Category Archive : Top Stories

Stalin to participate in govt. staff association meeting

Association threatens dharna, jail bharo protest on Feb. 2 if demands are not fulfilled

Leaders of opposition parties, including M.K. Stalin (DMK) and K. Balakrishnan (CPI (M)), K.S. Alagiri (Congress) and Thol. Thirumavalavan (VCK) will participate in a State-level conference of Tamil Nadu Employees’ Association, said general secretary of the Association A. Selvam.

Talking to reporters here on Sunday, Mr. Selvam said the State government was treating the employees and teachers with a vengeance and was not ready even to hold talks with their representatives on their long-pending demands.

Among their major demands were scrapping of contributory pension scheme, withdrawal of cases against over 5,000 JACTO-GEO members for their participation in a strike in 2019 and provision of time-scale pay for 3.5 lakh workers like noon-meal workers, angawadi workers, village assistants and nurses.

The association also demanded withdrawal of freeze on dearness allowance and leave surrender and filling up of 4.5 lakh posts lying vacant. As per the State representatives general body held on December 20 last, the association had carried out two phases of protests.

A State-level preparatory conference for protest would be held in Madurai on January 27, in which Leader of the Opposition Mr. Stalin and other leaders of opposition parties would take part. “If the government failed to fulfill our genuine demands, the association will begin an indefinite dharna and jail bharo protest on February 2,” he said.

Association State president M. Anbarasu, district president J. Moorthi and district secretary K. Neethiraja were present.

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Farmers’ protest | Proposed Republic Day tractor rally will begin amid tight security after celebrations conclude: Delhi Police

Farmers will not be allowed to enter central Delhi and their presence will be restricted to areas near the city border.

At a press conference organised by Delhi Police on Sunday, Special Commissioner of Police Intelligence, Deependra Pathak stated that after several meetings with farmer unions, Delhi Police has come to an in-principle understanding with them regarding the tractor parade on Republic day.

The tractor rally will begin after the Republic Day parade ends on Rajpath. Mr. Pathak said that farmers will not be allowed to enter central Delhi and their presence will be restricted to areas near the city border.

However, they will be able to use three circular routes from Ghazipur, Singhu, and Tikri borders as proposed by the Delhi Police. Each of these routes are roughly six kilometres in length.

“There will be high level of security for the rally to ensure that no anti-social elements breach upon the peaceful nature of the protests,” he assured.

“We will work together with the farmers to create a secure environment for the rally. We have faith and trust that the farmers will exit the route from where they entered and will not try to create any confusion within the Capital,” said Mr. Pathak.

“There is a threat perception that some Pakistan-based extremist terror groups are trying to create problems during the farmer rally. We have identified and blocked 308 Pakistan-based Twitter handles after doing a professional analysis on social media over the past few days. Over 100km of the route permitted is within the limits of the National Capital,” he added.

Authorities estimate that around 12,000-13,000 tractors are present right now at Delhi’s borders and they anticipate the numbers to go up in a short span of time.

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Expelled AIADMK leader Sasikala is stable, says hospital

The symptoms have reduced and Sasikala is now stable, say authorities at Victoria Hospital

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The Hindu Margazhi Classical Music Competition: Rasika Sivakumar, special prize in Vocal, 0 to 12 years

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CBSE restructures affiliation system; process to be completely digital with least human intervention

The new system has been restructured as per various recommendations for systemic reforms laid down in the new National Education Policy

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) is restructuring the affiliation system for schools and making the process completely digital and based on data analytics with least human intervention, officials said.

The new system, which will come into effect from March 1, has been restructured as per various recommendations for systemic reforms laid down in the new National Education Policy (NEP).

“The board is restructuring the affiliation system and process as per recommendations of education reforms in the NEP. Although, the CBSE affiliation system has been online since 2006, the restructured system will be completely digital and based on data analytics with least human intervention,” CBSE Secretary Anurag Tripathi said.

