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From guided tours to luxury stays, how Rajasthan has overtaken other states as the ‘safe haven’ for MLAs


In this case, the BJP and Congress can probably agree on one thing. Since 2005, Rajasthan has overtaken Goa and even Karnataka to become the go-to destination for politicians looking to keep their MLAs safe in case their government is unstable.

Madhya Pradesh MLAs from the Congress are currently in Jaipur and are staying at two of the most luxurious resorts in the Pink City. Rewind a bit to November 2019 when Maharashtra Congress MLAs were in Jaipur when the numbers game was being played to form the government.

This trend of sending MLAs to Rajasthan increased when Ashok Gehlot became Chief Minister of Rajasthan in 2018. However, the state has extended its hospitality for over 15 years now.


Sangeeta Pranvendra
@sangpran
Confidence building over lunch - #Congress MLAs from #MadhyaPradesh who are put up in 2 hotels met for lunch 2day. 
They were urged to stay united & keep morale high. @MukulWasnik & @harishrawatcmuk gave the pep talk@avinashpandeinc was also there. @fpjindia

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The first time this happened was in 2005 when BJP legislators from Goa flew to Jaipur to ‘stay safe’. During this time, Vasundhara Raje was serving as chief minister of Rajasthan during her first term. The Manohar Parrikar government in Goa had been dismissed in February of that year, and BJP flew out its MLAs to Rajasthan for safe keeping till floor test.

In the same year, a few months later, 37 BJP, JDU, and independent MLAs from Jharkhand flew to Jaipur ahead of a confidence vote to decide who between Shibu Soren and Arjun Munda had a majority.

March 2016 saw 27 MLAs from Uttrakhand being holed up in a resort before a crucial vote of confidence. This was during the second tenure of Vasundhara Raje as chief minister.

Whether its BJP or Congress, both have offered hospitality, with only precondition; they have to be in power. While BJP chose its resorts on the Jaipur-Ajmer Highway for all occasions, Congress has favoured the Delhi Jaipur highway on both times. At the same time, resorts chosen by Congress have been more luxurious than those by the BJP.

What makes these political outings special is the itinerary that is planned for the MLAs. While the Goa MLAs kept a low profile and stayed at the resort, the Jharkhand MLAs had a fun packed visit. One that included a visit to Ajmer Dargah, Shiv temples on Shivratri, shopping expedition as they had an extended stay and even a football match with local players to relieve them of stress. Uttrakhand MLAs had an elaborate visit to Pushkar where they engaged in religious rituals and a holy dip in the Pushkar lake. Maharashtra MLAs visited tourist places like Amer Fort and some went to Ajmer to pay obeisance at the Dargah.

Rajasthan Tourism department had a tag line Padharo Mahre Desh (Welcome to My Land) to showcase its immense scope for travel destinations, food and hospitality. Seeing the manner in which states with political instability are increasingly using Rajasthan to keep their flock safe – this tagline should soon be extended for political hospitality too. After all, it is extended by the party that is in government.




From train travel to ordering food - A Mumbaikar’s guide on how to keep coronavirus at bay


If you thought the ‘whitewalkers’ from Game of Thrones gave you chills as they neared The Wall by the end of season seven, hold your horses, as the deadly coronavirus has finally made its way to the maximum city, courtesy two travel enthusiasts who returned after their Dubai vacay. While the airports are trying their best to contain the virus with screenings and tests, here’s how you can prepare for this Armageddon of a disease by inculcating these basic instructions in your day-today activities.

Masks aren’t your fashion accessory

 
 

Just when you thought cosplaying was the latest fad, the novel COVID-19 has masks up their game even by local vendors. Health experts have advised only N95 respirators and surgical masks to battle the virus. Do not waste your precious bucks on surgical or poor quality masks that can only protect you from mild dust.

Bunty ka slow sabun was legit

 
 

While there’s no scientific evidence of which of these outperforms the other, they both cater to different uses. Sanitisers which contain 60% alcohol work better and can be substituted when there’s no soap or water available. Meanwhile using a soap haphazardly won’t do any good either. The hands then must be thoroughly scrubbed, making sure that the backside, the place between the fingers and the underside of nails are not left out. The lathering process must be carried out for a span of 20 seconds minimum, after which the hands should be dried out with a clean towel or an air dryer.

When food is bae

Be it street food or gourmet, a virus that can cross borders can certainly make way to your eateries. While ordering food from delivery applications can be a risk in itself, the companies have issued statements guaranteeing safety of its customers. In addition to buying food items to cook at home, especially groceries, make sure they’re washed well before finding a place on your plate.

