News

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said 12 islands of Andaman and Nicobar have been chosen for the expansion of high impact projects.

  • India has achieved a remarkable feat today by performing more than seven lakh tests of coronavirus samples in a single day.

  • Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal has exhorted the traders community to fully contribute towards the Aatmanirbhar Bharat campaign.

  • The Ministry of Defence is now ready for a big push to the Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi today launched a financing facility of one lakh crore rupees under the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund for agri-entrepreneurs, startups, agri-tech players and farmer groups for post-harvest management and nurturing farm assets.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi today launched one lakh crore rupees Agriculture Infrastructure Fund under PM- Kisan scheme.

  • Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal has said that India can become a trusted partner in the global supply chain.

  • The India Meteorological Department has warned of heavy rain across the northwest region during the next two days.

  • Detailed examination is on, in the passenger flight crash that occured last evening in Kozhikode airport in Kerala, that claimed 18 lives as per official data.

  • Foreign Minister of Bangladesh Dr. A.K. Abdul Momen has said that Bangladesh's relations with India is rock-solid and historic while it has economic ties with China.

  • The Centre has directed State Governments to focus all efforts on reducing COVID-19 mortality.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has boosted the self-confidence and will-power of every countrymen and its impact is visible on the life of the poor of the country.

  • The submarine cable will connect Port Blair to Swaraj Dweep (Havelock), Little Andaman, Car Nicobar, Kamorta, Great Nicobar, Long Island, and Rangat. This connectivity will enable delivery of faster and more reliable mobile and landline telecom services to Andaman & Nicobar Islands, at par with other parts of India. The foundation stone for this project was laid by the Hon’ble Prime Minister on 30th December 2018 at Port Blair.

    Once inaugurated, the submarine OFC link will deliver bandwidth of 2 x 200 Gigabits per second (Gbps) between Chennai and Port Blair, and 2 x 100 Gbps between Port Blair and the other islands. Provision of reliable, robust, and high-speed telecom and Broadband facilities in these Islands will be a landmark achievement from the viewpoint of consumers, as well as for strategic and governance reasons. 4G mobile services, which were constrained due to limited backhaul bandwidth provided via satellite will also see a major improvement.

    Enhanced telecom and Broadband connectivity will boost tourism and employment generation in the Islands, give an impetus to the economy and raise standards of living. Better connectivity will also facilitate delivery of e-Governance services such as telemedicine and tele-education. Small enterprises will benefit from opportunities in e-commerce, while educational institutions will utilize the enhanced availability of bandwidth for e-learning and knowledge sharing. Business Process Outsourcing services and other medium and large enterprises will also reap the benefits of better connectivity.

    The project is funded by the Government of India through the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) under the Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Communications. Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) executed this project while Telecommunications Consultants India Limited (TCIL) are the Technical Consultants. About 2300 Kms of Submarine OFC cable has been laid at a cost of about Rs 1224 Crore.

  • In a short span of time since November 2019, tele-consultation by eSanjeevaniand eSanjeevaniOPD have been implemented by 23 States (which covers 75% of the population) and other States are in the process of rolling it out.

    In a landmark achievement, the national telemedicine service has completed more than 1,50,000 tele-consultations enabling patient to doctor consultations from the confines of their home, as well as doctor to doctor consultations.

    Expressing appreciation for this accomplishment, Dr. Harsh Vardhan said, “Under the guidance of Hon’ble Prime Minister, we have started implementing the vision of Digital India through broadband and mobile phones at the Ayushman Bharat - Health and Wellness Centres. With the cooperation of States and UTs, and a pool of selfless and talented medical practitioners and specialists, we have been able to provide healthcare services through tele-medicine platform such as eSanjeevani. This has substantially augmented our health infrastructure during the COVID pandemic."

    The eSanjeevani platform has enabled two types of telemedicine services viz. Doctor-to-Doctor (eSanjeevani) and Patient-to-Doctor (eSanjeevani OPD) Tele-consultations. The former is being implemented under the Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centre (AB-HWCs) programme. It is planned to implement tele-consultation in all the 1.5 lakh Health and Wellness Centres (as spokes) in a ‘Hub and Spoke’ model, by December 2022. States have identified and set up dedicated ‘Hubs’ in Medical Colleges and District hospitals to provide tele-consultation services to ‘Spokes’, i.e SHCs and PHCs. As on date, 12,000 users comprising Community Health Officers and Doctors have been trained to make use of this national e-platform. Presently, telemedicine is being provided through more than 3,000 HWCs in 10 States.

  • Prime Minister Modi in his address to the Nation on May 12, 2020 had given a clarion call for a self-reliant India based on the five pillars, i.e., Economy, Infrastructure, System, Demography & Demand and announced a special economic package for Self-Reliant India named ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’. Taking cue from that evocation, the Department of Military Affairs (DMA), Ministry of Defence (MoD) has prepared a list of 101 items for which there would be an embargo on the import beyond the timeline indicated against them, as indicated in the attached Annexure.

    This is a big step towards self-reliance in defence. It also offers a great opportunity to the Indian defence industry to rise to the occasion to manufacture the items in the negative list by using their own design and development capabilities or adopting the technologies designed and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to meet the requirements of the Armed Forces in the coming years.

    The list is prepared by MoD after several rounds of consultations with all stakeholders, including Army, Air Force, Navy, DRDO, Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs), Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) and private industry to assess current and future capabilities of the Indian industry for manufacturing various ammunition/weapons/platforms/equipment within India.

    Almost 260 schemes of such items were contracted by the Tri-Services at an approximate cost of Rs 3.5 lakh crore between April 2015 and August 2020. With latest embargo on import of 101 items, it is estimated that contracts worth almost Rs four lakh crore will be placed upon the domestic industry within the next five to seven years. Of these, items worth almost Rs 1,30,000 crore each are anticipated for the Army and the Air Force while items worth almost Rs 1,40,000 crore are anticipated by the Navy over the same period.

    The list of 101 embargoed items comprises of not just simple parts but also some high technology weapon systems like artillery guns, assault rifles, corvettes, sonar systems, transport aircrafts, light combat helicopters (LCHs), radars and many other items to fulfil the needs of our Defence Services. The list also includes, wheeled armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs) with indicative import embargo date of December 2021, of which the Army is expected to contract almost 200 at an approximate cost of over Rs 5,000 crore. Similarly, the Navy is likely to place demands for submarines with indicative import embargo date of December 2021, of which it expects to contract about six at an approximate cost of almost Rs 42,000 crore. For the Air Force, it is decided to enlist the light combat aircraft LCA MK 1A with an indicative embargo date of December 2020. Of these, 123 are anticipated at an approximate cost of over Rs 85,000 crore. Hence, there are highly complex platforms that are included in the list of 101 items, of which details of three examples are given above.

    The embargo on imports is planned to be progressively implemented between 2020 to 2024. The aim behind promulgation of the list is to apprise the Indian defence industry about the anticipated requirements of the Armed Forces so that they are better prepared to realise the goal of indigenisation.

  • Such high level of testing will also lead to high number of daily positive cases, however States have been advised to firmly focus on comprehensive tracking, prompt isolation and effective treatment, following the Centre-led strategy of TEST, TRACK, TREAT. Several meetings have been taken in the past week to engage with States that are showing higher fatality rate.

    Such an approach has started showing results and recoveries are also increasing exponentially. India has recorded the highest number of recoveries in a single day with 53,879 COVID patients having recovered and discharged on Saturday. With this, the total number of recovered cases has touched another high of 14,80,884 on Sunday. This is more than twice the number of active cases (6,28,747, Sunday). The number of recovered cases has touched another high of 2.36 times the active cases, which are all under medical attention either in home isolation or in hospitals.

    With higher number of recovered patients, the recovery rate, which has continued on its growth graph, stands at 68.78% on Sunday.

    Higher number of recoveries is a result of focused implementation of the various actions taken collectively by the Centre and State/UT governments towards ramping up the hospital and clinical management infrastructure aimed at providing quality clinical care based on the Standard of Care, as advised by the Centre in its Clinical Treatment Protocol. Due to these efforts, the Case Fatality Rate has further slumped, touching an improved rate of 2.01% today.

  • Northern and Central parts of Bangladesh have been severely affected by the ongoing floods.

    According to the latest bulletin issued by the Flood Forecast and Warning Centre (FFWC) at 9 a.m. on Sunday, only five rivers in the country were flowing above danger level. Since the last bulletin on Saturday, out of 101 points monitored by the FFWC, water level has risen at 17 points while it has declined at 80 observation points. 

