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Last Updated : Jan 18 2021 6:45PM     Screen Reader Access
News Highlights
PM Modi lays foundation stone of environment friendly Ahmedabad Metro Rail Project Phase-II and Surat Metro Rail Project            National COVID-19 recovery rate improves to 96.59 per cent            Over 2 lakh people vaccinated for Covid-19 across country during past two days            Britain invites PM Modi to attend G7 Summit to be held in June this year            Brisbane Test: Australia bundled out for 294 on day 4           

Text Bulletins Details

Morning News

0830 HRS


  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss vision and roadmap for Banks and NBFCs with all stakeholders this evening.

  • First batch of five Rafale fighter jets to arrive at Ambala airbase today.

  • India conducts more than 5 lakh Covid-19 test in a single day over two consecutive days.

  • Commerce Ministry allows export of PPE kits and masks with certain limitations.

  • West Bengal government extends lockdown till 31st of August.

  • International Tigers day being observed today.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi will today join stakeholders from Banks and NBFCs to discuss and deliberate on vision and roadmap for the future. The topics on agenda include credit products and efficient models for delivery, financial empowerment through technology, prudential practices for stability and sustainability of financial sector. Banking sector plays an important role in contributing to India’s economic growth through financing infrastructure, agriculture, local manufacturing including MSMEs. Financial inclusion can play a big role in financial empowerment through technology.Senior officers from Government will also be a part of the interaction.


The first batch of five Rafale jets will arrive in Ambala today. The fleet, comprising three single seater and two twin seater aircraft, will be inducted into the Indian Air Force at the Ambala airbase in Haryana. The fighter jets, built by French aviation firm Dassault, took off from the Merignac airbase in southern France's Bordeaux on Monday.

The five aircraft are part of 36 planes bought by India from France in a 59,000-crore rupees inter-governmental deal in 2016. The aircraft is covering a distance of nearly 7,000 km from France to India with mid-air refuelling and a single stop at a French airbase in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Indian Embassy in France in a statement said, delivery of ten aircraft has been completed on schedule but five will stay back in France for training Mission. The delivery of all thirty six aircraft will be completed on schedule by the end of 2021.

"The Rafale fighter jets had mid-air refuelling before reaching the Al-Dhafra airbase in UAE. After the layover, the jets will embark on the their final leg of journey to India. The Indian Air Force, appreciated the support provided by French Air Force for the Rafale journey back home. The fighter jets are capable of carrying a range of highly effective weapons, including the Keter air to air missile and scalp cruise missile. The Rafale jets will come with various India specific modifications, including Israeli helmet mounted displays, radar warning receivers, low band jammers and 10 hour flight data recording. The Air Force has readied the required infrastructure to welcome the jets in its line up. Anand Chaturvedi, AIR News, Delhi."


The Government has said that country's Case Fatality Rate, CFR further improves and drops to 2.25 per cent. The Union Health Ministry said, India continues its march as a country with one of the lowest fatality rates in the world. This achievement is a result of effective implementation of containment strategy combined with house-to-house surveys, aggressive testing and standardized clinical management protocols. The Ministry said, under the guidance of the Central government, the governments of the state and Union Territories have focused on reducing the fatalities by effectively managing the severe cases. They are prioritising care of the high-risk population using field health care workers leading to decrease in the CFR across the country. The CFR has reduced from around 3.33 per cent in mid-June to 2.25 today. The ramped up three-tier hospital infrastructure along with prompt and seamless patient management has helped consistent increase in the recoveries. For the fifth day in a row, India has seen more than 30 thousand recoveries per day.


India has conducted more than five lakh COVID-19 tests in a single day over two consecutive days. The Union Health Ministry said, this is the outcome of the combined and focused efforts of Centre, State and Union Territory governments on aggressive testing. During the last 24 hours, India tested a total of five lakh 15 thousand samples. Testing is the first important step in the early detection and isolation of COVID-19 positive cases.

The graded and evolving response resulted in a testing strategy that steadily widened the testing network in the country, and the cumulative testing has crossed one crore 73 lakh.

