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Portugal mandates Digital Covid Certificate, negative test at hotel check-in


In municipalities with a high Covid-19 incidence, the same requirement applies from 7 p.m. on Fridays and on weekends to customers who wish to dine indoors in restaurants, reports Xinhua news agency.

Portugal has mandated the use of the European Union’s (EU) Digital Covid Certificate or proof of a negative coronavirus test while checking-in in hotels and other holiday accommodations across the country as per the decision of the Council of Ministers.

In municipalities with a high Covid-19 incidence, the same requirement applies from 7 p.m. on Fridays and on weekends to customers who wish to dine indoors in restaurants, reports Xinhua news agency.

In a statement issued on Friday, Mariana Vieira da Silva, Minister of State for the Presidency, said that PCR (polymerase chain reaction) and antigen tests with laboratory results will be accepted and self-tests will also be available in the presence of a health professional.

The EU Digital Covid Certificate is available for free online to any citizen or resident of the bloc who has already been vaccinated or already contracted the disease and recovered.

At the same time, the Portuguese authorities have revoked the ban on entering and leaving the Lisbon Metropolitan Area on weekends.

This week, the Council of Ministers re-assessed the country’s sanitary conditions and announced the new measures “taking into account the spread of the coronavirus infection in Portugal”, said an official government statement.

The daily average of new Covid-19 cases rose 54 per cent in the past seven days, which led the government to extend the “state of calamity” in Portugal until July 25.

According to the health authorities, Portugal has registered 899,295 Covid-19 cases since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, while the death toll stood at 17,135.




Armed forces ready to meet any challenge, says Rajnath Singh


The defence minister noted that India has used weapons only for establishing peace and not to attack anyone or occupy anybody’s territory.

In a clear message to both China and Pakistan, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh today declared India’s commitment to resolve issues with neighbouring countries through peaceful talks but made it clear that the Indian armed forces were fully geared to meet any challenge from their adversaries.

“India is a peace-loving nation that never resorts to any kind of aggression. At the same time, it is always prepared to give a befitting reply, if provoked,” he asserted while interacting with the officers and jawans of the Indian Army’s 14 Corps at Karu Military Station in Ladakh.

Singh’s comments came even as Indian and Chinese troops remained locked in a tense stand-off at Eastern Ladakh despite all attempts by India to persuade the Chinese side to complete the disengagement process at all friction points in the Pangong Tso Lake area.

The defence minister noted that India has used weapons only for establishing peace and not to attack anyone or occupy anybody’s territory.

He assured the people that the nation’s safety and security shall not be compromised at any cost. Singh, who is accompanied by Chief of the Army staff M M Naravane during his three-day visit to the region to review the country’s defence preparedness, paid rich tributes to the Indian jawans who lost their lives in the clash with Chinese troops at the Galwan Valley in Eastern Ladakh on 15 June, last year.

“The nation will never forget their martyrdom,” he said.

He also commended the 14th Corps for their invaluable contribution during the 1965 Indo-Pak War as well as the 1999 Kargil operation. Singh also dedicated to the nation 63 bridges, built by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), in six states and two UTs. From Kyungam, the defence minister inaugurated a 50- metre-long bridge constructed on the Leh-Loma Road in Ladakh.




8 measures to boost Covid-hit economy


Major sops for credit relief, funds for health infra and tourism sector

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today announced a slew of measures including additional credit for small and medium businesses, more funds for the healthcare sector, loans to tourism agencies and guides, and waiver of visa fee for foreign tourists to boost the economy hit by the second wave of coronavirus pandemic.

“We are announcing about 8 economic relief measures, of which four are absolutely new and one is specific to health infrastructure,” informed Sitharaman.

Together with previously announced Rs 93,869 crore spending on providing free foodgrains to the poor till November and additional Rs 14,775 crore fertiliser subsidy, the stimulus package ~mostly made up of government guarantee to banks and microfinance institutions for loans extended to Covidhit sectors ~ totalled up to Rs 6.29 lakh crore.

While addressing the Press conference, the minister announced Rs. 1.1 lakh crore loan guarantee scheme for Covid-affected sectors. Under the scheme Rs. 50,000 crore would be for the health sector and Rs. 60,000 crore for other sectors.

