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We will be in a situation to administer vaccines to those above 50 years of age in March: Harsh Vardhan

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New Delhi [India], February 15 (ANI): Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Monday said that the Centre will be in a situation to administer vaccines to those above 50 years of age in March this year.
He also indicated that over 18 COVID-19 vaccines are likely to be available in the country in the coming few months.
The minister said India had sent COVID-19 vaccine to 20-25 countries
“We will be in a situation to administer vaccines to those above 50 years of age in March. Eighty to eighty-five per cent of frontline workers have been vaccinated so far in the country. At least 18-20 vaccines are in preclinical, clinical and advanced stages. We can expect them in the coming months,” he said.
“It is crucial that people continue to follow COVID-19 appropriate behaviour which I had called a social vaccine, along with the real vaccine. In the last seven days, no new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in 188 districts of the country,” he added.
He said ICMR has informed that apart from COVID-19, there were seven health-related outbreaks across the world.
“Our country was safe from those. Also, in the last few years, we have been successful in battling with H1N1, Zika, Nipah among other virus borne outbreaks in the country,” he said.
“I believe, if the dream of ‘Health for All’ is ever to be fulfilled in world, its model will be developed in India. Our holistic approach, ancient medical wisdom, other health facilities and systems collectively will make a model which can be emulated for the world,” Vardhan said on a hopeful note,” he added.
The minister described the union budget as “future-ready” and said the allocation for the health sector has increased.
The Health Ministry has approved two vaccines, Covishield and Covaxin, under Emergency Use Authorisation (EAU).
The Ministry said on Monday said that 82,85,295 have been vaccinated in the country against COVID-19. (ANI)

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G Kishan Reddy meets Tamil Nadu CM to discuss seat-sharing ahead of assembly polls

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Chennai (Tamil Nadu) [India], February 27 (ANI): Union Minister of State for Home Affairs and Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) state election in-charge G Kishan Reddy and state BJP chief L Murugan met Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam here at their respective residences on Saturday to discuss seat-sharing for the state assembly polls.
Tamil Nadu assembly elections will be held in a single phase on April 6 and the counting of votes will be done on May 2.
Polls will be held for 234 seats in Tamil Nadu with the Congress-DMK and BJP-AIADMK alliance being the major groups contesting against each other.
This is the first major set of elections to be held in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic after the Bihar election. The voting hours have been increased by an hour. The number of polling booths has also been increased from 66,007 to 88,936.
The state assembly elections will be conducted following all Covid-19 protocols issued by the Union Health Ministry. (ANI)

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TMC’s Sougata Roy flays EC for eight-phased West Bengal Assembly polls

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Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], February 27 (ANI): Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Sougata Roy has said the Election Commission has been unfair to West Bengal by scheduling the state’s Assembly elections in eight-phases.
Speaking to ANI, regarding the election dates announcement by the poll body, Roy said, “The Election Commission has been unfair to West Bengal. If elections in Tamil Nadu and Kerala can be held in one day and Assam in three days then why elections should be held in West Bengal in eight phases?”
“This will cause immense problem to the people of the state. For one month all activity will come to standstill. Development work will stop. Really do not know why the election commission did all this but we strongly oppose it,” he added.
The Election Commission of India on Friday announced that West Bengal will witness eight-phased Assembly polls beginning March 27. The counting of votes will take place on May 2.
Addressing a press conference, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said: “West Bengal will see eight-phase elections. 30 Assembly constituencies in five districts will go to polls in the first phase on March 27. 30 Assembly constituencies in four districts will go to polls in the second phase on April 1. In the third phase, 31 constituencies in 3 districts will go to polls on April 6. 44 constituencies in five districts will go for polling on April 10.”
“In the fifth phase, 45 constituencies in six districts will witness polling on April 17. 43 constituencies in four districts in the sixth phase will go to polls on April 22. 36 constituencies in five districts in the seventh phase will go for polling on April 26. In the eighth and final phase, 35 constituencies in four districts will witness polling on April 29,” he said.
The ECI has appointed two special police observers — Vivek Dubey and MK Das — for West Bengal.
With the announcement of the election schedule, the Model Code of Conduct has come into force in the state.
“Model Code of Conduct to come into force immediately after the announcement of the election dates. The commission has made adequate arrangements to ensure effective implementation of MCC guidelines,” Arora said.
Besides West Bengal, the ECI also announced the election schedule for Tamil Nadu, Assam, Puducherry and Kerala.
West Bengal is likely to witness a triangular contest this time with TMC, Congress-Left alliance and BJP in the fray.
While Mamata Banerjee is seeking her third consecutive term, BJP has set a target of winning 200 seats in the 294-member state Assembly. Congress and the Left have stitched the alliance for the polls and had already finalised the seat-sharing agreement. They are also in touch with the Indian Secular Front (ISF), recently floated by influential minority leader Abbas Siddique.
In 2016, West Bengal Assembly elections, out of the 294 seats, Congress had managed to win 44 seats while the Left Front bagged 33 seats. The ruling TMC secured 211 seats and the BJP had won 3 seats. (ANI)

