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Punjab CM asks PM Modi to define path for economic revival

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Amarinder Singh

Chandigarh, May 7 Reiterating his demand for revenue grants to meet the shortfall in revenues and the higher expenditure being incurred on healthcare of Covid-19, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to clearly define the way forward for economic revival.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, the Chief Minister said: “The exit strategy may not only lay down the parameters to contain the Covid-19 within safe limits but should also define the path of economic revival.”

“It should consider and focus on fiscal and economic empowerment of the states.”

Besides raising the demand for revenue grants, the Chief Minister also called for a directive from the Centre to the 15th Finance Commission to review its report for the current year, as the situation had completely changed due to the pandemic.

He said the 15th Finance Commission should recommend devolution of funds for five years, beginning April 1, 2021, instead of 2020, after factoring in the impact of Covid-19.

Amarinder Singh also urged the Prime Minister to issue necessary directions to various ministries in this regard, in order to enable the states to formulate clear strategies and the path, post-lockdown 3.0 on May 17.

He said that this was necessary as Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdowns had led to unprecedented losses of jobs, businesses, and economic opportunities, and its true impact was yet to be known.

Pointing out that it was well known that the economy had slowed down and the GDP will not rise, the Chief Minister said Punjab’s revenues had declined by 88 per cent in April.

“The poor have been the worst-affected with damage to all aspects of their socio-economic living. The threat of poverty, hunger and health deprivation are far more imminent now.

“If socio-economic living of the common man is not restored immediately, there could be serious psychological dismemberment of our society. The loss of jobs and livelihood has in fact also severely impaired equity and civil liberties in our society,” he said, adding that these were the stark realities of today.

Disaster

ISKCON Temple in Vrindavan sealed after 22 test COVID-19 positive

The famous temple dedicated to Lord Krishna has been closed to devotees since the lockdown was imposed in March.

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ISKCON Temple in Vrindavan

VRINDAVAN : After 22 persons associated with the temple were found infected with coronavirus, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) has decided to seal the temple in Vrindavan and restrict movement. The announcement comes a day ahead of the Janmashtami festival which will be celebrated in the country on August 12.

“Earlier, one person had tested positive, so more testing was conducted and now 22 people tested positive. After that, contact tracing was conducted and sampling is being done; we will isolate those who test positive. Movement of people have been restricted and the temple has been sealed,” an ISKCON official said. He said the 22 people includes priests at the temple.

In the temple town of Vrindavan, authorities of Banke Bihari temple have also decided to keep the shrine closed till September 30. The decision was taken due to repair work on the temple premises, said the authority in a notice.

It also stated that the repair work will be taken up by engineers. Earlier, the temple was closed in the view of COVID-19.

The famous temple dedicated to Lord Krishna has been closed to devotees since the lockdown was imposed in March.

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India

SC calls 4G restoration on trial basis in Jammu and Kashmir ‘fairly good start’

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Postpaid Mobile in Kashmir

New Delhi, Aug 11 : The Centre on Tuesday informed the Supreme Court that the special committee constituted to examine restoration of 4G services in Jammu and Kashmir has agreed to provide the high speed Internet access on a trial basis in limited areas.

Attorney General K.K. Venugopal appearing for the Centre before a bench headed by Justice N.V. Ramana said that restrictions on Internet will be lifted on trial basis at certain geographical locations. It will be at one location in each district.

The Centre informed the court that the relaxation from August 16, in one district each of Jammu and Kashmir division will be assessed after two months. The government also said that blanket restoration of 4G in the UT would not be possible due to threats to security.

The apex court remarked “this is a fairly a good start”, and commended the Centre’s decision. The bench also observed that it hoped the situation would improve and the access could later be expanded.

The Centre submitted that the special committee held its meeting on August 10, and explored multiple options in the backdrop of security situation in the union territory. They recommended opening up of 4G in specified areas of low intensity terrorist activities, not on international border even in the trial basis.

Senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, appearing for the petitioner NGO, said: “Today is a good and a step forward at least some limited restoration has been made.”

Justice Ramana then closed the contempt case following the Centre’s submission.

The bench had given two weeks time to the Centre to file a reply on the intervention application. The contempt petition was filed by the NGO alleging that the Centre has not formed a special committee to review Internet restrictions in the UT despite the apex court’s order.

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Disaster

India records 53K new Covid-19 cases, tally crosses 22.68L

The US accounted for the world’s highest number of infections and fatalities at 50,89,416 and 1,63,425, respectively, according to the CSSE.

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COVID-19 pandemic

New Delhi, Aug 11 : India, the third country worst hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, recorded a spike of 53,601 coronavirus cases on Tuesday, pushing the total tally to 22,68,675. The country tested a record over 871 deaths in a single day.

The number of recoveries mounted to almost 16 lakh, more than twice the active cases. Out of the total cases, 6,39,929 are active cases while 15,83,489 have recovered from the disease and 45,257 people have lost their lives in the fight against the deadly virus.

Notably, India recorded the highest number of recoveries in a single day at 47,746. The recovery rate has gone up to 69.79 per cent.

On Monday, the government tested 6,98,290 samples. A total of 2,52,81,848 samples have been tested so far.

Maharashtra remained the worst-hit state with a total of 5,15,332 cases and 17,757 deaths, followed by Tamil Nadu with 2,96,901 cases and 4,927 deaths. The southern state is followed by Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Delhi, and Uttar Pradesh.

Globally, the overall number Covid-19 cases has surpassed the 20 million mark, while the deaths have increased to over 7.34 lakh, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

As of Tuesday morning, the total number of cases stood at 2,00,11,186 and the fatalities rose to 7,34,664, the University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update.

The US accounted for the world’s highest number of infections and fatalities at 50,89,416 and 1,63,425, respectively, according to the CSSE.

Brazil came in the second place with 30,57,470 infections and 1,01,752 deaths.

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