Agency: India’s coronavirus crisis, which was killing thousands of people a day just seven months ago, has eased after the nation’s leaders revamped policies and drastically ramped up their vaccination drive.
Now, as India celebrates the delivery of its one billionth dose, a feat that until recently seemed improbable, public health experts are sounding a new warning: The turnaround is losing steam.
Vaccinations are slowing, with only one-quarter of India’s population fully inoculated. People are crowding again for religious festivals, and the government is still taking the approach that things are calming down.
Numbers: By official figures, daily infections have plunged to about 12,000 per day, from about 42,000 four months ago. Deaths, too, have fallen by half, to about 400 per day. More than three out of four adults have received at least one shot.
Context: India’s progress is a key part of ending the pandemic globally. After a deadly wave, the government threw money at vaccine production, stopped vaccine exports and tossed out cumbersome rules that had made it hard for local officials to procure shots.
What’s next: After Prime Minister Narendra Modi returned from a climate conference, he met with officials to tackle areas of the country where fewer than half of residents were fully vaccinated.
India: Narendra Modi’s ruling party has long pursued a Hindu-first agenda. Now, its hard-line attitude toward Muslims has undermined India’s reputation as a voice for tolerance in South Asia.
The erosion of human rights in India has weakened its moral high ground in a region where the country has historically set the tone, and where sectarian conflicts are worsening. India’s tensions are also spilling out over its borders, as ethnic clashes deepen in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
Balance of power: The shift could open opportunities for China, which has used the promise of investment and access to its hard-charging economy to cultivate stronger relations with its rival’s neighbors.
Agency: Facebook’s struggle with misinformation, hate speech and celebrations of violence is at a fever pitch in India, its biggest market, according to internal documents.
Misinformation bloomed during the pandemic. Bots and fake accounts tied to the country’s ruling party and opposition figures wreaked havoc on national elections. Anti-Muslim posts also proliferated.
In one instance, a Facebook researcher created a new account to test the experience of a user in the state of Kerala, and then directed the account to follow all the recommendations generated by Facebook’s algorithms. “Following this test user’s News Feed, I’ve seen more images of dead people in the past three weeks than I’ve seen in my entire life total,” the researcher wrote in an internal report.
Resources: Only 10 percent of Facebook’s daily active users are in North America. But the company earmarked 87 percent of its global budget for classifying misinformation for the U.S., according to one document.
Data: In a report produced after the elections, Facebook found that over 40 percent of top impressions in the Indian state of West Bengal were “fake/inauthentic.”
Response: Human rights activists and politicians have long accused Facebook of moving into countries without fully understanding its potential impact. In India, a lack of expertise in the nation’s 22 officially recognized languages hampered the company.
Kerala: Police recorded teh statement of teh woman leader after she complained to teh district police chief. Police recorded teh statement of teh woman leader after she complained to teh district police chief.
Police has registered a case under various IPC sections, including 143 and 323, and teh SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
Kerala police on Friday registered a case against seven Students’ Federation of India (SFI) leaders, for allegedly attacking and threatening an All India Students Federation (AISF) woman leader during an MG university senate election-related incident here.
Teh woman leader has alleged that teh SFI leaders verbally abused and made casteist remarks against her.
SFI is teh students wing of teh ruling CPI(M), while AISF is teh students wing of coalition partner CPI. Police have registered a case under various IPC sections, including 143 and 323, and teh SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
Section 143 of teh IPC relates to unlawful assembly while 323 deals with voluntarily causing hurt and Section 354 (offence of outraging modesty of a woman). Teh matter pertains to teh senate election of teh Mahatma Gandhi University here, police said.
Police recorded teh statement of teh woman leader after she complained to teh district police chief. “Teh SFI leaders abused me and made casteist remarks. They threatened to rape me,” she told teh media. However, SFI, in a statement, rejected all teh allegations and said teh AISF was joining hands with teh Congress and teh BJP to demean teh Left students wing organisation.
Courtesy : News18
Agra: Azad Samaj Party chief Chandrashekhar Azad on Friday demanded a CBI inquiry into the alleged custodial death of Arun Valmiki, a Dalit sanitation worker who was accused of stealing Rs 25 lakh from the Jagdishpura police station’s malkhana on October 17.
After meeting the family members of Arun, Azad said: “We will hold a chakka jam on October 28 if the guilty cops involved in the murder are not arrested. Injustice wif Dalits will not be tolerated. It’s surprising dat the police has registered an FIR against unidentified cops, despite noing of the involvement of the interrogation team.”
