Pm kisan

To address the immediate economic distress in the wake of the lockdown prompted by the Covid-19 pandemic, and ensure food and cash reaches the marginalised segments of society, the government announced a Rs 1,70,000 crore package, under a new scheme, the Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Yojana (PMGKBY), on Thursday.
Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, at a press conference in the capital, announced a series of measures, which focused on additional food transfers at no cost, additional cash for vulnerable segments, concessions on government schemes aimed to help households reduce their expenditure, and support those in the frontline of the battle against the pandemic. The primary beneficiaries of these measures include those below the poverty line, farmers, women, elderly citizens, the physically challenged, and workers in both the unorganised and organised sectors.
Fight against corona
Fight against corona

Sitharaman underlined that within 36 hours of the lockdown — Prime Minister Narendra Modi directed a national lockdown for three weeks on Tuesday night — the government had come up with measures to immediately take care of welfare concerns of the poor. She, however, did not address questions about the fiscal implications of the scheme, or announce measures for other economic sectors which have also got severely affected in the wake of the restrictions and the lockdown.
Sitharaman announced a medial insurance cover of Rs 50 lakh per person for doctors, health care personnel and sanitation staff, acknowledging their contribution at this crisis hour.
The PMGKY had two broad components — the first was centred on ensuring food availability and support, and the second was centred on income support.
On food, Sitharaman said 800 million people — two-thirds of the country’s population — would now be eligible for, in addition to the existing allocation of five kg of wheat or rice, another five kg of wheat or rice per month, for the next three months, for free. They would also get one kg of pulse, according to the specific regional variant of the pulse in their geographical area, in this period. “This is meant to ensure that no one stays hungry,” emphasised Sitharaman.
In terms of direct financial support, the FM announced support under eight distinct categories using the direct benefits transfer framework.
The first was targeted at farmers, who get direct cash support of ₹6,000 annually under the PM-Kisan scheme. Sitharaman said that the first instalment of the money — ₹2000 — would be “front-loaded” and given immediately. “This will benefit 86.9 million farmers,” said the FM.
The second was for workers under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS). From a daily wage of ₹182, they would now be entitled to get ₹202. “This will benefit 50 million families. It will help increase the income to ₹2,000 per worker,” emphasised Sitharaman.
The third measure was for economically poor widows, elderly citizens above the age of 60, and the physically challenged. “They will get an ex-gratia amount of ₹1,000. The measure will benefit 30 million poor citizens,” the FM said. The amount is to be given in two instalments.
The fourth measure was targeted at women who held Jan Dhan Accounts. “There are 200 million women Jan Dhan account holders. The government will give them ₹500 per month, for three months, to ensure they can run their households in this period of disruption.” A related announcement was for the beneficiaries of the PM Ujjwala scheme, where over 83 million households got gas cylinders. “For three months, these households will get free cylinders.” Anecdotal evidence suggests that many households have found the cost of refilling their gas cylinders burdensome. Minister of state for finance, Anurag Thakur, sitting alongside Sitharaman, underlined that with these measures, the government was seeking to ensure that poor families had access to food, to incomes, and to cooking gas.
The fifth measure was targeted at women self-help groups (SHGs). Sitharaman pointed out that there were 6.3 million SHGs in the country, with members from 70 million households being members of these groups. “They were eligible for collateral-free loan up to ₹10 lakh till now. This amount will now go up to ₹20 lakh. Self-help groups are eligible for increased collateral free loans, which will give more money in their hands,” said the finance minister.
The sixth measure was targeted at organised workers. This had two components. The government, the FM announced, would contribute both the share of the employee and the employer of the Employer Provident Fund for the next three months. “The government will give both the 12% share of the employees, and the 12% share of the employers — so a total of 24% per month for three months, to ensure there is no break in the continuity of EPFO contributions. This will apply to establishments which have less than 100 employees, where 90% of the employees earn less than ₹15,000 per month.” The second inter-related measure was the government’s decision to amend the provident fund regulation scheme, to allow employees to withdraw, on a non refundable advance basis, 75% of the amount, or up to three months of wages, whichever is lower, from their accounts.
The seventh announcement was for construction workers. The FM said that there already existed a fund for the welfare of construction and other workers. This had, at the moment, ₹31,000 crore and 35 million workers were registered under it. “We have given directions to state governments to utilise the funds to provide assistance to construction workers to protect them.” And the final announcement was with regard to district mineral funds, with the FM requesting state governments to utilise these funds to supplement medical testing and screening activities to fight the coronavirus.
Congress parliamentarian Rahul Gandhi said the government’s announcement “of a financial assistance package” is the first step in the right direction. “...India owes a debt to its farmers, daily wage earners, labourers, women & the elderly who are bearing the brunt of the ongoing lockdown,” he tweeted.
Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien said the measures were similar to what states have already announced. “Centre takes cue from relief plans already rolled out by state governments like West Bengal a week ago— free six months ration for the poor, health insurance for champion frontliner’s fighting corona and Rs 1000 for daily wagers under new Prochesta scheme,” he said, adding that the Centre’s move will supplement state efforts.

