The Government of India had decided to supply the Coronavirus vaccines to Canada. This decision was taken by the Indian side following a personal request made by the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau to Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. Trudeau has asked for support of India to Canada and assistance for Covid-19 vaccines in order to fight the pandemic. PM Modi has also assured the Canadian prime minister that, India will completely support the vaccination program in Canada.
Final decision regarding the quantum of the supplies of the vaccines us yet to be taken.
The supply of vaccines to Canada will be made soon following the official announcement.
The quantities and delivery schedules of the vaccines will be finalized soon.
After supplying the COVID-19 vaccines to many countries, India has now become a global leader to supply the Coronavirus vaccines.
Till date, India has supplied vaccines to more than 20 countries as a humanitarian assistance as well as on the commercial basis.
Canada has asked for the supply of the Coronavirus vaccines from the Serum Institute of India, Pune.
However, India is of the view that the decision to supply the vaccines will be calibrated in accordance with the domestic production and requirement of the vaccines in India.
The relationship between India and Canada recently entered into crisis following the concerns raised by the Canadian Prime Minister over the ongoing farmers’ protest in India. The Ministry of External Affairs of India had termed the comments made by Canada as Unwarranted. However, the prime minister later changed his views and commended the Indian government to hold the dialogues with the farmers’ leaders.
Russia has launched a new progress cargo ship into orbit in February 14, 2021. The cargo ship was launched in order to deliver the cargo to the seven crew members in the International Space Station (ISS).
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The space agency of Russia, Roscosmos, launched the Progress MS-16 cargo ship. It is also called Progress 77.
The cargo ship was launched using the Soyuz rocket from Site 31 of the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
The cargo ship will arrive the ISS on February 15, 2021.
The progress 77 was launched and is carrying approximately 2,460 kg of cargo and supplies.
It includes 1,400 kg of research and crew supplies such as food and clothing.
It also carries a supply of fresh water, nitrogen gas and propellant for the Zvezda service module propulsion system of the ISS.
It is a 152-foot-tall or 46-meters launch vehicle comprising of the three-stages. The rocket will head on a north-easterly trajectory to reach the ISS. The second stage of the rocket which is also called the core stage has been is powered by one RD-108A engine. The second stage is designed in a way that it continues firing for approximately three more minutes before shifting to the third stage of the rocket called the RD-0110 engine.
International Space Station (ISS)
It is a modular space station or a habitable artificial satellite. It has been installed in low Earth orbit. It is a multinational collaborative project that involves the participation of five space agencies namely, NASA from United States, Roscosmos from Russia, JAXA from Japan, ESA from Europe, and CSA from Canada. Intergovernmental treaties and agreements are signed between the countries in order to establish the ownership and uses policies. The station is divided into two parts. The first part is the Russian Orbital Segment (ROS) which is operated by Russia and the second part of United States Orbital Segment (USOS) which is run by the United States in association with other nations.
The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship recently rolled out the Mahatma Gandhi National Fellowship (MGNF) programme in all the districts India.
The programme was earlier working across 69 districts.
Fellows under the Mahatma Gandhi National Fellowship will acquire the academic expertise and technical competency.
The expertise will help them to understand the overall skill ecosystem.
It will also help the fellows to get attached to District Skill Committees.
The ministry of skill development has also joined hands with Kerala Institute of Local Administration so as to conduct the capacity building programmes for district officials from the states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Puducherry and Lakshadweep.
The partnership between the two will be more focused towards strengthening the overall quality of skill training.
The ministry highlighted that, this fellowship programme along with the recent launch of Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana 3.0 and other academic partnerships with IITs, IIMs, KILA and GIZ-IGVET under the SANKALP scheme will help in empowering the districts and ensure the demand-driven skilling.
About SANKALP Scheme
The SANKALP scheme stands for the “Skills Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion”. This programme is assisted by the World Bank loan. The scheme was launched with the objective of strengthening the district skill administration and the District Skill Committees (DSCs).
Mahatma Gandhi National Fellowship (MGNF) programme
MGNF is a two-year fellowship programme. It was launched with the objective of boosting the skill development at the district level. It has been designed under the SANKALP scheme. The scheme was launched with the aim of addressing the challenge of non-availability of personnel in order to implement the programmes at district, state and national levels. Under the programme, the fellows should be aged between 21 to 30 years to get enrolled.
A new artificially intelligent “mathematician” which is called as the “Ramanujan Machine” have the potential to reveal the hidden relationships between numbers.
Ramanujan machine comprises of the algorithms that seek out the mathematical conclusions. These mathematical conclusions are likely to be true but have not been proved.
The set of algorithms has been named after the Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan.
The new AI mathematician has been designed to pull out promising mathematical patterns from large sets of potential equations.
The Ramanujan Machine has been designed with the goal to identify the promising conjectures in the first place.
