News

  • In Uttar Pradesh, the state government in consonance with guidelines of Union Government has decided to open Religious places, Malls, Hotels and restaurants from tomorrow in the state.

  • Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allied nations have agreed to extend a production cut of nearly 10 million barrels of oil a day through the end of July, hoping to boost energy prices hard hit by the Coronavirus pandemic.

  • Delhi government has said that suspected patients of Covid-19 cannot be denied admission by any hospital in Delhi.

  • Churches and mosques will not reopen in Goa despite permission from the Central government to do so with leaders of the respective communities saying that the situation is still not conducive for reopening places of worship.

  • Staes and Union Territories are gearing up to open religious places, malls, restaurants, hotels and offices from tomorrow.

  • Air India sold over 22 thousand seats in just 15 hours for destinations in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and Europe for the third phase of Vande Bharat Mission.

  • Government has constituted a task force to examine issues related to age of motherhood, lowering Maternal Mortality Rate and improvement of nutritional levels.

  • Indian and Chinese officials continue to remain engaged through the established military and diplomatic channels to address the current situation in the India-China border areas.

  • India and China have agreed that the two countries to handle their differences through peaceful discussion.

  • Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, CSIR has come together with Atal Innovation Mission, AIM to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in various sectors.

  • Union Road, Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari launched national awareness campaign on Prevention of Human and Animal Mortality on Highways.

  • India's foreign exchange reserves surged by 3.43 billion dollars to reach a fresh all-time high of 493.48 billion dollars in the week ended 29th of last month.

  • The Chief Secretary Rajendra Kumar Tiwari has already issued instructions in this regard.
     
    Preparations to open these institutions have begun across the state. All the religious and commercial places will have to follow instructions of the local administration also.
     
    The local administration will ensure the security and social distancing arrangements. In religious places only 5 persons at a time will be allowed inside and mask wearing will be compulsory. Offerings will not be distributed in temples.
     
    Mean while Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath  has emphasised on  extra ness  to break the chain of Covid 19. He said that unlock does not mean freedom.
     
    Following the guidelines Religious places, hotels and malls in Varanasi district will not open tomorrow, but after ensuring security and other arrangements.
     
    AIR correspondent reports that the District Magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma has said that religious places, hotels and malls in Varanasi will not open on Monday.

    He said that according to the instructions issued by the Uttar Pradesh government, the religious places, hotels and malls, who have completed the prescribed arrangements and want to open them, fill up a check list and submit it to the police station in their area. 
     
    On the basis of check list the concerned area magistrates and police Circle Officers will inspect the premises. This will check whether all the arrangements of security and social distancing are being implemented or not. 
     
    As per satisfaction in the inspection, these premises will be allowed to open from the next day of inspection. The Inspections will begin tomorrow.
     
    The District Magistrate has appealed the people that before going to these places they should confirm it.

    He said restaurents will open from tomorrow as per Left and Right lane basis and to the 50 percent of seating capacity.

    On violation of rules, drastic action will be taken and the premises will be closed till 30th June, He added.

  • Church authorities have declined to open churches for worship and prayers from tomorrow. A Spokesperson for the Church said keeping in mind the novel coronavirus situation, Churches in Goa are not in a position to open from tomorrow.
     
    Several churches including the Archbishop of Goa have been streaming the religious services live for the benefit of their congregations.
     
    Association of All Goa Muslim Jamaats has said that until June 30, they have requested all mosques not to open their doors to followers in view of the spike in cases of Covid-19 in the state

  • This is the fourth round of evacuation of Indian nationals by the amphibious vessel under the Operation Samudra Setu.
     
    The repatriation exercise has been facilitated by the Indian High Commission in Male, in coordination with Maldives authorities.

    Buses took the returnees from different places in capital Male while the passengers hailing from the islands outside Male were brought in ferries.
     
    Last month, the INS Jalshwa sailed twice and INS Magar once from Male to bring back around 1500 people to Kochi. INS Jalashwa had also brought 685 people from Sri Lanka to Tuticorin last week as part of the Operation Samudra Setu.

  • In his letter he thanked the Chief Minister for showing his commitment towards the ethos of Jal Jeevan Mission.

    Minister expressed optimism that the State will not only provide remaining households with tap connections, but potable water service delivery in adequate quantity of prescribed quality on regular & long-term basis will be ensured to all households as envisaged under the Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM).

    Minister stressed that funds to the State is provided by Government of India based on output in terms of number of FHTCs provided and utilization of funds.

    o that effect in 2019-20, Punjab was allocated and provided Rs. 227.46 Crore as Central share, out of which the State could utilize only Rs. 73.27 Crore.

    With opening balance of Rs. 257 Crore along with allocation of Rs. 362.79 Crore in 2020-21, Punjab has assured availability of Rs. 619.89 Crore Central fund.

    With State’s matching share, Rs. 1,239.78 Crore will be available under Jal Jeevan Mission to provide tap connections to families in rural areas of Punjab in 2020-21.

    Union Minister requested the State to expedite the planning and implementation, in order to ensure that every household is provided with tap connections by March, 2022.

    He impressed upon the CM to focus on retrofitting/ augmentation of existing water supply systems in villages to provide household tap connections to the remaining households, mostly belonging to poorer section of the society.

    He urged the CM to provide remaining households with tap connections in next 4–6 months in a ‘campaign mode’ to provide 14 lakh tap connections by taking up augmentation and retrofitting of such schemes and these villages can become ‘Har Ghar Jal Gaon’.  While planning, priority should be given on saturating villages in water scarce areas and aspirational districts, & villages covered under Sansad Adarsh Gramin Yojana.

    Since, potable water supply to water quality-affected habitations is a top priority under JJM and in the light of interim order of National Green Tribunal, Union Minister requested the CM to ensure piped water supply to all households in Arsenic and Fluoride affected habitations before December, 2020.

    In case, potable water piped connections cannot be ensured before December, 2020, as an interim measure potable water @ 8-10 lpcd for drinking and cooking purpose is to be provided by installing community water purification plants (CWPP).

    Keeping the 73rd Constitutional Amendment, Jal Jeevan Mission mandates that local village community/ Gram Panchayats and or its sub-committee/ user groups are involved in planning, implementation, management, operation and maintenance of water supply systems in villages to ensure long-term sustainability of water supply schemes to achieve drinking water security.

    In 2020-21, under 15th FC Grants to PRIs, Rs.1,388 Crore  is allocated  to the State, 50% of which is to be spent mandatorily on water and sanitation The State has been requested to utilize all available resources through convergence of various programmes like MGNREGS, SBM (G), 15th Finance Commission Grants to PRIs, CAMPA, CSR Fund, Local Area Development Fund, etc. for water supply works at village level and Village Action Plan of every village is to be prepared by dovetailing all such resources.

    In the wake of COVID-19 pandemic situation, issue of drinking water gains prominence.

    At present, there is perhaps no higher priority but to ensure citizens have access to clean water for drinking and multifarious domestic uses.

    A tap at home will not only help practicing social distancing, but will also ensure better hygiene and hand-washing routine.

    Besides, the State will also help its local people and migrant workers in providing them with employment through Jal Jeevan Mission.

  • External Affairs Ministry said in a statement that meeting between the Corps Commander based in Leh and the Chinese Commander was held yesterday in a cordial and positive atmosphere.
     
    Both sides also noted that this year marked the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two nations and agreed that an early resolution would contribute to the further development of the relationship.
     
    In recent weeks, India and China have maintained communications through established diplomatic and military channels to address the situation in areas along the India-China border.

    The two sides will continue the military and diplomatic engagements to resolve the situation and to ensure peace and tranquility in the border areas.

  • As per guidelines, generic measures need to be observed by all staff, workers or patrons at all times when visiting malls, restaurants or workplaces.

    These include physical distancing of at least 6 feet and use of face covers or masks. Respiratory etiquettes to be strictly followed.

    This involves strict practice of covering one’s mouth and nose while coughing/sneezing with a tissue/handkerchief/flexed elbow and disposing off used tissues properly.

    Self-monitoring of health by all and reporting any illness at the earliest to state and district helpline.

    All restaurants have been asked to ensure that takeaways are encouraged instead of Dine-In. All staff and patrons to be allowed entry only if using face cover/masks.

    In case of religious places, the SOP advises people above 65 years of age, pregnant women, children below the age of 10 years to stay at home.

    Large gatherings and congregations continue to remain prohibited.
     

