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‘Job Losses Will Become Tsunami’: Rahul Gandhi Says Companies, Workers Need Money Now, Not Tomorrow


File photo of Rahul Gandhi

The Congress leader demanded immediate support for migrant workers after 16 were run over by a train in Aurangabad on Friday morning while they were trying to return to their rural homes in Madhya Pradesh.

  • News18.com
  • Last Updated: May 8, 2020, 12:15 PM IST

Asserting that migrant workers reeling from the impact of the coronavirus lockdown need immediate support from the government, former Congress president on Friday demanded that the Centre put money in people’s hands to help them tide over the crisis.

“Migrants need support and money now. Today. MSMEs need help immediately, not tomorrow, or job losses will become tsunami,” Gandhi said at a press conference called after 16 migrants walking home to Madhya Pradesh were crushed to death in Aurangabad, Maharashtra.

He said the government can take the idea of NYAY, the minimum income scheme promised by Congress before 2019 polls, and start giving Rs 7,000 per person to 50 per cent poor.

The Centre, he said, needs to have a strategy for our migrants and prepare post-lockdown guidelines soon.

“The central thing the government needs to do is be transparent about their actions. What are the boxes they want checked off before they start opening things. The government should tell people these are the criteria important for opening,” he added.

Gandhi said the government cannot continue the lockdowns without providing support to people who are suffering.

“Opening up is a transition, and government needs to have a strategy to open. I told PM it is not an off and on switch, and it requires coordination on all levels,” he added.

Gandhi had earlier in the day expressed shock over the death of migrant workers who were run over by a train in Aurangabad on Friday and said that India should feel “ashamed” about the treatment being given to the country’s “nation-builders.”

“I am shocked at the news of our migrant brothers being killed by a goods train. We should feel ashamed about the treatment being given to our nation-builders. My condolences to the families of those killed and I pray for the quick recovery of the injured,” Gandhi said in a tweet.

At least 16 migrant workers were run over by a train in Aurangabad city of Maharashtra on Friday morning while they were trying to return to their rural homes in Madhya Pradesh.

They had been walking along the rail tracks and slept there due to exhaustion, an official said. They were mowed down by a goods train that was running between Jalna and Aurangabad at 5.15 am.

At least one person has also been injured in the accident and has been taken to the civil hospital.

The labourers, officials said, all worked at an iron factory in Jalna and were headed back to Madhya Pradesh amid the coronavirus lockdown.

Last week, the Congress leader had also slammed the Railways Ministry for charging the fare of tickets from the stranded migrant workers.

“On the one hand, the Railways is charging ticket fares from the labourers stranded in different states, while on the other hand, the Ministry of Railways is giving Rs 151 crore to the PM Care Fund. Just solve this mystery,” he wrote on Twitter.





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Nearly 80% of 3,390 Coronavirus Cases in Last 24 Hours in 4 States, 70% of 103 Deaths in 2 States


Image used for representation.
(Photo: PTI)

Of the total new Covid-19 cases reported, 78 per cent are from four states – Delhi, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.

  • News18.com
  • Last Updated: May 8, 2020, 12:12 PM IST

New Delhi: The death toll due to Covid-19 climbed to 1,886 and the number of cases surged to 56,342 in the country on Friday, recording an increase of 103 deaths and 3,390 cases in the last 24 hours, the Union Health Ministry said.

The number of active Covid-19 cases stood at 37,916. While 16,539 individuals have recovered, one patient has migrated, it said.

“Thus, around 29.35 per cent patients have recovered so far,” a senior health ministry official said. The total number of cases includes 111 foreign nationals.

The total of 103 deaths reported since Thursday morning include 43 in Maharashtra; 29 in Gujarat; eight in Madhya Pradesh; seven in West Bengal; five in Rajasthan; two each in Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh; and one each in Bihar, Delhi, Karnataka, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir.

WhatsApp Image 2020-05-08 at 8.52.28 AM

Of the total fresh cases reported, 78 per cent are from four states – Delhi, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. A further breakup reveals that 53 per cent of new cases are from the two states of Maharashtra and Gujarat. A staggering 36% of new cases are from Maharashtra alone. Out of the total deaths, 70% of deaths reported from Maharashtra and Gujarat.

