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Hyderabad-based organisation supporting families of children with intellectual disabilities

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Hyderabad (Telangana) [India], February 19 (ANI): A Hyderabad-based organisation ‘Nayi Disha Resource Centre’ is assisting the families of children diagnosed with intellectual and developmental disabilities by providing information that is critical for child’s development through its mobile-accessible and multi-lingual digital platform.
Prachi Dev, the founder and Executive Director of Nayi Disha Resource Centre said her organisation empowers the parents and provides them with all required information to look after their children who need special care.
“We set up Nayi Disha Resource Centre to support, give hope and provide information to parents, whose children are suffering from intellectual and developmental disabilities,” she told ANI.
“Many parents lack knowledge about their children’s intellectual problem and do not know how to deal with it in the right way. So, our organisation helps those parents by providing them with all the required information, right from the symptoms of intellectual disabilities to the way the child must be taken care of and identify the child’s potential. This organisation also provides information regarding the kind of treatment or therapy that is suitable for the child’s condition,” she added.
Dev said the organisation has been working in collaboration with doctors, therapists and special schools.
“This ensures that the parents need not run from pillar to post to gather information but can get all the required information for their child’s care just by reaching out to this organisation,” she added.
On being asked about the idea to begin this initiative, Dev said her brother suffered from down syndrome and this is why she decided to help the children who face similar challenges.
“My brother had suffered from down syndrome. During that time, people hardly have access to the internet or availability of information regarding intellectual disabilities. So, I used to volunteer with the organisations where my brother used to go. While volunteering, I was shocked to find out that people really lack the information required to nurture a child with special needs. That is what moved me to set up Nayi Disha Resource Centre in October 2015,” she said.
“Now nearly about 10,000 families are associated with us and till now nearly about two lakh people have visited our website to seek information. Initially, we have started this organisation in Hyderabad and now we have our support groups across the country,” she said.
Dev also wants to reach out to people living in rural parts of the country through her organisation.
Smita Kadam, who works as an outreach officer with Nayi Disha Resource Centre, said: “All information available on Nayi Disha’s website is provided by the experts. We are associated with 1,800 experts who are working with doctors, specialists, physiotherapist and special educators.” (ANI)

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People need to register on Co-WIN platform for second phase of COVID vaccination, starting on March 1

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New Delhi [India], February 26 (ANI): People who want to get vaccinated in the second phase of COVID-19 vaccination, which starts on March 1, will have to register on the Co-WIN platform, said Empowered Group chairman RS Sharma on Friday, adding that both online and on-the-spot registration are available.
The vaccination will be free at the government facilities and paid at private facilities.
Explaining the basic features of the Co-WIN platform, a digital platform that was formed for real-time monitoring of COVID-19 vaccine delivery, he said that people above 60 years will only have to validate their identity and for those between 45-60 years, a co-morbidity certificate is required.
“For people above 60 years, no extra document required, they will have to validate their identity via Aadhaar card, driving licence, voter identity card, passport, and PAN card when they visit the centre as they are not accepted online. For those between 45-60 years, a co-morbidity certificate is required. For those without internet, an on-the-spot registration option is provided,” Sharma added.
Vaccinations will be available from March 1 at 10,000 government health centres and around 12,000 private centres. Training will be provided to the health workers and other staff who will administer the vaccination and other standard procedures in the centres for the next two days.
“We will provide training to staff and health workers for the next two days and do a dry-run of the Co-WIN app to ensure a smooth working of the drive,” said Sharma.
Registrations can be done for four people from one mobile app. People can also get themselves registered through the Aarogya Setu app by verifying One Time Passwords (OTPs).
Sharma said, “Those who do not have mobile phones, 2.5 lakh Common Service Centres in every Panchayat have been opened which have proper internet facilities through which the registrations can be done. If none of the facilities are available, then people may directly visit the vaccination centre along with required documents and get themselves registered.”
Volunteers will be available at every vaccination centre to help the people and ensure that all COVID-19 Standard Operating Procedures are being followed.
Hospitals empanelled under the Ayushman Bharat scheme, state health insurance schemes and Centre Government Health Scheme (CGHS) will provide the vaccination services, as the main agenda is to enhance and pace-up the drive and involve more private health centres. (ANI)

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Assembly polls in West Bengal to be held in eight phases from March 27

