• Current Affairs, 8th February 2020

    NATIONAL NEWS

     

    1. New Approach, New thoughts to Governance, says Prime Minister in Rajya Sabha

    • Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi in his reply in Rajya Sabha, to the Motion of Thanks to the President’s Address said that in the last five years Government has brought new thoughts and new approach to the governance. Referring to Digital India as one of the examples of this new thinking and new approach governance, Prime Minister said that only 59 Gram Panchayats had Broadband connectivity before 2014 but in the last 5 years over 1.25 lakh panchayats have been provided with Broadband connectivity.
    • He said, there were 80 thousand Common Service Centers in the country in 2014, but today their number has increased to more than 3 lakh 65 thousand. More than 12 lakh rural youth are ensuring online delivery of all the services of the government in these centres.
    • Prime Minister said BHIM App is being recognized globally as a secure digital transaction platform.  He said a record transaction of over Rs 2 lakh 16 thousand crores took place on BHIM App in the month of January. He said RuPay Card is also gaining acceptance in many countries.

    Jal Jeevan Mission 
    Prime Minister said, another example of this government’s approach is the Jal Jeevan Mission.   He said this mission, which aims at connecting every household with piped water supply, is also an excellent example of the model of local governance.

    • He said that even though the Central Government has started this mission, but its management will be at the village level. The village committees will implement it, manage the funds and take decisions related to the setting up of pipeline, building of tanks etc.

     

     

    1. Soil Health Card scheme of Central Govt: A success story

     

    • The Soil Health Card scheme launched by the Modi Government during the financial year 2014-15 with a view to address the decline of soil nutrients, has started reaping fruit. In the second phase of the scheme 11.69 crore Soil Health Cards have been distributed to farmers in the last two years.
    • Under the guidance of the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and directions of the Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar, the Ministry is issuing the Soil Health Cards. This has enabled the farmers to understand the soil health parameters and improve its productivity by judicious application of soil nutrients.
    • A study conducted by the National Productivity Council (NPC) says the application of Soil Health Card recommendations has led to a decline of 8-10% in use of chemical fertilizers and also raised productivity by 5-6%.
    • Under the Central Government’s Soil Health Card Scheme Phase-I (Years 2015 to 2017) 10.74 crore cards were distributed, while under the Phase-II 11.69 crore cards have been give away during the period 2017-19.
    • In the current financial year a pilot project “Development of Model Villages” is being implemented under which the sampling and testing of cultivable soil is being encouraged in partnership with the farmers. Under the project a Model Village has been selected for aggregation of soil samples and analysis of each agricultural holding. As part of the scheme 13.53 lakh Soil Health Cards have been distributed during the year 2019-20.
    • For the setting up of Soil Health Laboratories under the scheme the states have been sanctioned 429 static labs, 102 new mobile labs, 8,752 mini labs, 1,562 village-level laboratories and strengthening of 800 existing labs.
    • The scheme provides for the analysis of soil composition by the State Governments once in every two years so that remedial steps can be taken to improve soil nutrients. Farmers can track their soil samples and also obtain their Soil Health Card report.
    • While the Soil Health Management Scheme has turned out to be a blessing for the farmers, it is also creating jobs for the agrarian youth. Under the scheme village youth and farmers up to 40 years of age are eligible to set up Soil Health Laboratories and undertake testing. A laboratory costs up to Rupees Five Lakhs, 75% of which can be funded by the Central and State Governments. The same provisions apply to Self Help Groups, Farmers’ Cooperative Societies, Farmers Groups and Agricultural Producing Organisations.
    • Interested youth farmers and Organisations can submit their proposals either in person to the Deputy Director (Agriculture) / Joint Secretary (Agriculture) or in their offices in respective districts. For details visit websites agricoop.nic.in or soilhealth.dac.gov.in or dial Kisan Call Centre (1800-180-1551).