Avengers DO NOT Assemble

 
 

It is essential to avoid contact with people, especially at public places and areas that encourage mass gatherings such as transport (trains, buses, autos, and cabs), religious institutions, rallies, malls, salons and spas, restaurants, tourist attractions, gyms, schools, colleges, hotels, clubs etc. However if you do happen to visit these places including hospitals, take adequate precautions before and after.

Paws (pause) your love for strays

Dear animal lovers, it’s high time you hold back on your love for your furry friends on the street, and in case you give in, make sure you wash your hands thoroughly.

Below are the helpline numbers for COVID 19 Diagnostic Facilities in Mumbai

Kasturba Central Laboratory

For any queries contact -

State Control Room - 020 - 2612 7394

Toll Free number 104

Dr. Pradip Awate State Surveillance Officer 9423337556

Dr. Amol Mankar State Epidemiologist

9766732163

For Mumbai, Dr Yashashree Keni

9833867979




Markets continue to plummet as Sensex drops by 2,500 points at lunch


Mumbai: Bear run continued in the Indian equity market with the the BSE Sensex plunging over 2,500 points after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared coronavirus as a global pandemic.

Similar bear run was witnessed in the global markets. All Asian indices also were trading in the red. WHO declared the disease a pandemic on Wednesday following which the Dow Jones Industrial Average also slumped significantly.

At 11.16 a.m., the Sensex was trading at 33,188.01, lower by 2,509.39 or 7.03 per cent from its previous close of 35,697.40.

It had opened at the day's high of 34,472.50 and has touched a low of 32,990.01 so far.

 
 

The Nifty50 on the National Stock Exchange was trading at 9,699.15, lower by 759.25 points or 7.26 per cent from its previous close.

The bear run in both the global and domestic markets has continued off late on concerns of the coronavirus outbreak severely impacting the global economy. It has also raised calls for government intervention and support.

Central banks in several countries, including the US Federal Reserve have announced emergency rate cuts to boost sentiments. However, the concerns have only deepened in the past few days as the number of COVID-19 cases across the world has increased.

Further, following the rout in the global markets oil prices also fell on Thursday with the Brent crude trading around $34 per barrel. The Indian rupee also felt the pressure and touched a 17-month low of 74.34 per dollar in its initial trade.

 
 
 



Lessons Bollywood needs to learn from Harvey Weinstein's trial and conviction


The world witnesses the impact of the MeToo Movement as Hollywood's disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein has been sentenced to 23 years in prison for rape and sexual assault. However, it is saddening to see Bollywood take bare minimum cues from this act of justice. Indeed the women who accused Weinstein only had their heart-breaking accusations as proof that cost them their reputation and career, but it’s refreshing to see all of that not go down the drain.

That being said, it itches to know that despite the same movement gaining momentum in India, has managed to provide only partial relief to survivors as the accused roam freely with their head held high. These women put their image at stake to name and shame the person who was responsible for making their life hell once upon a time. But what did the close knit fraternity do instead? It waited for social media outrage to back their decisions. Not just that, but our idolised celebs also didn’t follow suit and simply dismissed it under ‘innocent until proven guilty’.

 
 

Former Miss India, Tanushree Dutta, had accused Nana Patekar of harassment on the sets of her film in 2008. However, the Mumbai police filed a closure report due to lack of evidence. Has the industry supported the accuser in any way? For someone who was on the peak of her career to drop everything and cross borders, only to return with a strong gut to face consequences, by going against a renowned actor, Patekar didn’t pay a hefty price as compared to Dutta. While she remains jobless and uplifting other women under this cause, Nana has moved on to working on his next project, Prakash Raj directorial Tadka, co-starring Ali Fazal, Shriya Saran and Tapsee Pannu.

Dutta who also accused filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri of misconduct on film sets saw the latter only deny the same. Done and dusted for the day, and Vivek saw a plunge in his career by helming The Tashkent Files, which he claimed should have been an Oscar entry.

Similarly when the most sanskari man of Bollywood Alok Nath, was accused of rape by Vinta Nanda, and was granted bail by Mumbai sessions court stating Nanda "did not lodge the report immediately after the alleged incident for her own benefit". She had accused actor Alok Nath of raping her 19 years ago. Despite all the chaos, and being called out by other women including Renuka Shahane and Sandhya Mridul, he managed to find work in Ajay Devgn's De De Pyaar De.

