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Gurugram: Sputnik will be administered at govt vaccination centre from July 10


With this initiative, the Gurugram district will be among the first ones across Haryana, where the Russian-made vaccine will be administered at government facilities.

The Gurugram health department will start administering the Russian-made vaccine against Covid-19, Sputnik V, from Saturday (July 10) at the government polyclinic sector-31 without any charge, officials said on Friday.

With this initiative, the Gurugram district will be among the first ones across Haryana, where the Russian-made vaccine will be administered at government facilities.

Officials said the health department has made the necessary arrangements for administering Sputnik V.

The Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of Gurugram, Virender Yadav, said that the vaccination drive will be stated at 12.00 at the government polyclinic sector-31 and 50 doses will be available on the first day.

The vaccine will be administered free of cost on a first-come-first-serve basis. The second dose of the jab will be given after 21 days”.

Yadav informed that the health department has made all the necessary arrangements for the storage of Sputnik V.

“We have placed deep freezers to maintain the temperature required Sputnik V at the Polyclinic in Sector 31, Civil Hospital in Sector 10, Wazirabad Community Health Centre, and the sub-divisional government hospitals in Sohna and Pataudi which was provided by the district administration,” Yadav told IANS.

Meanwhile, Out of the total 15,35,573 doses administered to the people in Gurugram, 14,248 doses were given on Friday.




Delimitation in J&K will be fair and transparent: Commission


The Delimitation Commission has said that 7 more assembly seats will be added in the J&K Assembly. This will increase the strength of the Assembly to 90.

The Delimitation Commission on Friday assured that it has come to Jammu and Kashmir with an open mind and will act in a fair and transparent manner.

The commission that has been accused by certain Kashmir based political parties of conducting a pre-planned exercise, told media persons here after completing its 4-days visit to the union territory (UT) that the draft prepared by the commission will be put in the public domain for objections and the associate members will also be consulted before preparing the final draft.

Replying to a question about allegations of the PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti that delimitation was a pre-planned exercise, chairperson of the commission Justice (Retired) Ranjana Prakash Desai assured that the exercise will be transparent and as such there should be no doubts or fear. We can talk only to those who want to participate in the process, she said while responding to a question on boycott of the commission by Mehbooba.

Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra, who is ex-officio member of the commission, said that the exercise to re-draw boundaries of Assembly constituencies of Jammu and Kashmir is a “very complex issue and not mere arithmetic.”

He said that the delimitation was being done constitutionally under the J&K Reorganisation Act. Population will be the main criteria for delimitation but priority will be also the area, geography, topography and also the communication facilities of the areas. The exercise is being done on the basis of the 2011 census.

He said that in the past four days, the 3-member commission met 290 groups consisting of about 800 persons in Srinagar, Pahalgam, Kishtwar and Jammu to know their viewpoints and suggestions. He said that all demands and recommendations will be taken into account. The Chief Election Commissioner said the commission will also specify the number of seats to be reserved for the Schedule Caste and the Scheduled Tribes in J&K Assembly. It will be for the first time that seats will be reserved for the Scheduled Tribes in the Assembly.
Sushil Chandra said the visit of the commission was to ascertain the ground realities. “It is not arithmetical exercise, it is not mathematical exercise, it was to know genuine concerns of the public, to know the genuine difficulties of the people.”

The Delimitation Commission has said that 7 more assembly seats will be added in the J&K Assembly. This will increase the strength of the Assembly to 90.

The Commission has ruled out de-freezing one-third of 24 seats reserved for displaced persons of the Pakistan occupied Jammu Kashmir (PoJK) settled here.




Punjab CM lifts weekend & night curfew, allows gatherings of 100 indoors & 200 outdoors


Amarinder, while reviewing the Covid situation virtually, said the situation will again be reviewed on July 20.

With the state’s Covid positivity rate sliding to 0.4 per cent, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday ordered lifting of weekend and night curfew, and allowed gatherings of 100 persons indoors and 200 outdoors from Monday.

Even as he hoped that better sense will prevail on the political parties and leaders brazenly violating Covid curbs by holding massive protests, he asked Director General of Police (DGP) Dinkar Gupta to issue challans against those indulging in anti-Covid behaviour.

At a virtual review meeting of the situation in the state, the CM also ordered opening of bars, cinema halls, restaurants, spas, swimming pools, gyms, malls, sports complexes, museums, zoos etc., subject to all eligible staff members and visitors having taken at least one dose each of the vaccine.

Though schools will continue to remain closed, colleges, coaching centres and all other institutions of higher learning shall be allowed to open by the deputy commissioner concerned, subject to a certificate having been submitted, that all teaching, non-teaching staff and students have been given at least one dose of vaccination, at least two weeks ago.

Amarinder, while reviewing the Covid situation virtually, said the situation will again be reviewed on July 20. Strict use of masks must be ensured at all times, the CM directed, while announcing the easing of restrictions.

Heath secretary Hussan Lal said four districts had shown positivity of one or less than one per cent, but the districts that still needed vigilance were Ludhiana, Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Hoshiarpur, Firozpur and Roop Nagar.

Referring to the cases of Mucormycosis, which has been reported in 623 patients as of 8 July, the CM asked the Health Department to work out a proposal for supporting and helping in the treatment of such patients. Of the 623 cases, 67 are from outside the state, the health secretary informed the meeting, adding that 337 cases were under treatment and 154 had been discharged while 51 patients had died. The maximum cases reported in day was 34 on 27 May, while the average of daily cases in the first week of July stood at five.

The CM noted that due to the SOPs in place, and the level of COVID and post COVID care, Punjab has had much fewer cases and deaths than most other states, including Haryana, and Delhi. Against 623 cases and 51 confirmed deaths so far in Punjab, both Haryana and Delhi have seen over 1600 cases each, and 193 and 236 deaths respectively.

The CM asked the concerned departments to step up Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) to expeditiously identify cases of new Covid variant and to fast track the project for execution of the MoU with ICMR for Regional Institute of Virology, Mohali.

Even as the second surge continued to abate in the state, Amarinder Singh on Friday approved Rs 380 Crore to be spent by the Health and Medical Education departments in preparing for a possible third wave of the Covid pandemic.




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.





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