  • Recently scientists from Centre for Nano and Soft Matter Sciences (CeNS), Bengaluru an autonomous institute of the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India have developed a novel recipe for fabrication of TCG which brings down its production cost by 80% compared to tin-doped indium oxide (ITO) based technology which is currently in use.

    Their current work has been published in the journal Materials Chemistry and Physics.

    Industrially relevant TCG came up with conducting coatings such as tin-doped indium oxide (ITO) with a few hundred nanometres of thicknesses, where significant cost is attached to the slow deposition rates adopted for high-quality films.

    The newly fabricated TCG consists of metal mesh on a glass substrate with thin overlayers of metal oxides.

    The design is attractive as the hybrid electrode possesses the excellent conductive property of the metal mesh (having a sheet resistance of about 5 ohms/square) while offering an oxide surface finish for the conductive glass, which makes it relate well with the existing industry requirements based on ITO.

    The team lead by Prof. G U Kulkarni, along with his co-workers from CeNS and industrial partner Hind High Vacuum (HHV) Pvt. Ltd. have set-up a semi-automated production plant funded by DST-Nanomission in CeNS-Arkavathi campus for production of low-cost TCG.

    Dr. Ashutosh K Singh, Scientist-C at CeNS who is working on this project, said, “We are fabricating various prototypes such as transparent heaters, transparent Electromagnetic Interference shields, smart window, etc. based on TCG to showcase its potential applications. Further, these electrodes have been sent out for field tests in various industries and R&D laboratories”.

    These TCGs have been exhibited in various prestigious meetings and conferences such as Bengaluru INDIA NANO-2018 & 2020, ICONSAT-2018 & 2020, SPIE-2019, etc. for dissemination and marketing purpose and are also available for onsite testing and validation purposes.

    Figure 1 (a) Reduction in the production cost of hybrid electrode wrt. ITO in (%) with sheet resistance values, (b) digital image of hybrid transparent electrode demonstrating its transparency and clarity.  

    Thus, the TCG developed by CeNS have the potential to bring down the overall production cost of devices like smart windows, touch screens, solar cells, and so on due to its low-cost processing cost.

  • Liquid crystals have become an integral part of human life, for example, the most modern display devices such as computers, mobiles, TV screens, and so on are made up of liquid crystals. Cholesteric liquid crystals are special kind of materials which have the property of reflecting the light of wavelength equal to its pitch length, and this pitch length is temperature-sensitive.

    So, they are generally used as thermal sensors. If such cholesteric liquid crystals are made photo-sensitive, then these materials can be used for optical storage devices and other related applications.

    The team of scientists from CeNS headed by Dr Veena Prasad have synthesised these novel photo-sensitive cholesteric liquid crystals for temperature range from -10oC to 160oC.

    Hence, the devices made using these liquid crystals can be used in Syberia to Saudi Arabia where extreme temperatures were reported. A simple, cost-effective procedure was adopted to synthesise such materials.

    These room-temperature liquid crystals can be used for creating optical storage devices, liquid crystal displays and so on.

    The phenomena driving such optical storage device lies in tuning the molecules with light. Energetically more stable trans-state of azobenzene based photosensitive molecules turned to metastable cis configuration with the illumination of suitable UV light. Bringing them back to the original trans-state can be done using either by shining light of higher wavelength (~ 450nm) or by keeping it in a dark state.

    The later process is known as thermal back relaxation, where only room temperature is playing the role. The idea behind the phenomena is to increase such thermal back relaxation to retain the optically written images for a long time.

    An optical storage device based on above phenomena was fabricated, in collaboration with Dr Gurumurthy Hegde from BSN Centre for Nano-materials and Displays, BMS College of Engineering, Bengaluru, using one of these materials. The device has shown very high thermal back relaxation with good contrast between the illuminated region (dark state) and masked region (bright state).

    This process took almost 5 hours to relax back to its original configuration (i.e., trans-state). Such devices are extremely useful in creating rewritable advertisement boards where one can store the images for several hours and then can be rewritten or in some cases can be kept as permanent storage device.

    Then can also be used as optical rewritable boards for schools and colleges.

    This invention will definitely help to bring down the cost of the devices with a very simple yet powerful photoisomerisation concept. An Indian patent has been filed for this invention.

  •  he need for making available domestic technology for NP swabs was flagged by CSIR to NCL in mid-April.

    Nasopharyngeal swab is a medical device with stringent specifications of quality, polymer grade, dimensions and sterilization.

    An NP swab consists of a cylindrical plastic stick with a brush-like tip of synthetic bristles/flocks.

    The flocking process helps align the fine bristles in a parallel orientation on the stick head, much like a tooth brush, except that this has round uniform geometry and the NP swab bristles are of micron diameter.

    The NCL team of polymer science and chemical engineering scientists - which included Dr. Chandrashekhar V. Rode, Dr. Prakash P. Wadgaonkar, and Dr. Anuya A. Nisal  - successfully worked out the detailed specifications of NP swab polymers and adhesives.

    The specifications included medical-grade materials that must be used for manufacture, the swab design and the packaging and sterilization protocols.

    “This is an excellent example of optimizing the polymer specifications and validating the chemical analysis of an urgently needed medical swab product in a very short time,” noted Dr. Ashwini Kumar Nangia, Director, NCL.

    The NCL has transferred the process knowhow of indigenous NP swabs for sample collection to a Mumbai-based chemical company under the COVID-19 technology transfer guidelines of CSIR.

    After confirming the correct chemical and polymer composition of NP swabs, their diameter, alignment of bristles, and sterilization method, NCL has suggested the next regulatory pathway for approval of medical devices to the company.

    They will be able to produce 1 lakh NP swabs per day.

  •  Major Products are : Ammonia- as refrigerant, for nitriding of steel, rocket fuel, pharmaceuticals.

    Ammonium Nitrate- in explosives for coal mining etc.

    Ammonium Bi-Carbonate- for bakery products, tanneries.

    Methyl Amines- in pesticides, dyestuff, pharmaceuticals.

    Concentrated Nitric Acid: in explosives, pharmaceuticals.

    Dilute Nitric Acid: in jewellry, propellant.

    Argon - arc welding.

    Formic Acid - in rubber, leather.

    Di-Methyl Formamide - as solvent for fibres, spandex, polyamides.

     Di-Methyl Acetamide - as solvent for polyester film, acrylic fibres.

    Sodium Nitrate : in propellants, explosives

    RCF’s Q4 2019-20 Profit after Tax rises over 190 % over Q4 2018-19

    Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers Ltd. (RCF) tripled its standalone profit after tax in the March quarter to Rs.142.28 crores from Rs.48.47 crores in previous year registering an increase of 193.54%. 

    RCF’s Profit after Tax For FY 2019-20 rises 49 % over FY 2018-19

    Profit after tax for financial year ended 31st March 2020 surged to Rs.208.15 crores from Rs 139.17 core in previous year.

    Annual revenue from operations jumped 9 % year-on-year (y-o-y) to Rs. 9698 crores, which is the highest ever since inception. Annual EBIDTA before exceptional items grew 36 % y-o-y to Rs. 711.96 crores.

    Despite various challenges being faced by the Company, the financial performance for the current year has been better as compared to previous year.

    Fertilizer industry got some relief as Government approved vintage allowance of Rs. 150 per tonne to certain plants (30years old + converted to Gas) and additional fixed cost of Rs. 350 per tonne of Urea as per Modified NPS III which was long awaited. RCF has accounted for the same in Q4 of FY 2019-20.

    The Board has recommended a dividend of 28.40%, its highest-ever dividend declaration in the history of the Company. 

    S.C. Mudgerikar, CMD RCF, has stated that during the FY 2019-20 the overall sale of manufactured & traded fertilizers increased by 7% over previous year. Company's Complex Fertilizer-Suphala sale increased by more than 15% over previous year.

    RCF launched two new products during FY 2019-20 viz. Organic Growth Stimulant & Water Soluble Silicon Fertilizer. RCF commissioned 15 million litre per day capacity Sewage Treatment Plant during FY 2019-20. RCF also got recognized as a State Trading Enterprise for import of Urea on government account & imported 16 lakh MT of Urea.

    Going forward, the farming sector is expected to get help from a good monsoon forecast in FY 2020-21. In the ongoing current Covid-19 pandemic, Company is fully geared -up to face the upcoming challenges and ready to capitalize on the opportunities coming its way.

