New Delhi [India], January 31 (ANI): There will not be any agreement under pressure. We will hold discussions on the farm law issue only after our people to be released from the jail, said Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait on Sunday.
While speaking to ANI, he said that since Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken the initiative for a result, we will keep his respect.
“There won’t be any agreement under pressure. We will hold discussions on the issue. Prime Minister is ours also, we are thankful for his initiative, we will respect it. We want our people to be released,” Tikait said.
Talking about the Red Fort violence on Republic Day, Tikait said that the matter has to be investigated fairly.
PM Modi had on Saturday said that the government’s proposal to farmers on suspending the three farm laws for 18 months still stands.
PM Modi quoted Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar while informing the leaders of all parties about the government’s stand on farm laws.
“I want to reiterate what Narendra Singh Tomar said to farmers. He said- we are not reaching a consensus but we are giving you the offer and you (farmers) may go and deliberate. I am just a phone call away. He said that to farmers. The government proposal still stands. Please convey this to your followers. The solution should be found through dialogue. We all have to think about the nation,” PM Modi said at the all-party meet.
Farmers have been protesting at different borders of the national capital since November 26 against the newly enacted farm laws: Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020. (ANI)
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INDIA’S COVID-19 VACCINE ROLLOUT ‘RESCUED WORLD’: TOP US SCIENTIST
Total number of Covid-19 vaccine doses administered in the country crosses 2 crore, says the Union Health Ministry; India reports 18,327 fresh coronavirus cases.
India’s rollout of the Covid-19 vaccines in collaboration with leading global institutions has “rescued the world” from the deadly pandemic, said a top American scientist, adding that and the country’s contributions should not be underestimated.
India, called the pharmacy of the world, is one of the world’s biggest drug-makers and a larger number of countries have approached it for procuring Covid-19 vaccines.
Dr Peter Hotez, Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) in Houston, during a recent webinar, “Covid-19: Vaccination and Potential Return to Normalcy—If and When”, said that the Covid-19 vaccine rollout is “India’s gift’” to the world in combating the virus. The webinar was organised by Indo American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston (IACCGH).
“This is something very special and I see it myself because I’m on weekly teleconferences with our colleagues in India, you make a recommendation, and within days it’s done and not only done, but it’s done well and with incredible rigor and thought and creativity,” Dr Hotez said. The scientist further said that he felt compelled to make this statement because “India’s huge efforts in combating global pandemic is a story that’s not really getting out in the world”.
India has provided 56 lakh doses of coronavirus vaccines under grants assistance to a number of countries. The vaccines were sent to Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar and Seychelles.
Speaking at a virtual India-Sweden summit alongside Sweden Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, Prime Minister Modi on Friday said that ‘Made in India’ Covid-19 vaccines have been provided to more than 50 countries. “During the Covid-19 pandemic, on a regional and on a global level, we have understood the importance of collaboration. India has provided medicines and other essential items to over 150 countries. Along with this, with the help of online training programmes, we shared our experiences with frontline workers and lawmakers of Asia, Southeast Asia and Africa,” he emphasised.
In the meantime, India reported 18,327 fresh coronavirus cases and the tally has climbed to 1,11,92,088, while the number of recoveries has surged to 1,08,54,128. The death count due to the viral disease has gone up to 1,57,656 in the country with 108 more fatalities reported in a 24-hour period. The cumulative number of Covid-19 vaccine doses administered in India has crossed 2 crore, the Union Health Ministry said.
Maharashtra continued to report over 10,000 daily novel coronavirus cases after breaching 22 lakh-mark in total positive cases since the pandemic hit the state. The worst-hit state in terms of total Covid-19 cases recorded more than 11,000 infections in last 24 hours, the highest in nearly five months. With 11,141 new Covid-19 cases in the state, the total virus infections reached 22,19,727. Along with that, 38 virus-related deaths in the last 24 hours took the state’s toll to 52,478. Case fatality rate stands at 2.36%. Moreover, the state recorded 6,013 recoveries, bringing the total number to 20,68,044, while active cases stood at 97,983. The recovery rate stands at 93.1%
The national capital recorded 286 new Covid-19 cases and two deaths in last twenty-four hours, while the number of tests rose to over 91,000, the highest so far amid a sudden surge in incidences. The positivity rate stood at 0.31 per cent.
