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Telangana to implement 10 per cent quota for EWS

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The Telangana government has decided to implement 10 per cent reservation to the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) in the state, Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao announced on Thursday.

He said a high-level review meeting will be held in the next two to three days on the matter and appropriate orders will be issued.

“There is a need to implement 10 per cent reservation in jobs and education to those economically weaker classes. We have decided to implement 10 per cent reservations to the EWS while continuing the reservations to those who are already enjoying the benefit as it is,” he said.

“As on date in the state, 50 per cent reservations are being implemented to the weaker sections. With 10 per cent reservations to the EWS, the reservation percentage will be 60 per cent,” he added.

It was in 2019 that the Centre had announced 10 per cent quota for EWS but the Telangana government had not taken a decision to implement it in the state.

The Narendra Modi government had told the Supreme Court early this month that the decision to implement the 10 per cent quota for the economically weak sections in states lie with the state governments.

The Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment stated this in response to a petition seeking the implementation of the quota in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

The Telangana legislature in 2017 had already passed a bill enhancing Reservation for Muslims from four per cent to 12 per cent and for Scheduled Tribes (STs) from six per cent to 10 per cent.

The state had requested the Centre to amend the Constitution to relax 50 per cent upper limit for quota to all sections as prescribed by the Supreme Court. Despite repeated demands by the Chief Minister, the Centre did not agree to the proposal.

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KCR master stroke to BJP Hindutva agenda

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Since the GHMC elections, it became clear that the ruling TRS is going to face a tough competition from the BJP. The upper caste Hindu votes in Telangana are indeed a matter of great concern. The Velamas, Reddys, Kammas, Brahmins, Vysyas, etc were largely divided among the TRS, Congress, BJP and to a minor extent TDP.

No doubt, if the BJP is allowed to take forward its Hindutva agenda at the current pace, KCR would have to face a difficult time ahead. The rise of the BJP has led to a triangular fight between the TRS, Congress and BJP in most segments. As a result, small swings in votes would also make or mar the winning chances. The aggressive politics being pursued by BJP Telangana President Bandi Sanjay has posed another challenge.

In the midst of severe competition, KCR has come out with his surprise strategy which has potential to tide over the Hindutva threat to the TRS. The TRS boss has announced 10 percent reservation for the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) candidates among upper castes in education and jobs as well.

Analysts say that it is going to be a timely calculated move that will help the TRS retain its firm hold on the voter mood. Moreover, some sections of the BCs are expected to come under the BJP influence. KCR has no option but to polarise and get a bigger share of the upper caste vote bank for his party to continue its supremacy in the State.

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4,000 healthcare workers to get Covid vaccine on first day in Telangana

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The stage is set for Covid-19 vaccination rollout in Telangana where 4,000 healthcare workers in government-run facilities will receive the first dose on Saturday.

Health authorities have made all arrangements to vaccinate the beneficiaries at 139 centres spread across all 33 districts in the state.

Health minister Eatala Rajender and director of medical education Ramesh Reddy will receive the vaccine at Gandhi Hospital in Hyderabad.

Governor Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan will participate in vaccine rollout programme at Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS).

Ministers, members of Parliament, members of state legislative assembly and council and public representatives down to the level of village sarpanchs will participate in the programme in district and area hospitals and in primary health centres in rural and urban areas.

Director of public health G. Srinivas Rao said Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch the programme in virtual mode at 10.30 a.m. Arrangements have been made for two-way communication at two vaccinations centres at Gandhi Hospital and a rural health centre at Narsingi.

A maximum of 30 beneficiaries will be vaccinated at each centre. The numbers will be ramped up in phases from Monday and in coming days this will reach the maximum level of 100 per centre.

Majority of beneficiaries during the first few days of the vaccination drive will comprise staff from sanitation and security wings of teaching, hospitals, district hospitals and area hospitals and ASHA, Anganwadi and other workers at primary health centres .

The state health authorities have identified 3.15 lakh healthcare workers in government and private institutions and registered them in Cowin application, especially developed for Covid vaccination.

The number of centres for vaccination will also be increased gradually from Monday and in next few days the programme will be conducted at all 1,213 centres depending on the availability of the vaccine doses.

Srinivas Rao said Covid vaccine will be given between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday while routine vaccination programme for children and women will continue every Wednesday and Saturday. There will be no vaccination on Sundays and public holidays.

The state has so far received 3.74 lakh doses from union ministry of health and family welfare and they were stored in 2-8-degree temperature. The authorities have already transported over 50, 000 doses to the districts.

The authorities reassured beneficiaries that both Covishield and Covaxin approved for emergency use by Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) were safe and that there is no need for any apprehensions.

When his attention was drawn to reports that some doctors were not ready to take Covaxin as its third phase trials were not completed, director of public health said there should be no discrimination between vaccines.

He said as per Government of India guidelines consent will be taken from those who will be receiving Covaxin shot. Their health status will be examined and scrutinised before giving the vaccine and after vaccination they will be monitored for seven days for any adverse events. Similar process will be followed after the second dose which will be given after four weeks.

