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Last Updated : Oct 25 2020 10:30PM     Screen Reader Access
News Highlights
PM Narendra Modi says, country has given a befitting reply to forces trying to divide the nation            In his 'Mann Ki Baat' programme, PM urges people to go for local products during festive shopping            COVID-19 recovery rate touches 90 per cent            Paddy procurement gains momentum during ongoing Kharif Marketing Season; Over 144 lakh tonnes paddy procured so far            India celebrates the festival of Dussehra           

Text Bulletins Details


Morning News

0830 HRS
20.09.2020

THE HEADLINES:-

  • Lok Sabha passes Companies (Amendment) Bill, to decriminalise various corporate offences; Also passes Taxation Bill to provide relief to taxpayers.

  • India overtakes US in terms of global COVID-19 recoveries.

  • Centre reviews measures taken to curb air pollution in Delhi NCR before the onset of harvesting and winter season.

  • In IPL cricket, Chennai Super Kings beat defending champions Mumbai Indians by five wickets in Abu Dhabi.

  • In Italian Open Tennis, Singles semifinals to be played today.

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Lok Sabha has passed the Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2020, which decriminalises a number of technical and filing-related corporate offences. It also allows direct listing of Indian companies on foreign stock exchanges and revokes the criminal provisions added to the Companies Act for violations of provisions of corporate social responsibility rules.

The bill, which seeks to decriminalise various penal provisions and introduce a new chapter related to producer organisations in the legislation was passed by the Lower House in its late night sitting.

Speaking on the legislation, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said decriminalisation of various provisions under the companies law will help small companies by reducing litigation burden on them. She informed that 48 sections of the Companies Act, 2013 will be amended to decriminalise various offences. The Minister asserted that there will, however, be no relaxation for serious offences, including fraud, deceit and those that cause injury to public.

Ms Sitharaman informed that there will also be a new chapter on producer organisation which will be helpful for farmer producer organisations (FPOs) in the country. For promoting ease of doing business, the Minister said that 17 provisions in the Companies Act, 2013, have also been amended which paves way for easy and user friendly fulfillment of statutory compliances.

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Lok Sabha has also passed the Taxation and Other Laws (Relaxation and Amendment of Certain Provisions) Bill, 2020. The bill aims at providing relaxations related to compliance by extending time limit and waiving penalty in relation to certain specified laws. These laws include the Income Tax Act, 1961 (IT Act), some Finance Acts, the Central Excise Act, 1944, the Customs Act, 1962, and the Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act, 1988. Earlier in her reply, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the bill will replace the ordinance which was promulgated in March this year. The bill also extends the deadline for filing declaration and due amount under the Vivad Se Vishwas Scheme till 31st December.

The legislation provides these relaxations in view of spread of the coronavirus pandemic in India. The bill proposes amendment in the IT Act to provide that donations made by a person to the PM CARES Fund will be eligible for 100 per cent deduction in the taxable income.

Congress, DMK, TMC, RSP members opposed the bill and said that it allows the government to invoke the clause of force majeure retrospectively, which they said will be misused to defer GST payments to State governments. The opposition also raised the issue of the PMCARES fund and asked the government about the reason to create a separate relief fund other than PMNRF.

Ms Sitharaman in her reply stated that the amendment in the tax related laws is brought about only to provide relief to taxpayers, so that statutory compliances can be met amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking about the PMCARES fund, the Finance Minister said, PMCARES is a registered public trust whereas PMNRF has not been registered till date since its inception in 1948. Ms. Sitharaman informed that PMNRF fund which also has been given tax deduction benefit does not come under the purview of RTI. She informed that both the relief funds are eligible for receiving the benefits under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) compliance.

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The Rajya Sabha passed the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Second Amendment) Bill, 2020 yesterday. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman moved the Bill in the house which is an amendment to the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code 2016 which provides a time-bound process for resolving insolvency in companies and among individuals. It replaces the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 promulgated in June this year.

Insolvency is a situation where individuals or companies are unable to repay their outstanding debt. The Bill seeks to temporarily suspend initiation of the corporate insolvency resolution process, CIRP under the Code. Replying to the discussion, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that Insolvency and Bankruptcy is a significant part of the business and it is helping the companies and people to resolve the issues without going to National Company Law Tribunal, NCLT.

On the employment front, Ms Sitharaman said, 258 companies were rescued under the IBC mechanism.

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The Business Advisory Committee (BAC) of Parliament held a meeting to discuss the legislative business and other issues related to the ongoing Monsoon Session. Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla presided over the meeting yesterday which was also attended by other BAC members, including Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, BJP MP Jagdambika Pal, BSP MP Ritesh Pandey and Biju Janata Dal MP Pinaki Misra.