Meanwhile, Eight more people died from coronavirus in Uttar Pradesh as 117 fresh cases pushed the total number of infections in the state to 6,04,279. So far, the infection has claimed 8,737 lives in the state.
Gujarat’s coronavirus tally rose to 2,73,386 with the addition of 575 cases. As 459 patients got discharge from hospitals during the day, the recovery count mounted to 2,65,831.
Seventeen more people died from coronavirus in Punjab as 1,051 fresh cases surfaced, pushing the state’s infection count to 188,391. So far, the disease has claimed 5,927 lives in the state. The number of active cases also increased from 7,164.
Southern state of Tamil Nadu saw its daily tally of new Covid-19 infections continue to show an upward trend after crossing the 500 mark once again, with 567 people testing positive for the virus, pushing the numbers to 8,55,121 while one death took the toll to 12,518. Recoveries, which were outnumbering new infections, saw a dip with 521 people getting discharged taking the cumulative number to 8,38,606 leaving 3,997 active cases in the state.
Kerala recorded 2,100 new Covid-19 cases and 13 related deaths taking the total affected in the state to 10.77 lakh and the toll to 4,300.
Andhra Pradesh reported 136 new coronavirus infections, taking the state’s tally to 8,90,692. The death toll after one new fatality stands at 7,174.
WITH AGENCY INPUTS
Is it justifiable? Nitish jibes Giriraj Singh for ‘beat up officials’ remark
New Delhi [India], March 8 (ANI): Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday used sarcasm to target Union Minister Giriraj Singh’s recent remark of “beating up officials.”
The union minister and BJP leader had on Saturday during a public meeting at his constituency of Begusarai in Bihar advised people to “beat up with bamboo sticks” those officials who appeared insensitive to their concerns.
When asked about Singh’s remarks, the chief minster said: “You should ask him if using the word ‘beat up’ is justifiable or appropriate.”
Singh had in his address said: “If someone (any government official) doesn’t listen to your grievances, hit them with a bamboo stick. Neither we ask them to do any illegitimate job, nor will we tolerate illegitimate ‘nanga nritya’ by any official.”
“Members of Parliament, Members of Legislative Assembly, village mukhiyas, District Magistrates, Sub-Divisional Magistrates… these are all under obligation to serve the people,” said the minister who holds fisheries, animal husbandry and dairy farming portfolios. (ANI)
Congress releases names of 3 more candidates for first phase of Assam Assembly elections
Guwahati (Assam) [India], March 8 (ANI): Congress on Sunday released a list of three more candidates for the first phase of the upcoming Assam Assembly elections. Congress leader Bhaskar Jyoti Baruah will contest from Titabar, Bharat Ch Narah from Naoboicha and Padma Lochan Doley from Dhakuakhana.
The main opposition party had on Saturday released the first list of 40 candidates for the upcoming three-phase election for the 126-member Assam Assembly.
Polls to the 15th Legislative Assembly polls in the state will begin on March 27 as per the schedule announced by the Election Commission of India with counting slated to be held on May 2.
Leader of Opposition Debabtata Saikia will contest from Nazira, his traditional bastion and former minister Rakibul Hussain will contest from Samuguri.
Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) president Ripun Bora will contest for Gohpur seat and former minister Bismita Gogoi will fight from Khumtai seat.
Angkita, the daughter of former Assam Congress president Anjan Dutta, has won party ticket for Amguri seat.
The Congress-led grand alliance or ‘Mahajath’ comprises the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC), All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), Communist Party of India (CPI), the Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPI (M), the Communist Party of India (Marxist Leninist) Liberation or CPI(ML), and the Anchalik Gana Marcha (AGM).
The Bodoland Peoples’ Front (BPF) has also broken away from the BJP-led alliance to join the ‘Mahajath’.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had on Friday released the first list of 70 candidates for the elections. In the last assembly election in 2016, the BJP scripted history and formed the government for the first time in Assam ending Congress’ 15-year rule led by former chief minister Tarun Gogoi.
