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India-China standoff: Firing takes place on LAC in Eastern Ladakh




LADAKH: An incident of firing took place on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in

Eastern Ladakh

sector where troops of India and China have been engaged in a stand-off for over three months, sources said on Tuesday.

India recently outflanked China by taking control of strategic height near Pangong lake’s southern bank. It thwarted an attempt by the Chinese army to transgress into Indian areas near the southern bank of

Pangong Tso

near Chushul in Ladakh.

India and China are engaged in a standoff since April-May over the transgressions by the Chinese Army in multiple areas including Finger area, Galwan valley, Hot springs and Kongrung Nala. The situation worsened after 20 Indian soldiers were killed in violent clashes with Chinese troops in

Galwan valley

in June.

The talks between the two sides have been going on for the last three months including five Lieutenant general-level talks but have failed to yield any results, so far. (ANI)

The Times of India is an Indian English-language daily newspaper owned by The Times Group. It is the third-largest newspaper in India by circulation and largest selling English-language daily in the world. according to Audit Bureau of Circulations.

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India’s healthcare effectively kept Covid mortality at ‘minimum’, recovery at ‘maximum’: Harsh Vardhan




NEW DELHI: More than 5 million people have been infected with coronavirus but the healthcare system of India has shown great efficiency in providing diagnostic and management facilities as well as keeping the mortality at ‘minimum’ and recovery at ‘maximum’, Union health minister Harsh Vardhan said on Friday.

He was speaking at an event to mark the 65th Foundation Day of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi.

He said the country’s continuously rising Covid-19 recovery rate and progressively falling case fatality rate have proven the success of the containment strategy followed by all states/UTs, the health ministry said in a statement.

“We have successfully ramped up our testing capacity which has touched nearly 15 lakh milestone today with more than 1,800 testing labs spread across the country.

“I have confidence in the scientific developments taking place in the field of treatment and vaccines for COVID-19 and soon India will achieve more success in our fight against coronavirus infection,” the statement quoted Vardhan as saying.

Congratulating the AIMS fraternity for being ranked as number one among medical institutions by the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) under the Ministry of Human Resource and Development, Vardhan expressed satisfaction that AIIMS has fulfilled the objectives of its establishment by the Indian Parliament in 1956.

He also hailed the institution’s huge contribution during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“More than 5 million patients have been infected with coronavirus but the healthcare system of India has shown great efficiency in not only providing diagnostic and management facilities but also keeping the mortality at minimum and recovery at maximum.

“I appreciate that in the last six months, AIIMS has taken a huge responsibility of providing care to patients suffering from COVID-19, for innovating in areas of research, guiding colleagues across the country and developing new methods of teaching and communication,” the statement said.

Speaking at the event, minister of state for health Ashwini Kumar Choubey praised the medical community for their endless and selfless efforts during Covid times.

“AIIMS has established high reputation and has contributed significantly in academic, research and patient care. It has attracted students from various other countries like the US, UK, Australia, Germany, among others. It is a huge achievement,” he was quoted as saying in a statement.

Choubey added that the central government was making efforts to spread the services of AIIMS to every nook and corner of the country.

Vardhan and Choubey also gave away awards and medals to faculty members and graduating students during the event.

“This is the dream of every medical student to become a student of AIIMS. On this 65th foundation Day, I request all of you to aggressively and meticulously brainstorm some ideas which will be helpful in strengthening the medical services in India and in positioning India among the top scientific nations,” Vardhan said.

The health minister also released a manual and inaugurated an exhibition titled ‘AIIMS in COVID Times’ which highlighted the contribution of AIIMS in dealing with public health emergency, the statement added.

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Decision on holding Bihar polls amid pandemic a leap of faith, not leap in the dark: CEC Arora




NEW DELHI: The decision to hold Bihar assembly polls amid the coronavirus pandemic is not a “misadventure” but a leap of faith and not a leap in the dark, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora asserted on Friday.

Responding to a volley of questions on holding elections when the pandemic has not subsided, he said, “As a commission, we don’t regard it as a dussahas (misadventure) … it is a very, very meticulously worked, from our side, exercise.”

He also said the decision to hold the elections in the state, where the term of the assembly ends on November 29, is “a leap of faith and not a leap in the dark.”

Arora also gave the example of recently-held JEE and NEET examinations, saying thousands of candidates from various district across India came out to write the test.

Some opposition parties had urged the EC to postpone the elections in view of the pandemic.

The CEC also cited a recent Supreme Court observation, saying eventually life has to go on.

