New Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind presents the National Service Scheme (NSS) Awards for 2018-2019 via video conferencing, in New Delhi on Sep 24, 2020. (Photo: IANS)
President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday said that the Covid-19 pandemic has underscored the need for greater global cooperation to ensure collective health and economic well-being, expressing hope that the international community will soon find a solution to the pandemic.
He was speaking after accepting letters of credence from the Ambassador of Switzerland and the High Commissioners of Malta and Botswana in a virtual ceremony.
Ralf Heckner, Ambassador of Switzerland, and the High Commissioners of Malta and Botswana, Reuben Gauci and Gilbert Shimane Mangole respectively, presented their credentials to Kovind.
Speaking on the occasion, President Kovind conveyed his good wishes to the envoys on their new assignments and noted that India enjoyed warm and friendly relations with all the three countries. “Our ties are deeply rooted in a common vision of peace and prosperity.”
The President also thanked their governments for supporting India’s candidature for the non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council for 2021-22, a Rashtrapati Bhavan statement said.
He expressed the optimism that the international community will emerge stronger and more resilient from the pandemic crisis.
Akbaruddin Owaisi challenges govt to demolish PV, NTR’s samadhis
Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) leader Akbaruddin Owaisi challenged the Telangana government to demolish samadhis of former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao and former (undivided) Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N.T. Rama Rao and remove other encroachments on the Hussain Sagar lake in Hyderabad.
Addressing a public meeting in connection with Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) elections, he said that the government is demolishing houses of poor built on lakes but ignoring the encroachments on Hussain Sagar in the heart of the city.
Akbaruddin Owaisi, who is MIM leader in Telangana Assembly, said the area of Hussain Sagar shrunk from 4,700 acres to less than 700 acres.
“The Necklace Road has come up on Hussain Sagar. Samadhis of Narasimha Rao and N.T. Rama Rao and Lumbini Park have been built on lake. I am challenging the government to demolish samadhis. Do you have guts to do this?” he asked.
He also alleged that it is the government which encroached on the Tank Bund and built even GHMC office on the banks of the lake.
Akbaruddin, who is younger brother of MIM chief and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi, said successive governments failed to protect lakes and tanks and the poor who purchased the land wherever it was available could not be faulted for this.
Referring to the recent floods in the city, he said the natural flow of water into Musi River was disrupted by developing the Outer Ring Road (ORR) and taking up other constructions.
Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) Working President K.T. Rama Rao has condemned Akbaruddin Owaisi’s remarks on samadhis of Narasimha Rao and N.T. Rama Rao. He tweeted that MIM leader’s remarks about the two late leaders are inappropriate.
The TRS leader, who is also the Municipal Administration and Urban Development Minister, said both Narasimha Rao and NTR served the people and worked to for the self-respect of Telugu people.
BJP’s Telangana unit President Bandi Sanjay Kumar also reacted sharply to Akbaruddin Owaisi’s comments, daring the MIM leader to demolish the samadhis. “Within two hours of the demolition of samadhis, BJP workers will pull down Darussalam (MIM headquarters),” he said.
MHA rejects lockdown possibilities, issues 19 SOPs
In the wake of ongoing Covid-19 cases, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Wednesday issued a 19-point Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) giving nod to states and UTs to impose local restrictions if necessary.
The SOPs, part of a month-long guidelines issued by the MHA, will be effective from December 1 and will remain in force up to December 31.
States and Union Territories (UTs) have been allowed to impose night curfew but “shall not be allowed impose any local lockdown outside the containment zones, without prior consultation with the Centre”.
Staggered office timings and othe suitable measures shall be implemented in the cities with the positivity rate in 10 per cent so as to ensure social distancing.
The MHA has also not restricted any inter-state or intra-state movement.
People above 65-years of age, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women and children below the age of 10 years have been adivsed to stay home while advising the general public to use Aarogya Setu mobile application.
The district authorities have been asked to carefully demarcate containment zones considering prescribed MoHFW guidelines. The authorities have also been asked to notify the list of containment zones on the website of respective district collectors.
While only essential activities shall be allowed in the containment zones, strict perimeter control will be there to ensure that there is no movement of people, except for medical emergencies and for maintaining supply of essential services.
There shall be intensive house-to-house surveillance by surveillance teams formed for the purpose.
Testing shall be carried out as per prescribed protocol. Listing of contacts shall be carried out in respect of all persons found positive, along with their tracking, identification, quarantine and follow up of contacts for 14 days (80 per cent of contacts to be traced in 72 hours).
Quick isolation of Covid-19 patients shall be ensured in treatment facilities or home (subject to fulfilling the home isolation guidelines).
