COVID-19 cases have further reduced in Tamil Nadu over the past week. The fresh cases dropped to 2,312 on July 17, with 46 deaths were recorded and 29,230 people under treatment for the infection.
While Tamil Nadu has been at loggerheads with the Centre over the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET), this week saw several developments with this regard. The state health minister met the Union education minister and demanded scrapping of NEET.
Even before K Annamalai took over as the BJP president in Tamil Nadu, he triggered a row with his warning that the media would be brought under control within the next six months.
CENTRE NOT INTERESTED TO SCRAP NEET
Speaking at the Prime Minister's video conference with the chief ministers on COVID-19 situation and vaccine-related issues, CM Stalin urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to reconsider the decision to hold NEET, the medical entrance tests.
The appeal comes after Tamil Nadu Health Minister Ma Subramanian’s meeting with Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on July 15 turned futile. As part of his 13 demands, Subramanian requested to allow the state to fill admissions to all professional courses on the basis of class XII marks during the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, minister Pradhan responded saying that for the convenience of Tamil Nadu students, four new cities, Chengalpattu, Virudhunagar, Dindigul and Tiruppur have been added for conducting NEET. The test would now be held in 18 cities across Tamil Nadu.
Just a day before the meeting, a high-level committee, led by retired Madras High Court judge A K Rajan, handed over its report to CM MK Stalin on the impact of NEET in Tamil Nadu and related issues due to its implementation.
Earlier in the week, on July 13, the Madras High Court dismissed a petition filed by BJP state secretary K Nagarajan, which sought to quash the constitution of the committee headed by Justice A.K. Rajan. The court held that the constitution of the committee is not “an act of defiance to any order passed by the Supreme Court”.
BJP CHIEF’S WORDS CREATES ROW
The new president of the Tamil Nadu unit of the BJP, K Annamalai, has stirred up a row, saying the media in the state would be “brought under control within six months”. He said all the media would come under his predecessor L Murugan, who is now Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting.
Annamalai said this while addressing party workers at Namakkal on July 14 as part of a three-day roadshow from Coimbatore, before he arrived in Chennai and took charge.
Condemning Annamalai's words, dtate IT Minister Mano Thangaraj said that media should work independently and alleged that Annamalai is trying to coerce the media to favour one party.
Another controversy around BJP erupted on July 16, as the Chennai police are probing a case of alleged cheating by members of BJP in the name of allotting a ticket to contest in the recently held Assembly election in Tamil Nadu.
VETERAN COMMUNIST LEADER TURNS 100
Freedom fighter and Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI(M)) leader N Sankaraiah, popularly known as NS, turned 100 years of age on July 15.
Chief Minister MK Stalin, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, state secretary K Balakrishnan, CPI senior leader R Nallakannu and others met Sankaraiah at his residence and greeted him.
Sankaraiah was arrested and imprisoned several times by the British government during the freedom struggle. He was elected to the Tamil Nadu Assembly in 1967, 1977 and 1980. When the CPI split in 1964, Sankaraiah joined the CPI(M), he became the state secretary of the party in 1995 and held that post until 2002.
COVID-19: VACCINE SUPPLY INADEQUATE
The Tamil Nadu government on July 16 extended the pandemic imposed lockdown in the state till June 31. However, the administration also announced a series of new relaxations.
Though the infection count has drastically come down, the state continues to stress on following COVID-19 protocols such as wearing masks and ensuring social distancing amid fears of a third wave of the virus.
Data released by the Directorate of Public Health (DPH) and Preventive Medicine shows that Tamil Nadu improved its COVID-19 vaccine utilisation rate, but lack of adequate supply is slowing the drive. However, people continued to struggle to get a slot for vaccination. Read more
NURSES DEMAND GOVT JOBS
Hundreds of assistant nurses from across the state staged a protest on July 13 at the Directorate of Medical and Rural Health Services (DMRHS) in Teynampet, Chennai demanding government jobs.
Those who completed their nursing assistant course were given assurance of government jobs by 2008, but they are yet to be made permanent.