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Rahul, Antony, Tharoor provide MPLAD funds to fight corona

Earlier in the day, Tharoor took to Twitter and appealed to the Prime Minister to divert the Rs 20,000 crore earmarked for new Parliament building and Central Vista to supplement the Rs 15,000 crore allotted to fight COVID-19.

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Rahul Gandhi on Kashmir Situation

Thiruvananthapuram, March 26 : Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, A.K. Antony, and Shashi Tharoor — all MPs from Kerala — have allocated funds from their respective MPLADS money to fight coronavirus in their constituencies.

While Gandhi sanctioned Rs 2.66 crore from his Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme for his Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency, Tharoor sanctioned a similar amount for Thiruvananthapuram, as did Rajya Sabha member Antony for his home district Alappuzha.

Under the MPLADS, the lawmakers can recommend the district collector on which project to spend the money on in their respective constituencies.

Very soon, it was learnt, other lawmakers from Kerala would sanction money under the scheme for fighting coronavirus raging in Kerala, with over 76,000 persons with suspected symptoms quarantined either at homes or in hospitals. As many as 118 people in Kerala have tested positive for the deadly virus.

Earlier in the day, Tharoor took to Twitter and appealed to the Prime Minister to divert the Rs 20,000 crore earmarked for new Parliament building and Central Vista to supplement the Rs 15,000 crore allotted to fight COVID-19.

“This is merely Rs 20 crore per district. Grand spending on buildings at this time of the crisis is a postponable luxury,” tweeted Tharoor.

Tharoor, who is currently based in the national capital, also took to Facebook on the issue.

He pointed out to his fellow lawmakers about huge shortage of full-body Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) kits, N-95 masks, face shields, three-layered masks and medical goggles, infrared non-contact thermometers, and other equipment/items which will help prevent the community spread.

“To buy these, we can divert our developmental funds. Am sure many of our legislators in Kerala are doing that, and if it can be stepped up, it will be of huge benefit,” Tharoor wrote on Facebook.

Business

Centre to sell stake in certain pharma PSUs: Goyal

He said the market players should look at large untapped markets in Eastern Europe and Russia.

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Piyush Goyal

New Delhi, May 31 : Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal on Sunday said that the Union government has decided to disinvest in certain pharmaceutical public sector units (PSU).

During an interaction with industry leaders of the pharmaceutical sector, he invited the Indian companies to use PSUs for ‘plug and play’ model of manufacturing.

According to an official statement, Goyal also said that India should become a self-reliant country in the supply of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) as early as possible with the government taking steps in that direction in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’.

He assured the industry of full government support in the industry’s expansion, diversification and strengthening.

Mentioning the Centre’s initiatives to make the country self-sufficient in terms of APIs, he said that the government has already approved the scheme on promotion of bulk drug parks for financing common infrastructure facilities in three bulk drug parks.

Also, Production Linked Incentive Scheme for promotion of domestic manufacturing of critical KSMs or drug intermediates and APIs in the country has been given a go ahead, he added.

During his interaction, Goyal lauded the pharma industry for making India proud, by rising to the occasion during the Covid crisis. He said that India has been recognised as the ‘Pharmacy of the World’ as over 120 countries got some essential medicines, during the last two months, including 40 of them getting them in the form of grant, free of cost.

The minister said that the anti-dumping investigation process has been expedited and assured that in case of ongoing bilateral free trade agreements, if any roadblock or unfair competition is being noticed, the government may be informed and prompt remedial action will be taken.

He said the market players should look at large untapped markets in Eastern Europe and Russia.

Calling upon a collaborative route in the R&D efforts, the minister said the academicians, universities, ICMR and private sector should join hands.

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Cities

With 299 new cases, Karnataka Covid tally crosses 3K

In total, 2.93 lakh samples have been tested so far, of which 2.86 lakh were negative.

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Bengaluru, May 31 : Karnataka’s Covid tally crossed 3,000-mark, a record jump of 299 infections in the past 24 hours, mostly constituting returnees from Maharashtra, raising the state’s tally to 3,221, an official said on Sunday.

“New cases reported from Saturday 5 p.m. to Sunday 5 p.m. are 299,” said a health official.

Continuing the trend of past several days, domestic returnees formed the lion’s share of new cases, accounting for 258 or 86 per cent of the cases.

Of the 258 returnees, 252 returned from Maharashtra alone, 98 per cent of the domestic returnees.

