WHO hails Gujarat for responding to second wave of COVID-19 - The Daily Guardian
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WHO hails Gujarat for responding to second wave of COVID-19

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New Delhi [India], February 11 (ANI): As Gujarat conducted the Intra-Action Review (IAR) in December 2020 for its COVID-19 preparedness and response, World Health Organisation (WHO) country representative to India, Dr Roderico Ofrin on Thursday lauded the efforts by the state government in countering the second wave of the virus with the help of this mechanism.
“Hats off to Gujarat government to take this review on pandemic as something to provide better information and tweak the response which they have especially during the second wave. Gujarat is one of the best performing states in vaccinations. It would be great if other states also start doing the same review exercise of their response,” Ofrin exclusively told ANI.
He also added that the state had a coronavirus safe workplace policy early on protecting the businesses and workers. The key findings from the review can help in future preparedness for any emergency not just for COVID-19 but also for any possible outbreak or even emergency from a natural disaster.
Talking about the steps taken by the Gujarat government during the pandemic, Ofrin said house-to-house surveillance was the key for better contact tracing.
“In Gujarat, there was house to house surveillance for better contact tracing that was key to find out the extent of how the infection is spreading. Second is the outreach of the medical services to provide medicine to people because of the lockdown access to health services needed to continue,” he said.
Ofrin also said that another big innovation was addressing mental health through the digital academy.
Speaking about the IAR he said, “This report is called Intra-action for COVID-19 response for countries to be able to review for what they have done and they can tweet the responses to the pandemic. This is a longer outbreak than we expected. Usually, for any emergency, we do an after-action review so the state and ministry of health together with WHO, IIM Ahmedabad and Indian Institute of Public Health, Gandhinagar got together including all stakeholders with 75 interviews and 35 organisations.”
According to the report, the review will use a new WHO tool developed for country intra-action reviews. Its report will highlight important success factors and provides recommendations across 10 important areas of the country’s national and sub-national response.
The review also documents the challenges that the stakeholders faced while dealing with the outbreak and recommends critical improvements required to ramp up the health response.
The entire IAR process was planned and implemented in three phases and given that the country is a large country with a complex federal structure.
The reports also stated that Gujarat has taken the lead in conducting the first state-level IAR in India. The entire COVID-19 response was led by the leadership of Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and his deputy along with the Health Minister.
The entire COVID-19 response included various steps such as screening of passengers, collection of details of people with recent international travel and quarantining them as needed were initiated. All municipal corporations and district administrative officers were instructed to inform the public about the standard precautionary measures.
Public health actions such as test, trace and isolate and treat cases, social distancing, masks, and sanitation were enforced to reduce the spread of infection. Private hospitals were engaged through Public-Private Partnership (PPP) and provided treatment to COVID-19 patients at reduced rates besides scaling up its own capacity and opening of new large COVID- 19 hospitals. Mobile medical vans were used on large scale to reach the doorsteps of the people. Arogya Setu, ITIHAAS (IT-enabled integrated Hotspot Analysis System), helplines, telemedicine and tele-mentoring were used to increase and improve the reach of services. (ANI)

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‘Something fishy’ about NIA taking over probe into vehicle found near Mukesh Ambani’s residence: Uddhav Thackeray

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Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], March 9 (ANI): Hours after National Investigation Agency (NIA) received orders to probe the case of the explosive-laden car found near Reliance group chairman Mukesh Ambani’s residence, Maharashtra Chief Minister said there was “something fishy” about the move and noted that the state had already asked the state’s Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) to investigate the matter.
“We had already asked the state’s Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) to investigate into the matter. But now, when the Centre has transferred the case to NIA, I think there is something fishy around the transfer. We won’t sit back, if there is something fishy, we will find out,” he told reporters.
Thackeray said the state police is also probing Silvassa Member of Parliament Mohan Delkar’s suicide case.
“Of late, they are plotting to defame Maharashtra by projecting that there is no system here and everything is dependent on the Centre,” he said.
NIA on Monday received orders from Home Ministry to probe the case of the explosive-laden car found near Mukesh Ambani’s residence. (ANI)

