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The Uttar Pradesh Government has started using rail coaches as isolation units for COVID–19 suspected patients. COVID coaches are deployed at Mau junction in Varanasi in the state of Uttar Pradesh, in a first in the country. Indian Railways is ready to offer as many as 5,231 isolation coaches to the states and the respective zonal railways have converted the coaches as quarantine facilities. After Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Madhya Pradesh have also been using rail coaches.

The students and researchers of IIT–Bombay has recently developed a homegrown receiver chip – Dhruva. The chip can be used in smartphones and navigation devices to find locations and routes within the country. It will receive signals from NAVIC group of navigation satellites of India, as well as the US Global Positioning System–based satellites to determine a person’s location precisely.

China has successfully launched the last satellite of its BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS), onboard a Long March–3B carrier rocket. This BDS system is claimed to be a competitor to the popular Global Positioning System (GPS) of the United States. The satellite was launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in Southwest China. It is the 55th in the family of BeiDou, which means “Big Dipper” in Chinese language.

Every year the United Nations Public Service day is observed on June 23 to honour people engaged in public service, around the world. On 20 December 2002, the United General Assembly designated 23 June as UN Public Service Day. The United Nations also established the UN Public Service Awards programme in 2003, to recognise the UN Public Service Day and to encourage youngsters to take up their career in public sector.

China recently announced that it will join the United Nations (UN) Arms Trade Treaty. China’s top legislative body voted to adopt a decision on joining the treaty. Under the treaty, the member countries ought to keep records of international transfers of weapons. The members should also prohibit cross–border shipments that could be used in human rights violations. Earlier, the United States had rejected to join in the treaty, which has been designed to control the flow of weapons into conflict zones.

Serbia is the first country in Europe to successfully conduct its national election in Europe during the coronavirus epidemic. The voting, which had been initially planned for April, was postponed because of the pandemic. However, the turnout appeared lower compared to previous elections due to the fear of coronavirus. The ruling governing conservative party led by President Aleksandar Vucic is set to obtain a landslide victory.

The Chief Minister of Rajasthan, Ashok Gehlot has recently announced that Rajasthan will soon launch the ‘Indira Rasoi Yojna’. The scheme seeks to provide pure and nutritious food on concessional rates to the needy people residing in the state, twice a day. For implementing the Indira Rasoi Yojna (Indira Kitchen Scheme), the state is to spend Rs 100 crore every year. Local NGOs will be engaged to implement the scheme.

World Olympic Day or the International Olympic Day is celebrated across the world on June 23. It was introduced in 1948 to commemorate the birth of the modern Olympic Games on 23 June 1894. The objective of celebrating the Olympic Day was to promote participation in sports and games across the globe, regardless of age, gender, or other abilities. This year, the world’s largest 24 hour digital–first Olympic workout is organised, to celebrate the day virtually. The campaign is named ‘Stay Healthy, Stay Strong and Stay Active with the #Olympicday Workout On 23 June’.

According to the new study published in the Astronomical Journal, the researchers have detected the exoplanet HIP 67522 b. The exoplanet appears to be the youngest hot Jupiter ever found. It also orbits around a well–studied star that is about 17 million years old. This means that the hot Jupiter is only a few million years younger probably. As most known hot Jupiters are more than a billion years old, this is likely the youngest hot Jupiter.

Union Minister of Human Resource Development, Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank has recently launched an initiative named ‘YUKTI 2.0’. YUKTI stands for ‘Young India combating COVID with Knowledge, Technology and Innovation’. Earlier, the Minister launched the YUKTI portal on April 11, 2020. The 2.0 portal will serve as an online depository for innovative ideas and help students, teachers and researchers in higher educational institutions.

The National Statistical Office (NSO) has recently announced that India has retained its position as the 3rd largest economy after China and the US in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP) for 2017.  The government quoted the World Bank data and said that India accounted for 6.7 percent (USD 8,051 billion out of the total of USD 119,547 billion) of global GDP in terms of PPP. India is also third–largest economy in terms of its PPP–based share in global actual individual consumption and global gross capital formation.

The United States President Donald Trump has recently suspended H–1B, H–2B, J, L and other temporary work permits. The suspension will be effective till December 31, as per the recent announcement from the White House. The President announced that the entry of additional workers through these temporary Visa programs presents a threat to employment opportunities for Americans affected by the economic damages caused by COVID–19 pandemic.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov hosted the Russia–India–China (RIC) trilateral foreign ministers’ meeting. It has been attended by the Union External Affairs Minister of India S Jaishankar and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.  This is the first time the foreign Ministers of India and China are virtually meeting through video conference after the recent standoff between their troops at Ladakh. On June 24, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh attends the Victory parade in Russia.