Our correspondent reports that the political parties arrived at a consensus in the meeting to curtail the ongoing Monsoon Session of the Parliament in light of COVID-19 pandemic.

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The Lok Sabha is scheduled to take up Foreign Contribution Regulations (Amendment) Bill, National Forensic Sciences University Bill, Rashtriya Raksha University Bill, Bilateral Netting of Qualified Financial Contract Bill and Factoring Regulation (Amendment) Bill today.

Rajya Sabha is scheduled to take up the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, Indian Institutes of Information Technology Laws (Amendment) Bill and the Banking Regulations (Amendment) Bill today.

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BJP has issued whip to its Rajya Sabha Members asking them to be present in the House today. Three farm bills are scheduled to come up for consideration and passing in the Upper House. Several Opposition parties are opposing these legislations. However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has termed the bills as historic and pro-farmer and accused the critics of misleading farmers over the bill. The Lok Sabha has already passed these bills.

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Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has said, those opposing Centre's farm bills were creating confusion by provoking farmers.

"In a series of tweets, shri Chouhan yesterday said that the bills aimed to make farmers in the country self-reliant and those opposing the bills are just trying to show themselves as farmer friendly while seeing various sections of society as vote banks. Shri Chouhan added that the legislation would give farmers the freedom to fix prices of their produce and break boundaries of states under the one nation, one market concept.

He further added that the bills are revolutionary and give protection to farmer mandis as well as the minimum support price mechanism. Sanjeev Sharma, AIR News, Bhopal".

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Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Dr. P. K. Mishra chaired the meeting of the High-Level Task Force constituted to improve the air quality in National Capital Region of Delhi.

Dr Mishra emphasized that the meeting was called well in advance before the onset of harvesting and winter season to ensure proper precautionary and preventive measures to combat the causes of air pollution are taken well in time.

A review was carried out of the main sources of air pollution, measures taken and the progress made by the State Governments and various Ministries. It was noted that the incidence of stubble burning has reduced by more than 50 per cent in last two years and the number of Good AQI days have gone up.

It was observed that after recent inclusion of residue based power or fuel plants under priority sector lending by Reserve Bank of India, both State and Central Governments should jointly work out action plans for rapid deployment of such units. Measures related to diversification of crop and strengthening of supply chains were also discussed.

The Principal Secretary highlighted the importance of effective implementation of the existing in-situ management of crop residue scheme of Ministry of Agriculture by the States. He emphasized that State Governments should ensure that the new machinery to be deployed in the current year should reach the farmers before the start of the harvesting season. The Ministry of Agriculture was directed to provide all necessary support in this regard.

To control stubble burning, it was stressed that adequate number of teams should be deployed at ground level and they should ensure that no stubble burning takes place especially in the State of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. These states need to put extra efforts and appropriate incentives especially in the relevant districts.

The Delhi Government was requested to ensure measures to control local sources of pollution. Dr Mishra emphasized that the envisaged measures should be implemented well before the onset of severe conditions and focus should also be laid on compliance of emission norms by industry in satellite industrial area.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone of nine highway projects in Bihar through video conferencing tomorrow. These highway projects involve about 350 kilometres road at a cost of four thousand two hundred 58 crore ruppes. Paving the way for development of Bihar, these roads will enhance better connectivity, convenience and economic growth in and around the state. The Movement of people and goods will also improve substantially, especially with the neighbouring states of Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand.

The Prime Minister will also inaugurate the Optical Fibre internet services where all the 45 thousand nine hundred 45 villages of Bihar will be connected through Optical Fibre Internet Service. This project will help in easy availabilty of digital services like e-Education, e-Agriculture, Tele-Medicine, Tele-law and other social security schemes to all citizens of Bihar at the click of the button.

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The Health Ministry said, India has overtaken USA and became number one in terms of global COVID-19  recoveries. The constantly increasing recoveries have ensured that the actual caseload of the country is reduced and currently comprises only 19.10 per cent of the total positive cases. Presently, the total number of active cases in the country is 10 lakh 13 thousand. The Ministry said, effective implementation of Centre's strategic and graded 'Test-Track and Treat' approach has led to higher recoveries and lower fatality. Currently, India’s Case Fatality Rate is at 1.61 per cent, which is one of the lowest globally. In the last 24 hours, one thousand 247 deaths were reported taking the toll to 85 thousand 619. India's COVID-19 tally has crossed 53 lakh with 93 thousand 337 new infections being reported in a day. The top five States with the maximum caseload are Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh.

The country has registered the highest single day recoveries of 95 thousand 880 COVID patients. The Health Ministry said, the recovery rate of COVID-19 has further improved to 79.28 per cent. The total number of recoveries has reached over 42 lakh.

