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India backs Seed Treaty targets

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Narendra Singh Tomar at the opening ceremony ITPGRFA

Rome, Italy (NVI): India has told the Seed Treaty nations that “Conservation of plant genetic resources is the shared responsibility of humanity,” and that New Delhi will be forthcoming to support all global efforts in this regard.

While addressing the Opening Ceremony of the Governing Body of International Treaty of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) here, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said:  “crop biodiversity is part and parcel of life in India and whose indigenous people, peasants have shaped the crop genetic resources that form the basis for breeding elsewhere in the world.”

The Governing Body sessions are biennial in which delegates from 146 countries, international organizations, civil societies, farmers’ organizations, FAO officials and UN organizations participated. The session started on 11th November and will go on till 16th November.

Tomar, while informing about the uniqueness of Indian legislation “Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights (PPV&FR) Act” to protect Farmers’ Rights and breeder’s rights, said that in Indian legislation a farmer is entitled to save, use, sow, resow, exchange, share or sell his farm produce including seed of a variety protected under the PPV&FR Act, 2001 except brand name, and our legislation is fully compliant to article 9 of the Treaty.

“Under the provisions of this Act, 138 farmers and farming communities have been awarded with Plant Genome Saviour Awards. India has received about 16,620 applications for Plant Variety Protection out of which 10,920 (66%) have been received from farmers alone. Also, the PPV&FR Authority has registered about 3631 plant varieties out of which 1597 (44%) belong to the farmers”, he added.

ITPGRFA also known as Seed Treaty, is a comprehensive international agreement for ensuring food security through the conservation, exchange and sustainable use of the world’s plant genetic resources for food and agriculture (PGRFA), as well as the fair and equitable benefit sharing arising from its use. It also recognizes farmers’ rights, subject to national laws.

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Govt refutes reports on funds of Indians in Swiss Banks

Nirmala
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman (File Pic)

New Delhi: Refuting the claim that Indian funds in Swiss Banks have risen to over Rs 20,700 crore in 2020, the central government today said that the customer deposits have actually fallen since 2019.

“These statistics do not include the money that Indians, NRIs or others might have in Swiss banks in the names of third–country entities,” it said and asked Swiss authorities to provide information to verify the increase/decrease of deposits.

“Certain reports have appeared in the media on June 18, stating that funds of Indians in Swiss Banks have risen to over Rs 20,700 crore (CHF 2.55 billion) at the end of 2020 from Rs 6,625 crore (CHF 899 million) at the end of 2019, reversing a 2 year declining trend, the Finance Ministry said in a statement.

It has also been stated that this is also the highest figure of deposits in the last 13 years.

Media reports allude to the fact that the figures reported are official figures reported by banks to Swiss National Bank (SNB) and do not indicate the quantum of much debated alleged black money held by Indians in Switzerland.

Further, these statistics do not include the money that Indians, NRIs or others might have in Swiss banks in the names of third–country entities, the Ministry said.

However, “The customer deposits have actually fallen from the end of 2019. The funds held through fiduciaries has also more than halved from end of 2019,” it said.

The Ministry further requested the Swiss Authorities to provide the relevant facts along with their view on possible reasons for increase/decrease in the light of the media reports highlighted above.

The biggest increase is in “Other amounts due from customers”. These are in form of bonds, securities and various other financial instruments.

It is pertinent to point out that India and Switzerland are signatories to the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters (MAAC) and both countries have also signed the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement (MCAA) pursuant to which, the Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) is activated between the two countries for sharing of financial account information annually for calendar year 2018 onwards.

Exchanges of Financial Account information in respect of residents of each country have taken place between both countries in 2019 as well as 2020.

In view of the existing legal arrangement for exchange of information of financial accounts (which has a significant deterrent effect on tax evasion through undisclosed assets abroad), there does not appear to be any significant possibility of the increase of deposits in the Swiss banks which is out of undeclared incomes of Indian residents, the Ministry said.

Heavy rains likely over Eastern UP, Uttarakhand and other states

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New Delhi: Extremely heavy rainfall accompanied by thunderstorms, lightning and gusty winds is likely to occur over East, Central and other parts of India, the IMD said today.

According to India Meteorological Department (IMD), “Heavy to very heavy rainfall with isolated extremely heavy rainfall very likely at isolated places over east Uttar Pradesh.”

