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Punjab on maximum alert, villagers near border told to move

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Chandigarh, Sep 29 : Punjab was on maximum alert on Thursday while villagers close to the border with Pakistan have been told to move to safer locations following Indian “surgical strikes” across the LoC.

“Punjab is in a state of maximum alert,” Harcharan Bains, the advisor to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, said here.

He said appropriate steps were being taken to ensure the safety of people in the border areas with Pakistan.

Bains said the state cabinet would meet on Thursday evening, to be chaired by Badal, to take stock of the situation and take appropriate action.

The Punjab government has ordered the evacuation of villages in a 10-km belt along the border with Pakistan following the surgical strikes by the Indian Army across the Line of Control.

The union Home Ministry on Thursday directed the Punjab government to get the border villages evacuated.

Local authorities used loudspeakers of gurdwaras to announce to residents in the border villages to leave their homes and villages and move to safer zones.

All schools and other institutions in the border belt have been ordered shut. All leave of Punjab Police and medical personnel in the border areas has been cancelled.

Punjab’s border districts include Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Tarn Taran, Ferozepur, Faridkot, Abohar and Fazilka.

Informed sources said the Border Security Force (BSF) was mobilizing its troops and strengthening the security along the border.

Punjab shares a 553-km border with Pakistan.

The BSF has cancelled the Retreat ceremony at the Attari-Wagah border joint check-post (JCP) at Attari, 30 km from Amritsar, officials said.

The BSF and district authorities have asked visitors and tourists not to move towards Attari for the ceremony on Thursday. It is not clear when the ceremony will resume.

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India

Indian economy to contract by 10.3% in 2020; may show 8.8% growth in 2021: IMF

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New Delhi, 13 Oct. : The Indian economy, severely hit by the coronavirus pandemic, is projected to contract by a massive 10.3 percent this year, the International Monetary Fund said on Tuesday.

However, India is likely to bounce back with an impressive 8.8 percent growth rate in 2021, thus regaining the position of the fastest growing emerging economy, surpassing China’s projected growth rate of 8.2 percent, the IMF said in its latest ‘World Economic Outlook’ report.

Released ahead of the annual meetings of the IMF and the World Bank, the report said global growth would contract by 4.4 percent this year and bounce back to 5.2 percent in 2021.

America’s economy is projected to contract by 5.8 percent in 2020 and grow by 3.9 percent the next year, the IMF said.

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India

Johnson & Johnson Pauses COVID-19 Vaccine Trial Participant Became Unwell

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New Delhi, 13 Oct.: US pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson announced that it has temporarily paused its Covid-19 vaccine trial after a participant became unwell.

“We have temporarily paused further dosing in all our Covid-19 vaccine candidate clinical trials, including the Phase 3 ENSEMBLE trial, due to an unexplained illness in a study participant,” company as saying in a statement on Monday.

The patient’s condition was being reviewed and evaluated by the ENSEMBLE independent Data Safety Monitoring Board as well as internal clinical and safety physicians, it added.

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India

Govt LTC scheme: Employees may have to spend over Rs 1 lakh for reimbursment

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New Delhi, 12 Oct : The government’s measures to boost consumption demand by providing more money into the hands of individuals would require a central government employee to spend in excess of Rs 1 lakh to claim leave travel concession reimbursement of just over Rs 30,000.

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