PM Modi Holds Meeting To Boost FDI Post-Pandemic

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday held a meeting to discuss strategies on ways to attract foreign investments to India as well as to promote local investments in order to give a boost to the economy against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the meeting, Prime Minister Modi directed that the action should be taken for a more proactive approach to handhold the investors, to look into their problems, and to help them in getting all the necessary Central and State clearances in a time-bound manner, said the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

The meeting also discussed that a scheme should be developed to promote more plug and play infrastructure in existing industrial lands, plots and estates in the country and provide necessary financing support.

Prime Minister Modi on Monday had said that the impact of coronavirus will remain visible in the coming months, and masks and face covers will be part of life. He also asserted that the country needs to give importance to the economy as well as continue the fight against COVID-19.

Meanwhile, a total of 1,823 new cases and 67 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours in the country. The total number of COVID-19 positive cases in India has now reached 33,610, said the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. (ANI)

Rishi Kapoor Breathes Last; Fans, Bollywood Mourn Death

Bollywood celebrities mourned the demise of actor Rishi Kapoor, who breathed his last in a hospital on Thursday.

Aamir Khan took to Twitter and expressed his grief, ” We have lost one of the greats today. An amazing actor, a wonderful human being, and 100% a child of Cinema. Thank you for all the joy you brought to our lives. Thank you for being the actor and human being that you were. You will be badly missed Rishiji. Love. a.”

Veteran actor and friend Boman Irani tweeted that he felt, “Heartbroken……Chintuji…. heartbroken!!!.”

Expressing shock at the news, Akshay Kumar tweeted, “It seems like we’re in the midst of a nightmare…just heard the depressing news of #RishiKapoor ji passing away, it’s heartbreaking. He was a legend, a great co-star and a good friend of the family. My thoughts and prayers with his family.”

Rishi Kapoor’s ‘Patiala House’ co-star Anushka Sharma extended condolences to the family of the bereaved. She tweeted, “I’m at an absolute & total loss for words. Holding this phone in disbelief. Yesterday Irrfan and now …. Gutted, sad, heartbroken. I truly believed you’ll come out of this. You will be missed, Sir. RIP. Om Shanti.”

Karan Johar expressed grief in a tweet remembering the actor whom he idolised since childhood. He tweeted, “He was my childhood….”

Sharing a picture with the late star, Urmila Matondkar remembered a moment spend with Rishi Kapoor, and tweeted, “There can never be another #RishiKapoor”

Shilpa Shetty extended her condolences to the family of the late actor on Twitter. She wrote, “Waking up to news like this is gut-wrenching! A Legendary actor, loved by millions of people around the world has just left us. Your style, brilliance, your smile & joie de vivre… will be dearly missed, Rishi Ji. Your legacy will live on for generations to come. #RishiKapoor. My heart goes out to Neetu Ji & the entire family in this tough time”

Expressing shock, Sunny Deol shared a monochromatic image with Rishi Kapoor from the film ‘Damini’. He tweeted, “Shocked by the untimely demise of Rishi Kapoor. A great co-star and a good friend. My thoughts and prayers with his family. You will be sorely missed”

Earlier today, Amitabh Bachchan confirmed the news of the demise of the 67-year-old.

Rishi Kapoor was admitted to the Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital in Mumbai on Wednesday.

He was last seen in the 2019 film ‘The Body’ alongside Emraan Hashmi and Shobita Sobhita Dhulipala.

Often branded as Bollywood’s first chocolate boy, he touched heights of stardom in the film industry with iconic roles in blockbuster hits like ‘Bobby’, ‘Chandni’, ‘Karz’ and many others.

Son of Bollywood’s showman Raj Kapoor and his wife Krishna Raj Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor is survived by wife Neetu and children Ranbir and Riddhima. (ANI)

Coronavirus Tally Reaches 33,610; Death Toll 1,075

With 1,823 new cases of COVID-19 reported in the last 24 hours and 67 deaths, India’s total count of coronavirus cases has gone up to 33,610, said the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Thursday.

