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Does GoI have 80,000 crores to buy, distribute Covid-19 vaccine?

Serum Institute of India, CEO Adar Poonawalla has asked this, igniting a debate, but no one seems to know the govt’s plan of action

26 Sep 2020

Image Courtesy:india.com

In his own words, it was meant to be a quick question, however Serum Institute of India (SII) Adar Poonawalla’s has ignited a massive debate over the Covid-19 vaccine which the Union Health Minister had recently said, will be available as early as next year. On Saturday, Poonawala asked a question the Minister should really address soon. 

Poonawala has asked “will the government of India have Rs 80,000 crores available, over the next one year?” That, he explained, is what it will cost the Union Health Ministry  to buy and distribute the vaccine to everyone in India. 

 

The Serum Institute of India (SII) is collaborating with the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca to manufacture and distribute the Covid-19 vaccine in India. Perhaps after a deluge of replies, divided between the entitled who said they did not need a ‘free’ dose of the vaccine and could afford to pay for it, to those who questioned the government's plan of action for mass vaccinations, Poonawala elaborated his intentions of asking the question. Or perhaps it was advice from his communications team that led him to further state that, “I ask this question, because we need to plan and guide, vaccine manufacturers both in India and overseas to service the needs of our country in terms of procurement and distribution." 

According to a report by India Today, the clinical trials for Covishield, the vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca in collaboration with SII have begun in Mumbai's KEM and Nair hospitals. The report added that trials are likely to begin at a state-run hospital in Pune soon. The Drugs Controller General of India (DGCI) had revoked its order suspending any new recruitment for phase-II and phase-III of the clinical trials of Covishield, earlier this month as was reported widely. 

The Serum Institute of India has been issued a notice after vaccine trials were paused. According to multiple news reports, the Drugs Regulator General of India questioned why the Serum Institute of India “even progressed with the trials and why it has not sent a detailed report about the patient in the United States.”

"As I'd mentioned earlier, we should not jump to conclusions until the trials are fully concluded. The recent chain of events are a clear example why we should not bias the process and should respect the process till the end. Good news, @UniofOxford," Adar Poonawalla had tweeted after the revocation of DGCI's order, stated news reports. According to India Today, after examination, the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca received a go-ahead from authorities in the UK to resume clinical trials for Covishield. The SII has, in fact, also partnered with Novavax for the manufacturing of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate, NVXCoV2373, it added.

However, according to a Hindustan Times report, Adar Poonawalla had already warned that there won’t be enough vaccines against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) for everyone in the world till the end of 2024. 

The SSI, is the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, and Poonawalla its CEO has estimated that the world will need around 15 billion doses of the Covid-19 shot if it is a two-dose vaccine. “It’s going to take four to five years until everyone gets the vaccine on this planet,” Poonawalla was quoted by the Financial Times. The Pune-based pharma firm has committed to producing one billion doses, of which it has pledged half to India.

Meanwhile, the Coronavirus cases in India have gone well past the 59 lakh-mark with the latest spike of over 85,362 new coronavirus cases on Friday. On Saturday, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said, “7,02,69,975 samples have been tested up to September 25 (Friday) for Covid-19. Of these, 13,41,535 samples were tested on Friday.” According to news reports India is now second in the world with the most number of coronavirus cases after the United States, which has over 70 lakh confirmed cases so far.

Among the states, Maharashtra continues to top this list. It has alone contributed more than 17,000 new cases followed by Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh with more than 8,000 and 7,000 cases respectively.

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/6f1kSjTevA3Lx-jY8XEv0AjVqAA65en1l357PIUJ-R_UUdFc4SQN-O6JuZZlEfVWucM__C9ushl_cFpbuIbeW0Y3CNI8Iket5ULfeNinH2i7QgDiACdY4tuwl2cb_VvX1kzsSZYj

Meanwhile, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan led health ministry continues to talk about the total number of tests having crossed 7 crore, and added that 10 States/UTs account for 75% of the new confirmed cases. Around 1,089 deaths have been registered in the past 24 hours. And according to the health ministry 10 States/UTs account for 83% of the deaths in the last 24 hours due to Covid-19. Maharashtra reported 416 deaths followed by Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh with 86 and 84 deaths, respectively.

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/z6gAKBoVCmJTKs0sB38LPnaLYH8LCW9Z8KyrqnYsnpDXsfaeRCHedUVNA0iuy9nSB346-eCcsMwnO9JgTNO60GuaLAisAuaolfxOjtt6G5sTW4FnIWGf93vGmEpbGM4uUsCVWPtR

Related:

Covid-19 vaccine hits road bump, as India speeds towards 100,000 daily cases
Strike 2: Centre now says no data on Covid-19 deaths of medical staff!
Medical negligence, apathy and ostracisation kill more than Covid-19

Does GoI have 80,000 crores to buy, distribute Covid-19 vaccine?

Serum Institute of India, CEO Adar Poonawalla has asked this, igniting a debate, but no one seems to know the govt’s plan of action

Image Courtesy:india.com

In his own words, it was meant to be a quick question, however Serum Institute of India (SII) Adar Poonawalla’s has ignited a massive debate over the Covid-19 vaccine which the Union Health Minister had recently said, will be available as early as next year. On Saturday, Poonawala asked a question the Minister should really address soon. 

Poonawala has asked “will the government of India have Rs 80,000 crores available, over the next one year?” That, he explained, is what it will cost the Union Health Ministry  to buy and distribute the vaccine to everyone in India. 

 

The Serum Institute of India (SII) is collaborating with the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca to manufacture and distribute the Covid-19 vaccine in India. Perhaps after a deluge of replies, divided between the entitled who said they did not need a ‘free’ dose of the vaccine and could afford to pay for it, to those who questioned the government's plan of action for mass vaccinations, Poonawala elaborated his intentions of asking the question. Or perhaps it was advice from his communications team that led him to further state that, “I ask this question, because we need to plan and guide, vaccine manufacturers both in India and overseas to service the needs of our country in terms of procurement and distribution." 

According to a report by India Today, the clinical trials for Covishield, the vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca in collaboration with SII have begun in Mumbai's KEM and Nair hospitals. The report added that trials are likely to begin at a state-run hospital in Pune soon. The Drugs Controller General of India (DGCI) had revoked its order suspending any new recruitment for phase-II and phase-III of the clinical trials of Covishield, earlier this month as was reported widely. 

The Serum Institute of India has been issued a notice after vaccine trials were paused. According to multiple news reports, the Drugs Regulator General of India questioned why the Serum Institute of India “even progressed with the trials and why it has not sent a detailed report about the patient in the United States.”

"As I'd mentioned earlier, we should not jump to conclusions until the trials are fully concluded. The recent chain of events are a clear example why we should not bias the process and should respect the process till the end. Good news, @UniofOxford," Adar Poonawalla had tweeted after the revocation of DGCI's order, stated news reports. According to India Today, after examination, the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca received a go-ahead from authorities in the UK to resume clinical trials for Covishield. The SII has, in fact, also partnered with Novavax for the manufacturing of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate, NVXCoV2373, it added.

However, according to a Hindustan Times report, Adar Poonawalla had already warned that there won’t be enough vaccines against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) for everyone in the world till the end of 2024. 

The SSI, is the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, and Poonawalla its CEO has estimated that the world will need around 15 billion doses of the Covid-19 shot if it is a two-dose vaccine. “It’s going to take four to five years until everyone gets the vaccine on this planet,” Poonawalla was quoted by the Financial Times. The Pune-based pharma firm has committed to producing one billion doses, of which it has pledged half to India.

