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Indian-made Coronavirus test kits not good enough?

Health Ministry guidelines only allow for USFDA or EU-CE approved test kits and only one Ahmedabad company CoSara diagnostics has US FDA approval for manufacturing

23 Mar 2020

health ministry

As per the guidelines for the testing of Covid-19 in private laboratories issued by the Union Health Ministry, matters for Indian manufacturers may get complicated given that only United State Food and Drug Administration (US-FDA) or European Conformitè Europëenne (CE) have been mandated for use.

The guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare state that “commercial kits for real-time PCR based diagnosis of Covid-19 should be USFDA approved or European CE certified, or both, for in vitro diagnosis of Covid-19 under emergency use.” The guidelines exclude all the kits, like the low-cost one developed by IIT-Delhi, currently being tested at the National Institute of Virology, Pune (NIV).

With the shutdown of exports, a shortage of testing kits was inevitable but it was expected that once Indian companies got their test kids validated, they could start manufacturing and supplying the kits to private labs to amplify testing.

Whatever happened to Make in India?

Now, companies trying to get their test kits validated have questioned the government’s move asking why the Drug Controller of India (DGCI) which confirmed the government’s guidelines, even issued test licenses to Indian companies if they were only going to allow certain certifications.

A lab owner told The Times of India, “Where will labs get USFDA or CE approved kits overnight when most countries are not allowing exports? This would mean that even Chinese and South Korean kits, if imported, cannot be used.”

An owner from another company said, “Why did the DGCI issue test licenses to Indian companies so that they can get their test kits validated, if they were going to allow only USFDA-approved or CE-certified tests? It’s a totally crazy move. Why is NIV working to validate the tests if they cannot be sold in India?”

Veena Kohli from the Association of Diagnostic Manufacturers of India has expressed her displeasure over the move and said she would be writing to the Central government against these guidelines. She said, “A lot of effort and R&D had gone into developing these kits in record time and our companies must be given to prove the quality and reliability of their test kits.”

Rajiv Nath of AiMed told TOI, “It is disheartening that the health ministry endorses overseas regulatory approvals as a means of qualification while keeping out Indian manufacturers instead of respecting India’s own regulatory processes.”

TOI reported that NIV had finished validating Indian test kits and had submitted the results to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

The ICMR has approved six private laboratories for Covid-19 testing. Four of the labs are in Maharashtra and one each is in Karnataka and Gujarat. The laboratories approved are Thyrocare, Suburban Diagnostics, Metropolis Healthcare and HN Reliance Foundation Hospital and Research Centre, Newberg Anand Reference Laboratory and Unipath Specialty Laboratory. The ICMR has mandated that the costs of tests at private laboratories must not be above Rs. 4,500, which is a whopping amount.

Speaking to The News Minute about the guidelines Dr. A Velumani, MD, CEO and Chairman of Thyrocare which is importing its testing kits from Altona, a German brand said that the inadequate supply of test kits poses a challenge for private labs. The guidelines he says “limits the number of players and creates a monopoly which increases costs”.

The curious case of CoSara 

Meanwhile, it has come to light that there is only USFDA-approved manufacturer, an Ahmedabad-based company called CoSara Diagnostics which has an association with a US firm, CoDiagnostics. However, the issuance of the guidelines and the approval to CoSara point out to a deeper conspiracy during this crisis. The prices of the 18 companies chosen to get their test kits validated were to be between Rs. 400 – 500. CoSara, which had already received approval for the manufacturing of the kits a day before the 18 firms were chosen, refused to divulge the cost of its kits, but the same is said to be between Rs. 1,000 – 1,200.

 

 

Given this scenario, will the 18 companies who are NIV validated but not USFDA or EU-CE approved be allowed to manufacture test kits? Or will CoSara diagnostics in Ahmedabad enjoy monopoly, displaying the corruption and partiality thus delaying mass testing and putting the life of the common man in further danger than it already is?


Related:

Doctors need more protective gear now, before COVID-19 cases explode

Covid-19 update: Positive cases over 400, 7 deaths; lockdown in 75 districts

Congregational prayers at mosques partially suspended due to Covid-19 outbreak

Indian-made Coronavirus test kits not good enough?

Health Ministry guidelines only allow for USFDA or EU-CE approved test kits and only one Ahmedabad company CoSara diagnostics has US FDA approval for manufacturing

health ministry

As per the guidelines for the testing of Covid-19 in private laboratories issued by the Union Health Ministry, matters for Indian manufacturers may get complicated given that only United State Food and Drug Administration (US-FDA) or European Conformitè Europëenne (CE) have been mandated for use.

The guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare state that “commercial kits for real-time PCR based diagnosis of Covid-19 should be USFDA approved or European CE certified, or both, for in vitro diagnosis of Covid-19 under emergency use.” The guidelines exclude all the kits, like the low-cost one developed by IIT-Delhi, currently being tested at the National Institute of Virology, Pune (NIV).

With the shutdown of exports, a shortage of testing kits was inevitable but it was expected that once Indian companies got their test kids validated, they could start manufacturing and supplying the kits to private labs to amplify testing.

Whatever happened to Make in India?

Now, companies trying to get their test kits validated have questioned the government’s move asking why the Drug Controller of India (DGCI) which confirmed the government’s guidelines, even issued test licenses to Indian companies if they were only going to allow certain certifications.

A lab owner told The Times of India, “Where will labs get USFDA or CE approved kits overnight when most countries are not allowing exports? This would mean that even Chinese and South Korean kits, if imported, cannot be used.”

An owner from another company said, “Why did the DGCI issue test licenses to Indian companies so that they can get their test kits validated, if they were going to allow only USFDA-approved or CE-certified tests? It’s a totally crazy move. Why is NIV working to validate the tests if they cannot be sold in India?”

Veena Kohli from the Association of Diagnostic Manufacturers of India has expressed her displeasure over the move and said she would be writing to the Central government against these guidelines. She said, “A lot of effort and R&D had gone into developing these kits in record time and our companies must be given to prove the quality and reliability of their test kits.”

Rajiv Nath of AiMed told TOI, “It is disheartening that the health ministry endorses overseas regulatory approvals as a means of qualification while keeping out Indian manufacturers instead of respecting India’s own regulatory processes.”

TOI reported that NIV had finished validating Indian test kits and had submitted the results to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

The ICMR has approved six private laboratories for Covid-19 testing. Four of the labs are in Maharashtra and one each is in Karnataka and Gujarat. The laboratories approved are Thyrocare, Suburban Diagnostics, Metropolis Healthcare and HN Reliance Foundation Hospital and Research Centre, Newberg Anand Reference Laboratory and Unipath Specialty Laboratory. The ICMR has mandated that the costs of tests at private laboratories must not be above Rs. 4,500, which is a whopping amount.

Speaking to The News Minute about the guidelines Dr. A Velumani, MD, CEO and Chairman of Thyrocare which is importing its testing kits from Altona, a German brand said that the inadequate supply of test kits poses a challenge for private labs. The guidelines he says “limits the number of players and creates a monopoly which increases costs”.

The curious case of CoSara 

Meanwhile, it has come to light that there is only USFDA-approved manufacturer, an Ahmedabad-based company called CoSara Diagnostics which has an association with a US firm, CoDiagnostics. However, the issuance of the guidelines and the approval to CoSara point out to a deeper conspiracy during this crisis. The prices of the 18 companies chosen to get their test kits validated were to be between Rs. 400 – 500. CoSara, which had already received approval for the manufacturing of the kits a day before the 18 firms were chosen, refused to divulge the cost of its kits, but the same is said to be between Rs. 1,000 – 1,200.

 

 

Given this scenario, will the 18 companies who are NIV validated but not USFDA or EU-CE approved be allowed to manufacture test kits? Or will CoSara diagnostics in Ahmedabad enjoy monopoly, displaying the corruption and partiality thus delaying mass testing and putting the life of the common man in further danger than it already is?


Related:

Doctors need more protective gear now, before COVID-19 cases explode

Covid-19 update: Positive cases over 400, 7 deaths; lockdown in 75 districts

Congregational prayers at mosques partially suspended due to Covid-19 outbreak

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PIB twitter handle faces “technical issue”; likes pornographic tweets

It seems like its twitter account was hacked which led to such unusual activity

23 Mar 2020

PIB

The official twitter account of Press information Bureau (PIB) which is the public relations arm of the Indian government was allegedly hacked on March 22 as many twitter users noticed that the handle had liked tweets of pornographic handles and some Japanese language tweets such as these:

https://twitter.com/Noelcosplay_/status/1238838829131296768

https://twitter.com/jennifergable8/status/1241547041311870976

https://twitter.com/PennyLandon1/status/1241611593575583745

When twitter users pointed this out via tweets, the PIB twitter handle posted the following clarification tweet: https://twitter.com/PIB_India/status/1241737200045187073

The tweet says that this was caused due to an unknown malfunction. In times when a lot of misinformation is being circulated through the medium of Whatsapp, it is important that government’s agencies disseminating information take utmost care and caution regarding their social media activity. People generally look up to official government accounts on social media for credible information and if these accounts remain susceptible to such malfunction, it could spell trouble.