     

    1. Vizag-Chennai Industrial Corridor

     

    • Asian Development Bank (ADB) had prepared Conceptual Development Plan (CDP) for Vizag-Chennai Industrial Corridor (VCIC) and four nodes namely (i) Visakhapatnam, (ii) Machilipatnam, (iii) Donakonda and (iv) Chittoor were identified for development. Amongst these nodes, Visakhapatnam and Chittoor have been prioritized by the Government of Andhra Pradesh (GoAP). Initial master planning of these two nodes were also completed by ADB. As per the proposal of GoAP, National Industrial Corridor Development and Implementation Trust (NICDIT) in its meeting held on 30th August, 2019 has accorded its approval for development of Vishakhapatnam and Chittoor as priority nodes in phase-1 of VCIC.

    The loan has been agreed between State Government and Asian Development Bank (ADB).  ADB has approved USD 631 million (in loans and grants) for VCIC, comprising a Multi-Tranche Financing Facility (MFF) as follows:

    1. Two-tranche MFF of USD 500 million to build key infrastructure;
    2. Two-tranche Policy Based Loan (PBL) of USD 125 million to support policy reforms and institutional development in the State
    • Grant of USD 5 million from the multi-donor Urban Climate Change Resilience Trust Fund (UCCRTF) to build climate change resilient infrastructure in Visakhapatnam
    1. Technical assistance of USD 1 million to help the Andhra Pradesh local government implement policy reforms

    Since the project is presently under development stage, time for commencement for construction of the project cannot be ascertained.

     

     

    1. International Seafood Show

     

    • The Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA), under Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India, in association with the Seafood Exporters Association of India (SEAI), is organizing the 22ndedition of India International Seafood Show (IISS) 2020 in Kochi from 7-9 February 2020.
    • The theme of this year’s seafood show is “Blue Revolution- Beyond Production to Value Addition”. Over 200 exhibitors, 350 stalls and more than 5000 delegates, including foreign delegates, are expected to attend the three-day event at Kochi. The delegates include seafood processors, buyers and stakeholders, from other related sectors, representing firms in India and abroad. Buyer delegations from countries focused on mutual tie-ups in the sector of seafood processing and value addition will also be participating in IISS 2020.
    • The biennial show returns to Kochi after 12 years and will provide a platform for Indian exporters and overseas importers of Indian marine products to interact. It will also give an opportunity for display and sale for manufacturers and suppliers of processing machinery, packaging systems, processing ingredient dealers and cold chain systems. The seafood show will also give service providers like the logistics and certifying and testing segments an opportunity to showcase their products.
    • IISS 2020 will highlight the technological advances and sustainable practices followed in seafood processing sector in India. Indian seafood processors have to make their mark in the sustainable league with the cooperation from the fishing and farming sectors. Further, the processing industry always looks to upgrade its technological backup for value addition. This will result in increase in the percentage of exports of value added products in this decade from the current level of 6 % in the total exports.
    • During 2018-19 India has exported over 14,37,000 tons of marine products worth USD 6.70 billion as per provisional figures. With a multi-pronged strategy, addressing capture fisheries and aquaculture, it is expected to achieve an export turnover of USD 15 billion in next five years. Sustainable fishing methods, value addition and increased aquaculture production through diversification will support this target set out for export of India’s marine products.
    • The IISS is one of the oldest and largest seafood events in the world. It attracts seafood traders from the major markets like USA, EU, Japan, South East Asia and other countries. Apart from this, foreign machinery manufacturers will showcase their cutting edge equipment/machineries. The seafood show gives scope for tapping new avenues and introducing various technologies and products to the global market.  Over the years, IISS has served as a platform to bring together the Indian seafood export fraternity and the overseas buyers under one roof, enabling them to interact and finalize future business dealings.   The Show will pave way for Foreign Direct Investment in India and will contribute significantly to the Make in India programme.
    • The 21stedition of IISS was held in Goa in January 2018.

