finance Minister congratulated newly-elected President Mr. Marcos Troyjo from Brazil and newly-appointed Vice President and CRO, Mr Anil Kishora from India. While congratulating them, Smt. Sitharaman remarked that she has great expectations from new leadership in continuing this momentum forward and taking NDB to the next level in terms of lending performance to members, transparency, international credibility and effectively achieving the NDB mandate. She suggested that, the focus should also be given to achieve the twin objective of preserving BRICS values and growing NDB into a global development institution.

  • There is a sudden increase in COVID-19 cases in Nepal and in last one week more than 450 persons diagnosed with Corona virus.

    According to the Ministry of Health and Population total number of COVID-19 cases has spiked to 886.

    Meanwhile, 28 persons cured and discharged from various hospitals on Wednesday.

    There are now 699 active cases, while 183 people have been recovered.

    Four persons have died of COVID-19 so far.

    47 districts of seven provinces have reported corona virus infection so far. Province 2 and Province 5 are the most affected by the COVID-19. Province 5 reported maximum 365 positive cases and Province 2 confirmed 324 cases till date.

  • Lockdown has garnered multiple gains, and primarily among them is that it has decelerated the pace of spread of the disease. According to the estimates made by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, a large number of deaths and cases have been averted.  At the same time, during the lockdown period development of COVID-19 specific health infrastructure; capacity development of human resource through online training modules and webinars; increased testing capacity; increase in supplies, equipment, oxygen; issuing of relevant guidelines, standards prepared, circulated, adopted, practiced; development of diagnostics, drug trials, vaccine research; and on the technical side surveillance systems strengthened with more contact tracing, house to house surveys along with tools like Aarogya Setu was achieved.

    Health infrastructure required for COVID-19 management was ramped up during the lockdown. As of 27th May 2020, 930 dedicated COVID hospitals with 1,58,747 Isolation beds, 20,355 ICU beds and 69,076 Oxygen supported beds are available. 2,362 dedicated COVID Health Centres with 1,32,593 Isolation beds; 10,903 ICU beds and 45,562 Oxygen supported beds have been operationalised. 10,341 quarantine centres and 7,195 COVID Care Centres with 6,52,830 beds are now available to combat COVID-19 in the country. The Centre has also provided 113.58 lakh N95 masks and 89.84 lakh Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) to the States/ UTs / Central Institutions. The testing capacity has increased in the country through 435 Government laboratories and 189 private laboratories (total of 624 labs). Cumulatively, 32,42,160 samples have been tested so far for COVID-19, whereas, 1,16,041 samples were tested on Tuesday.

    A total of 1,51,767 cases have been reported from the country in which 64,426 persons have been cured and the recovery rate is pegged at 42.4%. The fatality rate is 2.86% whereas the world average is 6.36%.

    Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has issued a Guidance Note on Provision of Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, Adolescent Health + Nutrition (RMNCAH+N) services during & post COVID-19 Pandemic. Details can be accessed at:

    https://www.mohfw.gov.in/pdf/GuidanceNoteonProvisionofessentialRMNCAHNServices24052020.pdf

    The Ministry has also issued an Advisory on Re-processing and Re-use of Eye-protection – Goggles. Details can be accessed at:

    https://www.mohfw.gov.in/pdf/Advisoryonreprocessingandreuseofeyeprotectiongoggles.pdf

    For all authentic & updated information on COVID-19 related technical issues, guidelines & advisories please regularly visit: https://www.mohfw.gov.in/ and @MoHFW_INDIA .

    Technical queries related to COVID-19 may be sent to technicalquery.covid19@gov.in and other queries on ncov2019@gov.in and @CovidIndiaSeva.

    In case of any queries on COVID-19, please call at Ministry of Health & Family Welfare helpline no.: +91-11-23978046 or 1075 (Toll-free). List of helpline numbers of States/UTs on COVID-19 is also available at https://www.mohfw.gov.in/pdf/coronvavirushelplinenumber.pdf .

  • NCOE Patiala currently has weightlifters, including those bound for Tokyo 2021 Olympics, and eminent athletes from Athletics, many of who have already won an Olympic quota. NCOE Bengaluru has members of the senior men’s and women’s hockey team along with theeminent athletes of athletics. Both the hockey teams have qualified for the Olympics.

    In keeping with the government guidelines, all necessary safety measures of hygiene and social distancing are being maintained by athletes on the field of play. Equipments are being self-sanitised by athletes after use and no two athletes are allowed to use the same equipment during the sports activity.

    In Patiala and Bengaluru athletes have been given a staggered schedule for participation in sporting activities, to ensure social distancing norms. Sanitisations of hands, shoes and kits are being followed at both centers.

  • The exercise is being carried out under the Vande Bharat Mission of Government of India to evacuate the Indian nationals from all over the world who are stranded in various countries due to the Corona pandemic and subsequent disruption of international travel.

    With this round of evacuation from Bangladesh, till May 27, more than 1,470 Indian nationals have been evacuated from Bangladesh to India.

    The evacuation from Bangladesh started on 8th May. Since then, flights from Dhaka have operated to Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Srinagar.

    A few more evacuation exercises including a flight from Dhaka and evacuation from the land border of Bangladesh for North Eastern states is scheduled to take place over the next few days.

