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30 June Current Affairs

Democrat-led House of Representatives approves Statehood Bill for Washington D.C

The lower house of the United States Congress the House of Representatives has voted 232-180 in favour of the Bill that would grant the United States capital Washington D.C statehood for the first time since it was created 230 years ago.

However, with the Presidential Elections in November this year, the Bill introduced by Eleanor Holmes Norton (non-voting member of the House of Representative from Washington D.C) seems unlikely to come into force as the chances for the Bill to advance at the Senate (Upper House of the United States Congress) seems unlikely. Also, the United States President has made it clear that he would ‘veto’ the Bill even if it is passed at the Senate.

In 1790, Washington D.C was carved out from the states of Virginia and Maryland. D.C stands for District of Columbia.

At present, at the House of Representatives, the Democratic Party has a clear majority with 233 seats out of the total 435 seats. The United States President Trump’s Republican Party has 198 members at the House of Representatives. Out of 233 Democrats, 232 have voted in favour of the Bill. The Republican Party has voiced their opposition against the Bill from the beginning.

At the Senate, the Bill is even unlikely to be introduced as the Republican Party has a majority with 53 out of the 100 seats. Democrats have 45 seats at the Senate.

‘At One Click’ Initiative launched by Gujarat Government for MSMEs & Other Bigger Industries

In News:

For 12,247 Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and bigger industrial units (including the textile industry) in the state, the Gujarat Government on 26th June 2020 has launched an online cash aid initiative. The initiative is named as ‘At One Click’. The initiative was launched by the Chief Minister of Gujarat Vijay Rupani.

About the Initiative:

‘At One Click’ is an online aid initiative for which the Gujarat Government has committed Rs 1,369 crore of financial aid for the MSMEs and bigger industrial units (including the textile industry).

Objective of the Initiative:

Through the initiative, the State Government looks to restore the former vibrancy of the state by motivating sectors such as MSME, traders, bigger industries, and businesses. The online initiative is to encourage these sectors for taking up the challenge that the COVID-19 crisis has bought and convert this into an opportunity.

Launch of the Initiative:

By transferring Rs 768 crore directly into the bank accounts of 12,247 MSMEs the initiative was launched. Bigger industrial units that include textile industries as well will be transferred Rs 601 crore under the initiative.

The Chief Minister at the launch of the initiative has informed that 1.3 lakh loan applications from MSMEs and other industries have been received in the state under the Atma Nirbhar Bharat Package of the Central Government. The total loan amount of Rs 8,200 crore has been sanctioned as per the applications received to date, out of this, Rs 4,175 crore has already been disbursed.

Sero-Survey begins in New Delhi to determine the Spread of COVID-19

In News:

As a part of one of the five aspects of the revised COVID-19 response plan of New Delhi, the Delhi Government jointly with National Centre for Disease Control will conduct the Sero Survey across the National Capital from 27th June 2020.

Details:

Amidst a rising number of COVID-19 cases over the last one month, the Survey will help in determining the extent of spread of the Coronavirus disease in New Delhi. 20,000 residents will be covered under the Survey from all the 11 districts of New Delhi.

About the Sero-Survey:

ELISA (Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) based antibody kit developed by the National Institute of Virology (NIV) will be used for the Survey. A pilot Sero Survey was conducted in New Delhi by using the antibody kit earlier in the month. Good results were yielded during the pilot Survey by using the anti-body Kit. The antibody kit of NIV is known by the name ‘COVID Kavach ELISA’.

A Sero Survey is for determining the presence of antibodies in the blood sample of an individual. The presence of the COVID-19 Immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibody in the blood sample of an individual will suggest past exposure to the COVID-19 virus.

Immunoglobulin G (IgG) Antibody:

The immune system develops the antibody Immunoglobulin G (IgG) in the blood and other body fluids for protection against bacterial and viral infections. The antibody IgG develops in 7 to 12 days after an infection or immunization.

World’s Largest Plasma Therapy Trial under Project ‘Platina’ launched by Maharashtra

In News:

The World’s largest Convalescent Plasma Therapy Trial project was launch on 29th June 2020 by the Maharashtra State Government.  The name of the project is Platina. The project was virtually launched by the Chief Minister of Maharashtra Uddhav Thackeray.

Details:

For this trial project, the Indian Council of Medical Research has given the approval to conduct plasma therapy in COVID-19 positive patients admitted in the 21 COVID-19 hospitals of the Maharashtra State Government.

Project Platina:

In the absence of a definite treatment or drugs for the COVID-19 positive patients, Convalescent Plasma Therapy has shown encouraging results on patients across the world. As Maharashtra has been the worst-hit state in India by the COVID-19 pandemic, trial under project Platina will help in creating a robust data for the use of Convalescent Plasma Therapy. The project will also help in establishing an infrastructure for plasma treatment in the state.

