AarogyaSetu: A multi-dimensional bridge
The Government of India launched a mobile app developed in public-private partnership to bring the people of India together in a resolute fight against COVID-19.
- The App, called ‘AarogyaSetu’ joins Digital India for the health and well-being of every Indian.
- It will enable people to assess themselves the risk for their catching the Corona Virus infection.
- It will calculate this based on their interaction with others, using cutting edge Bluetooth technology, algorithms and artificial intelligence.
- The app can then calculate the risk of infection based on sophisticated parameters if any of these contacts is tested positive.
- The App will help the Government take necessary timely steps for assessing risk of spread of COVID-19 infection, and ensuring isolation where required.
- Available in 11 languages, the App is ready for pan-India use from day-1 and has highly scalable architecture.
- This app is a unique example of the nation’s young talent coming together and pooling resources and efforts to respond to a global crisis.
- It is at once a bridge between public and private sectors, digital technology and health services delivery and the potential of young India with a disease-free and healthy future of the nation.
- In the current calendar year, the India VIX index has jumped fivefold, from around 12 levels to the current 67 levels, which clearly hints that the market perceives that volatility will only increase in the coming days.
- India VIX index is not the first of its kind in the world.
Volatility Index (VIX)
- VIX (Volatility index) is an index used to measure the near term volatility expectations of the markets.
- Volatility signifies the rate and magnitude of change in the stock price or index value.
- The movement in the VIX index reflects the overall market volatility expectations over the next 30 days.
- Given the nature of the index, it is also known as ‘fear gauge’ or ‘fear index’.
- The VIX index was first created by the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) and introduced in 1993 based on the prices of S&P 500 index.
India VIX Index
- It was launched by National Stock Exchange (NSE) in 2010 and is based on the computation methodology of CBOE though amended to align with the Indian markets.
- India VIX indicates the Indian market’s volatility from the investor’s perception.
- Volatility and the value of India VIX move parallel. i.e a spike in the VIX value means the market is expecting higher volatility in the near future and vice versa.
- India VIX also has a strong negative correlation with Nifty. i.e every time India VIX falls, Nifty rises and when India VIX rises, Nifty falls.
- VIX value is among the important parameters that are taken into account for pricing of options contracts, which are one of the most popular derivative instruments.
Pandemic may shave almost 1% of Global economy : UN
UNSC firsts: Adopts 4 resolutions remotely; including “2518” on safety, security of peacekeepers
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) unanimously adopted four resolutions, voting for the first time remotely or through video-conferencing as the United Nations (UN) staff work from home due to the coronavirus outbreak. Importantly, UNSC is currently under China’s Presidency and China’s Ambassador to the UN Zhang Jun is the Council President.
The resolutions adopted unanimously by council are:
- Renewing the mandate for the Panel of Experts working with the 1718 Sanctions Committee for North Korea,
- Extending the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM),
- Maintaining the African Union-United Nations Mission Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) of its current troop and police ceilings,
- Improving safety and security of peacekeepers.
First of its kind Resolution 2518 adopted
- To ensure safety and security of the peacekeepers, the UNSC has unanimously adopted a first of its kind Resolution 2518. The resolution was sponsored by China and co-sponsored by 43 countries.
- It covers areas such as training, health, technology, partnerships, including strengthening training system, improving health security and relief capabilities, requiring peacekeeping missions to strengthen communication with host countries and build mutual trust, improving the level of technology application, strengthening coordination mechanism arrangements, and supporting the African Union and other regional organizations’ capacity-building through partnerships.
- There are currently more than 95,000 peacekeepers on active duty in 13 mission areas.
SBI lists green bonds of USD 100 million on India INX
On April 2, 2020 the State Bank of India (SBI) has listed green bonds of USD 100 million (about Rs 750 crore) under its USD 10 billion global medium term note programme on India International Exchange Limited’s (INX) Global Securities Market Green Platform (GSM).
- SBI has adopted the green bond framework with the objective of creating a positive impact on the environment & this transaction is considered as part of the sustainability journey.
- The funds raised by green bonds are used to finance green projects that do not discharge toxic elements.
What is Green Bond?
- It is a type of fixed income instrument that is specifically reserved for raising money to climate & environmental projects so as to encourage sustainability.
- It is comparatively an attractive investment than a comparable taxable bond, as it provides tax incentives such as tax exemption and tax credits.
Agriculture Minister launches new features of e-NAM Platform
Agriculture Minister launched new features of National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) Platform.
- It will help strengthen agriculture marketing by farmers which will reduce their need to come to wholesale mandis for selling their harvested produce, at a time when there is critical need to decongest mandis to effectively fight against COVID-19.
- These software modules are warehouse based trading module in e-NAM software and Farmer Producer Organisation trading module in e-NAM.
- 585 mandis in 16 States and two Union Territories have been integrated on e-NAM portal.
- e-NAM will be soon expanded to cover additional 415 mandis, which will take the total number of e-NAM mandis to 1,000.
e-NAM provides for contactless remote bidding and mobile-based any time payment for which traders do not need to either visit mandis or banks for the same.
National Agriculture Market (eNAM) is a pan-India electronic trading portal which networks the existing APMC mandis to create a unified national market for agricultural commodities.
- It was launched by the government of India in 2016.
- The eNam provides a single-window service for all APMC related services and information, such as commodity arrivals and prices, provision for responding to the trade offers, buy and sell trade offers, among other services.
- Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC) is the lead agency for implementing eNAM under the aegis of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Government of India
- To promote uniformity in agriculture marketing by streamlining of procedures across the integrated markets, removing the information asymmetry between buyers and sellers and promoting real time price discovery based on actual demand and supply
- Integration of APMCs across the country through a common online market platform to facilitate pan-India trade in agriculture commodities, providing better price discovery through transparent auction process based on quality of produce along with timely online payment