  • According to the Met Department, the nor’wester was blowing at a wind0-speed of 78 kilometres per hour (Kmph) in Dhaka rising to 83 kmph at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport.

    The Met office recorded 63mm rain in the last 24 hours. In its forecast for the day, the Met department predicted rain/ thunder shower accompanied by occasional gusty wind in Dhaka and adjoining areas.

    The Met department has also predicted moderate rain/thunder shower accompanied by gusty wind at many places over Rajshahi, Rangpur, Mymensingh and Sylhet divisions.

    According to media reports, four people were killed in incidents related to storm and rain in Joypurhat district of Bangladesh last night. Strong wind and rain also damaged large number of houses in the area.

    Earlier, on Tuesday the Met department had advised the maritime ports of Chattogram, Cox’x Bazar, Mongla and Payra to hoist local cautionary signal number three as steep pressure gradient had formed over the North Bay. The fishing boats and trawlers were advised to keep close to the coast in view of the wind driver surge in the sea.

    The Cyclone Amphan had devastated Coastal districts of Bangladesh on Wednesday last with wind speed of up to 180kph and over 10 feet tidal surges. It caused severe damage to roads, embankments, standing crops, fisheries in the Coastal areas of the country.

  • The story concerns rumours of a fierce child-eating monster with extraordinary powers which lives in the northern tip of an imaginary land known as Cornucopia.

    Further chapters will be published every weekday until July 10, Rowling said on Twitter, adding in capitals: “THIS IS NOT A HARRY POTTER SPIN-OFF”.

    Rowling got the idea for The Ickabog when she was writing Harry Potter and she intended it to be published after “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”, the last of her seven-book Potter series.

    But the mostly handwritten manuscript ended up in her attic and stayed there for a decade until a few weeks ago. She has rewritten parts of it in recent weeks.

    “The Ickabog is a story about truth and the abuse of power,” said Rowling, 54. “The themes are timeless and could apply to any era or any country.”

    “I’ve decided to publish The Ickabog for free online, so children on lockdown, or even those back at school during these strange, unsettling times, can read it or have it read to them,” Rowling said.

    She will donate her royalties to projects and organisations helping the groups most impacted by COVID-19.

  • California-based SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule carrying astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken and its Falcon 9 rocket is due to lift off at 4:33 p.m. EDT (2033 GMT) on Wednesday from the same launch pad used by NASA’s last space shuttle mission in 2011.

    For Musk, SpaceX and NASA, a safe flight would mark a milestone in the quest to produce reusable spacecraft that can make space travel more affordable. Musk is the founder and CEO of SpaceX and CEO of Tesla Inc.

    NASA, hoping to stimulate a commercial space marketplace, awarded $3.1 billion to SpaceX and $4.5 billion to Boeing Co to develop dueling space capsules, experimenting with a contract model that allows the space agency to buy astronaut seats from the two companies. 

    Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner capsule is not expected to launch its first crew until 2021.

    NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine declared the mission a “go” last week at Kennedy Space Center after space agency and SpaceX officials convened for final engineering checks.

    SpaceX successfully tested Crew Dragon without astronauts last year in its first orbital mission to the space station. That vehicle was destroyed the following month during a ground test when one of the valves for its abort system burst, causing an explosion that triggered a nine-month engineering investigation that ended in January.

  • A star-formation binge in the Milky Way spanning the time when the solar system was born more than 4.5 billion years ago was apparently precipitated by the collision between our galaxy and a smaller one called Sagittarius, scientists said on Tuesday.

    Such collisions typically do not involve stars smashing head-on, they said, but can foster conditions for star formation by, for example, amping up the amount of gas in a galaxy or having gas clouds come together.

    The galaxies first crashed more than 6 billion years ago. Since then, Sagittarius - a “dwarf” galaxy 10,000 times less massive than the Milky Way - has twice passed through our galaxy’s immense disk containing most of its roughly 100 billion stars. All three galactic interactions were associated with a burst of Milky Way star formation.

    Data from the European Space Agency’s Gaia space observatory revealed a prolonged star-formation episode from 6.2 billion to 4.2 billion years ago associated with the initial crash. Two other star-formation surges linked to the galactic collision peaked 1.9 billion years ago and 1 billion years ago, each lasting a few hundred million years.

    “It is not really an impact like a car crash,” said astronomer Tomás Ruiz-Lara of the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias in Spain, lead author of the research published in the journal Nature Astronomy. “Some parts of Sagittarius and the Milky Way intersect, but stars do not crash. A star-star collision would be really, really rare.”

    The collision disrupted our galaxy’s steady pace of star formation.

  • U.S. President Donald Trump said late on Tuesday he is preparing to take action against China this week over its effort to impose national security laws on Hong Kong, but gave no further details.

    Hong Kong shares led declines among major regional indexes, with Hang Seng falling 0.46%, though it kept a bit of distance from a two-month low touched on Monday. MSCI's ex-Japan Asia-Pacific index .MIAPJ0000PUS lost 0.12%, with mainland Chinese shares .CSI300 down a similar amount. Japan's Nikkei N225 was almost flat.

    Worsening relations between the world’s two biggest economies could further hobble global business activity, which is already under intense pressure due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 ESc1 rose 0.4%, reclaiming the 3,000 chart level. The index had cleared 3,000 points in Wall Street overnight before pulling back, as some traders returned to the New York Stock Exchange floor for the first time in two months.