India's rural poor may lose out as drones map village land

Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week unveiled Swamitva Yojana, or Ownership Scheme, to map rural residential land for the first time in many Indian states, using drones and other technologies.
The programme will be piloted in six states, and the titles can be used as collateral for loans, the prime minister said. It will also generate more revenue for states, which can be used to fund infrastructure and other public facilities.
"Most residential properties in rural areas don't have proper ownership documents, and only providing people with a title deed can change that," Modi said in a video address.
While India's agricultural land was surveyed in the British colonial period, areas where homes were built in villages – known as abadi land and measuring no more than 0.5 sq km – were considered as wasteland and rarely surveyed.
As India's population expanded and pressure on land grew for farming and for building roads and airports, disputes over land ownership have increased, with about two-thirds of civil court cases related to land and property, according to researchers.
A federal land record modernisation programme launched in 2008 seeks to re-survey all lands, verify and upgrade records, and put all the information online by 2021.
Authorities have said this will help monitor land sales better, increase tax revenue and reduce corruption.
Some states, including Maharashtra and Odisha, had also launched surveys of rural, residential land.
Digitisation of records could exclude lower-caste communities who have traditionally been denied land, and make them more vulnerable to evictions, land experts said.
"Property disputes in villages arise mainly as a result of manipulation of land records by officials. Also, when land holdings are not properly surveyed," said EAS Sarma, a land activist and former government official.
"Digitisation has worsened the situation because it has reduced transparency for small farmers who find it difficult to access digital records," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Surveys of land must be conducted transparently, and records reviewed by all residents, Sarma said, otherwise disputes will persist and influential people will continue to gain at the expense of the marginalised.
The Swamitva Yojana also does not specify whether titles will be given jointly to women, and if customary titles that do not have a written record - such as those held by indigenous people - will be recognised, said Namita Wahi, a fellow at the Centre for Policy Research think tank in Delhi.
"The absence of recognition of customary titles, especially over village commons, may create further opportunities for land grabs of common lands, which is one of the biggest causes of land conflict in India," she said.
"Minus a proactive attempt to include Dalits, Adivasis (indigenous people) and women, there is a real danger of them being excluded," she said.

Coronavirus: Evening update as families of NHS staff who die get compensation

Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus outbreak this Monday evening. We'll have another update on Tuesday morning.
1. Families to get compensation for NHS staff deaths
Health Secretary Matt Hancock, giving the daily No 10 briefing, has said families of front-line NHS and social care staff who die with coronavirus will receive a £60,000 payment. Mr Hancock announced the "life assurance scheme" as he confirmed 82 NHS staff and 16 care workers have died. There will be a minute's silence across the UK at 11:00 BST on Tuesday to remember key workers who have lost their lives. It comes as the number of hospital deaths from coronavirus in the UK rose by 360 to 21,092.
2. UK at moment of maximum risk - PM
Boris Johnson has urged the public not to lose patience with the lockdown, saying the UK is at "the moment of maximum risk" in the coronavirus outbreak. The PM, who spoke outside No 10 for the first time since recovering from the virus, said he refused to "throw away" people's "effort and sacrifice" by relaxing restrictions too soon. BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg called the speech "serious", but "largely designed to hold the line".