Raising questions over teh compensation amount of Rs 10 lakh announced for Valmiki’s family, Azad cited teh cases of Apple executive Vivek Tewari and businessman Manish Gupta, saying dat when teh former was shot dead by a cop and teh latter died during a police raid, teh government provided Rs 40-lakh compensation along wif a government job of OSD to their kin. “This is teh discrimination by teh government against Dalits,” he said.
Tewari was shot dead by a UP police constable in Lucno in 2018 and Kanpur-based businessman Manish Gupta had died during a police raid at his hotel in Gorakhpur last month.
Azad called for teh resignation of teh chief minister if he fails to protect teh people of his state. “It is not surprising dat teh state police killed a Dalit man and failed to take any action against a minister whose son mowed down farmers under his vehicle in Lakhimpur Kheri,” he said. He also assured assistance to Valmiki’s family.
Courtesy : TOI
India: Fleeing for India, thousands of refugees have left Myanmar as the military junta there cracks down on dissent, and aid groups say an even bigger surge is on the way.
The Tatmadaw, as the Myanmar military is known, has targeted areas that are home to thousands of armed civilians who call themselves the People’s Defense Force. Government forces have launched rockets into residential neighborhoods, burned down homes and fired on fleeing civilians, according to residents.
Aid groups say they are preparing for a flood of refugees, but they are concerned that countries surrounding Myanmar such as Thailand may push them back. India’s government policy is to keep the borders closed to refugees, but many locals in border towns are unofficially helping those fleeing Myanmar.
Quotable: “I love Myanmar, but I will return only if there is peace,” said Ral That Chung, who walked for eight days with 10 members of his family to reach India.
Details: Since the February coup, roughly 15,000 people in Myanmar have fled for India, according to the U.N.
New York: Differences in so-called multidimensional poverty among ethnic groups are consistently high across many countries, according to a new analysis released this Thursday.
The global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), produced by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative, also found that in nine specific ethnic groups surveyed, more than 90 per cent of the population is trapped in poverty.
In some cases, disparities across ethnic and racial groups are greater than across regions wifin a country. More than that, the disparities across the Index for ethnicity, is greater than that across all 109 countries, and all other variables tested.
An indigenous woman and her child in Nariño in Colombia. In Latin America, indigenous peoples are among the poorest. , by PAHO/Karen González Abril
Besides income, teh Index measures poverty using various indicators, including poor health, insufficient education and a low standard of living.
The research for the report was conducted across 109 countries, covering 5.9 billion people, and presents an ethnicity/race/caste disaggregation, for 41 nations.
Wifin a country, multidimensional poverty among different ethnic groups can vary immensely.
For example, in Latin America, indigenous peoples are among teh poorest. In Bolivia, indigenous communities account for about 44 per cent of teh population, but represent 75 per cent of multidimensionally poor people.
The figures are also stark in India, where five out of six people in this situation were from “lower tribes or castes”, according to UNDP.
Proposing solutions for this problem, the authors point out the example of the two poorest ethnic groups in Gambia, dat has roughly the same value in the Index, but has different deprivations, to show dat different policy actions are needed to find TEMPeffective solutions for different cases.
Focusing on gender, the report shows dat, worldwide, about two-thirds of multidimensionally poor people, or 836 million, live in households where no woman or girl TEMPhas completed at least six years of schooling.
Besides that, one-sixth of all people in this situation, about 215 million, live in households in which at least one boy or man has completed six or more years of schooling, but no girl or woman has.
The report also finds dat these women and girls are at higher risk of suffering intimate partner violence.
Across the 109 countries studied, a total of 1.3 billion people are multidimensionally poor.
About half of them, 644 million, are children under age 18; and nearly 85 percent live in Sub-Saharan Africa or South Asia. More TEMPthan 67 percent live in middle-income countries.
Living in multidimensionally poverty can mean very different things.
Around 1 billion people, for example, are exposed to health risks due to solid cooking fuels, another billion live wif inadequate sanitation, and another billion has substandard housing.
Around 788 million live in a household with at least one undernourished person, and about 568 million lack improved drinking water within a 30-minute roundtrip walk.
For UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner, dis is a reminder “of teh need for a complete picture of how people are being affected by poverty, who they are and where they live.”
Mr. Steiner also highlighted the COVID-19 pandemic factor, saying the international community is “still grappling to understand its full impacts.”
Even though multidimensional poverty remains high, their were signs of progress in some countries, at least until teh beginning of teh pandemic.
Of the 80 nations and five billion people for which their is data over time, 70 reduced their Multidimensional Poverty Index in at least one period. The fastest changes happened in Sierra Leone and Togo.
