Project ‘Decarbonising Transport in India’ will be launched
For reducing the carbon dioxide emission caused due to transportation in the country, NITI Aayog will launch the project ‘Decarbonising Transport in India’ on 24th June 2020. The project is in collaboration with the International Transport Forum (ITF).
Objective of the Project:
To meet the goals related to climate/ climate change in the country, it is essential for the Government to work on reducing the emission of Greenhouse Gases. Through this project, an assessment framework will be designed that will be tailor-made for transport emissions in India.
This framework will provide the Government with much needed detailed inputs on the current and future transport challenges that are related to carbon dioxide emission. Based on the outcomes from the project, a pathway towards a low carbon transport system in India will be created.
India’s Decarbonising Transport initiative is a part of the DTEE project. DTEE stands for Decarbonising Transport in Emerging Economies. DTEE is a project of ITF under which apart from India, currently Argentina, Morocco, and Azerbaijan are the participants.
Under the DTEE project, ITF aims to create a common assessment framework for the decarbonising transportation system for several transport sub-sectors and transport modes. This framework will be created based on the inputs from the participating countries and their specific model in decarbonising transport.
International Transport Forum (ITF):
ITF is a think tank for transport policy issues. It is headquartered in Paris, France. It is an intergovernmental organization with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OCED).
India becomes 12th Largest Holder of US Government Securities at April 2020 end
Despite low returns, the Treasury Securities (are of four types- Bills, Notes, Bonds, Inflation-Protected Securities) backed by the United States Treasury Department is one of the safest assets for any Central Bank around the world. With USD 157.4 billion at the end of April 2020, India has become the 12th largest holder of United States Government Securities.
India’s holding touched an all-time record high of USD 177.5 billion at the end of February 2020 but was reduced to USD 156.5 billion at the end of March 2020. This significant drop was due to the financial impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic. As economic uncertainties increased following lockdowns in most countries across the world, securities were sold by India in the month of March.
How the Indian Government invests in US Government Securities?
On behalf of the Government of India, India’s Central bank- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) invests in foreign assets. These foreign investments are part of prudential liquidity management.
Top 5 Countries as per US Government Security holdings (at the end of April 2020):
China plans to Establish National Security Bureau in Hong Kong
Beijing passed legislation that empowered the Chinese Parliament to draft security laws for Hong Kong. Now China continues to tighten its grip on Honk Kong by planning to establish a ‘Special Bureau- National Security Office’ in Hong Kong that will have the rights to deal with criminal cases and analyze intelligence that is related to the national security
Establishing a National Security Bureau in Hong Kong was confirmed after a three day (from 18th June to 20th June) meeting of the Legislative Affairs Commission (Top lawmaking committee in China). On 19th June 2020, it was also reported in Chinese media that all departments under the Hong Kong government will be directly answerable to Beijing once the legislation is implemented.
Despite protests throughout Hong Kong and the international community, China seems determined to suppress democracy in Hong Kong. The Chinese legislation is likely to be implemented next week when the Standing Committee would meet in Beijing from 28th to 30th June 2020. Once it’s implemented, the controversial legislation is likely to override the existing laws in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region of China since 1997 when the former colony was returned by Britain to China. Matters related to foreign affairs and defense of Hong Kong are controlled by China, rest it has its own- Executive, Legislative, and Independent Judicial Power.
Job Gaurantee Scheme for Urban Poor to be launched by Jharkhand Government
The state government of Jharkhand is likely to become the second state after Kerala in the country to launch a job guarantee scheme that will be on the lines of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA). The scheme unlike MNREGA (which focuses on providing a 100-day job for the Rural poor), will focus on providing 100-day work for the unskilled workers living in the urban areas of the state.
The scheme aimed to enhance the livelihood security for the urban poor will be named Mukhyamantri SHRAMIK (Shahri Rozgar Manjuri For Kamgar). The scheme is awaiting approval of the state cabinet.
Ayyankali Urban Employment Guarantee Scheme (AUEGS) is the 100-day employment guarantee scheme of the Kerala Government for urban poor.
How the Scheme will be different from MNREGA?