     

    1. Regulation of Online Retailers

     

    • Considering the potential of e-Commerce, Government of India plans to encourage it to contribute towards India’s proposed USD 1 trillion digital economy. However, e-Commerce companies having foreign investment can operate only a marketplace model and there are restrictions on the inventory based model of e-Commerce. In order to clarify the same, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), vide Press Note 3 of 2016, issued guidelines for FDI in e-Commerce on 29 March 2016. However, allegations were made against e-Commerce companies that the marketplaces were violating the norms laid down in Press Note 3 of 2016.
    • With a view to clarify the already existing policy framework, Press Note 2 of 2018 was issued by DPIIT on 26 December 2018 to provide further clarification on FDI Policy in relation to e-Commerce companies. Through the latest Press Note 2 of 2018, Government has reiterated the policy provisions to ensure better implementation of the policy in letter and spirit.
    • Further, Clause (ix) of Press Note 2 of 2018, stipulates that e-commerce entities providing marketplace will not directly or indirectly influence the sale price of goods or services and shall maintain level playing field. Services should be provided by e-commerce marketplace entity or other entities in which e-commerce marketplace entity has direct or indirect equity participation or common control, to vendors on the platform at arm’s length and in a fair and non-discriminatory manner. Such services will include but not limited to fulfilment, logistics, warehousing, advertisement/ marketing, payments and financing. Cash back provided by group companies of marketplace entity to buyers shall be fair and non-discriminatory. For the purposes of this clause, provision of services to any vendor on such terms which are not made available to other vendors in similar circumstances will be deemed unfair and discriminatory. Further, if any violation is reported necessary action may be taken by the competent authority.
    • Representations have been received in DPIIT alleging that some e-commerce platforms are engaged in predatory pricing and are providing excessive discounts. The extant Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy on e-commerce sector, inter-alia, specifies that e-commerce marketplaces will not directly or indirectly influence the sale price of goods or services and shall maintain a  level playing field. These representations are under examination.
    • However it is reported that the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has recently ordered investigation against FlipKart Internet Pvt. Ltd. and Amazon Seller Services Pvt. Ltd. in order to determine whether the alleged exclusive arrangements, deep-discounting and preferential listing are being used as an exclusionary tactic to foreclose competition under section 26(1) of Competition Act, 2002 vide Order 40 of 2019 dated 13.01.2020.

     