  • The company will infuse total capital expenditure (Capex) of Rs. 849 crores on these projects and generate direct employment for 647 persons.

    Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shri Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari and Union Minister of Coal and Mines Shri Pralhad Joshi inaugurated the mines through video conference.

    “WCL has to produce 75 MT of coal by financial year 2023-24. Opening of these mines will certainly add in the efforts of the company reaching this milestone and also help Coal India achieve 1 billion tonnes (BT) coal production target by financial year 2023-24.” Union Minister of Coal and Mines Pralhad Joshi said on the occasion.

    The three mines which WCL has opened, are a) Adasa Mine, an underground to open cast mine, in Nagpur Area of Maharashtra, b) Sharda underground Mine in Kanhan Area and c) Dhankasa underground mine in Pench Area of Madhya Pradesh.

    The annual coal production capacity of Adasa mine is 1.5 MT whereas Sharda and Dhankasa mines are having annual coal production capacities of 0.4 MT and 1 MT respectively.

    The company launched a surveillance System named WCL EYE for monitoring of its mining operations and an App named SAMVAAD to connect with its employees and stakeholders on this occasion. WCL EYE will monitor operations of 15 major mines of the company round the clock that account for 70% of the company’s coal production.

    It will also help monitor coal stocks and availability of coal at sidings, keep a tab on placement of rakes and loading at railway sidings and ensure accountability.

    SAMVAAD is a Mobile and Desktop App for employees & stakeholders, which will provide a virtual platform for suggestion/feedback/experience sharing. Quick Response Teams will respond to the queries and feedbacks in 7 days mandated period.

    Pralhad Joshi announced that different subsidiaries of Coal India have given Rs. 20 crores to the Government of Madhya Pradesh to strengthen its fight against COVID-19 pandemic in the state.

    Coal India will also give Rs. 20 crores in a day or two to the Government of Maharashtra for strengthening its cause against COVID-19. 

    WCL has launched “Mission 100 Days” a roadmap to achieve targets for the current fiscal. This mission will also help the company accomplish mid and long-term goals.

    The company’s coal production and offtake target for the current fiscal is 62 MT.

    “Opening of these 3 Mines is a part of WCL’s future plan to start 20 new Projects by financial year 2023-24 including 14 in Maharashtra and 6 in Madhya Pradesh.

    The company will make total capital expenditure of Rs. 12753 crores on these projects and generate direct employment of over 14000” Pralhad Joshi said.

    The company has already opened 20 new and expansion projects in the last 6 years with over Rs. 5300 crores of capital expenditure and 5250 direct employment to land losers.

    WCL had produced 57.64 MT of Coal in financial year 2019-20, up over 8% in comparison to the last fiscal.

     

  • The new synthesis is a water-free, solvent-free, environmentally friendly one-step plasma process. The resultant crystalline rubrene based film demonstrated optoelectronic properties, and an Indian patent has been filed for the process.

     A highly uniform pin-hole-free thin film can be deposited by this process, which is useful for fabrication of high-end devices.

    Devices made of pyro-electric materials (that generate electric charge when they are heated or cooled) and piezo-electric materials (that generate electric charge under the effect of mechanical pressure), can help detect change in temperature and pressure.

    Pyro-electric materials also show pyro-phototronic effect where pyro-electricity is associated with the change in temperature of a material when it absorbs photons.

    Pyro-electric infrared detectors are well known for application in infrared sensing for space research, defense, remote sensing, and household appliances.

    These kinds of materials are available in biological systems such as – human skin, plant cellulose leading to their significance in the understanding of basic science of biological systems and also in their huge application prospect.

    The present study conducted by the IASST team published in Journal of Materials Chemistry revealed that centro-symmetric rubrene crystal has a thin amorphous oxide layer formed over the crystalline film.

    This induces surface layer polarization effect leading to pyro-phototronic effect.

    This work delivered a new experimental approach for synthesis of crystalline rubrene film and realization of pyro-phototronic effect on a fully organic crystalline medium with rubrene for the first time.

    It also circumvents the essentiality of materials to be non-centrosymmetric to show pyroelectric behaviour.

    According to the IASST team, formation of crystalline rubrene at sufficiently high Radio Frequency(RF) plasma power confirmed that with increasing applied RF power, a phase transition from amorphous to crystalline rubrene can be obtained.

    This oxide layer over the crystalline rubrene film that causes surface polarization is formed after exposure of the deposited film in air due to film surface oxidation.

    Since last few years, scientists from around the world are working on the synthesis of organic materials for electronic applications.

    The conventional process for synthesis of organic electronic materials based on chemical processes provides very good quality materials, but the stability of the materials is not very good, and it requires use of solvents.

    Moreover, multiple steps are required for material synthesis and film deposition.

    To overcome these challenges, the IASST team has been working on plasma-based process due to the unique advantages of such process over the conventional processes of organic electronics.

    This novel process developed by the IASST team, besides being useful for developing advanced optoelectronic devices and preparation of Electronic Skin (E-Skin), may be useful as a tool for laboratory simulation of different biological systems for probing the organization and dynamics of those systems.

    Figure 1: Material synthesis process, device layout and current versus time plots of the pyro-phototronic device.PPA-CRB: Plasma Polymerizes Aniline – Crystalline Rubrene, ITO: Indium Tin Oxide, I­PV: Current due to photovoltaic effect, IP: Current due to pyro-phototronic effect.

  • ♦ Southwest Monsoon advanced into some more parts of South Interior Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, Puducherry & Karaikal; most parts of southwest Bay of Bengal, entire southeast Bay of Bengal; some more parts of eastcentral Bay of Bengal and some parts of westcentral & northeast Bay of Bengal.

    ♦ The Northern Limit of Monsoon (NLM) continues to pass through Lat.14°N/Long.60°E, Lat.14°N/Long.70°E, Karwar, Hassan, Salem, Puducherry, Lat.13°N/Long.85°E, Lat.16°N/Long.90°E and Lat.20°N/Long.93°E.

    ♦ Conditions are becoming favourable for further advancement of Southwest Monsoon into some more parts of Karnataka, entire Tamil Nadu; some parts of Rayalaseema and Coastal Andhra Pradesh; entire southwest Bay of Bengal; some more parts of central and northeast Bay of Bengal and some parts of northeast India during next 2­3 days.

    ♦ The cyclonic circulation over Bihar & adjoining East Uttar Pradesh extending upto 0.9 km above mean sea level persists.

    ♦ The Western Disturbance as a trough between 5.8 km and 7.6 km above mean sea level with its axis roughly along Long.78°E to the north of Lat.28°N persists.

    ♦ The cyclonic circulation over northwest Rajasthan & neighbourhood at 1.5 km above mean sea level persists.

    ♦ The cyclonic circulation over east Vidarbha & neighbourhood extending upto 0.9 km above mean sea level persists.

    ♦ The cyclonic circulation over eastcentral Bay of Bengal & adjoining north Andaman Sea between 3.1 km and 5.8 km above mean sea level persists.

    ♦ Under the influence of the Western Disturbance, scattered to fairly widespread rain/thundershowers very likely to continue over western Himalayan region and isolated to scattered rain/thundershowers over plains of northwest India during next 48 hours and decrease thereafter. Isolated thunderstorm accompanied with lightning and gusty wind are likely over these regions during next 24 hours.

    ♦ A Low Pressure Area is likely to develop over Eastcentral Bay of Bengal around 08th June, 2020.

  • Following the true spirit of cooperative federalism, State Governments are implementing this flagship programme to realize the objectives of the Mission so as to ensure ‘ease of living’ of people in rural areas as well as reduce the ‘drudgery’ of women, especially girls. This life changing Mission focuses on the key principles of ‘equity and inclusiveness’, i.e. every family in the village gets tap water connection in their households.

    With a departure from earlier programmes, JJM stresses on service delivery, rather than infrastructure creation.

    The Annual Action Plan (AAP) is very important for timely implementation to achieve the goals of the mission, for which very intensive exercise was carried out in the Ministry in last couple of months and all the States have presented their annual action plan for JJM. West Bengal is yet to present its AAP before the National Committee of the Ministry of Jal Shakti.

    West Bengal has 1.63 Crore rural households spread over 41,357 villages, but only 2 lakh households have a tap connection in their premises. In 2019-20, against a target of 32.24 lakh households to be given tap connections, State could provide only 4,720 household tap connections. In 2020-21, the target fixed for providing tap connections is 64.43 lakh households including the shortfall of about 32.19 lakh from the previous year.

