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Ensure last-mile outreach through regional languages: PMO

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New Delhi, April 10 The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on Friday directed the Empowered Groups to ensure last-mile outreach through communication in regional languages amid the Union government’s ongoing efforts to fight the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Steps taken to ensure timely information dissemination throughout the country were also stressed by the PMO, which reviewed the preparations to counter the impact of the pandemic.

The issues related to supply chain and logistics management for availability of necessary items, efforts undertaken for the benefit of stakeholders involved, steps to assist farmers harvest their produce while maintaining social distancing, necessary confidence building measures required, and need to ensure percolation of guidelines of the Ministry of Home Affairs to the ground level were discussed.

Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary P.K. Mishra discussed these issues while chairing a meeting of the Empowered Groups of Officers to tackle the challenges emerging as a result of the spread of COVID-19 in India.

The meeting was the latest in a series of periodic reviews at various levels by the PMO to monitor the situation in which the Principal Secretary reviewed the efforts undertaken by the Empowered Groups.

The participants reviewed and expressed satisfaction on the detailed testing protocol and procedure, under which (as on date) 1,45,916 samples have been tested.

Noting that the production of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) is being ramped up and capacity building for healthcare personnel ensured and that NGOs and civil society groups are also being mobilized, Mishra suggested that coordination with NGOs at district level be done to avoid overlaps and ensure efficacious utilization of resources.

The meeting was told that all state Chief Secretaries were instructed to arrange for shelters for vulnerable groups like migrants and homeless.

The progress of the welfare measures rolled out through an economic relief package under PM Garib Kalyan Yojana was also reviewed.

The Principal Secretary underlined that data sanctity was important to ensure that the benefits reach to all intended beneficiaries.

On the technology and data management front, he expressed satisfaction on the rollout of Aarogya Setu app and said that the user engagement with the app needs to be enhanced.

The Centre on March 29 constituted 11 empowered groups for planning and ensuring implementation of Covid-19 response activities.

Each group will be handled by a group of senior government officials empowered to identify the problem areas and provide effective solutions, delineate policy, formulate plans, strategise operations and take necessary steps for effective and time-bound implementation of these plans, policies, strategies, decisions in their respective areas.

A total of 80 senior civil servants have been deputed in the 11 groups which may seek the guidance of the Cabinet Secretary.

India

Uttarakhand minister Covid positive, Congress asks cabinet to go into quarantine

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Suryakant Dhasmana
Uttarakhand Congress state Vice President Suryakant Dhasmana

Dehradun, May 31 : Hours after Uttarakhand Minister Satpal Maharaj tested positive for coronavirus, the state’s opposition Congress on Sunday sought that the state cabinet should go into quarantine as he had attended a cabinet meeting earlier this week.

“Very disturbing news, the whole Uttrakhand Cabinet including the Chief Minister may be quarentined (sic) as a Cabinet Minister who attended the Cabinet Meeting found Corona positive,” Congress state Vice President Suryakant Dhasmana said in a tweet.

Satpal Maharaj and at least two dozen of his family members and staff also tested positive, state officials said. This came a day after the minister’s wife Amrita Rawat, who had fever for the past few days, tested positive for coronavirus on Saturday.

What is worrying is that Satpal Maharaj, the state Tourism Minister, had attended a cabinet meeting on Friday where Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat and other ministers of the BJP government were present.

In a video on his Twitter handle, Dhasmana said: “I think the whole cabinet should go into quarantine and get themselves checked at the earliest as it is a matter of public welfare, of public health, of people’s health… so many of the state’s people, party leaders and officials, ministers come in contact.”

“I pray to God that no one else turns out to be infected… to stop this happening, this (quarantining) is necessary. We pray that the Chief Minister and his colleagues stay healthy, and Maharaj ji and his family come out victorious.”

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Mumbai cases cross 51K, Maha Covid death toll 2,286

The state’s containment zones decreased from 3,169 to 3,157 on Sunday and 18,490 health teams have carried out a survey of a population of around 70.1 lakhs in the state.

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Coronavirus outbreak

Mumbai, May 31 : The Mumbai region Covid-19 cases shot above the 51,000-mark on Sunday even as the state death toll reached 2,286, with 89 fatalities – down by 27 from the highest 116 deaths recorded on May 29 – health officials said.

Sunday’s toll includes a whopping 70 deaths in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region alone – the worst-hit in the country, besides 2,487 new positive cases recorded in the state.