He was Born in the year 1887. He was a child prodigy who put forward many mathematical conjectures and proofs.
He has also put forward the solutions to equations that had never before been solved or considered unsolved.
He was an Indian mathematician lived during the British Rule in India.
He had no formal training in pure mathematics but he made substantial contributions to mathematical analysis, infinite series, number theory and continued fractions.
He initially developed his own mathematical research in isolation and compiled around 3,900 results.
In 1918, he was elected as a Fellow of The Royal Society London.
He thus became the second Indian man to be inducted in the Royal Society of London after the marine engineer Ardaseer Cursetjee in 1841.
He died in the year 1920.
He had an innate feel for numbers and he kept his eyes for patterns
In the machine learning, an algorithm detects the patterns in large amounts of data. The detection of pattern is done with minimal direction from programmers. Machine learning finds its use in a variety of pattern-finding applications. It is used in the image recognition as well as in the discovery of drug.
The Union Textile Minister, Smriti Irani, has launched the commercial Jute seed distribution scheme on February 15, 2021.
The Commercial Jute Seed Distribution Scheme was launched in the backdrop of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the Jute Corporation of India and the National Seeds Corporation.
The MoU was signed in the year 2020 for the commercial distribution of 1 thousand Metric Tonne certified jute seeds in the year 2021-22.
The Union Minister while rolling out the scheme highlighted that the central government has also increased the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for Jute in order to help Jute farmers in the country.
MSP has been increased by nearly 76 per cent in the period of last 6 years.
Currently, the MSP for Jute has been kept at 4 thousand 225 rupees in the financial year 2020-21. This price has been doubled when compared to MSP of 2 thousand 400 in the year 2014-15.
The textile minister also stated that the highly productive variant of Jute seeds will help to enhance the income of nearly 5 lakh Jute farmers across the country.
The textile minister also said that both the Agriculture Ministry and the Textile Ministry has been working and enhancing the synergy in order to extend its support to the Jute growing farmers. Recently, the centre took the decision of mandatory packaging in jute materials. This move will benefit over 4 lakh farmers. It will also help nearly 40 lakh Agri-based households. Further, excavation for Jute-retting tanks has been included under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). This move will help in creating 46 lakh days of work for the farmers.
It is a natural fibre having a golden, soft, long, and silky shine. Jute is the cheapest fibre which is procured from skin of the plant’s stem. Jute is also called as the golden fibre. The Golden Fibre Revolution in India is associated to the jute production. Jute industry is one among the oldest textile industries in India that involved directly or indirectly a large chunk of people.
The Indian government has gifted 2000 metric tonnes of rice to Syria in a bid to strengthen the food security with the middle east countries.
A statement from the Ministry of External Affairs highlights that the first consignment of 1000 metric tonnes of rice has been handed over to Syria.
The consignment was handed over by Hifzur Rahman who is India’s ambassador to Syria.
From the Syrian side, the consignment was received by Hussain Makhlouf who is the Minister of local administration and head of the Supreme Relief Committee.
The ministry further stated that, consignment of 1000 metric tonnes in remaining and it will reach Syria on February 18.
India is providing the help to Syria following the request from the government of Syria for emergency humanitarian assistance.
The Ministry of external affairs stated that; India has always stood in solidarity with the people of Syria. The bilateral relation between both the countries continued through the development and capacity buildings project in Syria. It continued even during the internal conflicts in the country. India has provided understated grants to Syria in the recent times:
India gifted 10 metric tonnes of medicines to Syria as a COVID assistance in July 2020.
India had organised artificial limbs fitment camp in Damascus in January 2020. More than 500 Syrians had benefited from the camp. This camp was organised by the Ministry of External Affairs in partnership with Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti.
Study in India initiative: During the academic years 2018-2019 and 2019-2020, scholarships were extended to around 1000 Syrian students in order for them to pursue the bachelors, masters, and post-doctoral programmes in the Indian universities.
India is also establishing a NextGen Centre for Information Technology in Damascus. For this, the preparatory work has already started.
The Health and Family Welfare Department of Odisha has announced recently to established a COVID-19 Warrior Memorial in Bhubaneshwar.
The memorial will be set to recognize and honour the sacrifice and services provided by the COVID-19 warriors.
The press release of state Health and Family Welfare Department highlights that the memorial will be set in the Biju Patnaik Park in Bhubaneshwar.
This memorial will be inaugurated August 15, 2021 as the Odisha Government has planned.
The works department of the Odisha Government have been tasked with the architect to finalise the structure and design of the memorial.
Following this, the final approval will be taken from the competent authority.
The cost of the memorial project will be made out of the budgetary provisions of the Works Department.
Why this memorial is being constructed?
