As per Oxfam report, ever since Covid-19 Pandemic started, deaths from hunger are outpacing the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Despite the deadly covid-19 pandemic, global military spending increased by $51 billion, Oxfam report underlines. This amount exceeds by at least six times what United Nations needs to stop hunger.
Governments must urgently provide funding to response to hunger and social protection programs in order to save lives, rather than striking arms deals that lead to conflict, war and hunger.
Two cases of highly transmissible Kappa variant of COVID-19 were detected in Uttar Pradesh, recently.
It is one among three sub-lineages of lineage B.1.617. It is also known as lineage B.1.617.1, carrying E484Q mutations. It was first detected in December 2020 in India. Kappa accounted for more than half of sequences being submitted from India by March 2021. As per WHO Weekly Epidemiological Update, 34 countries had reported cases of this subvariant. By May 2021, number of countries had increased to 41. United Kingdom had detected 418 confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2 Kappa variant as of May 2021.
This variant is also known as B.1.617.2. This variant was first discovered in India. It is descendant of lineage B.1.617. British scientists declared B.1.617.2 as “variant of concern” on May 6, 2021. It spreads more quickly than original version of virus and can spread as quickly as Alpha. It carries T478K, L452R and P681R mutations.
It is this virus and respiratory illness responsible for COVID-19 pandemic. World Health Organization had declared this outbreak as Public Health Emergency of International Concern on January 30, 2020. Later, on March 11, 2020 it was declared as pandemic. SARS‑CoV‑2 is a positive-sense single-stranded RNA virus.
According to Qatar Airways and International Air Transport Association (IATA) Qatar Airways will the first airline in Middle East to join IATA Turbulence Aware platform.
Qatar Airways was the first Middle Eastern airline that participated in Turbulence Aware initiative when it was launched in December 2018. Turbulence Aware has expanded into a fully operational platform since then with more than 1,500 aircraft sharing real-time turbulence data.
This new solution, combining technology and big data for more efficient flight planning, will ensure a smooth journey, reduce fuel burn and this reduce the carbon emissions. This initiative will also help in increasing coverage area, providing real-time turbulence information to Qatar Airways aircrew and other participating airlines.
IATA is a trade association of world’s airlines. It was founded in 1945. It sets out technical standards for airlines and organises tariff conferences which serves as a forum for fixing price. It comprises of 290 airlines as of 2016 representing 117 countries. It is headquartered in Canada with executive office in Geneva, Switzerland.
Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) have launched a regular MTech programme in Defence Technology.
AICTE is a statutory body and a national-level council for technical education. It works under Department of Higher Education. It was established in November 1945 as an advisory body. In 1987, it was given a statutory status by an Act of Parliament. It is responsible for proper planning and coordinated development of technical education and management education system across India. Its new headquarter is in Delhi on Nelson Mandela Road, Vasant Kunj. Its regional offices are located across Gurgaon, Kanpur, Chandigarh, Bhopal, Mumbai, Kolkata, Vadodara, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai and Thiruvananthapuram.
Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) is creating post for Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer (LIC) instead of having an Executive Chairman.
Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director will be appointed by the Central Government under section 4 of the LIC Act, 1956.
Presently, LIC top management comprises of Executive Chairman and four Managing Directors. Chairman of LIC is a government of India Secretary rank officer. As the executive powers will now go to proposed MD and CEO, LIC is likely to get Non-executive Chairman. Non-executive chairman would chair the board meetings. Role and designation of four MDs of LIC is not yet clear.
Posts of Chairman and MD in nationalised banks are split. State Bank of India has an Executive Chairman and four MDs. SEBI had recently underlined that post of Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of listed companies need to be split from April 1, 2022. SEBI is of the view that, separation of roles will reduce excessive concentration of authority in single individual.
Cabinet has approved modifications in the ‘Agriculture Infrastructure Fund’ on July 8, 2021.
Post of chairman of Coconut Development Board (CDB) will be made as a non-executive one now. Cabinet also approved creation of chief executive officer in that organisation.
Amid the surge in covid-19 cases in State, Kerala has officially confirmed its first case of Zika virus, which is a mosquito-borne viral infection.
Zika virus is a member of virus family Flaviviridae. It spreads by daytime-active Aedes mosquitoes like A. aegypti and A. albopictus. Its name has been derived from Zika Forest of Uganda, where virus was first isolated in 1947. Zika virus has similar genus with dengue, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis, and West Nile viruses. Virus has been known to occur within narrow equatorial belt from Africa to Asia since 1950s. It started spreading eastward from 2007. As a result, it became epidemic in 2015–2016.
Zika virus is spread through Aedes species of mosquitoes. These viruses are found in high density across the state. Aedes mosquitoes, a carrier of dengue, breed in stagnant freshwater and rest indoors mostly.
These viruses are linked to birth defects and development of Guillain-Barre syndrome, where immune system of individual attacks the nerves. Sometimes, this infection can be symptomless. This viral infection can seriously harm the development of foetus in pregnant women and lead to congenital anomalies.
There are no vaccines or cure for Zika virus, currently.
Sustainable Development Goals Report 2021 was recently published by UN department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA). It was launched at 2021 session of High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF).
Report highlights the impacts of COVID-19 on SDG implementation. It also identifies areas which require urgent and coordinated action. Report was prepared using data and estimates in Global SDG Indicators Database comprising of global, regional and country data & metadata on official SDG indicators.
Geographical Indications (GI) certified Madurai jasmine and other traditional flowers like lily, button rose, chamanthi, and marigold were exported to United States and United Arab Emirates (UAE) on July 8, 2021 from Tamil Nadu.
