New Delhi [India], February 14 (ANI): With an aim to expand its footprint in South India, the Bharatiya Janata Party will launch ‘Vijaya Yathra’, a rath yatra in Kerala ahead of the state assembly polls later this year.
The rath yatra will be launched on February 21 from Kasaragod and will culminate at Thiruvananthapuram around the first week of March.
The move comes as part of the party’s attempts to increase its footprint in South India. The yatra would be launched by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
While Yogi will inaugurate the yatra, several cabinet ministers and top post holders in the party would lead the rath yatra throughout the event.
“It is more on lines of Jan Raksha yatra that we took out led by Amit Shah. However, that was against the political violence against our karyakartas and people of the state. Vijaya Yathra is to sound the bugle of polls and to win them,” said a senior functionary of BJP Kerala unit.
Earlier this month, JP Nadda, BJP national president, on a two-day visit to the poll-bound state, reviewed organisational activities in wake of upcoming elections.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi too would be inaugurating and dedicating few projects in Cochin today.
Kerala is scheduled to go to polls in April. In 2016 assembly elections out of 140 seats, BJP had won one seat – Nemom. The senior leaders believe that the party is likely to improve its performance in the upcoming elections. (ANI)
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ED summons KIIFB CEO, Dy MD in unauthorised external borrowing case
Kochi (Kerala) [India], March 3 (ANI): Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday sent a notice to KM Abraham, CEO of the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB), asking him to appear before its Kochi office on March 5.
ED also sent a notice to KIIFB’s Deputy Managing Director Vikramjit Singh, asking him to appear before its Kochi office tomorrow, March 4.
Yesterday, ED registered a case against KIIFB for external borrowings through Masala Bonds without the permission of the union government. (ANI)
Chandigarh Administration introduces category for ‘Super Mild Beer’ in new Excise Policy
Chandigarh [India], March 3 (ANI): Aiming to balance the aspirations of the consumers, manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers and the government, Chandigarh Administration on Wednesday approved the new Excise Policy for 2021-22.
As per an official release, in order to promote the low alcoholic contents, a new category of Beer — Super Mild Beer containing alcoholic content up to 3.5 per cent vis-a-vis has been introduced.
“The Excise Policy for the year 2021-22 would help to earn revenue approx Rs 700 crores. The allotment of licensing units will continue to be made through the complete e-tendering system for more transparency and a complete online system for issuance of permits and passes to facilitate Trade and Industry,” the administration said.
The number of liquor vends has been increased from 94 to 96. “To curb the menace of cartelization and monopolistic practices, a single entity of firms/companies/individuals will be entitled to allotment up to a maximum of 10 vends only.,” it added.
In order to boost the hospitality industry and tourism in Chandigarh, the administration said there is no increase in the license fee of the hotels/bars/restaurants.
“The facility of Mini Bar is allowed in three-star and four-star hotels in addition to five-star or above category of hotels. In order to promote the low alcoholic contents, a new category of Beer –Super Mild Beer containing alcoholic content up to 3.5 per cent v/v has been introduced. The facility of kegging of beer in Kegs of 50 litre capacity (manufactured in microbreweries of Chandigarh) is also allowed to microbrewery licensee and a licensee can sell draught beer against Excise Permits to bars/restaurants and clubs licensees by following proper standard safety measures. The licensee, shall not pack beer in bottles, cans or pouches for sale,” the administration said.
The administration made the ‘Alcometer facility’ mandatory for taverns (Ahatas), and further to promote low alcoholic contents beverages like beer, wine and particularly to boost the Indian wine industry the license fee and excise duty have not been increased.
Excise duty on country liquor has also not been increased by the administration, however, excise levies on Indian-made foreign liquor (IMFL) have been increased by approximately 6 per cent.
“The basic quota of IMFL has been increased from 100 lacs PL to 110 lacs PL, the basic quota of country liquor is increased from 8 lacs PL to 12 lacs PL and the quota of foreign liquor (Bio Brand Whisky) has been increased from 3.30 lacs PL to 3.50 lacs PL. The quota of country liquor and IFL shops have been rationalized keeping in view of the differential demands in city shops and village shops,” it added.
The administration said the Cow Cess will continue, and added that no new bottling plant license will be granted during this Excise Policy Year 2021-22. (ANI)
Man held for murder in Andhra’s Nellore
Nellore (Andhra Pradesh) [India], March 3 (ANI): Andhra Pradesh Police on Tuesday evening arrested a person for allegedly killing a 50-year-old man in Mahimaluru village of Atmakuru Mandal in Andhra Pradesh’s Nellore district.
The accused was produced before the court today.
“The accused Mamillapalli Jayaramaiah and the victim Thota Venkata Narasaiah, both are the residents of Mahimaluru village. Jayaramaiah allegedly murdered Narasaiah on February 27,” Atmakuru circle inspector Somaiah told media.
“Jayaramaiah is into the illegal liquor business. Special Enforcement Bureau police had raided on the house of Jayaramaiah for illicit liquor on February 27. Jayaramaiah suspected that Venkata Narasaiah might have given information about him,” the inspector said.
“Both of them had a clash in the evening but the villagers pacified the matter for the time being. But Jayaramaiah allegedly stabbed Venkata Narasaiah who was sleeping in front of his house with a knife on the same day,” he said.
“Jayaramaiah ran away from the village after the incident. The police caught him on Tuesday evening at nearby village,” he added. (ANI)
ECI organizes briefing meeting of observers for upcoming Assembly Elections
New Delhi [India], March 3 (ANI): The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Wednesday organised a meeting for briefing general, police and expenditure observers who will be deployed in Assam, Kerala, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal during the upcoming Assembly election.
