InfoDigger: A source of simple and sequential news


A solution arrives for diabetic, internal injures


Slow healing of injuries is a major cause of concern for people suffering from internal injuries and also those suffering from diabetes.

In a major relief for all such people, a finding has been made that an injectable hydrogel derived from spirulina can help accelerated wound repair in internal injuries and rapid healing in diabetic patients.

Scientists at the Institute of Nano Science and Technology (INST), Mohali, an autonomous Institute under the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, have recently developed an injectable hydrogel from κappa-carrageenan, a water-soluble polysaccharide found in edible red seaweeds and a pigmented protein called C-phycocyanin found in spirulina.

The gelling property of κ-carrageenan was utilized by the researchers along with C-phycocyanin as an injectable and regenerative wound dressing matrix to heal the wound rapidly and also to monitor its progress in real-time. The matrix developed was highly biocompatible. The research published in the journal 'Acta Biomaterialia' established the superior haemostatic (blood flow retarding ) capabilities of the combination in traumatic injury conditions.

The hydrogel matrix developed by Dr Surajit Karmakar and his group is fluorescent and allowed in vivo Near-infrared (NIR) imaging. Thus, it could help monitor the recovery of the wound by taking the time-lapse 3D images of the hydrogel filled wound.

According to the INST group, the synthesized hydrogel will be highly beneficial for people of all age groups in wound healing applications. Its injectable property allowed its application in tough to reach internal injuries without opening the peritoneum of the patients. It also holds promise to be utilized in high altitude frost injury application due to its self-healing properties.

The team is now exploring the mechanism of action of κ-carrageenan-C-phycocyanin (κ-CRG-C-Pc) hydrogel and involvement of signalling pathway for exploring the process of wound healing and regenerative properties.

#INST #GovernmentofIndia

Cabinet approves Rs 1810 cr investment for Hydro Power Project over Satluj river

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the investment of Rs 1810.56 crore for 210 MW Luhri Stage-I Hydro Electric Project located on river Satluj which is situated in Shimla and Kullu districts of Himachal Pradesh. 

This project will generate 758.20 million units of electricity annually, a government release issued today stated.

This project is being implemented by Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited (SJVNL) on Build-Own-Operate-Maintain (BOOM) basis with active support from Government of India and State Government. The MoU of this project was signed with the Govt. of Himachal Pradesh during Rising Himachal, Global Investor Meet, which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 7th November 2019. Government of India is also supporting this project by providing grants of Rs 66.19 crore for enabling infrastructure which has helped in reducing power tariff.

The Luhri Stage-I Hydro Electric Project shall be commissioned within a span of 62 months. Besides adding valuable renewable energy to the Grid, the project would also lead to reduction of 6.1 lakh tons of carbon dioxide from environment annually, thus contributing to improvement in air quality.

The construction activities of the project will result in direct and indirect employment to around 2000 persons and will contribute to overall socio-economic development of the State. Further, Himachal Pradesh will benefit with free power worth around Rs 1140 crore from Luhri Stage-I Hydro Electric Project, during Project Life Cycle of 40 years.  The Project Affected Families will be provided with 100 units of free electricity per month for ten years.

#Satluj #GovernmentofIndia

Tele-Law: Digital Journey to Justice

The Tele-Law programme was launched by the Department of Justice, Government of India, to address cases at the pre-litigation stage by harnessing "emerging" and "indigenous" digital platforms to accelerate and make access to justice easy. 

The Tele-Law programme has touched a new milestone on 30th October 2020 with 4 Lakh beneficiaries having received legal advice under this through CSCs (Common Service Centres). As against total 1.95 lakh advices given till April 2020 since the launch of the programme, 2.05 lakh advices have been enabled during the first seven months of this financial year. 

Under this programme, smart technology of video conferencing, telephone /instant calling facilities available at the vast network of Common Service Centres at the Panchayat level is used to connect the indigent, down-trodden, vulnerable, unreached groups and communities with the Panel Lawyers for seeking timely and valuable legal advice. 

Specially designed to facilitate early detection, intervention and prevention of the legal problems, the Tele-Law service is proactively outreached to groups and communities through a cadre of frontline volunteers provided by NALSA and CSC- e Gov. These grassroot soldiers have been additionally equipped with a mobile application to pre-register and schedule an appointment of the applicants during their field activity. Dedicated pool of lawyers has been empanelled to provide continued legal advice and consultation to the beneficiaries.

