India’s Rice Exports Ban

Paddy Procurement In Punjab To Start From Oct 11

Paddy procurement in Punjab and Haryana to commence from October 11, according to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution on Thursday.

It has been reported that due to recent heavy downpours in the States of Punjab and Haryana, the maturity of paddy has been delayed, read a press statement from the Ministry.

“Keeping in view the interest of farmers and to avoid any inconvenience to them, the Department of Food and Public Distribution under Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution has decided that the procurement of Paddy under MSP would commence from October 11 in states of Punjab and Haryana,” it said.

“The procurement and milling period for KMS 2021-22 for Punjab was October 1, 2021, and Haryana was September 25, 2021.

All the agencies have been directed to take necessary action to undertake procurement of paddy from October 11 in the states of Punjab and Haryana. (ANI)

Six Of 15 Police Dists In Delhi Now Headed By Women

Tackling street and cybercrime, creating awareness in children against abuse and equipping more girls with self-defence skills are among priorities of the newly-appointed district DCPs in Delhi, which has taken the total number of women in these crucial law and order positions in the national capital to six.

It is the first time that six women officers are leading policing in six police districts in the national capital out of 15 police districts. The changes were made by Delhi Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana. The districts with women DCPs are – South, Southeast, Northwest, West, Central and East District.

Speaking to ANI, Deputy Commissioner of Police (South) Benita Mary Jaiker, said Delhi police is always very fair in giving equal opportunities to women officers.

She said women’s security will be among her top priorities.

“I have big shoes to fill in. To handle south districts is a major challenge. My basic focus will be on maintaining overall peace. Rules are rules for everyone. Crime control and crime prevention will remain the utmost priority. Women’s safety will be top in priority,” Jaiker said.

The officer said she had been posted in South District earlier too. “I was working in South district during the probe into December 2012 gangrape-murder case. All seniors have trained me in a great manner making me capable of such a post and I will deliver my best,” she said.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Southeast) Esha Pandey told ANI that her focus will be on core policing and to significantly bring down street crime.

“Street crime and organized crime like ‘satta’ will be the focus of the crackdown. We also aim to strengthen Delhi Police’s initiatives like Sashakti (self-defence training) and Nirbheek and women help desk. We are also looking forward to arranging community policing. We are well resourced in terms of cybercrime and all efforts will be made to bring down such cases,” the DCP said.

Esha Pandey also said that in a new initiative the district may soon get a dedicated police station for cybercrimes. However, the idea right now at a nascent stage, she added.

Apart from three new DCPs in districts, three are already serving in their respective districts.

Asthana, who had taken over as Delhi Police Commissioner in July, has said that his main focus will be on reducing crime and crime prevention.

In another development signifying women getting important roles in Delhi Police, Hauz Khas police station in South Delhi got a woman station house officer (SHO) after 15 years.

Shivani Malik, who is the new SHO of Hauz Khas Police Station, told ANI that crimes like snatching and vehicle theft will be her focus.

“I thank senior officers for believing in me. I will try to ensure that all residents, particularly women, children and senior citizens feel comfortable and safe. Crimes like snatching, motor theft will be focused upon. I have worked in Economic Offences Wing and my experience will help me in my current posting a well,” she said.

“I will also launch initiatives to make people aware to not share their OTPs with strangers,” she added.

The officer said her doors are open for all citizens and “when in need, they can approach me anytime”. (ANI)

Afghan Artists Bury Paintings, Books For Fear Of Taliban

Driven by the past memories of the Taliban, Afghan artists have been finding difficulties in practising their art as the outfit oppose the idea of westernisation in the strife-torn country.

Many artists have buried 15 paintings depicting women in their modern artwork in a compound days after the outfit entered the capital city Kabul, according to the media international media outlet.

Citing various similar examples, The Washington Post reported that a well-known filmmaker has tucked away a large hard drive with more than 20 films in a secret location before she fled the war-ravaged country.

While a bookseller in his sidewalk shop concealed every book the Taliban consider damning which include two Bibles, translated into Dari and Pashto.

“If the Taliban fighters find this, they will punish me,” the bookseller said, reported The Washington Post.

During the past 20 years of Western presence ushered in a flowering of arts, film, music and books, helping to transform Kabul into a cosmopolitan metropolis. A new generation of artists was influenced as much by Afghan traditions and history as by modern themes such as the war, Western music, women’s rights and oppression under the Taliban.

“The kind of art that we believe has a value means artists should be free to express their own thoughts, not under dictatorship or censorship,” said Sahraa Karimi, the filmmaker. “Those artists will not easily be able to work as freely as they used to. And they were so free.”