    This needs rigorous planning and robust implementation strategy to achieve the target.

    In 2019-20, Rs. 993.88 Crore of Central funds was released to the State, however only Rs 421.63 Crore was utilized and rest amount is lying unspent.

    Further, to provide potable water in Arsenic/ Fluoride-affected habitations, a sum of Rs. 1,305 Crore was provided, out of which Rs. 573.36 Crore is still lying unspent.

    Thus, as on 1.4.2020, State has an opening balance of Rs. 1,146.58 Crore as Central Share to provide tap water to rural households. During 2020-21, fund allocation to West Bengal has increased to Rs. 1,610.76 Crore.

    With an opening balance of Rs. 1,146.58 Crore, the State has an assured availability of Rs. 2,757.34 Crore of Central share funds. Therefore, in 2020-21, along with State share about Rs. 5,515 Crore will be available under Jal Jeevan Mission to provide household tap connections in West Bengal.

    Further, additional funds too can be provided based on progress of implementation in form of performance incentive under JJM.

    Therefore, the State needs to make a monthly plan for physical progress in terms of tap connections to be provided and expenditure plan for prudent financial management to spend the huge amount of funds available with State.

    As Government of India is working in tandem with States to achieve the goals of JJM within the time frame, focus is on retrofitting/ augmentation of existing water supply systems to provide tap connections to remaining households.

    Out of total 41,357 villages In West Bengal, 22,155 (54%) villages already have piped water supply systems. However, only 2 lakh households in these villages have tap connections.

    Those which have been left out in such villages belong to poor and marginalized sections of the society. There is a potential to provide 1.08 Crore household tap connections in these villages.

    State needs to push this agenda forward with utmost speed to provide household tap connections in next 4-6 months in a ‘campaign mode’.

    Priority is to be given to saturation of villages in quality-affected habitations, aspirational districts, SC/ ST majority villages/ habitations and villages covered under Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana.

    Potable water supply to water quality-affected habitations is given top most priority under JJM and in view of interim order of National Green Tribunal, State has to ensure piped water supply to all households in 2,414 Arsenic and Fluoride affected habitations before 31 December, 2020.

    In case, potable water piped connections cannot be ensured before December, 2020, as an interim measure, potable water @ 8-10 lpcd for drinking and cooking purpose is to be provided by installing community water purification plants (CWPP).

    West Bengal would receive Rs 4,412 Crore as 15th Finance Commission Grants to PRIs, 50% of which will mandatorily be spent on water and sanitation.

    There is need for convergence planning to be done by the State under various programmes like MGNREGS, JJM, SBM (G), 15th Finance Commission Grants to PRIs, District Mineral Development Fund, CAMPA, CSR Fund, Local Area Development Fund, etc. at village level and Village Action Plan (VAP) of every village is to be prepared by dovetailing all such funds for carrying out water conservation activities to strengthen water source leading to drinking water security.

    In all villages, IEC campaign along with community mobilization is to be taken up to make JJM truly a people’s movement.

    State has to engage women Self Help Groups and voluntary organizations working in social sector and natural resources management to mobilize the rural community for creation of in-village water supply infrastructure as well as for their operation and maintenance.

    To achieve the objectives of the Mission to provide tap connection to each rural household in every habitation/ village on long-term basis, skilled manpower in areas like masonry, plumbing, fitting, electricity, etc., will be needed for creation of water supply schemes and their operation & maintenance and such manpower will be required in each village/ habitation.

    Ministry of Jal Shakti has roped in National Skill Development Corporation to create a pool of skilled Human Resource in rural areas to make villages a self-reliant unit without depending on others for regular upkeep and maintenance of water supply systems.

    In the prevailing CoVid-19 pandemic situation, State needs to start works related to water supply and water conservation immediately in villages so as to provide works to the skilled/ semi-skilled migrants to provide livelihood as well as to ensure potable water in the households of rural people as well as boost the rural economy.

  • Union Finance Minister, during her Budget Speech for 2020-21 in the Parliament stated that “Women’s age of marriage was increased from fifteen years to eighteen years in 1978, by amending erstwhile Sharda Act of 1929. As India progresses further, opportunities open up for women to pursue higher education and careers. There are imperatives of lowering MMR as well as improvement of nutrition levels. Entire issue about age of a girl entering motherhood needs to be seen in this light. I propose to appoint a task force that will present its recommendations in six months’ time..” (Ref.: Para 67 of the Budget Speech for FY 2020-21).

     

    The composition of the Task Force is as under:

    1. Ms. Jaya Jaitly (New Delhi) -  Chairperson
    2. Dr. Vinod Paul, Member (Health), Niti Aayog - Member (Ex-officio)
    3. Secretary, M/o Health and Family Welfare - Member (Ex-officio)
    4. Secretary, M/o Women & Child Development - Member (Ex-officio)
    5. Secretary, D/o Higher Education - Member (Ex-officio)
    6. Secretary, D/o School Education & Literacy - Member (Ex-officio)
    7. Secretary, Legislative Department - Member (Ex-officio)
    8. Ms. Najma Akhtar (New Delhi) - Member
    9. Ms. Vasudha Kamath (Maharashtra) - Member
    10. Dr. Dipti Shah (Gujarat) - Member

     

    The Terms of Reference of the Task Force are as follows:

    1. To examine the correlation of age of marriage and motherhood with (a) health, medical well-being and nutritional status of mother and neonate/infant/child, during pregnancy, birth and thereafter, (b) key parameters like Infant Mortality Rate (IMR), Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR), Total Fertility Rate (TFR), Sex Ratio at Birth (SRB), Child Sex Ratio (CSR) etc. and (c) any other relevant points pertaining to health and nutrition in this context.
    2. To suggest measures for promoting higher education among women.
    3. To suggest suitable legislative instruments and/or amendments in existing laws to support the recommendations of the Task Force.
    4. To work out a detailed roll-out plan with timelines to implement the recommendations of the Task Force.
    5. The Task Force may invite other experts to its meetings if and as required.
    6. The Task Force will be provided secretarial assistance by the NITI Aayog and will submit its report by 31st July, 2020.
  • This is evident in findings of the quadrennial All India Tiger Estimation conducted in 2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018. In a clarification over tiger deaths in the country during last eight years, the Ministry said some media reports on figure of tiger deaths are lopsided, sensational and misleading.
     
    The National Tiger Conservation Authority said results have shown a healthy annual growth rate of tigers at 6 percent, which offsets natural losses and keeps tigers at the habitats carrying capacity level, in the Indian context.
     
    For the period 2012 to 2019, it has been observed that the average tiger deaths per year in the country hover around 94, which is balanced by the annual recruitment as highlighted by this robust growth rate.
     
    NTCA said it maintains the highest standards of transparency in making tiger death statistics available to the citizen, so that people can make a logical assessment.
     

  • Panellists for the webinar included NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant; SBI Chairman Rajnish Kumar; CGAP, World Bank, CEO Greta Bull; National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) CEO Dilip Asbe; and Hari Menon, India Country Director, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF).

    Graham Wright, Group Managing Director, MicroSave Consulting, moderated the discussion.

    The esteemed group discussed the role of India’s digital financial infrastructure in successfully making direct transfers to targeted groups in a timely manner and making vital financial assistance available to the vulnerable during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

    This was made possible only due to a robust digital financial infrastructure established over the past five years acting as a model worth replicating by other developing countries. 

    A big step towards customer centricity and establishing a direct connection of the government with the people was enabled by the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), said NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant.

    The Yojana successfully enabled zero-cost, zero-balance bank accounts. It is equally noteworthy that of the 380 million PMJDY bank accounts opened to date, around 53% are in the names of women.

    Technology has been a great enabler, especially in the Aspirational Districts of India, he said. ‘Agents are using computers, mobile phones and micro-ATMs to conduct transactions.’

    In April 2020, close to a billion UPI and 403 million AePS transactions were recorded, he said.

    BMGF Country Director Hari Menon pointed out that the creation of India’s robust digital infrastructure has not been an overnight process but a sustained effort to lay its foundational layers: building digital infrastructure, targeted G2P transfer initiatives, PFMS linkage and NPCI’s role in enabling digital payments.

    India’s decision to adopt a deliberate design choice of building digital infrastructure as a public good has been the key to its success, said CEO CGAP World Bank Greta Bull.