    1. 11th edition of DefExpo gets off with a spectacular ceremony

    • Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh Mantri said that the creation of two Defence corridors was a result of Prime minister Shri Narendra Modi’s vision of leading India to become a technological powerhouse catapulted through policy initiatives such as Make in India, Start-up India and Skill India. Speaking at the inauguration ceremony of Defence Expo 2020, Raksha Mantri said that the Nation would benefit from the defence industrial eco- system being setup and developed using cluster development.
    • Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated the 11th Edition of Defence Expo at a spectacular ceremony in Lucknow. The biggest ever of its kind, DefExpo 2020 would showcase India’s military might and technological innovations.
    • In order to make India a defence manufacturing hub, Shri Rajnath Singh said that the key was cooperation among various countries and the global defence manufacturing companies. He said that companies from around the world were bringing together their individual competencies in order to collaborate and share know-how with Indian companies to create a win-win situation. Raksha mantristressed that India, with its large market base, recent technological advancements, software know-how and a fast-developing defence industry, was ideally suited to act as a facilitator and collaborator in this field. He mentioned that technology leaders, manufacturing hubs, and software companies were collaborating to create cost effective and efficient advanced solutions.
    • Raksha Mantri said, a number of Policy initiatives have been taken to unleash the potential in defence production in the country. The Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) cap was liberalised to 49% through the direct route, and above that upto 100 % through the government route. The procedures for industrial licensing, defence procurement and defence acquisition were simplified. Also the single window clearance system was introduced to reduce the time required for various permissions for setting up of defence manufacturing units in India.
    • Highlighting the features of the India Pavilion at the DefExpo, Raksha Mantri said Technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AR), Augmented Virtual Reality(AVR), Autonomous Systems, Internet of Military Things (IoMT) and Industry 4.0 were showcased and was a reflection of the priorities of the Government. He mentioned that the push given by various policies to leverage the technology shall help the defence industry to reap benefits many-fold.
    • In his opening remarks, Raksha Rajya Mantri thanked the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi for bringing a shift in policies that gave a boost to Make in India initiatives in defence manufacturing. He said that DefExpo 2020 was the biggest ever such event being organisedin the country where companies from more than 170 countries are participating. He hoped that DefExpo 2020 would act as a enabling platform that shall catalyse the Make in India initiatives in the country.
    • Addressing the gathering Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Shri Yogi Adityanath said this edition of DefExpo 2020 being held in Lucknow was a matter of pride for the state. The defence corridor setup here would create world class defence ecosystem that shall cater to the technological needs of the defence companies. During DefExpo 2020, he said Uttar Pradesh Government would sign 23 MoUsenvisaging Rs 50,000 crore investment and providing job opportunities to over 3 lakh youth.
    • A short film on the opportunities in the aerospace arena in the country was showcased during the inauguration ceremony.
    • DefExpo-2020, a flagship biennial event of the Ministry of Defence, Government of India, one of the largest events of its kind is being held for the first time in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh from 5 th to 9 th Feb 2020. The 11th edition of Def Expo promises to bring new technologies, technological solutions, where Defence manufacturing companies from India and abroad showcase their products and services in Defence arena, on a single platform. Large number of foreign delegates including defence ministers from 40 countries are attending the expo, where a number of MoUs are expected to be signed forging technological ties for developing state of the art defence products.

     

    1. Promoting Quality Standards

    • The Quality Council of India (QCI) works for promotion of Quality Standards across various economic and social sectors such as manufacturing, education, health and environment. The QCI has been established as a National body for Accreditation on recommendation of Expert Mission of EU after consultation in Inter-Ministerial Task Force, Committee of Secretaries and Group of Ministers through a Cabinet decision in 1996. Accordingly, the QCI was set up through a PPP model as an independent autonomous organization with the support of Government of India and the Indian Industry represented by the three premier industry associations, (i) Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), (ii) Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and (iii) Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

    The QCI is the umbrella organisation of five boards:

     

    1. NABL – National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories;
    2. NABH- National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare;
    3. NABET- National Accreditation Board for Education and Training;
    4. NABCB- National Accreditation Board for Certification Bodies; and
    5. NBQP- National Board for Quality Promotion.

     

    Besides carrying out accreditation, certification, empanelment and third-party assessment activities through its Boards, QCI is also involved in project initiation, planning & development and its successful execution for various ministries, Government departments and State Governments. It carries out such activities through its five Boards and three divisions under Special Projects namely:

     

    1. [ZED] – ZERO DEFECT ZERO EFFECT,
    2. [PADD] – Project Analysis and Documentation Division; and
    3. [PPID] – Project Planning & Implementation Division.

     

    The projects are carried out as and when allotted by the concerned departments/organizations and as per the scope, guidelines and timelines as agreed with the concerned organizations/ departments.

     

    QCI operates its quality assurance activities in areas related to industry, education & training, laboratory, environment, health care, sports, etc. through its above five constituent Boards. The scope of each of the accreditation Boards of QCI is given below:

     

    National Accreditation Board for Certification Bodies(NABCB)

    National Accreditation Board for Certification Bodies provides accreditation to Certification and Inspection Bodies based on assessment of their competence as per the Board’s criteria and in accordance with International Standards and Guidelines.  NABCB is internationally recognized and represents the interests of the Indian industry at international forums through membership and active participation. NABCB is a member of International Accreditation Forum (IAF) & Pacific Accreditation Cooperation (PAC) as well as signatory to their Multilateral Mutual Recognition Arrangements (MLAs / MRAs) for Quality Management Systems, Environmental Management Systems, Food Safety Management Systems, Product Certification, Global G.A.P. and Information Security Management Systems. NABCB is also a signatory to PAC MLA for Energy Management Systems.  NABCB is a Full Member of International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) & Asia Pacific Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (APLAC) and a signatory to their MRAs for Inspection. NABCB accreditations are internationally equivalent and facilitates global acceptance of certifications / inspections by its accredited bodies.

