Serum Institute seeks inclusion of Covid jab Covovax in CoWIN portal as heterologous booster dose for adults

The Indian Express | 1 week ago | 18-01-2023 | 05:45 pm

Serum Institute seeks inclusion of Covid jab Covovax in CoWIN portal as heterologous booster dose for adults

Serum Institute of India has written to the Union Health Ministry seeking the inclusion of its Covid vaccine Covovax in the CoWIN portal as a heterologous booster dose for adults, official sources said on Wednesday.The letter was written by Prakash Kumar Singh, Director, Government and Regulatory Affairs at Serum Institute of India (SII), they said.National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) is likely to hold a meeting soon to decide on the matter.The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) on January 16 approved market authorisation for Covovax as a heterologous booster dose for adults who have been administered two doses of either Covishield or Covaxin.Its approval was based on recommendations by the subject expert committee (SEC) of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation.The DCGI approved Covovax for restricted use in emergency situations in adults on December 28, 2021, in the 12-17 age group on March 9, 2022, and also in children aged seven to 11 years on June 28 last year subject to certain conditions.Covovax is manufactured through technology transfer from Novavax.It has been approved by the European Medicines Agency for conditional marketing authorization and was granted emergency-use listing by the World Health Organization (WHO) on December 17, 2021.In August 2020, US-based vaccine maker Novavax Inc. had earlier announced a licence agreement with the SII for the development and commercialization of NVX-CoV2373, its COVID-19 vaccine candidate in India and low-and-middle-income countries.

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What fuel prices? 2-wheeler sales touch pre-Covid levels in Pune
Times of India | 1 day ago | 30-01-2023 | 07:30 am
Times of India
1 day ago | 30-01-2023 | 07:30 am

PUNE: Registrations of new two-wheelers in Pune soared last year to reach pre-Covid levels of 2019, despite issues such as high fuel prices, rising insurance costs and impact on incomes due to the pandemic. An analysis revealed the number of registrations in 2022 was 58% more than the previous year and 68% more than 2020's figures.In fact, Pune registered the highest number of two-wheelers in Maharashtra in 2022 and accounted for nearly 16% of all new registrations in the state, officials from the RTO said."We thought the high fuel prices last year would have an impact on sales, but the numbers tell a different story," said one official.Fuel prices rose steadily between early 2021 and the middle of 2022. Now, a litre of petrol in Pune costs as much as Rs 105.91, compared to Rs 90 in January 2021. But there has been no impact on two-wheeler sales in the city, which many said only shows how weak the public transport infrastructure has become in the city. "Unlike Mumbai, Pune still has limited public transport options. So people here need their two-wheelers and have become extremely dependent on them," said deputy regional transport officer, Pune RTO, Sanjiv Bhor. Another RTO official said for thousands of daily commuters in Pune, a two-wheeler remains the most economical way to get around the city. "Cabs and autorickshaws are now just too expensive to use every day. As for the Metro, it's yet to link many parts of the city. Most buses are not on time either. So yes, public transport options are indeed few here," the official said, adding that the Covid pandemic, despite its impact on incomes, went on to trigger a surge in two-wheeler sales."Many started to avoid crowded public transport, like buses. So they went and bought themselves a bike or a scooter," the official said.Some families said they even borrowed money to buy two-wheelers. Kothrud resident Shameet Joshi said he bought two two-wheelers between 2021 and 2022. "Our salaries were hit during Covid. But commuting in Pune has become very difficult and expensive. So I bought a second-hand two-wheeler and my wife borrowed money from relatives to buy herself a new one. More than their fares, I would say trip refusals by autorickshaws and cabs is the real problem," Joshi said. Sales staff at showrooms said they're starting to see recovery."In 2019, we were selling an average of 1,000 two-wheelers every day. Last year, we sold 800-850," one salesman at a major showroom in the city said.Transport activists said at this rate, Pune's roads are only going to get more congested.Sanjay Shitole of the PMP Pravasi Manch said authorities should immediately improve the state of public transport in the city. "If buses are on time, people will use them more. It's that simple," he said.