    She also mentioned three crucial elements for building a robust digital financial infrastructure: digital identity, digital database and digital payment.

    SBI Chairman Rajnish Kumar mentioned that as 65% of India’s population have personal bank accounts in public sector banks, the provision of financial services to these citizens during the pandemic was easily facilitated through efficient functioning of 62,000 Bank Mitras.

    Looking towards the future, CEO NPCI Dilip Asbe said enabling the One National One Card system is a step in the right direction and we must tread that path while continuing to focus on financial literacy and bolstering cybersecurity.

    The panellists also discussed practical insights from rolling out the (emergency) cash support transfers, covering both Cash-in Cash-out (CICO) agents and payment infrastructure, and how countries can build digital financial infrastructure amid the Covid-19 crisis.

    The webinar ended with the panellists answering questions sent by invitees and those raised by the online audience. The recording of the webinar is available on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Diim1KSOzUw&feature=youtu.be

  • Secretary Ministry of DoNER and other senior officers of the Department were present on the occasion. Secretary NEC and other senior officers attended the launch through a Video Conference from Shillong.
    In his address Dr. Jitendra Singh said that North Eastern Region has emerged as a role model in more than one way.

    After emerging as a successful model for development in the last six years, the region has also become a role model in Corona management and again by reverting back to normal working conditions, it has presented a model for the entire country to emulate the same.

    Dr Singh said that this has become possible due to priority and patronage, the North Eastern Region received by Prime Minister Narendra Modi Government in the last six years.         

    Dr. Jitendra Singh congratulated the team MDoNER for achieving 100% expenditure during 2019-20 andsaid that there has been a significant development in terms of Road, Rail and Air connectivity, helping facilitate the movement of goods and persons not only across the region but also across the country.

    So far, the region has received more than 400 tonnes of Air Cargo supply, apart from parcel facilities.

    He said that Bamboo will get a special impetus in post COVID era and the region will witness young entrepreneurs making a mark in different fields.

    The Minister stated that last one year has seen significant development in Infrastructure, Energy and other Sectors in the North Eastern Region.Under Govt. Policy of earmarking at least 10% of GBS for development of NER, Rs. 53,374 Cr were provided to NE States at RE stage by 55 non-exempt departments. Railways allocated of Rs.4745 Cr in addition to GBS. The allocation under 10% GBS has been rising sharply reflecting the focus of Hon’ble PM on North East.

    Some of the major projects which have been approved, started or completed in the last one year in the NER and significant achievements of the Ministry of DoNER are mentioned below:

    1. Approved at a cost of Rs. 9265 Cr. Indradhanush Gas Grid Project would be a 1656 km long North East Gas Pipeline Grid covering all eight States. This would provide clean energy to NER and boost industrial growth without pollution. This would greatly help in preserving NE environment in its pristine form.

     

    1. The work on Greenfield Hollongi Airport for capital connectivity to Arunachal Pradesh,has started. The project with an estimated cost of Rs.955.67 Cr.is likely to be completed by December, 2022.

     

    1. Railways has completed Belonia-Sabroom (39.12 Km) Railway-line for providing easy access to Southern Tripura and Chattogram Port in Bangladesh.Doubling of Hawaipur-Lumding,25.05 Km long Section of New Jalpaiguri-Lumding Project has also been completed.

    Sanction of major new works include (i)Doubling of New Bongaigaon to Aghri section via Rangia (142 km) at a cost of Rs.2042.51 Cr.; (ii) Bridges on Brahmaputra at Saraighatand TezpurSilghat at estimated cost of Rs.888 Cr & Rs.3512 Cr respectively; (iii) electrification of entire 2352 km long BG railway network of NER at an estimated cost of Rs.2293 Cr.

     

    1. In the roads sector,35 National HighwaysProjects having a lenth of 536 Km, with an estimated cost of Rs.7707.17 Cr have been awarded.  3 projects (66 km length) have been completed in Arunachal Pradesh.

     

    1. Bulk cargo and container movement from Kolkata and Haldia Ports to Guwahati Terminal via Indo-Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) Route and NW2 (Brahmaputra) has started. Operationalisation of this waterway would lead to and great savings in logistics cost. IBP route is being further developed in Bangladesh portion at estimated cost of Rs.305.84 Cr.

     

    1. KrishiUdaan Scheme launched in Union Budget 2020-21 has been operationalised and Transport of agricultural produce such as pineapple, ginger, kiwi, organic produce has commenced from Bagdogra, Guwahati and Agartala Airports.

     

    1. All impediments (legal, political and environmental) to Subansiri Hydro Power project in Arunachal Pradesh have been removed and the work on 2000 MW project(stalled since 2011) has started and is expected to be completed by 2023. 

     

    Hon’ble Minister stated that the expenditure of Ministry during the last one year at Rs 2803 Cr has been highest over any one-year period. The expenditure of the Ministry in FY 2019-20 has been Rs 2670 Cr, 100% of the RE allocation has also been the highest for any financial year. The other significant achievements are:

     

    1. 215 Nos ongoing projects worth Rs.2800 Cr have been completed and 152 Nos of new projects worth Rs.2286 Cr have been sanctioned under various Schemes of MDoNER/NEC.

     

    1. Fighting COVID-19 Apart from release of Rs.7923.78 Cr by Ministry of Finance and Rs.235.59 Cr by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Rs. 25 croresof untied funds have been provided by MDoNER/NEC. MDoNER has also sanctioned projects worth Rs.152.18 Cr under NESIDSfor Strengthening Health Infrastructure in Mizoram, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur. Two quarantine facilities viz. CBTC Hostel Block, Burnihat, Guwahati, Assam and NEC House, New Delhi have been identified.

     

    1. NERLP and NERCORMP livelihood schemes of MDoNER, cover   6 States, 15 districts of NER has created livelihood for 4,12,644 households of the region. Under these schemes 36561 SHGs, 1506 SHG federations, 1599 Community Development Groups, 2899 Natural Resource Management Groups (NaRMG) and 286 NaMRG Associations have been created.

     

    1. For promotion of MSME & Micro Finance Sectors in the North Eastern Region, NEDFi has disbursed an amount of Rs.47.02 crore against a target of Rs 30 Cr as provided in MOU with Ministry during June 2019 to May 2020. It has also provided mentoring services through BFCs to total 539 entrepreneurs and facilitated credit link for 77 entrepreneurs.

     

    1. The major events conducted by the Ministry and its organisations like NEC, NEHHDC, CBTC etc included NEC Plenary in Guwahati chaired by Union Home Minister; Destination North- East at Varansi -to promote tourism andHnadlooms and Handicrafts of NER in UP and nearby areas of Bihar; North-East Handloom and Handicrafts exhibition at Aizwal; and Workshop cum Exhibition on Cane and Bamboo in J&K.

     

    Union Minister congratulated the team MDoNER for achieving 100% expenditure during 2019-20.  He also appreciated the efforts of the Ministry for helping North Eastern States in developing Infrastructure for fighting COVID-19 and playing a coordinating role between NE States and various Central Ministries/Department, in various issues which required interventions by Central Ministries/Departments.He asked the Officers to maintain the tempo and keep up the good work.

  • In an order, it said that all hospitals operating in Delhi shall ensure that no patient who is having Covid-19 symptoms and is in moderate and severe category be denied admission on the pretext that patients is not having Covid positive report.
     
    It also directed that all such patients may be kept in Covid suspect patient area till the test report is received.

    Accordingly, if found positive, then the patient shall be kept in the Covid hospital and otherwise transferred to non-Covid hospital for further management.
     
    This decision came in the wake of several complaints that people having symptoms of coronavirus infection are denied admission in the hospitals.

  • Ministers of the cartel and outside nations like Russia met via video conference to adopt the measure, aimed at cutting out the excess production depressing prices as global aviation remains largely grounded due to the pandemic.

    It represents some 10 per cent of the world's overall supply.
     
    Algerian Oil Minister Mohamed Arkab, the current OPEC president, warned attendees that the global oil inventory would soar to 1.5 billion barrels by the mid-point of this year.
     
    The decision came in a unanimous vote, Energy Minister Suhail al-Mazrouei of the United Arab Emirates wrote on Twitter.

  • DD News Leh correspondent reports that High-level Army commanders of India and China held discussions aiming to de-escalate the tensions at Line of Actual Control in Eastern Ladakh region.

