The Union health ministry has set up an expert group to review the taxation policy for tobacco products, taking into account its implications on public health.
The cumulative vaccine doses administered in the country so far under the nationwide COVID-19 inoculation drive has exceeded 99 crore.
As part of the nationwide vaccination drive, the Centre has been supporting the states and UTs by providing them COVID-19 vaccines free of cost.
This is the second such letter written by the Union health ministry to the DoPT seeking filling up of vacant posts.
WHO has approved seven vaccine so far -- Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, Johnson & Johnson, Oxford-AstraZeneca, Covishield (an Oxford-AstraZeneca formulation) and China's Sinopharm and Sinovac.
The daily rise in new coronavirus infections has been below 30,000 for 21 straight days and less than 50,000 daily new cases have been reported for 110 consecutive days now.
The active cases have declined to 2,06,586, the lowest in 215 days, comprising 0.61 per cent of the total infections while the national COVID recovery rate was recorded at 98.07 per cent.
Over 8.43 crore balance and unutilised vaccine doses are still available with the states and UTs to be administered, the Union Health Ministry said said.
India reports 19,740 fresh cases of COVID-19 in 24 hours, active tally in country lowest in 206 days
The active cases have declined to 2,36,643 and comprise 0.70 per cent of the total infections, the lowest since March last year.
The government said five states -- Mizoram, Kerala, Sikkim, Manipur and Meghalaya -- are reporting a weekly positivity rate of over five per cent.
According to the ministry, over 5,28,28,050 crore balance and unutilised COVID-19 vaccine doses are still available with states/UTs to be administered.
The active cases comprise 0.81 per cent of the total infections, the lowest since March 2020, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate was recorded at 97.86 per cent.
The ministry said that the number of active cases has declined to 2,77,020, comprising 0.82 per cent of the total infections - the lowest since March 2020.
Over 4.57 crore balance and unutilised COVID-19 vaccine doses are still available with the states and UTs to be administered, the ministry said.
The present faculty with their rich experience can also act as a guiding light to these institutes, the ministry said.