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140 Tirupati temple staff members found test positive for Covid-19,



Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams opened to the public on 11 July, and will continue to allow entry of devotees less than 12,000 in number into the temple daily.

Tirupati Balaji in Andhra Pradesh, one of the most visited temples in India will remain open even after a senior priest (Archaka) and staff of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD), the body which governs the shrine, tested positive for COVID-19.

There are no plans to stop devotees to come and offer prayers at Tirupati Balaji, said a report  citing YV Subba Reddy, chairperson of TTD.There is no evidence of pilgrims getting infected with the highly contagious disease, he said.

A total of 140 TTD staff, including 14 priests, have tested positive for the novel corona virus infection since the shrine was reopened on June 11.Of these, 70 have recovered and only one is having severe symptoms, said the report citing Reddy. Most of the infected staff are from the Andhra Pradesh Police who have been working with the temple, he said.

“We have no plan to close Tirumala temple. Senior priests will not be put on duty. Priests and employees have requested separate accommodation,” Reddy said as per the report.The decision has been taken amid a “controversy over priests and employees testing positive for COVID-19,” as per the report.

The honorary chief priest, Ramana Dikshitulu, has raised concern over priests and employees of Tirupati Balaji temple testing positive.

In a tweet, the priest tagged Andhra Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy and said that “15 out of 50 archakas carona positve quarantined. Still 25 results awaited. TTD EO and AEO refuse to stop glimpse of god. Obediently following anti hereditary archaka and anti brahmin policy of TDP and CBN. Disaster if this continues. Please take action.”Asked about the tweet, Reddy said the honorary chief priest should have given his suggestions to the TTD Board instead of putting them out on social media.

Dikshitulu, who had alleged the TTD of financial wrongdoings, was removed as chief priest of the temple in 2018 after he crossed the age for retirement, said the report. Reddy had reappointed him as honorary chief priest to serve the temple as an adviser after his YSR Congress Party came to power in May 2019, added the report.


Forty Indians entered billionaires club in pandemic hit-2020



Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, as many as 40 Indians registered themselves in the billionaires club  as per a survey.

Mukesh Ambani continued to be the wealthiest Indian with a networth of USD 83 billion. The head of Reliance Industries witnessed a 24 per cent jump in fortunes and climbed up one spot to be the eighth richest globally, as per the Hurun Global Rich List.

Gautam Adani from Gujarat, who has had a spectacular rise in fortunes in the last few years, saw his wealth almost doubling to USD 32 billion in 2020 and climbed 20 places to be the 48th richest person globally and the second wealthiest Indian. His brother Vinod’s wealth grew 128 per cent to USD 9.8 billion.

The report compiles individual or family wealth in the year to January 15. It can be noted that the Indian economy is set to contract by over 7 per cent because of the impact of the pandemic, which had forced governments to go for lockdowns that had a debilitating impact on the poor.

The report comes at a time when concerns are being raised about a ‘K-shaped’ recovery being underway, where a select few prosper.

Hurun India’s Managing Director and Chief Researcher Anas Rahman Junaid said Indian wealth creation is dominated by cyclical or traditional industries compared to tech-driven wealth creation in the US and China.

“When the tech-driven wealth creation reaches full potential, India could potentially beat USA in terms of the number of billionaires,” he added.

IT company HCL’s Shiv Nadar was the third wealthiest Indian with a fortune of USD 27 billion while some peers in the tech industry dominated the list of fastest growing wealth.

Jay Chaudhry of software company Zcaler saw a 274 per cent rise in networth to USD 13 billion during the year while Byju Raveendran and family saw a 100 per cent increase in its wealth to USD 2.8 billion, the report said.

Diversified corporate house Mahindra Group’s head Anand Mahindra and family also saw a 100 per cent increase in wealth to USD 2.4 billion, it said.

Among those who saw a decline in their networth during the year was Acharya Balkrishna of Patanjali Ayurved at USD3.6 billion, down 32 per cent.

The financial capital continues to lead in the country from a concentration perspective, being home to 60 of the 177 Indian billionaires, followed by New Delhi at 40 and Bengaluru at 22 billionaires, it said.

From a gender perspective, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw of Biocon leads with a networth of USD 4.8 billion (up 41 per cent), Smita V Crishna of Godrej at USD 4.7 billion and Lupin’s Manju Gupta at USD 3.3 billion.

A majority of 118 billionaires were classified as self-made ones in the ranking, as against 932 of the 1,058 billionaires in neighbouring China, which is home to the highest number of billionaires.

Globally, the list is led by Elon Musk of Tesla with a fortune of USD 197 billion followed by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos at USD 189 billion and Frenchman Bernard Arnault of fashion house LVMH at USD 114 billion.

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