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India records biggest jump in daily new Covid cases in 30 days


The next phase of the Covid-19 vaccination drive for people above 60 years and those aged 45 and above with comorbidities will begin from March 1. Registration on the Co- WIN2.0 portal will open at 9 a.m.

India on Sunday registered 16,752 new cases, the biggest single-day jump in number of cases in a month and reported 113 deaths in the last 24 hours

Six states ~ Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat ~ account for 86.37 per cent of the new cases, a press statement the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said.

The total number of active Covid-19 cases are 1,64,511, which comprises 1.48 per cent of the country’s total infections. Among the states, Maharashtra continues to report the highest daily new cases at 8,623, followed by Kerala with 3,792 while Punjab reported 593 new cases. Maharashtra saw the maximum casualties with 51, Kerala follows with 18 deaths and Punjab reported 11 deaths.

“The Centre has been engaging with the States and UTs exhibiting a higher caseload of active cases and those reporting a spike in the daily new Covid cases,” said the statement.

The country is all set to start the second phase of Covid-19 vaccination on 1 March 2021 for those who are over 60 years of age and for people aged 45 and above with specified comorbid conditions. To rampup the Covid-19 vaccination capacity, around 10,000 private hospitals under the Ayushman Bharat-PMJAY and over 600 private hospitals under the central government health scheme will be utilised.

Delhi sees 197 cases, 1 death:Delhi today recorded 197 new Covid cases, while one more fatality pushed the death toll to 10,910.




Atmanirbhar Bharat a national spirit: Modi


Stressing the importance of collective responsibility towards water conservation, he said the Union Jal Shakti Ministry will soon initiate a “Catch the rain” campaign with its main theme being “catch the rain, where it falls, when it falls”.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday stressed that Atmanirbhar Bharat is not just a government policy but also a national spirit, and said the mantra of self-reliant India is reaching villages of the country.

In his monthly Mann Ki Baat radio programme, Modi also called for a 100-day campaign to clean up all water bodies and prepare them for rain water harvesting before monsoon starts. Stressing the importance of collective responsibility towards water conservation, he said the Union Jal Shakti Ministry will soon initiate a “Catch the rain” campaign with its main theme being “catch the rain, where it falls, when it falls”.

Conveying greetings on the National Science Day, Modi noted that this day is dedicated to the discovery of Raman Effect’ by the great scientist of India, Dr C V Raman.

Asserting that there is a lot of contribution of the power of science in the Atmanirbhar Bharat campaign, Modi said there is a need to make science more popular and that science cannot be limited to physicschemistry and labs. He called for expanding science with a mantra of ‘lab to land’.

Modi said water has been crucial for the development of humankind for centuries and people should understand their collective responsibility towards its conservation.

He said that in most parts of India, rainfall begins in May-June and asked “can we right away start a 100-day campaign for the sake of cleaning up water sources around us and conserving rainwater”.

With this thought in mind, in a few days from now, ‘Jal Shakti Abhiyan Catch the rain’ is being initiated by the Jal Shakti Ministry, he said.

“We shall commit ourselves to the task right nowwe shall get existing rainwater harvesting systems repaired, clean up lakes and ponds in villages, remove impediments in the way of water flowing into water sources; thus we shall be able to conserve rainwater to the maximum,” he said.

Modi highlighted an assertion made by a person who had written to him from Kolkata that the Atmanirbhar Bharat campaign is not just a government policy but also a national spirit, and said this was hundred per cent correct.

When every person in the country takes pride in indigenous products and connects with the idea of self-reliance, Atmanirbhar Bharat doesn’t just remain an economic campaign but becomes a national spirit, he said. “When we see fighter plane Tejas made in our own country doing acrobatics in the sky, when Made in India tanks, Made in India missiles increase our pride, when we see Made in India coaches in Metro trains in wealthy- advanced nations, when we see Made in India Corona vaccines reaching dozens of countries, then our heads are held high,” Modi said.

~With inputs from PTI~




‘It is a do or die battle for farmers’, says Arvind Kejriwal at Meerut Kisan Mahapanchayat


He called farmers “true patriots” and said that on January 26 protesters were deliberately diverted from the prescribed route and those who hoisted the flag at the Red Fort were their workers.

