Only people from Uttarakhand to attend Char Dham yatra now
After the nod from the Centre, the Uttarakhand government is going to start the much-awaited Char Dham Yatra for pilgrims from June 8. In the initial phase, the government intends to keep the number restricted and open the yatra only for the residents of the state. On basis of the developments in the second fortnight of June, the state government will take a call on allowing people from other states for the yatra.
This year, the portals of Gangotri and Yamunotri were opened on April 26 and Kedarnath were opened on April 29 followed by Badrinath on May 15. Keeping in mind the lockdown due to Covid-19, only religious activities were permitted and people were not allowed for the yatra.
Last year saw a record turnout of pilgrims and there was a significant rise in the numbers compared to 2018. In 2019, Badrinath saw maximum devotee turnout with 12.44 lakh, Kedarnath witnessed 10 lakh pilgrims, 5.30 lakh paid obeisance at Gangotri and 4.65 lakh at Yamunotri taking the total number to 32.39 lakh. In 2018, 27.81 lakh devotees came for the Char Dham Yatra and 23.24 lakh paid obeisance at the four shrines in 2017.
At WHO, India joins 61 nations to seek source of coronavirus
India is among 62 countries that have moved a proposal at the World Health Assembly to “identify the zoonotic source” of the coronavirus.
China and the US are not part of the resolution.
The proposal is part of a seven-page draft resolution moved by 35 countries and the 27-member European Union, and is likely to be taken up at the Assembly, which is the decision-making body of the WHO.
The resolution is being backed by three of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council — UK, Russia and France — along with Japan, Australia, South Korea, New Zealand, South Africa and Turkey, among others.
This is the first time India has taken a position in an international forum on the origin of the virus and the need for an independent evaluation of WHO’s response to the crisis.
- India up at 74th place on WEF’s global energy transition index
According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), India has moved up two positions to rank 74th on a global ‘Energy Transition Index’ with improvements on all key parameters of economic growth, energy security and environmental sustainability.
The WEF study measures readiness for clean energy transition in 115 economies showed that 94 have made progress since 2015, but environmental sustainability continues to lag.
Sweden has topped the Energy Transition Index (ETI) for the third consecutive year and is followed by Switzerland and Finland in the top three.
Surprisingly, France (ranked 8th) and the UK (7th) are the only G20 countries in the top ten.
For India, gains have come from a government-mandated renewable energy expansion programme, now extended to 275 GW by 2027.
India is one of the few countries in the world to have made consistent year-on-year progress since 2015.
- Amur Falcon tagging mission a success
The GPS Satellite Radio transmitters tagging on Amur Falcons which were released from Manipur in the first week of November last year have succeeded and one falcon returned back to Manipur after covering around 20,000 km up to Somalia of South Africa.
Manipur Forest Department in collaboration with scientists from Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun and local people had released five satellite tagged Amur Falcons from Tamenglong district of Manipur.
One falcon named Chinwal has returned back from Somalia after staying there for three months and reached Myanmar.
The bird will further fly around 5,000 km towards their breeding ground -Northern China –Mongolia border area.
The mission has succeeded this time and some roosting sites in Manipur have also been identified through tagging this time.
The bird reached the jungles of some part of Nagaland state and Tamenglong district of Manipur in mid October every year to build fate reserves.
- IMD announces that it expects monsoon rainfall to be normal this year
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) announced that it expects monsoon rainfall to be normal this year.
Southwest monsoon seasonal (June to September) rainfall over the country as a whole is likely to be normal (96-104%).
It said that quantitatively, the monsoon seasonal (June to September) rainfall is likely to be 100% of the Long Period Average (LPA) with a model error of 5%.
The LPA of the season rainfall over the country as a whole for the period 1961-2010 is 88 cm.
Neutral El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) conditions are prevailing over the Pacific Ocean and Neutral Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) conditions are prevailing over the Indian Ocean.
IMD will issue the updated forecasts in the last week of May/ first week of June as a part of the second stage forecast.
- FDI limit in defence sector raised to 74%
In a major step towards opening the Indian defence manufacturing sector, the government permitted foreign companies to have a majority stake in Indian defence companies through the automatic route.
It also announced that the government-owned Ordnance Factory Board would be corporatized.
Defence FDI cap through the automatic route is being raised from 49 per cent to 74 percent subject to security clearances.
- ‘PM eVidya’ Programme for digital education in India
In order to promote digital education in the country and make e- learning feasible for students and teachers, Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman launched the PM eVidya programme.
With this scheme, students and teachers will get multimode access to digital education.
The government will earmark one TV channel for each grade as part of the PM eVidya program.
The top 100 universities in India will be permitted to “automatically” start online courses by May 30.