The total cases are inclusive of 8,372 cured and discharged patients, one migrated, and 1,075 deaths.

At present, there are 24,162 active COVID-19 cases in the country.

Addressing a press conference here, Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry, said that the doubling rate of COVID-19 cases in India has increased to 11 days while comorbidity was found in 78 per cent of the coronavirus deaths. (ANI)

SC Refuses To Stay Central Vista Project Amid Covid-19

The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to stay the Central government’s project for the redevelopment of the Central Vista in the national capital.

A bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad Arvind Bobde, refused to stay the Central vista project after hearing a petition filed by Rajeev Suri challenging the decision to notify a change in land use regarding the redevelopment plan.

“During this COVID-19 crisis, nobody is going to do anything. There is no urgency,” the bench said while refusing to stay the project.

Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta, senior law officer appearing for the Central government, told the apex court that the Parliament is being constructed and asked why is there a problem?

“Why should anyone have any objection to it,” Mehta told the top court.

The petitioner, Rajeev Suri informed the apex court that the development activities were irreversible and the respondents have already approached the authorities for clearance.

Suri strongly opposed the Central Vista project on the ground that it involves a change in the land use of the green area, in the Lutyen’s Zone, adjoining Rajpath and Vijay Chowk for building a new Parliament and government offices.

Suri, in his petition, further contended that the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) does not have the power to bring about the proposed change in this area’s (Lutyen’s zone) land use and master plan and only the central government can do so. (ANI)

Govt Allows Movement Of Stranded, With Conditions

Giving a huge relief to people stuck in various states, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Wednesday allowed movement of such people – including migrant labours, workers, students, tourists and others – and also provided the procedure for the same.

MHA has included a sub-clause regarding the movement of people who are stranded due to lockdown announced last month due to coronavirus outbreak.

“Due to lockdown, migrant workers, pilgrims, tourists, students and other persons are stranded at different places. They would be allowed to move as under,” MHA said while asking States to designate nodal authorities to facilitate the process.

“All States/UTs should designate nodal authorities and develop standard protocols for receiving and sending such stranded persons. The nodal authorities shall also register the stranded persons within their States/UTs. In case a group of stranded persons wish to move between one State/UT and another State/UT, the sending and receiving States may consult each other and mutually agree to the movement by road,” read the order.

“The moving person (s) would be screened and those found asymptomatic would be allowed to proceed. Buses shall be used for transport of groups of persons. The buses will be sanitized and shall follow safe social distancing norms in seating. The States/UTs falling on the transit route will allow the passage of such persons to the receiving State/UT,” MHA said in its order of inclusion of movement of stranded people in different places.

Laying out the procedure on the arrival at the destination, MHA has asked to keep the people under home quarantine.

“On arrival at their destination, such person(s) would be assessed by the local health authorities, and kept in home quarantine, unless the assessment requires keeping the person(s) in institutional quarantine.

“They would be kept under watch with periodic health check-ups. For this purpose, such persons may be encouraged to use Aarogya Setu app through which their health status can be monitored and tracked,” MHA said. (ANI)

Irrfan Khan No More, Bollywood Pays Rich Tribute

Bollywood celebrities on Wednesday paid their tribute to late Irrfan Khan and expressed grief over the irreplaceable loss.

Veteran actor Anil Kapoor took to Twitter and expressed deep sorrow, saying: “Indescribably saddened to hear that we’ve lost Irrfan Khan. I’ll always be thankful to him for taking care of Sonam when they worked together & for being her guiding light at the time. He was an inspiration for everyone, a remarkable actor, unmatched talent & a great human being.”

Expressing his grief, Akshay Kumar tweeted: “Such terrible news…saddened to hear about the demise of #IrrfanKhan, one of the finest actors of our time. May God give strength to his family in this difficult time.”