Maharashtra on Thursday recorded 1,216 new Covid-19 cases, taking the count of positive cases in the state to 17,974, a health official told PTI. This is the second largest single-day figure of positive cases, the official said. The state also recorded the death of 43 more Covid-19 patients – 24 of them in Mumbai – taking the state death tally to 694, he said.

Meanwhile, the number of coronavirus positive cases in Ahmedabad district of Gujarat soared to 4,991 on Thursday after 275 new cases were reported during the last 24 hours, officials said. These 4,991 cases in Ahmedabad district make up a significant chunk of the total 7,013 positive cases recorded in Gujarat so far.

(With inputs from PTI)



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Vande Bharat Mission: First Batch of 168 Indian Students stranded in Bangladesh Leaves for Home


First Batch of Indian Students are being assisted in completing the formalities by Indian High Commission in Dhaka. (Image: Twitter/@ihcdhaka)

More such flights are also being readied by the authorities to facilitate other Indians as part of the Operation Vande Bharat – A homecoming’, India’s massive repatriation operation to bring home its citizens stranded abroad.

  • PTI
  • Last Updated: May 8, 2020, 12:11 PM IST

Dhaka: The first batch of 168 Indian students, stranded in Bangladesh due to the coronavirus-linked global travel restrictions, left for home on Friday on board a special Air India flight, officials said here.

The evacuation flight carrying the students from here will land in Srinagar directly.

More such flights are also being readied by the authorities to facilitate other Indians as part of the Operation Vande Bharat – A homecoming’, India’s massive repatriation operation to bring home its citizens stranded abroad.

The High Commission of India in Bangladesh launched a dedicated link on its website for the registration for Indians wishing to return to India’.

High Commissioner Riva Ganguly Das interacted with the students at the airport as they prepared to complete the formalities to fly back home.

On the occasion, she posted a video message on Twitter saying as part of the Vande Bharat operation, India’s first flight from Bangladesh carrying stranded students is going to Srinagar directly.

It (the flight) is carrying only students. The students are enrolled in medical colleges in the country. We were in constant touch with them and their colleges have also taken good care of them.

She further said that as part of a massive exercise by the Indian government, a total of seven flights will be operated from Dhaka.

The Indian envoy also expressed satisfaction that the students are being flown back home ahead of Eid.

Taking to Twitter, the Indian mission posted the pictures and videos of the first batch of Indian students at the airport.

Today, we are preparing to send home our students stranded in Bangladesh. The 1st Air India flight from Dhaka will take them home to Srinagar on 8/5/20. There are more flights being readied as well.

First Batch of Indian Students has arrived at airport for boarding #AirIndia flight home to India. They are being assisted in completing the formalities by @ihcdhaka, it said.

The Indian High Commission also thanked the college authorities for the support.

Indian Students going home, thanks to Operation #VandeBharat speak.

Thanks college authorities for supporting us all through the lockdown. Now, our students are going home, the Indian mission said in a series of tweets.

Talking to the Indian mission officials, the students thanked the Indian government for the evacuation flight.



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UP Woman Constable’s Husband, 8 In-laws Booked for Dowry Death


An FIR has been registered against the husband and eight in-laws of a woman constable who died under mysterious circumstances here, police said on Friday.

The body of Rajkumari (25), a constable in Government Railway Police (GRP) was found at her house in Jheel ka Purwa on Tuesday.

“The victim’s father Ramcharan on Thursday registered an FIR against her daughter’s husband Dharmendra, a teacher and eight of his relatives for demanding dowry,” Circle Officer Alok Mishra said.

He said statements of the accused will be recorded on Friday after which action will be taken.

The constable, who was on medical leave, had married Dharmendra five years ago and the couple had a three-year-old daughter.



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As Covid-19 Cases in Maharashtra Cross 19,000-mark, CM Refutes Rumours of Army Taking over Mumbai


Representative image. (Reuters)

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said said the state government may ask the central government for “additional manpower”, if needed, in order to give rest to police personnel who have been working round-the-clock.

The number of coronavirus cases in Maharashtra rose to 19,063 with 1,089 new cases being detected on Friday, 784 of them in Mumbai alone. The death toll due to the pandemic in the state rose to 731, with 37 deaths reported during the day, said a health department statement, adding 169 patients were discharged after recovery.

With cases in the state increasing daily by leaps and bounds, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray refuted rumours that the Indian Army will be called in to Mumbai to manage the crisis. The state capital reported 25 deaths on Friday while Pune had 10.

