AS COVID-19 CASES SPIKE, PUNJAB CM ORDERS CURB ON GATHERINGS FROM 1 MARCH - The Daily Guardian
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AS COVID-19 CASES SPIKE, PUNJAB CM ORDERS CURB ON GATHERINGS FROM 1 MARCH

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Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh

Amid growing concern over the rising Covid-19 cases in Punjab, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday ordered restriction on indoor gathering to 100 and outdoor to 200 people from 1 March, along with strict enforcement of mask/social distancing etc, with testing to be ramped to 30,000 a day.

Chairing a high-level virtual meeting to review the situation, the Chief Minister also authorised the DCs to impose night curfew in hot spots in their districts if needed, with micro containment strategy to be adopted. He directed the police force to ensure strict enforcement of wearing of masks, along with notification of Covid monitors by all restaurants, marriage palaces, with the Department of Excise and Taxation to be the nodal agency for the same.

The Chief Minister said that a decision on reducing occupancy in cinema halls will be taken after 1 March. Private offices and restaurants shall be encouraged to display last tests done for all employees, he added.

While directing increased testing, Captain Amarinder ordered mandatory testing of 15 contacts per positive, with monitoring to be done by CPTOs and review to be undertaken by the Health Department.

The Chief Minister also took stock of the vaccination status, underlining the need to carry out an IEC campaign to promote 100% coverage of healthcare and frontline workers. He directed the Health Department to plan the roll out of vaccine for the elderly population and those with comorbidities.

Apprising the Chief Minister of measures taken by the Punjab Police to enforce adherence to safety protocols, DGP Dinkar Gupta said instructions have been issued to field officers to strictly impose restrictions.

Earlier, in a brief presentation, Health Secretary Hussan Lal informed the meeting that the districts of Amritsar, Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Patiala, SAS Nagar and SBS Nagar had shown a spike in positivity in recent days, triggering concerns over a possible fresh wave in the state.

So far, no new mutated variant of coronavirus had been witnessed in Punjab but new samples had been sent for testing and the results were expected next week, said Dr K.K. Talwar, who is heading the state government’s expert group on Covid.

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NPPCD will target over 6 pc of India’s population with disabling hearing loss, says Harsh Vardhan

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New Delhi [India], March 3 (ANI): Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Harsh Vardhan on Wednesday said that National Programme for Prevention and Control of Deafness (NPPCD) will target over 6 percent of India’s population with disabling hearing loss.
The Union Health Minister, who is also the Chairman of Executive Board of World Health Organisation (WHO), released WHO’s world report on hearing on the World Hearing Day.
To underscore the importance of ear health, Vardhan referred to a 2018 WHO report which observed that 2 percent of India’s population, mainly children, suffer from the condition of Otitis Media, a group of inflammatory diseases of the middle ear.
He highlighted other problems like hearing loss due to high noise levels at workplaces and on the roads, hearing loss due to the use of ototoxic medicines and chemicals, the dangers of loud music and unsafe listening to people’s hearing health (with over 750 million smart phone users in India).
“A multi – centric cross-sectional survey conducted as per the WHO recommended Probability Proportional to Size (PPS) sampling technique assessed 92,097 people in the community across 6 sites in India. Age-appropriate audiological testing as per WHO norms including pure tone audiometry, tympanometry, oto-acoustic emissions, behavioral observation audiometry and ENT examination were all undertaken onsite in a specially designed sound treated audiological bus,” the minister said.
The results have showed a changing profile of hearing loss in India’s population and in tune with similar changes in other countries as they move forward in economic development. The study also showed that the disabling hearing loss affected 2.9 percent of the population and was noted to effect communication, education and work.
The rural population had a far greater prevalence of hearing loss. The prevalence of total hearing loss, unilateral and bilateral was found to be as high as 9.93 per cent. The geriatric population accounted for 40.5 per cent of all hearing loss and 72.4 per cent of all disabling hearing loss.
The study also made a major contribution in identifying the risk factors associated with Sensory Neural Hearing Loss (SNHL): Smokeless Tobacco consumption, Heavy smoking, Leisure and work-related noise, and also excessive Residential Noise, are all noted as risk factors associated with SNHL.
Vardhan showcased India’s National Programme for Prevention and Control of Deafness to the audience that targets 6 percent of the population who have disabling hearing loss and require interventions.
More than 30 thousand free-of-cost ENT surgeries and around 24 thousand hearing aids were provided under the program in the year 2019-20.
He stated, “With an annual implementation budget of 35 Crore (5 Million USD), funded fully by the Government of India, the national programme for prevention and control of deafness now covers 595 districts in the country, reaching nearly 80% of the country’s population and is growing every year.”
Director-General of WHO Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director of Department of Non communicable Diseases in WHO Bente Mikkelsen, Lead Officer of WHO programme for ear and hearing care Dr Shelly Chadha and other senior officials of WHO attended the event. (ANI)

