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NEET-UG to be conducted in 8 Languages from 2017-18 Academic Year, says Union Health Ministry

The eight languages are Hindi, English, Gujarati, Marathi, Bengali, Assamese, Telugu and Tamil

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Ministry
Books ( Representational image.) Pixabay

New Delhi, December 22, 2016: The Union Health Ministry on Wednesday said NEET-UG will be conducted in eight languages from the 2017-18 academic year.

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The eight languages are Hindi, English, Gujarati, Marathi, Bengali, Assamese, Telugu and Tamil.

“Under the directions of Health Minister J.P. Nadda, and after rigorous and extensive consultations with state governments about their examination pattern and other related aspects, it has been decided that the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET-UG) from AY 2017-18 will be conducted in following 8 languages,” said the statement.

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In addition to this, the Ministry said the candidate qualifying NEET would be eligible for All-India quota and other quotas under the state governments/Institutes irrespective of the medium in which the exam was taken by the candidate, subject to other eligibility criteria.

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“NEET and its implementation in regional languages is the outcome of the government’s commitment of bringing about transparency in medical education and removing malpractices,” said the statement. (IANS)

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Only 6.39% Covid-19 Cases Require Hospitalisation: Union Health Ministry

The Union Health Ministry told in a press release that only 6.39% Covid-19 cases need hospitalisation

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Only 6.39 per cent Covid-19 cases need hospitalisation, says the Union Health Ministry. Pixabay

Only 6.39 per cent Covid-19 cases need hospitalisation, according to Covid-19 pandemic in India updates, which includes oxygen, ventilator or ICU support, according to the Union Health Ministry, here on Wednesday.

In a press release, Joint Secretary (Health) Lav Agarwal said of the 61,149 active cases, around 2.94 per cent needed oxygen support, 3 per cent ICU and 0.45 per cent ventilator support.

Stressing the Covid-19 recovery rate, Agarwal said, it “has been on continuous upwards climb and is more than 39.62 per cent. When the first phase of lockdown started, the recovery rate was around 7.1 per cent. During the second phase of lockdown, it was 11.42 per cent and rose to 26.59 per cent. Today, the recovery rate is 39.62 per cent.”

The efforts for early identification of Covid-19 cases had helped in having a better recovery rate, he said.

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“When the first phase of lockdown started, the recovery rate was around 7.1 per cent. During the second phase of lockdown, it was 11.42 per cent and rose to 26.59 per cent. Today, the recovery rate is 39.62 per cent.”, says Joint Secretary (Health) Lav Agarwal. Pixabay

Read More: Indian Workers Miss Office as Work From Home Becomes the New normal

Comparing global statistics on Covid-19 with India, Agarwal said, “The mortality rate in India is 0.2 cases per lakh population against the global 4.2 cases. India has recorded 7.9 cases per lakh population against 62 for the world.”

The number of confirmed cases in India is 1,06,750 and 3,303 people have succumbed to the infection. 42,298 Covid-19 patients have been cured. “India battle against Covid-19 has to be people driven”, said Agarwal. (IANS)

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Despite a 40 Days Lockdown, COVID-19 Tally Crosses 46,000 Cases in India

India COVID tally crossed 46K

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Nearly half think the pandemic is likely to end in India within the next three months. Pixabay

The number of COVID-19 cases in the country climbed to 46,433 on Tuesday morning with 32,138 active cases, despite a 40-days and above lockdown period completed in a bid to contain the spread of the novel Coronavirus.

A total of 12,726 people have been cured and discharged from hospital so far, while 1,568 have lost there life since the first case was reported in January-end.

According to statistics based on Union Health Ministry report, despite the first 21-day lockdown, over 40 districts reported new cases between April 17 and 26.

However, there has also been a steady number of discharge from hospitals. As of Tuesday as some of the country’s 1.3 billion people started enjoying some slack, 32 of the 33 people in Andaman Nicobar island who had so far tested positive for the coronavirus, were discharged from hospital after treatment.

In Andhra Pradesh though the number of cases reached 1,650, out of which 524 have been discharged and 36 have been reported dead.

In the Northeast where some states like Arunachal Pradesh remained a corona-free so far, the number of corona positive people in Assam rose to 43, of whom 32 have been discharged and one death.

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People buying medicine during Lockdown for Corona crisis in Kolkata, West Bengal, India. Wikimedia Commons

The number of corona-affected people has reached 528 in Bihar with 130 discharged from the hospital and four deaths. According to the Health Ministry report, 102 people were reported suffering from the coronavirus in Chandigarh till Tuesday morning while 21 were discharged and one died.

The number of corona victims in Chhattisgarh rose to 58 by morning and 36 have been discharged here.

Delhi is witnessing a steady increase in the cases of COVID-19. According to the data, 4,898 people have been found suffering from the virus so far, out of which 1,431 people have been discharged and 64 died.

