Gujarat Covid News

Bullet Train By When? What Railway Officials Have Revealed
Ndtv | 23 hours ago
Ndtv
23 hours ago

Civil work on the 352-kilometre stretch has started from December 2020, the RTI saidThane: The deadline for the completion of the high speed rail route between Mumbai and Gujarat's Ahmedabad, popularly called the bullet train project, can be fixed only after assessment of delay in land acquisition in Maharashtra and COVID-19 impact, railway officials have said in reply to an RTI plea.The reply from the National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) to the Thane-based activists Right to Information Act plea was received on Monday.The NHSRCL's reply stated that a special purpose vehicle was helming the project and the targeted completion year was 2023, adding that a timeline for commissioning (throwing the service open to commuters) can be fixed only after assessing the impact of COVID-19 and the lockdown as well as land acquisition pace in Maharashtra.Statutory clearances connected to issues like wildlife, coastal regulation zone and forests have been received, and the total expenditure incurred so far on the Rs 1.10 lakh crore project was Rs 26,872 crore, it added."Joint measure survey (JMS) for all 297 villages has been completed. Out of total land requirement of approximately 1,396 hectares, a total of 1,248 hectares has been acquired. Of the total 1,651 utilities coming in the way, 1,506 have been shifted," it said.Civil work on the 352-kilometre stretch in Gujarat and Dadra Nagar Havel and Daman and Diu has started from December 2020, the RTI reply said.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comThe 508-kilometre HSR corridor will have 12 stations, comprising Mumbai (BKC), Thane, Virar, Boisar, Vapi, Billimora, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand/Nadiad, Ahmedabad and Sabarmati.(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

Bullet Train By When? What Railway Officials Have Revealed
Gujarat sees 419 new Covid cases, one death
Times of India | 1 day ago
Times of India
1 day ago

AHMEDABAD: Gujarat reported 419 Covid-19 cases and one death on Monday, which took the tally to 12,34,117 and the toll to 10,948, a state health department official said. So far, 12,19,657 persons have recovered, including 454 during the day, leaving the state with an active caseload of 3,512, he added. The official said Ahmedabad reported 155 new cases, Surat 96, Vadodara 40, Mehsana 19 and Bhavnagar 17, among other districts, while the lone death took place in Mehsana. A government release said 43,981 persons got vaccine jabs on Monday, which took the overall number of doses administered in the state to 11.15 crore. The adjoining Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu has 13 active cases, a local official said.

Gujarat sees 419 new Covid cases, one death
  • Ahmedabad, Gujarat record dip in daily Covid cases
  • Times of India

    AHMEDABAD: The city on Sunday recorded 203 new Covid positive cases, an 11.4% drop compared to 229 on Saturday. For Gujarat, the drop was 21.4% — from 580 on Saturday to 456 on Sunday. Other cases included 86 from Surat city, 38 from Vadodara city, 13 each from Bhavnagar city, Kutch, Mehsana, Navsari, 12 from Valsad, 11 from Surat, and 10 from Gandhinagar city. With the discharge of 156 patients, the active cases in Ahmedabad reached 1,536, whereas for Gujarat the figure was 3,548. Out of 33 districts, four have zero active cases, whereas seven have more than 100 active cases. Most of the cases are concentrated in the urban areas primarily with higher testing. In the past 24 hours, Gujarat vaccinated 937 persons for the first dose and 4,423 for the second. In all, 5.41 crore were administered the first and 5.34 crore, the second dose of Covid vaccine. The state administered booster doses to 7,012 persons, taking the total to 40.94 lakh.

  • Gujarat reports 456 Covid-19 cases, tally rises to 12,33,698
  • Times of India

    AHMEDABAD: Gujarat on Sunday reported 456 Covid-19 cases, which took the tally to 12,33,698, while the death toll remained unchanged at 10,947, a state health department official said. The recovery count increased by 386 during the day and reached 12,19,203, leaving the state with an active caseload of 13,548, he added. He said Ahmedabad led with 207 cases, followed by 97 in Surat, 41 in Vadodara, 15 Bhavnagar, among other districts. A government release said 11.15 crore Covid-19 vaccine doses have been administered in Gujarat so far, including 12,372 on Sunday. Two new Covid-19 cases were reported in the Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, raising its tally of active cases to seven, local officials said. Gujarat's Covid-19 figures are as follows: Positive cases 12,33,698, new cases 456, death toll 10,947, discharged 12,19,203, active cases 3,548, people tested so far - figures not released.

  • Gujarat reports 580 Covid cases, zero deaths
  • The Indian Express

    Gujarat on Saturday reported 580 COVID-19 cases, which took the tally to 12,33,242, while the death toll remained unchanged at 10,947, a state health department official said.The recovery count increased by 391 during the day to touch 12,18,817, leaving the state with an active caseload of 3,478, he said.Ahmedabad reported 236 new cases, the highest in the state, followed by Surat with 106 cases, Vadodara 36 and Mehsana 29 cases, among other districts, he added. A government release said 11.15 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered so far, including 39,438Saturday.

  • Active case tally crosses 3 thousand in Gujarat
  • Times of India

    AHMEDABAD: The active Covid-19 cases in Gujarat rose to 3,042 after 126 days or more than four months on Thursday with 547 new cases and 419 discharges being recorded across the state. Ahmedabad accounted for 43% of the active case tally with 1,318 cases. The city recorded 222 fresh cases and the discharge of 184 patients. According to the state health department, 82 cases were reported from Surat city, 46 from Vadodara city, 22 from Valsad, 18 each from Mehsana and Navsari, and 16 from Gandhinagar city.

  • CM Bhupendra Patel Covid-positive as Gujarat records 529 cases
  • The Indian Express

    Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel tested positive for Covid-19 Wednesday and has been isolated at home with mild symptoms, sources in the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) said.“He (the CM) was having mild symptoms yesterday (Tuesday) following which he got himself tested. Today, the result came positive. He has got himself home isolated,” the source said.The development has put a question mark on the CM’s attendance at the annual Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath in Ahmedabad scheduled Friday. As a tradition, the CM flags off the Rath Yatra while performing the Pahind Vidhi ritual.“The CM has tested positive for Covid-19. But he is fine and home-isolated. About attending the Rath Yatra, he will be following the advice of the doctors,” an official in the CMO said.Meanwhile, CM Patel Wednesday virtually reviewed the alertness and preparation of the Gujarat police to ensure that the 145th Rath Yatra is carried out in Ahmedabad in a safe and harmonious manner.An official release from the CMO stated that Patel participated in a video-conference that was also attended by Minister of State for Home, Harsh Sanghavi, and police commissioners of four metro cities and superintendents of police of all the districts. Chief Principal Secretary to the CM K Kailashnathan, Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Rajkumar, and Director General of Police Ashish Bhatia were also present in the virtual review meeting.As per the release, the CM also gave suggestions for maintenance of law and order in the state while keeping in mind the developments in neighbouring states.As per the state government’s daily bulletin on Covid-19, Gujarat recorded 529 new cases Wednesday. With that, the total number of active Covid-19 cases in the state is 2,914.Out of the total 529 fresh cases, Ahmedabad city reported the maximum cases at 220, followed by Surat (79) and Vadodara (53).

With over 48 lakh doses, Andhra Pradesh administers highest booster shots in the country
Times of India | 1 day ago
Times of India
1 day ago

VISAKHAPATNAM: Andhra Pradesh has so far administered about 48.4 lakh Covid-19 vaccine booster doses - the highest for any state/Union Territory in the country. Gujarat is the only other state to touch the 40-lakh precaution dose mark. Five other states, including West Bengal, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh, have crossed the 30-lakh mark. As many as 11 states/UT are yet to inoculate even one lakh population with the third shot. The Union government rolled out the third dose of Covid-19 vaccine for the elderly and frontline respondents on January 10 as a matter of precaution amid the then looming threat of Omicron-fuelled third wave. The booster dose net was later expanded to the 18-60 age group on April 10. But there is a world of difference in terms of response for the vaccination between these two cohorts due to varied reasons. Of the 48.4 lakh people who have been inoculated with booster doses, 48.2 lakh recipients belong to the 60+ or frontline worker category. The 18-60 group accounts for only some 19,000 shots. While the booster doses for the 60+ and frontline workers are being provided at public vaccination centres at free of cost, the recipients in the 18-60 group have to pay out of pocket. The precaution dose for the second group is administered only at the private centres. Apart from the pricing and availability factors, the significantly improved Covid-19 conditions may have set in the booster dose complacency for the younger cohort. Meanwhile, the daily Covid-19 cases continue to increase in the state. The state recorded 289 new cases on Monday, taking the cumulative caseload to 23,22,245. This is the highest one-day case total in at least the last 130 days. The active caseload currently stands at 1,232. Districts like Visakhapatnam, Chittoor and Guntur are recording over 15% positivity rate. This means that at least 15 people are being tested positive for the pandemic disease out of every 100 tests being carried out in these districts. Of the 13 (combined) districts, 10 districts have recorded over 5% case positivity rate between June 27 and July 3. Director, Visakha Institute of Medical Sciences, Dr K Rambabu said there are clear signs of resurgence of the disease in Andhra Pradesh. “Even though there is no need to panic about it, people should practise all the Covid-19 protocols. The eligible people should immediately complete their booster dose schedule,” said Dr Rambabu.