“We should be proud that Covaxin has been developed indigenously and that too on the soil of Telangana. Nobody should have any worried. If necessary, I will take Covaxin in coming days,” he said.

The officials said they were strictly following the protocols prescribed by the union ministry and the directions of Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao to deal with any case of reaction following Covid vaccination.

An observation room has been set up at each centre where every beneficiary will be monitored for 30 minutes after vaccination. The department has arranged vehicles to shift anybody who may develop some reaction after taking the vaccine. Intensive care units with 5-10 beds have been set up at 57 hospitals across the state to tackle such cases. This arrangement will be in place for entire period of vaccination which may last eight to nine months.

“We vaccinate lakhs of people every year under routine immunisation programme. Reactions like pain and developing fever are not uncommon after taking vaccines. One in lakhs may have adverse reaction after vaccination and we are fully geared up to deal with this,” said Ramesh Reddy.

He hopes that Covid vaccination will weaken intensity of the disease as happened in the case of Swine Flu.

“After taking vaccination antibodies will be developed to face the infection. T cells get activated and antibodies kill that particular virus. If this happens we will break the cycle and if we break cycle, the disease will die natural death. Even if it comes back, it will not be intense,” he said.

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Rs 1,000-Cr MassMutual Global centre in Hyderabad

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Hyderabad continues its supremacy in attracting global investments especially from the US. Now, yet another Fortune 500 company signed a deal with Telangana to set up its multi-crore centre in the State. The agreement was reached between IT and Industries Minister KTR and Arthur Reel, technical head of MassMutual, which is an insurance and financial services company with 170 years of experience.

KTR said that it was yet another glowing feather in the cap of Telangana with MassMutual coming to Hyderabad. The company stands in 89th position in the list of Fortune 500 companies in the world. Mass Mutual is now going to set up its Global Capability Centre in the Telangana Capital. It is going to invest Rs. 1,000 Cr in its new centre to be set up in 1.5 lakh sft in the financial district located at Nanakramguda.

KT Rama Rao has said that the company will be initially creating 300 jobs. More than that, the prestigiou Mass Mutual is setting up its first centre outside of the US in Hyderabad city here. This is indeed a big compliment for Telangana State. The IT Minister expressed happiness at Hyderabad going to the next level in its capability to attract international investments by leaps and bounds. All the necessary infrastructure is being created in the cosmopolitan city to meet the emerging needs of its expansion and to welcome future investments. Growth slowed down in Hyderabad between 2015 and 2019 but the city started seeing exponential progress since 2019.

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Covid vaccines to be administered at 1,213 centres in Telangana

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Covid-19 vaccines will be administered at 1,213 centres across Telangana from January 16.

Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao on Monday directed officials to make all preparations for the Covid vaccination. He said arrangements should also be made to treat people who may develop side effects after the jab.

He reviewed the arrangements for vaccination programme during a meeting with the ministers and district collectors. Later, the Chief Minister participated in the video conference with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

A doctor and a room will be made available at each vaccination centre for those who may suffer side effects after the vaccination. An ambulance will also be kept as stand by. A statewide call centre will also be put in place. The Chief Minister asked officials to strictly follow Covid protocols while administering the vaccine.

“The government of India has identified Serum Institute’s Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin as the effective vaccines. We have decided to administer these vaccines in Telangana. Initially, ASHA workers, Anganwadi staff, medical and health employees will be given the vaccine. Later, police, security personnel, sanitary workers and other frontline workers will be covered. Subsequently, the vaccine will be administered to those above 50 years and people with co-morbidities,” the Chief Minister said.

Rao said gram sarpanches and panchayat secretaries should take the responsibility to get the people on priority basis to the vaccination centres. Police Station House Officers and Sub Inspectors should take the responsibility of getting the vaccine for the police and other security personnel.

The government has already made the necessary arrangements to give vaccine in all the primary health centres. In all, 866 cold chain points have been created to transport the vaccine, and volunteers are ready at all the stages.

A committee headed by the Chief Secretary will monitor the vaccination programme.

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T’gana to finalise Covid vaccine distribution plan on Jan 11

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The government of Telangana will finalise an action plan for administering Covid-19 vaccine in the state on January 11.

Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao has convened a meeting with all ministers and district collectors to discuss the distribution of vaccine.

The meeting will also discuss the coronavirus situation and measures taken to contain its spread. Administering of the corona vaccine to the people will also be discussed at the proposed meeting. An action plan will be finalised at the meeting on distributing the vaccine to all the regions and administering the vaccine to the people on a prioritised method, said the Chief Minister’s Office.

The Chief Minister will also take a decision on reopening of the educational institutions in the state.

The meeting will discuss and decide when to reopen the classes, from which standard classes should begin and how to manage the classes. The CMO said the meeting will review the method followed in other states.

The meeting will also discuss several important issues of Revenue, Panchayat Raj, Medical and Health, Municipal, Education, Forestry and other departments and take decisions.

The Chief Minister recently held a meeting with senior officials and collectors on issues relating to the Revenue department. At the January 11 meeting, revenue matters like mutations, Sada Bainamas regularisation, setting up of the tribunals and other related issues would be discussed. The meeting will finalise the action plan to solve all the revenue issues speedily.

