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“Should Be No Politics Over Covid Vaccine”: Health Minister To Opposition – dot newz

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Mansukh Mandaviya: There should be no politics on the issue of COVID and vaccination.

New Delhi:

Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Friday appealed to Opposition parties not to play politics on the issue of COVID-19 vaccines and asserted that everyone should work together to ensure people are vaccinated against coronavirus.

Responding to supplementaries during Question Hour in Lok Sabha, the minister said the government is still in talks with US company Pfizer with respect to making its vaccine available in India.

“There should be no politics on the issue of COVID and vaccination. The prime minister has said this several times,” Mr Mandaviya said in response to a question asked by Shiv Sena MP Rahul Shewale.

“I will also not want to indulge in politics on this issue but I want to present the facts,” he said, adding that the prime minister till date has held over 20 meetings and discussions with the state governments and chief ministers.

He said some opposition-ruled states raised the issue that health is a state subject and they should be taken into confidence.

“Many said Health is a state subject, states said we also need permission to buy vaccines. We said that we have no problem with this. The states said that we want to go out for tender to buy the vaccine. Modi ji said that we are ready to do whatever help is needed,” the Health minister said.

He said accordingly, the states were allowed to buy 25 per cent and 25 per cent by the private (sector). The Centre was to procure 50 per cent for the people.

“For the 25 per cent, states issued tenders and we said we will provide all possible help. The suppliers were limited and the Indian government too was holding talks,” he said.

Many issued global tenders. But there were only two Indian companies which had started vaccine manufacturing, the Serum Institute of India (Covishield) and Bharat Biotech (Covaxin), Mr Mandaviya said.

He added that Moderna has registered in India and taken permission. Johnson and Johnson has tied up with Biological E and work on technology transfer has begun.

“With Pfizer, the Indian government was holding talks with it. But the company said it will not deal with the states and the Indian government is holding talks with us. Even today, an experts group is holding talks with the company,” Mr Mandaviya said.

In a meeting with the states, the chief ministers said they were not getting adequate supply of vaccines and the Centre should procure 25 per cent, which the states were to earlier acquire, of the vaccines.

So a new policy came into being from June 21 under which the Centre deciced to vaccinate all the citizens, he said.

“The issue is about politics. There should be no politics on this issue. Our goal is to vaccinate 100 per cent people above the age of 18 years. We all need to work on it together. It is not the time to indulge in politics,” Mandaviya, who assumed charge of the Health ministry earlier this month following a Cabinet reshuffle, said.

He said those spreading confusion should be stopped from doing so and and the public should be connected with the free vaccination campaign.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



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Tax Officials To Reply On Newslaundry Plea Over Leak Of Seized Material – dot newz

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The court orally observed leaking of data is “ethically, morally and legally” wrong. (File)

New Delhi:

The Delhi High Court Friday sought Income Tax Department’s stand on a plea by online news portal Newslaundry and its co-founder Abhinandan Sekhri to restrain any leakage of the material seized during a survey operation held earlier this month.

A bench of Justices Manmohan and Navin Chawla granted time to the department’s counsel to seek instructions on giving an undertaking against any leak and asked that the concerned officer join the proceedings on the next date of hearing i.e. September 21.

“Ask your client (to join proceedings) so that we can close it then and there. Let him be by your side..If he gives a statement, we can put a quietus to the matter,” said the bench to the lawyer who asserted that the fear of leak was a “bald apprehension”.

Data of thousands of assessees is in safe custody of the department and it can be used only in accordance with law, said counsel for the department Ajit Shamra.

During the course of the hearing, the bench orally observed, “Normally, no one’s data should be leaked” as it is “ethically, morally and legally” wrong.

“We have seen it on channels, people’s data that has been seized is being displayed… It should not happen,” it remarked.

Senior counsel Siddharth Dave, appearing for the petitioners, said that four notices under the Income Tax Act were issued to his client and a survey was held in the news portal’s premises on September 10, during which several devices, including a mobile phone and a laptop belonging to the petitioner co-founder, were seized by the IT authorities, which contained several information which were of no relevance to any income tax proceedings.

