BJP thwarts attempt for PAC review of PM CARES Fund, coronavirus response: Report
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC), which scrutinises key reports by the auditor general, failed to arrive at a consensus on Friday on examining the government's response to coronavirus pandemic or PM CARES fund which is set up to tackle the crisis.
Friday's meeting of the 22-member Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chaired by leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury was attended by 17 out of the total 20 members. Its two seats are vacant.
According to a report by NDTV, members of the PAC, in which BJP enjoys majority, thwarted Chowdhury's attempt to select the PM CARES Fund for examination saying its amount was not sanctioned by the parliament and therefore it cannot be taken up by the committee.
Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, chairman of the committee, who is also the leader of the Congress party in the Lok Sabha, appealed to members to think of the nation and act with their conscience.
Some opposition leaders claimed that the reason for denying the scrutiny of the COVID-19 pandemic and the government's response is because the BJP is afraid of a closer look into the PM CARES fund which is not under the audit of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), reported NDTV.
Meanwhile, the PAC has decided to examine various subjects with special focus being given to the CAG report number 5 of 2017, a performance audit of the Sino-India Border Roads, and CAG report number 13 of 2019 which is on the provisioning and procurement of high altitude-clothing, equipment, ration and housing for soldiers.
As per the papers circulated among the members of the committee on Friday, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report on border roads is the top most subject for examination by the committee during the year, reported PTI.
WB Governor continues his tirade against Mamata govt; asks IAS officers to be 'politically neutral', 'accountable', 'transparent'
West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Saturday continued his tirade against Mamata Banerjee government and asked IAS and IPS officers to be politically neutral, accountable and transparent.
In a series of tweets, Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar wrote: "IAS and IPS @MamataOfficial MUST observe ALL INDIA SERVICES (CONDUCT) RULES, 1968 that mandate: political neutrality; accountability and transparency; commit himself to and uphold the supremacy of the Constitution and democratic values."
He said that IAS and IPS officers should "refrain from doing anything which is or may be contrary to any law, rules, regulations and established practices." West Bengal Governor asked officers to maintain discipline in the discharge of their duties and be liable to implement the lawful orders duly communicated to him. "Perform and discharge his duties with the highest degree of professionalism and dedication to the best of his abilities," he added.
Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar said that he was worried about rampant disregard and violations by the Mamata Banerjee government. "As Governor worried at rampant disregard and violations @MamataOfficial. Let there be no doubt, every such infraction will attract due accountability," he said.
West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Friday said he has held "informal talks" with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on the problems faced by the students of higher education institues in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and stressed that efforts are being made to address their concerns.
Asserting that welfare of students will always be his top priority, Dhankhar, who is also the chancellor of state universities, said the higher education secretary will visit him during the day to hold a discussion on the matter.
"I have held informal talks with the CM on the problems faced by the students... After my meeting with the vice chancellors of different state universities on July 15, we will jointly take up the matter with the UGC. Students are very close to my heart," he tweeted.
Tamil Nadu crime: Three, including son of former SBI employee, arrested for running duplicate bank branch
'This is how idiots turn shame into victory': Twitter trolls Sudhir Chaudhary after Nepal bans all Indian news channels
Nepal on Thursday stopped the transmission of all Indian private news channels except Doordarshan, accusing them of airing reports hurting the country's national sentiment.
"We have stopped the distribution of all Indian news channels except Doordarshan," Dinesh Subedi, the chairman of Multi-System Operator (MSO), foreign channel distributor, told reporters in Kathmandu.
"We have halted distribution of India's private news channels as they have aired news reports hurting Nepal's national sentiment," he added.
The development comes after some Indian channels aired reports critical of Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli and his government. However, the Nepal government did not officially announce halting the telecast of the Indian news channels.
Minister for Finance, Information and Communication Yuvraj Khatiwada also condemned some of the reports aired by the Indian news channels.
"Nepal government condemns such acts," Khatiwada said while responding to a question on the issue during a press meet on Thursday. "The government will seek political and legal ways against such an objectionable act," he added.
