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Pakistan government begins probe into misuse of petroleum imports from China

Islamabad [Pakistan] (ANI): Probe into misuse of petroleum imports from China began in Pakistan as the federal government on Friday ordered all oil marketing companies (OMCs) to provide evidence-based data on the import of petrol from China amid reports of the misuse of China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement (CPFTA).
Under the CPFTA renegotiated in 2019, the Pakistan government had issued statutory regulatory orders on December 31, 2019, that abolished tariff on import of petrol. As such, there was no customs duty on the import of petrol from China with effect from Jan 1, 2020. Normal petroleum imports from all other sources, mostly the Middle East, attract 10 per cent customs duty while similar deemed duty is applicable on production from local refineries, according to Dawn. Further, results in a price saving of about 10 per cent on petrol imports from China. However, this price differential is retained by the OMCs as windfall profit instead of its benefit to the exchequer or the consumers. Depending on the international petrol price published in Platt’s Oilgram, the gap normally works out between Rs9-12 per litre.
Earlier, the key purpose of the free trade agreement signed on April 28, 2019, was the promotion of fair trade competition.
On the other hand, China itself is a net importer of petroleum products including petrol and transportation cost to Pakistan is relatively higher than that of the Middle East. Yet this provides a substantial cushion to the OMCs.
Earlier, last month, the local refineries had told the government that domestic production of petrol and high-speed diesel (HSD) could potentially go up by 60 per cent and 48 per cent , respectively, at a significant foreign exchange saving provided the local refineries were operated at optimum capacity.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s oil import bill, particularly of refined petroleum products, has been the largest chunk of about 83pc increase in imports in the first five months of the current fiscal year, causing unrest among the government ranks as money and share markets plummeted last month, according to Dawn.
Further, the local refineries had been agitating their operational challenges because of lower furnace oil off-take by power producers despite their extremely low storages than contractually required and large import quantities of both petrol and diesel by OMCs. (Image source: Instagram)

Study Investigate Whether Personality Traits Can Be Improved Without Personal Motivation

A new study has found that attempting to improve someone’s emotional stability without their commitment is not likely to happen.

The research has been published in the ‘Journal of Research in Personality’. A growing body of studies suggested that personality traits can be changed through intervention. As a recent study conducted by SMU psychology professor Nathan Hudson noted, personality traits are linked to a wide range of life outcomes, such as relationship quality and occupation success.

The goal of his recent research was to test two theories; that successful personality intervention may require that the participants choose which traits they change and that they be actively invested in changing the target traits.

He found that conscientiousness – the ability to be responsible, hard-working and organized – could be improved even if participants were not motivated to change. Completing a series of tasks over a regulated period was found to change habits and therefore improve conscientiousness.

But emotional stability was a different matter: study participants only got better at handling difficult situations if they chose to work on their emotional stability. Otherwise, tasks they were given over four weeks proved to be ineffective.

“This provides promising evidence that schools, companies, or other organizations could ask people to make relatively minor changes that could help improve their lives by making them more organized and responsible over time,” Hudson said.

“In contrast, it appears that emotional stability might require a bit more investment from the people who partake in an intervention,” Hudson added.

Hudson stressed that this research isn’t about trying to control people.

“The idea of personality trait change – especially other people trying to change an individual’s personality – can sound scary. But whether we recognize it or not, society is filled with interventions designed to try to change our personality traits,” he said.

“For instance, elementary school is a giant intervention designed to help children become more intelligent, yes, but also kinder and more sociable, responsible and hardworking,” he said.

Previous research by Hudson and other psychologists had shown that people who actively worked to change aspects of their personality were, in many cases, successful in achieving the results they desired.

But before now, it wasn’t clear if a person could have successful results if they didn’t choose which personality trait they were looking to change and weren’t invested in making that change.

Hudson conducted two separate studies to answer that question. Each lasted four months.

In the first, 175 college students were randomly assigned to change either conscientiousness or emotional stability. They were then given their choice of tasks to improve that personality trait. For instance, those who were selected to work on being more conscientious were given challenges like “organize and clean your desks” or “make a list of tasks you would like to complete.”

The second trial had more than 400 college students at several universities choose which trait they wanted to work on. Yet, unbeknownst to them, half of the participants were randomly assigned to receive challenges targeting a characteristic that they didn’t choose.

In both studies, the students’ personality traits were measured before and after tasks were assigned using the 44-item Big Five Inventory test that is standard among psychologists.

Hudson found that students who completed more tasks for conscientiousness-building tasks saw an improvement, even when they were not aware of why they were assigned the tasks. But for those who did not choose to work on emotional stability, the challenges were entirely inert – or even made that trait worse.

Hudson suspected that the reason people must be motivated to change emotional stability is that this trait dealt with negative emotions.

“For many people, it can be difficult to ‘just stop feeling angry’ or ‘just stop being stressed,'” he said.

“My hunch is that indirect strategies for changing someone’s emotions, such as writing in a journal or thinking about positive things, can only really work when people want to use those techniques to change their emotions,” he added.

Conscientiousness, on the other hand, can be easily faked and increased over time through mechanical acts, like cleaning your room or using a calendar.

“Motivation is largely irrelevant to interventions targeting conscientiousness, as long as participants adhere to the intervention,” Hudson concluded.

Raj Kapoor’s 97th Birth Anniversary: A Look At Some Of His Iconic Movies

Film actor, producer, and director — Raj Kapoor — widely regarded as the greatest showman in the history of Indian cinema and entertainment would have turned 97 if he was alive today.

The legendary actor was born in Peshwar to father-actor Prithviraj Kapoor and his wife had an illustrious career spanning more than two decades and had won many accolades including 3 National Film Awards and 11 Filmfare Awards in India. At the age of ten, he appeared in a Hindi film for the first time, in 1935’s ‘Inquilab’. Kapoor’s big break came with the lead role in ‘Neel Kamal’ (1947) opposite Madhubala in her first role as a leading lady.

Winner of several accolades, the iconic Bollywood star has been honoured with the Padma Bhushan in 1971 for his contributions to the arts. In 1987, the late actor was bestowed with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award. He was also a two-time nominee for the Palme d’Or grand prize at the Cannes Film Festival for his films ‘Awaara’ (1951) and ‘Boot Polish’ (1954).

Here is remembering the legend of Indian cinema by revisiting some of the iconic movies that made him an irrepressible star:

1. ‘Mera Naam Joker’ (1970): Raj Kapoor donned the director’s hat apart from playing the lead character in this film. The movie is considered one of the lengthiest films of Indian cinema and the second Hindi film to have two intervals, the first being Sangam (1964). The film is based on the life of a clown who uses his sorrows to make his audience laugh. Three women, Mary (Simi Garewal), Marina (Kseniya Ryabinkina), and Meena (Padmini), are each sent a toy clown and invited to the last performance of the famous clown Raju (Raj Kapoor), in his first time on stage in 20 years. The stories of these three women and their relationships with Raju are told through a series of flashbacks during his performance.

The film also gave Indian cinema evergreen songs like–‘ Jeena yahan marna yahan’, ‘Ae bhai zara dekh ke chalo’, ‘Jane kahan gaye woh din’ and more. This movie also marked debut of Rishi Kapoor in Bollywood.

2. ‘Sangam’ (1964): The romantic film was directed, produced and edited by Raj Kapoor at R. K. Studio. Apart from Kapoor, the movie stars Vyjayanthimala and Rajendra Kumar in the lead roles, with Iftekhar, Raj Mehra, Nana Palsikar, Lalita Pawar, Achala Sachdev and Hari Shivdasani appearing in supporting roles. The film revolves around the story of Sunder (Kapoor) who gets rejected by Radha (Vyjayanthimala). He then sets out to prove his worth to her by becoming a pilot. He eventually manages to marry her, unaware that she had been planning to marry his best friend (Rajendra Kumar).

The film also gave some of the iconic songs in Hindi cinema like— ‘Har dil jo pyar karega’, ‘Dost dost na raha’, and more.

3. ‘Shree 420’ (1955): The comedy-crime drama was the highest-grossing Indian film of 1955, and the song ‘Mera Joota Hai Japani’ sung by Mukesh, became popular and a patriotic symbol of the newly independent India at that time. The film was directed and produced by Kapoor from a story written by Khwaja Ahmad Abbas. The movie also gave Indian cinema one of the most iconic songs ‘Pyar hua iqraar hua’.

The movie stars Nargis, Nadira, and Kapoor in the lead roles. The film centres on Raj Kapoor, a poor but educated orphan who comes to Bombay with dreams of success. Kapoor’s character is influenced by Charlie Chaplin’s “little tramp”, much like Kapoor’s character in his 1951 ‘Awaara’. The music was composed by the team of Shankar Jaikishan, and the lyrics were penned by Shailendra and Hasrat Jaipuri.

4. ‘Awaara’ (1951): The crime-romantic drama was produced and directed by Raj Kapoor, and written by Khwaja Ahmad Abbas. It stars Kapoor along with his father Prithviraj Kapoor, as well as Nargis, Leela Chitnis and K. N. Singh in lead roles. Other members of the Kapoor family also made special appearances, including Kapoor’s youngest brother Shashi Kapoor, who plays the younger version of his character, and Prithiviraj’s father Dewan Basheshwarnath Kapoor, playing a cameo role in his only film appearance. The film’s music was composed by Shankar Jaikishan.

A poor young man named Raj (Kapoor) joins a criminal gang to feed his mother. But when he falls in love with Rita (Nargis), he decides to reform himself for her. ‘Awaara’ is considered a milestone in the history of Bollywood.

5. ‘Teesri Kasam’ (1966): The comedy-romantic drama was directed by Basu Bhattacharya and produced by lyricist Shailendra. It is based on the short story ‘Mare Gaye Gulfam’, by the Hindi novelist Phanishwarnath Renu. The film stars Raj Kapoor and Waheeda Rehman in lead roles. The duo Shankar-Jaikishan composed the film’s score.

It is the story of a naive bullock cart driver Hiraman (Kapoor), who falls in love with Hirabai (Rehman), a dancer at a theatre. ‘Teesri Kasam’ won the National award for best film.

Taliban expand interim cabinet, 27 new members named

Kabul [Afghanistan]: The Taliban on Tuesday said that they have expanded their interim cabinet by adding 27 new members.

Zabihullah Mujahid, the spokesman for the interim government, said the appointments had been made in compliance with orders from Taliban’s supreme leader Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada, reported Pajhwok Afghan News.
More than two dozen high-level officials, including ministers and deputy ministers, were named.

Maulvi Shahabuddin Delawar has been appointed as acting minister of mines and petroleum and Mullah Mohammad Abbas Akhund as acting minister of disaster management.

Twenty-five others have been appointed as deputy ministers, corps commanders and heads of independent departments, according to a list released by Mujahid, reported Pajhwok Afghan News.

The new names in the interim cabinet of Islamic Emirate include – Maulvi Shahabuddin Delavar, acting minister of mines and petroleum; Haji Mullah Mohammad Esa Akhund, deputy minister of mines and petroleum; Mullah Mohammad Abbas Akhund, acting minister of disaster management; Maulvi Sharafuddin, deputy minister of disaster management; Maulvi Enayatullah, deputy minister of disaster management; Maulvi Hamdullah Zahed, procurement director; Sheikh Abdul Rahim, deputy director of procurement; Maulvi Qudratullah Jamal, Supreme Audit Office head; Maulvi Ezatullah, deputy chief of the Supreme Audit Office; Maulvi Mohammad Yousef Mastari, acting director of prisons; Mullah Habibullah Fazli, deputy director of prisons; Maulvi Keramatullah Akhundzadah, head of the Administrative Reform and Civil Service Commission; Maulvi Ahmad Taha, deputy minister of border and tribal affairs; Maulvi Gul Zarin, head of Kochi affairs at the Ministry of Border and Tribal Affairs; Sheikh Maulvi Abdul Hakim, deputy minister of martyr and disabled affairs; Maulvi Saeed Ahmad Shahidkhel, deputy minister of education; Maulvi Abdul Rahman Halim, deputy minister of rural rehabilitation and development; Maulvi Atiqullah Azizi, deputy minister of finance and administration at the Ministry of Information and Culture; Mullah Faizullah Akhund, deputy minister of youth affairs at the Ministry of Information and Culture; Maulvi Saifuddin Tayeb, deputy minister of communications; Maulvi Fathullah Mansour, head of Kandahar airport; Mohammad Ismail, executive commander of the Military Court; Maulvi Esmatullah Asim, deputy head of the Red Cross; Maulvi Rahimullah Mahmoud, deputy commander of the Al-Badar Corps in Kandahar; Maulvi Abdul Samad, deputy commander of Azam Corps in Helmand; Mullah Nasser Akhund, deputy minister of finance; and Maulvi Arefullah Aref, deputy minister of energy and water.

The Taliban in early September formed the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) and had appointed 33 more cabinet ministers that neither have women nor mainstream politicians from previous regimes rather it appointed the world’s most dreaded and wanted cabinet ministers.

In September, the Taliban announced a new list of 17 more ministers in the caretaker Afghanistan Cabinet.

The latest list of 27 new members in the cabinet too excludes any women representation. (ANI)

Mukesh Ambani has no plans to relocate to London

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India] : The Chairman of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), Mukesh Ambani, and his family have no plans to relocate or reside in London or anywhere else in the world, clarified RIL on Friday.
In an official statement issued by RIL on Friday, the company stated that a recent report in a newspaper has led to unwarranted and baseless speculation in social media regarding the Ambani family’s plans to partly reside in Stoke Park, London. RIL’s statement read, “The Reliance Industries Limited will like to clarify that the Chairman and his family have no plans whatsoever to relocate or reside in London or anywhere else in the world.”
It further stated, “Further, RIL group company, RIIHL, which acquired Stoke Park estate recently, would like to clarify that its acquisition of the heritage property is aimed at enhancing this as a premier golfing and sporting resort, while fully complying with the planning guidelines and local regulations.”
“This acquisition will add to the fast-growing consumer business of the group. Simultaneously, it will also expand the footprint of India’s famed hospitality industry globally,” it added.

‘PM Modi remembers god when elections are near’

New Delhi [India] : Congress leader and former MP Rashid Alvi on Friday attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his visit to Kedarnath temple ahead of Uttarakhand Assembly elections.
“Whenever there is an election, the Prime Minister remembers gods and temples. Faith should not be used for politics and BJP uses it for political gain,” said Alvi. Earlier, Congress leader Harish Rawat said PM Modi’s visit to Kedarnath was for marketing BJP and making a political speech.
Rawat, after offering prayers at the Tilbhandeshwar temple in Haridwar, said, “The PM has come here for giving a political speech. He has come for his party’s marketing. We see Jyotirling in our Shiva temples. We see God Kedar in our Shiva temples. We are going to pour water at Shiva temples. In the entire state, Congress workers are pouring water in Shiva temples. They are doing so in the 12 Jyotirlinga temples. We are praying for maintaining peace and communal harmony in the country and that democracy should be safeguarded.”
Earlier in the day, PM Modi offered prayers at the Kedarnath temple in Uttarakhand and unveiled an Adi Shankaracharya statue. He also inaugurated several redevelopment projects worth Rs 130 crore.
The Uttarakhand Assembly elections are due early next year.
In the 2017 elections, BJP won 57 assembly seats, Congress won 11 and the rest of the seats were won by others

Sidhu takes back his resignation

Chandigarh [India] : Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu on Friday informed that he has taken back his resignation as the president of the party’s Punjab unit.
“I have taken back my resignation (as Punjab Congress chief) and I categorically state that the day new Advocate General will be appointed and a new panel will come, I will take charge of my office. It was not any personal ego,” Sidhu said while addressing a press conference here. On September 28, Sidhu resigned as the chief of the Punjab Unit of Congress. He was reportedly upset over the bureaucratic setup and his commands not being followed after the Cabinet expansion in Punjab.
He was appointed as the president of the Punjab Congress on July 23 this year following months of turmoil in the state Congress unit.
After the tussle in Punjab Congress between Sidhu and Captain Amarinder Singh escalated in August, the party had appointed Sidhu as the Congress chief apparently against the wishes of then Chief Minister.
Amarinder Singh had in September stepped down as the chief minister and recently tendered his resignation from the primary membership of Congress which has also been accepted by party interim chief Sonia Gandhi. The former chief minister has launched a new party ‘Punjab Lok Congress’.

PM Modi marketed BJP at Kedarnath: Harish Rawat

Haridwar (Uttarakhand) [India] : Congress leader Harish Rawat on Friday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Kedarnath visit, ahead of the assembly elections, was for marketing BJP and making a political speech.
Earlier in the day, PM Modi offered prayers at the Kedarnath temple in Uttarakhand and unveiled an Adi Shankaracharya statue. He also inaugurated several redevelopment projects worth Rs 130 crore. The Congress leader, after offering prayers at the Tilbhandeshwar temple in Haridwar, said, “The PM has come here for giving a political speech. He has come for his party’s marketing. We see Jyotirling in our Shiva temples. We see God Kedar in our Shiva temples. We are going to pour water at Shiva temples. In the entire state, Congress workers are pouring water in Shiva temples. They are doing so in the 12 Jyotirlinga temples. We are praying for maintaining peace and communal harmony in the country and that democracy should be safeguarded.”
The Congress leader further said, “If the inflation increases a little more the people will be unable to control their anger.”
The Uttarakhand Assembly elections are due early next year.
In the 2017 elections, BJP won 57 assembly seats, Congress won 11 and the rest of the seats were won by others.

It’s time to target 5 times increase in export of technical textiles in 3 years: Piyush Goyal

New Delhi [India] : Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal on Friday said that the time has come to target a five times increase in the export of technical textiles in three years.
The minister was speaking to representatives of the Indian Technical Textile Association ( ITTA) in Delhi. “Centre would support Production Linked Incentives (PLIs) for the textile sector in states supporting the development and offering affordable infrastructure for textile manufacturing like cheap land and power,” said the minister.
Goyal further suggested aligning with the best standards in textile manufacturing so that there is no difference in the quality of textile meant for international and domestic consumers. The Minister suggested public-private participation in the use of government funds in Research and Development in technical textiles.
“It may be noted that the growth of technical textiles in India has gained momentum in the past five years, currently growing at an eight per cent per annum rate. Our aim is to hasten this growth to 15-20 per cent range during next five years,” he stated.
“Current world market is USD 250 billion (18 lakh crore) and India’s share in it is USD 19 billion. India is an aspiring player with USD 40 billion in size in this market (eight per cent share). The biggest players are the USA, Western Europe, China and Japan (20-40 per cent share),” he added.
The minister said that in addition to the growth in statistical terms, the growth towards high technology and indigenously innovated products will also be directed.
He further mentioned that with these objectives in mind, the government has launched National Technical Textiles Mission in February 2020, with a view to making India a self-reliant, vibrant, export-oriented economy in the world.
“Our aim is to transform India into a major player in innovations, technology development, applications in key areas (agriculture, roads, railways, water resources, hygiene and healthcare, personal protection) with emphasis on higher education and skilled workforce,” he said.
Goyal informed that in January 2019, for the first time in India, 207 HSN Codes were issued for technical textiles and in less than two years time, India has become a net exporter in technical textiles.
He added that the trade balance earlier used to be negative (-Rs 2,788 Crore) in 2018-19 and (-Rs 1,366 Crore in 2019-20), which has turned positive with Rs 1,767 Crore in 2020-21. During the year 2020-21, India’s major share of exports is in PPEs, N-95 and surgical masks, fabric for PPEs and masks, he said.
Talking about the efforts made by the government to promote technical textiles, the minister informed that 92 items have been made mandatory for use by government organisations covering agriculture/horticulture, highways, railways, water resources, medical applications and nine concerned ministries have issued instructions in this regard.
Goyal further stated that BIS has issued Indian Standards for 377 items and nearly 100 are in pipeline. “Skill development in technical textiles commenced with the introduction of six new courses and another new 20 courses are under preparation,” he added. (

PM Modi exhorts officials to widen COVID-19 vaccination coverage by year-end

New Delhi [India] : Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday exhorted officials to ensure that the country widens its COVID-19 vaccination coverage by the end of the year and enters the new year with renewed self-belief and confidence.
Immediately after returning from his visit to Italy and Glasgow, the Prime Minister held a review meeting with districts having low vaccination coverage. The meeting included districts with less than 50 per cent coverage of the first dose and low coverage of the second dose of the Covid vaccine. The Prime Minister interacted with District Magistrates of over 40 districts in Jharkhand, Manipur, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, and other states with districts having low vaccination coverage. As per a press release issued by the Prime Minister’s Office, during the interaction, the Prime Minister discussed the issue of vaccine hesitancy and the local factors behind it in detail. He discussed a wide array of ideas that can be implemented for ensuring 100 per cent vaccination coverage in these districts. The Prime Minister also spoke about maximising community engagement through religious and community leaders.


The District Magistrates gave an account of the issues and challenges being faced in their districts, which has resulted in low vaccination coverage. They highlighted issues like rumours resulting in vaccine hesitancy, difficult terrain, challenges created due to prevailing weather conditions in recent months. They also presented an account of the steps that have been taken by them till now to overcome these challenges. The District Magistrates also shared good practises adopted by them which has led to increase in coverage.
The Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan gave an overview of the vaccination coverage in the country. He gave an account of balance vaccine dose availability in the States, and also talked about special vaccination campaigns being run in the States to further improve vaccination coverage.
Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister thanked the present Chief Ministers and said that their attention will encourage the district to work with more determination.
The Prime Minster said that in this biggest pandemic of the century, the country faced many challenges. He said “One special thing in the country’s fight against Corona was that we found new solutions and tried innovative methods”.
He urged the administrators to work more on new innovative ways to increase vaccination in their districts. He conveyed that even the better performing districts had similar challenges but they were met with determination and innovation.
The Prime Minister asked the officials to develop micro strategies, keeping in mind the experience so far to go for saturation of vaccination by addressing the gaps at local level. He also asked the district officials to make different strategies for each village, each town in the districts, if need be.
In order to increase the vaccination coverage, he suggested this can be done by forming a team of 20-25 people depending on the region. He also suggested trying to have a healthy competition in the teams that you have formed. Exhorting the officials to prepare region-wise timetables for local goals, the Prime Minister said, “You will have to do your best to take your districts nearer the national average.”
The Prime Minister touched upon the issue of rumours and misunderstanding about vaccination. He suggested awareness is the only solution for this and asked the state officials to take help from the religious leaders. The Prime Minister noted that religious leaders are very enthusiastic about the vaccination campaign. PM Modi recalled his meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican, a few days ago. He urged for a special emphasis on taking the message of religious leaders on vaccines to the public.
The Prime Minister asked the officials to change gears from arrangements made for taking people to the vaccination center and for safe vaccination to administering vaccines from door to door. He urged the health workers to reach every house with passion ‘har ghar tika, ghar ghar tika’ – Vaccine at every doorstep. He also asked to go in the spirit of ‘Har Ghar Dastak’ knocking on every doorstep to ensure full vaccination. “Now we are preparing to take the vaccination campaign to each household. With the mantra of ‘Har Ghar Dastak’, knock on every door, every household lacking the security net of a double dose of vaccine will be approached” he said.
The Prime Minister cautioned that while knocking on every house, equal attention needed to be paid to the second dose as well as the first dose. Because whenever the cases of infection start decreasing, sometimes the feeling of urgency decreases. The urgency in administering the vaccines comes down among the people. “You will have to contact those people who have not taken the second dose despite the stipulated time on a priority basis…ignoring this has created problems for many countries in the world” he alerted.
The Prime Minister emphasised that under the ‘free vaccine for all campaign’, India created a record of administering about 2.5 crore vaccine doses in a day, this feat bears testimony to India’s capabilities, he said. He asked the district officials to learn from good practices of their colleagues in better-performing districts and emphasised approaches suitable for the local needs and the environment should be adopted.

