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Stop Central Vista Project, Instead Buy Oxygen and Vaccine from Allocated Funds: 12 Opposition Parties Write to PM

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Shimla-As India becomes the ground zero of the worst outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic due to its indifference to early warnings by the national and international scientists/health experts and early detection of cases with the new strain, the Union Government is under fire. The nation is uncertain of government’s plan to combat the current crisis.

A few days back, the Medical Association had come down heavily upon the Union Health Ministry alleging a poor approach towards combating the spread of deadly strain and manipulation of data related to Covid-19 deaths.

Also Read: IMA Asks Govt, Why Are We Hiding the Actual Death Count? Demands Health Ministry to Wake Up from Slumber

Now, in a joint letter written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, 12 opposition parties of the country have given a nine-point suggestion list for measures to be taken for effectively combating the devastation Covid-19 spread is causing.

The parties demanded that the Central Vista construction should be stayed and the government should instead procure oxygen and vaccine from the allocated fund. The parties also demanded immediate initiation of free and universal mass vaccination across the country.

This is the second joint letter written to the Prime Minister by the opposition parties. A demand to ensure an uninterrupted supply of medical oxygen and free vaccinations was raised in the first letter.

The letter is signed by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, JD(S) leader H D Deve Gowda, NCP leader Sharad Pawar, Chief Ministers Mamata Banerjee, M K Stalin, Uddhav Thackeray and Hemant Soren.
“We have repeatedly in the past drawn your attention, independently and jointly, to the various measures that are absolutely imperative for the Central government to undertake and implement. Unfortunately, your government has either ignored or refused all these suggestions. This only compounded the situation to reach such an apocalyptic human tragedy,” the joint letter said.

“Without going into all the acts of commission and omission by the Central government that have brought the country to such a tragic pass, we are of the firm opinion that the following measures must be undertaken on a war footing by your government,” the letter reads.

The leaders suggested procuring vaccines centrally from all available sources- global and domestic.

They also asked the government to immediately begin a free, universal mass vaccination campaign across the country.

A suggestion to invoke compulsory licensing to expand domestic vaccine production was also made.

The leaders have also asked the government to spend the budgetary allocation of Rs. 35,000 crores for the vaccines.

“Stop Central Vista construction. Use the allocated money for procuring oxygen and vaccines, instead. Release all money held in the unaccounted private trust fund, PM Cares to buy more vaccines, oxygen and medical equipment required” the parties demanded.

A proposal to provide all jobless at least with Rs. 6000 per month and free distribution of food grains to the needy was also given. Over one crore tonnes of food-grains are currently rotting in central godowns, they added.

Lastly, they reiterated their demand to repeal farm laws to protect lakhs of ‘annadatas’ from the virus.

“Though it has not been the practice of your office or government, we would appreciate a response to our suggestions in the interests of India and our people,” the letter stated.

The other signatories are Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav, National Conference leader Dr Farooq Abdullah, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, CPI general secretary D Raja and CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury.

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Vaccination of 15-18 Year Age Group in India from Jan 3, Precautionary Dose for Frontline Workers from Jan 10

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New Delhi-India will begin vaccination of the children in the age group of 15-18 years from 3rd January 2022. The move is likely to aid in education normalization in schools. The announcement was made by Prime Minister Narender Modi on Saturday evening. He also announced a precaution dose (booster dose) for healthcare and frontline workers from 10th January 2022, Monday.

In India, this has been called the ‘precaution dose’ not booster dose. An option of precaution dose will be available for senior citizens above 60 years of age with co-morbidities on the advice of their doctors from 10th January 2022. 

Referring to the Omicron infections In India, the Prime Minister requested the people not to panic and to follow precautions such as masks and washing hands repeatedly.

According to the Government, the vaccination campaign started on 16th January this year has crossed the mark of 141 crore doses, and 61 percent of the adult population of the country has received both the vaccines and 90 percent of adults have received one dose.