Related:

Doctors need more protective gear now, before COVID-19 cases explode

Covid-19 Update: Delhi under lockdown, Mumbai lockdown extended

Covid-19 update: Positive cases over 400, 7 deaths; lockdown in 75 districts

 

PIB twitter handle faces “technical issue”; likes pornographic tweets

It seems like its twitter account was hacked which led to such unusual activity

PIB

The official twitter account of Press information Bureau (PIB) which is the public relations arm of the Indian government was allegedly hacked on March 22 as many twitter users noticed that the handle had liked tweets of pornographic handles and some Japanese language tweets such as these:

https://twitter.com/Noelcosplay_/status/1238838829131296768

https://twitter.com/jennifergable8/status/1241547041311870976

https://twitter.com/PennyLandon1/status/1241611593575583745

When twitter users pointed this out via tweets, the PIB twitter handle posted the following clarification tweet: https://twitter.com/PIB_India/status/1241737200045187073

The tweet says that this was caused due to an unknown malfunction. In times when a lot of misinformation is being circulated through the medium of Whatsapp, it is important that government’s agencies disseminating information take utmost care and caution regarding their social media activity. People generally look up to official government accounts on social media for credible information and if these accounts remain susceptible to such malfunction, it could spell trouble.


Related:

Doctors need more protective gear now, before COVID-19 cases explode

Covid-19 Update: Delhi under lockdown, Mumbai lockdown extended

Covid-19 update: Positive cases over 400, 7 deaths; lockdown in 75 districts

 

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Doctors need more protective gear now, before COVID-19 cases explode

AIIMS doctors on alert for shortage in supplies of essentials like face masks and gloves

23 Mar 2020

Naina Tai

Doctors and nurses at the country's flagship All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) are closely monitoring the supply of Protective Equipment (PPE) available to them as they prepare to take care COVID19 patients. As cases suspected of CoronaVirus-19 infection may increase in the following week, with increased testing, the staff at AIIMS does not want to be caught in a situation where the run out of essential protective gear that includes facemasks, eye shields, gloves, gowns and shoe covers if there is a deluge of patients in the coming weeks.

The resident Doctors Association of AIIMS had flagged this issue weeks ago and continues to monitor the daily supply carefully. “We flagged this ahead and want to prepare. We are making efforts before any shortage arises. This is the case nationwide. There are shortages even in developed countries,” We are putting pressure on all stakeholders,” said Dr Srinivas, general secretary, Resident Doctors Association (RDA) at AIIMS.

According to the resident doctors they are also buying masks and sanitizers to use when they are commuting to work, or are taking care of patients in the Outpatient Departments (OPDs). A doctor said that many are doing this voluntarily to prevent any cross contamination. Doctors posted in critical care units have access to the hospital supply of PPE but not those working in the OPD. “When we commute to and fro from work, we have to be extra careful. Many of us are buying our own masks to use at this time when we are outside the wards.” said a nurse.

According to Dr Srinivas, the AIIMS RDA should be seen as a stakeholder in this effort to combat the pandemic. The association is also making efforts to raise funds, and encourage public sector undertakings (PSUs) and corporates to pitch in with funds as well. “Many are stepping up. We will send updates soon,” said Dr Srinivas. 

The maximum retail price (MRP) capping on sanitisers masks and other PPE has already been breached even though the government has issued strict warnings against doing so. In the market a Rs 10 mask is selling for many times the price, most chemists have simply said they have run out of stock and only have the more expensive masks. 

“The price breach is a problem for the administration too. We do not have so many cases yet, and AIIMS is not overwhelmed yet, but we need to be well prepared in advance,” asserted Dr Srinivas. The hospital will get over 20,000 masks today, but still needs lakhs more.

Dr Adarsh Pratap Singh, President of RDA had raised the issue of inadequacy in his letter to the Director, Dr Randeep Guleria. After inspecting various wards, the Resident Doctors' Association (RDA) had written to Director Randeep Guleria on March 16, updating him about inadequate PPEs available to their colleagues. “A team of RDA executives inspected various wards to check the supply of PPE in the critical time of COVID19 and sadly most of the wards do not have adequate universal precautionary components. We request the administration to take prompt action to ensure PPE availability around the clock for the safety of doctors and nurses," they wrote. 

The letter may be viewed here: 

dr

 

According to AIIMS doctors, they want to be well prepared so no one is exposed while meeting, and caring for suspected COVID-19 cases. Many doctors and nurses have been buying their own stock of masks and sanitisers as well. 

Business Standard reports that doctors of the microbiology department have made hand sanitisers and face shields (masks) in their laboratory to combat shortfall. Dr Purva Mathur, professor of laboratory medicine and the incharge of infection control department at AIIMS, Delhi has taken this initiative after holding a discussion with the hospital administration. "At AIIMS, we cannot take any chance. PPE has been provided by the administration, but these are not enough. So, we have to make other suitable alternatives. Apart from makeshift plastic face masks which can cover the entire face, we have also prepared alcohol-based hand sanitizers as per the guidelines of the World Health Organisation (WHO). And it is always good to be fully prepared," a senior doctor from the department of infection control told Business Standard. 


The doctors do not want mere applause but need real time action to ensure the situation does not get to a level when the healthcare givers themselves become infected with Covid-19. The RDA is yet to get an official response to their letter, but says it is important to monitor and raise the issue regularly. 

Related:

Lives of the 'haves' and 'have-nots' in the times of Corona

Covid-19 Update: Delhi under lockdown, Mumbai lockdown extended

Covid-19: West Bengal goes under lockdown from 5 PM today

Covid-19: Maha Labour Commissioner forbids organisations from firing, reducing wages of workers 

 

Doctors need more protective gear now, before COVID-19 cases explode

AIIMS doctors on alert for shortage in supplies of essentials like face masks and gloves

Naina Tai

Doctors and nurses at the country's flagship All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) are closely monitoring the supply of Protective Equipment (PPE) available to them as they prepare to take care COVID19 patients. As cases suspected of CoronaVirus-19 infection may increase in the following week, with increased testing, the staff at AIIMS does not want to be caught in a situation where the run out of essential protective gear that includes facemasks, eye shields, gloves, gowns and shoe covers if there is a deluge of patients in the coming weeks.

The resident Doctors Association of AIIMS had flagged this issue weeks ago and continues to monitor the daily supply carefully. “We flagged this ahead and want to prepare. We are making efforts before any shortage arises. This is the case nationwide. There are shortages even in developed countries,” We are putting pressure on all stakeholders,” said Dr Srinivas, general secretary, Resident Doctors Association (RDA) at AIIMS.

According to the resident doctors they are also buying masks and sanitizers to use when they are commuting to work, or are taking care of patients in the Outpatient Departments (OPDs). A doctor said that many are doing this voluntarily to prevent any cross contamination. Doctors posted in critical care units have access to the hospital supply of PPE but not those working in the OPD. “When we commute to and fro from work, we have to be extra careful. Many of us are buying our own masks to use at this time when we are outside the wards.” said a nurse.

According to Dr Srinivas, the AIIMS RDA should be seen as a stakeholder in this effort to combat the pandemic. The association is also making efforts to raise funds, and encourage public sector undertakings (PSUs) and corporates to pitch in with funds as well. “Many are stepping up. We will send updates soon,” said Dr Srinivas. 

The maximum retail price (MRP) capping on sanitisers masks and other PPE has already been breached even though the government has issued strict warnings against doing so. In the market a Rs 10 mask is selling for many times the price, most chemists have simply said they have run out of stock and only have the more expensive masks. 

“The price breach is a problem for the administration too. We do not have so many cases yet, and AIIMS is not overwhelmed yet, but we need to be well prepared in advance,” asserted Dr Srinivas. The hospital will get over 20,000 masks today, but still needs lakhs more.

Dr Adarsh Pratap Singh, President of RDA had raised the issue of inadequacy in his letter to the Director, Dr Randeep Guleria. After inspecting various wards, the Resident Doctors' Association (RDA) had written to Director Randeep Guleria on March 16, updating him about inadequate PPEs available to their colleagues. “A team of RDA executives inspected various wards to check the supply of PPE in the critical time of COVID19 and sadly most of the wards do not have adequate universal precautionary components. We request the administration to take prompt action to ensure PPE availability around the clock for the safety of doctors and nurses," they wrote. 

The letter may be viewed here: 

dr

 

According to AIIMS doctors, they want to be well prepared so no one is exposed while meeting, and caring for suspected COVID-19 cases. Many doctors and nurses have been buying their own stock of masks and sanitisers as well. 

Business Standard reports that doctors of the microbiology department have made hand sanitisers and face shields (masks) in their laboratory to combat shortfall. Dr Purva Mathur, professor of laboratory medicine and the incharge of infection control department at AIIMS, Delhi has taken this initiative after holding a discussion with the hospital administration. "At AIIMS, we cannot take any chance. PPE has been provided by the administration, but these are not enough. So, we have to make other suitable alternatives. Apart from makeshift plastic face masks which can cover the entire face, we have also prepared alcohol-based hand sanitizers as per the guidelines of the World Health Organisation (WHO). And it is always good to be fully prepared," a senior doctor from the department of infection control told Business Standard. 


The doctors do not want mere applause but need real time action to ensure the situation does not get to a level when the healthcare givers themselves become infected with Covid-19. The RDA is yet to get an official response to their letter, but says it is important to monitor and raise the issue regularly. 

Related:

Lives of the 'haves' and 'have-nots' in the times of Corona

Covid-19 Update: Delhi under lockdown, Mumbai lockdown extended

Covid-19: West Bengal goes under lockdown from 5 PM today

Covid-19: Maha Labour Commissioner forbids organisations from firing, reducing wages of workers 

 

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Covid-19: Maha Labour Commissioner forbids organisations from firing, reducing wages of workers

Move in wake of widespread fears as people are forced to work from home, loss of wages for daily wage earners

23 Mar 2020

Labour

In a shot in the arm for labour rights, the Maharashtra Commissioner of Labour has issued a circular directing all public as well as private sector organisations not to terminate services of employees and workers due to their inability to report to work at the workplace due to the Covid-19 outbreak related quarantine measures. The circular also forbids reduction in wages and salaries due to the same.

