BHARAT BIOTECH DEFENDS BRAZIL DEAL AMID FINANCIAL IRREGULARITIES ALLEGATIONS - The Daily Guardian
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BHARAT BIOTECH DEFENDS BRAZIL DEAL AMID FINANCIAL IRREGULARITIES ALLEGATIONS

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Bharat Biotech CMD Dr Krishna Ella.

India’s only indigenous Covid-19 vaccine drug manufacturer, Bharat Biotech, on Wednesday refuted any wrongdoing amid a huge controversy in Brazil over a $324 million contract for Covaxin shots, now suspended over allegations of irregularities that have singed that country’s top leadership including President Jair Bolsanaro.

In a statement, Bharat Biotech said that it had followed a “step-by-step” approach towards contracts and regulatory approvals with Brazil. “In the specific case of procurement of Covaxin by the Ministry of Health, Brazil, since the first meetings during Nov 2020 until June 29, a step-by-step approach has been followed towards contracts, and regulatory approvals, during this eight-month-long process,” Bharat Biotech said.

“EUA (Emergency Use Approval) received on June 4. As of June 29, Bharat Biotech has not received any advance payments nor supplied any vaccines to MOH Brazil. Bharat Biotech has followed a similar approach towards contracts, regulatory approvals and supplies in several countries worldwide, where Covaxin is being supplied successfully,” said the Hyderabad-based vaccine maker.

As per media reports of Brazil, President Bolsonaro is accused of financial irregularities linked to the deal for 20 million Covaxin doses, which came under scrutiny as a parliamentary commission of inquiry investigated the government’s handling of Covid-19. “I am incorruptible,” Bolsonaro said when newsmen asked him following the row. 

Brazilian federal prosecutors are investigating whether the deal was sealed in February at comparatively high prices, quick talks and pending regulatory approvals.

Last week, a health ministry official, Ricardo Miranda, testified at the senate that he and his brother, federal deputy Luis Miranda, had informed the President about serious problems in an invoice of $45 million sent by Madison Biotech, an offshore company from Singapore.

Junking allegations, Bharat Biotech said that Madison Biotech was set up by its founder Krishna Ella last year for research and development, sales and marketing of vaccines. According to the company, reports in the media over the past few weeks had “misrepresented” the procurement process of Covaxin in Brazil and other countries.

“The procurement process for Covid-19 vaccines and several vaccines for routine immunization follow a common process which is widely accepted, and established in Industry,” said Bharat Biotech.

The price of Covaxin had been “clearly established” between $15 and $20 per dose for countries other than India, the company said, amidst criticism over the high prices. “The pricing for Brazil has also been indicated at $15 per dose. Bharat Biotech has received advance payments from several other countries at the above price points, with supplies in process, pending approvals,” said the statement.

The company said that it had partnered with Precisa Medicamentos for regulatory submissions, distribution, insurance, and to carry out Phase 3 clinical trials.

Among the allegations being levelled is that the contract was assigned when Covaxin had not been approved by Brazil’s National Health Surveillance Agency. Despite this status, however, Covaxin’s price was agreed at $15 a dose, the highest paid by this country for any of the six vaccines contracted so far. 

As per the Brazilian media, Covaxin was rejected by the Brazil health body on 31 March and then approved for limited imports with strict conditions on 4 June.

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WHY ARE YOU AGAINST WELFARE SCHEMES FOR POOR? KTR ASKS CENTRE

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Amid the ongoing debate on freebies culture, Telangana Minister KT Rama Rao on Saturday hit out at the Centre stating that the Narendra Modi-led BJP government has completely ignored the welfare of the people and now started the debate on freebies to make the lives of the common man “more miserable”.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been talking about freebie culture whenever he gets an opportunity. It is very surprising to hear his words. The BJP government at the Centre has completely ignored the welfare of the people during its eight-year rule and burdened the life of the common man. The Modi Government has now started the debate on freebies to make the lives of the common man more miserable,” said KTR.

Slamming the Modi government for imposing Goods and Services Tax (GST), Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) working president said, “The Modi government is imposing GST on essential items like milk and curd. The ever-increasing inflation has broken the back of the poor.”

He further claimed during eight years of Modi’s rule, poverty in the country has increased so much that now we are infamous for having more poor people than that of Nigeria.

“India now ranks at 101st place among 116 countries in the Global Hunger Index – which is a matter of national shame. The statistics released by the Centre make it clear that 35.5 per cent of the children born in the country are malnourished,” he said.

KT Rama Rao said that the 14 Prime Ministers before Modi together were responsible for the country’s debt of Rs 56 lakh crores whereas Modi’s government alone borrowed more than Rs 80 lakh crores.

Recently, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) issued a severe warning that 37 per cent of the country’s annual income is being spent on paying interest for the money borrowed by the Central government, he claimed.

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TWO BANGLADESHI NATIONALS HELD WITH FAKE STAMPS OF VARIOUS MINISTRIES

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Delhi Police apprehended two Bangladeshi nationals from the Palam area of the city and recovered several passports and 10 fake stamps belonging to Bangladesh ministries from their possession, according to an official on Sunday. The arrested Bangladeshi nationals have been identified as Md Mostafa and Md Husain Sheikh, who was staying at Palam Extension, Near Ramphal Chowk. Further investigation into the matter is underway, said DCP Dwarka, M Harsha Vardhan.

Regular special checking drives are being conducted ahead of the Independence Day celebrations. The police said that during one such drive, the personnel checking in the area of Ramphal Chawk working on information went to the house of two Bangladeshi Nationals living near Ramphal Chowk.