The meeting will review the implementation of ‘Palle Pragathi’ and ‘Pattana Pragathi’ programmes. The meeting will discuss whether the funds are being given on time and how they are being utilized. A review will also be done on the progress of works under Palle Pragathi and Pattana Pragathi programmes.

The implementation of the Haritha Haram programme aimed at increasing the green cover in the state will also be reviewed. Discussion will also take place on the measures taken to increase the green cover in the villages and urban areas and the programmes to be taken up in future.

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CM KCR ‘peshi’ running land, sand and drug mafia: BJP

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The counter attack on the arrest of TDP leader Bhuma Akhila Priya came from unexpected quarters. The BJP has taken advantage of the Hafeezpet Rs. 2,000 Cr land dispute to corner the TRS regime. Former MLA and senior BJP Telangana leader NVSS Prabhakar has straightaway demanded the KCR Government to explain about the role of his relatives in the Hafeezpet land scam.

The BJP leader alleged that KCR’s family members were also involved in the land dispute. The KCR Government’s land regularisation scheme and Dharani were aimed at protecting the illegal encroachers only. The police should bring out facts about the involvement of the TRS leaders along with Akhila Priya and Praveen Rao in the Hafeezpet lands issue.

Mr. NVSS Prabhakar alleged that CM KCR’s peshi has become a hub for the sand, land and drug mafia which is ruling the roost in Hyderabad and surroundings. The TRS and the MIM leaders have a role in the Hafeezpet lands dispute. It is an open secret that the KCR’s family hand is there behind every land scam in the Telangana Capital.
Doubtless to say, the BJP is all set to use the multi-crore land scams along with the religious issues to attack and counter KCR in the coming days.

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BJP’s Hyderabad corporators try to lay siege to CM’s residence

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The newly-elected corporators of BJP in Hyderabad on Tuesday tried to lay siege to the Telangana Chief Minister’s official residence, protesting the delay in formation of GHMC council.

The corporators of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) gathered near ‘Pragati Bhavan’, the official residence of the chief minister, and raised slogans against the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government.

They said though a month has passed since declaration of results of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), the government has not formed the council.

The corporators, who were carrying party flags and placards, questioned the delay in issuing a notification to constitute the council.

They said despite being elected to GHMC, they are unable to undertake any works in their wards. They said corporators elected in 2016 elections were still acting as sitting corporators.

They held a meeting at Hotel Haritha Plaza near Pragati Bhavan and after the meeting tried to proceed towards Pragati Bhavan to lay the siege.

However, police swung into action to detain the corporators and shift them to police vehicles.

The corporators recently met Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan to complain that State Election Commission (SEC) has not issued gazette notification constituting GHMC council.

Elections to 150-member GHMC were held on December 1 and the results were declared on December 4.

Ruling TRS emerged as the single largest party by winning 56 seats but fell short of majority while BJP put up an impressive show to emerge as the second largest party with 48 seats. Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) finished third with 44 seats.

The election of mayor and deputy mayor will take place next month after the issue of gazette notification constituting the council.

The council will have 191 members including 41 ex-officio members. TRS has 30 ex-officio members while BJP has only two.

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Corona recoveries cross 2.80-lakh mark in Telangana

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Covid-19 recoveries in Telangana crossed the 2.80-lakh mark on Sunday as 574 more patients recovered during the last 24 hours, even as the state reported 394 new cases.

Even as the total tally increased to 2,87,502, the active cases dropped further to 5,388, including 3,210 in home or institutional isolation.

The recoveries now total 2,80,565 in Telangana, which has a recovery rate of 97.58 per cent as against a national average of 96.1 per cent.

Three more Covid-19 fatalities during the last 24 hours took the state’s death toll to 1,549. The fatality rate remained 0.53 per cent as against a national average of 1.4 per cent.

According to Director of Public Health and Family Welfare, 44.96 per cent deaths were due to Covid-19 and 55.04 per cent had comorbidities.

As many as 40,190 samples were tested — 36,875 in government and 3,315 in private labs.

There are 18 government and 56 private laboratories and 1,076 Rapid Antigen test centres in the state.

Samples tested per million population ratio rose further to 1,87,842.

Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation reported 81 new cases, the fifth time in a week when it has registered less than 100 new cases.

Rangareddy district followed with 36 new cases, Medchal Malkajgiri (29), Karimnagar (29), Warangal Urban (16), and Bhadradri Kothagudem (15).

Over 90 per cent beds in government and private hospitals treating Covid-19 patients in Telangana remained vacant.

Out of 8,577 beds available in 61 government hospitals treating Covid-19 patients, 7,779 beds are vacant. A total of 798 patients were undergoing treatment in these hospitals.

Similarly, in 219 private hospitals treating Covid-19 patients, only 1,380 of the 7,790 beds are occupied.

The data shows that 63.9 per cent of positive cases so far were aged between 21 and 50, 22.91 per cent aged above 51, and 13.18 per cent below 20.

Of the total cases, 60.44 per cent were males and 39.37 per cent females.

