42 virology research and diagnostic laboratories will be set up by the Central government. This will be set up under a central scheme during the period of 2021-22 to 2025-26. This project will cost Rs324 crore.
The scheme falls under the Department of Health Research (DHR) of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
The primary aim of this scheme is to help boost the coverage of timely identification and diagnosis of viruses during an epidemic outbreak.
This scheme will also look into boosting generation of data about all the viral diseases so that resources can be quickly deployed and measures taken to save human lives.
The Expenditure Finance Committee (EFC) approved this scheme in the year 2013 with an estimated cost of Rs 646.83 crores.
The Standing Finance Committee gave its nod to this scheme in the year 2017 with a projected cost of Rs 488.5 crores for the period 2017-18 to 2019-20.
This scheme was further extended by a year till 31 March, 2021.
In a recent standing finance committee meeting in March 2021, the scheme was further approved to be continued,”
Target of this scheme
Initially, this scheme’s target was to establish three-tier network of 160 laboratories which were divided into 30 state-level lab, 10 regional level labs and 120 medical college labs.
Later, the target was reduced to 125 viral research & diagnostic laboratories which were divided into 25 state level laboratories, 10 regional laboratories and 90 medical college level laboratories. A network of 124 VRDLs has been established as on 31st March 2021.
The government has decided that it might not sell 10% stake in Life Insurance Corp. of India through an initial public offering but instead choosing instead to sell 5 or 6% which will be followed by a second public offering.
LIC is yet to be concluded but it is estimated that the value will be around Rs 12-15 trillion.
Sell of 10% stake would mean that the amount will be around Rs 1.2 trillion to Rs 1.5 trillion.
Zomato’s ₹9,375 crore IPO showed that the public market can absorb large share of sales. The IPO of Zomato was subscribed for about 40 times. With stocks reporting such record gains many firms across the country are planning to go public.
Disinvestment target of the government
The Budget of 2021-22 has set Rs 1.75 trillion target for disinvestment. Rs 1 trillion could be targeted by selling government stakes in various financial institutions and state-run banks which includes the LIC. The rest will be targeted through disinvestment of government’s shares in various public sector firms such as Air India, Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd, etc.
New listing norms of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI)
Securities and Exchange Board of India’s (Sebi) new listing norms states, from the date of listing, the companies having a size of over Rs 1 trillion would be required to achieve minimum 10% public shareholding in two years and at least 25% within five years.
WHO on 23rd July launched its first Regional Status Report on Drowning Prevention in the South-East Asia and Western Pacific regions. This report said that nearly two-thirds of all global deaths due to drowning occur in the Asia Pacific region.
Drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional injury and death worldwide and it accounts for 7% of all injury-related deaths.
This report by WHO states that Middle and low income countries account for more than 90% of all the unintentional drowning deaths in the world. Also over 50% of the world’s total drowning occurs in the Western Pacific and South-East Asia regions.
In 48 of the 85 countries which have data on drowning, it is among the top five causes of death for children who are under the 15 years of age.
Drowning accounts for 75% of all deaths during flood disasters. Many countries in the South-East Asia and Western Pacific regions are vulnerable to this form of disaster.
These reports provide knowhow’s related to status of water safety and drowning prevention n each of the regions.
This report shows a clear picture of the problems and the efforts that are underway address drowning related morbidity and mortality.
In the year 2019, more than 1,44,000 people had drowned in the Asia Pacific region which accounts for 61% of all global drowning deaths.
Around 70,000 and 74,000 deaths in the WHO South-East Asia and Western Pacific regions respectively occurred due to drowning. Of the 70,000 drowning related deaths more than 33% were among children who were aged less than 15 years.
On an average, men were more likely to drown than women.
Through, strong leadership, coordination and ongoing planning, evaluation and monitoring can drowning in the Western Pacific and South-East Asia regions be reduced.
On Friday, Santanu Sen, Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP, was suspended from the Rajya Sabha for the rest of the Monsoon Session for being unruly a day after he snatched papers from newly appointed information technology minister Ashwani Vaishnaw while he was reading out a statement regarding the Pegasus snooping scandal.
V Muraleedharan moved a motion so that Sen can be suspended saying that the TMC lawmaker was bringing disrepute to the house.
Sen refused to leave even after he was asked to exit several times by chairperson of Rajya Sabha M Venkaiah Naidu.
Naidu allowed the motion, which was subsequently passed in the House.
Sukhendu Sekhar Roy of TMC objected to the motion, saying it was not on the list of business of the House.
Roy said TMC was given no time react to the government’s motion to suspend Shantanu Sen.
Naidu countered Ray’s objections by stating that the motion was approved as Sen was downgrading the dignity of the House.