    In the Brahmaputra river basin, all the rivers showed a decline in the water level though some rivers including Gur, Atari, Dhaleswari, Kaliganga and Banshi are still running above the dangler level at several observation points.

    In the Ganges river basin water level increased at 5 places but declined at 22 points. Ganga declined at 3 places while Padma water declined at all the four observation points monitored by the FFWC. Padma continues to be above danger level at Bhagyakul, Mawa, Goalundo and Sureswar, though the water level is declining.

    In the Meghna river basin also only Meghna was flowing above danger level at one point. Water level in the Meghna basin increased at 8 points while it declined at 23 points. 

    The floods have affected more than 54 lakh people in 33 districts of Bangladesh.

    The Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief put the figure of death due to floods at 41, though several other reports quoting DGHS put the figure of people dying in flood related incidents at 161.

  • He was administered oath by his younger brother and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at a ceremony held at Kelaniya Mahaviharaya near Colombo.

    Other cabinet members will be sworn in next week at a ceremony in Kandy. Mahinda Rajapaksa has served as country’s President from 2006 to 2015 and his party has got landslide victory at general elections held on Wednesday.

    Rajapaksa is credited for ending the decades long LTTE war in 2009 during his Presidency.

    He had lost the 2015 Presidential elections and has made a strong political comeback.  Mr. Rajapaksa was appointed prime minister after Gotabaya’s victory at last November Presidential elections though his side did not enjoy majority in parliament.

    He contested the election from Kurunegala and topped the preferential votes from the district by clinching record 5,27,364 votes. 

  • Prime Minister also released the sixth instalment of funds of Rs. 17,000 crore to 8.5 crore farmers under the PM-KISAN scheme.

    The event was witnessed by lakhs of farmers, cooperatives, and citizens across the country. Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Narendra Singh Tomar, was present on the occasion.

    The Union Cabinet has approved the Central Sector Scheme of financing facility under “Agriculture Infrastructure Fund” of Rs. 1 Lakh Crore. The Fund will catalyze the creation of post-harvest management infrastructure and community farming assets such as cold storage, collection centres, processing units, etc.

    These assets will enable farmers to get greater value for their produce, as they will be able to store and sell at higher prices, reduce wastage, and increase processing and value addition. Rs. 1 Lakh Crore will be sanctioned under the financing facility in partnership with multiple lending institutions; 11 of the 12 Public Sector Banks have already signed MOUs with the DAC&FW. 3% interest subvention and credit guarantee of up to Rs 2 Crore will be provided to the beneficiaries to increase the viability of these projects.

    The beneficiaries of the scheme will include farmers, PACS, Marketing Cooperative Societies, FPOs, SHGs, Joint Liability Groups (JLG), Multipurpose Cooperative Societies, Agri-entrepreneurs, Startups, and Central/State agency or Local Body sponsored Public-Private Partnership Projects.

    The Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojna (PM-KISAN) scheme, launched on 01 December 2018, has provided a direct cash benefit of over Rs. 75,000 Crore to more than 9.9 Crore farmers. This has enabled them to fulfil their agricultural requirements and support their families.

    The rollout and implementation of the PM-KISAN scheme has happened at an unparalleled pace, with funds being directly transferred into the Aadhaar authenticated beneficiaries’ bank account to prevent leakage and increase convenience for farmers. The scheme has also been instrumental in supporting farmers during the Covid-19 pandemic, through the release of nearly Rs 22,000 Crore to aid the farmers during the lockdown period.

  • Swarna Palace Hotel, which has been converted into a COVID-19 facility witnessed fire in the early hours of Sunday.

    President, Vice President and PM Modi expressed their grief over the incident.

    In a tweet, the Prime Minister said, "Anguished by the fire at a Covid Centre in Vijayawada. My thoughts are with those who have lost their loved ones. I pray that the injured recover as soon as possible. Discussed the prevailing situation with AP CM @ysjagan Ji and assured all possible support."

     

  • Woakes hung on after Buttler’s dismissal throughout the see-saw final proceedings on Day 4. At the end, it was an outside edge off Woakes’ bat off the two-over old second new ball that went between the Pakistani slip cordon to the boundary to bring up the winning runs.

    It was Buttler and Woakes’ counter knock that stopped the Pakistani charge in the second session. The visitors looked capable of finishing the match within the first hour of the third session when England captain Joe Root, Dom Sibley, Ben Stokes and Ollie Pope all fell in a short period.

    The pair continued their rampage after Tea and both soon raced to their respective half centuries. When Pakistan captain Azhar Ali pulled his field back to restrict the flow of boundaries, the batsmen started taking more singles and kept the pressure on the fielders.

    The 100-run stand between the pair came up in 123 balls but then as the required runs went below 50, the run rate also went down. With that, the visitors started getting chances as well with Yasir getting an edge off Woakes that bounced just in front of Babar Azam at second slip.

    Azhar then burnt two reviews in consecutive overs against Buttler and Woakes off Yasir and Shadab respectively. Eventually, Mohammad Rizwan’s chatter from behind the stumps indicated that Pakistan were looking to see out the old ball but the steady flow of singles meant that England’s deficit kept reducing with each passing over.

    With three overs to go for the second new ball, Buttler gave an impetus to England’s cause with a six off Shadab deep into the stands behind cow corner. England’s deficit went into the 20s and the Pakistani shoulders drooped. But the twist came in the very next over with Buttler missing a reverse sweep off Yasir and the ball hitting his pads. The fielding side went up in appeal and the umpire raised his finger.

    Buttler took one of the three reviews England had left. The delay it took for the producers to load up the ball tracker after checking for an edge didn’t help the collective tension at Old Trafford and once it did come up, it upheld the umpire’s call and Buttler had to walk on 75 off 101 balls.

    Broad, who came next, lifted some of the pressure that the hosts may have been under with a four off the second ball he faced against Shadab Khan.

    Pakistan took the new ball as soon as it was available and it was Shaheen Afridi who took it first up. He came closest when Woakes inside-edged an outswinger onto his pads but that was followed by a no-ball, two runs and then a boundary by Woakes straight down the ground.

    In the next over, Yasir’s full delivery hit Broad on the toes plumb in front of the stumps. Dom Bess replaced him and saw out the rest of the over.

    Afridi continued down the other end and bowled a ripper of a delivery, searing in at full length and swinging late. Woakes pushed across the line and the ball took his inside edge but it only ended up going between the Pakistani slip cordon for four. Woakes stood unbeaten on 84 as England registered a scintillating win.

    Brief Scores: Pakistan: 326 and 169 vs England: 219 & 277/7 (Chris Woakes 84*, Jos Buttler 75; Yasir Shah 4/99)

  • Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG), an autonomous institute under the Department of Science & Technology, Govt. of India, which investigated and characterized the gas emissions from Himalayan geothermal springs, found that these springs which cover about 10,000 square km in the Garhwal region of Himalaya show a significant discharge of Carbon dioxide (CO2). The estimated carbon dioxide degassing (removal of dissolved gases from liquids, especially water or aqueous solutions) flux is nearly 7.2 ×10 6 moles/year to the atmosphere. The study published in the scientific journal Environmental Science and Pollution Research suggested that CO2 in these thermal springs are sourced from metamorphic decarbonation of carbonate rocks present deep in the Himalayan core along with magmatism and oxidation of graphite. Most of the geothermal water is dominated by evaporation followed by weathering of silicate rocks. Isotopic analyses further point towards a meteoric source for geothermal water.

    The team of scientists from WIHG carried out detailed chemical and stable isotope analysis of water samples collected from 20 geothermal springs from major fault zones of Garhwal Himalaya. Further, the isotopic measurements (identification of the abundance of certain stable isotopes and chemical elements within organic and inorganic compounds) such as Dissolved Inorganic Carbon (δ 13 C DIC ), and Oxygen (δ 18 O) along with major ions were analysed for all the samples. 

    They found that the geothermal spring water contains high Dissolved Inorganic Carbon δ 13 C DIC ratio (−8.5‰ to + 4.0‰VPDB), and among the major ions, bicarbonate (HCO 3 − ) varied between 1697 to 21,553 μEq/L; chloride and sodium ranged between 90 to 19,171 μEq/L and 436 to 23181 μEq/L. A high concentration of chloride (Cl − ) and sodium (Na + ) in geothermal spring waters indicated its deeper source and strong signature of carbon outgassing. 