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Women are born leaders, says Odisha Chief Minister on International Women’s Day

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Bhubaneswar [Odisha], March 9 (ANI): Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said in his address to members of the Biju Mahila Janta Dal at party headquarters on International Women’s Day that women are born leaders.
He said, “In 90s Biju Patnaik took a historic step for the rights of women. We took his initiative further and provided 50 per cent reservation for women in panchayats and urban local bodies. Empowerment of women has been the focus of the Biju Janta Dal. We continue to work to make the dreams of women come true.”
“Women are born leaders. They are able to take responsibility of the country and society along with that of the home and children. Every mother has a spark of leadership. We have to create opportunities for the development of their talent. Its power must be used for the development of the country.”
Patnaik said, “Biju Janta Dal is demanding 33 percent reservation for women in assembly and parliament, and for this we are raising awareness. In recent general election we gave tickets to women on 33 percent seats.” (ANI)

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‘Centre not supported Telangana despite its rapid development’, TRS Minister slams BJP

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Hyderabad (Telangana) [India], March 9 (ANI): Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) working president and Industries Minister KT Rama Rao on Monday slammed Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and said that Telangana has not received due support from the NDA government at the Centre despite being a progressive state.
“Telangana has been growing at a rapid speed in all fields of works despite it the Central government has not shown its support to the state and more to that it has been ignorant towards Telangana State,” he said.
He made this statement during the campaign for the upcoming Graduate MLC elections in the state.
Further KTR said, “The then Chief Minister of United Andhra Pradesh Kiran Kumar Reddy said that, if Telangana is given as a separate state, then the state wouldn’t get power supply, on the contrary, the state is now able to give 24 hours power supply.”
He said that since the formation of Telangana, not even a single curfew had been implemented. “Over the last six and a half years, not even a single curfew has been implemented in the state of Telangana because the Telangana Government works to retain peace in the state.”
He said that earlier Hyderabad used to face a lot of challenges for drinking water. “There were days in the past when people of Hyderabad used to get drinking water once in 14 days, but now, we have resolved this issue and we were able to provide drinking water to the people of Hyderabad every day,” he said.
KTR said, “In every field, there has been development in the state. The rural areas of Telangana are creating wonders in every aspect. We were also able to provide free medicines to the poor by opening up 350 local medical centres called Basti Dawakhana.”
Speaking about the education field, KTR said that the Telangana government has established 650 residential schools in the state and has been spending nearly about Rupees 1,20,000 on each student for a better education. “Telangana was able to set up five medical colleges in the span of just six years. And most importantly we were able to give students a scholarship for those who are willing to study abroad,” he said.
He said that they were able to provide 1,33,000 job opportunities to the unemployed youth in the state. He added that many multinational corporate companies have set up their offices in Hyderabad and this shows how well Telangana is getting developed.
KTR said, “Despite all this development, the central government has not come forward to support Telangana state in any form. We have paid Rs. 6.72 lakh crore as tax and have just received Rupees 1.40 lakh crores in return.”
He further appealed to the graduates to come forward and participate in the Graduate MLC elections. (ANI)

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SC notice to states to map, enumerate, register children of migrants at work sites during Covid-19 pandemic