The social distancing measures put in place to check the spread of the Corona Virus epidemic also included suspension of construction projects in many areas. Most construction workers are daily wagers who depend on cash ever day to put food on the table. They are largely migrant workers who move from one project site to another and live in makeshift shanties nearby. In the absence of daily wages starvation is a stark possibility for them.

Then there are of course middle-class, white-collar workers from IT, finance and other service sectors. They are all working from home. Some are permanent employees, others work on contract. They all have fixed expenses as well as EMIs, that require a monthly influx of fresh funds in the bank via their salaries. By addressing both the public sector as well as the private sector, the Labour Commissioner has attempted to allay the fears of workers and employees from various socio-economic groups.

On Sunday, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had also passed similar orders while announcing a statewide lockdown. Kejriwal said, “Private offices will remain shut, but employees, both permanent and contract workers, are to be considered on duty and should be paid.”

The circular issued by Maharashtra Labour Commissioner Dr. Mahendra Kalyankar may be read here: 

labour


Related:

Lives of the 'haves' and 'have-nots' in the times of Corona
Covid-19 Update: Delhi under lockdown, Mumbai lockdown extended
Covid-19: West Bengal goes under lockdown from 5 PM today
Covid-19: What happens to prisoners, now?

Covid-19: Maha Labour Commissioner forbids organisations from firing, reducing wages of workers

Move in wake of widespread fears as people are forced to work from home, loss of wages for daily wage earners

Labour

In a shot in the arm for labour rights, the Maharashtra Commissioner of Labour has issued a circular directing all public as well as private sector organisations not to terminate services of employees and workers due to their inability to report to work at the workplace due to the Covid-19 outbreak related quarantine measures. The circular also forbids reduction in wages and salaries due to the same.

The social distancing measures put in place to check the spread of the Corona Virus epidemic also included suspension of construction projects in many areas. Most construction workers are daily wagers who depend on cash ever day to put food on the table. They are largely migrant workers who move from one project site to another and live in makeshift shanties nearby. In the absence of daily wages starvation is a stark possibility for them.

Then there are of course middle-class, white-collar workers from IT, finance and other service sectors. They are all working from home. Some are permanent employees, others work on contract. They all have fixed expenses as well as EMIs, that require a monthly influx of fresh funds in the bank via their salaries. By addressing both the public sector as well as the private sector, the Labour Commissioner has attempted to allay the fears of workers and employees from various socio-economic groups.

On Sunday, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had also passed similar orders while announcing a statewide lockdown. Kejriwal said, “Private offices will remain shut, but employees, both permanent and contract workers, are to be considered on duty and should be paid.”

The circular issued by Maharashtra Labour Commissioner Dr. Mahendra Kalyankar may be read here: 

labour


Related:

Lives of the 'haves' and 'have-nots' in the times of Corona
Covid-19 Update: Delhi under lockdown, Mumbai lockdown extended
Covid-19: West Bengal goes under lockdown from 5 PM today
Covid-19: What happens to prisoners, now?

Related Articles


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Beating thalis, but mistreating Air India crew that rescued stranded Indians?

Modi's address uninspiring, high on anecdotes, but lacked seriousness 

23 Mar 2020

Modi

The country is in a lockdown now. The fact is it should have happened earlier, but better late than never. The prime minister's call for the Janata Curfew was nothing but a preparation for the full lockdown. It is good that people responded to it. Actually, this is a good way to impose things in the name of people's will but yes, it was needed and whatever way is done, has to be welcomed. 

The Prime Minister spoke for about half an hour and his address was uninspiring to say the least. It did not have anything except his own 'anecdotes' and then the 'novel' 'idea' of 'thali peeto' & 'ghanti bajao'. Many of the bhakts came on their balcony and did it so diligently that they were unable to stop it! I thought Modi ji might have given a time period for how long was it supposed to be done. Now, we are getting videos that people came out in the streets at many places with their thalis and Ghantas and banged them. All the 'social distancing' was wiped off with in five minutes of what we witnessed in Ahmedabad and Jaipur where the crowds throng the street with tricolor in their hands.

Why is this country and its leadership not serious about the issue confronting it? Why you want to convert everything into an event and spectacle? The PM certainly appeared worried as he saw the situation in the west turn nightmarish, but unlike the Western leaders who showed great sense of urgency to protect their nation and their economy, we did nothing. French President Emmanuel Macron locked down the entire country and promised that the government will look after the poor as well as the industries. Look at the inspiring speeches from German leader Angela Merkel to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who assured their nations that the government will take care of everything. The Dutch health minister collapsed due to Corona Virus and the prime minister appointed, a former minister who belonged to the opposition party as Health Minister. A country like Great Britain which was initially not keen and waiting for things to happen as they were, finally listened to the scientists and pumped huge amount of money to not merely protect the industries, but also to the citizens particularly the vulnerable. All governments and companies allowed their employees to work from home. Italy has been hit hard due to this calamity and yet is coping with it with great courage and confidence. The government is working day in and out despite the enormity of the situation. The situation in the United States is alarming and a big failure of the government which waited for so long and allowed the situation to go from bad to worse. The world's most powerful government is looking helpless as the number of cases are growing alarmingly.

China, the first country to be affected by the tyranny of Corona Virus in Wuhan, are today actually providing hope to the world. That they could do so with great discipline is an example. Of course, countries like South Korea and Singapore too inspire hope. A tiny country, victim of Western economic sanctions, has been sending his team of doctors and nurses on foreign mission to help other. This time, a 58 members contingent is in Lombardy, Italy, a city hit hard by the Corona Virus.

And look inward, we have a Parliament in session but it did not have time for serious discussion. Even if the speaker had allowed a discussion, the leaders would have made it an address to their bhakts. What we are witnessing today is the numbing of brains by idiotic 'prescriptions' and deliberate distortions. Now, TV channels are inviting fraudster Babas to give more 'knowledge' to people. Why are we doing so? The reason is clear. We have failed as a nation to respond to the crisis. I personally feel that India will succeed in holding on as we have enormous food diversity. The food culture of this country will help it survive the onslaught of these diseases, ofcourse, we need to maintain physical distancing. Socially, India has always practised 'distancing' because of the 'caste system' and many of the 'ideologues' will now justify this as a 'boon' amidst the current crisis. Whether people survive or not, our economy will be in a deeper crisis and poor and marginalised will face more trouble.

The quality of Narendra Modi and his team is that they do not give people a chance to think for themselves. They are deciding and thinking for every one and producing all these 'event' which the bhakts are more than happy to respond to as all of us are waiting for a miracle and people feel Modi can get them that 'miracle'. In India, Kerala government has done extremely well and announced a big package for people. Even Arvind Kejriwal's offer on food subsidy was good. Many state governments have been very active in dealing with it. The prime minister's address lacked that seriousness which it needed.

The Central government has allowed private labs to conduct the Corona testing and a fee is capped around Rs 4,500 for that. This is so cruel. Rather than this, the government could have pitched in the private sector and ensure that all those who needed it, would have got the consultancy and treatment. No patient should be barred or untreated. Any kind of discrimination based on assumption or findings should be strongly condemned and government must make it clear that such part of behavior by people or doctors or any one else is criminal and will be dealt with seriously. Isn't it tragic that a doctor who was suffering from Corona Virus was not admitted by nursing homes in Maharashtra. The Ghanta Bajao brigade might act as a vigilante to see who did not bajao the Ghanta and then isolate them.

In December when the Corona Virus was first detected in Wuhan city of China, a large number of Indian students, particularly engineering and medical students, were stranded there. When no one was going there, the brave crew of Air India rescued all these students and Indian citizens. We all accuse this airline of ours but the fact is that in the time of crisis, it is this airline, which has come to the rescue of the nation. And what happens now is more shameful and ungrateful. I place Air India's press release here :

"It is alarming to note that in many localities, vigilante Resident Welfare Associations and neighbors have started ostracizing the crew, obstructing them from performing their duty or even calling in the police, simply because the crew traveled abroad in the course of their duty," Air India said in a statement. "These vigilantes have conveniently forgotten that many a spouse, parent, sibling, child and near and dear one have been brought home safe and secure from affected countries, thanks to the heroic efforts of these Air India crew," the airline said.

"We would like to appeal to all concerned, particularly the law enforcement agencies, to ensure that our crew are treated with the courtesy, respect and freedom that every citizen of this country deserves especially in light of the fact of their having undertaken flight duties to affected countries to bring back Indian citizens," Air India said as reported by NDTV.

Can there be more shame and a greater example of inhumanity than Resident Welfare Associations targeting the people who have served the nation and were the first in the line of duty? It is time to name and shame them. You could have watched this RWA and many like them in the forefront of Ghanta Bajao and thali peeto event. Most of these RWA have turned into Right Wing Associations and sadly have become blind with prejudice. We do understand that all of us need protection and distancing, but that should not kill our humanity. Corona will never succeed as long as there is humanity. But it will succeed if the humanity inside us dies and societies turn into prejudiced vigilante groups. Let us unite amidst this distancing. Let us learn to care. Let us not suffer in hatred. This is a big challenge to humanity and we hope humanity will ultimately win.

Wish you all protection and good health.

 

 

Beating thalis, but mistreating Air India crew that rescued stranded Indians?

