India’s digital expansion is being powered by creating state-of-the-art public digital infrastructure. Five hundred and twenty-three thousand kilometres of fibre optic network already links our One hundred and fifty six thousand village councils: PM Modi

PM Narendra Modi’s Keynote address at the 5th edition of VivaTech:

Congratulations to the organisers for successfully organising Vivatech in this difficult time.

This platform reflects the technological vision of France. India and France have been working closely on a wide range of subjects. Among these, technology and digital are emerging areas of cooperation. It is the need of the hour that such cooperation continues to grow further. It will not only help our nations but also the world at large.

Many youngsters saw the French Open with great enthusiasm. One of India’s tech companies, Infosys provided tech support for the tournament. Likewise, the French Company Atos is involved in a project for making the fastest super computer in India. Whether it is France’s Capgemini or India’s TCS and Wipro, our IT talent is serving companies and citizens all over the world.

I believe – Where convention fails, innovation can help. This has been seen during the COVID-19 global pandemic, which is the biggest disruption of our age. All nations have suffered loss and felt anxiety about the future.

COVID-19 put many of our conventional methods to test. However, it was innovation that came to the rescue. By innovation I refer to:

Innovation  before the pandemic .

Innovation  during the pandemic .

When I speak about innovation before the pandemic, I refer to the pre-existing advances which helped us during the pandemic.

Digital technology helped us cope, connect, comfort and console. Through digital media, we could work, talk with our loved ones, and help others.

India’s universal and unique bio-metric digital identity system – Aadhar – helped us to provide timely financial support to the poor. We could supply free food to 800 million people, and deliver cooking-fuel subsidies to many households.

We in India were able to operationalise two public digital education programes- Swayam and Diksha – in quick time to help students.

The second part, innovation for the pandemic refers to how humanity rose to the occasion and made the fight against it more effective. In this, the role of our start-up sector, has been paramount.

Let me give you India’s example. When the pandemic hit our shores, we had inadequate testing capacities and shortage of masks, PPE, Ventilators and other such equipment.

Our private sector played a key role in addressing this shortage. Our doctors adopted tele-medicine in a big way so that some COVID and other non-COVID issues could be addressed virtually.

Two vaccines are being made in India and more are in the development or trial stage. On the Government side, our indigenous IT platform, Arogya-Setu enabled effective contact tracing. Our COWIN digital platform has already helped ensure vaccines to millions.

Had we not been innovating, then our fight against COVID-19 would have been much weaker. We must not abandon this innovative zeal so that we are even better prepared when the next challenge strikes.

India’s strides in the world of tech and start-up are well-known. Our nation is home to one of the world’s largest start-up eco systems. Several unicorns have come up in the recent years.

India offers what innovators and investors need. I invite the world to invest in India based on the five pillars of: Talent, Market, Capital, Eco-system and, Culture of openness.

Indian tech-talent pool is famous across the world. Indian youth have given tech solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems.

Today, India has One Point One eight billion mobile phones and Seven Seventy-Five million internet users. This is more than the population of several nations.

Data consumption in India is among the highest and cheapest in the world. Indians are the largest users of social media. There is a diverse and extensive market that awaits you.

This digital expansion is being powered by creating state-of-the-art public digital infrastructure. Five hundred and twenty-three thousand kilometres of fibre optic network already links our One hundred and fifty six thousand village councils.

Many more are being connected in the times to come. Public wi-fi networks across the country are coming up.

Likewise, India is working actively to nurture a culture of innovation. There are state-of-the-art innovation labs in Seven Thousand Five Hundred schools under the Atal Innovation Mission.

Our students are taking part in numerous hackathons, including with students overseas. This gives them the much-needed exposure  to global talent and best practices.

Over the past year, we have witnessed a lot of disruption in different sectors. Much of it is still there. Yet, disruption does not have to mean despair. Instead, we must keep the focus on the twin foundations of repair and prepare. This time last year, the world was still seeking a vaccine. Today, we have quite a few. Similarly, we have to continue repairing health infrastructure and our economies.

We in India, implemented huge reforms across sectors, be it mining, space, banking, atomic energy and more. This goes on to show that India as a nation is adaptable and agile, even in the middle of the pandemic.

And, when I say – prepare-I mean: Insulating our planet against the next pandemic. Ensuring we focus on sustainable life-styles that stop ecological degradation. Strengthening cooperation in furthering research as well as innovation.