    According to army sources, the talks between Indian and Chinese army officials have lasted nearly Six hours. 

    Following the ceremonial welcome to the India Army delegation led by GoC, Fire and Fury Lt Genl Harinder Singh and his brigadiers, the meeting began at just before noon on Saturday.  

    A ten official Chinese delegation headed by Corps Commander of South Xinjiang Military Division of People's Liberation Army, Major General Lin Lui.

    The meeting concluded on Saturday evening at 5.30. However, due to bad weather, the Indian delegation returned by road from Maldo Chushul border post. 

    Outcome of the Saturday's discussions at Maldo post will be briefed to the Army Chief , General MM Narwane. 

  • He was killed in Pakistani shelling across the Line of Control (LoC) in Sunderbani sector of Rajouri district in Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday.

    His body was taken by road from Akhnoor to Jammu and then to Delhi in an aircraft before being flown to Coimbatore Saturday afternoon. It was then brought to his home by ambulance from Sulur airport.

    He was laid to rest with a 21 gun salute by a contingent of 18 soldiers from the Army's Regimental Training Centre in the Nilgiris. 

    Those who paid their respects included district collector Raman who handed over a cheque of Rs. 20 lakh as solatium to his wife Tamilarasi on behalf of Chief Minister  Edappadi Palanisamy . 

    The braveheart's body was then buried amidst heartbreaking scenes on his own farm. People from villages around Salem district attended the funeral. 
     

  • Native of nearby Parappanangadi, Hamza Koya (61) had settled in Mumbai. He and his family had come down to his hometown on May 21 and had been under quarantine.
    Hamsakoya's five family members have also tested positive and are undergoing treatment.

    Malappuram District Medical Officer Dr K Sakeena said Hamsakoya's wife and son showed symptoms of COVID-19 first and were admitted to the hospital.

    All possible medical care was given to the deceased, but he breathed his last early this morning, she said.

    "His wife and son tested positive for the virus first in his family. Later, Hamza Koya was also tested positive for the virus and had been under treatment at the medical college.

    His daughter-in-law and two of his grandchildren have also tested positive and are under medical observation," Dr Sakeena said.

    A veteran footballer of the Malabar region, Hamsakoya had played for Maharashtra state in Santosh Trophy in the 1980s.

    A wing back during his playing days, he was called up for the national team camp twice but never played for the country.

    "We mourn the loss of former footballer Hamza Koya, who lost his battle against COVID-19 in a Malappuram hospital today. He had represented Maharashtra in the Santosh Trophy, and had been called up for the National Team camps on 2 occasions," the All India Football Federation said in a tweet.

    Hamsakoya started his football his career with Western Railway and went on to play for other Mumbai clubs like Union Bank, RCF, Tata Sports and Orkay Mills.

    Hamsakoya never played in Kerala in any official tournaments under the aegis of the state football association.

    The mortal remains of the deceased would be buried as per the COVID-19 protocol.

  • Defence spokesperson told DD News that at about 2000 hours, Pakistan initiated an unprovoked ceasefire violation by firing with small arms & shelling with Mortars in Kirni & Qasba sectors in District Poonch, Jammu & Kashmir.

    However, alert  Indian troops are giving a befitting reply. The exchange of fire was going on when reports last came. No damage was caused to Indian side by Pak firing.

  • Of these 2302 are active positive,  1126 have recovered while 39 deaths have taken place due to this pandemic.

    Moreover, 40 more patients have recovered and discharged from various hospitals of Jammu and Kashmir Union territory.

  • Chennai accounted for 1146 cases - a fourth consecutive daily high for the metro - while Chengalpattu and Thiruvallur districts reported the next highest numbers with 95 and 79 cases respectively.

    19 deaths were reported today - 13 males and 6 females - all from Chennai - taking the state's total tally to 251.

    As per the daily bulletin released by the state government, the total number of cases in Tamil Nadu as of June 6 stands at 30,152.

    The total number of positive cases reported from Chennai as of today stands at 20,993.

    Chengalpattu has the second-highest number of COVID-19 patients in the state with 1719 cases. 

    633 persons were discharged today taking the total number of recovered patients in Tamil Nadu to 16,395.

  • Former India footballer, Hamza Koya died of COVID-19 at Malappuram this morning, taking the total death toll in the state to 15. 

    Hamza Koya, who represented Maharashtra in Santhosh Trophy had arrived in the state from Mumbai recently and was admitted to a hospital.

    State Health Minister  K K Shylaja said among the maximum number of positive cases,  19 were reported from Kollam, while Thrissur reported 16 and  Malappuram and Kannur districts 12 each.

    Among the positive cases, 64 persons returned from abroad, while 34 came from other states. 10 persons turned positive through contact.

    Test results of 50 persons who were under treatment for COVID-19 have turned negative.

    The minister said 10 more places have been added to the list of hot spots, taking the total to 138.
     

  • According to the Ministry of Health and Population with this the COVID-19 deaths in the Himalayan nation have reached 13. 

    Ministry spokesperson said 323 more persons diagnosed with COVID-19 during the last 24 hours. 

    The number of coronavirus cases in Nepal has crossed 3000 mark and reached 3,235. 

    Meanwhile, 32 people recovered and were discharged from various hospitals today. 

    There are 2,857 active cases, while 365 people have been recovered so far. 

    13 persons have died of COVID-19.  Out of 77 districts of Nepal 70 districts have reported coronavirus infection till date.
     

  • The recovery rate is 48.20% amongst COVID-19 patients. Presently, there are 1,15,942 active cases and all are under active medical supervision.

    ICMR has further ramped up the testing capacity for detecting the novel Coronavirus in infected persons. 

    The number of government labs has been increased to 520 and private labs has been increased to 222 (A total of 742).

    1,37,938 samples were tested in the last 24 hours. The total number of samples tested thus far is 45,24,317.
     

  • With lockdown in force the roads in the Cox Bazar city are empty as shops are closed and vehicles are banned from moving in the area. Only emergency service providers using official cars with special permission from DC are allowed to move.

    The local administration has ordered that during the lockdown period no public gathering will be allowed in the area. 

    Public and private transport are not allowed to operate. Grocery shops and kitchen markets, banks and financial institutions will open for eight hours on Thursday and Sundays only but they will have to maintain the norms of social distancing.

    No one from outside the district is allowed to enter the city during the period of the lockdown.

    Hospitals, pharmacies, ambulances and other emergency services have been exempted from the lockdown order.

    The Coronavirus infection in the district has been rising rapidly after the government lifted lockdown in the country from May 31. 

    According to the latest data of the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), Cox’s Bazar had 969 confirmed Coronavirus cases till Saturday. 

    In the Rohingya camps 35 refugees have tested Corona positive till now.

    Cox's Bazar area houses close to one million Rohingya refugees who fled after the military crackdown in the Rakhine province of Myanmar in 2017.

    In the meanwhile, Bangladesh reported 35 deaths and 2635 new Corona positive cases in the country over the last 24 hours since Friday. 

    The death toll has now gone up to 846 and total cases have reached 63,026 which implies a fatality rate of 1.3 percent and recovery rate of 21.1 percent of the total cases. 

    Bangladesh is now among the top 20 countries with the highest number of Corona positive cases in the world.
     

  • During the embarkation, the ship was visited by Colonel Mohamed Saleem, the Commandant of the Maldives Coast Guard.

    With this trip, Jalashwa will successfully bring back almost 2700 Indian citizens from Maldives and Sri Lanka to Indian shores under the broader umbrella of the Indian Government's Mission Vande Bharat.

    The ship will observe strict COVID protocols onboard and is expected to reach Tuticorin on 07 Jun 20.

    The evacuated personnel will be disembarked at Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu and entrusted to the care of State authorities.

  • The statement by North Korea's ruling Workers' Party on Friday came a day after the powerful sister of leader Kim Jong Un said her country would end a military agreement reached with South Korea in 2018 to reduce tensions if Seoul fails to stop the activists.

    Kim Yo Jong also said North Korea could permanently shut the liaison office and a joint factory park in the border town of Kaesong, which have been symbols of reconciliation between the two countries.

    Desperate to keep alive a faltering diplomacy with North Korea, South Korea in response said it would push new laws to ban activists from flying leaflets by balloon to the North, which triggered a debate over freedom of speech.

    But an unidentified spokesperson of the Workers' Party's inter-Korean Affairs Department said Seoul's promise lacked sincerity, and the scrapping of the liaison office will be the first in a series of North Korean steps that would cause extreme suffering for the South.

