The International Monetary Fund warned that the ongoing Covid second wave in India, following a terrible wave in Brazil, is a sign that the worst may be yet to come in the developing world. Observing India’s ongoing Covid situation, the IMF wrote in its report that the situation in the country is a warning of the possible events in low-and middle-income nations that have seemingly escaped the pandemic till now.
A report co-authored by International Monetary Fund (IMF) economist Ruchir Agarwal and its Chief Economist Gita Gopinath on Friday said under the business-as-usual scenario, the vaccine coverage in India is expected to remain under 35% of the population by the end of 2021.
The report said India’s health system is so overwhelmed as the people are dying due to lack of medical supplies like oxygen, hospital beds and medical care while the system was fairly well during the first wave. The IMF has said that the situation in India is a warning of the possible events in low- and middle-income nations that have seemingly escaped the pandemic till now
For India, the report said, current bilateral purchases of vaccine plus coverage from Covaxin will cover about 25% of its population by the first half of 2022. However, India will need to immediately place sufficient vaccine orders of about 1 billion doses to get to 60% coverage.
In this context, the report said that the authorities had recently announced financing of about 600 million USD to the Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech to boost production capacity in the near term is a welcome step. In the report, authorities estimated that two billion doses will be available by the end of 2021.
In its report, the IMF said that an urgent focus should be to eliminate constraints on cross-border exports of critical raw materials and finished vaccines. Free cross-border flow of vaccine inputs and supplies is essential for the world to achieve its vaccination targets without delay.
The IMF report said India continues to face production bottlenecks, including due to ongoing shortages of critical raw materials, suggesting the need for further relaxation of de facto export restrictions under the US Defence Production Act.
Indian authorities are currently pursuing a strategy of procuring vaccines for those above 45 years of age by the central government while enabling states to procure vaccines for those aged 18-44.
Rajya Sabha passes Women’s Reservation Bill, all it now needs is President Murmu’s assent
The Rajya Sabha passed the Women’s Reservation Bill unanimously on Thursday. A voice vote was taken with Chairman of the House Jagdeep Dhankhar declaring the ayes have it. Then it was voted on with 215 in support and zero against.
Just before the vote, drawing the two-day discussions in both Houses to a close, Prime Minister Narendra Modi thanked the members and political parties for their constructive suggestions. He noted some 132 members spoke in both Houses of Parliament.
The synergy of the government and the Opposition over women’s reservation was a confidence-building measure, he said. This sends a new message to the people, he added. The Lok Sabha had cleared the Bill yesterday with 454 votes in favour and 2 against.
Earlier in the Rajya Sabha, Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal said with 33% reservation for women in the country, India will steal a march over developed nations which don’t have such measures.
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, wondered why the reservation was being promised after Census and delimitation. He demanded that the House be told when the reservation will be in effect as to the date and month and year when it will come into force.
Kharge joked if like the Rs 15 lakh and the 2 crore job promise of the BJP ahead of elections, this would also be an election jumla as said by party leaders. He said almost every party supports you on the Bill but let our support not go waste in election propaganda of the BJP. Raising each and every point, Kharge kept repeating that he was supporting the Bill in a scene reminiscent of Mark Antony’s speech from the play Julius Caesar. Pushing for the OBC quota, he said even SC/ST officers don’t even make it to joint secretary level.
Kharge asked if you can come up with the sudden demonetisation of 2016, why didn’t you bring this Bill then? There was no Opposition to you in the first term in the Lok Sabha, he charged.
Congress MP KC Venugopal mocked the BJP for its pro-women stance by saying that its stalwarts Vajpayee, Advani and Jaswant Singh voted against women’s quota in 1989.
Earlier, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the BJP has been consistently in support of women’s reservation. She said the BJP doesn’t like to bring politics in women-related matters.
BJP Rajya Sabha MP Sushil Kumar Modi slammed the UPA government for not supporting the Bill in the Lok Sabha. He said its allies did not want this Bill to be passed.
