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Taking swipe at Congress’ G-23 row, PM Modi hopes party learns from Ghulam Nabi

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New Delhi [India], February 8 (ANI): In one of the rare moments in the Parliament, Prime Minister Narendra Modi heaped praise on senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad while taking a jibe at the grand old party’s ongoing internal churning regarding the leadership issue.
The Prime Minister, while replying to the Motion of Thanks in the Upper House on the President’s address, said the Congress veteran always speaks decently and never uses foul language.
Stating that he has immense respect for Azad, the Prime Minister said Congress should learn this trait from the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha and not commit the mistake of doing the opposite by listening to suggestions of G-23.
“Ghulam Nabiji always speaks decently, never uses foul language. We should learn this from him, I respect him for it. He praised elections held in Jammu and Kashmir…I believe your party will take it in the right spirit and not commit the mistake of doing the opposite by listening to suggestions of G-23,” he said.
The Prime Mnister’s reference to G-23 was about the 23 senior Congress leaders who had written a letter to party’s interim president Sonia Gandhi, asking her for changes in the party. Azad was also among the 23 leaders.
The Rajya Sabha has been adjourned till tomorrow. (ANI)

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Maharashtra reports 8,293 fresh COVID-19 cases, 62 deaths in last 24 hrs

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Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], February 28 (ANI): Maharashtra reported 8,293 new COVID-19 cases, 3,753 recoveries, and 62 deaths in the last 24-hours, the State Health Department informed on Sunday.
“The state has so far reported total of 21,55,070 COVID-19 cases, out of which, 77,008 are the active cases,” the Maharashtra Health Department said.
A total of 52,154 people have died due to COVID-19 in the state so far. As many as 20,24,704 people have recovered from the disease.
According to the state health department, the recovery rate in Maharashtra is 93.95 percent and the fatality rate is 2.42 percent. (ANI)

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Cricket tournament for visually-impaired players organised in West Bengal’s Siliguri

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By Tarak Sarkar
Siliguri (West Bengal) [India], February 28 (ANI): In a first of its kind in North Bengal, a cricket tournament for visually-impaired players was organised in Siliguri on Sunday.
The day-long knock-out tournament was organised by Uttarer Dishari, a voluntary organisation at Dabgram Maidan in the town. Four teams North Bengal took part in this tournament.
The aim behind organising the tournament was to encourage visually-impaired players and boost their morals so that they can also make a career in sports.
Speaking to ANI, Govind Bhaivab, a member of Uttarer Dishari said, “Public has given a good response to it and some NGOs have also supported us. Blinds do not lag behind in potential, they can do anything as a normal being.”
“We have organised this tournament to encourage them and also to spread awareness among the society. It also creates a chance for the players to enroll their name in the state-level team,” he added.
Much enthusiasm was observed among players and they demanded more such tournaments to take place in the state.
“We are very happy because there was no awareness and we want such tournaments to take place in the other parts of the state,” Biswanath Murmu, a participant from Bhimbar Blind school told ANI.
Madan Bhattacharya, a spectator from Siliguri said he never saw this kind of tournament for the blinds. “They can do anything like playing a cricket match. We should all support them to make their future bright,” said Bhattacharya. (ANI)

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Gurugram resident elated after finding mention in ‘Mann Ki Baat’ for highlighting ‘Jalpakshi’

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By Sahil Pandey
New Delhi [India], February 28 (ANI): Banker by profession and nature enthusiast by passion, Mayur Shah on Sunday was rendered speechless after Prime Minister Narendra Modi mentioned his name in ‘Mann ki Baat’ address today.
PM Modi mentioned the name of a Gurugram resident, who had asked him to highlight the efforts of the people of Assam for a surge in the number of ‘Waterfowls’ in Kaziranga.
‘Waterfowls’ are popularly known as ‘Jalpakshi,’ that nest not on the trees but on the water.
Mayur, who is a bird watcher, wrote to Prime Minister Modi, with the wish to appreciate residents of Assam, and in particular, the people of Kaziranga.
“I had requested the Prime Minister to use his platform and congratulate people of Assam for water conservation efforts in Kaziranga that has led to growth in ‘Waterfowls there, which is helping a lot of migratory birds. I was speechless when PM Modi highlighted it in Mann ki Baat,” said Mayur Shah, adding that he was surprised by the reach of Mann ki Baat that is beyond India and it connects “the Indian community globally.”
“When he talked about water conservation, he didn’t speak only for humans but also migratory birds. It was a great tribute to the people of Assam and nature lovers are happy that PM Modi chose to mention this in his address to the nation,” he added.

