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Thursday,22-October-2020

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New unlock guidelines: States free to decide on schools reopening after October 15

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Ministry-of-Home-Affairs

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Wednesday left it to the states and union territories to decide on reopening of schools and coaching institutions after October 15 in a graded manner.

Earlier, schools were partially reopened from September 21 in compliance with Unlock 4 guidelines.

In fresh guidelines for further reopening of the country amid the pandemic, the MHA stated, “For re-opening of schools and coaching institutions, State and UT Governments have been given the flexibility to take a decision after 15th October 2020, in a graded manner. The decision shall be taken in consultation with the respective school or institution management, based on their assessment of the situation.”

The ministry, however, clarified that online or distance learning will continue to be the preferred mode of teaching and should be encouraged. “Where schools are conducting online classes, and some students prefer to attend online classes rather than physically attend school, they may be permitted to do so.”

The guidelines added, “Students may attend schools or institutions only with the written consent of parents. Attendance must not be enforced and must depend entirely on parental consent.”

States and UTs have been asked to prepare their own standard operating procedures (SOP) regarding health and safety precautions for reopening of schools and institutions based on the guidelines to be issued by the Department of School Education and Literacy under the Ministry of Education.

“Schools, which are allowed to open, will have to mandatorily follow the SOP to be issued by Education Departments of States and UTs. The Department of Higher Education (DHE), Ministry of Education may take a decision on the timing of the opening of colleges and higher education institutions, in consultation with the MHA,” it added.

Higher Education Institutions, only for research scholars and post-graduate students in science and technology streams that require laboratory or experimental work will be permitted to open from October 15.

“For centrally funded higher education institutions, the Head of Institution will satisfy herself or himself that there is a genuine requirement of research scholars and post-graduate students in science and technology stream for laboratory or experimental works,a the fresh guidelines further added.

For all other Higher Education Institutions like State Universities, private universities etc., they may open only for research scholars and postgraduate students in science and technology stream requiring laboratory or experimental works as per decision to be taken by the respective State and UT Governments.

National News

Economy not circus lion that responds to ringmaster’s stick: P. Chidambaram

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P.-Chidambaram

Former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Thursday criticised the Centre for its claims on reviving the economy. He said the economy was largely determined by the market, by the laws of demand and supply, and by the purchasing power and the sentiments of the people, which are missing currently.

“Unless the government puts money in the hands of the bottom half of the families and puts food on the plates of the poor, the economy will not revive smartly,” he added.

The Congress leader said if the government doubted about what he say, then “just listen to the voices of the voters of Bihar on their existential crisis — no work or not enough work, no income or little income, and their thoughts are on surviving, not on spending.

He also said that RBI Governor, SEBI Chairman and the DEA Secretary should tell the FM, in unison, that the vast majority of the people do not have the money or the inclination to buy goods and services.

“Is it not intriguing that the RBI Governor, the SEBI Chairman and the DEA Secretary should speak on the same day on the same subject? All three have tried to ‘talk up’ the economy. I wish the economy was a circus lion that would respond to the stick of the ringmaster!” Chidambaram mocked.

The former Finance Minister was criticising the statements made by the RBI Governor and the Economic Affairs Secretary.

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das said on Wednesday that India is at the doorstep of a revival process from the ongoing pandemic.

Speaking at an event, he said that it is very important that the financial entities have adequate capital to support the growth. He noted that many of them have already raised capital while others are planning to do the same.

He said that after the pandemic is contained, the government will have to spell out a fiscal roadmap for the country.

Secretary, Economic Affairs, Tarun Bajaj on Wednesday said the Centre is open for further measures to boost the economy.

Participating at a CII event, he said that the government has received suggestions from various ministries and sectors on the needed measures.

Bajaj also said that while preparing the next Union Budget, the government would be looking at expenditure for this year and the requirements of various ministries.

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Congress acting as lobbyist for anti-farmer forces: Himachal Pradesh Minister

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Suresh-Bhardwaj

Himachal Pradesh Urban Development Minister Suresh Bhardwaj on Thursday lashed out at the Congress for misleading farmers on the farm laws and alleged that the party was acting as a lobbyist for anti-farmer forces.

He said the farm laws would revolutionise the agriculture sector in the coming times.

“The Congress is misleading the farmers. It is playing in the hands of a handful of people who had earlier been exploiting the agrarian community,” said Bhardwaj in a statement here.

The Minister said Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Central government has been working towards doubling the farmers’ income and has also initiated several schemes and programs.

“After realising the need for these laws to make agriculture schemes and policies a success, the government took the call. But Congress could not digest it. It seems the Congress party does not want farmers to come out of the shackles of a fragmented system,” he said.

Bhardwaj said those opposing these laws are not the well-wishers of farmers but acting at the behest of middlemen.

Further explaining about the farm laws, the minister said the APMCs and the marketing board will continue to function as usual.

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PM Narendra Modi lauds Amit Shah on his birthday

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Narendra-Modi-and-Amit-Shah

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday lauded the “dedication and excellence” of Union Home Minister Amit Shah in India’s progress.

The Prime Minister expressed his views while extending wishes to Shah on his 56th birthday.

“Birthday wishes to Amit Shah ji. Our nation is witnessing the dedication and excellence with which he is contributing towards India’s progress,” the Prime Minister tweeted.

The Prime Minister recalled Shah’s “noteworthy” efforts to make the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stronger and wished: “May God bless him with a long and healthy life in service of India”.

Shah, who is currently serving as the Union Minister of Home Affairs, served as the President of the BJP from 2014 to 2020. He was elected to the Lower House of Parliament in the 2019 Indian general elections from Gandhinagar constituency.

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