    Simulation studies done by the scientists of WIHG suggest that these geothermal springs have the potential to degas ~7.2 × 10 6 moles of CO 2 per year to the atmosphere. Estimated flux from this study is comparable to the release of CO 2 during the uplift of the Himalaya (~10 11 moles/year) and sub-aerial volcanism (10 12 moles/year) in the atmosphere. Such CO 2 degassing should be taken into account to assess global carbon outflux in the earth’s atmosphere.

    Tapas Bhattacharya

  • ‘We are witnessing a visionary period in the history of India’s court system. In today’s age of data-driven solutions and machine learning, ODR provides the potential to resolve a substantial percentage of disputes at the site of their occurrence without burdening the courts. Progressive and disruptive changes in justice delivery are critical components that can alter the course of access to justice in an unprecedented way,’ said Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog.

    Emphasizing that ODR can act as a complement to the court system, former Supreme Court Justice, B.N. Srikrishna said, ‘It will be an auxiliary of the court system, in the sense that it will prevent a large number of litigations that clutter the courts. A litigant does not need to travel from Kerala to Delhi to solve his dispute, he/she can resolve it through the electronic platform. Online Dispute Resolution can help deliver justice to the doorstep of the litigant.’

    ODR is the resolution of disputes, particularly small- and medium-value cases, using digital technology and techniques of Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR), such as negotiation, mediation, and arbitration.

    ‘We must use this opportunity to actually reimagine dispute resolution and conflict resolution for the future, for the 21st century, and post the Covid-19 pandemic,’ stressed Cyril Shroff, Managing Partner, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas. He went on to say that the opportunity here was not just to use technology to optimize the old way of doing things, but also to use our imagination and create the right alliances, to bring in transformation.

    Ease of Doing business has been a priority area of the government for combating deceleration in the growth of GDP and investment. ‘As a part of this, we need to focus on improving the enforcing contracts mechanism in India through innovative methods like Online Dispute Resolution. It has extensive application and can be used to resolve a wide variety of commercial disputes’, said Sanjiv Bajaj, Vice President, CII, and Chairman and Managing Director, Bajaj Finance. He added, ‘Recognising the essence of ODR, CII has been undertaking a plethora of initiatives such as setting up a CII Centre for Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR).’

    Through this Centre, CII plans to impart training and undertake analysis through research papers, seminars and conferences, and interact with various national and international arbitration forums and other stakeholders in promoting arbitration, thereby reducing time and cost to litigation, and advocating harmony in the legislature, executive and the judiciary.

    The esteemed panellists agreed to adopt and institutionalize ODR, and to ensure efforts are taken to scale online dispute resolution in India. To this end, Ajay Bahl, Chairman Judicial Reforms Committee CII and Founding Partner of AZB & Partners, said, ‘We must promote ODR and if there is anything that is a constraint in law or procedures, that reduces its efficacy, it must be eliminated.’

    Speaking on the impact of ODR on business, Shilpa Kumar, Partner, Investments, Omidyar Network India, said: ‘LegalTech in general and ODR, in particular, can be a game-changer for citizens as well as Indian businesses, particularly MSMEs. One, it can help reduce the cost of dispute resolution in the face of rising cases and disputes. Two, it will allow citizens and consumers to raise any grievances they may have at the click of a button and have an independent third-party firm review and address their grievance. This can truly help businesses enhance consumer trust and improve customer retention. Three, in the medium-term, once ODR firms have collected enough data around disputes, it can start feeding back into business decisions regarding the product and service being offered. This will help businesses sharpen their offerings besides improving access to dispute resolution.’

    Elaborating on the role conglomerates can play with respect to ODR, Poornima Sampath, Vice President (Legal), Tata Sons, mentioned that they need to facilitate online ombudsperson platforms to resolve disputes at the pre-litigation stage. This may be easier to use in consumer matters but can be adapted for vendors and other business partners. This will protect the brand and result in decongesting the courts.

    Manish Sabharwal, Chairman, TeamLease, said, ‘Online dispute resolution can be very substantive for India as it will bring the labor market outsiders back into the labor force. People who prefer flexibility, gig economy and those who can’t commute will be greatly benefitted.’

    While courts are becoming digitized through the efforts of the judiciary, more effective, scalable, and collaborative mechanisms of containment and resolution are urgently needed. ODR can help resolve disputes efficiently and affordably.

    However, to enable ODR to reach its full potential will require an incredible public-private collaboration, said Sachin Malhan, co-founder, Agami. ‘ODR startups themselves will be a critical stakeholder in this because they are the ones working on the actual solutions to the different use case categories,’ he added.

    Covid-19 has instilled an urgent need for ODR that requires decisive action, with the likelihood of a spurt in disputes before the courts—most notably in lending, credit, property, commerce, and retail. In the coming months, ODR could be the mechanism that helps businesses with achieving expedient resolution. ‘If there was ever a solution that was arranged for India, or a technology problem that was ever made for India, then it is ODR. We have the minds, the know-how and the volume of data to make it successful,’ said Deep Kalra, CEO, Make My Trip.

    A multi-stakeholder exercise will be undertaken in the coming weeks to enable ODR in India in a sustainable, efficient, and collaborative manner. Desh Gaurav Sekhri, OSD, NITI Aayog, said: ‘We need to enable an ecosystem that is conducive for the entire landscape of stakeholders being active participants to make sure ODR becomes a point of first contact for dispute avoidance, containment and resolution.’

  • The decision comes after the country witnessed a sudden surge in coronavirus cases which necessitated more stringent government regulations in order to curb the spread of the deadly disease.

    "Zimbabwe Cricket has called off the five-match T20I series against Afghanistan scheduled to be played in Harare this August after the government advised the country was not ready as yet to host visiting teams amid a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases," the board said on their official Twitter handle.

    India were also originally due to visit Zimbabwe in August for a three-match ODI series, which had to be called off due to global pandemic.

    Cricket Australia then postponed their three-match ODI series between against Zimbabwe, scheduled to be played Down Under in August. The three ODIs were scheduled to take place on August 9, 12 and 15.

  • In an online interaction at a CII summit, Jaishankar said there are "problems" between the two countries which are "well laid out".

    He was replying to a question on whether India and China will be able to become friends in the next 10-20 years just like the way France and Germany overcame their past to forge a new relationship.

    Jaishankar did not give a direct reply, but briefly delved into broader historical aspects of the relationship.

    "We are neighbours of China. China is already the second largest economy in the world. We will be one day third. You can argue when. We are demographically two very unique countries. We are the only two countries in the billion plus (population) category," he said.

    "The period of our difficulties were similar which really started at least vis-a-vis the Europeans around the same timeframe," he said.

    The external affairs minister said the period of re-emergence of the two countries in a very strong way in international politics is also not that far apart.

    "We are seeing a sort of parallel but differential rise of the two countries. But all of this is also happening when we are neighbours. To my mind what it does is, it puts a huge premium on reaching some kind of equilibrium or understanding between the two," he said.

    "Because not just in my interest, equally in their interests, and how to do that, I think is, one of the big challenges that we face. In their own way, somebody at their end would be saying something," he added.

    India and China are currently locked in a bitter border row in eastern Ladakh.

    "And I would argue that the world actually has a lot riding on us given our size and given our impact that would be the case. It is not an easy question to answer.There are problems; problems are well laid out. But certainly I feel, you know, (it) is very central to our foreign policy calculations," Jaishankar said.

    Referring to evolving geo-politics, the external affairs minister also mentioned how the era of western dominance is diluting in the wake of rebalancing of global power with the rise of countries like India and China.

    About the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a free trade agreement, Jaishankar said trade pacts should serve the national economic growth and suggested that it would be a key condition on India's decision whether to go for such agreements.

    Talking about India's foreign policy, the external affairs minister said the country will continue to strive for a just and equitable world as not advocating for international rules and norms could lead to the "law of the jungle".

    He also touched upon a range of key geo-political issues like changing character of global alliances, how technology and connectivity are becoming key parameters of global power and India's strategic autonomy in foreign policy and importance it commands for its values and ethical approach.

    Highlighting centrality of India's foreign policy, Jaishankar said the country is recognised for moral leadership globally and that it strongly stands for its quest for a more just and equitable world with strong commitment for international laws and norms.

    If we do not advocate for a world which is based on law and norms, "then frankly, it will be the law of the jungle," the external affairs minister said adding virtues of Lord Buddha and Mahatma Gandhi are still recognised globally.

    "We have an ability to handle, manage and internalise diversity in a very very unique way," said Jaishankar.

