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Kuwait starts to prevent unvaccinated from entering shopping malls to contain Covid-19




Kuwait started on Sunday to implement a government’s decision to allow only vaccinated citizens and residents to visit shopping malls, salons, gyms, and restaurants in the country.

Malls in the Arab country witnessed on Sunday morning armed forces at their entrances who will help the implementation of the decision to prevent unvaccinated people from entering, except for pregnant women, those under 16 years, and those with a medical excuse, the Xinhua news agency reported.

According to the Ministry of Interior, about 400 of their men will be deployed in malls to help implement the health measures.

Amid strict procedures, the major malls began to receive visitors.

Shahd Al-Awadi, a customer in a mall, told Xinhua that vaccination certificates are being checked by the security of the mall, where visitors are obliged to show “Immune” and “Kuwait Mobile ID” applications.

“I came to the mall to enjoy breakfast, away from the crowds, where my friend called me and told me that the atmosphere in the mall is quieter and we should enjoy it as much as we can,” Al-Awadi said.

Al-Awadi affirmed that she totally supports the decision, explaining that she received vaccine to prevent the spread of coronavirus and protect the children and family especially the elderly ones, and it is her right to get privileges.

“It is illogical that we may be exposed to the risk of infection and the spread of the disease because of the few who refrain from vaccination,” she said.

Iman Hammadi, a saleswoman in a cosmetics store inside the mall, said that visitors are less than usual, expressing her fear that the situation will continue for a longer period and thus it will lead to the decline in sales revenues.

“If the situation continues, our target will be failing. The target depends on buyers. Fewer buyers, fewer sales, then less money for the company and salespeople,” Iman said sadly.

A citizen Nada Al-Waleed said that the municipality men at the gates check apps at people’s mobiles one by one. She hopes that the entry process will speed up and facilitate the visitors.

Another citizen Ali Al-Nabhan felt the need to go to the mall on the day, just out of curiosity.

“I feel that I want to experience the privilege of being vaccinated, and curiosity led me to see the mall without the usual crowds,” he said.

“I think that the decisions of the Ministry of Health are the right things to do. Several other countries have made similar decisions, and we did not see objections from their people,” he said.

“Rather, they supported the decisions of their governments, which are interested in making the situation safe for them and their families,” he added.

However, citizen Talal Al-Mutawa, who is afraid of vaccination and decided to wait more than a year to be vaccinated, said that what is happening in the malls now deserves to be questioned.

“The malls are almost empty which means many people are afraid to be vaccinated,” he said. “The government’s decisions are supposed to motivate others and give them solutions, not to restrict people.”

On June 17, the Kuwaiti government decided to allow access to most public venues only for fully vaccinated people starting from June 27, in an effort to contain the spread of the Delta variant.


Reliance Jio, GSMA roll out initiative to train rural women in digital skills




Reliance Jio and global mobile network operators’ organisation GSMA on Tuesday announced the roll-out of their digital skills programme to train rural women in India.

The programme aims to provide need-based training to rural women and individuals from marginalised/low-income groups to help them make meaningful use of digital access.

The national roll-out phase is now underway, with the programme being rolled out across 10 states.

“We are proud to partner with GSMA in this programme to take digital skills training to the women across India and be the wind beneath their wings,” said Isha Ambani, Director, Reliance Jio.

As per the GSMA’s ‘Mobile Gender Gap Report 2022’, women in India are 41 per cent less likely than men to use mobile internet.

A total of 330 million women in India still do not use mobile internet, compared to 248 million men. Lack of literacy and digital skills is one of the top reported barriers to mobile internet use.

As a part of the programme, the GSMA and Jio teams worked together to assess prevalent digital skill gaps and develop need-based digital skills training toolkits that are India-specific.

Over 1,000 rural women and men from Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu participated and provided inputs for the refinement of the digital training toolkits during the trial phase.

Reliance Foundation will be supporting the roll-out through its large network and self-help groups, particularly in rural areas.

“More needs to be done to ensure women are not being left behind in an increasingly connected world. We are excited to partner with Jio and Reliance Foundation to take the Digital Skills Programme national and help accelerate digital inclusion for women,” said Mats Granryd, Director General, GSMA.

The GSMA is a global organisation unifying the mobile ecosystem to discover, develop and deliver innovation foundational to positive business environments and societal change.

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Centre asks Vodafone Idea to convert Rs 16,000 dues into equity




Financially-stressed telecom company Vodafone Idea said on Friday that the government has directed it to convert a portion of its dues worth Rs 16,000 crore it owes to the exchequer into equity in the government’s favour.

“It is hereby informed that the Ministry of Communications has [directed] the company to convert the NPV of the interest related to deferment of spectrum auction instalments and AGR dues into equity shares to be issued to the government of India,” the company said in a filing.

The government will take 33 per cent equity in Vodafone Idea after converting all interest related to payments for spectrum and other dues into equity.

This will make the government the largest shareholder in the telecom company.

Vodafone Idea will convert dues of Rs 16,133 crore into equity and issue shares for Rs 10 each, the company informed.

“We had sought a firm commitment that the Aditya Birla Group would run the company and bring necessary investments. The Birlas have agreed and hence we have agreed to convert. We want India to be a three-player market plus BSNL and ensure healthy competition for consumers,” Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said in a statement.

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I-T dept raids over 30 locations of five builder groups across Jaipur




The Income Tax department on Thursday raided over 30 locations of five builder groups across Jaipur. The teams also conducted search operations at two locations of a builder group in Gurugram.

Officials said that the I-T department had received a tip-off that these builders were engaged in making cash deals while selling flats in multi-storey buildings, plots and commercial properties in Jaipur.

After verification, 40 teams of the investigating branch of the I-T department raided their locations on Thursday morning. Raids have been conducted at the premises of Manglam Group, Sanjivani, R-Tech, Jugal Derewala and Haridutt, including their offices, corporate offices and residential premises.

The I-T teams have raided places in Jaipur including Tonk Road, Mansarovar, Rajapark, Jagatpura, C-Scheme, Civil Lines, Ajmer Road, Delhi Road, Agra Road and Sanganer.

Sources said that the department had received complaints of undisclosed income running into crores of rupees. All the five builders were using cash to buy and sell land. So the I-T teams raided around 38 targets simultaneously. According to the information received so far, huge amount of cash, and documents of land purchase and sale have been found from their premises.

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