India News and News around the World – Find the latest news and updates

Top news and information across the globe on Business, Technology, Sports, Entertainment, Lifestyle, Weather and Fashion.

Air India Express to operate special flights to Doha from India – Kochi to Doha | Kozhikode to Doha

Air India Express to operate special flights to Doha from India – Kochi to Doha | Kozhikode to Doha

Air India Express announced that, the airline will operate special flights to Doha from Kochi and Kozhikode. IX 475 from Kochi to Doha. The flight IX 373 will operate on May 10 between Kozhikode and Doha.

Air India Express opens booking for these flights. Bookings can be made after checking whether the passenger fall under the approved category to travel. Eligibility to travel on these special flights must be checked at both departure and arrival (Doha) destination before you make the booking.

Only permanent residents can travel on these special flights, according to Air India.

The airline will operate IX 475 from Kochi to Doha, IX 395 from Kochi to Kuwait, IX 443 Kochi to Muscat, IX 682 from Tiruchirappalli to Kuala Lumpur and the flight IX 183 will operate from Delhi to Sharjah.

Very few passengers are travelling from India to other destinations where special flights are operated. It is noted that just one passenger travelled from India to Singapore in a flight departed recently.

Air India Express operates repatriation flights from Doha to few Indian destinations to bring back the Indians stranded abroad.

Source Credit: With Inputs from CNBC TV18

Also Read:

Indian Nationals stranded abroad will be brought back in a phased manner : Process to begin from 7th May 2020

Indian Nationals stranded abroad will be brought back in a phased manner : Process to begin from 7th May 2020

The Indian government yesterday made a press announcement that it will facilitate the return of stranded Indian nationals abroad in a phased manner. As per the press release, Indian government is planning to bring back the stranded Indians who struck abroad in a phased manner starting from 7th of May (Thursday).

Various actions has been taken by Indian government to control the spread of corona-virus COVID-19. As a part of that arrival of international flights has been banned in India since 23rd March 2020 and on 24th of March Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the 21-day lock down. It was then extended till 3rd of May and then extended again till 17th of May 2020.

Millions of Indian nationals are living in Gulf region and wanting to return to India due to various reasons which includes people who are in short-term visas, people with medical emergencies, loss of jobs and students.

Arrangements are planned to bring the Indians back on aircraft’s and naval ships. “Government of India will be facilitating the return of Indian nationals stranded abroad on compelling grounds in a phased manner.” according to the press release by the Indian government. It also states that, a standard operating procedure (SOP) has been prepared for this plan.

Indian Embassies and High commissions in the respective countries are preparing database of Indian nationals those who wanted to return to India. Indian consulate in Qatar and other countries has already started e-registrations to collect information of Indians who wanted to go back to India for various reasons. (Click here to register)

  • It has also been clarified that it is not a free service. It is a non-scheduled commercial service and and those who want to return will have to pay for the service.
  • Passengers will be screened medically before the departure and only asymptomatic persons will be allowed to board flights.
  • During the travel, passengers must follow the health protocols and other protocols as instructed by the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Civil Aviation
  • Upon arrival at the destination in India, passengers will have to download and register on the Arogya Setu app.
  • After which passengers will have to go through medical screening followed by a quarantine period of 14 days. This quarantine will be in a hospital or in an institutional quarantine on a payment basis as per the state government.
  • Medical test for COVID-19 will be repeated at the end of the 14 days quarantine period and based on the results further action will be decided as per the respective state government health protocols.

Press release stated that, The Ministries of External Affairs and Civil Aviation will soon share detailed information about it through their websites. Also it states that, The state governments are being advised to make arrangements, including for testing, quarantine and onward movement of the returning Indians in their respective states.

Frequently asked questions in regard to repatriation

Is it a free service where everyone can fly back to India for FREE?

No. It is not a free service and everyone will have to pay for it.

Where the medical screening will be done? Is it at the departure or at the arrival destination?

Medical screening for COVID-19 will be done both at the departure and on arrival. Along with the medical screening at the arrival, everyone has to go through 14-day quarantine period.

Is there a quarantine and if so what is the quarantine process?

Quarantine will be done at a hospital in respective state or in an institutional quarantine on a payment basis. Also after the 14 days quarantine period, one more test will be taken and you will be asked to proceed further according to the report and decision taken by the concerned state government health protocols.