The United Nations observes 23 June as International Widows Day since 2011. The theme of ‘International Widows Day’ 2020 is ‘Invisible Women, Invisible Problems’. The day highlights the necessity to provide them access to Inheritance rights, pension and social protection, decent work and equal pay. UN also urges governments to ensure the rights of widows as per international laws including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

The Japanese supercomputer, Fugaku has been recently named the fastest super computer in the Top500 list, which ranks the most powerful benchmarked supercomputers in the world. It is powered by chipsets from Advanced RISC Machines (ARM). This marks the first time an ARM based supercomputer to ever top the list. It also marks the first time Japan has taken the top place since 2011. It is followed by IBM’s Summit supercomputer and IBM’s Sierra supercomputer.

Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) has been named the nodal agency of the new 10000–bed Covid Care Centre at Chattarpur, New Delhi. The Home Ministry had nominated ITBP as nodal agency to provide a team of doctors and other medical professionals to this centre. 2000 bed facility is to be made operationalised this week. It will be further expanded to over 10000 beds. This would be the largest single Covid Care Centre in the country.

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave its approval to declare Kushinagar airport as an international airport. The airport is located in the state of Uttar Pradesh. Kushinagar is a Buddhist cultural site and its declaration as international airport will improve connectivity to several other Buddhist sites including Sravasti, Kapilvastu and Lumbini. As the place is near the international border, it’d improve tourism & economic development of the region.

As per the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, India is the first country in the world which is controlling Desert Locust through Drones. Under Make in India initiative, Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers’ Welfare (DAC&FW), Agriculture Ministry has indigenously developed a vehicle mounted Ultra–low volume (ULV) sprayer for locust control.  After Ministry of Civil Aviation approved conditional exemption for Drone operations for locust control, trials were conducted in Jaipur (Rajasthan) and Shivpuri (Madhya Pradesh).

Union Minister of State Jitendra Singh has recently inaugurated two important Bridges Devika and Puneja in Jammu and Kashmir, virtually. The 10–meter–long Devika Bridge inaugurated in Udhampur district, was constructed in about one–year time span by the Border Roads Organisation. The cost of construction of the bridge is Rs 75 lakhs. Another bridge named Puneja has also been inaugurated at a cost of Rs 4 Crore in Doda District.

 Every year ‘Passport Seva Divas (PSD)’ is celebrated on 24 June in India, to commemorate the enactment of the Passports Act on 24 June, 1967. This year, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) celebrated Passport Seva Divas (PSD) on 24 June, 2020, by organising a special virtual event. External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar noted that more than 1.22 crore passports were issued during 2019 in India and abroad. Passport Seva Puraskars were announced for the best performing Passport Offices and their personnel.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has recently approved additional investment of USD 121.27 million for the Shwe oil and gas project in Myanmar. ONGC Videsh Ltd, the overseas arm of state–owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), is to invest in the oil and gas project, for development of Block A1 and A3 blocks. OVL had acquired a stake in the Shwe Project in 2002 and has invested USD 722 million in the project till March 31, 2019.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has approved setting up of Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund (AHIDF). The corpus of the fund is Rs. 15000 crore and would incentivise the investments in establishment of infrastructure for dairy and meat processing. The eligible beneficiaries under the Scheme are Farmer Producer Organizations, MSMEs, Private Companies among others. The Government will provide 3% interest subvention to eligible beneficiaries.

The world’s first yoga university outside India has been launched in Los Angeles, United States. It has been named ‘The Vivekananda Yoga University (VaYU)’. The University has been jointly launched during a virtual event held at the Consulate General of India in New York, as part of the 6th International Yoga Day celebrations.  The first Chairman of the University is Indian yoga guru Dr. H R Nagendra. It would offer programmes that combine scientific and research approaches to the Indian practice of yoga.

Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan inaugurated a Product Application & Development Centre (PADC) setup by Indian Oil, jointly with the Chief Minister of Odisha at Paradip, Odisha. The Centre has been set up at Paradip with a capital expenditure of Rs 43 crores. It has been equipped with latest polymer testing and processing equipment. PADC, Paradip is also recognized as a research centre by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR), Ministry of Science & Technology.