Clinical interventions, as prescribed, shall be administered and surveillance for Influenza-Like Illness or Severe Acute Respiratory Infection cases shall be carried out in health facilities or outreach mobile units or through fever clinics in buffer zones.
Awareness shall be created in communities on Covid-19 appropriate behaviour and local district, police and municipal authorities shall be responsible to ensure that the prescribed containment measures are strictly followed and state or UT governments shall ensure the accountability of the officers concerned in this regard.
It is directed to state and UT governments to take all necessary measures to promote Covid-19 appropriate behaviour and to ensure strict enforcement of wearing of face masks, hand hygiene and social distancing.
In order to enforce the core requirement of wearing of face masks, states and UTs may consider administrative actions, including imposition of appropriate fines, on persons not wearing face masks in public and work spaces.
For observance of social distancing in crowded places, especially in markets, weekly bazaars and public transport, MoHFW) will issue a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), which shall be strictly enforced by states and UTs.
All activities have been permitted outside Containment Zones, except for some which have been permitted with certain restrictions– international air travel of passengers, as permitted by MHA; cinema halls and theatres, with upto 50 per cent capacity; swimming pools, only for training of sports persons; exhibition halls, only for business to business (B2B) purposes; social, religious, sports, entertainment, educational, cultural, religious gatherings, with upto a maximum of 50 per cent of the hall capacity, with a ceiling of 200 persons in closed spaces, keeping of the size of the ground in open spaces.
However, the MHA said, based on their assessment of the situation, state and UT governments may reduce the ceiling to 100 persons or less, in closed spaces.
The main focus of the guidelines is to consolidate the substantial gains that have been achieved against the spread of the deadly disease which is visible in the steady decline in number of active cases in the country.
“Keeping in view the recent spike in new cases in few states and UTs, ongoing festival season and onset of winter, it is emphasised that to fully overcome the pandemic, there is need to maintain caution and to strictly follow the prescribed containment strategy, focused on surveillance, containment and strict observance of the guidelines or SOPs issued by MHA and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW),” it said.
Local district, police and municipal authorities shall be responsible to ensure that the prescribed containment measures are strictly followed.
“States and UTs, based on their assessment of the situation, may impose local restrictions, with a view to contain the spread of Covid-19,” the Ministry said.
The move comes after India on Wednesday added 44,376 Covid cases, pushing its total tally to 92,22,216. It is the 18th straight day when India reported less than 50,000 cases in a day. But there are many states including Delhi, Mumbai, and West Bengal where the number of Covid cases has been increasing drastically, claiming many lives regularly.
Maharashtra remains the worst hit state with 84,238 active cases and 46,683 deaths so far. The recoveries in the state stand at 16,58,879.
Apart from Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka have reported the highest number of cases.
The national capital is also witnessing a surge. On Tuesday, Delhi recorded 6,224 new cases and 109 deaths.
Congress terms Asaduddin Owaisi a BJP agent, latter refutes it
The AIMIM made a mark in the recent Bihar Assembly polls by grabbing five seats. Now party leader Asaduddin Owaisi is being discussed in Rajasthan politics by the Congress as well as BJP leaders with his followers running a social media campaign triggering speculation about his partys foray into the desert state.
While the Congress on Tuesday termed Owaisi as a BJP agent, the latter rejected the claim.
On Tuesday, veteran Congress leader Mahesh Joshi termed Owaisi as an agent of the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said that he contests elections on the directions of the BJP.
Owaisi contests elections on directions issued by the BJP and the people of the state will reject such politicians, said Mahesh Joshi.
Meanwhile, BJP general secretary Alka Singh Gurjar strongly rejected such claims and said that Owaisi and the Congress are synonymous as both follow the policies of appeasement.
“No matter if Owaisi enters Rajasthan or Rahul Gandhi makes an entry in the state, people will never forget the tasks being accomplished by Modi,” she said.
People have understood the empty claims of the Congress and connecting Modi with Owaisi has come to an end now, she added.
Many of Owaisi’s followers have been running a social media campaign saying that AIMIM needs to be brought to Rajasthan.
Different groups are appearing on social media with the name of AIMIM Rajasthan India which are continuously garnering more followers.
If sources are to be believed, the Muslim voters in Jaipur are upset as the Congress failed to have any mayor from their community despite there being a large number of Muslim candidates who won the polls. The community leaders are talking to Owaisi and are concentrating on 40 Muslim-dominated seats which include Jaipur, Sikar, Jhunjhunu, Alwar, Bharatpur, Sawai Madhopur and Tonk.
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