The Centre on Thursday reviewed the progress of vaccination and public health response to COVID-19 with States and Union Territories. States have been advised to focus on second dose coverage among Healthcare workers and Frontline workers. Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan chaired the high-level meeting with the States and UTs. During the meeting, the progress of vaccination was reviewed in the light of the revised guidelines for implementation of National COVID Vaccination Program and recent advisories. States were also informed of the modifications of the CoWIN platform aimed to make it more effective as a backend management tool for the countrywide vaccination drive. States were informed that the CoWIN platform is now available in 12 languages. Bhushan highlighted the low vaccination coverage among Healthcare Workers and Frontline Workers, especially for the second dose. He termed it as a cause of serious concern. The Secretary said, the national average for the 1st dose administration among the Health care workers is 82 per cent and the national average for second dose among is only 56 per cent. He said, 18 States and UTs including Punjab, Maharashtra, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Delhi and Assam have coverage below the national average in this aspect. Bhushan said, for Front line workers, the national average of first dose coverage is 85 per cent but the national average of second dose coverage is only 47 per cent. He said, 19 States and UTs have reported 2nd dose coverage of front line workers less than the national average. The States and Union Territories include Bihar, Haryana, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Puducherry, Telangana, Karnataka and Punjab.
-Labour and Employment Minister Santosh Gangwar has announced the decision to extend coverage under the Employees’ State Insurance Act to all casual and contractual workers working in the municipal bodies in the country. He said, the ESI Corporation has been directed to take up the matter with the States and Union Territories, for issue of notification for coverage of casual and contractual workers in the Municipal Corporation. The coverage will be extended to those casual and contractual employees which are within the implemented areas already notified under the ESI Act by the Central Government. The Minister informed that various municipal bodies in different States and Union Territories in the country employ a large number of casual and contractual workers. He said, for the National Capital Region of Delhi, the Ministry of Labour and Employment has already issued notification for coverage of casual and contractual employees working with Municipal Corporations.
-Government has decided to allow LPG customers to have a choice, deciding which distributors they want their LPG refill from. The decision has been taken with a view to further empower the LPG consumers and making energy accessible and affordable to all. The Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry said, now the consumers will be able to choose their delivering distributor from the list of distributors catering to their address within their Oil Marketing Company. In the pilot phase, this unique facility will be available in Chandigarh, Coimbatore, Gurgaon, Pune, and Ranchi.The Ministry said, while booking a LPG refill through mobile app or customer portal, the customer will be shown the list of delivering distributors along with their performance rating. The customer can opt for any of the distributors from the list applicable for his area to get an LPG refill delivery. It said, the service will not only empower the customers by way of enhanced choice, but also inspire healthy competition amongst the distributors to provide the best in class services to the customers and improve their performance ratings.
-The Union Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi has said that Indian government will abide by the Saudi Arabia’s decision on conducting Haj 2021. Stating that the government’s priority continues to be the health and well-being of people of both nations and also of humanity, Naqvi said, India is doing its preparations, including vaccination of pilgrims. He was speaking after chairing a review meeting regarding Haj 2021 on Thursday in Mumbai that was virtually attended by India’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Dr. Ausaf Sayeed; Consul General of India in Jeddah Shahid Alam and senior officials. Talking about the vaccination campaign, Naqvi said, a nationwide campaign will soon be launched to curb rumours and apprehension regarding vaccination. He added that state Haj Committees, Waqf Boards, their associated organisations, Central Waqf Council, Maulana Azad Education Foundation and other social and educational institutions will be part of the campaign.