The scheme, minister said, will scale up medical infrastructure targeting the underserved areas. Guarantee cover for expansion and new projects related to health/medical infrastructure in cities other than 8 metropolitan cities.

It will include both public and private hospitals who will be to avail maximum loan of Rs. 100 crore with a guarantee duration of up to 3 years.

In another announcement, the government announced Rs 23,220 crore more primarily focussing on children and paediatric care.

The amount will be spent this financial year itself. The FM also informed to enlarge the scope of ECLGS (Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme) by providing an additional spending limit of Rs 1.5 lakh crore. Accordingly, the overall cap of admissible guarantee under the scheme has been raised from Rs 3 lakh crore announced in May 2020 to Rs 4.5 lakh crore now.

So far in three packages, credit disbursal of Rs 2.69 lakh crore has already been given to 1.1 crore units by banks and NBFCs. Contact intensive sectors already covered under the scheme will continue to get funding.

So far Rs 4,000 crore given to these sectors through the window.

The tourism sector which impacted the most due to covid got a relief from the government. The minister announced the financial support to more than 11,000 registered tourist guides/travel and tourism stakeholders.

The scheme will cover 10,700 regional level tourist guides recognised by the ministry of tourism and those recognised by state governments.

It will also cover travel and tourism stakeholders (TTS) recognised by the ministry of tourism.

“Loans will be provided with 100 per cent guarantee up to Rs 10 lakh for TTS and Rs 1 lakh for tourist guides licensed at regional or state level,” informed the minister.

Along with it, she also announced the free tourist visas to first 5 lakh tourist.

The scheme will be applicable till 31 March, 2022 or till 5,00,000 visas are issued, whichever is earlier. To incentivize job creation, the government committed to paying the employer and employee’s share to provident fund (PF) for all new recruitments done till March 2022. Previously, the government paid Rs 902 crore for 21.42 lakh beneficiaries of 79,577 establishments.

The government also extended the Atmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana till 31 March 2022 and Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKYAY) till November 2021.

The FM announced Rs. 3.03 lakh crore to revamp reform-based, result-linked power distribution scheme of financial assistance to DISCOMS for infrastructure creation, up-gradation of system and process improvement. She also announced Rs. 19,041 crore for BharatNet to improve the broadband connectivity to all villages.




Can’t deny reservation in promotion to disabled: Supreme Court


Addressing this contention, the bench said that source of recruitment ought not to make any difference but what is material is that the employee is a PwD at the time for consideration for promotion.

The Supreme Court on Monday said a contention that posts in the promotional cadre cannot be reserved for persons with disabilities (PwD) category, due to functional or other reasons, should not be a ruse to defeat reservation in promotion for candidates with disabilities.

A bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and R. Subhash Reddy said: “We have no doubt that the mandate of Section 32 of the 1995 Act, The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation), enjoins the government to identify posts that can be filled up with persons with disability. Thus, even posts in promotional cadre have to be identified for PwD and such posts have to be reserved for PwD”.

The bench ruled that a person with disability would be considered for promotion along with other persons working in the feeder cadre. The bench said there cannot be methodology used to defeat the reservation in promotion. “Once that post is identified, the logical conclusion would be that it would be reserved for PwD who have been promoted. The absence of rules to provide for reservation in promotion would not defeat the rights of PwD to a reservation in promotion as it flows from the legislation”, it added.

The bench added that such a scenario will result in frustration and stagnation as others may get promoted even over the persons with disability as, more often than not, the disability comes in the way of meeting the requirements for promotion. “In such a situation, we would require the government to explore methods to address the issue of stagnation of PwD,” said the bench.

The top court held that reservation for PwD cannot be dependent on identification of posts as non-discrimination in employment is mandate of legislation, and also as per law government needs to identify posts that can be filled with persons with disability.

The bench cited the laws passed to ensure equal rights to PwD in 1995 and 2016. “Sometimes it is easier to bring a legislation into force but far more difficult to change the social mindset which would endeavour to find ways and means to defeat the intent of the Act”, said the bench.