Even as some artists take great risks to protect their creations, many have fled the country, while others are self-censoring to avoid the wrath of the Taliban, the international media outlet said.

Various artists have destroyed their paintings or sculptures. Stores selling musical instruments have shuttered, as have many art galleries. Wedding bands and singers have stopped working as many wedding halls cancel live music to not anger the Taliban. Afghan filmmaking, at the moment, is dead.

“The Taliban has not issued any statements regarding the arts,” said Safiullah Habibi, the director of Kabul’s Fine Arts Institute, a government facility. “But artists themselves are limiting themselves. They think the Taliban will repeat what happened in the 1990s. At that time, the arts had no place in their rule.”

Bilal Karimi, the Taliban deputy spokesperson, said the interim government is new and is still “making a framework” for all issues concerning arts and culture. But he said that whether a form of art is “permissible or prohibited” will be governed by Islamic law, or Sharia.

Earlier this week, the Taliban’s Ministry of Justice said that the Constitution from King Zahir Shah’s era will be enforced for an interim period. However TOLO News sources said that the decision is not final yet.

Older generations remember the ultraconservative Islamic regime that saw regular stoning, amputations and public executions during Taliban rule before the US-led invasion that followed the September 11, 2001, terror attacks. Under the Taliban, which ruled in accordance with a harsh interpretation of Islamic law, women were largely confined to their homes. (ANI)

Health Ministry Planning To Do Rigorous Trials Of Dengue Vaccines: ICMR DG

Indian Council for Medical Research Director-General Balram Bhargava on Thursday said that many companies have conducted their phase one trials of dengue vaccines abroad and that the Health Ministry is planning to do more rigorous trials.

“Dengue vaccine is an important agenda. There are certain dengue strains that have been licensed to some companies in India,” said Bhargava during a weekly briefing of the COVID-19 situation in the country.
“Many of these companies have done their phase one trials abroad. We are planning to do more rigorous trials,” added Bhargava.

Earlier on Wednesday, the national capital has reported a surge in dengue cases. A total of 149 cases of dengue have been reported in the month of September.

Earlier on September 18, the Central government convened a high-level meeting on the emerging challenge of Serotype-2 dengue cases in 11 states.

Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba chaired a high-level meet with representatives of states/UTs to also review and discussed the COVID-19 management and response strategy through video conference. (ANI)

India To Procure 27 Cr COVID-19 Vaccine Doses In Oct

India would have 27-28 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses of Serum Institute of India’s Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin in the month of October, said government sources.
27-28 crore COVID-19 vaccines doses that are to be procured do not include Biological E and Zydus Cadilla vaccines doses, sources told ANI.

Earlier in September, India has procured more than 25 crore doses of COVID-19 vaccine doses, added the sources had said.

Earlier, ANI reported that the Centre plans to achieve the target of administering 100 crore COVID-19 jabs before the mid of October. The target of 100 crore doses administration is expected to be achieved between October 10 to October 12, stated the sources.

“Once we hit 100 crore dose, we are planning celebration across the country with COVID warriors, frontline workers and healthcare workers,” said the sources.

The country has administered 88,34,70,578 vaccine doses so far under the nationwide vaccination drive, out of which 65,34,306 doses were administered in the last 24 hours.

On September 18, India set a world record by administering 2.5 crore COVID vaccine doses in a single day. (ANI)

Avoid Non-Essential Travel, Observe Low-Key Festivity: ICMR

Ahead of the festive season, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Director-General Balram Bhargava on Thursday made a fervent appeal to people to avoid non-essential travel and to observe a low-key festivity “at least this year”.

The Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said that people should celebrate festivals maintaining COVID-19 appropriate behaviour and avoid crowds.
“It will be prudent to avoid non-essential travel and observe festivity at low-key atleast this year,” said Bhargava on the upcoming festival season at the weekly briefing of the COVID-19 situation of the country.

“As festivals are approaching, we appeal to all to avoid crowds, maintain physical distancing and use a face mask. Celebrate festivals maintaining COVID19 appropriate behaviour,” added Bhushan.

Ahead of the festive season, the Centre asked governments of states and Union territories to take adequate measures to ensure that a surge in COVID-19 cases is not seen after the celebrations.

The Union Home Ministry warned against complacency due to the recent drop in the number of cases.

Union Home Ministry directed all states and Union Territories to implement ‘Prompt and Effective Measures’ specified in a September 21 advisory issued in view of festivals, until October 31.

The rate of positivity is coming down. This is the 13th week continuously when the weekly positivity rate stands below 3 per cent. But our target should be to bring down this rate further. The state governments must target this,” he added.

The Health Secretary said that 18 districts in India are reporting a weekly positivity between 5 per cent to 10 per cent.