Returnees from other states are a miniscule — two from Delhi and one from Andhra Pradesh.

Unfortunately, three young healthcare workers working at an isolation ward in Davangere has also contracted the virus.

There were seven international passengers who got infected on Sunday, four from Doha, two from Malaysia and one from Indonesia.

Incidentally, cases with contact history rose to 34.

In the past 24 hours, cases spiked in Vijayapura, Bengaluru Urban, Raichur, Kalaburagi, Bidar, Mandya, Yadgir, Belagavi, Udupi, Davangere, Dakshina Kannada and Uttara Kannada.

Among the new cases, Bengaluru Urban contributed 21, followed by Yadgir (44), Kalaburagi (28), Mandya (13), Raichur (83), Udupi (10), Bidar (33), Belagavi (13), Davangere (6), Dakshina Kannada (14), Vijayapura (26), Uttara Kannda (5), Ballari, Shivamogga and Kolar (1 each).

Of the new cases, 168 are men and 131 women, including 33 children below 10.

On Sunday, two patients succumbed to the virus, a 50-year-old man from Raichur and a 75-year-old man from Bidar.

Across the state, 1,950 are active cases, 1,218 discharged, 51 deaths and 15 patients in ICU.

On Sunday, 221 patients got discharged.

In the past 24 hours, Karnataka has tested 13,358 persons, of which 12,841 tested negative.

In total, 2.93 lakh samples have been tested so far, of which 2.86 lakh were negative.

Top five places with active cases in the state include Yadgir (275), Raichur (214), Mandya (209), Kalaburagi (146) and Bidar (131).

Of the total, Bengaluru Urban has so far accounted for 10 deaths, followed by Kalaburagi (7), Dakshina Kannada (6) and Vijayapura and Bidar (5 each) among others.

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Cities

Punjab shops, beauty parlours to open 12 hours daily

Bicycles, rickshaws and auto-rickshaws will be allowed subject to compliance of the SOP as issued by the Transport Department.

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Amarinder Singh

Chandigarh, May 31 : In line with the Central government’s guidelines for ‘Unlock 1.0’, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Sunday ordered formulation of clearly defined guidelines for opening up of hotels, hospitality services, shopping malls, places of worship, and restaurants for in-dining, from June 8, while announcing immediate opening up of shops, including liquor and barber shops, beauty parlours, spas, etc, from Monday in the non-containment zones.

He has directed the Health and Transport Departments to come out with detailed SOPs for permitted activities and movement in this phase of the lockdown, beginning June 1 till June 30, for the areas outside containment zones.

In the containment zones, however, only essential activities will be allowed and there will be a strict perimeter control. Such zones will be demarcated by the district authorities, after taking into consideration the guidelines of the Union bMinistry of Health and Family Welfare.

The district authorities would also identify buffer zones outside containment zones wherein restrictions as considered necessary, may be put in place.

The movement of individuals for all the non-essential activities shall remain prohibited between 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. as per the Centre’s guidelines and district authorities have been directed to issue prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Cr.PC and ensure strict compliance.

As per the directives of the Chief Minister, effective June 1, shops in main bazars will be open between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., and liquor vends can remain open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The Deputy Commissioners have been authorised to exercise their discretion in staggering the timings to avoid crowding, in main bazars, market complexes and rehri markets.

Subject to compliance with SOPs to be issued by the Health Department, barber shops, hair-cut salons, beauty parlours and spas are also allowed to open up from Monday.

E-commerce is now permitted in Punjab for all goods, including non-essential, as per the latest guidelines issued on the directives of the Chief Minister.

Sports complexes and stadia can also open without spectators.

As far as inter-state travel is concerned, buses will ply with the consent of other states.

There are no restrictions on either inter-state or intra-state movement of passenger vehicles such as taxis, cabs, stage carriers, tempo-travellers and cars, but self-generated e-pass would need to be downloaded from COVA app.

Bicycles, rickshaws and auto-rickshaws will be allowed subject to compliance of the SOP as issued by the Transport Department.

For inter-state movement of trains and domestic flights, the inward passengers would have to follow the SOPs of the Health Department and would be required to either download Cova-app and get self-generated ‘e-pass’ or declare their particulars at the railway station.

The passengers would also be home quarantined for 14 days.

All categories of industries, and construction activities are allowed to operate, without any restriction, in both rural and urban areas, along with agricultural, horticultural, animal husbandry, veterinary services.

No separate permission would be required by the industries and other establishments to resume their operations.

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