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Latest NewsPM interacts with CMs of 6 states to discuss Covid situation | Cabinet approves hike in Dearness Allowance and Dearness Relief | RBI imposes restrictions on Mastercard | Piyush Goyal appointed as Leader of House in Rajya Sabha | Covid Vaccination Coverage | NEET exam date announced | India's Cumulative Recoveries crosses 3 crore mark | Heavy to Very Heavy Rainfall Likely At Isolated Places in Several States | FM attends Third G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting | Mandatory Leave for Bank Employees Posted in Sensitive Positions or Areas of Operation |

PM interacts with CMs of 6 states to discuss Covid situation


Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacted with the Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Odisha, Maharashtra and Kerala to discuss the Covid related situation.

Union Home Minister, Health Minister were also present in the meeting. The Chief Ministers talked about the steps taken to boost medical infrastructure and gave suggestions on dealing with any possible rise of cases in future. They also discussed post-Covid issues being faced by patients and steps being taken to provide assistance in such cases. They gave assurance that they are doing their best to control the surge of infection.

Union Home Minister mentioned that these six states account for more than eighty per cent of the total cases during the month of July, while some of these states have a very high test positivity rate as well. Union Health Secretary discussed the Covid cases in the country and talked about the need to reinforce Covid appropriate behaviour and containment measures in districts with high caseload. He also suggested that opening up of these districts should be done in a graded and calibrated manner.

The Prime Minister lauded the state governments for their mutual cooperation and learning in their fight against the pandemic. The Prime Minister said that all of us are at a point where apprehensions of the third wave are continuously expressed. Despite experts giving positive signals due to the downward trends, the increasing number of cases in few states is still worrisome. The Prime Minister pointed out that during the last week 80 per cent of cases and 84 per cent of unfortunate deaths came from the states present in the meeting. Initially, experts believed that states, where the second wave originated, will see the normalization first. However, increasing numbers in Kerala and Maharashtra are a cause of grave worry, said the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister cautioned that similar trends were seen in January-February before the second wave. That’s why, the Prime Minister insisted, that in the states where cases are rising, we have to take proactive measures to prevent the possibility of the third wave.

The Prime Minister underlined the expert's view that if the cases keep on rising for a long time, chances of mutation of the Coronavirus will also increase and dangers of new variants will also rise. Therefore, said the Prime Minister, we need to continue with the strategy of Test, Track, Treat and Teeka (vaccination) while putting special focus on Micro-containment zones. Districts with large numbers should be focussed on. Terming vaccines as a strategic tool for high infection areas, the Prime Minister stressed the effective use of vaccination. The Prime Minister praised the states who are using this time to improve their RT-PCR testing capacity.

The Prime Minister exhorted the states to fill the infrastructural gaps, especially in the rural areas. He also asked to strengthen IT systems, control rooms and call centres so that citizens get access to resources and data in a transparent manner and patients are spared the hassle. 

The Prime Minister reiterated that Corona is not over and expressed deep concern over the pictures that are coming post lockdown. He emphasized the need to follow protocol and avoid crowding as many states in the meeting have metropolitan cities with dense populations. He also called upon political parties, social organizations, and NGOs to spread awareness among people.


Cabinet approves hike in Dearness Allowance and Dearness Relief


The Cabinet Committee chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi today approved an increase in the Dearness Allowance to Central Government employees and Dearness Relief to pensioners with effect from 1st July 2021 to 28 per cent representing an increase of 11 per cent over the existing rate of 17 per cent of the Basic Pay/Pension, informed Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur.

In view of the unprecedented situation which arose due to the COVID-19 pandemic, three additional instalments of Dearness Allowance (DA) to Central Government employees and Dearness Relief (DR) to pensioners, which were due from 1st January 2020, 1st July 2020 and 1st January 2021, had been frozen.

Now, the Government has decided to increase the Dearness Allowance to Central Government employees and Dearness Relief to pensioners with effect from 1st July 2021 to 28 per cent representing an increase of 11 per cent over the existing rate of 17 per cent of the Basic Pay/Pension. The increase reflects the additional instalments arising on 1st January 2020, 1st July 2020 and 1st January 2021. The rate of Dearness Allowance/Dearness Relief for the period 1st January 2020 to 30th June 2021 shall remain at 17 per cent.


RBI imposes restrictions on Mastercard


The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) today imposed restrictions on Mastercard Asia / Pacific Pte. Ltd. (Mastercard) from on-boarding new domestic customers (debit, credit or prepaid) onto its card network from 22nd July 2021.

Notwithstanding the lapse of considerable time and adequate opportunities being given, the entity has been found to be non-compliant with the directions on Storage of Payment System Data.

This order will not impact existing customers of Mastercard. Mastercard shall advise all card issuing banks and non-banks to conform to these directions. The supervisory action has been taken in the exercise of powers vested in RBI under Section 17 of the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007 (PSS Act).

In terms of RBI circular on Storage of Payment System Data dated April 6, 2018, all System Providers were directed to ensure that within a period of six months the entire data (full end-to-end transaction details / information collected / carried / processed as part of the message / payment instruction) relating to payment systems operated by them is stored in a system only in India. They were also required to report compliance to RBI and submit a Board-approved System Audit Report conducted by a CERT-In empanelled auditor within the timelines specified therein.


Piyush Goyal appointed as Leader of House in Rajya Sabha

Union Minister of Textiles Piyush Goyal has been appointed the Leader of the House in Rajya Sabha.

Mr Goyal replaced Thawar Chand Gehlot, who was recently appointed as the Governor of Karnataka.

Mr Goyal, who holds important portfolios in the Government, has been a member of the Rajya Sabha since 2010.


