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No stone left unturned in welcoming Modi, Xi Jinping



Modi and Xi Jinping

Chennai: The Tamil Nadu government is literally leaving no stone unturned to accord a grand welcome to Chinese President Xi Jinping on his maiden two-day visit to the state on Friday.

The Chinese President will land here on Friday afternoon and at about 4 p.m., he will travel by road in his Hongqi luxury car to Mahabalipuram to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The two leaders will go around the UNESCO World Heritage Site housing rock-cut and stone carved monuments.

It has been learnt that Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit, Chief Minister K. Palaniswami and others will receive Xi Jinping on his arrival at the airport.

The Swachh Bharat programme is being implemented in its true form in Mahabalipuram and at a couple of stretches in Chennai with even small garbage being cleaned up, roads and pavements being relaid and walls being painted with attractive images and others.

“Wish the Chinese President takes a tour of the whole city so that the entire city gets cleaned up,” is the general refrain of the citizens here.

Electric transformers or power junction boxes have been covered and roadside shops are being evicted so as to present a pleasant sight to the visiting dignitary.

The airport is also being spruced up and cultural programmes are scheduled to welcome Modi and Xi Jinping.

An eight-feet stone sculpture of Goddess Meenakshi has been temporarily installed at the Chennai airport. The sculpture was supplied by Mayan Handicrafts, Mahabalipuram.

As part of the welcoming programme, students from schools and colleges and others will stand on the pavements waving Indian and Chinese national flags to greet Xi Jinping on his way to ITC Grand Chola Hotel from the airport and from there to Mahabalipuram.

The Tamil Nadu government has also organised troupes from different parts of the state to showcase the various traditional cultures of the state. The troupes are training hard here for the past two days.

They will perform on the stages erected for Xi Jinping to see while he is enroute Mahabalipuram from the ITC Grand Hotel.

While Modi will spend the Friday night at a beach resort near Mahabalipuram, the Chinese President will drive back to the ITC Grand Chola Hotel.

On Saturday morning, Xi Jinping will again go to Mahabalipuram by road and have discussions with Modi.

Meanwhile, security has been tightened at Mahabalipuram and Chennai. The state police have deployed thousands of security forces to thwart any untoward incident and CCTV cameras have been installed at several places.

“We were asked to keep our shops open during Modi and Xi Jinping’s visit,” Mayan Rajesh of Mayan Handicrafts told IANS. Mayan Handicrafts is a major player in the stone sculpture industry in Mahabalipuram.

“However, the movements of the local people are restricted. Residents have been asked to return back to their homes before 10 p.m. failing which they won’t be allowed inside the town,” another local person told IANS.

The people of this tourist town are happy as the town wears a festive look with new saplings being planted as road dividers. Also, the street lights have been replaced with LED bulbs.

“All the buildings located on the routes to be taken by the two leaders got a fresh coat of white paint at government’s cost. Further, the giant sized stone sculptures were moved with the help of cranes brought by the local authorities,” Rajesh added.

However, those whose livelihood is dependent on tourism have suffered a big hit as many tourists are staying away.

As part of the security measures, road traffic has been diverted from the routes to be taken by Xi Jinping for two days.

As Mahabalipuram is a coastal town, the Indian Coast Guard and the Navy will intensify their patrolling.

Fishermen in the nearby villages have been instructed not to venture into the sea for the next two days.

According to a local trader, Chinese security personnel were at Mahabalipuram even 15 days back and were going around like tourists, even buying entry tickets to see the monuments.

“The same persons are now coming as part of the Chinese official team,” the trader told IANS.


Delhi govt forms committees for its own Board of Education

Our vision for the next five years is to transform the education system of Delhi and it is our hope that these two committees would tell us “HOW”, he added.



NEET Students Counselling

New Delhi, July 15 : Delhi Education Minister Manish Sisodia on Wednesday announced the formation of two committees which will prepare the scheme and framework for creation of Delhi Education Board and Curriculum reforms.

In the Annual Budget 2020-21, the Delhi Government had announced its plans for curriculum reforms and creating a new Board of Education.

“Last five years showed us what we can achieve within the existing education system. Now our aim is to redefine the education system to prepare our students for the challenges of the 21st century world,” said Sisodia.

The first committee for the creation of the framework for the Delhi State Education Board will study global best practices in learning assessment, re-imagine current assessment practices and provide a roadmap for an innovative and student-friendly scheme of assessment.

Members of this committee include Professor Ankur Sarin of IIM Ahmedabad, Dr Wilima Wadhwa, Director of ASER Centre, Ashok Pandey, Director of Ahlcon Group of Schools, among others.

