In view of a mutated variant of Covid-19 detected in the UK and elsewhere, the NITI Aayog clarified on Tuesday that there is no need to panic. It also said that this mutated and more aggressive strain of the novel coronavirus—which was first identified in the UK in September—has not been seen in India so far.
The new strain, which the initial data suggests is at least 70% more easily transmitted, has sparked concern worldwide, amid surging infection rates in the UK.
“The new strain or mutation of (the) coronavirus in the United Kingdom has not been seen in India, so far,” Dr V.K. Paul, a member of government think-tank NITI Aayog, said. “(And) as of now, it has no impact on the potential of vaccines being developed in our country and (which) are available in other countries,” he added.
India has joined over 25 other countries in imposing a temporary ban on all flights to and from the UK; the ban begins midnight Wednesday and will be in place till 31 December.
Dr Paul also said that the UK strain does not increase the severity of Covid-19 disease or impact the propensity of vaccines available. “As per the information available from the UK where the mutated variant was detected, it does not increase the severity of the disease, deaths and rate of hospitalisation. Besides, the studies also suggest that the available vaccines against the SARS-CoV-2 are effective on the mutated strain as well,” he said. “So there is no need to panic,” Paul added.
A new variant of SARS-CoV 2 virus, which is under investigation, has been reported by the UK government to the World Health Organization (WHO). This variant is estimated by the European Center for Disease Control (ECDC) to be more transmissible and affecting the younger population.
Scientists in the UK have observed 17 changes or mutations in the latest variant. One of the most significant mutations is the ‘N501Y’ mutation in the spike protein that the virus uses to bind to the human ACE2 receptor. Changes in this part of the spike protein is responsible for the virus becoming more infectious and spreading further easily between people.
To contain the mutated variant from infiltrating the Indian population, The Indian government, besides temporarily banning flights from the UK, has also ordered mandatory RT-PCR tests for the patients arriving from the UK. As per the latest information, 5 passengers were found to be Covid-19 positive on Tuesday.
The Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry has asked state governments to send the samples of the passengers who tested positive on arrival from the UK to National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune or any other appropriate lab for genomic sequencing study.
The genomic sequencing study would determine if the Covid patients are carrying the existing strain of SARS-CoV-2 or the mutant strain which was discovered in the UK.
If the samples indicate the presence of the new variant, the patient will continue to remain in a separate isolation unit while necessary treatment as per the existing protocol will be given, the Ministry said.
WITH AGENCY INPUTS
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CLOUD-BASED TECHNOLOGY TRANSFORMING BUSINESSES
Several fintech businesses have outmanoeuvred their rivals by embracing the SaaS model.
The groundbreaking SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) idea has the potential to disrupt many industries, including banking. SaaS, being a cloud-based technology, may assist both fintech startups and banks, particularly in satisfying regulatory requirements and providing security to their consumers. Without a doubt, SaaS is gaining popularity among financial services organizations due to its promises of more business flexibility, faster deployment, and support for an open ecosystem.
Symbiotic relationship between SaaS platforms and Fintech growth
The Fintech approach, which makes use of the resourceful SaaS foundation, allows businesses to access and utilise cloud-based applications rather than purchasing or building their own software. Financial firms may reap advantages such as end-to-end cost reductions, data security, scalability, and agility from the fintech industry. PwC, a well-known rating agency, predicts that more fintech businesses will utilise SaaS to address concerns generated by the post-Covid environment.
Understanding the significance of the SaaS model is not rocket science. According to Financesonline.com, the SaaS market capitalization will reach $623 billion by 2023. The use of the SaaS model in the fintech industry may foster innovation and creativity while also improving efficiency and profitability. Fintech companies can also save huge amounts of operational capital every year because of SaaS. This is not possible with the traditional model, in which companies hire experts.
SaaS solutions are extremely scalable, allowing a financial institution to digitally alter its operations while boosting security and enhancing compliance. It is also feasible to minimise physical footprints and increase efficiency via automation. By embracing the SaaS model for online transactions, several fintech businesses have outmanoeuvred their rivals and the banking and finance industry at large. FinTech lenders, for example, might accept business loan applications online, process them in minutes, and send the money to qualified customers a day or two later.
What makes SaaS a magic sauce for Fintech growth
SaaS platforms have shown the power of open platforms in the open-platform vs. patented technology argument over the last several decades. This has given SaaS a long-term viability and scalability that was previously unheard of, particularly in the financial services sector. For a fraction of the price, fintech companies have started bringing in the bulk of the capabilities that sophisticated legacy systems had inside mega banks.