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New Delhi [India], February 26 (ANI): The Election Commission of India on Friday announced that West Bengal will witness eight-phased Assembly polls beginning March 27.
The counting of votes will take place on May 2.
Addressing a press conference, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said: “West Bengal will see eight-phase elections. 30 Assembly constituencies in five districts will go to polls in the first phase on March 27. 30 Assembly constituencies in four districts will go to polls in the second phase on April 1. In the third phase, 31 constituencies in 3 districts will go to polls on April 6. 44 constituencies in five districts will go for polling on April 10.”
“In the fifth phase, 45 constituencies in six districts will witness polling on April 17. 43 constituencies in four districts in the sixth phase will go to polls on April 22. 36 constituencies in five districts in the seventh phase will go for polling on April 26. In the eighth and final phase, 35 constituencies in four districts will witness polling on April 29,” he said.
The ECI has appointed two special police observers — Vivek Dubey and MK Das — for West Bengal.
With the announcement of the election schedule, the Model Code of Conduct has come into force in the state.
“Model Code of Conduct to come into force immediately after the announcement of the election dates. The commission has made adequate arrangements to ensure effective implementation of MCC guidelines,” Arora said.
Besides West Bengal, the ECI also announced the election schedule for Tamil Nadu, Assam, Puducherry and Kerala.
The CEC said adequate CAPFs deployment shall be ensured during elections. “All critical, vulnerable polling stations identified and an adequate number of CAPFs will be deployed. Advance teams are already deployed in these states/UT,” he said.
“Postal ballot facility has been extended as an option to senior citizens aged 80 years and above, persons with disabilities and electors employed in essential services. A separate SOP (standard operating procedure) is there for COVID-19 patients, suspect COVID-19 patient. Polling time has been uniformly increased,” Arora added.
The CEC said door-to-door campaigning has been restricted to five persons including the candidate. Roadshows are allowed subjected to convoy breaking after five vehicles, he added.
“A 824 Assembly constituencies shall be going to polls. 18.68 crore voters will cast votes at 2.7 lakh polling stations in states/UT. More than 3 lakh service vote electors will be availing facilities of electronic transmitted postal ballet system,” Arora informed.
The tenure of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) government led by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will end on May 30 this year.
West Bengal is likely to witness a triangular contest this time with TMC, Congress-Left alliance and BJP in the fray.
While Mamata Banerjee is seeking her third consecutive term, BJP has set a target of winning 200 seats in the 294-member state Assembly. Congress and the Left have stitched the alliance for the polls and had already finalised the seat-sharing agreement. They are also in touch with the Indian Secular Front (ISF), recently floated by influential minority leader Abbas Siddique.
In 2016, West Bengal Assembly elections, out of the 294 seats, Congress had managed to win 44 seats while the Left Front bagged 33 seats. The ruling TMC secured 211 seats and the BJP had won 3 seats.
The BJP made deep inroads in the state in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections winning 18 seats and decimating TMC’s tally to 22. Out of the total 42 Lok Sabha constituencies in West Bengal, Congress won two seats, the Left drew a blank.
After BJP’s performance in the 2019 polls, several TMC leaders have joined the party led by JP Nadda.
It has been seen that elections in West Bengal are marred by violence. The Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) have started moving to four poll-bound states and one Union Territory — Tamil Nadu, Assam, Puducherry, West Bengal and Kerala — to ensure peaceful conduct of Assembly elections.
According to official communication, accessed by ANI, a total of 45 CAPFs companies will be deployed in Tamil Nadu, 40 in Assam, 10 in Puducherry, 125 in West Bengal and 30 companies in Kerala. (ANI)

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SC declines to hear plea seeking initiation of contempt against Maharashtra officials for rewarding killers of tigress ‘Avni’

