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Varanasi named as first-ever SCO tourism & cultural capital

The city of Varanasi has been nominated as the first-ever SCO tourism and cultural capital during 2022-2023 at the 22nd meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Council of Heads of State in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, on Friday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the SCO summit, which is the first in-person meeting of the regional group in two years owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The nomination of Varanasi as the first ever SCO tourism and cultural capital will promote tourism, cultural and humanitarian exchanges between India and the SCO member countries. It also underlines India’s ancient civilisational links with the member states of SCO, especially the Central Asian republics,” the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement.

Under the framework of this major cultural outreach programme, a number of events will be hosted in Varanasi during 2022-23, for which guests will be invited from the SCO member states. These events are expected to attract Indologists, scholars, authors, musicians, artists, photo journalists, travel bloggers apart from the invited guests.

The regulations for nominating SCO tourism and cultural capital were adopted at the Dushanbe SCO Summit in 2021 with an objective to promote cooperation between the SCO member states in the field of culture and tourism.

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UP nears milestone of 33 crore vax doses

So far, over 2,47,91,010 vaccine doses have been administered to children in the age group of 15-17 and over 1,07,57,191 vaccine doses have been administered to children in the age group of 12-14 in the state….reports Asian Lite News

Uttar Pradesh will soon cross the milestone of administering 33 crore total vaccine doses.

This will be another milestone as Uttar Pradesh continues to conduct one of the most successful vaccination campaigns in the country since the rollout of the mass immunisation drive.

According to the government spokesman, Uttar Pradesh has so far given out over 32.91 crore total vaccine doses. Out of these, over 17,45,04,444 are first doses, while over 15,14,32,772 individuals are fully vaccinated.

So far, over 2,47,91,010 vaccine doses have been administered to children in the age group of 15-17 and over 1,07,57,191 vaccine doses have been administered to children in the age group of 12-14 in the state.

In terms of percentage, nearly 93 per cent of the adult population is fully vaccinated and 100 per cent have received one vaccine dose.

In the age category of 15-17, over 98 per cent of the children have received at least one dose of the vaccine. While over 77 per cent in this age category is fully vaccinated.

Uttar Pradesh started administering booster shots (precaution dose) from January 10.

Over 31.96 lakh ‘precaution doses’ have been administered in the state so far.

To speed up the vaccination drive for children in the state, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has also asked the concerned officials to ensure adequate availability of vaccine doses in the state and encourage the eligible children to take the vaccine cover.

The government is also paying special attention to the provision of booster shots (precaution dose) to the eligible beneficiaries.

India on Sunday reported 4,270 fresh Covid cases in last 24 hrs, a marginal rise against 3,962 Covid infection reported on previous day, the Union Health Ministry said on Sunday morning.

In the same period, 15 Covid deaths were recorded, pushing the nationwide death toll to 5,24,692.

Meanwhile, the active caseload of the country has also risen to 24,052 cases, accounting for 0.06 per cent of the country’s total positive cases.

The recovery of 2,619 patients in the same time span took the cumulative tally to 4,26,28,073. Consequently, India’s recovery rate stands at 98.73 per cent.

Meanwhile, daily positivity rate has risen to 1.03 per cent, while the weekly positivity rate in the country currently stands at 0.84 per cent.

Over 3.44 crore adolescents have been administered with first dose of Covid-19 jab since the beginning of vaccination drive for this age bracket.

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A cabinet of crorepatis in UP

The two organisations analysed the self-sworn affidavits of 45 out of 53 ministers, including the Chief Minister, from the Uttar Pradesh State Assembly 2022….reports Asian Lite News

As many as 87 per cent ministers are crorepatis; as many as 49 per cent have criminal cases against themselves and another 44 per cent have serious criminal cases against them — that is the Uttar Pradesh cabinet for you.

And just five out of 45 ministers (11 per cent) are women, according to an analysis by Uttar Pradesh Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms released on Saturday.

The two organisations analysed the self-sworn affidavits of 45 out of 53 ministers, including the Chief Minister, from the Uttar Pradesh State Assembly 2022.

Giving out details, the analysis said 22 ministers (49 per cent) have declared criminal cases against themselves while it was 20 ministers (44 per cent) that had declared serious criminal cases against themselves.

Out of the 45 ministers analysed, 39 (87 per cent) are crorepatis with average assets analysed to be Rs 9 crore.

The minister with the highest declared total assets is Mayankeshwar Sharan Singh from Tiloi constituency with assets worth Rs 58.07 crore while the one with lowest declared total assets is Dharamveer Singh, an MLC Member from Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council with assets worth Rs 42.91 lakh.

A total of 27 ministers have declared liabilities out of which the minister with the highest liabilities is Rakesh Sachan of Bhognipur constituency with Rs 8.17 crore of liabilities.

Nine (20 per cent) ministers have declared their educational qualification to be between class 8 and 12 while 36 (80 per cent) ministers have declared having an educational qualification of graduate or above.

Affidavits of Sanjay Nishad, Jitin Prasada, JPS Rathore, Narendra Kashyap, Dinesh Pratap Singh, Dayashankar Mishra Dayalu, Jaswant Saini and Danish Azad Ansari were not analysed for various reasons.