Meanwhile, India reported 23,529 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, informed the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare today.

India’s active caseload stands at 2,77,020, which is the lowest in the last 195 days. The active cases account for less than 1 per cent of total cases, currently at 0.82 per cent, the lowest since March 2020. (ANI)

Kerala Sees Decline In COVID-19 Cases: Centre

Kerala accounts for 52 per cent of the cumulative active COVID-19 cases in the country, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare informed on Thursday.

Addressing a press briefing on COVID-19, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said that the number of cases is declining in Kerala but the state still contributes a substantial number of total cases in the country.
“Kerala has highest active cases – 1,44,000 which is 52 per cent of total active cases of the country. Maharashtra has 40,000 active cases, Tamil Nadu has 17,000, Mizoram has 16,800, Karnataka has 12,000 and Andhra Pradesh has a little more than 11,000 active cases,” he said.

As recoveries from Covid continue to outnumber the daily fresh cases, Bhushan pointed out that the national recovery rate has reached almost 98 per cent.

“Active cases are going down across the country and the cumulative recovery rate is rising. At present, the country has a recovery rate of almost 98 per cent,” he said.

“Number of tests done every day has not been reduced. It is still between 15 lakh to 16 lakh tests a day. The rate of positivity is coming down. This is the 13th week continuously when the weekly positivity rate stands below 3 per cent. But our target should be to bring down this rate further. The state governments must target this,” he added.

The Health Secretary said that 18 districts in India are reporting a weekly positivity between 5 per cent to 10 per cent.

Meanwhile, India reported 23,529 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, informed the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare today.

India’s active caseload stands at 2,77,020, which is the lowest in the last 195 days. The active cases account for less than 1 per cent of total cases, currently at 0.82 per cent, the lowest since March 2020.

According to the health ministry, the recovery of 28,718 patients in the last 24 hours has taken the cumulative tally of recovered patients since the beginning of the pandemic to 3,30,14,898. The cumulative death toll due to COVID-19 reached 4,48,062. (ANI)

Punjab Polls 2022: Kejriwal Promises Free, Better Health Services

Ahead of Punjab Assembly elections, Delhi Chief Minister and AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday promised free health services for all residents of the state if his party wins.

Addressing a press conference in Ludhiana today, Kejriwal said, “I have come today to guarantee health services. Today, Punjab is in such a bad condition that there is absolutely no treatment in the primary health centres or community centres. There has been loot in private hospitals.”
He further said, “It was the same situation in Delhi 7 years ago. We have changed the condition of government hospitals in Delhi. Today I am promising six guarantees for the people of Punjab.”

Kejriwal said that every person in Punjab will be provided free and good treatment on the lines of a private hospital.

He stated that all medicines, medical tests, treatment and operations will be free of cost in the state.

Kejriwal added, “We have done this in Delhi, expensive medicines and injections are available free of cost. Medicines are not available in Punjab hospitals today. A medicine window system will get opened when our government is formed. All medicines will be available there,” he added.

He further said that if someone has to undergo an operation costing Rs 10-20 lakhs, it will be available free of cost in government hospitals in Punjab.

“if someone falls ill, then the people of Punjab will not have to worry about treatment,” said Kejriwal.

He stated that a health card will be issued to every person in Punjab, which will contain complete information related to their health, adding that the entire health system will be computerized.

“On the lines of Delhi, Pind clinics and Ward clinics will be opened in every district in Punjab, a total of 16 thousand such Mohalla clinics will be opened,” said Kejriwal.

“All the old government hospitals will be repaired and new government hospitals will be constructed on a large scale,” he said.

He added, “There is a plan in Delhi that the government gives the full cost of the treatment of the person injured in the road accident. In Punjab also, our government will provide complete treatment to the injured in road accidents.”

He further promised press clubs in all the small and big cities of Punjab for the convenience of journalists.

Taking a swipe at the Congress over the ongoing political crisis in Punjab, Kejriwal said that there has been so much infighting in the party that the government in the state has disappeared.

Kejriwal said, “Punjab had formed Congress govt with great hopes. But today they’ve made a mockery of govt. A dirty fight for power is going on. All their leaders want to become CM. There’s so much infighting that Govt has disappeared.”

Alleging that there is corruption in other parties, Kejriwal said, “On the other hand, there is AAP where preparations are going on for the betterment of Punjab,” he said.

Responding to a question on whether Navjot Singh Sidhu will join AAP, Kejriwal said, “It is a hypothetical question, if anything like that happens we will tell you first of all.”

