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Omar rules out alliance with BJP to form govt in J&K

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A day after National Conference president Farooq Abdullah said he was open to discuss a tie-up with BJP for government formation in Jammu and Kashmir, his son and former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today ruled out an alliance with the saffron outfit, saying the party “is not power hungry” and would not make an “ideological compromise”.

“NC is not power hungry and is not interested in political power that comes through an ideological compromise.

We shunned prospects of an alliance with the BJP a year ago and the reasons for having done that remain unchanged,” Omar wrote on his official Facebook page.

Omar, the NC working president, said the senior Abdullah was responding to a hypothetical question based on a hypothetical situation and he never said that the party would support the BJP.

He only said that if any such request or proposal is received from the BJP, it will be taken up by the party’s working committee.

No such proposal has been received, which makes his remarks a pure reiteration of the organisational procedure to deal with such issues and nothing more, Omar said.

The former chief minister said PDP is an ally of BJP, and NC is not obliged to rescue either PDP or BJP from the ensuing stalemate in their standing political alliance.

It must also be remembered that the working committee of the party, in its recent meeting in Srinagar, had endorsed the decision taken by NC a year ago to stay away from BJP and “we expect no change in that decision”, Omar said.

Farooq had yesterday said his party was ready to consider a tie-up with the saffron party for government formation if such an offer was received.

“If such a proposal comes, then NC will call a Working Committee (meeting) and debate over it. If such a situation arises, NC can think over it as we have not closed the doors.

Our doors are open,” he told reporters in Jammu when asked to spell out his party’s stand if it gets a proposal from BJP for forming a coalition government in the state which is under Governor’s Rule.

In the 87-member Assembly, BJP has 25 MLAs while its ally Peoples Conference headed by Sajad Gani Lone has two members.

India

Ensure last-mile outreach through regional languages: PMO

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New Delhi, April 10 The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on Friday directed the Empowered Groups to ensure last-mile outreach through communication in regional languages amid the Union government’s ongoing efforts to fight the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Steps taken to ensure timely information dissemination throughout the country were also stressed by the PMO, which reviewed the preparations to counter the impact of the pandemic.

The issues related to supply chain and logistics management for availability of necessary items, efforts undertaken for the benefit of stakeholders involved, steps to assist farmers harvest their produce while maintaining social distancing, necessary confidence building measures required, and need to ensure percolation of guidelines of the Ministry of Home Affairs to the ground level were discussed.

Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary P.K. Mishra discussed these issues while chairing a meeting of the Empowered Groups of Officers to tackle the challenges emerging as a result of the spread of COVID-19 in India.

The meeting was the latest in a series of periodic reviews at various levels by the PMO to monitor the situation in which the Principal Secretary reviewed the efforts undertaken by the Empowered Groups.

The participants reviewed and expressed satisfaction on the detailed testing protocol and procedure, under which (as on date) 1,45,916 samples have been tested.

Noting that the production of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) is being ramped up and capacity building for healthcare personnel ensured and that NGOs and civil society groups are also being mobilized, Mishra suggested that coordination with NGOs at district level be done to avoid overlaps and ensure efficacious utilization of resources.

The meeting was told that all state Chief Secretaries were instructed to arrange for shelters for vulnerable groups like migrants and homeless.

The progress of the welfare measures rolled out through an economic relief package under PM Garib Kalyan Yojana was also reviewed.

The Principal Secretary underlined that data sanctity was important to ensure that the benefits reach to all intended beneficiaries.

On the technology and data management front, he expressed satisfaction on the rollout of Aarogya Setu app and said that the user engagement with the app needs to be enhanced.

The Centre on March 29 constituted 11 empowered groups for planning and ensuring implementation of Covid-19 response activities.

Each group will be handled by a group of senior government officials empowered to identify the problem areas and provide effective solutions, delineate policy, formulate plans, strategise operations and take necessary steps for effective and time-bound implementation of these plans, policies, strategies, decisions in their respective areas.

A total of 80 senior civil servants have been deputed in the 11 groups which may seek the guidance of the Cabinet Secretary.

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Let’s fight corona jointly, Modi tells Netanyahu, Bolsonaro

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New Delhi, April 10 Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday told President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro and Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu that the country is committed to jointly fight the coronavirus pandemic.

The PM’s remark came after the two leaders thanked him for clearing the export of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), a drug said to be effective against the deadly disease.

“Thank you, my dear friend @narendramodi, Prime Minister of India, for sending Chloroquine to Israel. All the citizens of Israel thank you!” Netanyahu tweeted on Thursday.

In response, PM Modi said, “We have to jointly fight this pandemic. India is ready to do whatever is possible to help our friends. Praying for the well-being and good health of the people of Israel.”

Similarly, Bolsonaro also thanked PM Modi for timely help to Brazil, adding that the raw material will help to continue production of hydroxychloroquine to treat patients of COVID-19 as well as of lupus, malaria, and arthritis.

“Thank you, President Jair Bolsonaro. The India-Brazil partnership is stronger than ever in these challenging times. India is committed to contribute to humanity’s fight against this pandemic,” PM Modi said.

The drug has been identified by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as potential treatment for the coronavirus and was touted repeatedly by President Trump as a “game changer”. India had earlier put a hold on its export, but later allowed it on Trump’s request.

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Four more corona cases in Odisha

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Bhubaneswar, April 10 (IANS) Odisha has reported four more COVID-19 positive cases, taking the total number of coronavirus patients to 48, officials said on Friday.

The Health Department has shared the development on its website.

However, it has not shared the details of the fresh cases.

The department said that 408 samples were tested on April 9, out of which six tested positive for COVID-19.

While the active cases stand at 45, one person has succumbed. Meanwhile, two have been discharged from hospital.

The Odisha government on Thursday extended the lockdown period till April 30 to contain the spread of coronavirus.

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