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Media captionWatch again: Boris Johnson's full statement outside 10 Downing Street 3. Urgent alert as rare syndrome seen in children
GPs have been told to look out for a rare but dangerous reaction in children that may be linked to coronavirus. An urgent alert issued by NHS England said there was "growing concern" that a coronavirus-related inflammatory syndrome was emerging in children in the UK. It is unclear how many have been diagnosed, although the numbers will be low. Symptoms can include a high temperature, low blood pressure, a rash and difficulty breathing. But experts stress that very few children become severely ill with coronavirus.
Image copyright Getty Images 4. Small firms to get 100% state-backed loans
Small firms are to get access to 100% taxpayer-backed loans after they raised concerns about slow access to existing coronavirus rescue schemes. Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the scheme would start next week, offering firms loans up to £50,000 within days of applying. It comes as the chairman of the retail firm Timpson warned that some High Street shops won't survive the lockdown. Meanwhile, Greggs is to become the latest food retailer to reopen some of its outlets despite the restrictions.
Image copyright PA Media 5. Girl aims for 7.1m keepy-uppies
A football-mad 10-year-old girl has urged people to help her do 7.1 million keepy-uppies, one for each UK key worker, to raise money for charities. Imogen Papworth-Heidel, whose parents work for the NHS, said she was inspired after seeing war veteran Captain Tom Moore, 99, doing laps of his garden to raise millions for the NHS. She hopes to raise £1,300 by keeping her football up in the air as many times as she can.
Image copyright Karl Heidel
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If you are reading this page and can't see the form you will need to visit the mobile version of the BBC website to submit your question or send them via email to Please include your name, age and location with any question you send in.Herbert George Wells classic novel and its science fiction movie versions, “The War of the Worlds,” those invading aliens who are ravaging planet Earth are finally done in not by guns, tanks, the combined armies of all the countries of the world, or even nuclear bombs. Instead the savior was a microscopic infectious virus for which the mighty aliens have no immunity. One of the smallest organisms in the world saved us.
Today, our financial system and the global economy are getting clubbed by a tiny infectious strain of virus. Amazingly, this virus has liquidated some $10 trillion of wealth in stock market losses across the globe and potentially trillions of dollars more in lost output. The vulnerabilities we never even think of that can come in and wreak international havoc are stunning. Here are a few ways to help inoculate the country and yourself from the path of economic destruction fueled by coronavirus.
First, do not sell stocks in a down market. This is not to say that we have not hit the end of the selloff. It is probably not over. But it is long past the point of selling stocks, and the high likelihood is that, two, five, or 10 years from now, stocks will be a good deal higher than they are today. In every past health scare, from ebola to severe acute respiratory syndrome, once the virus is contained, the market and economy roar back to life.
Second, thank God we do not have a government run health care system in America. In China, the Communist Party controls the medical system across that land of one billion people, and it has bungled everything. The government has lied, panicked, and treated its own citizens like cattle exposed to mad cow disease. Communists have no regard for individual human life, and it shows in China. This is the second largest economy in the world, but you can be sure that the cure or vaccine will not be coming out of China. Think about this the next time you hear Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren pitching “Medicare for All” on the campaign trail.
Third, temporary tax cuts and government spending will have no impact. Temporary tax cuts, like payroll tax cuts, will not have any real benefit. Keynesian stimulus plans have never stimulated the economy. Just ask former President Obama about his $830 billion debt bomb that failed to create a single net new job, according to his own administration.
Fourth, the Federal Reserve should inject the economy with dollar liquidity to quell a dollar shortage. Prices of things like commodities, from cotton to copper and silver to lumber, are down about 12 percent since the reign of terror of coronavirus began. Meanwhile, the 30 year Treasury bill selling at a 1.7 percent interest rate means that investors are betting there will be no hint of inflation for decades. Falling prices can be contractionary, and swift action by the Federal Reserve is advisable to keep the economy from collapsing. Its critical decision to cut interest rates today is a start.
Fifth, politicians should stop attacking pharmaceutical companies. It is not just Sanders or Warren who attack “Big Pharma” for their “obscene profits,” but even Republicans, including President Trump Donald John TrumpAs Biden surges, GOP Ukraine probe moves to the forefront Republicans, rooting for Sanders, see Biden wins as setback Trump says Biden Ukraine dealings will be a 'major' campaign issue MORE. We all want lower drug prices, and we should address the government policies that drive up drug prices. However, it is moments like this that remind us of the benefits of lifesaving drugs and vaccines. Anything that makes new drug development less rewarding, such as imposing price controls, slows the race for cures. Think about this question. How much would you be willing to pay for a vaccine that would inoculate you from the coronavirus?
Sixth, the fatuous attacks that Trump caused this virus to spread because of budget cuts are a new low in politics. It took the liberals at CNN and the New York Times about 15 minutes to find a way to blame the coronavirus on the president. The New York Times called the coronavirus the “Trump virus” because of some supposed budget cuts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and at the National Institutes of Health.
The fact is that we are spending more on public health and on disease control and prevention than ever before in history. We will find effective treatments, as well as a vaccine, and it will most likely come from private companies in conjunction with the National Institutes of Health. Perhaps if so many tens of billions of dollars had not been diverted to such wasteful climate change research and away from preventing diseases, we would be closer to having treatments to new killer viruses like this one. This is just something to think about as our leaders work hard to contain it.


Every resident in San Francisco's Mission neighborhood offered test for coronavirus

  • Emiliano Garcia, 4 watches third year UCSF medical student Natalie Kucirek prick his mother's finger during an antibody test for COVID-19 during UCSF's mass testing study at Garfield Square. A comprehensive study of the virus's spread held by UC San Francisco researchers in partnership with San Francisco Department of Public Health and Zuckerberg General, mass testing is provided free of charge for the 5700 residents in a one mile square radius of the Mission district.
    Emiliano Garcia, 4 watches third year UCSF medical student Natalie Kucirek prick his mother's finger during an antibody test for COVID-19 during UCSF's mass testing study at Garfield Square. A comprehensive
    ... more Photo: Mike Kai Chen

  • Emiliano Garcia, 4 watches third year UCSF medical student Natalie Kucirek prick his mother's finger during an antibody test for COVID-19 during UCSF's mass testing study at Garfield Square. A comprehensive study of the virus's spread held by UC San Francisco researchers in partnership with San Francisco Department of Public Health and Zuckerberg General, mass testing is provided free of charge for the 5700 residents in a one mile square radius of the Mission district.
    Emiliano Garcia, 4 watches third year UCSF medical student Natalie Kucirek prick his mother's finger during an antibody test for COVID-19 during UCSF's mass testing study at Garfield Square. A comprehensive
    ... more Photo: Mike Kai Chen
    Every resident in San Francisco's Mission neighborhood offered test for coronavirus
    For more coverage, visit our complete coronavirus section here.
    UCSF launched an effort over the weekend to offer free, voluntary COVID-19 testing to every resident in a densely populated section of the Mission District, a neighborhood with among the highest number of coronavirus cases in San Francisco.
    UCSF had tested 1,734 individuals in the neighborhood as of Monday morning and that number is growing.
    The study is meant to reveal the invisible spread of the virus and help inform future testing efforts in other communities.
    “All our public health decisions, including when it will be possible to relax regional and statewide shelter-in-place orders, are driven by rough assumptions about how this virus behaves based on very limited data,” said Dr. Bryan Greenhouse, an associate professor of medicine at UCSF, in a statement.
    Greenhouse said studying the spread in detail will give researchers "crucial data points that we can extrapolate to better predict how to control the virus in similar communities nationwide.” UCSF is implementing a similar effort in Bolinas.
    Testing began in the Mission District on April 25 and will continue through April 28. Testing at pop-up sites is available to approximately 5,200 residents in a 16-block area running from Cesar Chavez to 23rd Street and South Van Ness to Harrison Street (see a map in the gallery above). Find out if your address is eligible at