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New Delhi [India], March 9 (ANI): Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to all states on a petition seeking appropriate directions and orders to the respondents, including the Union of India (UOI) to map, enumerate and register the number of infants and children of migrant families at various worksites and centres of concentration during the Covid-19 pandemic.
A three-judge bench of the Apex Court, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad Arvind Bobde and also comprising Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian issued notices to all the states and sought their replies in the petition filed by, Bangalore-based NGO, The Child Rights Trust.
“We issue notice to all the states, and seek their reply on the petition,” the apex court said.
The petitioner, The Child Rights Trust, had moved the Supreme Court seeking enforcement of fundamental rights, under Articles 14, 15, 19, 21, 21A, 39 and 47 of the Constitution, of migrant children and children of migrant families during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Bangalore-based NGO had sought direction to the Union of India and others, to set up children’s assistance centres in all major areas of concentration of migrant labour households that would facilitate migrant families to get information and assistance about the basic needs relating to health care, food security, education for children.
The petitioner also sought direction that the Anganwadi centres in villages should extend their services to all migrant children and households and to provide mid-day meals and rations free of cost to migrant children at their homes.
The petitioner sought a direction from the top court that the respondents should provide basic food and nutrition to migrant children and migrant workers through the ICDS Scheme, targeted public distribution system and other welfare schemes covered under the National Food Security Act, 2013 for children in the ages of 0-14 years.
The petitioner also sought that the respondents should be directed to report on the provision of health services of immunization, health check-ups, primary health care services to children of migrant workers.
It also sought that the pregnant and lactating mothers also be given due care and treatment, through ICDS and other schemes including the Primary Health Centres both at their place of migration and source villages and schemes under the National Health Mission.
The petitioner also sought that necessary direction be made to the Respondents, UOI and others, to give data on the out of school migrant children from all the States and to provide an action plan on providing a temporary education plan for migrant children and an action plan on how migrant children will be brought back to schools when schools start. (ANI)

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2 Passport Seva Kendras to be transformed into All Women PSKs

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New Delhi [India], March 9 (ANI): Union Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan on Monday, marking International Women’s Day, said two Passport Seva Kendras (PSKs) are being transformed into All Women PSK, one at RK Puram, Bhikaji Cama Place, in New Delhi and the other at Tripunithura, Cochin, in Kerala.
“In addition to the above, the Ministry has taken initiative to empower women as part of Passport Seva Programme. A total of 1670 women employees are deployed in the Passport Seva Programme,” said a statement by the Ministry.
“Through the Passport Seva Programme, passports have been issued to more than 2.76 crores applicants till date. In the last three years 1.03 crores passports have been issued to women applicants, amounting to 35 per cent of total applicants,” the statement added.
Muraleedharan said, “The government is continuously working to create a balance between both men and women in various spheres of lives, be it professional or personal. The country under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is marching ahead towards a progressive, technologically advanced and socially diverse community.”
International Women’s Day is celebrated worldwide every year on March 8 to recognise the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women across the globe.
This year, the theme for International Women’s Day 2021 is ‘Choose to Challenge’. (ANI)

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Army Major sent to police custody till March 15 in Army recruitment paper leak case

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Pune (Maharashtra) [India], March 9 (ANI): Pune City Police on Sunday arrested an Army Major Thiru Murgan from Wellington in Tamil Nadu in an ongoing investigation of a case related to an Army recruitment examination paper leak. A Pune sessions court sent him to police custody till March 15 on Monday.
The accused allegedly forwarded a question paper to his other associates through Whatsapp before the date of examination.
Additional Sessions judge, SR Navandar, granted custody of the accused to Pune city police till March 15.
“The accused is a key person in the conspiracy of leaking the paper. There may be various links of this conspiracy. Due to the unlawful activity, the entire recruitment process has been stalled and examination has been postponed. Looking at the seriousness of the crime and to conduct a thorough investigation, police custody has to be granted,” the court order said.
Public Prosecutor Prem Kumar Agrawal said during the hearing that the accused has shared the exam paper through Whatsapp with the other accused arrested in the case earlier.
“We need to investigate as to where did he get the question paper from and who all are involved in the crime. The other accused arrested in the case were running a training institute and they were supplied the question papers by the accused,” he said.
Advocate Rahul Lonandkar, appearing for the accused, said that all the materials, including the electronic devices such as mobile have already been seized and “there is no need to grant the physical custody of the accused to police”.
Earlier, Pune City Police, in a joint operation, with Military Intelligence had arrested 8 accused including two serving defence personnel, a defence civilian and some of the other accused who were running pre-military training institutes in various parts of the country.
The recruitment exam was scheduled for February 28 at 40 locations across the country and was later cancelled.
A total of nine accused have been arrested in the case so far, including the Major. (ANI)

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