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Shah takes charge as new Home Minister

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Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah on Saturday took charge as the 30th Union Home Minister at a time when the country is facing terrorism, secessionism and Maoist insurgency challenges.

The 55-year-old BJP leader assumed charge a day after he was assigned the crucial Home portfolio, succeeding Rajnath Singh, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government returned for a second term.

The leadership change in the high-profile ministry is expected to usher in a certain decisiveness and an iron-handed approach to terror, insurgency and secessionism.

However, former Home Minister Rajnath Singh had given a free hand to security forces in Jammu and Kashmir, leading to heavy casualties among terrorists, Shah is expected to be more proactive and lead from the front.

He was welcomed by Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba and IB chief Rajiv Jain soon after he reached his North Block office

–IANS

Health

Congress alleges govt procuring Covid vaccine at inflated prices

The Congress leader said the price of such a vaccine must be cheaper than AstraZeneca-Serum Institute of India’s Covishield.

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Covid 19 Vaccine

New Delhi, Jan 17 : The Congress on Sunday questioned the procurement of Covid vaccines, alleging that the government has procured the vaccines at inflated prices despite the manufacturers claiming they would supply the vaccines without seeking profit.

Congress General Secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala, addressing a press conference, said, “Why should the Modi government pay Rs 95 per dose more to Bharat Biotech for a vaccine that has been developed with the expertise and experience of scientists of government-run ICMR and pay more for a vaccine that has only been tested on 755 individuals and is yet to be cleared after phase-3 trials?”

The Congress leader said the price of such a vaccine must be cheaper than AstraZeneca-Serum Institute of India’s Covishield.

“Why is the price of the vaccine at Rs 1,000 per dose in the open market?” he asked.

Surjewala said, “‘Covishield’ is an AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute of India. Serum Institute is supplying this vaccine at Rs 200/dose to government. AstraZeneca has committed to supplying the vaccine at no profit while ‘Covaxin’, manufactured by Bharat Biotech, is being supplied at Rs 295/dose. Admittedly, Covaxin has been developed by Bharat Biotech in partnership with Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).”

SII CEO Adar Poonawalla had said stated that his company will sell Covishield for Rs 1,000 per dose in open market, that is Rs 2,000 for 2 doses required for every individual.

Surjewala said, “Why should export of vaccine be permitted without immunisation of India’s population? ‘Corona Vaccine For All’ should be the stated policy of Modi government.”

“However, the government’s approach on free vaccination or cost of vaccination, cost to exchequer, profit margins of companies, etc, for India’s 130 crore people is completely opaque and shrouded in secrecy,” he said.

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Politics

No one was consulted, govt must agree to start on ‘clean slate’: Chidambaram on farm laws impasse

Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Saturday hit out at the Centre over the impasse on the farm laws, alleging that no one was consulted for the legislations, and asserted that the only way out for the government was to agree to start on a clean slate.

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P Chidambaram

New Delhi: His remarks came a day after the Centre asked protesting farmers to form an informal group to prepare a concrete proposal about their objections and suggestions on the farm laws for further discussion at their next meeting on January 19 to end the long-running protest at various Delhi borders.

The protesting farmer unions, however, stuck to their main demand of a complete repeal of the three legislations.

In a series of tweets, Chidambaram said that as expected, another round of talks between the farmers and government has failed.

The fault lies with the government because it will not agree to get rid of the disputed laws, the former Union minister said.

”RTI responses have exposed as a lie the government’s claim that there were extensive consultations before the Farm Laws Ordinances were promulgated. The truth is that no one was consulted. In particular, state governments were not consulted,” he alleged.

The only way out of the impasse is for the government to admit its mistake and agree to start on a clean slate, Chidambaram said.

Thousands of farmers, mostly from Haryana and Punjab, have been protesting at several border points of Delhi since November 28 last year, demanding a repeal of the three laws and a legal guarantee to the minimum support price (MSP) system for their crops.

Enacted in September last year, the three laws have been projected by the Centre as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove middlemen and allow farmers to sell their produce anywhere in the country.

However, the protesting farmers have expressed their apprehension that the new laws would pave the way for eliminating the safety cushion of the MSP and do away with the ”mandi” (wholesale market) system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates.

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Election

Former minister Shahnawaz Hussain is BJP’s MLC candidate in Bihar

National general secretary Arun Singh said the BJP’s central election committee has approved the names of candidates for the MLC elections in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

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shahnawaz hussain

New Delhi, Jan 16 : The BJP on Friday announced the names of six candidates for the member of legislative council (MLC) elections for Uttar Pradesh and one in Bihar.

For the only MLC seat in Bihar, the party has given the ticket to former Union minister and present-day spokesperson Syed Shahnawaz Hussain.

According to the official list issued by the BJP on Saturday, Kunwar Manvendra Singh, Govind Narayan Shukla, Salil Bishnoi, Ashwini Tyagi, Dr Dharamvir Prajapati and Surendra Chaudhary have received the ticket from Uttar Pradesh.

National general secretary Arun Singh said the BJP’s central election committee has approved the names of candidates for the MLC elections in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

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