Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh wrote a two-page letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday, highlighting five suggestions for tackling the second and more severe Covid-19 wave in India.
In the letter, Dr Singh emphasised on the vaccination programme and urged PM Modi to focus on the percentage of the population vaccinated and allow states more flexibility to plan vaccination rollouts.
His first suggestion was to publicise Covid vaccine orders placed for the next six months. “The government should publicise what are the firm orders for doses placed on different vaccine producers and accepted for delivery over the next six months. If we want to vaccinate a target number in this period, we should place enough orders in advance so that producers can adhere to an agreed schedule of supply,” said the ex-PM.
After this, he suggested that PM Modi’s government indicate how the expected supply would be distributed across the states based on “a transparent formula”. “The central government could retain 10 per cent for distribution based on emergency needs, but other than that, states should have a clear signal of likely availability so that they can plan their roll out,” he said.
The third piece of advice was to give states more flexibility in aspects like defining frontline workers and deciding who is to be vaccinated, even if they are under 45 years of age. “For example, states may want to designate school teachers, bus, three-wheeler and taxi drivers, municipal and panchayat staff, and possibly lawyers who have to attend courts as frontline workers. They can then be vaccinated even if they are below 45,” wrote Dr Singh in the letter.
He then advised the PM to proactively support vaccine producers to expand their manufacturing facilities rapidly by providing them with funds and other concessions. “I believe this is the time to invoke the compulsory licensing provisions in the law, so that a number of companies are able to produce the vaccines under a licence. This, I recall, had happened earlier in the case of medicines to deal with the HIV/AIDS disease,” he said, also supporting his point with the example of Israel, which has invoked compulsory licensing.
Finally, in light of limited supply of domestic vaccines, Dr Singh suggested that any vaccine that has been cleared for use by credible authorities such as the European Medical Agency or the USFDA should be allowed to be imported without insisting on domestic bridging trials. Those who would opt for such vaccines should be disclosed of this fact. He assured that experts believe such a relaxation is justified in case of an emergency.
“I am certain that with the right policy design, we can do much better and very quickly,” he added.
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HARYANA GOVT SETS UP 100-BED COVID CARE ICU
In order to ensure quality healthcare facilities even in the deepest pockets of the State, Government of Haryana has set up a 100-bed critical COVID ICU in Shaheed Hasan Khan Mewati Government Medical College located in the outskirts of Nuh in Nalhar.
The hospital will cater to the medical needs of patients from adjoining NCR-region, Alwar, Mathura, Rewari and Palwal as well, easing off the burden on health institutes in this area.
Sharing information in this regard an official spokesperson of Department of Medical Education and Research said: “As per the instructions of GoI (Government of India), a triple layer oxygen planning has been done in medical colleges and the constituent hospitals. Taking steps in this regard, the State Government through the Department of Medical Education and Research has started this 100-bedded ICU where Liquid Medical oxygen tanks of 10,000 L capacity along with 3000 LPM capacity PSA plants along with 1026 D- type oxygen cylinders have been installed in Nalhar Nuh.”
The spokesperson said that the existing capacity of Gas Manifold has been augmented to cater to the need along with the medical gas pipeline work. During the second wave there was a rush of thousands of patients from Delhi-NCR region towards the State of Haryana especially in adjoining districts to seek the medical care, he elaborated. Considering such demand, the existing capacity has been augmented and a 100 bed Critical COVID care ICU has been set up to meet the rising requirements and needs of the people.
“Thus, this completes the oxygen triad for COVID patients care. First being PSA plant, second being Liquid Oxygen tank and third being D-Type cylinders. In case of demand for oxygen the same will be pressed into the service as per the need basis,” he added.
The spokesperson said that man and material is the desired combination which is required to achieve the goal of providing superlative healthcare facilities. Thus, ventilators and equipment along with drugs and consumables have been purchased to make it functional. In addition to equipment 143 SRs (Senior Resident doctors) have already joined Government medical colleges along with 54 more specialist doctors as faculty have been offered joining.
Further, as many as 275 staff nurses’ recruitment is under process and another 85 faculty of specialist doctors’ recruitment process is about to commence soon. With such a large skilled manpower the State Government is ready to meet any eventuality in days to come wherever and whenever the need arises.