Enriching IEC has been uploaded on its public portal that may be accessed on Separate Dashboard has been developed for capturing real-time data and the nature of advice rendered. In order to ensure district-level granularity in the near future, data is also being pushed to the PMO Prayas Portal. 

#GovernmentofIndia #Tele-Law

Payment Date Extended for Vivad se Vishwas Scheme

In order to provide further relief to the taxpayers desirous of settling disputes under Vivad se Vishwas Scheme, the Government today further extended the date for making payment without additional amount from 31st December 2020 to 31st March 2021.  

The last date for making the declaration under the Scheme has also been notified as 31st December 2020.  

As per the notification issued on October 27th, the declaration under the Vivad se Vishwas Scheme shall be required to be furnished latest by 31st December 2020, however, only in respect of said declarations made by 31st December 2020 the payment without additional amount can now be made up to 31st March 2021. 

Meanwhile, Finance Secretary Dr Ajay Bhushan Pandey yesterday reviewed the progress made so far by the Income Tax Department on Vivad se Vishwas Scheme in a high-level meeting through video conferencing along with CBDT Chairman and Board members with all Principal Chief Commissioners of Income Tax across the country to expedite the Scheme which, he said, is highly beneficial to the taxpayers, also stating "We need to advance the Vivad se Vishwas Scheme with greater persuasion and perseverance and must reach out to the taxpayers to facilitate all necessary handholding." 

The Direct Tax Vivad se Vishwas Act, 2020 was enacted on 17th March 2020 with the objective to reduce pending income tax litigation, generate timely revenue for the Government and to benefit taxpayers by providing them peace of mind, certainty and savings on account of time and resources that would otherwise be spent on the long-drawn and vexatious litigation process. In order to provide more time to taxpayers to settle disputes, earlier the date for filing the declaration and making payment without additional amount under Vivad se Vishwas was extended from 31st March 2020 to 30th June, 2020. Later again, this date was extended further to 31st December 2020.  

#VivadseVishwas #IncomeTaxDepartment #GovernmentofIndia

MHA issues Unlock 6 Guidelines

Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has issued an Order today to extend the Guidelines for Re-opening, issued on 30th of September 2020, to remain in force up to 30th of November 2020. 

  • - Re-opening of activities outside the Containment Zones 

  • Since the issuance of the First Order on lockdown measures by MHA on 24th March 2020, almost all activities have been gradually opened up in areas outside the Containment Zones. While most of the activities have been permitted, some activities involving a large number of people, have been allowed with some restrictions and subject to SOPs being followed regarding health and safety precautions. These activities include - metro rail; shopping malls; hotel, restaurants and hospitality services; religious places; yoga and training institutes; gymnasiums; cinemas; entertainment park etc. 

  • In respect of certain activities, having a relatively higher degree of risk of COVID infection, State/ UT Governments have been permitted to take decisions for their re-opening, based on the assessment of the situation and subject to SOPs. These activities include – schools and coaching institutes; State and private universities for research scholars; allowing gatherings above the limit of 100 etc. 

  • After the last guidelines issued by MHA on 30th of September 2020, the following activities are also permitted but with certain restrictions: 

  1. International air travel of passengers as permitted by MHA. 

  2. Swimming pools being used for training of sportspersons. 

  3. Exhibitions halls for Business to Business (B2B) purposes. 

  4. Cinemas/ theatres/ multiplexes up to 50% of their seating capacity. 

  5. Social/ academic/ sports/ entertainment/ cultural/ religious/ political functions and other congregations, in closed spaces with a maximum of 50% of the hall capacity and subject to a ceiling of 200 persons. 

The further decision regarding the above activities will be taken based on the assessment of the situation 

  • - COVID-Appropriate behaviour 

  • The essence behind graded re-opening and progressive resumption of activities is to move ahead. However, it does not mean the end of the pandemic. There is a need to exercise abundant caution by adopting COVID-19 appropriate behaviour by every citizen in their daily routine. A ‘Jan Andolan’ was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 8th October 2020 on COVID-19 appropriate behaviour to follow three mantras, namely: 

  1. Wear your mask properly; 

  2. Wash your hands frequently; and

  3. Maintain a safe distance of 6 feet. 

  • There is an urgent need to instill a sense of discipline and ownership amongst citizens in order that the resumption of activities is successful and gains made in the management of the pandemic are not diluted. 