Meanwhile, the Coronavirus cases in India have gone well past the 59 lakh-mark with the latest spike of over 85,362 new coronavirus cases on Friday. On Saturday, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said, “7,02,69,975 samples have been tested up to September 25 (Friday) for Covid-19. Of these, 13,41,535 samples were tested on Friday.” According to news reports India is now second in the world with the most number of coronavirus cases after the United States, which has over 70 lakh confirmed cases so far.

Among the states, Maharashtra continues to top this list. It has alone contributed more than 17,000 new cases followed by Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh with more than 8,000 and 7,000 cases respectively.

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/6f1kSjTevA3Lx-jY8XEv0AjVqAA65en1l357PIUJ-R_UUdFc4SQN-O6JuZZlEfVWucM__C9ushl_cFpbuIbeW0Y3CNI8Iket5ULfeNinH2i7QgDiACdY4tuwl2cb_VvX1kzsSZYj

Meanwhile, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan led health ministry continues to talk about the total number of tests having crossed 7 crore, and added that 10 States/UTs account for 75% of the new confirmed cases. Around 1,089 deaths have been registered in the past 24 hours. And according to the health ministry 10 States/UTs account for 83% of the deaths in the last 24 hours due to Covid-19. Maharashtra reported 416 deaths followed by Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh with 86 and 84 deaths, respectively.

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/z6gAKBoVCmJTKs0sB38LPnaLYH8LCW9Z8KyrqnYsnpDXsfaeRCHedUVNA0iuy9nSB346-eCcsMwnO9JgTNO60GuaLAisAuaolfxOjtt6G5sTW4FnIWGf93vGmEpbGM4uUsCVWPtR

Related:

Covid-19 vaccine hits road bump, as India speeds towards 100,000 daily cases
Strike 2: Centre now says no data on Covid-19 deaths of medical staff!
Medical negligence, apathy and ostracisation kill more than Covid-19

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Covid-19: Bombay HC stands by Maha government’s refusal to reopen places of worship

Cites rise in coronavirus cases as a reason, adjourns PIL for two months

25 Sep 2020

Image Courtesy:thehindu.com

The Bombay High Court, on Thursday, refused to intervene in the Maharashtra state government’s decision against reopening places of worship. A Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice GS Kulkarni, was hearing a Public Interest Litigation moved by a group called Association for Aiding Justice.

The court ruled, “Taking judicial notice of the given situation prevailing in the State of Maharashtra, we are not inclined, at this stage, to pass any order, as prayed for by the petitioner, directing the State to open the places of worship, even in a limited manner. We leave it to the State to decide its next course of action, if at all the situation changes for the better.” The court then adjourned the matter for two months.

Maharashtra was one of the first states to begin lockdowns in major hotspots like Mumbai, even before the national lockdown, with provisions against gathering at places of worship. Maharashtra currently has as many as 2,75,404 active cases. As per the state government’s latest statistics, over 7 crore tests have been conducted so far, with almost 15 lakh tests conducted in just one day yesterday!

The entire order may be read here:

Related:

India now has over 3.69 million Covid-19 cases
Mosque offered as Covid-19 quarantine facility in Pune

Covid-19: Bombay HC stands by Maha government’s refusal to reopen places of worship

Cites rise in coronavirus cases as a reason, adjourns PIL for two months

Image Courtesy:thehindu.com

The Bombay High Court, on Thursday, refused to intervene in the Maharashtra state government’s decision against reopening places of worship. A Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice GS Kulkarni, was hearing a Public Interest Litigation moved by a group called Association for Aiding Justice.

The court ruled, “Taking judicial notice of the given situation prevailing in the State of Maharashtra, we are not inclined, at this stage, to pass any order, as prayed for by the petitioner, directing the State to open the places of worship, even in a limited manner. We leave it to the State to decide its next course of action, if at all the situation changes for the better.” The court then adjourned the matter for two months.

Maharashtra was one of the first states to begin lockdowns in major hotspots like Mumbai, even before the national lockdown, with provisions against gathering at places of worship. Maharashtra currently has as many as 2,75,404 active cases. As per the state government’s latest statistics, over 7 crore tests have been conducted so far, with almost 15 lakh tests conducted in just one day yesterday!

The entire order may be read here:

Related:

India now has over 3.69 million Covid-19 cases
Mosque offered as Covid-19 quarantine facility in Pune

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Malnutrition reduced in India: WCD Ministry

Union Minister Smriti Irani says that recent data shows malnutrition in India has reduced since the NFHS-4 report of 2015-16.

24 Sep 2020

Malnutrition reduced in India
Representation Image
 

In a bizarre revelation, the Minister of Women and Child Development claimed in a submission before the Indian Parliament on September 23 that the percentage of malnutrition in the country had reduced in recent years!

This was in response to a question raised by Member of Parliament Mohammad Jawed about the increasing number of malnourished children (including Bihar) in the last three years.

In reply, Union Minister Smriti Irani said that the National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-4 report of 2015-16 showed that 35.7 percent children under five years of age are underweight and 38.4 percent are stunted. Similarly, the Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey (CNNS) report of 2016-18 showed that the prevalence of underweight and stunting among children is 33.4 percent and 34.7 percent respectively.

According to Irani this “indicates a reduction when compared to the levels reported by NFHS-4.” However, unlike the NFHS-4 report, the CNNS report does present data for Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, Lakshadweep islands and Puducherry.

A brief comparison of the two reports also showed that the problem of stunting and underweight had improved over the years in Bihar, one of the states that have reported a serious problem of malnutrition. In 2015-16, the NFHS-4 showed that 48.3 percent children under five years in Bihar were stunted while 43.9 percent children under five years were underweight. In 2016-18, the CNNS report said that the percentages of stunted and underweight children under five years had reduced to 42 percent and 38.7 percent respectively.

Similarly, Madhya Pradesh that also faces the problem of malnutrition saw a general decline in stunted and underweight children as per Centre data. The NFHS stated that 42 percent children were stunted while 42.8 percent children were underweight. Later, the CNNS showed that 39.5 percent were stunted while 38.7 were underweight.

When asked about government measures to address the issue of malnutrition among children and the funds proposed for this purpose, the Irani said, “Under the Umbrella Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme, in order to address the issue of malnutrition, Rs. 20532.38 crores, Rs. 3700 crores, Rs. 2500 crores and Rs. 250 crores have been proposed for the year 2020-21 for implementation of Anganwadi Services, POSHAN Abhiyaan, Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) and Scheme for Adolescent Girls (SAG) respectively.”

She also said that under the anganwadi services of the Umbrella ICDS Scheme, children under six years of age are given supplementary nutrition such as take-home ration, morning snacks and hot cooked meals.

“The Supplementary Nutrition is provided to bridge the gap between the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) and the Average Daily Intake (ADI) among this age group as per the nutritional standards specified under Schedule II of the Act. Severely malnourished children are provided additional nutrition in the form of food supplement providing 800 Kcal of energy and 20-25 g of protein. Further, for the management of malnourished children without medical complications at the community level, the Composite guidelines have been drafted by the Ministry based on the recommendations of the all stakeholders,” she said.