Talking about the comment he made on the Namo app, Mayur said,” My comment was that when I was searching about Assam as my next birding destination, I came across this news that Kaziranga and thanks to the water conservation effort that now there was the growth of Waterfowl. I felt so connected as we experience the same in my village in Gujarat.”
Mentioning Mayur’s name during Mann ki Baat, PM Modi earlier today said, “I thought that Mayur ji would talk about the Rhino, hailed as the pride of Kaziranga. But Mayur ji instead has asked for the appreciation of the people of Assam for the rise in the number of Waterfowls in Kaziranga.”
After mentioning Mayur, PM Modi said that the census conducted by Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve Authority revealed that the population of water birds has grown significantly.
“Just two-three weeks ago, the survey was conducted again. You will also be delighted to know that this time the number of water birds has increased by about 175 per cent compared to last year,” PM Modi said.
“A total of 112 Species of Birds have been sighted in Kaziranga National Park during this Census. And of these, 58 species happen to be winter migrants from different parts of the world including Europe, Central Asia and East Asia. The most important reason for this is that here, there is better water conservation along with very little human interference,” he added. (ANI)

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‘Feeling really special’, says Aparna Reddy after PM Modi answered her question in Mann Ki Baat

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Mohali [Punjab] [India] February 28 (ANI): After her question was answered during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s radio programme ‘Mann Ki Baat’ on Sunday, Aparna Reddy, who hails from Punjab, expressed her happiness, stating that she was in a “state of a sock” as well as feeling “really special”.
During the programme, Reddy asked the Prime Minister if there was something he missed out on during these long years as then Gujarat Chief Minister and Prime Minister.
On this, Prime Minister Modi said he regret that could not learn the world’s oldest language Tamil.
“I thought about the question and felt that – it is a regret of sorts that I could not learn the world’s oldest language Tamil. It is a beautiful language and popular across the world. Many people told me about the qualities of Tamil literature and the depths of Tamil poetry,” he said.
“India is the land of many such languages that are symbols of its culture and pride,” he added.
Speaking to ANI, Reddy said, “I did not know that my question would be chosen by our dear Prime Minister. I was at a wedding when somebody called and told me that Modi ji has answered my question. And, I was in a state of a sock. I liked what Modi ji answered.”
“I have been reading the articles and I think earlier he mentioned in 2018 that he regrets not learning the ancient Tamil language. I feel really special that my question has been answered by Modi ji,” added Reddy. (ANI)

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India emerging as COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing hub, says Harsh Vardhan