 
 

Filmmaker Sajid Khan who was accused of sexual harassment by several female colleagues such as Mandana Karimi, Saloni Chopra, Rachel White, Simran Suri and journalist Karishma Upadhyay wasn’t taken into consideration by his peers until they realised the possible flak for their multi-starrer Housefull 4. He was replaced by Farhad Samji, with the film body Indian Film & Television Directors' Association suspending him for a year. Does this mean that we will see Sajid back to work in the second half of 2020? Not to mention his films are as bizarre as his actions.

If that wasn’t enough, music moguls Anu Malik and Kailash Kher, who were accused by singer Sona Mohapatra also didn't face much flak despite being called out. Anu, who almost resumed being a judge on Indian Idol didn’t go through since the channel didn’t want to risk a show with good TRP falling at the hands of a MeToo accused. But that wasn’t the case for Kailash who performed at US President Donald Trump’s India visit. Are we out of performers to only make accusers entertain us? Clearly India is a potboiler of talent that keeps churning one every minute. So why bother.

Not to mention ace directors like Vikas Bahl and Rajkumar Hirani who were also accused in the movement but still managed to helm films like Super 30 and Sanju respectively. While there haven’t been reports of them signing any new projects it’s only a matter of time when production houses assume that the storm has been cast away with the magical spell that their legacy holds, and everything comes back to normal.

What does the Weinstein trial teach us? Even though the US federal court’s system differs to ours, the jury didn’t hold back when several woman came forward and shared their ordeal. The trial went on for two years till the final sentence. It saw several ups and downs, including the producer shelling out money for his bail in millions, and denying every allegation to the core. Harvey’s legacy and his Oscars didn’t save him from what was inevitable. It is sad to see one opt for desperate measures to stay afloat when they have jeopardised the career and lives of several women who only aspired to be good at their job.

Sadly, Bollywood has a lot to learn, as it takes magnitude of attempts to shatter ages of patriarchy. Doing a film on empowering women is nowhere going to subside for the actions that occur within the industry. However, as things stand, most of Bollywood's so-called feminists would rather virtue-signal on Twitter about standing with each other instead of taking real steps to fight the malaise. The same goes for powerful producers, which makes us wonder, how many of our top stars would come in the MeToo storm if we were really being honest.

 
 
 



Delhi Violence Update: PFI state chief Parvez Ahmed, Secretary Mohammad Iliyas arrested


Popular Front of India (PFI) Delhi chief Parvez Ahmed and Secretary Mohammad Iliyas were arrested by the Special Cell in connection with the Delhi riots.

"The duo has been arrested for their alleged role in instigating the people during the Delhi riots," a senior official told IANS over the phone.

"Their role has also surfaced in the funding of the riots," the officer said. Iliyas is a resident of Shiv Vihar, also contested in the 2020 Delhi Assembly polls from Karawal Nagar on a ticket from SDPI.

Parvez and Illiyas are likely to be produced before Delhi's Patiala House Court later.

More details awaited.

 
 
 



Coronavirus in India: How foreigners can extend their visa


On Wednesday, India suspended all visas till April 15 amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The Central government announced the suspension of all visas to India till April 15, as part of the measures to contain the spread of novel coronavirus.

The suspension, which will come into effect on March 13 at the port of departure, excludes diplomatic, official, United Nations or international organisations, employment, and project visas, as per an official release.

The discussion in this regard was taken during a high-level meeting chaired by Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan with several Union Ministers at Nirmal Bhawan in the national capital on Wednesday.

"All existing visas, except diplomatic, official, UN/International organisations, employment and project visas stand suspended till 15th April 2020. This will come into effect from 1200GMT on 13th March 2020 at the port of departure," said the release.

In addition, the visa-free travel facility granted to the Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholder, is kept in abeyance till April 15, effective from March 13.

Any foreign national, who intends to travel to India for compelling reasons may contact the nearest Indian Mission, the statement reads.

 
 

Types of Visas

 

1. Medical Visa

2. Medical Attendant Visa

3. Student Visa

4. Employment Visa

5. Business Visa

6. (i) Entry (X) Visa for dependents of Employment Visa, Business Visa, Student & Research Visa

6. (ii) Entry (X) Visa (Spouse or dependent of Indian citizen/Person of Indian Origin)

6. (iii) Entry (X) Visa (Others)

7. Journalist Visa

8. Research Visa

9. Conference Visa

10. Project Visa

11. Missionary Visa

DOCUMENTS TO BE PRODUCED FOR EXTENSION OF VISA

How to apply online on IndainFRRO.gov.in

 
 
Coronavirus in India: How foreigners can extend their visa

User Creation

Create User-id/Password by registering online

User Authentication

Valid Email ID and Mobile Number in India is required for obtaining the One Time Password (OTP). Foreigners should register with their own email ID and provide valid Mobile Number in India for receiving OTP and other status updates/alerts at various stages of processing.