ANI | Updated: Nov 03, 2021 15:16 IST

New Delhi [India], November 3 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday exhorted officials to ensure that the country widens its COVID-19 vaccination coverage by the end of the year and enters the new year with renewed self-belief and confidence.
Immediately after returning from his visit to Italy and Glasgow, the Prime Minister held a review meeting with districts having low vaccination coverage. The meeting included districts with less than 50 per cent coverage of the first dose and low coverage of the second dose of the Covid vaccine. The Prime Minister interacted with District Magistrates of over 40 districts in Jharkhand, Manipur, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, and other states with districts having low vaccination coverage. As per a press release issued by the Prime Minister’s Office, during the interaction, the Prime Minister discussed the issue of vaccine hesitancy and the local factors behind it in detail. He discussed a wide array of ideas that can be implemented for ensuring 100 per cent vaccination coverage in these districts. The Prime Minister also spoke about maximising community engagement through religious and community leaders.
The District Magistrates gave an account of the issues and challenges being faced in their districts, which has resulted in low vaccination coverage. They highlighted issues like rumours resulting in vaccine hesitancy, difficult terrain, challenges created due to prevailing weather conditions in recent months. They also presented an account of the steps that have been taken by them till now to overcome these challenges. The District Magistrates also shared good practises adopted by them which has led to increase in coverage.
The Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan gave an overview of the vaccination coverage in the country. He gave an account of balance vaccine dose availability in the States, and also talked about special vaccination campaigns being run in the States to further improve vaccination coverage.
Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister thanked the present Chief Ministers and said that their attention will encourage the district to work with more determination.
The Prime Minster said that in this biggest pandemic of the century, the country faced many challenges. He said “One special thing in the country’s fight against Corona was that we found new solutions and tried innovative methods”.
He urged the administrators to work more on new innovative ways to increase vaccination in their districts. He conveyed that even the better performing districts had similar challenges but they were met with determination and innovation.
The Prime Minister asked the officials to develop micro strategies, keeping in mind the experience so far to go for saturation of vaccination by addressing the gaps at local level. He also asked the district officials to make different strategies for each village, each town in the districts, if need be.
In order to increase the vaccination coverage, he suggested this can be done by forming a team of 20-25 people depending on the region. He also suggested trying to have a healthy competition in the teams that you have formed. Exhorting the officials to prepare region-wise timetables for local goals, the Prime Minister said, “You will have to do your best to take your districts nearer the national average.”
The Prime Minister touched upon the issue of rumours and misunderstanding about vaccination. He suggested awareness is the only solution for this and asked the state officials to take help from the religious leaders. The Prime Minister noted that religious leaders are very enthusiastic about the vaccination campaign. PM Modi recalled his meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican, a few days ago. He urged for a special emphasis on taking the message of religious leaders on vaccines to the public.
The Prime Minister asked the officials to change gears from arrangements made for taking people to the vaccination center and for safe vaccination to administering vaccines from door to door. He urged the health workers to reach every house with passion ‘har ghar tika, ghar ghar tika’ – Vaccine at every doorstep. He also asked to go in the spirit of ‘Har Ghar Dastak’ knocking on every doorstep to ensure full vaccination. “Now we are preparing to take the vaccination campaign to each household. With the mantra of ‘Har Ghar Dastak’, knock on every door, every household lacking the security net of a double dose of vaccine will be approached” he said.
The Prime Minister cautioned that while knocking on every house, equal attention needed to be paid to the second dose as well as the first dose. Because whenever the cases of infection start decreasing, sometimes the feeling of urgency decreases. The urgency in administering the vaccines comes down among the people. “You will have to contact those people who have not taken the second dose despite the stipulated time on a priority basis…ignoring this has created problems for many countries in the world” he alerted.
The Prime Minister emphasised that under the ‘free vaccine for all campaign’, India created a record of administering about 2.5 crore vaccine doses in a day, this feat bears testimony to India’s capabilities, he said. He asked the district officials to learn from good practices of their colleagues in better-performing districts and emphasised approaches suitable for the local needs and the environment should be adopted.

There should be no laxity in ongoing COVID-19 vaccination drive: PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday emphasised on the need to maintain a good pace of COVID-19 vaccine administration and said that there should be no laxity in the ongoing vaccination drive.
The Prime Minister today held a review meeting to discuss the progress of COVID vaccination. “Progress made so far is due to your hard work. Every member of the administration, ASHA workers worked a lot, walked for miles and took vaccination to remote locations. But if we become lax after 1 Billion, a new crisis can come,” the Prime Minister said.
“They say one must never underestimate disease and enemies. They have to be fought against till the very end. So, I would want that there should be no laxity in the ongoing vaccination drive,” he added.
The meeting was held virtually with districts having low COVID-19 vaccination coverage. The meeting included districts with less than 50 per cent coverage of the first dose and low coverage of the second dose of COVID-19 vaccines.
The Prime Minister interacted with District Magistrates of over 40 districts in Jharkhand, Manipur, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, and other States with districts having low vaccination coverage.

7,965 cr for Armed Forces Modernization

New Delhi [India] : Defence Acquisition Council, headed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, on Tuesday, approved proposals worth Rs 7,965 crore for Armed Forces modernisation under ‘Make in India‘, said a press release by the Ministry of Defence.
The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), in its meeting of November 02, 2021, held under the chairmanship of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, accorded Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for capital acquisition proposals for modernisation and operational needs of the Armed Forces amounting to Rs 7,965 crore. All of these proposals (100%) are under ‘Make in India’ with a focus on design, development and manufacturing in India, added the press release. Key approvals of procurement from domestic sources include twelve Light Utility Helicopters from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL); Lynx U2 Fire Control System from Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) which will enhance the detection tracking and engagement capabilities of Naval warships and Mid Life Upgradation of the Dornier Aircraft from HAL to increase the Naval capacity of maritime reconnaissance and coastal surveillance, as per the press release.

As a further impetus to ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’, a global procurement case of Naval guns has been foreclosed with these guns’ quantity added to the upgraded Super Rapid Gun Mount (SRGM) being manufactured by Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL), according to the press statement.
These SRGMs provide niche capabilities of engaging fast manoeuvring targets using guided munitions & range extensions and are to be fitted on the warships of the Indian Navy.

Tibetans say China’s climate action plan hurts livelihoods, rights of countrymen

Lhasa [Tibet], November 2: Tibetans have said that China is trying to strip them off their lands under the garb of climate mitigation efforts thus jeopardising the basic rights and livelihoods of the countrymen.
Citing locals, Tibet Press reported that they were forced to give up ownership of their land as well as stopped from using grazing fields. They said that Beijing has started revoking land permits and confiscating farmlands and grazing grounds under the Grassland Preservation Policy. Water resources from Tibet take care of China’s water needs, which have caused Beijing to declare grasslands as national parks.
All this has disrupted the lives and the livelihoods of Tibetan people, according to the media outlet.
Tibet is a part of the Third Pole- Earths’ largest store of glaciers, ice and permafrost. Thus urbanisation and disrupting the traditional likelihoods in Tibet are going to have huge negative COP26 Summit in Glasgow.
According to the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD), China was punishing Tibetans in the name of climate action and reducing carbon emissions. China is relocating and resettling nomadic pastoralists from highlands to urban areas, which can lead to loss of land tenure security, food security and a host of other collective rights, it said, Tibet Press reported.
China’s programme to address climate change involved restructuring Tibetan’s way of life even as allowing an intensive, industrial, market-based economy in other parts of the country, TCHRD said.
Chinese troops occupied Tibet in 1950 and later annexed it. The 1959 Tibetan uprising saw violent clashes between Tibetan residents and Chinese forces.
The 14th Dalai Lama fled to neighbouring India after the failed uprising against Chinese rule. The Dalai Lama, the supreme Tibetan Buddhist leader, established a government-in-exile in India.

Sidhu slams Channi for promising ‘lollipops’

Referring to the recent freebies announced by Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, state Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu on Tuesday attacked politicians who offer “lollipops” just ahead of polls and said that Punjab’s welfare comes from a roadmap and not by tactics, reflecting that infighting still persists in the state Congress unit.

Chandigarh (Punjab) [India] : His attack against his own government in Punjab after the chief minister announced 11 per cent hike in dearness allowance for state government employees and slashed power rates by Rs 3 per unit for the domestic sector. “Give people ‘lollipops’ in the last two months. Question is from where they will (government) give it? Is the objective just to form government by telling lies and making false promises? Way of Punjab’s welfare comes from a roadmap,” Sidhu said while addressing an event organised by the newly formed Sanyukt Hindu Mahasabha in Chandigarh on Monday.
Issuing a piece of advice to the politicians and various political parties to not indulge in tactics of luring voters by announcing freebies, he simultaneously urged people to vote on the agenda that aims at the development of the state.
He further went on to slam the state government claiming a debt of Rs 5 lakh crore.
“There has been a debt of Rs 5 lakh crore on Punjab. If people think this debt will be repaid by the government, they are mistaken. The burden will be borne by the people. If treasury is overflowing, why do they not increase the salary of teachers to Rs 50,000 per month?” he asked.
While addressing the gathering, he also projected himself as the chief ministerial candidate for the state, asking the high command to pick a ‘real leader’ from the ‘soil.’
“Decisions will be taken in this court. Don’t think that Guru doesn’t do justice. He assays. By doing that he changed governments…Real workers are like jewels in sand, put them in Punjab’s crown. In the end, I say Main Hoon Na (I am there),” he said.
There has been an ongoing rift in the party’s Punjab unit for the last several months.
Sidhu had tendered his resignation as Punjab Congress chief on September 28. He was reportedly upset over the bureaucratic setup and his commands not being followed after Cabinet expansion in Punjab. But his resignation was not accepted by the party. Sidhu’s resignation as state party chief has intensified the crisis in the Punjab Congress as a minister and three Congress leaders, considered close to him, stepped down from their posts.
This came as a big blow to the Congress that was hoping to resolve the turmoil in the Congress unit of Punjab ahead of the Assembly elections early next year.
Charanjit Singh Channi took oath as the 16th Chief Minister of Punjab on September 20, days after Captain Amarinder Singh stepped down from the post of Punjab Chief Minister following months of infighting between him and Navjot Singh Sidhu.
Amarinder Singh had resigned as Chief Minister on September 18 and had told the media that the Congress leadership had let him down. He had also taken a dig at Sidhu over his resignation, saying he is not a stable man. Recently, he also announced forming his own political party.
Sidhu was made PCC chief by Congress leadership in July to stem infighting in Punjab Congress ahead of next year’s assembly polls but the party is now grappling with a fresh crisis.

First arrest in Deshmukh case

The CBI took into custody Jagtap, an alleged middleman, from Maharashtra’s Thane in the morning, officials said, adding that the accused was evading the probe even after the issuance of non-bailable warrants against him last month.

Mumbai (Maharastra ) : The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Sunday arrested one person identified as, Santosh Jagtap, in connection with a case of alleged corruption against former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh, making it the first arrest in the high-profile case, officials said. The CBI took into custody Jagtap, an alleged middleman, from Maharashtra’s Thane in the morning, they said, adding that the accused was evading the probe even after the issuance of non-bailable warrants against him last month.

In August this year, the agency had raided the premises of Jagtap and seized Rs 9 lakh in cash, the officials said.

The CBI has booked Deshmukh and other unidentified accused under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) section related to criminal conspiracy and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act for an “attempt to obtain undue advantage for improper and dishonest performance of public duty”.

After he was removed from the Mumbai police commissioner’s post, Param Bir Singh had alleged in a letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray that Deshmukh had asked Waze to extort over Rs 100 crore a month from the bars and restaurants in the city.

“The Preliminary Enquiry prima facie revealed that a cognizable offence is made out in the matter, wherein the then home minister of Maharashtra, Anil Deshmukh, and unknown others attempted to obtain undue advantage for improper and dishonest performance of their public duty,” the CBI FIR alleges.

According to the CBI manual, a Preliminary Enquiry (PE) is initiated to assess if there is enough prima facie material in the allegations to proceed with a regular case for a full-fledged probe, the officials said.

The CBI enquiry found that Waze, Assistant Police Inspector, Mumbai Police, was reinstated into the force after being out of police service for more than 15 years.

He was entrusted with most of the sensational and important cases of Mumbai City Police and Deshmukh, the then home minister, knew about it, the FIR alleges.

It also alleges that Deshmukh “and others” exercised undue influence over the transfer and posting of officials, thereby exercising undue influence over the performance of their official duties.

PM Modi departs for Glasgow to participate in COP26

Rome [Italy] : After taking part in the key G-20 summit and other bilaterals here, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday departed for Glasgow to participate in the crucial 26th session of the Conference of Parties (COP-26) and hold other meetings.
“Leaving for Glasgow after a fruitful @g20org Summit in Rome. During the Summit, we were able to have elaborate deliberations on issues of global importance such as fighting the pandemic, improving health infrastructure, boosting economic cooperation and furthering innovation,” Narendra Modi wrote in a tweet. COP-26 is being held from October 31 to November 12 under the Presidency of the UK partnering with Italy.
The high-level segment of COP-26, titled the World Leaders’ Summit (WLS), will be held on November 1-2. The Summit will be attended by Heads of State/Government of more than 120 countries.
This comes after PM Modi participated in the G20 summit and in the Summit on Global Supply Chain Resilience, on the sidelines of the G20. He also met outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Indonesian President Joko Widodo here.


Earlier on Saturday, world leaders including PM Modi kicked off the first session of the G20 Rome Summit and discussed the global economy and health.
On the sidelines of G20, PM Modi interacted with several world leaders including US President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Among other dignitaries that he was seen greeting included Director-General of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
PM Modi had also met Pope Francis on Saturday and presented him a silver candle stand and a book on India’s commitment to the environment during their meeting at the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican. Prime Minister also invited Pope to visit India during a “very warm” meeting at the Vatican City which lasted for an hour. He also met his Singaporean counterpart Lee Hsien Loong.
PM Modi will hold numerous bilateral meetings on the sidelines of COP-26, including with the Prime Minister of the UK, Boris Johnson.
COP-26 was originally slated to be held in 2020, but was deferred to 2021 in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.
On Thursday, addressing a special briefing on the upcoming visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the UK for COP26, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla noted that India is taking ambitious action on expanding clean and renewable energy.
He said that the country will work towards mobilisation of climate finance and for action to strengthen climate adaptation technology development at COP26 in Glasgow.
He said Prime Minister will deliver a national statement at the World Leaders Summit of COP26 on November 1.
PM Modi will participate in a leader’s event organized by the COP26 presidency around the themes of climate change, mitigation, adaptation and building resilience, clean technology innovation.
Prime Minister last attended the COP-21 in Paris in 2015, when the Paris Agreement was concluded, and whose implementation commences this year.
At COP-26, the parties will work to achieve the completion of Paris Agreement implementation guidelines; the mobilisation of climate finance; actions to strengthen climate adaptation, technology development and transfer; and keeping in reach the Paris Agreement goals of limiting the rise in global temperatures.

Jinnah and Gandhi compared

Condemning the statement, BJP spokesperson Rakesh Tripathi said, “The country considers Muhammad Ali Jinnah as the villain of the partition. Calling Jinnah the hero of freedom is the politics of Muslim appeasement.”

Lucknow (UP): Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Sunday, comparing Sardar Patel, Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and (Muhammad Ali) Jinnah said that they all were from the same institute, and fought for India’s freedom. “Sardar Patel, Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, and (Muhammad Ali) Jinnah studied in the same institute,” the former UP Chief Minister said, “they became barristers and fought for India’s freedom.”

Adding further, Yadav said that “It was Iron Man Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel who imposed a ban on an ideology,” referring to the RSS and ruling party BJP. Condemning the statement, BJP spokesperson Rakesh Tripathi said, “The country considers Muhammad Ali Jinnah as the villain of the partition. Calling Jinnah the hero of freedom is the politics of Muslim appeasement.”

Yadav lavished praise on Patel on his 146th birth anniversary but raised eyebrows at one point when he appeared to equate the four leaders, including Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan.

Addressing a public meeting in Hardoi, the SP leader said, “Sardar Patel understood the ground and he made decisions accordingly. Hence, he is also known as the Iron Man.

“Sardar Patel, Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and (Muhammad Ali) Jinnah studied in the same institute and became barristers. They helped (India) get freedom and never backed away from any struggle.”

Yadav also referred to the ban imposed on the RSS by Patel, the then home minister, following the assassination of Gandhi in 1948, saying only he could do it. He said Patel fought for farmers and hence, is known as ‘Sardar’.

“The BJP is remembering the Iron Man of India, Sardar Vallabhai Patel, today. But if it walks on the path shown by Sardar Patel, then the three farm laws, which it has enacted, should be withdrawn. This will be a true tribute to Patel,” he added.

“The BJP claims that it is walking on the path shown by Sardar Patel, but today farmers are the saddest,” Yadav said.

Farmers’ income has dipped, there is price rise and the way this government is functioning, every section of society is feeling insulted, he alleged.

On the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls, Yadav claimed that all sections of people in the state have made up their minds to elect an SP government in the 2022 elections. After the SP comes to power, Uttar Pradesh will get back on the path to growth and prosperity.

Taking a dig at the ruling BJP, he said that the party has only one thing to do — renaming projects completed by the previous SP government.

“The BJP is inaugurating all projects undertaken by the Samajwadi Party. ‘Baba mukhyamantri’ is an amazing chief minister who has not inaugurated any work done by his government,” Yadav said, referring to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

PM Modi’s mantra of sustainable development finds resonance at G-20 Rome declaration: Piyush Goyal

Rome [Italy] : Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s mantra of sustainable lifestyles finds resonance in the G-20’s Rome declaration on sustainable consumption and responsible production patterns in line with Sustainable Development Goal 12, Union Commerce Minister and India’s G20 Sherpa Piyush Goyal said here on Sunday.
“For the first time, G20 has identified sustainable and responsible consumption and production along with the provision of finance and technology as critical enablers for achieving climate goals first decided at Paris,” said Goyal. Prime Minister Narendra Modi participated in the G-20 summit here and held several bilaterals with his counterparts.


Detailing the Rome declaration, Goyal said, “Coming out of the sustainable development point number 12 — which is aimed at encouraging the developed countries to reduce their luxurious and energy-intensive lifestyle — has been discussed and accepted.”
Underlining that energy and climate was clearly the centre stage of the discussion, Goyal said that India and many other developing countries have pushed for safeguarding the interest of the developing world.
“We are also joined by developed countries to increase the ambition from current levels of commitment,” the union minister said.
He also emphasised that the importance of energy security and the stability of energy markets has also been recognised by the G-20 leaders’ summit.
The G-20 Sherpa further said that “we have also been able to push the commitment of the developed world to provide 100 billion dollars every year from now until 2025”.
“And the commitment of all the countries to mobilise greater levels of capital for less developed countries and emerging economies,” said Goyal.
Emphasising that G20 also agreed to extend the debt service suspension initiative, he said that through this, low-income courtiers will not be burdened with debt repayment at this critical time.

G20 has delivered strong message of recovery from COVID-19 pandemic: Piyush Goyal

The G20 summit has delivered a strong message of recovery from the COVID pandemic in terms of tourism, economy and climate change, Union Commerce Minister and India’s G20 Sherpa Piyush Goyal said on Sunday.
The leaders of G20 nations have adopted a declaration during the Rome summit, the minister said. Goyal, addressing media after the conclusion of the G20 summit, said that this communique gives a very strong message under the health section where the leaders have agreed that COVID immunization is a global public good.


“The theme of the G20 summit was people planet and prosperity. Truly, within this overarching theme, this G20 has delivered a strong message of recovery from the pandemic, recovery in terms of the economy and across different sectors like health employment education tourism and most significant climate action,” Goyal, the Union Commerce and Industry Minister, said.
“Leaders adopted the ‘Rome Declaration’ at the G20 Summit. This communique gives a very strong message under health section where we have agreed that COVID immunization is a global public good,” he added.
Negotiators for the Group of 20 worked through the night and talks continued Sunday morning in hopes of reaching consensus for a final statement.
The Group of 20 leaders also agreed to end public financing for coal-fired power generation abroad, but set no target for phasing out coal domestically — a clear nod to top carbon polluters China and India.
On agriculture, the leaders have agreed that livelihoods for small and marginal farmers were the focus of our discussions, the minister said.
“Everybody has agreed that improving their livelihoods is an important global effort that we’ll have to put in,” he said.
Goyal said that energy and climate was clearly the centre stage of discussion during G20 Summit.
“Energy and climate was clearly the centre stage of our discussion. India and many other developing countries pushed for safeguarding the interest of the developing world. We are also joined by developed countries to increase the ambition from current levels of commitment,” he said.

Dehradun: 13 deaths in Accident

Dehradun (Uttarakhand) [India] : The death toll in the Dehradun road mishap climbed to 13 on Sunday, informed Dehradun District Magistrate Dr R Rajesh Kumar.
He further stated that teams have been deployed at the accident site to conduct rescue operations and two have been rescued so far. Dehradun District Magistrate Dr R Rajesh Kumar has given further information on the road accident of Bulhad-Baila road in the Chakrata tehsil of Uttarakhand’s Dehradun district.


Kumar said, “We had received info that the vehicle rolled down a gorge. The teams are on the spot and 13 deaths are confirmed and two have been rescued so far and making postmortem facility available at the spot.
“CM has sent a message that compensation will be given to injured and kins of deceased”, he added.
Earlier in the day, 11 people were killed and four were left injured in a road accident at Bulhad-Baila road in the Chakrata tehsil of Uttarakhand’s Dehradun district.

PM to review vaccination

New Delhi [India] : Immediately after returning to India after attending the G20 Summit and COP26, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold a review meeting with districts having low COVID-19 vaccination coverage on November 3 at 12 noon via video conferencing.
As per an official statement from the Prime Minister’s Office, the meeting will include districts with less than 50 per cent coverage of the first dose and low coverage of the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
The Prime Minister will interact with District Magistrates of over 40 districts in Jharkhand, Manipur, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, and other States with districts having low vaccination coverage. Chief Ministers of these States will also be present on the occasion, it added.
Meanwhile, India’s COVID-19 vaccination coverage exceeded 106.14 crore. A total of 1,06,14,40,335 vaccine doses have been administered to eligible beneficiaries. Of these, 68,04,806 vaccine doses were administered in the last 24 hours.