“Heavy to very heavy rainfall at isolated places over Uttarakhand, West Uttar Pradesh, East Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Sub-Himalayan West Bengal, Konkan & Goa, Rayalseema and South Interior Karnataka,” the IMD said in its weather bulletin.

Heavy rainfall at isolated places over Chhattisgarh, Gangetic West Bengal, Assam & Meghalaya, Gujarat Region, ghat areas of Madhya Maharashtra and Kerala & Mahe, it said.

Thunderstorm with lightning & gusty winds (speed reaching 30-40 kmph) very likely at isolated places over Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh and with lightning at isolated places over Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh, Gilgit-Baltistan & Muzaffarabad, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Chandigarh & Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Vidarbha, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Assam & Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Gujarat State, Telangana and Tamil Nadu, Puducherry & Karaikal.

Squally weather (wind speed reaching 40-50 gusting to 60 kmph) very likely over Northwest & central Bay of Bengal, north Andaman Sea; along & off West Bengal, Odisha and Andhra coasts.

Strong Winds (speed 45-55 kmph gusting to 65 kmph) over the north, central and southwest Arabian sea. along & off Kerala-Karnataka-Goa-Maharashtra-Gujarat coasts. Fishermen are advised not to venture into these areas, the IMD said.

India records 60,753 new COVID-19 cases, 1,647 deaths

COVID-19 threatens people with heart diseases, as winter hints at a second wave

New Delhi: India recorded 60,753 new Covid cases and 1,647 deaths in the last 24 hours, the Union Health Ministry said today.

With this increase, the total death toll in the country due to the pandemic has risen to 3,85,137 while the cumulative active cases are 7,60,019.

Nearly 97,743 patients have been discharged in the last 24 hrs, the Health Ministry said.

According to the data available, total of 27,23,88,783 vaccination doses have been administered to the people of India.

Yesterday, the country recorded 62,480 new COVID19 cases and 1,587 deaths in the last 24 hrs.

On Thursday, the country registered 67,208 new COVID-19 cases and 2,330 deaths in 24 hours.

On Wednesday, the country recorded 62,224 fresh COVID-19 cases and 2542 deaths in 24 hours.

On Tuesday, the country reported 60,471 new cases along with 2726 deaths in a span of 24 hours.

It was the lowest single-day figure in 75 days, according to the Union Health Ministry.

On Monday, the country reported 70,421 single day infections, against 80,834 recorded during the previous day.

The single-day deaths due to Covid reported on Monday were 3921.

90% of central govt schemes reached J&K: Amit Shah

Union Home Minister Amit Shah and J&K Lt Governor Manoj Sinha at a meeting in New Delhi today.

New Delhi: Union Home Minister Amit Shah today reviewed various developmental projects of J&K at a meeting here and said all-round development and welfare of the people of the Union Territory are the top priorities of the Modi government.

Talking about the motto of “Development with Transparency”, Shah said 90 percent of the Central Government’s schemes had reached J&K, an official release said.

At the meeting, attended by J&K Lt Governor Manoj Sinha and top officials of the Centre and state, the Home Minister pressed for speedy completion of the Prime Minister’s development package, flagship and iconic projects and industrial development projects.

Shah issued directions for ensuring that the benefits of the refugee package reach all the refugees from PoJK, West Pakistan and those who had to migrate from Kashmir to Jammu at the earliest, the release said.

He underlined the need for completion of many other development schemes including the Prime Minister’s Development Package, industrial development projects at a fast pace.

He also directed starting of the 3000 MW Pakal Dul and Keeru hydroelectric projects and fast tracking other 3300 MW projects, the release said.

For strengthening of Panchayati Raj Institutions and Urban Local Bodies, Shah directed officials to immediately organize training for the members, making proper sitting arrangements for them and providing equipment and other resources to the personnel for smooth functioning of these bodies.

Along with this, he also directed the Panchayat members to visit various parts of the country, so that they can get information about the working of developed Panchayats of the country, the release said.

The Union Home Minister also stressed on increasing the scope of MGNREGA to provide employment to more and more people.

At the same time, he spoke about the use of modern techniques in agriculture to increase the income of the farmers and to set up at least one agro-based industry in each district.

He also said that work should be done to increase the quality and density of apple production in Jammu and Kashmir, so that apple growers will receive maximum price for the crop.

The Union Home Minister directed the Jammu and Kashmir administration to ensure that all farmers are provided benefits of schemes being implemented for farmers, such as Pradhan Mantri Kisan Yojana, under which Rs. 6000/- is deposited annually directly into the accounts of farmers and Kisan Credit Card Yojna, etc.