    The statement also confirmed an elevated status for Kim Yo Jong, who was described as her brother's top official for inter-Korean affairs.

    Under her instructions, North Korea has decided as a first step to definitely withdraw the idling (North-South) joint liaison office housed in the Kaesong industrial zone, the statement said.

    We do not hide that we have had long in mind decisive measures to fundamentally remove all provocations from the South and to completely shut down and remove all the contact leverage with the (South), said the spokesman of the party's United Front Department.

    Referring to the leaflets, the spokesman said the nonstop disposal of dirty rubbish from the South side has exhausted us so much as to come to a clearer conclusion that enemies are enemies after all.

    Our determination is to follow as far as the evil cycle of the confrontation leads while facing the situation squarely, because our path is always straight.

    South Korea's government had no reaction to the statement Saturday morning. In a speech marking South Korea's Memorial Day, President Moon Jae-in vowed to strengthen the nation's defense, but he made no mention of North Korean threats to abandon inter-Korean peace agreements.

    Sending balloons across the border has been a common activist tactic for years, but North Korea considers it an attack on its government. Defectors and other activists in recent weeks have used balloons to fly leaflets criticizing Kim Jong Un over his nuclear ambitions and dismal human rights record.

    While Seoul has sometimes sent police officers to block such activities during sensitive times, it had previously resisted North Korea's calls to fully ban them, saying the activists were exercising their freedom.

    The liaison office in Kaesong has been closed since late January after the Koreas agreed to temporarily shut it until the coronavirus is controlled.

    It is also the location of a now-shuttered factory complex that was jointly run by the two Koreas. It combined South Korean capital and technology with cheap North Korean labor. Seoul's previous conservative government shut it down in 2016 following a North Korean nuclear test, removing a crucial cash source for North Korea's struggling economy.

    During their summits in 2018, Kim and Moon agreed to the military pact aimed at reducing conventional threats and vowed to resume operations at the Kaesong factory park and South Korean tours to a resort at North Korea's Diamond Mountain when possible, expressing optimism that U.S.-led sanctions on the North would end.

    But North Korea has suspended virtually all cooperation with South Korea in recent months amid a stalemate in larger nuclear negotiations with the Trump administration, which have faltered over disagreements on sanctions relief in exchange for disarmament steps.

    North Korea has sped up its missile tests while also pressuring Seoul to break away from Washington and restart joint economic projects held back by the sanctions over its nuclear program.

  • It was in recognition of her role in feeding the poor during the COVID-19 lockdown by her father, a hairdresser by profession.
     
    As COVID-19 count in Chennai swells every day to a new high, the Tamil Nadu government has nominated five Ministers to be part of the Field Support Team in the city. The team has been formed a few weeks back with senior IAS and IPS officials. 

    An order to this effect by the government says they will concentrate on the containment zone management, focused testing, contact tracing, isolation and quarantine activities in the city.  

  • The PM tweeted: "Shri Ved Marwah Ji will be remembered for his rich contributions to public life. His unwavering courage always stood out during his career as an IPS officer.

    He was also a well respected public intellectual. Pained by his demise. Condolences to his family and admirers. Om Shanti."

  • On Saturday, the Indian Army spokesperson said: "At this stage, therefore, any speculative and unsubstantiated reporting about these engagements would not be helpful and the media is advised to refrain from such reporting.

    "Indian and Chinese officials continue to remain engaged through the established military and diplomatic channels to address the current situation in the India-China border areas."

  • The Minister said this, while releasing a digital book titled 'Aarambh' and highlighting the achievements of the Department of Personnel and Training, DoPT through video conferencing on Friday.
     
    Narrating some of the salient achievements of the department in one year, Dr. Jitendra Singh said, fundamental reforms have been initiated in the area of government recruitment.

    A proposal for establishment of a National Recruitment Agency is at an advanced stage, he added. The NRA will conduct computer-based online Common Eligibility Test for recruitment to non-gazetted posts with test centres in every district.
     
    He said, this will ease the difficulties faced by aspirants for government jobs.

    The minister thanked the officers for their contribution in the achievements despite the  corona pandemic. The video conferencing was attended by Secretary Personnel and other senior officers of the department.  

  • According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the Colaba weather station reported 18.6 mm rainfall in the 24 hours till 8.30 am on Saturday, while the Santacruz weather bureau recorded 64.9 mm rainfall during the same period.

    "The spell was intense for about 30 minutes in the morning," an IMD official said.

    "This is pre-monsoon rainfall...Neighbouring Thane and Dombivli, too, witnessed moderate rains early morning," the official added.

    The IMD predicted that the skies are likely to remain generally cloudy and there is a possibility of light to moderate rains or thundershowers in Mumbai.

  • Active cases:1,15,942

    Cured/Discharged:1,14,072

    Migrated:1

    Deaths: 6,642

  • The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) noted "with serious concern that, for over four months, Iran has denied access to the Agency... to two locations," according to an IAEA report.

    The report said the IAEA has questions as to the possible "use or storage of nuclear material" at the two sites and that one of them "may have been used for the processing and conversion of uranium ore including fluorination in 2003".

    Diplomatic sources have indicated that the IAEA's queries about the locations relate to Iran's historic nuclear programme and not its current activities.

    The aforementioned site "underwent significant changes in 2004, including the demolition of most buildings", the report noted.

    A third site where the IAEA has queries about the possible presence of undeclared natural uranium "underwent extensive sanitization and levelling in 2003 and 2004," according to the report.

    In a separate report, the IAEA warned Iran's enriched uranium stockpile was now almost eight times the limit set in a 2015 deal.

    The limit was 300 kilogrammes (661 pounds) of enriched uranium in a particular compound form, which is the equivalent of 202.8 kg of uranium.

    In comparison to the latter number, the report said Iran's stockpile stood at 1,571.6 kg on May 20.

    Iran has been progressively breaking the restrictions laid down in the 2015 deal in retaliation for US President Donald Trump's withdrawal from the accord in 2018 and the US's subsequent re-imposition of sanctions.

    Iran reached the deal to curb its nuclear activities in return for sanctions relief with the United States -- under president Barack Obama -- Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China.

  • With rolling demonstrations over the death last week of George Floyd showing little sign of letting up, President Donald Trump sparked fresh controversy by saying strong jobs numbers marked a "great day" for Floyd.

    Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee for November's election, called Trump's comments "frankly despicable," as thousands took to streets across America Friday for a 10th straight day of anti-racism demonstrations.

    The protests, sparked by a police officer kneeling on Floyd's neck for almost nine minutes as he pleaded for his life, took place amid a roiling controversy over officers' us of force against largely peaceful protesters.

    In Buffalo, New York, two policemen were suspended without pay after a video showed them shoving over a 75-year-old protester who fell and suffered a head injury.

    Reporting the suspension on Twitter, city mayor Byron Brown said he and the police commissioner were "deeply disturbed" by the video.

    An earlier police statement said the man, who appeared unconscious and bleeding heavily from the head, "tripped and fell." Governor Andrew Cuomo called the incident "wholly unjustified and utterly disgraceful," in a tweet. "Police Officers must enforce - NOT ABUSE - the law," he wrote.

    In Indianapolis, police launched an investigation after a video emerged showing at least four officers hitting a woman with batons and firing pepper balls at her on Sunday night.

    And in New York City on Thursday, officers baton-charged dozens of peaceful protesters defying a curfew in the Bronx after pinning them in, leaving them with nowhere to run, several reports said.

    The NYPD made 270 arrests as its officers broke up several protests taking place across the city after the 8:00 pm curfew. Under-fire New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, who imposed the week-long night-time curfew after widespread looting earlier in the week, has repeatedly said the NYPD is showing "restraint."

    Floyd, 46, died in the Midwestern city of Minneapolis while handcuffed during a May 25 arrest for a non-violent offense. His death reignited longstanding resentment over police killings of African-Americans and unleashed a nationwide wave of protest unlike anything seen in the US since Martin Luther King's 1968 assassination.

    Mass protests have also taken place in European capitals and on Friday Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined a large demonstration in Ottawa.

    In US, some of the early protests were marred by rioting and looting but they have been mostly peaceful since then.

    Curfews have been lifted in Washington, Los Angeles and other cities but New York's is due to run for the next three nights.