Samajwadi Party MP Jaya Bachchan noted that when a similar Bill was presented in the House in the presence of CPM leader Brinda Karat and late Sushma Swaraj but failed to pass. Bachchan said the SP is not against the Bill, her party has some concerns as echoed by other parties as well.
Before this, Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien and Dhankhar had an altercation over time allotted to MPs to speak on the issue.
Independent MP Kapil Sibal demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Modi and Home Minister Shah if they do not complete the process of delimitation and implementation of the Women’s Reservation Bill by 2029.
Mumbai Police arrest two people who kidnapped, raped 14-year-old girl in moving taxi
Police have identified the two accused as Shiv Prakash Pandey and Salman Shaikh. Both of them are aged 25 years and 27 years respectively.
Mumbai Police have registered a case against two people who kidnapped and then raped a 14 year old girl in a taxi. According to the police the girl had a fight with her family members. She decided to go in Malvani in Malad to meet her relative. On seeing the girl alone a taxi driver asked to drop her off to Malwani. The girl agreed and started going to Malwani with him.
The accused taxi driver took the taxi to Dadar. The Taxi driver stopped and made the accused Salman Shaikh sit with him. The family came to know about the girl’s disappearance. The girl’s family members contacted the Malabar Hill police station. They informed the police about the kidnapping.
A case was registered by the police as the girl was underage. A technical investigation was started by the police and came to know the girl had gone to a relative’s place in Malad. A team of police officers was sent to Malad to bring back the girl. Situation became serious when the girl revealed what happened on her way to Malad.
A police officer added two men were present inside the taxi. One was the taxi driver and the other man raped the girl at the back seat of the car. Different teams were formed to carry out the investigation in the case. The CCTV footage of the area was also used. According to the police the incident took place between Malad and Dadar.
Police have identified the two accused as Shiv Prakash Pandey and Salman Shaikh. Both of them are aged 25 years and 27 years respectively. According to the police Salman Shaikh works in a hotel in Dadar. The victim gave a statement on the basis of which a case has been registered in related POCSO section and section 376 of IPC. The accused have been produced in court where the court sent them to police custody till September 25.
Punjab: CM Bhagwant Mann hands over Rs 1 crore cheques to Anantnag encounter martyrs families
Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann also assured all possible help and support to the families of the martyred soldiers.
Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Thursday handed over cheques of Rs 1 crore each to the bereaved families of martyrs Colonel Manpreet Singh and martyr Pradeep Singh. They were among the soldiers who laid their lives in protecting the nation in Anantnag, Jammu and Kashmir.
The anti-terror week-long operation in the Garol forests in the Anantnag district ended on Tuesday. The operation began when Colonel Manpreet Singh, commanding officer, 19 Rashtriya Rifles, Major Ashish Dhonchak and deputy superintendent of Jammu and Kashmir Police Humayun Bhat were killed by terrorists.
Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann also assured all possible help and support to the families of the martyred soldiers. He expressed that martyr Colonel Manpreet Singh and martyr Pradeep Singh will always live in their memories.
Taking to X, formerly Twitter, the Chief Minister conveyed that he met the families of Colonel Manpreet Singh of Kharar Constituency and Shaheed Pradeep Singh of Samana Constituency. He added that the families were handed over cheques of Rs 1 crore from the government as an honorarium.
According to reports, Colonel Manpreet Singh, commanding officer of the Rashtriya Rifles (19 RR) and a recipient of the prestigious Sena Medal (Gallantry), spoke to his family, just hours before dying of gunshot wounds. He is survived by wife, 2-year-old daughter, 6-year-old son, mother and a brother.
The body of martyred soldier Pradeep Singh was recovered on Monday, after he went missing on the first day of the encounter. Martyr Pradeep Singh was with the Sikh Light Infantry and was a part of 19 Rashtriya Rifles. Reportedly, the 27-year-old soldier served in the Indian Army for seven years. He hailed from Patiala in Punjab and is survived by his wife.
Addressing a function late on Sunday evening, Lt Governor Manoj Sinha expressed that every drop of blood of the slain security personnel will be avenged and the terrorist handlers will have to pay a heavy price. He added that they have complete faith in the soldiers and the entire nation stands in solidarity with them.