Meanwhile, Zee News' Editor-in-Chief Sudhir Chaudhary said that the neighbouring country was scared of the news anchors of India. "The army was not needed", he added in Hindi.
— Sudhir Chaudhary (@sudhirchaudhary) July 9, 2020
Twitter users trolled the Daily News and Analysis (DNA) host. "This is how idiots turn shame into victory," a Twitter user said. "It’s because of people like you our friends in Nepal have started hating some of us ! You are the most ignorant and jingoistic human ( can’t call u a journalist ) I have seen in years," said another.
Here are a few Twitter reactions:
(With PTI inputs)
Coronavirus in Indore: With rise in COVID-19 cases, district administration to ban visit to city's tourist spots
People will not be allowed to visit tourist places around Indore, as large crowds were seen gathering despite the coronavirus outbreak and calls for social distancing. There will be a ban on visiting places like Patalpani, Kalakund and Choral.
Official orders will be issued by Indore collector Manish Singh regarding the same.
On Thursday, the rate of COVID-19 positive patients rose to 3.01 per cent with 44 out of 1,461 samples testing positive taking the number of cases in Indore to 5,087.
No death took place on Thursday but department officials added three more deaths of April which were not included earlier taking toll to 258.
“These deaths were not reported earlier as patient died as suspected case of COVID-19 and their report was found positive after death. Some of the deaths were not informed by private hospitals,” Chief Medical and Health Officer Dr Pravin Jadia said.
According to the bulletin released by CMHO, 98, 943 samples had been tested till Thursday night and 5,087 were positive. As many as 1,399 samples tested negative on Thursday.
As many as 883 patients are under treatment in various hospitals of the city. Total 3,946 patients have been discharged so far.
Order of deploying doctors, ventilator at Bihar CM Nitish Kumar's residence withdrawn; here's what we know so far
Amish Devgan case: Supreme Court issues interim order staying investigation and action against journalist
The Supreme Court on Wednesday has directed that an interim order staying an investigation and action against journalist Amish Devgan, Live Law reported.
According to the report, a bench comprising Justice AM Khanwilkar and Sanjiv Khanna allowed petitioners to serve copies on the complainants that had not been served and also directed concerned parties to respond within a fortnight.
Multple FIRs wer registered against Devgan after he allegedly insulted a Sufi Saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti on live television.
An online complaint was also registered against the News 18 India journalist at Bandra police station in Mumbai while an FIR was registered at Pydhonie police station in the city.
Devgan is already facing an FIR in Rajasthan over his alleged objectionable comment against the Sufi saint during a TV debate.
AIMIM activist Mohammed Chaus approached Itwara police station in Nanded district on Tuesday night with a complaint accusing Devgan of hurting religious sentiments of the Muslim community, a local police official said.
A First Information Report (FIR) was registered against the TV anchor under IPC section 295 (A) (Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings) and further probe was on, he added.
On Wednesday, an online complaint was lodged against Devgan over the same issue at Bandra in Mumbai, but no FIR has been registered yet. An FIR under section 295 (A) was registered on a separate complaint at Pydhonie police station in south Mumbai later in the day.
Devgan has apologised for his comments on Twitter.
"In 1 of my debates, I inadvertently referred to 'Khilji' as Chishti. I sincerely apologise for this grave error and the anguish it may hv caused to followers of the Sufi saint Moinuddin Chishti, whom I revere. I have in the past sought blessings at his dargah. I regret this error," Devgan tweeted.
Latest Coronavirus Vaccine Update: Serum Institute of India expects COVID-19 vaccine by year-end
Vaccine maker Serum Institute of India (SII) is hoping to develop a COVID-19 vaccine by the year-end as it is focusing on a "good and safe" product and is not in a "rush", the company's CEO Adar Poonawalla said on Tuesday.
