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Madhya Pradesh Congress accuses Shivraj Singh Chouhan government of making women sell alcohol; shares picture on social media

Well, several restrictions have been lifted in non-containment zones in a phased manner. Liquor shops too have reopened and are also offering home delivery services. Liquor shops have been a topic of discussion in recent times. Several have slammed the government for reopening of liquor shops and raised concerns of spread of the virus and violations of social distancing norms.

But what we have for you goes to the next level. Madhya Pradesh Congress' Twitter handle on Thursday accused CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan for making women sell alcohol in liquor shops and even shared a picture.

The tweet read, "This photo is shameful; The Shivraj government, eager to sell liquor, has now shown its disgusting and sorrowful attitude towards our sisters and daughters by making women sit at liquor shops. Shivraj ji, Our culture worships women, And your culture makes women sell alcohol ..?"

MP Congress

यह तस्वीर लज्जित करती है;

शराब बेचने को आतुर शिवराज सरकार ने अब महिलाओं को शराब की दुकानों पर बिठाकर हमारी बहन-बेटियों के प्रति अपनी घृणित और कुत्सित सोच का प्रदर्शन किया है।

शिवराज जी,
हमारी संस्कृति नारी की पूजा करवाती है,
और आपकी संस्कृति नारी से शराब बिकवाती है..?

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7:30 PM - Jun 10, 2020
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Well, we are not quite sure if the woman in the picture is selling liquor. It is imperative to note that she is donning a police uniform and chances are that she was on her duty when this picture was clicked.

The Madhya Pradesh government on Tuesday kick-started the process to run liquor shops whose licences were "surrendered" by contractors amid a stand-off between the two sides on reopening the vends.

Around 70 per cent of the contractors in the state have refused to open their liquor vends for well over two weeks fearing poor sale due to the economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus outbreak. This had put them on a collision course with the BJP government in the state.

The government will run liquor shops till it finds new contractors for them in rebidding, an official said on Tuesday.

Nearly 1,800 liquor shops in MP had been closed by contractors. A few of them have decided to reopen their outlets and not surrendered their contracts.

Liquor sales, a key source of revenue for the government, have dropped drastically in the state due to the coronavirus outbreak and its fallout.

Wrote in a public platform because nobody in Congress listens: Sanjay Jha

The unresolved top-level leadership issue is back to haunt the Congress again, after party's national spokesperson Sanjay Jha called for an organisational renewal is needed within the Congress to give the party a new lease of life.

Taking to Twitter, Sanjay Jha while replying to tweet wrote: "I hear you and understand your sentiments. We are both believers in the Congress. We need an organisational renewal, and time is slipping by. Of course there is scattered good work being done, but that will not make us robust, dynamic and successful. That’s my point."

Sanjay Jha

Lakshmi Ji, I hear you and understand your sentiments. We are both believers in the Congress. We  need an organisational renewal, and time is slipping by. Of course there is scattered good work being done, but that will not make us robust, dynamic and successful. That’s my point. …

Lakshmi Ramachandran
Replying to @laksr_tn
1. We are in the midst of the biggest humanitarian crisis ever known to us - pandemic, incursions on the border, economic recession, livelihood losses and large scale displacement of people. I assume we are all in politics for public service.

8:32 PM - Jun 10, 2020
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Sanjay Jha had recently penned down a critique in form of an article in a leading daily in which he raised questions over the internal functioning of the Congress. Talking about it during an interview with HW News, Jha said that he was compelled to write the public critique.

“The reason why I was compelled to write is that there are no internal discussions happening with the kind of passion and perseverance. That should happen. I have been compelled to take a public position because no one is willing to listen to you within the party," Jha told HW News.

Earlier on June 8, Sanjay Jha had raised questions over the internal functioning of the party. Sanjay Jha pushed his view through a newspaper article, but was promptly contradicted by the party.

In the article, Jha said the party could not present an alternative narrative of governance to the people when the government has failed. Jha also said that the party was reacting to the issues, but not in a comprehensive manner.