 

Related:

In Madhya Pradesh, eggs blur the line between religion and nutrition

Why India Is Likely To Miss Its Nutrition Targets For 2022

Feeding Mothers, Fighting Malnutrition: The East Godavari Experience

BJP States Most Resistant To Eggs In Mid-Day Meals, Cite Vegetarian Sentiments

Malnutrition reduced in India: WCD Ministry

Union Minister Smriti Irani says that recent data shows malnutrition in India has reduced since the NFHS-4 report of 2015-16.

Malnutrition reduced in India
Representation Image
 

In a bizarre revelation, the Minister of Women and Child Development claimed in a submission before the Indian Parliament on September 23 that the percentage of malnutrition in the country had reduced in recent years!

This was in response to a question raised by Member of Parliament Mohammad Jawed about the increasing number of malnourished children (including Bihar) in the last three years.

In reply, Union Minister Smriti Irani said that the National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-4 report of 2015-16 showed that 35.7 percent children under five years of age are underweight and 38.4 percent are stunted. Similarly, the Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey (CNNS) report of 2016-18 showed that the prevalence of underweight and stunting among children is 33.4 percent and 34.7 percent respectively.

According to Irani this “indicates a reduction when compared to the levels reported by NFHS-4.” However, unlike the NFHS-4 report, the CNNS report does present data for Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, Lakshadweep islands and Puducherry.

A brief comparison of the two reports also showed that the problem of stunting and underweight had improved over the years in Bihar, one of the states that have reported a serious problem of malnutrition. In 2015-16, the NFHS-4 showed that 48.3 percent children under five years in Bihar were stunted while 43.9 percent children under five years were underweight. In 2016-18, the CNNS report said that the percentages of stunted and underweight children under five years had reduced to 42 percent and 38.7 percent respectively.

Similarly, Madhya Pradesh that also faces the problem of malnutrition saw a general decline in stunted and underweight children as per Centre data. The NFHS stated that 42 percent children were stunted while 42.8 percent children were underweight. Later, the CNNS showed that 39.5 percent were stunted while 38.7 were underweight.

When asked about government measures to address the issue of malnutrition among children and the funds proposed for this purpose, the Irani said, “Under the Umbrella Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme, in order to address the issue of malnutrition, Rs. 20532.38 crores, Rs. 3700 crores, Rs. 2500 crores and Rs. 250 crores have been proposed for the year 2020-21 for implementation of Anganwadi Services, POSHAN Abhiyaan, Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) and Scheme for Adolescent Girls (SAG) respectively.”

She also said that under the anganwadi services of the Umbrella ICDS Scheme, children under six years of age are given supplementary nutrition such as take-home ration, morning snacks and hot cooked meals.

“The Supplementary Nutrition is provided to bridge the gap between the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) and the Average Daily Intake (ADI) among this age group as per the nutritional standards specified under Schedule II of the Act. Severely malnourished children are provided additional nutrition in the form of food supplement providing 800 Kcal of energy and 20-25 g of protein. Further, for the management of malnourished children without medical complications at the community level, the Composite guidelines have been drafted by the Ministry based on the recommendations of the all stakeholders,” she said.

 

Related:

In Madhya Pradesh, eggs blur the line between religion and nutrition

Why India Is Likely To Miss Its Nutrition Targets For 2022

Feeding Mothers, Fighting Malnutrition: The East Godavari Experience

BJP States Most Resistant To Eggs In Mid-Day Meals, Cite Vegetarian Sentiments

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Pandemic dance video teaches how to engage with Covid-19 

Vancouver-based  Indo-Canadian poet has a remedy to survive the current crisis by remaining connected with nature.   

23 Sep 2020
sherry


Sherry Duggal, a naturopath and a teacher has recently produced Pandemic Dance, which is now posted on youtube. The video has generated a lot of curiosity and interest among people grappling with anxiety caused by social distancing and isolation in the time of Covid- 19.   

Through her performance punctuated with expressions of sadness and fear, Sherry makes us travel through what the real world is facing. The video ends with her hugging a tree with a sense of relaxation all over her face. That’s the key message she tries to convey. 

“That tree I actually hugged will always have a special place in my heart because it shared a moment with me. Nature speaks to you. Go out to nature”, she said during a live interview with Spice Radio. She added that Coronavirus is teaching us a lot of lessons, including why it is important to be grounded and connect with nature. 

“No matter how you are feeling. Put your foot on bare grass and bare soil and see what happens,” she said.  

According to her, nature teaches humanity about abundance and giving without asking.  She also cautioned people to be aware of their prejudices in the light of growing hate because of Covid-19. She believes that if nature does not discriminate and all races are equally affected by the pandemic then why humans should be discriminating against each other.  

Ever since Covid-19 broke out in China, there has been a spike in hate crimes against people of Asian heritage even in Vancouver. Notably, Sherry has previously made a video of her poem on racism. Titled as Between the Pages, it is also available on youtube.  


Related:

Canadian legislator honoured for standing up for Kashmir and minorities in India

Pandemic dance video teaches how to engage with Covid-19 

Vancouver-based  Indo-Canadian poet has a remedy to survive the current crisis by remaining connected with nature.   

sherry


Sherry Duggal, a naturopath and a teacher has recently produced Pandemic Dance, which is now posted on youtube. The video has generated a lot of curiosity and interest among people grappling with anxiety caused by social distancing and isolation in the time of Covid- 19.   

Through her performance punctuated with expressions of sadness and fear, Sherry makes us travel through what the real world is facing. The video ends with her hugging a tree with a sense of relaxation all over her face. That’s the key message she tries to convey. 

“That tree I actually hugged will always have a special place in my heart because it shared a moment with me. Nature speaks to you. Go out to nature”, she said during a live interview with Spice Radio. She added that Coronavirus is teaching us a lot of lessons, including why it is important to be grounded and connect with nature. 

“No matter how you are feeling. Put your foot on bare grass and bare soil and see what happens,” she said.  

According to her, nature teaches humanity about abundance and giving without asking.  She also cautioned people to be aware of their prejudices in the light of growing hate because of Covid-19. She believes that if nature does not discriminate and all races are equally affected by the pandemic then why humans should be discriminating against each other.  

Ever since Covid-19 broke out in China, there has been a spike in hate crimes against people of Asian heritage even in Vancouver. Notably, Sherry has previously made a video of her poem on racism. Titled as Between the Pages, it is also available on youtube.  


Related:

Canadian legislator honoured for standing up for Kashmir and minorities in India

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MHA: Over 200 still detained under PSA in J&K

This ministry also said Covid measures were running smoothly with 2G internet in response to two questions asked in Lok Sabha

21 Sep 2020

Image Courtesy:livelaw.in

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), on September 20, while responding to a question put forth by Rahul Gandhi stated that as on September 11 there are 223 persons detained under the Public Safety Act (PSA).

About PSA

The Act was enacted by the Sheikh Abdullah led government in 1978 and has since then been a subject of contention. A report published by Amnesty International states that in a written reply to the Legislative Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir in January 2017, the then-Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti stated that from 2007 to 2016, over 2400 PSA detention orders were passed, of which about 58% were quashed by courts.

The Act allows detention of persons without trial or forming of charges. It allows the government to detain a person for as long as 4 weeks without having to produce them before an authority, in this case, an Advisory Board. The detenu is also not permitted to engage in legal representation before the Advisory Board. The Act provides that the detenu be informed about the grounds of detention at the earliest, within 5 days or maximum 10 days of date of detention, but it also provides that reasons which are “against public interest” may not be disclosed. Even the report of the Advisory Board is kept confidential and not disclosed to the detenu, except the part where the opinion of the Advisory board i.e. whether the order of detention is confirmed or rejected is communicated to the detenu.