    Referring to current geo-politics, changing dimension of alliances and diplomacy, he pitched for a less dogmatic and much more open minded and pragmatic approach in dealing with various countries and situations.

    Jaishankar said though military and economic powers used to symbolise global clout in the past, technology and connectivity are becoming new parameters of power and influence.

    "Technology has never been politically neutral," he said, adding India has to be prepared to deal with new realities of the changing world order.

  • The maximum number are in the hilly district of Wayanad, where nearly 3800 persons are accommodated in 69 relief camps.

    Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said water level in the Mullaperiyar dam is fast rising as it's catchment areas are receiving copious rains. The state government has requested Tamil Nadu to release the water into Vaigai river, once the water level in the resevoir touched 136 feet.

    The Chief Minister urged the public to remain vigilant in view of the the Met department issuing red and orange alerts in several districts valid for the next couple of days.

  • Gopal Baglay further said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is keen on promoting Buddhism ties, and has placed a “specific focus” on initiating related projects, not only in the area of tourism but also other sectors such as archaeology.

    Prime Minister Rajapaksa expressed condolences to all those impacted by the Air India crash on Friday. He also said he was happy to receive Prime Minister Modi’s call on Thursday, even before the final results of elections were declared.

    In addition to ongoing projects, High Commissioner Baglay said India would also be happy to assist Sri Lanka on areas such as water and sanitation. Prime Minister Rajapaksa said irrigation is another important area on which the two countries can collaborate.

    Indian Government has decided to declare the Kushinagar airport an international airport in June. This is particularly significant to Sri Lanka’s Buddhist pilgrims since the airport is located near a number of sites sacred to Buddhists.

  • Asking people not to compare the relations of Bangladesh with India and China, the Foreign Minister said that India is a big trading partner of Bangladesh and it wants more trade benefits from India.

    Dr. Momen made these remarks while visiting the Mujibnagar Muktijodha Memoraial Complex on Saturday, reported the UNB.

    He said that Bangladesh and India have resolved major bilateral issues and made progress on the water sharing issue. He expressed confidence that other pending issues between the two countries will also be resolved.

    - Rajesh Jha/Dhaka

  • Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said, besides the 15 bodies recovered on Friday, 11 more bodies were retrieved on Saturday.

    Of these, three are yet to be identified.

    He said, besides two teams of the NDRF, police and fire service personnel are also engaged in the operations.

  • NASA’s Advanced Rapid Imaging and Analysis (ARIA) team used satellite-derived synthetic aperture radar data to map the likely extent of damage from a massive explosion.

    The data from space shows ground surface changes from before and after a major event like an earthquake.

    In this case, it has been used to show the devastating result of an explosion.

    On the map, dark red pixels – like those present at and around the Port of Beirut – represent the most severe damage.

    Areas in orange are moderately damaged and areas in yellow are likely to have sustained somewhat less damage.

    Each coloured pixel represents an area of 30 metres, NASA said.

    “Maps like this one can help identify badly damaged areas where people may need assistance. The explosion occurred near the city’s port,” said the US space agency.

    Two massive explosions rocked the Port of Beirut on August 4 evening.

    Primary information revealed that ammonium nitrate stored since 2014 in the port’s warehouse No. 12 might have caused the explosions.

  • The 74-year-old Sri Lanka People's Party (SLPP) leader, who polled over 500,000 individual preference votes -- the highest ever recorded by a candidate in the history of elections -- will take the oath of office for the ninth Parliament at the sacred Rajamaha Viharaya in Kelaniya, a north Colombo suburb, according to an official statement.

    The SLPP, led by Mahinda, registered a landslide victory in the general election, securing two-thirds majority in Parliament needed to amend the Constitution to further consolidate the powerful Rajapaksa family's grip on power.

    It won in 145 constituencies, bagging a total of 150 seats with its allies, a two-thirds majority in the 225-member Parliament. It polled 6.8 million votes (59.9 per cent).

    The Cabinet of Ministers will be sworn-in on Monday, followed by the swearing-in of the state and deputy ministers, media reported.

    The new government has decided to restrict the size of the Cabinet to 26, though it can be increased up to 30 in terms of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution.

    The Rajapaksa family -- including SLPP founder and its National Organiser Basil Rajapaksa, who is the younger brother of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa with the eldest being Mahinda -- has dominated Sri Lankan politics for two decades. Mahinda previously served as the president for nearly a decade from 2005 to 2015.

    President Gotabaya had won the November presidential election on the SLPP ticket.

    In the parliamentary election, he was seeking 150 seats mandatory to execute constitutional changes, including to repeal the 19th Amendment to the Constitution which had curbed the presidential powers while strengthening the role of Parliament.

    Reacting on the prospects of amending the Constitution, SLPP Chairman G L Peiris on Friday said it would only be carried out after much thought and consideration.

    Clearly, some amendments are required. It cannot continue in this manner when it comes to governing the country, he told reporters.

    After President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was elected, the 19A Amendment prevented him from dissolving Parliament to make way for a government which could support his programme of work while former opposition MPs urged that the dissolved Parliament be re-convened, he said.

    From the results of the general election, it is evident that the government, people needed after the new President was elected, was quite different to that of the previous Parliament.

    These things should be changed. If needed, the new government has the power to amend the Constitution, Peiris said.

    When asked whether the Independent Commissions would be abolished, he said there was no such need.

    "The intention of the Independent Commissions is to maintain apolitical institutions with appointments made by the Constitutional Council which should also be independent. Anyone can see that these purposes had not been served. To achieve these targets, some reforms are necessary, Peiris added.

    Activists, already alarmed by the diminishing space for dissent and criticism in the island nation, fear such a move could lead to authoritarianism.

    The biggest casualty from the election outcome was the United National Party (UNP) of former prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe which managed to win only one seat. The country's grand old party failed to win a single seat from any of the 22 districts.

    Its leader and four-time prime minister was unseated for the first time since he entered Parliament in 1977.

  • During his address, Gangwar informed  that the Plasma bank is a very important facility in the context of treating Covid-19 patients.

    Gangwar further said that in this crisis Covid situation, 21 ESIC Hospitals across India have been converted into Dedicated Covid-19 Hospitals. More than 2400 Isolation beds, 550 ICU/HDU beds with 200 ventilators have also been made available in these Hospitals. Quarantine facility (approx. 1300 Beds) has been made functional in 04 ESIC Hospitals at Alwar (Rajasthan), Bihta, Patna (Bihar), Gulbarga (Karnataka) and Korba (Chhattisgarh). Besides, Covid-19 testing facility has been made available at ESIC Hospital, Faridabad (Haryana), Basaidarapur (New Delhi) and Sanathnagar, Hyderabad. Plasma therapy is also being provided at ESIC Hospitals, Faridabad and Sanathnagar, Hyderabad for the treatment of serious patients of COVID-19. Shri Gangwar commended the efforts being made by ESIC, an organisation under his Ministry, to combat COVID-19 and added ESIC has been working continuously since its inception to provide social security to its insured persons in India. In the last 67 years of journey, today, the services of ESIC have been expanded to about 566 districts out of 722 districts. About 12 crore beneficiaries are receiving ESI facilities.

    Manohar Lal Khattar, Chief Minister, Haryana informed about the efforts of Haryana Govt. in combating Covid-19 pandemic.  He also briefed about the starting of Plasma Therapy in Haryana in 03 different locations, viz. Panchkula, Rohtak and Gurugram. At the end, while concluding his speech, he made an appeal to the COVID recovered patients to come forward and donate their plasmas to save the lives of others.

    Immunohematology and Blood transfusion Department, ESIC Medical College & Hospital, Faridabad had started Convalescent Plasma therapy under PLACID Trial with permission from Indian Council Of Medical Research on 20th May 2020. First Plasmapheresis was conducted on 2nd June 2020 and more than 25 procedures have been done till date. Accordingly, first Plasma therapy was done on 8th June 2020 and a total of 35 patients have been given transfusions so far.

    Department of Immunohematology and Blood transfusion, ESIC Medical College Faridabad is fully equipped with all the required equipment and manpower with a storage capacity of 400 units at a time and holds a valid License from Drug Controller General of India for Plasmaphaeresis. This Hospital is well equipped to conduct 30 plasmapheresis procedures per day, with 3 Dedicated Apheresis machines already working round the clock in the facility. The Convalescent Plasma is  important in view of increase in number of COVID cases.