Shelf life of flowers have been increased with the help of Professors from floriculture department of Tamil Nadu Agriculture University, Coimbatore. They also helped the exporters with packaging technology, increasing the shelf life. Before that, Farmers were contracted by exporters to cultivate quality flowers. Thus, cultivation of flower generated jobs for some 130 women and 30 skilled workers.
Flowers from India will be exported to both the countries on regular interval. Thus, Indian community in Dubai and USA would be able to offer fresh flowers to Hindu deities at home as well as in temples while celebrating religious and cultural festivals.
In Financial Year 2021, export of fresh cut jasmine flowers and bouquets, comprising of jasmine & other traditional flowers is valued at Rs 66.28 crore. These flowers were exported to countries like US, UAE, Singapore. Out of total export value, Rs11.84 crore worth of flowers were sourced from Tamil Nadu. Flowers were shipped from major airports of Chennai, Coimbatore and Madurai.
Jasmine is scientifically called as Jasminum Officinale. It is one of the most popular flowers found worldwide. Scent of Jasmine is synonymous with splendor of Madurai’s Meenakshi temple. Madurai is a major market for malligai grown in the region. It has evolved into ‘Jasmine capital’ of India.
As per a study published by Lancet Planetary Health Journal, about 740,000 access deaths in India annually are linked to abnormal hot and cold temperatures due to climate change.
Union Finance Ministry has released fourth monthly instalment of revenue deficit grant of ₹ 9,871 crore to 17 states.
15th Finance Commission had recommended a total revenue deficit grant of Rs 1,18,452 crore in financial year 2021-22 to 17 states. Out of this amount, Rs. 39,484 crores have been released so far which accounts for 33.33 per cent of total amount. 33.33 percent grant has been released in four installments.
Revenue deficit or post devolution revenue deficit grant is provided to states in accordance with Article 275 of the Constitution. Grants are released on the recommendations of 15th Finance Commission in monthly installments. It is provided to meet the gap in revenue accounts of states post devolution. 15th Finance Commission has recommended post devolution revenue deficit grants of about Rs. 3 trillion over five-year period ending in Financial Year 2026. Number of states qualifying for revenue deficit grants also decreased from 17 in Financial Year 2022 to 6 in Financial Year 2026.
Eligibility of states to receive this grant and quantum of grant is decided by Finance Commission on the basis of gap between assessment of revenue and expenditure of state after reviewing and considering the assessed devolution for financial year.
Article 275 of constitution provides for payment of amount that Parliament may provide as grants-in aid to States which are in need of assistance. Gants are paid out of Consolidated Fund of India each year. Different sums are fixed for different States.
Indian golfer, Udayan Mane, has qualified for the Tokyo Olympics 2020 which is scheduled to be organised in July & August 2021.
Udayan was born on February 24, 1991 in Bangalore. He is an Indian professional golfer. He is currently the second-highest ranked Indian in World at number 356. He plays on Asian Tour and PGA Tour. He made the cut for his maiden Olympics after withdrawal of Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo from quadrennial event. He qualified for Tokyo on the basis of being first reserve against Grillo’s name.
Golf event in Tokyo will feature 60 players from 35 nations. It will be played at Kasumigaseki Country Club from July 29 to August 1. First Olympic golf tournaments took place at second modern Games in Paris in 1900. Both men’s and women’s golf events were held. Golf men’s event was featured again in next Games, St. Louis in 1904. During 1908 Games in London, golf event was boycotted by all host nation’s golfers because of some disputes. Following this, Golf got disappeared from Olympic programme. It made its return in 2016.
Tokyo Olympics or 2020 Summer Olympics is going to be held from July 23 to August 8, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. Event was postponed in March 2020 because of COVID-19 pandemic. It will be held behind closed doors with no spectators permitted under state of emergency.
Mansukh Mandaviya, Rajya Sabha member from Gujarat, has been appointed as new Health Minister of India in a major cabinet reshuffle.
Mandaviya was born in middle-class farmer family in Hanol village of Bhavnagar district in Gujarat. He studied veterinary science at Gujarat Agricultural University, Dantiwada campus. He completed his Masters in Political Science from Bhavnagar University. He started his political career in 2002. He fought from Palitana Constituency and became youngest MLA of Gujarat.
Mandaviya had organized a 123 km long Padyatra, titled “Kanya Kelavani Jyot Padyatra” in 2004 for a social cause ‘Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao’. He covered 45 educational backward villages in his constituency. In 2006, he again organized a 127 km “Padyatra” covering 52 villages of his constituency with title “Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao, Vyasan Hatao”. He is also a hands-on participant of Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Jan Aushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP). He was honoured by United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) for his contribution to women’s menstrual hygiene in 2019.
Twitter India has appointed an interim chief compliance officer to comply with the new IT rules in India.
In reply, Twitter said to fill nodal contact person’s job on interim basis within 2 weeks. It has posted job openings for all three positions. It will try to make an offer of employment to resident Indians within 8 weeks.
Central government had notified Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021 in February 2021. It deals with social media and over-the-top (OTT) platforms. These rules were framed under section 87 (2) of Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000. According to new rules, under grievance redressal mechanism resident grievance officer will be appointed and content on social media platforms will be monitored regularly. Further, Social media giants are required to publish monthly compliance reports for Indian users and authorities in India can ask to identify origin of any message. India has implemented new IT rules with the aim of regulating content on social media firms and make them more accountable to legal requests of swift removal of posts.