As per an official release, more than 1650 observers participated in the briefing meeting physically and virtually from more than 120 remote locations. “Officers from IAS, IPS, IRS, and other Central Services have been included to be deployed as General, Police and Expenditure Observers,” it said.
Addressing observers, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora said that observers are one of the most important torchbearers of Indian democracy. Arora said successful conduct of elections is always a combined feat of field officers and ECI where the observers and special observers also play a vital role. He added that, during these elections, observers will have an additional role in the randomisation of forces and their deployment.
CEC said the resilience of Indian democracy lies in the fact that the so-said “common man” plays a decisive role in government formation. “The motto of ECI is to ensure empowered, vigilant, well informed, and safe voters,” he added.
He reminded observers that they should be visible and accessible to citizens and enable them to vote fearlessly, and warned them that ECI will act swiftly and ruthlessly in case anyone is found to be lax in performing their duties. He also asked the observers to visit the polling booths to check the due facilitation to senior citizens, persons with disabilities and women voters to ensure the commission’s commitment to the principle of inclusive elections.
Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra who was also present during the meeting said that in the forthcoming elections, more than 18 crore voters would be exercising their right of franchise.
“Accounting for social distancing norms, more than 80,000 polling stations have been added. Observers need to ensure proper direction to field-level officers so that ECI’s constitutional mandate is scrupulously fulfilled,” said Chandra.
For these ensuing elections, ECI has extended the option of Postal Ballot facility to the electors who are marked as Persons with Disabilities (PwD), electors above the age of 80 years, electors employed in notified Essential services and electors who are COVID- 19 positive/suspect as certified by the competent authority and are in quarantine (home/institutional).
Commission’s broad guidelines for Covid-safe election to be adhered to during the entire election processes for all persons include increased number of auxiliary polling stations, thermal scanning of all persons, sanitizer and mask use; larger halls with the adequate spacing of counting tables; an adequate number of vehicles mobilized for movement of polling personnel, security personnel to ensure compliance of Covid-19 guidelines as also vaccination for all personnel involved in electoral process. (ANI)
Vistara commences flight from Mumbai to Male
Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], March 3 (ANI): Witnessing a steady increase in passenger traffic from Mumbai to the Maldives, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) is expanding its existing reach to Male, by adding a new flight operated by Vistara, from March 3, onwards, the airport authority informed on Wednesday.
According a statement issued by the CSMIA, since the resurgence in air travel and ease in travel restrictions, Maldives has emerged as a preferred destination for passengers travelling from Mumbai.
Since the commencement of the air bubble arrangement with Maldives on August 13 last year, CSMIA has seen a rise in passenger traffic catering to over 56,000 passengers across an approximate total of 410 flights to and from CSMIA till date.
“During this period, the airport had catered to the region through Indigo and GoAir, wherein Indigo catered to the highest passenger traffic, over 32,000 passengers from the airport. The increase in frequency to the destination through the addition of the new Vistara flight with effect from March 3, comes as a boon to travelers from and around Mumbai,” the airport authority informed.
The ease in travel restrictions have made Maldives a preferred destination amongst leisure travelers. (ANI)
NPPCD will target over 6 pc of India’s population with disabling hearing loss, says Harsh Vardhan
New Delhi [India], March 3 (ANI): Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Harsh Vardhan on Wednesday said that National Programme for Prevention and Control of Deafness (NPPCD) will target over 6 percent of India’s population with disabling hearing loss.
The Union Health Minister, who is also the Chairman of Executive Board of World Health Organisation (WHO), released WHO’s world report on hearing on the World Hearing Day.
To underscore the importance of ear health, Vardhan referred to a 2018 WHO report which observed that 2 percent of India’s population, mainly children, suffer from the condition of Otitis Media, a group of inflammatory diseases of the middle ear.
He highlighted other problems like hearing loss due to high noise levels at workplaces and on the roads, hearing loss due to the use of ototoxic medicines and chemicals, the dangers of loud music and unsafe listening to people’s hearing health (with over 750 million smart phone users in India).
“A multi – centric cross-sectional survey conducted as per the WHO recommended Probability Proportional to Size (PPS) sampling technique assessed 92,097 people in the community across 6 sites in India. Age-appropriate audiological testing as per WHO norms including pure tone audiometry, tympanometry, oto-acoustic emissions, behavioral observation audiometry and ENT examination were all undertaken onsite in a specially designed sound treated audiological bus,” the minister said.
The results have showed a changing profile of hearing loss in India’s population and in tune with similar changes in other countries as they move forward in economic development. The study also showed that the disabling hearing loss affected 2.9 percent of the population and was noted to effect communication, education and work.
The rural population had a far greater prevalence of hearing loss. The prevalence of total hearing loss, unilateral and bilateral was found to be as high as 9.93 per cent. The geriatric population accounted for 40.5 per cent of all hearing loss and 72.4 per cent of all disabling hearing loss.
The study also made a major contribution in identifying the risk factors associated with Sensory Neural Hearing Loss (SNHL): Smokeless Tobacco consumption, Heavy smoking, Leisure and work-related noise, and also excessive Residential Noise, are all noted as risk factors associated with SNHL.
Vardhan showcased India’s National Programme for Prevention and Control of Deafness to the audience that targets 6 percent of the population who have disabling hearing loss and require interventions.
More than 30 thousand free-of-cost ENT surgeries and around 24 thousand hearing aids were provided under the program in the year 2019-20.
He stated, “With an annual implementation budget of 35 Crore (5 Million USD), funded fully by the Government of India, the national programme for prevention and control of deafness now covers 595 districts in the country, reaching nearly 80% of the country’s population and is growing every year.”
Director-General of WHO Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director of Department of Non communicable Diseases in WHO Bente Mikkelsen, Lead Officer of WHO programme for ear and hearing care Dr Shelly Chadha and other senior officials of WHO attended the event. (ANI)
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