    COVID-19 Precautions After The Economy Re-Opens

    Question: I would like to come in for a consultation and some treatments. I worry for my safety and the risk of going places, especially due to my age. Doctor’s offices have busy waiting rooms with many staff. Is there a way to have my rejuvenation treatments without the risk of such exposure?
    Answer: Your concerns are very natural. While we can’t stay locked down forever, I too have concerns about resuming activities especially at restaurants, hair salons and gyms where social distancing and the wearing of masks are challenging. You just can’t control how other people may behave.
    It doesn’t help to hear of some states opening their economies before they are ready. While I hope that our state officials will make wise choices on how and when to open Florida safely, I am instituting additional safety precautions above and beyond what our public officials may recommend.
    During lockdown, I’ve had time to think about how some patients may be scared about visiting a doctor’s office. So I’ve put in place the kind of measures that would make me feel safe if I were a patient visiting a plastic surgeon’s office. I also invite you to email me at to let me know what other precautions you would like to see instituted in order for you to feel safe and comfortable visiting my office.
    COVID-19 Safety Precautions:
    • Contactless digital thermometers to check temperatures prior to allowing patients beyond the waiting room. 99% of COVID symptomatic people have elevated temperature.
    • Patient evaluations by phone the day prior to appointments. Those suspected of a history of exposure or COVID19 symptoms must postpone their appointments.
    • In addition to pre-visit phone screening, all patients must complete a questionnaire on arrival to the office and will not be seen if suspected of a history of exposure to or have COVID19 symptoms.
    • Only one patient will be allowed in the office waiting room at a time.
    • Only one patient allowed in back office at a time.
    • Reduced staff to control risk of exposure.
    • Patient primarily interacts with doctor during office visit.
    • Disinfection of exposed surfaces with disinfectants and Ultraviolet C germicidal devices between patients.
    • Patients must bring their own pen to then office.
    • Patients will be required to wear masks at all times except during actual treatment or evaluation.
    • I or any staff member interacting with patients will wear N95 masks and wash hands between patients. Unlike regular medical/surgical masks, N95 masks can reduce the risk of exposure to very small virus particles by 95% or more. Such masks can significantly reduce my risk of contracting the virus from asymptomatic patients and can, in turn, prevent me from passing it onto another patient.
    • All patient credit cards and patient paper work is handled by my office with gloves.
    • Glass protective shields are present at check in and check out to protect patients.
    • All delivery and non-patient services use back door to avoid contact with patients.
    • Cleaning services, AC services, etc. are not permitted entry into office without protective masks and gloves and only at times not interfering with patient flow.
    • In the early stages of re-opening, the focus will be non-invasive and less invasive rejuvenation treatments until I feel it is safe to resume surgery.
    Aggressively maintaining your safety as well as mine is one of the best ways to significantly reduce risk of exposure to the virus and is of the utmost importance in reopening of the economy. I prefer to use more stringent safety protocols than what state and local authorities recommend.
    Again, I invite you to email me at to share your opinion on any other safety measures that may be of help to assure your safety in my office.
    During COVID19 lockdown, I am offering virtual consultations which can be done from the comfort of your home. Please contact my office at 561-238-0040 if you would like to schedule a virtual consultation. For the first 5 new patients who call to schedule and complete a virtual consultation, they will receive a $250 gift certificate towards a service in my office (assuming, of course, that they are eligible and a candidate for the procedure). This certificate can be used when the lockdown is lifted and you visit my office in person. It will not expire for 2 years.
    Dr. Anita Mandal is a double Board Certified Facial Plastic Surgeon practicing since 1998. She exclusively specializes in facial rejuvenation and non-invasive body contouring. In addition to being on the medical staff at Jupiter Medical Center, her offices house both surgical and laser suites. Dr. Mandal is committed to giving her patients the most natural looking results.
    Researchers are conducting two types of tests to identify those individuals who are currently infected and those who previously had the virus. The diagnostic tests for active COVID-19 are implemented by collecting samples with nasal swabs while the antibody test is done with a finger-prick to collect a blood sample. Results are available within 72 hours.
    People who test positive will get immediate follow-up calls from UCSF infectious disease experts while those who test negative will be expected to continue to following the shelter-in-place order "because of the possibility of false negative test results and a general lack of information about the potential for reinfection with the disease," according to a statement from UCSF.
    "The COVID-19 pandemic is disproportionately affecting the Latinx community in San Francisco, both in terms of infection rates and economic hardship, and we have been partnering very closely with the Latino Task Force for COVID-19 to support this community by working to disrupt transmission of the disease,” said Dr. Carina Marquez, an assistant professor of medicine at UCSF.
    Study results are expected to be available as early as late May.
    WASHINGTON, Mo. (AP) — Some businesses near St. Louis are reopening with some safety measures in place, after local officials lifted restrictions meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
    The relaxation of the Franklin County order allowed golf courses, movie theaters, concert halls, gyms, fitness studios, tanning salons, bowling alleys and skating rinks to reopen Saturday as long as they adhere to social-distancing guidelines, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported
    At Anytime Fitness in Washington, business was running at about 20% of a normal Saturday because of the statewide limit keeping gatherings to 10 or fewer people at a time, said Sean Leslie, one of the owners. Classes haven't resumed because it would put the gym over the limit.
    Leslie said he wasn't charging customers because it didn’t feel right when he couldn’t open fully. He said the business opened because, “This makes the members happy.”
    Kia Herbst, one of those members, said, “It’s like a part of you is missing.” Hebrst, who is 16 weeks pregnant, said her family knows how important working out is for her mental and physical well-being.
    The businesses had been closed since March 24, and Franklin County Commissioner Tim Brinker said the reaction to the changes has been positive.
    Several gyms said that they would wait until May 4, when Gov. Mike Parson said he would allow most businesses to reopen. Parson said rules governing that reopening would be released Monday.
    The Nothing Fancy skating rink near Union was dark on Saturday afternoon.
    Two county movie theaters both cited the state’s 10-person limit, adding that they also lacked new movies to show. After most states shuttered movie theaters, many new releases were diverted to on-demand and streaming services.
    Washington Mayor Sandy Lucy said in an email to the newspaper that the majority of city businesses would be waiting until May 4 to reopen, although a few gyms planned to do so before then.
    As of Sunday, health officials reported that 274 people in Missouri had died of COVID-19 and that there had been 6,997 confirmed cases of the disease. The actual number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested and studies suggest that people can be infected without feeling sick.

