Imphal Review of Arts and Politics

R.K. RAnjan, Manipur Inner Parliamentary Constituency MP, now a Union minister of state
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Manipur Elated as State MP BecomesUnion Minister; Night Curfew Till July 20; Budget Restrictions Back

Manipur’s Lok Sabha MP from Inner Manipur Parliamentary Constituency Dr. Rajkumar Ranjan has been appointed as Union Minion of State in the Union cabinet reshuffle on July 7. He has assumed the office of Union Minister of State for External Affairs and Education.

Rajkumar Ranjan, Lok Sabha MP for Inner Manipur, has been serving as BJP MP since 2019. The 68-year-old political leader from Kongba Makha, Imphal East was born on September 1, 1952. Before joining politics, he had a four decade-long career as a Geography Professor and served as Director of College Development Council in Manipur University. He has a PhD in Geography from Gauhati University.

Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren took to social media and congratulated all the newly inducted ministers in the Cabinet of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He tweeted in another post, “Heartiest congratulations to Shri @RanjanRajkuma11 ji on taking oath as a Union Minister. Your enormous knowledge & experience in several responsibilities will be of great significance to achieve the vision of Hon’ble PM Shri @narendramodi ji. My best wishes Yaambung”.

Dr. Rajkumar Ranjan is the fourth from Manipur to be a Union Minister of India. The first was RK Jaichandra who was the first Union Minister from Manipur during the time of Rajiv Gandhi between 1985 and 1988 as the Union Minister for Sports and Youth affairs, and later on as the Chemicals and Petrochemicals Minister. The second was Prof. Meijinlung Kamson who was elected as a Congress MP from Outer Manipur Parliamentary Constituency and served as a Union Minister of State for Home Affairs from 1995–96. Th Chaoba was the third from Manipur to be inducted in the Union Council of Ministers, when he was elected as MP from Inner Manipur Parliamentary Constituency as a candidate of Manipur State Congress Party (MSCP). He was appointed as MoS for Culture and Youth Affairs and Sports from October 13, 1999 to February 2, 2000 and MoS for Food Processing Industries, Ministry of Agriculture from May 27, 2000 to September 1, 2001. Except for RK Jaichandra who held independent charge, the others were junior ministers working under Cabinet ministers, reports said.

Manipur Night Curfew Extended Till July 20

The Manipur Government on July 9 in an order of Home Department extended the night curfew from 7pm to 5am till July 20 in all districts amid the rising number of daily COVID-19 positive cases in the state.

The COVID-19 situation in the state continues to be of concern and still warrants measures to control the spread of the infection, the order stated.

However, the order stated that authorised service centres of personal computers and mobiles can open from 10 am to 2 pm on the days when grocery shops are closed. Further, opening up will depend on the Covid scenario and the progress in vaccination, it stated.

Vegetable vendors and grocery shops will open as per earlier arrangement on July 12, 15 and 18 from 7 am to 10 am and the district administration should ensure that spots for vendors are clearly marked and complied.

The Home department also stated that the Manipur High Court may decide its activities, based on various measures taken up by the government, as deemed appropriate.

“Deputy Commissioners and Superintendents of Police shall take necessary action to implement the orders strictly”, said the order.

Budgetary Ceilings Once Again

Once again, Manipur Government has imposed budgetary ceilings to control the state expenditure for fiscal 2021-2022 citing COVID-19 pandemic.

It is the third time the State Government imposed financial ceilings and cut state expenditures amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier on September 25, 2020, the state government had cut down expenditure of 14 categories and another 12 categories on October 24, 2020.

An office memorandum issued by the Finance Department of Manipur Government on July 9 stated that the COVID-19 pandemic has seriously impacted the resource availability of the state government and the transfers from the Central Government and receipts from state’s own resources are likely to see a sizable reduction.

The memorandum explained that the amount to be incurred on meeting recurring expenditure is likely to see an increase during the current fiscal due to certain commitments made by the state government, including unavoidable expenditure on COVID-19-related activities.

The memorandum stated that ceilings of expenditure will be fixed under the Object Head Codes across all Budgetary Heads of all demand numbers as 11- Domestic Travel Expenses (40 per cent); 12- Foreign Travel Expenses (20 per cent); 13- Office Expenses (40 per cent); 21- Supplies and Materials (50 per cent); 25- Clothing and Tentage (50 per cent); 27- Minor Works (40 per cent); 35- Grants for creation of capital assets (50 per cent); 36- Grants-in-aid of Non-salary (50 per cent); 50- Other Charges (50 per cent); 51- Motor Vehicle (50 per cent); 52- Machinery and equipment (40 per cent) and 53- Major Works (60 per cent).

However, the above object head-wise ceilings will not apply to CSS/ CPS/ EAP/ NEC/ NLCPR/ NESIDS funds, NABARD loan and other grants from the Centre which are authorized as per actual receipts, as well as funds specifically earmarked for State Matching Shares, all ‘Charged’ expenditure, repayment of principal and interest of loans availed by the state government, Security Related Expenditure (SRE), COVID-19 related expenditure, expenditure under ‘Demand No. 1- State Legislature’ (excluding Foreign Travel) and ‘Demand No. 11- Medical, Health and Family Welfare Services’ and other expenditure deemed necessary by the competent authority, the memorandum stated.

