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India records highest-ever single-day coronavirus spike; Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan vows stringent action against those found hoarding or black-marketing the drug.

Aishvarya Jain



India recorded its biggest-ever single-day spike with 1,84,372 Covid-19 cases, besides 1,027 deaths, in 24 hours. This is the highest number of cases that India has ever recorded and is now the second country after the USA to record these many cases in the span of 24 hours.

As the sudden surge in cases across the nation has led to an unprecedentedly high demand of Remdesivir, the government has announced that the production of the antiviral drug will be ramped up and its prices reduced. Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan also called for stringent action against those found hoarding or black-marketing the drug.

States like Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh have flagged depleting stocks of the injectable antiviral drug, which, they say, has added to the crisis caused by the surge. Responding to this, Dr Harsh Vardhan told ANI, “The shortage of Remdesivir happened because its production was reduced as Covid-19 cases were decreasing. But our drug controller and (the Chemicals and Fertilizers) ministry held a meeting with stakeholders and have asked manufacturers to strengthen production.”

Union Minister Mansukh Mandaviya further informed, “The government has decided to increase the production and supply and reduce the prices of Remdesivir. This will ramp up production capacity for manufacturing to around 80 lakh vials a month. Manufacturers of Remdesivir are to reduce the price to less than Rs 3,500 by the end of this week.”

“In case of any complaint of black marketing or hoarding of doses, stringent action will be taken by the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI). Stringent action should be taken against those who are exploiting people by inflating the price of Remdesivir,” said Dr Harsh Vardhan.

Earlier this week, the Centre banned the export of the Remdesivir injections and active pharmaceutical ingredients, which was cleared by the drug regulator for restricted use in an emergency situation in June. It is being used for the treatment of patients with severe Covid-related complications. The government has stated that the drug must be given only in serious cases and not be used at home.

“It is an investigational drug. Its role has been clearly defined in the clinical management protocol. Remdesivir is to be used only in those who require hospitalisation and are on oxygen support. There is no question of its use in home settings and for mild cases. That is unethical,” said NITI Aayog member VK Paul, flagging “irrational” use of the drug.

Meanwhile, the Union Health Minister emphasised that there is no shortage of vaccines and the Centre is providing them to every state. “It is the job of the states to provide the vaccine at the centre in a time-bound manner along with monitoring the drive and meticulous planning,” he said.

Dr Harsh Vardhan also responded to questions about the Kumbh Mela which is attracting lakhs of people by saying, “It is clear that it is a new virus and the most important Covid-appropriate behaviour is using masks, distancing and sanitisation. Wherever it is not followed, it is dangerous…We should go back to Covid-appropriate behaviour and only then we can lower the cases.”

However, the viral infection is still rapidly spreading in most regions of the country. Delhi witnessed another record high because of it with 17,282 new Covid-19 cases and 104 deaths in 24 hours. It also registered 9,952 recoveries. With this, the total number of cases in the national capital has increased to 7,67,438 and the death toll stands at 11,540. 7,05,162 people have recovered so far. There are 50,736 active cases.

Maharashtra reported 58,952 fresh Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, besides 278 deaths. The total cases in the state have now reached 35,78,160, out of which 6,12,070 are active cases. Meanwhile, Mumbai reported 9,925 fresh cases and 54 deaths.

Uttar Pradesh reported 68 coronavirus deaths as it witnessed 20,510 more cases, making it the highest single-day number for the state, pushing the total infection count to 7,44,021. So far, 9,376 people have died from the infection in UP.

Himachal Pradesh reported 925 new positive cases, 250 recoveries and 13 deaths in the last 24 hours. The death toll in the state stands at 1,135, while 72,319 patients have recovered so far. There are 6,929 active cases.

Goa recorded 473 fresh cases of Covid-19 and four more casualties in 24 hours. With this, the tally of infections in the state reached 63,815, while the death toll mounted to 857.

Andhra Pradesh reported 18 Covid-19 fatalities, the highest in a day, as 4,157 fresh cases of the infection were registered in the state. 1,606 coronavirus patients also recovered in the state in 24 hours, while the number of active cases increased to a near six-month high of 28,383. The total recoveries reached 9,01,327 while the gross toll rose to 7,339. Telangana recorded 2,157 fresh coronavirus cases, pushing the total positives to over 3.34 lakh, while the toll rose to 1,780 with eight more fatalities. The total number of cases stood at 3,34,738 while, with 821 patients being cured, the total recoveries were at 3,07,499.

