Centre and state govt working together on several development projects in Kerala, says CM Vijayan - The Daily Guardian
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Centre and state govt working together on several development projects in Kerala, says CM Vijayan

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Kochi (Kerala) [India], February 14 (ANI): Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Sunday said that the Centre and state government are working together on several development projects in the state. He made these statements as Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated various development projects in Kochi.
Speaking at the occasion, Vijayan said, “This is a happy occasion for us Keralites. A handful of projects are coming to life in our state today. While some are being dedicated to the nation, the foundation stone is being laid for others. Both state and central government are working together in all these projects.”
The Governor of Kerala, Arif Mohammad Khan and several ministers was also present at the event.
During his tour to Kerala, the Prime Minister has inaugurated — the Propylene Derivative Petrochemical Project (PDPP) of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL); Ro-Ro Vessels at Willingdon Islands, Cochin; International Cruise Terminal “Sagarika” at Cochin Port; Marine Engineering Training Institute, Vigyana Sagar, Cochin Shipyard Limited and laid the foundation stone of Reconstruction of South Coal Berth at Cochin Port. (ANI)

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Kerala reports 3,671 new COVID-19 cases

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Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) [India], February 26 (ANI): Kerala reported 3,671 new COVID-19 cases and 4,142 recoveries on Friday.
According to the state health department, as many as 9,96,514 people have recovered from the disease in Kerala. The total number of active COVID-19 cases in the state stands at 51,390.
Meanwhile, as many as 16,577 new COVID-19 cases and 120 deaths were reported in India during the last 24 hours, informed the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) on Friday.
With this, the total coronavirus caseload in the country has gone up to 1,10,63,491, including 1,55,986 active cases and 1,07,50,680 discharges.
The COVID-19 death toll reached 1,56,825 on Friday with additional 120 deaths. (ANI)

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AIMIM has no place in Bengal: Pirzada Toha Siddiqui

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By Syeda Shabana Parveen
Hooghly (West Bengal) [India], February 26 (ANI): Days after Indian Secular Front (ISF) chief and Furfura Sharif cleric Abbas Siddiqui announced that his party will not oppose the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) in the upcoming West Bengal Assembly polls, his uncle Pirzada Toha Siddiqui on Friday said Asaduddin Owaisi-led AIMIM has “no place” in Bengal.
Speaking to ANI, Pirzada said, “Abbas is spreading lies. He is trying to malign Bengal. There has never been a division between Hindu and Muslims in Bengal. People of Bengal do not support these divisive politics. AIMIM has no place in Bengal.”
“There have been many developments and minorities are not neglected. No one from Furfura Sharif has done politics earlier. We do not allow political parties with their flags entering into Furfura Sharif,” added Pirzada.
He asserted that the Trinamool Congress (TMC) will return to power in West Bengal.
“This time people will vote for development and reject communal Politics. I am 95 per cent sure that TMC will be back to power again. Outsiders will not make any difference,” said Pirzada.
ISF chief Siddiqui had on Tuesday said that his party will not oppose Asaduddin Owaisi-led AIMIM in the upcoming West Bengal Assembly polls.
“Asad Sahab came to Bengal. He came to our darbar sharif. We have told him that we are standing with him. I believe in the 2021 Assembly election votes should not be divided and thus wherever Asad Sahab’s party will contest we should not field candidates. It is important to support him. The talks are going on across the table,” Abbas told ANI.
During his first visit to Bengal after the announcement of contesting the West Bengal Assembly polls, Owaisi held a discussion at Furfura Sharif in Hooghly district with Abbas Siddiqui.
Notably, ISF has made an alliance with Congress and Left Front to contest the upcoming Assembly polls in Bengal.
Meanwhile, the Election Commission of India on Friday announced that West Bengal will witness eight-phased Assembly polls (in contrast to seven-phased polling last time). While the voting will begin on March 27, the counting of votes will take place on May 2. (ANI)

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New OTT guidelines intended to empower audience, safeguard platforms: I&B secretary

