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Won’t comment before studying matter: Ram Janmbhoomi Trust on corruption charges

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Ram Janmbhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust General Secretary Champat Rai on Sunday said he will not make any comment without studying the matter. This came hours after SP leader Tej Narayan Pandey made corruption allegations against the trust.

“They keep making allegations on us. It has been like this for the last 100 years. They blamed us also for the death of Mahatma Gandhi. I will not say anything in the matter without a study,” Rai said. Rai was speaking after participating on the first day of a two-day meeting between trustees and engineers, chaired by Ram Temple construction committee chairman Nripendra Misra. The next meeting is scheduled to be held at 10:30 am on Monday in the Circuit House here.

Earlier in the day, Pandey accused the Trust of committing corruption in a land deal and sought a CBI probe into the matter.

“The Trust purchased a piece of land, which had been bought in Rs 2 crores just 10 minutes before, in Rs 18.5 crores on March 18,” he alleged. He also said that Trust member Anil Mishra and Mayor of Ayodhya Rishikesh Upadhyay are witnesses in both the sale agreements.

Taking to Twitter, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Sanjay Singh, attaching several documents, said: “Ravi Mohan Tiwari and Sultan Ansari bought land worth Rs 2 crores at 7:10 pm. At 7:15 pm, Champat Rai of Ram Janmabhoomi Trust bought this land from them for Rs 18.5 crore.”

SP leader Tej Narayan Pandey accused Shri Ram Janmbhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust of committing corruption in a land deal and sought a CBI probe into the matter. Holding a press conference on Sunday, Pandey said that “The piece of land was earlier purchased for Rs 2 crore by Ravi Mohan Tiwari and Sultan Ansari. 10 minutes later, the Trust bought the land for Rs 18.5 crore on 18 March.”

The SP leader also claimed that Rs 17 crore was sent to the bank account of Ravi Mohan Tiwari and Sultan Ansari through RTGS mode of payment and demanded a probe into the RTGS money transfer.

With ANI inputs

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PM Modi launches digital payment system e-RUPI

We see technology as tool to help poor, e-RUPI will give new dimension to digital governance, says PM Modi.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday launched a new mode of digital payment called e-RUPI. This payment system is developed by the National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) and the launch took place via video conferencing. 

e-RUPI a cashless and contactless digital payment system which has been developed in collaboration with the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Department of Finance. While launching this new system, PM Modi said that this is a “person and purpose specific” digital solution.

“If any person or any organisation wants to donate money, e-RUPI will ensure that the amount of money donated is being used for that purpose itself. It ensures that the objective with which money has been donated is being used to fulfil that objective,” PM Modi said. “e-Rupi will help in boosting digital payments and Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) in the country,” the Prime Minister added. He expressed his happiness that the system was launched weeks before India celebrates its 75th anniversary of Independence. e-RUPI is expected to help not only in contactless payment system, but also in Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT).

There is going to be a QR code or a SMS-string based e-voucher which will be delivered directly to the phone of the beneficiary. According to a statement from the government, the beneficiary will be able to redeem the voucher without a card, digital payments app or internet banking access at the service provider. The mechanism connects services with beneficiaries and service providers in a digital manner without any physical interaction.

Addressing the event through video conference, the PM said cashless and contactless instrument for digital payment will help in targeted, transparent and leakage-free delivery. The Prime Minister said that the world is recognising India’s strength in digital infrastructure and digital transactions due to the work done in the last six-seven years. “Especially in Fintech, a huge base has been created. This is not there is big countries also,” he said. He said India is proving to the world that it is second to none in adopting technology and adapting to it. “Whether it is innovations, use of technology in service delivery use of technology in service delivery, India has the ability to give global leadership along with other major countries of the world,” he said.

The Prime Minister said some people used to say earlier that technology is for the rich and India is a poor country and does not need it and when his government talked of making technology a mission, it was questioned by the political leaders and certain types of experts. “But today the country has proved this thinking wrong and fallacious. Today the country thinks differently. Today technology is seen as a tool for the progress of the poor,” he said.