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The Health Ministry today said, India scaled another peak with 12 lakh tests conducted across the country in last 24 hours, which is an all time record high. More than 6.37 crore COVID-19 tests have been conducted till now. It said, higher testing leads to early identification of positive cases, timely and effective treatment and low mortality. The Health Ministry said, while the number of daily tests has increased as integral part of CHASE THE VIRUS strategy, States have been advised that all symptomatic negatives of Rapid Antigen Tests are mandatorily subjected to RT-PCR.

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The Tata Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats, CRISPR test, powered by CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB) FELUDA has received regulatory approvals from the Drug Controller General of India for commercial launch. As per the Indian Council of Medical Research guidelines, the test has met high quality benchmarks with 96 per cent sensitivity and 98 per cent specificity for detecting the Novel Corona virus. This test uses an indigenously developed, cutting-edge CRISPR technology for detection of the genomic sequence of SARS-CoV-2 virus. CRISPR is a genome editing technology to diagnosing diseases.

The Tata CRISPR test is the world’s first diagnostic test to deploy a specially adapted Cas9 protein to successfully detect the virus causing COVID-19. This marks a significant achievement for the Indian scientific community, moving from Research and Development to a high-accuracy, scalable and reliable test in less than 100 days. The Tata CRISPR test achieves accuracy levels of traditional RT-PCR tests, with quicker turnaround time, less expensive equipment and better ease of use. Moreover, CRISPR is a futuristic technology that can also be configured for detection of multiple other pathogens in the future.

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In Bihar, COVID-19 recovery rate has improved to 91.60 percent which is 13 percent more than national average. Active cases in the state is continuously decreasing. Casualities due to Corona has risen to 861. The State Health Minister Mangal Pandey said, everyday over one lakh COVID-19 tests are being conducted.

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Gujarat registered a record 1,432 new Covid19 cases in the past 24 hours. Our correspondent reports, the total number of positive cases in the state have risen to 1 lakh 21 thousand 920.

"With the recovery of 1470 patients yesterday, the recovery rate has further improved and reached upto 84.12 percent. Total 1 lakh 2 thousand 571 patients have recovered in the state till now. More than 37 lakh 39 thousand tests have been carried out in the state till date, out of which 61432 tests were carried out yesterday. At present total active cases in the state are 16054, out of which 97 patients are on ventilator. 16 patients died yesterday taking the total deaths due to Covid19 upto 3305. Meanwhile Ahmedabad municipal corporation has added 16 new areas in the micro containment zone, while clear 21 areas from the list. Yogesh Pandya, AIR News, Ahmedabad".

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In Tamil Nadu, the total number of recoveries from Covid-19 has risen to 4.81 lakh, which is 89.7 percent while the total number of cases has gone up to 5.36 lakh. Over 83-thousand people were tested during the past 24 hours in the state and 5,569 people were confirmed positive of COVID-19.

"A notable feature in Tamil Nadu is that the active caseload is consistently under 47-thousand for the past many days. The recoveries often outnumber new infections. Nearly 62 lakh people have been tested so far, all using the RT-PCR kits, which are considered the gold standard in Covid testing. More than 80 percent of the patients who required hospitalisation were treated in Government facilities. The state health department is aiming at converting at least fifty percent of the Covid beds in Government hospitals with hi-flow oxygen cannulas, as the experience shows oxygen cannulas are more in demand than ventilators in Covid management. Jayasingh. AIR News, Chennai".

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Participating in our live phone in programme on Covid 19 last night, Dr Piyush Ranjan of All India Institute of Medical Sciences told AIR News about who and when can someone donate plasma which can be useful in Coronavirus treatment

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The Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI) has urged the Maharashtra government to extend the property tax waiver for six months. The association said that the three-month waiver announced by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) should have been granted to all hotels as well as restaurants for a six-month period during which they were asked to remain shut.

"The Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India said the corona pandemic crises have brought the shutters down of hotels and restaurants establishments. It said the industry is on the verge of collapse, therefore, not just hotels but restaurants are also hoping for complete waiver on taxes or levies for the duration of at least 12 months. It said that the association is thankful to the Maharashtra government and the BMC for considering its plea and showing the industry the much needed solidarity. Association’s President Gurbaxish Singh Kohli said even by the most conservative estimates, it will take nothing less than a year or a year and a half before businesses might see some recovery. Until then, the industry will require the Government's support and which it can be offered in the form of tax and levy waivers. Devapriyo Bhattacharjee, AIR News, Mumbai".

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The Special Cell of Delhi Police has arrested a freelance journalist Rajeev Sharma who was found working for Chinese intelligence officers. During the search of the house of him in Pitampura, New Delhi, one laptop, some confidential documents related to Indian Defence departments and some other incriminating documents were recovered and seized. During his police custody remand, one Chinese lady Qing Shi and her Nepalese partner Sher Singh alias Raj Bohra have also been arrested who were found supplying him huge amounts of money routed through Hawala channels for conveying sensitive information to Chinese Intelligence.