According to government officials, “Committee for the creation of the new curriculum for children up to the age of 14 years will study globally renowned best practices in curriculum and reforms and recommend what is best suited for Delhi.”

The Committee is mandated to re-imagine current curriculum, pedagogical practices and provide a roadmap for an innovative, student-friendly curriculum for the pre-primary, primary and upper primary stages in schools of Delhi.

Abha Adams, Advisor Education of Step by Step School, Ameeta Wattal, Principal of Springdales School, Rukmini Banerji, CEO of Pratham Education Foundation, Vinod Karate, Social Entrepreneur and CEO of The Teacher App, amongst others will be members of this committee.

Sisodia also convened a joint meeting of the Delhi Education Board Committee and Delhi Curriculum Reform Committee at the Delhi Secretariat.

“Our Delhi government schools have showcased exemplary performance in class 12 board exam results. This is a reflection of the work that has been done in the last five years. But 98 per cent result is not enough, we have to work together to take education to the next level,” he said.

Our vision for the next five years is to transform the education system of Delhi and it is our hope that these two committees would tell us “HOW”, he added.

In the meeting, member Rukmini Banerji said, “In India we see an increase in urbanization, that is a reality around which our education model should be redesigned. And therefore Delhi can be a good starting point for re-imagining how education should be in urban India.”

Ankur Sarin, faculty member, IIM Ahmedabad said, “We should try and achieve a balance between the inward-looking mindset and the outward ambition to think beyond Delhi.”

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Delhi records 1,647 new Covid cases, 41 deaths in 24 hours

Over 6,564 RT-PCR and 15,964 rapid antigen Covid-19 tests were conducted in the last 24 hours.




Corona Death Body

New Delhi, July 15 : With 1,647 new coronavirus cases and 41 deaths in the last 24 hours, the national capital recorded a total tally of 1,16,993 cases and 3,487 deaths, health officials said on Wednesday.

According to Delhi government’s daily health bulletin, as many as 95,699 people have recovered, almost five times the number of active cases which stand at 17,807. Total of 2,463 patients recovered in the last 24 hours.

On June 23, the city had witnessed the highest single-day peak of 3,947 cases, but the number has come down steadily since then despite the number of tests increasing.

Testing numbers in the city have also gone up since the commencement of rapid antigen tests last month. Over 6,564 RT-PCR and 15,964 rapid antigen Covid-19 tests were conducted in the last 24 hours.

Currently, 4,021 beds are occupied in the hospitals out of a total capacity of 15,363 beds — 2,029 in the dedicated COVID Care Centres out of 9,284 and 167 beds in the dedicated COVID Health Centres as against the availability of 554 total beds. Over 9,943 people are under home isolation.

The number of containment zones in the national capital stood at 659. Last week, the number of containment zones increased by more than 150 after the city government decided to break existing hotspots into smaller clusters for better surveillance.

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Air India To Send Certain Employees On Leave Without Pay For Up To 5 Years

For example, GoAir has put most of its employees on compulsory LWP since April.




air india india air travel

Air India has started the process of identifying employees, based on various factors like efficiency, health and redundancy, who will be sent on compulsory leave without pay (LWP) for up to five years, according to an official order.

The airline’s board of directors have authorised its Chairman and Managing Director Rajiv Bansal to send employees on LWP “for six months or for a period of two years extendable upto five years, depending upon the following factors – suitability, efficiency, competence, quality of performance, health of the employee, instance of non-availability of the employee for duty in the past as a result of ill health or otherwise and redundancy”, the order said on Tuesday.

The departmental heads in the headquarter as well as regional directors are required to assess each employee “on the above mentioned factors and identify the cases where option of compulsory LWP can be exercised”, stated the order dated July 14.

“Names of such employees need to be forwarded to the General Manager (Personnel) in headquarter for obtaining necessary approval of CMD,” the order added.

In response to queries regarding this matter, Air India spokesperson said,”We would not like to make any comment on the issue.”

Aviation sector has been significantly impacted due to the travel restrictions imposed in India and other countries due to the coronavirus pandemic. All airlines in India have taken cost-cutting measures such as pay cuts, LWP and firings of employees in order to conserve cash flow.

For example, GoAir has put most of its employees on compulsory LWP since April.

India resumed domestic passenger flights from May 25 after a gap of two months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, the airlines have been allowed to operate only a maximum of 45 per cent of their pre-COVID domestic flights. Occupancy rate in Indian domestic flights has been around 50-60 per cent since May 25.

Scheduled international passenger flights continue to remain suspended in India since March 23.

The passenger demand for air travel will contract by 49 per cent in 2020 for Indian carriers in comparison to 2019 due to COVID-19 crisis, said global airlines body IATA on Monday.

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