  • MHA has already advised Chief Secretaries/ Administrators of all States/ UTs that they should endeavour to promote COVID-19 appropriate behaviour extensively at the grass-root level and take measures to enforce the wearing of masks, hand hygiene and social distancing. 

- National Directives for COVID-19 management 

  • National Directives for COVID-19 management shall continue to be followed throughout the country, so as to enforce COVID-19 appropriate behaviour. 

- Strict enforcement of lockdown in Containment Zones till 30th November 2020 

  • Lockdown shall continue to be implemented strictly in the Containment Zones till 30th November 2020. 

  • Containment Zones shall be demarcated by the District authorities at micro level after taking into consideration the guidelines of MoHFW with the objective of effectively breaking the chain of transmission. Strict containment measures will be enforced in these containment zones and only essential activities will be allowed. 

  • Within the containment zones, strict perimeter control shall be maintained and only essential activities allowed.  

  • These Containment Zones will be notified on the websites of the respective District Collectors and by the States/ UTs and information will also be shared with MOHFW. 

- States not to impose any local lockdown outside Containment Zones 

  • State/ UT Governments shall not impose any local lockdown (State/ District/ sub-division/City/ village level), outside the containment zones, without prior consultation with the Central Government. 

- No restriction on Inter-State and intra-State movement 

  • There shall be no restriction on inter-State and intra-State movement of persons and goods. No separate permission/ approval/ e-permit will be required for such movements. 

- Protection for vulnerable persons 

  • Vulnerable persons, i.e., persons above 65 years of age, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women, and children below the age of 10 years, are advised to stay at home, except for meeting essential requirements and for health purposes. 

- Use of AarogyaSetu 

  • The use of AarogyaSetu mobile application will continue to be encouraged. 

#UnlockGuidelines #MHA #HomeMinistry #COVID19 #GovernmentofIndia #Unlock6

Govt Waives Interest on Interest for Loans Up to Rs 2 Cr

The Department of Financial Services has issued operational guidelines relating to interest waiver scheme (moratorium) that would cost Rs 6500 crore to the exchequer.

The guidelines issued in the backdrop of the Supreme Court's direction to implement the interest waiver scheme, which is likely to cost the exchequer Rs 6,500 crore. With the festive season on the horizon, the government announcement will be a relief to borrowers of loans up to Rs 2 crore. 

The waiver of interest on the interest of loans irrespective of whether moratorium was availed or not would be a boon to borrowers.

The apex court on October 14 directed the Centre to implement "as soon as possible" interest waiver on loans of up to Rs 2 crore under the RBI moratorium scheme in view of the COVID-19 pandemic saying the common man's Diwali is in the government's hands. As per the guidelines, the scheme can be availed by borrowers in specified loan accounts for a period from March 1 to August 31, 2020.

"Borrowers who have loan accounts having sanctioned limits and outstanding amount of not exceeding Rs 2 crore (aggregate of all facilities with lending institutions) as on February 29 shall be eligible for the scheme," it said. As per the eligibility criteria mentioned in the guidelines, the accounts should be standard as on February 29 which means that it should not be Non-Performing Asset (NPA).

Housing loan, education loans, credit card dues, auto loans, MSME loans, consumer durable loans and consumption loans are covered under the scheme. As per the scheme, the lending institutions shall credit the difference between compound interest and simple interest with regard to the eligible borrowers in respective accounts for the said period irrespective of whether the borrower fully or partially availed the moratorium on repayment of loan announced by the RBI on March 27, 2020.

The scheme is also applicable to those who have not availed the moratorium scheme and continued with the repayment of loans. The lending institutions after crediting the amount will claim the reimbursement from the central government.

Hearing the matter on October 14, the Supreme Court observed that it was concerned about how the benefit of interest waiver would be given to borrowers and said the Centre has taken a "welcome decision" by taking note of the plight of the common man, but authorities have not issued any order in this regard. "Something concrete has to be done," a bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan had said, adding, "Benefits of waivers to borrowers up to Rs 2 crore must be implemented as soon as possible." The top court, which posted the matter for hearing on November 2, told the advocates appearing for the Centre and banks that "Diwali is in your hand".