    “The S&P 500 looked to be set to close above 3,000 until the late headline that the United States was considering a range of sanctions on Chinese officials and businesses should China go ahead with its legislation regarding Hong Kong,” analysts at the National Australia Bank said in a note.

    “The extent of those possible sanctions is uncertain,” the analysts said. China’s plans to impose national security laws in Hong Kong have triggered the first big street unrest in the Asian financial hub since last year.

  • Google and its peer Facebook Inc had allowed their employees to work from home in early March following tough government-mandated restrictions to contain the coronavirus.

    Google said on Tuesday it would give each employee an allowance of $1,000, or the equivalent value in their country, to expense necessary equipment and office furniture, as it expects most of them to largely work from home for the remainder of the year.

    There are a limited number of employees whose roles are needed back in the office this year and they would return on a limited, rotating basis, Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai said in a blog post.

  • Currently, the death toll for coronavirus cases across the United States is more than 98,000 people.

    On one hand, where on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, nurses and doctors are caring for the living, on the other hand there is another front line of those caring for the dead.

    Funeral homes in New York are chaotic and overwhelmed and it can be weeks before bodies are embalmed or buried. Most COVID-19 victims die alone, and when they die, their families are told to quarantine and they try to find ways for them to say goodbye.
     

  • The first of five Iranian tankers carrying fuel for gasoline-starved Venezuela entered the South American country's exclusive economic zone on Saturday, despite a U.S. official's warning that Washington was considering a response to the shipment. The tanker flotilla is carrying a total of 1.53 million barrels of gasoline and alkylate to Venezuela.

    After, the tanker, named Fortune, reached the country's waters the defense minister pledged that the military would escort the tankers once they reached Venezuela's Exclusive Economic Zone due to what authorities described as threats from the United States.

    The desperately needed shipments have caused a diplomatic standoff between the United States and Iran and Venezuela, which are under U.S. sanctions. Gasoline is scarce in Venezuela due to a near-complete breakdown of the OPEC nation's 1.3 million barrel-per-day refining network.

  • The release was part of a prisoner swap under a deal struck by the Taliban and the United States in Qatar in February, as a precursor to peace talks between the Islamist militants and an inclusive Afghan delegation aiming to end a two-decade-old war.

    The Taliban had announced a three-day ceasefire for the Eid al-Fitr holiday that ends the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan, a move that was welcomed by both the Afghan and U.S. governments.

    Fighting between Taliban and Afghan forces had intensified before the ceasefire, and the government said it would resume an offensive against the militant group in the wake of its deadly attacks nationwide earlier this month.

  • The United States is approaching a grim milestone as the coronovirus death toll approaches 1,00,000 people, amid the ongoing global scramble to contain the virus and find a vaccine. Currently, the death toll for coronavirus cases across the United States is more than 98,000 people.

    Brazil deaths by COVID-19 reached 24,512 on Tuesday, with 1,039 new deaths over the last 24 hours, the health ministry said. The number of infections in Brazil rose to 3,91,222 with 16,324 new cases.

    Russia said on Tuesday 174 people with the coronavirus had died in the past 24 hours, a record one-day amount that pushed the nationwide death toll to 3,807. Officials reported 8,915 new cases on Tuesday, pushing its overall case tally to 362,342.

    The Spanish government declared a 10-day official mourning period from Wednesday to honor the nearly 30,000 people who died from the coronavirus pandemic in one of the world's worst-hit countries. During the mourning period, flags will fly at half-mast all over the country's public buildings and navy ships.

    France's coronavirus death toll rose by less than a 100 for the sixth day, raising hopes that the worst of the pandemic is over for the country. In a statement the French health ministry said that the number of new confirmed cases was up by 0.2%, in line with the rate of the last week and slower than the week before.

  • Aarogya Setu, India's Covid-19 contact tracing, syndrome mapping and self assessment mobile app is now open source. Announcing it, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said, transparency, privacy and security have been the core design principles of Aarogya Setu since its inception and opening of the source code to the developer community signifies Government's continuing commitment to this principle.

    He said, it is a unique thing as no other government product anywhere in the world has been open sourced at this scale.

    Speaking on app's vulnerability and privacy, NIC DG announced a bug bounty programme for the app which will be hosted on the Innovate platform. The bug bounty programme will enable developers to share bugs and other issues with the app as well. There are three categories for security vulnerability with bounty of Rs 1 lakh.

  • Indian Railways operationalised 3274 "Shramik Special" trains till 26th May 2020. More than 44 lakh passengers have been ferried back to their home states through these "Shramik Special" trains in 25 days.

    More than 74 lakh free meals and 1 crore water bottles have been distributed by railways. In addition to Shramik Specials, Railways are running 15 pairs of special trains connecting New Delhi from 12th May.

    Railway plans to start 200 more time tabled trains from1st June 2020. Railway has ensured that all precautionary guidelines are followed in view of the COVID 19 situation.

    On May 1, the Indian Railways started the migrant special trains to facilitate the movement of workers back to their home states. In the last four days, railway has operated 260 trains on an average daily carrying about three lakh passengers.

    The top five states and union territories from where maximum trains originated are Gujarat Maharashtra, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, and Delhi. The top five states where maximum trains terminated are Uttar Pradesh ,Bihar, Jharkhand ,Odisha and Madhya Pradesh.