Goa remains a coronavirus free state till Tuesday morning. In Gujarat, the figure has gone up to 5,804, out of which 1,195 people have been discharged and 319 have died. Haryana has reported 517 cases with 254 were discharged and six have died.

So far 41 people have been reported to be suffering from this virus in Himachal while 34 of which have been discharged from the hospital with one death. In Jammu and Kashmir this figure has reached 726 and 303 people have been discharged here while eight have died.

There has been a slight increase in Jharkhand. Here 115 people are said to be suffering from this virus with 27 were discharged and three deaths. There were 651 cases in Karnataka, out of which 321 were discharged and 27 have died here.

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Lockdown lane during Corona crisis in Kolkata, West Bengal, India. Wikimedia Commons

The number of corona victims in Kerala has reached 500 with 462 have been discharged and four died here. The figure has reached 41 in Ladakh with 17 deaths.

Meanwhile, in Madhya Pradesh, the figure rose to 2,942 and 798 have been discharged, while 103 have died. In Maharashtra, the number of victims reached to 14,541 with 2,465 discharged from the hospital and 583 died.

Manipur still remains a corona-free state. There have been 12 cases in Meghalaya, one in Mizoram and 169 cases in Odisha with 60 were discharged from the hospital and one has died here.

There have been eight cases reported in Puducherry with five were discharged. In Punjab, 1,233 cases have been reported so far, out of which 121 have been discharged and 23 have died. In Rajasthan, this figure has reached 3,061. Here 1,394 people have been discharged from the hospital, while 77 have died.

Read More: Boy’s Locker Room: Is the Virtual World Safe Enough for Women?

The number of corona victims in Tamil Nadu rose to 3,530 and 1,409 were discharged with 31 deaths.

Telangana has reported 1,085 cases and 585 have been discharged and 29 have died so far. Meanwhile, 29 cases were reported in Tripura and two were discharged from the hospital.

On the other hand, 60 cases have been reported in Uttarakhand so far, out of which 40 have been discharged. The figure has increased to 2,766 in Uttar Pradesh and 802 people were discharged. There have been 50 deaths in UP alone. The number of victims from Corona in West Bengal has been 1,259, out of which 218 have discharged and 133 have died. (IANS)

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Atal Bihari Vajpayee: A Peace Visionary and a Man Who Believed in India’s Destiny and was Ready To Fight For It

It was precisely this persona of Vajpayee -- one merged in Hindutva ideology yet seemingly not wholly willing to bow to it -- that won him admirers cutting across the political spectrum.

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Atal Bihari Vajpayee,
Atal Bihari Vajpayee, India's peace visionary. Image: Flickr

Atal Bihari Vajpayee was a man of moderation in a fraternity of jingoistic nationalists; a peace visionary in a region riven by religious animosity; and a man who believed in India’s destiny and was ready to fight for it.

Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee (93), who died on Thursday, will go down in history as a person who tried to end years of hostility with Pakistan and put development on the front burner of the country’s political agenda. He was also the first non-Congress Prime Minister to complete a full five-year term.

Even though he lived the last 13 years of his life in virtual isolation, dogged by debilitating illnesses and bedridden, he has left an enduring legacy for the nation and the region where he was much loved and respected across the political spectrum and national boundaries, including in Pakistan.

Vajpayee, former Indian Prime Minister
Vajpayee stunned the world by making India a declared nuclear state. Image: Wikimedia Commons

In the tumultuous period he presided over the destiny of the world’s largest democracy, Vajpayee stunned the world by making India a declared nuclear state and then almost went to war with Pakistan before making peace with it in the most dramatic fashion.
In the process, his popularity came to match that of Indira Gandhi, a woman he admired for her guts even as he hated her politics.

He also became the best-known national leader after Indira Gandhi and her father Jawaharlal Nehru.

After despairing for years that he would never become Prime Minister and was destined to remain an opposition leader all his life, he achieved his goal, but only for 13 days, from May 16-28, 1996, after his deputy, L.K. Advani, chose not to contest elections that year.
His second term came on March 19, 1998, and lasted 13 months, a period during which India stunned the world by undertaking a series of nuclear tests that invited global reproach.

Although his tenure again proved short-lived, his and his government’s enhanced stature following the world-defying blasts enabled him to return as Prime Minister for the third time on October 13, 1999, a tenure that lasted a full five-year term.

When finally he stepped down in May 2004, after an election that he was given to believe he would win, it marked the end of a long and eventful political career spanning six decades.

Vajpayee had gone into these elections riding a personality cult that projected him as a man who had brought glory to the nation in unprecedented ways. The BJP’s election strategy rested on seeking a renewed mandate over three broad pillars of achievement that the government claimed — political stability in spite of the pulls and pressures of running a multi-party coalition; a “shining” economy that saw a dizzying 10.4 percent growth in the last quarter of the previous year; and peace with Pakistan that changed the way the two countries looked at each other for over 50 years.

The results of the elections could not have come as a greater shock to a man who was hailed for his achievements and who was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 influential men of the decade.