Tamil Nadu reported 7,819 new Covid-19 infections, pushing the caseload to 9,54,948, while the toll mounted to 12,970 with 25 more deaths. Recoveries mounted to 8,87,663 with 3,464 patients being discharged, leaving behind 54,315 active cases.


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On a busy Saturday evening at the Triveni Kala Sangam in New Delhi, amidst the intellectual conversations, the setting sun and the aroma of filter coffee in the air, stood a shiny white exhibition room, with huge pieces of monochromatic art hung at the walls and people silently observing them, then murmuring something and then looking again.

A new art exhibition titled ‘Layered Dichotomy’ by Delhi-based artist Shruti Binay is being presented in this room at the Triveni Gallery, Mandi House, from November 21 to 30. Shruti, a young, budding artist, through this exhibition of paintings, drawings and mixed media works, attempts to “embrace life’s multiplicity”.

Talking about what inspired this collection, Shruti told ANI, “I am fascinated with the things around me. I stay in Gurgaon, so, for me, buildings, metro bridges, structures, architecture have always fascinated me. I have simplified those structures into lines and forms. I find the urban landscape interesting because I think I see life in it. You see the fabric in some of these paintings, that gives a different kind of life to the piece. In all my paintings you will see something moving, the sense of life is there in most of them.”

She added, “I have tried to include human forms as well because that is the best way to express myself, by connecting with my own self. Most of the paintings have been liked by people and I see the ones with human forms are being liked the most, as people most easily can connect to them.”

In the exhibition the theme of the collection revolves around dichotomy, and it could be seen and reflected in varied ways from one piece to another.

“I like to play with the medium, so in my paintings, you would see different layers created, with different kinds of textures such as paper, fabric, I’ve used tea bags and paper pulp, old paper. There’s a plane surface, and then there is a textured surface as well. Somewhere there is strength and somewhere it’s all worn out. Mostly they are monochromatic, with a wash-off look…but then some colours like blues, greens, reds stand out in other places. That’s the dichotomy I’ve tried to present,” she explained.

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Providing a commercially viable solution to the food industry to dispose of its used cooking oils (UCO), Uranus Oil Corp, a Chennai-based startup in renewable energy and waste management solutions, collects UCO for a price and supplies them to manufacture biodiesel, a cleaner and greener form of diesel.

Uranus has recently set a record by collecting over 2.5 tonnes of UCO in a month from restaurants, hostels, canteens and other similar sources in and around Chennai. UCO poses a threat to human health, when consumed, and to the environment, when dumped untreated. Hence, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India and Biodiesel Association of India, have recently launched the Repurpose UCO (RUCO) program, to prevent UCO from getting into the food supply chain or the environment, and to use it for producing biofuel.

Uranus is an authorised UCO aggregator, enrolled in the RUCO program. The company distributes ‘RUCO cans’ to hotels, hostels, canteens, and other such outlets to collect the UCO, and supplies the collected oil to Pan Oleo Energy Limited (formerly, DCI Limited), a large-scale biodiesel manufacturer and renewable energy company in Tamil Nadu, which converts UCO into biodiesel, a cleaner and greener form of diesel.

Uranus is scaling up its operations rapidly in order to collect about 15 tonnes of UCO per day by the end of 2022.

In his comments, Mr. Vasanth JB, Co-founder of Uranus Oil Corp, said, “Edible oils are the primary source of unsaturated fats and vitamin E in human diets. They are used in frying, baking, and other types of cooking and food preparations in restaurants, fast foods and households. However, when cooking oils are reheated again and again, they release toxic substances. These oils also increase free radicals in the body which in turn cause inflammation and various chronic diseases. If there is no alternative to collect UCO, they could find their way to smaller restaurants, dhabas, and street vendors or be discarded in an environmentally hazardous manner. Our model offers a commercially appealing and effective solution in this space.”

UCO is a key ingredient in making biofuel, specifically biodiesel which can be used as an alternative to conventional petrodiesel.

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Tiktok rival Lomotif launches in India



With Tiktok’s ban in India, the country continues to witness a rise in content creators, who continue to experiment with short video formats, and apps that become a voice for them to showcase their talent, we have yet another popular US-based app: ‘Lomotif’ joins the bandwagon.

Featuring the currently popular short video format, the app has entered the Indian market at just about the right time with the space constantly evolving. Founded by Singapore-based Paul Yang in 2014, and acquired by ZASH Global Media and Entertainment, the app gives access to a global audience, and its patent technology allows users to immerse themselves in a super-engaging reel format of content. At the same time, with a comprehensive platform such as ‘Lomotif’, competitors should be alert because they are here to stand out.

