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The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has urged the states to ensure that all the beneficiaries who have taken the first dose of COVID-19 vaccines are prioritised for the second dose.

Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan and Dr R.S. Sharma, Member, National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration of COVID-19 reviewed the status of vaccination with health secretaries and National Health Mission MDs of states and UTs through a video conference on Tuesday. “States to ensure all beneficiaries who have taken the first dose are prioritised for the second doses,” Bhushan said. He stressed on the urgent need to address a large number of beneficiaries waiting for the second dose.

A Health Ministry release said states can reserve at least 70% of the vaccines supplied to them from the

Government of India channel (free of cost) for second dose vaccination and remaining 30% for the first dose. “This however is indicative. States have the liberty to enhance this to as much as 100 per cent. State wise numbers on CoWIN have been shared with states for their planning purposes,” the release said.

It said that the states were asked to undertake awareness campaign for reinforcing importance of complete vaccination with two doses of the vaccine.

Presenting details of states who have ensured high coverage of priority groups (like aged 45+, frontline workers and healthcare workers) and the others, the Health Secretary urged states to ensure that priority groups are vaccinated.

The release said states have been informed in a transparent manner in advance about the COVID vaccines being provided to them from Government of India channel.

“The visibility for the forthcoming fortnight is conveyed to them in advance to enable better and more effective planning by them. The next allocation for May 15-31 will be conveyed to them on May 14. It was pointed out that states can utilize the information regarding dose allocation for next 15 days to plan their vaccination sessions,” the release said.

States were also urged to minimise vaccine wastage.

“While the overall levels have considerably reduced, Union Health Secretary pointed that there were many states which still needed to substantially reduce the wastage,” the release said.

It was suggested to states to retrain and reorient vaccinators to ensure judicious usage of the vaccines.

“All wastage more than the national average hereafter is to be adjusted from the subsequent allocations to that state/UT,” the release said.

It was also pointed out that certain states are able to report a negative wastage because the well-trained health workers can extract maximum doses per vial than what is otherwise generally earmarked.

States were also briefed about procurement from the “Other than Government of India” (OGoI) channel which has been opened in the Liberalised Phase-III Strategy of Vaccination.

In view of the payments pending from states to the private vaccine manufacturers, the states were advised to constitute a dedicated team of two or three senior officers to coordinate with vaccine manufacturers on a daily basis and secure supplies promptly. “This team is to also coordinate with private hospitals to facilitate their procurement thereby maintaining the momentum of the overall vaccination exercise in the state,” the release said.

The release said CoWIN platform is also being modified to better reflect the changing needs of the vaccination exercise.

Sharma, who is also Chairman of Empowered Group on Technology and Data Management to combat COVID-19, said that CoWIN will shortly provide the flexibility and feature for reserving slots for second dose.

CoWIN will be customised to the extent possible and will also open APIs. The need for IEC campaign for informing people that they should use only one mobile number for both doses for its reflection in their certificate was stressed, the release said.

Sharma reiterated the critical importance of verity and authenticity of data. He also urged states to avoid use of restrictive criteria to uphold the mantra of CoWIN providing vaccination to anyone, anywhere and at anytime.


The Ministry of Health also said on Tuesday that over 1 lakh active Covid-19 cases are in 13 states and fewer than 50,000 Covid-19 active cases are in 17 states across the country. While addressing a press meet, the Ministry of Health officials said, “More than 1 lakh active cases in 13 states, while 50,000 to 1 lakh active cases are in 6 states and less than 50,000 active cases are in 17 states.” The 13 states with more than 1 lakh active cases are Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar.

ICMR DG, Dr Balram Bhargava said, “On April 30th, 2021, 19,45,299 tests were conducted, the highest ever in the world.” “The national positivity rate is around 21% as of now”, said Bhargava in the press meet. He further said, “Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) to be allowed at all government and private health facilities, no accreditation required. Home-based testing solutions are being explored.”

Bhargava elaborated about the details regarding the rapid antigen tests. He said, “Multiple 24X7 RAT booths to be set up in cities, towns and villages. RATS to be allowed at all government and private health care facilities. No accreditation required. RAT booths to be set up with the community in schools, colleges, community centres, RWA offices etc.”