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Covid vax dry run underway at 46 centres in Telugu states

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A dry run of Covid-19 vaccination was underway Saturday at 46 centres in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana as part of nationwide assessment of preparedness of health authorities to implement the programme when the vaccine is made available.

The trial run was being conducted at 39 centres in Andhra Pradesh and seven centres in Telangana. Officials said the process was underway in a smooth manner.

In Andhra Pradesh, where the first phase of dry run was conducted at five centres in Krishna district on December 28, the process was conducted at three centres in each of the 13 districts on Saturday.

Dummy beneficiaries lined up at four designated centres in Hyderabad and at three centres in Mahabubnagar district at 9 a.m. to receive the vaccine.

Except the actual vaccine, the health personnel at the centres followed all guidelines under the vaccine protocol.

The dry run is aimed at testing the planned operations and the laid out mechanisms for Covid-19 vaccination in the state. It will provide insights on any gaps or bottlenecks so that those could be addressed before the commencement of the actual vaccination drive, officials said.

In Hyderabad, the dry run was conducted at Urban Primary Health Centre at Tilaknagar, Area Hospital at Nampally, Gandhi Hospital and Yashoda Hospital at Somajiguda.

In Mahbubnagar district, the identified centres are Primary Health Centre at Janampet, Government General Hospital at Mahbubnagar and Neha Sunshine Hospital at Mahbubnagar.

Governor Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan visited Urban Primary Health Centre at Tilaknagar in Hyderabad to see the dry run. She interacted with the health officials deployed at the centre. They explained to her various stages of the process.

Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had asked the state to choose the centres in the state capital and a relatively inaccessible terrain in the state to hold the trial run to strengthen the system ahead of the actual rollout.

Identified beneficiaries participated in the dry run at each session site where the process was conducted with all Covid appropriate behaviour measures.

For each centre, 25 test beneficiaries, mostly employees of health department, were identified for the dry run. They were sent dummy SMSes on Friday night informing them about the time and place of Covid vaccination.

Sanitation was done and physical distancing was maintained at all sites. When the intended benificiaries reported at the sites, they were subjected to temperature check and guided to waiting room.

Vaccinating officers checked the names of the beneficiaries in the list and uploaded their details like name, age and Aadhaar number Co-WIN (Covid Vaccine Intelligence Network) application. Another vaccination officer gave the dummy vaccine and uploaded the information in the Co-WIN app.

The beneficiaries were made to wait for 30 minutes following vaccination to observe their condition. Adverse Event Following Immunization (AEFI) treatment facility was also set up at each centre with 10 beds e by appointing a general medicine doctor as the in-charge.

At each centre, AEFI kits with emergency medicines were also arranged to administer medication in case of complications

Telangana’s Director of Public Health G. Srinivasa Rao said it was merely a demonstration to test the preparedness.

The process also assessed the logistics involved in shifting vaccines from storage points to vaccination centres and the health workers were briefed about the temperatures at which the vaccines were to be stored.

Health department officials expect Covid-19 vaccination to begin this month. They said the department was ready to roll out the vaccine within 24-48 hours of the Centre giving the approval and providing the required doses.

Telangana health minister Eatala Rajender stated that 10,000 health workers will be deployed for vaccination. He said the state has the capacity to administer vaccine to about 10 lakh people every day.

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22 members of Telangana family test positive for Covid

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Just when the Covid-19 cases in Telangana appeared to be on a downward trend, as many as 22 members of a family in Suryapet town have tested positive.

Health officials said on Saturday that the family members were found infected after they attended the last rites of a relative a few days ago.

Those tested positive are residents of a gated community in the town. According to District Medical and Health Officer K. Harshvardhan, none of them has any symptoms.

“They are under home isolation. We are monitoring their condition,” he said.

The official also clarified that none of the family members has history of air travel and ruled out their being infected by the new mutant strain of the virus recently found in the UK.

One of the family members, a Tuberculosis patient, tested positive during regular check-ups. Since he had attended the funeral of a relative, others who were present were also alerted.

The health department got Covid test conducted on a group of 38 people and of them 22 were found infected.

This is the first incident after nearly four months in which such a large number of people from one family has tested positive.

Officials said the family members who had gathered for the last rites were related to a 70-year-old man, who did not follow measures such as wearing face mask and physical distancing.

Authorities sounded an alert and collected samples of the neighbours. They also took up sanitsation in the township. The officials said there was no community transmission.

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Telangana dovetails Arogyasri with Ayushman Bharat

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After rejecting Ayushman Bharat scheme for more than two years, the Telangana government on Wednesday announced it decided to dovetail the state’s Arogyasri scheme with Centre’s programme.

Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar informed Prime Minister Narendra Modi that Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao has taken a decision to combine the two.

The Prime Minister on Wednesday held a video conference with Chief Secretaries of all the states to review the progress of various infrastructure projects, Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Manthri Jan Aarogya Yojana, Jal Jeevan Mission etc.

Telangana said that through Mission Bhagiratha, it has provided safe tap water to all households. The Centre has acknowledged that 98.5 per cent of the households in Telangana have been covered with safe drinking tap water.