There was a chance to develop an ecosystem with the use of open application programming interfaces (APIs) to allow banks to interact with these fintech partners, who could bring in novel processes and products at a relatively low cost and with relatively low usage of resources. It is also critical to incorporate outside innovation into an internal environment dominated by legacy technologies in financial organizations. The necessity to start small, to be nimble, and to expand with the market’s and customers’ ever-changing needs is obvious.
The maturation of SaaS models has aided the rise of APIs in the financial services sector, while laws such as the Payment Services Directive (PSD2) are driving banks to establish and promote open platforms. While API-based SaaS platforms have opened up a wide market and empowered the developer community, they have also contributed to the abolition of faceless goods that dominated conventional industries. It has also aided in the extraction of enormous value from data and innovative system integrations, which is now shared across a bigger and more powerful ecosystem.
The triple-edged efficiency of SaaS
Scalability, sustainability, and convenience are the three pillars furnished by SaaS to the Fintech ecosystem. The compulsions in the financial sector are being addressed by the three pillars of a SaaS delivery model. Scalability and the need to quickly add new products to existing systems, as well as a high level of data and platform security and the ability to better control costs, are all reasons why SaaS models are the delivery method of choice for banks around the world, both big and small. It is also the best strategy for working with banks, development communities, incubator programs, and data suppliers in the ever-expanding fintech ecosystem. All of this is wrapped up in a customer experience layer that is easy to use and lets business users, with only a little technical knowledge, launch products in a way that is good for business.
This transformation of SaaS-based delivery models into revenue-generating and customer-driven ones is beneficial to all parties involved. Some issues persist, but the overall contribution of proprietary and open businesses built on the SaaS cloud to the financial services sector has been spectacular. If the total cost of ownership data for the manufacturing sector is any indication, the collaborative delivery models that have recently been brought to the market will almost certainly have an almost immediate effect on banks’ total expenses.
Rahul Meena is the founder and CEO of Treflo.
‘SYL’ SPARKS CONTROVERSY AMONG HARYANVI YOUTH
The last song of singer Sidhu Moosewala, ‘SYL’ released after his demise is said to have sparked the dispute pending for decades over water sharing between Punjab and Haryana and also featured visuals of controversial figures. Sutlej Yamuna Link’s abbreviated form is SYL, which contains a topic about the same. The Singer starts the song with controversial lines, “Give us our social history and our families back. Return Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh, and Haryana to us. In case you do not give us sovereigntyand authority. We will not even give a drop of water to anyone,” stirring up controversy and resulting in anger among the people of Haryana for the slain singer Moosewala. In response, a number of Haryanvi musicians have also sought to express their rage and agony in the same way, stalking their claims over the SYL problem.
A song named ‘SYL-Haryanvi’ by a Haryanvi musician claims that Haryana owns 50% of the SYL water. In response to Moosewala’s song, the songs ‘Tipka-Tipka Koni-Paani Aadha Lewange’ and ‘Haq Sai Mara SYL’ became popular on YouTube and other media. These songs reflect the ire of Haryana residents who delayed the release of SYL water in defiance of Supreme Court orders. Other than this, a number of additional songs that are popular among Haryana residents have become the talk of the state›s towns and can be found on social media.
Millions of views on YouTube for these songs are a clear sign of their popularity. In addition, a different Haryanvi artist released a song on the same subject in reaction to Moosewala’s declaration that we will take our fair share of the water. The song is currently receiving widespread distribution throughout the state. These Haryanvi songs continue to feature images from the farm protest that express the feelings of how the Haryana agricultural community welcomed the protesters from Punjab.
MUKHTAR ANSARI, HIS WIFE STAYED TOGETHER IN JAIL IN CONGRESS TENURE: AAP
The Jail Minister orders FIR and probe after receiving a Rs. 55 lakh bill from an SC lawyer.
Punjab Jail Minister Harjot Bains created a sensation on Tuesday in the state Assembly when he disclosed that the previous Congress government spent Rs. 55 lakh to hire a Supreme Court lawyers to protect Mukhtar Ansari instead of handing him over to the UP Police. The Jail Minister said that the then Congress government had registered a fake FIR against Mukhtar Ansari and did not even present a challan against him. Ansari was lodged in Ropar Jail in Punjab in 2019 in a extortion case.
Making the revelation in the House, the minister said that this was a serious matter. The gangster had, while in Ropar Jail, a whole barrack to him and given VIP treatment. His wife also stayed with him in the barrack.
To get Ansari’s custody, the UP Police issued production warrants 26 times but he was not handed him over to them. The UP government moved the Supreme Court. The then Congress government hired a well-known lawyer in the Supreme Court to help Ansari and the Punjab Government has now received a bill of Rs. 55 lakh.