HARYANA NOTIFIES WASTE MANAGEMENT PLAN FOR INDUSTRIES
Haryana Government has notified the ‘Assistance for Waste Management Scheme’ for Industrial Sector under which incentives will be provided to the industries in the state to encourage them to carry out waste management activities including collection, transportation, treatment, and disposal of waste which is not just environmentally, socially, and financially sustainable but is also economically viable. Giving information in this regard an official spokesperson of Industries and Commerce Department said that the Scheme shall commence with effect from January 1, 2021 and shall remain in operation for a period of 5 years. The assistance shall be admissible on the purchase of land, machinery and equipment on or after January 1, 2021 and before December 31, 2025.
He said that under Assistance for Waste Management Scheme, a financial assistance of 50 percent of project cost (land and building subject to maximum of 25 percent of Project cost) including machinery and equipment up to Rs 50 Crore will be provided to facilitate setting up of electronic waste management and e-waste recovery projects for industries operating in Electronics System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) sector.The spokesperson said that New Ultra-Mega Projects, Mega Projects, Large Industries, Micro, Small and Medium enterprises operating in Electronics System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) sector anywhere in the State shall only be provided financial support by way of reimbursement of expenditure incurred.
The spokesperson said that the restrictive list of the Industries notified under HEEP-2020 shall not be applicable for this assistance. The eligible Units shall also comply with the conditions i.e. the unit shall file IEM/Udhyam Registration Certificate (URC) and Haryana Udhyam Memorandum (HUM) on the portal for the statistical purpose, at any stage. He said that the unit should have obtained NOC/CLU from Competent Authority if applicable. The unit should be in commercial production. He said that the unit should be in regular production at the time of disbursement and the subsidy shall not be released to a closed unit.
NO TREE CUTTING, SALE ALLOWED IN PUNJAB TILL FURTHER ORDERS
There would be no stumpage permission in Punjab till further orders as mentioned in the recent notification of the Department of Rural Development and Panchayat Punjab.
This comes after the orders issued by t the Punjab and Haryana High Court under PIL and Writ petition that the department released the notification vide no. 25/04/2020/LD-3/3994-3996. The notification said that the tree selling policy is under reconsideration and till then there would be no tree cutting and sale in the State of Punjab.
As per the Notification, there was a tree selling policy in the Panchayat area which was made in the year 2000 but the policy was never taken into action, hence the panchayat used to severe the trees and sell them at their capacity. The respected Court took the notice of the matter and has asked the respective departments to stop this practice till the policy is reconsidered.
The notification referring to the Punjab and Haryana Court order read, “On the subject of alleged illegal felling of 2,058 trees in the premises of the Faridkot Cooperative Sugar Mills Limited, we direct the PCCF (Hoff), Punjab to look into the grievance.
EC NOTIFICATION FOR BENGAL CIVIC POLLS SOON
The West Bengal Election Commission started preparations for the three municipal polls. It has recently come to light that the state government is keen to hold pre-polls in Kolkata, Howrah and Bidhannagar before Christmas in the third week of December.
However, neither the Election Commission nor any representative of the state government has publicly acknowledged this. But in the words of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, there was a hint that the vote could take place as soon as the festive season is over.
After winning the Bhabanipur by-election, she said efforts would be made to expedite the state’s municipal polls. After receiving such an indication from the Chief Minister, the State Election Commission has started tidying up the houses like themselves. According to sources, the polls of three municipalities may be held on December 12 or 19.
The Election Commission wants to end the voting in these three municipalities before the Christmas holidays. It will be able to complete a long-pending phase of the pre-vote. At the same time, the rest of the municipalities can go a long way in preparing for the polls.
According to the source, if the chatpujo is completed, the notification of voting may be issued on behalf of the commission. Incidentally, the Election Commission started preparations for the pre-poll in February 2020. But due to the corona infection, all the preparations got stuck. The pre-poll also went back. But at that time, the work of preparing for the referendum, including the rearrangement of seats, went ahead.
Therefore, according to the sources of the commission, they will not have to get too much speed in the preparation of the vote this time. “Our initial preparations were completed in March last year,” said an Election Commission official. But as the vote was delayed, we could no longer move forward. But with the vote in the third week of December, we have started preparations again. However, in the case of voting, there are some things that cannot be started unless the vote is declared. So as soon as the vote is announced, the work will start,” he said, adding,“Since the vote will be held in Kolkata, Howrah and Bidhannagar. So, it doesn’t seem like too much pressure will fall on us. I think the rest of the municipal polls will be held next year.”