Internet Blockade

Another Member of Lok Sabha, Uttam Kumar Reddy Nalamada also questioned the MHA why the internet was still restricted in J&K and what impact it had on services like healthcare, education as well as access to justice for the people.

The MHA stated that districts of Ganderbal (Kashmir Division) and Udhampur (Jammu Division) have high speed internet. It further said that “The 2G mobile internet speed is not an impediment in covid control measures including dissemination of information to the general public as well as health workers. Also, e-learning apps and education/e-learning websites of the Government of India/ Government of J&K are accessible over 2G internet for downloading e-books and other study material. Further, the restriction on high speed mobile internet services has not been an impediment in the administration of justice and the Courts have taken special measures to conduct their proceedings during the pandemic by providing video links/URLs to the lawyers and the litigants.”

The parliamentary responses may be read here.

Related:

KPSS’s fast-unto-death begins in Srinagar
Now, Smriti Irani says no data on anganwadi workforce!
1700 custodial deaths in a year, yet no anti-torture law!

MHA: Over 200 still detained under PSA in J&K

This ministry also said Covid measures were running smoothly with 2G internet in response to two questions asked in Lok Sabha

Image Courtesy:livelaw.in

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), on September 20, while responding to a question put forth by Rahul Gandhi stated that as on September 11 there are 223 persons detained under the Public Safety Act (PSA).

About PSA

The Act was enacted by the Sheikh Abdullah led government in 1978 and has since then been a subject of contention. A report published by Amnesty International states that in a written reply to the Legislative Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir in January 2017, the then-Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti stated that from 2007 to 2016, over 2400 PSA detention orders were passed, of which about 58% were quashed by courts.

The Act allows detention of persons without trial or forming of charges. It allows the government to detain a person for as long as 4 weeks without having to produce them before an authority, in this case, an Advisory Board. The detenu is also not permitted to engage in legal representation before the Advisory Board. The Act provides that the detenu be informed about the grounds of detention at the earliest, within 5 days or maximum 10 days of date of detention, but it also provides that reasons which are “against public interest” may not be disclosed. Even the report of the Advisory Board is kept confidential and not disclosed to the detenu, except the part where the opinion of the Advisory board i.e. whether the order of detention is confirmed or rejected is communicated to the detenu.

Internet Blockade

Another Member of Lok Sabha, Uttam Kumar Reddy Nalamada also questioned the MHA why the internet was still restricted in J&K and what impact it had on services like healthcare, education as well as access to justice for the people.

The MHA stated that districts of Ganderbal (Kashmir Division) and Udhampur (Jammu Division) have high speed internet. It further said that “The 2G mobile internet speed is not an impediment in covid control measures including dissemination of information to the general public as well as health workers. Also, e-learning apps and education/e-learning websites of the Government of India/ Government of J&K are accessible over 2G internet for downloading e-books and other study material. Further, the restriction on high speed mobile internet services has not been an impediment in the administration of justice and the Courts have taken special measures to conduct their proceedings during the pandemic by providing video links/URLs to the lawyers and the litigants.”

The parliamentary responses may be read here.

Related:

KPSS’s fast-unto-death begins in Srinagar
Now, Smriti Irani says no data on anganwadi workforce!
1700 custodial deaths in a year, yet no anti-torture law!

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Tablighi Jamaat event caused coronavirus to spread to ‘many persons’: MHA

Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy also told Rajya Sabha that Delhi Police arrested 233 TJ members, evacuated 2,361 people from its HQ

21 Sep 2020

Image Courtesy:nationalheraldindia.com

The Union Home Ministry on Monday, told the Parliament that the Tablighi Jamaat meeting that was held in March in its headquarters  Delhi’s Nizamuddin area, when the sudden Covid-19 lockdown was announced,  had resulted in the Coronavirus infection spreading to “many persons”. The Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy told the Rajya Sabha that Delhi Police had arrested “233 Tablighi Jamaat members and 2,361 people have been evacuated from the organisation’s headquarters since March 29”.  He also told the Parliament in a written reply that, “However, regarding Jamaat Chief Maulana Mohd Saad, the investigation is underway”. Saad has not yet been arrested by Delhi Police, months after they arrested and detained many others, including foreign nationals, in connection with the allegations of violating Covid-19 protocols and other charges.

"As reported by Delhi Police, despite guidelines/orders issued by various authorities in pursuance of the outbreak of COVID-19 a huge gathering assembled inside a closed premise; over a protracted period of time, without any semblance of social distancing or provision of masks and sanitizers. This also caused spread of Corona Virus infection amongst many persons (sic)," Minister of State (Home Affairs) G Kishan Reddy told the Rajya Sabha. This was his written response to a question on whether the gathering was a "major reason" for the spread of coronavirus in Delhi and other states, reported NDTV.

The Home Ministry was responding to a question from Shiv Sena MP Anil Desai who asked the ministry to specify whether the spread of coronavirus in Delhi and other states was due to the assembly of people for the gathering. The Sena MP also sought details of the number of people who attended the gathering and the number of people arrested so far, stated the news report.

Reddy’s remarks have once again refreshed memories of how a literal hate campaign was launched against the TJ members who had found themselves stranded in Delhi when all transport had been shut down after the sudden lockdown was imposed in the last week of March 2020. The resulting villification of TJ members, resulted in attacks and targeting of the Muslim community at large for months that followed. Many social media influencers and most news coverage related to the Covid-19 pandemic was then sensationalised and concentrated on the Tablighi Jamaat’s Congregation held from March 11-13 in Delhi. The Delhi government had called it a ‘Covid-19 hotspot’. The communalisation of the pandemic continued  for months. 

The Minister’s remarks come just days after four Tablighi Jamaat members were assaulted on September 16 in Maharashtra’s Beed district. Suhail Tamboli, Aslam Ather, Sayyed Layak and Nizamuddin Qazi, were travelling to Ambajogai village from Dharur when a group of six people allegedly attacked the travellers and their already broken-down car in Hol village. Tamboli who was beaten unconscious, said that the assailants intended to kill him and his friends, they were ruthlessly beaten and verbally abused for 40 minutes late in the night. The article may be read here. Though not Covid-19 related, this attack too is communal in nature, state news reports. Between biased ‘news’ reporting, and whatsaap forwards, the Muslim community continues to find itself as a soft target of Right Wing attacks. 

The Supreme Court had on May 27, asked the Centre to submit a response in three combined petitions which seek strict action against the media for communalisation of the Tablighi Jamaat meeting in Delhi. The three petitioners were Jamiat-ulema-I-Hind, DJ Halli Federation of Masjid Madaaris and Wakf Institute. Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) had called out the blatant communalisation of the pandemic, and sent written complaints to news channels like India TV and India Today which had made false claims relating to Tablighi Jamaat and its connection with Covid-19, as well as for sensationalising and communalising news reportage of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, as of September 21, the country has recorded over 86,961 new Covid-19 cases, and 1130 deaths. There are over 10,03,299 active coronavirus cases in India at the moment. According to  news reports the current Parliament session is also likely to conclude soon.  

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/w4meAZJ4tSvY-Qz8CVTPF5lf9RtVVlOu25ZO3Lh4IhLBdGQg1MXS0ZdJzvGfqqgKq_kDIYoSF2BI1bJq531sLyTBrJ0ROpaMLHTlDnP6daa6L4swusMIg2QChxGmRZOXUK4ubNxi

The Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, meanwhile has continued to give #CoronaVirusUpdates with the rates of “recovery” as his focus. It shared information such as “12 States and UTs have registered Recovery Rate more than the national average” and that “India tops the global figure of total recoveries”. 