What fuel prices? 2-wheeler sales touch pre-Covid levels in Pune
A Mumbai bureaucrat who refuses to be taken down
Times of India | 2 days ago | 30-01-2023 | 05:46 am
Times of India
2 days ago | 30-01-2023 | 05:46 am

BMC administrator Iqbal Singh Chahal is indeed a bold bureaucrat. When the Enforcement Directorate (ED) summoned him to record his statement in a money laundering case over allotment of a contract for a Covid centre, his colleagues in the bureaucracy believed it would be the end of his career. Members of the fourth estate floated all types of reports anticipating his arrest under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act before CM Eknath Shinde left for Davos for the prestigious World Economic Forum meet and before Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in the city for laying the foundation stone of projects worth Rs 50,000. It was believed that the CM would give him an insignificant assignment or send him on leave. However, neither was he shunted out nor sent on leave. In fact, all along various events, he was spotted along the CM and deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. Even after the ED recorded his statement, Chahal didn't escape the media. He came out of the ED office, addressed an impromptu press conference and replied to all questions raised by the media before leaving. A cabinet member said it was not a summons, and that the ED had called Chahal to secure more information on the Covid jumbo center contract awarded to a close aide of Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut. In the past too, Chahal was caught in a series of controversies over allotment of contracts for cement concrete roads and cost of his clothes and the watches he is wearing. On all occasions, Chahal was instant to take on his detractors in bureaucracy and politics. As of now, it appears that Chahal is firm in the saddle.An honour well deserved: For Pune collector Rajesh Deshmukh, it was a rare honour when President Draupadi Murmu felicitated him for his outstanding contribution to 'healthy and pure' electoral rolls in the district comprising four lakh sabhas, 21 assembly seats, and a total voter population of 80 lakh. Two years ago, the Election Commissioner of India had asked all state chief electoral officers to draft a comprehensive action plan for preparing a 'healthy and pure' electoral register by removing duplicate names and those of deceased persons. Soon after taking over the reins of Pune district, Deshmukh embarked on a one-point mission to purify the electoral register. He mobilized officials of two municipal corporations, 17 urban local bodies, 1,400 gram panchayats and 1,900 villages for the purpose. Deshmukh involved nearly 450 colleges in the district with an emphasis on registration of young voters, and measures were taken to end urban apathy, since in the past, the voting percentage was less than 35 per cent in certain Lok Sabha and assembly constituencies. It was the biggest exercise in the recent past, says Deshmukh. He expects better results, in terms of percentage of voting in the ensuing elections.

A Mumbai bureaucrat who refuses to be taken down
2, Including 62-Year-Old Man, Arrested For Making Fake Passports In Mumbai
Ndtv | 6 days ago | 25-01-2023 | 09:28 pm
Ndtv
6 days ago | 25-01-2023 | 09:28 pm

Fake immigration rubber stamps of many countries were found in the flat. (Representational)Mumbai: Two persons, including a 62-year-old man, were arrested by the Mumbai Crime Branch on Wednesday for allegedly making fake passports and visas and issuing bogus COVID test reports, an official said.The police are on the lookout for the third member of the gang, he said.The three operated from a flat in suburban Andheri. The Crime Branch raided the apartment and seized 28 duplicate passports, 24 bogus visas of different countries and several fake COVID-19 test certificates, said the official.Fake immigration rubber stamps of many countries were found in the flat, he said.The police have learnt that the three were charging lakhs to make fake passports and visas. They suspect the gang has already sent many people out of India with the help of the fake documents made by it.The three had made 414 fake rubber stamps carrying the names of government departments and officials, and bank staffers. There were fake rubber stamps in the name of officials from the state-run JJ hospital to issue COVID test certificates, which are required for travel to some countries, the official said.The Crime Branch also recovered stickers with images of the national emblem and the logo of the Income Tax department.Three colour printers, scanners and seven pen drives were seized from the flat, said the official.The three have been booked for cheating and forgery under the Indian Penal Code and provisions of the Passport Act.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comA court has remanded the arrested persons in police custody till February 4, the official added.(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)Featured Video Of The DayNDTV Exclusive: Super 30 Founder Anand Kumar On Being Awarded The Padma Shri

