SEC likely to hold polls to rural bodies in two phases
The State Election Commission (SEC) is likely to hold elections to rural local bodies in two phases and to municipal bodies in a single phase to effectively manage the poll process.
The government had proposed to the SEC to conduct the elections to all local bodies in a single phase. The SEC has, however, agreed to complete the elections before the March 31 deadline as wanted by the government.
Sources said the SEC has taken stock of the availability of the police forces in the state before deciding to go for a two-phase poll for rural bodies.
Meanwhile, the SEC has requested Telangana government to spare about 40,000 ballot boxes for the elections in the state as the elections to the local bodies would be held on ballot paper mode. The SEC is also procuring another 5,000 ballot boxes from Odisha. Since 1.2 lakh ballot boxes were available in the state, the SEC has decided to take the support from the neighbouring states keeping in view of the plans to complete all the elections by the month end.
Microsoft India, NASSCOM Foundation launch Innovate for an Accessible India campaign to empower PwDs
Microsoft India and NASSCOM Foundation announced an “Innovate for an Accessible India campaign” to empower persons with disabilities (PwDs).
Innovate for an Accessible India campaign:
The campaign aims to create tools and technology that are required for better integration of PwDs into society. This is aimed to be done by giving them access to equal opportunities.
The campaign will be an aggregator of workable technology solutions developed using Microsoft Cloud, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and other technologies that address gaps PwDs face in acquiring services and support in education, skill-building, employment, mobility, rehabilitation, and other government services.
The program is open to students, startups, impact organizations, and NGOs who want to build customized solutions that address challenges faced by people with disabilities across the 21 officially recognized disabilities.
Supreme Court clears permanent commission for women in Indian Navy
Maintaining that women and men officers should be treated equally, the Supreme Court cleared permanent commission for women in the Navy and asked the Centre to complete the modalities within three months.
A bench headed by Justice D Y Chandrachud said, there cannot be any excuses for not granting gender equality in the armed forces.
The bench, also comprising Justice Ajay Rastogi, rejected the Centre’s stand that sea sailing duties cannot be granted to SSC (Short Service Commission) women officers in the Navy as its Russian vessels do not have washrooms for them.
Lok Sabha passes Aircraft (Amendment) Bill, 2020 through voice vote
The Lok Sabha passed the Aircraft (Amendment) Bill, 2020 through voice vote.
While introducing the bill, the Minister said that the amendments would fulfill the requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
This will enable the three regulatory bodies in the Civil Aviation sector in India, namely Directorate General of Civil Aviation, Bureau of Civil Aviation Security and Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau to become more effective, which will lead to enhancement in the level of safety and security of aircraft operations in the country.
GoI stated National e-commerce policy is still under consideration
Government is still considering the drafting of national e-commerce policy, and no timeline about its launch has been released. The information was announced by the Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal.
The National e-commerce policy aims to empower domestic entrepreneurs and to encourage Make in India and safeguard interests of the consumers and facilitating job creation.
National e-commerce policy:
The draft policy aims to create a facilitative regulatory environment for the growth of the e-commerce sector.
Several meetings have been held at the level of Secretary, Department for Promotion of Industry, and Internal Trade (DPIIT) with different stakeholders, including major e-commerce companies, industry associations, think-tanks, startups, academicians, etc.
To draft the provisions of the policy, GoI held sessions with export promotion councils, data centre providers, logistics companies, to discuss the issues faced by the sector.
Indian Navy sets up Quarantine Camp at INS Vishwakarma
A Quarantine Camp has been set up by the Indian Navy at INS Vishwakarma in Eastern Naval Command (ENC) for Indian nationals who are being evacuated from COVID-19 affected countries. The move aims to augment India’s fight against the spread of Coronavirus.
The Camp has been fully equipped to accommodate nearly 200 personnel with all suitable facilities and other arrangements.
As per the guidelines provided by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, the evacuated personnel will be closely monitored to ensure Social Distancing and under medical supervision by a team of naval personnel and medical professionals of ENC.
As a precautionary measure, the evacuated persons will be kept under quarantine for fourteen days.
Indian Navy aims to ensure adequate preventive care is provided to all evacuated personnel and to prevent the spread of the virus.
NBRI develops pest-resistant variety of cotton against whiteflies
National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI), Lucknow has developed a pest-resistant variety of cotton against whiteflies. The field test trials will begin from April to October at the Faridkot Center of Punjab Agriculture University, Ludhiana.
Whiteflies are one of the top devastating pests in the world that can damage more than 2000 plant species. It also functions as vectors for some 200-plant viruses.
Cotton is one of the worst-hit crops by the Whiteflies. In the year 2015, two-third of the cotton crop was destroyed by the pest in Punjab.
Researchers explored 250 plants to develop the pest-resistant variety from lower plant biodiversity to identify novel protein molecules that are toxic to whitefly.
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