The term of the 14th legislative assembly of Assam is up to 31 May 2021. The Assembly elections for 126 seats will be held in three phases starting from March 27.
The first phase of notification is March 2 and 47 seats in 12 districts will go to the polls.
The last date of nomination March 9 and the date of poll is March 27. In the second phase, 39 constituencies in 13 districts will go to the polls on April 1.
A total of 41 constituencies in 12 districts will go to the polls on April 6. (ANI)
SHOOTER GAURI SHEORAN WORKS AS A VOLUNTEER TO FIGHT AGAINST COVID-19
Haryana-based international pistol shooter Gauri Sheoran, who has won several national and international medals, including golds in the 2019 South Asian Games and the 2018 World University Games, is busy these days helping people fight against Covid-19.
Daughter of Jagdeep Singh, an IAS officer currently posted as Secretary, Finance Department, Haryana, Gauri and her brother Vishwajeet Singh, also an international pistol shooter, are working as a volunteer to fight against the pandemic. They have donated Rs 2 lakh to Corona Relief Fund. They have also distributed 5,000 face masks, 2,000 sanitizers and 6,000 food packets to the needy. Gauri intends to work towards providing sports facilities and education to the weaker section and the underprivileged girls through a mission “Give Back to the Society”.
The 23-year-old Gauri is the current World University Champion. She has participated in 35 international championships and won 26 international medals.
Gauri is also a Brand Ambassador of National Child Health Program under National Health Mission, Haryana, World 10K Run, India Road Runners, VITA Haryana Dairy, etc. She is also a member of the Executive Committee of Punjab University Sports Council. After doing her Masters in Mass Communication she intends to pursue fashion along with sports.
FATEMA AGARKAR: SHAPING YOUNGSTERS WITH SPORTS AND EDUCATION
Fatema Agarkar talks to The Sunday Guardian about the Agarkar Centre of Excellence (ACE), an initiative she started with her husband Ajit Agarkar, and how career in sports has an investable future. Excerpts:
Q. What all did it take to convert the idea of amalgamating sports and education into the formation of ACE?
A. Given the expertise that we both have, i.e., Ajit Agarkar with sports and my journey with education, it just feels like a seamless journey. We are passionate about making sure that children benefit from being exposed to sports as opposed to how it was previously. For us, it was all about bringing expertise and experience together.
Q. What is your vision for driving the ACE initiative in 2021?
A. We want to ensure that we expose children to a lot more opportunities through sports that weren’t present in the physical world as the virtual world today has exposed children to so many opportunities. We at ACE are pro-blended learning. It is simply about optimising the virtual space.
Q. What would you like to say to the parents who think that devoting more time to sports means compromising on academics?
A. Think about sports as a career as these are the careers of today and tomorrow and if you do a comparative analysis, traditional careers are not lucrative anymore. You have to invest in it and the child has to be talented, he/she will have to have that skill and that’s why parents need to go to the right academy so the child gets mentored by the right people. Having said that, a career in sports has an investable future.
Q. What all key values do sports inculcate in children?
A. All of the life skills that we talk about in education—discipline, commitment, balance, decision-making, time-management, relationship-management, and teamwork. For me, sport is an education in itself!
Q. Do you believe that during these testing times it becomes even more important for children to engage in some form of physical activity to cope up with the stress of online classes?
A. Absolutely! There has to be a physical side to it, only because the current lifestyle is sedentary and children need to have that physical fitness, depending on their building, society, the neighbourhood but one can still focus on physical fitness at home, one doesn’t need to go to the gym to be exposed to that kind of fitness. One can simply manage on a yoga mat, it is very important and should become a part of their daily routine.
Q. Do you agree that the right coaching and mentorship from an early age along with proper sports infrastructure can give India more sportspersons?
A. Yes, we as a nation need to promote that and we need to invest in that, whether it is government or private bodies, I think it is important to consider sports as an integral part of children’s growing up years. We are from Mumbai, we work with smaller schools with limited infrastructure but we need to think beyond it, we need to plan simply because this is the future. Hence, it is important to invest in it and utilise that infrastructure.
