Pakistan opens airspace for civilian traffic

Pakistan on Tuesday opened its airspace for all civilian traffic removing the ban on Indian flights that were not allowed to use its airspace, sources said.

Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority issued a notice to airmen (NOTAM), stating “with immediate effect Pakistan airspace is open for all type of civil traffic on published ATS (air traffic service) routes.”

Pakistan had imposed ban on its airspace after the Indian Air Force (IAF) carried out aerial airstrikes on Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorist training camp in Balakot on February 26.

The strikes on the terror camp were in retaliation to the JeM terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama on February 14, in which at least 40 CRPF personnel lost their lives.

Since then, Pakistan had opened two routes, both of them passing through the southern region, of the total 11.

The IAF in May had announced that all temporary restrictions imposed on the Indian airspace after the Balakot strike had been removed. But it did not help most commercial airlines and they were waiting for Pakistan to fully open its airspace.

Amid Opposition protest, NIA Amendment Bill passes in Lok Sabha

The National Investigative Agency (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was passed by Lok Sabha on Monday, after a detailed discussion and a spirited defense by Union Minister for Home Affairs, Amit Shah.

While replying to the debate on the Bill to give powers to NIA to investigate the terror crimes relating to Indians and Indian interests abroad, today in Lok Sabha, the Home Minister backed a strong NIA to strengthen the legal framework against terrorism. He said that conviction has been achieved in 90% of the cases decided so far, which is one of the finest records in the world. Shah hailed the NIA for its achievements and said that India would finish terrorism by building a strong NIA.

Allaying opposition’s apprehensions on misuse of agencies the Home Minister quoted the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi and said that this Government is governed by Rule of Law and all investigative agencies follow the procedure established by law. He reassured the House that the agency would not be misused in any way by the Government.

Shah said that the POTA should not have been removed in the first place, as it led to a rise in acts of terror. This has been corroborated by Indian security agencies as well, he added. Amit Shah also questioned why the perpetrators of the Samjhauta Express blast were allowed to walk free even when American agencies found their involvement in the act of terror.

Reiterating ‘Zero Tolerance’ policy of the Government against terrorism, Shah said “Terrorism is Terrorism, it’s neither RIGHT nor LEFT. Perpetrators of terrorist acts need to be punished and will get punished.” All political parties, members of Parliament and the Government must come together to fight terror without pointing fingers at each other, otherwise it would boost the morale of the terrorists.

Shah said, “We care for the widows of our martyred soldiers, we care for their sacrifices. Thus, it is important to strengthen NIA to investigate terror related crimes and bring justice to these widows.”

The Home Minister said that by designating special courts, the cases would be expedited and transfers or delay in appointments of judges would not delay them.

While taking part in the debate on the bill, Minister of State for Home Affairs, G. Kishan Reddy reinforced Government’s federal outlook and said that state police teams and other agencies would work in coordination with NIA in terror related matters. There would be no encroachment by the Centre on the activities of the State machinery, he added.

Reddy said that the multi-agency centre would be strengthened and sharing of information between Centre and states on terrorism related matters would be smoothened. There would be no discrimination among the agencies.

The Minister further added that terrorism has no religion, no caste, no gender. It is against humanity. The Government will take all stakeholders along with itself in fighting terrorism, following a ‘Zero Tolerance Policy’.

China is malaria free ! India need 10 years to achieve the same

Last month China hosted the third E-2020 global forum of malaria-eliminating countries in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province, with a specific focus on eliminating malaria in populations at high risk of contracting malaria.