“The restructuring will help in establishing ease of doing business in the CBSE affiliation system, attaining the goal of minimum government, maximum governance, automated and data driven decisions, achieve transparency, bring more accountability in the entire systemic processes and achieve quick and time-bound disposal of all applications,” he added.

Mr. Tripathi said the board will soon come out with detailed guidelines on the restructured system.

“A detailed document on the CBSE affiliation system containing the restructured online procedure for affiliation, documents required for affiliation application, modalities and standard operating procedures [SOPs] for inspection, guidelines for the inspection committee, videos for various process, will be released soon,” he said.

The board has also revised timelines for application process as per the restructured system.

As per the revised timeline, every year the application window for fresh affiliation and upgradation of affiliation will open three times — March 1 to 31, June 1 to 30 and September 1 to 30.

“The application for extension of affiliation will be accepted from March 1 to May 31 every year. Other applications such as those for additional subject, section increase, change of name of school, change of society or trust, will be accepted through the year,” Mr. Tripathi said.

Procuring digital signatures of a school from authorised service provider or Aadhaar-based signatures; uploading mandatory documents such as no objection certificate, land certificate, safety certificate and certificate by district education officer, are among the prerequisites for application for affiliation.

“After the online submission of application, details submitted by the school will be analysed in accordance with the CBSE by-laws and inspection committee will be constituted immediately for the purpose of inspection. Schools will be able to get inspection done on any of the dates mentioned in the letter,” he said.

The CBSE had introduced a facility for virtual inspection of schools for upgradation of affiliation in August last year in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. The board is also in the process of setting up a facilitation centre to address queries, and problems of schools and inspection committees related to the virtual inspection.

The board had revamped its norms in 2018 for granting affiliation to schools, leaving the onus of the infrastructural audit on states and limiting its own role to academic quality monitoring.

The CBSE has 24,930 schools affiliated to it across the country and abroad, with over 2 crore students and more than 10 lakh teachers. The affiliation by-laws were formulated in the year 1998.

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11 of 22 trapped miners rescued from gold mine in China

Twenty-two miners were trapped about 600 meters underground following an explosion on Jan 10 at a partially built gold mine in Qixia, in Shandong Province

Eleven miners, trapped underground for two weeks following a blast in a gold mine in east China’s Shandong Province, have been rescued, a media report said on January 24.

Also read: 12 workers trapped a week ago in China mine blast are alive

The rescuers set free two workers on January 24, bringing the number of rescued workers to 11, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

The first miner was rescued from the mine in the morning. The worker, said to be in an extremely weak condition, was rushed to a hospital for treatment.

Currently, 633 people and 407 equipment are at the site for rescue operations.

Twenty-two miners were trapped about 600 meters underground following an explosion on January 10 at a partially built gold mine in Qixia, under the city of Yantai, in Shandong Province.

Before January 24, rescuers had established contact with only 10 of the miners, who are in good physical and psychological condition. Another is believed to have been dead, the report said.

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One million COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in India in just 6 days: Health ministry

The U.K. took 18 days whereas the U.S. took 10 days to reach the one million mark, the ministry said.

India took only six days to administer one million COVID-19 vaccine doses, a count which is higher than that of countries like the U.S. and the U.K., the Union Health Ministry said on Sunday as the number of beneficiaries who have received the anti-coronavirus shots inched close to 16 lakh.

The U.K. took 18 days whereas the U.S. took 10 days to reach the one million mark, the ministry said.

Also read: Explained | COVID-19 vaccines and possible side effects

As on January 24, till 8 a.m., nearly 16 lakh (15,82,201) beneficiaries have received COVID-19 vaccination. In a span of 24 hours, close to 2 lakh (1,91,609) people were vaccinated across 3,512 sessions. A total of 27,920 sessions have been conducted so far, the ministry said.

“India took only 6 days to roll out one million vaccine doses. This count is higher than countries like the U.S. and the U.K.. The U.K. took 18 days whereas U.S.A. took 10 days to reach the one million mark,” the ministry highlighted.

“In a testament to the successful test-track-treat-technology strategy, India continues on its steady trajectory of reporting a sustained downfall in the daily new cases and consequential decline in the active cases,” the ministry underlined.