Q. Would you like to comment on the reform measures required to further boost the Indian sports ecosystem?
A. The hope is that a lot more people and many stakeholders think about sports as an investment, build capabilities. The pandemic taught us one thing that we were not prepared to go virtual and I am just hoping that we are better prepared for the future if we are all in it together and consider investing in better sporting facilities and infrastructure. We build capabilities and currently, we are not there and it is not just schools, it’s the government. It is that vision that says our kids can play more and for that, we will have-to-have such facilities.
Covid gave people time to think seriously about settling down: MatchMe co-founder
Co-founder of matchmaking services MatchMe, Tania Malhotra Sondhi, talks of the USP and success of the company and how the Covid-19 lockdown changed the dynamics of relationships.
Q: MatchMe is a five-year-old premium personalised matchmaking service which is modern and has redefined the traditional culture of arranged marriages. Share with us the vision, success and USP of MatchMe.
A: MatchMe was created with sheer passion and interest in connecting like-minded people who can come together in marriage. The idea is to thoroughly assess mutual compatibility and play cupid for those individuals who are looking to find the right partner to settle down with. Alongside being extremely personalised, we are a completely offline service that maintains utmost transparency while upholding the client’s privacy at all times. This is what makes modern young individuals who deeply value their privacy trust MatchMe to help them find a partner of their choice.
Our USP is that my co-founder Mishi and I are personally involved with every single client to understand their backgrounds, personalities and personal interests, on the basis of which we curate matches for them. Our success lies in the fact that most of the matches we have made so far resulted from first introductions made by us, which is a testimony to our accuracy when it comes to matchmaking. This can also be attributed to the fact that we believe in making our clients meet only when it is worth their time and interest. Hence, our process focuses on selective introductions. We work with our clients as friends and make the girl/boy comfortable enough for them to share their interests and preferences with us, which they sometimes shy away from with their parents.
Q: What age category do you detail and match for? What socio-economic level do folks usually come from? Is it mostly parents or those looking to find their soulmates?
A: A majority of our clients fall under the age bracket of 27-34 years, but we have also catered to clients who are in the age bracket of 40-60 years. We cater mostly to the elite and affluent, those who are well-educated, well-placed financially, and have a progressive outlook.
Speaking of the ratio between parents and youngsters, I would say it is 50:50 so far. You would be surprised to know that an increasing number of youngsters who are extremely occupied with their careers, but don’t wish to settle just for the sake of it, turn to us to help them find the right match. So, basically, we understand their requirements and do some basic background checks for them, and then make the two meet only after we are personally satisfied with both parties and are convinced that they are right for each other.
Q: In today’s times, what are the criteria that a young woman or man is looking for, in an arranged marriage? And how has it evolved in the past few decades?
A: Most youngsters, both men and women, give first priority to mutual compatibility and shared interests. The families’ backgrounds and their respective financial statuses come into the picture only after these two boxes have been checked. Some noticeable and heartening changes include the fact that arranged marriages are no longer arbitrary in nature and are fixed only when the boy and girl are both genuinely invested. Another positive change is that couples take a few months to date and get to know each other and their families don’t rush them into getting engaged soon after meeting. Indian families are also getting increasingly open to inter-caste marriages, even in cases where the girl may be slightly older than the boy, which was a big no-no earlier.
Q: How has Covid changed the dynamics of marriages and relationships? What has been your success rate till date?
A: During the Covid-19 lockdown, we saw a lot of traction and had many youngsters approach us for finding them the right match. This could be attributed to two main reasons: the primary being the fact that life, in general, had slowed down and ‘work from home’ gave people enough time to think seriously about settling down. The second reason for this was the fact that there was a sense of loneliness that many young individuals felt while being confined in their homes, which led them to understand the importance of companionship and having a life partner. We have, in fact, made several virtual introductions during the lockdown, most of which have gone on to become successful relationships/marriages. Till date, we have brought over 100 couples together in marriage.
Q: What is the revenue stream in MatchMe?
A: We do a fee-based search. Our fee starts at Rs 2 lakh and goes upwards, a part of which is taken as a membership fee, as we need a commitment from the client, for the service we provide and the time and effort we invest in finding the right match for them. The remainder of the fee is charged only when we are successful in finding a suitable match and when a marriage is fixed.
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