With over 48 lakh doses, Andhra Pradesh administers highest booster shots in the country
World amazed at our vaccination drive but some question photo on certificates: PM Narendra Modi
Times of India | 1 day ago
Times of India
1 day ago

GANDHINAGAR: Speaking perhaps for the first time on the issue, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday said at a time when the entire world was discussing how India was able to give certificates to citizens soon after they were vaccinated against Covid-19, there were some people who were just focusing on why his photograph appeared on these documents. Speaking at the inaugural function of the Digital India Week 2022 at Gandhinagar, Modi said India's digital-driven Covid-19 vaccination programme (CoWin served as technology platform for the humongous inoculation exercise) received world-wide praise. "The world is amazed at the way record of each dose of vaccine given to such a large population was made available. People elsewhere faced trouble in getting vaccine certificates. But in India, once a person got a vaccine dose, he would immediately receive the certificate on his mobile phone," Modi stated. "The world is discussing how we managed to give Covid-19 vaccination certificates to people just after they got jabbed, but a few people here (in India) were just focused on why there was Modi's photo on these certificates," the PM said to the amusement of many in the audience. Critics have widely slammed the BJP-led NDA government for the prime minister's photo on Covid-19 certificates. Asserting that India is leading the way in the fourth industrial revolution and the massive digital push in the country is driving India's growth, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched seven portals to further enhance availability of various schemes more easily to people. The PM said the role of digital technology has drastically changed the lives of people of the country and India has eliminated all queues by going online. Digital technology has changed lives, eliminated queues Eght to 10 years ago, we had to stand in lines (queues) for everything. We had to stand in line for birth certificates, to pay bills, for ration, for admission, for exam results, for certificates, in banks. We used to stand in so many lines. India has eliminated all lines by going online," he said. The central government's flagship programme Digital India has given relief to the poor from corruption and it is working for elimination of middlemen in all fields, Modi said at the event. The PM said that India is guiding the world in the fourth industrial revolution. "As time passes, if a country does not adopt modern technology, time moves ahead leaving it behind. We can proudly say that today India is guiding the world in Industry 4.0." the PM stated. To further enhance availability of various services, the PM launched seven portals namely IndiaStackGlobal, a repository of projects implemented under GlobalStack, MyScheme - a service discovery platform facilitating access to government schemes, MeriPehchaan - a national-single-sign-on to access multiple online applications, Digital India Bhashini - a portal to avail various schemes and services in regional languages, Digital India Genesis - a portal to provide plug-and-play services to start-ups, Chip to Start-Ups - a portal for promoting chips and semiconductor entrepreneurship and Digital E-book - a compilation of all schemes being promoted under the Digital India campaign. Regarding the popularity of Unified Payments Interface (UPI), Modi said even small traders and hawkers on the street use the system and it has become a great success among people. In this context, he referred to a beggar in Bihar who was seen giving people options to pay him alms via digital mode with a QR code placard hanging around his neck. UPI is a system that powers multiple bank accounts into a single mobile application (of any participating bank), merging several banking features, seamless fund routing & merchant payments into one hood. "Earlier, digital payment by card swapping facilities were available in a few big stores. But now I am told that even a beggar in Bihar has taken his QR code and accepts digital money," he said. The PM recalled the opposition meted out to the digital payment system being pushed by his government faced in Parliament. "When we introduced this scheme in Parliament one ex-finance minister raised many issues with it. He said 'people do not have mobile phones, how will they use them'. He is highly learned. The problem with highly learned people is that they make a lot of analysis," Modi said in a veiled reference to former finance minister and Congress leader PK Chidambaram. Unveiling ambitious plans for the electronics manufacturing sector, the PM said, "Today, India is working on the target of taking electronics manufacturing to more than $ 300 billion in the next three or four years. India wants to become a chip maker from a chip taker. Investment is rapidly increasing in India to increase production of semiconductors".

World amazed at our vaccination drive but some question photo on certificates: PM Narendra Modi
Daily Briefing: BJP era will last 30-40 years, says Amit Shah; SC judge calls for mandatory regulation of social media
The Indian Express | 2 days ago
The Indian Express
2 days ago

Good morning,In today’s edition: A Supreme Court judge wants mandatory regulation of social media; Covid crisis brings estranged couples together in Gujarat; and why over 50% of Indigo flights were delayed. The Big StoryWith the BJP eyeing regions and vote banks where it has not been able to make any significant inroads or electoral gains, sources told The Indian Express that Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked leaders at the party’s national executive meeting, which concluded on Sunday, to reach out to “deprived and downtrodden sections” in communities other than Hindus.Addressing the national executive meeting of the BJP in Hyderabad, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that it will be the era of the BJP for the next 30 to 40 years and India will become Vishwa guru within the next few decades. Shah also claimed that BJP will end “family rule” in Telangana and West Bengal in the upcoming elections.Only in The ExpressIn this edition of the Idea Exchange, AICTE chairman Anil Sahasrabudhe talks about why civil and mechanical engineering courses need to incorporate AI and a start-up/entrepreneurial spirit, and how industry involvement and curriculum upgrade are key to students’ employability.From the front pageTwo heavily armed militants from the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) were overpowered by villagers in J&K’s Reasi district and were tied up in ropes, prompting  Lt Governor Manoj Sinha to announce a cash reward of Rs 5 lakh. However, their capture led to a flutter in J&K political circles after it emerged that one of them had headed the IT and Social Media Cell of the BJP Minority Morcha in Jammu province.The Calcutta High Court ordered the termination of services of 273 primary teachers in state-in schools due to alleged irregularities and corruption in the recruitment process. Among them, several were found to have links to the ruling-Trinamool Congress or CPI(M). We visited the homes of 12 of those 12 sacked in the districts of Hooghly, Howrah, and Purba Bardhaman.  Most of them were not available. Their family members spoke of fear and public shame. Days after a Supreme Court vacation Bench lashed out at former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma for her remarks on the Prophet, one of the judges who was part of the Bench has expressed concern over the use of digital and social media for “expressing personalised opinions” against judges, and called for mandatory regulation of such media to “preserve the rule of law” in the country. His remarks come amid criticism on social media of the Bench’s observations in the case. Must ReadA total of 303 cases — relating to divorce, maintenance, and guardianship of children — were resolved by the Lok Adalat on June 26; a record for a single day, family court judge R G Devdhara said. And in about 30 per cent of the cases that were resolved, the estranged couples decided to give themselves a second chance of being together. Advocate Preeti Joshi told The Indian Express that the curse of Covid turned out to be a blessing for several separated couples whom the crisis reunited.A massive landslide which hit the Tupul railway construction site late on June 29 in Manipur’s Noney district has so far claimed 42 lives — 27 Territorial Army personnel and 15 civilians, including railway employees, construction workers and villagers. Still missing are 20 people. Now into its fourth day, a massive operation by a combined force of the National and State Disaster Response Forces, the Indian Army, Assam Rifles and police has run into hurdle after hurdle. Sporadic rain. Mud roads caused by inclement weather. The sheer volume of debris. And fear — loose soil and small boulders continue to tumble down from the hills.The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council in its 47th meeting held last week undertook a series of rate changes as part of correction of inverted duty structure, withdrawal of certain exemptions in what could be a precursor for an overall tweaking of tax slabs and rate rationalisation in future. The GST Council discussed recommendations of four ministerial panels — on rate rationalisation, on movement of gold and precious stones, system reforms, and casinos, horse racing and online gaming.More than half of the flights operated by IndiGo, India’s largest airline, were delayed on Saturday as a large number of its cabin crew members called in sick. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has taken note of this development, and has sought a report from the airline on the delays, officials said. According to information sourced from the Ministry of Civil Aviation, IndiGo’s on-time performance on Saturday was 45.2 per cent, meaning less than half of its flights departed within 15 minutes of their scheduled departure time. Notably, Saturday also marked the beginning of the second phase of Tata Group-owned Air India’s recruitment drive for cabin crew members.And FinallyThe raw digits convey that India’s bowlers let England fightback from 83 for 5 and then 149 for 6 to post 284 runs. A classic England stung-by-the-lower-order tour story. Just change the names and dates. A once-typical losing the steam at the end narrative. Except that it was not. Instead, it was one of India’s finest bowling recoveries in recent times. They did let England off the hook, but they regathered to pull the hook back. Bazball-indoctrinated Jonny Bairstow could have blown them away, but they clutched at the straws, hung onto the swaying pole and then whipped up a furious storm of their own post lunch, counterpunching the counterpunch.Acting governor of the State of California Eleni Kounalakis met Chief Justice of India N V Ramana at the official residence of the Consul General of India in San Francisco on Saturday. The CJI, who is on a tour of the US, presented to her a copy of the autobiography of Mahatma Gandhi.In today’s episode of the ‘3 Things’ podcast, we talk about the murder in Maharashtra’s Amravati district of the 54-year-old chemist named Umesh Prahladrao Kolhe, who had allegedly posted Nupur Sharma’s video on social media. Silchar witnesses unprecedented flooding, and Neeraj Chopra breaks the national record twice in two weeks.Until next time,Leela Prasad and Srishti Kapoor