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As Covid sees southern surge, ICMR says Covaxin is effective against Delta Plus

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Till now, the prevalence of Delta AY.1 has been found to be low in India and 70 cases of coronavirus Delta Plus variant were found in genome sequencing by the INSACOG (Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics). However, there has been no information on the efficacy of currently available vaccines against the Delta AY.1 variant.

The domestically developed Covaxin is effective against the Delta plus variant of Covid-19, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has claimed in its study, released on Monday. Covaxin is developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with ICMR and the National Institute of Pune. “Here, we have evaluated the IgG antibody titer and neutralising potential of sera of Covid-19 naive individuals full doses of BBV152 vaccine, Covid-19 recovered cases with full dose vaccines and breakthrough cases post-immunisation BBV152 vaccines against Delta, Delta AY.1 and B.1.617.3.” the study said.

The recent emergence of the SARS-CoV-2 Variant B.1.617.2 (Delta) with its high transmissibility has led to the second wave in India. Covaxin, a whole-virion inactivated SARS-CoV-2 vaccine used for mass immunisation in the country, showed a 65.2 per cent protection against the Delta variant in a double-blind, randomised, multicentre, phase 3 clinical trial. Subsequently, Delta has further mutated to Delta AY.1, AY.2, and AY.3. Of these, AY.1 variant was first detected in India in April 2021 and subsequently from 20 other countries as well, the study said. The study is a pre-print and has not been peer reviewed. Covaxin demonstrated 77.8 per cent effectiveness against symptomatic Covid-19 and 65.2 per cent protection against the B.1.617.2 Delta variant, Bharat Biotech had said while concluding the final analysis of Covaxin efficacy from Phase 3 trials on July

“Sera of individuals who were fully immunized (with 2 doses) didn’t show significant reduction in the NAb titer against Delta, Delta AY.1 and B.1.617.3”, said Dr Samiran Panda, Head of epidemiology and infectious diseases. NAb titer of sera of recovered cases with vaccinations and breakthrough cases were significantly high compared to those with two doses of vaccinations. According to Dr Panda, immunization is key to protect from severity and deaths in the current situation and reduce the burden on healthcare system.

Meanwhile, after Kerala, Karnataka has witnessed a steep spike in coronavirus cases. Notably, Karnataka reported 2,052 fresh cases of Covid-19 and 35 deaths, taking the total number of infections to 29,01,247 and the toll to 36,491. The capital city logged 506 cases, 34 per cent more than Wednesday’s count of 376. Besides, Bengaluru Urban, other districts where a large number of new cases were reported are Dakshina Kannada 396, Udupi 174, Mysuru 157, Hassan 136. Bengaluru Urban district tops the list of positive cases, with a total of 12,26,463, followed by Mysuru 1,72,637 and Tumakuru 1,17,667. The total number of active cases in the state is at 23,253. The state’s positivity rate was 1.37 per cent and case fatality rate 1.70 per cent across the state. The infection claimed 35 lives, including nine in Bengaluru, taking the state’s death toll to 36,491 and the city’s toll to 15,852 since the pandemic broke out in March over a year ago.

India, meanwhile, reported 40,134 new cases of Covid-19 and 422 deaths in the last 24 hours, as per the Union Health Ministry. The total number of cases currently stands at 3,16,95,958. The death toll has climbed to 4,24,773. The number of active cases of Covid-19 in the country is 4,13,718. A total of 36,946 patients recovered in the last 24 hours and 3,08,57,467 people have recovered from Covid-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. This constitutes an overall recovery rate of 97.35%. Less than 50,000 daily new cases have been reported since thirty-six continuous days. This is a result of sustained and collaborative efforts by the Centre, the states and UTs. According to the Health ministry, India’s Covid-19 vaccination coverage has exceeded 47.22 crore. Cumulatively, 47,22,23,639 vaccine doses have been administered through 55,99,690 sessions, as per the provisional report till 7 am today. 17,06,598 vaccine doses were administered in the last 24 hours. The new phase of universalization of Covid-19 vaccination commenced on 21 June 2021.

—With agency inputs.

