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Daily NEWS Summary: 26.08.2020

CM and Sonia call for a united fight against the initiative to hold JEE / NEET during the pandemic

In a meeting called by Mamata Banerjee and Sonia Gandhi, the main opposition spoke ministers in support of a united fight against the government’s decision to carry out engineering and medical entrance exams amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

  • The meeting, which was attended by Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray, Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren and the top ministers of States governed by Congress, Amarinder Singh, Ashok Gehlot, Bhupesh Baghel and V. Narayanasamy, also attacked the government for not paying the fees from GST to States.
  • Banerjee said chief ministers must go to the Supreme Court again to request that the Joint Entrance Exam (JEE) and the National Income Eligibility Exam (NEET) be deferred. The JEE is scheduled for September 1-6, and the NEET exam will be held on September 13. This gives senior ministers a small window to act.
  • Gandhi called the failure to pay GST fees a treason. “At the meeting of the standing finance committee on August 11, the Finance Secretary clearly said that the central government is not in a position to pay its mandatory 14% compensation for the current year.
  • This refusal to compensate the states is nothing less than a betrayal by the Narendra Modi government, a betrayal of the state governments and the people of India,” she said.

Loan Moratorium: Don’t Hide Behind the RBI, SC Tells the Center

The Supreme Court today criticized the Center for “hiding behind” the RBI without making clear its position on the loan default scheme introduced during the Pandemic of Covid-19.

  • The court wanted to know whether the deferral of EMIs during the moratorium period, intended to help borrowers cope with the financial crisis induced by the lockdown, would lead to the accumulation of additional interest once the freeze is lifted on the 31st of August file your affidavit.
  • Noting that the issue had been pending for some months, the court recommended that the government not take a blind view, focusing only on the commercial interests of the banks and not on the plight of people financially affected by the “problems created by his confinement” .
  • The court said that the government was empowered to take an independent position under the Disaster Management Act.
  • “The problem was created by their closure … It seems that the Union of India is not taking an independent position and trusts the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) … This is not the time to deal solely with business, consider providing relief,” said a court led by Judge Ashok Bhushan, addressing Attorney General Tushar Mehta.
  • Mehta said that the government was working in conjunction with the RBI and that it was unfair to say that it did not have an independent opinion.
  • The court gave the Center until September 1 to file a detailed affidavit clarifying its position.

Mizoram Complains to the Center about Assam Rifles

The Mizoram government has written to the Center accusing the paramilitary force Assam Rifles of boycotting the Independence Day celebrations in the state.

  • On August 24, Chief Secretary Lalnunmawia Chuaungo informed the Interior Ministry that the head of Assam Rifles in the state boycotted the celebration of I-Day on August 15.
  • Chuaungo also informed the MHA of violations of Covid-19 protocols by Assam Rifles personnel on August 15, the Assam-Mizoram border Staff on August 18, broke into Mizoram in violation of entry and security protocols established by the state government to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

The phase 2 human clinical trial of the Oxford Covid-19 vaccine candidate, to be manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII), began at the Bharati Vidyapeeth Medical College and Hospital in Pune with two volunteers who were administered the vaccine.

  • IBS has partnered with British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to manufacture the Covid-19 candidate vaccine developed by the University of Oxford.

“We have all the approvals from the Central Organization for the Control of Medicines Standards (CDSCO),”

said an SII official.

The number of reported coronavirus cases in India stood at 33,03,068 at the time of publishing this news summary, with the death toll at 60,607. The Delhi government announced today that it will double the number of tests to be conducted in the national capital. “Recently, Delhi has witnessed a slight increase in the number of Covid-19 cases. However, the recovery rate has been higher than 90% in the national capital. Taking into account the increase in the cases, the number of tests will be doubled in the coming days,” said Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. From next week, 40,000 tests would be conducted in Delhi every day, he added.

Opposition leaders from the Congress, the Left and other non-BJP parties have asked civil society leaders to work together with them to develop a common minimum agenda, based on resolutions framed during a virtual ‘Janata Parliament’ held over the last week.

  • Such an agenda could provide inputs to Opposition strategy in the upcoming monsoon session of Parliament, they said. Important demands which are under consideration include universalisation of the public distribution system (PDS), the right to healthcare, opposition to the government’s agriculture marketing ordinances, and a universal basic income.

The Orissa High Court has allowed a transman to stay with his woman live-in partner, saying everyone has the right of self-determination of sex or gender and to enter into a live-in relationship with a person of his or her choice. A Division Bench of Justices S. K. Mishra and Savitri Ratho pronounced the judgment while hearing the petition of a transman who had sought the court’s intervention for restoration of a live-in relationship with a woman.

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