Earlier also many party leaders, including Sandeep Dikshit and Shashi Tharoor raised questions on the change of leadership and advocated for full-time president. Sandeep Dikshit had said that the party needs a full time president and a mechanism to exchange views inside the party.

After Daniel Radcliffe and Katie Leung, Emma Watson, Eddie Redmayne and Bonnie Wright defend trans people

Daniel Radcliffe and Katie Leung aren’t the only actors from the Harry Potter universe to disagree with JK Rowling’s tweets on trans people. Hours after Rowling published her essay on gender bias, Emma Watson, Eddie Redmayne, and Bonny Wright issued statements, standing in support of trans people.

Speaking to Variety magazine, Redmayne, who plays Newt Scamander in the Fantastic Beasts movie series said, “Respect for transgender people remains a cultural imperative, and over the years I have been trying to constantly educate myself. This is an ongoing process.

“As someone who has worked with both J.K. Rowling and members of the trans community, I wanted to make it absolutely clear where I stand,” he continued. “I disagree with Jo’s comments. Trans women are women, trans men are men and non-binary identities are valid. I would never want to speak on behalf of the community but I do know that my dear transgender friends and colleagues are tired of this constant questioning of their identities, which all too often results in violence and abuse. They simply want to live their lives peacefully, and it’s time to let them do so,” Redmayne, who has also played Lili Elbe, a transgender woman in his Oscar-winning performance in The Danish Girl, added.

Emma Watson, who played Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter movie series, put out a few tweets expressing support for transgender people, saying she ‘loved them’. Notably, this was a few hours after Rowling’s essay, so her thread received some backlash from supporters of Rowling.

Emma Watson

Trans people are who they say they are and deserve to live their lives without being constantly questioned or told they aren’t who they say they are.

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Similarly, Bonnie Wright, who plays Ginny Weasley, also put out a tweet supporting trans people.

Bonnie Wright

If Harry Potter was a source of love and belonging for you, that love is infinite and there to take without judgment or question. Transwomen are Women. I see and love you, Bonnie x

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Rowling has now been deemed a TERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminist) and a transphobe for stating sex is real.

JK Rowling was called out after she tweeted an opinion article: “‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud? “

The article stated that an estimated 1.8 billion ‘girls, women and gender non-binary persons menstruate’.

After being called a host of not-very-nice things, Rowling tweeted: “If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased. I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It isn’t hate to speak the truth.

BMC’s Coastal Road project goes for a toss after migrant labourers leave Mumbai to head back to their hometowns

Mumbai: As lakhs of migrant labourers have left the city to head back to their hometowns and villages amid the coronavirus outbreak, the exodus seems to have hit the progress of projects that depended on this workforce. A good example is the BMC’s ambitious Coastal Road project, the work on which has gone for a toss after more than 100 skilled labourers working on the project site migrated to their hometowns, sources said. "Until the beginning of May, we had nearly 500 skilled workers. As of the first week of June, the number has come down to 350. We got to know that over 100 of these workers have already left for their hometowns. A majority of these workers belong to Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and even Andhra Pradesh.

We are hopeful that they will be back in the next 15 days, or by next month," Vjiay Nighot, chief engineer, BMC’s coastal road project, told The Free Press Journal. The BMC was aiming to rush towards completion of a certain portion of the work on the project before monsoon. However, due to shortage of skilled workers, the work is unlikely to be completed before the rains set in. Nighot, however, said that despite the shortage of skilled workers, work on the project has not stopped. "Almost 10 percent of the work has been completed, which includes reclamation, building up of sea wall, piling and excavation for launching shafts. We had got parts of the Tunnel Boring Machine in April itself. However, unless the launching shaft is ready we cannot lower it," added Nighot.