     

    National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare Providers (NABH)

     

    National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare Providers (NABH) operates accreditation programme for healthcare organisations. The board is structured to cater to much desired needs of the consumers and to set benchmarks for progress of healthcare organizations. The Board while being supported by all stakeholders including industry, consumers, government, operates within the overall internationally accepted benchmarks of quality. NABH is an Institutional Member of the International Society for Quality in Health Care (lSQua). It is also a member as well as on the Board of Asian Society for Quality in Healthcare (ASQua).

     

    National Accreditation Board for Education and Training (NABET)

     

    National Accreditation Board for Education and Training (NABET) has set up an established mechanism for overall quality assurance in sectors such as services, education-formal and non-formal, industry and environment.Forfocused strategic direction it performs its activities through five distinct verticals namely; Formal Education Excellence Division (FEED), Skills Training, Skill Certification, Environment & MSME. The activities of the Board are accreditation of Certification Bodies that are working in the domain of personnel certification, certification of training providers and educational organizations. NABET works with many Central Government ministries, state governments and sector specific associations/chambers to help them create structures and standards in their services, training institutions and other regulatory processes through third party accreditation mechanism. With the aim to add creative value to the services, education and training-learning ecosystem NABET works as per International standards and protocols. NABET is a member of International Accreditation Forum (IAF) Pacific Accreditation Cooperation (PAC).

     

    National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration of Laboratories (NABL)

     

    National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration of Laboratories (NABL) grants Accreditation (Recognition) of technical competence of a testing, calibration, medical laboratory, Proficiency Testing Provider (PTP) and Reference Material Producer (RMP) for a specific scope following international standards.  NABL has Mutual Recognition Arrangements (MRA) with Asia Pacific Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (APLAC) and is also signatory to International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC).

     

     

    1. Intellectual Property Rights in Defence

     

    • In 2018, Ministry of Defence, Department of Defence Production has launched a programme ‘Mission Raksha Gyan Shakti (MRGS)’ to promote self-reliance and have an enabling framework for creation of Intellectual Property (IP) and management of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) in Indian Defence sector.
    • Since the launch of programme MRGS, a total of 1084 IP applications have been filed by the personnel of Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs)/Ordnance Factories (OFs). A major IPR Awareness Program has been launched and a total of 17938 personnel have been trained till 31 December, 2019.
    • A nodal Intellectual Property Facilitation Cell (IPFC) has been set up under Directorate General of Quality Assurance to create awareness about IPRs.  A comprehensive policy on creation of IP and Management of IPRs in DPSUs and OFs has been promulgated in November, 2019.  Innovative research in DPSUs and Ordnance Factories has enabled the development of certain materials,components/assemblies/sub-assemblies that result in performance upgradation of existing systems/platforms and simultaneously reducing India’s dependence on imports.
    • Some of the challenges faced in attracting private and public sector entities for IPRs is the risk of leakage of classified information regarding defence technology due to mandatory disclosures associated with IPR filing and for combating IPR infringement.