Researchers from Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG), Dehradun have traced the paleoclimatic history of the Indus River in Ladakh Himalaya, by using geometric data from overlapping gravels of channel fills. WIHG is an autonomous institute under the Department of Science and Technology. The researchers have studied the discharge when the river experienced an increase in land elevation, due to the deposition of sediment and incision. Their study has been published in the journal titled Geomorphology.  

Union cabinet approved a new body under the Department of Space is named ‘IN–SPACe’, which is the acronym for Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre. The Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation announced that IN–SPACe will be the nodal national body to promote and regulate all space–related activities of private industries. The new entity will have its own chairman and board and will function autonomously. IN–SPACe will be established in three to six months.

Former England captain and present Managing Director of women’s cricket England Cricket Board, Clare Connor is set to become the first female president of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) in its 233–year history. The current President of MCC, Sri Lanka’s veteran cricketer Kumar Sangakkara named Clare Connor as the next Chief, during Annual General Meeting. Sangakkara is to step down from the top position next year. Clare Connor was made an Honorary Life Member of MCC in 2009.

Haritha Haram is a tree–planting program implemented by Telangana to increase the amount of tree cover in the state. Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao has recently launched the sixth phase of Haritha Haram programme. He also inaugurated the Narsapur Urban Forest Park and examined the Forest revival programme being implemented in Narsapur forest area.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan released the Annual Tuberculosis (TB) Report 2020, through video conferencing. Gujarat was ranked the top performing state in eradicating Tuberculosis, in the category of large states with more than 50 lakh populations. It is followed by Andhra Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh. In the category of small states, Nagaland and Tripura have been awarded the best performing states.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, who is also the Chairman of Indian Red Cross Society, launched the ‘eBloodServices’ mobile application through a video conference. The application of Indian Red Cross Society has been developed by the E–Raktkosh team launched under the Digital India scheme. Through this app, up to four units of blood can be requested. The E–Raktkosh dashboard is used to display the requisite units and it also ensures assured delivery within the specified time.

The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) has launched a first of its kind initiative to explore sandalwood and bamboo tree plantation. The statutory body that functions under the MSME Ministry has begun a drive with plantation of 500 saplings each of sandalwood and bamboo at its Nashik training centre. The plantation process aims at monetization of the property. KVIC has procured sandalwood saplings from Fragrance and Flavour Development Centre (FFDC), Uttar Pradesh and Bamboo saplings from Assam.

United States’ Space agency NASA has recently announced that its headquarters located in Washington DC would be renamed after Mary W. Jackson. She is the agency’s first African American female engineer. As per the website of NASA, Mary W. Jackson might have been the only black female aeronautical engineer in the agency. She served NASA for more than two decades and authored or co–authored 12 technical papers before she retired in 1985.

The United Nations has launched the “Alliance for Poverty Eradication”. India has recently become a founding member of the Alliance. The President of the 74th Session of the UN General Assembly Tijjani Muhammad–Bande announced the alliance in an informal meeting. He will formally launch the ‘Alliance for Poverty Eradication’ on June 30, which aims to provide a platform for member states to boost global economy after the effects of COVID–19 pandemic.

Every year, 25 June is celebrated as the “Day of the Seafarer”, to recognise the contribution of seafarers in international trade and the global economy. The Day of the Seafarer was first celebrated in 2011 after it was designated by a resolution in the Conference of Parties to the International Convention (STCW), held in Philippines, in 2010. The theme of the Day of the Seafarer is ‘Seafarers are Key Workers’.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has virtually launched Atma Nirbhar Uttar Pradesh Rojgar Abhiyan, a campaign to provide employment to 1.25 crore workers in Uttar Pradesh. The campaign aims to cover migrant workers who returned and other employees in the state, who lost their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic. It will be undertaken as part of the Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyan that was launched for 116 districts in six states across the country.

The International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is observed every year on 26th June to raise awareness about the major problem that illicit drugs represent to society. The 2020 theme of the day is, “Better Knowledge for Better Care”.

The state government of Tripura has recently launched a new scheme called ‘Mukhyamantri Matru Pushti Uphaar’ scheme. The scheme aims to combat infant & maternal mortality and malnutrition, by providing nutrition kits to pregnant and lactating women. The government also announced that pregnant women would be tested four times in nearby Primary Health Centers (PHC) and be given a nutrition kit after each test.

