Mastercard’s global index ranks India high on digital payments’ front

In what could give a bit of boost to the Modi government’s digital drive, India has been categorised as a country with a high potential in terms of digital payments in a global index of 60 countries.

The country has been clubbed under the ‘Break Out’ segment, according to the Digital Evolution Index 2017 that was unveiled on Thursday by The Fletcher School at Tufts University in the United States (US) in partnership with Mastercard.

The ‘Break Out’ segment refers to countries that have relatively lower absolute levels of digital advancement, yet remain poised for growth and are attractive to investors by virtue of their potential.

The Digital Evolution Index tracks the progress countries have made in developing their digital economies and integrating connectivity into the lives of READ MORE

Medical visas: No restrictions on foreign patients except Pak, says govt

India has not imposed any restrictions on medical visas for foreign patients but in case of those from Pakistan, a recommendation letter from Advisor to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs is required for obtaining a visa, the Lok Sabha was informed on Thursday.
In a written reply, Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh said the government has issued more than a lakh of medical visas so far in this year.

 

The government has not put any restrictions on medical visas for foreign patients, and requests for such visas for urgent medical cases are expeditiously processed and issued on the same day, he said.
“However, in case of Pakistan, we ask for recommendations letter from Advisor to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, to process genuine and urgent cases,” Singh read more

18 people die of tuberculosis every day, says NGO’s study, govt denies data

India’s richest municipal corporation has denied nonprofit Praja Foundation’s assessment–made from the corporation’s own data–that 18 people die of tuberculosis every day, even as Praja Foundation claims the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has no way of knowing if the assessment is wrong because it cannot access its own death-related data ever since it moved to a new software.

The assessment, released two weeks back, was based on data accessed through Right to Information (RTI) filings from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which refutes its conclusions saying the data has been put together “unscientifically.”

Praja Foundation alleges that the BMC switched to a new software in December 2015, whose design prevents it from accessing its own data on mortality, leaving it with no way of knowing if Praja Foundation’s estimate is incorrect.

What the report said

In its The State of Health of Mumbai report, Praja Foundation assessed that 6,472 Mumbaikars died of tuberculosis during 2016-17–nearly 18 people read more

Gujarat floods: PM Modi announces Rs 500-cr relief fund, death toll at 60

Even as low pressure continues to cause heavy rains and flooding in several regions of Gujarat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who conducted an aerial survey on Tuesday, announced a Rs 500-crore central assistance to the state disaster relief fund (SDRF).

PM Modi conducted an aerial survey of the Banaskantha district, the most affected region in the state, forcing the Indian Air Force (IAF), the national disaster relief force (NDRF) and other state agencies conduct rescue operations.

In the past 24 hours, districts of Banaskantha, Patan and Sabarkantha in North Gujarat have seen at least 12 talukas receive over 200 mm of rainfall, as per the state emergency operations centre. At least three IAF helicopters were pressed into service for airlifting locals and the distribution of food packets in Banaskantha, apart from the Indian Army rescuing stranded people using boats.

North Gujarat has, so far, seen over 500,000 food packets being distributed in the affected areas.

Followed by the air survey, PM Modi was apprised of the rainfall and flooding situation across Gujarat by the state government officials in a meeting attended by Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and READ MORE

How Google search can be used to track dengue in underdeveloped countries

An analytical tool that uses Google search data can quickly and accurately track dengue fever in less-developed countries, and could enable faster response to outbreaks, scientists say.

The research builds on a methodology previously developed by the team to track influenza in the US.
The mathematical modelling tool, known as “AutoRegression with GOogle search queries” (ARGO), revived hopes in 2015 that internet search data could help health officials track diseases after earlier systems like Google Flu Trends and Google Dengue Trends returned poor results.

Dengue, a mosquito-borne virus that infects about 390 million people each year, is often difficult to monitor with traditional hospital-based reporting due to inefficient communication, but dengue-related Google searches could provide faster alerts.

The researchers used Google’s “Trends” tool to track the top ten dengue-related search queries made by users in each country during the study period.
They also gathered historical dengue data from government health agencies and READ MORE