 

According to the official government statement, “India's Recovery Rate crosses the landmark of 80%”

WhatsApp Image 2020-09-21 at 10.33.01 AM.jpeg

12 States and UTs have registered Recovery Rate more than the national average. 

WhatsApp Image 2020-09-21 at 10.35.16 AM.jpeg

However, it remains a fact that 86,961 new cases, and  1130 deaths, have been reported in the past 24 hours. No connection between those cases, and the Tablighi Jamaat event held in March, have been reported so far.

Related: 

Tablighi Jamaat members attacked in Beed
How courts rescued the Tablighi Jamaat from further hatred
Don’t let people instigate law and order issues: SC on communalisation of Covid-19
Tablighi Jamaat members still under the scanner
Maulana Saad deliberately neglected verbal warnings of COVID19: Delhi Police
Policing in the times of corona has many tones, depending on who you are

Tablighi Jamaat event caused coronavirus to spread to ‘many persons’: MHA

Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy also told Rajya Sabha that Delhi Police arrested 233 TJ members, evacuated 2,361 people from its HQ

Image Courtesy:nationalheraldindia.com

The Union Home Ministry on Monday, told the Parliament that the Tablighi Jamaat meeting that was held in March in its headquarters  Delhi’s Nizamuddin area, when the sudden Covid-19 lockdown was announced,  had resulted in the Coronavirus infection spreading to “many persons”. The Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy told the Rajya Sabha that Delhi Police had arrested “233 Tablighi Jamaat members and 2,361 people have been evacuated from the organisation’s headquarters since March 29”.  He also told the Parliament in a written reply that, “However, regarding Jamaat Chief Maulana Mohd Saad, the investigation is underway”. Saad has not yet been arrested by Delhi Police, months after they arrested and detained many others, including foreign nationals, in connection with the allegations of violating Covid-19 protocols and other charges.

"As reported by Delhi Police, despite guidelines/orders issued by various authorities in pursuance of the outbreak of COVID-19 a huge gathering assembled inside a closed premise; over a protracted period of time, without any semblance of social distancing or provision of masks and sanitizers. This also caused spread of Corona Virus infection amongst many persons (sic)," Minister of State (Home Affairs) G Kishan Reddy told the Rajya Sabha. This was his written response to a question on whether the gathering was a "major reason" for the spread of coronavirus in Delhi and other states, reported NDTV.

The Home Ministry was responding to a question from Shiv Sena MP Anil Desai who asked the ministry to specify whether the spread of coronavirus in Delhi and other states was due to the assembly of people for the gathering. The Sena MP also sought details of the number of people who attended the gathering and the number of people arrested so far, stated the news report.

Reddy’s remarks have once again refreshed memories of how a literal hate campaign was launched against the TJ members who had found themselves stranded in Delhi when all transport had been shut down after the sudden lockdown was imposed in the last week of March 2020. The resulting villification of TJ members, resulted in attacks and targeting of the Muslim community at large for months that followed. Many social media influencers and most news coverage related to the Covid-19 pandemic was then sensationalised and concentrated on the Tablighi Jamaat’s Congregation held from March 11-13 in Delhi. The Delhi government had called it a ‘Covid-19 hotspot’. The communalisation of the pandemic continued  for months. 

The Minister’s remarks come just days after four Tablighi Jamaat members were assaulted on September 16 in Maharashtra’s Beed district. Suhail Tamboli, Aslam Ather, Sayyed Layak and Nizamuddin Qazi, were travelling to Ambajogai village from Dharur when a group of six people allegedly attacked the travellers and their already broken-down car in Hol village. Tamboli who was beaten unconscious, said that the assailants intended to kill him and his friends, they were ruthlessly beaten and verbally abused for 40 minutes late in the night. The article may be read here. Though not Covid-19 related, this attack too is communal in nature, state news reports. Between biased ‘news’ reporting, and whatsaap forwards, the Muslim community continues to find itself as a soft target of Right Wing attacks. 

The Supreme Court had on May 27, asked the Centre to submit a response in three combined petitions which seek strict action against the media for communalisation of the Tablighi Jamaat meeting in Delhi. The three petitioners were Jamiat-ulema-I-Hind, DJ Halli Federation of Masjid Madaaris and Wakf Institute. Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) had called out the blatant communalisation of the pandemic, and sent written complaints to news channels like India TV and India Today which had made false claims relating to Tablighi Jamaat and its connection with Covid-19, as well as for sensationalising and communalising news reportage of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, as of September 21, the country has recorded over 86,961 new Covid-19 cases, and 1130 deaths. There are over 10,03,299 active coronavirus cases in India at the moment. According to  news reports the current Parliament session is also likely to conclude soon.  

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/w4meAZJ4tSvY-Qz8CVTPF5lf9RtVVlOu25ZO3Lh4IhLBdGQg1MXS0ZdJzvGfqqgKq_kDIYoSF2BI1bJq531sLyTBrJ0ROpaMLHTlDnP6daa6L4swusMIg2QChxGmRZOXUK4ubNxi

The Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, meanwhile has continued to give #CoronaVirusUpdates with the rates of “recovery” as his focus. It shared information such as “12 States and UTs have registered Recovery Rate more than the national average” and that “India tops the global figure of total recoveries”. 

 

According to the official government statement, “India's Recovery Rate crosses the landmark of 80%”

WhatsApp Image 2020-09-21 at 10.33.01 AM.jpeg

12 States and UTs have registered Recovery Rate more than the national average. 

WhatsApp Image 2020-09-21 at 10.35.16 AM.jpeg

However, it remains a fact that 86,961 new cases, and  1130 deaths, have been reported in the past 24 hours. No connection between those cases, and the Tablighi Jamaat event held in March, have been reported so far.

Related: 

Tablighi Jamaat members attacked in Beed
How courts rescued the Tablighi Jamaat from further hatred
Don’t let people instigate law and order issues: SC on communalisation of Covid-19
Tablighi Jamaat members still under the scanner
Maulana Saad deliberately neglected verbal warnings of COVID19: Delhi Police
Policing in the times of corona has many tones, depending on who you are

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Strike three and counting! Centre says it no data on death of sanitation workers during Covid-19

The Centre seems to have given up on keeping records as yet again it says it has no data on the death of 'Safai Karmachari' or sanitary workers employed during the pandemic

17 Sep 2020

Image Courtesy:ndtv.com

Following shocking revelations of no Central-records on death of migrants and medical staff, the Union government said it has no data on sanitary workers who died during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Minister of State Ramdas Athawale told Member of Parliament Bhagwat Karad, “Hospitals and dispensaries being a state subject, no data is maintained in the Union Government about Safai Karamchari, who have died due to health and safety hazards related [to] cleaning hospitals and medical waste during Covid-19 pandemic.”

This is the third time that the Central government has failed to provide records of people who died during the lockdown. The Centre’s answers raise the question: Has the government kept no record of casualties suffered during this period?

On September 16, the government claimed that it was unfair for the Opposition to criticise the lack of data because there was no mechanism at the municipal level to account for migrant deaths as per an NDTV report.

However, this justification has satisfied neither the Opposition nor Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) a human rights organisation whose volunteers and members interacted and helped migrants during their Migrant Diaries series.

