New Delhi [India], February 14 (ANI): Disha Ravi, a 21-year-old climate activist who was arrested yesterday from Bengaluru is the editor of ‘Toolkit’ document related to the farmers’ protest and a key conspirator in the document’s formulation and dissemination, confirmed the Cyber Crime Cell of Delhi Police on Sunday.
“Disha Ravi is an editor of the Toolkit Google Doc and a key conspirator in document’s formulation and dissemination. She started WhatsApp group and collaborated to make the Toolkit doc. She worked closely with them to draft the Doc,” tweeted Delhi Police.
According to CyPAD Delhi Police, the editors of the toolkit collaborated with the pro-Khalistani Poetic Justice Foundation to spread disaffection against the Indian State. Ravi was the one who shared the Toolkit Doc with Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg.
Ravi later asked Thunberg to remove the main document after its incriminating details accidentally got into the public domain, said Delhi Police.
On Sunday, Ravi was presented before a Delhi Court that remanded her five days of police custody.
Disha Ravi broke down inside the courtroom and told the judge that she has edited only two lines and she wanted to support the farmers’ protest.
Last week, the Delhi Police sent a communication to Google seeking registration details and activity log of the account through which a “toolkit” related to the farmers’ protest was created and uploaded on the social media platform.
Two e-mail IDs, one Instagram account, and one Uniform Resource Locator (URL) were mentioned in the toolkit and police have asked for details from the respective platforms.
The police had registered an FIR against unidentified persons in connection with the creators of the ‘toolkit’.
Farmers have been protesting at different borders of the national capital since November 26 last year against the three newly enacted farm laws: Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; the Farmers Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and farm Services Act 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020. (ANI)
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EXISTING COVID-19 GUIDELINES TO CONTINUE UNTIL 31 MARCH: MHA
India recorded its single-day increase in Covid-19 cases above 16,000 for the second consecutive day as the infection tally rose to 1,10,63,491 while the recoveries have surged to 1,07,50,680. A total of 16,577 infections were reported in a day while the death toll increased to 1,56,825 with 120 new fatalities. The number of active cases increased to 1,55,986 which accounts for 1.41% of the total infections. The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 1,07,50,680 which translates into a national recovery rate of 97.17%. The case fatality rate stood at 1.42%.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said the existing Covid-19 guidelines will remain in force till 31 March. The states and union territories have also been advised to speed up the vaccination of the target population to break the chain of transmission and overcome the pandemic.
Delhi recorded 256 new coronavirus cases, the highest number of single-day incidences in February, while one death pushed the death toll to 10,906. This is the third successive day when the daily cases count have stood at 200-mark or beyond.
Maharashtra registered 8,333 fresh Covid-19 cases, pushing its tally to 21,38,154. The death toll reached 52,041 after 48 fatalities were recorded. The tally includes 20,17,303 recovered cases and 67,608 active cases. Of the total number of fresh cases, 1,035 cases were from Mumbai alone.
Odisha’s coronavirus tally rose to 3,37,108 as 94 more people tested positive for the infection. The death toll remained unchanged at 1,915 while 53 patients have died due to comorbidities so far.
Tamil Nadu logged 481 new Covid-19 cases including one who returned from the United Arab Emirates and five fatalities, taking the overall caseload to 8,50,577 and the toll to 12,488. Recoveries marginally outnumbered new infections with 483 people getting discharged, taking the cumulative number to 8,34,043, leaving 4,046 active cases.
Karnataka reported 571 fresh coronavirus cases, 642 recoveries, and four deaths. The total cases rose to 9,50,207 while total recoveries stood at 9,32,367. Active cases stand at 5,501.
Jammu and Kashmir recorded 85 new positive cases of Covid-19, taking the tally to 1,26,286, and one death. The death toll is 1,956.
Economy comes out of recession, GDP up 0.4% in Dec quarter
India’s GDP grew by 0.4 per cent in the October to December quarter (Q3 FY21), marking a return to positive zone after two-quarters of recession but showing a lingering weakness in the economy, government data showed on Friday.
A sharp improvement in the Covid-19 situation and rising public spending are the two factors behind uptick. “The GDP at constant (2011-12) prices in Q3 of 2020-21 is estimated at Rs 36.22 lakh crore as against Rs 36.08 lakh crore in Q3 of 2019-20, showing a growth of 0.4 per cent,” said the National Statistical Office (NSO).
A continuing fall in domestic consumption is seen as a strong reason behind the sluggish pace.