Aam Aadmi Party( AAP) Supremo and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in his first Mahapanchayat of farmers of western UP in Meerut on Sunday claimed that the farmers are on a “do or die” battle against the three farm laws of Union government which are “Death warrant” for the farmers.

Attacking the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in his address to a massive crowd including farmers at Sanskriti Resort here, Kejriwal asked are the farmers enemies of this country? “Even the British rulers did not frame the farmers in false cases that have been done by this government,” he quipped alleging that the entire Red Fort incident was planned by them.

Farmers of this country are in deep pain and sadness. For the last 95 days, they are sitting on a dharna with women and children at Delhi borders braving the chill of the winter season and more than 250 of them are martyred yet this government is least affected, said Kejriwal adding that since past 70 years every government has betrayed farmers.

In the past 25 years, more than 3.5 lakh farmers have committed suicide but none of the governments offered jobs to their children, he commented.

“These farm laws are a death warrant for the farmers,” he said adding further that the farmers want nothing but the right price of their crop. If they are given the right price for their crops the farmers would not be forced to commit suicide.

The Delhi CM also presented a formula for giving a guarantee to purchase all 23 crops at minimum support price (MSP). The Government shows its inability to do so as they cannot guarantee MSP because it would require Rs 17 lakh crore for procurement of crops, he said adding that farmers would give the government their crops against payment of Rs 17 lakh and the government could earn money by selling these crops.

Even if there are initial losses to the government it would cover up in 15 years time, he averred accusing the government of not having intentions to do this for farmers while on the contrary loans of more than Rs 8 lakh crore of corporates have been waived off.

Kejriwal also targeted the BJP for seeking the votes of farmers by giving them assurance of implementing the report of the Swaminathan Commission. Yet instead of implementing the recommendations of the Committee, the BJP government, three years after coming to power, gave an affidavit in the Supreme Court in which it expressed its inability to give MSP. “It was like stabbing in the back of farmers,” he said.

He called farmers “true patriots” and said that on January 26 protesters were deliberately diverted from the prescribed route and those who hoisted the flag at the Red Fort were their workers.

“Initially the Center wanted to stop the farmers from coming to Delhi. But they could not be stopped and then they wanted to convert the 9 stadiums of Delhi into prisons for the farmers. This plan was also defused as I refused to this proposal in spite of all the pressure,” claimed Kejriwal.

He said that he was the first one to contact BKU leader Rakesh Tikait after he broke down in front of the cameras at the Ghazipur border and extended support to the farmers’ movement. We also made arrangements for water and toilets for the farmers protesting there.

He also raised the issues of sugarcane arrears, rising power bills, the high price of fertilizers, skyrocketing hike in prices of diesel, petrol and LPG and appealed to the masses to elect a government with clear intentions in the state so that their problems are addressed.

Kejriwal also mentioned free electricity being given to people in Delhi by his government and explained that he made it possible in spite of tremendous pressure.

Attacking the Yogi government in UP, the Delhi CM claimed that Yogiji has bowed down before sugar mills that still owe Rs 18000 crore to farmers.

He targeted the BJP leaders on the issue of MSP and said that they say that MSP exists and will remain in future but I challenge Yogiji to mention a single Mandi in UP where crops are purchased on MSP.” “Where was MSP?” he questioned.

Arvind Kejriwal was accompanied on the dais by AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh, party MLAs, state party President Sabhajeet Singh, Khap leaders and local farmer leaders.

Kejriwal concluded his address by saying, “Chaudhary Charan Singh Amar Rahe.”




PM Modi congratulates NSIL and ISRO on launch of PSLV-C51/Amazonia-1 Mission


In a tweet, the Prime Minister said, “Congratulations to NSIL and @isro on the success of the 1st dedicated commercial launch of PSLV-C51/Amazonia-1 Mission. This ushers in a new era of Space reforms in the country. 18 co-passengers included four small satellites that showcase dynamism and innovation of our youth.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has congratulated NSIL and ISRO on the success of the 1st dedicated commercial launch of PSLV-C51/Amazonia-1 Mission.