Since TikTok was banned, the country has seen several local apps emerge and try to stir creators into telling their stories. LOMOTIF, firstly, does not just want the users to create their stories, but do so uniquely and in a way that will make their audience ‘move’ by just being themselves.

Secondly, they want the creators to create and foster global partnerships and that itself makes them a winner. So, with pre-build editing and mixing available and constant endeavors by the app creators to localize content for the Indian audience, we sure have a winner materialising.

‘We were very excited with the initial response to the beta testing of our app in India, which led to launching the app in India with the support from Socialkyte, our strategic partner. The content creation market is ever-growing and LOMOTIF will emerge as a platform where we can see a spirit of collaboration, build a community of creators who want to showcase their realness via their content and a source of entertainment for the viewers. I thoroughly enjoyed the launch and the response was overwhelming.’ says Ted Farnsworth, Chairman & Co-Founder of ZASH Global Media and Entertainment.

Gurjot Batra, Co-founder of Socialkyte says “We always believed Lomotif would be a huge success in India and to see our initial response from the Indian market even exceeded our expectations.”

Vidur Mahajan & Bharat Agarwal, co-founders of Socialkyte added, “We believe collaborations are the new economy and are very excited to bring the Lomotif platform to our creators. The app’s advanced editing tools will truly help them explore their talents”

Interestingly, with a soft launch, they have already kickstarted and initiated a dance-off challenge with none other than the Dance King himself i.e. Remo D’souza. They also had several exciting challenges executed like a #DanceRemix with Shakti Mohan spearheading the same. Several artists have already started using the app to launch their music videos.

On a side note, Socialkyte will enable access to their network of 100,000 influencers collaborating and growing together. They have a specialised dashboard with advanced filters that enables brands to find the right creators for their campaigns. With these common goals and interests, this partnership is bound to be a successful one. Taking all of this into consideration, it’s evident that their vision is simple: to get creators to create diversified and unique content to grow exponentially.

The launch this weekend was spearheaded with Ted Farnsworth, highlighting the app features alongwith popular actors like Asim Riaz, Ravi Kishen, Sanjeeda Sheikh, Adaa Khan, Vikkas Manaktala, YouTuber Anushka Sen and singer Tulsi Kumar. The launch also saw singers Shirley Sethia and Guru Randhawa rocking the stage with their performances.

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In an exclusive interview with NewsX as part of NewsX India A-List, Rohini Singh Gupta opened up about her brand Just Chiffons, the USP of her company and much more.



Rohini Singh Gupta, Co-founder, Just Chiffons, recently joined NewsX for an interview as a part of NewsX India A-list. In the exclusive interview, she opened up about her brand Just Chiffons, the USP of her company and much more. Excerpts:

Speaking about her brand Just Chiffons, Rohini said, “Just Chiffons was started by my mother. She wanted to look for nice chiffons for herself in Indore. She could not find it in the market and so she thought she might as well design herself and started making a few. The relatives started coming in and said, ‘it looks so nice, give it to us,’ and that is how we traditionally started. Slowly and steadily, it has become a name in Indore and in India as well. “

Talking about her journey with the brand and how did she come on board, she reminisced, “I would accompany her in her errands the market and sit with her, the workers and just listen and observe. I also studied BSc so it was very different but I always have an interest in being with my mother all the time, when back home in Indore. I had that interest and slowly when I moved back to Indore after my studies, I started taking an even deeper interest. It came naturally sitting with her and talking about sarees and the colours, the designs. It came very naturally.”

When asked about the USP of Just Chiffons, “Basically, I feel our USP is timelessness. The chiffons are so versatile, yet classic. They can be worn over the period of time. It can be passed through generations. They are very elegant.”

Giving us an insight into the first exhibition of Just Chiffons and response over the years, she said “Over the years, initially people said, ‘oh this is back in fashion.’ We have actually revived it again and now they feel okay, it looks really nice. Another point is our price point. They are not that expensive and cost about 8 to 25 thousand, which is very much viable with everybody. The response has been really good. Since we have also launched our website last year and because of our Instagram and social media, it just come up. Slowly and steadily, we are gaining followers and are getting a lot of queries.”

Talking about the impact of Covid on Just Chiffons, she said, “Covid was obviously a shock for us. The first month, everything was cancelled. We didn’t know what to do but we have to look for the benefit of our artisans and our workers.”

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With 300 stalls, this is the largest participation by the Union Ministry of Minority Affairs in the India International Trade Fair this year.