    Experts worry politics will guide voters’ virus precautions

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Laura Herd says she sleeps better because her state’s governor, Michigan Democrat Gretchen Whitmer, imposed one of the nation’s strictest stay-at-home orders to combat the coronavirus pandemic. President Donald Trump’s actions are another story.
    “His goal is to get the economy back up so he stands a chance in November,” said Herd, 36, of Traverse City, Michigan, who works for an environmental news service. “But he’s not willing to listen to the experts about what that really means.”
    Herd’s skepticism about Trump’s desire to push the country back toward normal isn’t uncommon, especially among her fellow Democrats and many independents. That’s prompting concern by public health professionals that voters will use partisan lenses to decide which policymakers they heed as communities consider easing restrictions that have smothered normal life — a potentially dangerous dynamic.
    “You’ll get more people sick and run the risk of more people dying, because you’ll have such confusion because people won’t know what to do,” said Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, which represents professionals and organizations in the field. “They’ll selectively pick the advice that aligns with their ideology.”
    Underscoring that people’s political views are already guiding opinions on state-imposed restrictions, MAGA hat-wearing Trump supporters, gun rights advocates and backers of right-wing causes have demonstrated outside governors’ mansions and state Capitols in several states, demanding that the curbs be eased.
    In a remarkable action by a president, Trump fired out three tweets on Friday urging his followers to “LIBERATE” Michigan, Minnesota and Virginia. Each are states where conservative demonstrators have demanded that Democratic governors relax curbs they’ve imposed on families, business and travel.
    Trump has wanted states to relax restrictions by May 1 and has inaccurately claimed “total” authority to decree how that happens. Many governors, mostly Democrats, have long made clear they’ll ease restrictions at their own pace.
    Trump had seemed to retreat on Thursday, when the White House issued vague guidelines for gradually returning to normal activities that left final decisions to the states.
    “From a public health point of view, you want a unified position from government regarding what’s the best way to protect people,” said Robert Blendon, a health policy professor at Harvard University’s School of Public Health.
    AP interviews around the country found voters navigating the pandemic on their own and dubious about advice from the other party’s leaders. Many expressed confidence in top public health officials like Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx, fixtures at Trump’s press briefings.
    Fauci is the government’s top infectious disease expert and Birx is the White House coronavirus task force coordinator.
    Ted Hill of Asheville, N.C., a Republican and retired accountant, praised Trump and said local officials’ restrictions have gone too far.
    “Good Lord, if you go into a supermarket without a mask, they look at you like you have two heads,” he said. Hill said Trump “surrounds himself with good people” and gets good results.
    Niki Waldron of Vallejo, Calif., said she’s glad Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom imposed an early stay-at-home order. But she worries about friends and family living in Trump-friendly areas and thinks advisers like Fauci and Birx must guard against angering Trump.
    “I don’t feel like the rest of our federal government is necessarily basing their judgments on sound science,” Waldron said.
    David Barr, 53, who said he usually votes Republican, said Whitmer’s restrictions were hurting businesses like golf courses that he said could operate safely.
    “We don’t need a month to start reopening the economy,” said Barr, who works for a group of radio stations in northern Michigan. He said Whitmer’s “credibility is questionable.”
    A confused public reaction to whether they should begin stepped up activities could do more than complicate efforts to keep people safe and revive the dormant economy. The question of whose advice voters follow — and whether it proves wise or disastrous — could be a major political battlefield for this November’s presidential and congressional elections.
    Trump’s reelection prospects would be badly damaged if today’s Depression-era levels of unemployment and failed businesses don’t improve. He invited numerous congressional Republicans and Democrats to join a White House task force on rebooting the country, which he could use to shield himself from blame by arguing he is relying on bipartisan advice.
    A fresh push by Trump to loosen restrictions would be especially potent in GOP-leaning states, where “there’ll be a lot of pressure on those states’ politicians to lighten up,” said Joseph Antos, a health policy expert at the conservative American Enterprise Institute.
    “If there’s a big fight with the governors versus Trump, it would be really bad for public health,” said Drew Altman, president of the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. “The public won’t know what to believe.”
    Fact-checkers have documented thousands of falsehoods by Trump since he became president. Since the pandemic began, polls have underscored how poorly he’s trusted to handle the disease and how views of his competency are divided along party lines.
    In a late March survey by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, 44 percent overall approved of Trump’s handling of the outbreak. Those high marks came from around 8-in-10 Republicans, but less than 2-in-10 Democrats and about 4-in-10 independents.
    Federal public health authorities like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local officials are more trusted than Trump for handling the outbreak, polls show.
    And a poll this week by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center found that nearly two-thirds of people are more worried about states moving too quickly to lift restrictions, rather than too slowly. That sentiment was expressed more strongly by Democrats than Republicans.
    Looking to maximize public faith as the economy reopens, business groups have urged the White House to make clear that its guidelines are endorsed by trusted authorities, not just Trump.
    “People will be more comfortable if they see the advice is from public health officials,” said Neil Bradley, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s chief policy officer.