Press Release: Indian Nationals stranded abroad will be brought back on a phased manner : Process to begin from 7th May 2020

Press Release Image Credit: Embassy of India, Doha

Also Read:

India split in to Red, Orange and Green Zones | Find out which zone does your home district lie?

India split in to Red, Orange and Green Zones | Find out which zone does your home district lie?

The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has classified each district in to Red, Orange and Green Zones based on the probability of occurrence of COVID-19 cases, rate at which it doubles, testing and surveillance feedback. For the week which starts from 3rd May, Red Zone (130) | Orange (284) | Green (319)

Find here the complete list of districts and which zone it is categorized as (for week 1 starting from 3rd May)

Each zone has been issued guidelines and restrictions in place during this extended lockdown period.

Red Zone: Districts with very high numbers of COVID-19 postive cases are categorized as Red Zones. Red Zones will face complete restriction and respective governments will try to provide door step services. If incase no postive cases were registered in the next 21 days then this zone may be categorized as Orange Zone.

Orange Zone: Districts with limited number of cases and no recent surge in positive COVID cases are categorized as Orange Zone. Restricted activities are allowed in Orange Zones.

Green Zone: No positive cases fall under green zone. Exemptions within the district and limited movement of people only for essential services and business may be given extension.

Also Read:

India will be under complete lock-down from midnight today | PM Modi announces 21-day nationwide lock-down

India will be under complete lockdown from midnight today | PM Modi announces 21-day nationwide lockdown 

PM Modi announces a nationwide lockdown from midnight. Forget about stepping outside for 21 days, says PM Modi.

Summary of his speech:

  • I have requested all states that health services should be first priority in this situation
  • Centre allocated Rs 15,000 crore to strengthen health infrastructure
  • All steps being taken by central and state government to ensure supply of essential items
  • Don’t spread any rumors in these difficult times: PM Modi appeals to people
  • Today India is at the stage where our actions today will decide to what extent we can bring down the impact of this disaster
  • In these troubled times, poor are going through a crisis, many are coming forward to help them
  • PM shows a poster saying corona means ‘Koi Road Par Na Nikle’
  • “Jaan he tho Jahaan he”, says PM while appealing to the nation to follow lockdown
  • With folded hands, I appeal to people not to go out of their homes
  • Countries trying their best to control the virus yet it is accelerating
  • Coronavirus spreading rapidly among nations; experts say the only option against it is social distancing
  • Coronavirus has made many powerful countries helpless; challenges are increasing despite all efforts
  • If we will be negligent towards observing social distance India will have to pay a heavy price.
  • We may have to pay a financial cost for this lockdown but it is important for the safety of people
  • This lockdown is in a way curfew and would be more stringent than Janta curfew
  • If we are not able to manage the upcoming 21 days, we will be pushed back 21 years
  • WHO says the pandemic infected person can transmit hundreds in a week
  • Whatever may happen, people should stay at home

Please take care of yourself and your family, friends, says PM Modi and signs off.

Also Read:

Nirbhaya case: All 4 convicts hanged in Tihar Jail today | Justice has prevailed

Nirbhaya case: All 4 convicts hanged in Tihar Jail today | Justice has prevailed

7 Years Later, All four convicts of Nirbhaya case – Mukesh Singh (32), Pawan Gupta (25), Vinay Sharma (26) and Akshay Kumar Singh (31) were hanged in Tihar Jail today in the early hours. The four convicts were hanged for the savage assault to a paramedical student who came to be known to all of us as Nirbhaya.

Nirbhaya’s mother Asha Devi said minutes after four of her daughter’s rapists and killers were hanged, “We will continue our fight for justice for India’s daughters. Our wait for justice was painful and agonising. We finally got justice,”

“I hugged my daughter’s photo,” Asha Devi said. “The beasts have been hanged.”

“I want to thank everyone, judiciary, government for this. The courts proactively dismissed all petitions. The country was ashamed in 2012,” Asha Devi said.

It is a crime that shocked India and after 7 years convicts of the Nirbhaya case have been hanged finally. A three-judge Supreme Court bench rejected the final plea by the convicts in a late-night hearing of the Nirbhaya case. Justice has prevailed. The pre-dawn execution took place less than two hours after the Supreme Court dismissed the final petition of the convicts.

Stating that “Justice has prevailed”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday called for a united effort to build a nation where the focus is on women’s empowerment while ensuring dignity and safety for them.