Sen snatched the papers from the IT minister and tore and flung them in the air amid a heated exchange.
Under which law was Santanu Sen suspended?
The government sought the suspension of the TMC MP under Rule 256 (2). This rule says that any lawmaker who has disregarded the authority of the Chair or has abused the rules of the Council through disruptions can be suspended from the House for the remainder of the parliamentary session if the Rajya Sabha chairman agrees to it. Once this motion has been moved, there can be no adjournment or debate allowed on it.
A study conducted by Danone India, a French packaged foods and beverages company, along with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), has gauged the standard of psychological and physical, social relationships, and environment among more than 2,700 adults in India. It came up with the report that 46.2% Indians report a poor quality of life.
Indicators of the survey
The findings were based on four aspects— psychological health, physical health, environment and social relationships.
Those who were surveyed were categorized into either having a good or a poor Quality of Life. Between May and June 2021, the survey was conducted by Ipsos in Kolkata, Delhi, Lucknow, Mumbai, Indore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Patna.
This study covered women and men belonging to the age group of 30 to 50 years across different socio-economic class.
Finding of the report
This report has revealed that nearly one out of every two Indian adults have reported a poor quality of life. That is 46.2% Indians.
The city of Kolkata has recorded the highest percentage of adults (65%) with a poor Quality of Life score.
Kolkata was followed by Chennai (49.8%), Delhi (48.5%), Patna (46.2%), Hyderabad (44.4%), Lucknow (40%) and Indore (39.2%).
The city of Mumbai had the highest percentage of adults (68%) who recorded having a good quality of life
Women scored less than for men in the aspect of physical health due to a lower level of physical activity among women.
The survey also showed how the scores vary based on one’s age, gender, work and socio-economic status.
Effect of the pandemic on this score
The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted the view on how people perceive their own physical well-being. The pandemic has given them increased focus on their respective wellbeing and health and has prompted people to seek a more balanced lifestyle. Hence, around 40% of the people who were surveyed agreed to have become more conscious regarding their nutrition and health in the past year.
Essential Defence Services Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on 22nd July.
Key Points regarding the bill
Essential Defence Services Bill is introduced with the aim to prevent the staff of all the government-owned ordnance factories across the country from going on a strike.
The bill states that equipment and hardware for the defence is important for self reliance in equipping the armed forces with advanced battlefield gears. Also an uninterrupted supply the defence preparedness of the country is very essential and hence, the ordnance factories should continue to function without any disruptions or strikes by the employees.
What jurisdiction does this bill allow to the government?
This will allow the government to declare the services mentioned in the bill as essential defence services. It also prohibits strike and lockouts in any essential defence services of the country.
Why does the government feel the need to introduce this bill?
The government has claimed that this bill is being introduced with the primary aim of improving the service, accountability and efficiency of these factories. Also, that by going on strikes doesn’t disrupt the defence services of the nation.
Who will be affected?
This bill will directly affect around 70,000 employees who are currently employed in the 41 ordnance factories across the nation. These employees are unhappy with the government’s decision to corporatize the OFBs, fearing that their service and retirement conditions will be affected. The government has given them assurance that it will not be affected even after the OFBs are corporatized.
When will the bill come into effect?
If this bill is passed it will come into effect from 30th June 2021.
With the players across the globe taking the knee the Olympic rule has always banned such demonstrations at the Games and this has been a hot topic debated for decades.
The Olympics have always portrayed themselves as a non-political entity that brings together countries on the basis of sports and unity. Hence propaganda at the Games is banned.
American sprinters John Carlos and Tommie Smith raised their black-gloved fists while their national anthem played at the Mexico City Olympics in the year 1968. They were eventually sent home from the Olympics for and were ostracized for their protest. Only in the year 2019 did the U.S. Olympic Committee inducted them in its hall of fame.
Rule 50 of the IOC charter states that any kind of political, religious or racial demonstration or propaganda is banned at the Olympics.
A few months ago, with mounting pressure IOC decide to remove the rule, tweaking it and demonstrations would be allowed but only prior to the start of competitions and not on the podium.
In the year 2019 at the medals stands of the Pan-American Games Gwen Berry, US hammer thrower raised her fist and fencer Race Imboden took a knee. They both received letters from the U.S. Olympic and Paralympics Committee and were put on a yearlong probation. With the activism that followed after the killing of George Floyd in the USA the US Olympic committee decided no to sanction athletes who violated Rule 50. This put pressure on the IOC and they eventually had to tweak the rule just a few weeks before the commencements of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
About Tokyo 2020
Tokyo 2020 Olympics is being hosted at Tokyo, Japan. It starts on 23rd July, 2021 and will commence on 8th August.