When asked about the measures taken to protect the health of sanitisation workers, Athawale said that the Ministry on Health and Family Welfare had provided guidelines on the rational use of PPEs and Infection Prevention and Control Practices. Similarly, Infection Prevention and Control Committees were constituted in States to monitor the exposure status of healthcare workers. An advisory for managing health-related work in COVID and non-COVID areas of hospitals was issued by the Ministry on June 18.

 

Related:

Strike 2: Centre now says no data on Covid-19 deaths of medical staff!
No data, so no compensation: Centre’s shocking revelation on migrant labourer deaths!
Medical negligence, apathy and ostracisation kill more than Covid-19

Strike three and counting! Centre says it no data on death of sanitation workers during Covid-19

The Centre seems to have given up on keeping records as yet again it says it has no data on the death of 'Safai Karmachari' or sanitary workers employed during the pandemic

Image Courtesy:ndtv.com

Following shocking revelations of no Central-records on death of migrants and medical staff, the Union government said it has no data on sanitary workers who died during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Minister of State Ramdas Athawale told Member of Parliament Bhagwat Karad, “Hospitals and dispensaries being a state subject, no data is maintained in the Union Government about Safai Karamchari, who have died due to health and safety hazards related [to] cleaning hospitals and medical waste during Covid-19 pandemic.”

This is the third time that the Central government has failed to provide records of people who died during the lockdown. The Centre’s answers raise the question: Has the government kept no record of casualties suffered during this period?

On September 16, the government claimed that it was unfair for the Opposition to criticise the lack of data because there was no mechanism at the municipal level to account for migrant deaths as per an NDTV report.

However, this justification has satisfied neither the Opposition nor Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) a human rights organisation whose volunteers and members interacted and helped migrants during their Migrant Diaries series.

When asked about the measures taken to protect the health of sanitisation workers, Athawale said that the Ministry on Health and Family Welfare had provided guidelines on the rational use of PPEs and Infection Prevention and Control Practices. Similarly, Infection Prevention and Control Committees were constituted in States to monitor the exposure status of healthcare workers. An advisory for managing health-related work in COVID and non-COVID areas of hospitals was issued by the Ministry on June 18.

 

Related:

Strike 2: Centre now says no data on Covid-19 deaths of medical staff!
No data, so no compensation: Centre’s shocking revelation on migrant labourer deaths!
Medical negligence, apathy and ostracisation kill more than Covid-19

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Strike 2: Centre now says no data on Covid-19 deaths of medical staff!

Shortly after the Centre claimed no data on death of migrant workers, the Ministry of Health and Welfare now says that it maintained no data on the death of medical staff during the on-going pandemic.

16 Sep 2020

medical StaffImage: Diptendu Dutta/AFP
 

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare does not maintain data on Covid-19 deaths of medical personnel, said Minister of State Ashwini Kumar Choubey a mere day after the Centre's declaration that it does not have a record of migrant labourer deaths.

On September 16, Rajya Sabha Members of Parliament (MP) Ravi Prakash Verma and Binoy Viswam asked Choubey for the number of doctors, nurses, ASHA workers and other health care staff who had either been affected by or died due to coronavirus.

To this the Minister of State had given the disconcerting reply of, “Health is a State subject. Such data is not maintained at Central level by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. However, database of those seeking relief under the “Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Insurance Package” is maintained at national level.”

This is the second time that the Centre failed to account for Covid-19-caused deaths in India.

Meanwhile, the insurance scheme only recorded 155 deaths of medical personnel from all over India. Thus, it recognises deaths of only those people whose families sought relief under the government insurance scheme. Accordingly, the data showed that as many as 21 medical personnel had died in Maharashtra with a majority of 12 deaths classified in “Others” category. Maharashtra’s official death count was closely followed by West Bengal and Gujarat with 14 deaths each. Uttar Pradesh recorded eight doctor deaths – highest number in the given data – while Telangana recorded as many as three ASHA worker deaths. Gujarat had the highest nurse, midwife, and health worker deaths at six persons.

When asked to explain why the Centre had failed to contain the spread of the disease despite early inputs from WHO and other countries, The Minister of State said that India had successfully “blunted” the spread of Covid-19 by imposing country-wide lockdown in the early stages of the pandemic. He said that the decision of lockdown had prevented roughly 14–29 lakh cases and 37–78 thousand deaths.

“India has been able to limit its cases and deaths per million to 3,328 cases per million and 55 deaths per million population respectively, which is one of the lowest in the world as compared to similarly affected countries,” said Choubey.

Regarding the Government mechanism to check concealing/ under reporting of Covid-19 deaths, he said that the Centre has advised states as per the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) circulated guidelines for appropriate recording of Covid-19 deaths in India.

Furthermore, he said that the Centre did not allocate funds to states for testing and treatment.

“Initially the testing equipment and kits were procured by ICMR and provided to the states. Now that the diagnostic kits and equipment are available states have been advised to procure the same,” he said.

MP Viswam also enquired about complaints from Covid-19 designated hospitals regarding protecting gear for medical staff. He also asked about government measures to protect frontline healthcare workers from the disease.

While Choubey did not talk about complaints, he said that the Centre gave the states 3.05 crore N-95 masks and 1.2 Crore PPE kits. He said hospitals and frontline workers were given guidelines on March 24 for rational use of PPEs that followed a risk-based approach and recommended  what kind of PPE should be used in high and low risk areas. Moreover, states were supported with 9.81 crore tablets of Hydroxychloroquine and 28,476 ventilators.

“The healthcare workers were provided with hydroxychloroquine for prophylaxis and prevention of infection. N-95 masks and triple / double ply masks were brought under price control. Export of PPEs, N 95 masks, triple/ double ply medical masks, goggles and visors were banned till such time we were self-reliant,” he said.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare provided guidelines on Infection Prevention and Control practices as well as training programmes to states.

“States were asked to constitute Infection Prevention and Control committees. Hospitals were also to identify a nodal officer who will monitor the healthcare workers and review their exposure status. High risk exposures are placed under quarantine for 7 days. Based on their exposure/clinical profile such doctors, nursing officers and other health workers, a decision shall be taken by the Nodal Officer/Head of the Department (or his appointed Sub-committee) for further period of one week,” he said.

Lastly, he said a package of Rs 15000 crores (USD 2 Billion) under ‘India Covid-19 Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness Package’ was approved by the Cabinet April 22.

Related:

No data, so no compensation: Centre’s shocking revelation on migrant labourer deaths!
SC dismisses plea seeking uniform compensation for kin of Covid victims
Shortages of doctors, blood as healthcare crisis grows in Gujarat

Strike 2: Centre now says no data on Covid-19 deaths of medical staff!

Shortly after the Centre claimed no data on death of migrant workers, the Ministry of Health and Welfare now says that it maintained no data on the death of medical staff during the on-going pandemic.

medical StaffImage: Diptendu Dutta/AFP
 

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare does not maintain data on Covid-19 deaths of medical personnel, said Minister of State Ashwini Kumar Choubey a mere day after the Centre's declaration that it does not have a record of migrant labourer deaths.

On September 16, Rajya Sabha Members of Parliament (MP) Ravi Prakash Verma and Binoy Viswam asked Choubey for the number of doctors, nurses, ASHA workers and other health care staff who had either been affected by or died due to coronavirus.

To this the Minister of State had given the disconcerting reply of, “Health is a State subject. Such data is not maintained at Central level by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. However, database of those seeking relief under the “Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Insurance Package” is maintained at national level.”

