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SC: Don’t charge fare from migrants, provide shelter to people found walking

“We need 10 days to reply. All officials are doing a lot of work.”

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Supreme Court

New Delhi, May 28 : The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered that migrant workers should not be charged any fare, either for rail or road transport, while traveling back to their homes.

The top court also asked the state governments and Union Territories (UTs) to provide food, shelter and water to migrant workers, and also to those found walking back to their homes.

A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan and comprising Justices S.K. Kaul and M.R. Shah asked the state governments to arrange for food, shelter and water for the migrants waiting for their turn to board either bus or train to return to their homes.

The top court said that the concerned state, where the journey originates, will provide food and water at the railway station, and during the journey, the railways will provide meals and water to them.

“The state shall oversee the registration of migrant workers. It should ensure that after registration, migrant workers are made to board the train or bus at an early date and complete information should be publicised to all concerned,” said the bench.

The bench added that migrant workers found walking on the roads should be immediately taken to shelters and provided food and all other basic facilities.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, contended before the bench that it is already being done, and the direction from the court may encourage people to move.

The top court directed the Centre and states to furnish all necessary details regarding the number of migrants, plans for transportation, mechanism of registration and other details. Mehta replied, “We need 10 days to reply. All officials are doing a lot of work.”

The top court ordered that replies should be filed by June 5.

The top court said that it is worried over the series of difficulties faced by the migrant workers while attempting to reach their home states. Though the states and UTs have taken measures, there are some glaring lapses in the overall process to provide relief to the migrant workers, it noted.

India

Those who fight for truth cannot be intimidated: Rahul after probe into trusts

Got has initiated probe into funding of 3 Nehru-Gandhi family linked trusts

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Rahul Gandhi

New Delhi, July 8: Hours after the government initiated a probe into the funding of three Nehru-Gandhi family linked trusts, including the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation (RGF), Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said those who fight for the truth cannot be intimidated.

“Mr Modi believes the world is like him. He thinks every one has a price or can be intimidated. He will never understand that those who fight for the truth have no price and cannot be intimidated,” Gandhi said in a tweet.

Though the former Congress chief did not mention any inquiry, his remarks came after the government set up an inter-ministerial team to coordinate a probe into the alleged violation of various laws, including the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) by three trusts associated with the Nehru-Gandhi family—the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, the Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust and the Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust.

The decision was taken nearly a fortnight after the BJP said the RGF had received funds from the Chinese Embassy. The allegation came amidst the stand-off between the Indian Army and China’s PLA in Ladakh.

The PMLA deals with cases related to money laundering and the FCRA deals with acceptance and utilisation of foreign contributions.

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India

Vandalism of Ambedkar’s Mumbai home sparks political furore

Rajgruha is among the top sites related to Dr Ambedkar in Maharashtra and attracts tourists from all over.

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ambedkar-statue

Mumbai, July 8 : The shocking incident of at least two persons vandalising ‘Rajgruha’ – the Mumbai home of the late Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar – sparked off a political uproar in Maharashtra on Wednesday with various political parties demanding for stringent action.

Describing Rajgruha as a “place of reverence”, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said the government will not tolerate what has happened and strict action will be taken against the culprits.

“Goons entering Rajgruha and indulging in vandalism is shocking. The place is not only important for Ambedkarites, but the entire society who consider it as a place of pilgrimage. I have directed the police to act strongly against the vandals,” he said.

The incident occurred around 6 p.m. on Tuesday when some unidentified persons hurled stones at the windows, smashed CCTVs and damaged the flower pots at the residence in a quiet corner of the Dadar Hindu Colony.

However, the implications became apparent only around midnight when some Dalits attempted to visit the venue, and the Ambedkar family appealed for restraint early on Wednesday.

Following statements from Ambedkar family, the Matunga police lodged a formal complaint and started a probe.

The current residents include Dr Ambedkar’s daughter-in-law and grandsons, Prakash Ambedkar, Anandraj Ambedkar and Bhimrao Ambedkar along with their families.

The three-storied bungalow has a huge collection of Dr Ambedkar’s books, photographs, some personal effects and artefacts, his ashes, all of which are now housed in a small memorial museum which is a centre for Ambedkarite scholars from all over the world.