In a related development, the apex court on Friday refused to entertain a plea seeking to postpone the upcoming Bihar assembly elections in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

A three-judge bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and M R Shah also refused to grant liberty to the petitioner to give representation to the Election Commission in this regard.

“We can’t permit everybody to go to the Election Commission. We can only permit you to withdraw the petition,” the bench said.

Asked whether the voter turnout will be effected due to the pandemic, Arora said the electors are very aware of what they want and most won’t miss out on the opportunity of exercising their franchise.

Responding to a question on whether the Covid-related guidelines would be in place for future elections too, he said God has not given him wisdom of astrology. He said much would depend on the situation prevailing at that time.

The CEC said the decision to hold state elections in three phases was taken keeping in mind the Covid-related safety norms and the fatigue factor of security personnel.

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Lok Sabha saw 68.65% average attendance, 8,700 Covid-19 tests conducted in Parliament during monsoon session: Speaker Om Birla




NEW DELHI: Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Friday said that the lower ohuse of parliament saw 68.65 per cent average attendance of members during the monsoon session, which had 10 sittings and was held with precautions against Covid-19.

Birla said that 8,700 Covid-19 tests were done during the session in parliament, which began on September 14 amid several precautionary measures and ended on September 23.

“As it was an extraordinary session due to Covid-19, regular Covid tests were being done in the parliament,” he added.

He said the debate on Covid-19 lasted for 5 hours 8 minutes and 74 MPs participated in the discussion.

Ahead of the session, AIIMS director Dr Randeep Guleria briefed MPs on Covid precautionary measures on September 13 and September 14.

For the first time in the history of Parliament, members of both houses sat in both Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha including galleries during the proceedings to maintain social distancing.

The Speaker told the media that the session saw several achievements though it as full of challenges amid conditions created by Covid-19.

“India’s democracy is strong and people have faith in it. Since 1952, voters’ percentage has increased as they exhibited faith in democracy. Many countries held their Parliament virtually. The kind of support we received from all political parties and government, we were able to finish more work compared to the time we had. We saw a good percentage of MPs present in Parliament,” added the Speaker.

On the first day of the session, 369 MPs attended the Lok Sabha. The maximum number of MPs were present on September 22 when 383 MPs attended the house, he said.

The average attendance was 370 which translates into 68.65 per cent.

The monsoon session was adjourned sine die on September 23 after several opposition parties during the meeting of Business Advisory Committee (BAC) suggested curtailment of session due to Covid-19 spread.

Lok Sabha passed 25 bills and 16 were introduced. Eleven bills related to ordinances brought by the government. The bills were cleared after discussion that lasted 35 hours 24 minutes.

The productivity for 10 days, including the House sittings on Saturday and Sunday, was 167 per cent. The House worked for 60 hours against the proposed 37 hours.

Sixty-eight per cent time was used for legislative business whereas 32 per cent was allocated for other things like the zero hour.

During Zero hour, 88 MPs raised issues of public importance. The House devoted 10 hours 23 minutes for matters of public importance and 370 MPs spoke during the zero hour.

A total of 183 issues were raised under rule 377.

The House spent 5 hours and 36 minutes discussing two farm bills – The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020. Forty-four MPs took part in the discussion.

Other bills passed include the Essential Commodities Act, 2020, National Defence University Bill, 2020 and Epidemic Diseased (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

The Speaker said that MPs did not press want division on bills. “We would have done that if asked for,” he said.

In a first, an app was also used to register attendance. On September 20, 59 members registered themselves through the app.

“To finish important legislative business, we sat for long hours on September 20 and 21. Out of 78 women MPs, 63 spoke on the issues important to them,” Birla said.

A total of 2,300 starred questions were asked and 90 per cent of questions were asked online.

Dr Subhash Ramrao Bhante and Dr DNV D Senthil Kumar, both asked maximum 49 questions.

The maximum 167 questions were asked from the Health and Family Welfare Ministry, 150 from Agriculture Ministry and 11 each from the Railway Ministry and Finance Ministry.

The ministers gave 40 replies. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh gave a statement on Ladakh border situation, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on COVID-19 and Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar spoke on Minimum Support Price (MSP) and agriculture bills.

A total of 855 papers were laid on the table by ministers.

On the construction of the new building of parliament, Birla expressed hope that the new building will have the session coinciding with the 75th year of Independence.

“We are in the process of making a new building of Parliament. The estimated expenditure is Rs 892 crores. The tender cost is Rs 891.9 crores. And this has to be completed in 21 months. I believe we will have a new parliament in 75th year of Independence,” he said.

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