But the state government, if necessary, might ask for “additional manpower” from the Union government to give respite to the police in Mumbai who are working round-the-clock, Thackeray said in a live webcast. He also admitted that the “chain” of infection has not been broken in the state yet.

The number of infected persons in Mumbai currently stands at 11,967 and the death toll at 462, according to a statement from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said.

As Mumbai’s crisis continued to grow, the state government on Friday shunted out BMC Commissioner Pradeep Pardeshi for his failure to help arrest the spread of the pandemic.

Asking people not to believe rumours, Thackeray said the government may ask for “additional manpower” from the central government, if needed, in order to give rest to police personnel.

“This doesn’t mean that Mumbai will be handed over to the Army. Police personnel are tired after working round-the clock, some have fallen sick and a few of them have succumbed to the virus. They need rest,” he said.

Thackeray said the relaxation of lockdown after May 17 depends on how far people maintain discipline and follow rules.

“We have to come out of the lockdown one day or the other. We can’t be staying permanently like this. But to come out of this sooner, you need to follow rules and maintain discipline of social distancing and use face mask,” he said.

Thackeray admitted that even though the extent of the spread of the virus has been contained, there has been no success in “breaking the virus chain”. But he assured citizens that Mumbai has adequate medical infrastructure for treatment of COVID-19 patients.

Although the number of coronavirus cases was rising, the number of patients who are recovering is also high, he pointed out. With 154 patients being discharged from Mumbai hospitals on Friday, the number of recovered patients grew to 2,589.

If needed, medical facilities at central government institutions in the city will be used as isolation centres, he added.

So far, 2,12,350 people have been tested for coronavirus in Maharashtra. There are 1,139 containment zones while 2,39, 531 people are in home quarantine and 13,494 in institutional quarantine.

Pune has reported 1,938 positive cases and 132 deaths, Thane city 724 cases and eight deaths, Navi Mumbai 716 cases and four deaths, Kalyan Dombivali 284 cases and three deaths, Mira Bhayander 192 cases and two deaths, Vasai Virar 194 cases and nine deaths, Panvel 132 cases and two deaths, and Malegaon 450 cases and 12 deaths.

(With inputs from PTI)



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27-Year-Old Set on Fire in Chhattisgarh’s Korba District after She Resisted Molestation


A 27-year-old woman suffered serious burn injuries after she was set on fire by three men when she resisted their molestation bid in Chhattisgarh’s Korba district, police said on Friday.

The incident took place on the night of May 6 at a village under Bango police station limits. The accused were arrested on Thursday, said Pankaj Patel, Sub Divisional Officer of Police, Katghora area.

As per the preliminary investigation, the woman was alone at her house when Sharad Masih (25), Pritam Paikra (22) and Saroj God, who knew her husband, arrived and molested her, Patel said.

When she put up resistance and raised alarm, the trio poured kerosene on her and set her ablaze before fleeing, he said.

Her husband, who had gone to his maternal grandfather’s nearby house, returned home and saw his wife engulfed by flames.

He doused the flames and rushed her to district hospital, the police officer said.

The victim had suffered 60 per cent burns, he said. Police recorded her statement at the hospital and arrested the three accused under IPC sections 307 (attempt to murder), 354 (molestation) and 34 (common intention).

The woman was shifted to the Chhattisgarh Institute of Medical Sciences (CIMS) in the neighbouring Bilaspur district for further treatment on Friday, Patel added. PTI COR TKP KRK.



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Lockdown Period Not to be Counted for Determining Residency Status of NRIs, Foreign Nationals: CBDT


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(Source: Reuters)

The nationwide lockdown since March 25 and cancellation of international flights to contain the spread of COVID-19 has forced non-resident Indians (NRI) and foreign nationals to prolong their stay in India.

  • PTI
  • Last Updated: May 8, 2020, 11:23 PM IST

Providing a relief to NRIs and foreign nationals stuck in India due to lockdown, the government on Friday said their stay in the country during the period will not be counted for the purpose of determining their residency status for taxation purpose.

The nationwide lockdown since March 25 and cancellation of international flights to contain the spread of COVID-19 has forced non-resident Indians (NRI) and foreign nationals to prolong their stay in India.

There were apprehensions that this extended stay could lead to these individuals becoming Indian residents as per Section 6 of the Income Tax Act.

