‘Fake news’: Health Ministry on rejecting covid-19 vaccine shot approval

Agencies
December 9, 2020

New Delhi, Dec 9: India's health ministry rejected reports on Wednesday that the country's drugs regulator had declined emergency authorisation for the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine candidate and one developed locally by Bharat Biotech.

Broadcasters NDTV and CNBC-TV18 reported that India's Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) had sought more data from the drugmakers after deliberating on applications made in the past three days.

A source with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters that a decision on the vaccines would be taken "in toto" and it was too early to say whether they would be rejected or accepted.

India's health ministry denied the reports in a statement on Twitter. The government had said on Tuesday that some vaccines may be approved in the coming weeks.

The Serum Institute of India, which is the local manufacturer of the AstraZeneca vaccine, only applied for emergency approval on Monday.

The SII did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Bharat Biotech declined to comment. The CDSCO did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

NDTV said the CDSCO did not consider a similar application from Pfizer Inc because their US experts could not attend the Wednesday meeting. 

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Agencies
January 14,2021

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New Delhi, Jan 14: Petrol and diesel prices on Thursday were hiked by 25 paise per litre each, the second straight day of increase in rates that took the prices to new highs.

Petrol now costs Rs 84.70 per litre in Delhi and diesel is priced at Rs 74.88, according to a price notification from oil marketing companies.

This is the second straight day of a price increase. Rates were hiked by 25 paise each on Wednesday after a five-day hiatus.

In Mumbai, the price of petrol was increased to Rs 91.32 a litre from Rs 91.07 previously, while diesel rates went up from Rs 81.34 to Rs 81.60 per litre.

Petrol price is at a record high in Delhi and is just a shy away from the highest ever rate of Rs 91.34 in Mumbai.

Diesel price in Mumbai is at an all-time high.

State-owned fuel retailers -- Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) -- had on January 6, resumed daily price revision after nearly a month-long hiatus.

Rates were hiked on two consecutive days - totalling 49 paise for petrol and 51 paise for diesel - before they hit a pause button again.

The price increase cycle resumed on Wednesday, after international oil prices rose to their highest level since February 2020, before the coronavirus outbreak in China began spreading across the world, forcing lockdowns that shaved off demand.

Rates, however, eased a bit on Thursday with Brent down 11 cents to USD 55.95 per barrel while NYMEX light sweet crude was down 10 cents at USD 52.81.

The highest ever rate of diesel in Delhi was touched on October 4, 2018, when it touched Rs 75.45 a litre mark. On that day petrol was priced at Rs 84. In Mumbai, the highest level for petrol was also on the same day when it scaled to Rs 91.34.

The government had responded to the situation in October 2018, by cutting excise duty on petrol and diesel by Rs 1.50 per litre in a bid to ease inflationary pressure and boost consumer confidence. Alongside, state-owned fuel retailers cut prices by another Re 1 a litre, which they recouped later.

Though petrol and diesel rates are to be revised on a daily basis in line with benchmark international price and foreign exchange, government-controlled fuel retailers have been moderating rates since the pandemic broke out.

This after they adjusted a Rs 13 per litre hike in excise duty on petrol and Rs 15 a litre on diesel, against a decrease in the retail selling price that was warranted by crude oil prices falling to an average of USD 19 per barrel in April.

Excise duty totals Rs 32.98 per litre in petrol and Rs 31.83 in diesel. VAT in Delhi totals to Rs 19.32 a litre on petrol and Rs 10.85 on diesel.

With international oil prices rebounding from the lows of April, retail rates in India too were revised. Since May 2020, petrol price has risen by Rs 15.04 per litre and diesel by Rs 12.59 a litre, price notifications of oil companies showed. 

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News Network
January 19,2021

Bengaluru, Jan 19: The resentment over the expansion of the B S Yediyurappa Ministry in Karnataka refused to die down with a couple of ruling BJP MLAs on Tuesday demanding that the cabinet be reconstituted to make way for new faces. 

Six-time MLA from Chitradurga G H Thippareddy and Shivanagouda Naik, representing Devadurga constituency, pitched for a new look to the cabinet. They made the demand even as Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa is yet to allocate portfolios to seven Ministers who were inducted on January 13.

 The much-awaited expansion had led to resentment with several BJP MLAs expressing reservations over MLCs not elected by people being made Ministers, lack of representation to many regions and seniority not being considered. 

Yediyurappa had earlier asked sulking BJP leaders to take up the matter with the national leadership and urged them to refrain from making any remarks affecting the party. 

"Three times when our party came to power, the same people have become Ministers. Looking at the performance of some people (Ministers) and the way they have handled the portfolios, let cabinet be reconstituted and new people are given a chance," Thippareddy told reporters here on Tuesday. 

Giving a chance to new people, who through their work will bring a good name to the party and the government, the BJP leadership's target of winning 150 seats in the next assembly elections could be achieved, he said. 

Naik claimed several MLAs from across the state were of the view that all current ministers should be dropped and they be used for party work so that it comes back to power in 2023 elections. Representation should be given to all the districts and considering the MLAs’ loyalty to the party and seniority, he added. 

Meanwhile Chief Minister's political secretary M P Renukacharya, MLA, who is upset about missing a ministerial berth, is in Delhi for the second time to meet the party central leadership. He had last week met BJP General Secretary in-charge of the state Arun Singh in the national capital. Speaking to reporters, Renukacharya said he had come to Delhi on a call from a central leader, but did not reveal whom he met and what was discussed. 

"I don't want to reveal any thing, it's my duty to maintain secrecy. I have held discussions, but have not come here to complain about someone...." he added. Ending a long wait, Yediyurappa had expanded his 17- month old cabinet on January 13, inducting seven ministers and dropped Excise Minister H Nagesh from the ministry. 

Amid talks of reallocation of departments, how Yediyurappa manages the exercise would be keenly watched as several Ministers, including the new inductees, are looking for plum portfolios. While a few Ministers have two portfolios, as many as 11 departments, including Bengaluru Development and Energy, are with the chief minister in addition to Finance.

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News Network
January 11,2021

Ankola, Jan 11: Union Minister of State for Defence Shripad Yesso Naik was injured, while his wife and Secretary died on the spot when their car overturned at Hosakumbi in Ankola taluk on Monday.

Condition of the Minister was stated to be critical.

Naik was traveling with his wife, driver, and others from Goa to Yellapur when the driver lost control over the steering and the car overturned.

Minister's wife Vijaya and his Secretary Deepak died on the spot.

Naik, who was injured, was rushed to a Hospital in Goa, after first aid in a local hospital.

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