Janata curfew on March 22 from 7 am to 9 pm | PM Modi requested all the citizens to abide

Janata curfew on March 22 from 7 am to 9 pm | PM Modi requested all the citizens to abide

Janata curfew – A curfew of the people and by the people

What is Janata Curfew?

In an attempt to contain the spread of coronavirus, Prime Minister Narendra Modi requested all the citizens to abide by the Janata Curfew on March 22 from 7 am till 9 pm.

How Janata Curfew will work?

People in India to stay off the roads and public places on Sunday, March 22 from 7 am till 9 pm.

Who will not have to take part in Janata Curfew on March 22?

Janata Curfew is not applicable for people working in essential services such as police, medical services, media, home delivery, firefighting and serving the nation, etc.,

Salute and encourage the people working in essential services On Mar 22, at 5 pm

All the citizens are requested by PM Modi to encourage the people working in essential services, in the times of coronavirus, by standing in their doorways and clapping and ringing their bells at 5 pm on 22 March 2020. PM Modi said in his speech that, “For the past two months, millions are working day and night in hospitals and airports and those serving others by not taking care of themselves. On Mar 22, at 5 pm, we should stand on our doorways, balconies, in our windows and keep clapping hands and ringing the bells for five mins to salute and encourage them,”.

Spread awareness to at least 10 people about Janata Curfew

PM Modi has requested the citizens to inform at least 10 people of the Janata Curfew. “If possible, please call at least 10 people every day and tell them about the ‘Janta Curfew’ as well as the measures to prevent,” PM Narendra Modi said.

Summary of speech by PM Narendra Modi:

  1. Do not be complacent about Covid19. Do not get swayed by numbers. Unless we are really careful it will go up.
  2. I need the next few weeks of your time, cooperation, and discipline
  3. Do not treat social distancing lightly. Please do not step out. Stepping out not only risks you, but you are also putting pressure on the system. There are people who need to be out, so don’t make it worse for them also
  4. People over 65 at no cost to step out
  5. On March 22, Sunday, please follow a self-imposed Janta curfew. Please do not step out of your house (even to the common area of your society) from 7 am to 9 pm
  6. At 5 pm on that day pl clap from your windows and appreciate people who have been working relentlessly during tough times (like medical care professionals, services, delivery, etc)
  7. Do not hoard, we will ensure necessities are in place
  8. Do not cut the salaries of people missing work
  9. Do not worry about funding and the economy for now. Let’s first fight the health crisis. We are setting up task forces to bring the economy back in place – (economic response taskforce)
  10. Priority is now Corona’s fight. Humanity has to win. Nothing else.

Also Read:

Indian passengers coming through or from Oman, Qatar, UAE and Kuwait | 14-day mandatory quarantine in India

Indian passengers coming through or from Oman, Qatar, UAE and Kuwait | 14-day mandatory quarantine in India

  • A compulsory quarantine period of 14 days to those Indian passengers coming through or from Gulf countries including Qatar, Oman, UAE and Kuwait upon arrival from 18th to 31st March.
  • India prohibits the entry of passengers from EU, UK, Turkey from 18-31 March 2020
  • The new circular will make it difficult for Indians to return from the EU, UK, and Turkey.

Since the 13th of March 2020, all inbound passengers including Indian citizens, arriving from China, Italy, Iran, the Republic of Korea, France, Spain, and Germany are being quarantined for a minimum period of 14 days. Now, it has extended the minimum quarantine period of 14 days to those Indian passengers coming through or from Qatar, Oman, UAE, and Kuwait from 18th March until 31st March.

As a part of preventive measures to limit the spread of Coronavirus COVID-19 in India, the Indian government on Monday announced that entry of passengers from European Union (EU) countries, the European Free Trade Association, Turkey and the United Kingdom into India is prohibited.

The aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said in a circular “No airlines shall board passengers from these nations with effect from 1200 GMT on 18 March 2020,” adding that this measure is expected to be enforced till 31 March following which the situation will be reviewed again.

Some of the other measures by the Indian government includes,

  • Barred the entry of all foreigners
  • Visa-free facility granted to Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders on hold till 15 April
  • All visas except those issued to Diplomats, Officials from United Nations or International organizations, Employment Protect visas are suspended till April 15

With robust screening facilities, International land borders have also been restricted to designated check posts. Several Airline across the world have canceled their flights following the travel restrictions imposed due to the Coronavirus Covid-19 outbreak.