Attempts were made to forget Sardar’s contributions

Narmada (Gujarat) [India] : In a veiled attack on Congress, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday said that attempts were made post-Independence to forget Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and his contributions, but the situation has changed as the world’s tallest statue is a testimony of the changed realities.
“Unfortunate attempts were made to forget Sardar Patel. After independence, his contributions were never given due respect. He was neither given Bharat Ratna nor proper respect. The situation has changed. He was given Bharat Ratna and this world’s tallest statue is before us to see,” Shah said while addressing the ‘Rashtriya Ekta Divas’ (National Unity Day) programme at Kevadia in Gujarat’s Narmada district to mark Sardar Patel’s 146th birth anniversary. Shah further said that in 2014, when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) formed the government at the Centre, October 31 was introduced as National Unity Day.


“When there was a change in the country in 2014, the government was formed under the leadership of Modi ji, then it was decided to celebrate October 31 as National Unity Day. This was done so that the struggle that Sardar Patel fought for independence for years continues to inspire the younger generation of the country,” Shah noted.
Earlier today, he paid floral tributes to Patel at his 182-metre tall statue, which is the tallest in the world. The statue was inaugurated in October 2018 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Speaking at the event, Shah said that Kevadia has become a pilgrimage site.
“Kevadia is not just the name of a place, it has become a shrine – a shrine of national unity, of patriotism. This sky-high statue of Sardar Patel is giving a message to the world that India’s future is bright, that nobody can damage the unity and integrity of India,” he said.
Sardar Patel, who is credited with uniting all 562 princely states of the pre-independent country to build the Republic of India, passed away on December 15, 1950.

Amit Shah attends ‘Rashtriya Ekta Divas’ in Gujarat’s Kevadia, pays tribute to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel

Kevadia (Gujarat) [India] : Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday paid tribute to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on his 146th birth anniversary at the Statue of Unity in Gujarat’s Kevadia.
Shah presided over the ‘Rashtriya Ekta Divas’ (National Unity Day) function at Kevadia where he also paid floral tribute to Sadar Patel’s 182-metre-tall statue. Men’s hockey team captain, Olympian Manpreet Singh and other athletes also participated in the parade at Statue of Unity in Kevadia today.
On the occasion of the 75th year of India’s Independence, 75 cyclists from ITBP, SSB, CISF, CRPF and BSF, who have travelled approximately 9,000 km from various parts of the country to Kevadiya, will be taking part in the event as per an official statement.
A total of 101 motorcyclists from police of the states of Tripura, Tamil Nadu, Jammu and Kashmir and Gujarat, who have travelled from the East, South, North and West of the country to Kevadiya covering approximately 9,200 km will also be part of the event.


Twenty-three medal winners in the Olympic Games, Asian Games and Commonwealth Games, including Manpreet Singh, the captain of India’s Bronze winning Men’s Hockey team at the Tokyo Olympics will also be participating in the event.
National Unity Day is celebrated in India on October 31. It was introduced by the Central government in 2014. The day is celebrated to mark the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhai Patel who had a major role in the political integration of India.

Sardar Patel wanted equal opportunities for all: PM Modi

New Delhi [India] : Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the occasion of National Unity Day, which is celebrated as the birth anniversary of India’s first home minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, remarked on Sunday that for Sardar Patel ‘Ek Bharat’ meant equal opportunities for all including women, Dalits, deprived section of people, tribal and forest dwellers.
Addressing the nation, PM Modi said, “‘Sabka Prayas’ is even more relevant in the Amrit Kaal of Independence. This ‘Azadi ka Amrit Kaal’ is of unprecedented growth, achieving difficult goals and building the India of Sardar Saheb’s dreams.”. The Prime Minister remarked that for Sardar Patel, ‘Ek Bharat’ meant equal opportunities for all. Elaborating this concept, he said, ” ‘Ek Bharat’ is a Bharat that gives equal opportunities to women, Dalits, deprived, tribal and forest dwellers. Where housing, electricity and water is within the reach of everyone without discrimination. The Country is doing the same with ‘Sabka Prayas’,” he added.
He said that Sardar Patel is not just a historical figure but lives in the heart of every countryman and people who are taking his message of unity forward are the true symbol of an unfractured feeling of unity. Rashtriya Ekta Parades in every nook and corner of the country and events at the statue of Unity are reflecting the same spirit, he said.
He said India is not just a geographical unity but is a nation replete with the generous standards of ideals, notions, civilization and culture. “This land mass where 130 crore Indian live is an integral part of our soul, dreams and aspirations,” he said.


Referring to the strengthening of India’s democratic traditions by the emotion of One India, the Prime Minister called for a collective effort from every citizen in the direction of achieving the goals of the country. The Prime Minister emphasized that Sardar Patel wanted a strong, inclusive, sensitive and alert India. An India that has humility as well as development. “Inspired by Sardar Patel, India is becoming fully capable of meeting external and internal challenges”, he added.
Referring to steps taken to strengthen the country in the last 7 years, the Prime Minister informed that the country got rid of unnecessary old laws, strengthened the ideals of unity, and emphasis on connectivity and infrastructure has reduced geographical and cultural distances.
“Today, strengthening the feeling of ‘Ek Bharat- Shreshth Bharat’, a ‘Mahayagya’ of social, economic and constitutional integration is going on” and the country’s resolve and capability in Water, sky, land and space are unprecedented and the nation has started moving on the path of new mission of Aatmnirbharta.
The Prime Minister reiterated the power of ‘Sabka Prayas’ in the fight against Corona where new covid hospitals, essential medicines, 100 crore doses of vaccines were made possible due to the collective efforts of every citizen.
Referring to the recently launched PM GatiShakti National Master Plan to harness the collective power of government departments, the Prime Minister said that if along with the government, people’s ‘Gatishakti’ is also leveraged, nothing is impossible. Therefore, he said, that our every, action should be marked by consideration for wider national goals. He gave examples of students who can consider the sector-specific innovations when they choose their stream of study or while, shopping, people should keep the goal of Aatmnirbharta, along with their personal preferences. Similarly, industry and farmers, cooperative institutions can keep the goals of the country in mind while making their choices.
The Prime Minister gave the example of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and said that the government has made people’s participation into the nation’s strength. “Whenever ‘Ek Bharat’ moves, we get success and also contribute towards ‘Shreshth Bharat'”, he concluded.

Due to Sardar Patel, India capable of dealing with external, internal challenges, says PM Modi

New Delhi [India] : On the occasion of the birth anniversary of India’s first Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said due to Patel’s inspiration, the country has become capable of dealing with all kinds of challenges — external and internal.
Addressing the country on National Unity Day, PM Modi said, “Today, due to his inspiration, India is becoming capable of dealing with all kinds of challenges — external and internal. In the last seven years, the country got rid of decades-old unwanted laws.” “Our goals can only be met if we stay united. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel always wanted India to be strong, inclusive, sensitive, alert, polite and developed. He always gave importance to the nation’s interest,” he added.
The theme of the National Unity Day is “Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat”.
As India celebrates the 146th birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said that the “country can move ahead only if we stay united”.
He said, “Strong foundation of democracy that developed in the society and traditions of India, prospered the sense of ‘Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat’. But we must also remember that all the passengers sitting in a boat have to take care of the boat. We can go ahead only if we stay united.”
Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday paid tribute to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on his 146th birth anniversary at the Statue of Unity in Gujarat’s Kevadia.
Shah presided over the ‘Rashtriya Ekta Divas’ (National Unity Day) function at Kevadia where he also paid floral tribute to Sadar Patel’s 182-metre-tall statue.
On the occasion of the 75th year of India’s Independence, 75 cyclists from ITBP, SSB, CISF, CRPF and BSF, who have travelled approximately 9,000 km from various parts of the country to Kevadiya, will be taking part in the event as per an official statement.

‘BJP failed to fulfil promises ‘

Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) [India], October 30 (ANI): Ahead of the 2022 Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Saturday accused the BJP-led state government of failing to fulfil the promises they had made to the farmers in their election manifesto.
“It seems that BJP made its manifesto and threw it in the trash because they never turned through its pages. They forgot their own manifesto. They had promised that by 2022, the income of farmers will be doubled and a roadmap will be prepared for that. Today the farmer in Uttar Pradesh wants to ask, till when their incomes will be doubled?,” said Akhilesh. Yadav also alleged that the Yogi Adityanath-led BJP government in the state has failed to make timely payments to the Sugarcane farmers as they had promised in their manifesto.
Raising the issue of paddy procurement on Minimum Support Price (MSP), he said, “Farmer was assured that paddy will be procured on MSP. Today, paddy is ready. But the government has failed to provide the MSP to the farmers. Moreover, they have also failed those farmers who suffered losses due to heavy rains by not giving them any compensation for that.”
Yadav alleged that the government stopped making new Mandis and closed down the existing ones.
“They talked about improving the agriculture infrastructure. Farmers now want to know how much the Mandis has improved and how many good works and decisions have been made for the improvement of agriculture infrastructure,” he added.
He also alleged that BJP had betrayed the people in Bundelkhand, a region that he said that ‘put its trust in BJP’.
“Bundelkhand is still lying dry, a drought-like situation is there,” he added.
Taking further shots at BJP, he questioned them that what it had done with the 20 thousand crore rupees it had planned to use for setting up an irrigation fund.
Pointing out government’s failures in dairy industry, he added, “Samajwadi Party set up plants of 5 lakh litres per day in Lucknow and Bhognipur. A lot of money was given to improve existing plants in the budget. But today in Amul plants, milk from Gujarat is used, not that of our own farmers in UP.”
He asserted that his party will form the government after 2022 assembly polls.
“The slogan of Yogi ji will go from ‘Mera Pariwaar, Bhaajpa Pariwaar’ to ‘Mera Pariwaar, Bhaagta (running) Pariwaar,” he remarked.
Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections are scheduled to take place early next year.

“Congress equals to scams”

Dehradun (Uttarakhand) [India] : Hitting out at the Congress, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday said that the grand old party is synonymous with corruption and scams and its leaders always turn down promises.
Shah, while speaking at the inauguration event of ‘Ghasiyari Kalyan Yojana’ here, challenged Uttarakhand’s former Chief Minister Harish Rawat to an open debate over the promises made and fulfilled by Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and said that his party has fulfilled around 85 per cent of promises made in its manifesto. “Congress is synonymous with corruption and scams. The party do not bother about the development of any state. Congress always turns down its promise. Congress only does appeasement and cannot do any welfare work for Uttarakhand,” the Union Minister said.


“The Congress leaders could not be been seen during COVID-19, floods in the state. But when elections are around they emerge and start doing press conferences,” he said.
Shah further lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami and said, “Only BJP government under the leadership of PM Modi can work for the welfare of the poor and provide good governance to the country. Uttarakhand has seen overall development in the last four years. BJP is committed to the development of the state under the leadership of CM Pushkar Singh Dhami.”
“I challenge Harish Rawat Ji to an open debate on the promises made and fulfilled by Congress and BJP in their respective election manifestos. The BJP has fulfilled around 85 per cent of promises made in its manifesto,” he added.
Shah also informed that PM Modi would be visiting the Kedarnath Dham on November 5, where he will be inaugurating an idol of Adi Shankaracharya.
Polls for the 70-member Uttarakhand Assembly are scheduled to take place in early 2022.
In the 2017 elections, BJP secured 57 Assembly seats, Congress won 11 seats and the rest of the seats were won by others.

Demands 60 pc share in coal cess

Bhubaneswar (Odisha) [India] : Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday demanded 60 per cent share of clean energy cess levied on coal from the central government.
Union Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Coal and Mines Pralhad Joshi met Chief Minister Patnaik on Friday. Union Minister of State for Railways, Coal and Mines Raosaheb Patil Danve was also present in the meeting. During the meeting, the chief minister raised the issue of clean energy cess and demanded for at least 60 per cent share of the cess collected from Odisha.
According to the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) release, Odisha produced 153.85 million tonnes of coal contributing to about 25 per cent of the country’s production in the year 2020-21. Centre collects Clean Energy Cess at the rate 400 rupees per tonne which amounts to more than Rs 50,000 crore.
“Thus 60 per cent of the cess will give Odisha an amount of Rs 30,000 crore which can be utilised for the economic development of coal mining areas and the affected people,” the release said.
During the meeting, Chief Minister Patnaik also demanded the establishment of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) at Sundergarh.
He said that the integrated campus for a 500-bedded hospital and 100-seated medical college at Sundergarh has been completed by the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) but it is yet to be operationalized.
Patnaik also requested the union minister for early functioning of MCL Medical College and Hospital at Talcher where infrastructure is ready for long, the release said.

NIA raids in J-K, 2 arrested

New Delhi [India] : The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Friday conducted searches at eight places in three Jammu and Kashmir districts and arrested two more accused in the J-K terrorism conspiracy case.
The agency conducted searches at Srinagar, Sopore and Baramulla districts of Jammu and Kashmir and arrested Amir Ahmad Gojri and Saddat Amin. The case related to conspiracy for undertaking violent terrorist acts in Jammu and Kashmir and other major cities, by cadres of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM), Al Badr and their affiliates such as the Resistance Front (TRF), People Against Fascist Forces (PAFF).
The NIA had registered the case on October 10 this year and initiated the investigation. Till now 23 accused persons have been arrested in this case by NIA.
The searches conducted today led to the recovery of electronic devices and incriminating jehadi documents and posters, the agency said.
“Preliminary investigation has revealed that arrested accused persons are terror associates and Over Ground Workers of various proscribed terrorist organisations and have been providing logistical and material support to terrorists.

Bombay HC issues bail conditions; asks Aryan Khan to appear before NCB every Friday, surrender passport

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India] : The Bombay High Court on Friday issued the detailed order with bail conditions for Aryan Khan Arbaaz Merchant and Munmun Dhamecha– arrested in the drugs-on-cruise case.
In the detailed order, the Bombay High Court asked Aryan and the two others to surrender their passports to Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) court, and not leave the country without permission from the special court. “Each accused be released on bail on furnishing a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh with one or more sureties of like amount,” the bail order said.
The court asked all three applicants to appear before the NCB Mumbai office every Friday, between 11.00 am to 2.00 pm to mark their presence.
Aryan’s bail order stated that “he should not indulge in any similar activities, not try to establish contact with co-accused” and should not make any statement regarding the court proceedings before media.
Earlier today, Advocate Satish Maneshinde, who is representing Aryan Khan said that he will be out of jail by today evening.
On Thursday, Aryan Khan, Arbaaz Merchant and Munmun Dhamecha were granted bail by the court yesterday the hearing of three days in the case.

Tennis star Leander Paes, Nafisa Ali, Mrinalini Deshprabhu join TMC in Goa in presence of Mamata Banerjee

Panaji (Goa) [India] : Ahead of the 2022 assembly polls, Tennis player Leander Paes , Bollywood actress Nafisa Ali and Mrinalini Deshprabhu on Friday joined Trinamool Congress (TMC) in presence of West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee.
“We are elated to share that Nafisa Ali and Mrinalini Deshprabhu have joined the Goa Trinamool Congress family today in the presence of our Hon’ble Chairperson @MamataOfficial. We wholeheartedly welcome both leaders!,” tweeted TMC. West Bengal Chief Minister is in Goa and expected to interact with party workers and the fishermen community there.
Later, during the evening, Banerjee will visit Mangueshi Temple at 3:30 pm in Priol, Ponda. She will also visit Shri Mahalsa Narayani Temple at 04:00 pm in Mardol, Ponda. Further, Banerjee will visit to Tapobhoomi Temple at 04:30 pm in Kundaim, Ponda.
Concluding the day, Mamata Banerjee will interact with Civil Society Members at 05:45 pm in International Centre Goa.


On October 24, 300 people have joined the All India Trinamool Congress (TMC) in three different events that took place in the Panaji, Navelim and Sanguem area of Goa, as per the press note released by the party.
“The entire block-level leadership of Congress party, including President Conceicao Peixote and over 170 workers, joined the Goa TMC in the presence of TMC National Vice-President Luizinho Faleiro in Navelim on Saturday,” reads the release.
As per the release on the same day, a senior Congressman from St Cruz joined the party in the presence of West Bengal Minister of State Shri Manas Ranjan Bhunia and Goa Trinamool Congress leaders Shri Yatish Naik and Shri Mario Pinto in Panaji.


Similarly, over 150 people including the Sarpanch and four Panchs of Molcornem Panchayat joined the party in the presence of TMC’s Parliamentary leader in Rajya Sabha, Shri Derek O’Brien and independent MLA from Sanguem Shri Prasad Gaonkar in Sanguem.
Goa Assembly has a strength of 40 members out of which BJP currently has 17 legislators and enjoys the support of legislators from Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), Vijay Sardesai of the Goa Forward Party (GFP) and three independents. GFP and MGP each have three MLAs.
Congress, on the other hand, has 15 MLAs in the house.

Tennis star Leander Paes joins Trinamool Congress

Tennis player Leander Paes joined the Trinamool Congress (TMC) in Goa on Friday in the presence of West Bengal Chief Minister and party supremo Mamata Banerjee.


The 48-year-old Indian tennis legend has won eight doubles and ten mixed doubles Grand Slam titles. He received the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, India’s highest sporting honour, in 1996-97, the Arjuna Award in 1990, the Padma Shri award in 2001 and India’s third-highest civilian award, the Padma Bhushan prize in January 2014, for his outstanding contribution to tennis. He won a bronze medal for India in singles in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. Paes competed in consecutive Olympics from 1992 to 2016, making him the first Indian and only tennis player to compete at seven Olympic Games.

Centre releases 44,000 cr GST

New Delhi [India] : The Ministry of Finance on Thursday released Rs 44,000 crore to the states and union territories with legislature under the back-to-back loan facility in lieu of GST compensation.
As per an official release, after taking into account the earlier release of Rs 1,15,000 crore (Rs 75,000 crore released on July 15, 2021, and Rs 40,000 crore released on October 7, 2021), the total amount released in the current financial year as a back-to-back loan in-lieu of GST compensation is Rs 1,59,000 crore. This release is in addition to normal GST compensation being released every two months out of actual cess collection. Subsequent to the 43rd GST council meeting held on May 28, 2021, it was decided that the central government would borrow Rs 1.59 lakh crore and release it to states and union territories with the legislature on a back-to-back basis to meet the resource gap due to the short release of compensation on account of the inadequate amount in the compensation fund.
This amount is as per the principles adopted for a similar facility in Financial Year 2020-2021, where an amount of Rs 1.10 lakh crore was released to states under a similar arrangement. This amount of Rs 1.59 lakh crore would be over and above the compensation in excess of Rs 1 lakh crore (based on cess collection) that is estimated to be released to states, union territories with legislature during this financial year. The sum total of Rs 2.59 lakh crore is expected to exceed the amount of GST compensation accruing in FY 2021-2022.
All eligible states and UTs (with Legislature) have agreed to the arrangements of funding of the compensation shortfall under the back-to-back loan facility. For effective response and management of COVID-19 pandemic and a step-up in capital expenditure, all states and union territories have a very important role to play. For assisting the states/UTs in their endeavour, the Ministry of Finance has frontloaded the release of assistance under the back-to-back loan facility during FY 2021-22 of Rs 1,59,000 crore.
The release of Rs 44,000 crore being made now is funded from borrowings of government in five-year securities issued in the current financial year, at a Weighted Average Yield of 5.69 per cent. No additional market borrowing by the central government is envisaged on account of this release.
It is expected that this release will help the states, union territories in planning their public expenditure among other things, for improving, health infrastructure and taking up infrastructure projects.

Channi meets Rahul

New Delhi [India] : Amidst the political turmoil in Punjab, Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi met Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday in the national capital.
As per sources, in the crucial meeting at Rahul Gandhi’s residence in Delhi, Congress discussed the upcoming strategy for the Punjab election. The meeting came after former Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh announced that he will form a new political party that will field candidates on all 117 seats in the upcoming Assembly elections in 2022.
In the meeting that lasted for about 2:30 hours, Congress leaders discussed the strategy for the upcoming Punjab election.
Apart from Channi and Gandhi, Congress organization general secretary KC Venugopal, Punjab in-charge Harish Chaudhary were also present in this meeting.
Meanwhile, Congress Punjab In-charge Harish Chaudhary met Congress Interim President Sonia Gandhi yesterday at 10 Janpath.

PM Modi likely to meet Pope Francis just hours ahead of G20 Summit

Rome [Italy] : Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to meet Pope Francis in the Vatican on the second day of his arrival in Rome, Italy for the G20 Summit. While there is no official confirmation on the date and time of this significant meet, PM Modi is expected to meet the head of the Catholic Church on October 30 at the Vatican, just hours ahead of the G20 Summit.
Sources are tight-lipped on the nature of the meet. Also, it is believed that the meet is expected to be seen as a gesture inspiring confidence and trust between the two countries.
The Vatican is a city-state surrounded by Rome and is the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church.
The PM is visiting Rome for the two-day G20 Summit, which is scheduled to take place on October 30 and 31.
PM Modi is scheduled to attend the 16th edition of the G20 summit in Rome, Italy and will attend the World Leaders’ Summit of the COP26 in Glasgow after the summit.
PM is expected to pitch for collective measures to deal with the situation in Afghanistan.
G20 is a global forum whose members account for more than 80 per cent of global GDP, 75 per cent of global trade and 60 per cent population. The theme of this G20 meet under the Italian Presidency is centred around ‘People, Planet and Prosperity.’
The summit is being attended by heads of state/ government of G20 member countries, the European Union and other invited countries and international organisations.
PM is expected to hold bilateral meetings including one with Italian PM Draghi.

China opposes any contact between US, Taiwan

Beijing [China] : China opposes any military and official contacts between the United States and Taiwan, as well as Washington’s interference in Taiwan’s affairs, the foreign ministry’s spokesman, Wang Wenbin, said on Thursday.
The head of the Taiwan administration, Tsai Ing-wen, confirmed to CNN in a fresh interview that US troops are present on the island to train Taiwanese forces. Tsai also claimed that the threat from China is increasing every day and expressed confidence in Washington’s support in the event of an attack. “The US must adhere to the One China principle and provisions of three US-Chinese communiques. We strongly oppose any official and military contacts between the US and Taiwan, as well as US interference in China’s internal affairs,” Wang said at a briefing, stressing that the US-Chinese relations are based on the One China principle.