Modi's address uninspiring, high on anecdotes, but lacked seriousness 

Modi

The country is in a lockdown now. The fact is it should have happened earlier, but better late than never. The prime minister's call for the Janata Curfew was nothing but a preparation for the full lockdown. It is good that people responded to it. Actually, this is a good way to impose things in the name of people's will but yes, it was needed and whatever way is done, has to be welcomed. 

The Prime Minister spoke for about half an hour and his address was uninspiring to say the least. It did not have anything except his own 'anecdotes' and then the 'novel' 'idea' of 'thali peeto' & 'ghanti bajao'. Many of the bhakts came on their balcony and did it so diligently that they were unable to stop it! I thought Modi ji might have given a time period for how long was it supposed to be done. Now, we are getting videos that people came out in the streets at many places with their thalis and Ghantas and banged them. All the 'social distancing' was wiped off with in five minutes of what we witnessed in Ahmedabad and Jaipur where the crowds throng the street with tricolor in their hands.

Why is this country and its leadership not serious about the issue confronting it? Why you want to convert everything into an event and spectacle? The PM certainly appeared worried as he saw the situation in the west turn nightmarish, but unlike the Western leaders who showed great sense of urgency to protect their nation and their economy, we did nothing. French President Emmanuel Macron locked down the entire country and promised that the government will look after the poor as well as the industries. Look at the inspiring speeches from German leader Angela Merkel to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who assured their nations that the government will take care of everything. The Dutch health minister collapsed due to Corona Virus and the prime minister appointed, a former minister who belonged to the opposition party as Health Minister. A country like Great Britain which was initially not keen and waiting for things to happen as they were, finally listened to the scientists and pumped huge amount of money to not merely protect the industries, but also to the citizens particularly the vulnerable. All governments and companies allowed their employees to work from home. Italy has been hit hard due to this calamity and yet is coping with it with great courage and confidence. The government is working day in and out despite the enormity of the situation. The situation in the United States is alarming and a big failure of the government which waited for so long and allowed the situation to go from bad to worse. The world's most powerful government is looking helpless as the number of cases are growing alarmingly.

China, the first country to be affected by the tyranny of Corona Virus in Wuhan, are today actually providing hope to the world. That they could do so with great discipline is an example. Of course, countries like South Korea and Singapore too inspire hope. A tiny country, victim of Western economic sanctions, has been sending his team of doctors and nurses on foreign mission to help other. This time, a 58 members contingent is in Lombardy, Italy, a city hit hard by the Corona Virus.

And look inward, we have a Parliament in session but it did not have time for serious discussion. Even if the speaker had allowed a discussion, the leaders would have made it an address to their bhakts. What we are witnessing today is the numbing of brains by idiotic 'prescriptions' and deliberate distortions. Now, TV channels are inviting fraudster Babas to give more 'knowledge' to people. Why are we doing so? The reason is clear. We have failed as a nation to respond to the crisis. I personally feel that India will succeed in holding on as we have enormous food diversity. The food culture of this country will help it survive the onslaught of these diseases, ofcourse, we need to maintain physical distancing. Socially, India has always practised 'distancing' because of the 'caste system' and many of the 'ideologues' will now justify this as a 'boon' amidst the current crisis. Whether people survive or not, our economy will be in a deeper crisis and poor and marginalised will face more trouble.

The quality of Narendra Modi and his team is that they do not give people a chance to think for themselves. They are deciding and thinking for every one and producing all these 'event' which the bhakts are more than happy to respond to as all of us are waiting for a miracle and people feel Modi can get them that 'miracle'. In India, Kerala government has done extremely well and announced a big package for people. Even Arvind Kejriwal's offer on food subsidy was good. Many state governments have been very active in dealing with it. The prime minister's address lacked that seriousness which it needed.

The Central government has allowed private labs to conduct the Corona testing and a fee is capped around Rs 4,500 for that. This is so cruel. Rather than this, the government could have pitched in the private sector and ensure that all those who needed it, would have got the consultancy and treatment. No patient should be barred or untreated. Any kind of discrimination based on assumption or findings should be strongly condemned and government must make it clear that such part of behavior by people or doctors or any one else is criminal and will be dealt with seriously. Isn't it tragic that a doctor who was suffering from Corona Virus was not admitted by nursing homes in Maharashtra. The Ghanta Bajao brigade might act as a vigilante to see who did not bajao the Ghanta and then isolate them.

In December when the Corona Virus was first detected in Wuhan city of China, a large number of Indian students, particularly engineering and medical students, were stranded there. When no one was going there, the brave crew of Air India rescued all these students and Indian citizens. We all accuse this airline of ours but the fact is that in the time of crisis, it is this airline, which has come to the rescue of the nation. And what happens now is more shameful and ungrateful. I place Air India's press release here :

"It is alarming to note that in many localities, vigilante Resident Welfare Associations and neighbors have started ostracizing the crew, obstructing them from performing their duty or even calling in the police, simply because the crew traveled abroad in the course of their duty," Air India said in a statement. "These vigilantes have conveniently forgotten that many a spouse, parent, sibling, child and near and dear one have been brought home safe and secure from affected countries, thanks to the heroic efforts of these Air India crew," the airline said.

"We would like to appeal to all concerned, particularly the law enforcement agencies, to ensure that our crew are treated with the courtesy, respect and freedom that every citizen of this country deserves especially in light of the fact of their having undertaken flight duties to affected countries to bring back Indian citizens," Air India said as reported by NDTV.

Can there be more shame and a greater example of inhumanity than Resident Welfare Associations targeting the people who have served the nation and were the first in the line of duty? It is time to name and shame them. You could have watched this RWA and many like them in the forefront of Ghanta Bajao and thali peeto event. Most of these RWA have turned into Right Wing Associations and sadly have become blind with prejudice. We do understand that all of us need protection and distancing, but that should not kill our humanity. Corona will never succeed as long as there is humanity. But it will succeed if the humanity inside us dies and societies turn into prejudiced vigilante groups. Let us unite amidst this distancing. Let us learn to care. Let us not suffer in hatred. This is a big challenge to humanity and we hope humanity will ultimately win.

Wish you all protection and good health.

 

 

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Khan Saheb in Kashi

Ustad Bismillah Khan, 1916–2006. In the Ustad’s shehnai lies the note of reason

21 Mar 2020

Khan Sahab

There are moments when I love my job or rather, my business of journalism – even I, a hard-nosed cynical hack of nearly three decades. It is because you love and cherish these moments that you are so grateful you are in this business. How else would I, a hopeless, hopeless philistine, hope to find myself on a rain-drenched terrace in old Varanasi with Ustad Bismillah Khan? As it happens, it was almost exactly the same time last year.

I can fill the rest of this space just describing the beauty of his face, his spirit, his talent, his madness, even his commercialism. To date, he is the only guest who demanded, and was paid – though only a very reasonable tribute – for appearing on Walk the Talk. He said he had a large family to support, even at 91, and could do with whatever money came his way. And when I reminded him, while leaving, that he had to come and perform at my children’s weddings, he said yes immediately. And then quoted the price: five lakh, plus air tickets and stay for seven people. You could touch his innocence with bare hands in the heavy monsoon air.

Khan Saheb let me down on this one though. He will not come and perform at my children’s weddings, whatever the price. But he left me with memories – and lines – that will never go away. What was the difference between Hindu and Muslim, he asked. What, indeed, when he sang to Allah in raga Bhairav (composed for Shiva) and brought to tears the Iraqi maulana who had just told him music was blasphemy, "evil, a trap of the devil". Khan Saheb said, "I told him, Maulana, I will sing to Allah. All I ask you is to be fair. And when I finished I asked him if it is blasphemy. He was speechless." And then Khan Saheb told me with that trademark mischievous glint: "But I did not tell him it was in raga Bhairav."

Why did Khan Saheb not migrate to Pakistan with partition? "Arre, will I ever leave my Benares?" he asked. "I went to Pakistan for a few hours," he said, "just to be able to say I’ve been there. I knew I would never last there." And what is so special about Benares, his glorified slum of a haveli in a grandly named Bharat Ratna Ustad Bismillah Khan Street that had more potholes than footholds and more heaps of chicken entrails from nearby meat shops than garbage heaps from homes? "My temples are here," he said, "Balaji and Mangala Gauri." Without them, he asked, how would he make any music? As a Muslim he could not go inside the temples. But so what? "I would just go behind the temples and touch the wall from outside. You bring gangajal, you can go inside to offer it, but I can just as well touch the stone from outside. It’s the same. I just have to put my hand to them."

How is that devotion in a week when our parliament was rocked by issues like the forcible, and criminal, chopping of a Sikh boy’s hair in Jaipur and the controversy over state-mandated singing of Vande Mataram in schools to launch the 150th anniversary of 1857? Or when we were all so outraged by the paranoia that caused the Mumbai bound KLM-Northwest flight to return to Amsterdam, the racial profiling of Muslims, particularly Asian-Arab Muslims and so on?

Khan Saheb’s was a talent worthy of a Bharat Ratna and immortality. But he also personified, so strikingly, the fact of how the Muslims of India defy the stereotypes building up in today’s rapidly dividing world. They may be poorer than the majority, or even other, smaller minorities, they may still live in ghettos of sorts, but they are a part of the mainstream, nationally as well as regionally and ethnically, more than Muslim populations are in most parts of the world. A Tamil Muslim, for example, is as much an ethnic Tamil as a Hindu or a Christian and certainly has more in common with his ethnic cousins than with fellow Muslims in Bihar or Uttar Pradesh. India’s Muslims work in mainstream businesses where their interests are meshed inextricably with the rest, particularly the majority Hindus, even if they happen to spar occasionally.

