Helpline no. for Kumbh Mela launched


Helpline no. for Kumbh Mela launched

The helpline number, 1902, will remain active round the clock. By dialling the number the devotees could obtain information about traffic, Covid-19, hotels, Kumbh Mela, ‘Shahi Snan,’ and could also register complaints about missing persons and get other details.

Uttarakhand Police launched a helpline number for Kumbh Mela in Haridwar on Tuesday. The helpline number, 1902, will remain active round the clock. By dialling the number the devotees could obtain information about traffic, Covid-19, hotels, Kumbh Mela, ‘Shahi Snan,’ and could also register complaints about missing persons and get other details.

Uttarakhand Police’s Inspector General (Kumbh Mela) Sanjay Gunjyal said, “The helpline will turn helpful for the devotees visiting Har idwar for attending Kumbh Mela.”

After conducting the first Shahi Snan of the Kumbh Mela successfully on 11 March, Uttarakhand Police is all prepared for the next Shahi Snan slated for 12 April.

On 11 March, Haridwar was packed with devotees and it is estimated that about 37 lakh pilgrims took holy dip in Ganga on that day




BJP-led U’khand govt doesn’t hold any event to celebrate its 4th anniversary


BJP-led U’khand govt doesn’t hold any event to celebrate its 4th anniversary

The new Uttarakhand Chief Minister, Tirath Singh Rawat, is more in news these days for his comments on women wearing “ripped jeans” and for comparing Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Lord Ram and Lord Krishna.

Facing a challenging situation, the BJP-led Uttarakhand government decided not to host any function to celebrate the completion of four years of its regime.The recent sudden change in the leadership of the Uttarakhand government, with Tirath Rawat replacing Trivendra Singh Rawat as Chief Minister, derailed all plans of the celebrations for this occasion. The BJP government completed four years in office in the hill state on Thursday.The new Uttarakhand Chief Minister, Tirath Singh Rawat, is more in news these days for his comments on women wearing “ripped jeans” and for comparing Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Lord Ram and Lord Krishna.

When Trivendra Rawat was in power he had chalked out elaborate plans to celebrate the four year of the BJP government by hosting programmes in every state assembly constituency. After Tirath Rawat took charge a sudden and surprising development took place.Uttarakhand Chief Secretary Om Prakash issued a notification on 13 March, ordering cancellation of all the assembly constituency wise programmes to mark the four year completion of the BJP government in Uttarakhand. The withdrawal of programmes has provided opposition parties with a new issue and on Thursday the Aam Admi Party staged a protest march in Dehradun.Uttarakhand Congress president Pritam Singh says, “The public has lost their attachment with BJP due to their anti-people policies. There is anarchy and misery in the state. As a result, every Uttarakhand resident is ready to change the system.”

Seeking to beat the Congress, the BJP government had decided to make Gairsain the summer capital of the hill state. The projects of the central government like the all-weather road connecting the Char Dhams and Rishikesh-Karanprayag rail line project provided the BJP an edge over other political parties. But, suddenly there was a change in guard and now the BJP is struggling to provide clarification on the works done by Trivendra Rawat and actual reasons for his removal.

The people were expecting a big administrative change in the Uttarakhand government. By retaining old ministers and providing them old portfolios, Tirath Rawat has so far failed to provide any clarity on, “How is his governance different from Trivendra Singh Rawat government?” It is early to predict anything, but the new Uttarakhand CM does not seem to have started his leadership innings on a high note.




Covid spike: T’gana HC cautions govt


Covid spike: T’gana HC cautions govt

Governor seeks report on wastage of vaccine in state

Concerned over the rising number of Covid-19 cases Telangana High Court has directed the state government to restrict gatherings to just 100 people and follow ICMR guidelines strictly while governor Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan has sought a report from the state health department in residential schools and wastage of vaccine in the state.

The state has seen a huge spurt in cases particularly with many students and teachers of government run residential schools testing positive for the virus prompting calls from guardians to shut down schools.

The state was also asked to identify areas with high incidence of cases as containment ones. The bench headed by chief justice Hima Kohli directed the state government to perform 50,000 RT-PCR tests everyday. Petitioners cited past daily medical bulletins to prove that the government didn’t perform 50,000 tests despite the increase in Covid- 19 cases contrary to High Court’s order.

However the advocate general said health staff were involved in vaccination programme and mobile buses were being used at state borders, railway stations and bus stations to conduct tests.

According to a release from the Raj Bhavan the governor directed her officials to get report from the health department about the vaccine wastage after the state was called out for being leading the numbers among all states in this regard. She also asked for report bout the increase in the number of cases in schools and hostels and the measures taken to contain the spread. “I m concerned bout the high number of Covid- 19 positive cases in couple of residential schools. “I m worried bout the high rate of vaccine wastage in our Telangana state.




Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister of Finland Sanna Marin hold virtual summit


Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister of Finland Sanna Marin hold virtual summit

Both leaders noted that the close relations between India and Finland were based on shared values of democracy, rule of law, equality, freedom of speech, and respect for human rights.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister of the Republic of Finland Sanna Marin held a Virtual Summit today and discussed the entire gamut of bilateral issues as well as other regional and multilateral issues of mutual interest.

Both leaders noted that the close relations between India and Finland were based on shared values of democracy, rule of law, equality, freedom of speech, and respect for human rights. They reaffirmed their strong commitment to work for multilateralism, a rules-based international order, sustainable development and combating climate change.

The two leaders reviewed the ongoing bilateral engagements and expressed their desire to further expand and diversify the relationship across sectors such as trade and investment, innovation, education, emerging technologies including Artificial Intelligence, 5G/6G, and quantum computing.

Prime Minister Modi appreciated Finland’s leading role in clean and green technologies and noted the potential for Finnish companies to partner India’s drive towards sustainable development. In this context, he suggested enhanced cooperation in the areas like renewable and bio-energy, sustainability, edu-tech, pharma and digitization.

The leaders exchanged views on regional and global issues, including the India-EU partnership, cooperation in the Arctic region, WTO and UN reforms. Both sides noted the potential for India and Finland to cooperate in undertaking developmental activities in Africa.

Prime Minister Modi invited Finland to join the International Solar Alliance (ISA) and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI).

The two leaders also discussed the Covid-19 situation including their respective vaccination drives and emphasized the importance of global efforts for urgent and affordable access to vaccines across all nations.

The two leaders looked forward to their forthcoming meetings during the India-EU Leaders’ Meeting in Porto and the India-Nordic Summit.




Vyapam scam under scanner again


Vyapam scam under scanner again

It is being alleged that the 10 toppers of the said exam achieved almost identical marks, did the same mistakes, belong to the same area, studied in the same college and nine of them are of the same caste.

The Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board, known popularly by its Hindi acronym Vyapam, which had become infamous over the Vyapam scam, is under the scanner yet again.

This time, the allegations are of irregularities in the recruitment exam conducted by Vyapam for the posts of State Agriculture Extension Officer (AEO). It is being alleged that the 10 toppers of the said exam achieved almost identical marks, did the same mistakes, belong to the same area, studied in the same college and nine of them are of the same caste.

The issue rocked the state Assembly too and the Opposition Congress today staged a walk out of the house during the ongoing budget session of the Madhya Pradesh Assembly alleging irregularities and involvement of toplevel people in the AEO exam conducted by Vyapam.


 
Some students who had appeared in the said exam had lodged complaints with Vyapam alleging that the 10 toppers of the AEO recruitment exam had received the same marks. Some of the complainants also charged that few of the toppers had a poor academic background during their college days.

The role of Vyapam is also under suspicion again, as it had given the task of conducting the exam to a company that is already blacklisted.

The exam was conducted on 10 and 11 February by the NSEIT Company and results were announced on 17 February. According to the complainants, the Uttar Pradesh government had blacklisted this company in 2017 over irregularities in the recruitment exam of Police Sub-Inspectors in that state.

The complainant students had also met State Agriculture Minister Kamal Patel. The minister had assured them of looking into the issue.

The Vyapam authorities had initially claimed that it was a mere coincidence but after pressure grew, the Vyapam had constituted an inquiry into the matter.

Today, Senior Congress MLA Dr Govind Singh said during the zero hour that he has demanded a discussion through a calling attention motion on the issue. He alleged that his demand was deliberately not being accepted, as several top-level people were involved in the scam.

“Many top-level people are involved in the scam, which is why the government is deliberately avoiding a discussion in the Assembly,” Dr Singh told The Statesman.




RS members praise External Affairs Ministry for bringing back Indians in wake of pandemic


RS members praise External Affairs Ministry for bringing back Indians in wake of pandemic

“We are keen they don’t lose a year, and get back,” he said. Jaishankar said the Government would increase the air bubble arrangements with more countries to help Indians.

Members of the Rajya Sabha today praised the efforts of the ministry of external affairs in bringing back persons of Indian origin from abroad in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak, but wanted Government help in getting them jobs.

The members were seeking clarifications on a statement given by external affairs minister S Jaishankar “regarding recent developments pertaining to the welfare abroad of Indians, Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) and Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) in the Covid situation.”