“Public-private partnership models encouraged to establish innovative and convenient testing centers. RATS must be conducted in accordance with RAT algorithm defined by ICMR. All RTPCR and RAT test results should be uploaded on ICMR portal. Social distancing norms to be ensured at all RAT and RTPCR testing centres”, the ICMR DG said.

Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Telangana, Chandigarh, Ladakh, Daman and Diu, Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar Islands are showing a continuous decrease in daily new COVID-19 cases. Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Gujarat too are showing a continuous decrease in daily new cases.

While Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Odisha, Punjab, Assam, Jammu and Kashmir, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Puducherry, Manipur, Meghalaya, Tripura, Nagaland, and Arunachal Pradesh are showing an increasing trend in daily new cases.


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E-commerce may grow by 45%-51% in 2023 in Asia-Pacific region: StoreHippo CEO



Rajiv Kumar Aggarwal, Founder & CEO, StoreHippo spoke to The Daily Guardian about his company and its growth plans as well as the e-commerce market.

Q. Tell us about the company and the services that your company offers?

A. Started in 2014, StoreHippo is the most flexible SaaS-based enterprise e-commerce platform. The fully-integrated platform built on MACH architecture enables enterprise brands to launch, pivot, and scale their B2B, D2C, B2B2C, or hybrid business models from one single platform Designed to accelerate the digital journey of enterprise brands, we have been building the most innovative and powerful solutions for brands across industry verticals.

The company has been driving the successful digital transition of enterprises with its 300+ inbuilt features, 120+ seamless integrations, inherent flexibility, and agility. The company makes it possible for brands to build personalised and conversion-oriented omnichannel buyer journeys for both D2C and B2B buyers. StoreHippo’s fully integrated solutions enable enterprise brands to integrate ERP, CRM, accounting, payment, and any other software or services of their choice. The company also provides the most accessible, reliable, and robust shipping solutions to its merchant clients with end-to-end logistics and fulfilment support.

Q. What were the company’s goals and objectives when it was founded?

A. StoreHippo was envisioned with the goal to offer cutting-edge enterprise e-commerce solutions for brands that could be easily customised for unique brand requirements. The aim was not to offer just an e-commerce solution but to offer a complete ecosystem with support for different business models and every aspect of the business operations, marketing, and growth. The company has been helping enterprises ever since to create a niche for their brand with future-ready solutions that help them go to market in record time.

Q. How do you see the e-commerce market by 2023?

A. E-commerce is going to continue its upward climb in the years to come. Ecommerce will keep growing in double digits even in 2023 and the highest growth will be seen in the Asia-Pacific region which will grow by a whopping 45-51%. With Covid induced better adaptation for online buying and selling even traditional, offline brands will hop on the commerce bandwagon. Amazing things are in store in days to come, in terms of hybrid business models and revolutionary tech solutions that would make customer journeys more personalised, immersive, and frictionless.

Q. What were the major challenges the company has faced till now?

A. Initially, the major challenge we faced was convincing clients that e-commerce is the way forward, and adopting the model sooner can actually give them a strong footing in the competitive market. Also, we had to do a lot of handholding as back in 2014, the e-commerce market was still in its nascent stage and customers were also a bit sceptical about purchasing online. However, things changed rapidly after 2016-2017 and enterprises have been lapping up the concept of going digital not only on one channel but across channels like online stores, mobile apps, mobile stores, social commerce, or any other new-age customer touchpoint that can be made commerce-enabled. Also, brands no longer stick to one business model, rather they are strategising the business to run either a hybrid business model or different business models from a single platform (like, D2C+ B2B or multi-vendor marketplace with hyperlocal e-commerce, etc.) StoreHippo’s well-rounded solutions with inbuilt solutions for a variety of business models have been able to handle all such challenges from enterprise brands easily.

Q. What are your growth plans for the next year?

A. StoreHippo is aiming to accelerate growth in untapped global and domestic markets along with solidifying its presence in its existing markets. We are aiming for a 250% growth in the coming year by offering innovative enterprise solutions to brands from diverse industries.

