New Delhi, Dec 21: Congress president Rahul Gandhi Friday fired a fresh salvo at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the recent notification by the Ministry of Home Affairs authorising 10 central agencies to intercept “any information” on computers.
“Converting India into a police state isn’t going to solve your problems, Modi Ji. It’s only going to prove to over 1 billion Indians, what an insecure dictator you really are,” Gandhi wrote on Twitter.
A political row erupted over the Ministry of Home Affairs’ latest notification with opposition parties terming the order as unconstitutional, undemocratic and an assault on fundamental rights.
On Thursday, the Ministry of Home Affairs issued an order enabling the Intelligence Bureau, Narcotics Control Bureau, Enforcement Directorate, Central Board of Direct Taxes, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Central Bureau of Investigation, National Investigation Agency, Cabinet Secretariat (R&AW), Directorate of Signal Intelligence (For service areas of Jammu & Kashmir, North-East and Assam only) and Commissioner of Police, Delhi to intercept information stored on any computer device.
According to the notification, the subscriber or service provider or any person in charge of the computer resource will be bound to extend all facilities and technical assistance to the agencies and failing to do will invite seven-year imprisonment and fine.
Opposition parties have slammed the government over the notification, accusing the Centre of snooping on citizens, political leaders attacked the Centre and alleged that the country was turning into a surveillance state under the Narendra Modi-led government.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Friday slammed the opposition for “making a mountain where a molehill does not exist.”
Speaking in the Rajya Sabha in response to Congress leader Anand Sharma over the order, Jaitley said: “On 20 December, same order of authorisation was repeated that was existing since 2009. You are making a mountain where a molehill does not exist.”
JK Cong rings Delhi even for minor decisions: Omar
Srinagar, Apr 21: National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah Sunday said Congress leaders from Jammu and Kashmir are not allowed to take decisions on their own.
“When we were in an alliance with Congress, I noticed it myself that even for minor decisions they have to seek permission from party leadership in New Delhi,” Omar told reporters on the sidelines of a party function in South Kashmir.
However, Omar said, NC candidates for Parliamentary Elections if elected will not have to take “dictation” from New Delhi.
“Not only New Delhi but even National Conference top leadership. Our Parliamentarians will just have to represent the voice of people of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.
Omar said people should come out to vote as boycotting elections will only help the BJP and RSS.
He said it was unfortunate that Election Commision of India was ignoring repeated violations of Model Code of Conduct by Prime Minister Narendara Modi and top BJP leadership.
Cong, BJP same when it comes to nat’l interest: Mehbooba
Srinagar, Apr 21: Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti Sunday said Congress and BJP are always on the same page when it comes to “national interest”.
She said whether it was Ghulam Nabi Azad’s transfer of forest land to Amarnath Shrine Board in 2008 or the 2013 hanging of Afzal Guru or the BJP’s poll plank of scrapping Article 370, both parties considered national interest to be of paramount importance.
Only regional parties like PDP were concerned about the interests of Jammu and Kashmir, she told reporters on the sidelines of a party function in South Kashmir.
The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister also said no religion should be blamed for terror acts.
Health Ministry left with no vaccines for Haj pilgrims
New Delhi, Apr 21: The Health Ministry is grappling with paucity of meningitis vaccines for Haj pilgrims as the only firm manufacturing them was asked to stop production last year after contamination was detected in their oral polio vaccines.
According to sources in the Health Ministry, the only firm which manufactured the vaccines and provided it to the government, was asked to stop production of all human vaccines after type-2 polio virus contamination was detected in oral polio vaccines.
Following the ban on the Ghaziabad-based pharmaceutical company Biomed Pvt Ltd, the ministry is now looking for options to arrange the vaccines in time for vaccinating the pilgrims, the sources said.
Around 1.27 lakh people are expected to go for the annual Haj pilgrimage in July this year for which the ministry will have to arrange for at least 1.47 Lakh doses.
Extra vaccines are kept as some are rendered ineffective in the process of delivery to the states.
The Health Ministry is already in talks with two firms which import the vaccines, the sources said.
Those going to Saudi Arabia for the purpose of Umra or pilgrimage are required to submit a certificate of vaccination with the quadrivalent (ACYW 135) vaccine against meningitis, proving the vaccine was administered no more than 3 years ago and no less than 10 days before arrival in the country.
Biomed Pvt Ltd was a licensed indigenous manufacturer for Meningococcal Polysaccharide vaccine while two firms M/s Sanofi Pastuer India Pvt Lt, Mumbai and M/s GlaxoSmithkline Pharmaceuticals Ltd, Mumbai are importers for quadrivalent Meningcoccal Meningitis Conjugate Vaccine in the country.
“Earlier with Biomed Pvt Ltd providing the vaccines, government spent Rs 250 for each vaccine but now if they have to buy from companies which import the vaccines, they may have to shell out around Rs 1500 per dose. The Health Ministry is already in talks with the two firms which import the vaccines,” the sources said.
Biomed Pvt Ltd was directed to stop the manufacture, sale and distribution of all human vaccines including the Quadrivalent Meningococcal Meningitis vaccine aftertype-2 polio virus was found in the sewage and stool samples in Maharashtra, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh in September last year.
The polio drops were sent for testing which confirmed that some of them were contaminated with type-2 virus, a strain believed to have been eradicated in 2016.
The managing director of Biomed Pvt Ltd., which was supplying polio vaccines for only government-run immunisation programmes, was arrested after the central drug regulator filed a complaint and an FIR was registered.
The destruction of traces of type-2 polio virus was ordered by the central drug regulator to all manufacturers in 2016.
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