The project also lost over 15 days after the lockdown was announced. "We are now looking at readying the launching shaft and loading of TBM parts by the first week of August, and by the second week of October 2020, actual tunneling will begin," said Nighot. A tunnel boring machine (TBM), of 12.19 m width, arrived from Shanghai in April, covering a distance of 5,000-plus nautical miles on a ship. However, the BMC is yet to complete the work on the launching shaft. Unless the launching shaft is ready, parts of the TBM cannot be loaded and assembled. Once the launching shaft is ready, it can be lowered onto the shaft and the work of tunneling will begin.

This TBM will then drill twin tunnels, which will be partially under the sea, between Girgaum and Malabar Hill. The tunnels will each be 3.4 km long, counting the distance of entry and exit routes. The BMC has been targeting completion of the 10 km long coastal road project between Marine Drive and Worli by December 2022, despite a five month disruption last year. The Rs. 12,000 crore project was originally to be completed in four years since commencement of work in October 2018. On September 25, 2018, the BMC standing committee gave its nod to the project and several works were commissioned the very next month.

However, a court stay till December 2019 led to the work coming to a standstill. Contractors then said they might require additional time for the project to cover up the lost time, but senior BMC officials remained firm on the decision of making the coastal road operational by December 2022. The coastal road, once completed, is expected to be used by nearly 1,30,000 vehicles every day and reduce the two hour drive between South Mumbai and the city’s western suburbs to 40 minutes. The project has faced resistance from citizens groups, environmental activists, and the fishing community in Worli Koliwada on the potential damage it can cause to the environment.

Rahul Gandhi hits out at PM Modi for being silent while China invades Indian territory in Ladakh

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday continued targeting Centre over India-China dispute at eastern Ladakh. The Congress leader slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for being silent while China invaded Indian territory in Ladakh.

Taking to Twitter, Rahul Gandhi wrote: "The Chinese have walked in and taken our territory in Ladakh. Meanwhile, the PM is absolutely silent and has vanished from the scene."

Rahul Gandhi

The Chinese have walked in and taken our territory in Ladakh.


The PM is absolutely silent and has vanished from the scene. …

In Talks, China Takes Hard Line, Claims All of Galwan Valley, Chunk of Pangong Tso
During the military-to-military dialogue on Saturday, China refused to even discuss its intrusions into the Galwan River valley, instead claiming ownership over the entire area.
8:39 PM - Jun 9, 2020
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He tagged a news article claiming that China has taken a hard line during military-level talks and has claimed all of Galwan Valley and parts of Pangong Tso. Gandhi has been asking the government to come clean on the border issue and whether China has taken over Indian territory in Ladakh region.

After Rahul Gandhi's comment, Retired Lt Gen RN Singh told news agency ANI, "He should not question what the government is doing as these things are secretive and cannot be divulged. He should have supported the govt. A sensible person would never make such a statement."


He should not question what the government is doing as these things are secretive and cannot be divulged. He should have supported the govt. A sensible person would never make such a statement: Lt Gen (Retd) RN Singh on Rahul Gandhi's remark on India-China stand-off at LAC

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9:35 PM - Jun 9, 2020
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Earlier on Tuesday, Rahul Gandhi had asked Defence Minister Rajnath Singh whether China has occupied Indian territory in Ladakh.

"Once RM is done commenting on the hand symbol, can he answer: Have the Chinese occupied Indian territory in Ladakh," he asked on Twitter. Singh had on Monday hit out at Gandhi using a couplet, which he claimed was of Mirza Ghalib and that he was presenting it in a different style.

Addressing a virtual rally of BJP workers in Maharashtra, Singh said, "Mirza Ghalib ka hi sher thoda alag andaaz mein hai - 'haath' mein dard ho to dawa kijiye, 'haath' hi jab dard ho to kya kijiye.." (Mirza Galib's couplet in a different style - when there is pain in the 'hand', one takes medicine, but what does one do when the 'hand' itself is a pain)." 'Hand' is the Congress party's election symbol.

Gandhi and Singh have been engaged in war of words on Twitter since Monday evening on the issue and have been taking swipes at each other by using couplets of Ghalib.

