CENTRE CALLS FOR RAMPING UP REMDESIVIR PRODUCTION AS COVID CASES REACH 1.84L - The Daily Guardian
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CENTRE CALLS FOR RAMPING UP REMDESIVIR PRODUCTION AS COVID CASES REACH 1.84L

Aishvarya Jain

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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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MAMATA, ABHISHEK TO ATTEND TMC WORKING COMMITTEE MEET BEFORE WINTER SESSION

Arup Kali

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KOLKATA: The Winter Session of Parliament will begin on Monday, November 29. The working committee meeting was called on Monday to decide on the issues to be discussed by the Trinamool Congress camp in this session. Top leaders of the party including party leader Mamata Banerjee and Abhishek Banerjee will be present at the meeting. Leaders from other states who have joined the Trinamool may also be present.

The meeting was held at the Chief Minister’s residence in Kalighat. Meanwhile, it has been learned that the Trinamool MPs will not attend the all-party meeting convened by the Congress tomorrow because of this meeting.

All the 21 members of the Trinamool Congress working committee have been summoned to the meeting tomorrow. It is learned that this meeting will decide the direction of the TMC in politics at the national level. The way, the TMC emerged at the national level after great results in this year’s Assembly elections, the winter session is crucial for the party. The party will be vocal on some issues in the parliament, the meeting will take a call.

Lately, several new faces have appeared in the TMC. Leaders such as former Goa chief minister Lujinho Faleiro to former Assam Congress leader Sushmita Deb have joined TMC.

Last week, former BJP MP Kirti Azad and former JD (U) leader Pawan Burma also joined the party. Among them are Lujinho Faleiro and Sushmita Dev, members of the Rajya Sabha, and Lujinho has become a member of the working committee. It is learned that these new faces will also be seen in the working committee meeting tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the anti-BJP alliance formed in the last session led by the Congress has also started cracking. The Trinamool will not attend the all-party meeting convened by the Congress ahead of the upcoming winter session of Parliament. According to party sources, the Trinamool will not attend any meeting congress called. There is no question of coordination with the Congress in the winter session of Parliament. The Trinamool will not even send a representative to the meeting of opposition leaders called by any Congress MP.

Sources are saying that the Goa leaders of the Trinamool Congress do not want any direct talks with the Congress. Because, a few months later, the assembly are to be held elections in Goa. And there the Congress is fighting against the BJP as well as the TMC. And so the grassroots leaders in Delhi have to avoid any meeting called by the Congress before the winter session of Parliament. 

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HIGH-PROFILE DEFECTIONS LEAVE CONGRESS HOLLOW

Some Congress leaders who want to be unmanned feel that the TMC may emerge as a challenge for the Congress’s opposition space and this ruckus is helping the BJP.

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The defection of leaders from the Indian National Congress (INC) has shaken the grand-old party and has led to speculation among the workers about the threat to its opposition space in view of the Trinamool Congress trying to grab it. In the last week, leaders from Meghalaya, Bihar, Haryana, and Goa joined the TMC which is trying to expand its national footprints at the cost of the Congress party. Within the last few days, Kriti Azad (a three-term Lok Sabha member from Bihar), Ashok Tanwar (former Haryana Congress chief and Lok Sabha member) and 12 Member of Legislative Assembly from Meghalaya under the leadership of former Chief Minister of Meghalaya and Congress Legislature Party leader Mukul M. Sangma has left the Congress.

The Congress circles in New Delhi were abuzz that the Congress high command tried hard to bury differences in the Meghalaya unit but the pressure of high command did not yield the desired results. In November itself, the high command had called former Chief Minister of Meghalaya and Congress Legislature Party leader Mukul M. Sangma and state Congress head Vincent H. Pala to the national capital to bury the hatchet.

Some Congress leaders who want to be unmanned feel that the TMC may emerge as a challenge for the Congress’s opposition space and this ruckus is helping the BJP by these moves.

However, many party leaders feel that the defection would not affect the party. Talking to The Daily Guardian, Akhilesh Prasad Singh, Rajya Sabha member, and senior Congress leader said, “In North-East we all know that the leaders leave the struggling party. As far as the TMC is concerned it is a Bengal-based regional party, it has no impact elsewhere. We are a national party and the bypoll results have shown that we are improving and challenging the BJP.” Ground-level Congress workers echo the same sentiment.

Shams Shahnawaz, youth Congress spokesperson who had been actively working for the party said, “ Indian National Congress is a very large party. Those who were leaving the party didn’t want to struggle, they wanted everything on a platter. The party gave them everything when it was in power. Kriti Azad was given major responsibility in Delhi and Mukul Sangma was made CM. But, now when the time to struggle has arrived, they have shown their real face. I would argue it’s good for the party as new leaders will emerge through struggle and raising people’s issues.”

After joining the TMC, former Meghalaya chief minister Mukul M. Sangma said that the Congress has failed to make any marks as the “main opposition” of the country. He added, “Congress has failed to play the role of the main opposition party in the country. We have decided to merge with the Trinamool Congress, a complete sense of commitment towards serving the people has brought us to take this decision. In the 2018 Assembly elections, we were confident of forming the government but we could not. Again, post the election, there were activities to poach our members. This group of 17 collectively demonstrated our commitment…the commitment towards the state has superseded everything else… We are failing in our duty as far as the role of the opposition is concerned,”.