China is a good example of what happens when a country is determined to eliminate malaria – this became the joint goal of 13 ministries, including health, finance, industry, and education. The results were impressive and the country has gone from 30 million cases in the 1940s to zero indigenous cases in 2017.
The countries within the E-2020 initiative vary greatly in their geography and transmission patterns, yet despite their differences, they have many lessons to share with each other. “It has been gratifying to see how countries in the E-2020 are learning from each other,” says Dr Kim Lindblade, team leader of the WHO’s Global Malaria Programme’s elimination unit. “We have seen ideas move from country to country, and region to region. These linkages help diffuse innovations from one context to another.”
WHO Certification of malaria-free status
WHO grants a certification of malaria elimination when a country has proven, beyond reasonable doubt, that the chain of indigenous transmission has been interrupted nationwide for at least the previous 3 consecutive years. In addition, a national surveillance system capable of rapidly detecting and responding to any malaria cases must be operational, together with an appropriate programme to prevent re-establishment of transmission. To date, 38 countries and territories having been certified malaria-free by WHO.
The Malaria Elimination Oversight Committee bolsters countries’ efforts, says Dr Richards, by acting as an advocate “urging, if appropriate, more domestic political and financial support. That’s fundamental in the last mile of the elimination effort, and future sustainability of surveillance and response to prevent resurgence of malaria in the future.”
Countries need a few key ingredients to get to zero, says Dr Kamini Mendis, a member of the Committee and professor emeritus at the University of Colombo in Sri Lanka, including “a very effective state-of-the-art surveillance and response system, uninterrupted funding, and a responsive elimination programme that can respond rapidly to changes.” These must be accompanied by strong technical leadership and people on the ground “with staying power until zero cases are achieved,” she adds.
Once the WHO’s Malaria Elimination Certification Panel verifies that a country is malaria-free, however, countries cannot be complacent. Two years after Sri Lanka was certified free of malaria, an imported case from neighbouring India led to local transmission; Sri Lankan authorities quickly responded and prevented any further cases.
Yet many countries have made impressive strides in controlling and stamping out malaria. In 2016, WHO identified 21 malaria-endemic countries that could feasibly eliminate the disease by 2020. Together, these countries form the “E-2020 initiative” and are part of a concerted effort to drive indigenous malaria cases to zero within the 2020 timeline.
In 2018, Paraguay became the first E-2020 country to be certified by WHO as malaria-free, and this year Algeria was awarded the same status. Three other countries – the Islamic Republic of Iran, Malaysia and Timor-Leste – achieved zero indigenous cases of malaria in 2018. China and El Salvador, meanwhile, have been at zero since 2017, and Cabo Verde has been malaria-free since January 2018.
WHO’s Global technical strategy for malaria, adopted by the World Health Assembly in 2015, calls for the elimination of malaria in at least 10 countries by the end of next year. “We are very much on track to have 10 E-2020 countries at zero cases in 2020,” says Dr Frank Richards, chair of the Malaria Elimination Oversight Committee – an independent WHO advisory body that guides countries in their efforts to eliminate malaria – and an expert in parasitic diseases at The Carter Center, Atlanta, USA.
Sience 2000, India has reduced malaria deaths by two-thirds and reduced reported malaria cases by almost half.
In 2017, India launched its five-year National Strategic Plan for Malaria Elimination. The plan is a landmark in India’s fight against the disease that shifted focus from malaria “control” to “elimination”. The plan provides a roadmap to end malaria in 571 of India’s 678 districts by 2022.
With 24% decline in malaria cases, India is on track to reduce malaria cases by 20-40% by 2020, said the World Malaria Report 2018.
However, there are many road-blocks. India has “weak” malaria surveillance and only 8% of its estimated cases are reported in the national system–second worst in the world–as per the World Malaria Report 2017.
Further, India’s spending on malaria is amongst lowest in South East Asia, less than $1 per person at risk according to the 2018 report.
Among the 11 nations with 70% of the world’s burden of malaria, only India has managed to reduce its disease burden, registering a 24% decrease between 2016 and 2017, according to the World Malaria Report 2018.
With about 9.5 million malaria cases in 2017, down 3 million cases since 2016, India is no longer among the top three countries with the highest malaria burden. However, 1.25 billion Indians–94% of its population–are still at risk of malaria, the report noted.
Globally, the progress made against malaria has stalled for the second consecutive year: The annual report produced by the World Health Organization (WHO) revealed a plateauing. In 2017, there were an estimated 219 million cases of malaria, compared to 217 million the year before. Previously, people contracting malaria globally had been steadily falling, from 239 million in 2010 to 214 million in 2015.
India has set 2030 as the target year for eliminating malaria.

Source:WHO, IndiaSpend & BI

CM assures to resolve open category Medical Graduation & PG students’ issues

Chief Minister Devendra Fadanvis assured that the deficit of seats for open category students in medical graduation and post-graduation admissions caused by reservation to various social communities will be compensated by increasing the number of seats in open category.

He was speaking to the delegation of “Save Merit, Save Nation” movement at Sahyadri Guest House today. Chief Minister Fadanvis further said that those eligible open category students could not get admission due to reservation should seek admission in private colleges and the government will reimburse their current year’s tuition fees.

The Chief Minister said that a system will be set up to study the problems of the open category students and find out suitable measures to resolve them. The state government is implementing 50 percent tuition fees reimbursement scheme for 604 courses for the economically weaker open category students through Rajarshi Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj Educational Reimbursement Scheme. Besides, scholarship for education in foreign universities is given to the students of OBC and open category students, he added.

