Daily PIB News (June 17-18, 2020): PM Launches Auction Process Of Coal Blocks For Commercial Mining; Umifenovir Secures DCGI Approval For Phase III Clinical Trial

KVIC taps Indian Palm Industry

The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) has rolled out a unique project to produce Neera and Palmgur which has huge potential to create employment in the country. The project that aims at promoting Neera as a substitute to soft drinks while also creating self-employment to Adivasis and  traditional trappers was launched on June 17 at Dahanu in Palghar district of Maharashtra, a state with more than 50 lakh palm trees.

There are approximately 10 crore palm trees across the country. Further, a wide range of products like candies, milk chocolates, palm cola, ice-cream and traditional sweets can be produced from Neera if properly marketed. At present palmgur Neera worth Rs 500 crore is traded in the country. The turnover is likely to increase manifold with commercial production of Neera.

PM launches Auction process of Coal blocks for Commercial mining

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi launched the auction process of 41 coal blocks for commercial mining through video conference from New Delhi on June 18.

  • It was part of the series of announcements made by the Government of India, under the AatmaNirbhar Bharat Abhiyan. The Coal Ministry in association with FICCI launched the process for auction of these coal mines.
  • In 2014, coal linkage was introduced to provide impetus to the coal sector.
  •  India has taken a major decision to fully open the coal and mining sector for increased competition, capital, participation and technology.
  • Reforms in the minerals sector have got strength from coal mining reforms since minerals like iron, bauxite and other minerals are located very close to the coal reserves.
  • While implementing coal reforms, PM said that it has been ensured that India’s commitment to protect the environment doesn’t get weakened.
  • Latest technology can be introduced to make gas from coal and the environment will be protected with steps like coal gasification. Coal gas will be used in transport and cooking while Urea and steel will promote manufacturing industries.
  • The Government has set a target to gasify around 100-million-ton coal by the year 2030 and four projects have been identified for this purpose and around 20 thousand crore rupees will be invested.

Petroleum major BP to set up major new global business services centre in PUNE

  • Petroleum major on June 18 announced plans to set up a major new centre for its global business services (GBS) operations in Pune, India.
  • New centre will employ around 2000 people and will support digital innovation across bp globally.The centre is expected to begin operations by January 2021 and will provide business processing and advanced analytics capabilities in support of bp businesses worldwide.

DBT – AMTZ Mobile Diagnostic Unit Launched

The Minister for Science & Technology, Earth Sciences and Health & Family Welfare Dr Harsh Vardhan inaugurated and flagged off India’s first I-Lab (Infectious disease diagnostic lab) for Covid testing in rural and inaccessible areas of India on June 18.


            The Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science & Technology along with Andhra Pradesh Med-tech Zone (AMTZ) has initiated the DBT-AMTZ COMManD [COVID Medtech Manufacturing Development] Consortia to address the shortage of critical healthcare technologies in India and move progressively towards a stage of self-sufficiency.

            Under this Consortia, India’s first I- lab (infectious disease diagnostic lab) has been built at AMTZ in record time of 8 days from the date of receipt of Automotive Chassis, from Bharat Benz. This is a mobile diagnostic unit with biosafety facility. The I- lab is a BSL-2 facility with on-site ELISA, RT-PCR, Bio chemistry analysers.

CSIR-CDRI’s candidate drug Umifenovir secures DCGI approval for Phase III Clinical Trial

CSIR constituent lab CSIR-Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI) Lucknow, has received permission for carrying out Phase III randomised, Double blind, Placebo controlled trial of efficacy, safety and tolerability of antiviral drug Umifenovir. The Phase III Clinical Trials will be carried out at King George’s Medical University (KGMU), Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Institute of Medical Sciences (RMLIMS) and ERA’s Lucknow Medical College & Hospital, Lucknow.