This is the second time that the Centre failed to account for Covid-19-caused deaths in India.

Meanwhile, the insurance scheme only recorded 155 deaths of medical personnel from all over India. Thus, it recognises deaths of only those people whose families sought relief under the government insurance scheme. Accordingly, the data showed that as many as 21 medical personnel had died in Maharashtra with a majority of 12 deaths classified in “Others” category. Maharashtra’s official death count was closely followed by West Bengal and Gujarat with 14 deaths each. Uttar Pradesh recorded eight doctor deaths – highest number in the given data – while Telangana recorded as many as three ASHA worker deaths. Gujarat had the highest nurse, midwife, and health worker deaths at six persons.

When asked to explain why the Centre had failed to contain the spread of the disease despite early inputs from WHO and other countries, The Minister of State said that India had successfully “blunted” the spread of Covid-19 by imposing country-wide lockdown in the early stages of the pandemic. He said that the decision of lockdown had prevented roughly 14–29 lakh cases and 37–78 thousand deaths.

“India has been able to limit its cases and deaths per million to 3,328 cases per million and 55 deaths per million population respectively, which is one of the lowest in the world as compared to similarly affected countries,” said Choubey.

Regarding the Government mechanism to check concealing/ under reporting of Covid-19 deaths, he said that the Centre has advised states as per the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) circulated guidelines for appropriate recording of Covid-19 deaths in India.

Furthermore, he said that the Centre did not allocate funds to states for testing and treatment.

“Initially the testing equipment and kits were procured by ICMR and provided to the states. Now that the diagnostic kits and equipment are available states have been advised to procure the same,” he said.

MP Viswam also enquired about complaints from Covid-19 designated hospitals regarding protecting gear for medical staff. He also asked about government measures to protect frontline healthcare workers from the disease.

While Choubey did not talk about complaints, he said that the Centre gave the states 3.05 crore N-95 masks and 1.2 Crore PPE kits. He said hospitals and frontline workers were given guidelines on March 24 for rational use of PPEs that followed a risk-based approach and recommended  what kind of PPE should be used in high and low risk areas. Moreover, states were supported with 9.81 crore tablets of Hydroxychloroquine and 28,476 ventilators.

“The healthcare workers were provided with hydroxychloroquine for prophylaxis and prevention of infection. N-95 masks and triple / double ply masks were brought under price control. Export of PPEs, N 95 masks, triple/ double ply medical masks, goggles and visors were banned till such time we were self-reliant,” he said.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare provided guidelines on Infection Prevention and Control practices as well as training programmes to states.

“States were asked to constitute Infection Prevention and Control committees. Hospitals were also to identify a nodal officer who will monitor the healthcare workers and review their exposure status. High risk exposures are placed under quarantine for 7 days. Based on their exposure/clinical profile such doctors, nursing officers and other health workers, a decision shall be taken by the Nodal Officer/Head of the Department (or his appointed Sub-committee) for further period of one week,” he said.

Lastly, he said a package of Rs 15000 crores (USD 2 Billion) under ‘India Covid-19 Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness Package’ was approved by the Cabinet April 22.

Related:

No data, so no compensation: Centre’s shocking revelation on migrant labourer deaths!
SC dismisses plea seeking uniform compensation for kin of Covid victims
Shortages of doctors, blood as healthcare crisis grows in Gujarat

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Shrey Hospital Fire: Civil society demands CBI inquiry

Statement of solidarity with victims’ families seeks application of Sec 304 of CrPC

15 Sep 2020

Shrey

 

Over 300 activists, students and ordinary citizens of Ahmedabad had expressed solidarity with families of victims of the Shrey Hospital fire, where eight people had been killed when a fire broke out in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the hospital on August 6, 2020.

In a statement of solidarity, the signatories some of whom are also friends and neighbours of victims, say, “While the fire broke out reportedly due to a electrical short circuit, the inadequacy and non-adherence to standard fire safety mechanisms in the hospital, and the lack of evidence for any standard procedure of rescue having been initiated strengthens the suspicion that the hospital may have been criminally liable for the deaths of the unfortunate victims.”

They further say, “For a fire of this nature, which took the lives of 8 helpless patients, which is likely to have occurred due to wilful negligence of fire safety rules and procedures, the charges should have been far more stringent.” They add, “We feel that section 304 of the CrPC should have been invoked, and the failure of the police not to have done so raise(s) serious questions regarding their intent to do a free and fair investigation. There seems to be a conspiracy to get the hospital management off the hook.”

They demand, “In these circumstances we join and support the families of the victims in their demand for a transfer of the investigation of this case to the CBI.”

The entire statement may be read here: 

 

 

Related:

Shrey Hospital Fire: The curious case of the missing phones

Shrey Hospital case: Victims’ families demand CBI inquiry

Ayesha Tirmizi was recovering when her life was cut short

8 killed in Ahmedabad Covid-19 Hospital Fire 

Shrey Hospital Fire: Civil society demands CBI inquiry

Statement of solidarity with victims’ families seeks application of Sec 304 of CrPC

Shrey

 

Over 300 activists, students and ordinary citizens of Ahmedabad had expressed solidarity with families of victims of the Shrey Hospital fire, where eight people had been killed when a fire broke out in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the hospital on August 6, 2020.

In a statement of solidarity, the signatories some of whom are also friends and neighbours of victims, say, “While the fire broke out reportedly due to a electrical short circuit, the inadequacy and non-adherence to standard fire safety mechanisms in the hospital, and the lack of evidence for any standard procedure of rescue having been initiated strengthens the suspicion that the hospital may have been criminally liable for the deaths of the unfortunate victims.”

They further say, “For a fire of this nature, which took the lives of 8 helpless patients, which is likely to have occurred due to wilful negligence of fire safety rules and procedures, the charges should have been far more stringent.” They add, “We feel that section 304 of the CrPC should have been invoked, and the failure of the police not to have done so raise(s) serious questions regarding their intent to do a free and fair investigation. There seems to be a conspiracy to get the hospital management off the hook.”

They demand, “In these circumstances we join and support the families of the victims in their demand for a transfer of the investigation of this case to the CBI.”

The entire statement may be read here: 

 

 

Related:

Shrey Hospital Fire: The curious case of the missing phones

Shrey Hospital case: Victims’ families demand CBI inquiry

Ayesha Tirmizi was recovering when her life was cut short

8 killed in Ahmedabad Covid-19 Hospital Fire 

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No data, so no compensation: Centre’s shocking revelation on migrant labourer deaths!

The Ministry of Labour and Employment declares it has no records, though plight of migrant labourers has been widely reported in the media and documented by organisations like CJP

14 Sep 2020


Image Courtesy:hindustantimes.com

In a shocking display of ineptitude and lack of committment, the Ministry of Labour and employment stated during the Parliament’s monsoon session on September 14 that the government has no data on the death of migrant labourers during the lockdown! With this is also washed its hands off the issue of compensations.

This shocking revelation begs the question of how could a government not have recorded data on these deaths when journalists, shramik train officials and even local police had kept a detailed record of labourers migrating from one part of the country to another.

While questioning the government on labourers’ migration during lockdown, members of Parliament asked a series of questions one of which asked “whether thousands of migrant labourers have died during lock down and if so, the details thereof.” To this, the government replied that there was no data available regarding the matter thus dismissing the question of compensation as well!

Callousness or impunity? You decide.