The state government’s decision has come as a surprise as it has been maintaining that Arogyasri scheme is comprehensive and better than Ayushman Bharat.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had been criticizing the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government for not implementing Ayushman Bharat.

BJP leaders had raised this issue in the recent elections to Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC). Party President J.P. Nadda had targeted the state government for depriving people of Telangana of the benefits of Ayushman Bharat, which provides Rs 5 lakh health coverage.

Rejecting Ayushman Bharat in favour of Aarogyasri medical health cover scheme for the poor, Chandrasekhar Rao had stated in the Assembly last year that the state government is not interested in wasting public money on those central schemes which are not beneficial to the people.

While presenting the state budget, KCR had claimed that Arogyasri was more beneficial and had a wider outreach than the Ayushman Bharat scheme and that the government is spending Rs 1,336 crore a year to help 85.34 lakh families.

With Ayushman Bharat, it is possible for the state to provide medical benefits only to the extent of Rs 250 crore a year benefiting only 26 lakh families, he had said.

KCR had also claimed that through Arogyasri, the state government is extending services relating to 25 distinct organ transplant procedures free of cost which is not available under Ayushman Bharat scheme.

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KCR too faces charges of running a ‘mad Tughlaq’ rule

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All Opposition parties in AP are constantly attacking and terming the Jagan Reddy regime as an ‘insane Tughlaq’ rule. The YCP’s policies regarding colours on Government offices, demolitions and cancellations came in for severe criticism. Now, the Telangana Opposition parties have also started using similar allegations against the TRS rule.

The Congress leaders are now describing KCR’s regime as a ‘mad Tughlaq’ rule because of its non-stop policies against the interests of the people. Congress senior leader Komatireddy Venkat Reddy says that KCR’s latest decision on the layout regularisation scheme (LRS) will make even Tughlaq go mad.

Komatireddy asked how the Government would go ahead with the registrations without the LRS when the scheme was not scrapped. He asked KCR to first revoke the LRS scheme and then give a green signal for the registrations. If KCR does not cancel the LRS, then the Telangana people would permanently cancel the TRS party.

In his usual style, Komatireddy challenged that he would begin protests and agitations to expose KCR’s unacceptable policies. The Congress leader threatened to bring down the KCR rule with his non-stop crusade. The question is whether Telangana Congress leaders are thinking of a united fight at all even after the humiliating defeat in the GHMC polls.

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2020, a year of challenges for TRS

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The coronavirus pandemic, its impact on Telangana’s finances, challenges faced by the TRS government on various fronts, floods in Hyderabad and BJP’s emergence as the main opposition party marked 2020 in Telangana.

Like in other states of the country and other parts of the world, Covid dominated everything else during the year. Its impact on the state’s revenues also created a host of problems for the state.

One of the first states to report Covid-19 cases, Telangana did well to keep the situation under control. The state initially came under flak from public health experts and also faced ire of the state high court on several occasions for fewer testing. However, the authorities later ramped up testing and also took effective steps.

Health Minister Eatala Rajender claimed that Telangana was the first state in the country to announce lockdown and it was also the first state to alert the Centre over the spread of virus by the Tabilighi Jamaat conclave in Delhi.

After the public uproar over exploitation of pandemic situation by the corporate hospitals, the government stepped in to fix the tariff both for the Covid diagnosis and treatment.

The state government also claimed to have set an example for others by making all arrangements to send back migrant labourers to their respective states by special trains. The state government footed the bill for the same.

Hyderabad, known as the bulk drug capital of India, was also in the news for manufacturing of lifesaving Covid-19 drugs like Remdesivir, Hydroxychloroquine and Favipiravir by some of the top pharma companies based here.

Subsequently, the city also described as the vaccine capital of the world, hit the headlines for the development of vaccines for Covid-19. At least four companies based here are developing Covid vaccines. Bharat Biotech is working on India’s first indigenous Covid-19 vaccine Covaxin.

Another city-based firm Biological E last month initiated a clinical trial of its subunit vaccine candidate in India following approval from the Drugs Controller General of India (DGCI).

BE is making the vaccine in collaboration with Dynavax Technologies Corporation (Dynavax), a US-based vaccine focused biopharmaceutical company, and Baylor College of Medicine, a health sciences university in Houston.

Envoys of over 60 countries also visited the facilities of the two companies early this month. The visit was organised by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and it was part of India’s efforts to develop partnerships for the manufacture and delivery of vaccines.

In October, Hyderabad saw one of the worst floods in the city’s history due to heavy rainfall. At least 50 people were killed in and around the city. Hundreds of colonies were inundated.

The TRS government came under criticism from opposition for its failure to handle floods but the government defended itself saying there is no city in the country which is not affected by floods.

Telangana also claimed to be the only state in the country to provide financial assistance of Rs10,000 each to all the families affected. The government has so far spent over Rs 600 crore for distributing the assistance among 6.64 lakh families.

The state’s relations with the Centre also came under strain with Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao alleging that the state received no funds from the Centre for tackling the pandemic and for relief and rehabilitation in the flood-affected Hyderabad. He also slammed the Centre for not coming forward to help the states facing financial problems due to the pandemic.