That is why, unlike Bush’s America or the western world in general, India cannot even think of the diabolical idea of "Islamic" fascism or terrorism. No country can survive if it starts looking at nearly 15 per cent of its population as a fifth column. That is why India’s view of the war against terror has to be entirely different from the western world’s, more nuanced, more realistic and, most importantly, entirely indigenous.

It is a difficult argument to make in times when it is so tempting to tell America and Europe that see, the people who are terrorising you are the same as the people who have been terrorising us. So far you never believed us. Now with every other terror suspect being traced back to Pakistan and, more precisely, Jaish or Lashkar, accept and acknowledge that we have been in the forefront of the global war against terror for a decade before it hit you. The danger in that approach is, the Americans and the Europeans can choose that approach – though it is not working for them as well – because for them these Muslims are outsiders, different, and therefore candidates for racial profiling. You can racially profile a million people in a universe of 27 crore. Can you profile 14 crore in a universe of a hundred crore? Particularly when most of them, in their own big and small ways, are as integrated in the mainstream, as zealously proud and possessive of their multiple (ethnic, linguistic and professional) identities as of their faith?

That is why the key to fighting, okay, this wave of terror emanating from Muslim anger is to absolutely avoid the "global war on terror" trap.

The terrorists know it. That is why attacks in India, even by angry Indian Muslims, are not directed against some evil global power or its symbols. Nor are they meant to support some pan-Islamic cause, Palestine, or even, for that matter, Kashmir. Their objective, always, is to strike at our secular nationalism. Every single attack has had the same purpose, starting with the first round of Bombay bombings in 1993.

Sharad Pawar made a bold confession to me earlier this month that he parachuted from Delhi into a riot-torn Bombay then figured immediately that the terrorist plot was to kill a large number of people in Hindu localities to trigger large-scale mob attacks on Muslim areas where automatic weapons and grenades had been stored with their agents. Once the mobs were stopped with these automatic weapons it would lead to a carnage that would be uncontrollable. It is for that reason that, he says, he lied on Doordarshan that there had been 12 blasts (where there had been 11) and added the name of a Muslim locality as the 12th. Today we can all rue the fact that judgement in the case of those blasts is still awaited, 13 years later (this article was written in 2006). But we should also cherish the fact that in eschewing any rioting and actually returning to work the very next morning, Bombay had defeated the larger design of the terrorists.

Every attack since then, the temples at Ayodhya, Akshardham and Varanasi, Raghunath temple in Jammu, even the bombs at Delhi’s Jama Masjid, had the same purpose: widening that divide. But it is tougher in India where any notion of ‘Them versus Us’ is an impossibility given how closely communities live, work and do business together. It is one thing to say that we have learnt to live with diversity for a thousand years. It is equally important that we internalise the idea of diversity, equality and fairness that is in our Constitution and in the process of nation building make the very idea of a global war against ‘Islamic fascism’ totally alien and ridiculous for India.

There is a war on for us and there is no getting away from the fact that some of those on the wrong side today are fellow, angry Indians, and we have to deal with them firmly and effectively. But we will need to evolve an idiom and a strategy entirely our own, in tune with a society which loves equally Ustad Bismillah Khan and Pandit Ravi Shankar, who both sing and pray to Allah and Shiva, Krishna in ragas composed for either. Today India enjoys great respect in the world because of its unfolding economic miracle. If India can get this nuance right, it could be the toast of the world tomorrow for an even greater socio-political miracle, a secular but deeply religious nation that defeated terrorism while taking its 14 crore Muslims along.

Courtesy: The Indian Express

Archived from Communalism Combat, August-September 2007, Anniversary Issue (14th), Year 14    No.125, India at 60 Free Spaces, Music

Khan Saheb in Kashi

Ustad Bismillah Khan, 1916–2006. In the Ustad’s shehnai lies the note of reason

Khan Sahab

There are moments when I love my job or rather, my business of journalism – even I, a hard-nosed cynical hack of nearly three decades. It is because you love and cherish these moments that you are so grateful you are in this business. How else would I, a hopeless, hopeless philistine, hope to find myself on a rain-drenched terrace in old Varanasi with Ustad Bismillah Khan? As it happens, it was almost exactly the same time last year.

I can fill the rest of this space just describing the beauty of his face, his spirit, his talent, his madness, even his commercialism. To date, he is the only guest who demanded, and was paid – though only a very reasonable tribute – for appearing on Walk the Talk. He said he had a large family to support, even at 91, and could do with whatever money came his way. And when I reminded him, while leaving, that he had to come and perform at my children’s weddings, he said yes immediately. And then quoted the price: five lakh, plus air tickets and stay for seven people. You could touch his innocence with bare hands in the heavy monsoon air.

Khan Saheb let me down on this one though. He will not come and perform at my children’s weddings, whatever the price. But he left me with memories – and lines – that will never go away. What was the difference between Hindu and Muslim, he asked. What, indeed, when he sang to Allah in raga Bhairav (composed for Shiva) and brought to tears the Iraqi maulana who had just told him music was blasphemy, "evil, a trap of the devil". Khan Saheb said, "I told him, Maulana, I will sing to Allah. All I ask you is to be fair. And when I finished I asked him if it is blasphemy. He was speechless." And then Khan Saheb told me with that trademark mischievous glint: "But I did not tell him it was in raga Bhairav."

Why did Khan Saheb not migrate to Pakistan with partition? "Arre, will I ever leave my Benares?" he asked. "I went to Pakistan for a few hours," he said, "just to be able to say I’ve been there. I knew I would never last there." And what is so special about Benares, his glorified slum of a haveli in a grandly named Bharat Ratna Ustad Bismillah Khan Street that had more potholes than footholds and more heaps of chicken entrails from nearby meat shops than garbage heaps from homes? "My temples are here," he said, "Balaji and Mangala Gauri." Without them, he asked, how would he make any music? As a Muslim he could not go inside the temples. But so what? "I would just go behind the temples and touch the wall from outside. You bring gangajal, you can go inside to offer it, but I can just as well touch the stone from outside. It’s the same. I just have to put my hand to them."

How is that devotion in a week when our parliament was rocked by issues like the forcible, and criminal, chopping of a Sikh boy’s hair in Jaipur and the controversy over state-mandated singing of Vande Mataram in schools to launch the 150th anniversary of 1857? Or when we were all so outraged by the paranoia that caused the Mumbai bound KLM-Northwest flight to return to Amsterdam, the racial profiling of Muslims, particularly Asian-Arab Muslims and so on?

Khan Saheb’s was a talent worthy of a Bharat Ratna and immortality. But he also personified, so strikingly, the fact of how the Muslims of India defy the stereotypes building up in today’s rapidly dividing world. They may be poorer than the majority, or even other, smaller minorities, they may still live in ghettos of sorts, but they are a part of the mainstream, nationally as well as regionally and ethnically, more than Muslim populations are in most parts of the world. A Tamil Muslim, for example, is as much an ethnic Tamil as a Hindu or a Christian and certainly has more in common with his ethnic cousins than with fellow Muslims in Bihar or Uttar Pradesh. India’s Muslims work in mainstream businesses where their interests are meshed inextricably with the rest, particularly the majority Hindus, even if they happen to spar occasionally.

That is why, unlike Bush’s America or the western world in general, India cannot even think of the diabolical idea of "Islamic" fascism or terrorism. No country can survive if it starts looking at nearly 15 per cent of its population as a fifth column. That is why India’s view of the war against terror has to be entirely different from the western world’s, more nuanced, more realistic and, most importantly, entirely indigenous.

It is a difficult argument to make in times when it is so tempting to tell America and Europe that see, the people who are terrorising you are the same as the people who have been terrorising us. So far you never believed us. Now with every other terror suspect being traced back to Pakistan and, more precisely, Jaish or Lashkar, accept and acknowledge that we have been in the forefront of the global war against terror for a decade before it hit you. The danger in that approach is, the Americans and the Europeans can choose that approach – though it is not working for them as well – because for them these Muslims are outsiders, different, and therefore candidates for racial profiling. You can racially profile a million people in a universe of 27 crore. Can you profile 14 crore in a universe of a hundred crore? Particularly when most of them, in their own big and small ways, are as integrated in the mainstream, as zealously proud and possessive of their multiple (ethnic, linguistic and professional) identities as of their faith?

That is why the key to fighting, okay, this wave of terror emanating from Muslim anger is to absolutely avoid the "global war on terror" trap.

The terrorists know it. That is why attacks in India, even by angry Indian Muslims, are not directed against some evil global power or its symbols. Nor are they meant to support some pan-Islamic cause, Palestine, or even, for that matter, Kashmir. Their objective, always, is to strike at our secular nationalism. Every single attack has had the same purpose, starting with the first round of Bombay bombings in 1993.

Sharad Pawar made a bold confession to me earlier this month that he parachuted from Delhi into a riot-torn Bombay then figured immediately that the terrorist plot was to kill a large number of people in Hindu localities to trigger large-scale mob attacks on Muslim areas where automatic weapons and grenades had been stored with their agents. Once the mobs were stopped with these automatic weapons it would lead to a carnage that would be uncontrollable. It is for that reason that, he says, he lied on Doordarshan that there had been 12 blasts (where there had been 11) and added the name of a Muslim locality as the 12th. Today we can all rue the fact that judgement in the case of those blasts is still awaited, 13 years later (this article was written in 2006). But we should also cherish the fact that in eschewing any rioting and actually returning to work the very next morning, Bombay had defeated the larger design of the terrorists.