On 21st June 2020, the Urban Development Secretary of Jharkhand has informed the media that the scheme will also have a provision under for unemployment allowance. This allowance will only be applicable when if a local body fails to provide a job within 15 days to the unskilled worker.
As per information provided in media, for the first 30 days a beneficiary of the scheme will be entitled to one-fourth of the wages as unemployment allowance, while if the local body fails to provide job during the next 30 days then the beneficiary will be provided with half of the total 100 days work wage entitled.
Tripura Government to start ‘Play Little, Study Little’ Scheme
The state government of Tripura has decided to start a scheme for school students from 25th June 2020. The scheme is named ‘Ektu Khelo, Ektu Padho’ –meaning ‘Play Little, Study Little’.
The scheme will be implemented via SMS or WhatsApp. For students, those who have access to smartphones of their parents will be able to access the scheme through WhatsApp. For students having feature phones, they will be able to access through SMS.
The objective of the scheme is to make sure that students invest their time in studies during these times of uncertainty as it could still take a couple of months for schools to reopen due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As per the scheme name ‘Play little’, students apart from studies will also be provided with fun and games activities. The scheme will benefit students from 4,398 government-aided and 335 private schools across the state.
How Students will get access to the scheme?
Every morning, from the headquarter of the state’s Education Department the learning contents will be shared with the academic coordinator each district. The coordinator of the district will share the same with the headmasters of the schools located in that particular district.
The school headmasters will further share it with the teachers of their schools, a single teacher will have the responsibility of a particular number of students of the school. The teacher will share the content will the students.
No Ambubachi Mela at Kamakhya Temple for the first time in Recorded History
At the centuries-old historic Kamakhya Temple at Guwahati, for the first time in six centuries of record available from 1565, the 5 days Ambubachi Mela will not be organized due by keeping in mind the possibility of spreading the COVID-19 virus.
Every year the fair draws lakhs of pilgrims, tourists, sadhus, and others from all over the country. As per the Assam State Tourism, a minimum of 5 lakh devotees attend the fair that also includes many foreigners.
The rituals of Ambubachi Mahayog will be performed by the priests of the temple by maintaining the social distancing norms. The Mahayog will be performed at the Devalaya from 07:53:15 am- 22nd June to 8:16:55 pm- 25th June.
Kamakhya Temple will remain closed for the devotees till the 30th of June 2020 as per the decision taken by the Kamakhya Devalaya Management Committee.
The Hindu temple located at the Nilachal Hill is dedicated to the mother goddess Kamakhya. The temple as per history was built by King Narakasura. As per the official records available from 1565, the temple was rebuilt by Koch King Naranarayan.
Kamakhya is one of the 51 Shakti Peeths (each of the 51 Shakti Peeths represents a body part of Lord Shiva’s companion, Sati).
Hetero’s injectable ‘Covifor’ gets DCGI approval for COVID-19 Treatment
For the treatment of COVID-19 positive cases, on 21st June 2020, Hyderabad based pharmaceutical company -Hetero Drugs has received approval from the Drug Controller General of India (a department under- CDSCO: Central Drugs Standard Control Organization) for manufacturing and marketing of antiviral drug Remdesivir.
Brandname for Marketing:
Under the brand name ‘Covifor’, Hetero Pharmaceuticals’ generic version of Remdesivir will be marketed in India.
The drug is manufactured at the Hetero company’s Hyderabad facility, while its Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) is being developed at Andhra Pradesh’s Visakhapatnam.
The antiviral drug ‘Remdesivir’ is administered via injection into a vein. This antiviral medication was developed by the United States biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences for treatment of Hepatitis C.
United Kingdom, Singapore, and Japan are the countries where the drug has been approved to date for the treatment of COVID-19 cases.
Price and Availability:
As it is an injectable drug, it has to be administered under the supervision of a healthcare practitioner and will not be available through any retail channel. The drug will be made available for hospitals and government healthcare agencies. It will be available in a 100mg injectable dose. The price will be in the range of Rs 5,000 to 6,000 per dose.
Hetero has targeted to manufacture one lakh doses of it in the upcoming weeks, the company has stated that production can be increased based on the demand.
Covifor will be used for the treatment of confirmed COVID-19 cases for those who have severe symptoms of the disease.