Daily Briefing: BJP era will last 30-40 years, says Amit Shah; SC judge calls for mandatory regulation of social media
Gujarat Covid vaccination: 21% drop in booster doses in a week
Times of India | 2 days ago
Times of India
2 days ago

AHMEDABAD: For the city and state, the active cases of Covid are at a four-month high. However, the rise in the cases has had no major bearing over Covid vaccination. The statistics indicated that in one week, the booster dose jabs dropped by 21%, whereas the first doses have increased by 14%. In fact, the booster doses are at a three-week low at 1.41 lakh with approximately 20,000 doses administered daily. "Primary reason for the reluctance to take the third dose is lack of fear. After the second wave, the citizens were concerned about their well-being, and thus we saw huge queues last year. With the first and second doses completing nearly 100% coverage of the adult population, this year's spike is relatively milder and hospitalization is rare," said a city-based physician. "The pandemic has taken the form of an endemic with symptoms like body ache, weakness, low-grade fever with occasional complaint of cold." Cost is another factor, as 90% of the booster doses out of 40 lakh were administered by the government set-up to the healthcare workers, frontline workers and senior citizens. There are still fewer takers for the paid jab, said health department officials. Analysis of the booster doses trend also threw an interesting trend - Banaskantha district had higher booster dose recipients than Surat and Vadodara cities. Likewise, many districts overtook Rajkot city in getting the third jab as the city reached 1 lakh booster doses recently.

Gujarat Covid vaccination: 21% drop in booster doses in a week
In Gujarat, Covid crisis brings estranged couples together for second chance
The Indian Express | 2 days ago
The Indian Express
2 days ago

She was 19 when she got married in 2011. She settled down in Pandesara with her husband, who worked in a textile factory. The couple separated in 2018, and she got custody of their two children. Elders in the family made efforts to bring them back together, but failed.In 2020, she filed a case under CrPC Section 125, seeking maintenance from her husband. At a Lok Adalat held on June 26 this year, the couple told the Surat family court that they wanted to reunite.During the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns, the man was out of work, and he would call his estranged wife and chat with her. Times were difficult, and he supported her financially. The couple — the man is 34, the woman is 30 — and their children, a 9-year-old girl and an 8-year-old boy, now live together again.The Pandesara couple’s case was one of 332 that came before the Lok Adalat on June 26. A total of 303 cases — relating to divorce, maintenance, and guardianship of children — were resolved; a record for a single day, family court judge R G Devdhara said. And in about 30 per cent of the cases that were resolved, the estranged couples decided to give themselves a second chance of being together.The man talked a lot to his wife and their children over the phone during the pandemic, and that helped in the reconciliation — as did the fact that he apologised to her.“We would talk to each other often. He learnt about our financial problems, and helped us by giving us money. He brought cakes on the children’s birthdays, and we cut them together,” the woman, who declined to be identified, told The Indian Express.“Also”, she said, “he started caring about me, and apologised for his past behaviour. Now we feel attached to each other. In the Lok Adalat, we told the judge in front of our lawyers that we would like to reunite and the court accepted it.”For the woman, there was a more worldly aspect as well. “I did not have the option of thinking too much,” she said. “I am not much educated, and other than my husband, who will take care of my children?”Things had been different before the couple decided to give their marriage another chance, the woman said. “He did not give time to me and the family, and he would periodically stop talking to me. He sometimes beat me when he was angry, and would scold the children over small things. I could take it no longer and we separated, and I filed a maintenance case against him,” she said.Her husband acknowledged that he would lose his temper and quarrel with her when she complained after he returned home from work tired. “I never tried to understand her,” he said.“But during the Covid lockdown, as there was no work, I missed her and my children, and I felt guilty. I hesitated before starting to talk again, but it became easy after I realised she felt the same. We have both realised our mistakes, and we have assured the court that we want to stay together. I have also promised not to beat or quarrel with her. This is my family and my world; I have realised that whatever I earn is for them, and in their happiness lies my happiness.”“Our court deals with family dispute cases and we have organised three Lok Adalats since March, in which 146, 246, and 303 cases were disposed of,” family court judge Devdhara said. “Of the cases disposed of on June 26, we believe over 30 per cent were those of reunion of separated couples. The rest were cases relating to separation by mutual consent and the recovery of maintenance,” the judge said.Another case concerned a couple from Katargam in Surat, who were married in 2015. The man, 32, works in the garden department of Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC), and the couple have a five-year-old child.Their problems began with the pressures of living in a joint family, the woman said. “Our house has just one room and a kitchen, and his parents and younger sister also stay with us. There was no privacy, and I was treated like a domestic help and given no respect. Whatever my husband brought home would be taken by my mother-in-law and sister-in-law. We slept in the kitchen, and the rest of the family in the room. My husband would be influenced by them, and I could not bear the mental and physical torture,” she told The Indian Express.The couple separated in 2018, and the woman filed a maintenance suit against her husband in 2019.For this couple too, Covid changed things.“During the pandemic, I visited her regularly. When my wife and son fell ill, I took medicines for them. I helped my in-laws a lot, and they allowed me access to their house to meet my wife and son,” said the man.After spending long hours with each other, this couple too realised they wanted to live together again. They made this submission to the court, along with the condition that they would live separately from the man’s parents.“I have booked a 1 BHK flat for my wife. I assured the court that I will always keep her happy and we will move out to another house,” he said.Advocate Preeti Joshi told The Indian Express that the curse of Covid turned out to be a blessing for several separated couples whom the crisis reunited.“During Covid, when people stayed at home, often without work, they missed their separated partners and children. This nudged them towards a compromise. We have been dealing with such cases (of marital discord), and this is for the first time we have seen such a prominent increase in the number of cases of reunion, which is good for society at large,” she said.Joshi also cited the case of a Surat couple who were married in 1997 and separated in 2014. “We have come to know that apart from the monthly maintenance, the husband deposited Rs 2.52 lakh in his wife’s bank account in 2021. He told us that even though they are separated, it is his duty to help her in an extraordinary situation like the pandemic, and she should not face any financial problems. Their divorce case is pending in court,” she said.