The Tests Per Million has further improved to 12 thousand 562. The Health Ministry said, the testing capacity of India has received another boost with the induction of three high throughput testing facilities in Noida, Mumbai and Kolkata that were inaugurated virtually by the Prime Minister yesterday. The testing lab network in the country has been strengthened with one thousand 310 labs in the country, 905 labs in the government sector and 405 private labs.


All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi will hold the second session of National Clinical Grand Rounds today at 3 PM. The interactive session, which will be led by AIIMS Director, Dr. Randeep Guleria, focuses at facilitating insightful discussion on COVID related issues. Senior doctors of the premier health Institute will be discussing on the usage of antiviral and anti-IL6 drugs in moderately severe COVID cases.

Doctors from medical colleges and Senior Physicians from hospitals located across the country and abroad will be participating in the online session.

"AIIMS has been extensively involved in managing patients, developing guidelines, policies and research in COVID-19. The medical Institute has managed over 5000 patients of all severity of the disease. In an effort to share its experience and initiate discussions on management of common issues related to COVID-19, AIIMS Delhi in conjunction with NITI Aayog and Union Health Ministry launched the National Clinical Grand Rounds (CGR) on COVID-19.These sessions include presentation of clinical cases by physicians directly involved in COVID management. Challenges faced in the management are also discussed by a panel of eminent experts from across the country and outside India, With Anand Chaturvedi, Suparna, AIR NEWS, Delhi."


The recovery rate of COVID patients in Delhi has further improved to 88.83 per cent. It continues to be the state with the highest recovery percentage in the country. The city recorded recovery of one thousand 135 patients in the last 24 hours taking the total number of recovered patients till date, to one lakh 17 thousand 507. 


In Madhya Pradesh, the number of COVID-19 cases has climbed to 29 thousand 217 after 628 new cases during the past 24 hours. With ten patients succumbing to the infection during the day, the death toll rose to 830.

"As per the state health bulletin, 552 coronavirus patients were discharged from the hospitals yesterday taking the number of recovered cases in the state to 20 thousand 343. No new coronavirus case was reported from 10 districts since yesterday. There are now 8 thousand 44 active cases in Madhya Pradesh. There are 3 thousand 226 active containment zones in the state. A total of 7 lakh 24 thousand samples have been tested in Madhya Pradesh so far. More than 12 thousand 600 samples were tested yesterday. Of these, 4.9 percent samples have been reported positive. On the other hand, 836 fever clinics are being operated in the state in which the initial symptoms of Covid 19 are being tested. Sanjeev Sharma, AIR News, Bhopal."


Gujarat government has set the ceiling on Covid 19 treatment in private hospitals across the state. The move came in the light of complaints received against private hospitals for charging exorbitant charges from Covid patients.

"As per the official press release,, the government has fixed a ceiling rate of Rs 5700 per day for Covid patients in non ICU wards. The upper limit of Rs 8,075 per day has been set for those who are admitted to high dependency units. Patients admitted in ICU facilities can not be charged more than 6000 rupees per day. While a ceiling of Rs 8, 500 per day has been fixed for those High Dependency Units with ICU facilities. Upper limit of Rs 14, 500 per day has been set up for those Covid patients who are treated in ICUs with isolation facilities. As per the press release, the charges do not include the cost of Tocilizumab, and Remdesevir injections. APARNA KHUNT, AIR NEWS, AHMEDABAD."


The findings of initial round of a serological survey conducted by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, Niti Aayog and Tata Institute of Fundamental Research were released yesterday. The results showed that an estimated 57 per cent respondents in slums and 16 per cent people from residential societies are exposed to coronavirus.

"Overall, the sero-survey found that 40 per cent had had the coronavirus infection. A surprise finding of the survey is that more women had been infected than men. This survey also  showed that Mumbai has one of the highest sero prevalence recorded by cities in the world. It also showed that the infection fatality rate is quite low at 0.05% to 0.1%, meaning the virus is not as fatal in the city as it has been worldwide. The expert associated with the survey said that shared facilities like toilets, high population density and lack of physical distancing may be the reasons why those living in slums were 3.5 times more exposed to the virus than people living in housing societies. Nivedita, Air News, Mumbai."