He was speaking during the launch of 'Compact XL, a compact diagnostics machine by MyLab Discovery Solutions, that will automate lab processes from sample handling to preparing RT-PCR tubes. Replying to a question about the development of the COVID-19 vaccine, Poonawalla said that by the end of 2020, the SII is hoping to have a vaccine.
"End of the year, we are hoping to have a vaccine. So we will discuss once of the phase three trials for the product come about. Recently, there was news about another vaccine candidate which was being rushed. We do not want to rush anything. We want to emphasis on safety and efficacy... and once we are confident of good and safe vaccine, we will announce but that is still six months away from now," said Adar.
He further said that till the vaccine comes, testing is the key and that is why SII has invested in MyLabs. "If you test, isolate and segregate, we can manage the situation till the good cure or vaccine comes around," said Adar.
SII has invested over Rs 100 crore in MyLabs, a Pune-based molecular diagnostics firm. Poonawalla lamented that India is not testing enough and added that Indian test manufacturers including MyLabs are picking up the production capacity.
"There is a fear that what will happen if the number of positive patients increases. I would like to say that there is no harm if the number increases as it will help us detect people," he added.
Poonawalla also sought permission to allow export of the test kits. "We have enough capacity in manufacturing testing kits. MyLab can produce 2 million kits per week and there is no that much demand in India so allow us to export and we have enough buffer stock for India readily available if there is more outbreak," he said adding they are waiting for the government's blessings.
Delhi AIIMS director Randeep Guleria punctures ICMR claims
New Delhi: Dr Randeep Guleria, the director of the AIIMS, Delhi, has punctured the much-publicised claim of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) trials to launch India’s first Covid-19 vaccine, COVAXIN, by August 15, as a sort of a sweet revenge for keeping him out of picture in the whole exercise.
As a distinguished pulmonologist (chest & lungs physician), he should have been the first to be involved as a principal investigator, but instead the ICMR picked up an AIIMS professor of preventive and social medicine (PSM). In fact, there is no pulmonologist detailed for the vaccine research.
Dr Guleria, otherwise the front man in the govt's all campaigns on the Coronavirus, got the AIIMS ethics committee reject the protocols drawn up by the ICMR, pointing out discrepancies. The committee has faulted phase II of the trial, noting that there is no document to show affirmative agreement for children to participate in the study though the trials are supposed to be conducted on those in the age group of 12 to 65. The trials cannot start unless the concerned hospitals’ ethics committees okay; 12 have been selected for holding the trials. AIIMS dissent note may trigger similar objections that may hold up the trial.
Every day counts in the trials since the ICMR putting a deadline of August 15 on releasing the vaccine despite protests by numerous researchers on rushing with the trials and risking the lives of millions if such a hurry results in reactions in those taking the vaccine.
Haryana stops Dearness Allowance, Dearness Relief for Govt employees and pensioners till July 2021
Chandigarh: The COVID-19 induced economic crisis has compelled the Haryana government to freeze Dearness Allowances to state government employees and Dearness Relief to its pensioners at current rate till July next year, an official statement by the Haryana Finance Department said.
"In view of the crisis arising out of COVID-19, it has been decided that additional instalment of Dearness Allowance payable to Haryana Government employees and Dearness Relief to Haryana government pensioners, due from January 1, 2020 shall not be paid," the statement by the ministry said on Monday.
The state government further announced that the additional instalments of Dearness Allowance and Dearness Relief, which were due from July 1, 2020, and January 1, 2021, also would not be paid. It, however, added that Dearness Allowance and Dearness Relief will be continued to be paid at current rate of 17 per cent.
"As and when the decision to release the future instalment of Dearness Allowance and Dearness Relief due from July 1, 2021 is taken by the government, the rates of Dearness Allowance and Dearness Relief as effective from January 1, 2020, July 1, 2020, and January 1, 2021 will be restored prospectively and will be subsumed in the cumulative revised rate effective from July 1, 2021. No arrears for the period from January 1, 2020 till June 30, 2021, shall be paid," it further said.