    ESIC Medical College Faridabad is a dedicated 540 bedded COVID Hospital with ICU Beds for the treatment of Covid-19 patients of Haryana. Besides, Covid-19 testing facility has also been made available at ESIC Hospital, Faridabad (Haryana). The medical college is equipped with latest equipments, air conditioned classrooms, labs, etc.

    The hospital associated with this medical college is centrally air conditioned with inpatient and outpatient departments and provides treatment facilities through various departments. This hospital is equipped with facilities such as OPD, IPD, Wards, Emergency, Diagnostic Services, Operation Theatres, ICU, CT Scan, MRI and many more for the Insured Persons and their dependents.  This Hospital is exclusively run for the benefit of insured persons and their family members covered under ESI Scheme.

    Heera Lal Samariya, Secretary, Labour and Employment, Anuradha Prasad, Director General, ESIC and officers of MoLE, ESIC & Govt. of Haryana also graced the occasion.

  • However the administration is working hard to resettle the flood affected people whose houses may have been damaged or washed away by the devastating flood and erosion. Most houses are full of mud with the flood water receding while drinking water is a big issue as lives returning back to normal. The flood water sunk the existing tube wells and the water becomes smelly making it undrinkable.

    During this time the SDRF, NDRF along with the civil bodies main motive is to distribute every possible relief materials including sanitizers, phenyl, bleaching powder as the water dries leaving behind mud and dirt.

    As per the ASDMA reports the Brahmaputra river is flowing above danger level mark at Nematighat in Jorhat. While the number of affected districts which are still under water includes Dhemaji, Baksa, Chirang, Kokrajhar, Kamrip(M) and Morigon.

    The present population affected by the flood is less than 13 thousand while 201 inmates are still taking shelter in 2 relief camps.

  • A tribute to Mahatma Gandhi, the Rashtriya Swachhata Kendra (RSK) was first announced by the Prime Minister on 10th April 2017, on the occasion of the centenary celebrations of Gandhiji's Champaran Satyagraha. Gajendra Singh Shekhavat, Minister, Jal Shakti and Rattan Lal Kataria, Minister of State, Jal Shakti were present on the occasion.
     

    Tour of Rashtriya Swachhata Kendra

    The RSK has a balanced mix of digital and outdoor installations tracking India’s transformation from having over 50 crore people defecating in the open in 2014 to becoming open defecation free in 2019. The Prime Minister took a tour of the three distinct sections of the RSK. He first experienced a unique 360° audio visual immersive show in Hall 1 which provides an overview of the Swachh Bharat journey. He then moved to Hall 2 which contains a series of interactive LED panels, hologram boxes, interactive games and much more on the SBM. The Prime Minister also saw the installations in the lawn adjacent to RSK which showcase three exhibits which are synonymous with the SBM - Mahatma Gandhi leading people to the Swachhata pledge, Rani Mistris of rural Jharkhand and children swachhagrahis who call themselves Vaanar Sena.

    Interaction with school students

    After taking a tour of the entire RSK, the Prime Minister briefly visited the RSK souvenir centre. He then interacted with 36 school students from Delhi, representing all States and Union Territories of India at the amphitheatre of the RSK, adhering to social distancing protocols. The children shared with the Prime Minister their experiences with swachhata activities at home and at school, and their impressions of the RSK. One of them also asked the Prime Minister what his favourite part of the RSK was, to which the Prime Minister replied that he most enjoyed the portion dedicated to the inspiration of the SBM, Mahatma Gandhi.

    Address to the nation

    After interacting with the children, the Prime Minister addressed the nation. The Prime Minister reminisced the journey of the Swachh Bharat Mission and dedicated the RSK as a permanent tribute to Mahatma Gandhi. He lauded the people of India for making swachhata a jan andolan and urged them to continue to do so in the future. He reiterated the importance of swachhata in our daily lives, especially during our fight against the coronavirus.

    And on this occasion, the Prime Minister launched ‘Gandagi Mukt Bharat’, a special week long campaign for swachhata in the run up to Independence Day, during which each day till 15th August will have special swachhata initiatives in urban and rural India to re-enforce the jan andolan for swachhata.

    Visiting the Rashtriya Swachhata Kendra

    The Rashtriya Swachhata Kendra will be open to the public from 9th August from 8 AM to 5 PM, in accordance with the prescribed guidelines for social distancing and hygiene. As the number of people who may visit the RSK at a given point in time will have to be limited, no tours will be organized for students in the short term. However, virtual tours of the RSK will also be organized till such time as physical tours are possible. The first such virtual tour will be organized on 13th August with Minister for Jal Shakti, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat. 

  • The Union Cabinet has approved the Central Sector Scheme of financing facility under “Agriculture Infrastructure Fund” of Rs. 1 Lakh Crore. The Fund will catalyze the creation of post-harvest management infrastructure and community farming assets such as cold storage, collection centres, processing units, etc.These assets will enable farmers to get greater value for their produce, as they will be able to store and sell at higher prices, reduce wastage, and increase processing and value addition.Rs. 1 Lakh Crore will be sanctioned under the financing facility in partnership with multiple lending institutions; 11 of the 12 Public Sector Banks have already signed MOUs with the DAC&FW. 3% interest subvention and credit guarantee of up to Rs 2 Crore will be provided to the beneficiaries to increase the viability of these projects.The beneficiaries of the scheme will include farmers, PACS, Marketing Cooperative Societies, FPOs, SHGs, Joint Liability Groups (JLG), Multipurpose Cooperative Societies, Agri-entrepreneurs, Startups, and Central/State agency or Local Body sponsored Public-Private Partnership Projects.

    The Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojna (PM-KISAN) scheme, launched on 01 December 2018, has provided a direct cash benefit of overRs. 75,000 Crore to more than 9.9 Crore farmers.This has enabled them to fulfil their agricultural requirements and support their families. The rollout and implementation of the PM-KISAN scheme has happened at an unparalleled pace, with funds being directly transferred into the Aadhaar authenticated beneficiaries’ bank account to prevent leakage and increase convenience for farmers. The scheme has also been instrumental in supporting farmers during the Covid-19 pandemic, through the release of nearly Rs 22,000 Crore to aid the farmers during the lockdown period.

  • The Minister informed that the government is working upon a scheme for inclusion of smallest units under MSME ambit providing for their micro financial requirements. Recently, the MSME umbrella has been expanded and industry with investment value uptoRs 50 crore and turnover uptoRs 250 crore has been covered in the new definition of MSME. Also, the manufacturing and service sectors under MSME have been brought together by giving similar definitions to both.

    Gadkari called upon the CII representatives to share ideas and suggestions for improving the overall economic condition of the country. He cited the example of China, where top 10 business categories contributed about 70 per cent to its export bill. He said, by technology upgradation, India can also look for new export avenues in MSME sector. This will help grow a large number of ancillary units, he said.

    Gadkari also asked  CII to draft a proposal for insurance of roads which will remove requirement of Bank Guarantee(BG). This will speed up financial closure of road projects and in raising finances, thereby faster project completion. He elaborated how road scenario was changing in the country which would further immensely improve with proposed 22 new green expressway projects.

  • Additionally, SAI has got on board expert doctors from Manipal Hospital, who have also attended to the players. Dr. Avinash HR, who has been deputed by the state government and diagnosed the players on Saturday, said,

    "The vitals of the players like temperature, oxygen levels have been monitored and all five players  have been found to be mild symptomatic cases. Except for one the other four players did not have a fever. They are doing fine and we have put them on immunity boosters and other support medicines." Routine investigations as per protocol will be conducted by doctors till their vitals are normal again.

    To ensure that the five athletes have 24-hours access to the SAI authorities on campus, two SAI officers have been earmarked to exclusively monitor the athletes and cater to their requirements. Speaking from Bengaluru, Graham Reid, chief coach of the Indian Men’s Hockey Team said, “I am constantly in touch with all five of them and they are doing fine. SAI has made every arrangement to give them the best care. The chefs are making special dishes for them as per their choice, beyond the mess menu, and the athletes are very happy about it.”

  • Saturday's meeting focused on 13 districts concentrated in eight States/UT. These are Kamrup Metro in Assam; Patna in Bihar; Ranchi in Jharkhand; Alappuzha and Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala; Ganjam in Odisha; Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh; 24 Paraganas North, Hooghly, Howrah, Kolkata and Maldah in West Bengal; and Delhi. These districts account for nearly 9% of India's active cases and about 14% of COVID deaths. They also report low tests per million and high confirmation percentage. A surge has been observed in the daily new cases in four districts viz. Kamrup Metro in Assam; Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh; Thiruvananthapuram and Alappuzha in Kerala. Principal Secretary (Health) and MD (NHM) from the eight States along with district surveillance officers, district collectors, commissioners of the municipal corporation, Chief Medical Officers, and Medical Superintendent of Medical Colleges participated in the virtual meeting.

