'Delhi Chalo': Farmer unions accept Modi govt's offer to hold talks over agri laws

News Network
December 1, 2020

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New Delhi, Dec 1: Farmer unions on Tuesday decided to attend a meeting with the Centre as protesters continued their agitation at Delhi border points against the government's new farm laws.

Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Monday had invited leaders of farmer unions for talks on Tuesday, instead of December 3, citing the COVID-19 pandemic and cold.

"In our meeting, we have decided to accept the central government's offer to hold talks at 3 pm today. Representatives of protesting farmers will attend the meeting with Union ministers," farmer leader Baljeet Singh Mahal said.

Thousands of farmers stayed put at various Delhi border points for the sixth consecutive day on Tuesday protesting against the new farm laws, which they fear will dismantle the minimum support price system and corporatise farming.

The meeting has been called at 3 pm on December 1 at Vigyan Bhawan in the national capital, Tomar said, adding that those leaders who were present in the meeting held on November 13 have been invited this time.

On Monday, the farmers said that they have come to the national capital for a "decisive battle" and urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to listen to their "mann ki baat".

They said that they will continue their agitation until their demands are met.

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Agencies
January 7,2021

Mumbai, Jan 7: As businesses prepare lean and flexible models that operate in an online-offline mix in the post-pandemic world, the focus for digital platforms in India will be on selling directly to the consumers in 2021, a new report said on Thursday.

"Small businesses in India are today evolving themselves as per the consumer and industry requirements.

"They are hungry for growth and much more resilient than we could've imagined. Merchants have come to understand the diverse nature of consumers and that innovation is the key differentiator," said Akash Gehani COO & Co-founder, Instamojo.

The payment gateway and ecommerce platform has on-boarded more than 2 lakh small businesses from tier II and tier III cities during the lockdown period.

"More than 70 per cent of these entrepreneurs had no prior online presence. Small businesses owners are making necessary changes to their brands, to the way they operate, and also the way they deal with their customers online in order to survive in the growing e-commerce space," Gehani explained.

The company has launched a report on the e-commerce outlook for 2021 which draws the experiences of more than a million small businesses across the country, including Instamojo's merchants like LegalWiz, Syrow, Profitbooks and MSMEx.

According to the findings, entrepreneurs today understand the power of online presence and digital operations.

"There has been a 3 times growth in unique businesses creating online stores," the report mentioned.

MojoVersity, Instamojo's e-learning platform for entrepreneurs, saw a 9 times growth in enrollments and 11 times growth in the number of merchants getting digitally certified in 2020.

"As more entrepreneurs emerge from smaller towns and cities in India, accelerators and incubators are also expanding their services into markets to help nurture the upcoming businesses. Industry reports indicate that 40 per cent of investors will come from Tier II and Tier III cities," said the report.

As a large number of businesses went online in 2020, they also recognised the importance of a wide social media presence.

The number of businesses updating their social media handles on their Instamojo online store went up an average of 30 per cent (QoQ).

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Agencies
January 8,2021

Chennai, Jan 8: A three-day national immunisation drive for polio will begin in the country on January 17, said Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Friday.

"Three-day national immunisation drive for polio will begin on January 17. This is essential to maintain the overall immunity level of our country particularly pertaining to polio," said the minister after his visit to the session site in Government General Hospital in Chennai to review the second dry run for coronavirus vaccination on Friday.

Talking about the COVID-19 vaccination, Vardhan said the vaccination should start in the country in the next few days and requested the NGOs working in the field of health to help in the smooth rollout of the process.

"In the next few days, in the near future, we should be able to give these vaccines to our countrymen. It will be given to our healthcare professional followed by frontline workers. I request the NGOs working in the field of health to help in the smooth conduct of the COVID-19 vaccination programme and mobilisation of beneficiaries in the best possible manner," he stated.

"In the past year, government and social organisations, scientists and medical practitioners showed exemplary performance in managing COVID-19 situation. India has the highest recovery rate and the lowest fatality rate. We started journey with one testing lab and today we have around 2,300 labs in the country," the minister added further.

He said the government has ensured that every details regarding vaccination is conveyed to the people from the national level to the grassroot level.

"On January 2, we did a dry run in almost 125 districts in the country. Today, we are doing it across the country except for the three states, which did it earlier... Lakhs of healthcare workers are being trained through these dry runs and the process to train more is still going on," Vardhan stated.

The minister is on a visit to Tamil Nadu to oversee the dry run drill for coronavirus vaccination.

The second nationwide mock drill on the COVID-19 vaccination is being held at three-session sites of 736 districts across 33 states/UTs today.

The dry run is aimed at testing the laid out mechanisms for COVID-19 vaccination roll-out in the health system. It will also help to assess operational feasibility of using Co-WIN application in a field environment for planning, implementation and reporting at the block, district and state level.

According to the health ministry, the objective of the mock drill on COVID-19 vaccination is to simulate the actual vaccine administration event.

COVID-19 vaccines of Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech have been granted permission by Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for restricted use in an emergency situation.

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Agencies
January 14,2021

Asaduddin Owaisi helped BJP in Bihar, will do so in WB, UP polls: Sakshi  Maharaj | Hindustan Times

Unnao, Jan 14: BJP MP from Unnao, Sakshi Maharaj, has created another political stir by claiming that the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) leader Asaduddin Owaisi had helped the BJP in the Bihar Assembly elections and would also help in the Assembly polls in West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh.

The BJP MP said that AIMIM's participation in UP and Bengal elections will help the BJP win the states.

"It is God's grace. May God give him strength. He helped us in Bihar and will help us (BJP) in Uttar Pradesh panchayat and Assembly polls and also in West Bengal," he told media.

The AIMIM has often been referred to as the 'B' team of the BJP since it helps in polarising votes on religious lines.

However, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi has strongly resented the tag and has denied having helped BJP with his brand of politics.

Owaisi had contested last year's elections in Bihar, which was said to have cut into the Muslim votes that go to the opposition, leading to the NDA's victory.

His party won five seats in the Muslim-dominated Seemanchal region -- a large figure given that the NDA won just 15 more seats than the Grand Alliance.

After the elections, the Congress and Rashtriya Janata Dal had dubbed him the 'B Team of the BJP'.

Owaisi has now announced his party's intention to contest the next state elections in Uttar Pradesh as part of a front led by former BJP ally Om Prakash Rajbhar.

Owaisi, on Tuesday, had visited some districts of eastern UP accompanied by Rajbhar.

Elections in Uttar Pradesh are due next year.

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