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REPUBLICAN REPORT SAYS COVID LEAKED FROM WUHAN LAB

‘I believe it’s time to completely dismiss the wet market as the source of the outbreak,’ says Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Savio Rodrigues

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A preponderance of evidence proves that the virus that caused the Covid-19 pandemic leaked from a Chinese research facility, said a report by US Republicans released on Monday. Terming it the “greatest cover-up of all time”, the report also cited “ample evidence” that Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) scientists—aided by US experts and Chinese and US government funds—were working to modify corona viruses to infect humans and such manipulation could be hidden.

Representative Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, released the report by the panel’s Republican staff. The House Foreign Affairs Committee Lead Republican released an addendum to his “Origins of Covid-19” report released in September 2020. The addendum outlines evidence that points to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) as the source of the outbreak, and outlines some of the many steps researchers at the WIV, along with Peter Daszak of EcoHealth Alliance, took to cover up the research being done there. It also breaks down how scientific papers written by researchers at the WIV not only prove the WIV was doing dangerous genetic modification research on coronaviruses at unsafe biosafety levels, but also that WIV researchers had the ability to genetically modify coronaviruses as early as 2016 without leaving any trace of that modification.

“As we continue to investigate the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic, I believe it’s time to completely dismiss the wet market as the source of the outbreak. Instead, as this report lays out, a preponderance of the evidence proves that all roads lead to the WIV,” stated Rep. Michael McCaul. “We know gain-of-function research was happening at the WIV and we know it was being done in unsafe conditions. We also now know the head of the Chinese CDC and the director of the WIV’s BSL-4 lab publicly expressed concerns about safety at PRC labs in the summer of 2019. It is our belief the virus leaked sometime in late August or early September 2019. When they realized what happened, Chinese Communist Party officials and scientists at the WIV began frantically covering up the leak, including taking their virus database offline in the middle of the night and requesting more than $1 million for additional security.

“But their cover-up was too late—the virus was already spreading throughout the Arunachal Pradesh would be sleeping peacefully with more peace.

The MPs from Northeast further said, “The Naga accord, Bodo accord, Bru Reang moved towards peaceful resolutions. Northeast is home to infrastructures like Bogibeel bridge and Dhola Sadiya bridge. Insurgency and violence have been reduced. On the contrary, Congress has no regard for the culture of the Northeast.” The MPs further alleged that during the tenure of the previous Congress governments, chief ministers of North Eastern states had to wait for hours before they could get an appointment from Congress leaders and if they managed to get the appointment “they would play with their pets”. “Today North-East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) is looking after the inclusive development of Northeastern states. Unable to digest this, Congress and its ecosystem is trying many dirty tricks. In 2018 they tried to make CAA and NRC a political issue, but the people of the Northeast gave them a befitting reply. Today, they are trying to stoke tempers between Assam and Mizoram,” said the BJP MPs in their memorandum to PM Modi.

After meeting the Prime Minister, Union Law Minister and MP from West Kemang in Arunachal Pradesh Kiren Rijiju alleged that foreign forces were distorting provocative statements and materials. These forces have been doing so to fuel the fire in the area. Rijiju said that the Prime Minister told the MPs that the Northeast is very close to his heart, so his love for the region is also natural. He never looked at the Northeast through the prism of politics.

During the meeting, the MPs also submitted a memorandum to PM Modi and said that whatever elements are looking at the Assam-Mizoram issue as a medium to spread disorder in India, they want to tell them that their mischief is not going to work. The MPs also said that the National Democratic Alliance government led by Prime Minister Modi has done historic and unmatched development work in the Northeast. In the last seven years, Rs 2 lakh crore has been spent on infrastructure projects in the Northeast. “Those who are working to spoil the happiness and peace in the Northeast, we condemn him.” Of the 16 MPs from the Northeast present in the delegation, 12 were from Assam, two from Arunachal Pradesh and one each from Manipur and Tripura.

