QBullet: States Ready for Migrants’ Return; Way Cleared for Uddhav
Top stories of the day.
1. Across States, Officials Gear up to Handle Migrants’ Return
Several states appointed nodal authorities and kick-started formalities to bring back their residents – migrant workers, students and pilgrims, among others – who are stranded in different parts of the country because of the ongoing lockdown imposed to stop the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.
According to state government estimates, there are close to 10 million migrant workers stranded in different states, who will travel back home by bus, in possibly the biggest such exercise India has ever witnessed.
While Maharashtra has a few thousand workers stranded in other states, it has close to a million workers from other states. Of these, around 5.7 lakh labourers are living in 4600-odd shelter homes in various districts of the state. State government officials said 1.7 lakh of them want to return.
2. Way Cleared for Uddhav, Governor Asks EC to Hold Polls
Maharashtra Governor B S Koshyari on Thursday, 30 April, asked the Election Commission to hold elections to nine Legislative Council seats in the state “at the earliest”. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray needs to win from one of those seats to become a member of the legislature before a six-month deadline expiring on 27 May.
Sources told The Indian Express that the EC is likely to agree to Koshyari’s request and hold polls to the nine seats, which fell vacant on 24 April, at the earliest. The poll panel has called a meeting Friday morning to examine the matter.
The Governor’s letter to the EC came hours after Shiv Sena leaders submitted a letter to him from Thackeray, and two days after the CM approached Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the matter.
3. Indigenous Tests Kits to Be Ready by Mid-May: Centre
Indigenous antibody-based rapid test (blood test) kits and real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) swab-based kits for the coronavirus developed by laboratories running under the ministry of science and technology will be ready around the middle of May, said health miniser Dr Harsh Vardhan.
“The next couple of weeks are going to be crucial as we will get to see results of some of our research and development work by scientists working under the ministry of science and technology. Around mid May we will have indigenous development of good quality antibody test kits, and also kits for detection of the virus (RT-PCR kits). All of this will come in May; thanks to our scientists,” said Union health minister Harsh Vardhan.
4. Second Stimulus: Govt Plans Targeting Based on Need, MSMEs to Begin With
AS the Covid pandemic and the prolonged lockdown batter all sectors of the economy, the government, sources said, is working on a rescue package that, for now, may address the needs of the micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) segment rather than the larger corporate sector.
More than six meetings have been held at the Prime Minister’s Office — including Thursday’s with Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal — to discuss the scope and quantum of the second fiscal package.
“The Prime Minister has been asking ‘searching’ questions. What probably weighs in his mind is the aftermath of the massive stimulus the government imparted following the 2008 global financial crisis. Few large industrial groups made the most of the monetary and fiscal stimulus, built huge and unsustainable balance sheets, left banks with large NPAs, and this also led to high inflation,” said a source who did not wish to be named.
5. Coronavirus | Recovery Rate Rises to 25%, Says Government
India reported 1,823 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of cases to 33,610 on Thursday with 8,373 recoveries. An additional 71 deaths have now taken the total number of fatalities to 1,074.
The deaths include 32 from Maharashtra, 16 from Gujarat, 11 from Madhya Pradesh and three from Uttar Pradesh, the Union Health Ministry said.
According to Ministry data, the highest number of confirmed cases in the country are from Maharashtra at 9,915, followed by Gujarat at 4,082, Delhi at 3,439, Madhya Pradesh at 2,660, Rajasthan at 2,438, Uttar Pradesh at 2,203 and Tamil Nadu at 2,162. The number has gone up to 1,403 in Andhra Pradesh and 1,012 in Telangana.
6. New Parliament Project Gets Central Vista Panel Nod
The government’s plan to construct a new Parliament building was approved by the Central Vista Committee at a meeting on 23 April with the suggestion that the design be “in sync” with the existing Parliament House, according to the minutes of the meeting sent to its members on Thursday, 30 April.
The committee, which is chaired by Central Public Works Department (CPWD) additional director general (works) Anant Kumar, met through videoconferencing. None of the non-government members from the Indian Institute of Architects (IIA) and the Institute of Town Planners was in attendance.
“It is placed for record here with that some members, through email, expressed their inability to join the meeting on grounds of travel restrictions in view of COVID-19 and owing to lack of technical capacity at their end to join online web cased conference facility,” the minutes stated.
7. Quarantine, Mandatory Use of Aarogya Setu App: Gurgaon’s Fresh Border Restrictions
Quarantine for those entering Gurgaon with essential goods and mandatory use of Aarogya Setu app by all commuters are among some of the measures set to be taken by the Gurgaon administration as additional restrictions on public movement come into effect on all borders points of the district starting Friday morning.
“The district shares its border with the NCT of Delhi and is on crossroads of major transport routes. A considerable number of people travel to Gurugram and back across district border because of either their workplace or residence being located here…” an order issued by the District Magistrate said, adding, “despite the lockdown efforts, there still have been cases of COVID-19 in Gurugram district with the contact history traced to cross-border sources.”
8. Can’t Locate UNSC Listed Terrorists in Pak, Imran Khan Govt Tells UNSC Panel
The decision by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government to delete nearly 4,000 names from its terror watch list was part of a well-orchestrated effort to scrub its terror record clean not just at home, but also at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), people familiar with the developments told Hindustan Times.
Islamabad has told a visiting team of a UNSC monitoring committee that it had been unable to act against numerous individuals listed in its sanctions list because the UN panel had given “insufficient information”.
The UNSC 1267 Sanctions List has 130 names from Pakistan.
9. Russian Prime Minister Tests Positive for COVID-19
Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin says he has tested positive for the new coronavirus and has told President Vladimir Putin he will self-isolate.
First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov will temporarily perform Mishustin’s duties, but the prime minister said on Thursday that he would stay in touch on key issues.
During a video call, Mr. Putin voiced hope that Mishustin would continue taking part in drafting policies to shore up the Russian economy, which has been hurt by the virus pandemic.
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