Bhumi Pednekar took to Instagram and shared a collage of three different characters essayed by the late actor and penned a heartfelt note. “Each and every time I watched an Irrfan Khan performance, I was left dumbstruck, I was in awe. As a little child the 1st ever film I watched was Karamati Coat and then Salaam Bombay. My relationship with cinema started then and you were such a huge part of it. I’ve always wanted to achieve the finesse you had sir. Maqbool, Lunchbox, Life in a Metro, Talvar, Hindi Medium, Haider, Paan Singh Tomar, Sahib Biwi Aur Gangster, Namesake, Haasil, Dil Kabaddi, Mumbai Meri Jaan, Piku .. I can go on and on,” she wrote.

The ‘Saand Ki Aankh’ star shared that she idolises the actor and said that there can be no one like Irrfan. “Your performances were a textbook for us actors. I have studied them so deeply. Your philosophy was an example of how to live a fulfilled life as an artist. You were an institution, an inspiration and there can be no one like you. You will live on forever in our hearts and your cinema will inspire and teach many many enthusiasts like me for generations. We will miss you so much. My condolences to the entire family. RIP #IrrfanKhan sir,” she added.

Rajkummar Rao remembered Irrfan as one of the finest actors of the industry and said the country has suffered a huge loss today. He tweeted, “Today is a huge loss for the industry, our country & for artists all over the world. Irrfan Sir was one of the finest actors of Indian cinema & I will always cherish all the times I spent with him, listening to him & learning from his conversations of Art, life & so much more.”

Ajay Devgn expressed his sorrow over the loss on Twitter. “Heartbroken to hear about Irrfan’s untimely demise. It’s an irreparable loss for Indian cinema. Deepest condolences to his wife & sons. RIP Irrfan,” he tweeted.

Tiger Shroff grieved the untimely death of Irrfan and said that the actor has ‘gone too soon.’ He tweeted, “Saddened by the untimely passing of #IrrfanKhan sir. condolences to the family. condolences to the family. gone too soon.”

Soha Ali Khan remembered sharing screen space with the late actor and shared her pictures with Irrfan on Instagram. “Finding it hard to express my feelings. I was so fortunate to have shared screen space with him and it was such a privilege to see his talent from such close quarters and to learn from him. It is a huge loss for our industry and he will be missed. My deepest condolences to the family. May he rest in peace [?]” she wrote along with the pictures.

Sonam Kapoor took to Instagram and recalled fond memories with the star and shared some monochromatic pictures. “Rest in peace @irrfan, sir. You have no idea what your kindness and encouragement meant to me at my lowest. My condolences to your family and loved ones,” she wrote.

Several other celebrities including Shraddha Kapoor, Kamal Haasan, Shruti Haasan, Kajol, Shekhar Kapoor, Richa Chaddha, Parineeti Chopra, Tusshar Kapoor and Bipasha Basu also condoled the death of Irrfan.

Irrfan passed away at Mumbai’s Kokilaben Hospital on Wednesday while battling rare cancer. He was 53. The actor was last seen on screen in ‘Angrezi Medium’. He was not a part of the film’s promotions owing to his ill health. (ANI)

UP Govt Orders Extensive Testing For Covid-19

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has ordered that testings be done for COVID-19 at an extensive level, said Awanish K Awasthi, Additional Chief Secretary, Home, on Wednesday.

“The Chief Minister has ordered that testings be done at an extensive level. He has also given directions that pool testing should be done for those people, who are coming to the State from outside,” said Awasthi.

“The Chief Minister today ordered that the capacity of L1 (basic), L2 (those with oxygen facility), L3 (those with ventilators) dedicated COVID-19 hospitals should be expanded and arrangement be made for 52,000 more beds,” he added.

Principal Secretary, Health, Amit Mohan Prasad said that there are 2,115 positive COVID-19 cases in the State right now; out of these, 477 have been discharged after making a complete recovery.

“Thirty-six people have died due to COVID-19 so far. There are 1,602 active cases of coronavirus in the State,” Prasad said. (ANI)


‘It Is Humiliating, But I Accept Food Donations For Kids’

Sarvesh Kumar, 29, a factory guard in Greater Noida, wasn’t paid his two-month salary due to the lockdown. He finds living on charity humiliating but has accepted it to feed his family

I never thought I would see such days in my life when I would need donated food to survive. Not long ago, I had registered myself with a private security agency in Greater Noida (Uttar Pradesh). The agency deputed me to a private factory as a guard. My wife and two young children – one is three-year old and another one-year – also settled with me. Then this virus outbreak and the sudden lockdown turned our lives upside down.