    Several issues critical to reducing case fatality rate were discussed during the meeting. The States were advised to address the issues of low lab utilisation i.e. less than 100 tests per day for RT-PCR and 10 for others; low tests per million population; decrease in absolute tests from last week; delay in test results; and high confirmation percentage among the health care workers. They were advised to ensure timely referral and hospitalization in view of reports from some districts of patients dying within 48 hrs of admission. States were directed to ensure unavailability of ambulances with zero tolerance for refusal. The need to ensure monitoring asymptomatic cases under home isolation with special focus on physical visits/phone consultation on daily basis was underscored. States were asked to ensure a timely assessment and make advance preparedness for infrastructure viz. ICU beds, oxygen supply etc., based on the prevailing case load and the estimated growth rate.

    It was reiterated that AIIMS, New Delhi is holding virtual sessions twice very week on Tuesdays and Fridays where a specialist team of doctors provides guidance on effective clinical management of COVID-19 patients in the ICUs of different State hospitals through tele/video consultation, to reduce the case fatality rate. The State authorities were advised to ensure that State Centers of Excellence other hospitals participate in these VCs regularly to improve clinical practices. The States were advised to follow all Ministry protocols for effective management of containment and buffer zones along with seamless patient and clinical management of patients with special focus on critical cases. Another major area highlighted was that of preventable deaths by strict surveillance among high-risk population like people with co-morbidities, pregnant women, the elderly and children.

  • The team of 11 athletes, 4 coaches and 16 support staff have already reported to the camp and are undergoing mandatory quarantine. As a proactive, mandatory step SAI has administered the Covid test to all participants , including athletes, coaches, support staff (sporting and non-sporting such as housekeeping, cooks etc) on arrival. The test reports confirm that all of them are Covid negative. 

    As a further precautionary measure all athletes, coaches and support staff will be  given the test before the start of the camp to ensure that everyone attending the on-field training from August 14 and interacting with athletes, including the athletes themselves, are Covid free.

  • Story of hope as Senior citizens of Chennai unite to inspire those affected by COVID-19

     

  • Ayurvedic doctor distributes immunity booster kit to corona warriors in Bengaluru

     

  • Over 160 persons were left injured  many with serious injuries. Heavy rain and adverse weather is being considered as a contributory factor for the accident.  
     
    The Civil Aviation Minister, Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of State External Affairs, Muraleedharan had visited the site of the crash and took stock of the situation. Puri held consultations with senior civil aviation officials and professionals. In a tweet, Puri said, Digital Flight Data Recorder and Cockpit Voice Recorder of the ill-fated aircraft have been retrieved. He said, Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau, AAIB is conducting investigations.
     
    A special team including Governor Arif Muhammad Khan, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and other State Ministers and officials are also in Kozhikode taking stock of the situation. Air India Express flight that was part of Vande Bharat mission, carrying 191 passengers including crew  from Dubai skidded off the table top runway while landing at Karipur Airport, Kozhikode in kerala late evening at 7:41pm yesterday .The plane after skidding from runway crash landed nearly 35 feet below and spilt into two pieces.
     
    Later briefing media, Puri announced 10 lakh rupees interim relief for each of the deceased, 2 lakh rupees for the seriously injured and 50 thousand for those who suffered minor injuries in Air India Express flight mishap in Kozhikode. The Minister said, reasons for Air India Express flight crash at Karipur airport being investigated. 

  • #AatmaNirbharBharat: Discussion on 'One nation, One ration card' 

     

  • While chairing the meeting, he stressed on Zero Tolerance towards Corruption. He also laid emphasis on promotion of youth centric programs and policies and reaching out to the masses, besides strengthening of connectivity in rural areas and maintaining robust health care system in the Union Territory.
     
    The Lieutenant Governor also said that modernization of capital cities of Jammu and Srinagar and early completion of languishing projects will be his priority areas. He added that Poverty alleviation and upliftment of all the sections of the society through livelihood programmes is the prime agenda of the present Government towards achieving the ultimate goal of equitable development.
     
    The Lt Governor also called for restoration of traditional and old crafts which have huge market demand. He passed the directions for the revival of old abandoned projects to give development its new dimension. On tourism promotion, he asked the officers to take comprehensive measures to revive the lakes and other tourist hotspots to add to the tourism avenues of the region.
     
    He observed that the people of J&K have high hopes from the Government and called for taking all requisite measures on various fronts for the public welfare of the people to meet the aspirations of the people. The Lieutenant Governor asked the officers to direct all their actions and energies towards fulfilling the ultimate objective of development envisaged by Prime Minister through the slogan ‘Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas aur Sabka Vishwas’.
     
    Focusing on the youth, the Lt Governor noted that youth would be one of the priorities of his government and asked the concerned officers to create best sports infrastructure, besides coming out with youth centric programs to engage them in productive activities. He expressed satisfaction over the progress made under Jal Jeevan Mission for providing piped water supply (Har Ghar Nal se Jal) to every household well ahead of envisaged completion date of National Mission.
     
    The Lt Governor exhorted the concerned officers to make health care system of J&K best in the country. He further stressed on improving health services delivery to provide quality and accessible healthcare services to the people of J&K. He also called for bringing suitable changes in the Education policy Job Oriented education and make committed efforts towards promoting industry and enterprise sector in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
     
    He advised the Administrative Secretaries to implement the best practices in people centric governance with active public participation in developmental process for achieving the goal of good governance through accountable, responsive and proactive administration which is a prerequisite for the sustainable development of any region. He further asked them to use technology and innovative ideas to bring efficiency in the system.
     
    The Lt Governor also observed that the Food processing has a lot of scope in J&K and asked the officers to roll out an effective mechanism in this regard. During the meeting, the Lt Governor reviewed the efforts of the UT Administration for successful implementation of various schemes launched by the Central and the UT Government and assessed the status of execution of developmental projects across J&K.

  • Houses in Srinagar of Munshiganj district, about 50 km from the capital Dhaka, were submerged in floodwaters with the nearby Padma River overflowing its banks. Residents were forced to travel by boat and had to move their cattle to higher grounds to avoid the flooding.

    The agriculture ministry said that the longest-running floods in over two decades in Bangladesh have submerged nearly 80,000 hectares of paddy fields.

    The floods also complicated the efforts to fight the novel coronavirus. Bangladesh has reported 252,502 infections with 3,333 deaths as of Saturday.

  • It stated that if undetected, grocery workers can potentially spread the infection to a large number of people. In a letter to states and UTs, Secretary, Health Ministry, Rajesh Bhushan also stressed the need for operationalising ambulance transport system with oxygen facility and quick response mechanism. He underlined that refusal rate of ambulances must be monitored at a daily basis and brought down to zero.
     
    With the COVID-19 pandemic now spreading to newer areas in the country, Mr Bhushan said there are likely to be scattered cases, cluster of cases or large outbreaks in districts. He said the primary aim is to control outbreaks especially in new locations and to save lives at all cost. He said the aim should be to further reduce mortality and ensure that it does not cross the 1 per cent mark.
     
    The Secretary pointed out that early detection of cases through aggressive testing, prompt isolation or admission in a healthcare facility and ensuring proper clinical management are major components of mortality reduction. He stressed on enhanced surveillance for influenza like illness, and severe acute respiratory illness as their symptoms are mostly the same as COVID.
     
    Once a positive case is identified, a prompt contact-tracing should be undertaken and at least 80 per cent of the contacts must be identified and quarantined within 72 hours. He said there can be potential hotspots for spread of infection like industrial clusters with closed work environment, people coming from high prevalence areas, other high density areas such as slums, prisons, and old age homes.
     
    He also asked states and UTs to undertake weekly death audits to assess the determinants of death such as age differentials, comorbidities, late reporting to hospital and clinical protocols that were followed. This will help identify challenges to be addressed and will facilitate effective case reporting and ensure timely and required medical interventions. In the letter, Bhushan also said that a regular house-to-house search must be done periodically to identify those who are at high-risk that is the elderly, people with comorbidities and pregnant women among others.