  • The Union Home Ministry has written to all states that citizens who have been quarantined in hotels after their return from abroad and who were made to pay an advance for 14 days must be refunded half of the amount as per the revised guidelines.

    The Home Ministry has intervened following complaints that some hotels, used as temporary quarantine centres for people travelling from outside the country, were refusing to return seven day advance money after the government cut down institutional quarantine period from 14 days to seven.

    As per the latest guidelines, protocol for institutional quarantine has been revised to seven days followed by seven days home quarantine after medical assessment. Since they can now leave for home quarantine after 7 days, the amount paid by them for the remaining 7 days needs to be refunded to them, which some hotels are refusing to refund.

    The Home Ministry has asked states to ensure that hotels refund seven days quarantine stay charges paid by people returning from abroad who did not end up staying for those days.

  • In a telephone conversation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi conveyed greetings for Eid-ul-Fitr to Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, President of Egypt, as well as to the people of Egypt. Reciprocating the greetings, the Egyptian President referred to Egypt and India as being among the oldest civilizations in the world, and expressed happiness about the fast expanding bilateral relationship. Prime Minister expressed his appreciation for the support extended by Egyptian authorities for the safety and welfare of Indian nationals in Egypt during the COVID-19 crisis.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi also spoke on phone with Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, Amir of the State of Qatar, to convey Eid-ul-Fitr greetings to the friendly people of Qatar. Prime Minister warmly appreciated the personal care taken by the Amir for ensuring the welfare of the Indian citizens in Qatar during the COVID-19 pandemic.  In turn, The Amir appreciated the contributions of the Indian community in Qatar, especially the role being played by Indian health workers. 

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a telephone conversation with Federal President of the Republic of Austria Dr. Alexander Van der Bellen. The Austrian President condoled the damage caused in India by Cyclone Amphan.  The leaders exchanged views on measures taken in their countries to manage the adverse health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. They agreed on the importance of international collaboration to deal with the present challenges. Both the leaders reiterated their shared desire to further strengthen and diversify India-Austria relations in the post-Covid world.

  • Myanmar has sought the loan from IMF under its Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) and Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI) which offers quick loan facility at concessional rates for Low Income Countries.

    The loan will be used to cover deficit incurred by the government due to increased spending on social security, health services and economic assistance in the wake of Corona pandemic outbreak.

    According to a report of the IMF, Myanmar has been deeply affected by the outbreak of Corona pandemic. It has reported sharp decline in tourist arrival, supply chain disruption in the garment sector, losses in the SMEs, exports and foreign remittances.

    The Myanmar government has developed a COVID 19 Economic Relief Plan (CERP) with several fiscal and monetary measures including a 70 million dollar COVID 19 fund to provide soft loans to garment and tourism sector businesses and industries. Myanmar has decided to allocate up to 10 percent of its current budget to fight COVID-19.

    Myanmar has report 206 Corona positive cases and 6 deaths till Tuesday. It had reported the first Corona positive case on March 23. On May 13, the government of Myanmar extended restrictions on public gatherings of more than 5 people, closure of pre-schools and ban on international flights till May 31.

  • Out of them, 88 are migrant workers returning from Kuwait  and were under quarantine while rest eight are navy personnel.

    The new cases has raised the total number of COVID-19 cases in the country to 1,278 cases. The number of active coronavirus cases who are under medical care stands at 556 while the 712 have recovered with 10 deaths reported so far.

    Sri Lanka has not seen any community case of COVID for over a month but around 600 personnel from a navy camp have tested positive during the period.

    Over last three days. Around 180 people, returning from Kuwait and other Middle East countries have tested positive.

    The curfew has been relaxed all over the country from today and curfew will be in place only between 10 PM and 4 AM.

  • The Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) aims to enhance fish production to 220 lakh metric tons by 2024-25 from 137.58 lakh metric tons in 2018-19 at an average annual growth rate of about 9%.

    The Union Minister for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Shri Giriraj Singh, today said the ambitious scheme will result in doubling export earnings to Rs.1,00,000 crore and generate about 55 lakhs direct and indirect employment opportunities in fisheries sector over a period of next five years.

    Dedicating the PMMSY to fishers, fish farmers, fish workers, fish vendors and other stakeholders associated with the fisheries sector, Shri Giriraj Singh said that insurance coverage for fishing vessels is being introduced for the first time.

    Addressing a press conference on the “PMMSY - A scheme to bring about Blue Revolution through sustainable and responsible development of fisheries sector in India”, approved by the Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on 20th May, 2020, Shri Giriraj Singh said that the scheme envisages an estimated investment of Rs. 20,050 crores comprising Central share of Rs. 9,407 crore, State share of Rs 4,880 crore and Beneficiaries contribution of Rs. 5,763 crore. He added that the PMMSY will be implemented over a period of 5 years from FY 2020-21 to FY 2024-25 in all States/Union Territories.

    Giriraj Singh said that under the PMMSY thrust will be given towards enhancement of fish production and productivity, quality, sustainability, technology infusion, post-harvest infrastructure, modernisation and strengthening of value chain, standards and traceability in fisheries sector from ‘catch to consumer’, establishing a robust fisheries management framework, fishers’ welfare, enhancement of fisheries export competitiveness.

