India is a natural ally of the G7, Modi tells the group
Daily NEWS Summary | 13-06-2021; Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that India is a natural ally of the G7 countries in upholding shared values in the face of a series of threats stemming from authoritarianism, terrorism and violent extremism, disinformation and of economic coercion.
- In a virtual speech at a session on “open societies and open economies” at the G7 summit, the prime minister underlined India’s civilizational commitment to democracy, freedom of thought and freedom, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MEA).
- Leaders of the world’s advanced economies held a summit in Cornwall, UK, June 11-13. This is the first time the group’s leaders have met in person since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
- PM Modi also highlighted the revolutionary impact of digital technologies on social inclusion and empowerment in India through applications such as Aadhaar, Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) and JAM (Jan Dhan-Aadhaar-Mobile) trinity.
- Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the G-7 countries have pledged more than a billion doses of coronavirus vaccines for the poorest countries. Speaking at the end of the summit, Johnson said the doses would come both directly and through the international COVAX program.
- The commitment is well below the 11 billion doses that the head of the World Health Organization says are needed to immunize at least 70% of the world’s population by mid-2022 and to truly end the pandemic.
- The Group of Seven (G7) includes the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States. As chair of the G7, the UK invited India, Australia, South Korea and South Africa to the summit as guest countries.
Left-wing parties seek to lower fuel prices, announce 15-day protest
Daily NEWS Summary | 13-06-2021; Left-wing parties have announced a 15-day protest from June 16 to 30, demanding a pullback in fuel price hikes and controlling commodity prices.
- A joint declaration signed by the secretaries general of the five left-wing parties: Sitaram Yechury of the CPI (M), D. Raja of the CPI, Debabrata Biswas of the All India Forward Bloc, Manoj Bhattacharya of the Revolutionary Socialist Party and Dipankar Bhattacharya of the IPC ( ML) – noted that the prices of petroleum products had increased 21 times since the results of the recent Assembly elections were announced on May 2.
- Earlier, Congress also held a day of protest at gas pumps across the country against the fuel surge. Left-wing parties have said the economy is entering a deep recession.
- “Clearly, unscrupulous black marketing and hoarding is taking place under state patronage. The Modi government must crack down on this black marketing, in particular essential drugs, vital for the survival of the people, ”they said.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement in his recent speech to the nation to grant Prime Minister Deepavali Garib Kalayan Anna Yojana 5 kg of food grains was totally inappropriate, the parties said.
- Instead, 10 kg of food grains per month should be distributed for free to everyone, including a food kit with legumes, edible oil, sugar, spices, tea, etc.
India’s research investment unsatisfactory: UNESCO report
Daily NEWS Summary | 13-06-2021; While India has made “solid progress” towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) targets for industry, infrastructure and innovation, the country’s investment in research remains unsatisfactory, as noted in the UNESCO scientific report.
- Gross domestic expenditure on research (GERD) has stagnated at 0.7% of GDP for years, although in absolute terms research expenditure has increased, according to the chapter on India by Sunil Mani, director of the Center of Development Studies (CDS), Thiruvananthapuram, annotated.
- India has one of the lowest GERD to GDP ratios among the BRICS countries, according to the report released every five years.
- Research intensity in India has been declining since 2014. The 2003 science and technology policy set the threshold to devote 2% of GDP to research and development (R&D) by 2007.
- This target date has been postponed to 2018 in the new Science, Technology and Innovation program. Political (2013) then again until 2022 by the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council. In 2020, the working group responsible for drafting the country’s new science and technology policy recommends pushing back the target date to 2030 more realistic, he noted.
- R&D in the public sector has been steadily declining since 2015, when the share of private companies has climbed to 42%.
- Although this is a theory of a positive trend, R&D is mainly focused on sectors such as pharmaceuticals, automotive and information technology.
- Even in these industries, it is concentrated in a small number of companies, according to the report.
- He further noted that R&D investments by foreign multinationals are on the rise, accounting for up to 16% of private sector R&D investments in 2019.
- The silver lining is the encouraged increase in scientific publications by Indian researchers on advanced technologies. The total number of posts increased from 80,458 in 2011 to 1.61 lakh in 2019.
- Indian researchers publish between 1.5 and 1.8 times the global average on smart grid technologies, photovoltaics, biofuels, and biomass and wind technologies, complementing government effort to expand sources green energy, ”the report notes.
- But again, patents by domestic companies, research institutes, universities and individuals remain low in India. The report noted that the majority of software-related patents were established by multinational companies operating from Indian soil, while pharmaceutical patents established by domestic companies.
- The UNESCO Science Report stresses the need for “political bridges” to foster more effective interaction between foreign and local research enterprises.
Indian students heading to US need negative Covid-19 report taken 72 hours before departure: US diplomat
Daily NEWS Summary | 13-06-2021; The US mission to India is “working favorably” to welcome as many student visa applicants as possible in July and August, and their legitimate travel remains a top priority for it, a senior US diplomat said on June 13.
- Don Heflin, Minister Counselor for Consular Affairs at the United States Embassy, also said students bound for the United States will not need any proof of Covid-19 vaccination to enter the country. They need a negative report of their Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours of their departure.
- There has been growing anxiety among a significant number of Indian students aspiring to travel to the United States for graduate studies due to certain restrictions on obtaining visa appointments due to the coronavirus pandemic.
- The embassy will start giving visa interview slots for Indian students from June 14. The official was asked about growing uncertainty among Indian students wishing to travel to the United States, which imposed new travel restrictions in May.
- Students returning to university programs that represent August 1 or after may travel to the United States up to 30 days before the program resumes. No national interest exception is required in this situation. National Interest Exceptions (NIEs) allow travel to the United States for people whose entry is considered to be of national interest.
Covid Updates:The number of coronavirus cases reported in India stood at 2, 94, 90, 716 at the time of publication of this bulletin, with a death toll of 3,714,430.