Condemning the incident, Deputy Chief Minister and NCP leader Ajit Pawar termed it as “the handiwork of anti-social elements with a wicked mindset and done with ulterior motives”.

Home Minister Anil Deshmukh called up the Ambedkar family and the police, who have collected CCTV footage and assured that the accused would be nabbed soon.

Flaying the ‘dastardly attack’, Revenue Minister and state Congress chief Balasahab Thorat said the place is an inspiration for all who follow De Ambedkar and urged the government to nab those responsible immediately.

The Ambedkar kin also appealed to the people and their supporters to maintain peace and said the police have taken cognizance and are doing a good job.

Taking strong umbrage, Union Minister for Social Justice Ramdas Athawale wrote to Deshmukh and demanded a CID probe into the incident since the attack was on a place of national and historic significance concerning the chief architect of the Indian Constitution.

Leader of Opposition and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis called up the Ambedkars and discussed the issue with the family members.

“We strongly condemn the attack on the residence of Dr B.R. Ambedkar. I have spoken with the Additional Police Commissioner and demanded that those responsible should be arrested immediately,” said Fadnavis.

Building Rajgruha in 1933, Dr Ambedkar lived in it for nearly two decades, and had a collection of around 50,000 books, one of the largest private libraries of its kind in the world at that time.

Rajgruha is among the top sites related to Dr Ambedkar in Maharashtra and attracts tourists from all over.

Meanwhile, security has been tightened outside Rajgruha in view of the attack and police are scanning CCTV footage of the entire neigbourhood to identify and nab the culprits.

(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at [email protected])

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Disaster

India May See 2.87 Lakh Covid Cases A Day By Winter 2021: MIT Study

The world may witness 249 million (24.9 crore) cases and 1.8 million (18 lakh) deaths by spring 2021 if there are no effective treatments or vaccination.

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COVID-19 pandemic

In the absence of a COVID-19 vaccine or drugs, the researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have warned that India might record 2.87 lakh coronavirus cases per day by the end of winter 2021.

The world may witness 249 million (24.9 crore) cases and 1.8 million (18 lakh) deaths by spring 2021 if there are no effective treatments or vaccination, according to the study conducted by the researchers Hazhir Rahmandad, TY Lim and John Sterman of MIT’s Sloan School of Management.

“In this paper, we build and estimate a multi-country model of the Covid-19 pandemic at a global scale,” the study authors wrote.

Also Read: The Mysterious World Of Viruses And Why You Can’t Escape Them

For the findings, the MIT research team use a multi-country modified SEIR (Susceptible, Exposed, Infectious, Recovered) model, a standard mathematical model for infectious diseases used by epidemiologists, to simultaneously estimate the transmission of Covid-19 in 84 countries (4.75 billion people).

The model tracked community transmission, excluding the global travel network and instead separately estimating the date of introduction of patient zero for each country.

Within each country, the core of the model tracks the population through susceptible, pre-symptomatic, infected pre-testing, infected post-testing, and recovered states.

“Our model captures transmission dynamics for the disease, as well as how, at the country level, transmission rates vary in response to risk perception and weather, testing rates condition infection and death data, and fatality rates depend on demographics and hospitalisation,” they explained.

According to the study, the top 10 countries by projected daily infection rates at the end of winter 2021 are India, US, South Africa, Iran, Indonesia, Nigeria, Turkey, France and Germany.

Also Read: Our Live-in Virus: What Does the Real Covid Map Look Like?
India will be the worst affected country due to coronavirus followed by the US (95,000 cases per day), South Africa (21,000 cases per day) Iran (17,000 cases per day), and Indonesia (13,000 cases per day) at the end of winter 2021.

The MIT researchers also said that Infections are 12 times higher and deaths 50 per cent higher than previously reported.

“While actual cases are far greater than official reports suggest, the majority of people remain susceptible. Waiting for herd immunity is not a viable path out of the current pandemic,” Rahmandad said.

“Every community needs to keep the pandemic under control until a vaccine or treatment is widely available. A slow and half-hearted response only increases the human costs without offering much of an upside in terms of economic output,” Rahmandad noted.

Also Read: Did The Lockdown Work? What Did It Do? What Would Have Happened Without It?
As of Wednesday morning, the overall number of global COVID-19 cases has increased to more than 11.7 million, while the deaths have soared to over 543,000, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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