Center Introduces New COVID Recovery Program, Extends Credit Relief
Daily NEWS Summary | 28-06-2021; Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced new relief measures for the economy, the first of these packages after the second wave of Covid-19. The measures mainly focused on providing loan and credit guarantees on favorable terms for sectors affected by the pandemic, and investments to increase health care capacity.
- The government set the total financial implications of the package, which included the reiteration of some previously announced measures, such as providing food grains to the poor until November and higher subsidies for fertilizer, at 6,28,993 crore.
- However, economists have noted that the package’s direct stimulus elements and its initial fiscal costs in 2021-2022 are likely to be limited. Further stimulus may be needed to support the economy for the rest of the year, they said.
- Sitharaman, who called the measures an effort to boost growth, exports and jobs, as well as bring relief to sectors affected by COVID, announced an extension of the emergency line of credit guarantee scheme ( ECLGS) existing at ₹ 1.5 lakh crore.
- She also announced a new 7,500 crore program to guarantee loans of up to 1.25 lakh to small borrowers through microfinance institutions.
- Furthermore she unveiled a new loan guarantee mechanism of 1.1 lakh crore for investments in healthcare in non-metropolitan areas and sectors such as tourism.
- Rs 23,220 crore has been allocated for public health with a focus on pediatric care, which will also be used to increase intensive care beds, oxygen supply and increase short-term healthcare professionals by hiring students and final year interns.
- Indirect export support worth Rs 1.21 million over the next five years, free one-month visas for five lakh tourists, new varieties of seeds for farmers, and additional expenses over the years. The next two years to extend broadband to all Gram Panchayats have also been included. in the package.
- The existing grant to boost employment, in which the government pays EPF contributions for new employees who earn less than 15,000 rupees per month for two years, has been extended until March 31, 2022.
No Scientific Data Shows Delta Plus Variant Reduces Vaccine Efficacy, Says COVID Task Force chief
Daily NEWS Summary | 28-06-2021; Amid growing concerns about the Delta plus variant of the virus, COVID task force leader VK Paul, who is also a member of Niti Aayog, said today that there is no scientific data to establish that the new variant is highly transmissible or reduces the effectiveness of the vaccine.
- Speaking about the Delta Plus variant, Paul said scientific knowledge about it is still in its infancy. “The so-called Delta plus variant has an additional mutation in the Delta variant, and since it is a new variant, scientific knowledge is still at an early stage.
- Whether this additional mutation in the Delta variant is associated with increased transmissibility or excessive disease severity, or an adverse effect on vaccine efficacy, is currently not established and we must wait for this information to emerge. And we have to wait until these aspects are studied in a systematic way, he said.
- Regarding the effectiveness of Covaxin and Covishield against the Delta variant of the coronavirus, Paul said that based on the scientific evaluation by the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR), both vaccines are effective against the coronavirus, including Delta variant, which currently it is the predominant variant in the country.
- When asked if India is on the verge of compensating foreign vaccine makers such as Pfizer and Moderna, Paul said the problem is multidimensional and that it is not wise to give a timeline for such problems.
- The discussion to pave the way for internationally developed vaccines in India continues. The problem is multidimensional and we are trying to find a consensual path to move forward as quickly as possible. “We are trying to accelerate progress in any way we can, he said.
HC Delhi requests a response from the Center to Alt News’ appeal challenging new IT rules
Daily NEWS Summary | 28-06-2021; Delhi’s High Court on Monday requested a response from the central government to a petition from Alt News, an online fact-checking website, challenging the constitutional validity of the new information technology (IT) rules that they target. regular objective of digital news media.
- Similar media are already being used in court by large online news portals such as The Wire, The News Minute, and Quint Digital Media Ltd.
- However, a recess of Judges C. Hari Shankar and Subramonium Prasad refused to approve an interim order on a new claim brought by The Wire and Quint, which stated that the Union government “threatened to take coercive action” against the online media. .