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MP Cabinet approves law to give life imprisonment to food adulterators

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Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh) [India], February 27 (ANI): Madhya Pradesh Cabinet on Friday approved a Penal Law (Madhya Pradesh Amendment) Bill, 2021 to give life imprisonment to food adulterators.
Informing about it, the state’s Home Minister Narottam Mishra said, “Madhya Pradesh Cabinet has approved Penal Law (Madhya Pradesh Amendment) Bill, 2021 to give life imprisonment to food adulterators.”
It is noteworthy, in December 2019, an awareness rally was held in Bhopal to fight the menace of adulteration. The rally saw the participation of the people of all age groups.
The rally was held from Roshanpura to Lal Parade in the capital city. The enthusiastic volunteers were heard raising slogans against adulteration and demanded pure food products. (ANI)

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Lt Gen Yogendra Dimri appointed as next Commander-in-chief of Lucknow-based Central Army Command

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New Delhi [India], February 27 (ANI): Lieutenant General Yogendra Dimri has been appointed as the next Commander-in-chief of the Lucknow-based Central Army Command.
Lieutenant General AS Bhinder will take over as the new head of the Jaipur-based South Western Army command. (ANI)

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Andhra CM asks town planners to find solutions for emerging challenges with futuristic outlook

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Amaravati (Andhra Pradesh) [India], February 27 (ANI): Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy here on Friday called upon the town planners to come up with solutions to the emerging challenges with a futuristic outlook on the goals set by the United Nations for sustainable development.
While inaugurating the 69th National Town and Country Planners Conference virtually at Vishakhapatnam, the Chief Minister said that he is looking forward to the recommendations on affordable housing for lower-income groups and reducing the financial burden on the government in wake of the growing cost of land and high rents in urban areas making the land acquisition a difficult task.
He expressed confidence that the three-day meet will come up with solutions that are pertinent to the State and country vis-a-vis the 17 sustainable goals for 2030 set by the United Nations.
“The Conference, being organized by the Institute of Town Planners of India (ITPT) and attended by Town Planners, Academics, Researchers, Directors and others from across the country, would deliberate on the emerging challenges in the changing scenario, and I hope the Summit will come up with useful recommendations,” the Chief Minister said in his inaugural address.
Some of the interesting topics the Summit would be discussing include the impact of COVID in work culture and the requirements besides environment and climate change.
“Water management is another issue of major concern and it needs comprehensive planning as cities are growing from multiple directions and there will need to extend the water facilities to all areas,” he said.
The Chief Minister has stated that the government is looking forward for developing the coastal region utilising the vast stretch of 974 Km coastline in the State, where even Visakhapatnam city is also one of the beneficiaries of an integrated coastal development plan.
Jagan Mohan Reddy reiterated that the purpose of this summit is to deliberate various issues on sustainable development goals by 2030 as recommended by the UN and looking forward to the solutions that would emerge in the summit for a remarkable change in current situations to lead better.
“We will take forward all the suggestions and recommendations that the Conference will give after the deliberations and put them to best use,” he added. (ANI)

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Devotees celebrate Magh Purnima, govt showers flowers petals over Sangam Ghat

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Prayagraj/Haridwar (Uttar Pradesh/Uttarakhand) [India], February 27 (ANI): Devotees across Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand on Friday took holy dips on the occasion of ‘Magh Purnima’, the full moon night in the Magha month of the Hindu calendar.
To mark the occasion, the Prayagraj District Administration showered flower petals on devotees at Triveni Sangam, also known as Sangam Ghat, the meeting place of three rivers — the Saraswati, Yamuna, and Ganga (Ganges).


Devotees in Prayagraj and Haridwar were seen observing the holy occasion by offering diyas (lamps) in the water.
Magh Purnima is celebrated around the months of January and February and Lord Vishnu is worshipped during this time. (ANI)

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