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New unlock guidelines: States free to decide on schools reopening after Oct 15

Higher Education Institutions, only for research scholars and post-graduate students in science and technology streams that require laboratory or experimental work will be permitted to open from October 15.

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New Delhi : The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Wednesday left it to the states and union territories to decide on reopening of schools and coaching institutions after October 15 in a graded manner.

Earlier, schools were partially reopened from September 21 in compliance with Unlock 4 guidelines.

In fresh guidelines for further reopening of the country amid the pandemic, the MHA stated, “For re-opening of schools and coaching institutions, State and UT Governments have been given the flexibility to take a decision after 15th October 2020, in a graded manner. The decision shall be taken in consultation with the respective school or institution management, based on their assessment of the situation.”

The ministry, however, clarified that online or distance learning will continue to be the preferred mode of teaching and should be encouraged. “Where schools are conducting online classes, and some students prefer to attend online classes rather than physically attend school, they may be permitted to do so.”

The guidelines added, “Students may attend schools or institutions only with the written consent of parents. Attendance must not be enforced and must depend entirely on parental consent.”

States and UTs have been asked to prepare their own standard operating procedures (SOP) regarding health and safety precautions for reopening of schools and institutions based on the guidelines to be issued by the Department of School Education and Literacy under the Ministry of Education.

“Schools, which are allowed to open, will have to mandatorily follow the SOP to be issued by Education Departments of States and UTs. The Department of Higher Education (DHE), Ministry of Education may take a decision on the timing of the opening of colleges and higher education institutions, in consultation with the MHA,” it added.

Higher Education Institutions, only for research scholars and post-graduate students in science and technology streams that require laboratory or experimental work will be permitted to open from October 15.

“For centrally funded higher education institutions, the Head of Institution will satisfy herself or himself that there is a genuine requirement of research scholars and post-graduate students in science and technology stream for laboratory or experimental works,a the fresh guidelines further added.

For all other Higher Education Institutions like State Universities, private universities etc., they may open only for research scholars and postgraduate students in science and technology stream requiring laboratory or experimental works as per decision to be taken by the respective State and UT Governments.

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Thinnest crowd, sans guest: Covid hurts RSS’ biggest event

Like other years, there were no ceremonial band playing or marches. Bhagwat simply offered his floral tribute to Hedgewar, RSS founder and did ‘Shastra puja’.

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Mohan Bhagwat RSS Chief

New Delhi: The foundation day of BJP’s ideological mentor, thee RSS on this Vijaya Dashami has been unique.

The Sangh’s single largest annual event that usually witnesses hundreds and thousands of cadres systematically assembling at the ground to listen to the Sarsanghchalak was missing.

In fact, to Bhagwta’s own admission, this year it was the thinnest crowd ever — apart from the day of its inception.

This time the RSS annual event that takes place on a sprawling ground in Nagpur, took place inside an auditorium where a handful of cadres were seated with adequate physical distancing, given the pandemic situation.

“This is probably the first time in Sangh’s history since its foundation day that a RSS Vijaya Dashami program has been organised with such a restricted low number. We have done this keeping in view the COVID protocol,” Bhagwat said at the outset.

While he paid tributes to the front line workers who lost their lives fighting the virus and urged all to be mindful of the persistent threat, one couldn’t help but notice that there was no Chief Guest this year. It was also done amid the pandemic in a stark departure from tradition.

Each year, some one of prominence is invited to lecture on this biggest annual RSS event. Former President Pranab Mukherjee created a row when he agreed to be the chief guest of this event in 2018. Last year, it was HCL’s Shiv Nadar. Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, and Union Ministers Nitin Gadkari, Gen V.K. Singh were also among the other guests present at the address. However, 2020 was an odd one out when no one special was invited.

Meanwhile, given it was a small inside arrangement, the stage too was very small in comparison to the mammoth stage that is erected each year on the ground. Only 4 individuals, including Bhagwat were present on stage this time — all wearing a mask.

Only 50 volunteers were allowed inside the Maharshi Vyas auditorium this year. “We are all aware that this Vijayadashami the celebrations are restrained in terms of numbers. We are also aware of the cause. To prevent community spread of Coronavirus social gatherings are restricted,” Bhagwat said.

Like other years, there were no ceremonial band playing or marches. Bhagwat simply offered his floral tribute to Hedgewar, RSS founder and did ‘Shastra puja’.

Though, the event is being beamed live each year, it was the main source of dissemination of the Sangha’s message this year, given no media access was allowed.

The event was beamed live on Youtube, Facebook and Twitter. Above 42,000 viewed it through Youtube while nearly 23,000 saw it on the Twitter account of RSS. In fact, while beginning to address, Bhagwat also mentioned those who were joining online.

This is the Sangh’s biggest annual event where the Sarsanghchalak chalks out the broader agenda for the year to come. This time, Bhagwat spoke extensively on the pandemic, Chinese aggression and how India must counter it as well as push for ‘swadeshi’. He also spoke against pro-CAA protestors.

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Cities

Covid cases cross 8-lakh mark in Karnataka, 10k recover

Out of 1,00,511 tests conducted in a day, 17,729 were through rapid antigen detection and 82,782 through RT-PCR.

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Coronavirus in India

Bengaluru, Oct 25 : With 4,439 new cases in a day, Covid tally in Karnataka crossed 8-lakh (8,02,817), including 81,050 active cases, while 10,106 were discharged, taking recoveries to 7,10,843 till date.

“The death toll rose to 10,905, with 32 succumbing to the infection during the last 24 hours across the state, including 20 in Bengaluru, which increased its toll to 3,734 till Saturday,” said the state health bulletin on Sunday.

As epicentre of the virus, accounting for 50 per cent of the state’s cases, Bengaluru Urban district registered 2,468 fresh cases in the last 24 hours, taking its Covid tally to 3,25,773, including 51,672 active cases, while 2,70,366 recovered so far, with 6,759 discharged on Saturday.

Among the districts, Bengaluru Rural recorded 234 positive cases, Tumakuru 141, Mysuru 140 and Dakshina Kannada 139.

After Bengaluru, 415 were discharged from Hassan, followed by Mysuru 366, Chikkaballapur 233 and Dakshina Kannada 211.

Of the 939 patients in the intensive care units (ICUs), 432 are in Bengaluru hospitals, 61 in Ballari, 44 in Hassan and 38 in Chamarajangara district.

Out of 1,00,511 tests conducted in a day, 17,729 were through rapid antigen detection and 82,782 through RT-PCR.

“Positivity rate of the state has further declined to 4.41 per cent and case fatality rate to 0.72 per cent,” added the bulletin.

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India

Centre to seek Parliament’s nod for additional Rs 37k cr infra push

The second batch of supplementary demands for grants is generally presented during the winter session of Parliament.

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infrastructure sector

New Delhi, Oct 25 : Centre will seek the Parliament’s approval for additional spending of Rs 37,000 crore on infrastructure development in the second batch of supplementary demands for grant.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had earlier in the month announced that Centre’s capital expenditure budget for current fiscal has been increased by an additional Rs 25,000 crore from a level of Rs 4,13,000 crore provided for FY21.

Further, the Union government has also approved issuance of a special interest-free 50-year loan to states of Rs 12,000 crore for infrastructure development.

According to people in the know, the approval for these additional expenditure for infrastructure push will be sought from the Parliament through the second batch of supplementary demands for grants.

The second batch of supplementary demands for grants is generally presented during the winter session of Parliament.

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