Stay Safe. It is advisable to travel only if it is essential and avoid any non-essential travel abroad.

Also Read:

Women achievers who took over PM Narendra Modi’s Social Media accounts on Women’s Day

Women achievers who took over PM Narendra Modi’s Social Media accounts on Women’s Day | #sheinspiresus

Prime Minister Narendra Modi signed off from his Social Media accounts on Sunday and women achievers took over the social handles to share their stories (#sheinspiresus) to millions of followers on International Women’s Day.

PM Modi sent out greetings on Twitter in the morning, said, “We salute the spirit and accomplishments of our Nari Shakti. As I’d said a few days ago, I’m signing off. Through the day, seven women achievers will share their life journeys and perhaps interact with you through my social media accounts.”

Meet the seven women and listen to their inspiring life stories (#sheinspiresus)

Sneha Mohadoss, ‘Foodbank India’ founder

Sneha is Chennai-based and she is the founder of the non-profit organisation ‘Foodbank India’.

Malvika Iyer, bomb-blast survivor and disability activist
Malvika Iyer, a survivor of a bomb attack at the age of 13.

Arifa, an artisan from Kashmir
Arifa is a craftswoman from Kashmir, who has been toiling to improve conditions of women artisans.

Kalpana Ramesh, water warrior

Kalpana Ramesh is a water warrior who gave out a powerful message on water conservation urging people to use water responsibly.

Vijaya Pawar, craftswoman from Madhya Pradesh
Vijaya Pawar, a craftswoman promoting the art of Banjara community of rural Madhya Pradesh along with the help of thousands of other women.

Veena Devi, fondly known as ‘Mushroom Mahila’
Veena Devi, fondly known as ‘Mushroom Mahila’ for popularizing mushroom cultivation, was one of the awardees.

Women are said to be symbol of positivity, determination, strong will-power, courage, and a lot more things. wishes all the Women on this special day!

Image Credit: PM Narendra Modi | Twitter Source

India’s handloom industry faces gloom and doom | Support this by wearing the hand-loom saree!

India’s handloom industry faces gloom and doom | Support this by wearing the hand-loom saree!

GST benefits to weavers is just another yarn

By George Julius Williams | Consulting Editor

The handloom industry in India exudes a national identity that is revered all over the world given its unique, unparalleled and rich heritage. It exhibits the spectacular craft of the artisans and nourishes the social fabric of the country.

The sector generates maximum employment in India (after agriculture) and also has the largest number of weavers in the world.

It has been particularly favourable for women empowerment in the country too, a significant factor on International Women’s Day.

And although the demand for handloom fabric in India, as well as abroad remains significant, competition from power looms and falling incomes, among other external factors, have forced skilled weavers across the country to struggle for survival.

Digital India and technological advancements are rightly encouraged in the country, under the current majority- ruled government, but sadly, this impacts the handloom industry negatively and the cut-throat competition from power looms and other external factors have put the very existence of the handloom sector in doubt.

Many have abandoned their looms and migrated in search of other livelihoods leaving colourful threads that merge, after a multi-level intricate process into exquisite handloom sarees, into complete disarray.

This year’s budget presented by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has not brought much cheer to the handloom sector which was hoping for some good news after the previous years had dealt a massive blow to the handloom sector with major downgrading in the financial allocations from Rs 604 in 2017-18 to Rs 386 in 2018-19.

Unfortunately, this year it was was a mere Rs 485 crore.

The government which on one hand promises to promote the handloom sector under the Make In India programme should really reconsider the step-motherly treatment meted out by Ms Sithraman to the handloom industry and the poor weavers who depend on it for their very livelihood.

Demonetisation has demonized the poor weavers who also had to suffer the effects of GST tax where repeated taxation on yarn, dyes, chemical, as well as the product again, ends in a compromised selling price for the product which leaves the weavers with extremely low benefits.

Most of these weavers are not registered with GSTN and GST itself is too complicated a tax structure for them. Neither are the mostly uneducated weavers familiar with input credit nor is the poor weaver able maintain strategic records or claim returns.

Cash crisis has hit the weavers with strict norms for money withdrawals have deprived them of any non-governmental and/or private loan lender support.