The data may contain personal photos and information pertaining to investigative stories, he said.

The senior lawyer argued that any data breach would be in violation of right to privacy and therefore a direction should be passed to the IT authorities to not leak any data and delete whatever is of no relevance to the proceedings.

It was also contended that any seizure during a survey operation was beyond the scope of survey and that no “hash value” of the seized data was given.

“Please direct them not to leak seized data collected in this purported garb of a survey and allow me to delete (non I-T related) data,” the senior lawyer submitted.

In the petition filed through advocate Nipun Katyal, the petitioners have said that the income tax officers and authorities do not have any power to interrupt the ordinary peaceful citizens of the country in any manner they like by utilizing the large powers given to them, without keeping strictly within the four corners of those large powers.

“The Petitioners are heading a news organization, the Petitioners herein have sources, contacts and other information on the digital machines. It is the fiduciary duty of the Petitioners to protect them and keep it confidential.

“It is further submitted that the legal communication regarding existing cases is present in the personal laptop and phone of the Petitioners. If in any circumstances, the leaks are committed, it shall be a clear breach of the attorney client privilege as well as whistleblowers confidentiality,” the plea says.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



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1 Crore Jabs Till 1:30 PM. On PM’s Birthday, Government Aims At Record – dot newz

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The vaccination campaign is key to BJP’s three-week celebrations to mark PM’s birthday.

New Delhi:

As the government raced to deliver a vaccination record on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s birthday today, the country clocked over 42,000 vaccinations a minute, a senior health official said. Vaccinations crossed one crore in the afternoon – for the fourth time in less than a month – setting up a milestone by the end of the day.

Aiming at 2 crore vaccinations as PM Modi turns 71, the government added a ticker to track Covid shots being given across the country.

“Celebrating the relentless efforts of India’s vaccinators against COVID-19, we have added a ticker to show vaccinations happening in near real-time. We are currently clocking over 42,000 vaccinations/minute or 700/second,” tweeted National Health Authority chief RS Sharma, sharing the new feature.

The vaccination campaign is key to the BJP’s three-week celebrations to mark the Prime Minister’s birthday.

“Let’s do #VaccineSeva and give him (PM Modi) birthday gift by getting vaccinated those who have not taken the dose so far,” Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya had tweeted yesterday, urging people to get the shots.

To achieve its target, the BJP had prepped health volunteers “to ensure that the maximum number of people get their COVID-19 vaccines on the day”.

In recent days, India has reported more than one crore Covid shots in a day more than once.

Senior BJP leaders say the party wants to see the day “recorded in history” as one that saw a record number of Covid vaccines given.

By noon, over 94,00,000 vaccinations had been achieved. PM Modi’s home state Gujarat had crossed five lakh doses, more than the daily doses in the last seven days.

By afternoon, Bihar had given Covid shots to 7.3 lakh people, three times more than the average of the last three days. Madhya Pradesh was at more than 5 lakh doses – 75 per cent of the last two days’ average.





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Under-Construction Flyover Collapses In Mumbai’s Bandra, 14 Injured – dot newz

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The under-construction flyover collapsed at about 4.40am.

At least 14 people were injured after a portion of an under-construction flyover collapsed in Bandra Kurla Complex in Maharashtra’s Mumbai today. The injured were taken to the VN Desai Hospital and their condition is stable, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation said.

The flyover collapsed at about 4.40am.

Visuals shared by news agency ANI showed police personnel and fire departments on the spot as the rescue work is underway.

There has been no loss of life and no person is missing due to the collapse, Deputy Commissioner Of Police Manjunath Singe told news agency ANI.

The flyover is located at MTNL junction in suburban Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) and will connect the complex’s main road and Santa Cruz- Chembur link road. The construction work of the flyover is being undertaken by Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA).

Further details related to the flyover’s collapse are awaited.





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