Every attack since then, the temples at Ayodhya, Akshardham and Varanasi, Raghunath temple in Jammu, even the bombs at Delhi’s Jama Masjid, had the same purpose: widening that divide. But it is tougher in India where any notion of ‘Them versus Us’ is an impossibility given how closely communities live, work and do business together. It is one thing to say that we have learnt to live with diversity for a thousand years. It is equally important that we internalise the idea of diversity, equality and fairness that is in our Constitution and in the process of nation building make the very idea of a global war against ‘Islamic fascism’ totally alien and ridiculous for India.

There is a war on for us and there is no getting away from the fact that some of those on the wrong side today are fellow, angry Indians, and we have to deal with them firmly and effectively. But we will need to evolve an idiom and a strategy entirely our own, in tune with a society which loves equally Ustad Bismillah Khan and Pandit Ravi Shankar, who both sing and pray to Allah and Shiva, Krishna in ragas composed for either. Today India enjoys great respect in the world because of its unfolding economic miracle. If India can get this nuance right, it could be the toast of the world tomorrow for an even greater socio-political miracle, a secular but deeply religious nation that defeated terrorism while taking its 14 crore Muslims along.

Courtesy: The Indian Express

Archived from Communalism Combat, August-September 2007, Anniversary Issue (14th), Year 14    No.125, India at 60 Free Spaces, Music

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BJP spent highest on publicity; travel of party leaders in 2019 LS elections, reports ADR

Of the total Rs. 6,405 crore collected by 32 parties, the BJP collected the maximum funds – Rs. 4,507 crore

21 Mar 2020

BJP

The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) reported that the ruling government of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spent 44.06 percent of the total election expenses of all parties, i.e. Rs. 1141.72 crore.

On Friday, the NGO, released a report of the funds collected and expenditure incurred of seven national parties and 25 regional parties during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The report analysed party spending on publicity, travel, miscellaneous expenses and amounts paid to their contesting candidates.
 

Funds collected and expenditure incurred

The total funds collected by the 32 political parties stood at Rs. 6,405.59 crore. Of these funds, the national parties collected Rs. 5544.34 crore (86.55%) and the regional parties, Rs. 861.25 crore (13.45%).

Among all the parties, the BJP collected the maximum funds of Rs. 4,507.40 crore (63.34%) and the second highest amount was collected by the Indian National Congress (INC) Rs. 1167.14 crore (18.22%).

Of these, the national and regional parties together spent Rs. 2,591.39 crore, of which Rs. 2,004.99 crore (77.37%) was spent by the national parties alone.

BJP’s expenditure among the national parties stood the highest at Rs. 1141.72 crore, followed by the INC which spent Rs. 626.36 crore.

Publicity

The report said that the parties spent the maximum on Media Advertisement (Rs 1166.15 crore or 77.98%) followed by expenditure on Publicity Materials (Rs 222.1 crore or 14.85%) and Public Meetings (Rs 107.16 crore or 7.17%).

Of the total expenditure of the 32 political parties on publicity, Rs 1223.71 crore or 81.83% was spent by the National parties and Rs 271.70 crore or 18.17% was spent by the Regional parties.

The BJP incurred its maximum expenditure under publicity, spending a total of 43.58% or Rs. 651.64 crore of its funds there.

BJP spent the highest on media advertisement – Rs. 488.33 crore. The INC and BJD spent Rs. 411.39 crore (35.32%) and Rs. 71.26 crore (11%) for the same respectively.

Travel

The parties spent a total of Rs. 567.19 crore on travel. Out of this, national parties spent Rs. 487.33 crore (85.92%) and regional parties spend Rs. 79.86 crore (14.08%). Most of these funds were spent by parties on their ‘star campaigners’ and the remaining on the travel of their party leaders.

The ruling party spent Rs. 253.49 crore on the travel of star campaigners and it spent a total of Rs. 4.5 crore on the travel of party leaders. This number was followed by the CPM which incurred Rs. 1.14 crore of travel expenses.

Lumpsum amounts spent on candidates / miscellaneous spending

Out of the total lumpsum amount spent across all parties on candidates – Rs. 528.94 crore, the BJP also took the highest share here, spending Rs. 215.12 crore or (40.67%) of its earnings on candidates.

INC paid Rs 193.97 crore (36.67%), BJD, Rs 33.71 crore (6.37%), DMK, Rs 17.15 crore (3.24%) and CPI paid Rs 13.63 crore (2.58%) to their candidates.

The BJP also topped the charts in spending on miscellaneous expenses. It spent Rs. 246.28 crore or 61.72 percent of the total followed by BJD which spent Rs. 45.03 crore (11.28%) and YSRCP which incurred expenses worth Rs. 38.41 crore (9.63%) on other / miscellaneous expenses.

The BJP has come under fire for allegedly spending on publicity through unofficial or secretive efforts and overlooking the ethics of transparency in election funding. The ADR had earlier reported that in FY 2017 – 18, the largest seven political parties had received a combined income of Rs. 1,397 crore of which Rs. 1,027 crore (73.5%) belonged to the BJP alone. Out of this income that the BJP earned, most – Rs. 989 crore, came in through donations. Out of this, more than 50 percent was from ‘unknown sources’ due to the 2017 electoral bonds system, which keeps donor details anonymous.  

The Wire reported, since started term as the Central government in 2014 to October 2018, the Modi government had spent as much on ads as the Manmohan Singh government had spent in its ten years of power. Out of its total expenditure of nearly Rs 5,000 crore, Rs 2,136.39 crores was spent on advertising in the print media. Rs 2,211.11 crore was spent on electronic media.

In FY 2017 – 18, the BJP’s highest expense was election propaganda. It spent Rs. 567.43 crore on the same that year. It spend copious amounts of money on political ads on Google and Facebook and it was also the leading brand in TV advertising with its ads being aired 22,099 times to the public.

Related:

BJP gets lion’s share of donations in 2018 – 2019; a 70% increase in funding from ’17 - 18

EC files affidavit stating electoral bond donation details before SC

BJP spent highest on publicity; travel of party leaders in 2019 LS elections, reports ADR

Of the total Rs. 6,405 crore collected by 32 parties, the BJP collected the maximum funds – Rs. 4,507 crore

BJP

The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) reported that the ruling government of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spent 44.06 percent of the total election expenses of all parties, i.e. Rs. 1141.72 crore.

On Friday, the NGO, released a report of the funds collected and expenditure incurred of seven national parties and 25 regional parties during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The report analysed party spending on publicity, travel, miscellaneous expenses and amounts paid to their contesting candidates.
 

Funds collected and expenditure incurred

The total funds collected by the 32 political parties stood at Rs. 6,405.59 crore. Of these funds, the national parties collected Rs. 5544.34 crore (86.55%) and the regional parties, Rs. 861.25 crore (13.45%).

Among all the parties, the BJP collected the maximum funds of Rs. 4,507.40 crore (63.34%) and the second highest amount was collected by the Indian National Congress (INC) Rs. 1167.14 crore (18.22%).

Of these, the national and regional parties together spent Rs. 2,591.39 crore, of which Rs. 2,004.99 crore (77.37%) was spent by the national parties alone.

BJP’s expenditure among the national parties stood the highest at Rs. 1141.72 crore, followed by the INC which spent Rs. 626.36 crore.

Publicity

The report said that the parties spent the maximum on Media Advertisement (Rs 1166.15 crore or 77.98%) followed by expenditure on Publicity Materials (Rs 222.1 crore or 14.85%) and Public Meetings (Rs 107.16 crore or 7.17%).

Of the total expenditure of the 32 political parties on publicity, Rs 1223.71 crore or 81.83% was spent by the National parties and Rs 271.70 crore or 18.17% was spent by the Regional parties.

The BJP incurred its maximum expenditure under publicity, spending a total of 43.58% or Rs. 651.64 crore of its funds there.

BJP spent the highest on media advertisement – Rs. 488.33 crore. The INC and BJD spent Rs. 411.39 crore (35.32%) and Rs. 71.26 crore (11%) for the same respectively.

Travel

The parties spent a total of Rs. 567.19 crore on travel. Out of this, national parties spent Rs. 487.33 crore (85.92%) and regional parties spend Rs. 79.86 crore (14.08%). Most of these funds were spent by parties on their ‘star campaigners’ and the remaining on the travel of their party leaders.

The ruling party spent Rs. 253.49 crore on the travel of star campaigners and it spent a total of Rs. 4.5 crore on the travel of party leaders. This number was followed by the CPM which incurred Rs. 1.14 crore of travel expenses.

Lumpsum amounts spent on candidates / miscellaneous spending

Out of the total lumpsum amount spent across all parties on candidates – Rs. 528.94 crore, the BJP also took the highest share here, spending Rs. 215.12 crore or (40.67%) of its earnings on candidates.

INC paid Rs 193.97 crore (36.67%), BJD, Rs 33.71 crore (6.37%), DMK, Rs 17.15 crore (3.24%) and CPI paid Rs 13.63 crore (2.58%) to their candidates.

The BJP also topped the charts in spending on miscellaneous expenses. It spent Rs. 246.28 crore or 61.72 percent of the total followed by BJD which spent Rs. 45.03 crore (11.28%) and YSRCP which incurred expenses worth Rs. 38.41 crore (9.63%) on other / miscellaneous expenses.

The BJP has come under fire for allegedly spending on publicity through unofficial or secretive efforts and overlooking the ethics of transparency in election funding. The ADR had earlier reported that in FY 2017 – 18, the largest seven political parties had received a combined income of Rs. 1,397 crore of which Rs. 1,027 crore (73.5%) belonged to the BJP alone. Out of this income that the BJP earned, most – Rs. 989 crore, came in through donations. Out of this, more than 50 percent was from ‘unknown sources’ due to the 2017 electoral bonds system, which keeps donor details anonymous.  

