1. PM to visit Vaccine facilities in three cities on November 28
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit vaccine facilities in three cities to personally review the vaccine development and manufacturing process on November 28, 2020.
- He will visit the Serum Institute of India in Pune, Zydus Biotech Park in Ahmedabad and Bharat Biotech in Hyderabad.
- The SII has partnered with pharma giant AstraZeneca and Oxford University for its COVID-19 vaccine. The interim data of the phase 3 trials suggest that the vaccine is highly effective, especially among older people.
- PM Modi’s visit will be followed by the visit of ambassadors and high commissioners of various countries at the Serum Institute of India on December 4 to oversee the production and distribution plan of the Covid-19 vaccine.
· Indian government has further suspended the scheduled international commercial passenger flights till December 31, 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier, the suspension was announced till November 30, 2020. However, flights approved by the DGCA and international all-cargo operations will continue to operate.
3. India, UAE review comprehensive strategic partnership
- Indian External Affairs Minister, Dr. S Jaishankar and his United Arab Emirate counterpart Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan held discussions on a range of bilateral issues during Jaishankar’s two-day visit to the UAE.
- The EAM brief the UAE Minister on the progress made by India in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic on both the health and economic front.
- Further, both the nations reviewed their cooperation in various sectors under their comprehensive strategic partnership including defence, trade, investment, food security, infrastructure and energy.
- The two ministers also discussed various latest regional and international developments and agreed to continue coordination on multilateral issues. Dr. Jaishankar also met Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan during the visit.
· Indian pharmaceutical firm Hetero will manufacture more than 100 million doses of Sputnik V, Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine, every year.
· The decision came after a deal between Hetero and RDIF Sovereign Wealth Fund of Russia on November 27, 2020. Hetero will start with the production of vaccine in the beginning of 2021 in India
· Thaawarchand Gehlot, Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment on November 25, 2020 virtually launched the national portal for Transgender Persons and their shelter home Garima Greh.
· The portal will enable the community to come forward and get their identity cards and Transgender Certificate
6. Japanese spacecraft carrying asteroid soil samples to reach Earth on December 6
- Japan’s spacecraft carrying soil samples from the Ryugu asteroid will reach the Earth by December 6. The spacecraft is currently nearing the planet after a year-long journey home from the asteroid located about 300 million kilometers away.
- The spacecraft is carrying asteroid soil samples and data that could provide clues to the origins of the solar system. It is expected to drop a capsule containing the precious samples in southern Australia on December 6.
- Scientists at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency expect the samples contain valuable data unaffected by space radiation and other environmental factors.
7. Draft Merchant Shipping Bill, 2020
- Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways has issued a draft of the Merchant Shipping Bill, 2020 for public consultation.
- It aims to repeal and replace the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958 and the Coasting Vessels Act, 1838.
- The Bill has provisions for repatriation of abandoned seafarers to improve their welfare on abandoned vessels.
- The Bill does away with requirement of general trading licence for Indian vessels to promote ease of doing business.
- It also enables electronic means of registration, and grants statutory recognition to electronic agreements, records, and log-books.
- The Bill has clauses to increase India’s tonnage and to make the vessel a tradeable asset.
- It also seeks to introduce for the first-time statutory framework for regulating maritime emergency response against maritime incidents to promote India as a bankable shipping jurisdiction and avoid situations leading to wreck.
- To make India an active enforcement jurisdiction, the Bill incorporates powers of the Director-General to take action against vessels that are unsafe, and pose a threat to safety of life at sea and environment
- It also encourages active enforcement of pollution prevention standards.
8. Land –attack Version of BrahMos Missile successfully test- fired
- Recently, India has successfully test-fired a land-attack version of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
- The range of the missile has been extended to 400 km from the original 290 km.
- Its speed has been maintained at 2.8 Mach or almost three times the speed of sound.
- The test was done in a “top-attack” configuration.
- In top attack mode, the missile is required to climb sharply after launch, travel at a certain altitude and then fall on top of the target.
- In direct attack mode, the missile travels at a lower altitude, directly striking the target.
· The National High Speed Rail Corporation (NHSRCL) and Larsen and Toubro (L&T) on November 26, 2020 signed India's largest ever government-funded of Rs 24,000 crore for Mumbai- Ahmedabad bullet train project.
· Under the deal, Larsen and Toubro will be working on 325 km of the bullet train work falling in Gujarat.
10. Finance Minister asks CPSEs in power, mines and atomic energy to scale up capital expenditure
- Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharama recently asked the CPSEs to make more efforts to achieve the target of 75 percent capital expenditure by Q3 and more than 100 percent by Q4 of the FY 21.
- · The Minister said this while appreciating the efforts of the ministries and CPSEs for making visible efforts to meet the capital expenditure targets.
- Sitharaman noted that capital expenditure is a critical driver of economic growth and needs to be scaled up in the power, mines and atomic energy sectors for the 2020-21 and 2021-22.
- The Finance Minister gave the direction during a meeting with the secretaries of the ministries of power, mines and department of atomic energy and chairman and managing directors of 10 CPSEs on November 27, 2020.