“On search, they were found to be in possession of 11 passports of different Bangladeshi citizens and also 10 fake stamps of various ministries and notary of Bangladesh. About the fake rubber stamps, they had no substantive answer,” said the police.

Accordingly, a case under the appropriate sections of the law has been registered against the two at PS Dwarka South.

“They stated that they used to act as agents for Bangladeshi nationals who come for medical treatment. However, the recovery of a large number of fake stamps from them is being investigated,” said the police.

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Strict action should be taken: BJP to SC body over Dalit boy’s death in Rajasthan

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Demanding strict action against a teacher accused of killing a Dalit student of a private school in Rajasthan, National General Secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Tarun Chugh, on Sunday, wrote a letter to National Commission for Scheduled Castes Chairman Vijay Sapanla.

Tarun Chugh wrote in the letter that a Dalit student of a private school in the Jalore police station area of Rajasthan was beaten up because he drank water from a teacher’s pot. The BJP leader asked for justice for the child and demanded a commission team to probe this case.

“I request to the SC commission that strict action should be taken against the accused teacher and strict punishment should be given so that such misdeeds should not happen again,” he said.

The incident took place on 20 July at a private school in Surana village of Rajasthan’s Jalore district, where the teacher allegedly beat up the minor for touching the pot of water in the school.

Condemning the incident, he further said, “I ask for a team of commission to get justice at the earliest to the family. The accused teacher should be punished under the sections of Scheduled Caste Act so that such incident would not take place again in society.”

Meanwhile, the state government announced Rs 5 lakh ex-gratia for the kin of the deceased.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot condemned the incident and said in a tweet, “The accused teacher has been arrested and a case has been registered against him for murder and under sections of the SC/ST Act.”

“The matter has been taken under the case officer scheme for speedy investigation and punishment for the accused. It will be ensured that the victim’s family gets justice at the earliest. The family members of the deceased will be given a relief amount of Rs 5 lakh from the Chief Minister’s relief fund,” he added.

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DRDO CONDUCTS PROJECTION MAPPING AT ITS HEADQUATERS

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Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) on Sunday conducted a projection mapping at its headquarters in the national capital as part of the Har Ghar Tiranga campaign ahead of the celebration of Independence Day.

As part of Har Ghar Tiranga initiative in the 75th year of Independence, projection mapping was done at the DRDO headquarters.

The ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ campaign commenced on Saturday and will run till 15 August. The campaign under the aegis of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav is to encourage people to bring the tiranga home and to hoist it to mark the 75th year of India’s independence.

This year, the country is observing great enthusiasm to celebrate the 75 years of India’s Independence with the ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ campaign launched by PM Modi, wherein he appealed to the country persons to bring home the national flag and hoist it.

Earlier, Indian citizens were not allowed to hoist the national flag except on selected occasions. This changed after a decade-long legal battle by industrialist Naveen Jindal culminated in the landmark SC judgement of 23 January 2004 that declared that the right to fly the national flag freely with respect and dignity is a fundamental right of an Indian citizen within the meaning of Article 19(1) (a) of the Constitution of India.

A 6,600 feet long tricolour yatra was taken out in Jhajjar as part of celebrations ahead of Independence Day.

Lauding the Centre and the Prime Minister for the Har Ghar Tiranga campaign, Naveen Jindal has appealed to every Indian to make ‘Har Din Tiranga’ their motto.

The programme envisages inspiring Indians everywhere to hoist the national flag at their homes. The aim of the programme is to make the relationship with the national flag a more personal one rather than just keeping it formal or institutional. The campaign is launched under the aegis of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.

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AS WATER LEVEL RISES, KEJRIWAL SAYS AVOID GOING NEAR YAMUNA

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As the Yamuna River flowed just below the danger mark on Sunday morning, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal appealed to the people to avoid going towards the banks. The Yamuna was flowing at 204.91 meters, just below the danger mark of 205.33 meters. People are living on the roadside as overflowing water from the Yamuna inundated low-lying areas.

Low-lying areas near Mayur Vihar Phase I and Akshardham Temple were flooded due to the overflowing Yamuna river.

“The water came gushing in, and I immediately rushed to evacuate my family members and our goats. Some of my belongings got left behind in my house,” said a woman.

Expressing concerns over the development, Kejriwal asked the people to cooperate with the government and the administration. He also said that the government is ready to deal with any situation.

“The water level of the Yamuna has increased in Delhi. My appeal to all is to avoid going towards the banks of the river. We have made adequate arrangements for the people living near the Yamuna. Cooperate with the government and administration. We are monitoring the situation and are ready to deal with any situation,” the Chief Minister tweeted.

Breaching the danger mark of 205.33 meters, the river overflowed at around 4 pm on Friday.

It flowed over the danger mark for over a day.  

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INS Satpura arrives in San Diego to mark Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav

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Indian Naval Warship INS Satpura arrived at San Diego Harbour North American Continent on Saturday as part of a commemorative deployment undertaken by the Indian Navy’s ships across six continents, three oceans, and six different time zones, as per a press release. The visit of INS Satpura to San Diego is historic as this is the first time an Indian Naval Warship has reached the west coast of North America.

The ship will hoist the Indian Tricolour in the presence of the Indian diaspora and distinguished local dignitaries in North American Continent on the historic 75th Independence Day at about 10,000 nautical miles away from her base port, added the press release. The ship will also conduct a 75-lap “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav Run” at San Diego US Navy Base on August 15, 2022.

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