The Wire reported, since started term as the Central government in 2014 to October 2018, the Modi government had spent as much on ads as the Manmohan Singh government had spent in its ten years of power. Out of its total expenditure of nearly Rs 5,000 crore, Rs 2,136.39 crores was spent on advertising in the print media. Rs 2,211.11 crore was spent on electronic media.

In FY 2017 – 18, the BJP’s highest expense was election propaganda. It spent Rs. 567.43 crore on the same that year. It spend copious amounts of money on political ads on Google and Facebook and it was also the leading brand in TV advertising with its ads being aired 22,099 times to the public.

Related:

BJP gets lion’s share of donations in 2018 – 2019; a 70% increase in funding from ’17 - 18

EC files affidavit stating electoral bond donation details before SC

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Is it time for Universal Basic Income in India?

This emergent question needs a quick response as India sees rising number of COVID-19 positive cases

20 Mar 2020

universal basic income

A petition has been submitted to the UK Parliament for consideration for implementing Universal Basic Income to give home and food security through Covid-19. Ever since the World Health Organisation declared the Covid-19 to be a pandemic, the debate on provision of medical and food security specially for the underprivileged has begun.

The petition states, “The government should implement an immediate Universal Basic Income trial for all UK residents to ensure home and food security through the coronavirus Covid-19 crisis, to support the needs of those that need to self-isolate as well as the public health at large, and the wider economy.”

Since the people have been asked to isolate themselves, several small businesses have taken a hit and for people who live a hand to mouth existence, this pandemic has hit them right in the stomach. Hence, in such times, emergency measures like providing food and social security becomes one of the primary prerogatives of the government, apart from ensuring good public health care. The petition further says that “Universal Basic Income for all residents would give home and food security, allowing people to make the right decisions for their families and wider society, whilst also keeping money flowing through the economy.” This online petition has so far received about 56,000 signatures and the UK Parliament has a system where petitions with more than 1 lakh signatures find place for a debate in the Parliament.

While this is the story of UK, where 104 people (until now) have died of COVID-19, there are other countries who are also considering such a social security move or have citizens demanding it. The question remains as to when is the right time to start the implementation of such a measure? Does the situation have to get worse? With over 200 positive cases and 5 deaths in India, is it the right time to implement a social security scheme like this?

In an unprecedented situation like this, any country could lead by example and the situation need not be dire for the same as that would lead to desperate measures and faulty implementation. Before the storm takes over, life jackets need to be handed out in preparation for the worst. That’s what this social security measure is.

Reportedly, the Central government in India has already started considering the option of cash transfer scheme to mitigate the impact of the economic fallout caused by the pandemic, as per some government officials.

The government will have to overlook the fiscal slippage such a scheme could cause, since the Covid-19 impact is likely to be unprecedented and vast. “India needs a well coordinated fiscal and monetary response to counter the coronavirus-induced disruption to our economy. This is not a time to worry about fiscal slippage," said Shamika Ravi, director, research, Brookings India.

In fact, the Uttar Pradesh government has already set up a committee to suggest ways to implement the scheme to compensate daily wage earners and the poor in the state. The fiscal impact, however, can only be estimated once the expanse of the scheme is decided. This means deciding to whom the scheme should be extended.

Some developed countries have announced deep cuts in interest rates to ease borrowing and have also implemented extension of tax payment deadlines. While these measures will not benefit the poor and the daily wage earners, they will only help businesses to sustain. Cash transfers is the social security measure one needs in such times of crisis.

Japan has gone a step ahead in its plans by announcing a payout of about USD 80 per person per day to businesses as income compensation for parents taking leave from work in response to temporary school closures It’ll also offer stipend in cases where employees care for people suspected of having been infected with the virus. This is something India should look at since many companies in India have started giving pay without leave to its employees which puts a lot of pressure on family income and who is to say if the situation only worsens and people are forced to stay at home for an extended period of time, there could be utter chaos on the financial front with people struggling to make ends meet. At this point there is an urgent need to estimate the number of people who are going to be affected or who are already affected across the many sectors including the unorganised sectors before people’s savings dry out.

 

Related:

"Does the Coronavirus ignore wedding parties, and attack only peaceful protests?"

Congress MP Manish Tewari on Jammu and Kashmir's economic collapse since the abrogation of Article 370

MHA on CAA petition: Whole expanse of Article 21 cannot be made available to illegal migrants

 

Is it time for Universal Basic Income in India?

This emergent question needs a quick response as India sees rising number of COVID-19 positive cases

universal basic income

A petition has been submitted to the UK Parliament for consideration for implementing Universal Basic Income to give home and food security through Covid-19. Ever since the World Health Organisation declared the Covid-19 to be a pandemic, the debate on provision of medical and food security specially for the underprivileged has begun.

The petition states, “The government should implement an immediate Universal Basic Income trial for all UK residents to ensure home and food security through the coronavirus Covid-19 crisis, to support the needs of those that need to self-isolate as well as the public health at large, and the wider economy.”

Since the people have been asked to isolate themselves, several small businesses have taken a hit and for people who live a hand to mouth existence, this pandemic has hit them right in the stomach. Hence, in such times, emergency measures like providing food and social security becomes one of the primary prerogatives of the government, apart from ensuring good public health care. The petition further says that “Universal Basic Income for all residents would give home and food security, allowing people to make the right decisions for their families and wider society, whilst also keeping money flowing through the economy.” This online petition has so far received about 56,000 signatures and the UK Parliament has a system where petitions with more than 1 lakh signatures find place for a debate in the Parliament.

While this is the story of UK, where 104 people (until now) have died of COVID-19, there are other countries who are also considering such a social security move or have citizens demanding it. The question remains as to when is the right time to start the implementation of such a measure? Does the situation have to get worse? With over 200 positive cases and 5 deaths in India, is it the right time to implement a social security scheme like this?

In an unprecedented situation like this, any country could lead by example and the situation need not be dire for the same as that would lead to desperate measures and faulty implementation. Before the storm takes over, life jackets need to be handed out in preparation for the worst. That’s what this social security measure is.

Reportedly, the Central government in India has already started considering the option of cash transfer scheme to mitigate the impact of the economic fallout caused by the pandemic, as per some government officials.

The government will have to overlook the fiscal slippage such a scheme could cause, since the Covid-19 impact is likely to be unprecedented and vast. “India needs a well coordinated fiscal and monetary response to counter the coronavirus-induced disruption to our economy. This is not a time to worry about fiscal slippage," said Shamika Ravi, director, research, Brookings India.

In fact, the Uttar Pradesh government has already set up a committee to suggest ways to implement the scheme to compensate daily wage earners and the poor in the state. The fiscal impact, however, can only be estimated once the expanse of the scheme is decided. This means deciding to whom the scheme should be extended.

Some developed countries have announced deep cuts in interest rates to ease borrowing and have also implemented extension of tax payment deadlines. While these measures will not benefit the poor and the daily wage earners, they will only help businesses to sustain. Cash transfers is the social security measure one needs in such times of crisis.

Japan has gone a step ahead in its plans by announcing a payout of about USD 80 per person per day to businesses as income compensation for parents taking leave from work in response to temporary school closures It’ll also offer stipend in cases where employees care for people suspected of having been infected with the virus. This is something India should look at since many companies in India have started giving pay without leave to its employees which puts a lot of pressure on family income and who is to say if the situation only worsens and people are forced to stay at home for an extended period of time, there could be utter chaos on the financial front with people struggling to make ends meet. At this point there is an urgent need to estimate the number of people who are going to be affected or who are already affected across the many sectors including the unorganised sectors before people’s savings dry out.

 

Related:

"Does the Coronavirus ignore wedding parties, and attack only peaceful protests?"

Congress MP Manish Tewari on Jammu and Kashmir's economic collapse since the abrogation of Article 370

MHA on CAA petition: Whole expanse of Article 21 cannot be made available to illegal migrants

 

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Remove Najma Akhtar as Jamia VC: Search committee member writes to President

Ramakrishna Ramaswamy’s said her position as VC should be revoked post objection by the Central Vigilance Commission a year ago

19 Mar 2020

Najma Akhtar 

Ramakrishna Ramaswamy, a member of the 2018 search committee which was given the task of looking for candidates to be appointed as the Vice Chancellor of the Jamia Millia University in Delhi has written to the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, requesting him to recall the appointment of Dr. Najma Akhtar who currently hold the VC position at the university, reported The Indian Express. The President had approved her appointment on April 11, 2019.

In his letter to the President dated March 8, Ramaswamy claimed that the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) had denied vigilance clearance to Akhtar in an office memo dated January 10, 2019.

Though his letter did not clearly state what objection the CVC had or why it denied vigilance clearance to Akhtar, it quoted newspaper reports which had claimed that the CVC opposed the recommendation of Akhtar for any post-retirement assignment or re-employment in any organization, institution or university under the ambit of the Human Resource Development ministry.

Ramaswamy’s letter also stated that three candidates were recommended to the President after the search committee chose from 13 shortlisted candidates from 107 applicants. His letter read, “After having personally interacted with the 13 shortlisted candidates on November 28, 2018, a panel of three names was recommended to you (the President), subject, of course, to vigilance clearance.”

In the letter he added, “This is a grave matter, since in the process of arriving at a short-list, otherwise meritorious candidates were passed over by the committee on account of even the remotest vigilance clearance issues.”

