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The Centre will launch a pilot project on the use of indigenously manufactured drones for delivering medicines in the undulating landscape of Jammu and surrounding areas from Saturday with a focus on vaccines delivery initially. "This is going to be a pilot project for the area. The drone is developed and manufactured entirely by our scientists," Union Minister for Science & Technology, Dr Jitendra Singh told mediapersons. Singh said he himself will be launching the project at Jammu.
The drone is developed by the scientists at Bengaluru's National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL), a constituent of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), an autonomous Society that is headed by the Prime Minister. For now, the delivery would be limited to Covid vaccines and once successful, it would be expanded to be used for regular delivery of medicines in the remote, hilly areas.
The drone is developed by the scientists at Bengaluru's National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL). | Photo by Jason Blackeye on Unsplash
Jammu and surrounding areas are sensitive in terms of the strategic importance. Some months ago, there was an attack on an Army installation using drones. Will the 'drones for vaccines' be permitted in such a case? Allaying fears, a top official from the Ministry of S&T said, "The drones would be deployed by authorised agencies such as hospitals, not anybody can use it, nor would any random person be permitted to use it."
NAL has called the drone as 'Octacopter' and it can fly at an operational altitude of 500 m AGL and at maximum flying speed of 36 kmph. It can be used for a variety of BVLOS applications for last mile delivery like medicines, vaccines, food, postal packets, Human organs (such as heart for heart transplantation) etc. NAL Octacopter is integrated with a powerful on-board embedded computer and latest generation sensors for versatile applications like agricultural pesticide spraying, crop monitoring, mining survey, magnetic geo survey mapping etc., S&T officials had said. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Jammu, Vaccines, Medicines, Deliver, Drones, Centre
The Centre on Wednesday directed all Union Ministries and Departments to clear Air India's dues immediately. An office memorandum from the Finance Ministry's Department of Expenditure said: "Recently, the Government of India has decided to disinvest Air India, and the process of disinvestment of Air India and Air India Express is ongoing.""Air India has stopped extending credit facilities on account of purchase of air tickets. Therefore, all Ministries or Departments are directed to clear Air India's dues immediately." "Air tickets from Air India may be purchased in cash till further instructions."
In 2009, the Centre had mandated that Central government officers travel via Air India for all official purposes including availing of LTC. On Monday, conglomerate Tata Group entered into a share purchase agreement with the Central government for buying out the latter's stake in national carrier Air India, Air India Express, and AISATS.
Earlier, a Letter of Intent was issued to the Tata Group. After the SPA, Tata Group would need to fulfill the conditions precedent in the agreement before taking over the airline. The rest of the transaction is expected to be completed by December.
Tata Sons' subsidiary Talace emerged as the highest bidder for the national carrier under the divestment process. Talace had quoted an enterprise value of Rs 18,000 crore for 100 per cent equity shareholding of the Centre in Air India along with that of Air India Express and AISATS. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: India, air India, ministers, government, purchase, dues, Tata group, centre
The Supreme Court on Tuesday expressed strong displeasure on the Centre’s affidavit in a case related to media reporting on a Tablighi Jamaat congregation during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The top court asked the Centre “to consider evolving a mechanism to address issues with content on TV, or else, the court may entrust it to an outside agency”.
A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that the court is not happy with Centre’s affidavit in the matter, as it skirts what powers government has under the Cable TV Network Act to hear such complaints.
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The bench asked the Centre to specify how the Cable TV Network Act can be used to control the content of the Cable TV network.
“Your affidavit is silent on it. The other issue, what steps you can take to deal with such complaints.
“The mechanism — your affidavit is silent on it. Please put all these in your amended affidavit. You (the Centre) have the power under the Act,” added the bench.
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The Chief Justice told the Centre why should the court refer to NBSA (News Broadcasters Association), and others when the Centre has the authority to look into it.
“If it does not exist, then you create an authority, or else we will hand it over to an outside agency,” added the Chief Justice.
The top court has asked the Centre to inform it what mechanism is available under the Cable TV Network (Regulation) Act and what action can be taken against fake news in three weeks.
In August, the Supreme Court, during the hearing of the plea by Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind, which cited the demonizing of the minority in connection with the Tablighi Jamaat congregation by various media organizations, had said the governments do not act till we direct them to.
Want to read more in Hindi? Checkout: डोनाल्ड ट्रंप और जो बाइडेन के बीच चुनावी नतीजों को लेकर गतिरोध जारी
The top court had observed, “We have seen from our experience that governments do not act until we direct them to.” The Chief Justice added he is not criticizing Mehta but the government does not act until we direct. “That is why this system is here,” added the bench.
The top court had suggested making the National Broadcasters Association (NBA) a party in this plea. The Press Council of India (PCI) counsel had contended before the bench it has taken cognizance of 50 instances of false reporting.
The counsel for NBA said it had received around 100 complaints.
The top court noted that it would need assistance from expert bodies on this issue and sought reports from the NBA and PCI. Jamiat’s counsel had contended these bodies merely play an advisory role and if there is any action then the government can only take it.
The pleas filed through advocate Ejaz Maqbool said: “By communalizing the issue and demonizing the entire Muslim community, the actions of the media pose a serious threat to the life and liberty of Muslims across the country. The demonization is also an infringement of the right to live with dignity which is also covered under Article 21 of the Constitution.” (IANS)
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Wednesday that the Centre will provide Rs 2,500 crore EPF support for businesses, workers for three more months.
The scheme was provided earlier for the salary months of March, April and May. Consequently, this support will be extended by another three months for the salary months of June, July and August.
Under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package (PMGKP), the Finance Minister said that payment of 12 per cent of employer and 12 per cent of employee contributions was made into the EPF accounts of the eligible establishments.
The scheme will provide liquidity relief of Rs 2,500 crore to 3.67 lakh establishments, benefitting 72.22 lakh employees.
Furthermore, the minister announced that statutory PF contribution of both employer and employee has been reduced to 10 per cent from the existing 12 per cent across all establishments covered by the EPFO for the next three months.
CPSEs and state PSUs will, however, continue to contribute 12 per cent as employer contribution.
The scheme for lower EPF contribution will be applicable to workers who are not eligible for 24 per cent EPF support under the PM Garib Kalyan Package and its extension.
This scheme is estimated to provide relief to about 6.5 lakh establishments covered under the EPFO and benefit about 4.3 crore such employees. It will provide liquidity of Rs 6,750 crore to employers and employees over three months. (IANS)