Success didn’t come easily to the charismatic politician, who was born on Christmas Day in 1924 in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, into a family of moderate means. His father was a school teacher and Vajpayee would later recall his early brush with poverty.

He did his Masters in Political Science, studying at the Victoria College in Gwalior and at the DAV College in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, where he first contested, and lost, elections. He began his professional career as a journalist, working with Rashtradharma, a Hindi monthly, Panchjanya, a Hindi weekly, and two Hindi dailies, Swadesh and Veer Arjun. By then he had firmly embraced the ideals of the Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS).
But even as he struggled to win electoral battles, his command over Hindi, the lingua franca of the North Indian masses, his conciliatory politics and his riveting oratory brought him into public limelight.

Also read: For Modi, Road To 2019 Will Be Steeper

His first entry into Parliament was in 1962 through the Rajya Sabha, the upper house. It was only in 1971 that he won a Lok Sabha election. He was elected to the lower house seven times and to the Rajya Sabha twice.

Vajpayee
Vajpayee spent months in prison when Indira Gandhi imposed Emergency rule in June 1975. Image: Wikimedia Commons

Vajpayee spent months in prison when Indira Gandhi imposed Emergency rule in June 1975 and put her political opponents in jail. When the Janata Party took office in 1977, dethroning the Congress for the first time, he became the foreign minister.

The lowest point in his career came when he lost the 1984 Lok Sabha polls, that too from his birthplace Gwalior, after Rajiv Gandhi won an overwhelming majority following his mother Indira Gandhi’s assassination. And the BJP he led ended up with just two seats in
the 545-member Lok Sabha, in what looked like the end of the road for the right-wing party.

In no time, Vajpayee was replaced and “eclipsed” by his long-time friend L.K. Advani.
Although they were the best of friends publicly, Vajpayee never fully agreed with Advani’s and the assorted Hindu nationalist groups’ strident advocacy of Hindutva, an ideology ranged against the idea of secular India.

Often described as the right man in the wrong party, there were also those who belittled him as a moderate “mask” to a hardline Hindu nationalist ideology. Often he found his convictions and value systems at odds with the party, but the bachelor-politician never went against it.

It was precisely this persona of Vajpayee — one merged in Hindutva ideology yet seemingly not wholly willing to bow to it — that won him admirers cutting across the political spectrum. It was this trait that made him the Prime Minister when the BJP’s allies concluded they needed a moderate to steer a hardliner, pro-Hindu party.

He brought into governance measures that created for India a distinct international status on the diplomatic and economic fronts. In his third prime ministerial stint, Vajpayee launched a widely acclaimed diplomatic initiative by starting a bus service between New Delhi and Pakistan’s Lahore city.

Its inaugural run in February 1999 carried Vajpayee and was welcomed on the border by his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif. It was suspended only after the 2001 terror attack on the Indian Parliament that nearly led to a war between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.

The freeze between the two countries, including an eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation on the border for nearly a year, was finally cracked in the spring of 2003 when Vajpayee, while in Kashmir, extended a “hand of friendship” to Pakistan. That led to the historic summit in January 2004 with then President Pervez Musharraf in Islamabad — a remarkable U-turn after the failed summit in Agra of 2001. Despite the two men being so far apart in every way, Musharraf developed a strong liking for the Indian leader.

His unfinished task, one that he would probably rue, would be the peace process with Pakistan that he had vowed to pursue to its logical conclusion and a resolution of the Kashmir dispute.

He was not known as “Atal-Ji”, a name that translates into firmness, for nothing. He could go against the grain of his party if he saw it deviate from its path. When Hindu hardliners celebrated the destruction of the 16th century Babri Mosque at Ayodhya, he was full of personal remorse for the apocalyptic action and called it — in a landmark interview to IANS — the “worst miscalculation” and a “misadventure”. He even despaired that “moderates have no place — who is going to listen to the voice of sanity?”

In his full five-year term, he successively carried forward India’s economic reforms programme with initiatives to improve infrastructure, including flagging off a massive national highway project that has become associated with his vision, went for massive privatisation of unviable state undertakings despite opposition from even within his own party.

While his personal image remained unsullied despite his long innings in the murky politics of this country, his judgment was found wanting when his government was rocked by an arms bribery scandal that sought to expose alleged payoffs to some senior members of his cabinet. His failure to speak up when members of his party and its sister organisations, who are accused of killing more than 1,000 Muslims in Gujarat, was questioned by the liberal fraternity who wondered aloud about his secular proclamations. He wanted then Chief Minister — now Prime Minister, Narendra Modi — to take responsibility for the riots and quit but was prevailed upon by others not to press his decision.

A day before his party lost power, Vajpayee was quoted as saying in a television interview that if and when he stepped down he would like to devote his time to writing and poetry. But fate ruled otherwise. The man who once rued that “I have waited too long to be Prime Minister” found his last days in a world far removed from the adulation and attention — though across the nation people prayed for his well-being — surrounded only by care-givers and close family whom he even failed to recognize. (IANS)