In Gujarat, Covid crisis brings estranged couples together for second chance
‘Severe lack of understanding of India’: Govt response to US body sharp, and now, familiar
The Indian Express | 2 days ago
The Indian Express
2 days ago

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Saturday slammed the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) for its report that put India, along with China, Pakistan, Afghanistan and 11 other nations, in the list of “countries of particular concern” over religious freedom.The USCIRF, a US federal government commission appointed by the President and the leadership of both parties in the Senate and the House of Representatives, designated India as a “country of particular concern for engaging in and tolerating systematic, ongoing, and egregious religious freedom violations, as defined by the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA)”.Hitting out at the USCIRF, the MEA’s spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said “these comments reflect a severe lack of understanding of India and its constitutional framework, its plurality and its democratic ethos… Such actions only serve to strengthen concerns about the credibility and objectivity of the organisation”.Similar criticism from international organisations, including government entities and NGOs, has drawn quick, and caustic, responses from the Modi government earlier too.On June 29, the MEA had hit back at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) for its criticism of the arrests of activist-journalist Teesta Setalvad and ex-DGP RB Sreekumar after a Supreme Court order upheld a Special Investigation Team (SIT)’s clean chit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and others in the 2002 Gujarat riots. “We are very concerned by the arrest and detention of #WHRD @TeestaSetalvad and two ex police officers and call for their immediate release. They must not be persecuted for their activism and solidarity with the victims of the 2002 #GujaratRiots,” the UN human rights body said.Joining the issue with the OHCHR, Bagchi said its remarks “constitute an interference in India’s independent judicial system,” adding that “Indian authorities act against violations of law in accordance with established judicial processes. Labelling such legal actions as persecution for activism is misleading and unacceptable”.A New York Times article on April 18, headlined “India Is Stalling the WHO’s Efforts to Make Global Covid Death Toll Public” drew sharp reaction from India. The article said India was objecting to make the data of WHO (World Health Organisation)’s study on Covid-19 mortalities public as the latter estimated 4.7 million deaths, directly or indirectly attributable to Covid, during 2020-21 as against the country’s official Covid death count of just 481,486. In a statement, the Union Health Ministry questioned the WHO’s methodology, saying: “Despite India’s objection to the process, methodology and outcome of this modelling exercise, WHO has released the excess mortality estimates without adequately addressing India’s concern.”Last year, on December 2, the MEA responded to the OHCHR’s criticism of the arrest of human rights activist Khurram Parvez on charges of alleged terrorism, claiming that the UN human rights body’s statement — against “crackdown on civil society actors”, use of “sweeping counter-terrorism measures” and killings of civilians — made “baseless and unfounded allegations against law enforcement authorities and security forces of India” and that Parvez’s “arrest and… detention” was “entirely as per provisions of law”.At an India Today conclave on March 14, 2021, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar was asked about India’s downgrading by two of the leading democracy- rating agencies — the US-based Freedom House, which classified India as “partly free”, down from “free” earlier, and a Swedish organisation, Varieties of Democracy, which categorised India as an “electoral autocracy”.Jaishankar responded by questioning the criteria that the organisations use. “It is hypocrisy. We have a set of self-appointed custodians of the world who find it very difficult to stomach that somebody in India is not looking for their approval, and is not willing to play the game they want to play. So they invent their rules, their parameters, pass their judgments and make it look as if it is some kind of global exercise,” he said.During the year-long farmer protests against the three now-repealed farm laws, the Narendra Modi-led government drew widespread criticism from various international quarters.In February 2021, singer Rihanna and climate activist Greta Thunberg voiced their support for the protesting farmers. While Rihanna shared an article about internet shutdowns during the farm protests, Thunberg shared a toolkit for those supporting the farmers, which prompted a police investigation. Subsequently, former adult film star Mia Khalifa also extended her support to the farmers.Reacting to such criticism, the MEA had then said, “The Parliament of India, after a full debate and discussion, passed reformist legislation relating to the agricultural sector,” which have “expanded market access and provided greater flexibility to farmers.” It claimed that only “a very small section of farmers in parts of India” had “some reservations about these reforms and that “respecting the sentiments of the protestors, the Government of India has initiated a series of talks with their representatives… Yet, it is unfortunate to see vested interest groups trying to enforce their agenda on these protests, and derail them. This was egregiously witnessed on January 26, India’s Republic Day.”Echoing the ministry, several BJP leaders also came down heavily on Rihanna and Thunberg. “We stand together. We stand United against all attempts to malign India through propaganda and fake narratives,” BJP president J P Nadda tweeted. At a press conference, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra alleged that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was responsible for the row, charging that “He (Rahul) goes abroad to hatch conspiracy with anti-India elements as to how to defame India and drag the country into controversies”.Newsletter | Click to get the day’s best explainers in your inboxA few months later, on July 21, 2021, when a consortium of news organisations and human rights bodies including NGO Amnesty international broke the news about the government having allegedly deployed a spyware Pegasus to snoop on phones and devices of rival leaders, journalists and others, the BJP’s Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma demanded Amnesty’s banning, alleging that it was part of a “long history of hatching conspiracies against India’s democratic fabric and its leadership”.In January 2019, US Department of state report, which expressed concern over the plight of minorities in India, upset the government, which said the former did not have any “locus standi” to “pronounce on the state of our citizens’ constitutionally protected rights”.In July 2019, the UN Human Rights body’s report on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, which was an updated version of its 2018 report on the same issue, also drew criticism from the MEA, which dismissed it as a “false” and violative of “India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity”. The then MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said the report was “merely a continuation of the earlier false and motivated narrative” on the J&K situation.

‘Severe lack of understanding of India’: Govt response to US body sharp, and now, familiar
GST collection up 49% in June in Gujarat
Times of India | 5 days ago
Times of India
5 days ago

AHMEDABAD: Due to the resumption of economic activity after the worst of the pandemic and inflation pressure across the board, the state's GST collection rose by 49% this June. Gujarat's GST mop-up was Rs 9,135 crore in June 2022 (till June 29) against Rs 6,128 crore last June. The growth is on a low base, as tax collection was subdued last year as the second wave of Covid-19 cases had barely ended and economic activity was slow, sources said. Tax officials and sources attribute the increase to inflation and businesses gaining momentum. Milind Torwane, commissioner, state commercial tax department, said, "Compared to last year, effective growth is definitely higher because in June 2021, businesses were barely emerging from the after-effects of the devastating second wave of Covid-19. Economic momentum had not picked up. Compared to that period, commercial activity and demand have improved significantly for businesses. Tax collection has shown substantial growth consequently." Part of this growth, according to industry sources, is also the impact of inflation. "Even though inflation has stabilized, prices of raw materials, industrial and consumer commodities have already risen significantly across the board. Effective tax collection will increase as items are are priced higher," said an Ahmedabad-based industrialist. At the recent GST council meeting, tax rates on a host of items of mass-consumption were increased and exemptions removed. The council approved a 12% tax on hotel rooms costing less than Rs 1,000 a day and a 5% levy without input tax credit on hospital rooms with rentals above Rs 5,000. Several unbranded pre-packaged and labelled food items will also attract 5% tax.

GST collection up 49% in June in Gujarat
As active Covid-19 cases cross 1-lakh mark after 122 days, here’s what trend shows
The Indian Express | 5 days ago
The Indian Express
5 days ago

Covid-19 cases have been on the rise again in India, with the country recording over 18,000 cases after a gap of 130 days, taking the cumulative tally to 4,34,52,164, according to data put out by the Union Health Ministry on Thursday. Cases have increased by 78 per cent from the average two weeks ago and deaths, too, have gone up by 119 per cent.Active cases in the country also crossed the one-lakh mark on Thursday after a gap of 122 days. A total of 18,819 new Covid cases were reported in a span of 24 hours while the death toll climbed to 5,25,116 with 39 new fatalities. The active cases, as such, went up to 1,04,555 comprising 0.24 per cent of the total infections, while the recovery rate stood at 98.55 per cent.An increase of 4,953 cases has been recorded in the active Covid-19 caseload in a span of 24 hours. The daily positivity rate was recorded at 4.16 per cent and the weekly positivity rate at 3.72 per cent, according to the ministry.Where are Covid cases rising again?According to the data published by the Health Ministry, there are 43 districts around the country that are recording a weekly positivity rate of 10 per cent or more. Kerala tops this list with 11 districts, followed by Mizoram (6) and Maharashtra (5).Among the districts, Mizoram’s Kolasib tops the list, recording a positivity rate of 64.86 per cent. However, what is to be kept in mind is that the state does not perform too many Covid-19 tests when compared to others. The positivity rate is the proportion of samples tested that return positive.The other states that have been witnessing a noticeable rise include Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Manipur, Mizoram, Goa, Karnataka and Puducherry. While there are 42 districts in India that are recording a positivity rate between 5 and 10 per cent, the 627 others are still below the 5 per cent-mark.According to the trend this month, the country crossed the 4,000-mark on June 3, 7,000-mark on June 9, 8,000-mark on June 11, 12,000-mark on June 16, 13,000-mark on June 18, 17,000-mark on June 24 and 18,000-mark on June 30.India’s Covid-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7, 2020, 30 lakh on August 23, 40 lakh on September 5 and 50 lakh on September 16. It went past 60 lakh on September 28, 70 lakh on October 11, crossed 80 lakh on October 29, 90 lakh on November 20 and surpassed the one-crore mark on December 19. The country crossed the grim milestone of two crore on May 4 and three crore on June 23 last year. It crossed 4 crore on January 25 this year.What about deaths?The 39 new fatalities recorded on Thursday include 17 from Kerala, 7 from Maharashtra, 4 from Uttar Pradesh, 3 from Punjab, 2 each from Haryana, Karnataka and West Bengal and 1 each from Delhi and Sikkim.Of the total deaths recorded to date, 1,47,922 are from Maharashtra, 69,993 from Kerala, 40,117 from Karnataka, 38,026 from Tamil Nadu, 26,261 from Delhi, 23,538 from Uttar Pradesh and 21,218 from West Bengal. To put it into perspective, at least 1 in 2,602 Indians have died from the novel coronavirus, taking the cumulative toll to 5,25,116.The Health Ministry, however, stressed that more than 70 per cent of the deaths occurred due to comorbidities.What does the trend show?Since the beginning of the pandemic, at least 1 in 31 residents have been infected with Covid-19 in India. An average of 15,315 cases per day were reported in India in the last week with new infections increasing by 78 per cent from the average two weeks ago and deaths by 119 per cent.