The Assembly elections in Punjab are scheduled to be held next year. (ANI)

Farmers Protest: How Can Highways Be Blocked Perpetually, Asks SC

The Supreme Court on Thursday took a view of the continued blockade of highways in Delhi-NCR due to farmers protests against the three agriculture laws and said that this can not be a perpetual problem.

A Bench headed by Justice said that the redressal of the issue can be through the judicial forum, agitation or parliamentary debates and asked how can highways be blocked.
The Bench said, “Redressal can be through a judicial forum, agitation or parliamentary debates but how can highways be blocked and this cannot be a perpetual problem. Where does it end?”

The Bench was hearing a plea of a woman resident of Noida seeking direction to ensure that the road between Noida to Delhi is kept clear so that the passage is not affected.

The apex court also said that implementation of the law is the duty of the executive and the Court has no means to implement it.

“If we encroach, then you may say that we have tresspassed on your domain. This has ramifications… but there are grievances which are to be redressed,” Justice Kaul told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta who was appearing for the Centre.

Solicitor General told the Bench that a high-level three-member committee was formed where the farmers were invited to speak as people should not suffer, but they refused to join saying they are not a party in the case before the top court.

“Let they (farmers) be impeded as a party in the case so that later they don’t say that they are not parties,” Mehta said.

To this, the apex court asked Mehta to move a proper application stating what have you done and how impleadment of some party will help in the resolution of the dispute.

Solicitor General said an application will be filed in this regard.

Allowing the Centre to file the application to implead some farmers, the Bench posted the matter for hearing on Monday.

Earlier, the Haryana government had told the apex court through an affidavit that sincere efforts are being made to remove the blockades from interstate roads and national highways and to resume free flow of traffic.

It has been said that the general public continued to face great hardship due to the blockades of roads and its persuading the farmers and farmers’ organisations to cooperate.

“Sincere efforts are being made to remove the blockades from interstate roads and national highways and to resume free flow of traffic on these roads for the convenience of the general public by way of persuading the farmers and farmers’ organisations to cooperate. Regular deliberations are being held by local administration from time to time to convince them to remove the blockades as general public is facing great hardship due to such blockades,” the affidavit stated.

The Haryana government has said that although the farmers did not meet the State Level Committee, constituted to resolve the issue of farmers’ protest on public spaces, the State government would continue to persuade protesting farmers to remove blockages on state and national highways.

Before that the Bench had asked Centre and State governments to find a solution to the blockade of roads due to the farmers’ ongoing protest against the three agriculture laws.

It had said that the protestors have a right to protest at a designated space but can’t block the outflow and inflow of traffic.

The Uttar Pradesh government had earlier also filed its affidavit and said that it’s making all efforts to make farmers understand that their act of blocking roads is causing grave inconvenience to travellers.

The top court had made it clear that it is not concerned about the issues of farm laws, which can be decided judicially, politically or administratively but limited to clearing of roads blocked by farmers.

Noida resident Monicca Agarwaal filed the plea in the apex court and alleged that her travel to Delhi takes about two hours instead of the normal 20 minutes.

She contended, that despite the various directions passed by the apex court to keep to and fro passage clear (the road), the same had still not happened.

Being a single parent who has some medical issues, Agarwaal said that it has become a nightmare to travel to Delhi. The plea said she stayed and worked in Noida, but since she had a marketing job, she had to travel frequently to Delhi. (ANI)

Sidhu Arrives At Punjab Bhavan To Meet Channi

Amidst the ongoing turmoil in the Punjab Congress unit, Navjot Singh Sidhu, who resigned as the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief, arrived at Punjab Bhavan to meet Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi.

Earlier, Sidhu tweeted, “Chief Minister has invited me for talks … will reciprocate by reaching Punjab Bhawan, Chandigarh at 3:00 PM today.”
Sidhu had tendered his resignation as Punjab Congress chief on September 28. He was reportedly upset over the bureaucratic setup and his commands not being followed after Cabinet expansion in Punjab.

Party sources say that his resignation has not been accepted by the party yet.

Sidhu’s resignation as state party chief has intensified the crisis in the Punjab Congress. A minister and three Congress leaders, considered close to him, stepped down from their posts.

This comes as a big blow to the Congress that was hoping to resolve the turmoil in the Congress unit of Punjab ahead of the Assembly elections early next year.

After the tussle in Punjab Congress between Sidhu and Captain Amarinder Singh escalated in August, the party had appointing Sidhu as the Congress chief apparently against the wishes of the Chief Minister.

Captain Amarinder Singh tendered his resignation from the post of Punjab Chief Minister to Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi on September 18 hours before a meeting of the Congress Legislature Party in Punjab which was called without informing him in the backdrop of infighting within the ruling party in the state. (ANI)