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NPH Act promised as RS passes Epidemic Diseases Amendment Bill

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Parliament

 In between the Congress crediting Rahul Gandhi for predicting the Covid-19 pandemic well before a spike in infections and the Trinamool objecting to the amendment to the epidemic legislation saying it gives unqualified power to the Centre to meddle into state issues, the upper house passed the Epidemic Diseases Amendment Bill, 2020 on Saturday.

The Centre also gave a peek into a new legislation that it is working on.Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan informed the House that the government is working on a National Public Health Act for the past few years and it will be brought to the House.

The legislation is tipped to address the deficiencies of the NDMA Act and Epidemic Diseases Amendment Bill. “All issues not included under the Epidemic Act or National Disaster Management Act will be included in the Public Health Act,” he said.

Earlier, while introducing the bill, Vardhan said that there was a need for legislation at the central level so that there is a prohibitory mechanism to put an end to attacks and insults on healthcare workers.

But Congress didn’t lose time to talk about Rahul Gandhi’s warning. Neeraj Dangi said that the Centre did not take it seriously irrespective of that. While making a political statement, he said, “While Rahul Gandhi warned, the Centre was busy breaking state governments. They were successful in M.P., but not in Rajasthan.”

Dangi also alleged that the Centre used Covid as an “excuse to gloss over economic losses due to demonetisation and GST”. He added, 80 lakh people were forced to withdraw their EPF contributions.

BJP’s Saroj Pandey staunchly defended the government. She stressed that the ordinance was brought out because of the attacks on healthcare professionals, in the first place, thwarting Congress’s volley of political accusations. “We showered flowers on them, the healthcare workers couldn’t even meet their families for months as they wanted to protect them from infection,” Pandey added.

But Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien expressed the apprehension that it would give unqualified power in the hands of the Centre to meddle in what he calls state affairs. “The Bill is an attempt to encroach states’ constitutionally assigned functioning,” he said.

Meanwhile, Samajwadi Party’s Ram Gopal Yadav focused on alleged scams in buying PPE kits etc while claiming the Bill lacks any provision to punish such offenders. Yadav also asked for strict provisions for Covid medicines being sold at exorbitant prices. Yadav also demanded private hospitals be reined in for overcharging patients in this “extarordinary situation”. Interestingly, he argued for financial assistance for families of single bread earners who died owing to Covid-19.

DMK’s M. Shanmugam asked, “What actions are you going to take against contractors who brought migrant labourers to towns and left them there to die? Labourers simply cannot be treated as a commodity.”

RJD’s Manoj Jha raised the issue of ‘single source’ issue in a veiled reference to the Jamaat congregation at Delhi’s Nizamuddin area which created a Covid cluster and hence drew widespread ire for that. “Do recall what was being played on TV channels in the month of April and May? We were fighting against our own people – a cart puller was attacked. We are not fighting the disease, but our own,” Jha said.

Interestingly, Congress’s Anand Sharma supported the amendment but called for greater consultation with states so that a more “comprehensive” amendment can be brought.

Health

Bihar deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi tests positive for Covid-19, admitted to AIIMS Patna

“Tested positive for CORONA.All parameters perfectly normal.Started with mild temp.No temp.for last 2 days.Admitted to AIIMS Patna for better monitoring.CT scan of lungs normal. Will be back soon for campaigning,” Modi said in the tweet.

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Sushil Modi

Deputy chief minister of Bihar, Sushil Kumar Modi, tested positive for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) on Thursday afternoon. The BJP leader announced this on Twitter and said he has been admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Patna. Modi said that his parameters are perfectly normal adding that he will be back soon for campaigning.

“Tested positive for CORONA.All parameters perfectly normal.Started with mild temp.No temp.for last 2 days.Admitted to AIIMS Patna for better monitoring.CT scan of lungs normal.Will be back soon for campaigning,” Modi said in the tweet.

Ahead of the assembly elections in Bihar, Modi held a joint campaign with chief minister and JD (U) leader Nitish Kumar at Buxar and Bhojpur districts on Sunday. The BJP and the JD(U) are jointly contesting the elections which will be held in three phases – October 28, November 3 and November 7. Votes will be counted on November 10.

Meanwhile, Bihar has registered over 208,000 Covid-19 cases till now which includes 196,208 recoveries, 11,010 active cases and 1,019 deaths. Over 9.5 million samples have been tested so far, the state health department bulletin showed.

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Politics

On Amit Shah’s birthday, Modi says nation witnessing his dedication and excellence in work towards India’s progress

The prime minister chose him as the home minister in his cabinet after coming to power for a second term.

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Narendra Modi Amit Shah

New Delhi, Oct 22 : Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday greeted Home Minister Amit Shah on his birthday and said the country is witnessing the dedication and excellence with which he is contributing towards India’s progress.

His efforts to make the BJP stronger are also noteworthy, Modi added.

Shah, who turned 56 on Thursday, was the BJP president for more than five-and-a-half years from 2014, and the party grew by leaps and bounds under him, capturing power in many states and returning to the helm at the Centre in 2019 with a bigger win than 2014.

The prime minister chose him as the home minister in his cabinet after coming to power for a second term.

Modi tweeted, “Birthday wishes to Shri @AmitShah Ji. Our nation is witnessing the dedication and excellence with which he is contributing towards India’s progress. His efforts to make BJP stronger are also noteworthy. May God bless him with a long and healthy life in service of India.

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India

‘One Country, One System’ will wreck federalism: Chidambaram

After the Punjab Assembly passed laws unanimously and formally rejecting the Centre’s agricultural laws, former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Wednesday advocated the existence of two models, including one accepted by states.

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chidambaram

New Delhi: In a series of tweets, he said the Narendra Modi-led Central government has adopted one model of agricultural produce marketing, and the Punjab government has adopted another model.

“Why can’t there may be two models of marketing farm produce in a large country like India? Article 254 of the Constitution gives that right to every state,” he asked.

“In fact, in a federal system there is space for as many models as there are states. One Country One System will lead to mediocrity and wreck federalism

“Let the people of each stats decide which model they want. That is a decision that the people must make, not the Governor or the President,” he tweeted.

The Bills passed by the Punjab Assembly provide for imprisonment of not less than three years and a fine for sale or purchase of wheat or paddy under a farming agreement below the MSP, exemption of farmers from attachment of land up to 2.5 acres and prevention of hoarding and black-marketing of agricultural produce, among other things.

The three Bills, rejecting outright the Centre’s ‘anti-farmer’ laws, and the proposed Electricity Amendment Bill that led to widespread protests by farmers in the agrarian states of Punjab and Haryana, were passed with a voice vote amid the presence of the Shriomani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) members.

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