The challenges our planet faces can only be overcome with a collective spirit and a human centric approach. For this, I call upon the start-up community to take the lead. The start-up space is dominated by youngsters.

These are people free from the baggage of the past. They are best placed to power global transformation. Our start-ups must explore areas such as: Healthcare. Eco-friendly technology including waste recycling, Agriculture, New age tools of learning.

As an open society and economy, as a nation committed to the international system, partnerships matter to India. France and Europe are among our key partners. In my conversations with President Macron, In my summit with EU leaders in Porto in May, digital partnership, from start-ups to quantum computing, emerged as a key priority.

History has shown that leadership in new technology drives economic strength, jobs and prosperity. But, our partnerships must also serve a larger purpose, in service of humanity. This pandemic is not only a test of our resilience, but also of our imagination.

It is a chance to build a more inclusive, caring and sustainable future for all. Like President Macron, I have faith in the power of science and the possibilities of innovation  to help us achieve that future.

Pic Credit: BJP India

Smart Enforcement App for Trucks to reduce random stoppages for physical checking of vehicles and verification of documents

Ministry of Commerce & Industry:

On an average, a truck in India covers 50,000-60,000 km a year, compared to over 300,000 km in advanced nations such as the United States.

One of the key reasons is delays due to random stoppages for physical checking of vehicles and verification of documents etc.

While GST has helped improve the situation, there is a long way to go to reach the advanced country levels. 

There are over 60 different instances of potential violations of various rules and compliances that enforcement agencies need to watch out for.

The responsibility for this enforcement lies with state governments departments, namely Commercial tax, transport, police and other agencies.

As a strategy to reduce logistics costs on road transportation, the Government of India, Department of Commerce, Logistics Division has developed a risk-based approach on the implementation of smart enforcement of rules and regulations related to road-based violations by trucks.

It has also developed an IT based solution to make enforcement mechanism technology driven.

In a meeting with the officials of the State governments held today, the risk-based approach was shared and the IT-based Smart Enforcement App was unveiled.

The meeting was attended by over 100 senior officials from related departments such as commercial tax and the transport departments of the state governments.

The key features of the integrated smart solution are:

  1. An IT application that would fetch data related to goods being carried on the truck from the existing Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) database, and the information related to the vehicle from the VAHAN database
  2. Make this data available to enforcement officers on the road in advance for approaching trucks
  3. Based on a risk matrix that uses historical patterns, the app assigns a risk profile to the truck helping the officers decide whether to stop it for further scrutiny
  4. It requires the officer to issue all fines, penalties, or any other punitive measure through the app, ensuring transparency
  5. The app includes features that keep records and help reduce ad-hoc implementation of these rules and regulations
  6. The application would have the ability to integrate with all the sensors, Weigh in Motion, and cameras available with the state government or National Highway Authority to allow remote enforcement.
  7. This would significantly reduce the need to deploy officers on the ground since the app would be able to alert officers whenever a vehicle is in violation.

Congress Party has decided to launch a nationwide Outreach Campaign: KC Venugopal

KC Venugopal – General Secretary, Congress:

Statement issued by Shri KC Venugopal, General Secretary, Organisation, AICC

Pursuant to extensive humanitarian and service driven efforts of Crores of Congressmen and women driven by the the National Covid Task Force and the State PCCs/ Covid Relief Committees, the Congress Party has decided to launch a nationwide Outreach Campaign.

Through this effort , the party seeks to reach out to front line health workers as also those severely affected by the pandemic with a helping hand.

A subsidiary aim is also to gather primary data of covid affected families, patients and deceased.

The Pradesh Congress Committees in states will be setting up a control room at their respective PCC offices. PCCs and District Congress Committees & City Congress Committees (CCCs) will be appointing minimum one point person as a coordinator per Block or Corporation or Ward relevant administrative area) to monitor activities in his/her block for the duration of the campaign.

Block/Town area Presidents will be further identifying 10 workers ( those who were active in helping people during Pandemic) per block and 10 workers per town area and designate them as “Covid Warriors”, to collect data from ground and relay the information thus collected through BCCs, /DCCs / PCCs to the AICC Control Room/ Data Department , thus covering 7199 Blocks and 7935 Towns in 736 Districts of the country.

An information campaign on Covid through leaflets and SMS services will also be run to coat awareness amongst people in general as also for covid affected families for a period of 30 days.