  • The Ministry said, a total of 61,537 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in the country in the past 24 hours taking the total number of cases to 20 lakh 88 thousand 612. Presently, the total number of active Corona cases in the country is six lakh 19 thousand 88. In a single day, 933 deaths were reported taking the nationwide toll to 42 thousand 518. 

  • GC Murmu had stepped down as the Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir earlier this week. Vice President Venkaiah Naidu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi were also present on the occasion. Girish Chandra Murmu will have a tenure upto 20.11.2024.

  • Foreign currency assets, a major part of the overall reserves, increased by 10.347 billion dollars to 490.829 billion dollars. In the previous week, the reserves had swelled by 4.993 billion dollars to end at 522.630 billion dollars.
     
    Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das has said that the reserves are equivalent to 13.4 months of imports. He added that the reserves have risen by 56.8 billion dollars in this fiscal so far. Gold reserves also went up by 1.525 billion dollars to end at 37.625 billion dollars.

    India's special drawing rights with the International Monetary Fund inched higher by 12 million dollars to reach 1.475 billion dollars, while the country's reserve position also went up by 54 million dollars to 4.639 billion dollars.

  • Globally, 18,902,735 confirmed cases of COVID-19 had been reported to WHO.

    The United States and Brazil remain the top two in both confirmed cases and deaths, with 4,781,612 cases and 157,357 deaths reported from the U.S., and 2,859,073 cases and 97,256 deaths from Brazil.

    Following the top two in terms of confirmed cases are India with 2,027,074 cases, Russia with 877,135 cases, South Africa with 538,184 cases, Mexico with 456,100 cases, Peru with 447,624 cases, Chile with 366,671 cases, Colombia with 345,714 cases, and Iran with 320,117 cases.

    On the list of death toll after the top two are Mexico with 49,689 cases, the UK with 46,413 cases, India with 41,585 cases, Italy with 35,187 cases, France with 30,189 cases, Spain with 28,500 cases, Peru with 20,228 cases, Iran with 17,976 cases, Russia with 14,725 cases, and Colombia with 11,624 cases.

    According to WHO regional offices, Americas remains the most affected area by COVID-19, with a total of 10,135,322 cases and 376,606 deaths, followed by Europe, where 3,513,219 cases and 215,640 deaths have been reported.

    In Asia, the Tokyo metropolitan government on Friday confirmed 462 new daily COVID-19 cases, falling just shy of its record of 472 confirmed cases on Aug. 2, with the capital's cumulative total reaching 15,107, the highest among Japan's 47 prefectures.

    The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) on Friday revealed that the number of COVID-19 cases across the African continent had exceeded 1 million.

    The Africa CDC, a specialized healthcare agency of the 55-member African Union Commission, said in its latest situation update that the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases across the continent had risen to 1,007,366 as of Friday afternoon.

    The Africa CDC report showed that the number of deaths related to COVID-19 rose from 21,617 on Thursday to 22,066 on Friday.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced an ex-gratia of 2 lakh rupees each from PMNRF to the next of kin of those who have lost their lives due to a landslide in Rajamalai, Idukki.
    He said in a tweet that 50 thousand rupees each would be given to those injured due to the landslide.
     
    As heavy rain continues in Kerala, death toll in the massive landslide that hit Rajamala in Idukki district of Kerala has reached 22. Rescue and search operations restarted this morning for the missing persons, as many are feared to be buried under soil. 43 persons are still missing and efforts are on to retrieve their bodies with the help of NDRF teams. The inquest of 17 persons have been completed and postmortem is underway.
     
    Adverse weather is hampering the relief operations. Meanwhile, heavy rain is continuing across the State creating widespread damage. Major rivers are overflowing and low lying regions are flooded in northern and Central Kerala. Met dept predicts very heavy rain in the state during coming days.

     

     

  • In a statement, World largest vaccine manufacturer Serum Institute of India said, it is important to make sure that the most remote and poorest countries of the world have access to affordable cure and preventive measures to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.
     
    It said, through this association, the company will ramp up the efforts to save the lives of millions of people from this dreadful disease. Serum Institute of India will get the funding from the Gates foundation through international vaccine alliance GAVI. The funding will provide support to vaccine maker for potential vaccines candidate from AstraZeneca and Novavax.
     
    Company has set an affordable ceiling price of 3 dollar per dose. Earlier, Serum Institute of India had bagged a contract with British drugmaker AstraZeneca to supply one billion doses of Oxford University's potential COVID-19 vaccine. Recently, American Company Novavax has entered a supply and license agreement with the Serum Institute of India for the development and commercialisation of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate.
     

  • Seetamarhi, Darbhanga, Muzaffarpur, East and West Champaran Districts are worst affected. About 4 lakh 95 thousand people have been evacuated to safer places. 33 teams of SDRF and NDRF are carrying out relief and rescue operations in the affected areas.

    Around ten and a half lakh people are being provided cooked food from 1,420 community kitchens. Rleief is being provided to the people living on embankments. Medical teams along with anti-rabies kits and snake bite serum are deputed in the flood affected areas to provide medical aid to the flood affected people. Six relief camps are being run in Khagaria and Samstipur districts.

    Bagmati, Kamla Balan, Adhwara, Kosi and Gandak rivers are still above the danger mark at many places. On the other hand, the Meteorological Department predicted light to moderate rains in almost all the districts of Bihar during the next 24 hours.

  • All the 18 killed in the mishap have been identified, which include 7 women and 4 children. Their postmortem will be completed by 3 pm. One of the deceased has been tested Covid 19 positive. The Chief Minister said of the 149 persons admitted to various hospitals, 23 are in critical condition. The State government has opened a Passenger Welfare Control Room with Telephone No. 0495 2376901, he added.

    Rescue operations at the site have been completed and all injured persons have been admitted to hospitals in Malappuram and Kozhikode. There were 191 people including 10 infants, 2 pilots and 5 cabin crew onboard the aircraft.
     
    DGCA said, the Dubai-Kozhikode Air India Express flight fell 35 feet from the hilltop runway after landing at Karipur Airport and broke down in two pieces. While the two pilots are among the dead, four-cabin crew members on board the aircraft are safe. It is believed that heavy rains in Kerala could be one of the reasons behind the mishap. Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said, two investigation teams of professionals from Air India, Airports Authority of India and Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau have been rushed to Kozhikode.
     
    President Ram Nath Kovind spoke to Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan and inquired about the situation. Expressed deep distress, he said his thoughts & prayers are with affected passengers, crew members & their families. Vice President Venkaiah Naidu has expressed deep anguish at the loss of  lives in the tragic air mishap at Kozhikode airport. In a tweet, Naidu extended condolences to the families who lost their dear ones in the crash and hoped for the speedy recovery of the injured.
     
    Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and inquired about the situation. Expressing pain over the accident, PM Modi said, his thoughts are with those who lost their loved ones. Prime Minister also wished speedy recovery to those injured. Home Minister Amit Shah said he is distressed to learn about the tragic accident. In a tweet, he said, NDRF was instructed to reach the site and assist in rescue operations.
     
    External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, MoS External Affairs V Muraleedharan and BJP MP KJ Alphons also expressed deep distress over the accident. Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan spoke to Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja regarding rescue and medical support for those injured in the air crash. Dr Harsh Vardhan assured her of maximum support from the centre for those who are being treated at various city hospitals.

    External Affairs Ministry has issued helpline numbers. These are 1800 118 797; 91 11 23012113; 91 11 23014104; 91 11 23017905. Indian Consulate in Dubai's helpline number is 97142079444. Helpline issued by Mallapuram district administration are 8330052468 and 04832719493.

    Kerala government has also announced 10 lakh rupees each as solatium to the kin of those deceased in yesterday's accident at the Calicut International Airport.
    Addressing a press Conference with Governor Arif Mohammad Khan at Calicut Medical College Hospital, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said those seriously injured will be given two lakh rupees each. The state government will bear the medical expenses of all those injured in the mishap.

     

  • India will host the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 as planned. Cricket’s governing body has also decided to postpone the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2021 in New Zealand till February – March 2022 because of the impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on cricket globally.
     
    The format of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 will remain as it was for 2020 and all teams that qualified for that event will now participate in India in 2021. A new qualification process will be run for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022. The format of the postponed ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup will remain as it was for 2021. Five teams have already qualified for the event and that will stand for 2022.
     
    The original global qualification event to determine the final three teams to contest the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup was scheduled to be held in Sri Lanka in July 2020, but this was postponed due to COVID-19. The qualification event will now be held in 2021.
     
