Baroda News

Gujarat’s ‘swimming camels’ are ‘endangered mammals’

Kharai camels (their name is derived from the local word khara, meaning saline) ‘swim’ along the Gulf of Kutch during the rainy season to small forest islands and graze on mangroves and other saline-loving plants. Their ‘swimming’ ability is an exceptional trait developed due to the climatic conditions of the Gulf of Kutch. The destruction of mangroves and the loss of vegetation have resulted in fast dwindling numbers of these magnificent creatures. In order to save the kharai breed, the Kutch Camel Breeders Association (KCBA) has written to the government calling for the conservation of mangroves in three talukas of Kutch – the sole grazing area for the camels. KCBA wants the government to declare the coastal areas of Bhachau, Abdasa, and Lakhpat as Biodiversity Heritage Sites under the Biological Diversity Act, 2002. It also wants community forest rights under the Forest Rights Act, 2006. There are about 4,000 Kharai camels in Gujarat, and they are identified as a distinct breed by the National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources. The camels have been in the ‘endangered mammals’ category of the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) since March 2019. (20-09-2021)

Forensic Science University in Gandhinagar to set up more campuses

The National Forensic Science University (NFSU) in Gandhinagar plans to set up 10 campuses in different states and five abroad over the next five years. This is part of a plan of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to incorporate forensic sciences into the police and judicial systems of states. NFSU functions under MHA. NFSU, aligned with the Gujarat state Directorate of Forensic Sciences Laboratory, is India's premier laboratory for forensic sciences and technical investigation. Earlier known as Gujarat Forensic Sciences University (GFSU), it was upgraded as NFSU last year. The land and infrastructure for setting up campuses will be provided by the respective state governments while the faculty, resources and equipment will be facilitated by NFSU Gandhinagar. (20-09-2021)

TRAI data shows a spurt in internet subscribers in Gujarat in 2020

The number of internet subscribers went up in 2020, because more people were working from home.

  • Gujarat had 4.8 crore internet subscribers as on December 31, 2020, against 4.4 crore a year in 2019.
  • More and more people opted for both broadband and mobile internet connections.
  • Even education went online.
  • The number of connections grew in both rural and urban areas.
  • The rate of increase was faster in the rural areas than in the urban areas (but on a lower base).
  • Rural internet subscribers grew by 13% – from 1.31 crore in 2019 to 1.47 crore in 2020.
  • Urban internet subscriber numbers grew by 8.9% – from 3.12 crore to 3.41 crore.
  • The number of narrowband subscribers fell, the number of broadband subscribers increased.
  • The requirement for bandwidth went up.
  • There was increasing use of video calling and video conferencing, and greater need for constant internet connectivity and greater online streaming of content.
(20-09-2021)

‘School health clinics’ will be set up in 15 government schools

Clinics equipped to provide physical and mental health services for students will be set up on a pilot basis in 15 government schools in Delhi. The ‘school health clinics’ – along the lines of Delhi’s mohalla clinics – will be exclusively for students and will be operational during school hours. The clinics will operate from porta cabins installed in the school premises and will be staffed by a doctor, a nurse, a public health specialist, and a psychologist. The primary healthcare services will include diagnosis, treatment and prevention, for free. (20-09-2021)

Delhi-Mumbai Expressway will get toll revenue of Rs. 1,000 crore per month

The eight-lane Delhi-Mumbai Expressway is expected to be a gold mine for the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).

  • The Centre will get toll revenues worth Rs. 1,000 to Rs. 1,500 crore every month when the Delhi-Mumbai Expressway becomes operational in 2023.
  • The annual toll income of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) will increase to Rs. 1.40 lakh crore in the next five years from the current Rs. 40,000 crore.
  • The eight-lane expressway – covering Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat – will cut the commute time between Delhi and Mumbai from 24 hours to 12 hours.
(19-09-2021)

33% of Gujarat’s eligible persons have received both jabs

Gujarat now has 33% of its eligible population – that is, people over 18 years of age – fully vaccinated.

  • As of 18th September, 1.64 crore out of 4.93 crore eligible persons were fully vaccinated.
  • 3.96 crore people – 80.5% of the eligible population –. have taken at least one dose.
  • Gujarat tops in both first and second dose coverage in India.
  • Karnataka comes second with 56% and 21% coverage for first and second doses, and Madhya Pradesh third with 55% and 15% coverage respectively.
(19-09-2021)

Elaborate arrangements made for immersions of Ganesh idols on Sunday

To ensure that everything is peaceful during the immersion of Ganesh idols on Sunday, the Vadodara police have made elaborate arrangements and deployed a fairly large force.