The elders were unanimous that the ministry, its officials and the Indian Missions abroad had done excellent work in arranging for the return of the Indians back home during the serious Covid-19 situation.


 
But they said the Indians coming back had suddenly lost their jobs. Many of them wanted to stay back, while some wanted to go back to their jobs again. The loss of jobs had brought economic misery to them.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had engaged with leaders of several countries for Indian returning to their jobs.

The Government had started skills mapping of the workers. He said some universities had allowed their students to come back. “We are keen they don’t lose a year, and get back,” he said. Jaishankar said the Government would increase the air bubble arrangements with more countries to help Indians.

He said the focus of efforts in the last few months had shifted to Indians going back to their usual places of work, study and domicile. To that end, the Government had concluded air transport bubbles, that are temporary reciprocal arrangements for commercial passenger services until the resumption of regular international flights.

Such arrangements have been concluded with 27 nations so far. The Air India group alone had operated more than 9500 flights, taking 10.9 lakh passengers abroad. The largest numbers, not surprisingly, have gone to the Gulf, he said.

He said the problem of the stranded Indians abroad was serious and the Prime Minister wanted the Vande Bharat Mission to bring them back.

“This was an all-of-the- Government effort, involving the ministries of external affairs, civil aviation, home affairs, health, defence and shipping, amongst others. A total of 45,82,043 people from 98 countries have returned to India under the aegis of the Vande Bharat Mission,” Jaishankar said.

The vast majority came through flights, though there were also some who came by ship and across land crossings. Kerala received the maximum returnees, followed by Delhi, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, he said.

“I should also add that we facilitated the return from India of more than 1.1 lakh foreign passport holders to 120 countries in the same period. Many of them were PIOs and NRIs,” the Minister said.

Leader of the Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge, Tiruchi Siva (DMK), Anand Sharma (Congress), Manoj Jha (RJD), Naresh Gujral (Akali Dal) and Praful Patel (NCP) sought clarifications.




Tirath Rawat Cabinet formation on card, some turncoats to lose post


Tirath Rawat Cabinet formation on card, some turncoats to lose post

Many senior BJP legislators had failed to get representation in the earlier government as five turncoats were accommodated. This time no such compulsion exists and some ministers with Congress background are unlikely to feature in the Tirath Rawat ministry.

People are anxiously looking at the Cabinet formation of the Tirath Singh Rawat government in Uttarakhand. Tirath replaced Trivendra Singh Rawat as chief minister on Wednesday. The challenge before the new chief minister is to maintain a regional and caste balance in his Cabinet.

In the earlier Trivendra Rawat government five leaders with Congress background were in the Cabinet. Congress leaders, like Satpal Maharaj, Yashpal Arya, Harak Singh Rawat, Rekha Arya and Subodh Uniyal ~ who had joined BJP ahead of the 2017 state Assembly election ~ occupied key positions in the earlier government. With change in guard the turncoats are passing through anxious moments.

It is estimated that the performance of the ministers will be reviewed and some are likely to be removed. Some new faces are likely to be inducted. The challenge is to maintain a balance between the Garhwal and Kumaon regions.




17 states implement ‘One Nation One Ration Card system’’


17 states implement ‘One Nation One Ration Card system’’

In a statement the Finance Ministry said the states completing One Nation One Ration Card system reform are eligible for additional borrowing of 0.25 per cent of Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP).

Seventeen states have successfully operationalised “One Nation One Ration Card system” with Uttarakhand being the latest state to complete the reform.

In a statement the Finance Ministry said the states completing One Nation One Ration Card system reform are eligible for additional borrowing of 0.25 per cent of Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP). “Accordingly, these states have been granted additional borrowing permission of Rs 37,600 crore by the Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance,” reads the Press release of the Finance Ministry.

As per the ministry, the system is an important citizen centric reform. Its implementation ensures availability of ration to beneficiaries under National Food Security Act (NFSA) and other welfare schemes, especially the migrant workers and their families, at any Fair Price Shop (FPS) across the country.

The reform, the government said especially empowers the migratory population mostly labourers, daily wagers, urban poor like rag pickers, street dwellers, temporary workers in organised and unorganised sectors, domestic workers etc, who frequently change their place of dwelling to be self reliant in food security. “This technology driven reform enables the migrant beneficiaries to get their entitled quota of food grains from any electronic point of sale (e- PoS) enabled fair Price Shops of their choice anywhere in the country,” reads the Press statement.

The reform also enables the states in better targeting of beneficiaries, elimination of bogus/ duplicate/ineligible card holders resulting in enhanced welfare and reduced leakage. Further, to ensure seamless inter-state portability of a ration card, Aadhaar seeding of all ration cards and biometric authentication of beneficiaries through automation of all FPSs with installation of e-PoS devices are essential.