Meanwhile, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday met Mizoram Governor Dr Hari Babu Kambhampati in New Delhi. “Governor of Mizoram, Dr Hari Babu Kambhampati met Union Home Minister Shri Amit Shah,” Home Minister’s Office tweeted. Before his meeting with Shah, Kambhampati said that the Union Home Minister is trying to defuse the situation and find a solution. “It is an unfortunate incident. Union Home Minister Amit Shah is trying to defuse the situation and find a solution. Both the CMs (Assam and Mizoram) reiterated that peace will be restored,” the Governor told ANI. Earlier in the day, the Mizoram Governor met Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss the current border situation and how to diffuse the tensions between the two states.

(WITH AGENCY INPUTS)

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HOW FIXED VS GROWTH MINDSET SHAPES OUR LIVES

IESHAAN PURI

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What is it that separates achievers from quitters? Is there a certain skill or trait that most successful people have in common? It turns out, there just might be. According to Dr Carol Dweck, there are two mindsets we can navigate life with —growth and fixed. The term mindset is defined as an established set of attitudes held by individuals that help guide their behaviour.

One’s mindset is rooted in their experiences, education, interactions, and culture from which one form thoughts that establish their beliefs and attitudes. Those thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes lead to certain actions and with those actions, they have experiences, and those experiences shape their mindset. It is an indisputable fact that humans evolve with age. Therefore, one’s mindset can alter. 

According to science, our brain can be reshaped over time, forming new neural pathways. These neural pathways are developed by doing or thinking particular things. The things that we do or say more often become hard-wired into our brains as habits. These habits can be defined ‘routes’ in our brain, which become easier to use. But you can still change them. The first step is to realise that you need to, and then train your brain in the new skill. 

An individual with a fixed mindset leads to a desire to look smart and therefore, a tendency to avoid challenges. Consequently, they are unable to achieve their full potential. In an educational environment, individuals with a fixed mindset think that learning and intelligence have limitations, and they cannot grow as students.  On the other hand, an individual with a growth mindset leads to a desire to learn and a resultant tendency to see efforts as the path to mastery. In an educational environment, individuals with a growth mindset think that learning and intelligence are limitless; with hard work, one can acquire skills and learn, and as a result, change their levels of intelligence. Those with a growth mindset are less concerned about their perception, and more focused upon learning. In other words, they yearn to learn. According to Dr Dweck, what makes a growth mindset so winsome is that it creates a passion for learning rather than a hunger for approval. Persons with this mindset are afraid of but not discouraged by failure.  

Nobody ‘purely’ holds a fixed or growth mindset. More often than not, human beings are born with a desire to self-actualise. In an attempt to do so, we adopt a strategy, form a mindset, learn about our surroundings, etc. Sometimes, we are successful, at other times, not there yet. People with a fixed mindset will join their hands, and resign whereas people with a growth mindset will try again. With their second attempt, they will adopt a different strategy and try to hold onto hope. In other words, a skill is something you can cultivate. You can become more creative, more athletic, and even successful by focusing on the process, and not the outcome. It’s the process that is the prize. 

Over the years, my mindset has developed from fixed to growth. As a child, I believed in my abilities only to an extent. If I performed poorly in school, I would disregard the comments made by the teacher or my parents. If I did not score a goal or make an assist in a football game, I would begin to see my efforts as worthless. Only compliments directed towards me or my achievements could get a smile on my face. 

All this changed when I saw a film called Shawshank Redemption. A quote from the film, “I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really. Get busy living or get busy dying” changed my way of thinking. With a fixed mindset, I would not be open to new avenues, instead, be fearful. The film taught me that it is important to go out, find your passion, and be bold. Most importantly, always hold on to hope. 

Over the past year, I set a few short and long term goals: reading a book a month, widening my social circle, and speaking to my teachers to understand where I faltered. We overestimate the importance of a single event and underestimate the importance of making better choices daily. However, it is vital to remember that nobody can develop a mindset overnight. It’s a course of gradual progression. A stimulus must be evoked externally. It is natural to weigh your strengths and weaknesses, doubt your abilities, but what matters the most is your interpretations and the following actions. 