Policeman Dies While in Queue for COVID-19 Vaccination

A constable of Imphal West District Police died after falling unconscious while standing in a queue waiting for his turn to inoculate COVID-19 vaccine.

Reports said the incident happened on July 8 afternoons at the 1st Battalion Manipur Rifles campus in Imphal.  The deceased was identified as Kamgougin Singsit, 26, son of Lunkhosei Singsit of Keithelmanbi, Imphal West district. The unconscious person was rushed to RIMS for medical treatment, but breathed his last at the hospital.

CoWIN Verifier Arrested for Providing Fake Vaccination Certificates

One of the two CoWIN verifiers accused of providing fake COVID-19 vaccination certificates to four unvaccinated persons were arrested on July 7 while no actions were taken against the other accused as he is said to be found not guilty.

Reports said Thoubal Police station have taken up a case under FIR number 69(7) 2021 against the individual who was found guilty of the charges, and further charges under section 120- A/ 120-B / 166/167/168/192/193/196/197/198/200/269/270/271/336/ 420 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) have also been made against him in order to commence further investigations.

The arrested CoWIN verifier has been identified as Md Rafique Ali son Md Ahmed Ali, a resident of Moijing Lamkhai, and he is a primary teacher at Moijing High School. The other individual who was found not guilty has been identified as Md Abdul Wahid, a primary teacher at Ukhongsang Upper Primary School, reports added.

Meanwhile, the four beneficiaries who received the fake certificates have been identified and they were vaccinated at Thoubal District Hospital with an executive magistrate as a witness, following an order from the DC of Thoubal, reports added.

HC calls for Reports on Centre’s Recommendation on Covid in Manipur

The Manipur High Court on July 6 directed both the Central and State Governments to file detailed reports (if any) of the recommendations made by the two-member Central Team which was deputed recently to Manipur to study the conditions of contributing higher incidence of COVID-19 cases in the state.

A division bench of the high court comprising chief justice Sanjay Kumar and justice Kh Nobin issued the directive during the hearing of a PIL filed before the high court, seeking the court’s direction to procure sufficient oxygen and ICU beds for COVID-19 patients.

It has been reported that a two-member team of the Health and Family Welfare Ministry, which was deputed by the Central government, led by its additional deputy director general Dr L Swasticharan has been camping in Imphal since July 2 to monitor the COVID-19 management in the state that has been facing a high number of positive cases.

Earlier, the Central government had informed the court that two oxygen plants were proposed to be commissioned by June 30 at RIMS. However, during July 6 hearing, the assistant solicitor general who appeared on behalf of the central government informed that in place of two oxygen plants of 1,000 LPM each, only a single oxygen plant of 2,000 LPM is proposed to be established at RIMS. He also could not confirm before the division bench as to when the proposed single oxygen plant of 2,000 LPM would be commissioned.

In an additional affidavit filed before the court by the state government, it informed that the state authorities adverts to a proposal to open ICU/HDU beds in the district hospitals of Manipur, leaving aside the district hospitals at Bishnupur, Chandel, Churachandpur, Senapati, Tamenglong, Thoubal, Ukhrul and Jiribam, where adequate facilities are stated to be existing.

The division bench has directed the state government to submit the action taken pursuant to the aforesaid proposal and the meeting before the court on the next date of hearing which is fixed on July 14, the order stated.

Livelihood Scheme for COVID-19 Affected Families in Manipur

The Manipur Cabinet on July 6 approved Chief Minister’s COVID-19 Affected Livelihood Support Scheme which aims to provide direct transfer of Rs 5,000 in two equal instalments (Rs 2,500 per instalment) to every identified family whose livelihood have been directly affected by COVID-19.

Reports said it was introduced by the government considering economic dislocations which have severely affected the livelihood of a large percentage of the population leading to an inability to maintain a basic minimum standard of living.

Eligible occupations for the scheme include street vendors, farmers, daily wage workers, construction site workers, public transport drivers, school van drivers, shop assistants, artisans, weavers, performing artists, home-based business, etc. The scheme will be run under the State Social Welfare department. It will avail benefit to only one beneficiary per family.

The Cabinet also approved scheme guidelines for Chief Ministergi Angangi Tengbang (Chief Minister Bal Seva), which had already been announced earlier. The scheme will provide welfare measures for children whose parents have died due to COVID-19, reports added.

New Director of JNIMS Appointed

Dr. Laishram Deben has been appointed as new director of the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences (JNIMS) Imphal on July 7.

Reports said the order issued by the Chairman of Executive Committee of JNIMS Society, who is also Health and Family Welfare Principal Secretary, stated that the president of governing council of JNIMS Society, Porompat Imphal was pleased to appoint Prof Laishram Deben as director of JNIMS. He was directly recruited under rule 9(4) of the JNIMS Service Rules, 2015 and schedule-I, extent of powers number 23 of bye law of the JNIMS, 2015-2016 with immediate effect.