According to second advance estimates of economic growth, the real GDP in current financial year (2020-21) is estimated at negative 8 per cent as compared to growth rate of 4 per cent in 2019-20.
Investment recorded its first growth since December 2019, growing at 2.6% compared to a revised 6.8% fall in the previous quarter, while weakness in consumer demand eased.
Consumer spending – the main driver of the economy – dropped 2.4 % year-on-year in Oct-December compared to an 11.3% fall in the previous quarter, data showed.
The economy has returned to the “pre-pandemic times of positive growth rates”, a finance ministry statement said after the release of the GDP data, which it said reflected a continued V-shaped recovery.
“Significant recovery in manufacturing and construction augurs well for the support these sectors are expected to provide to growth in 2021/22,” said the statement, which also cautioned that India is not yet beyond “the danger of the pandemic”.
Economists have raised their forecasts for the current fiscal year and 2021-22, expecting a pick-up in government spending, consumer demand and a resumption of most economic activities curtailed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Agriculture sector is estimated to see a growth of 3 per cent in FY21 as compared to 4.3 per cent in 2019-20. The manufacturing sector is likely to contract by 8.4 per cent during FY21. More worryingly, services sectors like trade, hotel, transport are projected to contract by 18 per cent. However, electricity is likely to grow at 1.8 per cent.
Some analysts warn, however, that a recent rise in crude oil prices and a surge of Covid-19 cases in parts of the country may pose risks to the nascent recovery.
“There are some risks that need to be watched, including rising commodity prices,” Sakshi Gupta, senior economist at HDFC Bank, told Reuters, adding that the pace of recovery in the informal sector and contact-intensive services could be impacted by the resurgence of domestic virus cases.
The economy contracted by 23.9 per cent in the April to June quarter (Q1 FY21) and by 7.5 per cent in the July to September quarter (Q2 FY21) as normal activities were disrupted due to nationwide coronavirus lockdowns.
EC SOUNDS BIG POLL BUGLE, BENGAL ELECTIONS IN 8 PHASES
824 Assembly constituencies to go for elections in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Assam and Puducherry from 27 March to 2 May; angry Mamata Banerjee asks if it’s on the PM’s suggestion.
Voting for the Assembly elections in West Bengal will take place in eight phases, starting on 27 March, announced the Election Commission on Friday. Counting of votes will be done on 2 May.
“In the first phase, polling will take place on 30 seats. The second phase has been scheduled on April 1 and will cover 30 constituencies, followed by the third phase on April 6 for 31 seats and the fourth phase on April 10 for 44 constituencies,” said Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora.
“Voting for the fifth phase will take place on April 17 for 45 seats, sixth phase for 43 seats on April 22, seventh phase on April 26 for 36 seats and the last and eighth phase on April 29 for 35 seats,” the CEC said.
However, after the dates for the West Bengal Assembly polls were announced on Friday, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee questioned the Election Commission’s decision to divide the polls into eight phases and alleged that it was being done to suit the convenience of the BJP.
Addressing mediapersons, Banerjee said, “I request the ECI to consider West Bengal as their own state, not through the eyes of BJP. I respect the ECI’s decision, but why have they broken-up the districts? South 24 Parganas is our stronghold. Voting will be held in three different phases there. Has it been done for the convenience of PM Modi and Amit Shah?”
Banerjee alleged that the BJP was misusing its authority as the ruling party at the Centre to influence state polls. “The Centre cannot misuse its powers for a state election. If they do it, then they will have to face the music. We are common people. We will fight our battle. BJP has sent money to all districts through agencies. I request the ECI to stop the misuse of money.”
“The Union Home Minister should be concerned about the country. He cannot misuse his powers for elections here. We welcome the Prime Minister but he cannot misuse his powers for West Bengal polls,” added Banerjee.
The ECI has appointed two special police observers, Vivek Dubey and M.K. Das, for West Bengal. With the announcement of the election schedule, the Model Code of Conduct has come into force in the state.
The ECI on Friday also announced that, besides West Bengal, the states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Assam and Puducherry (Union Territory) shall be going for polls. “A total of 824 assembly constituencies shall be going for polls during these elections. 18.68 crore electors will cast votes at 2.7 lakh polling stations in Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Kerala, Assam and Puducherry,” added Arora.
The Tamil Nadu Assembly elections are to be held in a single phase on 6 April. Kerala also goes to polls on 6 April. The Assam Assembly elections will be held in three phases: The first on 27 March, the second on 1 April and the third on 6 April. Meanwhile, Puducherry elections will also be held on 6 April. Counting of all votes will be held on 2 May.