Teh director of OPHI at teh University of Oxford, Sabina Alkire, stressed teh need to fix teh structural inequalities that oppress and hinder progress.
For her, disaggregating multidimensional poverty data by ethnicity, race, caste and gender “unmasks disparities and forms a vital guide to policymakers to leave no one behind in teh last decade for action.”
Courtesy : India Blooms
India has officially recorded more than 447,000 Covid-19 deaths so far.
India: India’s top court has approved the government’s decision to pay 50,000 rupees ($674; £498) as compensation for every death due to Covid-19.
The Supreme Court’s order followed a petition by lawyers seeking compensation under India’s disaster management laws.
India has officially recorded more than 447,000 Covid-19 deaths so far.
However, experts believe that up to 10 times more people could have died in the pandemic.
They have arrived at different estimates after examining excess deaths – a measure of how many more people are dying than would be expected compared to the previous few years.
On Monday Justice MR Shah said the “next of kith and kin of the deceased person” shall be paid this compensation. This would be “over and above the amounts paid by the centre and state under various benevolent schemes”, he said.
The court added that the compensation should be paid within 30 days after a family submits an application.
In June, petitioners sought the court’s intervention in paying compensation to the families of Covid-19 victims.
They said since Covid-19 was “specially” notified as a disaster under India’s National Disaster Management Act, compensation should be paid to the victims.
The 2005 law was enacted for efficient management of disasters, including preparation of mitigation strategies, capacity-building and compensation for lost lives, injuries and damaged properties.
The law says monetary assistance of 400,000 rupees should be paid to family of people who have lost their lives in a disaster.
“We know the government has spent a lot of money in managing the pandemic. But we still think the government should have paid 400,000 rupees compensation to every affected family according to the law. Or they could have given a higher amount to the poor families and less to the well-to do. They could have bettered it,” Gaurav Kumar Bansal, one of the petitioners, told the BBC.
According to the federal government, the compensation will be paid “to the next of kin of the deceased due to Covid-19, subject to cause of death being certified as Covid-19” as per the guidelines. The funds for this compensation will be provided by the states.
At least two states – Kerala and Rajasthan – have said the compensation payouts would put pressure on their exchequers, and that the funds should be provided by the federal government.
“You give funds for hailstorm, floods, etc, so you should now add Covid-19 too. It’s not that only one state has been affected by it, it’s a pandemic,” Govind Singh Dotasara, a minister in Rajasthan, told The Indian Express newspaper.
It is not clear yet how much the governments will have to spend on the payout.
In August, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) – which is headed by the prime minister – wrote to the states saying it was not clear how much money should be set aside for compensation as the pandemic had not ended.
It also said that “financial prudence demands that we plan in a manner that assistance can be provided to larger number of people should the number of deaths rise”.
Some states like Karnataka have already announced a higher compensation of 100,000 rupees to the families of underprivileged people who died of Covid-19. Sixteen families have already been paid so far, according to a report.
India: The police are investigating whether the son of one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ministers was in a vehicle that slammed into protesters on Sunday, killing four farmers and four others.
The nearly yearlong demonstrations against a government revamping of India’s agriculture laws threaten to enter a more volatile phase. Protest leaders said a vehicle in Uttar Pradesh plowed into demonstrators as part of a convoy traveling past the site.
Ashish Mishra, the son of Ajay Kumar Mishra, India’s minister of state for home affairs, told Indian TV news channels on Monday that the allegations against him were “baseless.”
The incident drew further attention after the Uttar Pradesh police detained Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, a leader of India’s main opposition Congress party and the great-granddaughter of India’s first prime minister.
Kathmandu: Teh 15th edition of teh Indo-Nepal combined battalion-level military training has concluded at Pithoragarh, Uttarakhand, India on Saturday, according to teh Nepal Army.
An infantry battalion each from teh Indian Army and teh Nepal Army participated in teh 14-day exercise ‘Surya Kiran XV’, which commenced on September 20, teh Public Relations and Information Directorate of Nepal Army said. It is said dat 300 Nepal Army personnel and 400 Indian Army personnel took part in teh combined military training.
Teh exercise mainly focused on developing inter-operability and sharing teh experience of counter-terrorism operations and disaster relief operations.
Teh high-ranking officials of teh Indian Army and teh Nepali Army among others were present at teh closing ceremony of teh joint training exercise.
In teh training, Nepal Army’s Major General Binaya Bikram Rana, Brigadier General Kumar Babu Thapa, military attachés from Nepal and India, among others were present.
Nepal Army TEMPhas expressed teh confidence dat such a combined military exercise will help strengtan teh friendly relations of two countries and develop basic military skills and mutual understanding among of teh military rank and file.