The meeting was attended by CM’s Principal Secretary Bhushan Gagarani, Secretary of Medical Education and Medicine depoartment Dr Sanjay Mukherjee, Eye specialist and Dean Dr Tatyarao Lahane, and delegation members Dr Sanjay Deshpande, Dr Anup Marar, Anil Laddhad.

Navjot Singh Sidhu quits Punjab Cabinet

Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu has resigned from the Punjab cabinet after a long-drawn-out tussle with Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh.

On Sunday, Sidhu tweeted a copy of his resignation letter dated June 10 which he submitted to Rahul Gandhi.

“My letter to the Congress President Shri. Rahul Gandhi Ji, submitted on 10 June 2019,” Sidhu tweeted.

In another tweet, he said: “Will be sending my resignation to the Chief Minister, Punjab.”

“I hereby resign as Minister from the Punjab Cabinet,” Sidhu wrote in the letter.

Sidhu did not take charge of his new ministry after his portfolio was changed from the Local Bodies’ to the Ministry of Power and Renewable Energy last month.

On June 9, he had tweeted pictures with Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi after meeting them in Delhi.

“Met the congress President, handed him my letter, appraised him of the situation,” Sidhu had tweeted.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah chairs a high-level meeting to review the current flood situation

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday chaired a high-level meeting to review the current flood situation in different parts of the country and the preparedness of the States and Central Ministries / Agencies concerned to deal with the situation.

“Had a meeting with MoS Shri @nityanandraibjp, senior MHA officials and concerned departments on the issue of developing flood situation in various parts of the country. Directed all related officials to ensure proper relief, rescue and rehabilitation measures,” Amit Shah said in a tweet.

India Metrological Department (IMD) informed that during the last 3-4 days, Assam and Bihar have got excess rainfall with extremely heavy downpour. Heavy rainfall is expected in these two states during the next 48 hours.  DG, NDRF apprised that 73 NDRF teams have been pre-positioned in vulnerable areas of flood-affected states along with all necessary equipments. These teams are in addition to the teams kept on alert at battalion head quarter and Regional Response Centers (RRC). NDRF teams have also rescued about 750 persons in Assam and Bihar.

Central Water Commission (CWC) informed that in Assam Brahmaputra, Beki, Jiabharali, Katakhal and Barak and in Bihar Kamla, Bagmati, Mahananda, Gandak rivers are flowing in severe situation. Both CWC and IMD are issuing forecast bulletins at regular intervals. Control Rooms in MHA, NDRF, IMD and CWC are keeping close watch on the situation on 24*7 basis.

After review, Shah directed the senior officers to take every possible measure to deal with the situation arising out of South-West Monsoon in the country and to extend all necessary assistance to the flood affected states.

Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai said that the Shah had directed all concerned officials to remain on high alert and provide the states with the assistance they required. He also said that Union Home Minister had emphasized that lives and property must be protected.

Five dead in massive fire at rubber factory in Delhi’s Jhilmil

At least five people were killed in a major fire that broke out on Saturday morning at a rubber factory in Delhi’s Jhilmil industrial area, officials said.

According to the sources, the information about the blaze was received at around 9.25 am and the fire tenders were rushed to the spot to douse the flames.

The reason behind the fire is not known yet and will be investigated.

More casualties are feared in the incident, sources said.

More details are awaited.

New Delhi: Union Minister Nitin Gadkari inaugurates 3 lane underpass at parade road junction

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Friday inaugurated a three-lane underpass at Parade Road junction near Manekshaw Centre on NH 8 in New Delhi.

With opening of this underpass, movement of traffic from Airport to Dhaula Kuan would become signal free. The underpass was completed in a record time of 112 days and is part of NHAI’s project for development of a signal free corridor from Dhaula Kuan interchange to IGI Airport.

National Highway No.8 (New NH-48) is the prime link providing connectivity to IGI Airport from Delhi and NCR. The frequent traffic jams in the corridor result in travel time of 10-30 minutes in crossing the3 kms stretch between Dhaula Kuan interchange and the Airport.

To tackle this problem, NHAI has taken up the development of a signal free corridor from Dhaula Kuan interchange to Airport at an estimated cost of Rs.270 crore.  The project includes widening of Dhaula Kuan – IGI corridor from 6-lanes to 8-lanes a three-lane flyover from Janakpuri road to merge with NH-8, the three-lane vehicular underpass at Parade Road junction that was inaugurated today, 3 PUPs, 2 VUPs and an FOB for pedestrians. The work on the project commenced in March 2018 and is now 75 % complete.