Restrictions till Nov 30

New Delhi [India] : Ahead of the festive season, the Ministry of Home Affairs on Thursday extended the COVID-19 restrictions across the country till November 30 to prevent any further spread of the pandemic.
Notably, India recorded its highest COVID-19 recovery rate today since March 2020 at 98.20 per cent, informed the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. According to the ministry, the recovery of 17,095 patients in the last 24 hours has increased the cumulative tally of recovered patients to 3,36,14,434.
With 16,156 new COVID-19 cases reported in the last 24 hours, India’s total active caseload has reached 1,60,989.
Meanwhile, the Centre will soon start a mega COVID-19 vaccination campaign ‘Har Ghar Dastak’ in poor-performing districts aiming to achieve full vaccination by the end of November, said Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Wednesday

G20 Summit: PM Modi to pay tribute to Mahatma Gandhi in Rome on his day of arrival

Rome [Italy] : Prime Minister Narendra Modi will pay tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on his first day of arrival in Rome. The PM is arriving in Rome on Friday to participate in the G20 Summit.
Sources stated that the PM will visit Piazza Gandhi located in what people term as ‘New Rome’. The PM is expected to be accompanied by the Indian Ambassador to Italy Neena Malhotra. Sources said that the newly elected Mayor of Rome Roberto Gualtieri is also likely to be present at Piazza Gandhi. The PM has ensured in the past as well to pay tribute to the Father of the Nation on foreign land that shares previous ties with India and at times at places of relevance for the country.
Various news reports show that in the past, PM Modi has unveiled Gandhi statue at various foreign locations. In 2014, PM had unveiled a 2.5 metres tall bronze Gandhi statue on Roma street Parkland in Brisbane, Australia. He had then said that Gandhi is not just a person but an era.
In the same year, PM had unveiled a Gandhi statue in Washington DC on the square outside Indian Embassy.
In July 2015, PM Modi had unveiled a bust of Mahatma at Bagtyarlyk Sports Complex, Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. The same year, PM went to Germany and unveiled the bust of Gandhi in the city hall of Hannover.
It was in Singapore that PM Modi unveiled a plaque of Gandhi. In 2019, PM unveiled a bust of Mahatma Gandhi at Yonsei University, Seoul.
PM Modi will be arriving in Italy for G20 Summit on October 29. The PM is likely to meet briefly a few representatives of the Indian diaspora, sources added.
G20 is a global forum whose members account for more than 80 per cent of global GDP, 75 per cent of global trade and 60 per cent population. The theme of this G20 meet under the Italian Presidency is centred around ‘People, Planet and Prosperity’.
The summit is being attended by heads of state/ government of G20 member countries, the European Union and other invited countries and international organisations.
PM Modi is expected to hold a few bilateral meetings including one with Italian PM Mario Draghi. (

Pune police arrested Kiran Gosavi, a witness in Aryan Khan drugs case

The Pune Police said that they have detained Kiran Gosavi, a witness in the Mumbai drugs-on-cruise case, in connection with a cheating case on Thursday morning from Pune’s outskirts, adding that process to formally arrest him is underway.

Pune (Maharashtra) [India] : Pune City police commissioner Amitabh Gupta said, “Kiran Gosavi had collected Rs 3 lakh from Chinmay Deshmukh on the pretext of providing job in Malaysia in 2018. He had sent Deshmukh to Malaysia on a tourist visa. After Deshmukh realised that he was cheated by Gosavi, he filed a complaint.” Gupta added, “Since then, Gosavi was on the run. Now we have been detained him from the outskirts of Pune. The process to formally arrest him is underway.”
A case was registered against Gosavi with Faraskhana police station of Pune city on May 19, 2018, for allegedly committing fraud by promising a person a job in Malaysia by taking money.
However, he neither returned the money nor offered the job to the complainant. The accused was booked under sections 419, 420 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) along with relevant sections of the Intellectual Technology (IT) Act.


Chargesheet was filed in the court as the accused was not found. He is still wanted in the case.
Gosavi is a witness in the Mumbai cruise drugs case in which Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan was arrested under the NDPS Act.
Prabhakar Sail, who is the personal bodyguard of Gosavi and also a witness in the Mumbai cruise ship raid case, had alleged that NCB Zonal Director, Kiran Gosavi and some other NCB officials had sought Rs 25 crores from Shah Rukh Khan in order to release Aryan Khan.
Other than this, a case of fraud has also been registered against Gosavi at the Kelwa Police station in Palghar on October 18. As per the police, he had duped people of lakhs of rupees on the pretext of sending them abroad for jobs.

NCB witness Gosavi wants call, chat details of Prabhakar Sail to be released

Kiran Gosavi, the NCB’s witness in the Mumbai cruise drugs case, on Thursday asked the officials to release the call and chat detail records of Prabhakar Sail.
Sail, who is the personal bodyguard of Kiran Gosavi and also a witness in the Mumbai cruise ship raid case, has alleged that Gosavi took Rs 50 lakh from an individual after the raid at the cruise ship. In a video message, before being detained by the Pune Police on Thursday, Gosavi claimed that the allegations made by Sail are not true.
“Prabhakar Sail is lying. All I want to request is that his call detail reports must be released. My call detail reports or chats can be released, Prabhakar Sail and his brother’s call detail reports, as well as chats, should be released, everything will be clear,” Gosavi said.
Kiran Gosavi is the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) witness in the drugs on cruise case involving Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan.
He was detained earlier today by the Pune Police three days after he claimed he would surrender at a police station in Uttar Pradesh’s capital Lucknow.
He has been detained in connection with a 2018 cheating case in which he was absconding. In 2019, Pune City Police declared him wanted. He was missing since then and was only spotted during the cruise raid as an NCB witness. On October 14, Police issued a lookout circular against him.
Other than this, a case of fraud had also been registered against Gosavi at the Kelwa Police station in Palghar on October 18. As per the police, he had duped people of lakhs of rupees on the pretext of sending them abroad for jobs.

India : 16,156 new COVID-19 cases, 733 deaths

New Delhi [India] : India reported 16,156 new COVID-19 cases and 733 deaths in the last 24 hours, informed the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Thursday.
The country also reported 17,095 recoveries in the last 24 hours, taking the recovery rate at 98.20 per cent, which is the highest since March 2020. The country’s active caseload stands at 1,60,989, which is the lowest in 243 days.
The active cases account for less than 1 per cent of the total cases, currently at 0.47 per cent, which is the lowest since March 2020.
At 1.19 per cent, the weekly positivity rate is less than 2 per cent for the last 34 days. The daily positivity rate stands at 1.25 per cent, which is less than 2 per cent for the last 24 days.
The total number of samples tested for COVID-19 till October 27 is 60,44,98,405 including 12,90,900 samples tested on Wednesday, as per the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
Meanwhile, 104.04 crore vaccine doses have been administered so far under the nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive.

India successfully launches surface-to-surface ballistic missile Agni-5

New Delhi [India] : India has successfully launched the surface-to-surface ballistic missile, Agni-5 that can strike targets at ranges up to 5,000 km with a very high degree of accuracy.
According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Defence, the launch was carried out on Wednesday at approximately 7:30 pm from APJ Abdul Kalam Island in Odisha. The missile, which uses a three-stage solid-fuelled engine, is capable of striking targets at ranges up to 5,000 kilometres with a very high degree of accuracy, said the ministry.
The ministry further stated that the successful test of Agni-5 is in line with India’s stated policy to have ‘credible minimum deterrence’ that underpins the commitment to ‘No First Use’.

No nation can develop with army of illiterates, govt’s responsibility to educate them: Amit Shah

New Delhi [India]: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday said that “no nation can develop with an army of illiterates” and it is the government’s responsibility to educate them.
“I was trolled but I would like to say again that ‘no nation can develop with the army of illiterates’. It is the governments’ responsibility to educate them. Somebody who does not know his Constitutional rights cannot contribute to the nation, as much as it can be done,” Shah said while speaking at the inaugural session of the National Conference of ‘Delivering Democracy’. The Union Minister further dubbed the BJP’s decision to make Prime Minister Narendra Modi the CM of Gujarat “rare” because he (Modi) had no real experience of running administrations in 2001.


“In 2001, the BJP decided that Narendra Modi will become the CM of Gujarat. It was a rare occasion – because he had no real experience of running administrations until then,” he said.
“The state was reeling under a lot of pressure after facing the Kutch earthquake. He tried to change things and did a lot of work on development and transparency. When Modi Ji became the CM of Gujarat, the state had 67 per cent enrolment and 37 per cent dropout. He started a ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ programme to promote gender ratio and education. This eventually saw 100 per cent enrolment and also took steps to ensure dropout ratio reduced to almost zero.”
“After the 1960s and by 2014 people doubted if the multi-party democratic system can be successful… People wondered if the system failed as it didn’t yield fruitful results. With great patience, they took a decision and gave power to PM Modi with an absolute majority,” Shah said.
He also slammed the previous Congress-led Central government and said that during their reign there was a ‘policy paralysis’.
Speaking at the inaugural session of the National Conference of “Delivering Democracy”, the Union Minister said, “What government did we have at the time of 2014 polls? We had a government where cabinet ministers did not consider PM, a PM; everybody considered themselves the PM.”
“There was policy paralysis. Perhaps respect for India was at its lowest, corruption of Rs 12 lakh crore. There were questions on internal security. It seemed our democratic system would collapse at any time. At that time BJP decided to field then Gujarat CM as its PM candidate.”

Amit Shah visits WB Governor Jagdeep Dhankar at AIIMS

Union Home Minister Amit Shah visited West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in the national capital on Wednesday.
The governor was admitted after testing positive for malaria on Monday.

Rajinikanth meets PM Modi and President Kovind

New Delhi [India] : After receiving Dadasaheb Phalke Award, India’s highest film honour, from Vice President Venkaiah Naidu a few days ago, superstar Rajinikanth paid a visit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind.
On Wednesday, Rajinikanth took to Twitter and shared a few pictures from their meeting.



He also shared that it was a great pleasure to meet the PM and President.
“It is a great pleasure to meet and greet the esteemed President and the Prime Minister,” he tweeted.
Rajinikanth was accompanied by his wife Latha.
The meeting comes after Rajinikanth was conferred with the 51st Dadasaheb Phalke Award on Monday at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi. He received the award for his remarkable contribution to Indian cinema.

‘Will quit if proven wrong’

Maharashtra Cabinet Minister and NCP leader Nawab Malik on Wednesday posted purported pictures of the ‘nikah’ of Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede.The NCP leader also posted a screenshot of the ‘Nikah Nama’ of Wankhede with his first wife Dr Shabana Qureshi. “Photo of sweet couple Sameer Dawood Wankhede and Dr Shabana Qureshi” Malik said in a tweet along with a photograph. In a subsequent tweet, the minister said, “Presenting shortly the ‘Nikah Nama’ of the first marriage of ‘Sameer Dawood Wankhede’.”

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India] : This follows a day after Malik shared a letter he had received apparently from an NCB official that claimed that Wankhede had violated rules and framed people in false cases to extort money.
Malik had earlier also accused Wankhede of using a fake birth certificate to secure his government job.
He had shared the birth certificate of Wankhede on Twitter saying “Sameer Dawood Wankhede’s fraud started from here.” Following this Wankhede said he will fight Malik legally.
Wankhede had previously said that all the allegations are false and that he was being targeted and is ready for a probe into allegations against him.
NCB on Tuesday also denied to probe the anonymous letter received by
Malik which he forwarded to NCB Director General SN Pradhan.


NCB said that “no action” will be taken as per the guidelines of the Central Vigilance Commission. “No action will be initiated on the anonymous letter (containing allegations against NCB Mumbai Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede) forwarded by Maharashtra Minister and NCP leader Nawab Malik to Director General of NCB as per guidelines of Central Vigilance Commission,” said the probe agency.
Sameer Wankhede is investigating the Mumbai cruise ship drugs case in which Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan’s son has been arrested.

Wankhede let international drug lord off hook in Mumbai cruise ship raid, alleges Nawab Malik

Making further allegations against the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede, Maharashtra Cabinet Minister Nawab Malik said that during the rave party in Mumbai cruise ship, in which Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan’s Aryan Khan has been arrested, an international drug lord was present on the ship and Wankhede allegedly let the mafia off the hook.
Addressing a press conference, the Minister said, “The rave party was held when the COVID protocols were in place. No permission was sought from the Maharashtra Police or state home department. The permission was granted by the Shipping Director. “During the rave party, an international drug lord was present in the ship and the NCB officials, led by Sameer Wankhede, let him off the hook. The drug lord is a close friend of Wankhede. He should tell why did he (Wankhede) let him (drug mafia) go,” he further alleged.
“I have the video of the drug lord dancing with his girlfriend. If the NCB does not take action, then he will release the video,” he added.
He further stated that the issue is not the rave party but the forging of documents by Wankhede. “The NCB Zonal Director forged documents and made Scheduled Caste certificate in order to get into public service commission,” he alleged.
Demanding a Central Vigilance Commission probe into the allegation of extortion bid of Rs 25 lakh from Shah Rukh Khan in order to release Aryan Khan, Malik said, “The Central agency had called Bollywood actors like Deepika Padukone and Sara Ali Khan last year (Sushant Singh Rajput case), similarly the CVC should initiate investigation against Wankhede in the alleged extortion bid.”
Prabhakar Sail, on Monday, had alleged that Wankhede, Kiran Gosavi, another witness in the drugs case, and some other NCB officials had sought Rs 25 lakh from Shah Rukh Khan.
Sail is also a witness in the Mumbai cruise ship drug case.
Malik also said that the pictures and the post that he is putting out are false then he would resign from public life.
Aryan Khan, son of actor Shah Rukh Khan, was arrested on October 3. An NCB team busted an alleged drugs party on the Cordelia Cruise ship which was on its way to Goa at mid-sea on October 2. A total of 20 people, including two Nigerian nationals, have been arrested so far in the case.
Aryan Khan’s bail plea was rejected by the special court on October 20 in the case following which his judicial custody in the matter got extended till October 30. Khan approached the Bombay High Court for an urgent bail hearing.

Plea in Bombay HC seeks to refrain Nawab Malik from commenting on cruise ship case

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India] : A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been moved in the Bombay High Court seeking to refrain Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and state cabinet minister Nawab Malik from commenting “in any manner” on the ongoing probe in the cruise ship drugs case.
The PIL filed by Kausar Ali, a Mumbai-based businessman and priest (Maulana), stated that Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede, “a non-corrupt officer, has been most effective in handling the drug menace”. “Under Wankhede’s supervision, the central agency, NCB has been most effective,” reads the PIL.
The plea further said that Malik’s tweets and statements are only demoralising Wankhede and his team.
On Wednesday morning, when the PIL was mentioned before a division bench led by Chief Justice Dipankar Datta, the court declined the request for an immediate hearing. It asked the petitioner to move the vacation bench or wait until regular court resumes after the Diwali vacation.
The NCP leader had earlier today posted purported pictures of Wankhede ‘nikah’ on Twitter.
This follows a day after Malik shared a letter he had received apparently from an NCB official that claimed that Wankhede had violated rules and framed people in false cases to extort money.
Malik had earlier also accused Wankhede of using a fake birth certificate to secure his government job.
He had shared the birth certificate of Wankhede on Twitter saying “Sameer Dawood Wankhede’s fraud started from here.” Following this Wankhede said he will fight Malik legally.
Sameer Wankhede is investigating the Mumbai cruise ship drugs case in which Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan’s son has been arrested.

IMF likely to allow Pak to use USD 2.78 billion for meeting budgetary requirements

Amid the rising inflation in Pakistan and the spate of protests against the falling state of the country’s economy, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has agreed to allow Pakistan to use USD 2.78 billion to meet the budgetary requirement, reported a local media.

Islamabad [Pakistan] : According to Geo TV, the IMF is yet to make an official announcement and is expected to be made besides the announcement of the approval of USD 1 billion tranche pending under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF). Notably, the fund was provided to Pakistan in the fight against the pandemic.
“The Ministry of Finance has made a request to the IMF to allow utilisation of $2.78 billion windows provided to fight the COVID-19 pandemic for the purpose of meeting financing of budgetary requirements,” Geo TV reported the officials as saying citing a conversation with The News on Tuesday.
Pakistan sought explanations from the IMF after the latter shared an initial draft of the Memorandum of Financial and Economic Policies (MEFP) before reaching a staff-level agreement, reported Geo TV.
However, the Finance Ministry has refrained from issuing any press statement until the issuance of the order from the IMF’s side.

SC forms commitee to probe ‘falsity, discover truth’ in Pegasus row

Noting there is no clear stand of the Centre on the Pegasus spyware case, the Supreme Court on Wednesday formed a three-member committee to probe the “falsity and discover the truth” in the matter. The Supreme Court Wednesday formed a three-member committee to oversee a technical committee comprising of three members, including those who are experts in cyber security, digital forensics, networks and hardware, which will probe Pegasus spyware case.

New Delhi [India] : A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India N V Ramana and comprising Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli asked a three-member committee, supervised by retired judge Justice R V Raveendran, to examine the allegations thoroughly and expeditiously and place a report before the court. The court will hear the matter again after eight weeks.
The Technical Committee shall comprise Dr Naveen Kumar Chaudhary, Dr Prabaharan P, Dr Ashwin Anil Gumaste.
The apex court in its remark said, “The present batch of Writ Petitions raise an Orwellian concern, about the alleged possibility of utilizing modern technology to hear what you hear, see what you see and to know what you do.”
“At the outset, certain nuances of the right to privacy in India- its facets and importance, need to be discussed,” the court said.
“Having regard to the importance of the protection of journalistic sources for press freedom in a democratic society and the potential chilling effect that snooping techniques may have, this Court’s task in the present matter, where certain grave allegations of infringement of the rights of the citizens of the country have been raised, assumes great significance,” it added.
The Centre had earlier told the apex court that it was willing to set up a committee of independent experts to examine all aspects of the alleged Pegasus snooping row. It had maintained that what software was used for an interception in the interest of national security can’t be open for public debate.
The government had also contended that it is willing to place the details of surveillance before the expert committee proposed to be constituted by it to examine the issues and the committee can give a report to the Supreme Court.
The petitioners’ lawyers had repeatedly told the Bench that the Central government has evaded answering the question if it or any of its agencies have ever used the Pegasus spyware and urged the court to direct the government to come clean on this issue.
There are many pleas filed before the top court by senior journalists N Ram and Sashi Kumar, Rajya Sabha MP John Brittas of Communist Marxist Party of India (Marxist) and advocate ML Sharma, former Union minister Yashwant Sinha, RSS ideologue KN Govindacharya, seeking inquiry headed by a sitting or retired judge of the top court to investigate the alleged snooping.
Journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, SNM Abdi, Prem Shankar Jha, Rupesh Kumar Singh and Ipsa Shatakshi, who are reported to be on the potential list of snoop targets of Pegasus spyware, had also approached the top court along with The Editors Guild of India (EGI) among others.
The plea said that the targeted surveillance using military-grade spyware is an unacceptable violation of the right to privacy which has been held to be a fundamental right under Articles 14, 19 and 21 by the Supreme Court in the KS Puttaswamy case (2017).
In July, names of over 40 Indian journalists appeared on the leaked list of potential targets for surveillance by an unidentified agency using Pegasus spyware, according to a report published in The Wire.

IPL 2022 to have 74 matches, each team to play 7 home, 7 away games

The Governing Council of the IPL had issued an Invitation to Tender (ITT) to acquire the right to own and operate two new franchises. Pursuant to the tender process, various interested parties submitted their bids for the new franchises. The bids were submitted by the authorised representatives of the interested parties in Dubai on Monday.

Dubai [UAE] : BCCI announced the following successful bidders (subject to definitive documentation and other formalities being completed): RPSG Ventures Ltd. – Lucknow (for INR 7,090 crores) and Irelia Company Pte Ltd (CVC Capital Partners) – Ahmedabad (for INR 5,625 crores). The new franchises will participate in IPL from the 2022 season onwards subject to the bidders completing the post-bid formalities as specified in the ITT document. The IPL 2022 season will comprise ten teams and will have 74 matches, wherein each team will play seven home and seven away matches.
BCCI President, Sourav Ganguly said: “The BCCI is happy to welcome two new teams from the next season of the Indian Premier League. I would like to congratulate RPSG Ventures Ltd & Irelia Company Pte Ltd for being successful bidders. The IPL will now go to two new cities in India viz in Lucknow and Ahmedabad. It is heartening to see the inclusion of two new teams at such a high valuation, and it reiterates the cricketing and financial strength of our cricket ecosystem. True to IPL’s motto of ‘Where Talent Meets Opportunity’, the inclusion of two new teams will bring more domestic cricketers from our country to the global stage. The ITT process included two interested bidders from outside of India, which strongly emphasises the global appeal of the IPL as a sports property. The IPL is proving to be a wonderful instrument in globalising the game of cricket. I am keenly looking forward to IPL 2022.”
Jay Shah, Honorary Secretary, BCCI said: “It is a momentous day for all of us and I formally welcome RPSG Ventures Ltd. and Irelia Company Pte Ltd into the IPL fold. We had promised that IPL will be bigger and better from the 15th season and with Lucknow and Ahmedabad, we will take the league to different parts of India. The IPL has established gold standards for leagues across the world and remains a premium event on the sporting calendar as it has grown rapidly in a short span. Despite numerous challenges posed by COVID-19, the 13th and 14th seasons were completed, and the bids prove that interested parties have faith in BCCI and its hosting capabilities. I am thrilled for the people of Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat as the long wait is over and they will now have their own IPL team. My best wishes to the two new teams.”
Brijesh Patel, Chairman, IPL said: “The level of interest among the interested parties prove that IPL is among the most sought-after sporting leagues in the world. We had bids from different parts of the world and from parties with diverse portfolios wanting to make a foray into the world of sports. I extend my heartiest congratulations to RPSG Ventures Ltd and Irelia Company Pte Ltd for securing the rights to operate the two teams. We had a wonderful 14th season and the 2022 season will see a new beginning.”
Arun Singh Dhumal, Honorary Treasurer, BCCI said: “The fact that winning bids were way above the base price set for the two new IPL franchises is a direct indication of the true value of the Indian Premier League. We received tremendous interest after the ITT was floated with many conglomerates putting their hat into the ring. I congratulate RPSG Ventures Ltd. and Irelia Company Pte Ltd for placing the highest bids and winning the rights to own the IPL teams. I also thank all the bidders for showing faith in the BCCI and IPL. This is the start of an exciting chapter, and I can’t wait for the big auction to see how the new teams shape up.”

IPL will fulfil aspiration of cricket fans across the world, says BCCI Vice President Shukla

Dubai [UAE] : The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Vice President Rajeev Shukla on Monday said the Indian Premier League (IPL) has reached its pinnacle and the tournament will now cater for the aspiration of fans across the world.
BCCI announced Ahmedabad and Lucknow will be the two new members of the IPL family as it will now be a ten-team affair from the next season. The new franchises will participate in IPL from the 2022 season onwards subject to the bidders completing the post-bid formalities as specified in the ITT document.
Rajeev Shukla also hailed the “wonderful achievement” of BCCI following the announcement of two new teams.
“It’s a big achievement, a big success. I congratulate the people of Uttar Pradesh as the state didn’t have any IPL team before. Talking about Ahmedabad it has a very good stadium and getting an IPL team is a welcome move,” Shukla told ANI.
“Delighted to know two more teams have added. It is a wonderful achievement as far as BCCI is concerned and all the IPL fans. What an amazing story it has been, in 2008 during the inception of IPL it was difficult to look for a franchise and look at today where have we reached,” he pointed out.
“Now the IPL will really work in such a way that it caters for the aspiration and fulfil the aspiration of cricket fans across the world. As far as globalisation of IPL is concerned, it had happened long back but now it is expanding. It has reached its pinnacle and that’s something which must be recognised,” Shukla added.
The IPL 2022 season will comprise ten teams and will have 74 matches, wherein each team will play seven home and seven away matches.