An individual’s true potential is unknown and unmeasurable. Moreover, it’s impossible to forecast what can be accomplished with years of passion, toil, and training. We are a blend of the two mindsets with one more raised than the other. I say this because as we grow older, we experience more things. Both mindsets are two distinct worlds: In one world, the world of fixed traits — success is about proving you’re smart or talented, validating yourself. In the other — the world of changing qualities — it’s about stretching yourself to learn something new, developing yourself. It’s not always about winning or losing, succeeding or failing, loving or hating — nothing is good or bad forever. But, how you emerge out of a crisis or a moment of praise without getting ahead of yourself? It’s the mindset you endorse. 

Today, we are living in a world that is progressing rapidly. Each one of us is grappling with new information, concerns, and so much more. We are constantly receiving approval and rejection. To infiltrate feedbackand act appropriately, being self-aware is vital. Unless, you develop a mindset and believe in it wholeheartedly, your mindset will influence your decisions. Life is a journey filled with highs and lows. Self-motivation is the key and a well-trained mind will help you. A mindset is an interpretative process that teaches us about our surroundings so we must learn to adapt with change and continue to develop our mindset. 

The significance of having a growth mindset is more important now than ever before. When the coronavirus pandemic hit in early 2020, even the best of us were lost on how to combat it. The healthcare industry rose to the challenge, armed with a growth mindset, and developed successful vaccines to inhibit its life-threatening consequences. As children, we did not know what a mindset was, however, we were forming one unconsciously. But, as we grow older and become aware of the term and its significance, we must allow ourselves to live and act consciously by deliberately cultivating a growth mindset.

The writer is a class 12 student from Vasant Valley School. 

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COVID-INDUCED CHALLENGES GALORE, ‘YES, WE WILL’ ATTITUDE IS THE CURE

Prime Minister Narendra Modi needs to convert the crisis into an opportunity to create a ‘New India’ of his dream.

G.V. Anshuman Rao

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“We proved that we are still people capable of doing big things and tackling our biggest challenges,” these were the words of former US President Barack Obama who took the challenges head-on and managed to steer his country through the crisis resulting from economic asphyxiation. “Yes, We Can” call that Obama transformed the recession-hit USA into a nation that regained its past flourishing economic glory.

That is exactly how India needs to overcome the present challenges in economic, health, and other related key sectors, in the wake of the Covid-induced pandemic. “Yes, We Will” should be the guiding slogan for India amid the current crisis. Even though the Covid-driven crisis is assuming complicated proportions, India can and will overcome it. If Obama demonstrated that ‘success comes in cans, not in can’ts’, India can show “where there is a will, there’s a way.” India will use the present crisis as an opportunity to gain new heights on the horizon of development and growth. 

 Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose “Yes We Will”approach fetched the country many laurels so far, is capable of rising to the occasion. There is no denying that so far his tenure is marked with so many achievements, however, there are challenges galore, with a strong negative perception also. What PM Modi has to do is to first break this negative perception and then use the crisis to consolidate everything that would go into the creation of a “New India” which he dreamt of and spoke a lot about.

Several hurdles to growth objectives have to be removed if PM Modi has to fulfil his vow to make India a $5 trillion economy by 2024. Strong leadership with massive willpower and positivity can lead to meaningful steps towards that goal. The only collective voice of “Yes We Will” from a 1.3 billion-strong nation can crush the crisis. When Obama took reins of America, the gloomy wind of economic recession coupled with negativity was sweeping across the country. Similarly, an atmosphere of despondency was prevailing in India when Narendra Modi formed the government in 2014. His dream and vision of “New India” did cut ice with the people. There have been several innovative and outstanding decisions and subsequent successful implementation on social and economic governance issues over the last seven years. Obama indeed converted the crisis into a much-needed opportunity to transform the US and handled the serious economic challenges, which cost millions of Americans their homes and jobs. The economic stimulus package announced by him helped the US tide over the crisis. One may recall that PM Modi had given the call to convert the Covid-induced crisis into an opportunity during the first wave of the pandemic.

