NRIs in UAE seek exemption from self-paid covid tests on arrival in India

Agencies
February 25, 2021

Indian expats' plea for COVID-19 test exemption on arrival back home  gathers steam | Uae – Gulf News

Dubai, Feb 25: Indian expats in the UAE are seeking exemption from the self-paid Covid-19 tests for passengers on their arrival in India, saying it would be an added burden for those returning home after losing their jobs during the ongoing pandemic, according to a media report.

In a plea, the expats have urged the Indian government to fund the RT-PCR test on arrival in India and exemption for children below 12 years from getting tested twice- in the UAE and India. Various community groups and social workers have supported the plea, the Gulf News reported.

India has since February 23 made it mandatory for passengers to produce the negative report of the RT-PCR tests taken within 72 hours before their departure to India.

The passengers are also required to undergo self-paid confirmatory molecular test on arrival in India.

The on-arrival test cost would be an additional burden for several Indian families flying home, Ashraf Thamarassery, a prominent social worker and winner of India’s Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award for NRIs, said.

“There are many people, who have lost jobs, flying back home. There are families with four or five members leaving the UAE. Also, how can people, who are leaving after staying without any documents and financial cases, pay this amount? Those who came on visit visa looking for jobs will also be affected,” Thamarassery was quoted as saying in the report.

He said the Indian government should urgently address the issue and help fund the tests.

He said that the people coming to the UAE are also tested on arrival but the government is bearing the cost of testing passengers of all nationalities.

K V Shamsudheen, who runs Sharjah-based Pravasi Bandhu Welafre Trust, said he has written a letter to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to stop the “self-paid” test on arrival.

Meanwhile, some expats are even delaying their journey to India hoping that the government would revise the rules, the news report said.

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News Network
March 31,2021

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India has slipped 28 places to rank 140th among 156 countries in the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Report 2021, becoming the third-worst performer in South Asia.

According to the report, India has closed 62.5 per cent of its gender gap till date.

The country had ranked 112th among 153 countries in the Global Gender Gap Index 2020.

Noting that the decline also took place on the economic participation and opportunity subindex, albeit to a lesser extent, the report said India's gender gap on this dimension widened by 3 per cent this year, leading to a 32.6 per cent gap closed till date.

Most of the decline occurred on the political empowerment subindex, where India regressed 13.5 percentage points, with a significant decline in the number of women ministers (from 23.1 per cent in 2019 to 9.1 per cent in 2021).

"Among the drivers of this decline is a decrease in women's labour force participation rate, which fell from 24.8 per cent to 22.3 per cent. In addition, the share of women in professional and technical roles declined further to 29.2 per cent. The share of women in senior and managerial positions also remains low: only 14.6 per cent of these positions are held by women and there are only 8.9 per cent firms with female top managers," the report said.

Further, the estimated earned income of women in India is only one-fifth of men's, which puts the country among the bottom 10 globally on this indicator, it said.

Discrimination against women is also reflected in the health and survival subindex statistics. With 93.7 per cent of this gap closed to date, India ranks among the bottom five countries in this subindex.

Wide gaps in sex ratio at birth are due to the high incidence of gender-based sex-selective practices. In addition, more than one in four women has faced intimate violence in her lifetime, the report said.

"Conversely, 96.2 per cent of the educational attainment subindex gender gap has been closed, with parity achieved in primary, secondary and tertiary education. Yet, gender gaps persist in terms of literacy: one third of women are illiterate (34.2 per cent) compared to 17.6 per cent of men," it added.

Among India's neighbours, Bangladesh ranked 65, Nepal 106, Pakistan 153, Afghanistan 156, Bhutan 130 and Sri Lanka 116.

Among regions, South Asia is the second-lowest performer on the index, with 62.3 per cent of its overall gender gap closed.

"Within the region, a wide gulf separates the best-performing country, Bangladesh, which has closed 71.9 per cent of its gender gap so far, from Afghanistan, which has only closed 44.4 per cent of its gap.

"India is the third-worst performer in the region, having closed 62.5 per cent of its gap. Because of its large population, India's performance has a substantial impact on the region's overall performance," the report said.

In South Asia, only Pakistan and Afghanistan ranked below India.

The report stated that India, home to 0.65 billion women, has widened its gender gap from almost 66.8 per cent one year ago to 62.5 per cent this year.

In Pakistan and Afghanistan, the income of an average woman is below 16 per cent of that of an average man, while in India it is 20.7 per cent, it said.

As the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic continues to be felt, the global gender gap has increased by a generation from 99.5 years to 135.6 years, the report noted.

Now in its 15th year, the report benchmarks the evolution of gender-based gaps in four areas: economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment. It also examines the drivers of gender gaps and outlines the policies and practices needed for a gender-inclusive recovery.

For the 12th time, Iceland is the most gender-equal country in the world. The top 10 most gender-equal countries include Finland, Norway, New Zealand, Rwanda, Sweden, Ireland and Switzerland.

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News Network
April 4,2021

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Hyderabad, Apr 4: Former India skipper and Hyderabad Cricket Association president, Mohammed Azharuddin on Sunday offered the state body's facilities to BCCI to host the upcoming IPL matches in case the games are shifted out of Covid-hit Mumbai.

The BCCI has decided to keep Indore and Hyderabad as stand by venues for the upcoming IPL beginning on April 9 following a massive surge in Covid-19 cases in Mumbai, which is scheduled to host 10 games.

The move came after 10 groundsmen of the Wankhede Stadium and a few event managers had tested positive for the deadly virus.

"In these difficult times there is all the more reasons for us to stand by each other. Hyderabad Cricket Association would like to offer its facilities to @BCCI to ensure that IPL2021 is conducted in safe and secure venues," Azharuddin wrote on his twitter handle.

Mumbai reported 9,108 new cases of coronavirus on Saturday and if things spiral out of control there could be a mini-lockdown.

However, a senior BCCI office-bearer on Saturday exuded confidence of hosting the games in Mumbai even if the situation worsens.

"Look, even if there is a lockdown, the teams are in bio-bubble and also it's a closed-door event. So we are still confident that IPL games in Mumbai will be held as per schedule with Delhi Capitals playing Chennai Super Kings on April 10 on the second day of the tournament," he had said.

"But Hyderabad and Indore are there on stand by in case the situation goes out of hand."

As of now, none of the teams currently in Mumbai -- Delhi Capitals, Mumbai Indians, Rajasthan Royals, Punjab Kings -- have access to the Wankhede Stadium.

The first match at the Wankhede is scheduled to be held on April 10, with last year's finalists Delhi Capitals taking on three-time champions Chennai Super Kings. 

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Agencies
April 5,2021

Riyadh, Apr 4: An Indian warship has arrived in Saudi Arabia to participate in a military exercise with the navy of the Gulf nation in reflection of multi-faceted bilateral defence cooperation.

An Indian Navy spokesperson said frigate INS Talwar arrived at the Jubail port of Saudi Arabia on Saturday.

"This visit underscores deep-rooted friendly ties and multi-faceted defence cooperation between India and Saudi Arabia," he said.

The official said the ship will be undertaking a passage exercise with Royal Saudi naval forces on its departure.

Another official said both sides are keen to expand maritime cooperation in sync with the overall deepening of defence and security cooperation.

The defence and security ties between India and Saudi Arabia are witnessing gradual expansion.

Chief of Army Staff General MM Naravane visited Saudi Arabia in December last in the first-ever visit by a head of the 13 lakh-strong Army to the strategically important Gulf nation.

General Naravane held extensive talks with senior military officials of Saudi Arabia with an aim to enhance bilateral defence cooperation.

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