By Joymala Bagchi
Kolkata (West Bengal) February 15 (ANI): In a bid to reach out to farmers of West Bengal, a mega outreach programme — ‘Krishak Soho Bhoj’ will be organised by Bharatiya Janata Party’s Kisan Morcha in 1,263 of its mandals on February 18.
Among 48,751 villages, almost 40,000 villages have roped under the umbrella of Krishok Surakkha Abhiyan till date.
This comes ahead of West Bengal Assembly polls slated for later this year.
Mahadev Sarkar, President of BJP’s state Kisan Morch said, “Our aim is to avail the farmers of all benefits being planned by Centre. There are more than 70 lakh farmers in West Bengal. It is sad to know that the state government has not come up with any proper plan for the benefits of the farmers. The farmers of the state are being deprived of welfare programme developed by the Centre.”
“More importantly, there is not even ‘fasal bima’ (crop insurance) for the farmers. The Minimum Support Price has scaled up to 50 per cent in last six years,” said Sarkar.
Krishok Surakkha Abhiyan commenced on January 9. Through this programme, Sarkar claims to have reached 25 lakh farmer families and around 7000 farmers with ‘Soho bhoj’.
Initially, this Abhiyan had aimed at having ‘Soho bhoj’ with as many as 3,354 gram panchayat. However, after the success they are now reaching out to the mandals. In Soho bhoj, every farmer’s family gives ‘ek mutho chal’ (one fistful of uncooked rice) along with other ingredients and cooked together. Later, all the family members sit together for the meal.
This comes amid the continuing farmers’ protest at Delhi border areas since November 26 demanding the repeal of three farm laws. The agriculture laws include ‘Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce Bill, 2020′, ‘Farmers Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020’ and ‘Essential Commodities Bill 2020.’ (ANI)
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Amit Shah receives first jab of COVID-19 vaccine
New Delhi [India], March 1 (ANI): Union Minister of Home Affairs Amit Shah administered the first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine on Monday.
According to his Ministry officials, doctors from the Medanta hospital administered the vaccine to Shah.
On August 2 last year, Shah had said on Twitter that he tested positive for coronavirus. He underwent treatment at Medanta Hospital and was discharged after he tested negative for the virus.
He was later admitted to the AIIMS for post-COVID treatment.
The minister in a tweet had thanked all those who wished for his recovery.
Earlier on Monday morning, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took the first dose of Covaxin, India’s homegrown coronavirus vaccine developed by biotechnology firm Bharat Biotech and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
Soon after receiving the first dose of the vaccine at AIIMS Delhi, he tweeted, “Took my first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at AIIMS.”
“Remarkable how our doctors and scientists have worked in quick time to strengthen the global fight against COVID-19,” he added.
The COVID-19 vaccines – Covaxin and Covishield, were made available to the general public from today. (ANI)
‘Cyber sabotage’ attempt, says Anil Deshmukh on Mumbai’s October 2020 power outage
Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], March 1 (ANI) Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh on Monday said that the massive power outage in Mumbai last October was an attempt at “cyber sabotage” according to a preliminary report.
Addressing reporters here, Deshmukh said Maharashtra Cyber Cell has submitted a preliminary report whose findings state that evidence suggests that the grid failure in Mumbai on October 12 last year, that resulted in the city plunging into darkness and disrupting train services, shutting down the stock market and generally hitting economic activities, was likely to be a cyber sabotage. The report has been handed over to Maharashtra energy minister Nitin Raut.
A report by a US-based cybersecurity firm claimed that Chinese-state sponsored groups, had targeted power sector in India with malware. This came months after the clash between troops of the two nations in Galwan valley in June 2020.
The New York Times had on Sunday published a report based on the findings of the report.
” The report of New York Times has come now. But when Mumbai had gone under dark, we had set up a departmental inquiry committee. MERC (Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission) and Central Electricy Authority had also made their own committees. We have complained to Cyber Cell also,” Nitin Raut said while speaking with mediapersons here.
“State Cyber Police Department investigated this and report was handed over to me today by Home Minister Anil Deshmukh ji. I will speak on this in legislature,” Raut said.