Challenges could be the game-changer if tackled with determination, vision, and a positive attitude. The sectors which merit immediate and much-focused attention are related to what affects the lives of the masses. Strengthening the areas of governance will be a major weapon. With a performer government in place, as suggested by the track record so far, goals could be achievable. Economy, vaccination, health, education, unemployment, and negative perception are areas where the government faces major challenges that need to be taken care of on a priority basis to take the country out of its current situation. The economic slowdown turned into a contraction due to the pandemic. The deadly second wave caught the country off guard. Unfortunately, a pandemic does not come with a playbook, and India, like many other nations, has been learning and framing the rules as it progresses through this pandemic. The ongoing economic reforms in various sectors, including banking and agriculture, have faced a slow-down. There are reports about how the rural economy has suffered. Job losses on a massive scale have also been reported. The lockdown shut several businesses and threw people out of their jobs, pandemic and consequent lockdown have made the unemployment situation worse. As per the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), in May, the rural unemployment rate in rural areas and cities reached 13.5% 17.4%, respectively. The national unemployment rate climbed to a new high of 14.7%. Certainly, the government will have to address this.

Now the question is what the government can do. What has been noticed in the past was PM Modi’s immense focus on microeconomics and this should be given fresh impetus. The bold push for encouraging market forces should be given, in view of the agrarian economy having been struck significantly by the pandemic. Empowering grassroots institutions could be effective. What is being suggested by many economic experts is the need to promote MSME down to rural areas to create jobs and stimulate economic growth. It is good that the government has made free ration available to the poor and those who lost jobs. The financial-economic package announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is the beginning of the long therapy that is needed for economic recovery. But many such financial vaccines are needed to bring India to the high table among world economic powerhouses. Another crucial step would be expediting and increasing loan disbursals under Mudra Yojana to help people set up their work and start-up to address unemployment. Under Mudra Yojana, Rs 29 crore loan sanctions, and Rs 15 lakh crore disbursals happened. This will also be of immense help in addressing the economic challenges.

Doubling the income of farmers will be of great help in improving the rural economy. It is a good move that PM Modi recently released over Rs 20,000 crore under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-Kisan) scheme. Since agriculture is the mainstay of the Indian economy, the government will have to focus on measures leading to an increase in agricultural production.

Rural infrastructure development is also one of the major components of what forms the very basis of improving the economy of the villages. Hence, there is a need to give a fresh fillip to the mission of electrifying all villages and homes, proper sanitation coverage to every village and tap connection to every single home in the city and village.

Education sector reform can also be a game-changer. Skill development, research, and innovation in science and technology are the three components to create a self-reliant India. It is a positive development that as part of reform in the education sector, the government’s focus is on connecting youth with education, knowledge, and skill to build Atmanirbhar Bharat.

How the health sector left a lot to be desired down to state levels also came to the fore during the second wave of Covid-19. That shifts the spotlight on health infrastructure in rural areas which needs to be further developed. Several hospital projects approved by the government for various districts and blocks should be completed soon. While discussing health sector enhancement, what is worth mentioning is affordable health care to the poor. Ayushman Bharat, also known as Modicare, helped the poor to some extent. But its reach to the people living in remotest areas should be ensured. It reminds one of Obamacare which was launched in 2010 to provide healthcare to those who can’t afford it. The objective of both is the same. Loopholes in the implementation of Modicare down to small rural pockets need to be plugged. The government is also reported to have stressed the need to make its coverage more extensive.   

Covid vaccination is an area where the focus should be greater. The manufacturing of vaccines has grown tremendously but vaccination hesitancy has to be dealt with. A majority of the population needs to be vaccinated at the earliest. The government claims that everyone will be vaccinated by December. But for this to happen, uninterrupted vaccination supply needs to be ensured. In what has come as a significant development underscoring the “Yes We Will” attitude, India has overtaken the US in the total number of Covid-19 vaccines administered so far with over 32.8 crore doses till 28 June 2021, while the US has logged 32.3 crore doses. What is more remarkable is that India began its vaccination drive on 16 January, 2021 more than a month after the US did on 14 December, 2020.