There has been a standoff between India and China at the border in eastern Ladakh amid troops build-up on both sides. India has said that the border dispute would be resolved through talks.

Jobs According to Skills, Sops for Going Independent: Centre Plans Big for Migrants with a New App

The data so collected will be fed to the main central system and will be used for also giving out the social benefits which are announced by the government.

The endless lines for trains and buses. The tireless walks back home. The pictures of migrant workers with desperation writ large on their face have given chance to the opposition to attack the government.

Rahul Gandhi spent some time with the migrants to make the point that the BJP was running a government, which cared only for the rich. The opposition has almost unitedly condemned the government for being callous and not bothering to see the writing on the wall.

It’s a fact which the Centre cannot deny that it has been lacking in doing enough for the migrants. And hence, it is working on a plan now to do some damage control. has accessed a blueprint of the government scheme for the long-term rehabilitation of these migrant workers.

The prime minister could unveil an app for these migrants. The app would sync the details of the migrant workers to the labour ministry and would have details of their qualifications and job specialisations. "The entire idea is to ensure that the workers get the jobs as per their skills and are not under-utilised and under paid," a government official said.

Tabulation of the workers isn’t an easy task as most workers are in the unorganised sector and this is where the role of the states come in. The Centre through labour ministry and home ministry is in touch with the state governments, asking them to give data and do a survey of the workers.

The data so collected will be fed to the main central system and will be used for also giving out the social benefits which are announced by the government.

"It’s going to be somewhat like the ones we have for women under the Jan Dhan Yojana. Not just this, if at some point the workers want to go independent and begin skilled independent outlets then this app could be their ticket to central help routed through state government," the official said.

The government hopes this would ensure that the workers have a reason to come back. The Supreme Court has asked states and Centre to ensure that there are facilities for the workers to return back to their place of work. But not many may be confident to come back as job security is no guarantee.

From the point of view of corporate and medium and small sectors — that have now resumed work — shortage of labour is the main issue. With most labour gone back home, it would be required a lot of convincing for the government and the owners to bring these labourers back. The Centre hopes this app and blueprint would do the trick. But more importantly it would blunt the criticism it’s facing over the migrant issue.

On Verge of Overtaking UK & Spain in Covid-19 Tally, This Simple Measure Can Help India Halt the Spread

One of the best measures to judge the outbreak of Covid-19 is the 'Tests Per Case Ratio'. Countries which report a high ratio are conducting a high number of tests per case.
As the number of Covid-19 cases surge in India, it is likely to overtake UK and Spain in the next couple of days and reach number four on the overall confirmed infections. However, to measure the number of cases in isolation and judge the spread of the pandemic in any country is a futile, incomplete and inaccurate exercise.


One of the best measures to judge the outbreak of Covid-19 is the Tests Per Case Ratio. Countries which report a high ratio are conducting a high number of tests per case.

This in turn would suggest that there is a lesser difference between the confirmed cases and the actual number of cases in these countries. This would imply that they were either able to monitor the outbreak efficiently from the start or took adequate measures after the initial outbreak and eventually brought the curve for new cases to move downwards while increasing the ratio of tests per case consistently.

Conversely, countries which report a low tests per case ratio are conducting a low number of tests per case which would suggest that there is a huge population which is going untested. These countries will generally see a big outbreak which they would find difficult to contain, especially if the tests per case ratio goes down with time.

India’s Cumulative Tests Per Case ratio currently stands at 18.44 – that is a significant drop from 25.95 on May 5. More worryingly, there seems to be a direct correlation between the lifting of certain stringent lockdown restrictions and a rise in India’s Daily Positivity Ratio (The percentage number of cases per tests daily). After registering a dip from April 25 to May 3 and reaching its lowest of 3.2% since the lockdown was imposed on March 25, it has steadily been on an upward trajectory and more than doubled to 6.90% on June 7.

This suggests that the number of cases have risen at a proportionately higher rate than the number of tests since May 3 when a number of curbs were eased after the end of Lockdown 2.


