At the House panel meeting, BJP MPs oppose discussion of COVID-19 vaccines, variants
Daily NEWS Summary | 23-06-2021; A meeting of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology on Wednesday to discuss the “development of a vaccine for Covid-19” and the “genetic sequencing of the coronavirus and its variants” saw great drama with BJP members who were opposed to deliberations on these issues, saying that an entire investigation into it could demoralize the scientific community.
- The sources said that BJP members staged a strike when the president and top leader of Congress, Jairam Ramesh, refused to postpone the meeting as requested.
- They argued that now was not the time to discuss “vaccine development,” as the country was still battling the pandemic.
- They insisted that the question of whether it was appropriate for the committee to discuss the matter be referred to the chairman of the Rajya Sabha, Venkaiah Naidu.
- To counter them, opposition members claimed that four lakhs of people lost their lives and that a forensic assessment of the pandemic was essential and urgent.
- Asaduddin Owaisi from AIMIM, E.T. by IUML. Mohammad Basheer, Binoy Viswam of the CPI and other members of the opposition vehemently called for the meeting to continue.
- Unnao BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj called for a vote to resolve the dispute. Maharaj had written to Ramesh before the meeting, protesting the choice of subject.
- According to sources, some other BJP members also wrote to Ramesh on similar lines.
- There were 11 BJP deputies and seven members of the opposition. Ramesh, according to sources, refused to organize a vote.
- He argued that the meetings of a permanent parliamentary committee are always carried out by consensus. There will be no vote, although this is the last meeting that I am chairing, said one of the members who attended the meeting.
- With the stalemate continuing, Ramesh, was adamant that the meeting would not be postponed and called witnesses who had been waiting for nearly an hour.
- At this point, the BJP MPs went on strike. Some of them returned to the meeting to listen to the official.
- Chief Scientific Advisor to the Government of India, K VijayRaghavan; Renu Swarup, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology; and the Director General of the CSIR (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research) Dr. Shekhar C. Mande; and other officials attended the meeting.
- Member of Niti Ayog and Chairman of the National Group of Experts on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19, Dr. V.K. Paul, who was also called as a witness, skipped the meeting.
- During the last 90 minutes of the meeting, members managed to ask a few questions, including why India’s genome sequencing is at a measly 0.13 percent of the five percent target. So far, only 40,000 samples have been genome sequencing.
- Now that the technology transfer from Covaxin to some other domestic manufacturers has taken place, questions have also been asked about the price of these new vaccines. Swarup did not respond to questions posed by members on the matter.
ED transfers the assets of Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi worth 8,441.50 cr. to the banks
Daily NEWS Summary | 23-06-2021; The Enforcement Directorate transferred assets worth 8,441.50 million yen to public sector banks which suffered losses of 22,585.83 million yen due to fraud allegedly committed by Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi. The three defendants fled abroad.
- The agency said it recently transferred attached shares worth Rs 6.6 billion to a consortium led by the State Bank of India, pursuant to a special court order from the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), in Mumbai.
- On Wednesday, the Debt Recovery Court, on behalf of the consortium, sold shares of United Breweries Limited for Rs 5,824.50 crore. Another achievement of Rs 800 million per share sale is expected on June 25.
- As a result of the assistance provided by ED, public sector banks had previously recovered Rs 3 1,357 crore from the sale of the shares.
- Therefore, banks will get a total amount of 9,041.50 million yen from the sale of part of the assets seized / seized by ED , said the agency.
- To date, of the total foreclosure amount valued at 18,170.02 crore, assets valued at 329.67 crore have been seized and properties valued at 9,041.50 crore have been surrendered, representing 40% of the total loss for banks.
- Based on the cases recorded by the CBI, the DE had launched a money laundering investigation which uncovered a complex web of domestic and international transactions and the concealment of assets abroad by the defendants and their associates.
- They had used fictitious entities they controlled for the rotation and embezzlement of funds provided by the banks.
- As part of the investigation, the ED took steps to seize or seize assets worth 18,170.02 crore, which included properties worth ₹ 969 crore located in foreign countries.
- The amount of seized and foreclosed assets represents 80.45% of the total bank loss of Rs 22,585.83 crore,the agency said.