The perception challenge is one of the most baffling issues that the Modi government has to deal with. In the post-Covid scenario, a negative perception is being created about the government led by PM Modi. Questions are being raised over his competence. So PM Modi will have to lead from the front and infuse fresh spells of energy into all the schemes and projects. He has to show the willpower that yes, he can do and he will do. The government must step up efforts to be more proactive to engage with many public and civilian institutions to address the perception challenge resulting also from misinformation campaigns at national and international levels. PM Modi should bring some credible, talented, and professional faces with few seasoned capable people in the Cabinet. This perception is growing that the Cabinet lacks the desired talent and it must be given a fresh look. He knows the significance of perception in politics, the downfall of UPA-Congress is a story to remember. These are all daunting challenges for PM Modi. His track record on meeting difficult situations head-on is well known and that gives the nation confidence that he will face the challenges successfully.

One can go by some major works done by the Modi government. Banking the unbanked through the Jan Dhan Yojana was PM Modi’s innovative scheme under which 42 crore bank accounts were opened. GST was in the pipeline for 17 years before it became a major tax reform in 2017. Free distribution of the LPG cylinders through the Ujjwala Yojana is a milestone achievement. Official data show that Ujjwala Yojana accounts for over 70% growth in total domestic LPG connections in the country. The Swachh Bharat campaign is one of the big socio-political achievements of the Modi government. The toilet-construction programme under the Swachh Bharat campaign to make India an open-defecation free (ODF) country played a significant part. Even Obama lauded PM Modi’s innovative scheme of cleanliness.  

The government has done remarkably well on the strategic front. It was a big achievement for India to push China back from Doklam and Pangong Lake but still, the continued standoff at the LAC remains a big challenge for PM Modi and his strong leader image is facing the most critical time. However, under his leadership, India has renewed its effort to push for a permanent UNSC seat, by launching diplomatic efforts to remove the bottlenecks. Moreover, India plays an important role in Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad), the grouping of four countries comprising the USA, Japan, Australia, and India, to counter China’s aggressive behaviour. We know the battle ahead will be long, but always remember that no matter what obstacles stand in our way, nothing can stand in the way of the power of millions of voices calling for change. No matter how onerous and gigantic the task of crushing the challenges might be, India will successfully do it with determination and collective efforts guided by a “Yes, We will do” attitude. It is this strong feeling and commitment that is going to rule everything. 

The writer is a political analyst and former Chairman, Andhra Pradesh Electronics Development Corporation.

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MONSOON SESSION OF HIMACHAL ASSEMBLY TO BEGIN TODAY

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SHIMLA: The monsoon session of the Himachal Pradesh Assembly will begin today, which will continue for 10-days and finally conclude on August 13.

August 5 and August 12 have been reserved as Private Members Day. The speaker of the Himachal Pradesh Assembly, Vipin Singh Parmar, during his address to the media, informed that the session will be conducted with all COVID-19 protocols in place. A digital record of each and everyone who enters the Assembly will be kept. Amid the pandemic, only 800 people have been allowed to attend the House this time, instead of the routine 1200,” Parmar said.

Further, he informed that during an all-party meeting in the state, all the members of the House have assured to cooperate to conduct the assembly.

“Till date, nearly 853 questions on different topics have been submitted by the members, of which, 618 are starred. Under rule 130, a total of 7 matters have been brought for discussion, while 4 issues have been listed under rule 101 and notice under rule 62 has also been sought by the members,” the speaker said while briefing about the issues which are likely to be addressed during the session.

The monsoon session will begin with mourning for the members of the House who have recently died, including the senior leader of opposition Raja Virbhadra Singh.

Mourning the loss of Singh, Congress leader of opposition in the State Assembly, Mukesh Agnihotri said that that the Congress party and HP Assembly has lost a great leader and very senior member of the assembly, Raja Virbhadra Singh, who died on July 8 this year. “His death has created a void in the state and it will not be fulfilled.”

Further, Agnihotri told ANI that the opposition would be raising questions on issues of COVID-19, and alleged that the government has not shown half of the Covid-related deaths. “Issues of inflation, unemployment, and environmental issues of the state which have resulted in floods and landslides across the state will also be raised during the session,” he said. The opposition has also demanded to appoint a Chief Whip and a Deputy Chief Whip in the State Assembly. 

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