According to NYT report, the new study lent weight to the idea that the Mumbai blackout could be a “part of a broad Chinese cyber campaign against India’s power grid, timed to send a message that if India pressed its claims too hard, the lights could go out across the country.”
Addressing a press conference here Deshmukh said: “On October 12 electricity failure, Maharashtra Cyber Cell report says, 8GB unaccounted data must have been transferred to Maharashtra State Electricity Board (MSEB) data. Protocol Data which means the server of MSEB was logged in on October 12.”
According to the Maharashtra Cyber Cell report, Deshmukh said: “there was the possibility of login attempts and 14 Trojan horses were landed on MSEB servers. There are chances of some foreign attempts.”
The Massachusetts-based cybersecurity company Recorded Future’s study reported that a Chinese state-sponsored has been seen systematically utilising advanced cyberintrusion techniques to gain access to nearly a dozen critical nodes across the Indian power generation and transmission infrastructure.
“Since early 2020, Recorded Future’s Insikt Group observed a large increase in suspected targeted intrusion activity against Indian organizations from Chinese statesponsored groups, the study said.
” From mid-2020 onwards, Recorded Future’s midpoint collection revealed a steep rise in the use of infrastructure tracked as AXIOMATICASYMPTOTE, which encompasses ShadowPad command and control (C2) servers, to target a large swathe of India’s power sector,” the report said.
According to the report 10 distinct Indian power sector organizations, including four of the five Regional Load Despatch Centres (RLDC) responsible for operation of the power grid through balancing electricity supply and demand, have been identified as targets in a concerted campaign against India’s critical infrastructure. Other targets identified included two Indian seaports. (ANI)
Schools in Kashmir reopen after remaining shut for a year due to COVID-19
Srinagar (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], March 1 (ANI): Government and private higher secondary schools reopened in Kashmir valley on Monday after a gap of nearly one year following COVID-19-induced shutdown and three months of winter vacations.
Teachers and students were elated as they were going to interact with each other after a very long time.
In 2019 when government abrogated the Article 370 and 35 A, schools were shut down due to unrest in the state and then the COVID-19 crisis followed after which students were attending their classes online.
As per the order of the Jammu and Kashmir administration, higher secondary schools were asked to restart classes in two shifts and to follow proper COVID-19 guidelines including wearing masks and sanitisation.
Ibrahim, a Student said, “I have not been to school for a year. Schools were shut after the abrogation of article 35 (A), then COVID-19 pandemic followed. I am very happy to see my teachers and friends after a long time”
“It was very stressful to sit at home for such a long time. The issues with internet connectivity affected my studies. I hope that our studies and life at school will not be disturbed further,” he added.
Alistair Freese, Principal of Tyndale-Biscoe School said, “It is a wonderful feeling to see the students coming to the school after a year. I hope that a fruitful academic year is waiting for them.”
“The personal touch in interactions is missing in online classes. Even parents are excited to have children in school as they can get on with their life as well,” he added.
“We have set our COVID-19 guidelines very clearly for the students. The staff has had multiple sessions where we have instructed them on what is needed. All COVID-19 protocols and standard operating procedures (SOPs) are in place,” he added.
Mazin, another student said, “I am very happy today. The uniform was ridden with dust, I cleaned it in the morning. Sitting at home for 2 years, many students faced mental problems such as anxiety and panic attacks. I pray to get a full academic year as I am in Calss 12”. (ANI)
Six drug peddlers held in Kulgam, 58 kg of poppy straw-like substance seized
Kulgam (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], March 1 (ANI): The Kulgam police on Monday arrested six drug peddlers and seized 58 kg of poppy straw-like substance from their possession.
Taking to Twitter, Kulgam Police informed that cases under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act have been registered against the accused.
“Kulgam Police arrested 06 Drug Peddlers and recovered 58 Kgs of Poppy Straw like substance Case FIR No. 8/2021 U/S 8/15, 29 NDPS Act at PS Devsar and FIR No. 37/2021 U/S 8/15 NDPS Act stands at PS Qazigund stands registered and investigation initiated,” tweeted District Police Kulgam.
