With spike of 37,724 cases, India's COVID-19 tally reaches 11,92,915

News Network
July 22, 2020

New Delhi, Jul 22: With a spike of 37,724 cases and 648 deaths reported in the last 24 hours, the total number of COVID-19 cases in India stands at 11,92,915, according to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

The total number of cases includes 4,11,133 active cases, 7,53,050 cured/discharged/migrated and 28,732 deaths, the Health Ministry informed.

Maharashtra remains the worst affected state with 3,27,031 cases and 12,276 deaths.
The second worst-hit state, Tamil Nadu has reported 1,80,643 COVID-19 cases so far while Delhi has reported 1,25,096 cases, according to the Ministry.

Other states that have witnessed a higher number of COVID-19 positive cases include, Andhra Pradesh with 58,668 cases, Karnataka with 71,069 while Telangana has reported 47,705 COVID-19 positive cases.

Meanwhile, as per the information provided by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the total number of samples tested up to July 21 is 1,47,24, 546 including 3,43,243 samples tested yesterday.

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Agencies
September 23,2020

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New Delhi, Sept 23: Junior Railways Minister Suresh Angadi has died nearly two weeks after he tested positive for coronavirus infection. He was admitted to AIIMS in Delhi after his condition worsened. He was the first Union Minister and the fourth MP to die due to COVID-19 infection.

Born in 1955, the BJP leader from Belgaum district in Karnataka has held several positions in the party in his long political career. He started as BJP vice president in Belgaum in 1996, and worked his way up.

He was elected MP in the Lok Sabha election in 2004, and again in 2009. He was elected for a third term in 2014, when the BJP came to power in the centre, and for a fourth term in the general election last year, after which he was made Union Minister of State for Railways.

President Ram Nath Kovind tweeted, "Shocked to know the passing away of Shri Suresh Angadi, Union Minister of State of Railways. An amiable leader Shri Angadi worked tirelessly for the people of his constituency, Belagavi and Karnataka."

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also tweeted his condolences.

"Shri Suresh Angadi was an exceptional Karyakarta, who worked hard to make the Party strong in Karnataka. He was a dedicated MP and effective Minister, admired across the spectrum. His demise is saddening. My thoughts are with his family and friends in this sad hour. Om Shanti," PM Modi tweeted.

Former Prime Minister and Janata Dal (Secular) chief HD Deve Gowda tweeted, "I am shocked and deeply saddened by the demise of Union Minister of State for Railways and four-term MP from Belagavi Shri. Suresh Angadi. He was like a younger brother to me. I feel terrible losing him. This is an unbearable loss to our nation."

Mr Angadi was a law graduate. He is survived by his wife and two daughters.

India has been reporting coronavirus cases upwards of 70,000 daily for the past few weeks. Other MPs who have died due to coronavirus infection are H Vasanthkumar, Ashok Gasti and Balli Durga Prasad Rao.

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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 30,2020

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New Delhi, Sep 30 : Fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya’s United Breweries (Holding) Ltd on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that it had offered over Rs 14,000 crore to various banks to settle its dues and that the company’s assets exceeded its total debt.

Senior advocate C.S. Vaidyanathan, appearing for United Breweries, submitted before a bench comprising Justices U.U. Lalit, Vineet Saran and S. Ravindra Bhat that the response of the banks had been received.

He contended that since the company’s assets exceeded the total debt, it was not the case wherein the company should be directed to wind up.

He insisted that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had attached many assets of the company, as a result of which none was available to the banks.

“The total amount offered is over Rs 14,000 crore whereas the total due amount is Rs 6,203 crore plus interest. But the allocation has been only Rs 430 crore,” Vaidyanathan contended.

He added that not a single attached property had been actually attached by the ED since 2009.

Vaidyanathan said that the petitioner was the guarantor though the loans were taken by Kingfisher and others.

The submissions were made during hearing of United Breweries’ plea to challenge the Karnataka High Court order to uphold the winding-up of the company.

The counsel submitted that not a single asset had been acquired since 2009 when bank loans were allegedly siphoned off overseas. In response, Justice Lalit queried: “Has the attachment order been challenged?”

The counsel said that an appeal was filed in the Prevention of Money Laundering Act Tribunal, adding that they were told that the attachment order was for satisfying debts and the bulk of assets were in the form of shares.

He argued that the PMLA probe revealed that a major part of the total money sanctioned by the IDBI Bank was remitted outside India, and used for payments for aircraft and spare parts.

The investigation concluded that IDBI loans were not backed by marketable commodities, while orders for provisional attachment were passed on the ground of involvement in money-laundering, Vaidyanathan said.

Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing the State Bank of India, submitted that the appeal was devoid of merits.

In the last hearing, the apex court had queried whether a company’s attached assets could be considered for liquidation for the settlement of debt. The bench will hear the matter on Thursday.

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