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LIVE Railway Budget 2016:Suresh Prabhu unveils plan to modernise train services

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Looking to modernise the railways and providing better facilities,Union railway minister Suresh Prabhu presents Railway budget for 2016-17 in Parliament on Thursday.

This year’s Railway Budget may unveil a large-scale modernisation plan.The Railway ministry may likely focus on the revamp of rail infrastructure and upgrading its facilities. Around Rs 1.25 lakh crore could be set aside for the same, according to the Economic Times. This amount could be utilized in improving railway safety, electrification and new trains.

Commuters can also expect some new trains this year. The government may introduce proposals in order to improve connectivity between Mumbai and the suburbs, according to media reports. Projects connecting Airoli-Kalwa, Panvel-Diva-Vasai-Virar may also get a push.

In a green move which will also see it cut down on expenses, the Railway Ministry will be using 12 lakh A4 sheets less in presenting its Budget for the next fiscal, relying on IT tools instead to convey the information.

Facing resource crunch, Railways is said to be mulling the possibility of effecting a 5 to 10 per cent increase in the passenger fares in the coming budget.

Railways had effected a 14 per cent across-the-board hike in passenger fares in 2014 during the NDA regime and a 10 per cent increase last year.

Railways’ total earnings from freight and passenger fares were Rs 1,36,079.26 cr until January this year as against the target of Rs 141,416.05 cr, a shortfall of 3.77 per cent.

Changes in ticketing policy such as 50 per cent refund on Tatkal cancellations and no limit in ticket bookings for travellers are some of the suggestions made by the people to be incorporated in Railway Budget 2016-17 in a survey.

Citizens have also raised concerns over bribes taken by TTEs and misuse of emergency quota and sought it to be addressed in the survey called “Make Railways Better” conducted by LocalCircle.

Cities

Unlock 1.0: Status quo for DTC, restaurants in Delhi

For marriage related gatherings, maximum 50 guests are allowed. For funeral or last rites related gatherings maximum 20 persons are allowed, it added.

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New Delhi, June 1 : As the Delhi government on Monday issued guidelines for ‘Unlock 1.0’, it maintained status quo for restaurants, permitted to operate kitchens for home delivery and takeaway of food items, and DTC with not more than 20 passengers at a time.

In an order, signed by Delhi Chief Secretary Vijay Dev, the Delhi Disaster Management Authority extended the lockdown period in the containment zones in the national capital up to June 30, while allowing some more relaxations across the city outside containment zones. Dev, in his capacity as Chairperson, State Executive Committee, said all private as well as government offices will be permitted to function in full strength.

“However, for private offices, as far as possible, the practice of work from home should be followed,” it said.

The order said restaurants will be permitted to operate kitchens for home delivery and takeaway of food items.

The government allowed the intra-state movement of buses — DTC as well as cluster — with the condition that not more than 20 passengers shall be allowed at one time inside.

Before entering into the bus, each passenger will be screened through a thermal gun on ”best effort” basis.

“The Transport Department shall deploy an adequate number of bus marshals inside each bus at all times for maintaining social distancing inside the bus and restricting the number of passengers to 20,” the order said.

The transportation of passengers, other than by buses, shall also be allowed. “After disembarking every passenger, the driver should disinfect the passenger sitting area.”

For shops and markets, the order said all markets and market complexes will remain open.

“Social distancing (2 Gaz ki doori) will be maintained in all cases. If social distancing is not maintained by any shop, then the said shop shall be liable to be closed in view of public health hazard involved in containing the spread of Covid-19 pandemic and the shopkeeper shall also be liable for prosecution under the relevant laws,” the order said.

It said the industrial establishments will be permitted to function.

“Construction activities shall be permitted wherever the workers are available on site or could be transported to the site from within Delhi.”

For marriage related gatherings, maximum 50 guests are allowed. For funeral or last rites related gatherings maximum 20 persons are allowed, it added.

The order said the RWAs cannot prevent any person from performing their services and duties which has been permitted under these guidelines.

The order said the containment zones lockdown will continue to remain in force in the containment zones till June 30.

“In the containment zones, only essential activities shall be allowed. There shall be strict perimeter control to ensure that there is no movement of people in or out of these zones except for medical emergencies and for maintaining supply of essential goods and services.”