Login with Valid credentials

Once user-id/password is successfully created, the foreign national can submit online application by selecting the appropriate service and uploading the requisite documents.

Online Application Submission and Document Upload

The application form should be carefully filled and any errors should be avoided. Further, necessary documents and photograph should be uploaded online in the designated format. The application would not be successfully submitted unless the documents and photographs are uploaded online successfully.

Successful Submission of Application

The application would be scrutinized by Visa Officers only if the application has been successfully submitted. Upon scrutiny, necessary instructions with regard to application i.e. Fee Payment, Correction of Selected/desired Service, re-uploading of documents etc would be conveyed to the Foreigner through email/SMS alerts.

Online Fee Payment

The foreigner would be intimated to deposit the requisite fee, if any, for the service. The fee has to be deposited online through Bank Payment gateway available on the portal. Amount of fee would be intimated through email/sms alerts.

Status Updates/Alerts

The foreigner can track the status of the application through our portal. For any clarification, our Support Centre can be contacted.

Service Granted/Rejected

Upon Grant/Rejection of service, the same would be intimated to the foreigner. His/Her RC/RP etc would be sent through email or it can also be downloaded from our portal by signing in.

Exigency/Emergency Scenarios

The foreigner can approach the concerned Civil Authority i.e. FRRO/FRO office directly in case of exigency/emergency. Upon satisfaction of the case, the services can also be granted directly at the FRRO/FRO level. Make sure that services granted are electronic and not manual. You may face hurdles at the Immigration Check Posts in case of manual services.

1. What is e-FRRO?

e-FRRO is online FRRO/FRO Service delivery mechanism for foreigners without requirement of visiting FRRO/FRO Office.

2. Who needs to apply for e-FRRO?

All foreigners who desire Visa and Immigration related services in India viz. Registration, Visa Extension, Visa Conversion, Exit Permit etc need to apply for e-FRRO.

3. How to apply for e-FRRO?

Foreigners are required to create their own USER-ID by registering themselves online on e-FRRO portal. Afterwards, they are required to apply online through registered user-id for various Visa and Immigration related services in India viz. Registration, Visa Extension, Visa Conversion, Exit Permit etc, without any hassle and obtain the service(s) without coming to FRRO/FRO office.

4. Do I need to visit FRRO/FRO office after applying through e-FRRO?

No requirement of taking appointment and visiting FRRO/FRO office unless specifically called upon by the FRRO/FRO concerned. Intimation would be sent through sms/email on the registered mobile/email-id.

5. How to make payment?

Upon successful uploading of application and documents, the foreigner would be intimated to deposit the requisite fee online, if any, for the service. The fee has to be deposited online through Bank Payment gateway available on the portal. Amount of fee would be intimated through email/sms alerts.

6. How would I get RC/RP?

RC/RP, Exit Permit etc would sent by post on the “Address in India” mentioned in the online application form.

7. Do I need Endorsement on my Passport?

There would not be any requirement of endorsement on passport. In case, there is any such requirement, you would be intimated by the FRRO/FRO concerned to visit their office.

8. What to do in emergency/exigency?

The foreigner can approach the concerned Civil Authority i.e. FRRO/FRO office directly in case of exigency/emergency. Upon satisfaction of the case, the services can also be granted directly at the FRRO/FRO level. Make sure that services granted are electronic and not manual. You may face hurdles at the Immigration Check Posts in case of manual services.

9. What happens if there is delay in fee payment or document uploading?

Foreigner would be liable for prosecution/fines as per Indian laws, for any delay in fee payment/document upload/not attending interview etc.

10. Do I need to use my own email-id for registration?

Yes. It is mandatory to use personal email ID. Foreigners should use their own email id to ensure data privacy and data security as important communication would be sent to your email.

11. Can I apply for my family members through my own ID?

Yes. You can submit applications for your family members from same ID. However you would be required to submit/fill individual online forms for each member of your family.

12. How would I know about status of my application?

At every stage of processing, the status of your application would be shared via SMS/Email. You can also track your status by logging into your dashboard through registered Email-ID/Password.

Other notes:

  1. e-FRRO is now applicable for foreigners in the jurisdiction of all FRROs/FROs.

  2. e-FRRO is mandatory for availing services at FRROs/FROs.

  3. Services would be granted at FRRO/FRO office only in case of exigency/emergency.

  4. The foreigner is required to appear for interview if any, at scheduled time/date, as intimated by FRRO through email/sms alerts.

  5. Foreigner should check their inbox daily for email alerts.

  6. Foreigner would be liable for prosecution/fines as per Indian laws, for any delay in fee payment/document upload/interview etc.

