India reports 9,765 fresh covid-19 cases and 477 fatalities; active caseload falls to 99K

News Network
December 2, 2021

New Delhi, Dec 2: India on Thursday reported 9,765 fresh Covid-19 cases and 477 deaths linked to the virus in the last 24 hours, according to Union Health MInistry.

As many as 8,548 recovered from the disease. The active coronavirus caseload in the country currently stands at 99,763.

Kerala alone reported 5,405 new COVID-19 cases and 403 related deaths in past 24 hours.

According to the state health bulletin, 307 deaths were added to the daily numbers in accordance with the new guidelines of the central government. The death toll in the state stands at 40,535. The state has 44,124 active cases.

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Agencies
November 20,2021

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New Delhi, Nov 20: Prime Minister Narendra Modi may have caved in to farmers' demands that he scraps laws they say threaten their livelihoods.

But the reaction to the shock U-turn in the northern states, where Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) faces key elections next year, has been less than positive, a worrying sign for a leader seeking to maintain his grip on national politics.

In Uttar Pradesh's Mohraniya, farmer Guru Sevak Singh said that he and others like him lost faith in Modi and his party.

"Today Prime Minister Modi realised that he was committing blunder, but it took him a year to recognise this and only because he now knows farmers will not vote for his party ever again," said Singh.

For the young farmer, the matter is deeply personal.

Singh's 19-year-old brother Guruvinder was killed in October when a car ploughed into a crowd protesting against the farm legislation, one of eight people who died in a spate of violence related to the farmers' uprising.

Thousands of agricultural workers have protested outside New Delhi and beyond for more than a year, shrugging off the pandemic to disrupt traffic and pile pressure on Modi and the BJP who say the new laws were key to modernising the sector.

"Today I can announce that my brother is a martyr," Singh told Reuters, weeping as he held a picture of his dead brother.

"My brother is among those brave farmers who sacrificed their lives to prove that the government was implementing laws to destroy the agrarian economy," he added.

Around him were several police officers, who Singh said were provided after his brother and three others were killed by the car. Ashish Mishra, son of MoS Ajay, is in police custody in relation to the incident.

Ajay Mishra Teni said at the time that his son was not at the site and that a car driven by "our driver" had lost control and hit the farmers after "miscreants" pelted it with stones and attacked it with sticks and swords.

'How can we forget?'

In 2020, the Modi government passed three farm laws in a bid to overhaul the agriculture sector that employs about 60 per cent of India's workforce but is deeply inefficient, in debt and prone to pricing wars.

Angry farmers took to the streets, saying the reforms put their jobs at risk and handed control over crops and prices to private corporations.

The resulting protest movement became one of the country's biggest and most protracted.

Leaders of six farmer unions who spearheaded the movement in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab states said they would not forgive a government that labelled protesting farmers as terrorists and anti-nationals.

"Farmers were beaten with sticks, rods and detained for demanding legitimate rights ... farmers were mowed down by a speeding car belonging to a minister's family ... tell me how can we forget it all?" said Sudhakar Rai, a senior member of a farmers' union in Uttar Pradesh.

Rai said at least 170 farmers were killed during anti-farm law protests across the country. There are no official data to verify his claims.

A senior BJP member who declined to be named said the decision to repeal the laws was taken by Modi after he consulted a top farmers' association affiliated to his party.

The politician, who was at the meeting when the party agreed to back down, said those present conceded the BJP had failed to communicate the benefits of the new laws clearly enough.

Leaders of the opposition and some analysts said Modi's move was linked to state elections next year in Uttar Pradesh - which accounts for more parliamentary seats than any other state - and Punjab.

"What cannot be achieved by democratic protests can be achieved by the fear of impending elections!" wrote P. Chidambaram, a senior figure in the opposition Congress party, on Twitter.

But farmers like Singh warned that the government could pay a price for its treatment of farmers.

"We are the backbone of the country and Modi has today accepted that his policies were against farmers," said Singh. "I lost my brother in this mess and no one can bring him back."

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News Network
December 1,2021

New Delhi, Dec 1: The government on Wednesday decided not to resume scheduled international flights from December 15, less than a week after announcing the decision in the wake of rising concerns over the Covid variant Omicron.

Aviation watchdog DGCA said the effective date for resumption of scheduled commercial international passenger services will be notified in due course. Scheduled international flights remain suspended since March 23, 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The latest move also comes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 27 asked officials to review the plans for easing international travel restrictions amid concerns over Omicron.

In a circular on Wednesday, DGCA said that in view of the evolving global scenario with the emergence of new Variants of Concern, the situation is being watched closely in consultation with all stakeholders.

"...an appropriate decision indicating the effective date of resumption of scheduled commercial international passenger services shall be notified in due course," the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said.

The watchdog also referred to its circular issued on November 26 wherein it was decided that scheduled international flights will resume from December 15.

On November 28, a day after the Prime Minister's directions regarding the easing of international travel curbs, the government had said the decision to resume the services will be reviewed.

While no cases of Omicron have been reported in India so far, the authorities have put in place stricter norms for international passengers.

On November 29, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said the situation was being closely monitored and reviewed in consultation with other ministries regarding "any further decision" on resuming scheduled international passenger services.

In a written reply to the Rajya Sabha, Scindia had said the decision to resume the flights from December 15 was taken after recognising the increased vaccination coverage across the globe, changing nature of the pandemic and considering the health protocols, which have been put in place for international arrivals.

"However, in view of the evolving global scenario with the emergence of new variants of concern, the situation is being closely monitored and reviewed in consultation with other Ministries, with regard to taking any further decision on the issue," the minister had said.

Currently, international passenger flights are being operated under bilateral air bubble arrangements with various countries in a restricted manner.

As of November 24, India had formalised air bubble arrangements with 31 countries.

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News Network
November 24,2021

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Bengaluru, Nov 24: The upcoming Karnataka Vidhan Parishad election has turning out to be the battle of billionaires. And it is led by Congress candidate Yusuf Sharif, who has declared assets worth ₹1,744 crore before the state election commission on Tuesday.

The 54-year-old is the owner of Umrah Developers and is known to flaunt his wealth.

He used to work as a scarp dealer, and rose to riches in the years that followed. Sharif owns two Rolls Royce cars. His name recently came to limelight after one of his cars was seized over suspicion that taxes were not paid.

One of the Rolls Royce cars was bought from actor Amitabh Bachchan.

Known as 'Gujari Babu' or 'Scrap Babu', Sharif has faced cheating cases in the past.

The Congress on Monday announced the names of 20 candidates for the biennial elections.

The election to 25 Legislative Council seats will be held on December 10, according to schedule announced by the Election Commission earlier this month. Their term is ending on January 5, 2022. The results will be declared on December 14.

The polling body said that legislative council polls will also be held in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra on the same date.

The model code of conduct came into effect in the constituencies concerned immediately after the announcement by the poll panel.

The last date for withdrawal of candidature is November 26.

The chief secretaries of all the states where elections are scheduled to be held have also been directed to depute a senior officer to ensure that the extant instructions regarding Covid-19 containment measures are complied with while making arrangements for conducting the elections, the election commission said. 

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