The top court dismissed an appeal filed by the Kerala government challenging the Kerala High Court judgement passed on March 9, 2020 directing promotional benefits to woman as cashier, following her appointment as typist in police department in 1996 on compassionate ground.

The top court observed that the anomaly which would arise from the submission of the state is apparent: “a person who came in through normal recruitment process but suffers disability after joining service would on a pari materia position be also not entitled to be considered to a vacancy in a promotional post reserved for a PwD”.

Addressing this contention, the bench said that source of recruitment ought not to make any difference but what is material is that the employee is a PwD at the time for consideration for promotion.

“The 1995 Act does not make a distinction between a person who may have entered service on account of disability and a person who may have acquired disability after having entered the service. Similarly, the same position would be with the person who may have entered service on a claim of a compassionate appointment,” concluded the bench.




Sonia to decide on U’khand legislative party leader


Congress deputy leader Karan Mahara is said to be the frontrunner in the race as the state goes for polls early next year and Congress is trying to balance caste equations in the state.

After the sudden demise of former minister Indira Hridyesh, Congress MLAs met in New Delhi on Monday and unanimously decided to authorise party chief Sonia Gandhi to appoint the Uttarakhand Legislative Party leader.

Devendra Yadav, Congress State Incharge, said in a tweet, “Held a meeting of @INCUttarakhand Legislative Party to decide the new CLP leader for the state after the sudden demise of #IndiraHridyesh ji. It was unanimously decided to request Hon’ble @INCIndia President #SmtSoniaGandhi Ji to decide the same.”

Congress deputy leader Karan Mahara is said to be the frontrunner in the race as the state goes for polls early next year and Congress is trying to balance caste equations in the state. Hridyesh was a Brahmin and a very senior leader while the party wants to appoint a new PCC president – either a Brahmin or a Dalit.




Jagdeep Dhankhar levels serious allegations against Trinamool govt


The Governor also made serious allegations against the state government over the post-poll violence in Bengal.

Hours after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee accused Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar of being ‘corrupt’, the Governor on Monday hit back at the Trinamool Congress government in the state, alleging that it is involved in several corrupt practices.

Addressing a press conference, Dhankhar said, “I would like to ask the government what happened to the report of the Rs 2,000 crore pandemic purchase scam? The Chief Minister herself had admitted that there were irregularities and she even ordered an inquiry which was supposed to be conducted by the then Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay. What happened to that report?

“I had asked Bandyopadhyay several times when he came to me, but there was no report. I have written to her (Banerjee) several times, but she didn’t respond. I would like to ask what happened to the inquiry which she herself had ordered? To order an inquiry is the end of everything. The people need to know who were the people who took undue benefits,” Dhankhar said.

Dhankhar also said that there has been neither any election nor any audit in the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA).

“Thousands of crores have been sanctioned but there has been no audit. Why? It is people’s money and the people should know what happened to their money. I shall conduct a CAG audit as it falls under my constitutional ambit,” the Governor said.

“There was no election (to GTA) after 2017. Democracy has been stiffened; it has been decimated in the GTA. The GTA has been reduced to a government department. It is a den of nepotism, den of corruption, den of inefficiency. Everyone asked why there was no audit? Thousands of cores have come, but why is there no audit? I sought a report, but there was no report,” Dhankhar alleged.

The Governor even questioned the government’s policy to give loans for the Andal airport.

“I have asked her (Banerjee) why the government is increasing its equity in Andal airport? Why are they giving loans to people when they are not repaying? Why have loans been given when they are not paying the interest? I had asked the same question to Alapan Bandyopadhyay, but there was no answer,” Dhankhar alleged.

The Governor also made serious allegations against the state government over the post-poll violence in Bengal.

“Five states went to the polls, but no other state witnessed such violence as was seen in Bengal. The whole world is a witness to this. They (Trinamool Congress) have come with such a huge mandate but they are throttling the democratic rights of the people,” he said.

The Governor, however, vowed that he won’t give in.

“I will not be caved in, be what it may. I will only bow down in front of the Constitution of India. The Constitution has empowered me and I shall do everything possible for the people of West Bengal,” Dhankhar said.