- The court filed the new hearing requests next week when it reopens after summer recess. “You defied [IT] rules. You have made a provisional request for your stay.
- This request has been presented to the Ordinary Judicial Power on at least two occasions. The action [the Center] is taking now is to implement these rules, ”said the holiday bank.
Twitter Appoints US Employee As New Complaints Manager, In Violation Of New Center IT Rules
Daily NEWS Summary | 28-06-2021; A day after Twitter‘s interim resident complaints officer for India resigned, the social media giant appointed its director of global legal policy Jeremy Kessel as the new complaints officer.
- The appointment, while complying with the new Indian government rules for social media sites to have a grievance officer, violates the mandate to appoint a single Indian citizen to the position.
- The appointment comes a day after the resignation of Dharmendra Chatur, who was recently appointed by Twitter on May 31 as the Acting Resident Complaints Officer for India.
- The resignation had left Twitter without an official commissioned by the Center to handle complaints from Indian subscribers.
- The social media company’s website no longer displays his name, as required by the 2021 Information Technology Rules (Intermediate Guidelines and Code of Ethics for Digital Media). Twitter declined to comment on the development.
- This development comes at a time when the microblogging platform has clashed with the Indian government over new social media rules.
- Government criticized Twitter for deliberately defying and failing to comply with the country’s new IT rules. New rules, which went into effect on May 25, require social media companies to establish a grievance mechanism to resolve user or victim complaints.
10-Month Gap Between AstraZeneca Doses Offers Largest Antibody Boost – Oxford Study
Daily NEWS Summary | 28-06-2021; Two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine administered 44-45 weeks apart generated nearly four times more antibodies than when the doses were administered 8-12 weeks apart, according to a report released Monday by the Oxford Vaccine Group, the vaccine’s developers.
- Antibody levels remained elevated for nearly a year, and a third booster dose of the vaccine, given to a subset of volunteers, also significantly increased antibody levels to two-fold after a second dose.
- Therefore, a single dose with a second dose given after an extended period, can be an effective strategy when vaccine supplies are scarce in the short term.
- A third dose results in a further increase in immune responses, including greater neutralization of variant SARS-CoV-2 viruses, and could be used to increase the efficacy of the variant vaccine in vulnerable populations, the authors report in a pre-printed publication. This means that the study has not yet been peer-reviewed.
- Covishield, which is the Indian version of the AstraZeneca vaccine, is now the mainstay of India’s vaccination program, comprising almost 88% of the 32 million million doses administered so far.
- Although the vaccine dosing interval was originally designed to be 4 to 6 weeks, the supply shortage in May, as well as data from the UK on vaccine efficacy given 8 to 12 weeks apart, weighed on Indian experts to recommend a 12-16 week interval. between two doses of the vaccine.
The Center extends the mandate of Attorney General K.K. Venugopal for one year
Daily NEWS Summary | 28-06-2021; The government extended the mandate of Attorney General K.K. Venugopal for one year. Venugopal will remain the government’s top legal official until June 30, 2022.
- This is the second time the Center has extended his mandate. Venugopal, who was appointed Attorney General in July 2017, obtained the first term extension from him in 2020.
- The 89-year-old became the 15th attorney general after lead attorney Mukul Rohatgi resigned for personal reasons.
- Venugopal, who had served as an additional attorney general in the Morarji Desai government, is dean of the Supreme Court Bar Association and an authority on constitutional law.
- He had recently represented the Union of India in a case that led to the cancellation of the Class 12 exams due to the pandemic and the development of an internal assessment plan for the CBSE and the ‘ICSE to assess the qualifications of students.
- Venugopal is said to be at the forefront of the government’s legal defense in several sensitive cases pending before the Supreme Court, including challenging the repeal of Article 370 of the Constitution and the Citizenship Amendment Law.
Covid updates: The number of reported coronavirus cases in India stood at 3,03,04,610 at the time of this report, with the death toll at 3,97,234.