A war of words also broke out between the TRS and the BJP leaders over the Central funds. While the BJP leaders claimed the Centre provided funds for the state’s schemes, the TRS countered saying the state contributed much more to the Centre in the form of taxes than what it received.

The ruling party faced toughest challenges since the formation of the Telangana state in 2014. The BJP emerged as the main opposition party with its victory in the Dubbak Assembly bypoll and impressive performance in Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) elections.

Despite the impact of pandemic on its economy, the state continued implementation of various welfare schemes. It set up purchasing centres in villages to buy paddy and maize from farmers to ensure that they don’t suffer losses during the pandemic.

The state also continued to attract the investment despite the challenges. Several firms, including marquee names announced investments of over Rs 30,000 crore over the last six months.

The state also took initiatives to expand information technology to tier-II cities. Within Hyderabad, the government took measures to disperse IT growth beyond the clusters of Hitec City and Gachibowli.

Under its ambitious plans to take IT growth to all corners of the city, the government announced GRID (Growth in Dispersion) policy. Authorities issued orders to convert as many as 11 industrial parks into IT parks.

Telangana clocked over Rs 1.28 lakh crore of IT exports during 2019-20, a growth of nearly 18 per cent over the previous year. This growth was registered despite the onset of the Covid-19 during the last quarter of 2019-2020.

The growth rate was more than double the national average of 8.09 per cent and more than two-and-a-half times the rest of the nation’s average of 6.92 per cent.

The number of jobs in the IT sector in the state went up from 5,43,033 to 5,82,126, a growth of 7.20 per cent compared to national average of 4.93 per cent.

The year saw no major law and order problems. However, Maoists continued their attempts to revive their activities in the districts bordering Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra. They tried to regroup themselves by taking advantage of the pandemic situation.

In September and October, 10 Maoists were killed in separate exchanges of gunfight with police. Most of the killings happened in Bhadradri Kothagudem district bordering Chhattisgarh.

Maoists also killed a worker of the ruling TRS and a couple of others branding them as police informers.

The state also brought a new Revenue Act to usher in a new era of land transactions. Dharani portal was launched as a one stop solution for all land related transactions. The aim was to provide a transparent and corruption free system.

The registration process was stopped to ensure smooth transition to the new system. Though registration of the agricultural land resumed in October in a smooth manner, the process for non-agricultural properties was delayed. The government had to revert to the old system after the high court ruled that the government can’t insist that the applicants submit their Aadhaar card details. The hiccups dented the state’s revenues.

The Land regularisation Scheme (LRS) scheme announced by the government also evoked criticism with the opposition targeting the government for trying to fill the coffers by burdening people during the pandemic.

The government also came under attack for demolition of the old secretariat to construct a new building during the pandemic .

As one of the 10 buildings in the complex was heritage structure built in 1888 the demolition was strongly opposed by groups working for heritage conservation. Demolition of two mosques and one temple in the secretariat premises also triggered an outrage.

Strong reaction by Muslim groups forced the government to announce that the place of worship will be rebuilt. For the first time in six years, the TRS came under sharpest attack from the Muslim groups, who lodged their protest over the government organizing birth centenary celebrations of former Prime Minister P. V. Narasimha Rao.

Earlier this year, the KCR government was hailed by the community when the state legislature passed a resolution opposing the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Population Register (NPR), and National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Chandrasekhar Rao stated that the CAA and the other two processes are methods being used to ‘tinker with the inclusive and non-religious nature of the citizenship.

The year also saw the end of the bonhomie witnessed between the Telangana and the Andhra Pradesh governments since May 2019 when YSR Congress Party stormed to power in the neighbouring states. They accused each other of building illegal projects over the Godavari and Krishna rivers and sought the Centre’s intervention.

The year saw Hyderabad Metro Rail becoming the second largest metro rail network in the country with 69.2 km operational distance when the stretch from Jubilee Bus Station (JBS) to Mahatma Gandhi Bus Station (MGBS) was thrown open.

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T’gana records 472 new Covid cases taking tally to 2,84,863

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Two more persons succumbed to Covid-19 while 472 new infections were reported in Telangana on Sunday, health officials said.

During the last 24 hours, 472 new positive cases were reported from across the state taking the state’s tally going up to 2,84,863.

The fresh fatalities pushed the state’s tally to 1,531.

The fatality rate remained 53 per cent as against the national average of 1.4 per cent.

According to the Director of Public Health and Family Welfare, 44.96 per cent of the deaths occurred due to Covid-19 while 55.04 per cent had comorbidities.

Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) reported 106 new cases. Medchal Malkajgiri district saw the second highest number of new cases at 45, followed by Rangareddy (44), Nalgonda (23), Mancherial (19), Warangal Urban (18) and Karimnagar (17).

The state saw 509 recoveries during the last 24 hours, taking the cumulative Covid numbers to 2,76,753.

The recovery rate stands at 97.15 per cent as against the national average of 95.8 per cent.

At present, the number of active cases in the state is 6,579, including 4,426 persons who are in home or institutional quarantine.