     He further mentioned that PMMSY will create a conducive environment for private sector participation, development of entrepreneurship, business models, promotion of ease of doing business, innovations and innovative project activities including start-ups, incubators etc. in fisheries sector.

    The Minister further mentioned that PMMSY being a fisher centric umbrella scheme, fishers, fish farmers, fish workers and fish vendors are the key stakeholders in the developmental activities envisaged and enhancement of their socio-economic status is one the core objectives of this scheme.

    The Fisheries Minister said that about 42% of the total estimated investment of the PMMSY is earmarked for creation and upgradation of fisheries infrastructure facilities.

    Focus areas include Fishing Harbours and Landing Centers, Post-harvest and Cold Chain Infrastructure, Fish Markets and Marketing Infrastructure, Integrated Modern Coastal Fishing Villages and Development of Deep-sea Fishing.

    Besides creating critical fisheries infrastructure by attracting private investments in fisheries sector, the scheme plans to reduce post-harvest losses from the present high of 25% to about 10% by modernizing and strengthening value chain. Under the Swath Sagar plan, activities envisaged with a view to modernize the fisheries sector include promotion of Bio-toilets, Insurance coverage for fishing vessels, Fisheries Management Plans, E-Trading/Marketing, Fishers and resources survey and creation of National IT-based databases.

    Underlining the need to enhance domestic fish consumption with corresponding health benefits, the Minister said that the Government will register “Sagar Mitra” and encourage formation of Fish Farmers Producer Organizations (FFPOs) to help achieve the PMMSY goals. Youth will be engaged in fisheries extension by creation of 3477 Sagar Mitras in coastal fisher villages. Large number of Fisheries Extension Services Centers will be set up in private space to create job opportunities to young professionals.

    The scheme will also focus on several new activities and areas such as Traceability, Certification and Accreditation, Aquaculture in saline/alkaline areas, Genetic improvement programmes and Nucleus Breeding Centres, Fisheries and Aquaculture start-ups, promotional activities for fish consumption, branding, GI in fish, Integrated Aqua parks, Integrated coastal fishing villages development, State-of-art wholesale fish markets, Aquatic Referral Laboratories, Aquaculture Extension Services, Biofloc, support for new/upgradation of fishing boats, disease diagnostic and quality testing labs, Organic Aquaculture Promotion and Certification and Potential Fishing Zone (PFZ) devices.

    Giriraj Singh said that the PMMSY provides thrust for infusing new and emerging technologies like Re-circulatory Aquaculture Systems, Biofloc, Aquaponics, Cage Cultivation etc. to enhance production and productivity, productive utilization of wastelands and water for Aquaculture. He added that some activities like Mariculture, Seaweed cultivation and Ornamental Fisheries having potential to generate huge employment especially for rural women will be promoted.

    Stressing on attaining self-sufficiency in availability of quality seed at affordable price, Shri Giriraj Singh said that the scheme will result in increasing aquaculture average productivity to 5 tons per hectare from the current national average of 3 tons per hectare. This will be achieved through promotion of high value species, establishing a national network of Brood Banks for all commercially important species, Genetic improvement and establishing Nucleus Breeding Centers for self-reliance in Shrimp Brood stock, accreditation of Brood banks, Hatcheries, Farms and also addressing diseases, antibiotics and residues issues, aquatic health management. These steps are likely to ensure quality, higher productivity, improve export competitiveness and fetch higher prices to fishers and farmers.

    Constituting about 7.73% of the global fish production and export earnings of Rs.46,589 Crores (2018-19), India today has attained the status of the second largest aquaculture and 4th largest fish exporting nation in the world. Shri Giriraj Singh that the country has high potentiality to attain the 1st highest fishing producing and exporting nation in the world in the coming years, and his Ministry is committed to take the fisheries sector to newer heights.

    The Minister said that the Fisheries sector has shown an impressive growth in terms of fish production and export earnings during the past five years.

    The sector recorded an Average Annual Growth Rate of 10.88% during 2014-15 to 2018-19, 7.53% average annual growth in fish production and 9.71% average annual growth in export earnings, with 18% share in agricultural exports. He further added that the Gross Value Added (GVA) of Fisheries sector in the national economy during 2018-19 stood at Rs 2,12,915 crores which constituted 1.24% of the total National GVA and 7.28% share of Agricultural GVA.

    Foreseeing the huge scope for development of fisheries, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in December, 2014, had called for “a revolution” in the Fisheries sector and named it as “Blue Revolution”.

    The Union Government has taken several initiatives to harness the potential of the Fisheries sector in a sustainable and responsible manner towards ushering the Blue Revolution in Fisheries as envisioned by the Prime Minister.

    Some of the major reforms and steps taken by the Union Government include (i) Creation of a separate Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying in the Union Government, (ii) Setting up a new and dedicated Department of Fisheries with independent administrative structure, (iii) Implementation of the Centrally Sponsored Scheme on Blue Revolution: Integrated Development and Management of Fisheries during the period 2015-16 to 2019-20 with a central outlay of Rs. 3,000 crore, (iv) Creation of Fisheries and Aquaculture Infrastructure Development Fund (FIDF) during 2018-19 with a fund size of Rs. 7,522.48 crore, and (v) Launching of PMMSY with an investment of Rs. 20,050 crore, the scheme with highest ever investment for fisheries sector.

