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33 states, UTs have less than 5,000 active COVID-19 cases, says Health Ministry

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New Delhi [India], February 9 (ANI): As many as 33 states and UTs in the country have less than 5,000 active COVID-19 cases, said Union Health Ministry on Tuesday adding that only two states– Maharashtra and Kerala– have more than 35,000 active cases.
During a weekly briefing on coronavirus situation in the country, Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary, Union Health Ministry said that the share of active cases is only 3.12 per cent of the total COVID-19 cases in the country.
“Only 2 States–Kerala and Maharashtra–have more than 35,000 active COVID-19 cases and together they contribute to 71 per cent of COVID-19 cases. Kerala has 65,670 active COVID-19 cases and Maharashtra has 35,991 active COVID-19 cases. Currently, 33 states and UTs in the country have less than 5,000 active COVID-19 cases,” Bhushan said.
“Active cases are only 3.12 per cent of the total cases. Active cases are less than 1.50 lakh and declining. There are 15 states and Union Territories (UT) that have not reported deaths in the last 24 hours. There are seven states and UTs that have not reported deaths in the last three weeks. A total of 55 per cent decline in average daily COVID-19 deaths have been reported in the last five weeks,” he said.
Bhushan said that COVID-19 deaths are at 112 per million population. “The COVID-19 case per million population is 7,860 and the tests per million population in the country are 146,802,” he added.
Bhushan said that so far 63,10,194 beneficiaries including healthcare and frontline workers have been vaccinated with the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine as of now.
“Administration of the second dose of vaccine will begin on February 13. We cannot indefinitely keep on scheduling and rescheduling healthcare workers. States/UTs have been advised that all healthcare workers must be scheduled at least once for vaccination by Feb 20. Timelines are communicated to states,” he added. (ANI)

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BJP’s central observers submit report to party high command over Uttarakhand crisis

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New Delhi/Dehradun (Uttarakhand) [India], March 8 (ANI): BJP general secretary in-charge of Uttarakhand Dushyant Kumar Gautam and Raman Singh, who was appointed to look after the current crisis within the party’s state unit, has submitted its report to the BJP’s high command, said sources.
Last week, BJP Uttarakhand held an emergency core group meeting which was attended by observer Raman Singh, Dushyant Gautam, Trivendra Singh Rawat, Ajay Bhatt, Naresh Bansal, Mala Rajya Laxmi and others.
There are speculations about the leadership change in Uttarakhand as several ministers and around twenty MLAs are against the working style of Rawat.
According to sources, several MLAs and some ministers complained about the Chief Minister to the party leadership. Later, the BJP central high command sent Raman Singh as party observer for the emergency core group meeting, which was attended by Dushyant Gautam, general secretary in-charge of Uttarakhand BJP.
After the core group meeting party, Raman Singh and Dushyant Gautam submitted their report, the party high command called Trivendra Singh Rawat to Delhi. He will meet the BJP’s Central leadership today.
Meanwhile, Rawat has left for Delhi in a special aircraft from Uttarakhand. (ANI)

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Int’l Women’s Day: Alliance Air operates maiden flight to Bareilly with all-women crew

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New Delhi [India], March 8 (ANI): Air India’s subsidiary company Alliance Air on Monday celebrated International Women’s Day by launching a flight from Delhi to Bareilly with an all women-crew.
Minister of Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri announced the inaugural flight virtually and said, “I would like to thank all the stakeholders who have done a tremendous job to get start the Bareilly flight under ‘Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik’ (UDAN) scheme.”
“We have a strong team of women in the aviation sector, with 16 per cent of staff controlling the Air Traffic Controller (ATC). Today is a matter of great pride for us because all the women are commanding the inaugural flight of Alliance Air and other 11 more flights from different route under all-women crew,” he added.
Alliance Air Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Harpreet A De Singh said, “We are celebrating the Women’s Day with an all-women crew today and for the first time in Alliance Air history, we have deployed all-women crew for the inaugural flight to Bareilly under the command of women pilots, women crew, women engineers, women aircraft dispatchers and women Air Traffic Controller (ATC).”
She also extended her best wishes to all the women who dream of becoming pilots and aviation professionals.
Uttar Pradesh currently connects eight airports under the UDAN scheme. Usha Padhee, joint secretary in MoCA, said: “Eight airports have been connected in Uttar Pradesh under the UDAN scheme, Bareilly is the beginning and much more is coming. UDAN’s motto is to connect the regions at an affordable fare for the common man.”
Puri, meanwhile, also stressed on the growth of the Indian aviation sector and highlighted the upcoming aviation project in Uttar Pradesh. “Kushinagar, Ayodhya and many other airports will get operational soon. The work on the Jewar airport will begin soon. The project costs Rs 30,000 crore.” Puri said.
Santosh Gangwar, Minister of State for labour and employment, flew to Bareilly in the inaugural flight. (ANI)

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Rajya Sabha adjourned till 1 pm after Opposition ruckus over fuel price hike

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New Delhi [India], March 8 (ANI): Rajya Sabha was adjourned till 1 pm on Monday following repeated sloganeering by the Opposition against rising fuel prices in the country.
“You are aware that the ruling of the Chairman can’t be reopened. It can’t be discussed,” said Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh before adjourning the House till 1 pm, as Congress MPs continued to demand a discussion on fuel price rise and raised slogans.
Earlier today, Rajya Sabha was adjourned till 11 am following sloganeering by Congress MPs demanding a discussion over the rise in fuel prices.
“Petrol and diesel prices are nearly Rs 100 per litre and Rs 80 per litre respectively. Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) prices have also gone up. Rs 21 lakh crores have been collected by putting excise duty/cess, because of this entire country including farmers are suffering,” Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge had said.
After slogans were raised, Rajya Sabha Chairperson M Venkaiah Naidu said: “I don’t want to take any drastic action on the first day.”
Meanwhile, Congress MP Manish Tewari has given Adjournment Motion Notice in Lok Sabha over the rise in fuel prices.
The second part of the Budget session of Parliament commenced from today with all COVID-19 precautionary measures in place. (ANI)

