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Only 60 districts are cause of worry: PM Modi to CMs of 7 worst-hit Covid states

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while emphasising on effecting testing, asks states to reassess if lockdowns of one or two days are helpful in containing Covid-19.

Brijesh Pandey

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi o n Wednesday evening chaired a high-level virtual meeting with Chief Ministers of seven states with the highest number of coronavirus cases in the country. He emphasised the need to increase focus on “effective testing, tracing, treatment and surveillance” to bring the coronavirus outbreak in the country under control. 

He said: “Effective messaging is also necessary because most Covid-19 infections are without symptoms. In such a situation, rumours may rise. It might raise doubts in the minds of the people that testing is bad. Some people also make mistake of underestimating the severity of infection.” 

The states attending Wednesday’s meet include Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Delhi and Punjab. More than 63% of the active cases in the country are concentrated in these seven states. Health ministers of these states also attended the meeting.

 “There are more than 700 districts in the country, but only 60 districts in seven states are a cause of worry. I suggest CMs to hold virtual conference with people at district/block level for seven days. We’ve to learn from the best practices from across the states,” the PM said. 

The PM also asked states to reassess if lockdowns of one or two days are effective in containing Covid-19 and told them to press on with full strength in opening economic activities while fighting the virus. Modi also said that “micro containment zones” should be the way forward as it will curb the infection spread and also allow activities to go on. “India has ensured the supply of life-saving medicines all over the world even in difficult times. We have to work together to see that the medicines easily reach from one state to another,” he added. Apart from this, the PM also spoke about how several states had asked for increase in SDRF and the government has decided to increase the expenditure from 35% to 50%. 

 Recently, some of the states, like Delhi and Punjab, have seen a spurt in cases.

 Maharashtra, Punjab and Delhi have also seen a greater number of fatalities, with more than 2.0% case fatality rate, as quoted by officials.

 India logged 83,527 fresh cases of coronavirus this morning–a tally of 24 hours — which took the total to over 56 lakh cases. The country has also seen more than 90,000 deaths. The nation is the second worst-hit in the world after the United States. 

During the meet, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh urged PM Modi to direct urgent steps to ensure adequate supplies from other states and also sought expeditious release of Rs 200 crore that the state government had requested as the next tranche of Central aid for Covid management.

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For real estate players there might be opportunity in the pandemic: Abdullah Hussain, Director, Amaltas India Limited

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Abdullah Husain

In an exclusive conversation with NewsX for its special segment NewsX A-list, Abdullah Hussain, Director of Amaltas India Limited talks about the real estate sector, business insights and his journey so far.

Talking about the key challenges for the real estate sector foreseen in a post COVID world, Hussain said “Right now we are sitting at post lockdown stage and not post COVID stage. So, the lockdown has its own impact on the real estate industry which will take its own time to recover. Firstly, we’ll talk about the financial bodies involved in this, and the need of time, for the real estate sector. For example, I would say that the moratorium period given by the financial institutions was not enough, the real estate demanded for at least 12 months of moratorium period. And unfortunately, the loan restart restructurings did not take place as they were.”

Other than the financial front Hussain shares about how the pandemic affected the sector, “There is a shift of new launches, even in our company, we had five or six projects which were to be launched in FY 20 but now we have shifted them in second half of FY 21. So, this is a very deep issue. We are disposing off our ready to move in properties at very low prices to sustain and manage this crisis. It is breaking the whole cash flow cycle.”

Hussain also addresses the issue of labour shortage and recovery, “the labour and shortage of construction material in this sector has also affected it adversely. So, these all issues combined have adversely affected real estate which would further take a lot of time to recover.”

The Amaltas Group is Bhopal’s premier real estate developer and Hussain throws light on some of the biggest opportunities for this sector in a post COVID world too. “For a few real estate players that might be opportunity time for them because there are lands and very cheap rates and there are many different opportunities like the demand and supply ratio. I feel it will accelerate post-COVID-19 because there is a sense of having a shifting from a rented property to having your own home. So there is a feeling of being more secure and that feeling of safety, developing and growing and everyone’s mind, so that will accelerate the real estate sector.”

Hussain also elaborated on affordable housing as a plus point, “Affordable housing might boom because the middle-aged and middle-class people already have their own home. So, this might make the youngsters to come up with an idea of having their own home and investing in affordable housing, rather than spending on their lifestyles and apart from that We have also got some relaxation home loans and reduction of interest rates, so this will again boost the real estate sector as the overall player essential role to uplift this sector.”