The opening of the call for tenders for the buildings of the Central Secretariat again postponed
Daily NEWS Summary | 23-06-2021; The Central Public Works Department (CPWD) has extended from Wednesday to July 14 the deadline for submitting bids and opening technical bids for the construction of the first three buildings of the proposed new Joint Central Secretariat.
- The CPWD on Tuesday issued a correction extending the deadlines, citing “administrative reasons”. This is the second time that the deadlines have been extended by a week, the previous extension being from June 16 to Wednesday.
- CPWD issued an amended tender on June 2, soliciting technical bids for the construction and maintenance of three buildings to be completed as part of Central Vista’s largest redevelopment project.
- The CPWD submitted a first call for tenders on April 20. The project was valued at 3,408 crore and would be the first of 10 proposed buildings.
Ramdev turned Supreme Court against FIR over comments on allopathy
Daily NEWS Summary | 23-06-2021; Yoga guru Ramdev on Wednesday filed a petition with the Supreme Court against FIRs registered in various states against his alleged comments on the effectiveness of allopathy in treating Covid-19 cases.
- He urged the Supreme Court to protect him from any enforcement action based on FIRs submitted by the Patna and Raipur branches of the Indian Medical Association (IMA).
- Ramdev also requested a transfer of FIRs to Delhi and their consolidation.
- He was sentenced under sections 188 (disobeying the order duly promulgated by the official), 269 (act of negligence capable of spreading an infection of a fatal disease), 504 (intentional insult with intent to harm the order) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and other provisions of the Disaster Management Act 2005.
- The cases are based on his alleged video comments on allopathy and drugs such as Remdesivir, Fabiflu and other drugs approved by India’s Comptroller General of Medicines to treat Covid-19 patients. The IMA reacted strongly to the comments and sent him a legal opinion.
Cabinet approves additional grains for beneficiaries of food security law
Daily NEWS Summary | 23-06-2021; The Union cabinet on Wednesday approved the allocation of additional food grains to beneficiaries of the National Food Security Act (NFSA) for an additional five months, from July to November.
- The cabinet, in a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved the proposal to continue to allocate an additional 5 kg of food grains per person each month under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana to beneficiaries 81.35 crore , according to a government statement. The additional food grains would imply a subsidy of Rs 64,031 million, he noted.
- Since the Indian government is incurring all the expenses of this plan without any contribution from the states / UTs, an additional expense of approximately 3,234.85 crore would be required for transportation and handling and SFC’s distributor margins etc. by the Indian government.
- Therefore, the total estimated expenditure to be borne by the Indian government will be 67,266.44 million rupees, he said.
- The total quantity of food grains to be distributed has been estimated at 204 lakh metric tons. “The additional allowance will improve the hardships faced by the poor due to the economic disruption caused by the coronavirus,” he added.
Daily NEWS Summary | 23-06-2021; The number of reported coronavirus cases in India was 3,00,67,079 at the time of publication of this bulletin, with a death toll of 3,91,331.
- The Union Ministry of Health clarified that possession of a mobile phone is not a prerequisite for vaccination against Covid-19 and that the presentation of proof of address for vaccination is not obligatory.
- In a statement Wednesday, the ministry said it was also not mandatory to pre-register online with Co-WIN to benefit from vaccination.
- To make it easier for users to understand, Co-Win is now available in 12 languages. These include Hindi, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Gujarati, Odia, Bengali, Assamese, Gurumukhi (Punjabi) and English, the ministry said.
- While one of the nine identification cards, including the Aadhaar, the Voter Photo Identification Card (EPIC), the Photo Ration Card and the Disability Identification Card, is required to benefit from vaccination, the central government has made special arrangements to organize vaccination sessions for people who may not have one of the nine specified identity cards or have a mobile phone, the statement said.
Warren Buffett has decided to resign as Trustee of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The announcement comes weeks after Bill and Melinda Gates announced that they would be divorced after 27 years of marriage, but that they would continue to jointly manage the foundation, one of the world’s largest charitable foundations.
- For years I was a trustee, an inactive trustee, of a sole beneficiary of my funds, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMG). I am now resigning from this position, as I have on every board except Berkshire, Buffett said in a statement prepared Wednesday.