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By Sahil Pandey
New Delhi [India], February 26 (ANI): The newly formed guidelines to regulate Over-The-Top (OTT) platforms and digital media by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) are intended to empower the audience and also safeguard OTT platforms, said I&B secretary Amit Khare on Friday.
Khare said the government fully understands that there are different types of media but emphasised that there should be a level playing field.
“We are empowering the citizen to make informed choices and benchmarks we have kept about the age are an international practice. You go to any country then disclosure is made on the basis of self-classification unlike films where classification is done by the Central Board of Film Certification. Here classification will be done by the platforms but they will inform that this is as per the age criteria,” Khare told ANI.
The I&B Secretary, talking about OTT and online news media said that these fields are new and growing and are empowering citizens.
“There are three objectives: first, an institutional mechanism for this sector. Second, many times ordinary citizens feel helpless that they do not have any system of redressal for their grievances. So a grievance redressal system empowers the citizen in case there is any misapprehension or if they feel they have been wronged, then they can write to somebody and approach the authority. The third objective is to introduce a sort of a level playing field between different media. After when the same content is in print media, then there is different regulation; if it is on television then different regulation and if it is on OTT then there is no regulation,” Khare said.
The government fully understands the types of media are different but there should be a level playing field.
“There should be a level playing field and we understand it fully and I will repeat that we fully understand that type of media is different as TV is different from films and films are different from web series. We cannot have the same criteria but there should be some sort of similarity in the goal post and level playing field does not mean the same field for everybody but some sort of similarity in regulation should be there. Therefore, what has been announced is a soft touch self-regulatory mechanism with minimal interference of the government,” he added.
He also stressed that government has full faith in the Indian platform as guidelines are not much of compliance but more of a disclosure.
“We have full faith in Indian platforms either OTT players or digital news, as this is not much of compliance but more of a disclosure. They would be disclosing the information like who is the editor, who is the grievance officer to lodge any complaint. If there is a complaint against a newspaper then you write the letter to the editor. If there is a complaint against a TV program there is NBSA. One can write to them. We just want that they should disclose the information. If a citizen feels that some portal makes an allegation which that person wants to refute then he or she should know that where they can send a mail to refute back. It is more of a self-disclosure system. In the worst case which we do not anticipate, then provisions of IT Act will apply,” Khare said.
Khare added that the government stands for journalistic freedom and this was far more liberal than for print or TV or films and now the other three sectors demand that government should be more liberal with them.
There should self-classification of content for OTT platforms, said Union Minister Prakash Javadekar on Thursday while unveiling the new policies for digital media.
“For OTT, there should be self-classification of content for 13+, 16+, and Adult categories. There has to be a mechanism of parental lock and ensuring compliance that children do not see that,” Javadekar said during a press conference.
The OTT platforms, called the publishers of online-curated content in the rules, would self-classify the content into five age-based categories which are U (Universal), U/A 7+, U/A 13+, U/A 16+, and A (Adult).
As per the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021, platforms would be required to implement parental locks for content classified as U/A 13+ or higher and reliable age verification mechanisms for content classified as “A”.
The publisher of online curated content shall prominently display the classification rating specific to each content or program together with a content descriptor informing the user about the nature of the content, and advising on viewer description (if applicable) at the beginning of every program enabling the user to make an informed decision, prior to watching the program, read the guidelines.
The Rules seek to empower the users by mandating the intermediaries, including social media intermediaries, to establish a grievance redressal mechanism for receiving resolving complaints from the users or victims.
Intermediaries shall appoint a Grievance Officer to deal with such complaints and share the name and contact details of such officer. Grievance Officer shall acknowledge the complaint within 24 hours and resolve it within 15 days from its receipt.
To ensure online safety and dignity of users, especially women users, intermediaries shall remove or disable access within 24 hours of receipt of complaints of contents that exposes the private areas of individuals, show such individuals in full or partial nudity or in sexual activity or is in the nature of impersonation including morphed images. Such a complaint can be filed either by the individual or by any other person on his or her behalf.
According to the guidelines, users who wish to verify their accounts voluntarily shall be provided an appropriate mechanism to do so and provided with a demonstrable and visible mark of verification. (ANI)

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BBMP administrator reviews progress of ‘Smart City road projects’ in Bengaluru