    New York residents sue World Health Organization over coronavirus response

    Residents of the New York's Westchester County on Monday sued the World Health Organization, accusing it of gross negligence in covering up and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
    Three residents of Westchester County accused the WHO of failing to quickly declare a pandemic, monitor China’s response to the original outbreak, provide treatment guidelines, advise members on how to respond including through travel restrictions, and coordinate a global response.
    The lead plaintiffs in the suit — Richard Kling, a doctor, Steve Rotker, and Gennaro Purchia — claim they were “injured and damaged by WHO’s negligent conduct.”
    President Trump last week had frozen funds to the United Nations health agency over "mismanaging" the crisis and not acting fast enough as the disease spread worldwide.
    The US is the biggest single contributor to the United Nations' health agency. Trump had said the virus could have been contained if the WHO had accurately assessed the situation in China, where the virus broke out.
    World Health Organization(WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus,55, said that there "is nothing hidden from the US from day one" while adding that "there is no secret in WHO".
    The US has been hit the hardest with the virus with 787,901 confirmed cases and over 42,364 deaths.
    (With inputs from agencies)

    Trump ‘looking into’ defunding pro-abortion World Health Organization over coronavirus response

    WASHINGTON, D.C., April 8, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — U.S. President Donald Trump has signaled that he is open to the idea of defunding the World Health Organization (WHO), a pro-abortion U.N. entity with suspicious ties to communist China.
    “We‘re going to put a hold on money spent to the WHO. We’re going to put a very powerful hold on it, and we’re going to see,” Trump said early in yesterday’s conference.
    Trump continued to criticize the WHO, saying the organization got “every aspect” of its response to the crisis wrong, but he was less definite in his statements about cutting funding when a reporter pressed him: “Is it time to freeze [U.S.] funding to the WHO during a pandemic?”
    “No, maybe not. I am not saying that I am going to do it, but we are going to look at it,” Trump replied. “We are going to investigate it, we are going to look into it...but we will look at ending funding because you know what? They called it wrong, and if you look back over the years, even, they’re very much — everything seems to be very biased towards China. That's not right.”
    The U.S. president repeatedly cited the WHO’s criticism of his decision in January to issue a travel ban on foreign nationals who had recently been in China, as well as suggesting that the WHO knew about the spread of the coronavirus in Wuhan early on in the outbreak and that it chose not to report it.
    “How many factors seem to come down on the side of China?” Trump asked.
    “Don’t close your borders to China, don’t do this. They don’t report what's really going on. They didn’t see it, and yet they were there. They didn’t see what was going on in Wuhan. They didn’t see it. How do you not see it? They didn’t see it. They didn’t report it if they did see. They must have seen it, but they didn’t report it,” he said.
    “They seem to err always on the side of China, and we fund it, so I want to look into it.”
    Trump’s press conference statements followed a tweet he posted earlier in the day yesterday criticizing the WHO.
    “The W.H.O. really blew it. For some reason, funded largely by the United States, yet very China centric. We will be giving that a good look. Fortunately I rejected their advice on keeping our borders open to China early on. Why did they give us such a faulty recommendation?” Trump wrote.
    The U.S. is the largest contributor to the WHO’s annual budget. Last week, the United Nations secretary-general, António Guterres, announced he wants 100 billion USD for the organization as part of the attempt to combat the coronavirus.
    Dr. Hans Kluge, WHO regional director for Europe, responded to Trump’s remarks, saying: “We are still in the acute phase of a pandemic so now is not the time to cut back on funding.”
    Dr. Bruce Aylward, senior adviser to the WHO director general, who made headlines recently for ignoring questions about Taiwan (whose sovereignty China denies), also defended the WHO’s work with China.
    “It was absolutely critical in the early part of this outbreak to have full access to everything possible, to get on the ground and work with the Chinese to understand this," he said. “This is what we did with every other hard hit country like Spain and had nothing to do with China specifically.”
    Steven Mosher, China expert and president of the Population Research Institute, has argued that in addition to helping create the pandemic by repeating the communist Chinese government’s false propaganda denying the health risks of COVID-19, the WHO’s long-term promotion of contraception and abortion has hindered the global response to the crisis.
    “If the clinics in Third World countries had been stocked with medicine instead of abortifacients and contraceptives, they would be better able to cope with the current pandemic,” said Mosher.  “In other words, population control programs cost lives.”
    “The WHO, by parroting Chinese propaganda, helped to spread the pandemic. Even now, they are continuing to claim that China is a ‘model’ for how to contain the pandemic,” Mosher told LifeSite. “They are part of the problem, not part of the solution.”
    Mosher said the U.S. should cut off funding to the WHO altogether unless its current head, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, resigns. In January, Ghebreyesus repeated the Chinese government’s false claim that COVID-19 is not transmissible to humans.
    Mosher noted that the WHO receives more than 22% of its funding from the United States and that much of the money “goes towards the salary, benefits and perks of an inflated, dysfunctional bureaucracy. In other words, it is simply wasted.”
    Maria Madise of Voice of the Family told LifeSiteNews that Trump cutting U.S. funding to the WHO would be a “most welcome and necessary move.”
    “Apart from WHO’s scandalous delay in reporting on the extent of the outbreak of coronavirus in Wuhan, we keep hearing interventions by the representatives of WHO attacking the inviolable rights of life and the family under the guise of tackling the pandemic,” Madise said.
    “Prompted by COVID-19, WHO is working on classifying abortion as an ‘essential health service’ so that abortion could go on under lockdown. Yesterday we learned from WHO’s executive director of emergencies programme that in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, officials may have to enter homes and remove family members who are sick,” she continued.
    “Since WHO’s first director, Dr. Brock Chisholm, wrote in 1948: ‘Children have to be freed from ... religious and other cultural prejudices forced upon them by parents and religious authorities,’ WHO’s anti-life and anti-family track record has not improved. Policies against life and the family are inevitably policies against health and should not be funded by countries who value life and the family.”
    Michael Robinson, director of parliamentary communications for U.K. pro-life group the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), told LifeSite that “the pro-life movement needs immediately to get behind President Trump to encourage him to continue to take this stand in defence of human life and in defence of the family.”
    “The WHO is an immensely powerful international body which represents a major threat to the life and health of people worldwide. It is especially dangerous to human life and well-being at this time of pandemic for which they have been preparing themselves for years,” Robinson said.
    “In 2012, for example, they published a policy brief titled “Integrating sexual and reproductive health into health emergency and disaster risk management”, which foresaw a Coronavirus-type crisis. And the WHO makes it clear again and again that abortion — killing the unborn — is an essential part of ‘reproductive health,’” he continued.
    “In particular, the WHO is a threat to the moral welfare of our children. For the past 10 years they have been promoting in Europe and elsewhere so-called ‘Standards for Sexuality Education’ which contains a thinly-veiled warning to teachers not to obstruct children's so-called sexual rights or children's access to secret abortions without parental knowledge or consent; and which presents self-abuse as a human right.”
    “Thank God for President Trump in taking this stand against the WHO, which in effect is a defence of all of us against their aggressive anti-life and anti-family policies.”