Union Minister for Minority Affairs and Deputy Leader, Rajya Sabha, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, while speaking at the conclusion of the annual Hunar Haat event, said that the event had generated crores of rupees for artisans and craftsmen who were engaged in making indigenous products.

Union Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi at the event

Over 550 artisans and craftsmen from more than 30 States & UTs participated in the 33rd Hunar Haat

Crowd around the stalls of artisans and craftsmen at the event

Over 550 artisans and craftsmen from more than 30 States/UTs participated in the 33rd “Hunar Haat”, organised at India International Trade Fair at Pragati Maidan from 14 to 27 November.

While talking to reporters on the conclusion of Hunar Haat, Naqvi said that while people purchased indigenous exquisite handmade products worth crores of rupees, the artisans and craftsmen have also received orders worth crores of rupees from national as well as international buyers.

“Hunar Haat” was also awarded the prestigious IITF2021 Silver Medal for strengthening its commitment to “Vocal for Local” and its strong presence at Trade Fair.

According to Naqvi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “mantra” of “Vocal for Local” and “Swadeshi to Swavlamban” have encouraged and promoted India’s traditional and ancestral legacy of handloom-handicraft.

With 300 stalls, this was the largest participation by the Union Ministry of Minority Affairs in the India International Trade Fair this year. Canara Bank had set up a stall in the “Hunar Haat” to provide easy loans to artisans and craftsmen for employment and self-employment.

Renowned artists such as Annu Kapoor, Vinod Rathore, Sudesh Bhosale, Roop Kumar Rathore and Sonali Rathore, Suresh Wadekar and Padma Wadekar, Amit Kumar, Mohit Khanna, Prem Bhatia, Osman Mir, Rekha Raaj, Vivek Mishra, Ankita Pathak, Priya Mallick, Bhupendra Singh Bhuppi, Mirza Sisters, Posh James and others made memorable spectacular performances every evening at “Hunar Haat”.

The minister said that Hunar Haat’s virtual and online platform, and GeM portal, have opened enormous opportunities for economic empowerment of artisans and craftsmen. More than 7 lakh artisans, craftsmen and people associated with them have been provided employment and employment opportunities through “Hunar Haat” in the last about 6 years.

The next “Hunar Haat” will be organised at Surat from11 to 20 December; JLN Stadium, New Delhi from 22 December 2021 to 2 January 2022. “Hunar Haats” will also be organised in Mysuru, Guwahati, Pune, Ahmedabad, Bhopal, Patna, Puducherry, Mumbai, Jammu, Chennai, Chandigarh, Agra, Prayagraj, Goa, Jaipur, Bengaluru, Kota, Sikkim, Srinagar, Leh, Shillong, Ranchi, Agartala and other places in the coming days.

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The Central along with the state government has set up and issued a certain set of guidelines for the tobacco companies. But it came to the surface that tobacco companies are mocking the rules. Despite the ban on advertisements of tobacco products, the manufacturing companies continue to do so which is a matter of serious concern requiring the state government to take stern action against the violators. The aforesaid is revealed by a study conducted by Maharishi Dayanand University ( MDU) Rohtak in collaboration with Environment Sustainability Management (ESM) sale.

The joint report of both institutions showcased that the tobacco companies are selling to children below the age of 8 years in an organised manner which is a serious offence. What is of utmost importance to state is that more than 98 percent sale centers display cigarettes along with candies, chocolates, and toffees to promote tobacco products. Thus, the findings of the report indicate the violation of Prohibition of advertisements of cigarettes and other tobacco products section 5 and prohibition on the sale of cigarettes or other tobacco products to persons below the age of 18 years and in a particular area.

In this series, it is worth mentioning that a program was also conducted jointly by both institutions to provide information about the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) 2003 which permits the tobacco companies to decide the points of sale as well as the target groups for their products.

The report showed that tobacco products, namely cigarettes and Bidi, were displayed near the educational institutions along with sweets and candy to attract the school children.

Doctor Rita Kotwal, Deputy Director, Public Health and State Nodal Officer, NPTC said that it is a matter of serious concern and alarming situation as the tobacco selling companies continue to breach the norms to woo persons below the age of 18 years. In order to keep children and adolescents away from tobacco use, the tobacco control action should be implemented strictly in the state. It is evident from the prevailing scenario that tobacco companies are leaving no stone unturned to woo the school-going children, requiring the concerned bodies as well as the state health department to come up with a foolproof strategy to tighten the noose around the neck of those breaching the norms.

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