More than 90 per cent of beds in government-run and private hospitals treating Covid-19 in the state remained vacant.

Of 8,559 beds available in 61 government hospitals treating Covid-19, 7,801 beds were vacant. As many as 758 people were undergoing treatment at these hospitals.

Similarly, in 219 private hospitals treating Covid, only 1,395 beds were occupied. Of 7,783 beds, 6,388 were vacant.

Of the 37,347 tests conducted during the last 24 hours, government-run laboratories accounted for 34,135 while the remaining 3,212 samples were tested in private labs.

The samples tested per million population ratio rose further to 1,80,647.

The daily testing target for the state is 5,600 as per the World Health Organisation (WHO) benchmark of 140 per million per day, officials said.

Eighteen government-run laboratories, 56 private laboratories and 1,076 Rapid Antigen test centres are conducting the tests in the state.

The data shows that 63.9 per cent of those testing Covid positive were between 21 and 50 years. As many as 22.91 per cent were above 51 years. The positive cases include 13.18 per cent who were below 20 years.

Of the overall Covid cases, 60.44 per cent were male and 39.37 per cent female.

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7 UK returnees to Telangana test positive for Covid-19

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Seven travellers from the United Kingdom to Telangana have tested positive for Covid-19, state health officials said on Thursday.

Their samples have been sent to the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) to find out if they had been infected with the new strain of coronavirus.

Officials told state Health Minister Eatala Rajender at a review meeting that those who tested positive are being monitored closely. The health department is also trying to trace those who came in contact with these seven persons.

The Health Minister reviewed the situation in the wake of the concern caused by a new strain of coronavirus found in the UK.

Officials said that 1,200 people reached Telangana either directly from the UK or travelled through the UK since December 9. The health department identified 846 people and conducted tests on them. Seven of them have tested positive. They said those who tested negative are also being monitored.

The Health Minister urged the people to be alert in view of the warning by health experts that the new strain of coronavirus can spread rapidly.

He appealed to the people to limit Christmas and New Year celebrations to their homes and take all precautions suggested by the government to check the spread of the virus. He urged people not to forget wearing masks, maintaining social distance and washing their hands frequently.

Rajender said that since vaccine is being seen as the only way to eliminate the fear of coronavirus, the government is making all arrangements to ensure administration of vaccine as and when it is available. He discussed with officials the arrangements for vaccine transportation, storage and distribution.

The minister said 10,000 health personnel are being trained to administer the vaccine. “If they can vaccinate 100 people each, we can administer the vaccine to 10 lakh people every day,” he said.

The government has prepared a plan to vaccinate 70 to 80 lakh people in the first phase. Health, police, municipal and fire personnel and aged people will be covered in the initial phase. The second dose has to be given 28 days after the first dose.

The minister said the required software for vaccine administration programme is ready as he directed the officials to ensure supply of drinking water, tents and chairs at the vaccine centres.

The minister also asked officials to make fool-proof arrangements for the required cold chain, supply of vaccine, training to the personnel and the facilities at the vaccine centres.

The meeting was also attended by health secretary S.A.M. Rizvi, family welfare commissioner Vakati Karuna, medical education director Ramesh Reddy, director of public health Srinivas Rao, Telangana State Medical Infrastructure Development Corporation MD Chandrasekhar Reddy, and member of expert committee on Covid-19, Gangadhar.

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1,200 UK returnees to Telangana to undergo tests

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Telangana medical and health department has decided to conduct medical tests on 1,200 passengers who travelled to the state directly from the United Kingdom after December 9.

Director of public health G. Srinivasa Rao said that the department is collecting the details to conduct tests on all of them. The officials are inquiring about their health condition.

The department has appealed to all those who came directly to the state from the UK after December 9 or had travelled through the UK to provide their details by calling on 040-24651119 or text on WhatsApp to 9154170960. The health department staff will visit their homes and conduct the test.

The health authorities said they are fully alert following the impact of a new strain of coronavirus in the UK and some other countries. A decision has been taken to employ tracing, testing and treatment method to prevent the spread of the virus.

“We are collecting details of the flyers who returned from the UK and examining their health condition. We have found that 1,200 passengers have returned to Telangana from the UK since December 9,” the director said.

The department also stated that none of the UK returnees have tested positive so far. With the government’s timely decisions and measures and with people’s cooperation, the state has been successful in controlling the spread of the virus and the number of deaths, he said.

“We urge people to cooperate in the same fashion in the future also. People need not worry or get panicked with the new virus strain but they should be vigilant. Using mask properly, following physical distancing and washing your hands regularly is important,” he added.

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Telangana demands rollback of wage cut for Gulf workers

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The Telangana government has demanded the immediate rollback of the latest notifications by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), lowering the Minimum Referral Wages (MRW) of Indian labour in the Gulf countries by 30-50 per cent.

During an interaction with members of NRI associations here on Wednesday, Member of Telangana Legislative Council K. Kavitha made a strong demand for rolling back the ‘regressive’ order.

She stated that about 90 lakh migrants from across the country are currently working in the Gulf countries and among these a majority belong to the states of Telangana, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Kerala.