This comes to roughly one death every 16 minutes, and an average 104 new cases notched every hour, in the state.

Maharashtra has been recording 75-plus fatalities and new patients over 2,000 daily for the past six consecutive days, with the last highest figure of 3,041 infections on May 24.

With 89 fatalities, the state death toll has touched 2,286 while the total number of Coronavirus patients increased from Saturday’s 65,168 to 67,655 on Sunday.

The health department said of the total number of cases declared till date, 36,031 were active, an increase of 1,150 over Saturday’s 34,881.

The state has notched a recovery rate of 43.35 per cent and a mortality (death) rate of 3.37 per cent, with the patient doubling time improving to 17.5 days over last week’s 11.3 days, against the national average of 15.7 days.

Of the total 89 fatalities on Sunday, 52 were recorded in Mumbai alone, taking the city deaths up from Saturday’s 1,227 to 1,279 now, while the number of Covid-19 positive patients here shot up by 1,244 cases to touch 39,686 now.

Besides Mumbai’s 52 deaths, there were 18 fatalities in Thane (Navi Mumbai, Thane, Kalyan-Dombivali), 9 in Pune, 6 in Nashik (Malegaon), 2 Solapur, and one each in Osmanabad and Yavatmal.

The victims comprised 46 men and 43 women, and nearly 63 per cent of them suffered from other serious ailments such as diabetes, hypertension, heart problems and asthma.

On the positive side, a total of 1,248 fully cured patients returned home on Sunday, taking the number of those discharged from 28,081 to 29,329.

Maharashtra announced a gradual easing of the lockdown from June 1 under #MissionBeginAgain, with specified activities permitted in phases, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said in an address to the state on Sunday.

Spelling out cheers for Bollywood, film shootings of all types have been permitted with a set of guidelines, while doorstep delivery of newspapers will also start shortly.

The MMR continued to cause grave concerns with 1,548 Covid-19 deaths and positive cases shooting past the 50K mark to touch 51,397.

Though trailing a distant second after Mumbai, Pune Division fatalities touched 415, besides 9,339 patients.

The next major area of concern is Nashik Division with 163 deaths and 2,046 positive cases, followed by Aurangabad Division with 66 fatalities and 1,838 cases, and finally Akola Division with 48 deaths and 1,010 cases.

There’s Latur Division with 10 deaths and 356 cases, Kolhapur Division with 10 deaths and 866 patients, and finally Nagpur Division with 11 deaths and 744 cases.

Meanwhile, the number of people sent to home-quarantine increased from Saturday’s 551,660 to 558,100 on Sunday, and those in institutional quarantine decreased by 940 to 34,480.

In yet another relieving news, there are as many as 72,704 beds available for quarantine in the state.

The state’s containment zones decreased from 3,169 to 3,157 on Sunday and 18,490 health teams have carried out a survey of a population of around 70.1 lakhs in the state.

(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at [email protected])

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There will be more packages for Atmanirbhar Bharat: BJP MP

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Rajeev Chandrashekhar,

Thiruvananthapuram, May 31 : BJP MP Rajeev Chandrashekhar on Sunday said that there will be more packages from the Centre for Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhyan.

Chandrashekhar, who is also the vice-chairman of the BJP-led NDA in Kerala, said this while speaking at a Webinar organized jointly by the Centre for Policy and Development Studies and the Kerala unit of Swadeshi Jagaran Manch.

Chandrashekhar said that this is a challenge as well as opportunity for the people to develop their productivity and output.

“Our Prime Minister had inherited an economy which was in total mess in 2014 and had taken almost four years to bring it to a somewhat better position. But now the Covid pandemic has created total destruction to the global economy and India is no exception,” said the BJP leader.

The senior BJP leader said that the MSMEs and other sectors should make use of the packages announced by the government.

“The manner in which business will develop in the future has to be contemplated. It will be totally different from what the society is used to. International investment and business will come to the country only after a proper environment of conducting business is developed and the PM is working hard to provide such a conducive environment for doing business,” said Chandrashekhar.

He also cautioned that different sectors are affected in different ways by the Covid pandemic and added that the hospitality and airline sector will never be like what it used to be before the Covid days, at least for a year.

He also opined that the Kerala model of development is not sustainable and added that only a resilient society can survive such times and added that Kerala’s dependence on deposits should have to change for a resilient economy.

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