The project has huge challenges in terms of traffic management of about 3 lakhs PCUs per day, presence of a large number of civil and defence utilities, shifting of defence infrastructure and getting security clearances.  The work plan for the project was prioritized with the objective of providing early relief to the commuters.

This project would be in addition to the nine other projects being implemented for decongesting NCR Delhi. 

Lord Viththala…Let there be sufficient rainfall

State government follows the path of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s constitutional thoughts. ‘We are working to fulfil wishes of people in the state, please let there be enough rainfall in the state…let the drought be over and make us prosperous and happy’, CM prayed to Lord Viththala. Varkari (pilgrim to Pandharpur) Viththal Chavan and his wife Prayagbai Chavan from Dist.- Latur got the honour to perform mahapuja on Ashadi Ekadashi along with CM Devandra Fadnavis and his wife Amrita Fadnavis.

The couple who got the chance to perform mahapuja was felicitated by CM on the behalf of Viththala Temple Committee in temple hall after the mahapuja. CM spoke on the
occasion. Gurdian Minister Vijaykumar Deshmukh, Agriculture Minister Dr. Anil Bonde, Social Justice Minister Suresh Khade, Water Supply and Sanitation Minister Babanrao Lonikar, Water Resource State Minister Vijay Shivtare, Home State Minister Deepak Kesarkar, President of Viththal Temple Committee Dr. Atul Bhosale, Co-President Gahininath Maharaj Ausekar, MP Ranjitsinh Naik- Nimbalkar were present at the programme.

CM Devendra Fadnavis expressed, Wari to Pandharpur is a tradition followed from many centuries. Wari and Warkari kept alive the religion and culture in the times of invasions
on Maharashtra. Dindi (walking trails) walk in disciplined way every year. That creates a positive environment. This positive energy will be used to make Maharashtra green lush, rich and tree-abundant. The government is trying to make this wari, that is a hundred year old tradition, clean and pure with the help of NGOs. CM appealed to warakari to participate in the drive to make it successful.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj taught Maharashtra to respect people and their feelings. He told that justice to Maratha and Dhangar community is given taking the inspiration from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
He praised the work that temple committee has done in last two years. He appealed all warkari to actively participate in the mission- “Namami Chandrabhaga’ to make it successful.”Namami Chandrabhaga” is a mission started by the government to clean Chandrabhaga River.

CM Devendra Fadnavis was felicitated on the behalf of farmers and warkari
community in gratitude of granting reservation to the Maratha Community. Temple employees also felicitated CM as state government has decided to make temple employees
permanent employees.

CM Devendra Fadnavis handed over the one year free-travel paas to the honoured warkari couple, on the behalf of MSRTC. CM also unveiled the books Milestone, Ringan and Vedsohala- the books that reports about programmes organised by the temple trust and its

Temple committee distributes awards every year. First award for clean dindi was awarded to Marutibua Karadkar Dindi of Dnyaneshwar Mauli Palkhi. The award included Rs. one lakh and a trophy. Second award went to Sadguru Mhatarbaba Pathrudkar dindi of Sant Tukaram Maharaj Palkhi Sohala. The award included Rs. seventy five thousand cash and a trophy. Gurudatt Prasadik dindi of Eknath Maharaj Palkhi Sohala was given third award with Rs. fifty thousand cash and a trophy.

Gujarat: Ahmedabad court grants bail to Rahul Gandhi in defamation case

A metropolitan court in Gujarat on Friday granted bail to Rahul Gandhi in connection with a criminal defamation suit filed by the Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank and its chairman, Ajay Patel.

Rahul arrived in Ahmedabad earlier in the day, where he thanked his opponents in the RSS and the BJP for providing him with platforms and opportunities to take his ideological battle against them to the public.

“I’m in Ahmedabad today, to appear in another case filed against me by my political opponents in the RSS/ BJP. I thank them for providing me these platforms & opportunities to take my ideological battle against them to the public. Satyameva Jayate,” Rahul said in a tweet.

The defamation suit alleged that Congress leaders – Rahul Gandhi and Randeep Singh Surjewala had falsely claimed that the Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank was involved in a scam to swap Rs 750 crore in scrapped notes with valid currency within five days of demonetisation in November 2016. 

Union Minister Amit Shah is a director of the bank.