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Kerala: Congress-led UDF releases campaign slogan for assembly polls

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Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) [India], March 3 (ANI): After the crucial meeting of Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) regarding seat-sharing discussions, UDF leaders on Wednesday released main campaign slogans at Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) office.
Speaking to media persons, Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala said seat-sharing discussions are in the final stages.
“We will complete it within two days and will be declaring it after it. The anti-people policies of LDF, corruption, nepotism, gold smuggling case, the Life Mission scam will be kept before the people to expose the LDF government. Also, our main development agenda to bring in an overall change will be part of our manifesto,” he said.
The main campaign slogan ‘Nadu Nannakan UDF’ – which roughly translates to ‘UDF to make Kerala better’ – along with sub slogans on campaign posters were unveiled by senior UDF leaders.
The election for 140-member Kerala Assembly in 14 districts will be held in a single phase on April 6.
The tenure of the 14th Kerala legislative assembly will come to an end on June 1, 2021. A total of 2,67,88,268 electors will elect the candidates in Kerala for the 15th legislative assembly.
For Assembly poll 2021, the number of polling booths in Kerala has been extended from 21,498 to 40,771. The counting of votes will be held on May 2.
According to the commission, of the 140 Assembly seats, 14 seats are reserved for the SC category and two are reserved for ST category candidates.
In the 2016 Kerala assembly election, the CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) bagged 91 seats in 140-member Assembly. The BJP opened its account for the first time from the Nemom constituency, where BJP veteran O.Rajagopal won the seat.
In the 2019 general elections, the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) coalition has registered a remarkable victory with wins in 19 out of the 20 parliamentary constituencies. (ANI)

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Delhi Police registers sexual harassment case against NBT editor

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New Delhi [India], March 3 (ANI): Delhi Police on Wednesday registered a case of sexual harassment against National Book Trust editor Rubin D’Cruz.
“Delhi Police has registered a case of sexual harassment against Rubin D’Cruz, editor of the National Book Trust after a woman filed a complaint against him at Vasant Kunj (North) police station,” stated a statement by Delhi Police.
The FIR was registered against D’Cruz, who is editor of the Malayalam department of the National Book Trust (NBT), India, on February 2 this year, the police said.
More details are awaited. (ANI)

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Powers under Part III of IT Rules, 2021 not delegated to states: IB Ministry

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New Delhi [India], March 3 (ANI): Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on Wednesday wrote to Chief Secretaries of all states and administrators of all Union Territories (UTs) clarifying that the powers under Part III of IT (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 are administered by the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
According to an official release, the letter has also underlined that these powers have not been delegated to the state governments, district magistrates or police commissioners.
“It has also been requested that this information be brought to the notice of all concerned persons in States and UTs,” the Ministry said.
The letter again clarified the provisions of the rules under Part III which relate to publishers of digital news and current affairs and publishers of online curated content (OTT platforms).
The rules under Part III, the letter states, provide for a Code of Ethics to be followed by digital news publishers and publishers of OTT content, which includes five age-based classifications.
“Further, the rules require a three-level Grievance Redressal Mechanism consisting of the publisher (Level-1), a self-regulating body constituted by the publishers (Level-II), and an Oversight Mechanism of the Government (Level III), with time-bound grievance disposal mechanism. Finally, the rules require the furnishing of information by the publishers to the Government and periodical disclosure of information regarding grievance redressal in the public domain,” the release said.
Notably, the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 under the Information Technology Act, 2000 were notified on February 25, 2021. (ANI)