  • The authorities will oversee the immersions of about 600 community idols – and many from individual homes – at four artificial ponds.
  •  Hundreds of cops will be on duty: 11 deputy commissioners, 22 assistant commissioners, 80 inspectors, 156 sub-inspectors, 2,809 assistant sub-inspectors, 3,000 home guard personnel and 10 companies of the state reserve police force.
  • Ten roads have been declared as no-parking zones.
  • 34 roads have been reserved for immersion processions near Mandvi, Laheripura Gate, Maharani Shantadevi junction, Lalbaug, Kothi, Soma Talav, Harni-Sama link Road and Gorwa pond. Vehicles will be banned on these roads.
  • Community leaders and organisers have been requested to complete immersions according to the arranged schedules.
(19-09-2021)

No access to civic facilities in Ahmedabad without jab certificate

From September 20, vaccination will be mandatory in Ahmedabad in order to access facilities, services and buildings run by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC).

  • Without the Covid vaccination certificate (physical or digital), citizens will not be able to go to the Sabarmati Riverfront, Kankaria Lakefront or the zoo.
  • The certificate will be needed to enter city civic centers, public buildings, gyms, sports complexes, swimming pools run by AMC.
  • The certificate will be needed to board AMTS and BRTS buses.
  • Entry will be allowed only for persons having one or both doses (if eligible). The rule applies to anyone above 18 years of age who has not taken the first dose or those who have not taken the second dose despite being eligible for the same.
Ahmedabad will be among the first cities of India to make vaccination mandatory to access civic services. (18-09-2021)

Too many fake currency seizures in Gujarat

Gujarat has the dubious ‘distinction’ of being the state with the third highest seizures of fake currency in India. Maharashtra and West Bengal are the two states which are ahead of Gujarat. Last year Gujarat held the first position. The police say that one reason for this is that the state shares its border with Pakistan; fake currency is smuggled into the country through the sea and land border. Also, there are several businesses that are conducted in cash, which makes it easier for fake currency to circulate. Trade bodies organise programmes periodically to make businessmen aware of such rackets. (18-09-2021)

Vehicle scrap plant coming at Kheda

A vehicle scrap facility is being set up at Kheda by CMR Kataria.

  • The company has signed an MoU with the state government for this purpose.
  • The end-of-life scrapping centre will have an annual capacity of 15,000 four-wheelers, 2,500 commercial vehicles, and 50,000 two-wheelers.
  • It will have the latest equipment and software to carry out end-to-end activities.
(18-09-2021)

Over 22,000 engineering seats are vacant after mock round of admission

The Admission Committee for Professional Courses (ACPC) has allotted colleges to 27,619 candidates on the basis of their choices in the mock round of admission.

  • 22,194 seats in various engineering colleges of Gujarat are vacant at the end of the mock round.
  • There are about 62,000 seats for degree engineering courses this year.
  • The admission is for 16 government-run, four grant-in-aid, one autonomous, and 113 self-financed colleges.
  • About 53,400 seats are of self-financed colleges.
  • ACPC aims to fill 50% of the seats, the remaining seats are to be filled by colleges.
  • The new academic year is expected to start in September.
  • Last year, for the 64,000 seats available, 28,748 admissions were confirmed.
(17-09-2021)

Mr. Rajendra Trivedi included in Gujarat cabinet

Two-time MLA from Vadodara advocate Mr. Rajendra Suryaprasad Trivedi (also known as Rajubhai Vakil) has been given important portfolios in Mr. Bhupendra Patel’s cabinet. He has been given the revenue, law and justice, parliamentary affairs and disaster management portfolios. He was briefly minister of state (MOS), sports, youth & cultural affairs before the 2017 assembly elections, after which he was speaker of the Gujarat assembly. He discontinued his practice as an advocate in 2016. (17-09-2021)

State had the second highest pendency of court cases in 2020

The National Crime Records Bureau’s (NCRB) has just released its report on ‘Crime in India 2020’. Some findings from Gujarat:

  • Gujarat had the second highest pendency of cases in the country in 2020, just as in 2019 and 2018.
  • Last year over 13.7 lakh cases registered under the Indian Penal Code and over 21 lakh cases registered under state laws are pending trial in different courts.
  • The pendency of cases saw a rise of above 19% over the previous year, and the pendency rate of these cases rose by 5.9%.
  • Lawyers say that the reason for this is Covid related restrictions. Due to the lockdown, only urgent cases like bail applications were being heard. Also, a high number of FIRs were registered for violation of Covid guidelines.
(17-09-2021)

Delhi-Mumbai Expressway will halve travel time

Being built at a cost of Rs. 98,000 crore, the Delhi-Mumbai expressway is likely to be completed by March 2023.

  • The expressway will be the longest in India.
  • The 1380-km eight-lane expressway – passing through Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat – may halve the travelling time between Delhi and Mumbai from nearly 24 hours to 12 hours and shorten the distance by 130 km.
  • This will generate annual fuel savings of more than 320 million litres and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 850 million kg, which is equivalent to the planting of 40 million trees.
  • The expressway will have wayside amenities – resorts, restaurants, food courts, fuel stations, facilities for truckers, logistics parks – at six points in Haryana.
  • A helicopter ambulance service for accident victims is being planned.
  • Over two million trees and shrubs are planned to be planted along the highway.
  • The expressway is the first in Asia and the second in the world to feature animal overpasses to facilitate unrestricted movement of wildlife.
  • The first phase from Delhi-Jaipur (Dausa)-Lalsot and Vadodara-Ankleshwar may be opened to traffic by March 2022.
  • The eight-lane expressway can be expanded to 12 lanes depending on the volume of traffic in the future.
(16-09-2021)

Carbon dioxide sequestered in plantations can be monetised

The Gujarat Forest Department’s social forestry division will launch a pilot project to monetise carbon dioxide sequestered in agroforestry plantations.

