With spike of 52,972 cases, India's COVID-19 tally crosses 18 lakh mark

Agencies
August 3, 2020

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New Delhi, Aug 3: India's COVID-19 tally crossed the 18 lakh mark with 52,972 positive cases and 771 deaths reported in the last 24 hours.

The total COVID-19 cases stand at 18,03,696 including 5,79,357 active cases, 11,86,203 cured/discharged/migrated and 38,135 deaths," said the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Monday.

As per the data provided by the Health Ministry, Maharashtra -- the worst affected state from the infection -- has a total of 1,48,843 active cases and 15,576 deaths. A total of 4,41,228 coronavirus cases have been recorded in the state up to Sunday.

Tamil Nadu has reported a total of 56,998 active cases and 4,132 deaths. While Delhi has recorded 10,356 active cases, 1,23,317 recovered/discharged/migrated cases and 4,004 deaths.

The COVID-19 samples tested across the country has crossed the 2 crore mark till August 2.

The total number of COVID-19 samples tested up to August 2 is 2,02,02,858 including 3,81,027 tests that were conducted yesterday, said Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Monday. 

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Agencies
September 14,2020

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New Delhi, Sept 14: Senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan on Monday filed a review petition in the Supreme Court against its judgement convicting him and imposing a fine of Re 1 on him for criminal contempt of court in the suo motu contempt case over his tweets.

Earlier today, Bhushan said that he will submit the fine in the registry today but had added that it doesn't mean he accepts the Supreme Court's judgement. He had said that he will file a review petition against the conviction and fine.

The senior lawyer had on September 12 filed a petition in the top court seeking directions for an appeal against conviction in criminal contempt cases to be heard by a larger and a different bench.

Bhushan was convicted and a fine of Re 1 was imposed on him by the Supreme Court in connection with a suo motu criminal contempt of court case over two of his tweets.

One of the tweets, posted on June 29, was related to his post on a picture of Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad Arvind Bobde on a high-end bike. In his second tweet, Bhushan had expressed his opinion on the role of the last four CJIs amid the state of affairs in the country.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court is also hearing another contempt of court case against Bhushan for his interview to a magazine in 2009 in which he was quoted as saying that half of the 16 former Chief Justices of India (CJIs) were corrupt.

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News Network
September 23,2020

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New Delhi, Sept 23: Bilkis, an 82-year-old woman who was at the forefront of the Shaheen Bagh protests in Delhi against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), has been named by the Time Magazine in its list of ‘100 Most Influential People of 2020’.

Bilkis, one of the ‘dadis’ of Shaheen Bagh, became the face of the Shaheen Bagh anti-CAA protests that went on to trigger massive protests across the country, inspiring similar demonstrations in Kolkata, Mumbai and other cities that went on for months.

The Shaheen Bagh protesters camped in makeshift tents on the road for months, demanding the government to repeal the controversial CAA law.

The Time Magazine article authored by journalist Rana Ayyub talks of how Bilkis became the voice of the marginalised and she refused to budge from the Shaheen Bagh protest site even in the peak Delhi winters and threats from supporters of CAA.

Bilkis, one of the 'dadis' who had been demonstrating against the CAA since it began, had declared they wouldn't move an inch even if someone fires a gun.

Bilkis had said they will not move until the CAA is repealed. “They call us traitors. When we pushed Britishers out of the country, who are Narendra Modi and Amit Shah? We won't move an inch even if someone fires at us. You remove NRC and CAA, we will clear the site in no time.”

Bilkis’ firm resolve went on to inspire thousands of students and student leaders across the country who carried on the anti-CAA protests for months.

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Agencies
September 15,2020

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New Delhi, Sept 15: Pilot associations have told the Civil Aviation Ministry that their experience with the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) over the last two decades has been disappointing and that safety regulations are diluted to favour commercial considerations of airline operators in the country.

The Indian Pilots Guild (IPG) and the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) have sent their comments to the Ministry on the restructuring of DGCA.

"We have close to two decades of experience both interacting with and being regulated by DGCA. Our overall experience sadly has been disappointing. We have seen multiple iterations of important flight safety legislation being diluted to favour commercial considerations of airline operators in the country," the pilots told the ministry.

They added that at other times, DGCA has been over zealous in regulation, resulting in victimisation of pilots or cabin crew a lot more than achieving the intended flight safety objectives.

"Further, there are significant cases of regulation to protect airline interests, but rarely to protect the airline employees from mismanagement which is chronic in Air India at least. Many of these have been/are under challenge in courts of law throughout the country," they added.

Testing the crew for alcohol before a flight is an important flight safety requirement, which has been addressed adequately by the DGCA by asking for mandatory testing before a flight and removal from duty if found positive.

If a crew is found to be under the influence of alcohol, the airline is given no leeway to punish this individual administratively or allow any rehabilitation.

"The DGCA instead jumps in immediately to make an example of the individual through these draconian punishments. Other regulators handle this subject with a lot more empathy," the pilots added.

The service conditions between the airline operators and their employees with regard to resignation is an internal airline matter. That has not stopped the DGCA from coming up with regulations requiring pilots to give at least six months' notice before resigning from an airline. The same has been increased to one year now, which is under challenge in the Delhi High Court.

"It effectively forces a pilot to keep working in an airline while obviously unsatisfied. This has no bearing with the safety of the travelling public or arguably affects it negatively, a fact which has not deterred DGCA from abusing its oversight," the pilots said.

The pilots added that the DGCA is currently headed by an IAS officer. But the aviation industry is unique and highly technical and cannot be treated like a generic government department.

"At the helm of DGCA there must be a technocrat with relevant experience and qualifications. Without this crucial reform, no amount of restructuring will change the way DGCA operates," the pilots said.

Although the DGCA is an arm of the Civil Aviation Ministry, it must have complete operational independence to exercise objective oversight on civil aviation in India. It cannot be the judge, jury and executioner at the same time, the pilots said.

Any technical legislation proposed by the DGCA must be based on credible scientific research to be made available in the public domain. It is important to comply with the ICAO recommendations but at the same time, regulations must be tailored to the Indian aviation scenario, which is not possible by cherry picking other regulators, the pilots maintained.

Once a new legislation is issued by the DGCA, there must be a dedicated team to get it running smoothly and amend the regulations to address any unforeseen issues by closely working with all the affected stakeholders.

This team must actively seek feedback and review the on ground effectiveness ofthese regulation periodically to tackle emerging issues and keep legislation up to date, the pilots said.

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