     

     

    1. Young Scientist Laboratories

     

    • As per directives of Government of India, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has identified five niche technology areas and established the following Young Scientist Laboratories (YSLs) in year 2019:
    • Artificial Intelligence (DYSL-AI), Bengaluru
    • Quantum Technologies (DYSL-QT), Mumbai
    • Cognitive Technologies (DYSL-CT), Chennai
    • Asymmetric Technologies (DYSL-AT), Kolkata
    • Smart Materials (DYSL-SM), Hyderabad
    • The five labs were dedicated to the Nation by Hon’ble Prime Minister on 02 January, 2020.
    • The initial sanction of Rs five crore was accorded to each of these five DYSLs. The same to be augmented as per the lab requirements.
    • The five newly established labs have started functioning very recently.  However, as suggested by Hon’ble PM during dedication of five DYSLs to the Nation on 02 January, 2020, DRDO will identify more such niche technology areas and will set up YSLs if required.
    • DRDO is making all-out efforts towards indigenous R&D and technology capability building.  India is self-reliant today in technology areas pertaining to Missiles, Radars, Sonars and Electronic Warfare(EW) and all the requirements in these areas can be met based on indigenous technologies.  DRDO Synergies with Armed Forces, Industry & Academia for development of Technologies and systems based on National priorities. DRDO has also successfully developed major platforms like the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft; Main battle Tank Arjun; Multi-Barrel Rocket Launcher System Pinaka; Akash Weapon System etc.  These systems after development are produced by Indian Industries for their induction by Armed Forces.

     

    1. Project Under ‘Make in India’

    • Capital procurement of defence equipment is undertaken from various domestic as well as foreign vendors as per extant Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) based on threat perception, operational challenges and technological change and to keep the Armed Forces in a state of readiness to meet the entire spectrum of Security Challenges.  Details of Capital Procurement through Indigenous and Foreign sources for the period 2014-15 to 2018-19 are appended below:- (figures are in Rs crores).
    YearTotal ProcurementProcurement from Indian VendorsProcurement from Foreign Vendors
    2014-1565,589.9839,879.0025,980.98
    2015-1662,341.8639,149.6323,192.23
    2016-1769,150.1241,872.0327,278.09
    2017-1872,732.2943,696.8729,035.42
    2018-1975,920.7538,963.6939,957.06
    • Specific provisions have been introduced in Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP)-2016 for stimulating growth of the domestic defence industry.  A new category of procurement ‘Buy {Indian-IDDM (Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured)}’ has been introduced in DPP-2016 to promote indigenous design and development of defence equipment. This category has been accorded top most priority for procurement of capital equipment. Besides this, preference is being given to ‘Buy (Indian)’ and ‘Buy and Make (Indian)’ categories of capital acquisition over ‘Buy (Global)’ & ‘Buy & Make (Global)’ categories.
    • Government has notified the ‘Strategic Partnership (SP)’ Model which envisages establishment of long-term strategic partnerships with Indian entities through a transparent and competitive process, wherein they would tie up with global Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to seek technology transfers to set up domestic manufacturing infrastructure and supply chains.
    • As a result of all the above efforts, during the last 5 years i.e. 2014-15 to 2018-19 Government has accorded Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) to 204 proposals, worth Rs.4,04,949.24 Crore approximately under ‘Buy (Indian-IDDM)’, ‘Buy (Indian)’, ‘Buy and Make (Indian)’, ‘Buy and make’, Strategic Partnership Model or ‘Make’ categories of capital procurement as per Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP).  In all the above categories Indian Industry including PSUs and private sector would be engaged in defence manufacturing either through direct recipient of RFP or in collaboration with foreign OEMs and all these projects are in different stages of execution.  Besides, DRDO is contributing immensely towards indigenous R&D and technology capability building and has a strong partnership with about 1800 private sector industries.

     

     

    INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    1. India and Sri Lanka

     

    • The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has grantedex-post facto dispensation to M/s. Alliance Air, a 100% subsidiary of Air India, to fly on international sectors between India and Sri Lanka.  A special dispensation is allowed for the interim period till M/s. Alliance Air deploys minimum of 20 Aircraft or 20% of total capacity, whichever is higher for domestic operations.
    • India has close bilateral ties with Sri Lanka and our interest is to increase connectivity and to expand people to people contacts between the two countries.  Prior to this approval there was no commercial operation scheduled from Palaly and Batticaloa airports.