Government thinktank NITI Aayog has launched a behaviour change campaign named ‘Navigating the New Normal’. The campaign aims to help people follow norms to contain the spread of Covid–19 across the country. The campaign has been developed under the guidance of Empowered Group 6, chaired by NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant. It focusses on safe practises to be followed including wearing masks.

Monaco based World Athletics has launched ‘Road to Tokyo’, an online tool to track the qualification process for next year’s Olympic Games. The Tokyo Olympics were postponed in March and is scheduled to be held from July 23 to August 8, 2021. The qualification system is adapted to fit in the new dates of the games. The online tool will provide a real time view of each event during the Tokyo 2020 qualification period which ends on June 29, 2021.

Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has launched “Nasha Mukt Bharat: Annual Action Plan (2020–21)”. The action plan has been launched for 272 Most Affected Districts, on the occasion of “International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking”. The Minister of State of Social Justice also released the Logo and Tagline for National Action Plan for Drug Demand Reduction and awareness videos for Drug Abuse Prevention.

Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan has inaugurated Battery Swapping Facility Quick Interchange Service (QIS) at Chandigarh. Indian Oil Corporation has signed an agreement with a mobility firm to set up infrastructure for Electric vehicle through Battery Swapping model across Indian Oil Retail outlets. Using the technology, the charging time would be upgraded, thereby increasing the operational hours.

The ‘International Day in Support of Victims of Torture’ is observed by the United Nations, on June 26 every year. In the year 1997, the UN General Assembly proclaimed 26 June as the UN International Day in support of victims of torture. The day is observed with an objective of total eradication of torture. On 26 June 1987, the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, came into effect.

The Chief Minister of Gujarat has launched a new initiative called “At One Click”, to aid MSMEs and Textile Industries. An aid of Rs 1,369 crore for micro small and medium enterprises and textile industries was launched during the session. ”At One Click” is an online cash aid initiative aims to cover 13,000 MSMEs in Gujarat, by providing financial assistance directly in their bank accounts.

The FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 will be co–hosted by Australia and New Zealand, as per the recent announcement from FIFA. The President Gianni Infantino announced the results of the votes taken during its meeting held via videoconference. The FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 will be the first edition to feature 32 teams and it will also be the first to be hosted by Australia and New Zealand and across two confederations.

The Union Culture Minister Prahlad Singh Patel announced a tree planting campaign called Sankalp Parva. The Minister said that the campaign follows the Prime Minister’s announcement to plant five trees either in Office campus or any other place, to improve the environment of the country. The Ministry has decided to celebrate Sankalp Parva from 28th June to 12 July 2020. All its offices, attached institutions would also participate in this campaign.

The Micro, Small and Medium–sized Enterprises (MSME) Day is celebrated every year on June 27, across the world. The United Nations General Assembly declared the day to raise public awareness of the contribution of MSMEs to sustainable development and the global economy. The agencies of UN including UNCTAD, UNIDO among others organised a webinar on the theme of “MSMEs: first responders to societal needs”.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has released its first report on “Money laundering and illegal wildlife trade”. In the first global report, illegal wildlife trade has been described as a ‘global threat’, which also has links with other organised crimes like slavery, drug trafficking and arms trade. As per the report, the illegal trade is estimated to generate revenues of up to USD 23 billion a year. It also highlighted that legislative changes were necessary to apply the laws to illegal wildlife trade–linked offences.

Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) has launched a consolidated notification in the form of guidelines for classification and registration of MSMEs. As per the new guidelines, an MSME will be known as Udyam, as this word is closer to the meaning of ‘Enterprise’. Accordingly, the registration process will henceforth be known as Udyam Registration. The Udyam Registration can be filed online based on self–declaration, only on the basis of Aadhaar number, via a paperless process.

A team of engineers at Indian Institute of Science (IISc) had developed an intensive care unit (ICU) grade ventilator under the name of ‘Project Praana’. Recently, the team has successfully completed the prototyping of the ventilator, which is now in the process of being commercialised. The affordable ventilator uses only components made in India or components which are easily available in the domestic markets. The team developed the ventilator in a record 35 days.

National Productivity Council is a national level autonomous organization under the administrative control of the Department for Promotion of Industry & Internal Trade (DPIIT), Ministry of Commerce & Industry, to promote productivity culture in India. Recently, Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal chaired the 49th Governing Council Meeting of National Productivity Council. It is noteworthy that this meeting was held after 15 years.

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