PM Modi congratulates Uzbek President on Winning Second Term

New Delhi [India] : Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev on winning a second term in the presidential polls with a landslide victory.
Extending his wishes PM Modi said: “Heartiest congratulations to President Shavkat Mirziyoyev on his victory in the election.” Expressing his faith in Mirziyoyev, PM Modi said that the India-Uzbekistan strategic partnership will continue to strengthen in his second term.
“Heartiest congratulations to President Shavkat Mirziyoyev on his victory in the election. I am confident that the India-Uzbekistan strategic partnership will continue to strengthen in your second term. My best wishes to you and the friendly people of Uzbekistan,” PM Modi said in a tweet.
Uzbek people voted for the presidential election on Sunday with little opposition against the incumbent President Shavkat Mirziyoyev. The 64-year-old Mirziyoyev from the Uzbekistan Liberal Democratic Party assumed office in 2016.

Manoj Bajpayee’s third National Award as Best Actor

Actors Manoj Bajpayee was conferred with the Best Actor Award for his film ‘Bhonsle’ at the 67th National Film Awards, which took place on Monday.

New Delhi [India], October 25 : Manoj, who has previously won the National Film Award twice, Best Supporting Actor in ‘Satya’, and Special Jury Award for his feature film ‘Pinjar’, was felicitated at the in-person ceremony for his performance in the Devashish Makhija directorial ‘Bhonsle’. The movie saw the ‘Family Man’ star portraying the titular character who is a retired policeman and is living a non-interfering life in a colony dominated by locals, diagnosed with stage 4 brain tumour.
Manoj, who was dressed in a black shirt and trousers for the award ceremony, spoke about receiving the award and said, “The National Award for ‘Bhonsle’ means a lot because this was a film which we wanted to make but we were not getting money from anyone to make it, it took us four years to make this film, so definitely it means the world to all of us. It’s kind of a poetic justice that has happened to ‘Bhonsle’ and I share this award with the director and the entire team.”
“This is my third National Award and every time I went there it always takes me back to my first one when I got it for ‘Satya’, so it’s a great moment when you are honoured for films which are very close to your heart,” the actor added.

‘India to have more doctors’

With more and more medical colleges coming up, India will have more doctors in the next 10-12 years than it has had in the past over 70 years since Independence, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday.

Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh) [India] : PM Modi, while addressing the launch function of PM Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission in his parliamentary constituency Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh today said, “In the next 10-12 years, the nation is going to receive a number of doctors that will be more than the number of doctors that graduated out of medical colleges in the 70 years after independence.” He said that the quick pace with which new medical colleges are being started in UP will positively impact the number of medical seats available.
“Due to more number of seats, now the children of poor parents too can dream of becoming a doctor and fulfil it,” the Prime Minister said.
He also slammed the previous governments in the Centre and said that the health infrastructure of the nation was not given attention for a long period of time after independence.
Notably, according to the Prime Minister’s Office, PM Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission is one of the largest pan-India schemes for strengthening healthcare infrastructure across the country. It will be in addition to the National Health Mission.
The objective of the scheme is to fill critical gaps in public health infrastructure, especially in critical care facilities and primary care in both urban and rural areas.
It will provide support for 17,788 rural Health and Wellness Centres in 10 High Focus States. Further, 11,024 urban Health and Wellness Centres will be established in all the States

Southwest monsoon withdraws

Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) [India] : The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), Thiruvananthapuram on Monday said the southwest monsoon has withdrawn from the entire country.
In a press release, the IMD stated, “In view of a significant reduction in rainfall activity over most parts of the country the Southwest monsoon has withdrawn from the entire country today, the 25th October 2021.” The release further added, “Simultaneously with the setting in of northeasterly winds in the lower tropospheric levels, the northeast monsoon rains have commenced over extreme south peninsular India today, the 25th October 2021.”
“A cyclonic circulation is likely to develop over Southeast Bay of Bengal & neighbourhood by tomorrow. It is likely to move westwards. Under its influence, a low-pressure Area is likely to form over central parts of South Bay of Bengal during subsequent 48 hours,” said the release.

Zika virus case in Kanpur

Kanpur (Uttar Pradesh) [India] : After Uttar Pradesh reported its first case of Zika Virus from Kanpur, the central government sent a multi-disciplinary team on Monday. Dr Nepal Singh, Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Kanpur on Sunday informed, “Yesterday, one person infected with Zika virus, was found in Kanpur. He is an Indian Air Force personnel. We have formed teams as soon as we received the information. With the help of 10 teams, we started taking precautionary action in his residential area and the workplace.” He added, “House to house survey, line listing, fogging, cleaning was undertaken with the help of municipality. 22 samples of his close contacts, who were symptomatic, were sent to King George’s Medical University (KGMU), Lucknow for testing.”
Caused by a virus transmitted primarily by Aedes mosquitoes, which bite during the day, symptoms of this disease are mild fever, rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise or a headache.

Mega Star Rajinikanth receives Dada Saheb Falke Award

Superstar Rajinikanth received a standing ovation by the audience while he was conferred with Dadasaheb Phalke Award, India’s highest film honour, by Vice President Venkaiah Naidu in the capital today.

New Delhi [India] : The veteran star was felicitated with a Swarna Kamal (Golden Lotus) medallion, a shawl, and a cash prize. Born as Shivaji Rao Gaekwad on December 12, 1950, to Ramoji Rao and Jijabai, Rajinikanth worked as a bus conductor before embarking on his film journey about 45 years ago.
While accepting the award, Rajinikanth took a stroll down memory lane to thank one of his old friends, who saw acting talent in him and encouraged him to try his luck in films.


“I am extremely happy to receive this prestigious award. My heartfelt thanks to the central government for honouring me with the Dadasaheb Phalke award. I would like to dedicate this award to my guru K Balachander. Today, I remember him with great gratitude. I also want to thank my friend who saw this talent in me and suggested me to do acting while I was working as a bus conductor,” he recalled.
Rajinikanth also dedicated his win to all the producers, directors, members of the film industry and fans.
“Thanks to everyone for their support… press, media, directors, distributors, producers and fans… my heartfelt thanks to everyone. Also, a special thanks to Tamil people… without them I am nobody,” he expressed his gratitude.
Rajinikanth attended the presentation ceremony along with his wife Latha, daughter Aishwarya, and son-in-law Dhanush.

PM Modi Inaugurates nine medical colleges in UP

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday inaugurated nine medical colleges in Uttar Pradesh from Siddharthnagar.

Siddharthnagar (Uttar Pradesh) [India] : Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya were also present at the event. These nine medical colleges are situated in the districts of Siddharthnagar, Etah, Hardoi, Pratapgarh, Fatehpur, Deoria, Ghazipur, Mirzapur and Jaunpur.


Eight Medical Colleges have been sanctioned under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme for “Establishment of new medical colleges attached with district/ referral hospitals” and one Medical College at Jaunpur has been made functional by the State Government through its own resources.
Under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme, preference is given to underserved, backward and aspirational districts. The Scheme aims to increase the availability of health professionals, correct the existing geographical imbalance in the distribution of medical colleges and effectively utilize the existing infrastructure of district hospitals.
Under three phases of the Scheme, 157 new medical colleges have been approved across the nation, out of which 63 medical colleges are already functional. 

Uttar Pradesh CM Adityanath Yogi presents Lord Buddha’s idol to PM Modi

Siddharthnagar (Uttar Pradesh) [India] : Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Monday presented Lord Buddha’s idol to Prime Minister Narendra Modi at an event in Siddharthnagar district of Uttar Pradesh where he inaugurated nine medical colleges in the state.
Ahead of the inauguration the Prime Minister viewed an exhibition at the venue. He was escorted by Chief Minister and Governor Anandiben Patel. Nine medical colleges inaugurated are situated in the districts of Siddharthnagar, Etah, Hardoi, Pratapgarh, Fatehpur, Deoria, Ghazipur, Mirzapur and Jaunpur.
Eight Medical Colleges have been sanctioned under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme for “Establishment of new medical colleges attached with district/ referral hospitals” and one Medical College at Jaunpur has been made functional by the State Government through its own resources.
Under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme, preference is given to underserved, backward and aspirational districts. The Scheme aims to increase the availability of health professionals, correct the existing geographical imbalance in the distribution of medical colleges and effectively utilize the existing infrastructure of district hospitals.
Under three phases of the Scheme, 157 new medical colleges have been approved across the nation, out of which 63 medical colleges are already functional.

PM Modi slams earlier UP governments for ruining Purvanchal’s image, not focusing on health care facilities

Slamming the previous governments in Uttar Pradesh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said that they ruined Purvanchal’s image and not focusing on developing health care facilities in the region.
Speaking while inaugurating nine medical colleges in Uttar Pradesh from Siddharthnagar, PM Modi said, “Earlier, Purvanchal’s image was ruined by previous governments, it was defamed because of ‘dimagi’ fever. The same region will now infuse new hopes. People of Uttar Pradesh can’t forget how Yogi ji had highlighted about Uttar Pradesh’s poor medical system in Parliament, despite not being a Chief Minister.” The Prime Minister said that the current government’s priority is to save the poor’s money and provide them facilities.
“Has it ever happened before that nine colleges were inaugurated? The reason is political priorities. Previous governments were only filling their family lockers and earning for themselves. But our priority is to save poor’s money and provide them facilities,” he said.
The Prime Minister further informed that the opening of new nine medical colleges will add over 2500 new beds and will provide 5000 employment opportunities to doctors and paramedics.
“Earlier government has left people of ‘Purvanchal’ to suffer from diseases but now it will become a medical hub of Northern India,” he added.
Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya were also present at the event.
These nine medical colleges are situated in the districts of Siddharthnagar, Etah, Hardoi, Pratapgarh, Fatehpur, Deoria, Ghazipur, Mirzapur and Jaunpur.
Eight Medical Colleges have been sanctioned under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme for “Establishment of new medical colleges attached with district/ referral hospitals” and one Medical College at Jaunpur has been made functional by the State Government through its own resources.
Under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme, preference is given to underserved, backward and aspirational districts. The Scheme aims to increase the availability of health professionals, correct the existing geographical imbalance in the distribution of medical colleges and effectively utilize the existing infrastructure of district hospitals.
Under three phases of the Scheme, 157 new medical colleges have been approved across the nation, out of which 63 medical colleges are already functional.

Now no injustice to Jammu: HM

Jammu (Jammu and Kashmir) [India] : Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday reaffirmed that “the time of injustice to the people of Jammu is over, now no one can do injustice to you.”
While addressing an event after the inauguration ceremony on IIT Jammu, the Union Minister said, “I came to Jammu today to say that time of injustice to the people of Jammu is over. Now no one can do injustice to you. Some are trying to disrupt the era of development here, but want to assure you that no one will be able to disturb the era of development.” Shah also remembered Prem Nath Dogra on his birth anniversary.


“Today is the birth anniversary of Prem Nath Dogra. People of India can’t forget him. He along with Shyama Prasad Mukherjee gave the slogan that in a country two Vidhan, two Nishan, two Pradhan will not work,” he added.
On the second day of his three-day to Jammu and Kashmir, the Union Home Minister today unveiled the three phases of the IIT Jammu campus.

J-K: Amit Shah visits Gurudwara Digiana Ashram in Jammu

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday visited Gurudwara Digiana Ashram in Jammu.
Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha accompanied Shah to the Gurudwara. The Union home minister is on a three-day visit to the Union territory for the first time since the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019.
His visit has come amid several incidents of killings of civilians by the terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir which is sparking fear in the valley.
Earlier in the day, Shah inaugurated a new campus of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Jammu.
On Saturday, he met families of soldiers and civilians killed this month in a spate of terrorist attacks in Jammu and Kashmir.

‘Centre uses ‘repression’ with J-K’

People’s Democratic Party (PDP) President Mehbooba Mufti on Sunday alleged that “repression” is the only method of the Centre to deal with the Jammu and Kashmir situation.

New Delhi [India] “Even after turning Kashmir into an open-air prison, Bipin Rawat’s statement comes as no surprise because repression is GOIs only method to deal with the situation in J&K. It also contradicts their official narrative that all is well here,” Mufti said in a tweet reacting to Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat’s statement over warning of further curbs in Kashmir. Bipin Rawat had on Saturday said that “overflow” of the situation in Afghanistan can happen in Jammu and Kashmir and “we have to prepare for it”.
“What is happening in Afghanistan, we know its overflow can happen in Jammu and Kashmir, We have to prepare for it, seal our borders, monitoring has become very important. We have to keep an eye on who’s coming from outside, checking should be done,” CDS Gen Rawat said on the sidelines of an event in Guwahati.
Talking about internal security, he said that every citizen should be educated about it.
“Nobody will come to our defence, we have to defend ourselves, defend our people, and defend our property. Internal security is very much, a concern for us and in order to defend, I think we must actually educate our people about internal security,” Gen Rawat said.

Mumbai Cruise Drugs case: NCB witness Kiran Gosavi’s bodyguard makes allegations regarding ‘pay off’

As investigations in the Mumbai Cruise Drugs case continue, the bodyguard of NCB witness Kiran Gosavi, Prabhakar Rohoji Sail alleged that Gosavi took Rs 50 lakh from an individual after the raid at the cruise ship.

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India] : In a video message, the bodyguard is heard saying, “I worked as a bodyguard of Kiran Gosavi. I assisted him during the Mumbai cruise drugs case.” “On the night of the raid, I reached the place around 9:45 a.m. He asked me to stand near a car and somebody gave me two bags filled with cash for Gosavi. I took it to Vashi at Gosavi’s home and gave it to him. Right after this, I saw that Kiran Gosavi packing bags and leaving for somewhere,” he alleged.
“I handed over the bags of cash to him in his car. However, when he counted the cash it was only Rs 38 lakhs. Later, I left from there to Vashi,” he further alleged.
Meanwhile, reacting to the allegations made by the driver, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut, in a tweet wrote, “Witness in #AryanKhan case made to sign on blank paper by NCB is shocking. Also, there are reports that there was a demand of huge money. CM Uddhav Thackeray said that these cases are made to defame Mah’shtra. This seems to be coming through Maharashtra Home Minister Dilip Walse Patil. Police should take a suo-moto cognizance”
On October 18, a case was registered against Kiran Gosavi, the man who was seen accosting Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan at Narcotics Control Bureau’s (NCB) office in connection with the drugs-on-cruise matter.
An NCB team busted an alleged drugs party on the Cordelia Cruise ship which was on its way to Goa at mid-sea on October 2.
A total of 20 people, including Bollywood actor Shahrukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan, have been arrested so far in the case.

Dengue cases continue to rise in Pakistan’s capital

Islamabad [Pakistan] : Dengue cases are on the rise in Pakistan’s capital as Islamabad recorded fresh 146 cases in the past 24-hour period on Sunday while one man died, reported local media.
The health department report on the virus said that the fresh cases on Sunday took the infection tally of the federal capital to 2,867 since the outbreak of its virality this season, according to ARY News. The report stressed that so far 11 people have been killed due to Dengue.
Among the new cases reported on Sunday, at least 48 come from the rural region of Islamabad while 98 of them were reported in the urban areas, reported ARY News.
The provincial dengue cases in Punjab raised alarms on Saturday as it witnessed 546 new infections of dengue in the preceding 24-hour period.
Imran Sikandar Baloch, provincial health secretary, has said that 361 dengue fever cases were reported in Lahore.

J-K Encounter: One killed

Shopian (Jammu and Kashmir) [India] : One unidentified person was killed during cross-firing between terrorists and security forces at Babapora area of Jammu and Kashmir’s Shopian district, on Sunday.
According to a statement issued by Jammu and Kashmir Police, an encounter between the security forces and terrorists broke out at around 10:30 am when terrorists attacked a Naka party of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in Babapora. “Around 1030 hours today, unidentified terrorists attacked a CRPF personnel at Babapora, Shopian. CRPF troops retaliated the fire and during cross-firing, one unidentified person was killed,” said the statement.
Further details are being ascertained, the police said.

Prime Minister greets ITBP on their Raising Day

New Delhi [India] : The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi on Sunday greeted all the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) personnel on their Raising Day.
“From dense forests in Arunachal Pradesh to the icy heights of the Himalayas, our @ITBP_official Himveers have answered the nation’s call with utmost dedication. Their humanitarian work during times of disasters is noteworthy. Greetings to all ITBP personnel on their Raising Day.” the Prime Minister said in a tweet. Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) celebrated its 60th Raising Day on Sunday.


“On 60th Raising Day of ITBP, Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai awarded Gallantry medals to 23 ITBP personnel including 20 personnel awarded with Police Medal for Gallantry (PMG) for bravery in skirmishes in eastern Ladakh with China last year,” informed Indo-Tibetan Border Police in a statement.

‘Afghanistan is a concern”

Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat said on Saturday that “overflow” of the situation in Afghanistan can happen in Jammu and Kashmir and “we have to prepare for it”.

Guwahati (Assam) [India] : “What is happening in Afghanistan, we know its overflow can happen in Jammu and Kashmir, We have to prepare for it, seal our borders, monitoring has become very important. We have to keep an eye on who’s coming from outside, checking should be done,” CDS Gen Rawat said on the sidelines of an event in Guwahati. He also said that common people and tourists have to face the burden of heavy checking and they should understand that it’s for their safety and security.
Talking about internal security, he said that every citizen should be educated about it.
“Nobody will come to our defence, we have to defend ourselves, defend our people, and defend our property. Internal security is very much, a concern for us and in order to defend, I think we must actually educate our people about internal security,” Gen Rawat said.
“If every person living in this region, living anywhere in the country understands his/her duty, you will find we will be able to take care of internal security,” he added.
He also called upon people to fulfil their duties towards internal security.
“If every citizen plays his and her part, you can deal with the situation. People come and live in your neighbourhood, you must know who lives in your neighbourhood. No terrorist can stay in our neighbourhood if we are agile. Every citizen should question if they feel suspicious about anyone and inform the local police about it,” he said.

Will oversee legal aid: Minister

Union Minister of Law and Justice Kiren Rijiju on Saturday announced that he would be going to Jammu and Kashmir on October 29 to understand and oversee how legal aid is being made available to those in the border areas.

Aurangabad (Maharashtra) [India] : He added that he is looking forward to a harmonious relationship between the judiciary, executive and legislature “I am going to Jammu and Kashmir on 29th October to understand and oversee how legal aid is being made available to those in the border areas, ” said the Law Minister Rijiju during the inauguration of Annexe building of Aurangabad Bench of Bombay High Court.
Congratulating the Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on the inauguration of the Annexe building of Aurangabad Bench of Bombay High Court, Rijiju said, “Politics is always there because politics is the essence of democracy. When it comes to democracy, there has to be politics, but there is no politics in the judiciary. Former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis laid the foundation, and present Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray is laying the foundation. This is teamwork”.
“I am also looking forward to a harmonious relationship between the judiciary, executive and legislature. We all are working for our nation. We are committed to dispensing justice to the nation and its citizens. We are a team, we are different organs of our set-up, states. I consider myself to be part of the team, he added.
Reflecting upon the concerns for the Judicial infrastructure, he added, “Judiciary isn’t only being given full support but also they’re being given space to become robust. To make our democracy successful, a robust judiciary is of the utmost importance”.

US nearing to formalise deal with Pakistan for using its airspace for military operations in Afghanistan

The US administration on Friday informed lawmakers that the country is nearing a formalise an agreement with Pakistan for use of its airspace to conduct military and intelligence operations in Afghanistan.

Washington [US] : Islamabad has expressed a desire to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in exchange for assistance with its own counterterrorism efforts, one of the sources said. But the negotiations are ongoing, another source told CNN, and the terms of the agreement, which has not been finalised, could still change. An agreement was discussed when US officials visited Pakistan, the third source told CNN, adding but it is not yet clear what Pakistan wants or how much the US would be willing to give in return.
Currently, Washington uses Pakistan’s airspace to reach Afghanistan for ongoing intelligence-gathering efforts.
But so far there’s no formal agreement in place that can ensure continued access to a critical piece of airspace necessary for the US to reach Afghanistan.
The air corridor through Pakistan to Afghanistan may become even more critical if and when the US resumes flights into Kabul to fly out American citizens and others who remain in the country.
The US — without any formal agreement in place– runs the risk of Pakistan refusing entry to its military aircraft and drones en route to Afghanistan. (ANI)

Amit Shah : Three-day visit to J-K

Srinagar (Jammu and Kashmir) [India] : Union Home Minister Amit Shah reached Srinagar on Saturday for a three-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir to review the security situation in the union territory.
He was welcomed at the airport by the Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha. Shah will chair the security review meeting in Srinagar and will hold an interaction with members of Jammu and Kashmir’s Youth Clubs on Saturday.


Shah will also inaugurate the first direct international flight between Jammu and Kashmir’s Srinagar and Sharjah in UAE on the first day of his three-day visit to the union territory.
This is his first visit to the union territory since the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019.
Over the past few days, several civilians have been killed by terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir, sparking fear in the valley.
Recently, after the killings of non-locals in Jammu and Kashmir around 700 people have been detained in the union territory, a few under the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA), police officials informed.
Meanwhile, a total of 26 detainees are being shifted to the Central Jail of Agra from Jammu and Kashmir under the Public Safety Act 1978. The order has been issued ahead of Shah’s three-day visit to the union territory beginning Saturday.
So far, as many as 15 terrorists have been neutralised in two weeks in the union territory informed IGP (Kashmir), Vijay Kumar, on Wednesday.

J-K: Amit Shah visits residence of policeman killed by terrorists last month

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday visited the residence of Inspector Parvez Ahmed, who was killed by terrorists last month in Jammu and Kashmir’s Nowgam.
During his visit, Shah met Ahmed’s wife Fatima Akhter and gave her official papers for a government job. Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, Union Minister Jitendra Singh and Director General of Police (DGP) Dilbag Singh were also present during Shah’s visit to Ahmed’s residence.
The Union Home Minister is on a three-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir to review the security situation in the union territory.
This is his first visit to the union territory since the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019.

US to release more documents related to President Kennedy murder Dec 15 : White House

The US authorities are going to release part of the previously unpublished materials about the 1963 assassination of the 35th President John Kennedy on December 15, the White House has announced.

Washington [US] : The relevant memorandum was signed by President Joe Biden on Friday (local time) following the recommendations by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). “Any information currently withheld from public disclosure that [government] agencies have not proposed for continued postponement shall be reviewed by NARA before December 15, 2021, and shall be publicly released on that date. Out of respect for the anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination, such release shall not occur before December 15, 2021,” the White House said in a statement.
Biden also certified the continued withholding of all of the information related to the assassination from full public disclosure until December 15, 2022, as the US Archivist requested more time “to engage with the agencies and to conduct research within the larger collection to maximize the amount of information released,” citing the “significant impact” of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The Archivist shall issue a plan, no later than December 15, 2021, to digitize and make available online NARA’s entire collection of records concerning President Kennedy’s assassination,” the statement read.
President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas on November 22, 1963, prompting a whirlwind of questions from the public. Several investigations came to the conclusion that the shots were fired by Lee Harvey Oswald, who was arrested shortly after the murder. Two days later, he was shot by Jack Ruby, an owner of a club in Dallas, while being escorted to a car that was supposed to take him to a county jail. A large number of conspiracy theories striving to explain the assassination of Kennedy and the murder of Oswald have emerged in the decades since the events took place.
Under the President John F Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992, the NARA was required to disclose the entire collection to the public in exactly 25 years, which was on October 26, 2017, unless the US president decided that releasing the information would harm national security or current foreign relations.
The national archivist has since released more than 250,000 records concerning Kennedy’s assassination — more than 90% of its collection — to the public.

