Sri Lanka & IRCON International Ltd signed $91.26 mn agreement o upgrade rail track
Government of Sri Lanka and IRCON (Indian Railway Construction Company) International Limited, under the Ministry of Railways, signed $91.26 million agreement on July 18, 2019, for the up-gradation of 130 km rail track located between Colombo and Jaffna in Tamil -majority northern province of Sri Lanka. It was signed by Sunil Kumar Choudhury, Chairman & Managing Director, Ircon International Limited, and L.P Jayampathy, Secretary, Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation of Sri Lanka in the presence of Hon. Arjuna Ranatunga, Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation of Sri Lanka.
It will be upgraded under Indian concessional financing between Maho to Omanthai, Sri Lanka which is going to happen for the first time in 100 years.
It includes 12 crossing stations, 7 halt stations and 78 level crossings.
A new crossing station will be constructed between Medawachchiya to Vavuniya, Sri Lanka and 218 culverts and 90 bridges will be repaired or reconstructed as required. It will double the speed potential of the railway track from the current 60 km to 120 km per hour.
iv. Till now, India has committed Line of Credit (LoC) worth $1.3 billion for the development of the railway sector in Sri Lanka and has upgraded around 300 km of railway track and provided modern signaling and telecommunication system for around 330 km in Sri Lanka.
WHO declares Congo Ebola outbreak a Health emergency of International Concern
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)” in the emergency committee meeting held in Geneva, Switzerland on July 18, 2019,. This is for the 5th time WHO has invoked an emergency provision.
The DRC is in grip of its worst-ever Ebola outbreak, which is the 2nd deadliest Ebola epidemic in history, behind only the 2014 West Africa outbreak that killed more than 11,000 people.
This outbreak in Congo had begun in August 2018 and has mainly affected North Kivu and Ituri provinces in eastern DRC, an area wracked by conflict involving various armed groups.
Efforts to control the virus in DRC are hampered by violence from insurgent groups, including attacks on treatment centres.
According to WHO figures, there have been over 2,400 confirmed and probable cases of Ebola, of which more than 1,600 people have died as of 7 July 2019.
PHEIC: It is a rare designation only used for the gravest epidemics. It was declared in 2009H1N1 (swine flu) pandemic, polio declaration in 2014, and the 2015–16 Zika virus epidemic.
MHA launched ‘Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C)’
MHA has rolled out a scheme ‘Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C)’ for the period 2018-2020 on july 17-2019.
- The scheme will combat cybercrime in the country, in an effective and coordinated manner.
COMPONENTS OF SCHEME:
The scheme has the following seven components:
- National Cybercrime Threat Analytics Unit.
- National Cybercrime Reporting Portal.
- Platform for Joint Cybercrime Investigation Team.
- National Cybercrime Forensic Laboratory Ecosystem.
- National Cybercrime Training Centre.
- Cybercrime Ecosystem Management Unit.
- National Cyber Research and Innovation Centre.
CYBERCRIME REPORTING PORTAL:
- The Central Government has launched the Cybercrime Reporting Portal.
- The portal enables citizens to report online content pertaining to Child Pornography (CP)/ Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) or sexually explicit content such as Rape/Gang Rape (CP/RGR).
HRD MINISTER RELEASES “DEKSHARAMBH”
- On July 19, 2019, Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, Union Minister of Human Resource Development (HRD) has released a UGC(University Grants Commission) Guide to Student Induction Programme called “Deeksharambh”in New Delhi.
- It helps new students adjust and feel comfortable in the new environment at higher education institutions & inculcate in them the ethos and culture of the institution.
- It also helps them build bonds with other students and faculty members and expose them to a sense of larger purpose and self-exploration.
It empowers aspirant learners to face competitive world with confidence, open new life leading to character building based on universal human values such as truth, righteous conduct, non-violence, etc.
- It engages with the new students as soon as they come into the institution before regular classes start. It helps to learn about the institutional policies, processes, practices, culture, and values, and their mentor groups are formed.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
IT AND BIO TECHNOLOGY
India to be free of Tuberculosis by 2025
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while addressing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Members of Parliament (MP) in New Delhi on july 16/2019, asked the parliamentarians to take up a social cause or an issue of human sensitivity as a mission. India has fixed a deadline of 2025 for eradicating tuberculosis (TB) against the global deadline of 2030. He stressed on the need to eradicate them. The aim of the mission is “TB Harega Aur Desh Jeetega”.
MoU: Union Health Ministry signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministries of Defence,Railways and Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) to eliminate TB from India by 2025 in the presence of Minister of State for Health Ashwini K Choubey and Minister of AYUSH Shripad Nayak.
DEFENCE AND SECURITY
INS Sagardhwani embarks on mission Sagar Maitri
- The Marine Acoustic Research Ship (MARS), INS Sagardhwanstarted its two-month long second mission Sagar Maitri from Southern Naval Command in Kochi, Kerala. It was flagged off by Southern Naval commander Vice Admiral A.K. Chawla and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) chairman G. Satheesh Reddy.