Kavitha, who is the daughter of Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, said that MEA support is very limited for the immigrants who already work in harsh conditions, even in comparison to smaller countries like the Philippines.

She said that this move will give the respective countries a reason to further reduce the current and existing wages of the migrants.

She also slammed the BJP for the ‘unruly’ notification and said that the country already lags behind in having a strong immigrant policy. The new notification will only add to the troubles of the immigrants.

Kavitha added that the notification also opens the possibility of massive job loss, loss of capital and employment at forced minimum wages.

Earlier, NRI Affairs Minister K.T. Rama Rao urged Union Minister for External Affairs S. Jaishankar to reconsider the notification and address the fears expressed by migrant workers from Telangana working in the Gulf countries.

In a series of tweets on Tuesday, Rama Rao said the recent circulars were a cause of huge concern as the wages of lakhs of Telangana migrant workers in the Gulf countries will get adversely impacted.

“Already there is considerable distress among all migrant workers due to wage losses as a result of Covid-19 and lockdowns. I request you to use your good offices to ensure that our migrant workers’ interests are protected. Urge you to take up the matter at the earliest,” he tweeted, tagging Jaishankar.

The new move is likely to impact more than seven lakh Telangana workers in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and other Gulf countries.

The Overseas Employment and Protector General of Emigrants Division in the Ministry of External Affairs issued two separate circulars on September 8 and 21. The MEA fixed MRW at $200 for workers going to Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and the UAE, and $245 for Kuwait and $324 for Saudi Arabia.

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Telangana urges Centre to release Rs 1,204 cr under MGNREGS

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The Telangana government has urged the Centre to release Rs 1,024 crore towards material and admin components of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).

State Panchayati Raj and Rural Development Minister, Errabelli Dayakar Rao has written a letter to Union Rural Development, Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, and Panchayati Raj Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, urging him to expedite the release of the pending amount so as to complete the ongoing works and creation of assets under MGNREGS.

Rao wrote that MNREGS is under implementation in 12,770 gram panchayats covering 540 rural mandals of 32 districts in the state.

During the year, wage employment was provided to 51.87 lakh wage seekers belonging to 29.87 lakh households. As on date, 13.37 crore person days were generated i.e 97.3 per cent achievement of the total annual approved labour budget of 13.75 crore person days, reads the letter.

The state minister pointed out that under MGNREGS scheme, the outstanding material liability pertaining to 2019-20 is Rs 526 crore. Out of this, the Centre’s share is Rs 394.50 crore.

Further an amount of Rs 1,503.66 crore is the material component entitlement to be received for this year so far, based on the wage expenditure of Rs 2,255.50 crore. Out of this, an amount of Rs 1,127.75 crore is the Centre’s share. The admin component to be received from the Centre during the year is Rs 197 crore.

“As such a total of Rs 1,719.23 crore is to be received from the government of India during this year towards material and admin components but an amount of Rs 694.66 crore only has been received, leaving a balance of Rs 1,024.59 crore yet to be received from the government of India,” wrote Rao.

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Telangana’s Covid recovery rate crosses 97%

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Telangana’s Covid-19 recovery rate has crossed 97 per cent with 643 people recovering from the virus during the last 24 hours, officials said on Sunday.

The state continues to see more recoveries than daily count of new infections. With the latest recoveries, the cumulative number rose to 2,73,013.

Telangana’s recovery rate of 97.01 per cent is higher than the national average of 95.5 per cent.

The state reported 592 new positive cases during the last 24 hours, taking the tally to 2,81,414.

Three more persons succumbed to the virus during the same period, pushing the toll to 1,513.

The state’s Covid fatality rate remains at 0.53 per cent against the national average of 1.5 per cent.

According to the Director of Public Health and Family Welfare, 44.96 per cent of the deaths were due to Covid while the remaining 55.04 per cent were on account of comorbidities.

The state now has 6,888 active cases and of them 4,719 are in home or institutional isolation.

Over 90 per cent of beds in government-run and private hospitals treating Covid-19 in the state remained vacant.

Out of 8,561 beds available in 61 government hospitals treating Covid, 7,793 beds were vacant. A total of 768 people were undergoing treatment in these hospitals.

Similarly, in 219 private hospitals treating Covid patients, only 1,401 beds were occupied.

Out of 7,920 beds, 6,519 were vacant.

Of the new cases reported during last 24 hours, Greater Hyderabad accounted for 119. The daily count in districts remained in single or double digits.

Medchal Malkajgiri district saw the second highest number of new cases at 70 followed by Rangareddy (57), Warangal Urban (40), Karimnagar (26) and Sangareddy (20).

Of the 41,970 tests conducted during the last 24 hours, government-run laboratories accounted for 38,250 while remaining 3,720 samples were tested in private labs.

Samples tested per million population ratio rose further to 1,73,107.

The daily testing target for the state is 5,600 per day as per the World Health Organisation (WHO) benchmark of 140 per million per day, officials said.
Out of total 2,80,195 positive cases so far, 70 per cent (1,96,990) were asymptomatic while the remaining 30 per cent (84,424) were symptomatic.

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