The Central Government on Friday borrowed and transferred six thousand crore rupees as first tranche to 16 States and two Union Territories.They are Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir.Ministry of Finance in a statement said that the borrowing is at an interest rate of 5.19 percent.It is intended to make weekly releases of six thousand crore rupees to the States.It said, tenor of borrowing is expected to be broadly in the range of 3 to 5 years.The Government has evolved a special borrowing window to address the shortfall in the GST collection during the year 2020 - 2021. 21 States and two Union Territories opted for this special window involving back-to-back borrowing coordinated by the Ministry of Finance.
-Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Friday reviewed COVID-19 preparedness and measures for ensuring COVID Appropriate Behaviour with the Health and Medical Education Ministers and other senior officials of Uttar Pradesh held a meeting through video conference.Dr Vardhan informed that in the last three months, the country has seen significant improvement in the COVID parameters.He said, from recording over 95 thousand cases in a day, the Covid cases have substantially reduced to less than 55 thousand cases in a day. He said, the Recovery Rate of India is nearing 90 per cent and the Case Fatality Rate is also declining.He said, CFR stands at 1.51 per cent and is moving towards the target of below one per cent. Dr. Vardhan stated that the next three months are going to be decisive in determining the situation of COVID in the country.He also informed that Uttar Pradesh has fatality rate of 1.46 which is less than the National Average.The Recovery Rate of the State is 92.2 per cent and the positivity rate is 3.44 per cent.
-Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Dr. M. Rajeevan on Saturday dedicated Flash Flood Guidance services, first of its kind for South Asian countries namely India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Sri Lanka.The system was launched virtually and was participated by distinguished National and International dignitaries including Head of Hydrological and Water Resources Services Division, World Meteorological Organization, Dr. Hwirin Kim, Director, Hydrologic Research Centre, USA Dr. Konstantine P. Georgakakos, and Member Secretary NDMA, G.V.V. Sarma.In his inaugural address, Dr. Rajeevan, brought out the need for enhancing the observational network for rainfall and soil moisture to improvise the performance of the system. An automated mode of dissemination is to be established with the stakeholders along with the use of social media, so that the information reaches the concerned disaster authorities in a timely manner.Dr. M. Mohapatra, Director General of IMD and Permanent Representative of India with WMO assured the member nations that the Guidance for flash floods in the form of Threats 6 hours in advance and Risks 24 hours in advance will be provided by Regional Centre to National Meteorological and Hydrological Services, National and State Disaster Management Authorities and all other stake holders for taking necessary mitigation measures.
-After 35 years, India has assumed the Chairmanship of the Governing Body of International Labour Organization, ILO.It marks a new chapter in the 100 years of productive relationship between India and ILO.Labour and Employment Secretary, Apurva Chandra, has been elected as the Chairperson of the Governing Body of the ILO for the period October 2020- June 2021.The Governing Body is the apex executive body of the ILO which decides policies, programmes, agenda, budget and elects the Director-General. At present ILO has 187 members. Chandra will be presiding over the upcoming meeting of the Governing Body to be held next month.
-The United States has imposed sanctions on the Iranian Ambassador to Iraq.In a press release, the US Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Iraj Masjedi, Iran's Ambassador to Iraq, for acting or on behalf of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.The designation has the implication of blocking all property of Masjedi, subject to U.S. jurisdiction, and U.S persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with him or the blocked property.Foreign Financial Institutions engaging in transcations with Masjedi also risk sanctions as per the press release.
-Chinese foreign ministry is considering not to recognize Hong Kong British national overseas (BNO) passports as valid travel documents, a day after the British government's announcement of new visa rules for British National Overseas citizens in HK. Britain said that it will start to process BNO visa applications for residents in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) from January 31, 2021.Britain had announced plans to extend the immigration rights of BNO passport holders on 1st July, the day after China imposed stringent national security law on Hong Kong. As per new visa rule, BNO Visa holders will have the right to work and study in the UK for a period of five years. They can apply for citizenship after the sixth year.Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Friday that it reserves the right to take further measures and demanding that United Kingdom immediately correct its mistake.