Besides Ramaswamy, the search committee consisted of Professor DP Singh and retired Justice MSA Siddiqui.

Speaking about how the President had earlier recalled the appointment of the VCs of the Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University and Manipur University, Ramaswamy wrote, “In past few months, you have shown exemplary leadership as Visitor of the Central Universities by recalling the Vice Chancellors of two Central Universities when their credentials were in question.”

“The OM of the CVC quoted above is very strong in its indictment, and under these circumstances, I am writing to request that the same caution be exercised in the case of the Jamia Millia Islamia and appropriate remedial action be taken,” the letter added.

On April 11, 2019, Najma Akhtar became the first woman Vice Chancellor of the JMIU.. She had also raised her voice against the police brutalities on Jamia students on December 15 last year during the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests. She had posted a video message criticizing the Delhi Police’s actions and also held a press conference reiterating that the police had entered the Jamia campus without permission and their actions were condemnable. She had then said, “I am hurt by the way my students were treated. I want to let my students know that they are not alone in this fight. I am with them. I will take this matter forward as long it’s possible.”

Before Ramaswamy’s letter came to the fore, the Delhi High Court was already hearing a plea challenging Akhtar’s appointment as the VC of JMIU currently seized of in court. Justice AK Chawla issued notice on a plea filed by Jamia alumnus M Ehtesham-ul-Haque. Haque’s petition read, “The entire process culminating into the impugned appointment of Dr. Najma Akhtar (Respondent No.3), is a colourable exercise of power and in flagrant violation and total non-compliance of the statutory provisions of the Jamia Millia Islamia Act, 1988.”

The petitioner said that the appointment of Akhtar was done through a tainted process and her consideration and recommendation by the purported Search Committee “subject to vigilance clearance” was in itself irregular and illegal and vitiates the entire process.

The petition has sought that her appointment as VC be declared as "illegal, arbitrary, void ab initio and non est in law".

An Indian Express report on Akhtar states she was recommended for the post of the Jamia VC by the Muslim Rashtriya Manch (MRM), an outfit patronized by RSS leader Indresh Kumar. Sources in the RSS told IE that she was picked because she neither aligned to the Congress, nor the Left.

However, Akhtar confessed that she was ‘apolitical’. Earlier with the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) as the Controller of Examinations, she had faced various allegations of ‘institutionalized corruption’. However, her track record at the JMIU shows her to be an able leader. Since the start of her tenure, Akhtar has made roughly 150 promotions and over 60 fresh appointments. She has also got UGC sanction for four new departments, and has talked of bringing in more women students.

Akhtar still faces many detractors who allege she didn’t do much post December 15. However, faculty members stood up for her saying that though she didn’t do much, the VC’s of universities were not as autonomous as before due to the pressure from the government.

Yet, the letter by Ramaswamy raises eyebrows. If there was ever a problem with her appointment, why is the demand for her removal cropping up after one year?


Related:

Jamia Millia Islamia VC supports the students, condemns horrifying Police violence

Jamia Millia appoints Najma Akhtar as its first woman VC

New Jamia Millia V-C draws criticism after receiving 'blessings' from RSS leader

Remove Najma Akhtar as Jamia VC: Search committee member writes to President

Ramakrishna Ramaswamy’s said her position as VC should be revoked post objection by the Central Vigilance Commission a year ago

Najma Akhtar 

Ramakrishna Ramaswamy, a member of the 2018 search committee which was given the task of looking for candidates to be appointed as the Vice Chancellor of the Jamia Millia University in Delhi has written to the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, requesting him to recall the appointment of Dr. Najma Akhtar who currently hold the VC position at the university, reported The Indian Express. The President had approved her appointment on April 11, 2019.

In his letter to the President dated March 8, Ramaswamy claimed that the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) had denied vigilance clearance to Akhtar in an office memo dated January 10, 2019.

Though his letter did not clearly state what objection the CVC had or why it denied vigilance clearance to Akhtar, it quoted newspaper reports which had claimed that the CVC opposed the recommendation of Akhtar for any post-retirement assignment or re-employment in any organization, institution or university under the ambit of the Human Resource Development ministry.

Ramaswamy’s letter also stated that three candidates were recommended to the President after the search committee chose from 13 shortlisted candidates from 107 applicants. His letter read, “After having personally interacted with the 13 shortlisted candidates on November 28, 2018, a panel of three names was recommended to you (the President), subject, of course, to vigilance clearance.”

In the letter he added, “This is a grave matter, since in the process of arriving at a short-list, otherwise meritorious candidates were passed over by the committee on account of even the remotest vigilance clearance issues.”

Besides Ramaswamy, the search committee consisted of Professor DP Singh and retired Justice MSA Siddiqui.

Speaking about how the President had earlier recalled the appointment of the VCs of the Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University and Manipur University, Ramaswamy wrote, “In past few months, you have shown exemplary leadership as Visitor of the Central Universities by recalling the Vice Chancellors of two Central Universities when their credentials were in question.”

“The OM of the CVC quoted above is very strong in its indictment, and under these circumstances, I am writing to request that the same caution be exercised in the case of the Jamia Millia Islamia and appropriate remedial action be taken,” the letter added.

On April 11, 2019, Najma Akhtar became the first woman Vice Chancellor of the JMIU.. She had also raised her voice against the police brutalities on Jamia students on December 15 last year during the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests. She had posted a video message criticizing the Delhi Police’s actions and also held a press conference reiterating that the police had entered the Jamia campus without permission and their actions were condemnable. She had then said, “I am hurt by the way my students were treated. I want to let my students know that they are not alone in this fight. I am with them. I will take this matter forward as long it’s possible.”

Before Ramaswamy’s letter came to the fore, the Delhi High Court was already hearing a plea challenging Akhtar’s appointment as the VC of JMIU currently seized of in court. Justice AK Chawla issued notice on a plea filed by Jamia alumnus M Ehtesham-ul-Haque. Haque’s petition read, “The entire process culminating into the impugned appointment of Dr. Najma Akhtar (Respondent No.3), is a colourable exercise of power and in flagrant violation and total non-compliance of the statutory provisions of the Jamia Millia Islamia Act, 1988.”

The petitioner said that the appointment of Akhtar was done through a tainted process and her consideration and recommendation by the purported Search Committee “subject to vigilance clearance” was in itself irregular and illegal and vitiates the entire process.

The petition has sought that her appointment as VC be declared as "illegal, arbitrary, void ab initio and non est in law".

An Indian Express report on Akhtar states she was recommended for the post of the Jamia VC by the Muslim Rashtriya Manch (MRM), an outfit patronized by RSS leader Indresh Kumar. Sources in the RSS told IE that she was picked because she neither aligned to the Congress, nor the Left.

However, Akhtar confessed that she was ‘apolitical’. Earlier with the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) as the Controller of Examinations, she had faced various allegations of ‘institutionalized corruption’. However, her track record at the JMIU shows her to be an able leader. Since the start of her tenure, Akhtar has made roughly 150 promotions and over 60 fresh appointments. She has also got UGC sanction for four new departments, and has talked of bringing in more women students.

Akhtar still faces many detractors who allege she didn’t do much post December 15. However, faculty members stood up for her saying that though she didn’t do much, the VC’s of universities were not as autonomous as before due to the pressure from the government.

Yet, the letter by Ramaswamy raises eyebrows. If there was ever a problem with her appointment, why is the demand for her removal cropping up after one year?


Related:

Jamia Millia Islamia VC supports the students, condemns horrifying Police violence

Jamia Millia appoints Najma Akhtar as its first woman VC

New Jamia Millia V-C draws criticism after receiving 'blessings' from RSS leader

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Congress MP Manish Tewari on Jammu and Kashmir's economic collapse since the abrogation of Article 370

18 Mar 2020
 
J & K
Image Courtesy: newindianexpress.com
 
On Wednesday 18th March, while debating in the Lok Sabha on supplementary demands for grants for 2019-20 for J&K, Congress MP Manish Tewari rebuked the government's decision to abrogate Article 370 and split Jammu and Kashmir into separate union territories. Criticising the Government's decisions on several restrictions imposed in the region and citing data of 'Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry', he said there was a loss of USD 2.4 billion and just the agriculture sector alone has lost Rs 10,000 crore, in last seven months.

He further urged the Government to listen to the voice of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

"There is no economic progress if there is no peace. The decisions of August 5th and 6th have disrupted social amity. Open your years and listen to the voice of Jammu and Kashmir. A serious situation is developing and the budget of Rs 1 lakh crore will not have an impact,” he said.

Watch the full speech here.

Link: https://www.facebook.com/sabrangindia.in/videos/225667872154062/

Congress MP Manish Tewari on Jammu and Kashmir's economic collapse since the abrogation of Article 370

 
J & K
Image Courtesy: newindianexpress.com
 
On Wednesday 18th March, while debating in the Lok Sabha on supplementary demands for grants for 2019-20 for J&K, Congress MP Manish Tewari rebuked the government's decision to abrogate Article 370 and split Jammu and Kashmir into separate union territories. Criticising the Government's decisions on several restrictions imposed in the region and citing data of 'Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry', he said there was a loss of USD 2.4 billion and just the agriculture sector alone has lost Rs 10,000 crore, in last seven months.

He further urged the Government to listen to the voice of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

"There is no economic progress if there is no peace. The decisions of August 5th and 6th have disrupted social amity. Open your years and listen to the voice of Jammu and Kashmir. A serious situation is developing and the budget of Rs 1 lakh crore will not have an impact,” he said.

Watch the full speech here.

Link: https://www.facebook.com/sabrangindia.in/videos/225667872154062/

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