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NGO writes to PM for promotion of vaping products

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New Delhi, March 29 (IANS) The HeartCare Foundation of India (HCFI) has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to encourage and promote vaping products as an alternative to combustible tobacco products like cigarettes, which are more harmful in nature than vaping products.

Dr K.K. Aggarwal, the president of the foundation and several other medical practitioners from the foundation, have written to Modi, asking that the government frame policies and regulations for the promotion of vaping products in India.

Vaping products are tobacco products, less harmful than conventional combustible smoking tobacco products like cigarettes.

The foundation urged the Indian government to frame policies that will address the marketing and advertising for less harmful tobacco products. The foundation wants the government to frame policies so that the youth can have better access to vaping products.

Further, the foundation has asked the government to disallow manufacturers of vaping products from making any unproven health claims, unless they are approved by the relevant authority from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

India

India needs ‘a Manmohan Singh’: Sharad Pawar

He felt that instead of hitting back, the Centre should exert global pressure on China through diplomatic channels and negotiations and resolve pending issues like the Galwan valley clash.

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Mumbai, July 12 : Given the current financial crisis, India needs an economic expert like former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar said here on Sunday.

Pawar recalled how he was a Union minister when Singh was the Finance Minister and the country was passing through a financial crisis in the early 1990s.

“However, it was Manmohan Singh who gave the country a new direction and pulled the country out of the economic problems. For this I give full credit to Manmohan Singh, and also (then Prime Minister) P.V. Narasimha Rao. Today, the country needs him (Singh). I feel Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saheb should take the initiative to seek help of economists. I am confident the country will support him,” said Pawar.

The NCP chief urged Modi to confabulate with knowledgeable people from different parties, take the help of whosoever possible or feasible, take everybody along, as in the Prime Minister’s current set-up, “there are some persons who have no such experience.”

Pawar’s comments came in the second instalment of his marathon interview with ”Saamana” and ”Dopahar Ka Saamna” Group Executive Editor and Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut.

Asked whether he had discussed the current scenario with the current Finance Minister (Nirmala Sitharaman), Pawar, 79, replied in the negative.

“No. I never met her even once, nor had any discussions with her. At times of financial crisis confronting such a big country with a huge population there are many challenges, and a dialogue with others (parties) is necessary, but that”s not happening now,” the NCP supremo said.

In this context he pointed out he had observed persons like Pranab Mukherji, P. Chidambaram and Manmohan Singh spending hours with experts and leaders of other political parties, seeking their suggestions as India is a huge country with diverse viewpoints.

“I don’t know if something similar is happening now. If its being done, there has to be some outcome of that, which is not visible,” Pawar said, implying that a political dialogue at the national level seems to be missing.

Dwelling on questions pertaining to security vis-a-vis India’s neighbours, Pawar said that “when we think of the enemy, the first name that crops up is Pakistan.”

“But we should not worry about Pakistan. In the long-term, it is China that is detrimental to India’s interests, it is 10 times more powerful than us militarily, it has systematically created all this after years of planning, vision and programmes besides economic strength to act against us. China is the real worry and poses a bigger threat to India,” Pawar asserted.

Recounting his meeting as Defence Minister with the Chinese Premier at a private sea resort in that country, Pawar said at the time (over 25 years ago), China was only concerned about giving a challenge to the USA and Japan.

“When I asked him what China’s policy vis-a-vis its neighbours, he said they were not thinking of them, maybe after around 25 years. Today, that danger has arisen, China is economically strong. Now, its target is India. Modi became friends with President Xi Jinping, hugged and shook hands, sat on a swing, gave gifts. An impression was conveyed that we have achieved something big with this camaraderie. But problems between two countries cannot be solved in such a manner, now we realise that,” Pawar pointed out.

On the tendency of the BJP government to blame Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi for all problems related to China and Pakistan, Pawar said we must also consider the situation whereby all our neighbours like Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are now siding with China. “These sullied relations are the contribution of the present times”.

He felt that instead of hitting back, the Centre should exert global pressure on China through diplomatic channels and negotiations and resolve pending issues like the Galwan valley clash.

Pawar also touched upon various other issues pertaining to the lockdown and how Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s government has fared well in the first half and is working hard.

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Varavara Rao’s family appeals to government to save his life

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Varavara Rao

Hyderabad, July 12 : Family members of Telugu poet and writer Varavara Rao, who is currently lodged in Navi Mumbai’s Taloja jail in the Bhima Koregaon case, on Sunday appealed to the government for his immediate release in view of his deteriorating health.