Addressing mediapersons, CEC Arora shared, “In the thick of the pandemic, ECI started test trials with elections of 18 seats to Rajya Sabha. After that came the challenge of the Bihar elections, it was indeed a watershed moment for ECI. It proved to be a litmus test. Voting turnout was 57.34 percent, exceeding the 2015 Assembly polls and 2019 Lok Sabha polls in the state.”
The terms of the legislative assemblies of five states—West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Kerala and Puducherry—will come to an end either in May or in June this year. Elections for the Legislative Assembly of West Bengal that comprises 294 seats will be held soon as the current tenure ends on 30 May.
BSF recovers 60 Gelatin sticks, other arms, ammunitions from forest area in Odisha
Bhubaneswar (Odisha) [India], February 27 (ANI): A team of Border Security Force (BSF) on Friday recovered 60 Gelatin sticks among other arms and ammunitions in Pindamali- Bhitarpara forest area.
“Based on intelligence received, a special operation was launched today in Pindamali- Bhitarpara forest area, Orissa. 60 Gelatin sticks, 50 electric detonators, 5 bundles of flexible wires, 30 small iron pellets and 2.5 kg urea were recovered in the operation,” read a statement by BSF.
On February 23, the BSF seized explosives suspected to have stored by Maoists at Huntalguda in the Chitrakonda Swabhiman forest area on Andhra-Odisha Border (AOB). (ANI)
Odisha govt approves proposal to conduct survey of social, education condition of backward classes
Bhubaneswar (Odisha) [India], February 26 (ANI): The Odisha government on Friday approved the proposal of the Odisha State Commission for Backward Classes to conduct a survey of the social and education condition of people belonging to the backward classes in the state.
“In exercise of power conferred by the sub section of 1 (a) of Section 9 of OSCBC (Amendment Act 2020, the government of Odisha have been pleased to approve the proposal of Odisha State Commission for Backward Classes to conduct a survey of social and education condition of people belonging to the backward classes in Odisha,” read a notification issued by the state government. (ANI)
Odisha CM appreciates banks, districts for making coordinated efforts to improve lending to priority sectors
Bhubaneshwar (Odisha) [India], February 26 (ANI): Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday appreciated the efforts of banks and districts for making coordinated efforts to improve lending to priority sectors.
“The banks and districts have done quite a commendable job in improving their performance in credit flow to Agriculture, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and Self Help Group (SHG) sector. I congratulate all the bankers for achieving the financial target meant for the SHG sector well ahead of time,” Patnaik said.
Reviewing the performance over credit linkages with bankers, collectors and top officers of the state government through a virtual platform, the Chief Minister said that there has been considerable progress in credit disbursement to the priority sector during the last two months.
Since the last review meeting two months back, he said, that he had requested all to go the extra mile in these crisis times and ensure adequate and timely credit supply to help the most vulnerable sections of society and economy -farmers, women and MSMEs.
Patnaik further said that his government is always concerned to safeguard and protect the interest of the vulnerable and disadvantaged groups. “The farmers, Mission Shakti groups and MSMEs are our lakhs of entrepreneurs who are in need of credit to run and expand their business. We need to support them in the true spirit,” he added.
Highlighting the importance of Agriculture, MSME and Mission Shakti, he stated that to take forward the momentum created in the last few months, the budgetary provisions for these sectors have been substantially increased for the Financial Year 2021-22.
“We are also providing Interest Subvention under various schemes to reduce the interest burden on the people and to enhance credit linkage,” he added.
The Chief Minister said that from the last meeting in December about Rs 1600 crores more has gone to Mission Shakti groups which is about Rs 500 Crores more than the annual target.
According to an official release, it was revealed in the meeting that the annual credit target for SHGs was Rs 3240 crores. But by January, the SHGs have already received credits over Rs 3745 crores.
Focusing on farmers, the Chief Minister said, “They are the backbone of our state. We should provide them with timely credit. We have been able to help the farmers with credit so far in most districts.”
It was informed in the meeting that last year crop loan was Rs 20 thousand Crore which has been increased to Rs 20,606 Crore this year.
Coming to MSMEs, the CM said that they are the backbone of our economy and have a significant role in employment.
Expressing happiness that the overall credit flow to MSMEs during the last two months’ was satisfactory, the Chief Minister stated that the MSME sector has received credits over Rs 26,000 crores which is expected to touch the target of Rs 20,457 crore by March. (ANI)
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