    The Ministers of State for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Shri Sanjiv Kumar Baliyan and Shri Pratap Chandra Sarangi, and Secretary, Department of Fisheries, Dr. Rajeev Ranjan, were present during the press conference. On the occasion, the dignitaries released a booklet on the PMMSY.
     

  • He also thanked the Minister for his day-to-day support and for facilitating central assistance during the entire period of pandemic.

    Dr Jitendra Singh formally conveyed to the Lieutenant Governor, the Government’s appreciation for the consistent diligence and effort with which the Union Territory administration had dealt with the COVID pandemic and also succeeded in containing it.

    He noted that it was Ladakh which had caused initial alarm for the entire country when suddenly a number of cases reported Corona positive from among the returnees, who were coming back from Iran pilgrimage, but it goes to the credit of the administration and the civil society that Ladakh is among the first to gradually come out from the Corona assault.

     Dr Jitendra Singh thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his clear instructions to give priority to peripheral areas of Ladakh and North East, as a result of which Air Cargo supplies started reaching there even before the lockdown.

    As of today, the store of ration, vegetables and fruit in Ladakh is in much bigger quantity than it would have normally been otherwise in this part of the year, he added.

    The Minister also had a word of praise for the two young Deputy Commissioners of Leh and Kargil and the two SSPs of these two districts respectively who were in touch on day-to-day basis and coordinated for different issues from time to time, which helped in facilitating supply of medical equipment and later the movement of people returning from different parts of the country.

    Mathur apprised Dr Jitendra Singh of the current situation and said that now an effort is being made to revive the development activity. He also discussed some of the projects related to power generation and construction work which had got delayed due to the pandemic and said that very soon these would be revived.

    Among the various projects in the pipeline, Dr Jitendra Singh also mentioned the project for processing of “Leh Berry” for which the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has prepared a plan.
     

  • The two Defence Ministers had discussions on their respective responses against the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Rajnath Singh informed Ms Linda Reynolds on India’s contribution to international efforts against COVID-19 and discussed areas of mutual cooperation in the global fight against the pandemic.

    They also agreed that India-Australia Strategic Partnership provides a good basis for both countries to work together alongwith other countries in this regard to deal with the post COVID-19 related challenges.    

    Both ministers also conveyed their commitment to take forward the initiatives of bilateral defence and security cooperation under the framework of the India-Australia Strategic Partnership.                   
     

  • This is the highest number of Corona virus cases reported in a single day so far. According to the Ministry of Health and Population the total number of COVID-19 cases have reached to 772 in the Himalayan nation.

    On a positive side 43 persons cured and discharged from various hospitals of the country today. There are now 613 active cases, while 155 people have been recovered.

    Four persons have died of COVID-19 so far. All seven provinces of Nepal are affected by the corona virus. Province 2 and Province 5 are the most affected by the COVID-19. Province 5 reported maximum 331 positive cases and Province 2 confirmed 268 cases till date.

  • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced yesterday that the emergency will be lifted in the remaining five prefectures including Tokyo.

    He warned that state of emergency can be re-imposed if the infection starts spreading rapidly again.

    Abe said expert commission, established by the Japanese government at the beginning of the outbreak, will present by mid-June guidelines for clubs, bars and karaoke spots, where several COVID-19 clusters have originated.

    Japanese government had declared the state of emergency for Tokyo and six neighbouring prefectures in early April and later expanded it to cover the entire country.
     

  • More than 40 lakhs passengers have reached their destinations by these trains. Rail Minister Piyush Goyal has expressed happiness that the railways successfully operated more than three thousand Shramik Special trains and took migrant workers from different parts of the country to their home state.

    In a tweet, the Railways Minister appealed to all the states to cooperate with the Railways and help their labour brothers.

    80 per cent of these Shramik trains are destined for various destinations in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

    Railways had started running Shramik Special trains from 1st May, to move migrant workers, pilgrims, tourists, students and other persons stranded at different places due to lock down.

    The top five States and Union Territories from where maximum trains originated are Gujarat, Maharashtra, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi.

    These trains were terminated in various States across the country. Uttar Pradesh received the highest number of one thousand 245 trains, followed by Bihar 846 trains and Jharkhand 123 trains.

    During the journey, passengers are given free meals and water. In addition to Shramik specials Railways is running 15 pairs of special AC trains connecting New Delhi and has decided to start 200 more trains from 1st June. 
     

  • It will be the 65th episode of the monthly radio programme.

    PM Modi has invited people to share their ideas.

    People can dial 1800-11-7800 to record their messages and can write on the NaMo App Open Forum or on MyGov.

    One can also give a missed call on 1922 and follow the link received in SMS to directly give the suggestions.

    People can share their ideas on topics till 25th of May.
     

  • REC Foundation, the CSR arm of REC Limited, has partnered with TajSATS (a joint venture of IHCL and SATS Ltd) to distribute specially-made nutritious meal packets for medical staff in Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi.

    Every day, 300 food packets are being delivered as a gesture of gratitude to the frontline healthcare warriors of New Delhi. Over 18,000 meals will be delivered in New Delhi through this initiative.

    At the same time, REC in collaboration with various district authorities, NGOs and electricity distribution companies (DISCOMS) is already providing cooked meals and ration to the needy across the nation.