“Considering various representations received from people who had to prolong their stay in India due to lockdown and suspension of international flights, expressing concerns that they will be required to file tax returns as Indian residents, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today allowed discounting of prolonged stay period in India for the purpose of determining residency status,” an official statement said.

The Ministry further stated that as the lockdown continues during the financial year 2020-21 and it is not yet clear as to when international flight operations would resume, a circular excluding the period of stay of these individuals up to the date of normalisation of international flight operations, for determination of the residential status for the financial year 2020-21 shall be issued after flights are resumed.

In a circular, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) said in order to avoid genuine hardship in such cases, for the purposes of determining the residential status for 2019-20 of an individual who has come to India on a visit before March 22, 2020, and has been unable to leave India on or before March 31, 2020, his period of stay in India from March 22 to March 31, 2020, shall not be taken into account.

In cases where such individuals have been quarantined in India due to COVID-19 on or after March 1, 2020 and has departed on an evacuation flight on or before March 31, 2020 or has been unable to leave India on or before March 31, 2020, his period of stay from the beginning of his quarantine to his date of departure or March 31, 2020, as the case may be, shall not be taken into account for determining residency status.

Where the individual has departed on an evacuation flight on or before March 31, 2020, his period of stay in India from March 22, 2020 to his date of departure shall not be taken into account.

The status of an individual whether he is resident in India or a non-resident or not ordinarily resident, is dependent, inter-alia, on the period for which the person is in India during a year.

As per I-T laws, for 2019-20 fiscal, individuals staying in India for 182 days or more in a fiscal or 60 days or more in a fiscal and at least 365 days in the past 4 fiscals will be considered as resident of India for taxation purpose and accordingly his/her global income becomes taxable.

“This is a much welcome and awaited circular, which takes cognizance of concerns of NRIs and other foreigners who arrived in India before March 22, 2020, but could not return on account of imposition of lockdown and suspension of international flights,” Nangia Andersen Consulting Director Shailesh Kumar said.

“Presently, this circular takes care of residential status only for FY 2019-20 and thus excluded period till March 31, 2020 only. One may expect a similar circular for FY 2020-21, providing exclusion of lockdown period for FY 2020-21 as well for determining the residential status,” he added.



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Iqbal Chahal Replaces Praveen Pardeshi as BMC Commissioner as Covid-19 Cases in Mumbai Continue to Rise


File photo: Health care workers conduct an inspection while asking residents who they live with and wether anyone is feeling unwell, during a nationwide lockdown, in Dharavi, Mumbai. (Reuters)

India’s financial capital has so far reported 11,219 positive cases and 437 deaths and is one of the worst-affected cities in Maharashtra.

  • News18.com New Delhi
  • Last Updated: May 8, 2020, 11:19 PM IST

Amid the growing number of coronavirus cases in Mumbai, the Maharashtra Government on Friday transferred Brihanmumbai Municipal corporation (BMC) Commissioner Pravin Pardeshi and named Iqbal Chahal as his successor.

India’s financial capital has so far reported 11,219 positive cases and 437 deaths and is one of the worst-affected cities in Maharashtra.

Pardeshi has now been posted in the Urban Development Department in Chahal’s place, said the order issued by the General Administration Department.

Ashwini Bhide, former managing director of the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation, and Sanjeev Jaiswal — two bureaucrats awaiting posting — were appointed as additional commissioners in the BMC.

Jaiswal’s last posting was as Thane municipal commissioner. He replaced additional municipal commissioner AL Jarhad who will take over as secretary, Relief and Rehabilitation.

Kishoreraje Nimbalkar, current secretary of Relief and Rehabilitation, was appointed as secretary of the Public Works Department.

Bhide has been brought in place of Jayashri Bhoj who has been shifted to the Small Scale Industries Development Corporation.

Manoj Saunik, additional chief secretary of the PWD, has been moved to the same posting in finance.



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CBSE to Conduct Pending Board Exams for Classes 10 and 12 from July 1 to July 15


Image for representation. (PTI Photo)

The CBSE will announce a detailed schedule of the exams later in the evening.

  • News18.com New Delhi
  • Last Updated: May 8, 2020, 11:19 PM IST

The pending class 10 and 12 board exams of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), which were postponed due to the coronavirus lockdown, will now be conducted from July 1 to 15, Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal announced on Friday.