The order further mentioned that the appointment shall be on contract basis for a period of three years or till further order, whichever is earlier. The appointment order was issued from the Secretariat of Health Department of Manipur.

JCILPS for ILP guidelines amendment, Pays Tributes to Sapam Robinhood
JCILPS members paying tribute at Sapam Robinhood’s memorial site.

The Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System (JCILPS) has observed the 6th death anniversary of Sapam Robinhood at Yelhoumee Athoubashingee Ningsing Khubham, Awaching in Imphal East on July 8.

Reports said the JCILPS has demanded amendment of the Inner Line Permit (ILP) system and include the provisions of Manipur People’s Bill 2018 which was passed in the Manipur Legislative Assembly. JCILPS Observation Committee Convener, Shyam Khuman said that since the withdrawal of permit system for entry and exit in Manipur on November 18, 1950 by the then chief commissioner, the influx of migrants have increased drastically.

Floral tributes were paid to the departed soul of Sapam Robinhood who was killed by the security forces during the agitation demanding a legislation to protect the indigenous people of the state in 2015. It was organised in low key owing to pandemic following strict SOPs.

The Convenor further stated that till date, neither the provisions of ILP system which has been in force since December 2019 define the exact meaning of indigenous people nor mention any base year and Manipur Land Protection. There has been an influx of many migrants into the state passing through the two major national highways of Manipur. The indigenous populace would be in grave threat of extinction once the train service starts in the state, he added while appealing to frame rules to prevent any consequences on commissioning railway service in the state, reports said.

CorCom Expresses COVID-19 concerns in 10th Foundation Day Greetings

Observing the 10th Foundation Day of the proscribed umbrella organisation Coordination Committee (CorCom) which falls on July 8, the CorCom sent its warm greetings to the revolutionary groups operating in ‘WESEA’ region and Manipur, and the general public.

CorCom offered prayers to the ones who have passed away due to COVID-19 and shares the grief of the bereaved family and friends, CorCom stated in a release issued by its publicity committee on July 7.

The release said the pandemic has caused a major economic crisis in the globe, and it is fuelling the price hike of essential items. Loss of Jobs and unemployment has caused untold miseries upon many. The worst affected are the students as the educational institutions are closed down, CorCom mentioned. This has disrupted the academic atmosphere and mentally affected the youths as well as the children. Online classes may provide the sole means to disseminate education but they are meant only for the privileged sections, it added.

In Manipur, more than 1,200 people have died so far due to COVID-19. The Health authorities had announced that a total of 19.85 lakh will need to be vaccinated in the state and aims to reach the target by December 31. But considering the slow pace the vaccinations are being given, it is highly unlikely that the target will be reached, CorCom stated.

CorCom further stated that while experts are being sent from Delhi to take stock of the Covid situation in Manipur as it is reportedly among the six worst affected states, the state BJP leaders are claiming that the situation is now improved, and also breaking the SOPs to start election campaigns.

“In such a critical juncture, the people of Manipur should not allow themselves to get swayed by elections. If we let our guard down and do not take up precautions at the right time, then we will face the worst scenarios ahead. This election cannot decide our fates and our future. This election is a trap that will keep the public in shackles. Instead of falling into a trap, the public must turn towards the means and resources to ensure a better future by collectively fighting COVID-19, it added.

Manipur Received 100 Oxygen Concentrators from Nippon Foundation

The Nippon Foundation on July 8 donated 100 oxygen concentrators, through Manipur Tourism Forum, to the Chief Minister’s COVID-19 Relief Fund as a support to the state government’s effort in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reports said Manipur Tourism Forum founder president Dr Thangjam Dhabali handed over the oxygen concentrators to Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren at the Chief Minister’s Secretariat in presence of principal secretary (Health and Family Welfare), V Vumlunmang and Health Services director Dr K Rajo. Receiving the Oxygen concentrators, Biren expressed his sincere gratitude to the Nippon Foundation and further stated that the oxygen concentrators received would be much helpful in dealing with the deadly pandemic prevailing in the state.

Chief Minister Biren Distribution of Dry Ration

Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren launched the distribution of dry ration to 3,000 beneficiaries of Churachandpur district via video conference at the Chief Minister’s Secretariat Imphal on July 7.

Reports said the launching of distribution of dry ration was done in the presence of Tribal Affairs and Hills Minister Vungzagin Valte at Peace Ground, Tuibong, Churachandpur district.

The chief minister congratulated Crypto Relief India and other organisers including Highland Group for the service provided to the needy.

Minister Vungzagin urged the auto drivers to get themselves vaccinated as soon as possible as they are dealing with the general public by ferrying passengers. He also said a meeting will be convened regarding mass vaccination drives for the auto drivers of the district soon.

It may be mentioned that Crypto Relief India is a community of founders and innovators that has donated 2,500 dry ration kits via Centre for Community Initiative (CCI) through Umeed Project and 500 dry ration kits via Sunbird Trust for Churachandpur district, reports added.

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