Bains also informed the House that he has ordered to register an FIR and investigation into the matter.
Ansari was accused of demanding Rs. 10 crore from a builder in Mohali. He was brought to Mohali on a production warrant by the Punjab Police and was lodged in Ropar jail since January 2019. He was handed over to the UP Police upon a Supreme Court order in April last year.
Mukesh Ambani resigns from Reliance Jio Board, Akash new Chairman
Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani has resigned from the board of Reliance Jio handing over reigns to his elder son Akash Ambani, who will be Chairman of the Board of Directors.
In a stock exchange filing, Reliance Jio Infocomm said the company’s board has approved the appointment of Akash M Ambani, non-executive director, as chairman of the board of directors of the company.” It said that the Board of Directors in their meeting held on June 27 noted the resignation of Mukesh D Ambani as Director of the company effective from the close of working hours on June 27, 2022.
Akash has been closely involved with the disruptive and inclusive growth path charted by the digital services and consumer retail propositions of Reliance group and is now leading the creation of the ‘convergence dividend’ for over 500 million consumers, digitally and with high-inclusivity across geographies and income levels.
His elevation as Chairman of Reliance Jio Infocomm recognises the specific contributions made by him to the digital services journey and rededicates him to even higher levels of responsibilities, going forward.
Mukesh Ambani will continue to be the Chairman of Jio Platforms Ltd, the flagship company that owns all Jio digital services brands including Reliance Jio Infocomm.
Akash Ambani, who has graduated from Brown University with a major in Economics, has been closely involved with the creation of the digital ecosystem around Jio’s 4G proposition. He was closely involved with a team of engineers in inventing and launching an India-specs focussed Jiophone in 2017 which became quite a revolutionary device to take many people out of 2G to 4G.
Akash personally led the key acquisitions made by Jio in the digital space in the last few years and has also been keenly involved with the development of new technologies and capabilities including AI-ML and blockchain.
He was integrally involved in the trailblazing global investments by tech majors and investors in 2020, which in many ways catapulted Jio onto the global investor map.
Akash is expected to continue to operate on the cutting-edges of innovation and technology to encourage an ecosystem that will further digital solutions and make the power of data and technology more accessible to all, including those who are still at the margin.
Amid new Russia sanctions, Modi sticks to India-first mantra
Perched 1000 metres above sea level in the Bavarian Alps, in the pristine Schloss Elmau resort Prime Minister Narendra Modi introduced G7 leaders to the Indian way of an eco-friendly LIFE and underscored New Delhi’s India-first foreign policy as he focused on knock-down effects of the Ukraine crisis on food crisis and energy crisis.
As the Group of 7 club of the world’s wealthiest nations vowed to stand with Ukraine “for as long as it takes”, and decided tighten the squeeze on Russia’s finances with new sanctions that include a gold export ban and a proposal to cap the price of Russian oil, Mr Modi pitched for diplomacy and dialogue to resolve the festering crisis. In the two sessions he spoke at the G7 summit, PM Modi called for an immediate or as early as a possible end to the hostilities and advocated the path of dialogue and diplomacy to resolve the situation. “Even in the present situation, we have constantly urged for the path of dialogue and diplomacy. The impact of this geopolitical tension is not just limited to Europe. The rising prices of energy and food grains are affecting all the countries,” he said at the session on “Stronger Together: Addressing Food Security and Advancing Gender Equality” at the G7 Summit here.
The Ukraine crisis dominated the agenda at the June 26-28 G7 summit, and figured in bilateral discussions PM Modi had with some G7 leaders. Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra placed India’s nuanced position on Ukraine in perspective. The prime minister very strongly put forward his view on the knockdown effect of the Russia-Ukraine conflict,” he said at the media briefing at Kempinsky hotel.
Indicating that India will not cut down oil imports from Russia just to please the international community, PM Modi explained that “India would continue to do what it thinks is best in the interest of our own energy security when it comes to the question of global oil trade,” said India’s top diplomat. PM Modi made a valuable contribution to the G7 discourse on global food security by stressing India’s efforts to ensure the food security situation of the vulnerable economies.
India’s position on the polarising Ukraine crisis, grounded in its strategic autonomy, has earned appreciation from G7 leaders. “I think our position which the Prime Minister articulated during the G7 Summit was well understood. I would even say it was appreciated by his counterpart leaders from other countries,” Mr Kwatra said.