In United Nation’s Economic and Social Commission for Asia Pacific’s (UNESCAP) latest Global Survey on Digital and Sustainable Trade Facilitation India has scored 90.32%.
India’s performance in the survey
Having evaluated 143 economies globally, this year’s Survey has highlighted India’s significant score improvement on all 5 key indicators.
Transparency is 100% in 2021 (It was 93.33% in 2019)
Formalities has been recorded at 95.83% in 2021 (It was 87.5% in 2019)
Institutional Arrangement and Cooperation is 88.89% in 2021 (It was 66.67% in 2019)
In 2021 Paperless Trade is 96.3% (It was 81.48% in 2019)
Cross-Border Paperless Trade in 2021 is 66.67% (In 2019 it was 55.56%)
Comparing to the South and South West Asia region (63.12%) and Asia Pacific region (65.85%) India has performed the best.
This survey has found that the overall score of India is greater than many OECD countries which include UK, France, Norway, Canada and Finland etc.
The survey shows that India’s overall score is better than the European Union’s average score.
For the Transparency index India has achieved a 100% score
In the Women in trade component India has achieved 66%.
About the survey
This survey is conducted by UNESCAP every two years. The current survey for the year 2021 includes an assessment of 58 trade facilitation measures which has been covered by the Trade Facilitation Agreement of WTO. This Survey finds out whether or not the trade facilitation measures have the desired impact and also helps in drawing comparison amongst the countries.
On 22nd July, 2021, young wrestlers from India Priya and Tannu became the latest world champions at the Cadet World Championship.
Tannu en route to the 43kg title did not concede even a single point. She won three out of her four bouts by fall. This includes the final match against Valeryia Mikitsich of Belarus.
Priya won the title in the 73kg category with a 5-0 win over Kseniya Patapovich of Belarus.
Sagar Jaglan (80kg) and Aman Gulia (48kg) won titles in men’s freestyle competition and this propelled the Indian team to the Team championship title which India won for the first time.
Varsha, another participant from India, won the bronze medal in the 65kg category with a victory by fall against Duygu Gen of Turkey.
India finished on top with 147 points, ahead of USA (143) and Russia (140).
On Saturday, Komal will also be in contention for world title in the 46kg category final after having defeated ‘ Sviatlana Katenka of Belarus. She will be up against Ruzanna Mammadova of Azerbaijan.
Harshita (69kg) and Nitika (61kg) lost their semi-final bouts and will not fight for the bronze medals in their respective categories.
About Cadet World Championship
The Cadet World Championship is an annual event for Freestyle, Greco-Roman, and Women wrestlers. The best in the world who are aged 16 and 17 years compete in this tournament. This year the tournament is being hosted in Budapest, Hungary. The next tournament will be held in Rome, Italy in the year 2022.
In the Lok Sabha, on Friday, one member from JD (U) three members from BJP will move Private Members’ Bills on population control in the house.
Out of the four, Ravi Kishan BJP MP from Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh. Uttar Pradesh is also in the national news as this state is also in the process of drafting a population control Bill for the state.
Sushil Kumar Singh of Bihar has put forward a bill that seeks to set up a National Population Planning Authority and a District Population Planning Committee. This will be set up in the national as well as the district level with the aim to promote family planning to keep the population under control.
JD (U)’s Dr Alok Kumar Suman, who is also from Bihar, is moving a Bill that that draws attention to the implication of overpopulation affecting the progress of the nation in the long run. This bill mentions the need to promoting the small family norms of up to two children.
Recently, Population control bill is making the news, as the different parties do not share similar viewpoint regarding the passing and creation of this bill.
An analysis of the data on the Lok Sabha members show that 168 out of the present 540 MPs have more than two children.
On July 23rd, National Broadcasting Day is observed across the country annually.
About this day
On this day in the year 1927, the Indian Broadcasting Company (IBC) started radio broadcasting from the Bombay station.
To mark this event, All India Radio (AIR), in New Delhi, held a conference on the Creation of New India and Broadcasting Medium.
In India, radio broadcasting services began in the year 1923 during the British rule under the Radio Club of Bombay’s initiative.
In 1930, the British Government took over radio broadcasting and the Indian State Broadcasting Service (ISBS) was started by them.
IBC, a private entity, was granted permission by the British Government to operate two radio stations in the country. They were located in Calcutta and Bombay.
In the month of May, 1932, IBC was permanently renamed as the Indian State Broadcasting Service (ISBS).
Later, on 8th June, 1936 the Indian State Broadcasting Service (ISBS) was changed to All India Radio (AIR) and it became Akashwani in the year 1957.