The Chief Secretary of Health Department, PK Mohapatra, stated that the Covid-19 pandemic is kind of once in a century pandemic. Thus, to keep the health crisis in the memory of the people and to recognize & honour the services provided by the frontline workers this Covid-19 warrior memorial will be constructed. The memorial will also honour the sacrifices made by the frontline warriors who lost their lives while fighting with the pandemic. In Odisha, around 60 Covid-19 warriors and health workers died amid the pandemic.
The COVID-19 war memorial is being constructed in the backdrop of announcement made by the Chief Minister of Odisha, Naveen Patnaik in 2020. The chief minister had announced in the year 2020 that, all the health personnel and support services staffs who died due to the Coronavirus pandemic, will be given the status of martyr. The government had also announced Rs. 50 lakh ex-gratia to all the public and private health personnel and the members of all the support services who died while providing services amid the pandemic.
Kerala, which is home to India’s biggest art event called Kochi-Muziris Biennale, is now aspiring to become a museum hub in the country.
In that context, Dr Venu V who is the Additional Chief Secretary, Kerala and manage the departments of Archaeology stated that the old notion with respect to the museums is needed to change.
There is a need that the museums should be able to converse with the visitors specially with the youngsters.
In order to comply with the objectives, the Kerala government has launched an initiative which aims to establish and promote mini museums in state.
The new museum movement has been started by Keralam Museum. It is an organisation that build and modernise the museums.
The new museum movement has been started to challenge the old-fashioned norms regarding the conservation of cultures.
It seeks to replace the revolutionary concepts which is gaining momentum across the world.
Keralam Museum has alsocompleted several other assignments namely,
Koyikkal Palace Folklore Museum at Nedumangad in Thiruvananthapuram,
Gandhi Smriti Museum at Payyanur and
Vaikom Satyagraha Memorial Gandhi Museum in Kottayam.
Apart from that, around 20 District Heritage Museums are under process.
Museum Projects in Kerala
The government has also decided that the Bastion Bungalow at Fort Kochi will function as the Ernakulam District Heritage Museum. The galleries of this museum visually explain the interventions of Portuguese, Dutch and the British powers into the political domain kingdoms of Kerala. Apart from that, Kerala recently opened District Heritage Museum in Palakkad. It is situated 150 km north of Kochi. This museum focuses on the agriculture, arts and music of the region.
The World Bank recently published its report titled “Traffic Crash Injuries and Disabilities: The Burden on Indian Society”. This report was released by Union transport minister, Nitin Gadkari, on February 13, 2021. The report mentions the disproportionate impact of a road crash on poor households. It also throws light on the links between poverty, road crashes, inequality and vulnerable road users across India.
Key Findings of the report
The report highlights that, India has only 1 per cent of the world’s vehicles. Even though it accounts for 11 per cent of the global death due to road accidents. It stands highest death toll in the world because of road accident.
The world bank report highlighted that the road crash deaths among rural poor households accounts for 44 per cent.
While, the road crash death among urban poor households accounts for 11.6 per cent.
The report further highlights that, the low-income household spends seven months of its income on post-road crash care.
It also states, a high-income household spends less than a month’s salary on the post-road crash care.
Report reveals that, the socio-economic burden of road crashes is disproportionately borne by poor households.
It also reveals that the women bore the brunt of caregiving after a crash. This results into more financial and mental stress this exacerbate the inequality of opportunities.
The World Bank notes that the road crashes have a devastating and disproportionate impact on the poor households. It can throw the family into deep poverty. In that light, the World Bank showed its commitment to support the government in order to create a safety nets for poor households. The safety net would help in easing the financial burden of the poor families. It will also help them to face the challenge of the emergency linked to road crashes.
The Governor of West Bengal, Shri Jagdeep Dhankhar, inaugurated the 11th edition of ‘Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav’ on February 14, 2021.
The event was inaugurated in the presence of Minister of State (I/C) for Culture and Tourism, Shri Prahlad Singh Patel.
It was inaugurated at Cooch Behar Palace in West Bengal.
Ten editions of the festival have successfully been organised ever since the festival was started in November, 2015.
These 10 editions were organised in Delhi, Bengaluru, Varanasi, Tawang, Karnataka, Gujarat, Tehri and Madhya Pradesh.
Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav
It is a flagship festival of the Ministry of culture and tourism.
The event is organized since 2015.
It witnesses the active participation of Seven Zonal Culture Centres.
These zonal centres play a key role in taking the vibrant culture of India to the masses rather than confining it to auditoria and galleries.
This festival showcases the folk and tribal art, music, dance, cuisines and culture of one state in other states.
Thus, it helps in reinforcing the goal of “Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat”.
It also provided an effective platform for the artists and artisans to support their livelihood.
The year 2021 is witnessing the eleventh edition of Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav. The festival is being held in between 14th to 28th February, 2021 in West Bengal. It will be organised at Cooch Behar in between 14th to 16th February, 2021, at Darjeeling in between 22nd to 24th February, 2021 while at Murshidabad in between 27th to 28th February, 2021. This edition is significant in the light of COVID Pandemic that has severely impacted the cultural sector. Through this event support and assistance will be provided to the artists by the ministry of culture.
