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News 4.6.21

• The Centre has issued an advisory to all the States and Union Territories asking them to launch a special drive to issue ration cards to the most vulnerable population and economically weaker sections. • The decision was taken in view of difficulties faced by the poor people in obtaining a ration card due to the Covid-19 pandemic in the country. • The Department of Food and Public Distribution has urged the States/ UTs to utilize the available coverage under their National Food Security Act (NFSA limit). • The operational responsibilities such as identification of eligible persons and households under NFSA and issuance of ration cards will rest with States and Union Territories. • The United Kingdom will host Health Ministers from Group of Seven (G7) countries in Oxford for a two-day summit from today, June 3, 2021.

• A G7 report on progress in improving health in developing countries will also be published on the occasion. • British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab mentioned that equitable access to COVID vaccines will be at the top of the agenda during the meeting. • British Health Minister Matt Hancock said that the G7 counterparts will work on a system to share data on any early warning signs of the next pandemic. • Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal "Nishank" announced on June 3, 2021 that the validity of the Teachers Eligibility Test (TET) qualifying certificates has been extended from seven years to a lifetime with retrospective effect from 2011. • The Minister said that the respective state/ UT governments will take necessary action to revalidate and issue fresh TET certificates to those whose seven years have already elapsed. • He said that this will be a positive step to boost employment opportunities for the candidates aspiring to make a career in the teaching field. • Teachers Eligibility Test is an essential qualification for a person to be eligible for appointment as a teacher in schools. • Bihar state government has announced 33 percent reservation in seats for in engineering and medical colleges. • Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said that at least one-third of the seats in engineering and medical colleges will be reserved for girl students. • He said that the move will increase the number of girl students in the field of engineering and medical areas. • The main aim is that the children and girls of Bihar should not have to go out to study engineering and medicine. • The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) said on June 2, 2021 that it has reached an agreement with Moderna to supply their international vaccination efforts against the COVID-19 virus. • Under the agreement, Moderna will be supplying vaccines to UNICEF's COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) facility. • The vaccines are expected to be delivered in the final quarter of 2021 and will be allocated in a way that reflects the program's value of equity in access. • UNICEF has also signed four other supply deals for COVID-19 vaccines, including agreements with the Serum Institute of India, Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Human Vaccine.

🛑Issac Herzog elected as Israel’s President The former labor leader Issac Herzog has become the 11th President of Israel. He was elected for the position with the support of an overwhelming 87 lawmakers in 120 member house. He will also be the first President is the son of former President Chaim Herzog. Government books 30 crore doses of COVID-19 vaccine The Union Ministry of Health has made the arrangements to book 30 crore vaccine doses of Biological-E’s COVID-19 vaccine. An advance payment of Rs. 1,500 crores will be made to the firm from the Central Government. The vaccine will be the second Made in India Vaccine after Bharat Biotech’s COVAXIN. Largest warship of Iran sinks after catching fire

The largest navy ship of Iran sank after catching fire in the Gulf of Oman. The fire at the ship broke out during a training session. There are no reported casualties as the entire crew was taken to safety on the coast. The ship was known as The Kharg. Mali suspended by African Union The membership of Mali has been suspended by the African Union on the grounds of the second military coup and the detention of the Prime Minister and President in nine months. The African Union has also threatened Mali with the targeted sanctions and other measures against the current political processes. SDG India Index 2021 The third edition of the Sustainable Development Index and dashboard was released by NITI Aayog on June 3, 2021. The index which measures the progress of the states and UTs has ranked Kerala as the top-performing state with a 75 score while Bihar as the worst performing state with a 52 score.

🛑The NITI Aayog on June 3, 2021, released the third edition of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) India Index and Dashboard 2020-21. Dr. Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog launched in the report titled SDG India Index and Dashboard 2020-21: Partnerships in the Decade of Action. Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog, Dr. Vinod Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog, and Sanyukta Samaddar, Advisor (SGDs), NITI Aayog were present at the launch. The SDG India Index 2020-21 had been designed and developed by NITI Aayog with extensive consultations with the States and Union Territories, Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI), UN agencies led by United Nations in India, and the key Union Ministries. Dr Rajiv Kumar during the launch said, “Our effort of monitoring SDGs through the SDG India Index and Dashboard continues to be widely noticed and applauded around the world.” SDG India Index continues to be a rare data-driven initiative to rank our States and Union Territories by computing a composite index on the SDGs. The theme of SDG India Index 2020-21 focuses on the significance of partnerships. “It is clear that by working together we can build a more resilient and sustainable future, where no one is left behind,” said Dr. Vinod Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog on the theme of partnerships which is central to Goal 17.