In Karnataka, 5536 new Covid-19 positive cases were reported yesterday, taking the total to 1,07,001.  2,819 patients  were cured and discharged from various hospital in the State and total number of recovered patients has gone up to 40,504. The State recovery rate stands at 37.85 perecent.

"A total number of  37,720 swab samples were tested in 90 labs across the State yesterday and the total test  has gone up to 12,42,771.  64,434 active cases are taking treatment in various hospital in the State, among them 612 are in ICU. Meanwhile Karnataka Medical Education Minister Dr. K. Sudhakar has said that there will be a centralized system in place to classify asymptomatic, symptomatic and mild symptomatic persons and recommend treatment based on the severity of the cases. Various existing Apps related to Coivd will be brought under one platform to get real time information which will assist in strategising allocation of hospital and beds to the needy. This will probably remove the delay in bed allocation  and treatment which is being faced now,  the patients will get all information in one phone call. R.MURTHY, AIR NEWS, BENGALURU."


Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswamy is slated to hold a meeting with all district collectors today through video-conference. The agenda on the table is the future course of the lockdown in the state.

Meanwhile, the Covid-19 infections in the state have crossed two lakh 27 thousand with the confirmation of close to seven thousand new cases yesterday.

"The Chief Minister’s consultation with the district collectors comes in the wake of the current unlock-phase drawing to a close on Friday. It is a usual practice that, before taking a final call on the future course of the lockdown, the opinion of the district collectors are being secured. This will be followed by the Chief Minister’s meeting with the state medical experts team tomorrow. The major points of discussion are said to be the prevailing ground situation of the pandemic, the advisability or otherwise of public transport, the hurdles in the reopening of educational institutions and the nature of additional unlock provisions that are possible. Jayasingh, AIR News, Chennai."


Andaman and Nicobar Administration has imposed complete lockdown on Saturdays and Sundays till further order to contain Covid 19. Essential services will remain exempted. The decision has been taken following a surge in COVID-19 cases during the past few days. A 7-day quarantine has also been made mandatory for those coming to the islands.


Commerce Ministry has amended its export policy for Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and masks. Under the new policy, 2 and 3 ply surgical masks and medical goggles can be exported now with certain limitations. For 2 and 3 ply surgical masks a monthly export quota of 4 crore has been fixed by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT). Medical Goggles can be exported with a monthly cap of 20 lakh units. Government has also removed prohibition on export of Face Shields from the country.


West Bengal government has extended the bi-weekly lockdown till August 31. West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee announced that there will be a complete shutdown across the state for two days every week. The bi-weekly lockdown will be implemented mostly on Saturdays and Sundays. The next lockdown is scheduled tomorrow.

All the government and private offices, commercial establishments, public and private transport will remain shut. Only the essential services will be functional. Petrol pumps are allowed to open. The functioning of courts, work in agricultural fields and tea gardens, intra-state and inter-state goods movements and home delivery of cooked food will be permitted.


In our series "Expert Speak" on All India Radio, we bring you the views of the leading medical experts on COVID-19.

Dr S Rajeshwari, Department of Anesthesiology, AIIMS has advised the people to stay at homes and maintain hand hygiene.

Dr Purva Mathur, Professor Lab Medicine, AIIMS  has said that social distancing is very important to check the spread of virus.


Coronavirus has infected over 16.5 million people worldwide and claimed 6,55,300 lives.

According to a latest tally by Johns Hopkins University, the the United States leads the count with over 4.3 million cases, followed by over 2.4 million cases in Brazil. The U.S. also has the highest number of deaths with one lakh 48 thousand 298, followed by 87 thousand 618 in Brazil.

Meanwhile, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said that he will reconvene the Emergency Committee on Thursday to re-evaluate the coronavirus pandemic, as the global Covid-19 cases doubled over the last six weeks.


The Bhumi Pujan for the construction of Ram Temple in Ayodhya is just one week away. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will take part in the ceremony on 5th of August. While preparations are in full swing for this historic event in this ancient city, many programs are being organised in other parts of the state too. Soil and water from many sacred places in state is being sent to Ayodhya.