The Prime Minister of Italy, Mario Draghi, has put the climate change at the centre of his plans to run Italy. He has created a super ministry to ensure a transition to green energy drives recovery in the country. The super ministry has been established with the objective of making full use of European Union funds with respect to the climate change.
In the first move, the Prime Minister will redraft the Italy’s Recovery Plan.
The recovery plan of the Italy has to be handed to the European Commission by April 2021 in order to get more than 200 billion euros ($240 billion) of funds.
This amount is needed for the country to revive the recession-hit economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
As per the European Union agreement, 37% of 200 billion euros must be diverted towards the transition to a low carbon economy.
About Mario Draghi
Mario Draghi was a former European Central Bank chief. He formally sworn in as Italy’s new prime minister on February 13, 2021 amid the deadly coronavirus pandemic and crippling recession in the country.
The Prime Minister has the support of the rainbow coalition starting from the leftists to Matteo Salvini’s far-right League.
Italian Government Crisis 2021
This political event began in January 2021 in Italy and ended in February 2021 after Mario Draghi sworn in as the Prime Minister. The Italian government crisis include the event of the announcement to revoke IV’s support to the government of Giuseppe Conte. This announcement was made by Matteo Renzi who is the leader of Italia Viva (IV) and the former Prime Minister of Italy.
Hung Parliament of 2018
The general election in 2018 produced a hung parliament in Italy. After several talks and negotiations, a coalition government was formed on June 1, 2019 between the centrist Five Star Movement (M5S) and right-wing League. However, this coalition ended after Giuseppe Conte’s resignation in August 2019. Again in September 2019, new government was formed with Giuseppe Conte as its head.
The Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH) recently issued orders to make FASTag compulsory at all toll plazas in effect from February 15, 2021 all across India.
This decision was taken to promote fee payment using the digital mode, to reduce the waiting time and fuel consumption.
It would also provide a seamless passage of vehicles through the fee plazas.
In accordance with the NH Fee Rules 2008, If any vehicle which is not fitted with FASTag or vehicle which do not have a valid, functional ‘FASTag’ will enter into the ‘FASTag lane’ of the fee plaza will have to pay fee equal to two times the fee which is applicable in that category.
As per the order, there would be no more extension of deadline.
It is an electronic toll collection system which is operated by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) in India.
This system uses the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology to make the toll payments.
The payments are deducted directly from the prepaid or savings account of the toll owner.
The tag is affixed on the windscreen of vehicles.
It enables to cross the toll plazas without stopping for transactions.
It can be purchased from official Tag issuers or participating Banks.
This system has unlimited validity and in order to provide seamless movement, dedicated FASTag Lanes have been built at the toll plazas.
State-run oil marketing companies like IOCL, HPCL and BPCL had signed MoU in January 2019 to enable the use of FASTag in order to make purchases at petrol pumps. This move will further encourage the faster adoption of this mechanism. As per the data till September 2019, FASTag lanes are available across 500 national and state highways. Further, more than 54.6 lakh cars have been enabled with FASTag.
The Finance Ministry has decided to infuse Rs 3,000 crore capital into the state-owned general insurance companies in the current quarter.
The capital will be infused in order to improve the financial health of the insurers.
In the recent move, government also looked after the Parliamentary nod for gross additional expenditure of Rs 6.28 lakh crore for the financial year 2020-21. This amount was demanded as a part of second and final batch of supplementary demands for grants.
It also included Rs 3,000 crore to provide the additional funds to recapitalise the insurance companies.
The infusion of Rs 3000 crores will be done after the supplementary demands of grants is passed by Parliament in March.
This decision was taken in the backdrop of the proposal cleared by the Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to provide the capital support to National Insurance, United India Insurance and Oriental Insurance.
Union cabinet had also decided to increase authorised share capital of the insurers.
The share capital had to be increased to Rs 7,500 crore for National Insurance Company Limited (NICL). While, it had to be increased to Rs 5000 crore for each of United India Insurance Company Limited (UIICL) and Oriental Insurance Company Limited (OICL).
How this infusion will be utilised?
Capital infusion for the insurers will help three public sector general insurance companies to improve their financial and solvency position. It will also help the insurers to meet the insurance needs of economy. The infusion of the capital will also help in absorbing the changes and enhancing the capacity to raise the resources. Lastly, it will help in improving the risk management.
National Insurance Company Limited (NICL)
It is a state-owned general insurance company. The tagline of the company is “Trusted Since 1906”. It is headquartered at Kolkata. NICL was established by Gordhandas Dutia and Jeevan Das Dutia in 1906. NICL also serves in Nepal.