With spike of 60,963 cases, India's COVID-19 tally reaches 23,29,639

News Network
August 12, 2020

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New Delhi, Aug 12: As many as 60,963 new coronavirus cases in India in the last 24 hours, taking the total cases to over 23 lakhs, according to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

834 new coronavirus deaths reported in India and the cumulative toll has reached 46,091.

The total number of coronavirus cases has climbed to 23,29,639 including 6,43,948 active cases, 16,39,600 cured/discharged/migrated.

According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), 7,33,439 samples, the highest so far were tested for COVID-19 on August 11.

Over 2.60 crores samples have been tested so far.

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Agencies
September 13,2020

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New Delhi, Sept 13: The Director General of Civil Aviation on Sunday clarified that bona fide passenger travelling in an aircraft can take pictures and video while in flight; take off and landing.

However, the passengers cannot use any recording device which compromises air safety or violates prevalent norms.

"It is clarified that a bona fide passenger travelling in an aircraft engaged in scheduled air transport services may do still and video photography from inside such an aircraft while in flight; take off and landing," DGCA said.

However, this permission does not include use of any recording equipment which imperils or compromises air safety; violates prevalent norms; creates chaos or disruption during operation of flight or expressly prohibited by crew, DGCA said in a statement.

"Action may be initiated against those persons found in violation of above guideline," it stated.

Recently, Director-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) issued an order saying airline's flight schedule on any given route would be suspended for two weeks if any individual is found taking photographs at a government aerodrome or from a flying aircraft.

It further said flight services on the route will be restored only after the airline has taken punitive action against those who are found guilty of the violation.

Two days ago, DGCA sought a report from IndiGo airlines on photography and videography during actress Kangana Ranaut's flight from Chandigarh to Mumbai on September 9.

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News Network
September 17,2020

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New Delhi, Sept 17: Four Indian cities -- New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Bengaluru -- witnessed a significant drop in their rankings in the global listing of smart cities that was topped by Singapore.

The Institute for Management Development (IMD), in collaboration with Singapore University for Technology and Design (SUTD), has released the 2020 Smart City Index, with key findings on how technology is playing a role in the Covid-19 era.

In the 2020 Smart City Index, Hyderabad was placed at the 85th position (down from 67 in 2019), New Delhi at 86th rank (down from 68 in 2019), Mumbai was at 93rd place (in 2019 it was at 78) and Bengaluru at 95th (79 in 2019).

"Cities in India (New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru) suffer significant drops this year. This can be attributed to the detrimental effect that the pandemic has had where the technological advancement was not up to date," the report said.

It further added that "Indian cities have suffered more from the pandemic because they were not prepared".

From 15 indicators that the respondents perceive as the priority areas for their city, all four cities highlighted air pollution as one of the key areas that they felt their city needed to prioritise on.

For cities like Bangalore and Mumbai, this was closely followed by road congestion while for Delhi and Hyderabad it was basic amenities, the report said.

The 2020 Smart City Index (SCI) was topped by Singapore, followed by Helsinki and Zurich in the second and the third place respectively. Others in the top 10 list include Auckland (4th), Oslo (5th), Copenhagen (6th), Geneva (7th), Taipei City (8th), Amsterdam (9th) and New York at the 10th place.

In SCI's context, 'smart city' describes an urban setting that apply technology to enhance the benefits and diminish the shortcomings of urbanization.

The second edition of the SCI ranked 109 cities worldwide by capturing perceptions of randomly chosen 120 residents in each city.

Hundreds of citizens from 109 cities were surveyed in April and May 2020 and asked questions on the technological provisions of their city across five key areas: health and safety, mobility, activities, opportunities and governance.

Reflected in this year's rankings is that cities have ever differing approaches to technology as managing the pandemic has become increasingly important in local politics, the report said.

"We cannot ignore the impact of Covid-19," said IMD's Professor Arturo Bris, who led the work of the ranking as the Director of the World Competitiveness Center at the Swiss management institute which is behind it. Those with better technology manage the pandemic better. Smart cities are not the solution, but technology helps,” he explained.

"Smart cities closer to the top of the rankings seem to deal with unexpected challenges of the devastating pandemic with a better outcome," remarked Professor Heng Chee Chan, Chairperson of the Lee Kuan Yew Centre for Innovative Cities at SUTD.

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News Network
September 22,2020
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Bengaluru, Sept 22: Karnataka opposition leader Siddaramaiah on Monday attacked the Centre over the passage of three farm bills in the Parliament and called it "the evilest act to destabilise the foundations of democracy".

Siddaramaiah said in a tweet, "The decision of Narendra Modi government to pass three bills related to farmers, without adequate consultation of stakeholders and debates in both the houses, is the evilest act to destabilise the foundations of democracy."

He asserted that Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, is an attempt to "empower private players with supreme power to procure from farmers without any regulation".

"This is a one-sided policy that threatens the survival of farmers," said Siddaramaiah.

He said, "Only 6 per cent farmers in India have access to the Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMCs), while rest 94 per cent do not have. If the government really wants to help farmers, they can allow private entities to open market but the regulatory authority of those markets should remain with APMCs."

"There are more than 80 per cent small and marginal farmers who need the government's support for their produce. They are the most vulnerable and APMC was protecting them. Without APMC, there are left in no man's land. There will be no control on the traders and trade practice outside the APMC premises," he said.

"APMC will lose control to impose a levy. This is the complete surrender of state governments," Siddaramaiah continued.

Accusing the Prime Minister and BJP for weakening the farmers, he said, "The UPA had strengthened farming community through minimum support price (MSP), procurement system and public distribution system (PDS). Now, with three anti-farmer bills, Narendra Modi is trying to break their backbone."

He stated that the democratically elected farmer representatives decide the pricing in APMC based on the directions by the central government.

On Sunday, the Rajya Sabha witnessed unruly scenes as Opposition members stormed the well and reached the deputy chairman's seat to protest against the Farmer's Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020.

Following this, eight Opposition MPs were suspended from the Upper House for a week.

The farm bills were passed by the Rajya Sabha through voice vote. Both the bills were earlier passed by Lok Sabha through voice vote.

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