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Elite ‘Valley QAT’ of CRPF responsible for eliminating terrorists in J-K, to have women commandos soon

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New Delhi [India], March 8 (ANI): The elite anti-terrorist unit, Valley Quick Action Team (QAT) of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), which operates in Jammu and Kashmir is all set to have women commandos for anti-terror operations. CPRF women warriors are undergoing training and if they are cleared, they will be inducted into the specialised team.
This team of highly trained commandos works with the Indian Army and Jammu and Kashmir Police. They are amongst India’s best anti-terror commandos.
Officers like Rahul Mathur who were awarded the Kirti Chakra, 7 time Police Medal for Gallantry (PMG) recipient Naresh Kumar, 4-time gallantry medal awardee Loukrakpam Ibomcha Singh and other brave hearts, all belong to Valley QAT which was awarded 15 gallantry medals last year on Independence Day.
According to the top sources deployed in Jammu and Kashmir, the process for their induction has already begun. The force is shortlisting women personnel who are willing to join the QAT team considering the threat perception.
This year the CRPF had inducted women commandos for its CoBRA team which is engaged in anti-Naxal operations in the Naxalite affected areas.
“We have started the process of inducting women in QAT. We are trying to shortlist women who are keen to work in the QAT, since it deals with anti-terror operations. If we manage to get a sufficient number of women commandos, we will move to the next step. Before joining the QAT, women commandos should be mentally as well as physically ready,” one of the top CRPF officer’s told ANI on condition of anonymity.
Sources said that several CRPF women personnel are already undergoing training and if they manage to pass it, they will be inducted into the QAT.
“We are expecting to have a list of names and details by the third week of March. After that, a meeting will be held to discuss further course of action. We would require top-level approvals as well before going ahead with it,” the officer said.
CRPF has already achieved another milestone last year after the first woman IPS officer was appointed as Inspector General (IG) of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) Srinagar sector, one of the terrorist-affected areas in Jammu and Kashmir.
Charu Sinha, IPS officer of the 1996-batch Telangana cadre, is heading the Srinagar sector for CRPF as the Inspector General after dealing with Naxals.
Also last month, CRPF had inducted women commandos into the elite anti-Naxal CoBRA unit. 34 women personnel from the 6 Mahila Battalions of CRPF are under training to join the CoBRA. After pre-induction training of 3 months, they will be sent to Naxalite affected areas.
While talking on the occasion of the Raising Day of 88th Mahila Battalion, Ex-CRPF DG AP Maheshwari had also indicated regarding the introducing of women personnel in the Valley QAT. (ANI)

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Rahul Gandhi to address Indian Youth Congress’ national executive meeting today

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New Delhi [India], March 8 (ANI): Ahead of upcoming Assembly elections, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will address the national executive meeting of Indian Youth Congress office-bearers in the national capital on Monday.
Taking to Twitter, Youth Congress National President Srinivas B V said: “Indian Youth Congress is all set to organize National Executive meeting 2020-21 at IYC HQ.”
The Election Commission of India on February 26 announced the schedule for upcoming Assembly elections in Assam, Kerala, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. Polling will be held between March 27-April 29. The counting of votes will take place on May 2. (ANI)

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Venkaiah Naidu urges RS members to be present in House

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New Delhi [India], March 8 (ANI): Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu on Monday appealed to members to be present in the House, observe debates, and enrich their knowledge.
“An in-depth and analytical understanding of each issue makes a real difference in debates. This is possible only through the study of books and journals from time to time. The Parliament Library is completing 100 years this year. It has a huge collection of about 14 lakh books and 100s of journals in all languages. I am told the footfall is not very encouraging. I urge all members to make use of it,” Naidu said.
He further “Going to library is going enhance your knowledge. Attending the session, not missing it, enhances your understanding of parliamentary procedures. I call upon members to make use of the library and please attend parliament.”
The RS Chairman also raised concerns regarding low attendance in Parliament committee meetings and urged members to be present, observe debates and enrich their knowledge.
“Some concerns in respect to the meetings for the committees this year include a decline in the overall attendance this year to 42 per cent from 48 pc last year. There has been an increase in the number of members who have not attended any meetings this year,” Naidu said while addressing members present in the House.
He further said informed that overall attendance from members of all such parties and groups this year declined to 27.60 per cent from 40.5 per cent from last year.
“Low attendance of members in the meetings of the committee remains a major concern. Overall attendance from members of all such parties and groups this year declined to 27.60 per cent from 40.5 pc last year. This needs to be addressed by the concerned parties,” he said.
The Chairman also complimented Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge for assuming the role of the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, after the retirement of Ghulam Nabi Azad in the last session.
“On behalf of the entire House and on my own behalf, I compliment Mallikarjun Kharge Ji on assuming the office of the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha. He is one of the long-serving leaders of the country, with vast legislative and administrative experience,” Naidu said.
The second part of the Budget session of Parliament commenced on Monday with all COVID-19 precautionary measures in place. (ANI)

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