As active Covid-19 cases cross 1-lakh mark after 122 days, here’s what trend shows
Mega procession after 2 years in Ahmedabad
Times of India | 1 week ago
Times of India
1 week ago

AHMEDABAD: After two years of the pandemic, the juggernaut is set to roll again on city streets on Friday. In 2020, the chariots did not leave the temple premises, whereas in 2021, the chariots were taken out in a procession without other participants. Mahendra Jha, trustee of the Jagannathji temple, on Monday told mediapersons that the procession will be held in full strength on Friday, for the 145th Rath Yatra. “The procession will have 18 elephants, 101 tableaux, 20 akhadas, 18 bhajan mandalis and three musical bands. About 1,200 khalasi (navigators) will pull the three chariots, and about 1,000 sadhus from different parts of India will participate in the procession,” he said. The procession will start at 7am and is expected to be end by 8.30pm, he added. On Wednesday, the Netrotsav ritual will be performed where BJP state president CR Paatil will be the chief guest. On Thursday, Gujarat CM Bhupendra Patel will perform the evening aarti, and on Friday he’ll perform the Pahind ritual, cleaning the chariot route with a golden broom. For the Mangala aarti on Friday, Amit Shah, Union home minister, will be present. On Monday, the elephants were decked up and mameru, the gifts from devotees, were displayed at the temple premises. The temple authorities said the chariots will be decked up from Wednesday onwards. Jha said that keeping the Covid pandemic in mind, participants and devotees are requested to follow Covid guidelines.

Mega procession after 2 years in Ahmedabad
Lakhs to attend 145th Rath Yatra on July 1
The Indian Express | 1 week ago
The Indian Express
1 week ago

Lakhs of devotees from across Gujarat are expected to participate in the 145th Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra, which will be held in its full form from the temple in Jamalpur Darwaza to Saraspur, after a gap of two years when it was curtailed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The procession will be held in old city Ahmedabad on July 1.Union Home Minister Amit Shah will perform a Mangala Aarti at the Lord Jagannath Temple in Jamalpur of Ahmedabad around 4 am and the Rath Yatra will begin at 7 am.According to trustees of Lord Jagannath Temple, preparations for the Yatra are going on in full swing.At a press conference in Ahmedabad on Monday, Mahendra Jha, one of the trustees of the temple, said, “This year, we are organising the Rath Yatra in its full-fledged form… 18 elephants, 101 trucks with different tableaus depicting India’s culture, 30 Akhada Dal groups and 18 Bhajan Mandalis will be part of the procession. A total of 1,200 persons will pull the chariots.”Newsletter | Click to get the day’s best explainers in your inboxAdding that the trust has prepared prasad for at least two lakh devotees, Jha said, “We have also invited 2,000 sadhus and seers from all over India…”When asked about the Covid protocols for the procession, Jha said, “We request devotees to come wearing masks and follow the Covid protocols.”Meanwhile, the Gujarat Police announced that it will deploy over 25,000 police personnel, including teams of the Rapid Action Force, Central Reserve Police Force, State Reserve Police, ATS, Ahmedabad Crime Branch and other agencies, to monitor the yatra route. Parking arrangement have done kept at APMC Market ground of Jamalpur.Usually, over three lakh devotees from across the state attend the yearly Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra procession that covers a distance of 18 kilometres. In 2020, for the first time in over 100 years, the 143rd Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra was called off due to Covid pandemic and a symbolic yatra with one main chariot was carried out inside the premises of the as per a directive by the state government.In 2021, the 144th rath yatra was taken out from Jamalpur Darwaza to Saraspur, without devotees as a curfew was implemented in parts of the city. Only priests, temple trust members and police personnel were part of the procession.

Lakhs to attend 145th Rath Yatra on July 1
Hima Das: Thought would die from Covid… kept door open so that no one would have to break it down
The Indian Express | 1 week ago
The Indian Express
1 week ago

Chennai holds a special place in your heart, doesn’t it?Yes. Even while I was a junior athlete my first senior competition was the open nationals in Chennai in 2017. I won gold in the 200m recording my personal best timing back then. That is how I got selected for the India camp for the first time and my journey began. Chennai is my lucky charm.It has been a tough few years but the smile on your face seems to have finally returned…I had been feeling low for quite some time due to my injuries. After the back injury, missing the Olympics qualification by a whisker due to a hamstring tear, going through COVID. Despite the grade 2 hamstring tear, I decided to run once during the Olympic trials. It was a mistake that aggravated my injury. Those were testing times for me. I didn’t go home but decided to go to Guwahati and work with a physio. For the next six months, I was confined to my room, working on my injury recovery.You haven’t spoken much about your battle with COVID-19…Just days after joining the camp after my recovery, I contracted COVID. It was so bad that I honestly thought I was going to die. On the fourth or fifth day, I woke up gasping for air in the middle of the night. I opened all the windows and unlatched the door so that no one would have to break the door to enter if I die. It’s something very emotional, not many know about it.On the second day, my taste, smell and appetite had returned, miraculously for a couple of hours. It was like magic. The next day it went away again and took another two months for normalcy to return. I had lost a lot of weight and my muscles lost strength. When I resumed practice, I wasn’t able to run properly, I had breathing issues. My lungs were affected. The doctors also asked me not to exert myself.After your recovery from COVID, you attended camps in Thiruvananthapuram and Turkey. How did it go?Two months later, I showed signs of improvement on the track. After training in Thiruvananthapuram, I flew to Turkey with the team. I had a great time training there, the weather was ideal. This time the coach gave me additional responsibility – I was asked to lead the relay team members. We worked a lot on our coordination and baton exchange.  A post shared by hima das8 (@hima_mon_jai)How did you handle the overnight stardom after your U-20 Worlds medal in Finland?I didn’t expect it nor was I prepared to handle it. I think that medal changed Indian athletics and brought a lot of attention to the sport. There are drawbacks of being popular, now I can’t go anywhere I feel like. When I was in Chennai in 2017 I roamed around the streets freely. I like shopping but it’s not easy now because people recognise me at stores. So I just sit in my room and shop online. In Guwahati, I sometimes sneak out for meals and chai but they always refuse to take money. I have to literally force them.I receive a lot of love from supporters wherever I go, I just want to request people to come to the stadium and cheer for me and the other athletes. I want people to fill the stadiums like they do at cricket matches. After all, athletics is the mother of all sports.How did you handle the disappointment of missing out on the Tokyo Olympics?My team and the Athletics Federation of India kept me motivated. The federation treats all athletes with a lot of care. Sachin (Tendulkar) sir told me, ‘that there will be ups and downs in life but a true athlete keeps fighting’. Whenever I felt a little low, I went on short trips with family, close friends, and my coach to someplace quiet.What is the difference between the 18-year-old you and now?There have been a lot of changes but I still have the heart of an 18-year-old. Responsibilities have increased. Earlier I would eat whatever I got but now I follow a strict diet. I have become more disciplined: having meals on time, sleeping early, etc.How has your life transformed since the Jr. Worlds medal? Thanks to your sporting achievements you have access to better facilities like stays at good hotels.It doesn’t matter where I stay. I can even rest on a pavement, not kidding. In the past, I have travelled to national meets sleeping on the floor next to the toilets on trains. Two days, sometimes three. I have had to travel from Assam to Gujarat for meets without reservation. I haven’t changed much, even now when I go to a big store, I hope I get a good offer or discount (laughs). Sports has given me everything so I have to respect it. Now I can’t go and rest anywhere I like, or my body will ask me questions. I need to stay at a decent place with a good atmosphere.A good part of your teenage life has been spent training in camps. Do you miss your friends or the lifestyle they live?I am actually a very reserved person. I don’t like to be in a loud environment or amid a lot of hustle and bustle. I like to stay in my room, analyse my game, watch movies on my phone and listen to music. I like cooking as well.How was it switching to sprints from 400m?The injury gave me a lot of time and I have gradually eased into sprints. And I was a sprinter earlier. When I left football for athletics, I started off with 100m, 200m, and long jump. It is not frustrating to switch to sprints, the main motive is to do what is best for my back injury. Back injuries don’t heal so quickly, my L4 and L5 regions have niggles. I can’t put too much load, even at the gym I am very careful.Will we see you back in 400m?Let’s see, if I can get fit by the next Asian Games that would be great. It’s (400m) not over yet and will never be. 400m is a tough but a good event for Indians. If we push a little we can win medals at Asian Games. I still have a year, so I will gradually try and hopefully, my back won’t trouble me.Post your failure to qualify for the Olympics a lot of people said harsh things to you. Did that affect you?Those who want to say things are most welcome to but I am just focused on my work. I know what I do. I have a nice joint family where I grew up, but for the last six years, I have stayed away for training. It’s not for some kind of enjoyment. I would welcome those people to come and watch me train, they will leave with tears in their eyes. The training is so intense that throwing up isn’t uncommon and sometimes there’s a little blood in it too. It’s not a big deal for athletes but for those who don’t know the drill, it will change your outlook.What has sports given to your family?I wanted to clarify this. A lot of what is shown by the media about my family isn’t true. Some have said that we were so poor that we couldn’t afford three meals, but that’s not true at all. My uncle retired from a govt job, my aunt was a head teacher. My father runs a nice farm and we have some land. All this before I came into sports. People should come and see for themselves before they write stuff about my family. If they say Hima was poor, I will agree but If they say my family was poor I won’t. Let me participate in the Olympics once, then I will take you to my hometown, show you around, and tell you my whole story.