Sanyukta Samaddar, Advisor (SDGs), NITI Aayog reflected on the journey from covering 13 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with 62 indicators in its first edition in 2018 to the third edition covering 16 SDGs on 115 quantitative indicators, with a qualitative assessment on Goal 17. • The SDG India Index 2020-21 measures the progress of states and UTs on basis of economic, social, and environmental parameters. • Kerala ranked as the top-performing state with a score of 75 while Bihar was the worst performing state with a score of 52 in the NITI Aayog’s SDG India Index 2020-21. • The top-performing states in the NITI Aayog’s SDG India Index 2020-21 are Kerala at the first rank followed by Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu at second, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Karnataka, Uttarakhand at third, Sikkim at fourth, and Maharashtra at fifth rank. • The worst performing states in the NITI Aayog’s SDG India Index 2020-21 are Chhattisgarh, Nagaland, Odisha, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Jharkhand, and Bihar at the bottom. • The SDG India Index 2020-21 report tracked the progress of all Indian states and UTs on 115 indicators in alignment with the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI)’s National Indicator Framework (NIF). The first edition of the SDG India Index was launched in December 2018. • SDG India Index 2020-21 evaluated the States and Union Territories on 16 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on a scale of 0 to 100. The SDG 2020-21 report mentioned that India’s overall SDG score has improved by 6 points, from 60 in 2019 to 66 in 2020-21. • 12 more states and UTs - Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Haryana, Punjab, Mizoram, Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Lakshadweep, Maharashtra, Tripura, Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi, and Ladakh found themselves in the Front-runners category in the third edition of SDG India Index 2020-21. There were ten states and UTs in the front-runners' category in the 2019 edition.

🛑The National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA) on June 2, 2021, announced its plans of launching two new scientific missions to Venus between 2028 and 2030. The two missions to the Earth’s so-called sister planet by NASA will be it's first one in decades and will study the atmosphere and geologic features of the planet. As per the Space Agency of the United States, it was awarding about $500m for the development of each of the two missions. In today's #StateOfNASA address, we announced two new @NASASolarSystem missions to study the planet Venus, which we haven't visited in over 30 years! DAVINCI+ will analyze Venus’ atmosphere, and VERITAS will map Venus’ surface.

They are dubbed as DAVINCI+ (short for Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gases, Chemistry, and Imaging) and VERITAS (an acronym for Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography, and Spectroscopy). DAVINCI+ It will measure the composition of the dense Venusian atmosphere and will seek to improve the understanding of how it evolved. DAVINCI+ will also consist of a fly-by spacecraft and an atmospheric descent probe. It is expected to return the first high-resolution images of the unique geological characteristics on Venus called ‘tesserae’. Scientists have believed that those features may be comparable to the continents of Earth and suggest that Venus has plate tectonics. VERITAS It will map the surface of Venus from orbit to help in determining its geological history and why it was developed so differently from Earth. Venus is the second planet from the sun and is Earth’s closest planetary neighbour. It is similar in structure to Earth but slightly smaller, with a diameter of about 12,000 kilometres (7,500 miles). Above Venus’s foreboding landscape lies a toxic, thick atmosphere that consists primarily of carbon dioxide, along with clouds of sulfuric acid droplets. It results in a runaway greenhouse effect that bakes the surface of the planet at temperatures as high as 880 degrees Fahrenheit (471 Celsius), which is hot enough to melt lead. Venus has also lately received less scientific attention than Mars and other solar system destinations. While announcing the mission, NASA’s associated administrator for science stated that NASA will be reviving the planetary science program with intense exploration of a world that NASA has not visited in over 30 years.

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