‘BJP supports conversion, communalism’

Raipur (Chhattisgarh) [India] : Slamming Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Friday said the party has only two issues left — “conversion and communalism”.
The chief minister said that there are no such issues in Chhattisgarh. “BJP has no more work left in Chhattisgarh… Now they only have two issues left one is conversion and the other is communalism. There is no such situation here and those who will try to sponsor it will fall on their face,” Baghel told reporters.
The chief minister’s remarks came against the backdrop of a rally held in Surguja district on Thursday marking protests against alleged forced conversion in the state. Many BJP leaders reportedly participated in the protest rally.

US urges China to transform approach towards trade, embrace market policies

The United States on Friday called on China to take steps to transform its approach to trade and embrace market policies as was anticipated when the country joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) two decades ago.

Washington [US] : “Looking back over the 20 years since China’s accession to the WTO, these members noted that China and its economy have greatly benefited from China’s WTO membership, but China has not taken the anticipated steps to transform its state-led, non-market approach to trade and the economy. These members, therefore, called once again for China to embrace open, market-oriented policies,” said US Trade Representative (USTR) in a statement. Problems with China’s trade regime identified by WTO members include policies that skew the playing field against foreign competition, preferential treatment of state-owned enterprises, forced technology transfer and inadequate regulatory transparency, the statement said.
Almost all of the aforementioned problems persist despite having been identified during the WTO’s China’s trade policy review three years ago, the statement added. However, the United States holds out hope that China will take the initiative to address the problems now, it added.
The United States on Wednesday had expressed concern with China’s trade regime involving China’s industrial policies.
“While other WTO Members also seek to help their industries develop, China’s approach is materially different. China’s industrial policies go well beyond guiding and supporting domestic industries,” said David F. Bisbee, US Charge d’Affaires, Permanent Mission of the United States to the WTO.

Need to ensure Afghan territory is not used to attack any country

India and UK on Friday agreed on the need to ensure that Afghan territory should not be used to threaten or attack any country or to shelter or train terrorists.

New Delhi [India] : This statement was issued after External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar held bilateral talks with the visiting UK Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss and discussed several issues including strengthening cooperation in the Indo-Pacific and countering terrorism and radical extremism. A statement issued by External Affairs Ministry said that Jaishankar and Truss discussed regional and international issues of mutual interest while sharing their commitment to a multi-polar world and multilateralism.
“They agreed to strengthen cooperation in West Asia and the Indo-Pacific, on countering terrorism and radical extremism, and addressing emerging challenges in the cyber and space domains,” the statement said.


“On Afghanistan, the need for full, safe and unhindered access for humanitarian assistance was discussed, as also the need for Afghan territory not be used to threaten or attack any country or to shelter or train terrorists, or to plan or to finance terrorist attacks,” it added.
EAM Jaishankar and the British foreign secretary also did a comprehensive review of the bilateral relations, which included gauging the progress of Roadmap 2030.
Both Ministers undertook a detailed review of the Roadmap 2030 launched during the India-UK Virtual Summit held on 4 May 2021.
India and UK Roadmap 2030 aimed to elevate the India-UK relationship to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) and this will also guide cooperation for the next 10 years covering all aspects of our multi-faceted relations.
During her stay in New Delhi, Truss also met the Minister of Finance Nirmala Sitharaman and the Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate Change Bhupender Yadav.
On 23 October, she will be visiting Mumbai where she will participate in business and defence engagements held in connection with the visit of Carrier Strike Group 21 (CSG21) to India. She would also pay her respects at the memorial to honour the victims of the terrorist attack in Mumbai on 26 November 2008.

Jaishankar, UK counterpart review Roadmap 2030, appreciate progress despite COVID constraints

New Delhi [India] : External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar on Friday met British foreign secretary Liz Truss and did a comprehensive review of the bilateral relations, which included gauging the progress of Roadmap 2030.
Both Ministers undertook a detailed review of the Roadmap 2030 launched during the India-UK Virtual Summit held on 4 May, 2021, External Affairs Ministery (EAM) said in a statement. India and UK Roadmap 2030 aimed to elevate the India-UK relationship to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) and this will also guide cooperation for the next 10 years covering all aspects of our multi-faceted relations.
After the meeting, the ministers appreciated the progress so far on the implementation of the Roadmap despite the constraints posed by the pandemic.
“There was detailed discussions focused on enhancing cooperation in the key priority areas of trade and investments, people-to-people relationship, health partnership, climate change, science & innovation and defence & security,” said MEA.
Both Ministers welcomed the progress in delivering the Enhanced Trade Partnership announced at the Virtual Summit and underlined the need for launching FTA negotiations at the earliest, with a focus on negotiating an interim agreement that can deliver quick gains to businesses in both India and the UK.
Both Ministers also discussed the Migration and Mobility Partnership and the Global Innovation Partnership and committed to their early implementation.
They also acknowledged the establishment of new dialogue mechanisms for discussing consular issues and maritime security. Both sides also agreed on instituting the India-UK Strategic Futures Forum Track, a new 1.5 Dialogue mechanism to foster expert deliberations on long-term strategic links between the two countries.
During her stay in New Delhi, Truss also met the Minister of Finance, Nirmala Sitharaman and the Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Bhupender Yadav.

Bangladesh communal violence prime suspect ‘admits’ to placing Holy Quran at Cumilla mandap

Iqbal Hossain, the prime suspect of Bangladesh communal violence on Friday confessed that he placed a copy of the Holy Quran at a Durga Puja mandap in Cumilla.
A high ranking police official, who wished to remain unnamed, confirmed the matter to Dhaka Tribune. Hossain was taken to Cumilla Police Lines on Friday morning following his arrest in Cox’s Bazar the previous day.

Dhaka [Bangladesh] : Since then, police have been interrogating him to verify his involvement in the incident and uncover other possible leads, reported Dhaka Tribune.
The police official said he confessed to placing the Quran on the lap of the idol of Hanuman, a central character in the epic of Ramayana before stealing the club from the idol’s hand.
However, Iqbal is yet to disclose if he acted alone or if he had an aide, the official added, reported Dhaka Tribune.
Cumilla police said on Wednesday Iqbal was identified from video footage of security cameras installed around the Durga Puja pavilion in the city’s Nanuardighi neighbourhood. The temporary puja venue did not have a CCTV camera, but footage from a security camera at a nearby house was analyzed, said investigators.
Speaking to the media, Cumilla Additional SP M Tanvir Islam said further details would be provided to the media after police are done quizzing Iqbal.
Meanwhile, Md Foyez Ahmed, who went live on Facebook to report the alleged defamation of the Quran at a Puja venue in Nanuar Dighi area, was remanded for two days, reported Dhaka Tribune.
On October 13, a 999 call to police reported that a copy of the Quran was found on an idol of a puja venue in Cumilla.
Several temples and puja venues in the city came under attack in the afternoon as tension mounted after the video went viral. Many shared the video calling for attacks on Hindu sites on allegations of sacrilege.
The violence later spread across Bangladesh, leaving seven dead and many Hindu houses and businesses vandalized, reported Dhaka Tribune.

Amit Shah’s Visit to J-K

New Delhi [India], October 22 (ANI): Union Home Minister Amit Shah will begin his three-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday for the first time after the abrogation of Article 370 to review security-related projects in Srinagar.
“Shah will review security and development related projects in Srinagar on Saturday and he will likely hold a public rally in Jammu on Sunday,” a senior police official said. Ahead of Home Minister’s visit to the union territory, several traffic restrictions have been imposed in Srinagar including those driving two-wheelers subjected to intensive security checks.
In addition, a total of 50 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) teams have been deployed to Jammu and Kashmir for security purposes.
Recently, after the killings of non-locals in Jammu and Kashmir around 700 people have been detained in the union territory, a few under the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA), police officials informed.
Meanwhile, a total of 26 detainees are being shifted to the Central Jail of Agra from Jammu and Kashmir under the Public Safety Act 1978. The order has been issued ahead of Shah’s three-day visit to the union territory beginning Saturday.

TMC MP’s car attacked in Tripura

Party workers claim that BJP was responsible for the attack.

Trinamool Congress MP Sushmita Dev’s vehicle was attacked in Tripura’s Amtuli on Friday. Members of the Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC), who were with her during her campaign, were injured during the attack. Party workers alleged that BJP was responsible for the attack during Dev’s ‘Tripurar Jonno Trinamool’ drive.

“During our outreach program, some goons attacked our cars, they beat our workers. It’s clear that BJP is ‘Bharatiya Gunda Party’. CM Biplab Deb is giving them protection, the attackers didn’t even bother to cover their faces. CM is a useless fellow,” the TMC MP said.

Siddhartha Kar, Officer-in-charge at the Amtali police station said, “At around 1:30 pm we got information that two cars were attacked by unknown miscreants. Our 4 officers moved there immediately & rescued them (TMC workers). They lodged a complaint, we will register it and will probe.”

“People of #Tripura will give a befitting response to this BARBARIC ATTACK! Police must immediately stop acting as mere spectators. This collapse of law and order is unacceptable. WE DEMAND JUSTICE!,” the AITC wrote on Twitter.

The former Congress leader, Dev was the national spokesperson of the grand old party and the chief of the All India Mahila Congress. She sent her resignation letter to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, sources said but offered no reason for her quitting, and joined the TMC in the presence of senior party leaders Abhishek Banerjee and Derek O’Brien in Kolkata  

“In my 30 years in politics, I haven’t demanded anything from the Congress high command,” Dev said earlier.

CBI has disappointed: Jharkhand HC

While hearing the Dhanbad Judge death case, Jharkhand High Court on Friday said that the investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the case is at the same place where it was earlier.

Ranchi (Jharkhand) [India] : A bench headed by the Chief Justice of Jharkhand High Court Justice Ravi Ranjan and comprising of Justice Sujeet Narayan said, ” the CBI has once again disappointed. Investigation pace is at the same place where it was earlier”. The court came down heavily on the agency and expressed strong discontent stating that the agency “did not inform the High Court before filing the charge sheet despite the bench comprising the chief justice monitoring the process”.
The court has also asked the CBI Director to be present at the next hearing through video conferencing.
The next hearing of the case is scheduled on October 29.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday has filed a charge sheet before a special court in Jharkhand in connection with Dhanbad judge Uttam Anand, who was allegedly mowed down by an autorickshaw.
The case has been registered under Sections 302 (Murder), 201 (Causing disappearance of evidence of offence), and 34 (Common Intention). Further investigation is underway.
Uttam Anand was an Additional District Judge posted in the Dhanbad district of Jharkhand was allegedly murdered after being mowed down by an autorickshaw in July this year. Two people involved in the alleged killing were arrested by Jharkhand police, and the vehicle used for the crime was seized.
On August 19, CBI submitted a progress report of probe into the death of Dhanbad additional session judge Uttam Anand in a sealed cover in the Jharkhand High Court.
The Supreme Court had also taken a suo motu cognizance of the alleged killing of ASG Anand. 

India deploys Pinaka, Smerch rocket system on China border

Indian Army has deployed Pinaka and Smerch Multiple Rocket Launcher Systems (MRLS) at forward position near the China border to counter any threat arising across on the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

Guwahati (Assam) [India] : Pinaka weapon system is an autonomous rocket artillery system that can engage area targets up to 38km at mean sea level. At these altitudes, the ranges are enhanced significantly which further augments the deep strike capability of the weapon system. A battery of six launchers of Pinaka can fire a salvo of 72 rockets in 44 seconds thereby neutralising an area of 1000m by 800m.
Talking about the weapon systems, deployed battery commander at the location Lieutenant Colonel Sarath told , “The Pinaka weapon system is indigenous multi rocket launcher system designed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and it is a state of art, completely autonomous weapon system, which can engage targets up to 38 kilometres at mean sea level and at higher altitudes, the ranges get significantly enhanced, which subsequently enhance our deep strike capability.”


Talking about the advantage of Pinaka and Smerch to India’s firepower, he said, “The quick reaction time and the high accuracy of these weapon systems ensure delivery of a very high volume of firepower on critical and time-sensitive enemy targets in a very short time.”
The Smerch system is the longest range conventional rocket system in Indian army inventory having a maximum range of 90 Km. A battery of four launchers can fire a salvo of 48 rockets in 40 seconds neutralising an area of 1200m by 1200m.
Describing the features of the weapon system, the battery commander of Smerch Major Srinath said, “The launcher is a very potent weapon in the arsenal of Indian artillery. The weapon can fire up to a range of 90 kilometres. Being based on a 10 by 10 tatra, it’s extremely mobile, and there is no issue with mobility in any sort of terrain. There are 12 tubes in the cluster, and it fires 12 rockets in a span of 40 seconds.”
Pinaka is named after the bow of Lord Shiva. Both these weapon systems (Pinaka and Smerch) are designed to fire a variety of ammunition like high explosives and submunitions against area targets.
The upgraded version of the Pinaka ammunition system is already on the production line and can fire up to a range of 75km with superior precision which significantly enhances the existing capability manifolds.
The quick response and high accuracy of these weapon systems ensure the delivery of a large volume of fire against critical and time-sensitive enemy targets, within a very short time.

‘NATO seeks to turn Black Sea into confrontation area’

Moscow [Russia] : NATO seeks to turn the Black Sea region into the confrontation zone, and this is very dangerous, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said on Friday.
“Now they have taken up the Black Sea region. We are witnessing increased activity on the territory of Bulgaria and Romania and are leading the way towards turning the black sea into an arena of military rivalry, as the Baltic Sea is already turned into the confrontation zone,” Grushko told the Russia 24 broadcaster, adding that “this is an extremely dangerous path that may lead to the risks of military incidents.” The official added that Russia was ready to cooperate with NATO on further “de-escalation” in the Baltic region but the alliance refused.

Japan govt approves energy plan, seeks to double ratio of renewables in decade

The Japanese government on Friday approved its latest energy plan, which sets out a road map for achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, local media reported Friday.

Tokyo [Japan] : The renewables accounted for 18 per cent of total power generation capacity across Japan in fiscal 2019 that ended in March last year, and the Japanese government sought to double the ratio to 36 to 38 per cent in fiscal 2030. According to the plan that is updated about every three years, the amount coming from thermal power sources is set to reduce to 41 per cent from 75.7 per cent.
“We will make maximum effort to introduce renewable energy based on a principle of giving it a top priority as the main power source in 2050,” the plan endorsed by the Cabinet said.
Moreover, the amount generated by nuclear power is expected to be 20 to 22 per cent in fiscal 2030, according to the plan. The ratio was 6 per cent in fiscal 2019 as many nuclear plants across Japan remained offline amid stricter safety rules introduced after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster triggered by a massive earthquake and tsunami.
Although the plan pledged to reduce dependency on nuclear power as much as possible, the latest numerical target was almost the same as that compiled in 2018.
The plan also included a goal for hydrogen and ammonia for the first time, aiming to produce 1 per cent of the total power generation.
As for the global warming issue, the Cabinet approved a government plan with a range of measures toward the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 46 per cent by fiscal 2030 compared with fiscal 2013.

T20 WC: Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah to be X factor for India, believes Agarkar

Former cricketer Ajit Agarkar stated that Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah could be team India’s X factor in the ongoing ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021.

Dubai [UAE] : The Sunday evening will see the Dubai International Stadium house one of the most historic and mouth-watering clashes in cricketing history as team India will start their campaign in the T20 World Cup by locking horns with arch-nemesis Pakistan in the Super 12 stage. Speaking on the Star Sports show ‘Class of 2007’, former Team India batter Ajit Agarkar shared his thoughts on who will be Team India’s X factor in the ongoing ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021. He said: “Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah. I think Rohit could be the key, opening the innings and Bumrah with what he does.”
Former Team India all-rounder Irfan Pathan also spoke about Virat Kohli’s men in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021, “I think nobody expected anything from the 2007 team, but there are a lot of expectations from the current World Cup squad. The new team has expectations and experience. When we entered the 2007 T20 World Cup, we hardly had the experience of playing in T20 format.”
“But now, things are different, people play IPL, they play a lot of T20 games and there are a lot of conversations around T20 format. In 2007, there was no social media, but now there is social media, so there are a lot of conversations around performances and memes. I think the boys know that there are a lot of expectations from them and they know how to handle it,” he added.
After almost a two-year hiatus, Virat Kohli and Co. face-off against Babar Azam-led Pakistan in this highly anticipated encounter which will also be the Indian skipper’s swansong with the captaincy tag. Pakistan is yet to get a one-up over their rivals in World Cups. However, both teams have entered the tournament with a fresh perspective, filled to the brim with enormous young talent and the hunger and eagerness to prove themselves on the biggest stage of them all.
The India vs Pakistan fixture in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 will be live on Star Sports Network and Disney+ Hotstar VIP on October 24th at 7:30 PM.
The stakes in the India-Pakistan fixture are at an all-time high with Kohli and company looking to continue their dominance against Pakistan. Both sides have a strong lineup and on the day of the major clash, time will tell which side will emerge triumphantly.

Bollywood actor Ananya Panday arrives at NCB Mumbai office along with father Chunky Panday

Bollywood actor Ananya Panday along with her father Chunky Panday on Friday arrived at the Narcotics Control Bureau’s (NCB) Mumbai office after the probe agency summoned her for questioning in connection with the Mumbai cruise drug case. Panday was summoned by the NCB on Thursday also.

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India] : During the questioning on Thursday, the actor denied the allegations of supplying and consuming drugs. As per the NCB sources, Ananya denied the allegation of supplying drugs to Aryan Khan, who is an accused in the case, and said that she has never consumed the drugs.
“The chats recovered from Aryan Khan’s mobile phone reveal that in the year 2018-19, she helped supply drugs to Aryan thrice by providing him the numbers of drug dealers,” NCB sources told ANI.
“Ananya denied the supply related talks in the chat conversation and told the NCB officials that she has never consumed or supplied the drugs,” they added.
Ananya Panday has been summoned by NCB today in connection with the Mumbai cruise raid case as well on suspicion of drug consumption. The summon has been issued based on the chats recovered from Aryan Khan’s mobile.
Earlier on Thursday, an NCB team was seen at Ananya Panday’s house, following which, the actor was summoned by the probe agency at its office. Later, Ananya Panday, along with her father Chunky Panday, reached NCB’s office.
Meanwhile, one more drug peddler was detained by NCB on Friday morning in connection with the cruise drug case.
The probe agency has conducted six raids or searches in Mumbai and nearby areas in the last two days in connection with the cruise drugs case, said sources.
An NCB team busted an alleged drugs party on the Cordelia Cruise ship which was on its way to Goa at mid-sea on October 2.

Chats recovered from Aryan’s mobile reveal Ananya Panday supplied him weed drugs thrice: NCB sources

Bollywood actor Ananya Panday, who was summoned by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) on Thursday and Friday following an investigation in the Mumbai cruise drugs case, allegedly supplied weed drugs to Aryan Khan.
As per the NCB sources, the chats recovered from the mobile of Aryan Khan, who is an accused in the case, revealed that Ananya Panday supplied drugs to Aryan thrice. “The name of Ananya Panday has come up in a chat which reveals she supplied weed to Aryan thrice including one at a popular get-together. We have seized both phones of Ananya Panday, which includes an old handset as well as the phone she purchased a few months ago. The phones have been seized to check evidence tampering,” NCB sources told ANI.
Ananya Panday has been summoned by NCB today in connection with the Mumbai cruise raid case as well on suspicion of drug consumption. The summon has been issued based on the chats recovered from Aryan Khan’s mobile.
The NCB official source said, “As per the chats, in the year 2018-19, Panday assisted in supplying weed by providing Aryan Khan phone numbers of drug dealers.”
Earlier on Thursday, a team of NCB was seen at actor Ananya Panday’s residence in Mumbai, following which, she was summoned by the probe agency at its office. Later, Ananya reached the NCB office along with her father Chunky Panday.
An NCB team busted an alleged drugs party on the Cordelia Cruise ship which was on its way to Goa at mid-sea on October 2.
A total of 20 people, including Bollywood actor Shahrukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan, have been arrested so far in the case.
Bombay High Court will hear Aryan Khan’s bail application on October 26.

Sharjeel Imam’s bail plea rejected

Saket court has dismissed Jawahar Lal Nehru University student Sharjeel Imam’s bail plea in a case related to alleged inflammatory and instigating speeches during the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC).

New Delhi [India] : The court while passing the order on October 22, observed, “A cursory and plain reading of the speech dated December 13, 2019, revealed that same is clearly on communal/divisive lines. In my view, the tone and tenor of the incendiary speech tend to have a debilitating effect upon public tranquility, peace and harmony of the society.” The Court also quoted Swami Vivekanand in its order, “We are what our thoughts have made us, so take care about what you think, Words are secondary, Thoughts live, they travel far”.
Imam, arrested under charges of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), sought bail from a local court in connection with a case relating to northeast Delhi violence in July.

Delhi Court quotes Swami Vivekananda while dismissing Sharjeel Imam’s bail

A Delhi Court on Thursday while dismissing the bail plea of JNU student and activist Sharjeel Imam quoted Swami Vivekananda, “We are what our thoughts have made us; so take care about what you think; Words are secondary; Thoughts live; they travel far.”
The Court dismissed Imam’s bail plea in a case related to alleged inflammatory and instigating speeches during the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC). Saket Court’s Additional Sessions Judge Anuj Aggarwal while dismissing the bail observed that “a cursory and plain reading of the speech dated December 13, 2019, reveals that same is clearly on communal/divisive lines. In my view, the tone and tenor of the incendiary speech tend to have a debilitating effect upon public tranquillity, peace and harmony of the society.”
“Considering the contents of speech which tend to have a debilitating effect on the communal peace and harmony, I am not inclined to grant bail to the applicant/accused Sharjeel Imam at this stage. The accused cannot claim any parity with co-accused as his role is entirely different from other co-accused. Accordingly, the instant application moved on behalf of accused Sharjeel Imam for grant of regular bail stands dismissed”, ASJ Anuj Aggarwal said.
However, the Court also said in view of the settled position of law, the issue of whether the said speech would fall within the ambit of section 124A (Sedition) Indian Penal Code or not, requires a deeper analysis at an appropriate stage.
After taking note of the submission of both sides, the Court also observed that “the fundamental right of ‘freedom of speech and expression’ as enshrined under Article 19 has been placed upon a very high pedestal in the constitution of this country and its essence is well captured in statement of John Milton, the Famous British Poet and Intellect who says “give me the liberty to know, to argue freely, and to utter according to conscience, above all liberties”.
However, the very same constitution places, reasonable restriction upon the exercise of said right inter alia on the grounds of public order and incitement to offence. That apart, Article 51A(e) of the Constitution also casts a fundamental duty upon citizens of this country to promote harmony and spread common brotherhood amongst all the people of India, transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities. Therefore, it is no gainsaying that the fundamental right of ‘freedom of speech and expression’ cannot be exercised at the cost of communal peace and harmony of the society, the court said.
Imam was arrested on January 28, 2020, from Bihar for giving allegedly a seditious speech and abetting riots in the Jamia Millia Islamia area in December last year.
According to the Delhi Police, in the said speech, Sharjeel Imam was seen instigating a particular religious community against the government by creating unfounded fears in their minds regarding CAB and NRC. As per the prosecution, speeches delivered by the applicant/accused were seditious, communal/divisive in nature and were aimed at promoting enmity between different religions.
After the conclusion of the investigation, the accused was charge-sheeted with an offence under section 124A/153A for the speech dated December 12, 2019. The accused was also charge-sheeted for offences under section 143/147/148/149/186/353/332/333/307/308/427/435/323/341/ 120B/34 IPC and 3/4, Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act and under section 25/27 Arms Act with aid of section 109 IPC for instigating co-accused in committing the said offences.
Sharjeel Imam is presently facing various cases in five states including Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Delhi.