The Union Home Minister also stressed that it should be ensured that the benefits of the industrial policy reach small scale industries.

He appreciated efforts for providing employment to youth and institutional reforms like geo-tagging of all development works that are put in public domain, purchasing through Government e-Marketplace (GeM) and direct deposit of money into bank accounts of almost hundred percent beneficiaries of Gram Swaraj, social security and other individual beneficiary schemes.

Production of Mucormycosis drug increased five-fold in India: Govt

Maritime India Summit
MoS Chemicals and Fertilizers Mansukh Mandaviya (File Pic)

New Delhi: Production of Amphotericin-B drug, prescribed for treatment of Mucormycosis or Black Fungus, has been scaled up by nearly five times in India and it is expected to cross 3.75 lakh vials this month, Union Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilisers Mansukh Mandaviya said today.

“India has increased domestic production remarkably by more than fivefold. Domestic production of Liposomal Amphotericin-B was just 62,000 vials in April, 2021 and now it is expected to cross 3.75 lakh vials in June, 2021,” he tweeted.

“While increasing domestic production, India also placed order to import 9,05,000 Liposomal Amphotericin-B vials through M/s Mylan,” he said.

“On 16th June,2021, active cases of Mucormycosis were 27,142. Even in the future, if cases of Black fungus increases. India is prepared to have more than sufficient availability of Amphotericin B drug and other drugs which are required to treat patients of Mucormycosis,” the Minister said.

India is leaving no stone unturned to boost the availability of  Amphotericin B drugs in the country,” he added.

Department of Pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilisers has allocated a total 7,28,045 vials ofLiposomal Amphotericin B to all the states and Central institutions till June 17.

Rising C-section births putting women, babies at risk: WHO

Pic courtesy WHO

New Delhi: World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that the use of caesarean section continues to rise at an alarming rate globally, which may put the lives of women and child at risk in the near future.

According to new research from WHO, “Caesarean section use continues to rise globally, now accounting for more than 1 in 5 (21%) of all childbirth.”

This number is set to continue increasing over the coming decade, with nearly a third (29%) of all births likely to take place by caesarean section by 2030, the research finds.

While a caesarean section can be an essential and lifesaving surgery, it can put women and babies at unnecessary risk of short- and long-term health problems if performed when there is not medical need, it said.

“Caesarean sections are absolutely critical to save lives in situations where vaginal deliveries would pose risks, so all health systems must ensure timely access for all women when needed,” said Dr Ian Askew, Director of WHO’s Department of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Research and the UN joint programme, HRP.

“But not all the caesarean sections carried out at the moment are needed for medical reasons.  Unnecessary surgical procedures can be harmful, both for a woman and her baby, he added.

Caesarean sections can be essential in situations such as prolonged or obstructed labour, fetal distress, or because the baby is presenting in an abnormal position.

However, as with all surgeries, they can have risks. These include the potential for heavy bleeding or infection, slower recovery times after childbirth, delays in establishing breastfeeding and skin-to-skin contact, and increased likelihood of complications in future pregnancies.

There are significant discrepancies in a woman’s access to caesarean sections, depending on where in the world she lives.

In the least developed countries, about 8% of women gave birth by caesarean section with only 5% in sub-Saharan Africa, indicating a concerning lack of access to this lifesaving surgery, the research finds.

Conversely, in Latin America and the Caribbean, rates are as high as 4 in 10 (43%) of all births. In five countries (Dominican Republic, Brazil, Cyprus, Egypt and Turkey), caesarean sections now outnumber vaginal deliveries.

Worldwide caesarean section rates have risen from around 7% in 1990 to 21% today, and are projected to continue increasing over this current decade.

If this trend continues, by 2030 the highest rates are likely to be in Eastern Asia (63%), Latin America and the Caribbean (54%), Western Asia (50%), Northern Africa (48%) Southern Europe (47%) and Australia and New Zealand (45%), the research suggests.

Quality, women-centred care needed to address high use of caesarean section
Causes of high caesarean section usage vary widely between and within countries. Drivers include health sector policies and financing, cultural norms, perceptions and practices, rates of preterm births, and quality of healthcare.

Rather than recommending specific target rates, WHO underscores the importance of focusing on each woman’s unique needs in pregnancy and childbirth.