“The Chief Minister says whatever she feels like, but I have held my patience. Have you seen what happened last year during the Governor’s address? It was a total black out. It happened only during Emergency,” he said.




COVID-19 tally falls below 100, Delhi to open more from Monday


This is the third time in the last one week that Delhi’s single-day tally fell below the 100-mark after June 21, when the national capital had reported 89 cases.

The national capital on Sunday reported 89 new Covid-19 cases, staying below 100 cases for the straight second day, while the daily Covid positivity rate remained at 0.12 per cent, according to the health bulletin.

With four more deaths reported on Sunday, Delhi’s Covid toll rose to 24,965 since the pandemic started early last year.

During the same time period, 285 people recovered from the disease, taking the national capital’s total number of recoveries to 14,07,401 till date. Delhi presently has 1,568 active cases, with the number of patients under home isolation dropping to 478.

A total of 74,198 Covid samples were tested in the last 24 hours, including 54,297 through RT-PCR and 19,901 through the Rapid Antigen method.

Delhi had reported 85 new Covid cases on Saturday – the lowest since April 19, 2020. There were nine deaths were reported in the national capital on Saturday, while daily positivity rate was at 0.12 per cent.

This is the third time in the last one week that Delhi’s single-day tally fell below the 100-mark after June 21, when the national capital had reported 89 cases.

Delhi, which is under phase wise unlock since last four weeks after the second wave of Covid pandemic slowed down, will witness more crowds in public places from Monday as gymnasiums, yoga centres, hotels etc. will be allowed to open from Monday at 50 per cent capacity.

However, cinema theatres, spas, schools, colleges and educational institutes, swimming pools, and entertainment and amusement parks will remain shut.




PM inaugurates Zen Garden and Kaizen Academy at AMA, Ahmedabad


Pointing to the similarities between ‘Zen’ and Indian ‘Dhyan’, the Prime Minister dwelled on the emphasis on inner peace along with outer progress and growth in the two cultures.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated a Zen Garden and Kaizen Academy at AMA, Ahmedabad via video conference on Sunday.

Terming the dedication of the Zen Garden and Kaizen Academy, as a symbol of ease and modernity of the India-Japan relationship, the Prime Minister thanked the leaders of Hyōgo Prefecture especially Governor ToshizōIdo and Hyōgo International association for their contribution to the establishment of the Zen Garden and Kaizen Academy. He also praised the Indo-Japan Friendship Association of Gujarat for giving new energy to India Japan relations.

Pointing to the similarities between ‘Zen’ and Indian ‘Dhyan’, the Prime Minister dwelled on the emphasis on inner peace along with outer progress and growth in the two cultures. Indians will find a glimpse of the same peace, poise and simplicity in this Zen garden, which they experienced in Yoga through the ages. Buddha gave this ‘Dhyan’ this enlightenment to the world, said the Prime Minister.

Similarly, the Prime Minister highlighted both external and internal meanings of Kaizen which not only emphasizes ‘improvement’ but ‘continuous improvement’.

The Prime Minister recalled that, as Chief Minister, he implemented Kaizen in Gujarat administration. It was introduced in administrative training in Gujarat in 2004 and a special training camp was organized for the top civil servants in 2005. ‘Continuous improvement’ was reflected in the refinement of processes, leading to a positive impact on governance.

Continuing with the importance of governance in national progress, the Prime Minister informed that, after becoming Prime Minister, he brought Kaizen related experience of Gujarat to PMO and other Central Government departments. This has led to the simplification of the processes and optimization of office space. Kaizen is being used in many departments, institutions and schemes of the Central Government said the Prime Minister.

Modi conveyed his wishes to Japan and the people of Japan for the Tokyo Olympics.




25% of youth, 50% of 45+ vaccinated in Delhi: AAP


The development has come after a record vaccination of 2,07,559 people was done on Saturday, out of which more than 1.5 lakh doses were administered to the youth.

Senior Aam Aadmi Party leader Atishi informed on Sunday that more than 25 per cent of the youth in Delhi has been vaccinated with a single dose of Covid-19 vaccine while the primer dose immunisation among the age group of 45+ years has reached 50 per cent.

The development has come after a record vaccination of 2,07,559 people was done on Saturday, out of which more than 1.5 lakh doses were administered to the youth.