Online application for NEET

The National Testing Agency announced that it has opened the window for filling up of the second set of information and correct/modify the particulars of the first and second phase of the online application form for NEET (UG) -2021 till October 26, 2021.

New Delhi [India] : As per a statement issued by NTA, it said that on receiving numerous requests from the candidates, the National Testing Agency is again opening the window for filling up of the second set of information and correct/modify the particulars of the first and second phase of the online application form for NEET (UG) -2021 from October 21 – October 26 upto 11.50 pm. “The interested candidates may avail this facility as the last and final opportunity for correcting their particulars which were filled in the first and second phase of the online application form of NEET (UG)-2021,” NTA said in a statement

NTA further said that this facility is also available for candidates who have done one-time corrections in these particular fields earlier.
The candidates are advised by the agency to check, cross-check and verify their registered e-mail
address and ensure that it is their own e-mail address only as NTA will be sending the scanned copy of the scorecard to the registered e-mail address.
In case any candidate faces difficulty in making corrections in the online application form of
NEET (UG) – 2021, the candidate can contact the official website.

‘Brother-sister would have fled to Italy ‘

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Thursday said that if pandemic had occurred during the Congress regime then the “brother-sister duo would have fled to Italy”.

Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) [India] : While addressing at the Samajik Pratinidhi Sammelan, the UP Chief Minister slammed the Opposition parties and said, “When COVID-19 struck, if there had there been a Congress government, then brother and sister would have fled to Italy. If there had been Samajwadi Party (SP) government, then there would have been a competition between the uncle and the nephew to misappropriate aid and the poor would not have been cared for. God knows what would have happened under ‘Behenji’.” Further attacking the Samajwadi Party, the Chief Minister said, “No one would have dared to open fire at Ram Bhakts on November 2, 1990, had there been a BJP government. They were ‘Ramdrohi’ who ordered firing at Ram Sewaks for vote-bank. Those who do not belong to Ram, do not belong to us.”
He further questioned the recent meeting of SP chief Akhilesh Yadav with the family of student leader Umar Khalid and said, “An anti-national had given the slogan ‘Desh ke tukde honge’, and after giving this slogan recently his family members met the chief of a political party (SP). Umar Khalid’s family members met this party’s chief. What does this prove? This proves the party’s intentions for the state.”
The Chief Minister further added that the Central government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi was taking steps to alleviate the status of backward castes.
“The Constitutional right given to the OBC Commission was an important step towards empowering backward sections,” he said.
He further said that various government schemes were being implemented for the welfare of various communities without discrimination.

SC: Notice to Twitter India

New Delhi [India] : The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to former Twitter India Managing Director (MD) Manish Maheshwari over plea of Uttar Pradesh government against Karnataka HC decision to quash a notice seeking Maheshwari’s appearance for a probe into a communally sensitive video uploaded on the micro-blogging site.
The Uttar Pradesh Police on June 16, filed FIR against nine entities, including Twitter India in connection with the Loni incident. The Karnataka High Court on June 24 granted interim relief to Maheshwari and directed the Uttar Pradesh Police not to take any coercive steps against him till the next date of hearing in connection with the probe into the circulation of a viral video clip of an assault of an elderly man on the social media platform.
Consequently, the Uttar Pradesh government challenged the interim protection granted to Twitter’s MD in the Supreme Court of India.

Eight of UP family killed as truck rams car on KMP expressway in Haryana’s Jhajjar

Bahadurgarh (Harayana) [India] : Eight people, including a child and three women, were killed when a speeding truck rammed into their car that was parked on the Kundli-Manesar-Palwal (KMP) Expressway in the Jhajjar district of Haryana on Friday morning.
As per information provided by the police, the mishap took place on the KMP Expressway between Badli and Farukhnagar. The victims, residents of Nagla Anoop village in Firozabad, Uttar Pradesh, were returning home from Gogamedi in Rajasthan’s Hanumangarh district. “The driver had parked the car behind a truck that was parked at the side of the road. A truck hit their vehicle from behind and the car got crushed between the two trucks. Eight people died in the incident,” said Om Prakash the investigating police officer.
The driver of the vehicle along with a child and a woman escaped as they were not in the car.
The bodies of the victims were sent to the Bahadurgarh Civil Hospital for post-mortem.
The deceased are yet to be identified, as per police. The accused truck driver fled from the spot after the accident.
The police have started an investigation into the accident and are efforts are on to arrest the absconding driver.

‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas, Sabka Prayas’

Administration of 100 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses isn’t just a number, but shows India’s ability as a nation, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday.
Addressing the nation, the Prime Minister said India’s vaccine campaign is a living example of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas aur Sabka Prayas’. “

New Delhi [India] : On 21 October, India achieved the difficult but unparalleled target of administering 100 crore vaccine doses. This has come about by the unified efforts of 130 crore Indians. I congratulate our citizens on achieving this feat,” the Prime Minister said.
“100 crore vaccination mark is not just a number but shows our ability as a nation… It is a new chapter in history, a testament that India can achieve a tough aim successfully. It shows that country works hard for the fulfilment of its goals,” he added.


PM Modi noted that there were apprehensions over India’s vaccination programme.
“When the biggest pandemic of 100 years came, questions started arising on India. Will India be able to fight this global pandemic? From where will India get the money to buy so many vaccines from other countries? When will India get the vaccine? Will the people of India get the vaccine or not? Will India be able to vaccinate enough people to stop the pandemic from spreading? There were various questions, but today this 100 crore vaccine dose is answering every question,” he stated.
He said that today many people are comparing India’s vaccination programme with other countries of the world. “The speed with which India crossed the 100 crore mark is also being appreciated,” he added.
The Prime Minister further said the Central government ensured that VIP culture does not overshadow India’s vaccination program and everyone was treated equally.
On October 21, India has achieved the difficult but extraordinary target of 1 billion, 100 crore vaccine doses.
Meanwhile, more than 100.59 crore vaccine doses have been administered so far to eligible beneficiaries, as per the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
From February 2, front line workers were made eligible for vaccination. These included State and Central Police personnel, Armed Force Personnel, Home Guards, Civil Defence and Disaster Management Volunteers, Municipal workers, Prison Staff, PRI Staff and Revenue workers involved in containment and surveillance, Railway Protection Force and election Staff.
The vaccination drive was expanded from March 1 to include persons above 60 years of age and those above 45 years with associated specified 20 comorbidities. It was further expanded to all people above 45 years of age from April 1. From May 1, all persons above 18 years of age were made eligible for COVID-19 vaccination. 

PM Modi lauds COVID vaccination programme for being ‘science-born, science-driven, science-based’

Emphasising on the scientific approach of India amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said that it is a matter of pride that the vaccination programme was “science-born, science-driven and science-based”.
In an address to the nation, PM Modi said, “India’s entire COVID vaccination programme is born in the womb of science, has grown on scientific grounds and has reached all four directions through scientific methods. It is a matter of pride for all of us that the entire vaccination programme has been science born, science-driven and science-based. From the development of vaccines to inoculation, science has been the base for all processes.” At the same time, the Prime Minister also warned that complacency can be dangerous, and caution regarding COVID-19 should continue.
“No matter how good the shield is, no matter how modern the armour is, even if the armour gives a complete guarantee of protection, weapons should not be thrown away while the battle is still on. I request that we have to celebrate our festivals with the utmost care,” PM Modi said.
He further asserted that the 100 crore vaccine landmark is symbolic of the country’s strength.
“100 crore vaccine dose is not only a figure, but it is also a reflection of the country’s strength. It is the creation of a new chapter in history. This is a picture of a New India that knows how to achieve difficult goals,” he further asserted.
On October 21, India has achieved the difficult but extraordinary target of 1 billion, 100 crore vaccine doses.
Meanwhile, more than 100.59 crore vaccine doses have been administered so far to eligible beneficiaries, as per the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

PM Modi urges people to follow COVID protocols during celebration of festivals

After India achieved the landmark of administering over 100 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday urged citizens to celebrate upcoming festivals with the utmost care, adding the armour of inoculation does not guarantee complete protection against the virus.
Addressing the nation, PM Modi urged people to keep following COVID protocols and said, “No matter how good the armour is, no matter how modern the armour is, even if armour guarantees complete protection, weapons are not thrown while the battle is on. I request that we have to celebrate our festivals with the utmost care.” “I appeal to all those who have not taken the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine to give utmost priority to getting vaccinated. Those who are vaccinated should encourage others,” he added.
The Prime Minister also reiterated his clarion call of “Vocal For Local” and appealed to people to buy ‘Made in India’ products during the festival season.
“Emphasis should be given to buying made in India products. This will be possible only with the efforts of everyone. We have to put –buying things made by Indians, being Vocal For Local– into practice,” he stated.
Meanwhile, more than 100.59 crore vaccine doses have been administered so far to eligible beneficiaries, as per the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

‘Centre fully with people of Uttarkhand’

Union Home Minister Amit Shah conducted an aerial survey of rain-affected areas of Uttarakhand on Thursday and said effective coordination between various agencies and timely warnings had helped contain the loss to life and property in the state.

Dehradun (Uttarakhand) [India] : He said 17 teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), 60 of State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) and 15 teams of Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) and more than 5,000 security personnel continue to be engaged in the relief operations in the state to help people. “I assure the people of Uttarakhand that in this hour of crisis, Narendra Modi government stands completely with you,” the Home Minister said in a tweet.
Amit Shah said he conducted an aerial survey of the areas affected by the natural calamity and assessed the damage and reviewed the relief work.
“Under the leadership of Modiji, we were able to reduce the loss of life and property to a great extent due to the coordination between central and state government and rescue agencies and timely warnings,” he said.
Shah also addressed the media after his aerial survey.
“I held a high-level review meeting with officials of the state and Centre over the natural calamity in Uttarakhand. Due to timely rainfall alerts, the extent of damage could be controlled. Now, the Char Dham Yatra has resumed,” he said.
He said that more than 3,500 people were rescued and over 16,000 precautionary evacuations were done so far.
Shah arrived in Dehradun earlier today to take stock of the situation arising out of incessant rains.
He said that the death toll in the rain-battered Uttarakhand has gone up to 64 and more than 11 people have been reported missing so far.
The minister said normalcy is returning in the state gradually. “Roads have been cleared in Nainital, Almora and Haldwani. Power stations will also resume operations soon. Mobile network has been restored in 80 per cent of areas of the state,” he said.

Explosive-laden truck caught in West Bengal

Birbhum (West Bengal) [India] : Rampurhat, Birbhum district police caught a truck full of explosives carrying 5500 gelatin sticks and 2500 detonators on Wednesday, informed the Rampurhat police.
According to the police, the truck was travelling through state highway and passing nearby Madhyam Khand village which is near Rampurhat police station when it was caught.
District Police Nagendra Nath Tripathi said the Rampurhat police had information regarding the matter before in which police were on the investigation.
The purpose of the moving truck loaded with explosives is yet to be ascertained.
Further investigation is underway.

Priyanka Gandhi to flag off ‘Pratigya Yatra’

Ahead of upcoming state Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi would flag-off the ‘Pratigya Yatra’ on October 23. The Congress leader will flag off the yatra from Uttar Pradesh’s Barabanki.

New Delhi [India] : According to the sources, the ‘Pratigya Yatra’ will commence from Barabanki in the Bundelkhand region and will end at Jhansi via Lucknow, Unnao, Fatehpur, Chitrakoot, Banda, Hamirpur, Jalaun. Similarly, in the western UP region, the yatra will start from Saharanpur and will move through Muzaffarnagar, Bijnor, Moradabad, Rampur, Bareilly, Badaun, Aligarh, Hathras, Agra, Mathura.
In Awadh region, the yatra will start from Varanasi and will end at Rae Bareli via Chandauli, Sonbhadra, Mirzapur, Prayagraj, Pratapgarh, Amethi.
During this ‘Pratigya Yatra’, Priyanka will hold several meetings.
Before leaving for the yatra in Barabanki, Priyanka Gandhi is likely to make announcements like women’s reservation in education and jobs, free education for women, farmer’s loan waiver and rebate in electricity rates, the sources informed.
She has earlier announced that Congress will give 40 per cent of the total election tickets to women in the state.
Apart from this, a promise has also been made to give mobile and scooty to the girl students.
The Congress under the leadership of Priyanka Gandhi has put up full force for the upcoming UP elections. Apart from the return of its old vote bank, Congress is also especially eyeing women voters.
Priyanka Gandhi is constantly trying to give the message that Congress is playing the real role of the opposition against the Yogi government. Recently, by holding a big rally in Banaras, Congress has tried to show its strength in the state.

FATF removes Mauritius, Botswana from ‘grey list’

The global anti-terror watchdog – Financial Action Task Force (FATF)– on Thursday announced that it is removing Mauritius and Botswana from its ‘grey list’, while retaining Pakistan in the increased monitoring list as the country needs more improvement.

Paris [France] : However, Jordan, Mali and Turkey have been included in the ‘grey list’ and have agreed to work with FATF to address the strategic deficiencies identified in their system. The inter-governmental body, which sets standards for more than 200 countries and jurisdictions to help authorities combat serious crime including drug smuggling, human trafficking and terrorism, made an announcement after its three-day hybrid plenary October 2021 that began on Tuesday.
Updating about its list of jurisdiction under increased monitoring or ‘Grey List’ while addressing a Press Conference, FATF President Marcus Pleyer said the organisation “congratulates Botswana and Mauritius for being removed from the list”.
“Both countries gave a high-level political commitment to implement reforms that have improved their anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financial system.”
He said this happened only with the hard work and determination of the officials of the two countries. The FATF President also encouraged the two countries for their good work.
Pleyer said the FATF agreed that Zimbabwe has substabtially completed its action plan at a technical level.
“Three countries are coming onto the list. They are Jordan, Mali and Turkey. They have all agreed action plans at the FATF and are actively working to address the strategic deficiencies identified in their system.”
Referring to Pakistan, Pleyer said it “remains under increased monitoring”.
“The Pakistan government has two concurrent action plans with a total of 34 action plans. It has now addressed or largely addressed 30 of the items. Its most recent action plan from June this year, which largely focussed on money laundering deficiencies, was issued after FATF’s regional partner APG (Asia Pacific Group) identified a number of serious issues,” Pleyer said.
“Overall, Pakistan is making good progress on this new action plan. Four of the seven action plan items are now addressed or largely addressed.”
Regarding Pakistan’s earlier June 2018 action plans, which focussed on terrorist financing issues, the FATF President said “Pakistan has largely addressed 26 out of 27 items. Pakistan has taken a number of important steps but needs to further demonstrate investigation and prosecution are being pursued against the senior leadership of UN-designated terror groups”.
Citing proposed changes to its standards on beneficial ownership, Pleyer mentioned “these proposals have sent a clear message that money laundering is not acceptable and those who facilitated it will be caught”.
He also announced FATF’s next meet in February next year.
The FATF President further said, “the changes will help prevent combat financial crime, corruption and tax evasion and support sustainable economic growth”.
The FATF has made a number of decisions this week, including regarding Jordan, Mali, Pakistan and Turkey.
The FATF proposed changes to its standards on beneficial ownership and issued separate statements on the situation in Afghanistan, and on ISIL, Al Qaeda and affiliates financing. The FATF President also issued a statement on the Pandora papers.
The FATF sets standards to prevent the funding of weapons of mass destruction. It reports identify what countries are doing right, and where they need to improve, in relation to anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing frameworks.
The FATF monitors countries and holds them to account if they do not comply with the standards. If a country repeatedly fails to implement FATF standards then it can be placed on what are often externally referred to as “the grey and black lists”.
The global anti-terror financing watchdog has 37 member jurisdictions and two regional organisations, as well as a global network of international partners including the UN, IMF, World Bank and the Egmont Group of FIUs. 

India : 10.5% growth

India will grow by 10.5 per cent or even more, according to Dr Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog, said a press release from the Public Affairs Forum of India.

New Delhi [India] : He was speaking at the Public Affairs Forum of India (PAFI)’s 8th National Forum with the theme “Reviving the Economy: Reimagine. Reboot. Reform” which was held virtually today. Dr Kumar further clarified, “Unevenness in demand across various parts of the country is not because of a lack of consumer confidence, which has come up in a significant manner, but because of certain supply constraints.”
He described these constraints as “chips, ships and global trips,” which have constrained India’s growth recovery. However, he was confident that India will grow by 10.5 % or more despite these constraints.
To strengthen the point about India’s economic recovery, he pointed out that the PMI for manufacturing and services has shown a smart uptake in September 2021, which will only get better going forward, he said. “My own assessment is that we are in the last leg of the W -shaped recovery–going up after first phase of the Covid-19 was over but then going down again with the onset of the second wave,” said Kumar.
Looking at the rising exports, the vice-chairman of NITI Aayog was confident that India would reach the target figure of US$400 billion in this fiscal itself. The government is focused on doubling the country’s share of exports in the next three to four years. “If we do that, our rate of growth of exports will be higher than growth. And that target can only be achieved if the government and industry work in partnership.
The PLI scheme, he pointed out was directed at helping Indian companies achieve global competitiveness. The government has shown that it is willing to put its money where its policies are to incentivise companies to play a bigger role in bringing frontline technologies and global scale. Not just that the redefining of the MSMEs is to make them a part of the regional and global manufacturing network.
He also emphasised the need to diversify India’s export basket into non-petroleum and agro products. He also advocated the need to get better market access in the European Union and the US. India, he added should not just focus on merchandise exports, but also on services export, which is the country’s strength.
Dr Kumar also focused on the policy transformation in the investment sector. “We want companies to manufacture here to avail of low tax rates and other benefits. We want companies to manufacture in India and not just ship assembled products because our focus is on job creation too. He also added that the private sector has to work with the government to take the country forward and make development a people’s movement. He urged industrialists not to be sceptical about the government’s intention because it has already taken a lot of hard decisions like the rollback of the retrospective tax, etc.
Dr Kumar urged the industry to figure out the exact reasons or driving factors behind the falling women’s participation in the workforce through certain surveys. “I have been mystified why there has been a decline in women workforce,” he said and added that it was a loss to the economy. He said that NITI Aayog only had certain hypothesis regarding this issue but no real details. In fact, NITI Aayog has designed and developed a Women Entrepreneur Model for women empowerment.
To achieve greater equality in society, Dr Kumar spoke about greater jobs in the infrastructure sector which is not only employment intensive but also has a multiplier effect.
Vinita Sethi, Treasurer, PAFI and SVP & Chief Public Affairs, Apollo Hospitals Group gave the welcome address and introduced Dr Kumar.

UK Foreign Secretary on three-day visit to India from October 24

UK Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, Elizabeth Truss will pay an official visit to India from October 22 to 24.

New Delhi [India] : During her stay in New Delhi, Truss will hold talks with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on October 22 on bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest. Truss will travel to Mumbai on October 23. During the India-UK Virtual Summit between the two Prime Ministers held on May 4, 2021, the bilateral relationship between the two nations was elevated to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.
A Ministry of External Affairs release said the ties have been marked by regular high-level exchanges and growing cooperation in diverse areas.
Truss’ visit will be an opportunity to review the Roadmap 2030 launched during the Virtual Summit and further deepen the partnership across various sectors like trade, science & technology, innovation, defence, climate, education and health sectors, the release said.

HC expresses unhappiness with Delhi govt over illegal ‘temple’ construction

New Delhi [India ): The Delhi High Court on Thursday expressed unhappiness with the Delhi government in dealing with illegal encroachment in Defence Colony and stated “one can’t just make a structure of five bricks, an idol and say that it’s a temple.”
Justice Rekha Palli said that “One can’t just make a structure of five bricks, an idol and say that it’s a temple. To demolish this we have to involve the religious committee.” The Delhi government counsel told the court that there may be a law and order concern, therefore, the religious committee is needed to look into it.
The court remarked that like this, anyone will make a structure outside High Court overnight and then they will have to ask the religious committee regarding this.
The court was hearing a petition filed by Viraht Sahni and was represented by Senior Advocate PV Kapur, with lawyers Kaveri Kapur, and Jitender Kumar.
The petitioner has sought direction from the respondent to remove the illegal encroachment in form of a temple in front of his property.
Delhi government has earlier submitted that it is conscious of its duty and has already planned to demolish the illegal encroachment at the said site and need requisite police assistance to carry out the said demolition. Police had submitted that it will render the necessary assistance to the govt to carry out the proposed demolition drive.

Women and civil society activists protest in Kabul

Dozens of women and civil society activists protested on Thursday in Kabul over economic problems and the closed schools for girls, local media reported.

Kabul [Afghanistan] ): The protest took place near the Ministry of Foreign amidst a growing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, Khaama Press reported. The protest prompted the Taliban to intervene and assault the journalists covering the rally, an eyewitness told Sputnik.
“The Taliban were trying to stop them and beat anybody who took pictures or videos of what was going on,” the eyewitness said.
The entire rally did not exceed 30 women, who were eventually forced by the Taliban to move to a different street, the eyewitness said.
The Taliban also confiscated the equipment of journalists who tried to cover the demonstration, the eyewitness said.
Soon after assuming power in Afghanistan in August, the Taliban pledged to defend the rights of women within the Islamic set of norms and to develop rules to enable women to study and work. However, the reports coming from the ground are contracting the outfit’s claim.
Last week, UN chief Antonio Guterres had urged the world to take action during a “make or break” moment for the country.
“If we do not act and help Afghans weather this storm, and do it soon, not only they but all the world will pay a heavy price,” Guterres told journalists in New York, ahead of Tuesday, when G20 leading industrialized nations will meet to discuss the country embroiled in crisis.

3% increase in DA by Central Government

The DA is a part of the salary given to government employees and pensioners. Notably, the payment of DA of employees has not been revised since January 2020.

In the wake of rising inflation, Union Cabinet has approved 3 per cent increase in the Dearness Allowance of Central Government employees and pensioners. This will come into effect from 1st July 2021. This will be an additional 3% payable on the existing 28% of basic pay and pension. The decision will benefit 47.14 lakh central government employees and 68.62 lakh pensioners.

The move would, however, put a burden of Rs 9,488.70 crore on the government’s exchequer every year.

In July, the Central government had restored Dearness Allowance (DA) benefits for its employees and pensioners and had increased the DA from 17 per cent to 28 per cent. 

The DA is a part of the salary given to government employees and pensioners. Notably, the payment of DA of employees has not been revised since January 2020. 

Kerala : Heavy rainfall with thunderstorms

A ‘Yellow alert’, predicting isolated heavy rainfall, was issued for Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Alappuzha, Ernakulam, Thrissur and Kasaragod districts for the day.