It is to be noted that there are about one and a half years left for voting in Kolkata. It has been under the purview of the city administrator since May 2020. Howrah Municipality is again being managed by the Municipal Administration from October 2016.
Bengal’s former Chief Secy moves Calcutta HC after CAT transfers case to Delhi
Retired Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay has approached the Calcutta High Court challenging the directive of the Principal Bench (Delhi) of the Central Administrative Tribunal. There is a possibility of that hearing to take place on Wednesday.
On October 22, the principal bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) directed the Calcutta bench to move the case to Delhi. Bandopadhyay has approached the High Court on Tuesday challenging that directive.
The Department of Personnel and Training launched an investigation into allegations of breach of discipline against Alapanbabu. He was summoned to Delhi on October 16 for a preliminary hearing. However, the hearing of his request has been postponed to November 2. He already filed an application in the High Court.
The incident dates to May 26 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi called a review meeting in Kalaikunda that day to assess the situation of Cyclone Yaas . Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and the then Chief Secretary Alapan Banerjee were supposed to be present there. However, he did not attend the PM’s meeting as he was busy managing the damage.
Then came the question of his role. He was summoned to Delhi. He was given a letter to appear in the North Block in Delhi. But Alapana Banerjee decided to retire without appearing there.
As the Prime Minister and Chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority Narendra Modi did not attend the meeting, Alapana Banerjee was accused of violating the Disaster Management Act. Why no action will be taken against him for violating the Disaster Management Act? That answer was sought from Alapana Banerjee. He then retired.
The Centre made a show-cause to Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay for not attending the scheduled time in Delhi. The letter was given to him on behalf of the Centre’s staff office under the Disaster Management Act of 2005. The protest was called to find out the reason why he did not show up despite the instructions. The Department of Personnel and Training then launched an investigation into allegations of misconduct.
He recently filed a case in the Calcutta Bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal seeking dismissal of the inquiry. The hearing was held on October 22. The Department of Personnel and Training had applied to the Principal Bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal to move the case from Kolkata to Delhi.
On the basis of this application, the Delhi Bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal directed to transfer the case from Kolkata on October 22. This time he challenged that instruction and approached the High Court.
CONTESTANTS MAY FACE INFIGHTING IN ELLENABAD BYPOLLS
With 4 days left in Ellenabad by-poll, the contestants hailing from all parties are leaving no stone unturned to win the battle. Amid this, political experts are of the opinion that the most contestants are likely to face infighting due several reasons. Pawan Beniwal, who has been fielded by the Congress party, is most likely to face infighting after he was given a ticket and his uncle Bharat Beniwal was denied ticket. The Congress claims to convince him in support of his nephew Pawan. In continuation to this, Bharat has started canvassing for Pawan but possibility of infighting can not be denied. It is worth mentioning that Pawan and Bharat both were in Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) earlier and joined the Congress.
On the contrary, Govind Kanda who is fighting the election on the ticket of ruling faction BJP, will have to face more hurdles as he does not seem in a position to recognise who can harm him in terms of voting in the party. Although, he is putting his best to emerge as winner in this battle. He recently joined the BJP leaving his brother Gopal Kanda’s party Haryana Lokhit Party (HLP) who continues to support the ruling party BJP.
n this series, Abhay Chautala, who believed to be the strongest claimant of the victory, is also facing hurdles as his own brother Ajay Chautala and his nephew Dushyant Chautala (both JJP leaders) continue to convass against him at large scale and may get. him decreased vote bank. Abhay has won this seat thrice back to back and Ellenabad has been considered as his bastion. Besides , the Congress stalwarts namely Bhupinder Singh Hooda,leader of opposition and the state party president Kumari Seleja are on toes to get their contestant victory. Besides, more than 20 Congress legislators along with Deepender Hooda, Rajya Sabha MP and son of Bhupender Singh Hooda are canvassing in support of the party candidate
Thus, the by poll has turned into a multi-cornered battle to some extent. All parties have fielded their star campaigners for canvassing and similarly, the Chief Minister and the BJP stalwart Manohar Lal has to visit Ellenabad for the canvassing. In wake of the ongoing scenario, the by-election has become a battle of prestige which is evident from the presence of all party stalwarts in Ellenabad. Thus, all party leaders are on the toes to woo the voters.
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