Morning Digest, March 12, 2023

States demand that lightning be declared a natural disaster

A few States have demanded that “lightning” be declared as a “natural disaster” because deaths caused by it surpass any other disaster in the country, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) member secretary Kamal Kishore said on March 11. Mr. Kishore said that it was a policy issue and deliberations were required.

Vote-from-home facility for citizens above 80, persons with disabilities

In the coming Assembly elections in Karnataka, for the first time, people aged above 80 and persons with disabilities (PwDs) can vote from the comfort of their homes if they are unable to go out to exercise their franchise.

The Election Commission (EC) on Saturday announced that it has introduced a vote-from-home (VFH) facility for the 12.15 lakh people aged above 80 (including 16,976 centenarians) and 5.55 lakh benchmarked PwDs in the Assembly elections in Karnataka. The State has a total of 5.21 crore voters, including 2.59 women voters.

COVID-19 numbers ticking up, Centre seeks more vigilance

Amid a rise in cases of the seasonal influenza subtype H3N2, the Centre on March 11 expressed concern over a gradual increase in the COVID-19 positivity rate in some States and said it needed to be promptly addressed. The country logged 456 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday.

The Centre requested all States and Union Territories to follow operational guidelines for integrated surveillance of respiratory pathogens presenting as cases of influenza-like illness (ILI) or severe acute respiratory infection (SARI).

Land-for-job case | Enforcement Directorate says trail of ₹600 crore detected

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Saturday said that the searches in connection with the land-for-job money laundering case resulted in the detection of “proceeds of crime” currently amounting to ₹600 crore and seized unaccounted cash of ₹1 crore.

Net direct tax collection rises 16.8%, reaches closer to Budget target for 2022-23

India’s net direct tax kitty had risen 16.8% to touch ₹13.73 lakh crore by Friday, reflecting a slight dip in growth over the past month but reaching within striking distance of the Budget target for this year, with three weeks still to go.

Ranks of over 37% SC, ST students asked, reveals survey in IIT-Bombay

“Even EWS (Economically Weaker Sections) people feel that they come here through genuine reservation as compared to us. EWS openly tells our case is genuine unlike you,” a Dalit student of the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-B) said in an Open House on caste discrimination held months before 18-year-old Darshan Solanki, another Dalit student, died by suicide inside the campus, a few months into his Chemical Engineering course. 

Sickle cell screening meets only 1% of target, hurting ambitious elimination goal

With barely two weeks left in the fiscal year, the Health Ministry has completed a miniscule 1% of its ambitious target to scan one crore people for sickle cell disease in 2022-23. The Ministry is starkly behind schedule, having screened just a little over one lakh people this year, according to official data accessed by  The Hindu from the National Health Mission’s portal for sickle cell disease.

Tejashwi Yadav fails to appear before the CBI in land-for-job case

Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav on March 11 did not appear before the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for questioning in connection with the land-for-job scam case, an agency official said.

“In response to the summons, Mr. Yadav expressed his inability to join the probe citing his wife’s health. Another summons will be issued soon. On March 4 also, he had not come,” the official said.

ED questions BRS legislator K. Kavitha in Delhi Excise policy case for nine hours

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on March 11 questioned Bharat Rashtra Samiti (BRS) MLC K. Kavitha, daughter of Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, for about nine hours in connection with the Delhi Excise policy case.

She has been summoned again on March 16 for recording her statement.

Assam Congress initiates grand alliance move against BJP for 2024 Lok Sabha polls 

The Assam unit of Congress has initiated a plan for a grand alliance of smaller parties to take on the Bharatiya Janata Party and its allies for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. 

The move is an attempt to revive the 10-part Mahajot or grand alliance that failed to stop the BJP juggernaut in the 2021 Assembly polls but with a conspicuous omission. The Badruddin Ajmal-led All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) is not in the scheme of things this time.

Health Ministry backs 2017 guidelines that exclude transgender persons, MSM, female sex workers from donating blood

The Union Health Ministry has in the Supreme Court supported its 2017 guidelines, which excludes transgender persons, men having sex with men (MSM) and female sex workers from donating blood, saying they are “at risk” category population groups and sometimes, the public health perspective must trump individual rights.

Russia doesn’t have monopoly on Soviet ties, Ukraine friend of India too: Ukraine MP Yurash

Russia cannot claim a “monopoly” on the relationships of the Soviet Union, said a Ukrainian Member of Parliament (MP), who hoped India’s position on the war of Ukraine will “evolve” to one that is more supportive of Kyiv. The youngest MP in the Ukrainian parliament, 27-year-old Sviatoslav Yurash, has fought in the Ukraine war himself, and has been nicknamed the “MP with an AK-47”, had earlier visited India in 2015 as a student on an exchange programme at Calcutta (Kolkata) University.

Aircraft communications firms, AAI argue against auction for spectrum

The aircraft communications industry argued on March 10 that requiring auctions for the wireless spectrum used for communicating between planes and airports would be burdensome, and that this is not how such spectrum is licensed around the world. The telecom industry, on the other hand, pushed for a very high frequency (VHF) spectrum to be allotted only on the basis of auctions.

After Kapp cuts the Giants down to size, Shafali takes over with stunning assault

Lightning struck twice for Gujarat Giants on Saturday night .First there was a brilliant spell of seam bowling from Marizanne Kapp that broke its batting. And then Shafali Verma launched a stunning assault with the bat that left the Giants fielders, and the excellent crowd at the D.Y. Patil Stadium, dazed.

Shafali’s blitzkrieg (76 not out, 28b, 10×4, 5×6) meant Delhi Capitals went past Giants’ total of 105 with 10 wickets and 12.5 overs to spare.

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