After a brief lull, heavy rainfall, accompanied by thunderstorms and lightning, lashed several parts of Kerala on Thursday as the weathermen issued an Orange Alert for eight districts of the state indicating very heavy showers.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD), in its latest update, put the districts- Pathanamthitta, Kottayam, Idukki, Palakkad, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Wayanad and Kannur- on Orange alert.

A ‘Yellow alert’, predicting isolated heavy rainfall, was issued for Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Alappuzha, Ernakulam, Thrissur and Kasaragod districts for the day.

A Red alert indicates heavy to extremely heavy rains of over 20 cm in 24 hours, while Orange alert denotes very heavy rains from 6 cm to 20 cm of rains. A yellow alert means heavy rainfall between 6 to 11 cm.

“Southwest monsoon has been active over Kerala. Rain occurred at most places in the state and at a few places in Lakshadweep,” an IMD statement said.

Parambikulam in Palakkad district received 12 cm rains while Palluruthy in Ernakulam and Enamakkal (Thrissur) and Mannarkkad (Palakkad ) received 11 cm and 9 cm each rainfall respectively, according to the statement.

Fishermen were advised not to venture into the sea in the state as squally weather with wind speed reaching 40-50 kmph is likely to prevail over Kerala coast on Thursday, it added.

The southern state was ravaged by heavy downpour and subsequent landslides in the south-central districts On October 15 and 16 which resulted in the loss of 42 lives and six people going missing. 

CBDT issues refunds of Rs 92,961 cr to 63.23 lakh taxpayers

New Delhi [India] : The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has issued refunds of over Rs 92,961 crore to more than 63.23 lakh taxpayers from April 1 to October 18, the Income Tax Department said on Thursday.
“CBDT issues refunds of over Rs 92,961 crore to more than 63.23 lakh taxpayers from April 1, 2021 to October 18, 2021. Income tax refunds of Rs. 23,026 crore have been issued in 61,53,231 cases and corporate tax refunds of Rs. 69,934 crore have been issued in 1,69,355 case,” the Income Tax department tweeted. The department said the amount includes 32.49 lakh refunds of Assessment Year (AY) 2021-22 amounting to Rs 2498.18 crore.
Meanwhile, the direct taxes watchdog on September 22, had issued refunds of over Rs 74,158 crore to more than 45.25 lakh taxpayers between April 1 and September 20. Then, Income tax refunds of Rs 18,873 crore were issued in 43,68,741cases and corporate tax refunds of Rs 55,285 crore were issued in 1,55,920 cases.
The amount at the time included 17.45 lakh refunds of AY 2021-22 amounting to Rs 1350.4 crore. (

Warm-up games suggest India ‘hot favourites’ to win T20 World Cup, says Vaughan

Former England skipper Michael Vaughan feels India are “hot favourites” to win the ongoing T20 World Cup considering their performances in the warm-up games.

Dubai [UAE], : Ravichandran Ashwin, KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma were the standout performers as India defeated Australia by eight wickets in the warm-up match on Wednesday. India had defeated England in their first warm-up game on Monday on the back of Rahul and Ishan Kishan’s sensational performances.
Vaughan’s remarks came hours after India defeated Australia to clinch both their warm-up matches.
“The way India are playing the warm up games suggests they may be now Hot favourites to Win the #T20WorldCup !!” Vaughan tweeted.
India will now face Pakistan in their opening game of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 at the Dubai International Stadium on October 24.
India, champions in the inaugural edition played in South Africa in 2007 and finalists in 2014, will also have Afghanistan, New Zealand, and two qualifiers from Round 1 to contend with in Group 2.
Meanwhile, Group 1 comprises England, Australia, South Africa, the West Indies, and two qualifiers from Round 1

Farmers have right to protest but they can’t block roads indefinitely : Supreme Court

The apex court said that ‘farmers have right to protest but they cannot block roads indefinitely.’

New Delhi (India) : The Supreme Court on Thursday said farmers protesting at Delhi borders against the three farms laws have the right to agitate but they cannot block roads indefinitely.

A bench headed by Justice S K Kaul said it was not against the right to protest even when the legal challenge is pending but ultimately some solution has to be found. 

“Farmers have the right to protest but they cannot keep roads blocked indefinitely. You may have a right to agitate in any manner but roads should not be blocked like this. People have the right to go on roads but it cannot be blocked.” the bench also comprising Justice M M Sundresh said.

The top court asked the farmer unions, who have been arrayed as parties in the case, to respond within three weeks on the issue and posted the matter for hearing on December 7.

The apex court was hearing a PIL filed by a Noida-resident Monicca Agarwal complaining of delays in daily commute caused due to the road blockade owing to the ongoing farmers’ protests.

Farmers have been camping at Delhi borders to demand that the three agri laws be rolled back>

Farmers vacate portion of service road at Delhi’s Ghazipur border

Farmers at the Ghaziapur border in Delhi are vacating a section of the service road below the flyover to allow the movement of public vehicles. The service lane portion of the road goes from Ghaziabad to Delhi, on which the media centre was built by the farmers. Farmers will now sit only on the upper part of the flyover. 

Thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana and Western Uttar Pradesh have been agitating at three Delhi border points — Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur — since last November against the three farm laws that they claim will do away with the minimum support price system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporations.

Over 10 rounds of talks with the government, which has been projecting the laws at major agricultural reforms, have failed to break the deadlock between the two parties. Although the Supreme Court has put the three laws on hold, farmers are adamant about their demand.

Earlier on January 26, a tractor parade in Delhi, that was to highlight the demands of farmer unions to repeal three agriculture laws, had dissolved into anarchy on the streets of the national capital as thousands of protesters broke through barriers, fought with the police, overturned vehicles and hoisted a religious flag from the ramparts of the iconic Red Fort.

Amit Shah conducts aerial survey of rain-affected areas in Uttarakhand

Dehradun (Uttarakhand) [India] : Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday conducted an aerial survey of the rain-affected areas of Uttarakhand. He was accompanied by Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami and Governor Lt General Gurmit Singh (Retd). Shah arrived in Uttarakhand’s Dehradun earlier today to take stock of the situation arising out of incessant rains. As per an updated natural disaster incident report issued on Wednesday, eight people were reported dead on October 18. Of these, three each died in Pauri and Pithoragarh and two in Champawat.


64 deaths, over 11 people missing due to heavy rains in Uttarakhand: Amit Shah

Union Home Minister Amit Shah On Thursday said that the death toll in the rain-battered Uttarakhand has mounted to 64 and more than 11 people have been reported missing so far.
Shah, who was addressing the media after conducting an aerial survey of the rain-affected areas in the state, said that no tourist casualty has been reported in the state so far and the Char Dham Yatra has also been resumed. “I held a high-level review meeting with officials of the State and Centre over the natural calamity in Uttarakhand. Due to timely rainfall alerts, the extent of damage could be controlled. Now, the Char Dham Yatra has resumed,” said the Home Minister.
He further said that more than 3,500 people were rescued and over 16,000 precautionary evacuations were done so far.
“As many as 3,500 people were rescued and more than 16,000 precautionary evacuations were done in the state. 17 National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams, 7 State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) teams, 15 companies of Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) and more than 5,000 police personnel are deployed for the rescue operations,” Shah said.
The Home Minister added that normalcy is returning in the state gradually. “Roads have been cleared in Nainital, Almora and Haldwani. Power stations will also resume operations soon. The mobile network has been restored in 80 per cent of areas of the state,” he stated.
Shah arrived in Uttarakhand’s Dehradun earlier today to take stock of the situation arising out of incessant rains.
Damage to properties has also been recorded in Uttarakhand following torrential rains in the last few days.

Dr RS Sharma lauds role of CoWIN app in India’s landmark achievement of 100 cr COVID-19 vaccinations

As India achieved the landmark of administering 100 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses on Thursday, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of National Health Authority (NHA) Dr RS Sharma lauded the role of CoWIN app in this accomplishment saying that it made the entire process smooth, orderly and transparent.

New Delhi [India] : Dr RS Sharma explained the journey of CoWIN in accomplishing the landmark and said that the indigenous app ensured tracking of every dose of vaccine in real-time with the collaboration between the Centre and states and the private sector. “CoWIN platform has played an extremely important role in ensuring smooth COVID-19 vaccination drive of our country, which has crossed 1 billion. It is really a moment of pride for all of us, and also it is a result of the continuous hard work of more than nine months by our doctors, field workers, administrators, and everybody. They have shown a huge amount of commitment and undying spirit to basically make this happen. So we are very proud of that,” Sharma said.
“CoWIN played an extremely important role in the COVID vaccination journey by making the entire process absolutely smooth, orderly and transparent. It has successfully integrated both the private sector and public sector vaccination centres across India. It provided a platform where they can register and book appointments to get vaccinated, get the digital certificates, record the AEFI. Everything is happening digitally. There is no platform in the world, which has scaled up so fast, so quickly, in nine months. So I think, we are very proud of it,” he said.
Speaking on the ease of using the platform, Dr RS Sharma said, “When we design an IT system, one should keep the problem in mind for which we are finding a solution. We took all the steps to ensure that people should easily be able to register to this platform. They just need a mobile phone. Even through a single mobile phone, one can register four people and can get appointments separately for all four of them. The beneficiaries can immediately get the vaccination certificate, which can be stored in mobile or can be mailed to anybody.”
“I think this whole process was designed to be inclusive. I think overall we have tried to ensure that CoWIN becomes a very robust, scalable and open-source platform. It is also open because there are hundreds of partners who have worked with us and who have integrated their applications with us. I think overall we have restructured this platform based on open API, open standards, open-source which has made it inclusive, transparent, more scalable and speedy,” he explained.
Reacting to the fact that other countries are also using CoWIN or are adopting CoWIN for their contexts, the NHA CEO said, “Earlier in April, we had decided that we will gift the CoWIN to the countries who want to use it once it is stabilised. We will open-source it. On July 5, we held a global conclave where more than 100 countries participated. In the global conclave, we made it open source, we created documentation.”
“We also trained people and consultancy firms who can actually help the other countries in implementing the platform. We have given those firms certificates of competence and training. And then, now with the Ministry of External Affairs, we are in conversation with a number of countries, and we are on the verge of signing the MOU’s with some countries,” he added.

Bhutan PM congratulates India for crossing 1 billion COVID vaccine doses

Bhutan Prime Minister Lotay Tshering congratulated Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for achieving one billion COVID-19 vaccination doses on Thursday morning.

Thimphu [Bhutan] : “I would like to congratulate Prime Minister Narendra Modi for this achievement. My appreciation also goes to all the healthcare providers and people involved in making this possible, more specifically the 1,000 million people who came forward to take the jab. It reflects the trust people have in the system. I always believe that the collective, unconditional faith in leadership and the system is key to any nation’s success,” Prime Minister Office said in a Facebook post. He also stated that Bhutan being a close neighbour to India, feel more secure.
“I have been closely following the spiralling numbers and this morning, in what is a huge accomplishment not just for your country but the world, India hits the one billion mark of COVID-19 vaccination doses this morning. On behalf of the people of Bhutan, I congratulate India! Narendra Modi PMO India.
“Being able to administer the shots in one billion arms, despite all the challenges, is a feat not many can easily achieve. At this time of the pandemic, any individual getting vaccinated is a progression that contributes to global herd immunity. This will be significant for all of us in emerging from the pandemic sooner. And on a practical note, being a close neighbour, we feel more secure,” Prime Minister Tshering said in the post.
The Prime Minister further expressed his appreciation to PM Modi for contributing to global welfare through sharing of vaccines, medical supplies and other supports. “Bhutan has benefitted a lot and remains grateful,” he added.
In a landmark achievement, India’s cumulative COVID-19 vaccination coverage crossed 100 crore doses on Thursday.
A total of 100 crore vaccine doses have been administered so far to eligible beneficiaries, as per the CoWIN portal at 9:47 am today.
India’s COVID-19 vaccination drive was launched on January 16, 2021. Initially, the vaccination was opened for Health Care Workers (HCWs) only.
From February 2, front line workers were made eligible for vaccination. These included state and Central Police personnel, Armed Force Personnel, Home Guards, Civil Defence and Disaster Management Volunteers, Municipal workers, Prison Staff, PRI Staff and Revenue workers involved in containment and surveillance, Railway Protection Force and election Staff.
The vaccination drive was expanded from March 1 to include persons above 60 years of age and those above 45 years with associated specified 20 comorbidities. It was further expanded to all people above 45 years of age from April 1. From May 1 all persons above 18 years of age were made eligible for COVID-19 vaccination.

India thanks Bhutan PM for wishing on country’s achievement of reaching 1 billion vaccination doses

Indian embassy in Bhutan on Thursday thanked Bhutan Prime Minister Lotay Tshering for his wishes on India’s achievement of reaching the milestone of one billion vaccination doses.
“Thank you Dr Lotay Tshering @PMBhutan for your best wishes on India’s achievement reaching the milestone of 1 Billion Vaccination Doses as well as your appreciation for the #VaccineMaitri initiative launched by PM @narendramodi,” the embassy tweeted. In a landmark achievement, India’s cumulative COVID-19 vaccination coverage crossed 100 crore doses on Thursday. A total of 100 crore vaccine doses have been administered so far to eligible beneficiaries, as per the CoWIN portal at 9:47 am today.
India’s COVID-19 vaccination drive was launched on January 16, 2021. Initially, the vaccination was opened for Health Care Workers (HCWs) only.
From February 2, front line workers were made eligible for vaccination. These included state and Central Police personnel, Armed Force Personnel, Home Guards, Civil Defence and Disaster Management Volunteers, Municipal workers, Prison Staff, PRI Staff and Revenue workers involved in containment and surveillance, Railway Protection Force and election Staff.
The vaccination drive was expanded from March 1 to include persons above 60 years of age and those above 45 years with associated specified 20 comorbidities. It was further expanded to all people above 45 years of age from April 1. From May 1 all persons above 18 years of age were made eligible for COVID-19 vaccination.

Decades worth of experience of Universal Immunisation Programme helped Health Ministry proceed with COVID-19 vaccination rapidly: ICMR DG

As India achieved the landmark of inoculating 100 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses on Thursday, the Director-General of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Dr Balram Bhargava said that the decades worth of experience gained through the Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP) helped the Union Health Ministry go forward with the vaccination drive rapidly. “Years of experience that the Health Ministry gained via the Universal Vaccination Programme helped them proceed with the COVID-19 vaccination drive at such a rapid pace. The prioritisation and nimbleness displayed by the ministry during this entire drive are commendable,” stated Dr Bhargava.

New Delhi [India] : Congratulating the countrymen and every stakeholder involved in the vaccination programme, Dr Bhargava said, “Since India has over one-billion people, we have contributed to protecting one-seventh of the global population. The entire world should gain protection against COVID. No one is truly protected until everyone is protected and we have to take care of this,” he added.
The ICMR DG further noted that even though the accomplishment of administering 100 crore vaccine doses is commendable and worth celebrating, there should be no space for complacency until the entire adult population is vaccinated.
On Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin awaiting the World Health Organisation’s approval, he said, “WHO is following all scientific processes. All the data was submitted to them. We have more than 15 publications on Covaxin variants. I am optimistic that approval will be given after following all the processes.”
World Health Organisation (WHO), which is reviewing the data provided by Bharat Biotech for Emergency Use Listing of COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin, said on Monday that it is “expecting one additional piece of information from the company today”.
WHO chief scientist on Sunday informed that the organisation’s technical advisory group will meet on October 26 to consider emergency use listing (EUL) for Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech’s COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin.
After the evaluation of data, Covaxin is yet to get approval from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for the vaccination of children between 2-18 years old. Speaking on the issue, Dr Bhargava said that the work is ongoing on the matter.
“During the fourth serosurvey, not only did we find out that 67 per cent of adults have antibodies to fight COVID-19, but children also have 50-55 per cent antibodies to fight COVID-19. So they are also well-protected,” he added.
The fourth edition of the national serosurvey was conducted in 70 districts in June-July and included children of 6-17 years of age and the survey found the overall seroprevalence of India to be 67.6 per cent.

India logs 18,454 fresh COVID-19 cases, recovery rate highest since March 2020

A total of 18,454 new COVID-19 cases and 160 deaths were reported in the country in the last 24 hours, said the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) on Thursday.

New Delhi [India] : The active caseload remained below the two lakh mark with 1,78,831 active cases which account for less than one per cent of the total cases. Currently, the active cases account for 0.52 per cent of the total 3,41,27,450 COVID-19 cases reported in the country so far. With 17,561 recoveries reported in the last 24 hours, the cumulative recoveries in the country climbed to 3,34,95,808 while the recovery rate, which was recorded 98.15 per cent, is the highest since March last year.
A total of 160 deaths were registered in the last 24 hours. With this, the death toll in the country reached 4,52,811.
The weekly positivity rate is at 1.34 per cent, which is less than three per cent for the last 118 days. The daily positivity rate, which is 1.48 per cent, also remained below three per cent since the last 52 days.
According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), a total of 12,47,506 samples were tested for the presence of the virus on October 20, while the total tests conducted so far reached 59,57,42,218.
Meanwhile, in the ongoing nationwide COVID vaccination drive, India exceeded 100 crore mark today at 9.47 am.
Also, the health ministry in an official statement informed that over 103 crore vaccine doses have been provided to state and union territories so far, while more than 10.85 crore balance and unutilised COVID vaccine doses are still available with the states and union territories to be administered.

India now has strong armour of 100 cr COVID vaccine to combat biggest pandemic in 100 yrs: PM Modi

As India achieved the milestone of 100 crore vaccination coverage, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said it was a historic day for the country and said that the nation now has strong armour of 100 crore COVID vaccine doses to combat the biggest pandemic in 100 years.

New Delhi [India] : Addressing the launch event of the Infosys Foundation made 806-bedded Vishram Sadan, PM Modi said, “Today, this day of October 21, 2021, has been recorded in history. The nation now has strong armour of 100 crore Covid vaccine doses to combat this biggest pandemic in 100 years. India has crossed the 100 crore vaccine dose mark sometime back.” The Prime Minister further said that this achievement belongs to every citizen of India.
“I express my gratitude to all the vaccine manufacturing companies of the country, workers engaged in vaccine transportation, health sector professionals engaged in vaccine development,” the prime minister said.


In a landmark achievement, India’s cumulative COVID-19 vaccination coverage crossed 100 crore doses on Thursday. A total of 100 crore vaccine doses have been administered so far to eligible beneficiaries, as per the CoWIN portal at 9:47 am today.
India’s COVID-19 vaccination drive was launched on January 16, 2021.
Initially, the vaccination was opened for Health Care Workers (HCWs) only.
From February 2, front line workers were made eligible for vaccination. These included State and Central Police personnel, Armed Force Personnel, Home Guards, Civil Defence & Disaster Management Volunteers, Municipal workers, Prison Staff, PRI Staff and Revenue workers involved in containment and surveillance, Railway Protection Force and election Staff.
The vaccination drive was expanded from March 1 to include persons above 60 years of age and those above 45 years with associated specified 20 comorbidities. It was further expanded to all people above 45 years of age from April 1. From May 1, all persons above 18 years of age were made eligible for COVID-19 vaccination.

Corporate, private sectors have continuously contributed to strengthening health services: PM Modi

New Delhi [India] : Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said that India’s corporate sector, private sector and social organizations have continuously contributed to strengthening the healthcare services of the country.
“India’s corporate sector, private sector and social organizations have continuously contributed to strengthening the health services of the country. Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana is also a great example of this,” said PM Modi, while addressing at the launch event of Infosys Foundation Vishram Sadan. He said, “When the patient gets free treatment under the Ayushman Bharat scheme, then an act of service is accomplished. It is this service motive that has made the government take steps to reduce the prices of about 400 cancer medicines.”
The Prime Minister further praised the Infosys Foundation for constructing the building of Vishram Sadan and AIIMS Jhajjar for providing the land, electricity and water.
He expressed his gratitude to the AIIMS management and Sudha Murthy’s team for this service.
“Today in AIIMS Jhajjar, patients coming for cancer treatment has got a great convenience. This Vishram Sadan, built in the National Cancer Institute, will reduce the worries of patients and their relatives,” he said.
The Prime Minister also expressed his gratitude to all the vaccine manufacturing companies of the country, workers engaged in vaccine transportation, health sector professionals engaged in vaccine development.
“Today is a historic day as India has crossed the 100 crore vaccine dose mark. To counter the largest pandemic in 100 years, the country now has a strong protective shield of 100 crore vaccine doses. This achievement belongs to India and its citizens,” he added.
Union Health and Family Welfare Minister, Mansukh Mandaviya, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and Chairperson of Infosys Foundation, Sudha Murthy, were also present on the occasion.
The 806 bedded Vishram Sadan, is a part of Infosys’ Corporate Social Responsibility, to provide air-conditioned accommodation facilities to the accompanying attendants of the Cancer Patients, who often have to stay in hospitals for a longer duration, as per the press note released by the Prime Minister’s Office.
“It has been constructed by the Foundation at a cost of about Rs 93 crore. It is located in close proximity to the hospital & OPD Blocks of NCI,” the release added.

Family seeking justice : Priyanka Gandhi

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Wednesday said that Arun Valmiki, a sanitation worker, had died in police custody in Uttar Pradesh and his family is seeking justice.

Agra (Uttar Pradesh) [India] : “Arun Valmiki has died in police custody. His family is seeking justice. The Uttar Pradesh government has acted against the message of Bhagwan Valmiki on his jayanti,” Priyanka Gandhi said in a tweet. She sought a high-level probe and strict action against the “guilty” personnel of Agra Police.
She also sought compensation for his family.
A sanitisation worker, who was arrested by the police in the connection with a theft of Rs 25 lakh from a Malkhana (warehouse) on October 19, died in police custody on Wednesday.
Agra Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Muniraj G said that “the deceased admitted to his crime during the investigation and police recovered Rs 25 lakh from his house successfully”.
“During the search and recovery of the stolen money, the deceased fell ill. The police and his family rushed him to the hospital where he is declared brought dead by the doctors,” the SSP further said.
The First Information Report (FIR) has been registered and further action will be taken, the SSP said.
Speaking to ANI, Agra Additional Director General (DGP) Rajiv Krishna said the family has filed a complaint “where they said the deceased died because he was beaten to death in the custody”.
Action will be taken if there was any negligence in the custody.
“Our officers are in contact with his family, they are cooperating in the case. Action will be taken if there was any negligence,” he said.

Amit Shah reaches Uttarakhand

Dehradun (Uttarakhand) [India] : Union Minister Amit Shah reached Uttarakhand’s Dehradun on Thursday to take stock of the situation arising out of incessant rains.
Shah was welcomed by Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami at Dehradun airport. “The Union Minister will hold review meetings and take stock of the situation in Uttarakhand,” sources close to the developments told ANI earlier.
Shah will also conduct an aerial survey in the state on Thursday, sources added.
As many as 46 people have died in a span of three days from October 17 to October 19, as per the state’s natural disaster incident report.
Of these, one died in Champawat on October 17, six died on October 18 in Pauri, Champawat and Pithoragarh and on October 19, as many as 39 people were reported dead in Nainital, Almora, Champawat, Udham Singh Nagar, Chamoli and Bageshwar.
A total of nine houses have been either damaged partially or completely in the state. Dhami conducted an aerial survey across the state yesterday

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