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Murtaza Ali Khan



Produced by Miditech Studios, the new Discovery+ documentary titled ‘Gaganyaan – Bharat ki Antariksh Udaan’ offers a riveting roadmap to the audacious and challenging journey of India’s human space flight programme, from developing the country’s own state of the art cryogenic engine, testing of flights, rigorous astronaut trainings to the final preparations and anticipation before its launch in 2023.

The 45-minute long documentary is supported with archival footage and modern graphical representations of the complex processes and tremendous dangers of human space flight. This fascinating original also recaps the ground-breaking engineering that enabled India to successfully test an unmanned flight with the crew module from launch to re-entry in 2014.

‘Gaganyaan – Bharat ki Antariksh Udaan’ features three eminent astronauts viz. Rakesh Sharma, the first Indian to go into space, Sunita Willaims, the elite record-holding woman astronaut of NASA, and the Russian Cosmonaut, Oleg Kotov. Along with them, various experts namely, Dr G Madhavan Nair (Former Chairman, ISRO), Air Cdre (Rtd) Ravish Malhotra (Former test pilot, IAF), Asif Siddiqi (Space Historian), Dr Brigitte Godard (Flight Surgeon, European astronaut centre), and other distinguished professionals also lend their expertise on the subject.

This is just the kind of content one expects from Discovery+, the country’s first and leading aggregated infotainment streaming platform, which is famously known for engrossing cosmology content among other fun and facts-based content from more than 55 sub-genres. In doing so, Discovery+ becomes the first OTT platform to bring to the Indian public this historical journey which will put India on the world stage with other spacefaring nations: Russia, China, and the United States. ‘Gaganyaan’ joins a formidable lineup of successful and immensely popular cosmological titles like – ‘India’s Space Odyssey,’ ‘How The Universe Works,’ ‘Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman,’ ‘Space Titans: Musk, Bezos, Branson’ and many more.

Gaganyaan was first announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 15 August 2018. But no one at the time saw the pandemic coming less than two years later, with scientists and aerospace engineers realising that going ahead with a manned mission, a complex endeavour with a life at stake even at the best of times, was not something to be rushed.

But despite the uncertainty created by the pandemic, the ISRO is marching toward its ambitious India’s maiden human spacelift mission in 2023. It has completed one more crucial test, which will boost the confidence of the scientific community to push the project further.

On May 9, ISRO completed a test called a static test of a human-rated solid rocket booster, simply known as HS200, for the ‘Gaganyaan Mission’. The test was conducted at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. In simple terms, the test was conducted to see the weak spots, if any, in the rocket to be launched. In this process, human intelligence and scientific knowledge are simultaneously applied to check or anticipate weak spots in a spacecraft. Preventing possible accidents is billed as ‘Human Rating’. The process involves several tests with many variables to ensure the safety of a manned spacecraft to reach the goal and return safely to earth. In a way, it’s analysing and understanding the reliability of human-rated rockets against non-human-rated rockets. During the test, ISRO checked 700 parameters and found them all normal.

Interestingly, PM Modi discussed the ‘Gaganyaan Mission’ in his first Mann Ki Baat of the new year and the new decade. “Gaganyaan mission will be a historic achievement in the field of science and technology for India in the 21st century. It will prove to be a milestone for New India,” he had asserted while praising the four pilots of the Indian Airforce who have been selected as astronauts for the mission and their forthcoming training in Russia. “These promising youngsters symbolise India’s skill, talent, ability, courage and dreams. Our four friends are about to go to Russia in a few days for their training. I am confident that this would script another golden chapter in India-Russia friendship and cooperation,” he faded further.

Watching the documentary one can appreciate the meticulousness that has gone into making it. Discovery+ must be commended for making an important documentary film about India’s human space flight programme. Here is an offering that needs to be watched by each and every India.

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The platform helps connect famous celebrities with their fans and has users book out a personalised video message to create lasting memories.



Memmo is one of the leading entertainment platforms present at the global level. The firm is an online platform that offers personalised video messages from thousands of well-known celebrities and prominent personalities to their fans and followers. If we talk about personalised videos, these videos are customised for individual viewers and play a major role in developing trusting relationships.