About Prasar Bharati and All India Radio
Prasar Bharati is India’s largest public broadcasting agency and was established by an Act of Parliament and accords to the Doordarshan Television Network, which was previously under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. Presently, All India Radio’s service comprises of 414 stations located acrossthe country and it reaches to around 92% of the country’s area and about 99.19% of the total population of the nation. AIR broadcasts in 23 languages and 146 dialects and in terms of broadcasted languages, the spectrum of socio-economic and cultural diversity it serves it is one of the largest broadcasting organisations in the world.
On 22nd July, Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 2021 of the United Kingdom which is led by the HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier has joined the Indian Navy for maritime exercises in the Bay of Bengal for three day duration.
For the first time, United Kingdom’s Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 2021 which is led by HMS Queen Elizabeth is having complex maritime interactions with the Indian Navy.
In a two-day bilateral Passage Exercise (PASSEX) the Indian Navy along with the Royal Navy will be conducting various close quarter manoeuvring and multi-ship, sea, air and sub-surface maritime exercises.
This maritime exercise will help both the navies to amplify their cooperation and interoperability.
The combined forces will include 2 submarines, 10 ships, about 20 aircrafts and around 4,000 personnel.
The two navies will work in tandem among themselves in two oceans. Starting within the Indian Ocean for the first round of multiple UK-India exercises and later this summer in the Atlantic Ocean.
About the Carrier Strike Group (CSG)
This is the maiden operational deployment of the CSG.
Sailing for over 26,000 nautical miles it will engage with 40 different countries starting from the Mediterranean to the Indo-Pacific and returning back to the Mediterranean.
The HMS Queen Elizabeth carrier is the largest surface vessel to have been ever constructed in the United Kingdom. It is said to taller than the famous Niagara Falls.
This carrier is being jointly crewed by the Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and the US Marine Corps. It is equipped with F-35B Lightning multi-role aircrafts.
India Navy’s participation
Indian Navy has deployed INS Ranvir, INS Satpura, INS Kavaratti, INS Jyoti, INS Kulish as well as a submarine. For the PASSEX, India has also deployed P8I aircraft which are capable of Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance missions and also Anti-submarine warfare.
With forest fires raging in the Russia and USA and severe floods devastating parts of Western Europe, on July 22 and 23, 2021, energy and environment ministers from the Group of 20 countries are holding talks at Naples in Italy.
The meetings are being held with the focus on three main themes. They are promoting circular economies, particularly in the textile and fashion sectors; biodiversity and protection of oceans; and to promote sustainable development by realigning the financial system.
G20 Environment, Climate and Energy meeting is being held to place the ecological transition at the very centre of the political agenda, to reconcile environmental protection with progress and human well-being and promoting science based coordinated global response to pandemics.
The G20 Ministerial meeting will provide a platform for the exchange of discussions and experiences between the international delegations and the technicians who are engaged in identifying effective, equitable and coordinated responses for a prosperous and sustainable future.
The Italian Presidency has put forward key proposals to spur the global community towards ambitious goals for a sustainable future.
Other global events scheduled to take place in 2021
2021 is a crucial year for climate and ecological transition, with a number of global events scheduled to take place in the upcoming months. They are the UNFCCC COP26, CBD COP 15 and UNCCD COP 15, the United Nations Food Systems Summit, the launch of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration and the United Nations Ocean Conference.
The discussion topics will include accelerating the ecological transition, combating climate change, opportunities for sustainable and inclusive recovery enabled by innovative technological solutions of the energy sector, making financial flows consistent with the Paris Agreement objectives and building resilient, smart and sustainable cities.
Details of any child orphaned due to COVID-19 can be shared with the government via a web portal and the child will have a claim to benefits under the PM CARES scheme. www.pmcaresforchildren.in is the website through which details can be uploaded.
On July 15, 2021, the government has introduced this portal for all the States and Union Territories of the country.
Through this portal any citizen can inform the administration regarding the children who are eligible for receiving support under this scheme.
In the month of May the Prime Minister had approved a scheme under the PM CARES fund for all those children who have lost both or lone surviving parent or an adoptive parent or a legal guardian due to COVID-19 disease.
Under this scheme a corpus of Rs 10 lakh to each child will be provided when he or she turns 18 years old.
A monthly stipend will be provided to the child from the age of 18 for the next five years to help them with their higher education.
When the child attains the age of 23, they will receive the lump sum corpus amount at one go.
Under the Ayushman Bharat Scheme the government of India will also help with their school education and provide those children with a health insurance cover of Rs 5 lakh.
According to official data, between 1st April, 2021 and 28 May, 2021 a total of 645 children were orphaned due to COVID-19. According to the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, from the date 1st April, 2020 to 5th June, 2021, 3621 children were orphaned due to COVID-19 and at least 26,176 had lost a single parent because of this COVID-19 pandemic.