     

     

    1. NASA astronaut Christina Koch returns to Earth after record-setting stay in space

     

    • NASA’s astronaut Christina Koch returned from space to Earth safely yesterday. Koch returned after an 11-month mission, breaking the world record for the most time spent by a woman in space.
    • Koch has spent 328 days on International Space Station ISS, surpassing the previous record of 289 days held by fellow American Peggy Whitson. Koch’s medical data will be especially valuable to NASA scientists as the agency draws up plans for a long-duration manned mission to Mars.

     

    1. China starts clinical trial for remdesivir medicine in coronavirus treatment

     

    • China has started clinical trial for remdesivir medicine in coronavirus treatment in Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital yesterday. A 68-year-old male patient with serious symptoms was the first to be given the drug.
    • However, Gilead Sciences Inc which developed Remdisivir said that the drug is not yet licensed or approved anywhere globally and it has not been demonstrated to be safe or effective for coronavirus infection treatment. The company said it had filed patent applications for the drug’s use on coronaviruses in China and some other countries and regions in 2016, but it has not yet received approval in China.
    • It said, its focus is now on rapidly determining remdesivir’s potential as a treatment for the 2019 novel coronavirus, rather than discussing compulsory licensing or any other kind of permissions for drug manufacturing. The comments came after the Wuhan Institute of Virology said on Wednesday that it had filed a patent application to use remdesivir to treat the novel coronavirus on January 21, which has sparked debate on China’s social media about intellectual property issues.
    • Meanwhile, Chinese Health authorities have confirmed new deaths caused by the novel coronavirus epidemic yesterday at 73. With this the death toll rose to 638 globally including one in Philippines
    • According to data released this morning by China’s National Health Commission, newly confirmed cases rose by 3 thousand 143, a second consecutive daily drop, bringing the total to 31 thousand 2 hundred 11 cases in the country. Around 240 cases have been confirmed abroad.
    • Majority of the deaths came from Hubei, the epicentre of the outbreak, where 69 new fatalities from the epidemic were reported yesterday. Hubei’s health commission said total death toll in Hubei rose to 618. In recovered cases, number stood at 387 yesterday, bringing the total cured patients so far to 1,542. Xiaogan, one of the closest cities to Wuhan, has become the second city in China with more than 2,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus – second only to the provincial capital of central China’s Hubei Province.
    • Japan has found 41 additional coronavirus cases on board the cruise ship Diamond Princess carrying over 3,700 people, bringing the total number of infected on the ship to 61. The new cases on the Diamond Princess bring Japan’s total number of confirmed cases to 86, the second highest figure after China.

     

     

     

    SPORTS NEWS

     

     

    1. India to take on Bangladesh in U-19 Cricket World Cup final

    • In Under-19 Cricket World Cup final, defending champions India will take on Bangladesh on Sunday at Potchefstroom in South Africa. The final was set up after Bangladesh registered a comprehensive six-wicket victory over New Zealand in the 2nd semifinal.
    • This is the first time Bangladesh has reached the final of the Under-19 World Cup. In the 1st semi-final on Tuesday, four times champion India thrashed arch-rivals Pakistan by 10 wickets.

     

    1. Mizoram win Junior National Football C’ship for Dr BC Roy Trophy

    • In Football, Mizoram has won the final of the Junior National Football Championship for Dr BC Roy Trophy at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Shillong yesterday. Mizoram beat Punjab 5-4 on penalties as both teams finished 1-1 in regulation and extra time.
    • It was the fourth time in five years that the two team met in the final of the Under -17 tournament with Punjab winning the trophy in 2015-16 and 2016-17. Last year Mizoram reversed the tide and defeated Punjab in the final 2-1.

     

     

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