 It is the biggest marketplace for personalised videos from thousands of celebrities (sports, actresses, comedians, artists, YouTubers, and so on) that are shared with fans and businesses. The brand›s CEO & co-founders Tobias Bengtsdahl & Gustav Lundberg Toresson, conceptualised the venture with the mission to help connect celebrities one-to-one with fans and businesses. The firm also hosts prominent angels in the business industry by customising videos of celebrities for the marketing campaign, virtual events, team celebrations, and cold sales outreach.

In an interview with The Daily Guardian, Abhishek Sarkar, General Manager and Head of India operations, Memmo spoke about the company’s goals, challenges, growth plans and the factors behind the growth of the personalised celebrity video messaging industry.

Q. Tell us about the company and the services that your company offers?   

A. Memmo is the biggest marketplace outside of the US for personalised videos from thousands of celebrities (athletes, actors, comedians, musicians, YouTubers etc.) to fans and businesses. Personalised videos are the first step on our mission to tech-enable and democratise access to talent to offer a wide range of products and services to fans and businesses. The platform helps connect famous celebrities with their fans and has users book out a personalised video message to create lasting memories. 

Q. What were the company’s goals and objectives when it was founded?  

A. After thinking for a long time about the positive and emotional effect that occurs when you have personal contact with inspiring people, the idea of this company came while attending a wedding dinner. During many lengthy speeches, often a little too internal for everyone to appreciate, the evening suddenly stopped. A video clip featuring the bride’s celebrity crush was presented, with some playful lines about how it could have instead ended up being the bride and him–with a big congratulations to the lucky groom. All of the wedding guests suddenly sat in unified laughter and amazement. The question arose–how had the gifter managed to get hold of such a video, and could there be a way to share these experiences of the fan to talent connection more often? One question led to another, and it quickly became apparent that getting in touch with the people we look up to is not something that’s accessible to everyone, but rather the opposite. On the other hand–the inboxes and DMs of these people have never been as busy with requests from their fans as they are today. This identified opportunity to enable more meaningful fan to talent connections was the starting point for the team on the journey to becoming the global destination for talent to connect with fans and brands on their terms. 

Q. What are the factors behind the growth of the personalised celebrity video messaging industry?

A. In the last two to three years, this space has been growing. There is also a unicorn in this space and the demand is huge across every country we operate in. In India alone, there are over five to six companies in the same space and each has its own top celebrity earning thousands of dollars per month. Top celebrities on our platform earn anywhere between US$ 15K to US$ 20K monthly and this truly goes on to show the demand is high, as long as we are able to follow up with good supply, great products and impeccable service, the sky’s the limit. Fans from around the world want to be connected with their favourite artist, sportspersons and have no platform to get up close and personal, our company helps bridge that gap. This is welcome by both fans and celebrities. A lot of celebrities look for multiple sources of income especially after the pandemic due to lower shootings and such platforms have proved to be great sources of alternate income.  

Q. Tell us about your business success so far?   

A. We just scaled to three new markets after launches in North America, Europe, and Australia, and are looking to launch more in the coming months. Currently, our company is a market leader in most markets it operates in. The company has grown 10x from last year in terms of total order volumes and the roster of celebrities is increasing every single day. This only shows the demand from users for a product like this and celebrities do not want to miss out on this unique opportunity to stay connected with fans as well as generate additional revenue streams. We have thousands of celebrities who trust us as their go-to platform for on-demand personalised shout-outs to fans from across the world.

Q. What were the major challenges the company has faced till now?

A. The challenge is localising content, offering and celebrity base for each market to cater to the needs and demands of that specific market. We spend a lot of time understanding each market and the nuances it has to offer. The biggest challenge so far has been identifying the right set of celebrities to launch a market with and gain traction. Once we are able to figure these things out, the market is ready for take-off. The space is filled with a lot of competition, so keeping products, offerings, and services top-notch and evolving is yet another ongoing challenge. 

Q. What are your growth plans for the next year?

A. We just scaled to these new markets: India, Mexico, and Brazil. The plan is to establish a stronghold in these operating markets, improve on offerings and increase the roster of celebrities to cater to the large audience from the respective countries and the world. The plan is to continue market dominance and keep growing year on year and build more memories for the world. 