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6 Mega Health Parks to be set up across UP 

Six Dhanwantri Mega Health Parks will be set up in the state with an investment of about Rs 30,000 crore….reports Asian Lite News

The Yogi Adityanath government, even before being officially sworn in for the second term, is preparing to further improve and develop and health infrastructure in the state.

The government is preparing to fulfil its promise of a government medical colleges with state-of-the-art facilities in every district of the state.

According to the government spokesman, six Dhanwantri Mega Health Parks will be set up in the state with an investment of about Rs 30,000 crore.

This will make the state self-sufficient by expanding the production of medical facilities like health and surgical instruments and medicines on a large scale.

Under the Maharishi Sushruta Health Infrastructure Mission, health infrastructure will be improved for a better health system at every level with a cost of over Rs 10,000 crore.

In addition to doubling the number of seats for medical courses like MBBS, over 6,000 doctors and 10,000 paramedical staff will be appointed in the state.

Along with this, doubling the number of ambulances equipped with state-of-the-art life support facilities in UP, dialysis centres in every district, expanding the network of Jan Aushadhi Kendras with TB free state by 2025 to provide essential medicines at affordable prices to all citizens is also on the cards.

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Indo-Israel centre helps farmers in UP

The exchange of technology in the agricultural sector is changing the lives of farmers in Uttar Pradesh…reports Asian Lite News

The Indo-Israel Centre for Excellence, located 200 metres off the Basti-Gorakhpur highway, started commercial operations and is helping increase the income of farmers.

The setting up of the centre on a Rs 7.5 crore budget started in October 2018 and the aim was to introduce innovations in farming by adopting Israeli technology.

The department of horticulture and food processing, which operates the centre, has started assisting non-farmers.

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“Any individual interested in planting a mango tree of the latest variety or an orchard can pick up ready saplings. Vegetable saplings are also available here. Earlier, we were catering to farmers only but now we provide saplings to everyone,” said joint director Atul Kumar Singh.

The centre, situated in Banjariya village of Basti Sadar Assembly constituency, is transforming the way farming is done in the area.

Rishi Yadav, a farmer from Sant Kabir Nagar (Khalilabad) plans to grow watermelons and muskmelons on his four-hectare land in Urdahwa and has placed an order for 53,000 saplings.

“All parties used to talk about farmers welfares and increasing their income till now, but nothing has happened on the ground. In the past two years, we have seen innovation in agriculture. Change is visible and one can spot cucumber, okra, sponge gourd and other vegetables in villages,” he said.

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BJP sweeps Lakhimpur despite outrage

Ashish Mishra, who had been arrested, was released on bail recently, but Lakhimpur, apparently, put the incident behind and voted on all seats for the BJP….reports Asian Lite News

 Gorakhpur, Lakhimpur and Agra were termed as trouble spots for the BJP, but the results of the Assembly elections out on Thursday clearly indicate that for the people, the incidents in these cities did not affect their decision to vote for the saffron party.

Gorakhpur hit the headlines last year when Manish Gupta, a businessman from Kanpur, died, allegedly after being beaten up by the police during a raid in his hotel.

The opposition was quick to use the incident as an example of ‘law-and-order’ situation in the state.

However, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath promptly handed over the case to the CBI and gave compensation and a job to Gupta’s widow. The matter died a natural death, and Gorakhpur has now given a clean sweep to the BJP with Adityanath winning his first Assembly election with an appreciable margin.

The Lakhimpur incident in October last year, when an SUV, owned by Union minister Ajay Mishra Teni’s son Ashish Mishra, mowed down four farmers who were returning from a protest.

The incident provided fuel for the farmers’ agitation as opposition parties rushed in to cash in on the bereavement of the families.

Ashish Mishra, who had been arrested, was released on bail recently, but Lakhimpur, apparently, put the incident behind and voted on all seats for the BJP.

In Agra, the death of a Dalit youth — Arun Valmiki — in police custody also became fodder for opposition politics, but now that the BJP has won all the seats in Agra, the incident is on the backburner.

“The manner in which the Yogi Adityanath government handled the action in these incidents became more important. The accused were arrested, the victims were given compensation an investigation continued without any pressure. People understood that the government did not wish to hide anything when it came to dealing with culprits,” said Vijay Pathak, state Vice-President of the BJP.

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‘UP mein Baba’: BJP begins celebrations

BJP workers were seen holding party flags playing Holi at the party office in Lucknow. They were raising slogans “UP mein ka ba? UP mein Baba”….reports Asian Lite News

Celebrations kicked off at the Bharatiya Janata Party office in Lucknow as State Assembly polls counting indicated that BJP is set to retain power in Uttar Pradesh with the party crossing the majority mark of 202 seats as per the Election Commission of India.

BJP workers were seen holding party flags playing Holi at the party office in Lucknow. They were raising slogans “UP mein ka ba? UP mein Baba”.

In addition, Gorakhpur MP and BJP leader Ravi Kishan distributed sweets as the early trends indicated a sweep for the party in Uttar Pradesh. “Modi Ji has always asked party workers and ministers should always work on the ground level and has brought us this win. This is the beginning of Ram Rajya,” he said.