When the factory downed shutters, and I saw migrant labourers leaving for their native places, I too planned to back to my native Shahjahanpur in Uttar Pradesh. However, I was yet to receive my salary and other dues from the contractor. Initially, my supervisor kept delaying the payments at one or the other pretext. But when I ran out of even daily ration, and asked him for my money firmly, he told me he doesn’t have the money to pay. Nor could he commute in the lockdown to provide me food items.

ALSO READ: The Invisible Indians In Pandemic

When I told him about my little children going hungry, he became abusive. I know this is a crime to default on an employee’s salary, so I went to the local police chowki to file a written complaint but all in vain. The policemen hounded me out and told me not to come out and stay put wherever I was till the lockdown ended.

It was when I was returning from the police station disheartened, some apartment dwellers spotted me walking in the sun. They asked about my situation and offered some packets of biscuits and water. As I narrated my story, they even arranged some dry ration for my family.

ALSO READ: ‘I Don’t Know How I Will Pay EMIs, Fees’

I never wanted to live on charity but this situation is critical. I don’t have land or farms back home. If I can find work, I am ready to labour for 24 hours to feed my children. It is humiliating when I see my children cry with hunger and I have little to offer.

Security guards of nearby industries often help me with food and milk. I don’t want it for free as it makes me feel like a beggar. Yet, I am accepting all such donations because of my children. I don’t know for how long I will survive like this. I want to work and earn money. 

ALSO READ: ‘Lockdown Has Made Me A Beggar’

When the lockdown was imposed, I never thought such a situation would arise. I am grateful to the people who are helping me but I want to request the government to help people like me feed their children. I want this lockdown to end soon. I am worried about my children. If this continues, people like me will be forced to go out on streets in search of food.

Covid-19 Tally Reaches 29,435; Deaths At 934

With 1,543 more COVID-19 cases reported in the last 24 hours, India’s tally of coronavirus cases has reached 29,435 cases, said the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Tuesday.

The tally includes 21,632 patients who are active cases, 6,868 patients have been cured/discharged with one patient migrated.

With 62 more deaths reported in the last 24 hours, making it the sharpest rise in the number of deaths so far, the number of deaths due to coronavirus stands at 934.

According to the ministry, Maharashtra has the most number of cases at 8,590 of which 1,282 have been cured/discharged with 369 fatalities.

Gujarat has the second-highest number of positive COVID-19 cases with 3,548 cases of which 394 patients have been cured/discharged while 162 patients have died due to the deadly virus.

Delhi’s tally has also crossed the 3,000 mark with 3,108 cases with 877 patients cured and 54 patients who died due to the highly contagious virus.

Meanwhile, Goa (seven cases and all seven patients recovered), Tripura and Manipur (two cases and both cases recovered) and Arunachal Pradesh (with one case who has recovered now) have reported no new cases, as of Tuesday. (ANI)

Eid in Srinagar

Cops Trying To Disperse ‘Namazis’ Pelted With Stones

Three policemen were injured after they were attacked by locals while trying to disperse a large crowd gathered to offer prayer on Monday.

Thirty one persons have been arrested in connection with the case.

The incident happened on Monday when around 40 people had gathered to offer namaz. When some of them were being brought to the police station, locals pelted stones at thepolice.

“Yesterday, we received information that 40 people had gathered to offer namaz. When some of them were being brought to police station, locals pelted stones at police injuring 3 personnel. 31 accused have been arrested and we’ll nab others soon,” said Aurangabad SP (rural), Mokshada Patil.

It may be noted that Maharashtra has recorded the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the country with 369 deaths due to the virus.

A total of 1,543 new cases of coronavirus have been identified, which take the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 29,435, Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry said on Tuesday.