The Central government is working on the establishment of an
exclusive body to implement projects for linking rivers.
To be called the National Interlinking of Rivers Authority (NIRA),
the proposed body is expected to take up both inter-State and intra-State
projects. It will also make arrangements for generating funds, internally and
The proposal for an apex body on river linking has been under
discussion for the past 18 months. However, the official said that as of now, no
specific timeline has been determined for the constitution of the Authority.
Also, the earlier idea of framing a Bill, envisaging the creation of the NIRA,
is not being pursued now.
The subject of establishment of the Authority was discussed at
the last meeting of the Special Committee on Inter-Linking of Rivers (ILR) last
week in New Delhi. Headed by Union Minister of Jal Shakti Gajendra Singh
Shekhawat, the panel includes Irrigation or Water Resources Ministers and
Secretaries of States. Since its formation, the Committee has held 17 meetings.
India restricted the export of common medicines such as
paracetamol and 25 other pharmaceutical ingredients and drugs made from them
on Tuesday, as it looked to prevent shortages amid concerns of the COVID-19
outbreak turning into a pandemic.
Besides over-the-counter painkiller and fever reducer
paracetamol, drugs restricted for exports included common antibiotics
metronidazole, those used to treat bacterial and other infections, as well as
vitamin B1 and B12 ingredients.
In February, the Department of Pharmaceuticals asked the DGFT to
issue orders restricting the export of 12 APIs and formulations in the wake of
the coronavirus outbreak.
Although India is source of about 20% of the world’s generic
drug supply, pharmaceutical companies in the country are dependent on China for
two-thirds of the chemical components needed to make them.
The outbreak of COVID-19 has shut factories in China and
impacted supplies, leading to fears of a shortage.
Automated teller machines (ATMs), mostly in rural areas, are
being recalibrated to replace the cassettes for ₹2,000 bank notes with
either those for ₹500 or ₹200.
This is because in such areas the demand for ₹2,000 bank note is
not high while lower denomination notes are more sought after.There are a total
2.1 lakh bank-deployed ATMs in the country apart from about 30,000 white label
According to Mr.Dastur, in the urban and metro locations, ATMs
typically carry ₹2,000 notes. Bank branches in the urban areas also prefer
putting ₹2,000 notes in their ATMs.
The ₹2,000 notes came into calculation after the demonetisation
exercise of 2016 when ₹500 and ₹1,000 currency notes were withdrawn from the
According to RBI data, 3,291 million pieces of ₹2,000 notes were
in circulation as at March 2019, which was roughly the same figure for the
previous two years.A recent report by RBI has showed that the country continues
to have a strong bias for cash payments.
Cash withdrawals from ATMs have increased over the past five
years and India is next only to China in terms of cash withdrawals from ATMs.
However, the percentage of cash withdrawals to GDP has been constant in India at
In an unprecedented and rare move, the Geneva-based Office
of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has announced that it
plans to file an application in the Supreme Court, asking to be impleaded in
petitions challenging the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA).
Responding to the announcement, the Ministry of External Affairs
(MEA) said the United Nations body had no right to file a petition that will ask
the court to appoint the Commissioner for Human Rights as an assistant or amicus
curiae in the case.
The OHCHR plan has been criticised by diplomatic and legal
experts here, including one of the 22 petitioners in the case, as an
Last week, Ms.Bachelet informed the Human Rights Council that
the UN body had “great concerns over the CAA”. She had also met with MEA
Secretary (West) VikasSwarup, who had travelled to Geneva to represent India at
the 43rd session of the Human Rights Council last Thursday.
MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said on Tuesday, “The Citizenship
(Amendment) Act is an internal matter of India and concerns the sovereign right
of the Indian Parliament to make laws. We strongly believe that no foreign party
has any locus standi on issues pertaining to India’s sovereignty.”
“We are confident that our sound and legally sustainable
position would be vindicated by the Honourable Supreme Court,” he added.
Black carbon concentrations near the Gangotri glacier rose
400 times in summer due to forest fires and stubble burning from
agricultural waste, and triggered glacial melt, says a study by scientists
at the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG).
The team of scientists from WIHG, led by P.S. Negi, measured
variations of black carbon concentration at Chirbasa, near the Gangotri glacier
in the Indian Himalaya, located at an altitude of 3,600 metres, during the year
Black carbon results from the incomplete combustion of fossil
fuels and biomass. The fine particles absorb light and about a million times
more energy than carbon dioxide. It is said to be the second largest contributor
to climate change after CO2.
India is the second largest emitter of black carbon in the
world, with emissions expected to increase dramatically in the coming decades,
says an April 2019 study in the journal Atmospheric Research, with the Indo
Gangetic plains said to be the largest contributor.