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UP government sends 200 buses to Kota to evacuate students stranded due to lockdown

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In a significant relief for the students stranded Rajasthan’s Kota district, the Uttar Pradesh government is sending about 200 buses from Agra to Kota to bring back thousands of students.

“The buses are being sent to bring back kids who are stuck in Kota. We are sending food, water bottles, masks and sanitisers. Each bus will be able to bring back 25 kids. Some buses will also be sent from Jhansi,” a senior government official in Agra said.

Kota is a hub of coaching institutes for India’s premier entrance exams for medical and engineering colleges. Around 30 lakh people reside in the city out of which a major chunk is of students who come to prepare for entrance exams.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot praised the UP government’s decision and said other states can also bring back students belonging to their states.

“As the UP govt called back students of UP living in Kota, Rajasthan, it can also be done for students from other states. Students in Kota can be sent to their home states on the consent of the concerned state govt so that these young boys & girls do not panic or feel depressed,” he said in a tweet.

As per the reports, Bihar objected Kota administration’s decision of making passes for students to return to their home states. After this, the administration stopped making passes leaving thousands of students stranded in the city.

The 21-day nationwide lockdown which was imposed by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 24, coming in effect from March 25, was extended further till May 3.

However, the PM had said that there will be some area-wise relaxation be given depending upon the number of cases.

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Final term university examinations to be conducted by Sept end; Home Ministry gives nod

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The final term examinations in universities and institutions, which had been pending due to the novel Coronavirus, will now be conducted by the end of September, following safety guidelines laid down by the Ministry of Health.

Announcing the same, Union Minister for Human Resource Development, Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal “Nishank” late on Monday tweeted that the UGC has revisited its earlier guidelines related to university examinations.

In view of the safety, career progression and placements of the students and their larger interests, after consulting the Union Home Ministry and Ministry of Health, he said it has been decided that “Intermediate semester students will be evaluated based on internal assessment” while “Evaluation of the terminal semester students, which was to be done through examinations in the month of July, will now be conducted by the end of September-2020”.

Pokhriyal had asked the UGC on Sunday to “revisit” the academic calendar and guidelines released in April.

According to the new guidelines, the final university exams can be held online and offline. In case a student cannot appear in September, provisions will be made so she can take the exams later.

The Ministry of Home Affairs had on Monday permitted conduct of examinations by universities and institutions. The MHA wrote a letter in this regard to the Union Higher Education Secretary.

“The final Term Examinations are to be compulsorily conducted as per the UGC Guidelines on Examinations and Academic Calendar for the universities,” said a statement issued by the Home Ministry.

The MHA, however, cautioned that the examinations should be held as per the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) approved by the Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.

Shortly after, the UGC issued revised guidelines on examinations and academic calendar.

All schools, colleges and universities were closed after India imposed a nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the Coronavirus in the country. As a result, examinations too could not be held.

States like Maharashtra, Haryana, Punjab, Odisha, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh have cancelled all higher education exams and decided to promote students on the basis of previous performances.

Meanwhile, the Delhi High Court on Monday, while seeking the UGC and the HRD Ministry’s stand on whether to cancel the final year examination of degree courses, said that holding exams is not just a technological issue but also needs to take in account the mental preparedness of students.

“…the UGC and the Central government, ought to also bear in mind that the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in enormous mental distress and agony to students. There are families which are suffering medical illnesses and giving of examinations is not just a technological issue but the state of mental preparedness of the students also needs to be assessed,” said the court.

The court was hearing a petition filed by several students of the final year of the Delhi University seeking cancellation of the examinations in wake of the Coronavirus pandemic.

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With 1,379 new cases reported in last 24 hours, coronavirus tally in Delhi crosses 1 lakh mark

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Delhi on Monday has crossed the one lakh mark in terms of cases of coronavirus with 1,379 new cases reported in the last 24 hours.

The total number in the national capital stands at 1,00,823.

“Coronavirus cases in Delhi cross 1 lakh mark, with 1379 new cases reported in the last 24 hours. Total number of cases stands at 1,00,823 including 72,088 recovered/discharged/migrated and 25,620 active cases,” Delhi government said.

“With 48 deaths reported today, the death toll is at 3,115,” it added.

Earlier in the day, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had appealed to the cured Covid-19 patients to donate plasma to treat those infected with the virus.

“Our team is calling up people requesting them to donate plasma, if you receive such a call please don’t refuse. Hospitals should also give counselling to patients who have recovered and encourage them to donate plasma,” Delhi CM said.

“The number of people who need plasma is more than those coming forward to donate it. I urge all those who are eligible to come forward and donate plasma,” he said.

The Chief Minister also appealed to the cured COVID patients to come forward for the noble cause so that others can be treated, and informed that “pick and drop facility” will be given to the donor.

In terms of overall cases, India on Monday has overtook Russia to become the third-highest coronavirus caseload in the world.

Now only Brazil and USA are ahead of India in terms of the cases.

In a separate development, the Delhi High Court has suggested the authorities to appoint a Nodal Officer to redress grievances of healthcare workers and to act as a window system where nurses can raise their issues like non-availability of safety gear.

The suggestion came while hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) that claimed to highlight the blatant violation of human rights of the nurses and other healthcare workers deployed in the forefront of private nursing homes or hospitals in Delhi.

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Earthquake tremors felt in Delhi, nearby areas

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Tremors of the earthquake were felt in Delhi on Friday evening prompting people to come out from their homes.

The earthquake was of magnitude 4.5 on the Richter Scale, according to India’s National Center for Seismology.

As per the agency, the epicentre of the earthquake was 63 km southwest of Gurgaon in Haryana.

Strong tremors were felt in the national capital and surrounding areas for several seconds.

No casualty has been reported yet.

In the last couple of months, multiple earthquakes have hit the national capital and nearby areas.

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