In view of the resource requirement to meet multiple challenges posed by Covid-19 pandemic, the government on 17 May, 2020 enhanced the borrowing limit of the states by 2 per cent of their GSDP. Half of this special dispensation i.e. 1 per cent of GSDP was linked to undertaking citizen- centric reforms by the states.




Sabarimala incidents pained me: Surendran


Sabarimala incidents pained me: Surendran

In the wake of the opposition UDF and BJP raising the Sabrimala women entry a campaign issue against LDF in the Assembly polls next month, senior CPIM Kerala leader and state Devaswom minister Kadakampally- Surendran on Thursday expressed regret over the incidents that took place in Sabarimala over the women entry issue.

In poll-bound Kerala, Devaswom minister Kadakampally Surendran today virtually expressed regret for the incidents that had rocked the Lord Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala in 2018 over the women entry issue and said it “should never have happened”, as the Congress and BJP sought an apology from the left government.

In the wake of the opposition UDF and BJP raising the Sabrimala women entry a campaign issue against LDF in the Assembly polls next month, senior CPIM Kerala leader and state Devaswom minister Kadakampally- Surendran on Thursday expressed regret over the incidents that took place in Sabarimala over the women entry issue.

Kadakampally, who is contesting the assembly polls from Kazhakkootam constituency in Thiruvananthapuram, has accepted that the government committed a mistake by allowing women to enter the Sabarimala shrine.He also vowed that the the final verdict of the Supreme Court would be implemented only after consultations with believers, political parties and the general public.“ The incidents that took place in Sabarimala in 2018 was something which had pained all of us.It should never have happened.It has pained everyone…it has pained me also,”

The statement of the senior CPI(M) leader, who is contesting the 6 April Assembly polls, has come at a time when the opposition Congress and BJP are sparing no efforts to rake up the Sabarimala issue to attack the Marxist government.While senior congress leader Ramesh Chennithala felt the statement was to “deceive” the devotees, BJP State president K Surendran said the minister was shedding crocodile tears and would not be forgiven for the cruelty and injustice shown to Sabarimala, even if he takes a dip in the holy River Ganga a thousand times.

Kerala had witnessed high drama during the nearly threemonth long annual pilgrimage season in 2018 with around a dozen women in the 10-50 age group being prevented from entering the Sabarimala temple by protesting devotees after the apex court permitted women of all age groups into the hill shrine.

The LDF, particularly CPI(M), had drawn flak from several quarters over the women’s entry issue for its alleged hastiness in implementing the Supreme Court order.




‘Central agencies have emerged as ‘third party’ against LDF in Kerala’


‘Central agencies have emerged as ‘third party’ against LDF in Kerala’

CPM journal alleges ED, CBI intervention breaches all legal norms in violation of federal principal

Central agencies like the Enforcement Directorate (ED), CBI, Customs and the NIA have emerged as the “third party” against the ruling CPI (M)-led LDF in the Kerala elections, the CPI (M) journal People’s Democracy said today.

The journal said, after the Congress-led UDF and the BJP, the “intervention” of the Central agencies had “assumed an unprecedented scale, breaching all legal and institutional norms and in stark violation of the federal principle.

“This has not happened before at the time of any state Assembly elections. In the past, the ED, CBI and IT authorities were used by the BJP to target political opponents, the CPI (M) said. But this has been scaled up to target the chief minister and ministers in the LDF government now.

“Unable to find anything to implicate the LDF government in the gold smuggling case, the CBI and the ED began investigations into various programmes of the government like the Life Mission which has provided houses to the poor,” the CPI (M) said.“The ED has gone further demanding documents pertaining to other government projects such as K Fon (a project to provide internet access to the poorer sections) and the electric vehicle policy. The object of these roving enquiries was to find something incriminating against the government,” the journal said.

After elections were announced, the ED which functions under the finance ministry, filed a case under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) and summoned top officials of KIIFB for interrogation, the party journal said.

The KIIFB is an institution which has raised resources for investment in infrastructure projects, the party journal said. The ED action was meant to disrupt this process by raising unfounded and baseless charges, according to the CPI (M).

Meanwhile, the CPI (M) politburo condemned “the refusal” by the BJP government at the Centre to discuss burning people’s issues like the continuous hikes in the prices of petroleum products in Parliament.“ In order to avoid such discussions, the Parliament sessions have been cancelled till 15 March. This is the worst instance of abandonment of the government’s accountability and answerability to Parliament as prescribed by the Indian Constitution,” the politburo said.




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