Enhancing multilateral coordination to combat corrosive effects of climate change featured prominently in G7 discussions. While
German President Olaf Scholz raised the bar and pushed hard for a climate club of green-minded nations, Prime Minister Narendra Modi showcased India as a model for developing countries for taking decisive action to curb climate change. Blaming the rich world for the current global crisis, Mr Modi exhorted rich countries to support India’s climate mitigation efforts and called for expanding the constituency of Triple-P pro-planet people. Alluding to the launch of the Global Initiative for LiFE (Lifestyle for the Environment) campaign last year, the Indian leader stressed that “the goal of this campaign is to encourage an eco-friendly lifestyle.” “We can call the followers of this movement Triple-P i.e. ‘pro planet people’, and we should all take the responsibility of increasing the number of Triple-P people in our own countries. This will be our greatest contribution to the coming generations.”
With the world leaders listening in, PM Modi highlighted a host of pioneering steps taken by India for green growth like achieving the target of 10 per cent ethanol blending in petrol five months before the deadline and the target of 40 percent energy-capacity from non-fossil sources 9 years before time.”
In the two days PM Modi spent in Munich, PM Modi, besides speaking at G7 sessions, held a string of bilateral meetings with the leaders of Germany, Argentina, Canada, Indonesia, South Africa and the president of the European Commission. Camaraderie, conviviality and comfort marked PM Modi’s interactions with world leaders.The enthusiasm and back-slapping with which he was greeted by world leaders showcased Modi’s rising stature as an international statesman who is consistently shaping the global agenda by aligning national goals with international obligations of India. US President Joe Biden walking up to meet PM Modi just as the latter was cosseted with Canadian PM Justin Trudeau is one of the more captivating photos to emerge from the G7 summit this year.
The overarching message that emanated from the latest edition of the G7 summit is the growing recognition of India’s indispensability to addressing cross-cutting issues ranging from climate change and pandemic control to food and energy security. India is looked upon as a solution provider and part of any sustained effort to solve the challenges which are currently being faced by the world,” said Foreign Secretary Kwatra.
(Manish Chand is CEO-Editor-in-Chief, India Writes Network, and India and The World magazine. He is Director, Centre for Global Insights India, a think tank focused on global affairs. He is in Munich to report on and analyse G7 summit.
Maharashtra wants Fadnavis-led BJP govt: Poll
With uncertainty still looming over Maharashtra political crisis, The Daily Guardian Review (TDGR) on Tuesday conducted a massive poll, bringing the voice of the people of Maharashtra to the forefront.
As per the TDGR poll, the people of Maharashtra want an alliance of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena to come to power, with Devendra Fadnavis as the chief minister. The majority of the respondents stated that Uddhav Thackeray went against Hindutva ideology and that is the main reason for the rebellion within Shiv Sena. In the wake of the rebellion, it is the Eknath Shinde camp that actually controls Shiv Sena, as per the respondents. At the same time, the respondents were divided over how should a decision be arrived at on questions raised over the majority status of the MVA government.
When asked which party would they like to see form a government in Maharashtra, the majority of the respondents (42.19%) said that they would like to see an alliance of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena come to power. 32.15% respondents voted in favour of the BJP, 17.23% were in favour of an alliance between the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP)BJP and only 8.42% voted for Congress-NCP-Shiv Sena alliance.
Devendra Fadnavis emerged as the most preferred choice for the post of the chief minister of Maharashtra with 35.20% of respondents voting in favour of him. 23.58% of the respondents wanted Uddhav Thackeray to retain the chief minister’s seat. Eknath Shinde might claim the support of a majority number of MLAs, but only 19.20% respondents want to see him become the chief minister of Maharashtra. 16.62% respondents voted in support of Supriya Sule, whereas only 5.41% respondents voted in favour of Raj Thackeray.
34.70% respondents believe Uddhav Thackeray went against Hindutva Ideology and that is the main reason for the rebellion within Shiv Sena. 30.22% respondents said that Uddhav shut doors of CM house for MLAs and public. 20.48% respondents attributed Sharad Pawar’s overarching role in running MVA government behind the Shiv Sena rebellion. Giving Aaditya Thackeray number 2 position in MVA government (8.04%) and Sanjay Raut’s instigating remarks and statements (6.57%) were not substantial reasons for the rebellion, according to the respondents.
Two-third of the respondents (34.08%) stated that Eknath Shinde›s camp is controlling Shiv Sena in the wake of his rebellion against the party. About 26.51% respondents said they couldn’t say who controls Shiv Sena, whereas 24.03% respondents said that Thackeray family controls the party. Only 15.38% respondents said Sanjay Raut controls the party.
The respondents were divided over how should a decision be arrived at on questions raised over the majority status of MVA government. 27.74% respondents said rebel MLAs should be paraded in front of the governor, 26.74% respondents said the speaker must decide, 24.73% suggested a floor test in the legislative assembly and 20.79% respondents said the Supreme Court must decide the fate of the Maharashtra government.
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