In coordination with the AICC social media team, MP/ MLA/ MLC/ ex- MP/ex-MLA/ex-MLC/ will be holding virtual meetings Lok Sabha/ Vidhan Sabha wise to educate, motivate and explain the task to these identified “Covid Warriors”.

Each designated “Covid Warrior” is expected to visit minimum of 10 to 15 households per day during the period of 30 days, expectedly covering total of not less than 200 households in 30 days.

Carrying a questionnaire with questions like –
Was anyone from your family infected by covid-19;
Has any family member died due to covid-19; their name and age;
Was he/she the bread winner of the family;
Has anyone in your family lost his/her job due to Covid- 19 lockdown;
Any support that they may be needing (ration, job, education, financial support) etc.

The teams visiting the families in consultation with PCC will facilitate delivery of Govt. approved Medicine kits; will deliver Mask/ sanitiser; will help in delivery of Ration/food for extremely vulnerable families and also help arrange Vaccination registration assistance and will coordinate with ambulance service as provided by INC in affected areas.

Congress President, Smt Sonia Gandhi and respective PCC Presidents will also be writing condolence letter to the next of kin of the those who passed away due to the pandemic.

This outreach program aims to cover approx. 3 crore households in 30 days thereby indirectly touching approximately 12 crore people (at an average of 4 members per family).

Total expected feet on ground would be 1,51,340 at the peak of campaign.

The newly detected Delta Plus Variant as of now is a Variant of Interest, not as yet classified a Variant of Concern: Dr VK Paul

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare:

In the context of the public discourse regarding detection of new variants, Member (Health), NITI Aayog, Dr. VK Paul has reminded the public that the newly detected Delta Plus Variant is not yet classified as a Variant of Concern.

“The present status is that yes, a new variant has been found. This is as of now a Variant of Interest (VoI), not as yet classified a Variant of Concern (VoC).

VoC is one in which we have understood that there are adverse consequences to humanity, which could be due to increased transmissibility or virulence. We do not know at this moment this about the Delta Plus variant.” Dr. Paul stated this, while addressing the COVID-19 Media Briefing at National Media Centre, PIB Delhi earlier this week.

The way forward is to watch for its potential presence in the country and take the appropriate public health response, says Dr. Paul.

“We need to watch the effect of this change, this variant in a scientific manner; this has been found outside our country. We need to monitor it through The Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics (INSACOG) in order to assess and detect its potential presence and growth in our country. This is the way forward in relation to the virus.”

Dr. Paul also mentioned that this will be an important area of future work for our comprehensive system of almost 28 laboratories. The system will constantly watch this and study its significance. This is something which science should and will watch and understand, added Dr. Paul.

The NITI Aayog Member said that this variant is a reminder to us about the importance of infection control and containment measures and behaviour.

“Remember that there is no way that we can shoot these variants away, to use any precision weapon to ensure that they don’t appear in future. What we need to do is to monitor, understand their behaviour and mount an appropriate response, being conscious of their effects on us. The appropriate response includes the same principles, namely containment measures and COVID appropriate behaviour.”

He spoke of the importance of addressing the root cause and breaking the chain of transmission.

“One of the important tools to tackle any new variant is by following COVID Appropriate Behaviour. The root cause is the chain of transmission. So, if we are able to address the root cause and break the chains of transmission, we will be able to contain the spread, whichever the variant may be.”

Explaining the origin of the Delta Plus variant, Dr. Paul said: “During the second wave, Delta variant – B.1.617.2 exhibited its effect; its higher transmissibility played a major role in making the wave intense. Along the same line, an additional mutation has been detected, which has also been submitted to the Global Data System. This has been referred to as the ‘Delta Plus’ or ‘AY.1’ variant. The variant was observed in Europe in March and has been notified and brought into public domain on June 13, just two days ago.”

He went on to explain that mRNA viruses are particularly predisposed to errors in their replication. When errors in replication of their RNA happen, the virus acquires a new character to a certain extent.

“At times, it could be significant from the point of view of the disease, it could be in a region such as the spike protein through which the virus attaches to cells in the body. So if that part becomes smarter than the previous version, it is to our disadvantage. So we are worried about such variants.”

Indian companies be it pharma, IT or others that go to do business in USA or in other foreign countries, voluntarily follow the local laws.. : RS Prasad

There are numerous queries arising as to whether Twitter is entitled to safe harbour provision.