 Speaking to media, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Special Cell Sanjeev Kumar Yadav said, Journalist Rajeev Sharma was involved in passing sensitive defence and strategic information to Chinese intelligence officers from 2016 to 2018.

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For the first time in Leh Hill Council elections, the administration of the Union territory of Ladakh is issuing Postal ballots to persons other than the service personnel. For elections to the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council, voters under new categories have been added to avail the postal ballot facility.

"In 6th General Council elections of Leh Hill Council, the Election authority is extending postal ballot facility to general voters as well. Voters under notified essential services, persons aged over 65 years, differently abled persons, Covid-19 patients and voters I isolation or quarantained during the polling day, can avail the postal ballot facility in Hill Council elections. Leh Election Officer Sachin Kumar said,

Leh has 87 thousand voters, with almost equal numbers of male and females. The Administration is also making efforts to use the EVMs for the Council elections. Ramesh Chandra, ALL INDIA RADIO NEWS, Leh".

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In our series on Gandhian philosophy, today we bring you a report on Gandhiji's views on labour-intensive approach. Mahatma Gandhi believed in a labour-intensive approach rather than capital intensive. He emphasised on self-sufficiency of the villages and worked towards reviving village industries. He had said, India's way is not Europe's; India is not Calcutta and Bombay. India lives in her seven hundred thousand villages.

"Gandhiji was not against machines but he believed that their introduction would lead to millions of hands remaining idle. According to him, in order to use local human resources and to control migration from rural to urban area, organization of labour-intensive public works schemes must be emphasised. Thus, he focused on Khadi to provide work to people instead of using mill produced clothes. The ultimate goal was to reconstitute the villages. He had said, Khadi is the sun of the village solar system. The planets are the various industries which can support khadi in return for the heat and the sustenance they derive from it. Without it other industries cannot grow. Anupam Mishra, AIR News, Delhi".

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The Mahendra Singh Dhoni led Chennai Super Kings beat defending champions Mumbai Indians by five wickets in the opening game of the 13th edition of Indian Premier League in Abu Dhabi last night.

Chasing 163 runs to win, Chennai overhauled the target with four balls to spare, finishing at 166 for five in 19.2 overs.

The 13th edition of the Indian Premier League kicked off in Abu Dhabi yesterday after a long wait due to outbreak of coronavirus pandemic.

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In Tennis, top seed Simona Halep and Spaniard Garbine Muguruza have set up a semi-final clash in the Women's Singles of the Italian Open. In the other semifinal, World number four Karolina Pliskova will be up against the 19th-ranked Czeh Republic Marketa Vondrousova. The two semi-final matches will be played today.

In the Men's Singles category, nine-time Rome champion Rafael Nadal lost to Argentine Diego Schwartzman 6-2, 7-5 in the quarterfinals. World Number 15 Schwartzman will meet Denis Shapovalov of Canada in the semifinals.

In the other match, World Number 1 Novak Djokovic defeated Dominik Koepfer of Germany to earn a spot in the semifinals. Djokovic will meet Norwegian Casper Ruud for a place in the final who beat fourth seed and local favorite Matteo Berrettini 4-6 6-3 7-6(5) in the quarterfinal clash. The two semi-final matches will also be played today.

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Take a look at the weather forecast for the day.


The National Capital Delhi will have partly cloudy sky. The minimum temperature recorded was 27 degree Celsius and maximum is expected to be 37 degrees.

In Gilgit, the temperature is likely to hover between 13 and 32 degrees Celsius. It will have mainly clear sky.

In Muzzafarabad, there will be mainly clear sky. The temperature is likely to hover between 17 and 35 degree Celsius.

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NEWSPAPERS HEADLINE:

  • "Terror & Espionage modules busted - Chinese among 3 arrested for spying", headlines The Times of India, adding 9 of al-Qaida cell plotting hits held. Hindustan Times reports, arrested journalist was sharing border strategy with China say the cops.

  • 1,350 crore rupee J&K package, 5% interest grant for all borrowers", writes the Indian Express.

  • Financial Express says that while mobile revenues have declined in metro cities owing to reverse migration, internet services adoption has accelerated due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

  • The Sunday Pioneer writes that the monsoon session of Parliament will end a week earlier on September 23 as Covid cases among the MPs are up.

  • "Ruth Bader Ginsburg, liberal jurist and American feminist icon, dies", reads a headline in Hindustan Times.

  • And finally, The Statesman, under the headline, "Floating town Viraat sets sail on final voyage, to be dismantled" reports that Indian Navy's aircraft carrier INS Virat has started on its swansong voyage to Alang port in Gujarat from Mumbai.

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