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UPTET CANCELLED BECAUSE OF PAPER LEAK, EXAM TO BE HELD NEXT MONTH

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The Uttar Pradesh Teacher Eligibility Test (UPTET) 2021 examination scheduled to be held on Sunday was cancelled due to an alleged paper leak. Prashant Kumar, Additional Director General (ADG), Law and Order said that dozens of suspects were detained by the Special Task Force (STF) in the paper leak case. “UPTET 2021 examination scheduled to be held today stands cancelled due to alleged paper leak. Dozens of suspects were detained by STF in the paper leak case, the investigation is on. Uttar Pradesh government will conduct the exam again within a month,” he said.

Basic Education Minister Dr Satish Dwivedi said that the state government will conduct the exam again within a month and the paper leak case will be investigated by the STF.

“UPTET 2021 examination has been cancelled following information of paper leak. UP government will conduct the exam again within a month. Investigation to be conducted by UP STF,” Dwivedi said.

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MAHA VIKAS AGHADI IS ‘MAHA VISHWASGHATI AGHADI SARKAR’, SAYS JAVADEKAR

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Prakash Javadekar

Former Union Minister Prakash Javadekar on Sunday hit out at the Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government on the completion of its two years in office and called it the ‘Maha Vishwasghati Aghadi Sarkar’ (an unfaithful government), adding that the people of Maharashtra had given their mandate to Shiv Sena-BJP alliance in the 2019 assembly polls but the Shiv Sena chief chose to join hands with rival NCP and Congress only to become the chief minister of “the most corrupt” dispensation in the state.

Addressing a press conference here, Javadekar said, “Uddhav Thackeray government has completed two years today. We have not seen a more corrupt, opportunist and anti-people government than this in the state. They have named themselves Maha Vikas Aghadi, I want to name it Maha Vishwasghati Aghadi. They have betrayed the people and have done the criminalisation of politics.” Javadekar slammed Thackeray for “betraying” the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance and said that he is an “accidental” chief minister.

“Uddhav Thackeray is an accidental chief minister. He has become the chief minister by betrayal. The voters had voted for the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance in the name of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. But he betrayed and stitched an alliance with the anti-Modi people,” he said.

“There is a prominent minister whose home is raided by the Income Tax Department. More than Rs 1,000 crore is discovered as ‘benami property’. Another minister from the NCP, he was arrested because he had attacked a common man whistleblower.”

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SUKHBIR ANNOUNCES FOUR MORE CANDIDATES

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The Shiromani Akali Dal President Sukhbir Singh Badal has announced four more candidates of the party for 2022 Assembly Elections.

Disclosing this SAD Senior Vice President Dr Daljit Singh Cheema said that Badal has announced Nusrat Ali Khan as party candidate from Malerkotla. He said that the name of previously announced candidate Yunas Mohammad stands withdrawn.

He further said that Badal has announced Gur Iqbal Singh Mahal as party candidate from Qadiana, Rajanbir Singh from Sri Hargobindpur Sahib and Rohit Vohra as party candidate from Ferozepur. He said that with this announcement the party has now announced a total of 87 candidates.

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UPSC ASPIRANTS SIT ON INDEFINITE STRIKE, DEMAND EXTRA ATTEMPT

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Demanding an extra attempt to appear for the exam, Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) Civil Services aspirants sat an indefinite agitation at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar on Sunday.

The agitating students said they need an extra attempt to appear for the UPSC exam as their preparations were affected due to COVID-19. Abhishek Anand Sinha, the lead petitioner in the ‘Abhishek Anand versus Union of India case’ said, “We filed a petition in the Supreme Court and demanded extra attempts as we are not fully prepared.”

“Many students who tested positive for COVID-19 have been quarantined and some of them lost their family member due to coronavirus. They cannot study under such circumstances,” Sinha noted. He stressed that “there are so many people in our groups who are doctors and worked day and night during that period. They are not prepared as it was difficult for them to manage time.” Speaking further, Sinha said, “our first petition was filed in September 2020 and the verdict came on 26, October 2020.”

Sinha informed that in March 2021, students filed the petition and the verdict came in July, wherein Supreme Court expressed its concern over students and said “the government is the one who can decide over this and handed it over to the government” “We are just saying that our demands are legitimate and Supreme Court has certified them too. But nothing has come to us from the government side,” Sinha noted, adding the aspirants were forced to start the protest. “We have done small protests time and again, but today students from the entire nation have come here,” he stated. Speaking further Sinha said, “aspirants have faced various hindrances in preparation and appearing in the exams. The country and its several areas suffered complete shut down on account of the Covid 19 pandemic and many had to migrate their home towns. Candidates have faced personal, physical, psychological, emotional and financial hindrances.”

“We also face digital dived as many of us don’t have facilities like laptops, internet connections, bandwidth,” he added. “We are sitting on infinite protest, we will collectively decide the future course of action with complete compliance with law and order. We all have hope that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah both will listen,” Sinha said further. Gaurav, a protestor from Madhubani, Bihar said, “for the past five years, I have been preparing for UPSC examinations and the year 2020 was my last attempt.” “Just before the exam, my father passed away during the Covid. and I was mentally not prepared. When the result was declared, I could not qualify. Therefore we demand the government to give us a chance,” he added.

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