However, the simple fact of the matter is that Twitter has failed to comply with the Intermediary Guidelines that came into effect from the 26th of May.

Further, Twitter was given multiple opportunities to comply with the same, however it has deliberately chosen the path of non compliance.

The culture of India varies like its large geography. In certain scenarios, with the amplification of social media, even a small spark can cause a fire, especially with the menace of fake news. This was one of the objectives of bringing the Intermediary Guidelines.

It is astounding that Twitter which portrays itself as the flag bearer of free speech, chooses the path of deliberate defiance when it comes to the Intermediary Guidelines.

Further, what is perplexing is that Twitter fails to address the grievances of users by refusing to set up process as mandated by the law of the land.

Additionally, it chooses a policy of flagging manipulates media, only when it suits, its likes and dislikes.

What happened in UP was illustrative of Twitter’s arbitrariness in fighting fake news. While Twitter has been over enthusiastic about its fact checking mechanism, it’s failure to act in multiple cases like UP is perplexing & indicates its inconsistency in fighting misinformation.

Indian companies be it pharma, IT or others that go to do business in USA or in other foreign countries, voluntarily follow the local laws. Then why are platforms like Twitter showing reluctance in following Indian laws designed to give voice to the victims of abuse and misuse?

The rule of law is the bedrock of Indian society. India’s commitment to the constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech was yet again reaffirmed at the G7 summit.

However, if any foreign entity believes that they can portray itself as the flag bearer of free speech in India to excuse itself from complying with the law of the land, such attempts are misplaced.

File Pic

Our Honorary Wildlife Wardens are true wildlife enthusiasts and are an essential link connecting people and wildlife: Uddhav Thackeray

Addressing an e-dialogue with the Honorary Wildlife Wardens of the state, CM Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray appealed for suggestions to reduce the human-wildlife conflict by creating awareness among the people to promote coexistence.

He further added that our Honorary Wildlife Wardens are true wildlife enthusiasts and are an essential link connecting people and wildlife.

They can provide better guidance about where the wildlife and their habitats are situated and where development can or cannot be done.

Uddhav Thackeray – CM, maharashtra

Vaccinated at home with Covishield: Dr MS Swaminathan

Vaccinated at home with Covishield, thanks to Dr K Arun Chander, Incharge of Apollo Hospitals Covid19 Vaccination Programme for the Chennai region and Nurse Kausalya for their professionalism and care.

Dr MS Swaminathan – Agriculture scientist

Today, met Boxer Lovlina Borgohain’s father & congratulated him for his daughter’s continued exemplary performance: Himanta Biswa

Today, met Boxer Lovlina Borgohain’s father & congratulated him for his daughter’s continued exemplary performance.

To help her in training & other preparations for Tokyo Olympics, handed over a cheque of Rs 5 lakh under State Sports Policy.

Also, handed over a cheque of Rs 2 lakh as a token of appreciation for her on securing bronze medal at Asian Boxing Championship at Dubai.

Conveyed my best wishes to her for Olympics 2021.

Glad to have interacted with other trainees of State Boxing Academy as well.

Himanta Biswa Sarma – Chief Minister, Assam

Nengmandalgre Fish Sanctuary on the tributary of river Simsang – a Mini Mission for Riverine Conservation of Indigenous Fish Species: Conrad Sangma

Nengmandalgre Fish Sanctuary co managed Sanctuary on the tributary of river Simsang, East Garo Hills under The Meghalaya State Aquaculture Mission, Dept of Fisheries, Govt of Meghalaya.

Part of Mini Mission for Riverine Conservation of Indigenous Fish Species

Conrad Sangma – Chief Minister, Meghalaya

Kerala changes strategy after 40 days, successfully reining in the Covid surge: Thomas Isaac

Thomas Isaac - Finance Minister Kerala

Thomas Isaac – Former Finance Minister, Kerala :

Kerala changes strategy after 40 days, successfully reining in the Covid surge.

Calibrated restrictions at local government level depending on intensity of virus spread.

Triple lockdown if TPR is above 30%, total lockdown if TPR is 20-30% and partial lockdown if TPR is 8-20%.

Sri Sri

Sri Sri at Sunrise

You cannot find a better place than the Divine to keep your heart safe and the mind sane :
SriSri