Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha pass ‘Farm Laws Repeal Bill 2021’ amid ruckus

News Network
November 29, 2021

New Delhi, Nov 29: The Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha on Monday passed the "Farm Laws Repeal Bill 2021" to repeal the three contentious farms laws enacted in 2020, against which various farm organizations have been carrying out widespread protests for the past one year.

The bill, which was tabled by Union Minister for Agriculture Narendra Singh Tomar, seeks to repeal the three farm laws - (1)Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; (2) Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020; and (3)Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020.

The bill was passed through a voice vote. Though opposition MPs belonging to Congress, TMC and DMK demanded a discussion, the bill was passed without any discussion.

The Statement of Objects and Reasons of the Farm Laws Repeal Bills noted that "even though only a group of farmers are protesting against these laws, the government has tried hard to sensitise the farmers on the importance of the Farm Laws and explain the merits through several meetings and other forums."

These laws, enacted by the Parliament in September 2020, have been stoutly opposed by several farmers organizations. Several farmers groups across the nation have been holding widespread protests and agitations for over a year since the passing of these laws demanding that they be scrapped.

On November 19, in a special address to the nation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced that the Centre will take steps to repeal the three farm laws in the upcoming winter session of the Parliament.

In January 2021, the Supreme Court had stayed the implementation of these laws until further orders, to facilitate a process of negotiation between the Centre and the protesting groups. The Supreme Court had also constituted a committee to hold the talks. However, the leaders of the farmers unions boycotted the committee.

The main grievance raised by the farmers is that the laws will result in the dismantling of the state-run Agricultural Produce Marketing Committees, and will disrupt the Minimum Support Price mechanism. The protesting farmers fear that the laws will pave the way for corporate exploitation. A batch of petitions have been filed in the Supreme Court challenging the validity of these farm laws and also questioning the competence of the Parliament in enacting the same.

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News Network
January 10,2022

UAE has announced a travel ban on unvaccinated citizens from January 10.

The National Crisis & Emergency Management Authority and Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation said that fully vaccinated citizens will also need to get the Covid-19 booster dose.

Those who are unable to take the vaccine because of medical reasons are exempted from the decision.

The announcement is in line with the country’s vision in the recovery phase of the pandemic and enhancing national efforts in all sectors, due to the global epidemiological situation and the current high rate of infections, to preserve the health and safety of citizens.

The ministry also stressed the requirement to receive the booster dose for vaccinated citizens as per the national protocol on travel.

Travel is permitted for unvaccinated citizens of the following categories, citizens medically exempted from taking the vaccine, humanitarian cases, and individuals traveling from medical and treatment purposes.

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News Network
January 8,2022

New Delhi, Jan 8: The country was put on election mode on Saturday, one of the crucial sets before the next Lok Sabha polls, with the Election Commission on Saturday announcing the voting schedule for Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa between February 10 and March 7.

>>  Uttar Pradesh will have seven-phase polls – February 10, 14, 20, 23, 27, March 3 and 7 

>> Manipur will have two phases – February 27 and March 3. 

>> Punjab, Uttarakhand and Goa will have a single-phase poll on February 14.

The counting of votes in all the five states will be held on March 10, Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra told a press conference.

The polls will have an impact on the destiny of the Opposition, especially the Congress, ahead of the 2024 elections while the BJP would be hoping to cement its confidence with an overwhelming victory in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur where it now rules and possibly help in overthrowing its principal national opponent in Punjab if not winning it.

The results could also have an impact on the Presidential and Vice Presidential elections in July-August this year as a decrease in numbers could make it difficult for the ruling BJP. It will also have an impact in Rajya Sabha as 15 MPs from Uttar Pradesh and Punjab are retiring in July.

The BJP is hoping to retain the four states it is ruling – two of which were managed through engineering large-scale defections from Congress in Goa and Manipur despite it emerging as the single largest party in the 2017 edition of Assembly polls.

For the BJP, a victory in the 403-member Uttar Pradesh Assembly will be crucial though surveys in the previous months had shown that the BJP was sliding from the 312 seats it won in the 2017 elections though it was ahead of the halfway mark. Samajwadi Party, which has stitched alliances with smaller parties, has emerged as the main challenger while Congress is banking on Priyanka Gandhi’s women-centric campaign to improve its tally.

Punjab is where the Congress is pinning its hope where it hopes to retain power after shunting out Amarinder Singh, who the party felt was growing unpopular, and replacing with Dalit leader Charanjit Singh Channi. AAP is emerging as a major challenger while Akali Dal is working hard to regain its lost glory even as BJP has joined hands with Amarinder to restrict Congress.

Uttarakhand too is on Congress radar with its veteran leader Harish Rawat, who was sulking over the leadership role, has taken charge of the campaign to oust the BJP, which had changed three Chief Ministers in five states. Congress expects Goa, where 15 of its 17 MLAs defected to BJP and other parties, would also land in its kitty with growing anti-incumbency against the Pramod Sawant-led BJP government but the entry of Trinamool Congress has queered the pitch for the Opposition.

The BJP is growing in confidence in Manipur where it rules after engineering defections in Congress after the 2017 polls. Congress is yet to gather its act together in the north-eastern state.

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News Network
January 14,2022

India's Covid-19 cases surged further on Friday as the nation reported 2,64,202 new Covid-19 infections, 6.7 per cent higher than yesterday, according to the Union Health Ministry data.

With today's spike, the nation's total tally of Covid-19 cases jumped to 3,65,82,129 which includes 5,753 cases of the Omicron variant, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Friday. There has been a 4.83 per cent increase in Omicron cases since Thursday.

The  active cases have increased to 12,72,073, the highest in 220 days, while the death toll has climbed to 4,85,350 with 315 fresh fatalities.

The  active cases comprises 3.48 per cent of the total infections, while the national Covid-19 recovery rate has decreased to 95.20 per cent, the ministry said.

A total 2,76,110 coronavirus infections were reported in a single day on May 19.

An increase of 1,54,542 cases has been recorded in the active Covid-19 caseload in a span of  24 hours.

The daily positivity rate was recorded at 14.78 per cent while the weekly positivity rate was recorded at 11.83 per cent, according to the ministry.

The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 3,48,24,706, while the case fatality rate  was recorded at 1.33 per cent. 

The cumulative doses administered in the country so far under the nationwide Covid-19 vaccination drive has exceeded 155.39 crore.

While Omicron represents a new virus evolutionarily different from the Delta or previous variants, experts believe that the third wave is largely following the migratory pattern of the previous two waves.

Speaking on Thursday at a panel discussion titled Variants, Vaccines and Us, virologist Dr V Ravi, a member of Karnataka's Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), noted that the outbreak will potentially peak in the city by the end of the month, before moving to other districts.

India's Covid-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7, 2020, 30 lakh on August 23, 40 lakh on September 5 and 50 lakh on September 16. It went past 60 lakh on September 28, 70 lakh on October 11, crossed 80 lakh on October 29, 90 lakh on November 20 and surpassed the one-crore mark on December 19. 

India crossed the grim milestone of two crore on May 4 and three crore on June 23. 

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