- It will be visiting Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia and would be initiating collaborative research programmes with selected institutes in these
- It is an indigenously built Marine Acoustic Research Ship (MARS) which was commissioned in 1994. Owned by Naval Physical & Oceanographic Laboratory and operated by the Indian Navy, the ship has carried out intensive oceanographic observational programmes and research over the years. It will celebrate its silver jubilee on July 30, 2019.
- The aim of the mission is to collect data from the entire North Indian ocean with the focus on the Andaman Sea and adjoining seas and establish long term collaboration with Indian Ocean Ring countries in the field of ‘Ocean Research and Development’.
- The mission aligns with the broad objective of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s policy declaration ‘Safety And Growth for All in the Region’ (SAGAR).
- The first Sagar Maitri mission was held in April 2019 when INS Sagardhwani visited Myanmar.
Tamil Nadu Govt announces the creation of two new Districts
The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu(T.N), Edappadi K. Palaniswamistated that two new districts Tenkasi and Chengalpattu will be created for administrative convenience by bifurcating Tirunelveli and Kancheepuram districts On July 18, 2019,
- . With this, the total number of districts in the state will go up to 35.
- The State Government will appoint separate officials for these two new districts to take forward work related to the bifurcation of big districts.
- Sivagiri, Ambasamudram, Kadayanallur, and Sengottai regions are likely to fall under Tenkasi district, which had a population of 70,545 as per 2011 census. Chengalpattu is located about 55 km away from the Chennai, state capital.
- To address grievances of people in a rural and urban region, the state government also announced “ Chief Minister’s special grievances redressal scheme and the sanction of Rs.50 crore for up-gradation of amenities in Vellore municipality.
- The state government bifurcated Villupuram district to form Kallakurichi district, 33rdin the state in January 2019.
India’s GDP growth expected to grow by 7%:ADB
- On July 18, 2019, According to a recent Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) report titled ‘Asian Development Outlook 2019, India’s GDP (gross domestic product) growth expected to grow by 7% in 2019 (FY-Fiscal Year 2020) and 7.2% in 2020 (FY21).
- It revised downwards its outlook for FY20 due to unexpected weak FY2018 outturn.
- Growth is expected to increase again to 7.2% in FY21, helped by recent reforms to improve the business climate, strengthen banks and relieve agrarian distress.
- In the 4th quarter of the fiscal year 2018-19, GDP growth in India declined to 5.8% year-on-year(Y-O-Y), down more than expected from 6.6% and it is the lowest in five years.
ADB’s outlook for the South Asian(SA) region remains powerful with growth projected at 6.6 percent in 2019 and 6.7 percent in 2020.
- In April 2019, the ADB had lowered India’s growth forecast for 2019-20 to 7.2% from 7.6% estimated earlier, due to moderation in global demand and likely shortfall in revenue on the domestic front.
- Due to the manufacturing and agriculture sectors witnessed slowing down over the past year, Fitch also decreases India’s GDP growth forecast for FY20, to 6.6% from 6.8 %.
- On the impact of the US(United States) decision to end preferential trade treatment for India under its Generalised System of Preferences(GSP), it will have less effect as it benefited only 1.8 % of all Indian exports.
India’s current account balance deficit shoots up to $68 billion in 2018-19: IMF
According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), India’s current account (CA) balance deficit rose to $68 billion in 2018-19 from $49 billion in 2017-18.
The External Sector Report of the IMF stated that India’s Net International Investment Position has marginally improved with the deficit comes down from $438 billion in 2017-18 to $431 billion in 2018-19.
India’s overall international reserves stood at $411.9 billion at the end of March 2019 from $12.5 billion in March 2018.
India’s low per capita income, favorable growth prospects, demographic trends, and development are the reason for CA deficits.
India’s economic risks developed from volatility in global financial conditions and an oil price surge, as well as a retreat from cross-border integration.
In order to attract FDI (Foreign Direct Investment)for India, IMF suggested improving the business climate, easing domestic supply bottlenecks, and liberalizing trade and investment which would help “improve the CA financing mix, and contain external vulnerabilities”.
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
SAARC Film Festival 2019 held at the National Film Corporation Cinema Hall, Colombo, Sri Lanka
- The 9th Edition of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Film Festival for the year 2019was held at the National Film Corporation Cinema Hall, Colombo, Sri Lanka from July 2-7, 2019. It was conducted by the SAARC Cultural Centre.
- It screened 34 films which consisted of 15 feature films, 13 short films and 6 master films from the SAARC Member states of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.
- Indian entries bagged 6 awards.
- Nagarkirtan, a Bengali film, was awarded the Best Feature Film.
- Best Director Award was conferred to Kaushik Ganguly for Nagarkirtan.
- Riddhi Sen won the best actor award and Prabuddha Bannerjee bagged Best Original Score for Nagarkirtan.
- Best Short Film Award was conferred to Na Bole Wo Haram directed by Nitish Patan.
Special Jury Award for Direction and Story was conferred to ‘Walking with the Wind’, by Praveen Morchhale.
SIA PUBLISHERS AND DISTRIBUTORS .