In a tweet, the Prime Minister said, “Congratulations to NSIL and @isro on the success of the 1st dedicated commercial  launch of PSLV-C51/Amazonia-1 Mission. This ushers in a new era of Space reforms in the country. 18 co-passengers included four small satellites that showcase dynamism and innovation of our youth.”


The Prime Minister also congratulated the President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro on the successful launch of Brazil’s Amazonia-1 satellite by  PSLV-C51.

In another tweet, the Prime Minister said, “Congratulations President @jairbolsonaro on the successful launch of Brazil’s Amazonia-1 satellite by  PSLV-C51. This is a historic moment in our space cooperation and my felicitations to the scientists of Brazil.”

Excelência @jairbolsonaro pelo sucesso do lançamento do satélite Amazônia-1 do Brasil por PSLV-C51 de @isro. Este é um momento histórico em nossa cooperação espacial e meus melhores votos para muitos outros empreendimentos como esse no futuro.

— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) February 28, 2021

 




India, China FMs to set up hotline for border problems


External affairs minister S Jaishankar insisted in his discussion with his Chinese counterpart that it was necessary for the two countries to disengage at all friction points in eastern Ladakh in order to achieve de-escalation.

External affairs minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi have agreed to set up a hotline for timely communication in the wake of last year’s border crisis even as the Indian minister insisted that it was necessary for the two countries to disengage at all friction points in eastern Ladakh in order to achieve de-escalation of forces in the sector.

In a statement this morning, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) gave details of the 75-minute telephonic conversation Mr Jaishankar had with Mr Wang last night. The marathon conversation between the two ministers took place on a day when India and Pakistan agreed to cease firing along the Line of Control (LoC).

Mr Jaishankar discussed the situation along the LAC in eastern Ladakh with Mr Wang and also issues related to overall India-China relations. He referred to his meeting with Mr Wang in September 2020 in Moscow at which the Indian side had expressed its concern on provocative behaviour and unilateral attempts by China to alter the status quo.

The Chinese minister noted that the Indian side had proposed ‘three mutuals’ (mutual respect, mutual sensitivity and mutual interests) as the approach to the ties.

Mr Jaishankar noted that bilateral ties have been impacted severely over the last year, adding that the boundary question might take time to resolve but disturbance of peace and tranquility, including by violence, would inevitably have a damaging impact on the relationship. Mr Jaishankar emphasised that both sides should now quickly resolve the remaining issues along the LAC.

He said that once disengagement was completed at all friction points, the two sides could look at broader de-escalation of troops in the area and work towards restoration of peace .




‘Did Modi, Shah suggest poll dates?’: Mamata Banerjee slams EC


She pointed out that although Tamil Nadu has 234 Assembly seats, election will be held in a single phase. Kerala’s polling will also be concluded in a day.

Question the eight-phase Assembly elections in West Bengal, chief minister Mamata Banerjee said she suspects that poll dates were announced following suggestions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah.

However, she ‘welcomed’ the decision of Election Commission (EC) and said with ‘due regards’, elections will be held as declared by chief election commissioner in eight phases.

Addressing a Press conference at her Kalighat residence, she said, “But a question has been raised that though Bihar has 240 seats, Assembly poll was held in three phases only”.

She pointed out that although Tamil Nadu has 234 Assembly seats, election will be held in a single phase. Kerala’s polling will also be concluded in a day.

“I’m surprised to see the same schedule which was available at the BJP party office was declared by none other than chief election commissioner. Now they have divided most of the districts into part I and part II. Since Trinamul Congress won 22 seats in last Lok Sabha poll, this time they (EC) have divided South 24 Parganas into three parts. She asked whether this poll schedule was made at the behest of Narendra Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah,” she said.

“I want to ask why 23 days were given to the Prime Minister and Union home minister who after holding election campaign in Assam, Tamil Nadu and Kerala will spend their time and utilise their power here?” This is undemocratic and I am challenging you, there will game in all 294 constituencies and as street fighter we will win.”




Second edition of Khelo India Winter Games begins in J&K


The Prime Minister said that sports have a global dimension and this vision has been guiding the recent reforms in the sports ecosystem.