According to Our World in Data, India was clubbed in the 20-40 range with countries like Burma, Poland, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Austria and Paraguay according to the 7-day rolling average of Daily Tests Per Confirmed Case as on the 15th of April. While India remained in the same range on May 1, they had new company – Russia, Spain, South Africa, Germany and Italy amongst other countries.

India remained in this range till May 20. 21st of May was the first day India’s Tests per Case Ratio went under 20. It was in the same cluster as USA. On June 1, when India conducted just 15.55 Tests per Case, it was clubbed together along with Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore and South Africa.

The creative below shows the ratio on June 7.

nikhil 2

At 14.41 tests per confirmed case, India is in the same range as South Africa, Philippines and Singapore. Countries which are faring poorly than India include Argentina, Columbia, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Indonesia and Bangladesh, all in the 5-10 Tests per Case range.

Chile (3.9), Bolivia (2), Mexico (1.05), Panama (3.22), Pakistan (4.64) and Qatar (2.65) have the worst Tests per Case ratio, all in the below 5 cluster. Brazil, in all likelihood, is also in this cluster but their latest testing data is not available. These are alarming numbers. Basically it implies that every 5th person who is being tested in Pakistan, on an average, is positive.

Mexico is almost facing an emergency. Its Tests per Case ratio of 1.05 on June 5 means that almost everyone who was tested that day was positive. Coupled with that, Mexico has a higher number of cases (1,20,102) and a very high Mortality Rate of 11.7%.

New Zealand, which hasn’t reported a new case in 17 days and declared the nation virus-free, is marked in dark blue – it tested 25,606 cases on May 28 without registering any new case. Australia, which has reported just 7,267 cases thus far and done a remarkable job in containing the virus given its size, conducted 2,017 tests per case as on June 5. The corresponding number for Taiwan was 1,274 on June 6 – another country hailed for its model of containment. Croatia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Iceland are the other countries in the same club (more than 1,000 tests per case).

Some European nations who are now conducting between 100-1000 Tests per Case have finally managed to bend the curve - these include Germany, Italy, Austria, Greece and Switzerland. Other prominent nations in this club include South Korea and Thailand.

Italy is one of the worst affected Covid-19 countries. They were overwhelmed and unable to control the pandemic initially – not surprisingly they conducted 3.91 Tests per Confirmed Case on March 23 – basically, one in every 4th person being tested was positive. They increased this ratio to 18.11 in a month on April 23 to 93.51 on May 23. The number stands at 158.76 on June 6.

France and Spain have a similar story. They are amongst the worst-hit nations in the world but have now managed to control the outbreak and are on a downward curve. They are clustered together in the 40-100 club with Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, Romania, Turkey, Malaysia and Canada amongst others.

UK, USA and Russia are conducting 20-40 tests per confirmed case. Russia’s curve dipped from 116 tests per day on April 1 to 17.38 on May 9. Since then, though the number of daily new cases continue to be high, Russia seems to have passed its peak, and the ratio has risen and doubled to 33.46.


All nations who are now reporting a high Tests per Case ratio have already seen a downward spiral in their Daily New Cases. This suggests that adequate testing has met the challenge of the outbreak. Germany’s initial curve is red suggesting that they were not testing enough in that period but they changed that fantastically from May. South Korea has recently reported a new spike but the numbers are not alarming.

It is interesting that Sweden who did not go for a strict lockdown and were initially praised for their model of containment and then were subsequently criticised, have tested very poorly and seen a surge in their number of cases along with a high Mortality Rate.

The concern for India is that not only is their Daily Tests per Case ratio going down, the cases are surging, the peak is far away and the Tests per Death ratio is doing down (from 793.72 on May 5 to 651.41 on June 9).


So far, the silver lining for the country has been the remarkably low Mortality Rate but with most lockdown restrictions lifted, and the pressure on hospitals and the health infrastructure increasing, the situation can get out of control in no time.


