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President Kovind lauds Centre for ‘timely decision’, ‘saving lakhs of lives’ during pandemic

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New Delhi [India], January 29 (ANI): President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday lauded the Central government for its “timely decision”, during the onging COVID-19 pandemic, “that saved the lives of lakhs of citizens” and pointed out that the number of new coronavirus cases was going down rapidly in the country.
President Kovind, in his address to a joint sitting of the two Houses of Parliament, paid tribute to those who succumbed due to the virus.
“Joint sitting of Parliament amid Corona pandemic is essential. It’s a new year, a new decade and we are also entering into the 75th year of independence. Today all MPs are present here with message and trust that however tough be the challenge neither we nor India will stop. In this fight against the pandemic, we lost many citizens. Former President Pranab Mukherjee passed away in this Corona period. Six MPs left us untimely due to COVID. I pay my tribute to all of them,” he said.
“I am satisfied that the timely decision taken by my Government saved the lives of lakhs of citizens. Today the number of new COVID cases is going down rapidly. The number of recoveries is very high,” he added.
Commenting upon the vaccination drive against COVID-19 which started on January 26, President Kovind said, “It is a matter of pride that India is running the biggest vaccination programme in the world. Both vaccines of this programme are made in India. In this crisis, India shouldered its responsibility towards mankind and provided lakhs of doses of vaccines to several nations.”
“We have seen huge benefits of the work done by my government in the last 6 years in the health sector during this corona crisis,”
President said that the facilities of Ayushman Bharat Yojana can be availed in any of the 24,000 hospitals across the nation. “The poor are getting medicines at very low costs at 7000 centres across the country, under Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana,” he added.
The first part of the ongoing budget session will continue till February 15. The second part of the session will be held from March 8 to April 8.
Rajya Sabha will function from 9 am to 2 pm and Lok Sabha from 4 pm to 9 pm with Zero Hour and Question Hour. (ANI)

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Rape survivor set ablaze, succumbs to burn injuries in Rajasthan’s Hanumangarh

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Hanumangarh (Rajasthan) [India], March 6 (ANI): A rape survivor who was burnt in Goluwala village of Hanumangarh district succumbed to injuries on Friday in Jaipur during treatment.
“The accused was undergoing trial after the woman had filed a complaint. Family members expressed their doubts about him. We are investigating,” Preeti Jain, Superintendent of Police (SP) Hanumangarh told ANI.
The survivor was earlier admitted to a hospital in Sriganganagar but later referred to Bikaner as her condition went serious. Yesterday, she was taken to Jaipur where she died in the night.
The maternal grandmother of the survivor has filed a case against Pradeep Bishnoi at Goluwala police station for burning the victim. The grandmother also said that the survivor had filed a case against Bishnoi for rape and he had been on bail for one and a half years.
According to the deceased’s family, Bishnoi had been threatening and stalking her for the last 15 days.
Bishnoi has been in the custody of Goluwala police for two days and he is being interrogated.
According to police, the CCTV footage shows another person apart from Bishnoi. Meanwhile, the survivor named Bishnoi in her statement to police.
Further investigation is underway. (ANI)

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Govt organises awareness camp for handloom weavers in Srinagar

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Srinagar (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], March 6 (ANI): An awareness camp was organised by the Handlooms Development Department Srinagar on Friday for weavers and artisans to inform them about various schemes.
The camp also aimed at providing information about various initiatives undertaken by the department for the betterment of the artisan community and to advise them how to avail benefits of these schemes.
The officers at the camp highlighted the details of the Artisan Credit Card Scheme, financial support schemes of National Handloom Organization of Development scheme (NHDP) for Cooperatives or Self-help groups, Block Level Clusters and marketing support for the representation of their crafts on e-platform.
Details on design renovation, packaging of Handloom products were shared by the officers at the camp as well.