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Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], February 26 (ANI): Administrator of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Gaurav Gupta along with other officials concerned, reviewed the progress of Smart City road projects undertaken by BBMP on Friday.
“Chief Minister of Karnataka BS Yediyurappa will soon be inaugurating nine roads developed under Smart City Ltd,” Gupta said.
“Out of the 36 roads that are being constructed, five have been thrown open to the public so far,” he said.
Gupta visited Raj Bhavan Road, Nehru Planetarium Road, Cantonment Road, Queen’s Road, Kasturba Road and Raja Ram Mohan Roy Road and inspected the progress. He instructed the authorities to complete the pending work immediately.
Gaurav Gupta instructed the officials to take necessary actions to clear the pedestrian underpass at Raj Bhavan Road as it is not being used.
“Illegal OFC cables dangling from the trees towards the pedestrian tracks must be immediately cleated,” Gupta informed.
The administrator said that Smart City projects must make sure that the pedestrian tracks must be even and uniform especially around the tree structures as they are in the TenderSure model.
Gupta also visited Cantonment Road and Queens Road on the occasion. He ordered the smart city officials to install the electrical cables underground and said that the roads must be asphalted soon after the completion of the construction work.
Gupta instructed that the public toilets on the pedestrian track to be cleared as it will cause inconvenience to the pedestrians. (ANI)

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Delhi reports 256 new COVID-19 cases, active count at 1,231

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New Delhi [India], February 26 (ANI): Delhi reported 256 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, taking the cumulative count of people infected with the virus to 6,38,849, said health officials on Friday.
As many as 193 people recovered from the virus, while one person succumbed to the disease in the last 24 hours.
According to the Delhi Health Department’s bulletin, the cumulative positive cases include 10,906 deaths and 6,26,712 recoveries.
The total number of active cases stands at 1,231. The cumulative positivity rate in the national capital is 5.21 per cent as of Friday.
The recovery rate in the national capital is 98.1 per cent. The positivity rate in the national capital stands at 0.41 per cent.
62,768 people underwent COVID-19 tests in the last 24 hours.
Delhi presently has 550 containment zones.
Meanwhile, 16,577 new COVID-19 cases and 120 deaths were reported in India during the last 24 hours, informed the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) on Friday.
With this, the total coronavirus caseload in the country has gone up to 1,10,63,491, including 1,55,986 active cases and 1,07,50,680 discharges.
As per the Health Ministry, a total of 1,34,72,643 people in the country have been vaccinated against the virus. (ANI)

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Responsibility of channel’s owner to ensure programme does not violate cable TV rules: Centre tells Delhi HC

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New Delhi [India], February 26 (ANI): The Centre has told Delhi High Court that it is the responsibility of the private TV channel owner to ensure that programmes it telecast does not violate the Programme Code prescribed under Rule 6 of the Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994.
It, however, clarified that a unit has been set up to take cognisance of fake news.
A Fact Check Unit (FCU) has been set in Press Information Bureau under the Ministry which takes cognisance of fake news and misinformation reported on social media both on suo motu and by way of queries or through email or Whatsapp. The unit also maintains a Twitter account and posts case of fake news, being busted, on the same on regular basis.
The FCU has received 49, 625 queries on WhatsApp/email between April 26, 2020, to February 18, 2021. Out of these, the actionable cases of 15,992 have been countered/replied and the PIB has busted 505 cases during this, the government told the court.
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting response came on an affidavit filed through advocate Ajay Digpaul. The reply has been filed in two petitions moved by Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and Manjit Singh GK seeking to frame the necessary guidelines and to constitute a committee for handling the fake news on various social handles.
The Ministry told the Court that as per Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995, there is no pre-censorship of a programme telecast on private TV channels, however, Section 5 of the Act provides that “no person shall transmit or re-transmit through a cable service any programme, unless such programme is in conformity with the prescribed programme code.”
Thus, it is the responsibility of the channel’s owner to ensure that a programme telecast on a private TV channel does not violate the programme code prescribed under Rule 6 of the Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994. Whenever a violation of the Programme Code is brought to the notice of the Ministry, appropriate action is taken as per Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995, it was informed. (ANI)

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