    This initiative was started when the country went under a nation-wide lockdown and will continue for the duration of the coronavirus lockdown. As of 24 May 2020, the corporation has distributed more than 4.58 lacs Kilograms of food grains, 1.26 lac meal packets, 9600 litres of sanitizers, 3400 PPE kits and 83000 masks.

    REC Limited (formerly Rural Electrification Corporation Limited) is a Navratna NBFC focusing on Power Sector Financing and Development across India.

    Established in 1969, REC Limited has completed over fifty years in the area of its operations. It provides financial assistance across the power-sector value chain.

    Apart from this, REC is also the nodal agency for Govt. of India flagship schemes in the Power sector like Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY), Saubhagya, etc.
     

  • Border Roads Organisation (BRO) achieved this major milestone by digging up a 440 m long Tunnel below the busy Chamba town on Rishikesh-Dharasu road Highway (NH 94).

    The breakthrough was completed amidst threat of COVID-19 and nationwide lockdown. The construction of tunnel was a challenging task in terms of weak soil strata, continuous water seepage, heavy built up area on top thereby chances of sinking of houses, land acquisition issues, restrictions during COVID lockdown etc.
    Speaking on the occasion, the Minister said, this Rishikesh-Dharasu-Gangotri road in Uttarakhand has a very significant role from socio economic and religious point of view.

    He said, opening of this tunnel will ease out congestion though the Chamba town and reduce the distance by one kilometer and journey through the town will take only ten minutes as compared to thirty minutes earlier.

    Gadkari lauded BRO for working in some of the very difficult terrain and ensuring implementation of critical projects. He said that he has been informed about completion of the project by October 2020, ie, three months ahead of the schedule.

    Director General of Border Roads Organisation, Lt Gen Harpal Singh said, BRO started the work on North Portal of this tunnel in Jan 2019 but work on South Portal could be started only after Oct 2019 due to stiff resistance from locals on account of safety concerns and compensation issues. To compensate for the loss in time, day and night working shifts along with use of modern technology facilitated the breakthrough.

    BRO is a key stake holder in prestigious Chardham project and breakthrough of this tunnel has been achieved by Team Shivalik. Latest Austrian technology has been used in its construction. The tunnel will be through for traffic by October this year, almost three months before its scheduled date of completion.
    Under prestigious Chardham Project costing around Rs 12,000 Crore with approximate length of 889 Km, BRO is constructing 250 Km of National Highways leading to holy shrine Gangotri and Badrinath. Majority of the works are progressing ahead of schedule and BRO is slated to complete four projects by October this year.
    BRO has been entrusted 251 Km of stretches  costing Rs 3000 Cr approx consisting of 17 Projects on road Rishikesh – Dharasu (NH-94) from Km 28 onwards of 99 Km length, Dharasu- Gangotri Highway (NH-108) of 110 Km length and Joshimath to Mana ( NH-58) of 42 Km length. Out of these, 10 Projects consisting of 151 Km road length have been sanctioned which are worth Rs 1702 Cr and works are under progress as under:-

    (i)       Rishikesh – Dharasu( NH-94) , 99 Km length (Five  projects).

    (ii)     Dharasu- Gangotri Highway (NH-108), 22 Km length (Two  projects). Five projects of BESZ are yet to be sanctioned.

    (iii)   Joshimath to Mana (NH-58) 32 Km (Three Projects). Two projects are yet to be sanctioned

     

    BRO is slated to complete four Projects aggregating a length of 53 Km out of 10 ongoing projects ahead of their scheduled, date of completion as under:-

    Dharasu- Gangotri Highway (NH-108) KM 110-123 by June 2020.
    Rishikesh- DharasuHighway (NH-94) Km28-59 by July 2020.
    Rishikesh- Dharasu Highway (NH-94) Km 59-65 including Chamba Tunnel by October 2020.
    Chinialisaur bye pass on Rishikesh- Dharasu Highway (NH-94) by October 2020.
     

    A Tunnel of 440 mtr length to decongest busy Chamba town is being constructed out of these 10 projects. This is a Horse shoe type tunnel with 10 mtr carriage way width and 5.5 mtr vertical clearance. The sanctioned cost of this tunnel is 107.07 Crore. The awarded cost is Rs 86 Crore, including 43 Crore for Tunnel and 43 Crore for 4.2 Km approach roads to tunnel.
     

  • The study can help in understanding and treatment of concussion from head injuries as well as stretch-induced nerve injuries.Axons are long tubular extensions of nerve cells that transmit electrical signals across long distances and can be up to a meter long in the case of humans.

    At such lengths, they are subjected to large stretch deformations during limb or other bodily movements.

    Axons in the brain too undergo significant deformations, even during normal activities like jumping (the human brain is as soft and wobbly as edible jelly).

    Probing into what special strategies axons adopt to protect themselves from damage during such stretch deformations, the scientists zeroed in on the molecule spectrin, a cytoskeletal protein.In their research published in journal eLife, with Dr. Sushil Dubey as the lead author, Prof. Pramod Pullarkatand his team from RRI showed that neuronal cells may have evolved a clever strategy using an etched optical fiber attached to a piezo drive as a force-sensing cantilever to stretch live axons and to measure the resultant tension. Piezo drives attached to optical fiber is used to stretch on axons where optical fiber acts as a force-sensing cantilever.