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New Delhi [India], February 28 (ANI): Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Sunday said India is emerging as the ‘COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing hub of the world’.
While addressing the Global Indian Physicians Congress, organized by the Global Association for Physicians of Indian Origin (GAPIO), through video conference today, Harsh Vardhan praised the contribution of medical professionals in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As the world faced the unprecedented crisis of COVID19, it has been our doctors, nurses and healthcare workers who have cemented their position as the foremost champions of humanity, saving humankind as it was staring at an existential crisis. I salute their courage, valour and selflessness in serving society,” he said.
“No words are enough to express gratitude towards all the Corona Warriors, who risked their own lives to save the lives of others. It’s unfortunate and a great personal loss for me that so many of them lost their lives during this time,” he said.
In this context, Harsh Vardhan also noted GAPIO’s efforts towards establishing the Global Indian Physician COVID-19 Collaborative to continuously share their knowledge and experiences to arrive at the best possible approach for management of COVID-19.
The Health Minister also noted the contribution of scientists and said, “Our scientists have done remarkably well, working round the clock to provide us with two vaccines which are being indigenously manufactured and have been approved for emergency use in India. The world’s largest vaccine drive is underway in the country and is moving forward at a rapid pace with more than 1 crore doses administered already.”
“In what is a remarkable endorsement of our spectacular talent and capabilities, India which is often referred to as the pharmacy of the world is now also emerging as the COVID19 vaccine manufacturing hub of the world,” he added.
Harsh Vardhan took the occasion to highlight the government’s efforts in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It has been a result of our pre-emptive, proactive and graded approach that India has been able to perform well on various parameters related to COVID-19. We have continuously maintained one of the lowest fatality rates and highest recovery rates across the world,” the Health Minister said.
In this regard, he also noted, “Even with all the attention directed towards managing COVID-19, our government did not lose sight of ensuring continuity of other essential health services. Various policy interventions, as well as, use of technology like telemedicine services played a key role in this regard. Our eSanjeevani platform has recorded millions of doctor-patient consultations in a short span of time.”
Detailing the ongoing work within the Ministry, he said, “We are now working towards further augmenting our healthcare systems through a paradigm shift of policies and overarching programs like the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana and Aatmanirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana.”
“A new thinking is taking shape with the establishment of the National Medical Commission, Nursing Commission Bill and National Commission for Allied Healthcare Professions Bills. Ambitious plans have been made for expanding medical colleges and revamping the healthcare infrastructure in India. We are constantly working to revolutionize the delivery mechanism of healthcare services in the country,” he added.
The Union Minister concluded his speech by congratulating all the GAPIO award winners for their outstanding work and extending his best wishes for the success of the Global Indian Physicians Congress. (ANI)

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Pooja Chavan death case: Maharashtra CM accepts Sanjay Rathod’s resignation, says everyone should get justice

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Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], February 28 (ANI): After Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Rathod resigned from the Maharashtra cabinet over his alleged involvement in the death case of 22-year-old girl Pooja Chavan, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday said that everyone should get justice adding that the matter is under investigation.
“We have a clear stand that everyone must get justice. Today Sanjay Rathod has submitted his resignation, the matter (in connection with the death of a woman in Pune earlier this month) is under investigation,” said Thackeray while addressing a press conference here on Sunday.
The Chief Minister also said that what the opposition was demanding since the past few days was only justice and today, Sanjay Rathod submitted his resignation.
He further stated, “You must have been thinking that why it took so long to take his resignation. The day this incident happened we ordered an investigation in this case. Through this investigation the truth will come out and be it, anyone, the action will be taken against the person. Disturbing an ongoing investigation is not right, and one must trust the police.”
“He has given his resignation that doesn’t mean that I will frame his resignation. His resignation is accepted and I will take the charge of the Forest Ministry and if anyone asks any questions related to forest development in the assembly, then the minister of state will answer them,” said Thackeray while responding to a question on whether or not Rathod’s resignation will be accepted.
Furthering answering a query on the suicide of Dadra and Nagar Haveli MP Mohan Delkar, the Chief Minister stated, “A seven-term member of parliament committed suicide in Mumbai. The leaders whose names are there in his suicide note, will they resign now? The police will investigate, I appeal to the Prime Minister and Home Minister to ensure coordination with the Mumbai police when they reach Gujarat.”
The body of 58-year-old Delkar was found in a hotel in South Mumbai on Monday and was been sent for a postmortem. The leader is survived by his wife and two children. The seven-time MP was born in December 1962 in Silvassa in Dadra and Nagar Haveli.
“Petrol and diesel prices have gone up. We have seen centuries by Virat Kohli, Sachin Tendulkar but now we are seeing petrol-diesel century,” said Thackeray while commenting on the fuel price hike in the country.
With regard to the surge in the COVID-19 cases in the state, the Chief Minister assured that he is continuously monitoring the situation.
Speaking about the state budget Thackeray said that Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, who is also the Finance Minister shall present the budget in the state assembly on March 8.
The budget session of the Maharashtra Assembly will be held from March 1 to March 10.
The session has been curtailed due to a surge in COVID-19 cases and will be held for ten days instead of four weeks, announced the business advisory committee at its meeting on Thursday. (ANI)

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