In the containment zones, there should be intensive contact tracing, house-to-house surveillance and other clinical interventions, as required by guidelines of Union Health Ministry.

“All other activities will be permitted, except those which are specifically prohibited. However, in containment zones, only essential activities shall be allowed,” the order said.

Also, persons above 65 years of age with comorbidities, pregnant women and children below the age of 10 years are advised to stay at home, except for essential and health purposes, it added.

The order said that there will be unrestricted movement of persons and goods within Delhi and no separate permission will be required for these movements.

“In view of the current public health situation in Delhi, the inter-state movement of non-residents of Delhi, into the territory of Delhi shall be allowed only on the production of e-passes issued for essential services or in case of emergent circumstances by authorities of respective State, UT or District Magistrates of Delhi. However, government employees shall be allowed on the production of Government ID cards,” it said.

However, the movement by passenger trains and flights will continue to be regulated as per the SOPs issued.

The order also said that Aarogya Setu enables early identification of potential risk of infection and thus acts as a shield for individuals and the community and advises its use.

–IANS

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Disaster

First case of community transmission reported in Goa: Health Minister

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Panaji, June 1 : Goa reported its first instance of community transmission on Monday, with five persons from a family based in South Goa’s Vasco town, including two minor boys and a pregnant woman, as well as the family’s physician testing positive for Covid-19.

Speaking to reporters Health Minister Vishwajit Rane said, that the area in which the family resided, needed to be treated as a containment zone.

“There is local transmission in Goa (now). I feel it is necessary to declare this as a containment zone,” Rane said, adding that efforts were being made to reach out to people who were in contact of the family as well as the doctor.

Rane also said, that the first person to test positive from the family had travelled outside the state on fish procurement business. The infection was passed on to the rest of the family members.

“He was a fisherman who used to bring fish from outside the state. We are tracking this. Since even the doctor is positive, we have to track everything and cordon off the area. For about 14 days, we will be testing persons from the area,” Rane said.

Rane also said, that a spurt in community transmission could create load on the state”s health infrastructure.

“It is a case of local transmission. Across the country too there is community transmission. Goa can”t be isolated,” the Health Minister said.

“There will be a load on our facilities. We will take steps. This is our first instance (of community transmission). It is my view that containment zone have to be created. And if there are more cases the containment zone will have to expanded,” he said.

With the new spurt in cases, Goa”s tally of active Covid-19 patients in 32.

–IANS

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Delhi has 6,670 Covid beds, around 4k vacant: Govt

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New Delhi, June 1 : The Delhi government has arranged for 6,670 Covid beds across the city with only 2,692 occupied as of Monday morning, as per the data provided by the government in its ‘Delhi corona’ mobile app.

The mobile app, to be launched on Tuesday officially, says as of Monday morning, 58 private hospitals were offering Covid beds, however, 52 of these have zero occupancy.

It says a total of 6,670 Covid beds are ready with 2,692 occupied while 3,978 vacant.

At least seven government hospitals — including central and the city — were offering 3,916 beds, of which 1,862 beds were vacant.

“Till 9 a.m. on Monday, total 2,054 beds were occupied in the seven government hospitals,” the data said.

Among the six private hospitals having patients were — Max Hospital offering 225 beds with 197 occupied. Indraprastha Apollo hospital offers 144 beds and 117 are occupied as of Monday morning.

Sir Ganga Ram City and Kolmet Hospitals offer 120 and 42 beds respectively, and of these 106 and 33 beds are occupied.

The other private hospitals offering dedicated facilities are — Maa Durga Charitable Trust (81 of 100 beds occupied) and Batra (61 of 66 beds occupied).

As per the data, Delhi has a total 302 ventilators, with 38 occupied till Monday morning.

On Saturday, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the government is developing a mobile app to give information on beds and ventilators availability in the city government hospitals and it will be launched on Monday.

However, on Monday, he said it will be launched on Tuesday. Speaking to the media, he said while the health infrastructure in Delhi has been made adequate, family members of coronavirus patients are still confused about where to take them for treatment.

“They are not sure about the beds and ventilators available in the hospitals. For the convenience of the people and to eliminate such issues, we are developing an app that will be launched on Monday,” he said.

–IANS

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