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New Delhi: During the one year of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s term, the ministry of railways has claimed several “new beginnings” and “key reforms”. Among its achievements: More rail track (1,375 km) electrified in one year than ever before; earnings increased 12 percent; more bio-toilets installed; and a feasibility report received from Japan for the Mumbai-Ahmadabad bullet train during 2014-15.
Fact Checker took a look at the claims and the reality.
- Twelve percent rise in earnings due to “key reforms”: Earnings lower than previous two years.
Claim: An increase of 12.2 percent increase in earnings during 2014-15 due to “key reforms in railways.
Reality: The 12 percent increase in earnings during 2014-15 compared with 2013-14 is lower than the 19 percent and 12.9 percent respectively, during each of the previous two financial years 2012-13 and 2013-14.
- Record electrification of rail track: It happens every year
Claim: 1,375 km of railway electrification completed during 2014-15, termed best-ever for Indian Railways.
Reality: Electrification data reveal such records are set every year. The increase in electrification between 2013-2014 and 2014-15 in terms of “route kilometers” is the least when compared to consecutive years over the past eight years (barring 2010-11).
- Bio-toilets, a key achievement: Yes, since 2009
Claim: Bio-toilets have been stated as key achievements by railways for 2014-15.
Reality: Bio-toilets, which treat human waste instead of letting it on to the tracks, were first installed in 2009: 11,777 bio-toilets have been installed in 4,356 passenger coaches till June 30, 2014.
- Study Done For Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet Train: Series of such studies over 13 years
Claim: Feasibility report from Japan on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train.
Reality: Parliament data show a series of feasibility (or prefeasibility) studies between 2002 and 2015.
- Helpline is launched: It was ready for launch before UPA quit
Claim: Launching of a security helpline for passengers.
Reality: The plan was first approved for 2010-11 and just before the previous government finished its term, the ground work, including finalising the nodal railway zone (Northern Railway), executing agency, budget (Rs 5.2 crore) and signing an agreement with the telecom ministry, had been done.
- 108 Adarsh (ideal) stations: Routine since 2009
Claim: Passenger facilities improved at 108 stations under the Adarsh-stations scheme.
Reality: This is a routine affair, since the Adarsh-stations scheme kicked off in 2009 (to provide drinking water, toilets, catering services, waiting rooms and dormitories, especially for female passengers, better signage).
- Meghalaya gets a rail line: Work has been on for 19 years
Claim: Lumding-Silchar broad gauge section inaugurated, Meghalaya comes on the rail map.
Reality: Gauge conversion work of Lumding-Silchar section started in 1996-97. There was often no money to continue the line or law-and-order problems delayed work. The target date was extended several times over the past few years.
- World Bank Loan for Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor: Approved by the previous government
Claim: Agreement signed for $1.1-billion loan from the World Bank for the Eastern Dedicated Freight (EDF) corridor.
Reality: The $1.1-billion loan from the World Bank for EDF corridor-II was approved on April 22, 2014, before Modi’s term began.
By Manoj K
Hackers have stolen crypto tokens worth $120 million from Blockchain-based decentralised finance (DeFi) platform BadgerDAO. Several crypto wallets were drained before the platform could stop the cyber attack. In a tweet, Badger said it has received reports of unauthorised withdrawals of user funds. "As Badger engineers investigate this, all smart contracts have been paused to prevent further withdrawals. Our investigation is ongoing and we will release further information as soon as possible," the company said late on Thursday.
According to the blockchain security and data analytics Peckshield, the various tokens stolen in the attack are worth about $120 million, reports The Verge. According to reports, someone inserted a malicious script in the user interface (UI) of their website. Badger has retained data forensics experts Chainalysis to explore the full scale of the incident and authorities in both the US and Canada have been informed. "Badger is cooperating fully with external investigations as well as proceeding with its own," it said. DeFi is a collective term for financial products and services that are open, decentralised and accessible to anyone. DeFi products open up financial services to anyone with an internet connection and they are largely owned and maintained by their users. While the attack didn't reveal specific flaws within Blockchain tech itself, it managed to exploit the older "web 2.0" technology that most users need to use to perform transactions, according to reports. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: crypto wallets, BadgerDAO, decentralised finance, Blockchain, 120 million, crypto tokens, Hackers)
A total of 120 top Bollywood and other celebrities are expected to attend the wedding of film stars Katrina Kaif and Vicky Kaushal which is scheduled on December 9 in Rajasthan, said Rajendra Kishan, the District Collector (DC) of Sawai Madhopur district of the state on Friday. The District Collector told mediapersons: "These 120 guests shall follow all COVID-19 protocols and fully vaccinated guests will get entry in the much-hyped celebrity wedding."
Kishan said that the organisers have been asked to strictly follow all Covid-19 protocols. Also, those who are not vaccinated, will not be allowed without the negative RT-PCR test report, he added. "We have been informed by organisers that a total of 120 guests are invited to the wedding and the events will take place between December 7 to December 10," he added.
Earlier at 10.30 a.m., Kishan called a meeting which was attended by administrative, police and forest department officials, hotel and event managers to ensure adequate arrangements for crowd control, smooth regulation of traffic, and law and order situation amid the VIP movement. The wedding venue Fort Barwara, that has been converted into a heritage hotel, is situated in the panchayat samiti Chauth Ka Barwara. The venue is around 22 km away from Sawai Madhopur and is around 174 km from Jaipur. Sawai Madhopur district is famous for the Ranthambore National Tiger Reserve and as per reports, the guests are likely to be taken for a tiger safari. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: Rajasthan, December 9, Vicky Kaushal, Katrina Kaif, film stars, celebrities, Bollywood, Katrina-Vicky)
The National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), which confirmed the first two cases of the Omicron variant in Bengaluru on Thursday, is continuously monitoring the situation in four cities - Bengaluru, Hyderabad, New Delhi, and Pune. The NCBS is a part of a consortium of national laboratories performing genomic surveillance across four city clusters. The consortium was established four months ago with support from The Rockefeller Foundation's Pandemic Prevention Institute, and is led by the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in Hyderabad.
Dr Rakesh Mishra at the CCMB said on Friday that the consortium is continuously monitoring the situation in all the four cities and has upscaled its efforts to sequence as many samples as possible Apart from the CCMB and the NCBS, the consortium includes CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology - IGIB in New Delhi and the Pune Knowledge Cluster, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune, and CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory in Pune.
The first case of the Omicron variant was detected in South Africa and reported to the World Health Organization on November 24. | Unsplash
The consortium is focused on upscaling genomic surveillance as part of national efforts led by the INSACOG - Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium - to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. The consortium intensified its sequencing efforts after the World Health Organisation announced Omicron as a Variant of Concern. Such an intensified effort enabled the Bengaluru team at the NCBS, a member laboratory of INSACOG, in collaboration with Strand Life Sciences and the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), to detect, rapidly sequence and verify the existence of the omicron variant in samples from two Covid-19 infected individuals.
They hope this will aid in a rapid response to contain the spread of variants of concern. Prof Satyajit Mayor from the NCBS conveyed the information to local and national authorities, and the Indian government released a statement on December 2, all within four days of receiving the samples. Both SARS-CoV-2 genomes have also been uploaded to the global repository for SARS-CoV-2 sequences, GISAID, so that they can be publicly available to the scientific community, the NCBS said. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: Hyderabad, New Delhi, Pune, Bengaluru, The National Centre for Biological Sciences, Situation, NCBS, Omicron)