    Several thousand marched in Brooklyn on Friday afternoon as activists sought to keep up the movement's momentum into the weekend.

    Some of their demands have been met: Derek Chauvin, who knelt on Floyd, has been charged with second-degree murder while three officers who assisted him have been charged with aiding and abetting his murder.

    Large protests are planned for Saturday, including in Washington and outside the Trump National Hotel in Miami.

  • On Friday, the Health and Family Welfare Ministry said, 9,851 new cases of Covid-19 have been reported in the last 24 hours taking the total number of cases to  2, 26, 770 in the country. This is the highest spike in new cases in one day since the outbreak of the corona pandemic in India.

    During the last 24 hours, 273 deaths have been registered taking the nationwide toll to six thousand 348. The fatality rate is 2.80 per cent.

    The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said that a total of 1, 43, 661 samples of corona virus were tested in the last 24 hours. With this, the figure of total number of tests reached 43, 86,379 in the country.

    ICMR is continuously scaling up its testing facilities for Covid-19 by giving approval to government and private laboratories.

    As of now, total 724 laboratories across India have been given approval to conduct the test for Covid-19 including 507 government laboratories and 217 private laboratory chains. 
     

  • Earlier, India and China had agreed that the two countries will handle their differences through peaceful discussion.

    Joint Secretary (East Asia) in Ministry of External Affairs Naveen Srivastava held talks with Wu Jianghao, Director General in the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs through video conference. 
     
    During the meeting, the two sides reviewed the state of bilateral relations including the current developments. In this context, they recalled the consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries that peaceful, stable and balanced relations between India and China will be a positive factor for stability in the current global situation.
     
    Both sides also agreed that in accordance with the guidance provided by the leadership, the two sides should handle their differences through peaceful discussion, bearing in mind the importance of respecting each other's sensitivities, concerns and aspirations and not allow them to become disputes.

    The two sides also exchanged views on the challenge posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and cooperation in various multilateral forums.

  • The Committee, headed by Additional Secretary V L Kantha Rao along with senior officials of Defence Ministry and Army, held a meeting through video conference with three such associations - Confederation of Defence Recognised Associations, Indian Ordnance Factories Gazetted Officers Association and  National Defence Group-B Gazetted Officers Association. 

    During the meeting, the intent of the Government to implement this decision was conveyed and suggestions were invited from the association members on ways to safeguard the benefits and interests of employees in terms of wages, salary, retirement benefits, health facilities and other service matters.

    As part of the Atmanirbhar Bharat package, the Government had announced that it will improve autonomy, accountability and efficiency in ordnance supplies by corporatisation of Ordnance Factory Board.

  • The clouds appeared playing hide and seek with sun or sometimes resting in the laps of the lush green mountains. Meanwhile as the Indian Army units continued their rigorous  training activities  amidst these ranges, one of the routine area domination patrols of nearby located unit in Tenga noticed an animal been carried along with the flow of Jiding Kho river water currents.

    Realizing that an animal was been drifted and getting drowned, an immediate rescue team was launched by the patrolling team. Maintaining and upholding the rich traditions and ethos of the Indian Army, the rescue team successfully evacuated the animal which was identified as an endangered species of barking deer.

    It is aptly said that 'Nothing Happens Without The Creators Will’. As the deer was given medical first aid in close liaison with forest department team, it was diagnosed that the deer was pregnant.

    As the animal recovered from trauma, it was handed over to forest official Mr Millo Tasser, DFO, Shergaon Forest Division and later released in Eagle Nest Wildlife Sanctuary in West Kameng District. ‘I can't describe or qualify the behavior as human trait. But, I think, if a situation or an emergency presents itself, this willingness to help other suffering beings may be inherent to the personnel  of the Inđian Army’ said the DFO.

    This actions by the Army not only makes you feel better, humane, compassionate towards others but also increase your admiration for the acts of kindness by the Indian Army towards our Nation's wildlife.

  • In this festival the deities of Jagannath, Balabhadra, and Subhadra, are brought out from the Jagannath Temple and taken in a procession to the Snana Mandap inside the temple premises. Then the deities are ceremonially bathed in 108 pots of ritually purified water and decorated for a public audience. 

    In the evening, at the conclusion of the bathing rituals, Jagannath and Balabhadra are dressed up in elephant headgear representing the lord Ganesh. This is known as Gajavesha. After the Snana Yatra the Gods are traditionally believed to fall ill and are kept in a sick room to recuperate in privacy under the care of the Raj Vaidya. 

    This period known as Anasara, and in that period devotees are not allowed to see the Gods. At this time three pata chitra paintings are displayed for devotees to view instead. It is said that with the Ayurvedic medication administered by the Raj Vaidya the Gods recover in a fortnight.

    This year, due to Corona pandemic it is being celebrated without public gathering.

  • These two ordinances are ‘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. Recently, these two ordinances were approved by the cabinet.

    These two ordinances will enable barrier-free trade in agriculture produce and also empower the farmers to engage with sponsors of his choice.

    Agriculture Minister, Narendra Singh Tomar today wrote to all the Chief Ministers, informing them of the ordinances and solicited their cooperation in implementation of the reforms. President sought their continued support in the development and growth of the agriculture sector in the new reformed environment.

    The Central Government is making comprehensive interventions to facilitate efficiency and effectiveness to agricultural marketing with an aim of raising the income of the farmers.
     

  • Joint Secretary, (East Asia) in Ministry of External Affairs Naveen Srivastava today held talks with Wu Jianghao, Director General in the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs through video conference.

    During the meeting, the two sides reviewed the state of bilateral relations including the current developments. In this context they recalled the consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries, that peaceful, stable and balanced relations between India and China will be a positive factor for stability in the current global situation. 

    Both sides also agreed that in accordance with the guidance provided by the leadership, the two sides should handle their differences through peaceful discussion, bearing in mind the importance of respecting each other's sensitivities, concerns and aspirations and not allow them to become disputes.

    The two sides also exchanged views on the challenge posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and cooperation in various multilateral forums.

  • Out of 54 lakh rural households in the State, only 4.37 lakh have functional household tap connection (FHTC). In 2019-20, only 98,000 tap connections were provided. This means there is an immense scope to provide tap connections to remaining rural households.

    In 2020-21, the State is planning to enable 12 lakh households with tap water connections. Further, State is planning for cent per cent coverage of 15 blocks and 4,700 villages during 2020-21. Focusing on the priorities of making provision of household tap connections in certain areas, Jal Shakti Ministry officials stressed on the principle of ‘equity and inclusiveness’ while State is planning to provide FHTCs to SCs/ STs, marginalized and weaker sections of the society.

    Jharkhand State has 19 aspirational districts, so the State has been advised to give priority to these areas while planning. Similarly focus should be on universal coverage of SC/ ST dominated villages, water scarce areas and villages under Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana.

    In the prevailing CoVid-19 pandemic situation, State has been requested start works related to water supply and water conservation immediately in villages. 

    This will provide works to the skilled and  semi-skilled migrant workers to provide livelihood as well as to ensure potable water in the households of rural people.

  • This is the third installment under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana.

    Department of Financial Services said, beneficiaries can withdraw the amount on any day after 10th June. It said, the amount will be sent to the beneficiary's accounts from 5th to 9th June based on last digit of account number.

    Under this package, ten thousand 29 crore rupees were credited to over 20 crore Jan Dhan account holders as first installment. In the second instalment, ten thousand 315 crore rupees were credited to 20.62 crore Jan Dhan account holders.

    As part of the one lakh 70 thousand crore rupees Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, the government is providing free food grains and cash assistance to people to fight with the corona virus crisis.

  • PM Modi expressed satisfaction at the progress achieved in bilateral ties since his visit to Rwanda in 2018. 

    The President of Rwanda warmly recalled the 200 Indian cows gifted by Prime Minister during his visit. Paul Kagame said, these cows had helped in improving availability of milk for the children and also increased the income of farmers.

    The two leaders discussed the challenges posed to their healthcare systems and economies by the Covid-19 pandemic. They shared information about the steps taken in their country to manage the crisis and ensure well-being of citizens. Both leaders agreed to extend all possible support to each other’s expatriate citizens during the present crisis.

    Prime Minister assured the India’s steadfast support to Rwanda’s efforts to combat the coronavirus including medical assistance.

    Prime Minister appreciated efforts of the people of Rwanda in combating this challenge and conveyed his best wishes for the health and well-being of the people of Rwanda.