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Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], February 26 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain a plea seeking initiation of contempt of court proceedings against Maharashtra Chief Secretary Vikas Kharge and other state officials for announcing reward to people who had killed ‘Avni’, an adult tigress who had allegedly killed 13 people in the Yavatmal district in 2018.
A bench headed by the Chief Justice of India SA Bobde said, “We understand its a serious issue but we cannot interfere.”
The Chief Justice said that in an earlier litigation, the decision to kill the tiger was given by the court as the tigress was proved to be a man eater. “The state government has submitted a report in this regard which was accepted by the court,” said the bench.
“We cannot review the decision and say it was not a man-eater. The state officials in their reply said that the celebration after the tigress’ death was done by villagers. Officers have stated on oath that they did not celebrate the killing of the tigress,” the Bench said.
Earlier, the Bench had issued a notice to Chief Secretary Vikas Kharge and others on a contempt petition filed by wildlife researcher Sangeet Dongra, who said that the reward was granted flouting court directions.
The apex court had observed that the petition raised an “important point” regarding the flouting of court orders prohibiting awarding of rewards to persons who kill wild animals and issued contempt notices.
The petition has sought initiation of contempt of court proceedings against Kharge, AK Mishra Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, KM Abharna Deputy Conservator of Forest Pandharkawada, Anup Nayak Additional Director General for Project Tiger and Member Secretary of National Tiger Conservation Authority.
During the earlier hearing, Dogra in her plea sought action against those responsible for presenting misleading documents in the form of a false affidavit before the Court in 2018 which convinced the court that Avni is a man-eating tigress when her post mortem report revealed that she is not a man eater.
In 2018, the Supreme Court had permitted the killing of Avni, officially known as T1, if the attempts to tranquillize her fail. It further had directed that no prize or incentive should be declared for any person responsible for the killing of the tigress. Avni was killed in November 2018 and several wildlife activists termed it a ‘state-sponsored fake encounter’. (ANI)

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Sitharaman chairs meeting to discuss post-budget action points for infra roadmap

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New Delhi [India], February 26 (ANI): Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday chaired a virtual meeting with CEO of NITI Aayog Amitabh Kant and secretaries of 22 infrastructure ministries and departments to discuss post-budget action points for infrastructure roadmap ahead, informed the Finance Ministry.

According to a statement issued by the Ministry, this was the third review meeting by Sitharaman with ministries and departments about the importance of the National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) and infrastructure sector to ensure faster post-COVID-19 recovery of the economy.

The NIP was launched with 6,835 projects; the project pipeline has now been expanded to nearly 7,600 projects. It has witnessed accelerated spending on infrastructure projects in ministries specially in Q2 and Q3 of financial year 2021, the statement read.

It has helped in targeting a substantial increase in infrastructure expenditure in many ministries in FY21 over expenditure done in FY20. Around 216 projects worth Rs 74,067 crore under Government of India infrastructure ministries have been completed till Q3 FY 21. Around 678 projects worth Rs 6 lakh crore have progressed from the lower stage to the upper stage of project formulation and implementation till Q3 FY 21. However, it has also been observed that ministries/departments need to work very hard in order to ensure achieving targets of the NIP.

The CEO of NITI Aayog gave a presentation on asset monetisation and highlighted various models for monetisation of core infrastructure assets and also spoke about finalising targets for asset monetisation.

While reviewing the performance of ministries/departments on NIP, Sitharaman emphasised that NIP will play a critical role in revitalising the economy post-pandemic. The Ministries/departments were requested to aim to achieve more than the NIP targets. 

The Finance Minister also highlighted that the NIP is not just central government budgetary expenditure on infrastructure and it also includes infra spending by states and private sector as well as expenditure through extra-budgetary resources. Therefore, Sithraman asked ministries/departments to actively work on getting project funded through innovative structuring and financing, provide all the help and support to private sector for enhanced infra spending. “The ministries/departments also need to explore PPP mode for viable projects and use government funding for pushing infrastructure projects which cannot be done in PPP mode,” she added.

Sitharaman during the discussion advised NITI Aayog to work on strengthening dispute resolution mechanism as updating MCAs as per international best practices.  

She also requested secretaries of ministries/departments to ensure their full and personal engagement in NIP implementation, updation on NIP portal and expedite implementation of NIP projects. (ANI)

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EC announces three-phased Assam Assembly polls from March 27, counting on May 2