India’s active cases today stand at 1,84,408 which comprises of 1.73% of the total cases.

With 15,948 recovered cases in a span of 24 hours, a net decline of 1,254 cases has been recorded in the total active caseload during the same period.

Kerala, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal account for 75% of the total active cases in the country.

The total recovered cases have surged to 10,316,786, the ministry said adding 84.30% of the new recovered cases are observed to be concentrated in 10 States and UTs.

Kerala has reported the maximum number of single day recoveries with 5,283 recoveries. Maharashtra follows with 3,694 new recoveries.

The ministry said that 80.67% of the 14,849 new COVID-19 cases recorded in a span of 24 hours are concentrated in six States and UTs.

Kerala reported the maximum daily new cases numbering 6,960 in a day. Maharashtra has recorded 2,697 new cases while Karnataka registered 902 new cases yesterday.

Seven States and UTs account for 79.35% of the 155 case fatalities reported in a span of 24 hours.

Maharashtra reported 56 deaths. Kerala and Delhi follow with 23 and 10 new deaths, respectively.

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The Hindu Margazhi Classical Music Competition: Shreyas Raghavan, special prize in Mridangam, 20-40 years

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COVID-19: India records 14,849 fresh cases, 155 more fatalities

The death toll due to the viral disease has climbed to 1,53,339 with 155 more fatalities, the Ministry’s data updated at 8 a.m. showed

India’s COVID-19 caseload has gone up to 1,06,54,533 with 14,849 people testing positive for the coronavirus infection in a day, while the number of recoveries has surged to 1,03,16,786, according to the Health Ministry.

The death toll due to the viral disease has climbed to 1,53,339 with 155 more fatalities, the Ministry’s data updated at 8 a.m. showed.

The number of people who have recuperated from the disease has surged to 1,03,16,786, pushing the national COVID-19 recovery rate to 96.83%, while the case fatality rate stands at 1.44%.

The active COVID-19 caseload of the country remained below two lakh for the fifth consecutive day.

There are 1,84,408 active cases of the coronavirus infection in the country currently, which account for 1.73% of its total caseload, the data stated.

India’s COVID-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7 last year, the 30-lakh mark on August 23, the 40-lakh mark on September 5 and the 50-lakh mark on September 16.

It went past 60 lakh on September 28, 70 lakh on October 11, 80 lakh on October 29, 90 lakh on November 20 and the one-crore mark on December 19.

According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), a total of 19,17,66,871 samples have so far been tested in the country for the viral disease, including 7,81,752 on January 23.

Of the 155 fresh fatalities, 56 were reported from Maharashtra, 23 from Kerala and 10 each from Delhi, Punjab and West Bengal.

Of the total 1,53,339 COVID-19 deaths reported so far in the country, Maharashtra accounts for the highest number of 50,740, followed by Tamil Nadu (12,309), Karnataka (12,193), Delhi (10,799), West Bengal (10,107), Uttar Pradesh (8,609) and Andhra Pradesh (7,147).

The ministry stressed that more than 70% of the COVID-19 deaths in the country occurred due to comorbidities.

“Our figures are being reconciled with the Indian Council of Medical Research,” it said on its website, adding that a State-wise distribution of the figures is subject to further verification and reconciliation.

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Teacher dies of COVID-19 in Ludhiana

The deceased teacher taught maths at the Government Senior Secondary School Galib Kalan in Jagraon.

A 48-year-old government schoolteacher, who had tested positive for COVID-19, died at a private hospital here on Saturday, following which her 12 colleagues and three students also returned positive results, an official said.

Schools in the State reopened for Classes 5 to 12 from January 7 after a government order.

The deceased teacher taught maths at the Government Senior Secondary School Galib Kalan in Jagraon.

Additional Deputy Commissioner Neeru Katyal said the school has now been shut and the samples of other students and the staff were being taken for testing.

State Education Minister Vijay Inder Singla had said the decision to open schools was taken following a persistent demand by parents.

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