This dismissal of migrant deaths comes as a sharp insult to those who had suffered at the hands of the government’s near-impromptu decision to declare a nation-wide lockdown. The Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) had closely followed the plight of these migrants in the Migrant Diaries series to portray the ordeals faced by these people whose lives had been turned upside down. Similarly, other media publications and channels had reported many stories of migrant labourers breathing their last at train stations and dying on the road back home. There were images of a toddler pulling at his mother’s lifeless body. Moreover, there have been stories of children dying inside shramik trains while travelling back to their home States. According to a World Bank report, the lockdown impacted nearly 40 million migrants in India.

An Indian Express report stated that 110 migrants had died on railway premises between the months of May and July alone. Before that in May, Sabrang India listed 267 migrant worker deaths caused by the lockdown.

While helping out the migrant labourers in their efforts to get back home, the CJP also talked to many migrants. One such migrant Mohammed Jamaluddin from Birbhum talked about how migrants were harassed by police who asked for either permission papers or bribes. He also mentioned that the local government bodies treated migrants poorly.

Yet the Centre has thrown up its hands and refused to compensate these deaths in an act of blatant betrayal. Furthermore, when asked for State-wise data on free ration distribution by the Government, Minister of Labour and Employment Santosh Kumar Gangwar said, “State-Wise details are not available. However, 80 crore people are being provided additional 5 kg wheat or rice and 1 kg of preferred pulses, free of cost every month till November, 2020 to all the beneficiaries under provisions of National Food Security Act.” If state-wise data is not available, what data is the Minister basing his answer on? Is there a way to verify his claim?

While it is unclear how the Centre will send this ration to migrants considering the complete lack of data, it said that the implementation of One Nation One Ration Card plan would empower millions of migrant workers from various organised and unorganised sectors to receive their food security entitlements irrespective of their physical location in the country. With the implementation of this plan migrants can get food security from any fair price shop of his choice anywhere in the country, said Gangwar.

Another member of Parliament asked the Minister whether the Central government thought it had failed in assessing problems of migrant labourers during the lockdown, including those in Tamil Nadu.

Regarding complaints of corruption in ration distribution the Centre said that action was taken as per existing rules but failed to elaborate further.

To this the government replied, “India, as a Nation, has responded through the Central Government, State governments, Local Bodies, Self-help Groups, Resident Welfare Associations, Medical Health Professionals, Sanitation Workers as well as large number of genuine and bonafide non-governmental organizations in the Nation’s fight against the unprecedented human crisis due to the outbreak of Covid – 19 and country-wide lockdown including Tamil Nadu.”

Despite such absence of data, the Central Government had a lot to say regarding its measures in the interest of migrants. It said the States and Union Territories were advised to maintain updated data of migrant workers to enable welfare schemes for migrant workers. It talked about the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY,) the Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan and other measures taken up by other departments of the Centre.

However, these schemes cannot deny the fact that the lives of millions of labourers and workers were disrupted by hasty decisions of the Centre. The fact that the Ministry has no data of migrant worker deaths during lockdown shows the grave apathy the current regime has towards the poor.

Related:

Strangers as pallbearers: Death and grief in lockdown
Migrant Diaries: Munna Sheikh
16 migrant workers run over by train in Aurangabad, Opposition demands answers
‘Lawaris’ or let’s just admit it, Children of a Lesser God

No data, so no compensation: Centre’s shocking revelation on migrant labourer deaths!

The Ministry of Labour and Employment declares it has no records, though plight of migrant labourers has been widely reported in the media and documented by organisations like CJP


Image Courtesy:hindustantimes.com

In a shocking display of ineptitude and lack of committment, the Ministry of Labour and employment stated during the Parliament’s monsoon session on September 14 that the government has no data on the death of migrant labourers during the lockdown! With this is also washed its hands off the issue of compensations.

This shocking revelation begs the question of how could a government not have recorded data on these deaths when journalists, shramik train officials and even local police had kept a detailed record of labourers migrating from one part of the country to another.

While questioning the government on labourers’ migration during lockdown, members of Parliament asked a series of questions one of which asked “whether thousands of migrant labourers have died during lock down and if so, the details thereof.” To this, the government replied that there was no data available regarding the matter thus dismissing the question of compensation as well!

Callousness or impunity? You decide.

This dismissal of migrant deaths comes as a sharp insult to those who had suffered at the hands of the government’s near-impromptu decision to declare a nation-wide lockdown. The Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) had closely followed the plight of these migrants in the Migrant Diaries series to portray the ordeals faced by these people whose lives had been turned upside down. Similarly, other media publications and channels had reported many stories of migrant labourers breathing their last at train stations and dying on the road back home. There were images of a toddler pulling at his mother’s lifeless body. Moreover, there have been stories of children dying inside shramik trains while travelling back to their home States. According to a World Bank report, the lockdown impacted nearly 40 million migrants in India.

An Indian Express report stated that 110 migrants had died on railway premises between the months of May and July alone. Before that in May, Sabrang India listed 267 migrant worker deaths caused by the lockdown.

While helping out the migrant labourers in their efforts to get back home, the CJP also talked to many migrants. One such migrant Mohammed Jamaluddin from Birbhum talked about how migrants were harassed by police who asked for either permission papers or bribes. He also mentioned that the local government bodies treated migrants poorly.

Yet the Centre has thrown up its hands and refused to compensate these deaths in an act of blatant betrayal. Furthermore, when asked for State-wise data on free ration distribution by the Government, Minister of Labour and Employment Santosh Kumar Gangwar said, “State-Wise details are not available. However, 80 crore people are being provided additional 5 kg wheat or rice and 1 kg of preferred pulses, free of cost every month till November, 2020 to all the beneficiaries under provisions of National Food Security Act.” If state-wise data is not available, what data is the Minister basing his answer on? Is there a way to verify his claim?

While it is unclear how the Centre will send this ration to migrants considering the complete lack of data, it said that the implementation of One Nation One Ration Card plan would empower millions of migrant workers from various organised and unorganised sectors to receive their food security entitlements irrespective of their physical location in the country. With the implementation of this plan migrants can get food security from any fair price shop of his choice anywhere in the country, said Gangwar.

Another member of Parliament asked the Minister whether the Central government thought it had failed in assessing problems of migrant labourers during the lockdown, including those in Tamil Nadu.

Regarding complaints of corruption in ration distribution the Centre said that action was taken as per existing rules but failed to elaborate further.

To this the government replied, “India, as a Nation, has responded through the Central Government, State governments, Local Bodies, Self-help Groups, Resident Welfare Associations, Medical Health Professionals, Sanitation Workers as well as large number of genuine and bonafide non-governmental organizations in the Nation’s fight against the unprecedented human crisis due to the outbreak of Covid – 19 and country-wide lockdown including Tamil Nadu.”

Despite such absence of data, the Central Government had a lot to say regarding its measures in the interest of migrants. It said the States and Union Territories were advised to maintain updated data of migrant workers to enable welfare schemes for migrant workers. It talked about the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY,) the Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan and other measures taken up by other departments of the Centre.

However, these schemes cannot deny the fact that the lives of millions of labourers and workers were disrupted by hasty decisions of the Centre. The fact that the Ministry has no data of migrant worker deaths during lockdown shows the grave apathy the current regime has towards the poor.

Related:

Strangers as pallbearers: Death and grief in lockdown
Migrant Diaries: Munna Sheikh
16 migrant workers run over by train in Aurangabad, Opposition demands answers
‘Lawaris’ or let’s just admit it, Children of a Lesser God

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