Indian Firm Panacea Says Aiming to Make Covid-19 Vaccine

The collaboration aims to make more than 500 million doses of the vaccine candidate, with over 40 million doses expected to be available early next year, Panacea said in a st

Indian biotech firm Panacea Biotec Ltd said on Wednesday it would partner with US-based Refana Inc to make a potential vaccine for Covid-19.

The collaboration aims to make more than 500 million doses of the vaccine candidate, with over 40 million doses expected to be available early next year, Panacea said in a statement to stock exchanges.

Panacea's shares jumped 20 per cent in morning trading on India's National Stock Exchange after the news.


Maha govt issues new guidelines, says asymptomatic COVID-19 cases can be in home isolation for 17 days

Mumbai: The State health department has issued new guidelines, which stipulate that asymptomatic or mild Covid-19 cases can be isolated at home for 17 days, if appropriate facilities (a 24-hour caregiver and a separate room and toilet) are available at their home. Health officials said such patients need to file an affidavit or self-declaration form and authorities will decide whether they should be hospitalised or isolated at home.

This comes after the state government issued a letter instructing all district collectors, municipal commissioners, district surgeons and district health officers in this regard. “As per the guidelines of the Central government, patients with Covid-19 are admitted to the hospitals in a three-tier treatment system, according to the symptoms. However, corona patients who have mild symptoms or are asymptomatic will be offered the option of home segregation with their consent, if appropriate facilities are available in their home," said an official.


According to Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani, asymptomatic high-risk or close contacts of positive patients will be home-isolated only after medical health officers have certified that the patient has mild or no symptoms. “Individuals who opt for home quarantine should have isolation facilities at home for themselves, as well as for their family members. The patient must also have a day and night care person at home. There should be a communication system (telephone, mobile) between the care provider and the treating hospital,” read the guidelines.

An individual seeking to avail the facility needs to file a self-declaration form or an affidavit, stating he will be following all the protocols or norms issued for home isolation. “Caregivers and all close family members should take hydroxychloroquine, in accordance with the protocol of medical authorities and the Arogya Setu app must be operational on mobile. It will be mandatory to provide information about the patient to the team coming for the survey,” said Kakani.

“Caregivers need to update the health condition of the patients to the BMC control room. Moreover, if a patient's condition does not improve, then he should be shifted to hospital for treatment,” he added.

Dr Daksha Shah, deputy executive health officer, said, “Seventeen days after the onset of symptoms in a person with home detachment or 17 days after the day the sample was taken for testing if the patient has no symptoms, including no fever for 10 days, he can be released from home quarantine.”


Mission Begin Again: Maha govt to bring new policy to enroll migrant labourers who left for their hometown

The Maharashtra Government will soon bring in a new policy on the registration of migrant labourers. The state cabinet will be taking a formal decision on the strategy to enroll migrant labourers who left for their hometown amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Home Minister Anil Deshmukh told the Free Press Journal, “The objective is to collect data on the number of migrant labourers, their home states and where they were working before they left Maharashtra. Nearly 12 lakh and 5.5 lakh migrant labourers left for their hometown in Shramik Special trains and Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) buses, respectively. Their ghar wapsi is certain. When they return, they will be registered so that they can resume their duties or get new jobs.’’

The registration of the migrant labourers will come in handy for companies from various sectors to provide employment. It will be useful in case a similar event, such as the present pandemic, occurs again and migrants wish to travel back home. “I have convened a meeting with senior police officers on Tuesday to discuss the modalities of registration. Ultimately, the state cabinet will decide the nodal agency and department that will complete the registration process and maintain the updated data,’’ he noted.

The state government’s move is on the lines of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh governments, which have decided to make the registration of migrant workers mandatory with labour departments and to extend schemes, such as subsidised ration under the Public Distribution System, to them in the states of their employment through the One Nation, One Ration Card scheme.

Biju Janata Dal (BJD)-ruled Odisha has launched a toll-free helpline, help desk for migrant labourers and seasonal hostels for their children. The state government has proposed to establish migration support centres.