Costs of Plasma Therapy trials under the project will be borne by the State Government of Maharashtra. From Chief Minister’s Relief Fund, Rs 16.85 crores have been sanctioned for the project.

Under the trial project, two doses of 200 ml of convalescent plasma will be given to all critical patients in 21 State Government-run COVID-19 Hospitals of Maharashtra.

Plasma Therapy:

A person who has recovered successfully from the COVID-19 infection can donate his/her plasma. In the case of COVID-19, Convalescent Plasma is used to transfer antibodies to the patient suffering from the COVID-19 virus. This helps the patient’s body to develop similar antibodies for fighting the COVID-19 virus.

Concession Agreement Signed between India & Bhutan for Joint Venture Hydroelectric Project

In News:

A concession agreement was signed between the Kholongchhu Hydro Energy Limited and the Royal Government of Bhutan. The Concession Agreement provides the right to Kholongchhu Hydro Energy Limited to operate the Kholongchhu Hydroelectric Project within the jurisdictions of the Bhutanese Government.

Details:

The Concession Agreement signing was conducted at Bhutan’s capital city Thimphu. The Agreement signing was attended virtually by the Minister of External Affairs of India Dr. S. Jaishankar.

Kholongchhu Hydroelectric Project:

The project will be located on the Kholongchhu River in Eastern Bhutan’s Trashiyangtse District. The run of the river Hydroelectric Project will of 600 MW and is expected to be completed by the second half of 2025.

For the implementation and development of the Hydroelectric project, a joint venture between Bhutan’s Druk Green Power Corporation and India’s Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited was formed on 12th June 2015. The joint venture was named as Kholongchhu Hydro Energy Limited.

India-Bhutan Bilateral Hydropower Projects:

With the signing of the concession agreement, construction work at the Kholongchhu Hydroelectric Project will begin. This is the 5th Hydroelectric project under bilateral ties between the Governments of India and Bhutan.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had inaugurated the Mangdechhu Hydroelectric project in August 2019. The Mangdechhu Hydroelectric Project is of 720 MW. The Tala Hydroelectric Project is the largest Hydropower project in Bhutan with 1020 MW. Tala Hydroelectric Project is operational since 2007 and was financed by India through grants.

PM FME Scheme launched, To Generate 9 Lakh Employment

In News:

As a part of Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, the Prime Minister Formalization of Micro Food Processing Enterprises (PM FME) scheme was launched on 29th June 2020. The scheme was launched by Harsimrat Kaur Badal (Union Food Processing Industries Minister). Earlier on 20th May 2020, the scheme was approved by the Union Cabinet.

Details:

The scheme will generate 9 lakh skilled and semi-skilled employment. Rs 35000 crore of the total investment will be generated under the scheme.  8 lakh micro food processing units across the country will be benefited under the scheme.

Objective of the Scheme:

The objective of the scheme is to support local unorganized food processing units in the country. Support in the form of finances, strengthening capabilities of support systems, increase in revenue targets, in tribal districts focusing on minor produce, etc. Through the scheme, the aim will be for transition of unorganized food processing units into the formal sector.

Funding for the Scheme:

The total expenditure of the scheme will be Rs 10,000 crore. The scheme will be implemented over the next five years from 2020-21 to 2024-25.

Central and State Governments will share the expenditure in the ratio of 60:40. With the Himalayan and North Eastern States, the share will be in the ratio 90 percent by Central Government, 10 percent by the States. In Union Territories, the scheme will be 100 percent funded by the Central Government.

Delhi Government to set up ‘Plasma Bank’ at ILBS, the First Plasma Bank in India

In News:

To treat COVID-19 patients, on 29th June 2020 Delhi’s Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was announced that a ‘Plasma Bank’ will be set up at the National Capital in the next two days. The Plasma Bank will be set up at the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS).

Details:

At the Delhi Government’s Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital, 35 people have been administered with Plasma Therapy out of which 34 have survived. In order to meet the demand of Plasma, the Chief Minister has urged cured COVID-19 patients to come forward and donate plasma.

Plasma Therapy:

A person who has recovered successfully from the COVID-19 infection can donate his/her plasma. In the case of COVID-19, Convalescent Plasma is used to transfer antibodies to the patient suffering from the COVID-19 virus. This helps the patient’s body to develop similar antibodies for fighting the COVID-19 virus.

Trials with Plasma Therapy conducted to date have shown positive results. The patients suffering from the virus at the second stage have either a decline in oxygen levels or the respiration levels have increased. In both cases when the patient was given Plasma therapy, the levels have shown improvement.

Plasma donation does not cause any weakness in an individual. A person can donate plasma again in a gap of 10 days.

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