The representatives from banks and other government departments also attended the awareness camp to share their knowledge with the artisans.
Mushtaq Ahmad Assistant Director of Handicrafts department said, “This initiative by the government aims to make artisans aware of all schemes for the welfare of weavers and for the development of craft and handloom products.”
“Officials of Khadhi village industries board, several bank cluster heads and Director of Rural self-employment training institute center were also at the camp to share their knowledge about schemes and initiatives for the welfare of the artisans. “
“Khadi village industries board said that they have made a Charkha that gives ten times normal production. Such information is beneficial to the weavers,” he added.
Kumail Syed, the trainer of the program, said, “The awareness program has made the artisans aware of all schemes under the department.”
“There are many weavers who are illiterate. They were told in the Kashmiri language how they could start a small establishment. They were told about a credit card scheme where pashmina weavers could avail a loan up to Rs 2 lakhs with just one registration at the department, free of any cost,” he added.
Raquiya Jan an artisan said, ” I got a lot of information at the camp. We were told about the procedure to avail benefits of many schemes run by the handloom department, and how to avail loans. We were also told about credit card schemes and mudra loans.”
Rehana Bhat another artisan said, “More such programs should be conducted. Weavers do not know the benefit of these schemes. They know that they can get a loan with an artisan card but they have to be guided on what to do with the loan.”
“The artisans get marketing linkages and stalls for exhibition with the department’s support,” she added. (ANI)

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Tripura royal scion breaks down in tears during public address over non-participation of IPFT in ‘Greater Tipraland’

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Sepahijala (Tripura) [India], March 6 (ANI): Tripura royal scion and former Congress president Pradyot Kishore Deb Barman on Friday broke down in tears as he addressed a gathering and said that he felt like being stabbed from behind following non-participation of the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) in the rally.
He said that he feared that if the Tiprasa communities are not united and remain fragmented as it has been since Tripura merged with India more than 70 years back, then the very existence of the community would be threatened.
Speaking to ANI, Deb Barman said “He is hopeful that IPFT will go by the agreement signed with him and earlier in the morning he had a telephonic discussion with the party’s president N C Debbarma and hopefully they will respond in a positive manner.”
However, the Indigenous Progressive Regional Alliance (TIPRA) chief said that he had no discussion with the BJP and if there was to be any discussion then the invitation should come from Delhi directly as there is no use talking with the local BJP leadership who are only interested in seat-sharing for the forthcoming TTAADC election. He said that he considered his call of ‘Greater Tipraland’ as being a much bigger matter.
Meantime, Bijoy Kumar Hrangkhawl, INPT president said that he is hopeful that most of the regional parties will come together and fight the Autonomous District Council (ADC) election together so that more funds could be allotted from the government of India and for the development of the ADC areas.
Hrangkhawl, a former rebel turned MLA added that he along with the royal scion had met the IPFT president N C Debbarma and for the greater cause of coming to power in ADC, he is even ready to sacrifice seats in the coming district council vote but all of a sudden the INPT leaders have changed their mind and so they are helpless.
The political dynamics of the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) election here is constantly taking new twists as allies between the political parties are changing regularly.
Friday saw a new twist with ruling BJP ally IPFT which has stitched alliance with newly formed TIPRA party of the Tripura royal scion Pradyot Kishore Deb Barman but was missing from the mass gathering at Bishramgan which called for ‘Greater Tipraland’ demand.
On the contrary, once Congress ally INPT president Bijoy Kumar Hrangkhawl was found accompanying Deb Barman who sometime back resigned as the Congress party chief of Tripura and had called for a major alliance of the Tiprasa community in his protest against the national parties. (ANI)

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Night curfew in Jalandhar from Saturday amid surge in COVID-19 cases