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New Delhi [India], February 26 (ANI): The Election Commission of India on Friday announced that Assam will go to Assembly elections in three phases beginning March 27.
The counting of votes will take place on May 2.
Addressing a press conference, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said: “In Assam, elections shall be held in three phases. The first phase of notification is March 2 and 47 seats in 12 districts will go to the polls. The last date of nomination March 9 and the date of poll is March 27. In the second phase, 39 constituencies in 13 districts will go to polls on April 1. Forty Assembly constituencies in 12 districts to go on polls on April 6. Votes will be counted on May 2.”
With the announcement of the election schedule, the Model Code of Conduct has come into force in the state.
“Model Code of Conduct to come into force immediately after the announcement of the election dates. The commission has made adequate arrangements to ensure effective implementation of MCC guidelines,” Arora said.
Ashok Kumar has been appointed as a special police observer for Assam.
“In Assam in 2016, the polling stations were 24,890 and in 2021, there will be 33,530. The percentage increase in polling stations 35.71 per cent. The term of Assam is up to May 31, 2021. The number of Assembly seats is 126. Reserved seats for SC is eight and for STs it is 16,” Arora said.
Besides Assam, the ECI also announced the election schedule for Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Puducherry and Kerala.
The CEC said adequate CAPFs deployment shall be ensured during elections. “All critical, vulnerable polling stations identified and an adequate number of CAPFs will be deployed. Advance teams are already deployed in these States/UT,” he said.
“Postal ballot facility has been extended as an option to senior citizens aged 80 years and above, persons with disabilities and electors employed in essential services. A separate SOP (standard operating procedure) is there for COVID-19 patients, suspect COVID-19 patient. Polling time has been uniformly increased,” Arora added.
The CEC said door-to-door campaigning has been restricted to five persons including the candidate. Roadshows are allowed subjected to convoy breaking after five vehicles, he added.
“A 824 Assembly constituencies shall be going to polls. 18.68 crore voters will cast votes at 2.7 lakh polling stations in states/UT. More than 3 lakh service vote electors will be availing facilities of electronic transmitted postal ballet system,” Arora informed.
Earlier in January, the Assam Congress unit had announced that five political parties including Congress, All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), Communist Party of India (CPI), CPI(Marxist), CPI(Marxist-Leninist) and Anchalik Gana Morcha would contest the state Assembly polls together to oust the Sonowal government from power.
“In upcoming Assam Assembly polls Congress, All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), Communist Party of India (CPI), CPI(Marxist), CPI (Marxist-Leninist) and Anchalik Gana Morcha will fight together to oust BJP. We will keep our doors open for other regional and anti-BJP parties to join us,” Ripun Bora, President, Assam Congress said.
In 2016, the BJP scripted history and formed the government for the first time in the state ending Congress’s 15-year rule. BJP and its allies Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) won a combined 86 seats in the 126-member Assam Assembly. BJP bagged 60 seats, AGP 14 and BPF 12 seats.
Congress, which ran the state for three straight terms under the leadership of Tarun Gogoi, could manage to win only 26 seats.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, BJP won nine of the 14 parliamentary seats while its allies the AGP and the BPF drew a blank. On the other hand, Congress bagged three seats and the AIUDF and an independent won one seat each.
The Central Armed Police Forces have started moving to four poll-bound states and one Union Territory — Tamil Nadu, Assam, Puducherry, West Bengal and Kerala — to ensure peaceful conduct of the Assembly elections.
According to official communication, accessed by ANI, a total of 45 CAPFs companies will be deployed in Tamil Nadu, 40 in Assam, 10 in Puducherry, 125 in West Bengal and 30 companies in Kerala. (ANI)

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Voting for Tamil Nadu assembly polls on April 6

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New Delhi [India], February 26 (ANI): Tamil Nadu assembly elections will be held in a single phase on April 6 and the counting of votes will be done on May 2, the Election Commission of India (ECI) announced on Friday.
With this announcement, the model code of conduct comes into force. The assembly elections in the southern state are important for the national as well as the regional political parties.
Polls will be held for 234 seats in Tamil Nadu with the Congress-DMK and BJP-AIADMK alliance being the major groups contesting against each other.
The Bharatiya Janata Party at the Centre and the AIADMK-led government in the state can sense the ascendance of the DMK and seem determined to base their strategy on issues such as OBC reservation and religion-related controversies.
The opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK)-led front, which includes the Congress, had won 37 of the 39 Lok Sabha seats in Tamil Nadu in 2019.
AIADMK said they are running the government in accordance with J Jayalalithaa’s wishes. But with the support of the BJP at the centre, AIADMK implemented GST and demonetisation and introduced Neet exams in Tamil Nadu after the untimely death of Jayalalithaa in December 2016.
This is the first major set of elections to be held in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic after the Bihar election. The voting hours have been increased by an hour. The number of polling booths has also been increased from 66,007 to 88,936.
The state assembly elections will be conducted following all Covid-19 protocols issued by the Union Health Ministry. Similar to the Bihar polls, candidates for the election will also follow the guidelines while officials inside polling booths will wear masks, face shields, and gloves and use sanitisers. (ANI)

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