  7. This service is not applicable for diplomats/officials who are under jurisdiction of CPV Division, Ministry of External Affairs.

  8. Foreigners are encouraged to upload documents and photographs in good quality.

  9. Foreigners should use their own email id to ensure data privacy and data security as important communication would be sent to your email.

  10. Services rendered though e-FRRO can be cancelled by the Civil Authority any time, upon field enquiries and verification. Cancellation would be duly intimated to the foreigner and necessary action, as per Indian Laws, would be taken against the foreigner.

  11. Foreigners are advised to apply at least 2 weeks in advance.

For more visit: FRRO's website

 
 
 



Coronavirus cases in India mount to 62


New Delhi: The number of novel coronavirus cases in India mounted to 62 as 12 new confirmed cases were reported on Tuesday.

New cases

 “Among the new cases, eight were reported on Wednesday from Kerala and one each from Rajasthan and Delhi. The total cases in the country include three Kerala patients who have recovered and have been discharged from the hospital,” the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said on Wednesday.

In the evening, Mumbai went into high alert after two persons tested positive for coronavirus, taking the total afflicted in the state to seven, including five in Pune.

A flu like illness was first reported from Wuhan city of China in December last year which eventually turned into an outbreak. The novel coronavirus has affected over a 100 countries so far, with total number of cases crossing 1 lakh globally.

Public Health Emergency of International Concern

 
The World Health Organization has declared coronavirus (Covid-19) as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). Outside China, Italy and Iran are the worst hit countries.

The Indian government has so far evacuated 948 passengers from Covid-19 affected countries, including Iran, Italy, China and the Japanese Cruise Ship, Diamond Princess, stranded at the Port of Yokohama.

Out of these, 900 are Indian citizens and 48 belonging to different nationalities including from Maldives, Myanmar, Bangladesh, China, the US, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Nepal, South Africa and Peru.

Travel advisory

 According to the latest travel advisory issued by the Indian government, passengers with travel history to China, Hong Kong, Republic of Korea, Japan, Italy, Thailand, Singapore, Iran, Malaysia, France, Spain and Germany will have to undergo self-imposed quarantine for a period of 14 days from the date of their arrival, and their employers should facilitate work-from-home for such employees during this period.

AGENCY 




Rajya Sabha to discuss Delhi violence today


New Delhi: A discussion will be held on the Delhi violence in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday, after more than a week of protest by Opposition in Parliament.

RS witnesses frequent adjournments
The development comes after Rajya Sabha deputy chairman Harivansh Narayan Singh on Wednesday chaired an all-party meeting to ensure that the Upper House of the Parliament, which has been witnessing frequent adjournments, functions smoothly.

The BJP has issued a whip to all its Rajya Sabha members to remain in the House during the important discussion.
The Lok Sabha on Wednesday discussed the Delhi violence, in which 53 people had died while around 200 people sustained serious injuries.

Deep conspiracy
During the discussion, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that no incident of rioting took place in the national capital after February 25 and added that there was “a deep conspiracy” behind the Delhi riots and no one guilty of violence will be spared.

AIMIM MP Asaduddin Owaisi, on the other hand, demanded a probe by a sitting judge of the Supreme Court or the High Court into the Delhi violence.

AGENCY 




Latest coronavirus update in India: Five test positive in Pune, 6 suspected cases in isolation at Mumbai


 



Latest coronavirus update in India: 85-year-old man tests positive for virus in Jaipur


Jaipur: A 85-year-old man in Jaipur, who had returned from Dubai on February 28, has tested positive for coronavirus, a state government official said on Wednesday.

He was found presumptive positive in the first test on Tuesday and hence, a second test was conducted with fresh samples, the reports of which arrived late Tuesday night, Additional Chief Secretary, Medical and Health, Rohit Kumar Singh, said.

"The man who travelled to Dubai has been tested positive for coronavirus. It has been confirmed now," Singh said.

"We have also got the manifest of the Spicejet flight he took from Dubai to Jaipur and are doing due diligence on that," the official said, adding that intense contact tracing was underway.

The man has been kept in isolation at the SMS Hospital here.

"The man came to the hospital on Monday with symptoms of the virus.

After the first test, his wife and son too have been kept in isolation at the hospital. The two, however, do not have coronavirus affliction symptoms," Singh said.

A total of 235 people who came in contact with the octogenarian and his family have already been traced and are being monitored, he said.

Other contacts are also being traced, Singh added.

An Italian couple, who tested positive for COVID-19 last week, are also admitted in the hospital but their condition is improving, he said.

 
 
 




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