Hima Das: Thought would die from Covid… kept door open so that no one would have to break it down
₹25L compensation ordered for corona warrior’s death
Times of India | 1 week ago
Times of India
1 week ago

Ahmedabad: The Gujarat high court on Friday ordered the state government to pay Rs 25 lakh compensation within two months to the family of a corona warrior, who died of Covid-19 in August 2020.In April 2020, the state government announced a scheme of compensation of Rs 25 lakh to families of state government employees, who were engaged in work related to coronavirus and in case they get infected and die in the line of their duty. It was announced for the next of kin of frontline workers including police personnel, health and sanitation workers, staff of revenue and food supply departments and fair price shopkeepers.On August 7, 2020, Usmanmiya Malek, a fair price shopkeeper in Chanor village of Kheda district, died of Covid in a public hospital. Since, he fell in the category of corona warriors and his family was entitled to the Rs 25 lakh compensation amount. His widow, Sherbanu, requested the authorities to release the compensation amount, but did not succeed for a year.The widow approached the high court in August 2021 through advocate Parth Divyeshwar and sought directions to the state authorities concerned to release the compensation amount immediately. During the pendency of the litigation, the Supreme Court passed an order directing the governments to pay Rs 50,000 compensation in all the cases of Covid death across the country.On June 22, the state government passed an order for payment to the widow.

₹25L compensation ordered for corona warrior’s death
New ICMR study reports silent spread of Zika virus in India
The Indian Express | 1 week ago
The Indian Express
1 week ago

A new study of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has indicated the spread of the Zika virus to several states of India and calls for an urgent need to strengthen its surveillance. Researchers have said in the report that the retrospective surveillance for ZIKV demonstrates the silent spread of this virus to almost all parts of India with a predominance of the more recent 2018 Rajasthan ZIKV strain.Zika virus (ZIKV), a vector-borne flavivirus transmitted by the bite of infected aedes mosquitoes, mainly aedes aegypti and aedes albopictus. Dr Nivedita Gupta, Head, Division of Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases, when contacted, told The Indian Express that outbreaks of Zika had been reported from Kerala, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra during the second wave of Covid pandemic in 2021. “We wanted to determine the presence of the virus from different geographical regions and hence researchers from the National Institute of Virology Pune and other ICMR institutes screened clinical samples of 1,475 patients from May-Oct 2021 and re-tested them for dengue, Chikungunya and Zika,” Dr Gupta said.The positivity observed for Zika stood at 67, Dengue at 121 and Chikungunya at 10 among the screened cases. The co-infections of Dengue/Chikungunya, Dengue/Zika and Dengue/Chikungunya/Zika were also observed. All Zika cases were symptomatic with fever (84%) and rash (78%) as major presenting symptoms. Of them, four patients had respiratory distress, one presented with seizures, and one with suspected microcephaly at birth. The Asian Lineage of Zika and all four serotypes of Dengue were found in circulation as per the study `Zika a Vector Borne Disease Detected in Newer States of India Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic’ published in June this year in Frontiers in Microbiology journal.“Our results indicated the need for continuous and enhanced surveillance for ZIKV along with DENV and CHIKV with emphasis on the ante-natal ZIKV screening. It is also critical to strengthen linkages of ZIKV surveillance sites with the existing newborn birth defect screening sites in the country to understand the spectrum of ZVD in babies born to ZIKV infected mothers,” the researchers said.The report has described the results of this retrospective analysis, which revealed the circulation of ZIKV in Delhi, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Punjab and Telangana states of India in 2021 in addition to Kerala, Maharashtra, and Uttar Pradesh. Co-infection of Zika and dengue and chikungunya were another concern in many places.The ZIKV positive samples detected during retrospective testing at ICMR-NIV, Pune revealed the presence of ZIKV in Amritsar, Punjab (1/120); New Delhi (1/64); Aligarh, UP (2/288); Jodhpur, Rajasthan (1/120); Ranchi, Jharkhand (1/120); Hyderabad, Telangana (1/60), and Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala (60/120), during 2021. Among the 67 ZIKV positive cases, 13.43% were hospitalised while 86.56% (58) of the cases were managed on an outpatient basis.Here it may be recalled that India initiated a sentinel surveillance of Zika Virus Disease in March 2016 through its network of virus research and diagnostic laboratories (VRDLs) by the ICMR across the country. The sentinel ZIKV surveillance was initiated with 10 laboratories in 2016, the VRDLs were up-scaled to 56 in 2018 and 132 by 2021. The trained VRDLs were advised to test at least 10 dengue virus (DENV) and chikungunya virus (CHIKV) negative samples for ZIKV, throughout the year.Through this surveillance, sporadic cases were first picked up in the state of Gujarat (2016−2017) and Tamil Nadu (2017). Following this, outbreaks of ZIKV were detected in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh in 2018. After 2020, the public health surveillance of ZIKV could not be continued with the same vigor due to the involvement of all VRDLs in Covid-19 diagnostics considering the subsequent waves of the pandemic. All these VRDLs were advised to store the DENV/CHIKV negative samples for ZIKV testing in the future, Dr Gupta said.