    The resulting tension measured along the axon comes from the axonal cytoskeleton (consisting of biopolymers), of which spectrin is a part.The RRI team took clues from a recent discovery, which showed that axons have a periodic scaffold consisting of longitudinally arranged long spectrin protein molecules. The function of this skeleton was a puzzle.

    The experiments by the RRI team on axons that are biochemically or genetically modified to disrupt specific cytoskeletal components revealed that the spectrin scaffold has a prominent mechanical role.Earlier single-molecule experiments had shown that spectrin molecules contain several folded regions which can unfold when the protein is stretched and refold when released, thus acting as molecular bellows.

    By comparing detailed tension measurements on axons with a mathematical model that describes such a mechanism, the RRI team showed that this process helps axons to buffer tension and dissipate excess elastic energy. Unlike a linear spring, where the tension increases proportionally with stretch, axonal tension exhibits a plateau-like region where tension is only weakly dependent on stretch, due to the unfolding process.

    This suggests that spectrins can act as axonal ‘shock absorbers’ to protect axons from stretch-induced damage.The brain undergoes significant shear deformations (up to 5% of strain) even under normal activities such as jumping. In contact sports, brain concussion occurs and is a leading cause of injuries. This study will have significant implications to our understanding of concussion that result from head impacts as well as stretch-induced nerve injuries.
     

  • Approaches used so far to achieve the controllability over hotspots distribution, which involves the synthesis of complex morphologies, limits their potential to be used for large area substrates.
    In order to overcome this, the INST group developed a hybrid Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy(SERS) platform of Molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) nanostructure decorated with gold nanoparticles, where direct laser writing is used to engineer the artificial edges on the surface of MoS2. 

    This created localized hotspots with remarkable precision and control. Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) is a technique for molecular detection and characterization that relies on the enhanced Raman scattering of molecules that are adsorbed on SERS-active surfaces, such as nanostructured gold or silver.

    In the research by Dr. Kiran Shankar Hazraand his group which has been accepted for publication in the journal ACS Nano,a focused laser beam of meager power of a conventional Raman spectrometer was used to do nanostructuring on 2D flakes of desired feature size and geometry just by playing with the laser power and exposure time. 
    Using this technique, they achieved the minimum feature size of   ̴300nm, which is close to the diffraction limit of the laser used (i.e., 532nm laser line).

    In SERS sensing, producing SERS substrate of controllable hotspots distribution with desired geometry and location is the main challenging task.

    Several efforts have been made by researchers to attain the controllability over hotspots distribution via employing various synthesis procedures, hotspots engineering, defect engineering, and so on. However, the random distribution of hotspots and precision over geometrical nanostructure has limited the progress in the field of SERS sensing.

    The hybrid SERS platform developed by the INST group offers controlled formation of localized hotspots for ultrasensitive and reproducible detection of analytes. Low power-focused laser irradiation technique was employed to create artificial edges on atomically thin 2D MoS2 sheet, which enables the superior deposition of AuNPs along the artificial edges, and enhances the local electromagnetic field leading to formation of hotspots.

    The innovative route to attain the accuracy and control over localized hotspots formation at desired position and geometry, which is advantageous over randomly distributed hotspots in conventional SERS substrates.

    The team is now exploring various applications of 2D material nanostructures in the field of catalysis, sensing, and optoelectronics devices.

    This research in SERS sensing will open a new avenue for the development of commercialized SERS substrate with a localized detection capability of analytes.

    The AuNPs decorated, and laser-etched 2Dsheets based SERS hybrid platform will also shed new light in the SERS sensing of biological and chemical molecules.

    The artificial edges of the 2D layers can be functionalized with an antibody with adequate coating and linkers for the SERS detection of various biomarkers.
     

  • Under this system, hotels are given a rating, from One Star to Three Star, Four and Five Star with or without alcohol, Five Star Deluxe, Heritage (Basic), Heritage (Classic), Heritage (Grand), Legacy Vintage (Basic), Legacy Vintage (Classic), Legacy Vintage (Grand) and Apartment Hotels, Home stays, Guest house etc.

    The classification/ certification is valid for period of five years.Considering the current situation when the hospitality industry is going through a very difficult time in the wake of Covid 19 Pandemic and lockdown that has severely impacted the accommodation sector, it has been decided that validity of approval or certifications of hotels and other accommodation units whose project approvals/reapprovals and classification/reclassification have expired/are likely to expire during the period (24.03.2020 to 29.6.2020) are deemed to be extended till 30.06.2020.Similarly, the Ministry has a scheme of approving Travel Agents, Tour Operators, Adventure Tour Operators, Domestic Tour Operators and Tourist Transport Operators etc. the idea being to encourage quality, standard and service in these categories so as to promote Tourism in India.

    Due to postponement of inspection work and application scrutiny during the lockdown period from March 2020 onward in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Tourism has decided to allow six months’ relaxation or extension to all categories of Tour Operators (Inbound, Domestic, Adventure) Travel Agents and Tourist Transport Operators for their approval with the Ministry of Tourism subject to the following conditions: -

    (i) The previous approval expired or the current approval expires during the period of 20th March, 2020 (i.e. the date of issuance of order by the Ministry for discontinuation of inspection work by India Tourism offices) till continuation of lockdown, and
    (ii) They applied for renewal before expiry of their current/previous approval.