“It’s important for all women to be able to talk to healthcare providers and be part of the decision making on their birth, receiving adequate information including the risks and benefits. Emotional support is a critical aspect of quality care throughout pregnancy and childbirth,” said Dr Ana Pilar Betran, Medical Officer at WHO and HRP.

Heavy rains likely over parts of east, south and central India

Rainfall
Representational/ file image

New Delhi: Several parts of east, south and central India are likely to receive heavy to very heavy rainfall and witness thunderstorm along with gusty winds exceeding up to 40 kmph, the IMD said today.

According to India Meteorological Department (IMD), “Heavy to very heavy rainfall very likely at isolated places over Uttarakhand, East Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Gangetic West Bengal, Konkan, Goa, ghat areas of Madhya Maharashtra, Coastal Karnataka.”

“Heavy Rainfall likely at isolated places over West Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat region, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Sub-Himalayan West Bengal & Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam & Meghalaya,” it said in its daily weather bulletin.

Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram & Tripura, Interior Karnataka and Kerala & Mahe are also likely to witness heavy rainfall, it said.

Thunderstorm with lightning & gusty winds (speed reaching 30-40 kmph) very likely at isolated places over Uttarakhand, West Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Vidarbha and East Rajasthan.

With lightning at isolated places over Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh, Gilgit-Baltistan & Muzaffarabad, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh & Delhi, East Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, it said.

Strong surface wind (speed reaching 30-40 kmph) at isolated places over Coastal Andhra Pradesh & Yanam.

Squally weather (wind speed reaching 40-50 gusting to 60 kmph) very likely over North and adjoining central Bay of Bengal; along/off Karnataka-Goa-Maharashtra-Gujarat coasts.

Strong Winds (speed 45-55 kmph gusting to 65 kmph) over central and southwest Arabian Sea. Fishermen are advised not to venture into these areas, the IMD said.

Oil spill in Bay of Bengal; India Coast Guard in action

New Delhi: Indian Coast Guard (ICG) has deployed its ships and aircraft in the Bay of Bengal after mid-sea oil spill was reported from Haldia-bound Portuguese ship about 450 km South-East of Chennai.

ICG pollution response team at Chennai has been alerted and kept on standby, the Ministry of Defence said today in a statement.

In addition, ICG ships & aircraft deployed at sea are also put on alert in pollution response configuration, it said.

Indian Coast Guard (ICG) received information from Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) Colombo in late hours of June 16, 2021, about a mid-sea oil spill about 450 kms South East of Chennai.

On further investigation, it was revealed that a Portuguese flag Container ship MV Devon, on passage from Colombo to Haldia, West Bengal, developed an underwater crack in the fuel tank containing about 120 KL of Very Low Sulphur Fuel Oil, the Ministry said.

The crack resulted in spillage of about 10 KL of oil into the sea before preventive action was taken and remaining oil in tank was transferred to another tank by the ship’s crew.

“The vessel is carrying 10,795 tonnes of general cargo in 382 containers and manned by 17 crew,” it said.

The ship is continuing its voyage to Haldia and likely to reach on June 18, 2021.

The ICG is in continuous contact with MV Devon and the master has reported that the vessel is stable, the Ministry added.

India records 62,480 new COVID cases, 1587 deaths

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New Delhi: India reported 62,480 new COVID19 cases and 1,587 deaths in the last 24 hrs, the Union Health Ministry said today.

With this increase, the total death toll in the country due to the pandemic has risen to 3,83,490 while the cumulative active cases are 7,98,656.

Yesterday, the country registered 67,208 new COVID-19 cases and 2,330 deaths in 24 hours.

On Wednesday, the country recorded 62,224 fresh COVID-19 cases and 2542 deaths in 24 hours.

On Tuesday, the country reported 60,471 new cases along with 2726 deaths in a span of 24 hours.

It was the lowest single-day figure in 75 days, according to the Union Health Ministry.

On Monday, the country reported 70,421 single day infections, against 80,834 recorded during the previous day.

The single-day deaths due to Covid reported on Monday were 3921.

Kashmir: Cop shot dead by terrorists in Srinagar

J&K Bar Association issued 3 notices over its constitution
Kashmir (Representative Pic)

Srinagar: Terrorists tonight shot dead a policeman near his residence in Saidapora area of Srinagar in Kashmir, police said.

The policeman identified as Javaid Ahmad sustained injuries in the neck when he was fired at by the terrorists.

The critically injured cop was rushed to a hospital where he succumbed to his injuries, the police said.

The area was immediately cordoned off and a search operation launched to nab the culprits, the police added.

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