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SC reserves order on plea regarding EWS/OBC quota in NEET-PG admissions

The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its order on pleas relating to providing 27 per cent reservation for Other Backward Class (OBC) and 10 per cent for Economically Weaker Section (EWS) category in the All-India Quota (AIQ) seats for the admission in the NEET for all medical seats.

A Bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and AS Bopanna during the hearing observed and said, “We have been hearing this matter for two days, we must start counselling in the national interest.”
NEET-PG counselling has been on hold as the case was pending before the top court.
The Bench asked the parties to file their written submissions in the case.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for the Centre contended that any revised criteria should be made applicable prospectively and the present counselling and admission should be held as per the existing criteria.

The government also defended the OBC reservation as well as the Rs 8 lakh income criterion for determining EWS.
Senior advocates Arvind Datar and Shyam Divan appeared in the court on behalf of some of the candidates.
On Wednesday, the Centre requested the top court to allow commencement of the counselling for NEET-PG saying doctors’ concerns for counselling are genuine. Resident doctors have been protesting against the delay in the NEET-PG counselling.

Earlier, the apex court had asked the Centre to put on hold the counselling for NEET-PG until it decides the validity of the Centre’s decision to introduce OBC and EWS reservation in All India Quota (AIQ). It had said that NEET-PG counselling will not start without its approval as the court is examining a plea against the Centre’s decision for medical admission.

On December 31, the Centre filed an affidavit stating that it has decided to stick to the existing criteria of Rs 8 lakh annual income limit for determination of 10 per cent EWS reservation with respect to the ongoing admissions to the NEET postgraduate courses.
The Centre had informed the apex court that an Expert Committee constituted by the government to reassess the criteria, suggested that the existing criteria may be continued for ongoing admissions while the revised criteria suggested by the Committee may be adopted from the next admission cycle.

Changing the EWS criteria midway will lead to complications, the Committee had opined while recommending the introduction of revised EWS criteria from the next academic year.
The affidavit stated, “The Central government has decided to accept the recommendations of the Committee including the recommendation of applying the new criteria prospectively.”

The three-member committee was constituted by the Centre after the apex court had expressed serious reservations about whether any study was conducted at all before fixing the Rs 8 lakh limit for determining EWS.
The top court was hearing a batch of pleas challenging the Centre and Medical Counselling Committee (MCC) July 29, 2021 notice providing 27 per cent reservation for Other Backward Class (OBC) and 10 per cent for Economic Weaker Sections (EWS) category for the admission in the NEET for all medical seats.

The July 29 notice provide 27 per cent reservation for OBC and 10 per cent for EWS category in 15 per cent UG and 50 per cent PG All India Quota (AIQ) seats (MBBS/BDS and MD/MS/MDS) with effect from the current academic session 2021-22.
On October 21, 2021 the Bench had asked the Centre whether it would like to revisit the limit of Rs 8 lakh annual income, fixed for determining the EWS category for reservation in NEET admissions for medical courses.
It had asked Centre whether any exercise was undertaken before fixing a limit of Rs 8 lakh annual income for determining the EWS category.

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BSF constable injured in encounter with smugglers; huge cache of drugs, arms seized

A BSF jawan was injured in an exchange of fire with Pakistani smugglers along the Indo-Pak border in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district on Friday, and the force recovered 47 kg heroin, two pistols and some ammunition, police said.
Gurdaspur Senior Superintendent of Police, Nanak Singh, told over the phone that 47 kg of heroin, two pistols, some live ammunition and seven packets of opium have been recovered.
The incident took place at 5:15 am in an area falling under border outpost Chandu Wadala.
“At about 5.15 am today, BSF jawan observed movement near the fence and fired on the Pakistan smugglers. Pakistan smugglers also retaliated and in the firing, one jawan got injured and is stable now,” said BSF in a statement.
The jawan suffered a bullet injury in his head during the exchange of fire between the Border Security Force (BSF) personnel and Pakistani smugglers, the SSP said, adding that he has been rushed to a hospital
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Centre likely to issue advisory on reopening schools soon

The Union health ministry is likely to issue an advisory to states on reopening schools with Covid appropriate norms, sources in the government told. “The government is working on some model to open the schools due to increasing demands by parents. The health ministry has already asked its expert team to look into all the options for opening schools,” the sources said.

There has been increased pressure on the government from parents and schools to reopen education facilities as the number of Covid-19 cases in India declines.

Also Read: JKP Border Battalion aspirants submit memorandum to Div Com Jammu

A few states and Union territories have already announced the reopening of schools for classes 10 to 12 with the condition that students between the age group 15 to 18 can attend offline classes only if they had had at least one dose of vaccination. In addition, all staff and students above 18 must be vaccinated with both doses.

Despite being among the worst-affected states, Maharashtra has reopened school for all classes. Haryana and Chandigarh have announced the reopening of schools for classes 10 to 12. Delhi government has recommended the same to Lt Governor. Tamil Nadu government is also expected to make a similar announcement soon.

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COVID 19

Covid-19: India reports over 2.51 lakh new cases with positivity rate at 15.88%; 627 deaths

India recorded 2,51,209 new cases of the novel coronavirus, along with 627 deaths due to the infection in the past 24 hours. According to the data shared by the Union Health Ministry on Friday (January 28), the country saw 3,47,443 discharges in the last 24 hours, taking the total recovery rate at around 93.60 per cent, and total recoveries data reached 3,80,24,771.

The total active cases of COVID-19 in India have declined to 21,05,611 (5.18 per cent), the ministry data showed today.

The total death toll in the country is now at 4,92,327. The first death due to the COVID pandemic in India was reported in March 2020.

The daily positivity rate is at 15.88 per cent today. According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), 72,37,48,555 samples have been tested up to January 27 for COVID-19. Of these, 15,82,307 samples were tested on Thursday.

Also Read: J&K govt orders transfers, postings in civil administration

Meanwhile, according to data released by the health department, Delhi reported 4,291 fresh Covid-19 cases on Thursday and 34 deaths. As a result, the Test Positivity Rate (TPR) in the national capital dropped to 9.56 per cent.

On Wednesday, the national capital reported 7,498 fresh COVID-19 cases and 29 deaths in a day as the positivity rate rose marginally to 10.59 per cent.

In view of the decline in fresh Covid cases, the Delhi Disaster Management Authority decided to lift weekend curfew and the odd-even system of opening non-essential shops in the city besides allowing restaurants, bars, cinema halls and theatres to reopen with 50 per cent capacity.

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Covid-19 Stats

29 Jan 2022, 1:03 AM (GMT)

Coronavirus Stats

40,854,851 Total Cases
493,218 Death Cases
38,346,367 Recovered Cases

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