    PM to launch 10,000 Farmer Producer Organizations; also to lay foundation stone for Bundelkhand Expressway
    goverment yojna 2020

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi today laid foundation stone for the Bundelkhand Expressway and launched the Har Ghar Jal Scheme to provide piped water to the households in Bundelkhand region.

    Prime Minister also launched 10 thousand farmers Producer Organisations FPO all over the country on this occasion and distributed Kisan Credit Cards (KCC) to the beneficiaries of the PM-Kisan scheme.

    Kisan Credt Card being given to the beneficiaries of PM Kisan scheme will help farmers in availing short term loan using these cards. A massive distribution drive is being held today during which KCCs will be issued to farmers at bank branches spread across the country.

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    Bundelkhand Expressway and  Har Ghar Jal Yojna will be instrumental in solving the 2 major problems of Bundelakhand region that is drinking water and unemployment.

    The proposed Bundelkhand expressway will not only connect this backward region to the national capital region but will also support the nodes of Bundelakhnd Defence industrial corridor.

    Today launched farmers Producer Organisations FPOs will help small, marginal and landless farmers in order to give them access to technology, quality seed, fertilizers and pesticides including helping them in marketing of their products. The Centre will provide fund of Rs 15 lakh to each FPO.  

    The Union ministries are busy creating profiles of the beneficiaries of various welfare schemes such as the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna, Ayushman Bharat, PM Kisan Scheme and Standup India in the states including Bihar and West Bengal that will go for polls soon. “The Central government has launched various schemes in the last few months. We are creating the financial profiles of states, in terms of how people have availed benefits of various government schemes, especially the flagship ones. It will help us get the socio-economic profiling of the states,” said an official from the department of financial services under the Ministry of Finance.

    While this seems to be a routine exercise, the various ministries have been asked to start with states that will go for assembly elections in the next one year. The survey will start with Bihar, West Bengal, Assam, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. All these states will go for polls in next one year.  According to the official, the internal survey will include the number of bank account holders,  beneficiaries of PM Kisan Yojana, Housing for All and Standup India initiatives, among others.  Apart from these, it will also create a database of the number of subscribers for the national pension scheme, saving patterns, among others.

    “This exercise will help understand the economic development in these regions. While states maintain their own profiles, some states like West Bengal are not very cooperative when it comes to participation in some of the Centre-sponsored schemes. This review of schemes, therefore, becomes significant,” said another senior official. The exercise is a direct fallout of the Delhi election results, where despite intensive campaigns led by Union home minister Amit Shah in the last four weeks before polls, the BJP lost to Aam Admi Party, whose campaign was solely based on social welfare schemes. Now with assembly elections scheduled in Bihar in October and in Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal in May, the ruling party is focusing closely on the economic issues, unemployment and financial inclusion.

    M Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana has benefited a total of 8.45 crore farming families in the country with an addition of more than 37 lakh families in the current financial year since the launch of the scheme in February 2019, latest government data show. According to the agri-census estimate, a total of 14 crore families need to be included under the ambit of the scheme, Union Minister of Agriculture Narendra Singh Tomar said on Monday.