2, Including 62-Year-Old Man, Arrested For Making Fake Passports In Mumbai
In PM Modi’s message to BJP, the subtext: To find another gear, create soft power and goodwillPremium Story
The Indian Express | 1 week ago | 20-01-2023 | 02:45 pm
The Indian Express
1 week ago | 20-01-2023 | 02:45 pm

BJP leaders have said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address at the concluding session of the party’s national executive meeting had a clear message — focus on creating a “soft power” and “goodwill” to expand the party and increase its tally in the 2024 general elections to take the BJP’s journey of electoral victories to the next level.In the address, which emphasised on reaching out to more of the marginalised, minorities and small communities, Modi urged the BJP cadre to embrace the fact that the BJP is the ruling party at the Centre and many key states, and “think beyond conventional politics and electoral politics”.“To me, Prime Minister Modi was saying that the BJP should adopt a new style of politics to create soft power and goodwill among all sections of the people. He wants the BJP to create a positive atmosphere. The goodwill and soft power should help increase the BJP’s tally in the next Lok Sabha elections,” said a senior BJP leader.Modi’s reference to the age group of 18-25 in his speech also indicated that the party would also focus on that age group — youths in that age group are keen on development and a corruption-free government, according to Modi — to turn it into a strong loyal BJP support base.Party sources said the prime minister’s speech had given a clear signal that both the government and the party would take several initiatives in the coming days to see that the BJP gets more seats in the Lok Sabha elections. “Every step in the coming days, including the Budget, would keep that in mind,” said a party MP.In his speech to the national executive, Modi asked party members to reach out to every section of society, including the marginalised and minority communities, “without electoral considerations”. He wants BJP workers to reach out to Pasmandas, Bohras, Muslim professionals, and educated Muslims as a confidence-building measure and without expecting votes in return.Modi, who had a notebook with points scribbled on it while speaking, reiterated his message of reaching out to marginalised groups among the minorities at the Hyderbad National Executive meeting too. He also spoke about the Sikh community that, according to him, has a positive feeling about the BJP. He pointed out that the Sikh community is present in many districts outside Punjab too and the BJP cadre “should not ignore them” thinking they are too small to make any electoral difference.Recalling what the PM spoke about, a BJP leader said, “He said don’t always think about votes only. He also mentioned the small groups of backward communities and said they always stood by the BJP since the Jana Sangh days. He said there are small communities like Bohras, among whom there are several educated Muslims. They do not vote for the BJP but cooperate with the party in many activities. The Prime Minister specifically said Muslims would not vote for the BJP, but that should not stop us from reaching out to them.”A party leader said, “The target is to increase the BJP’s tally from 303 and return to power with more glory. Because the positive atmosphere will create a favourable situation for us — to talk about development work and to expand our base.”Another significant point the Prime Minister harped on was India’s global positioning. According to Modi, the global situation post Covid has a “lot of prospects and chances” and India should let them pass by. Even the national executive statement on the G-20 presidency mentioned the changed world order in the last nine years. According to BJP vice president Baijayant Panda who briefed the media on the statement, the G-20 and, in general, the world is “full of admiration” as India not only dealt with the Covid crisis but also reached out with help to other countries.Panda said BJP workers, in their individual capacity, would work to connect society as the country hosts over 200 G20-related events in more than 50 places. He added it was an opportunity to connect the society and showcase India’s progress and its rich heritage as delegates from not only the elite bloc of 20 leading economies but also many multilateral bodies such as the International Monetary Fund would visit India.

In PM Modi’s message to BJP, the subtext: To find another gear, create soft power and goodwillPremium Story