Rising costs, unfair competition, huge cuts in yarn supply scheme allocations and fossil fuel prices are all adding to the woes of the poor handloom weavers. It seems there has been a deliberate and definite move to kill the handloom industry in the country.

The handloom industry has never seen such a huge downgrading in the past 100 years!

Instead, ironically the Union Finance Minister has in this year’s budget announced a National Technical Textiles Mission, which is expected to give thrust to production of a wide variety of textiles used in sectors such as healthcare, infrastructure, automobiles, defense, and agriculture.

This Rs1,480 crore Mission, to be implemented from 2020-2021 to 2023-2024, aims at positioning India as a global leader in technical textiles.

“India imports significant quantity of technical textiles worth $16 billion every year. To reverse this trend and to position India as a global leader, a National Technical Textiles Mission is proposed,” she said.

While one can laud the Finance Minister’s lofty thoughts of increasing exports and decreasing imports by making the Indian technical textile industry a global leader, a sorry state of affairs awaits the poor handloom weavers in a miserable state of doom and gloom.

However, not all is lost. The only welcome move is the announcement of the National Handloom Day on the 7th of August – a mere week before the Independence Day.

The high profile celebration, initiated and actively participated by the honourable Prime Minister Shri Narender Modi has optimistically raised the hopes of handloom weavers, producers and consumers alike.

Lets all hope that not all is lost for handloom industry in India and the nation remembers that Mahatma Gandhi started the Swadeshi Movement and re-introduced hand spinning in the name of Khadi which essentially means hand-spun and hand-woven.

Let’s save this timeless tradition and support Handloom – and what better way on this International Women’s Day for Indian women to go out and support this historical and traditional by wearing the handloom saree!


* Sinchita Maji – Threadbare in Santipur: The Plight of Handloom Weavers

  • Ananya Borgohain, Senior Correspondent –Economic Times Weaving out of trouble: Handloom industry looks at Budget 2018 to solve woes
  • The Hans India – Handloom sector gets a raw deal

Covid-19: Union Health Ministry issues revised travel advisory

Covid-19: Union Health Ministry issues revised travel advisory

The Indian government issued a revised travel advisory for travelers from Covid-19 affected countries. Ministry has tightened the conditions for the new travelers from affected countries which includes Italy, Iran, South Korea and Japan with immediate effect. The revised advisory states,

In view of the emerging global scenarios regarding COVID19, in supersession of all earlier advisories, the following advisories are issued for immediate implementation:

  1. All regular (sticker) Visas/e-Visa (including VoA for Japan and South Korea) granted to nationals of Italy, Iran, South Korea, Japan and issued on or before 03.03.2020 and who have not yet entered India, stand suspended with immediate effect. Those requiring to travel to India due to compelling reasons may seek fresh visa from the nearest Indian Embassy/Consulate.
  2. Regular (sticker) visa/e-Visa granted to nationals of the People Republic of China, issued on or before 05.02.2020 were suspended earlier. It shall remain in force. Those needing to travel to India under compelling circumstances may apply for fresh visa to the nearest Indian Embassy/Consulate.
  3. Regular (sticker) visas/e-Visas granted to all foreign nationals who have travelled to Peoples Republic of China, Iran, Italy, South Korea and Japan on or after 01.02.2020, and who have not yet entered India stand suspended with immediate effect. Those requiring to travel to India under compelling circumstance may apply for fresh visa to nearest Indian Embassy/Consulate.
  4. Diplomats, official of UN and other International bodies, OCI cardholders and Aircrew from above countries are exempted from such restriction on entry. However, their medical screening is compulsory.
  5. Passengers of all international flights entering into India from any port are required to furnish duly filled self-declaration form (including personal particulars i.e. phone no. and address in India) and travel history, to Health Officials and Immigration officials at all ports.
  6. Passengers (foreign and India) other than those restricted, arriving directly or indirectly from China, South Korea, Japan, Iran, Italy, Hong Kong, Macau, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Nepal, Thailand, Singapore and Taiwan must undergo medical screening at port of entry.
  7. Indian citizens are advised to refrain from travel to China, Iran, Republic of Korea, Italy and advised to avoid non-essential travel to other COVID-19 affected countries.

Source Credit:  IndianEmbassyQatar

For any queries related to health, people may contact the ministry of health & family welfare 24*7 at helpline number (+91-11-23978046) or email at [email protected]

Also Read:


Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)

WhatsApp WhatsApp us