Rao’s wife P. Hemalatha and their three daughters urged the government to save his life by shifting him to a hospital or allow them to provide him with immediate medical care.

We want to remind the government that it has no right to deny the right to life of any person, much less an undertrial prisoner,” they said.

His family members said they were very much worried about his deteriorating health. They said his health condition had been scary for over six weeks, ever since he was shifted in an unconscious state to JJ Hospital on May 28.

“Even as he was discharged from the hospital and sent back to jail three days later, there has been no improvement in his health and he is still in need of emergency healthcare,” Hemalatha said.

“The immediate cause of concern now is that we are very much perturbed at the routine phone call we received from him on Saturday evening. Though the earlier two calls on June 24 and July 2 were also worrying with his weak and muffled voice, incoherent speech and abruptly jumping into Hindi. But the latest call, on July 11 is much more worrisome as he did not answer straight questions on his health and went into a kind of delirious and hallucinated talk about the funeral of his father and mother, the events that happened seven decades and four decades ago respectively,” Rao”s wife said.

She said her husband’s co-accused companion took the phone from him and informed her that he is not able to walk, go to the toilet and brush his teeth on his own.

“We were also told that he is always hallucinating that we, family members, were waiting at the jail gate to receive him as he was getting released. His co-prisoner also said he needs immediate medical care for not only physical but also neurological issues. The confusion, loss of memory and incoherence are the results of electrolyte imbalance and fall of Sodium and Potassium levels leading to brain damage. This electrolyte imbalance may be fatal also.”

Stating that Taloja Jail Hospital is not well equipped to handle this kind of serious ailment, they demanded that he be shifted to a fully equipped super specialty hospital to save his life and prevent possible brain damage and risk to life due to electrolyte imbalance.

“At the present juncture we are leaving aside all the pertinent facts like, that the case against him is fabricated; he had to spend 22 months in jail as an undertrial with the process turned into punishment; his bail petitions got rejected at least five times now and even the bail petitions with his age, ill-health and Covid vulnerability as grounds were ignored. His life is the top most concern for us right now. Our present demand is to save his life,” the family said.

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Corona testing reaches 8K per million, nearly 63% cured

“The cumulative number of samples tested as of now is 1,15,87,153. As a result of these efforts, the testing per million for India is presently 8,396.4,” the Ministry said.

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New Delhi, July 12 : As India on Sunday recorded 8.5 lakh coronavirus cases, the testing per million crossed 8,000 figure with 62.93 per cent patients recovering from the disease, a positive sign amid pandemic.

Focussed and coordinated steps taken in tandem by the Centre along with the states and the Union Territories (UTs) through a ”whole of government” approach, bolstered by effective clinical management of COVID-19 after early detection and timely diagnosis, led to a consistent increase in the recovered cases, said the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

In the last 24 hours, the Ministry, however, said a total of 19,235 people were cured of COVID-19. This has resulted in the cumulative total number of recovered cases rising to 5,34,620 on Sunday.

“The recovery rate has presently improved to 62.93 per cent,” the Ministry said.

As more people are recovering due to all-round efforts, the recovered cases exceed active cases by 2,42,362, it said, adding medical attention is being provided to all the 2,92,258 active cases.

The present health infrastructure dedicated to providing medical attention to the COVID affected includes 1,370 Dedicated COVID Hospitals (DCH), 3,062 Dedicated COVID Health Centres (DCHC), and 10,334 COVID Care Centres (CCC).

For the successful operation of these facilities, the Centre has so far provided 122.36 lakh Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits, 223.33 lakh N95 masks, and 21,685 ventilators to various states and UTs and central institutions.

Enabling factors like removing all impediments for COVID-19 testing and facilitation of widespread testing by states and UTs continues to result in a steady rise in the samples tested every day and during the last 24 hours 2,80,151 samples have been tested, it said.

“The cumulative number of samples tested as of now is 1,15,87,153. As a result of these efforts, the testing per million for India is presently 8,396.4,” the Ministry said.

A crucial supporting factor in progressive rise in testing numbers is continuous expansion of the country-wide diagnostic lab network, which as on date comprises 850 labs in the government sector and 344 private labs, totalling 1,194 labs.

Of the total 1,194 labs, 624 are Real-Time RT-PCR based testing labs that include 388 government and 236 private. A total of 472 TrueNat based testing labs are there in the country which include 427 government and 45 private. The CBNAAT based testing labs are 98 — 35 government and 63 private.

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