The Centre is set to initiate the Jal Shakti Abhiyan to ramp
up rainwater harvesting and conservation efforts in 255 water-stressed
districts from July 1, in line with the government’s promise to focus on
Though water is a State issue, the campaign will be coordinated
by 255 central IAS officers of Joint or Additional Secretary-rank, drawn from
ministries as varied as Space, Petroleum and Defence, according to a
notification issued by the Department of Personnel and Training on Wednesday.
The campaign seems to follow the model of last year’s Gram
SwarajAbhiyan, where central officials monitored the implementation of seven
flagship development schemes in 117 aspirational districts across the country.
The campaign will run from July 1 to September 15 in States
receiving rainfall during the south-west monsoon, while States receiving
rainfall in the retreating or north-east monsoon will be covered from October 1
to November 30. Overall, 313 blocks with critical groundwater levels will be
covered, along with 1,186 blocks with over-exploited groundwater and 94 blocks
with low groundwater availability.
Progress would be monitored in real time through mobile
applications and an online dashboard at indiawater.gov.in
A major communications campaign on TV, radio, print, local and
social media will be carried out, with celebrities mobilised to generate
awareness for the campaign.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah will review the security
situation in Jammu and Kashmir in Srinagar today.
Mr Shah will also meet delegations of people. He will also meet
BJP workers, Panchayat members and families of party workers who have been
killed by terrorists in the state. Union Home Minister will also meet the family
members of policemen killed in terror attacks in the state.
Mr Shah arrived in Srinagar yesterday on a two-day visit to the
state. This is his first visit to Jammu & Kashmir after assuming charge of Union
On the first day yesterday, Home Minister took stock of the
security and other arrangements related to upcoming AmarnathYatra. Mr Shah also
reviewed various development schemes and projects in the State. Governor, Union
Home Secretary, state Chief Secretary B V R Subrahmanyam, Northern Army
Commander Lt Gen Ranbir Singh, DGP Dilbagh Singh and divisional commissioners
from the Valley and Jammu and other officials attended the review meeting.
AIR correspondent reports that Home Minister Amit Shah is
scheduled to review the overall security situation including counter militant
and counter infiltration operations at a high level Unified Headquarters Meeting
at Sher I Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC) in Srinagar.
Governor Satya Pal Malik, Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba and top
officials of all the security and intelligence agencies are attending the
meeting. Home Minister is also meeting several delegations of people. He is also
meeting families of political workers and policemen who lost their lives in the
militant attacks in the state.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has started monitoring the
liquidity position, asset-liability gap and repayment schedules of housing
finance companies (HFCs) on a daily basis after the liquidity crisis hit
these firms, resulting in defaults.
Mortgage lenders are regulated by the National Housing Bank. But
the central bank is of the view that the since the liquidity crisis of the HFCs
could have a spillover effect on the other segments in the financial sector,
including banks, and hence, could affect financial stability, it was necessary
to monitor these entities on a regular basis.
NBFCs saw their cost of funds going up sharply in the last few
months. This has impacted their business growth as the lenders have to cut down
on their loan disbursements.
The move to monitor HFCs on a daily basis comes after some
mortgage lenders started feeling the pressure to meet their financial
obligations. Dewan Housing Finance Corporation, for example, partially defaulted
on repayment to its commercial paper holders. Earlier, the company had to delay
repayment to its non-convertible debenture holders.
RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das had emphasised on the importance of
maintaining financial stability in the wake of the HFC crisis.
The LokSabha on Wednesday passed the Special Economic Zones
(Amendment) Bill, 2019, making a trust or any entity notified by the Central
government eligible for consideration of grant of permission to set up a
unit in special economic zones.
Union Commerce and Industry Minister PiyushGoyal said the Bill,
which would replace an ordinance, was aimed at improving and encouraging more
investments and introducing features including single-window clearance and to
ease imports and exports.
“To attract both domestic and international investors, the Prime
Minister wants to keep up with the evolving business environment,” Mr.Goyal
said, introducing the legislation. “To this effect, we want to add alternative
investment funds trust in the definition of persons,” he added.
Opposition parties, however, questioned the manner in which the
Bill had been brought in, with Congress MP ShashiTharoor stating, “As per rule,
an ordinance can be promulgated only when the President deems it necessary in
emergency situations and when issues of extreme urgency arise and when it’s not
possible to wait for Parliament to convene.”
Questioning the government for the urgency in passing an
ordinance, DMK leader D.N.V. Senthilkumar said: “Large chunk of trusts owned by
minorities have been shut down under the previous Act. There are suspicions that
the government has a hidden agenda to favour a selected few who are close to the
government and have vested interests.”
The government has accorded the highest priority to getting
a permanent membership for the country in an expanded United Nations
Security Council (UNSC).
In a written reply in LokSabha, Minister of State for External
Affairs V Muraleedharan said, India is actively engaged in the ongoing
intergovernmental negotiations on UNSC reform. He said, a series of initiatives,
involving bilateral and multilateral platforms, have been undertaken by the
government in pursuance of this objective.
The Minister said, India is working alongside other
reform-oriented countries through its membership in the G-4 Group that includes
India, Japan, Brazil and Germany and the L-69 Group, which is a cross-regional
grouping of developing countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America to build
support among the UN member states for expansion of the UN Security Council.
Mr Muraleedharan said, as a result of India's sustained efforts,
a large number of countries have supported its candidature for a permanent
membership in an expanded UN Security Council. He said, this has been expressed
in various forms and fora including in bilateral inter-governmental meetings.
Sustained release of drugs for as long as 110 days has now
been achieved by researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)
Guwahati by immobilising the drugs on cotton that is extremely water
A team led by Uttam Manna from the Department of Chemistry found
that 30% of the drug was released within 48 hours and the remaining drug over a
period of 110 days. Two drugs — aspirin and tetracycline — were tested for
sustained drug release.
The researchers found that the duration of drug release can be
tuned by varying the degree of water repelling property of cotton. For instance,
when water repellence was reduced from 155 degree to 125 degrees, the duration
of drug release reduced sharply from 110 days to over 50 days.
When cotton is supremely water repelling, there is sustained
release for about 110 days after the burst-release in the first 48 hours. When
the cotton is moderately water-repelling, 64% of drug is released in 48 hours
and the remaining over the next 50 days.
Both the drugs were released in a similar fashion and the
bioactivity of the tetracycline released at one, three and seven days was
examined. “The bioactivity was similar to the native drug at all three time
periods. Tetracycline was able to prevent the proliferation of both E. coli and
Streptococcus aureus,” says Dr. Manna.