"The soil and water of Sangam, the confluence of holy rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati will be sent today to Ayodhya for use in the construction of Ram Temple. People of Mathura,The city of Lord Krishna also performed special Rajat Shila Poojan or worship of Silver brick in which local MP Hema Malini participated online. The brick will be send to Ayodhya along with the holy water of many ponds of the city. Saints and religious heads in Ancient City Chitrakoot have already sent the holy water from Bharat koop to Mahant Nritya Gopal Das who is head of Shri Ram janmabhoomi teerth shetra trust. Yesterday Deputy Chief Minister of state Keshav Prasad Maurya met Nritya Gopal Das and offered donation to the Trust. SUSHIL CHANDRA TIWARI, AIR NEWS, LUCKNOW."


About 81 crore beneficiaries covered under National Food Security Act (NFSA) and Antyodaya Ann Yojana (AAY) are being provided 5 Kgs of Rice or wheat free of cost under the Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Ann Yojana scheme. The total allocation for the second phase of PMGKAY from July to November 2020 is over 200 Lakh Metric Tonnes  of food grains. The scheme was rolled out on 8th of this month and till this Monday, over 33 Lakh Metric Tonnes of food grains have already been handed over to state governments across the country. The current allocation in just around 20 days is about 83 per cent of the total allocation for the month of July.

After successful implementation of PMGKAY scheme from April to June 2020, the Government of India extended this scheme for another 5 months from July to November 2020.


National Investigation Agency (NIA) has arrested an associate professor of Delhi University in connection with Bhima Koregaon case. He will be produced before a special court in Mumbai today. The accused has been identified as Hany Babu Musaliyarveettil Tharayil, a resident of Gautam Buddha Nagar in Uttar Pradesh.


National Investigation Agency (NIA) questioned Kerala Chief Minister's former Secretary M Shivashankar for the second day yesterday in gold smuggling case. He was quizzed by the NIA at its Kochi office. The interrogation which began in the morning went on for about 10 and half hours. He is being interrogated for his alleged links with some of the accused in the diplomatic baggage gold smuggling case. On Monday also, he was interrogated for over 9 hours.


The government has notified changes in Foreign Direct Investment norms on civil aviation. It will permit non-resident Indian nationals to own 100 per cent stake of Air India. Last month, the government for the third time extended the deadline to bid for Air India. The deadline was extended by two months till August 31st. The divestment process for the national carrier was initiated on January 27th.


The second draft of Defence Acquisition Procedure 2020, has been placed in public domain inviting suggestions and comments from the various stakeholders and general public. The first draft was web hosted and comments, recommendations and suggestions were solicited from various stakeholders by April 17th. This was later extended to 8th of May. Since then, suggestions were received from various stakeholders, services, and industry running into more than 10,000 pages. After an analysis of these comments, specific interactions were also carried out with the entire spectrum of stakeholders, both in person and via web conferences in order to understand their precise concerns.

The amended second draft has since been finalised by the review committee driven by tenets of defence reforms announced as part of the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’ and has been placed in the public domain. Specific comments have been sought on the amended draft by the 10th of August.


In Bihar, flood situation has further deteriorated following heavy rains in catchment areas of Nepal. 36 people lost their lives in flood related incidents during the past 24 hours. Water level of  Gandak, Kosi and Bagmati is rising all along their course and are flowing above danger marks. Adhwara group of rivers are also flowing above danger mark. Met department has forecast widespread rain across the state in the next 48 hours. Floods have affected 30 lakh people in 12 districts. Over 11 lakh people of Darbhanga are reeling under the impact of flood. The other worst affected districts are Gopalganj, Saran, Samastipur, East and West Champaran. Vehicular traffic in several districts following damage of roads Rail traffic on Darbhanga -Samastipur section of East Central Railway remains suspended on the sixth consecutive day, due to over topping of rail tracks  at several places. Long route trains have been diverted on alternative routes. 26 teams of NDRF and SDRF have been pressed into service. Over two lakh sixty thousand people have been evacuated so far. About 25 thousand people are taking shelter in 26 relief camps. 803 community kitchens have been set up for providing food to affected people.


India Meteorological Department has warned of heavy rains in Mumbai, Thane, Raigad, Palghar and some other districts of Maharashtra.