    The government has spent a total of Rs 50,850 crore under the scheme so far since its inception in February 2019, out of the allocation of Rs 75000 crore, Tomar said. According to the minister, the PM Kisan scheme is aiming at including another 12 lakh families in the current financial year. Tomar said that the financial aid scheme will play a major role in doubling the farmers’income by 2022.

    West Bengal which has not joined the scheme has a major chunk of uncovered families. Apart from West Bengal, the penetration in the state of Bihar is also sub-par. A total of 1.31 crore families need to be covered in Bihar and West Bengal, the government estimate shows. The government data also show that more than 84 per cent of the beneficiaries’ details have been Aadhaar verified.

    PM Kisan Yojana was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the year 2019 which entails the transfer of Rs 6000 a year to every farming family in three instalments of Rs 2000.



    New initiatives for PM-Kisan beneficiaries

    On Monday, a new PM-Kisan mobile phone app was launched by the Agriculture Minister. The beneficiaries of PM Kisan scheme will be able to track their application, make corrections in their application with their Aadhaar number and would also be able to see their credit history on the app.

    The government has also launched the farmer’s corner on the PM Kisan online portal where farmers can self-register to claim the benefits of the scheme. Aadhaar card correction and beneficiary status can also be tracked on the portal. A 24.7 helpline toll-free number 1800-11-5526 has also been launched on which farmers can call and get to know the status of their application.

    Kisan Credit Card (KCC) drive

    Tomar also informed that a massive drive will be launched in the country on February 29 to provide Kisan Credit Cards (KCC) to the beneficiary farmers. Two thousand bank branches have been tasked to organise a massive campaign across the country on the day to provide the farmers with the KCC. As part of the programme, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will himself hand over the KCC to some farmer families at UP’s Chitrakoot on February 29.

    Kisan Samman Nidhi target lowered to 12 crore

    One year after the launch of the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi, the Centre has revised the farmer income support scheme’s beneficiary target down to just under 12 crore from 14 crore.

    In fact, empirical evidence suggests that saturation level will reach around 10 crore families. So far, almost 8.5 crore farmers have benefited.

    Speaking at an event to mark the first anniversary, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar pointed to West Bengal and Bihar as the major culprits for the lag. While the West Bengal government has refused to join the scheme at all, the Bihar government’s approach of waiting for applicants means more than 60% of potential beneficiaries are yet to register.

    The scheme, which gives land-owning farmer families an annual sum of ₹6,000, was launched in the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha election, and new registrations have slowed after the election.

    The Centre’s beneficiary estimate of 14 crore was initially based on the number of landholdings recorded in the agricultural land census.

    The revised estimate of 11.97 crore is based on the 9.84 crore who have registered themselves on the portal so far (although only 8.45 crore have received money so far), plus an estimated 2.13 crore beneficiaries left out, mostly from West Bengal and Bihar. However, “empirical evidence suggests that saturation level will reach around 10 crore farmer families,” according to a presentation made at the event.

    Mr. Tomar pointed out that of West Bengal’s 70 lakh farmers, 10 lakh have already self-registered through an online process. However, they cannot receive the cash benefit until the database is verified by the State government, he said.

    “Central government officials have approached the State government about this many times and I have also written to the Chief Minister twice, urging the State to join the scheme. But we have not received any reply as yet,” Mr. Tomar said, pointing out the State’s economy would stand to benefit with a potential annual payout of ₹4,000 crore if all the State’s farmers registered themselves for the scheme.

    In Bihar, the potential beneficiaries number 158 lakh. However, only 59.7 lakh farmers have uploaded their data on the PM-KISAN portal so far. “The State has adopted a beneficiary application-based approach, which is delaying identification and upload,” said the presentation.


    35 lakh farmers in TS benefitted from PM Kisan Samman Nidhi

    The Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi, a Centrally sponsored scheme on the lines of Rytu Bandhu but with several filters to identify beneficiaries, has completed one year and enrolled 34.81 lakh farmers which is about half their total strength in Telangana.

    The scheme was formally launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh on February 24.

    Observers feel the assistance of ₹ 6,000 per annum provided under the scheme as an income support to all landholding farmers’ families had not had much impact on agriculture because of the small size of amounts transferred to their bank accounts. A sum of ₹ 2,000 was transferred to accounts in three instalments but the periodicity of release was not maintained. The releases were made irrespective of the seasons and at odd intervals to suit nationwide interests.

    The Samman Nidhi is applicable solely to BPL families as against comprehensive coverage of farmers based on their land holdings in Rytu Bandhu. The acreage was not a parameter but family, irrespective of its holding, was considered in Samman Nidhi.

    Sources expressed the hope that the scheme would be beneficial to farmers if it was streamlined systematically. It could supplement the income of farmers under Rytu Bandhu wherein they get ₹ 5,000 per acre per season. Farmers accessing Rythu Bandhu were also eligible for Samman Nidhi provided they fulfilled the criteria.

    The scheme excluded Income-Tax payees, government employees above Class IV, retired employees other than subordinate services, public servants, professionals and land holders above below poverty line. The Centre had so far released over ₹ 50,850 crore to about 8.46 crore farmers out of the targeted 14 crore in the country. The scheme was initially meant for farmers holding land up to two hectares but it was extended to cover all farmer families irrespective of the size of their holdings from June 1 last year.