Hussain talks about his own brand and their multi ventures along with key products, “It is a very diversified form of business which is commodity as well as FMCG business. We came up with the idea of this amongst us about multi ventures in 2017. Our vision was that the market was booming at that time and we were doing quite well in Madhya Pradesh. The basic idea was to be in every household, and deliver our quality in every household so we have a variety of products. We have diversified things in terms of categories where we have home care and personal care as well as healthcare.”

On a concluding note, Hussain talks about his company’s role during the lockdown and Modi’s Make in India vision, “Our CSR team has done a lot in terms of distributing masks, sanitisers and food packets. There was a very patriotic feeling starting this company at that time. PM Narendra Modi Ji had a vision of Make in India and one more idea of which we had in mind, was to compete with international players with our brands. We are taking that venture while expanding our name with quality and helping people by generating more and more employment, and being more patriotic.”

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9-YEAR-OLD BOY KIDNAPPED FOR RANSOM, PARTIALLY DECOMPOSED BODY FOUND

Lokeswara Rao

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A charred body of an abducted nine-year-old boy was recovered in Mahabubabad district of Telangana on Thursday.

A boy named Deekshith Reddy was kidnapped on Sunday and kidnappers had been in contact with the victim’s parents till Wednesday asking for money.

However, according to the police, the child was killed the same day he was abducted.

Deekshith’s father Ravinder Reddy works for a Telugu news channel.

Parents approached Telangana police and special teams immediately pressed into action to find the missing child. Eight teams were constituted to nab the kidnappers and rescue the child.

Police found that the suspects were using private numbers and making internet calls to avoid being traced.

They had even warned the parents of dire consequences if they did not agree to pay Rs 45 lakh ransom and the parents agreed to give the money and showed the cash on video call also.

On Wednesday, police apprehended Manoj Reddy, who disclosed the plot. Police later found that the child had already been killed and his body was dumped.

According to Mahabubabad police, Deekshith had been kidnapped by a man named Sagar, who was well acquainted with the boy.

Based on the initial confession of the accused, Sagar had kidnapped the boy to demand ransom money from his parents. But he soon realised that he hadn’t thought the whole plan through and that the boy would now identify him as the culprit if he allowed him to return home safely.

Police said that Sagar has now confessed that he had already strangulated and killed Deekshith by then.

Mahabubabad SP said, “About an hour after taking Deekshith away, he (Sagar) found it difficult to deal with him, as the boy is very active. He started rethinking his plan, as the boy could identify him if he remained alive. He then strangled the boy and later burnt the dead body.”

Sagar is a mechanic who runs an automobile repair shop and is familiar with the slain Deekshith.

Sagar called the boy by saying “sit on the bike and let’s go out, I have some work”. The boy told his friends that ‘anna’ (brother) had called so he would go along and return soon. Later this brutal murder happened.

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Farmers intensify protest against Jagan government’s capital trifurcation plan

Lokeswara Rao

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Agitated over the Jagan government’s plan to trifurcate the capital of Andhra Pradesh, the farmers have intensified their protest which is continuing for more than 300 days in the Amaravati region.

Farmers were protesting by wearing masks of Modi and demanding ‘One state One capital’. High tension prevailed in Uddandarayunipalem in the Amaravati region when police forces were deployed to evict protesters who gathered at the tents that were put up near the foundation stone for the capital city of Amaravati which was laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Many farmers and women took part in a padayatra from capital villages Rayapudi, Mandadam, Guntur to Uddhandrayunipalem, where the PM laid the foundation stone.

They raised slogans and said the Jagan government betrayed them on the construction of Amaravati capital. The protesting farmers of Amaravati got due permission from the police to gather at Uddandarayunipalem. As hundreds of police personnel entered the protest area, the Amaravati farmers chanted “Save Amaravati- one state one capital Amaravati.”

Five years ago, on 22 October 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had laid the foundation stone for Amaravati; the capital of Andhra Pradesh. But Jagan Mohan Reddy led Andhra Pradesh government is planning to set up three capitals – administrative capital at Visakhapatnam, legislative capital at Amaravathi and judicial capital at Kurnool.

Five years have passed but not much development can be seen in the capital city, alleged farmers.

Meanwhile, police asked the farmers to vacate the tents and return home. The police said another group owing allegiance to three-capitals gathered at the Amaravati foundation stone and raised slogans in favor of three capitals.

The farmers said that they had donated 33,000 acres of their agricultural lands for Amaravati as capital. Congress leader Sunkara Padma also actively participated in the protests and supported the farmers who have been agitating for the capital of Amaravati.

Telugu Desam Party chief N Chandrababu Naidu has slammed the YSRCP government for the decision to trifurcate the state capital.