New ICMR study reports silent spread of Zika virus in India
World Bank approves USD 562 million funding for 3 projects in India
The Indian Express | 1 week ago
The Indian Express
1 week ago

World Bank has approved three loans totalling USD 562 million (about Rs 4,393.70 crore) to fund an education project in Gujarat, a social protection programme in Tamil Nadu and a project to help recovery in the fisheries sector post the pandemic, the multilateral funding agency said on Thursday.The World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved additional financing of USD 250 million for Outcomes for Accelerated Learning (GOAL), a programme which aims to improve education results for children across the state of Gujarat, it said in a release.The financing towards GOAL will benefit an additional 3,000 schools that have been disproportionately affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.Besides, the board of executive directors of the World Bank approved a USD 150 million funding to support the recovery of India’s fisheries sector and a USD 162 million for the RIGHTS project to strengthen the social protection systems and capability of the State of Tamil Nadu to promote inclusion, accessibility, and opportunities for persons with disabilities.In 2020-21, the fisheries sector saw losses of about USD 5.5 billion and fish production fell almost 40 per cent in one year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, said the multilateral funding agency.GOAL project financing complements the original loan of USD 500 million, which was approved in March 2021. It is in line with the Bank’s Rapid Response Framework that seeks to reach every child and retain them in schools, assess learning levels regularly, prioritize teaching the fundamentals and increase catch-up learning, World Bank said.It also aims to develop psychosocial health for students and teachers.“This additional financing will scale-up the coverage of the original programme from a total of 9,000 to 12,000 schools, while also supporting new efforts to test the efficacy of the program’s interventions,” said Shabnam Sinha,Lead Education Specialist and Task Team Leader for the project.Under the USD 150 million loan to support the recovery of India’s fisheries sector, World Bank said it currently employs about 12 million people directly and another 13 million through associated activities.The Fisheries Sector Covid-19 Recovery Project will complement the Government of India’s Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana, which aims to transform the sector in a sustainable manner by introducing modern practices, improving access to finance and making it more climate-resilient.Incentives for larger private investment in the fisheries sector in India have been limited, mainly due to lack of access to financing or credit, and perceptions that the sector is high-risk.The project will help microenterprises access working capital by connecting them with government schemes that provide financial support to farmers such as the Kisan Credit Card and the Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency Limited (MUDRA).

World Bank approves USD 562 million funding for 3 projects in India
  • World Bank Approves $562 Million Funding For 3 Projects In India
  • Ndtv

    World Bank has approved three loans totalling $562 million for IndiaNew Delhi: World Bank has approved three loans totalling $562 million to fund an education project in Gujarat, a social protection programme in Tamil Nadu and a project to help recovery in the fisheries sector post the pandemic, the multilateral funding agency said on Thursday.The World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved additional financing of $250 million for Outcomes for Accelerated Learning (GOAL), a programme which aims to improve education results for children across the state of Gujarat, it said in a release.The financing towards GOAL will benefit an additional 3,000 schools that have been disproportionately affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.Besides, the board of executive directors of the World Bank approved a $150 million funding to support the recovery of India's fisheries sector and a $162 million for the RIGHTS project to strengthen the social protection systems and capability of Tamil Nadu to promote inclusion, accessibility, and opportunities for persons with disabilities.In 2020-21, the fisheries sector saw losses of about $5.5 billion and fish production fell almost 40 per cent in one year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, said the multilateral funding agency.GOAL project financing complements the original loan of $500 million, which was approved in March 2021. It is in line with the Bank's Rapid Response Framework that seeks to reach every child and retain them in schools, assess learning levels regularly, prioritize teaching the fundamentals and increase catch-up learning, World Bank said.It also aims to develop psychosocial health for students and teachers.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.com"This additional financing will scale-up the coverage of the original programme from a total of 9,000 to 12,000 schools, while also supporting new efforts to test the efficacy of the program's interventions," said Shabnam Sinha, Lead Education Specialist and Task Team Leader for the project.Under the $150 million loan to support the recovery of India's fisheries sector, World Bank said it currently employs about 12 million people directly and another 13 million through associated activities.

Thanks to PM Modi, Gujarat has done well in education, health and security: CM Bhupendra Patel
The Indian Express | 1 week ago
The Indian Express
1 week ago

Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel said on Thursday that under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the state had done well in education, health and security—the three basic factors that he said were required to make progress in any field.Patel was addressing a gathering after launching the 17th edition of Kanya Kelavani & Shala Praveshotsav, the annual school enrolment drive, at Memadpur in Banaskantha district’s Vadgam tehsil.“Three factors can be listed as the basic requirements for progress in any field–education, health and security. With an aim to make Gujarat a growth engine and strengthen the foundation of education in the state, Narendrabhai (Modi) started Kanya Kelavani & Shala Praveshotsav in 2003. If the foundation of education is strong, we can make progress in each and every field,” the chief minister said.In Banaskantha district, more than 15,000 children were enrolled in Class 1 under the drive. According to district primary education officer Sanjay Parmar, “A total 71 eligible children were enrolled in Class 1 by the CM at two government primary schools (one each for boys and girls) in Memadpur village. Thirty-five children (in the age group of 3-5) were enrolled in the Anganwadi of Memadpur.”The chief minister said education was necessary for making better use of technology and that because of the state government’s efforts, the dropout rate had fallen significantly, adding that the government had made available the best facilities for engineering and medical education.Patel then referred to the state government’s Covid-19 response. “During the Covid pandemic, we have seen that even big countries felt exhausted. But under the guidance of Narendrabhai and his slogan ‘Sauno Saath, Sauno Vikas, Sauno Vishwas and Sauno Prayas’, we have given free vaccination to each and every person. And to ensure that nobody sleeps hungry, arrangements were made for free ration. (Modi) attempted to get us out of the pandemic and today we have come out (of the pandemic),” he said.Patel also talked about the government’s Ayushman card initiative, under which an eligible person can get medical benefits worth up to Rs 5 lakh for any ailment.Talking about security, the chief minister said, “We all know that security is also equally necessary…Earlier, before going to Ahmedabad, people here would first get it checked if everything is fine there. Many elders must have seen that two decades back. (But) the young ones, who are 20-22 years old, do not even know what unrest is.”“Today, under the instructions of Narendrabhai, police are doing very good work. Along with that, we also know that they did a very good job of assisting us during the Covid-19 pandemic,” Patel said.Minister of State for Education Kirtisinh Vaghela, who is the MLA for Kankrej in the district, and a number of local BJP leaders were present on the occasion besides district collector Anand Patel and superintendent of police Akshayraj Makwana.The Vadgam Assembly constituency, under which the Memadpur village falls, is represented by independent MLA Jignesh Mevani, who has pledged support to the Opposition Congress.

Thanks to PM Modi, Gujarat has done well in education, health and security: CM Bhupendra Patel
Mandaviya says European firms exiting Russia, ‘India should encash’ chance
The Indian Express | 2 weeks ago
The Indian Express
2 weeks ago

A number of European companies are exiting Russia and India should “encash this opportunity”, said Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers, Mansukh Mandaviya, as he urged businessmen of Gujarat to “immediately” visit the country.“A number of European companies are exiting Russia. The Russian government has told me that if India comes, then the opportunity will be made available to them,” Mandaviya, who recently headed the Indian delegation to the 25th St Petersburg International Economic Forum in Russia, said during his visit to the Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) Tuesday. The forum, held about a week ago, was boycotted by many western countries due to the Russia-Ukraine war.“This is an opportunity. If anyone can encash this opportunity, it is the ecosystem in Gujarat,” he told businessmen at GCCI. Assuring to make the necessary arrangements for the Russia visit, Mandaviya said the delegation of businessmen from Gujarat could be headed by state Industries Minister Jagdish Vishwakarma.The comments from the Union minister come at a time when India is already buying discounted crude oil from Russia. “It is an apt time to encash the opportunity,” he reiterated, adding that there were lucrative business opportunities in Russia awaiting Indians. Mandaviya was speaking at an interactive session on ‘Role of chemical and pharmaceutical industry to achieve USD 5 trillion economy’ at GCCI.Talking about his experiences at World Economic Forum held earlier this year, the Union minister said he defended India’s export ban on wheat and told the nations present at the forum that countries manufacturing fertilisers “took advantage of the situation” and increased the prices of fertilisers.He said India never raised the prices of medicines during the Covid pandemic. “We could have taken advantage of the situation and Indian companies could have raised their prices. But we didn’t,” Mandaviya said, pointing out how India reached out to hundreds of countries that needed medicines to counter Covid.Speaking during the interactive session after the minister’s speech, former GCCI president Natubhai Patel said Gujarat can offer high-quality textiles and pharmaceutical products to Russia. “Between 1990-95, when our economy was faced with a crisis, it was Russia who stood by us. It is during that time, a number of pharmaceutical companies came up in Gujarat. So, when Russia has extended its hands again, then, apart from discounted crude oil, we also have opportunities in pharmaceuticals, chemicals and textiles,” Patel added.