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Ramchandra Prasad Singh’s RS renomination hangs in limbo



The Rajya Sabha candidature of Ramchandra Prasad Singh, union minister for Steel hangs in limbo as a major section within the party is not in favour of sending him to the upper house from Bihar. In all likelihood, Singh might not get the candidature from Bihar and will depend on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to send him to the upper house. A senior party leader who wished to be unnamed said, “he might not get the Rajya Sabha berth from the party this time.” Suspense over the candidature of Singh started after Janata Dal (United) national President Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan Singh said that the decision will be taken by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and after which R.C.P Singh told the media that he did not know that he is going or not to the Rajya Sabha.

Talking to The Daily Guardian Neeraj Kumar, party’s chief spokesperson and Member of Bihar legislative Council said, “Any decision will be taken by our leader and Bihar’s chief minister Nitish Kumar, the national president had said the same that Rajya Sabha candidature will be decided by Nitish Kumar,”.

The tenure of five Rajya Sabha members from the state – Satish Chandra Dubey, Gopal Narayan Singh (both from the BJP), Sharad Yadav and RCP Singh(JDU) and Misa Bharti(RJD) is ending in June this year. The election commission of India had declared the dates of the election process. The nomination starts from May 24 and will end on May 31. The candidates can withdraw names till June 3 and polling will be held from 9 am to 4 pm on June 10.

As per the membership strength of parties in the Bihar Legislative Assembly, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has 77 MLAs, the Rashtriya Janata Dal(RJD) has 74 MLAs and JD-U has 43 seats in the 243-member Assembly.

As per the number game, the BJP and the RJD can easily send two members while the JD (U) can send one member from Bihar.

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Ajay Jandyal



Security agencies on Friday identified an infiltrator killed along line of control in Tangdhar area of Kupwara and recovered large cache of arms and ammunition besides ten packets of heroin from his possession.

The infiltrator has been identified as Mohammad Muneer son of Bilal Ahmad of Jura Bandi Athmuqam PaK, officials told.The infiltrator was killed along LoC near ‘Darshan post’ on Friday. “During the search two 47 rifles with magazines, two pistols with magazines and ten pocket Herion were recovered.

The Chinar Corps of the Indian Army, in a statement, said, “Infiltration bid foiled by alert Indian army troops in Tangdhar, Kupwara today morning. The action resulted in the elimination of one terrorist.” The Army further informed that war-like stores including two AKs, two grenades, and ten packets of narcotics recovered have been received.

Meanwhile, A fire broke out in the Margana forest area of Chenani in Jammu and Kashmir’s Udhampur district late Thursday night.

Forest department officials, fire and emergency departments initiated joint efforts to douse the fire.

Earlier on May 17, a massive fire broke out in the Niaka, Panjgrain and Ghambir Mughlan forest areas of Jammu and Kashmir. Further details are awaited.

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India now among top 25 countries exporting in defence sector: Rajnath Singh



Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday lauded the Narendra Modi government for the country’s development saying that India which was earlier considered to be the biggest importer, is now among the top 25 countries exporting in the defence sector.

“Our country which was earlier considered the biggest importer, is now among the top 25 countries exporting in defence. Defence weapons were only bought from outside. Nothing built in India. Tanks, rockets, missiles and ammunitions are all imported,” said the minister while addressing the party workers at an event. Singh further informed that he created a list of 309 items which will not be bought from other countries after a certain time for which the process has already started.

“India is now respected in the world. Indian residents in other countries have told me they now feel respected. Earlier, in international conferences, if Indians said something, nobody heard. Now, the whole world listens with attention,” he added.

He also lauded the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) saying that it is now the world’s biggest party which do politics to form the country, not only the government.

“You must not forget whose members you are. BJP isn’t just the country’s but the world’s biggest party now. The ideology via which we started our journey shows we do politics not just to form the government but to form the country,” Singh said.

Targetting the previous governments for the country’s development, Singh said that people faced basic problems earlier.

“Congress ruled for a long time, others did too. Poverty, unemployment- basic problems were faced by people several years after independence. Don’t say we’ve solved it all, but his (PM Modi’s) work is now visible on the ground,” he added.

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