The Centre had told the apex court that going any further than the fiscal policy decisions already taken, such as waiver of compound interest charged on loans of up to Rs 2 crore for six months moratorium period, maybe "detrimental" to the overall economic scenario, the national economy and banks may not take "inevitable financial constraints". The top court is hearing a batch of petitions which have raised issues concerning the six-month loan moratorium period announced due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bench, also comprising Justices R S Reddy and M R Shah, said when authorities have decided something then it has to be implemented.

#RBI #GovernmentofIndia #Moratorium

Loan agreement signed for Maharashtra roads' upgradation

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India today signed a USD 177 million loan to upgrade 450 kilometers (km) of state highways and major district roads in the state of Maharashtra.

The signatories to the Maharashtra State Road Improvement Project were Mr Sameer Kumar Khare, Additional Secretary (Fund Bank and ADB), Department of Economic Affairs in the Ministry of Finance who signed for the Government of India, and Mr Kenichi Yokoyama, Country Director of ADB's India Resident Mission who signed for ADB, a government release informed. 

After signing the loan agreement, Mr Khare said the project will improve connectivity between rural areas and urban centres in the state enabling rural communities to better access markets, employment opportunities and services. Improved mobility will expand development and livelihood opportunities outside of the state’s major urban centers to second-tier cities and towns thus reducing income disparities.

Mr. Yokoyama said that the project will also strengthen road safety measures by developing a road safety audit framework that will protect vulnerable groups such as the elderly, women, and children, following the international best practice. Another feature of the project is to update road maintenance system by encouraging 5-year performance-based maintenance obligations to contractors to sustain asset quality and service levels.

Overall the project will upgrade 2 major district roads and 11 state highways, with combined length of 450 km, to 2-lane standard across seven districts of Maharashtra, and improve connectivity to national highways, interstate roads, seaports, airports, rail hubs, district headquarters, industrial areas, enterprise clusters and agricultural areas.

The project will also focus ontraining the Maharashtra Public Works Department project staff to build their capacity inclimate change adaptation and disaster resilient features in road design, road maintenance planning and road safety, the release stated. 

#ADB #Maharashtra #GovernmentofIndia

Centre asked to file reply on farm law related petitions

The Supreme Court today issued notice to the Centre on three petitions which have been filed challenging the farm laws passed during the recently held Monsoon Session of the Parliament.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde issued notice to the union government and sought its reply within a period of four weeks.

The three laws are Farmers' (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020 and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020.

The petitions alleged that the three laws would lead to dismantling of the Agricultural Produce Market Committees system intended to ensure fair prices for farm products.

#SupremeCourt #Agriculture #GovernmentofIndia #FarmLaws

Loan moratorium case: Centre files response to SC

The Centre today informed the Supreme Court that any further waiver of compound interest will lead to significant economic costs which cannot be absorbed by the banks without serious dent of their financials.  

The Centre also said that this will have huge implications for the depositors and the broader financial stability. 

The Reserve Bank of India said that it brought a resolution frame work dated August 6, 2020 which enables the lenders to implement a resolution plan in respect of personal loans as well as other exposures affected due to COVID-19, subject to the prescribed conditions, without asset classification downgrade.  

The Reserve Bank also stated that long moratorium exceeding six months can also impact credit behaviour of borrowers and increase the risks of delinquencies post resumption of scheduled payments. 

The Supreme Court on October 5th said that the affidavit filed by the Centre on October 2nd regarding the waiver of compound interests on loans under moratorium in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic does not deal with several issues raised by the petitioners.   

The Supreme Court had asked the government and Reserve Bank of India (RBI) authorities to submit a revised response by October 13th, when the next hearing is scheduled.  

#SupremeCourt #RBI #LoanMoratorium #GovernmentofIndia

Loan moratorium case: SC asks Centre to file revised response

The Supreme Court today said that the affidavit filed by the Centre on October 2nd regarding the waiver of compound interests on loans under moratorium in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic does not deal with several issues raised by the petitioners.  

The Supreme Court asked the government and Reserve Bank of India (RBI) authorities to submit a revised response by October 13th, when the next hearing is scheduled. 

The Centre on October 2nd told the top court that it would waive compound interest on the repayment of loans of up to Rs 2 crore, in a bid to provide relief to individual and MSME borrowers.

#SupremeCourt #RBI #LoanMoratorium #GovernmentofIndia