    After ICC’s decision to postpone the T20 World Cup, BCCI decided to use the vacant window to announce the dates for the Indian Premier League. The IPL will be held in the UAE from September 19 to November 10. India will be touring Australia after the completion of the IPL.

  • Chief Minister Vijay Rupani announced the new Policy at a press conference in Gandhinagar on Friday. He said that the new Industrial policy is divided in 15 thrust areas in core sectors and sunrise sectors. He said that in Core sectors- the thrust areas will be Electrical machinery & equipment, Industrial Machinery & equipment, Auto & Auto Components, Ceramics, Technical Textiles, Agro & Food Processing, Pharmaceuticals & Medical devices, Gems & Jewelry and Chemicals.
     
    While Sunrise Sectors will have thrust areas like Industry 4.0 manufacturing, Electric Vehicle and its components, Waste management projects, Green Energy including Solar & Wind Equipment and Eco-friendly compostable material for substitutes to traditional plastics. Thrust on 100 percent export oriented units will be given irrespective of sector. AIR Ahmedabad correspondent reports that the new Industrial Policy 2020 is in line with the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan of the center. The new policy will replace the old policy which expired on 31st December 2019.

  • The minimum temperature was recorded at 26 degrees Celsius and the maximum will be around 35 degrees. Mumbai will experience a generally cloudy sky with moderate rain. The minimum temperature was 25 degrees Celsius and the maximum temperature will be around 32 degrees. Chennai will have a generally cloudy sky with light rain or drizzle. The temperature will hover between 27 and 36 degrees Celsius.
     
    Kolkata will have Generally cloudy sky with one or two spells of rain or thundershowers. The minimum temperature in the metropolis was 27 degrees Celsius while the maximum will be around 32 degrees. On to the North, in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, the minimum temperature in Jammu was 28 degrees Celsius while the maximum will be around 35 degrees Celsius. The city may witness rain or thundershowers towards afternoon or evening. In Srinagar, the minimum temperature was 20 degrees while the maximum will be around 32 degrees Celsius. The city will have mainly clear sky becoming partly cloudy towards evening or night.
     
    Ladakh will have mainly clear sky becoming partly cloudy towards afternoon or evening. The temperature will hover between 19 and 30 degrees Celsius. In Gilgit, the temperature will hover between 19 and 36 degrees Celsius. It will experience mainly clear sky. In Muzzafarabad, there will be mainly clear sky becoming partly cloudy towards evening or night. The minimum temperature was 21 degrees Celsius while the maximum temperature will be around 36 degrees. Chandigarh will have a generally cloudy sky with one or two spells of rain or thundershowers. The minimum temperature in the city was 28 degrees Celsius while the maximum will be around 34 degrees.
     
    In Dehradun, the temperature will hover between 26 and 32 degrees Celsius. The city may have generally cloudy sky with a few spells of rain or thundershowers. In Hyderabad, the minimum temperature was 23 degrees Celsius while the maximum will be around 32 degrees. Rain or thundershowers would occur in the city towards afternoon or evening. Guwahati will have generally cloudy sky with one or two spells of rain or thundershowers. The minimum temperature in the city was 26 degrees celsius while the maximum will be around 34 degrees.

  • He also said both China and Iran would like to see Biden prevail.

    Trump's comments come as the top U.S. counterintelligence official warned that Russia, China and Iran will all try to interfere in the 2020 presidential election, with Russia already trying to undercut presumptive Democratic candidate Joe Biden.

    In an unusual public statement, William Evanina, director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, said those countries were using online disinformation and other means to try to influence voters, stir up disorder and undermine American voters' confidence in the democratic process.

    Foreign adversaries also may try to interfere with U.S. election systems by trying to sabotage the voting process, stealing election data, or calling into question the validity of election results.

    Multiple reviews by U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia acted to boost now-President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign and undercut his rival Hillary Clinton's chances in that election. Trump has long bristled at that finding, which Russia denies.

    Evanina warned on Friday that Russia is already going after former Vice President Biden and what it regards as an anti-Russia U.S. "establishment."

    Evanina said Andriy Derkach, a pro-Russia Ukrainian politician, has been "spreading claims about corruption - including through publicized leaked phone calls" to undermine Biden's campaign and the Democratic Party. Trump supporters in the U.S. Senate have launched investigations questioning Biden's son Hunter's involvement in alleged business activities in Ukraine.

    Evanina said "Kremlin-linked actors" also are trying to "boost President Trump's candidacy via social media and Russian television."

    He said his agency assessed that China would prefer that Trump not win re-election, because Beijing regards him as too unpredictable.

    He said China has been expanding efforts to influence U.S. politics ahead of the November election to try to shape U.S. policy, exert pressure on U.S. politicians it regards as anti-China, and deflect criticism of China.

    Evanina said Iran is likely to use online tactics such as spreading disinformation to discredit U.S. institutions and President Trump and to stir up U.S. voters' discontent.

    This will be an unusual year for U.S. voters. The coronavirus pandemic is expected to result in many more voters than usual casting ballots by mail, which could mean it will take longer to learn who won.

    Trump has been attacking the idea of voting by mail, saying despite research to the contrary that it is likely to result in fraud.

  • With active support of Weavers’ Service Centre, Bhubaneswar under office of the Development Commissioner for Handlooms, she participated in several exhibitions of Craft Council, Master Creation, Suraj Kund etc. Her family is marketing Ikat products to CCIC etc., which are highly saleable and has a special fame and name amongst the handloom lovers of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Bangalore. These participations encouraged her to be an entrepreneur. At present, 10 weavers are working with her and earning Rs. 600/- to Rs. 700/- per day. Thus, her journey started from zero to this stage with support of Govt. of India, Ministry of Textiles.

  • Flight IX 1344 operated by B737 aircraft from Dubai to Calicut skidded off the runway and fell down a valley at the Calicut international airport Friday evening at around 1941 hrs.

    Most of the passengers including the cabin crew were seriously injured. The injured have been admitted to various hospitals in  Kozhikode and Malappuram districts.

    There was heavy downpour and the visibility was poor when the flight from Dubai landed at the airport.

    Reports said there were 190 passengers on board the aircraft.

    The cockpit separated from rest of the aircraft's body following the mishap.

    President Ram Nath Kovind in a tweet said, "Deeply distressed to hear about the tragic plane crash of Air India Express flight at Kozhikode, Kerala. Spoke to @KeralaGovernor Shri Arif Mohammed Khan and inquired about the situation. Thoughts and prayers with affected passengers, crew members and their families."

    Prime Minsiter Narendra Modi in a tweet said, "Pained by the plane accident in Kozhikode. My thoughts are with those who lost their loved ones. May the injured recover at the earliest. Spoke to Kerala CM @vijayanpinarayi  Ji regarding the situation. Authorities are at the spot, providing all assistance to the affected."

    Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said, “Air india Express AXB1344, B737 Dubai to Calicut, person on board 191, visibility 2000 meter, heavy rain, after landing Runway 10, continue running to end of runway and fall down in the valley  and broke down in  two pieces.”

    In a tweet, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said, “Distressed to learn about the tragic accident of Air India Express aircraft in Kozhikode, Kerala. Have instructed NDRF to reach the site at the earliest and assist with the rescue operations.”

    Minister of External Affairs Dr. S. Jaishankar tweeted, “Deeply distressed to hear about the Air India Express tragedy at Kozhikode. Prayers are with the bereaved families and those injured. We are ascertaining further details.”

    Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in tweet said, "Devastating news from Kozhikode, Kerala. I am deeply anguished by the loss of lives due to an accident carrying several passengers on Air India flight. In this hour of grief, my thoughts are with the bereaved families. I pray for the speedy recovery of the injured."

    Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan tweeted, "Have instructed Police and Fire Force to take urgent action in the wake of the plane crash at the Kozhikode International airport (CCJ) in Karipur. Have also directed the officials to make necessary arrangements for rescue and medical support."

     

     

  • India will host the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 as planned. Along with this, Women's ODI World Cup has also been postponed to 2022.

    The Women's ODI World Cup was scheduled to be held in New Zealand between 6th February and 7th March 2021.

    The format of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 will remain as it was for 2020 and all teams that qualified for that event will now participate in India in 2021.

    A new qualification process will be run for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022.

    The format of the postponed ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup will remain as it was for 2021. Five teams have already qualified for the event and that will stand for 2022.

    The original global qualification event to determine the final three teams to contest the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup was scheduled to be held in Sri Lanka in July 2020, but this was postponed due to COVID-19. The qualification event will now be held in 2021.