The schedule has been decided in order to ensure that the exams are completed before competitive examinations such as engineering entrance JEE-Mains, scheduled from July 18-23, and medical entrance exam NEET on July 26.

The CBSE has not yet notified the exam schedule. The board is also yet to announce the modalities for assessment of the exams that will not be conducted as well as guidelines for examination centres to ensure social distancing.

“The students have been impatiently waiting for the schedule for pending exams. It has been decided today that the exams will be conducted from July 1 to 15,” said Pokhriyal.

While class 12 exams will be conducted across the country, the class 10 exams are only pending in North East Delhi where they were affected due to the law and order situation.

The board had last month announced it will only conduct pending exams in 29 subjects which are crucial for promotion and admission to higher educational institutions.

Universities and schools across the country have been closed and exams postponed since March 16 when the Centre announced a countrywide classroom shutdown as one of the measures to contain the COVID-19 outbreak. Later, a nationwide lockdown was announced on March 24, which has now been extended till May 17.

“The board was not able to conduct exams for class 10 and 12 on eight examination days due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Further, due to the law and order situation in North East Delhi, the board was not able to conduct exams on four examination days, while a very small number of students from and around this district were not able to appear in exams on six days,” a senior CBSE official said.

“A detailed schedule is expected to be announced by next week,” the official said, adding the board is also working on resuming the evaluation of answer scripts, which was stopped in March due to the nationwide lockdown.

Pokhriyal had last month also directed that evaluation be started for the already conducted board exams and appealed states to facilitate the same.

One of the options being considered is to deliver the answer scripts to the examiners at home, however, no final decision has been announced yet.

The results for the 29 Class 12 exams will most likely be announced by August-end, before the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) declare the merit list for JEE Advanced.

The IIT Counselling process hinges on when CBSE and respective state boards announce results for the class 12 board exams. To seek admission to one of the IITs, aspirants who have cleared JEE Advanced should have also secured at least 75% marks in their board exams. JEE-Advanced has been scheduled on August 23.



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Now, Gujarat to Dilute Labour Laws; CM Rupani Looks at Land Pooling to Lure Foreign Firms


New Delhi: Following Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh’s lead, Gujarat is also set to dilute its labour laws to revive economic activity and attract investment.

Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said in a statement his government is planning to exempt new projects from provisions of labour laws. However, the relaxation will be applicable if the unit is committed to work for at least 1,200 days.

He further said the rules under existing labour laws regarding minimum wages, safety and compensation in case of accidents will continue to be effective and there will be no relaxations in these three domains.

In a bid to lure companies relocating from China, Rupani also talked about plans of land pooling. He said the state will welcome companies that are currently operating in the United States, China and other countries and may want to shift in Gujarat.

He said his government is coordinating with Indian embassies in foreign countries, adding that the state provides plug and production facility for industrial projects available at various locations, including Sanand, Dahej, SEZs, GIDC estates and Dholera. As much as 33,000 hectares of land have been allocated for the purpose, the CM said.

On Thursday, Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan said the requirement of filling 61 registers and 13 returns has been abolished, and only one register and the return will be sufficient to obtain licence. He also allowed overtime of up to 72 hours and increase in the period of working shifts in factories from eight hours to 12 hours.

Following suit, Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath-led government relaxed labour laws (except three rules and one provision) for the next three years to provide a cushion to sagging businesses and factories in the state.

Now, the industrial units will also not have to worry about inspection or enforcement officials knocking on their doors as they would not be probing if labour laws are being implemented.

In Rajasthan, the Ashok Gehlot dispensation amended Industrial Disputes Act to increase the threshold for lay-offs and retrenchment to 300 from 100 earlier, besides raising working hours from eight to 12 hours per day.

Punjab and Himachal Pradesh have also amended their Factories Acts over the past one month to increase the work time to 12 hours every day and 72 hours every week, compared to 8 hours every day and 48 hours every week.

Meanwhile, the Centre is also seeking to lure more than 1,000 US businesses, including medical devices giant Abbott Laboratories, to relocate from China as President Donald Trump’s administration steps up efforts to blame Beijing for its role in the coronavirus pandemic.

The government in April reached out to more than 1,000 companies in the US and through overseas missions to offer incentives for manufacturers seeking to move out of China.

India is prioritising medical equipment suppliers, food processing units, textiles, leather and auto-part makers among more than 550 products covered in the discussions, officials said.



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