Further investigation is underway. (ANI)
No glitches, COVID-19 vaccine registration only on Co-WIN portal, Arogya Setu: Empowered Group chairman
New Delhi [India], March 1 (ANI): Dispelling the rumours of a glitch in Co-WIN platform, created to track delivery, utilisation and distribution of COVID-19 vaccine in real time, Empowered Group chairman, RS Sharma, on Monday said the confusion was created by spreading misinformation that vaccination registration is being done through a mobile application.
There were rumours that people who want to book an appointment for COVID-19 vaccination should register on Co-WIN app instead of Co-WIN website.
The national heath authority CEO calrified that the registration for vaccine is taking place only through ‘Aarogya Setu’ app and Co-WIN’s portal ‘cowin.gov.in’.
Speaking to ANI, Sharma said ,”There have been no glitch right from the start. What happened was that some people spread the misinformation that there is a Co-WIN app. So, people started searching for the app which is not ours. That is why there was some confusion among the people. After clarifying there is no Co-WIN app, we have given an extension in Aarogya Setu app for registration and provided a portal ‘cowin.gov.in’.
As the second phase of nationwide vaccination drive against the coronavirus disease started on Monday, 17 lakh people have registered for the vaccination against COVID-19 so far since the morning. This system is working fine and there is no glitch, he said.
The former Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) chief also hailed Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who received the first jab of Covaxin at AIIMS, Delhi, adding that this will give a strong message to reduce the vaccine hesitancy among people.
“Vaccine hesitancy is a social perspective. But today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took the jab on the first day itself is a big message and people will be encouraged for taking the vaccine. Gradually, it will end the vaccine hesitancy,” he said.
On certificate given to people after taking vaccination, the Empowered Group chairman said, “We have given the instruction to all, whether private or public, that as soon as a vaccination is completed, a certificate must be given to the person on the spot. That certificate will also be made available digitally as well on Aarogya Setu.”
“They can download the link and get it printed as well. This will be a digitally signed certificate. After every vaccination, a certificate will be issued. After first vaccination, a provisional certificate will be provided and a final certificate will be issued after the second dose,” he added.
Responding to data privacy and safety, he said, “Data privacy is also important for us and it is a fundamental right. We are just asking for name, gender and age related data. It is not extremely sensitive data.This is important for us so that person who gets a particular vaccine should get the same vaccine in the second dose as well. Whatever data we have are safe.”
Those who could not attend the scheduled vaccination drive can reschedule, cancel, or take reappointment for the same.
Sharma also said that digital and paperless authentication is possible only through Aadhar Card. If a person brings Aadhar, he or she does not need to bring a hardcopy. In case of driving license, passport and other ID proofs, photograph of the document will be taken along with photo of the person.
The second phase of the nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive for age-appropriate population groups (people above 60 and those with comorbidities above 45) began on Monday with the Union Health Ministry calling out eligible people to get an appointment at respective hospitals in the country. (ANI)
CBI books former south western railway engineer over fake payment to contractor
New Delhi [India], March 1 (ANI): The Central Bureau of Investigation on Monday registered a case against former Senior Divisional Engineer (SDE), Hubli, South Western Railway, and several others over the allegations of fake payments to a contractor in a work related to providing additional height guage in Road under Bridge, said an official statement by the agency.
A contractor, public servants and private persons have also been booked in the case.
“CBI registers case against the then Senior Divisional Engineer, Hubli, South Western Railway and others, including a contractor and unknown public servants/private persons, on allegations of fake payments to contractor in work related to providing additional height guage in Road under Bridge,” read the statement.
“It was alleged that an old dismantled structural steel of unmanned level cross height gauges were used for the work and no structural steel was purchased, though the contractor received payments. Also, the public servant obtained illegal gratification in return through the money transferred to the accounts of his relatives and friends by the contractor,” the statement said.
Searches conducted in Hubli, Kolhapur and Bhilwara led to recovery of incriminating documents.
Further investigation into the matter is underway. (ANI)
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