On the other hand, Dalits in the Amaravati capital region have come out in support of the three capital formula of the YSRCP government. They too protested against one state one capital and demanded the development should be there in all parts.

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HYDERABAD STARTUP DEVELOPS MUSHROOM-BASED IMMUNITY BOOSTER AGAINST COVID-19

Lokeswara Rao

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Many political parties and various state governments have started announcing the distribution of free Covid-19 vaccine but the invention of the vaccine may take a long time.

Even if it is invented, it is difficult to distribute to the public, says the premier research organization, The Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology (CCMB)

CCMB Director Rakesh Mishra told The Daily Guardian, “It’s difficult to get the vaccine early and we must be prepared to fight the pandemic without a vaccine. The masks are the real vaccine. We must follow the Covid-19 protocol like wearing a mask, using sanitizer and maintaining social distancing.”

“We are working on the three varied platforms in association with other CSIR labs in Chandigarh and Kolkata on potential vaccines to deal with the Covid-19 virus. These platforms are slightly different from the vaccines currently under testing. They are based on ‘pseudovirus’ and ‘pre-processed proteins,” he added further.

On the other hand, a startup called Clone Deals incubated at the Atal Incubation Centre of the Hyderabad-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (AIC-CCMB) has developed a food supplement derived from a mushroom variety that grows in the Himalayan region, which it claims will help in boosting immunity against Covid-19.

The mushroom, Cordyceps militaris, is known for its immune-boosting and antioxidant components. The novel nutraceutical developed by the startup Clone Deals has been named ‘CoronAid’.

The CEO of AIC CCMD Madhusudan Rao said, “We can use this immunity booster Coronaid to counter coronavirus. It was developed here without any side effects. If we have good immunity, the Corona cannot affect us.”

The startup Clone Deals has obtained FSSAI approval for marketing. The CCMB in a press release said that a chemical known as Cordycepin in the mushroom is known to prevent the formation of new DNA and RNA strands.

Clone Deals collaborated with scientists from CCMB to establish the potency of cordycepin in stopping the growth of the Covid-19-causing coronavirus in a cell culture system. Studies show that cordycepin inhibits the multiplication of the coronavirus.

Clone Deals representative Dr. Atik Patel hoped that the CoronAid would be a new year gift to the world and add considerable protection against the virus. The CoronAid is exclusively marketed worldwide by Nuzen Herbals Private Limited, Hyderabad.

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SVKU Vice-Chancellor gets most inspiring VC award

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The Federation of Quality Education Council, Mumbai has awarded the most inspiring Vice-Chancellor Award to the Vice-Chancellor of Shri Vishwakarma Skill University (Haryana), Raj Nehru for his excellence and superior leadership in the field of education.

The selection has been made keeping in mind the specific contribution made under the theme of Educational Innovation, Honesty and Ethics, Track Record, Process Management, Quality of Services, and related subjects. The Vice-chancellor of the university, Raj Nehru, expressed his happiness and dedicated the award to the university staff and students. He said that the staff and students of SVSU have a significant contribution to the construction of the university.

Nehru said that to promote education, we need to ensure that children are given better education since childhood. Universities and higher education institutions play an important role in developing skills in the areas of the economy, innovation, research, employment generation, healthcare, agriculture, etc. among students.

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PMK calls for protests demanding 20% reservation for Vanniyar community

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Taking a dig at AIADMK government, Pattali Makkal Katchi founder S. Ramadoss on Thursday said, “Jaganmohan in Andhra Pradesh does what he promises and has done more than what he promised. But the administrators here are refusing to pay heed to the demands of the people.”

This was tweeted along with a statement from Pattali Makkal Katchi founder Ramadoss calling for massive protests starting 2021 demanding a 20% reservation for the Vanniyar community.

Ramadoss has asked the cadres to be ready for the fight like they did in 1987 by blocking the roads for one week. In his statement, Ramadoss has stated that it is their 40-year-old demand seeking a 20 % special reservation for their community.

PMK, an alliance partner, slammed the AIADMK for not exerting pressure on the Governor regarding the 7.5% reservation bill. This comes at the time when the alliance negotiations are to begin for the 2021 assembly elections in the State.

PMK which holds a commendable influence over the Vanniyar community predominantly in the north Tamil Nadu contested in 7 seats during the Parliamentary elections and lost. Anbumani Ramadoss had been projected as their Chief Minister candidate for the 2016 assembly elections.

This comes at the time when there are reports that PMK is in touch with a senior leader of DMK for the 2021assembly elections and the very idea of this talks was protested by Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi, the arch-rival of PMK who is in the DMK alliance.

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