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Jalandhar (Punjab) [India], March 6 (ANI): Night curfew will be in place from Saturday 11 pm to 5 am until further notice in Punjab’s Jalandhar district following the continuous surge in the COVID-19 cases.
“Observing the hike in the COVID-19 cases in Jalandhar district, night curfew has been imposed from 11 pm to 5 am from March 6 and will be applicable till further notice,” read a notice issued by the office of Jalandhar District Magistrate Ghanshyam Thori on Saturday.
Curfew has been imposed under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) 1973 and the National Disaster Management Act, 2005.
According to the union health ministry’s update on Saturday morning, Punjab had 6,661 active cases. As many as 5,898 people have so far lost their lives to COVID-19 in the state.
The central government has, meanwhile, rushed high-level multi-disciplinary public health teams to Maharashtra and Punjab in view of the increase in the number of daily new COVID-19 cases being consistently reported by these states.
The teams will visit the hotspot areas in the states and ascertain the reasons for the surge. They will also brief the Chief Secretary and Secretary (H) on their observations and remedial measures to be undertaken by the state health authorities. (ANI)

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Vizag steel plant privatisation row: CM has offered better solutions, says Vijayasai Reddy

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Visakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh) [India], March 6 (ANI): Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy has shown alternate ways besides privatisation that will yield profits, said YSRCP MP Vijayasai Reddy following the state-wide bandh at the Maddilapalem Junction in Visakhapatnam against the Centre’s decision to privatise the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant.
At the protest which was held on Friday, Reddy also hit out at the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), who have also expressed opposition against the same and participated in the bandh.
“The state government is directly fighting the steel plant privatisation and Chief Minister Jaganmohan Reddy has shown alternative ways. If they are practised, profits will come. The YSRCP opposes the decision to privatise the steel plant,” he said.
“(TDP chief) Chandrababu responded 10 days after the chief minister wrote a letter. TDP means ‘Drama Party’. Naidu and his son Nara Lokesh are playing games on the steel plant issue. Resignations are useless. We will continue to fight this decision,” the YSRCP leader added, referring to TDP MLA Ganta Srinivasa Rao’s resignation from his post in protest against the Centre’s move earlier last month.
The YSRCP leader also formed a human chain in protest against the Centre’s move to privatise the steel plant.
Nearly all political parties and other organisations in the state, except the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), participated in the state-wide bandh observed peacefully on Friday against the central government’s decision to privatise the Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL) Visakhapatnam, popularly known as Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP). (ANI)

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Mukesh Sahni accepted mistake of sending brother for govt’s event: Bihar CM

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Patna (Bihar) [India], March 6 (ANI): A day after Bihar Minister Mukesh Sahni deputed his brother as his “representative” to a government function, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday said that Sahni has accepted his mistake and promised not to repeat it.
While speaking to the media, Kumar said, “Sometimes, a person doesn’t have info about everything. It was explained to him. He realised and agreed that it was a mistake. It is not right if a family or party member attends it officially instead of the minister. I talked to Mukesh Sahni and he said that he did not do it intentionally, he had no idea of its effect.”
“Party supporters, well-wishers of a minister can go to any event. But no one can represent a minister officially during an event,” he added.
Kumar also thanked the Opposition for bringing the incident to his notice, however, he said, “But the issue needs not to be extended further as the Minister has apologised and promised not to repeat it.”
Bihar Animal Husbandry and Fisheries Minister Mukesh Sahni’s brother Santosh Sahni participated in a government program and handed over the keys of vehicles to beneficiaries on Friday.
A vehicle distribution event was organised for fishermen belonging to scheduled castes and extremely backward castes under a fishery marketing scheme by the Department of Animal and Fisheries Resources at Akshayavat Rai Stadium in Hajipur of Vaishali district.
The banner at the venue had the name of the department’s minister Mukesh Sahni as the inaugurator, but the minister did not arrive, instead, his brother Santosh Sahni attended the event.
He not only inaugurated the event amidst the presence of government officials but also distributed vehicles among the beneficiaries. When reporters asked him about Mukesh Sahni, he said that due to the busy schedule, the minister could not attend the event. (ANI)

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