Covid Vaccination Coverage


COVID-19 Vaccination coverage (as on 13th July 2021) as per data released by Health Ministry:-

Healthcare workers - 1.76 crore doses
Frontline workers - 2.77 crore doses
People above 45 yrs - 21.80 crore doses
People aged 18-44 yrs - 11.82 crore doses

Total doses administered - 38.15 crore


NEET exam date announced


The NEET (UG) 2021 will be held on 12th September 2021 across the country following COVID-19 protocols.

Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan informed the same through a tweet today. He also stated that the application process will begin from 5 pm tomorrow through the NTA website(s).

In order to ensure social distancing norms, the number of cities where the examination will be conducted has been increased from 155 to 198. The number of examination centres will also be increased from the 3,862 centres used in 2020.

To ensure adherence to COVID-19 protocols, a face mask will be provided to all candidates at the centre. Staggered time slots during entry and exit, contactless registration, proper sanitisation, seating with social distancing etc. will also be ensured.


India's Cumulative Recoveries crosses 3 crore mark


In a significant milestone in its fight against COVID-19, India's cumulative recoveries have exceeded 3 Crore people.

Out of the people infected since the beginning of the pandemic, 3,00,14,713 people have already recovered from COVID-19 and 39,649 patients have recovered in the last 24 hours. This constitutes an overall recovery rate of 97.22 per cent, which is showing a sustained increasing trend.

On the other hand, India's cumulative vaccination coverage exceeded 37.73 crores. A total of 37,73,52,501 vaccine doses have been administered through 48,51,209 sessions, as per the provisional report till 7 am today.

India has reported 37,154 daily new cases in the last 24 hours. Less than 50,000 Daily New Cases have been reported for fifteen continuous days. This is a result of sustained and collaborative efforts by the Centre and the States/UTs.

With substantially ramped up testing capacity across the country, a total of 14,32,343 tests were conducted in the last 24 hours in the country. Cumulatively, India has conducted over 43 crore (43,23,17,813) tests so far.


Heavy to Very Heavy Rainfall Likely At Isolated Places in Several States


Heavy to very heavy rainfall is likely at isolated places in several states, according to India Meteorological Department. 

These states are Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, Gujarat Region, Madhya Maharashtra, coastal Andhra Pradesh and Yanam, Telangana, coastal and south interior Karnataka, Kerala and Mahe and Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Karaikal.

The bulletin also indicates heavy rainfall at isolated places over Jammu, Kashmir, Ladakh, Gilgit-Baltistan and Muzaffarabad, West Uttar Pradesh, East Rajasthan, West Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Sub-Himalayan West Bengal and Sikkim, Odisha, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Saurashtra and Kutch, Marathwada, Rayalaseema, North Interior Karnataka and Lakshadweep.

Thunderstorm accompanied with lightning is very likely at isolated places over Jammu, Kashmir, Ladakh, Gilgit-Baltistan and Muzaffarabad, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Vidarbha, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Sikkim, Assam and Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura, Madhya Maharashtra, Marathwada, Coastal Andhra Pradesh and Yanam, Rayalaseema and Tamilnadu, Puducherry and Karaikal.


FM attends Third G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting


Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharaman participated virtually in the Third G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors (FMCBG) Meeting under the Italian Presidency. 

The two-day meeting held on July 9th and 10th, 2021 witnessed discussions on a wide range of issues including global economic risks and health challenges, policies for recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, international taxation, sustainable finance and financial sector issues.

The G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors reaffirmed their resolve to use all available policy tools for as long as required to address the adverse consequences of COVID-19.

Ms Sitharaman appreciated the Italian G20 Presidency for identifying three catalysts of resilient economic recovery from the pandemic as being Digitalization, Climate Action and Sustainable Infrastructure and shared the Indian experience of integrating technology with inclusive service delivery during the pandemic.

The Finance Minister stated that as the co-chair of Framework Working Group of the G20, India along with UK, views digitalization as an agenda that will continue to play a key role in bolstering economic growth.

Ms Sitharaman referred to the global risks in view of the emerging COVID-19 variants and highlighted the need for international coordination and cooperation on this front. The Finance Minister joined other G20 members in welcoming the Report of the G20 High-Level Independent Panel on Financing the Global Commons for Pandemic Preparedness and Response and emphasized on the urgent need to strengthen multilateralism for global health.

Regarding the "Statement on a two-pillar solution to address the tax challenges arising from the digitalisation of the economy" released by the OECD/G20 Inclusive Framework on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS-IF) on July 1st, the G20 Finance Ministers called on the OECD/G20 BEPS-IF to swiftly address the remaining issues. Ms Sitharaman suggested that further work needs to be done to ensure a fairer, sustainable and inclusive tax system which results in meaningful revenue for developing countries.


Mandatory Leave for Bank Employees Posted in Sensitive Positions or Areas of Operation


The Reserve Bank of India has asked banks to put in place a 'mandatory leave' policy wherein the employees posted in sensitive positions or areas of operation shall be compulsorily sent on leave for a few days (not less than 10 working days) in a single spell every year, without giving any prior intimation to these employees, thereby maintaining an element of surprise.

It has also asked the banks to ensure that the employees, while on 'mandatory leave', do not have access to any physical or virtual resources related to their work responsibilities, with the exception of internal/ corporate email which is usually available to all employees for general purposes.

Banks shall, as per a Board-approved policy, prepare a list of sensitive positions to be covered under 'mandatory leave' requirements and the list shall be reviewed periodically. Implementation of this policy shall be reviewed under the supervisory process.

The revised instructions shall be applicable to all the banks and they shall comply with these instructions within six months from the date of issue of this circular.