It was a spectacular beginning of the 2nd edition of Khelo India Winter Games on Friday at the world famous ski-slopes in north Kashmir’s Gulmarg that was e-inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi who announced that the event is a step towards making Jammu and Kashmir a hub of winter sports in the country.

As many as 1375 participants from 27 states and UTs are competing in the Games which will conclude on 2 March.

While Modi e-inaugurated the event from New Delhi, Lt. Governor of J&K Manoj Sinha and youth affairs and sports minister Kiren Rijiju were present at the sports venue in Gulmarg.

“This is a step towards making India’s presence felt in the international winter games arena and also make Jammu and Kashmir a hub of winter sports,” Modi said in the virtual address.

“These Games will strengthen the resolve for ‘Ek Bharat, Shreshth Bharat’. I am told the participation has doubled this year and it is a reflection of the inclination towards winter sports in the country,” he said.

He said the experience from this winter games would help the players while participating in winter Olympics. Winter games in Jammu & Kashmir would help in developing a new sporting ecosystem and this event would instill new spirit and enthusiasm in the tourism sector in Jammu & Kashmir.

He said sports have become an area in which countries of the world project their soft power.

The Prime Minister said that sports have a global dimension and this vision has been guiding the recent reforms in the sports ecosystem.




Bengal braces for 8 phases of polling


Election Commission also announces Assembly election dates for Assam, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.

Assembly elections in West Bengal will be held in eight phases starting from 27 March, the Election Commission announced today.

The EC also announced Assembly election dates for three other states and one Union Territory, with elections in Assam to take place in three phases, and single-phase polling for Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Puducherry.

The counting of votes for all the Assemblies would be held on 2 May. While polling in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry would be held on 6 April, Bengal will have its elections on 27 March, 1 April, 6 April, 10 April, 17 April, 22 April, 26 April, and 29 April.

Assam will vote on 27 March, 1 April and 6 April, said Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora. Mr Arora said that considering the law and order situation in Bengal, the number of phases has been increased to eight for the state’s 294 Assembly segments from seven the last time.

In total, 824 Assembly segments would go to the polls where 18.68 crore electors would exercise their franchise. Because of Covid-19, the EC has considerably increased the number of polling stations.

There will be 1,01,916 polling stations in Bengal, 88,936 in Tamil Nadu, 40,771 in Kerala and 33,530 in Assam. Assembly terms are ending on 31 May in Assam, on 30 May in Bengal, 1 June in Kerala, 8 June in Tamil Nadu and on 24 May in Puducherry, the CEC said.

Giving details of polling in Bengal, the CEC said in the first phase, polling would be held in 30 Assembly seats in Purulia (9AC), Bankura (4AC), Jhargam (4AC), West Midnapore (6AC) and East Midnapore (7AC).

The second phase covers 30 Assembly constituencies in Bankura (8AC), West Midnapore (9AC), East Midnapore (9AC), and South 24-Parganas (4AC).

The third phase covers 31 seats in Howrah (7AC), Hooghly (8 AC), South 24-Parganas (16 AC).

In the fourth phase 5 districts will go for polling ~ Howrah (9 AC), Hooghly (10AC), South 24-Parganas (11 AC), Alipurduar (5 AC) and Cooch Behar (9AC).

Fifth phase will cover six districts~North 24-Parganas (16AC), Nadia (8AC), East Burdwan (8AC), Darjeeling (5AC), Kalimpong (1AC), and Jalpaiguri (7AC).

In the sixth phase, 43 seats would go for polling in North 24-Parganas (17AC) Nadia (9 AC), East Burdwan (8AC), and North Dinajpur (9 AC).

The seventh phase covers 36 seats in Malda (6 AC), Murshidabad (11 AC), West Burdwan (9 AC), Kolkata South (4 ACs) and South Dinajpur (6 AC).

The last phase will see polling in 35 constituencies in Malda (6AC), Murshidabad (11 AC), Birbhum (11 AC), and Kolkata North (7AC).




Harsh Vardhan lays foundation of Nagaland’s 2nd medical college


Phom said that most of the private healthcare is concentrated in Kohima and Dimapur and the rest are dependent on public healthcare.

Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Harsh Vardhan on Friday laid the foundation stone of the Mon Medical College, the second medical college in the northeastern state along Myanmar.

The Mon Medical College would be set up in Mon district adjoining Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Myanmar borders at a cost of Rs 325 crore of which Rs 292 crore would be given by the centre and is planned to be completed by 2023-24.

The setting up of the new medical college in Mon, one of the most backward and farthest districts from the state capital, would facilitate to avail the affordable secondary healthcare facilities to the doorsteps of nearly 2.5 lakh people.

Speaking at the foundation laying ceremony, Harsh Vardhan underscored the holistic development of the northeast region being planned and carried out on the ground by the apex political leadership under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

He said at present there are 562 medical colleges in the country out of which 286 are in the government sector while 276 are in the private sector. Another 175 medical colleges are also in the process of development. Against 52,000 MBBS seats in 2013-14, there are now 84,000 Under Graduate medical seats.

Around 1,50,000 health and wellness centres have been set up in the country, the Union Minister said.

Harsh Vardhan said that the government aims to eliminate Tuberculosis by 2025 from India and urged the state government to work to ensure the same.

Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio in his address observed that the medical college would not only benefit Mon and Nagaland but also the people living in neighbouring states of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh and even Myanmar.

Stating that the medical college would be run by the state government under Public-Private-Partnership, the Chief Minister outlined that Mon Medical College is one of the 75 district medical colleges to be constructed in the districts of the country where people have been historically deprived of development and health facilities due to their locational disadvantage.

Nagaland Health and Family Welfare Minister S Pangnyu Phom while addressing the gathering stated that Nagaland has never had the privilege of having two medical colleges being sanctioned by the Centre. He stated that the desire to establish medical college was not only to produce more manpower but also to enhance healthcare delivery.

He added that Nagaland at the time of statehood inherited a deplorable state of health care facility, however over the years healthcare in the state has improved although much is needed to be done.

Phom said that most of the private healthcare is concentrated in Kohima and Dimapur and the rest are dependent on public healthcare.

Due to lack of facilities and equipment in public health care, most people from the other parts of Nagaland are not able to avail proper healthcare services, he added.




India, Pakistan agree to cease cross-border firing


In the interest of achieving mutually beneficial and sustainable peace along the borders, the two DGMOs (Directors General of Military Operations) agreed to address each other’s core issues and concerns which have prop-ensity to disturb peace and lead to violence ”

In a major development in their chequered relationship, India and Pakistan have agreed to strictly observe all bilateral agreements and understandings and cease firing along the Line of Control (LoC) with effect from the midnight of 24/25 February.

“In the interest of achieving mutually beneficial and sustainable peace along the borders, the two DGMOs (Directors General of Military Operations) agreed to address each other’s core issues and concerns which have propensity to disturb peace and lead to violence,” said a joint statement issued by the two sides today.

It said the DGMOs of the two sides reviewed the situation along the LoC and all other sectors in a free, frank and cordial atmosphere. Both sides reiterated that existing mechanisms of hotline contact and border flag meetings would be utilised to resolve any unforeseen situation or misunderstanding.

The joint statement is being considered an attempt by both nations to adhere to the ceasefire agreement that was reached between them in 2003.

Despite the hostility in the bilateral relationship from time to time, the two countries have maintained contact at the DGMOs level over the hotline since 1987.

In the last few years, ceasefire violations between the two countries have increased considerably, leading to heightened tensions and a large number of casualties on both sides.

Pakistan escalated the situation after India stripped Jammu and Kashmir of its special status in August 2019. In December, data from security agencies showed Pakistan violated ceasefire across the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir 5,100 times, highest in 18 years.

The violations claimed 36 lives and injured over 130. The joint statement, which could bring down the temperatures between the two nuclear-armed neighbours, came two days after India permitted Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to use Indian air space while travelling to Sri Lanka.

Yesterday, Chief of Army Staff, Gen M M Naravane had expressed confidence that with continued engagement with Pakistan, there could be some sort of an understanding.

Pakistan Army chief, Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa had also recently called for resolving the Jammu and Kashmir issue in a “dignified and peaceful” manner.





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