  • The aim is to supplement the income of farmers engaged in agroforestry.
  • The pilot project will assess the amount of carbon dioxide sequestered in 85 lakh trees, and then monitise it by selling it to industries in the form of carbon credits and help them to offset their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
  • The department has identified agroforestry plantations spread over 11,150 hectares in Anand, Kheda, Mehsana, Panchmahal and Bharuch.
  • These plantations are on land belonging to 9,781 farmers in 948 villages.
  • The forest department will implement the project in collaboration with the farmers, New Delhi-based The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), and VNV Advisory, a Bengaluru-based private firm specialising in integrated financial models for climate mitigation and adaptations projects.
  • The annual carbon sequestration capacity of these plantations is estimated to be around three lakh tonnes of carbon dioxide.
  • The farmers who may benefit from the project have done the agroforestry plantations by taking government assistance ranging from Rs.15 per tree to Rs.16,000 per hectare over a four-year period.
  • A farmer may perhaps get an additional revenue of Rs. 300 per tree per year.
  • This will be a 30-year long project with five-yearly monetisation cycles.
(16-09-2021)

Students invent sanitisation box for kirana shops

A group of engineering students in Bengaluru have invented a sanitisation box by developing a technology to use multimetals (panchaloha alloys – gold, silver, copper, zinc and iron) in close proximity with UV rays. Their ‘Advanced UV Sanitisation Chamber’ enables sanitisation of currency notes and other items. It was picked as the winner of the national-level Chhatra Vishwakarma Awards by the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE). Their innovation is designed to help kirana shopkeepers and their customers. The students are from Bengaluru’s CMR Institute of Technology (CMRIT). (16-09-2021)

Anand based NDDB will help Assam to promote dairy industry

The Assam government wants to promote dairying as a commercially viable livelihood in the state. The Anand based National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) and the Assam government will form a special purpose vehicle (SPV) towards this end. Assam wants to achieve a target of handling around 10 lakh litres of milk per day in the first phase. The state will create processing infrastructures and village level institutions to market milk and milk products. Productivity enhancement of milch animals will be achieved through artificial insemination, usage of sex-sorted semen, induction of high yielding animals, calf rearing programmes and interventions in feed and fodder. Earlier, NDDB had taken over the management of the West Assam Cooperative Milk Union (WAMUL). (15-09-2021)

Indian investors may be able to trade in US stocks

To boost retail participation at Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City) in Gandhinagar, the NSE International Exchange or NSE IFSC, a wholly owned subsidiary of National Stock Exchange India Ltd, plans to launch an initiative to allow Indian investors to buy and sell stocks of 50 US-listed companies listed in the S&P top 500 like Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Alphabet, Tesla, Facebook and Netflix. To begin with, NSE IFSC wants to open 10,000 trading accounts to attract millennials and HNIs. The entire trading, clearing, settlement and holding of US stocks will be in GIFT City under the regulatory structure of IFSC authority. Currently, one can open an international trading account through any of the foreign trading platforms to invest in US stocks or buy international mutual funds. With this new product, investors can hold the depository receipts in their demat account opened in GIFT City. The price discovery will also take place at NSE IFSC and arbitrage will also happen here in future. About 60 broking firms have already set up their operations at GIFT City. Indian retail investors will be able to transact on NSE IFSC platform under the Liberalized Remittance Scheme limits prescribed by the Reserve Bank of India to the tune of $250,000 (Rs 1.84 crore approx) per financial year. (15-09-2021)

Karnataka’s ITIs will offer six new course combos

The Karnataka State Council for Vocational Training has approved six new course combinations as part of an initiative to convert 150 select ITIs into ‘technology hubs’ and keep up with emerging trends in the industrial sector. All the 150 ITIs have been picked in collaboration with Tata Technologies.
The new combinations include:

  • Battery Electric Vehicle (two-year-course)
  • Basics of Design & Virtual Verification (two-year-course)
  • Advance Manufacturing (one-year course)
  • Artisan Using Advanced Tools (one-year course)
  • Industrial Robotics & Digital Manufacture (one-year course)
  • Manufacturing Process Control Automation (one-year course)
Final approval is awaited from the National Council for Vocational Education Training (NCVET). (15-09-2021)

Night curfew in eight cities extended till September 25

The night curfew in eight cities due to the Covid-19 pandemic has been extended till September 25. The curfew is in place from 11 pm to 6 am in Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, Rajkot, Junagadh, Bhavnagar, Jamnagar and Gandhinagar. All other restrictions imposed in the last order issued on July 29 will remain in place till September 25, including permitting eateries to function till 10 pm and capping of the attendance at public functions to 400. (14-09-2021)

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