According to the Government statistics, currently, the country has 18 lakh isolation beds, 5 lakh oxygen supported beds, 1 lakh 40 thousand ICU beds, 90 thousand ICU and Non-ICU beds especially for children, more than 3 thousand PSA oxygen plants, 4 lakh oxygen cylinders and support to states is being provided for buffer doses and testing.

The Prime Minister assured that soon the country will develop a nasal vaccine and the world’s first DNA vaccine.

Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich from Pexels

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Three Farm Laws to be Withdrawn, Announces PM Modi Ahead of Elections in Punjab and UP

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New Delhi: Ahead of assembly polls in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, Prime Minister Narender Modi on Friday retreated from his stand on the three contentious farm laws and announced that the government will repeal three laws. He requested the protesting farmers to end the protest that has been going on for over a year now.

He said the three laws would be repealed in the winter session of Parliament starting later this month. He also said that though the laws were in the interest of the farmers, his government failed to convince them.

The Prime Minister chose the occasion of Guru Nanak Jayanti to make this announcement. The decision is being perceived as an attempt to appease the farmers, especially in Punjab ahead of the assembly polls. Also, the results of by-poll held in various states are being seen as a setback to the ruling government that compelled it to reconsider its stand on the farm bills.  

The Prime Minister said, “today I have come to tell you, the whole country, that we have decided to withdraw all three agricultural laws. In the Parliament session starting later this month, we will complete the constitutional process to repeal these three agricultural laws”.

It’s pertinent to mention that the Centre government had to announce a cut in taxes on petrol and diesel right after the results of bye polls were declared.

The three contentious bills are The Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 and the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill.

The opposition Congress and farmers’ bodies have termed it a victory of their unity against the government’s decision. Former Chief Minister of Punjab, Captain Amarinder Singh was one of the first to welcome the decision through a Tweet.

 

 

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Himachal Kisan Sabha Condemns Alleged Mowing Down of Protesting Farmers by Minister’s Son, Calls it “Ghastly” and “Inhuman”

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Himachak Kisan Sabha

Shimla-Himachal Kisan Sabha has condemned the incident where four farmers were allegedly run over by vehicles in Lakhimpur Kheri district of Uttar Pradesh on Sunday, terming it a “ghastly” and “inhuman” act. The Sabha paid tribute to the martyred farmers and demanded immediate arrest of Ashish Mishra – son of Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Mishra – and other accused and book them under Section 302 (murder).

The farmers have alleged that three SUVs that mowed down protesting farmers were part of the convoy of the Union Minister of State. The farmers alleged that Minister’s son was behind the wheel in one of these SUVs. Following this incident, violence broke out that killed four more persons. The Minister, however, denied the allegations. 

Kisan Sabha also demanded that an inquiry should be conducted into the incident by a Supreme Court Judge. The Sabha also demanded that the Union Minister of State should be suspended with immediate effect.

Sabha said that it’s extremely shameful that the Centre government is attempting to end farmers protest against three Farm Laws in a dictatorial way by means of violence.

“On September 25, 2021, Union Minister of State, Ajay Mishra, had threatened to end the farmers protest within two minutes in a public meeting, and now his son has been alleged of mowing down farmers,” said State President of Himachal Kisan Sabha, Dr Kuldeep Singh Tanwar.

“The execution of this ghastly act merely one day after the non-violence day clearly reflects that the current Centre Government has no belief in democracy. The government wants to suppress dissenting voices rising against it at any cost,” Tanwar added.

Dr Tanwar further added that protests would be staged against this “barbaric” act in Himachal Pradesh too. The sacrifice of martyred farmers won’t go in vain, and it would only strengthen the farmers’ protest, he added.  

Meanwhile, following this incident, Priyanka Gandhi, who was on her way to Lakhimpur to meet the affected families, was detained by police, while Akhilesh Yadav – former Chief Minister of UP and president of Samajwadi Party- was put under house arrest ahead of his scheduled visit.

 

 

 

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