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Piyush Goyal calls for working towards ensuring India’s recognition on global stage as quality conscious country

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New Delhi [India], March 3 (ANI): Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal on Wednesday called for for working towards ensuring India’s recognition on global stage as quality conscious country.
Goyal, who was speaking at the concluding session of the Workshop on Easing Compliance of BIS Certifications, said, “We should make the Indian standard a world-wide accepted standard. BIS should operate on ‘QUICK’ model – quality, uniformity through one nation one standard, international mindset, conformity assessment and knowledge sharing.”
“Our mantra for the day should be quick action, quick response, and quick absorption of best practices and quicker ways of working. We must work towards ensuring India’s recognition on the global stage as a quality conscious country, as a country with which people can do business with a confidence,” Goyal said.
The minister further said, “We must work towards ensuring India’s recognition on the global stage as a quality conscious country, as a country with which people can do business with a confidence.”
On knowledge sharing, the Minister referred to Udyog Manthan exercise, a marathon of 2-month long webinars on Quality and Productivity, in which industry, experts, motivation speakers and line ministries took part.
He said that it has set the tone to absorb quality and productivity as the mantras for an Aatmanirbhar Bharat where Make-in-India will hold centre-stage and expand the frontiers of trade and business.
The Minister called for more and more use of artificial intelligence, big data and other technology related solutions to help resolve standardisation issues facing industry and other entrepreneurs.
Goyal said that ‘ISI Standard Mark’ should represent quality, productivity, affordability and accessibility.
“BIS should ensure the cost of testing never becomes a detriment to conforming to quality and getting certification, he said that there will be reduction of fee for the certification for MSMEs. This is a dawn of a new era of an ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ where digitalization and efficiency are going to determine India’s success in the future,” he said.
The workshop was organised jointly by Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, along with the Department of Consumer Affairs and Bureau of Indian Standards, to facilitate closer interaction between various sectors of industry and the apex national standards body.

This workshop has been organised to facilitate closer interaction between various sectors of industry and the apex national standards body. Four technical sessions on Standardisation, Testing Activities, Certification Activity and Implementation of QCO’s were conducted during the workshop. (ANI)

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Tamil Nadu: Police, paramilitary forces conduct flag march in Ramanathapuram ahead of Assembly elections

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Ramanathapuram (Tamil Nadu) [India], March 3 (ANI): Police and paramilitary forces’ personnel on Wednesday conducted a flag march in Ramanathapuram ahead of Assembly elections.
“Police and paramilitary forces’ personnel conduct flag march in Mandapam and Thangachimadam in Ramanathapuram district, in the light of upcoming Tamil Nadu Election 2021,” read an official statement.
Tamil Nadu assembly elections will be held in a single phase on April 6 and the counting of votes will be done on May 2. The term of the 15th legislative assembly in Tamil Nadu is ending on May 2, 2021. As many as 6,28,23,749 electors will choose candidates for the sixteenth legislative assembly in Tamil Nadu.
Ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) is contesting the poll in a pre-poll alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). MK Stalin’s Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) has joined hands with Congress. This time, actor-turned-politician Kamal Hassan’s party Makkal Neethi Maiam (MNM) is also in the fray.
In the last Assembly elections held in 2016, the DMK won 80, Congress won just eight, AIADMK won 134 seats, BJP won 4 seats and the rest were won by other parties and independent candidates.
The opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK)-led front, which includes the Congress, had won 37 of the 39 Lok Sabha seats in Tamil Nadu in 2019. (ANI)

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