So far, 73, 29,652 people have been given vaccine doses in Delhi. Of them, more than 56 lakh people have received the first dose and more than 17 lakh people have received both the shots of two-dose regimen Covid-19 vaccines.

The MLA from Kalkaji constituency informed that a total of 7.06 lakh vaccine doses are currently available in Delhi while the city requires at least 45 lakh doses in the month of July.

“Delhi’s vaccination speed is increasing on an everyday basis. For the last two days, the city has administered more than 1.5 lakh doses. More than 45 lakh doses will be needed if the pace of vaccination increases,” she said.

The city has 7.06 lakh vaccine doses, including 5.4 lakh Covishield doses, available at present. If the authorities continue to vaccinate people at the current pace of 2 lakh daily, this stock will be over in three days, she said.

“We have also written to the Centre that Delhi needs 45 lakh vaccine doses to keep vaccinating people at the rate of 1.5 lakh jabs per day,” Atishi said while presenting the vaccination bulletin.

Meanwhile, Delhi recorded 89 new COVID-19 cases and four deaths in the last 24 hours. The national capital had witnessed 85 fresh infections on Saturday.




Farooq asks people to wait and watch centre’s approach towards removing mistrust in J&K


Dr Abdullah and Omar Abdullah were talking to media persons in Srinagar after returning from New Delhi where they participated in the All Parties meeting of J&K leaders with Modi.

National Conference President and sitting MP Dr Farooq Abdullah on Saturday said that people need to wait to see if the central government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi takes concrete steps to remove the mistrust existing on the ground in Jammu and Kashmir.

Dr Abdullah and Omar Abdullah were talking to media persons in Srinagar after returning from New Delhi where they participated in the All Parties meeting of J&K leaders with Modi.

Dr Abdullah described the meeting as “satisfactory” and said there is a level of mistrust that has to be removed and it is for the government of India to decide how it removes it. “Let’s see what they do to remove that mistrust or will they continue with the same situation”.

Dr Abdullah said that he reminded them that the first Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru promised us a plebiscite and went back on it. Thereafter, PV Narsimha Rao on the floor of the House promised us autonomy and said the sky is the limit. Where is it?”, he asked.

He said that all leaders were invited to the meeting in their individual capacity and not as part of the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD). The National Conference, PDP and CPI(M) leaders were there in their individual capacity and none violated the agenda of the PAGD while putting forth their viewpoint before the PM.

Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, who is Vice-President of the NC, said his party will keep pushing for delimitation first, statehood second and elections later. “Not delimitation- election-statehood” as was being proposed by the centre.

Referring to Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad’s remarks in the meeting with Modi, Omar said that even before the PM’s address, Azad expressed the view on behalf of all of us that the timeline of delimitation- election- statehood is not acceptable to us. The PAGD members made it clear that they don’t accept the decisions of 5 August 2019 when Article 370 was abrogated and J&K split into two UTs.

“We will continue to fight peacefully, constitutionally, legally and politically to undo what was done on 5 August. We don’t want to betray people. If we tell people that we are seeking reversal of 5 August decisions from Modi sahib, it would be a betrayal, he said. The struggle for restoration of J&K’s special status is a long one. It took BJP 70 years to fulfill their agenda of scrapping the status. If it takes 70 weeks or 70 months or whatever time it takes, we will not retract from our mission”.

Omar said that two leaders, Azad and Muzaffar Hussain Beig described the debate on Article 370 as sub-judice and therefore beyond discussion during the meeting with the PM. “When the BJP could on various forums talk about the Ram temple and Babri Masjid demolition despite it being before the court, why can’t we talk about Article 370? It is a subject of discussion and we will continue to agitate on the issue”.

He said it was unfortunate that the people of Kashmir were facing an unbridled bureaucracy. People are being harassed and arrested for questioning bureaucrats.

Omar said that Dr Abdullah has been authorized by the party to take the decision on participation in the meeting of the delimitation commission. Meanwhile, J&K Congress chief GA Mir, who also attended the meeting with PM, said that the ball now is in the court of the centre. The Congress placed the aspirations of the people before the PM.





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