Meanwhile, Mumbai has surpassed its July 2014 record of 1,468.5 mm rain for the all-time high monthly rainfall yesterday with intermittent intense rain spells.


International Tiger Day will be celebrated today. The Day is celebrated on 29th of July every year across the globe to create awareness about tiger conservation.

Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar released All India Tiger Estimation Report-2018 yesterday. He also released a poster on small wild cats of India. Mr Javadekar said, India is home to nearly 70 per cent of the global tiger population and it leads the world in showing effective conservation of the wild species.

He said, tiger is a precious gem of the nature and its presence signifies that the forest is in good condition. He said, in 1973 there were only 9 tiger reserves in the country, which has now gone up to 50. Mr Javadekar said that apart from tigers, India is also home to 30 thousand elephants, 3000 single-horned Rhinos and over 500 lions. He said, the country is ready to provide every assistance to increase the population of tigers in the world.

Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu congratulated the Government for successful implementation of Project Tiger in the country. He said, through dedicated approach towards project tiger, India has doubled it's tiger population much before the target year 2022.


The annual five day Haj pilgrimage commences today in Saudi Arabia on a drastically reduced scale due to coronavirus pandemic globally. Only about one thousand Muslims begins their journey from holy city of Mecca to assemble in Mina. Thirty per cent of them will be Saudi citizens while the remaining seventy per cent will be foreign nationals who live in Saudi Arabia. They will spend the night there and move towards plains of Arafat at dawn tomorrow for the day's main ritual of Haj-reciting prayers.


Take a look at today's weather forecast:

In Jammu and Kashmir, the minimum temperature was 25 degree Celsius in Jammu while maximum will be around 35 degrees. The city is likely to witness generally cloudy sky with moderate rain.

In Srinagar, the temperature will hover between 19 and 32 degree Celsius.

Leh, Ladakh will have mainly clear sky becoming partly cloudy towards afternoon or evening. The temperature will hover between 18 and 30 degree Celsius.

In Gilgit, the minimum temperature was recorded at 17 degree Celsius while the maximum will be around 35 degrees.

Muzzafarabad may witness partly cloudy sky with possibility of rain or thunderstorm or dust-storm The temperature minimum of 23 degree Celsius while maximum temperature will be around 35 degrees.

Chandigarh will see generally cloudy sky with one or two spells of rain or thundershowers. The minimum temperature was recorded at 26 degree Celsius and maximum temperature will be around 33 degrees.

The National Capital Delhi may experience generally cloudy sky with heavy rain. The minimum temperature was recorded at 26 degrees Celsius and maximum is expected to be around 35 degrees Celsius.

Guwahati is also expected to have generally cloudy sky with a few spells of rain or thundershowers. Minimum temperature around 25 degree Celsius while maximum around 32 degreesAhmedabad will have a generally cloudy sky with light rain.  Minimum temperature in the city was 27 degree Celsius while maximum is expected to be around 34 degrees.



  • Joining the team of corona warriors, teachers lead the fight against Covid. The Mail Today informs 30,000 teachers from government schools have been working with medics to deliver help amid the crises.

  • Commenting on the merger of six BSP MLAs with the congress, The ASIAN AGE reports, "BSP joins BJP plea in HC against merger of its 6 MLAs with Congress."

  • The Hindustan Times informs, the Indian Navy has stepped up surveillance in the Indian Ocean Region to curb China's attempts of entering it. "Navy deepens watch to check China ambitions."

  • Hailing the call for justice for the minority Sikh Community in Pakistan, The Statesman, reports, "India censures Pakistan's bid to convert Lahore gurudwara into mosque."

  • With the controversy over bollywood actor Sushant Singh's alleged suicide deepening further, The Pioneer writes "Sushant's father files abetment of suicide against Rhea Chakraborty.

  • Commenting on the depleting air quality in Delhi, The Times of India quoting a study, reports, "Delhiites lose 9 years life due to pollution."

  • And lifting, science to news heights, the Hindustan Times carries picture of Nasa's new Mars rover, the biggest, heaviest, most advanced vehicle sent to the Red Planet.


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