According to early trends, BJP is leading on 247 seats in UP followed by Samajwadi Party on 111 seats.

UP BJP President Swatantra Dev Singh also said that people have rejected dynastic politics, and voted for the development.

“People have rejected dynastic politics and voted for development. We never thought that BSP will do so poorly. Samajwadi Party had also fought cleverly. I just want to say that political parties will have to work on the ground for the public,” Singh told ANI.

Samajwadi Party candidate Azam Khan is leading from Rampur constituency and Swami Prasad Maurya who is contesting UP Polls as Samajwadi Party candidate is trailing from Fazilnagar assembly seat.

On the other hand, OP Rajbhar of Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party is leading from BJP’s Kalicharan on Zahoorabad constituency, according to ECI.

Counting of votes began at 8 am and will continue till the final results. (ANI)

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BJP gets majority in Uttarakhand

The exit polls on Monday predicted a close race in Uttarakhand with many of them giving an edge to the BJP to form the government….reports Asian Lite News

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) crossed the majority mark in Uttrakhand in early trends with 39 seats by 10:30 am as counting of votes began for the 70-member state assembly on Thursday.

As per ECI, Congress followed with 17 seats while Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Independents with two seats each.

The counting of votes for the recently held elections began at 8 am on Thursday and the final result is expected later in the day.

The exit polls on Monday predicted a close race in Uttarakhand with many of them giving an edge to the BJP to form the government.

Some exit polls also predicted that Congress would cross the halfway mark in the 70-member Assembly.

Polling in Uttarakhand took place on February 14. (ANI)

ALSO READ: BJP flies past halfway mark in UP

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BJP flies past halfway mark in UP

If the early leads sustain, the BJP may be on the way to retain power in the state…reports Asian Lite News

In early trends, Bharatiya Janata Party has crossed the halfway mark, leading on 216 seats in the 403 Uttar Pradesh Assembly at 10.34 am, as per the Election Commission of India.

According to official data, Samajwadi Party is leading on 90 seats followed by Apan Dal (Soneyal) with nine seats.

If the early leads sustain, the BJP may be on the way to retain power in the state, a feat that will be the first in over three decades for an incumbent government to be voted back to power.

The BJP candidate and Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s son Pankaj Singh is leading from the Noida constituency and party’s Kapil Dev Agarwal is leading from n Muzaffarnagar seat.

The counting of votes began at 8 am and will continue till the final results.

Exit polls on Monday predicted a clear victory for BJP in Uttar Pradesh with the scale of the party’s victory varying across various surveys. (ANI)

ALSO READ: BJP to return to power in UP, exit polls reveal

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BJP leads in UP

As per the early trends in Uttar Pradesh, the saffron party was leading on 155 seats while Samajwadi Party was ahead on 97. …reports Asian Lite News

As the counting of the votes began on Thursday morning, the Bharatiya Janata Party was seen leading in the early trends in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Manipur while the Aam Aadmi Party made an early headway in Punjab.

As per the early trends in Uttar Pradesh, the saffron party was leading on 155 seats while Samajwadi Party was ahead on 97. The Bahujan Samaj Party didn’t seem to woo the voters, as it was leading on only 6 seats. The Congress party continued to show its dismal performance and was leading on only 4 seats.

The Assembly polls for 403 seats spread over 75 districts were held in seven phases between February 10 and March 7. More than 3.75 lakh voters exercised their franchise using ballot papers. The state’s Chief Electoral Officer Ajay Kumar Shukla said that 84 counting centres had been set up across Uttar Pradesh.

In Goa, the exit polls had tipped a keen contest between the ruling BJP and the Congress and Goa Forward alliance, with neither being able to reach the magic figure of 21 in a 40-member state Assembly. However, the trends showed the grand-old party — Congress — ahead of its arch-rival BJP while the much-hyped AAP, as per the early trends, didn’t seem to impress the electorate at all as it was not leading on any seat.

Nearly 79 per cent voters cast ballots in the February 14 polls in Goa.

In Punjab, the multi-cornered electoral battle is probably heading for a comfortable victory for the AAP as the early trends gave an edge to the Bhagwant Mann-led party over the ruling Congress. The Shiromani Akali Dal was coming as the third party.

The exit polls had predicted a landslide victory for the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Punjab. A total of 1,304 candidates, including 93 women and two transgenders, are in the fray. The state recorded a voter turnout of 71.95 per cent, the lowest percentage compared to the voting percentage in three previous Assembly polls.

In Manipur, as per the early trends, the saffron party is heading for a landslide victory. According to the election officials, around 89.3 per cent of the 20,48,169-strong electorate cast their votes in the two-phase election to the 60-member Manipur Assembly on February 28 and March 5. This year’s voting percentage was higher than the 2017 and 2012 Assembly elections, when 86.4 per cent and 79.5 per cent electorate had exercised their franchise respectively.

In Uttarakhand, even as the BJP is leading in the early trends, it is still hard to predict the results as the Congress party is not much behind. The new-entrant AAP, like Goa, has failed to make any impact on the voters so far.

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