Mandaviya says European firms exiting Russia, ‘India should encash’ chance
Eknath Shinde ko gussa kyun aata hai: Sidelined by Thackerays in Sena, govt, No. 2 turns a rebel
The Indian Express | 2 weeks ago
The Indian Express
2 weeks ago

At 11:17 pm on Monday, the Maharashtra urban development and public works minister and influential Shiv Sena leader, Eknath Shinde, put out a tweet expressing happiness over the election of two Sena nominees in the Legislative Council elections. A couple of hours later, Shinde along with around 20 Sena MLAs, went “incommunicado”, dealing a severe blow to the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance government as well as its lead player, the Sena, which might be heading for an imminent split now.While Shinde has always sworn allegiance to the Sena and Thackerays, there have been murmurs in recent months that he was “unhappy” over the way the party was being run and the treatment being meted out to old Sainiks like him. Over the past two years, as the Sena underwent a generational change in its leadership which saw the sidelining of its many senior leaders and the emergence of a new guard led by Aditya Thackeray, the son of party president and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.While Shinde has been in charge of two key portfolios and was the next most important Sena minister after the Thackerays, there had been a buzz that he was not getting a free run in running his departments as all their decisions were purportedly vetted by the Thackerays and their inner coterie.A top state official said Shinde was “upset” as he was marginalised in the urban development department. As its minister, he is the chairperson of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA). However, the environment minister, Aaditya Thackeray, often attended the MMRDA meetings involving its commissioner, hence Shinde did not take much interest in its affairs.The emergence of Aaditya, who is also the Yuva Sena president, and his bid to groom the party’s youth wing leaders like Varun Sardesai also upset Shinde. Once deemed to be the tallest leader in the party after the Thackerays, the rise of younger leaders in its ranks is said to have rankled Shinde.Over the last two years, especially since the outbreak of the Covid pandemic, Shinde’s access to Matoshree, the residence of the Thackerays, was also restricted, with an impression gaining ground that the latter were not seeking his counsel like they used to earlier.Shinde, who has been a proponent of the Sena-BJP alliance, was said to be especially upset with Uddav’s decision to join hands with the NCP and the Congress to form the MVA government. He also felt that over the last two years the party’s allies, especially the Sharad Pawar-led NCP, were hurting the Sena’s prospects.Some MVA government officials say that there were instances in the last one year that pointed to things not being smooth between Uddhav and Shinde, who is now believed to be holed up at a hotel in Surat in the BJP-ruled Gujarat along with about 20 party MLAs.Sources say that matters like the security cover enjoyed by Shinde and his say in police transfers were some of the factors that reflected his diminishing influence over the Uddhav-led government.An official said Shinde enjoys “Z” category security on paper while he was keen to get “Z plus” security cover being given to the likes of Uddhav and Pawar. “However, the State Intelligence Department (SID) that takes orders from the CM provided him ‘Z’ security, a level below ‘Z plus’. It was a subtle way of pointing out the power hierarchy to him,” a source said. It was believed that Shinde was miffed over it.Another reason for Shinde’s resentment was that he had to struggle to have a say in police postings in Thane, his home turf. Recently, the transfers of five IPS officers in and around Thane had to be stayed after the NCP minister-headed home department issued the transfer list. “While eventually Shinde’s demands were accommodated and the transfers were put on hold, the question was, why were his recommendations not taken into consideration in the first place given that he had a direct line to the CM,” the source said, adding that “While these are small issues, it did show that Shinde did not have an easy run and had to struggle within his own party.”🚨 Limited Time Offer | Express Premium with ad-lite for just Rs 2/ day 👉🏽 Click here to subscribe 🚨Sources also said that over the last one year, Uddhav hardly met any party leaders, mainly due to his health condition. “Earlier when the CM visited Mantralaya, leaders would come to meet him as everyone is allowed inside. Now with him functioning mainly from Varsha, the CM bungalow, where access is limited, not many could meet him,” the source said. “Even during Covid, citing health reasons, some bureaucrats had ensured that the CM did not meet many other leaders from the party, thereby increasing his dependancy on these bureaucrats.”Amid simmering discontent in a Sena section against the party’s functioning for some time, Shinde was said to be in waiting and gauging public sentiments, worried that a declaration of no-confidence in the Thackerays could lead to a backlash from their party loyalists in the state.The back-to-back setbacks suffered by the MVA in the Rajya Sabha and the Legislative Council elections in the state in just ten days proved to be the final straw that led to Shinde mounting a bid for engineering a split in the party.(With inputs from Yogesh Naik)

Eknath Shinde ko gussa kyun aata hai: Sidelined by Thackerays in Sena, govt, No. 2 turns a rebel
As cases spike, CJ bats for curbs in courtroom
Times of India | 2 weeks ago
Times of India
2 weeks ago

Ahmedabad: Chief Justice Aravind Kumar of the Gujarat high court on Monday expressed concerns about the rising number of Covid-19 cases and said that entry to the court campus would be restricted to avoid the premises becoming a ground for spread of the disease.As soon as the proceedings started in the morning, the chief justice noticed his courtroom teeming with people. He inquired with the government lawyers present about the presence of so many people. “Isn’t it in violation of the Covid regulations? Covid is on the rise. The state government has enforced Covid protocol. We are not supposed to congregate like this. Until and unless they (people who remain present) are accused (of contempt of court), please ask them to go if they are not accused.”The chief justice said that only a couple of representatives of the litigants may remain present and others should leave the courtroom.A couple of cases later, the issue of rising Covid numbers came up again and the CJ said, “Day after tomorrow, nobody is coming (to courtroom). We will have to tell the secretary that none should come. We will not be allowing this. This Covid, it is slightly on the rise. This premises should not become a ground for that. All the advocates are here. Tomorrow, they will be put in a problem.”In last two years, the high court had shut its campus on various occasions following the rise in Covid cases. For most of the time, it had shifted to virtual hearing.

As cases spike, CJ bats for curbs in courtroom
Wear masks, follow Covid protocols, Rajkot DEO instructs schools
The Indian Express | 2 weeks ago
The Indian Express
2 weeks ago

The District Education Officer (DEO) in Rajkot on Monday issued an advisory to secondary and higher secondary schools in the district, asking students to wear masks and follow other safety protocols with an increase in Covid-19 cases.Interacting with media persons, DEO BS Kaila said that his office has advised schools to follow the standard operating procedures (SOPs) vis-à-vis Covid-19 pandemic from Tuesday.“The number of Covid-19 cases are rising in Rajkot and the entire Gujarat. Keeping the safety of children in mind, we have instructed all secondary and higher secondary schools to ensure that students come to school wearing face-masks and teachers also follow SOPs (related to Covid-19). We have also instructed them to ask parents not to send children to school if they are ill,” Kaila said, adding SOPs include facilities for hand-sanitisation and maintaining social distancing while gathering in large numbers.Underlining that state government or local authorities have not officially removed Covid-19 appropriate behaviour norms, the DEO said, “The SOPs issued earlier are very much in force. But people started taking them lightly as the cases of Covid-19 went down. Now, we have instructed schools to adhere to them strictly.”There are around 890 secondary and higher secondary schools in the district. Talking to The Indian Express later, the DEO said that his office issued these instructions in the form of advisory through WhatsApp groups.“These instructions are not in the form of any formal official circulars but advisory in nature so that schools take precautionary measures as children have started going back to schools after the summer vacation,” said Kaila.The DEO said that his decision was prompted by a rising trend in the daily fresh infections of Covid-19 in the state. “The number of daily new cases has been rising now… Yesterday, the state reported 244 new cases and I noted that many of those who contracted the virus were young. Therefore, we thought it was necessary to convey it to schools to take precautionary measures and go for vaccination,” said Kaila.Schools across the state reopened last week after the month-long summer vacation. Rajkot city reported 10 fresh cases of Covid-19 on Sunday, a bulletin from the Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC) said on Monday, adding that a total 1,390 samples were tested during the day. However, no new infection was reported till noon on Monday.At present, Rajkot has 49 active cases and 1,857 tests were held in the rural and city jurisdictions on June 19. After the abatement of the third wave by mid-March, the district infrequently reported fewer than five Covid cases a day, with most days since mid-March seeing no new cases.However, since June 2, the district has been reporting new cases daily, with as many as 13 cases reported on June 15 and 12 cases on June 16. On June 19, the district reported 10 cases and on June 20, four cases.

Wear masks, follow Covid protocols, Rajkot DEO instructs schools