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Last Updated : Jan 18 2021 10:21PM     Screen Reader Access
News Highlights
PM Modi lays foundation stone of Ahmedabad Metro Rail Project Phase-II and Surat Metro Rail Project            Govt. releases 12th weekly installment of Rs 6,000 crore to States and UTs to meet GST compensation shortfall            India and Japan sign MoC to promote movement of skilled workers from India to Japan            Stranded ship MV Jag Anand with 23 Indian crew members from China reaches Japan; First batch of crew to fly back tonight            India needs 324 more runs on concluding day to win Brisbane test and series           

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Morning News

0830 HRS


  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi to lay foundation stone for nine highway projects worth over 14 Thousand Crore Rupees in Bihar through video conference today.

  • Government says Minimum Support Price for farmers will continue.

  • Railways starts running forty clone trains with higher speed and fewer stops .

  • Many states to partially reopen schools for students of class 9th to 12th from today as per Unlock 4 guidelines.

  • Sikkim government imposes complete lockdown in Gangtok municipal area till 27th of this month.

  • In Tennis; Novak Djokovic to clash with Diego Schwartzman in Men's Singles final of Italian Open.


The Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone of nine highway projects worth 14,258 crore rupees in Bihar through video conference today. These highway projects involve a road length of about 350 kilometres at a cost of four thousand two hundred 58 crore ruppes. Prominent road projects are six laning of 39 km stretch of Patna Ring road, four laning of Ara-Mohania section of NH 30, Bakhtiarpur-Rajauli section of NH 31 and four laning of Narenpur-Purnea section of NH 131A. 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 had declared a special package for significant infrastructure development of Bihar in the year 2015. This included 75 projects worth 54 thousand 700 crore rupees, of which 13 projects have been completed, work is underway at 38 while others are in DPR, Bidding or Sanction stage. Bihar will get a major boost in bridge sector too as the Prime Minister will inaugurate three mega bridge during the event. The bridges include four lane bridge parallel to existing Mahatma Gandhi Setu in Patna, four lane bridge over Kosi river and four lane bridge parallel to existing Vikramshila Setu in Bhagalpur. Under the Prime Minister’s package, total number of bridges over Ganga river are going to be 17, with a lane capacity of 62. This way, on an average, there will be a bridge over rivers in the state at every 25 Kilometres. 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. With KK Lal's report from Patna, Nitya Franco, Air News."


The Defence Minister Minister Rajnath Singh has said that opposition parties are trying to mislead the nation's farmers. He asserted that  government is aiming to double farmers income and the two farm bills passed in Rajya Sabha yesterday are historic and will pave the way in enhancing farmers income. He added that farmers will continue to get MSP. He was brefing the media yesterday.

Parliament  passed the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill 2020 and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill 2020 with Rajya Sabha approving it yesterday amid uproar by the opposition. The House also negated the oppositions’ amendments to send the Bills to the Select Committee. Speaking on the Bills, Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar said that the government has taken several steps for doubling the income of farmers after consultations with the famers and States.

The two Bills aim at increasing the availability of buyers for farmers’ produce by allowing them to trade freely without any license or stock limit resulting in better prices for their produce. They will replace two ordinances promulgated by the Central Government in June this year.The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill allows intra-state and inter-state trade of farmers’ produce beyond the physical premises of APMC markets. As per the Bill, State governments are prohibited from levying any market fee, cess or levy outside APMC areas.The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill creates a framework for contract farming through an agreement between a farmer and a buyer prior to the production of any farm produce.


In an effort to guard against myths being circulated on various platforms, we bring you our segment on Fact Checking and Mythbusters.

It is a myth that Procurement at Minimum Support Price will stop after the implementation of Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020. Agriculture Ministry has clarified that Procurement at Minimum Support Price will continue and farmers can sell their produce at MSP rates. The Ministry said, the MSP for Rabi season will be announced next week.

The Ministry said it is also a myth that under contract farming, farmers will be under pressure and they will not be able to determine prices. The Agriculture Ministry has clarified that the farmer will have full power in the contract to fix a sale price of his choice for the produce. It said, they will receive payment within maximum three days.


The Lok Sabha has passed The National Forensic Science University Bill 2020. The Bill establishes National Forensic Science University as an institute of national importance. The proposed university would facilitate and promote studies and research and help achieve excellence in the field of forensic science in conjunction with applied behavioural science studies, law, criminology and other allied areas.

The Lok Sabha also passed the Rashtriya Raksha University Bill. The Bill seeks to provide for the establishment of the Rashtriya Raksha University, Gujarat. The key objectives of the University include providing dynamic and high standards of learning and research, and provide a working environment dedicated to advancing research, education and training in the domain of policing. The Bilateral Netting of Qualified Financial Contracts Bill was also passed yesterday. The Bill seeks to provide a legal framework for bilateral netting of qualified financial contracts which are over the counter derivatives contracts.The Lok Sabha also passed The Salaries and Allowances of Ministers (Amendment) Bill, 2020.


The Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan has said that a lot of deaths due to COVID 19  have been avoided because of early lockdown in the country. The Minister said that capacity building was done on a war footing to deal with the challenges emanating from the pandemic. Replying to a discussion on the pandemic in the country, he said it was NDA government's wisdom that it had made a provision of giving 50 lakh rupees insurance to frontline workers in the fight against the pandemic. Dr Harsh Vardhan said Centre made all efforts to enable migrant workers to reach their destinations. He said adequate number of oxygen cylinders and ventilators were provided to all states and UTs. He said lockdown period was utilised so that all mechanisms to deal with the pandemic were in place and dedicated COVID facilities could be set up. Initiating the discussion, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said that most of the countries across the world have either managed to keep its country safe from the virus at the cost of their economy or have kept the economy running while experiencing the onslaught of the disease. He said, the spread of the virus has affected the economy of the country and the government should have taken measures to keep the economy afloat. He said, GDP will shrink for the first time in 41 years. BJP leader Kirit Solanki highlighted the various steps taken by the Centre to check the spread of coronavirus. He also said the government has also taken care of the vulnerable and poor section of the society by providing financial assistance in the wake of the pandemic. DMK leader Dayanidhi Maran criticised the government for imposing the lockdown abruptly.


The Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan has said that no significant or drastic mutations have been found in strains of SARS-CoV-2 in India till now. He informed that ICMR has been conducting large-scale sequencing of nationally representative strains of SARS-CoV-2 virus collected over the past several months over different time-points . Detailed results on mutations and evolution of the virus will be available in early October. The Minister was answering  questions posed by his social media interactors on the Sunday Samvaad platform yesterday. These questions covered a multitude of queries concerning not only the current situation of COVID but also the government’s approach to it and related topics like India’s growth in the field of Science. The Health Minister added that a major proposal is under consideration at the Expenditure Finance Committee level. They include strengthening surveillance of infectious diseases and outbreak response, establishment of dedicated infectious disease management hospital blocks in district hospitals and establishment of Integrated Public Health Laboratories.


Talking to AIR News, Dr. Neeraj Gupta from Respiratory Diseases Department of Safdarjung Hospital Delhi said that symptoms and conditions of the Covid 19 patients are not same. Studies have showed  that there is a behavioral change in the Corona virus.


India has occupied the top position in the world in terms of total recoveries of Covid patients. In a tweet, the Health Ministry said, India's recoveries constitute 19 per cent of the total global recoveries. It said, more than 43 lakh Covid patients have been recovered to date. The total global recoveries of USA is 18.70 per cent, Brazil 16.90 per cent and Russia is 4 per cent.


A total of three thousand 812 new confirmed cases of Corona virus have been reported in Delhi during the last twenty four hours taking the total number of cases to over two lakh 46 thousand. Delhi Government has said that over two lakh nine thousand people affected with Corona virus have been cured so far. In the last 24 hours, three thousand 742 people recovered and 37 deaths were reported in the National Capital taking the toll to four thousand 982. Presently, the total number of active corona cases in the national capital is over 32 thousand.


The Maharashtra government has said that strict action will be taken against black marketing of Remdesivir which is widely used for treating Covid 19 patients. There is a shortage of Remedesivir injections currently used for the treatment of corona patients in Sangli and Kolhapur districts. The Minister of state for health Rajendra Patil Yadravkar, who was on a visit to the district yesterday, said that there are complaints that stockists are stockpiling these medicines and selling them in the black market.

"Minister of State for Health Rajendra Patil said that he has spoken about the issue to five companies who are manufacturing the medicine and the necessary action taken by them is expected to solve the problem. Hence the situation in Sangli and Kolhapur districts is expected to change and the stocks are expected to increase. However he clarified if anyone is found black marketing the essential drug than Food and Drug Administration has been directed to take strong action against them. Meanwhile, State Health Minister Rajesh Tope visited Pune’s Sassoon Hospital, a major centre for treating Covid patients in the district, and asked the hospital to complete the filling of vacancies of doctors expeditiously to effectively deal with the situation. Devapriyo Bhattacharjee, AIR News, Mumbai."


In Chhattisgarh, COVID-19 cases have surged  with the number of total infected people touching nearly ninety thousand mark. Faced with the challenging situation, the state government has once again imposed lock-down in various districts of the state.

"Amidst a rapid surge of CoVID-19 cases in Chhattisgarh, local administration in about ten districts have decided to impose lock-down in their respective areas. In Durg district, lockdown has become effective since yesterday while the state capital Raipur and Surguja districts, lockdown will be imposed from today. Apart from this, in Bilaspur, Balodabazar, Jashpur, Balod, Surajpur and Dhamtari districts lockdown will be effective from 22nd September. In Raigarh district, lockdown will be imposed from 24th September to 30th September. In view of rapid increase in cases of corona infection, this time various district administrations have decided to implement the lockdown very strictly. In state capital Raipur, even Grocery and vegetable shops will not be allowed to open during lockdown. All government and non-government offices will remain closed. Fuel will be given to only government vehicles or ambulances from petrol pumps. Meanwhile, BJP MPs from Chhattisgarh met Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan in New Delhi yesterday. They have urged the centre to intervene and give necessary directions to the state government to contain further spread of infection. Vikalp Shukla, AIR News, Raipur."


In Tamil Nadu, state health department is augmenting its fleet of ambulances. It is aimed at reducing the response time of attending to medical emergencies.

"For the ambulance service, the response time is the main yardstick to determine its quality. It shows the average time taken by an ambulance to reach a place from where a call for help has been received. The state health minister Dr Vijayabhaskar said the response time in Chennai has been reduced from 11 minutes to less than eight minutes. Talking to reporters in Pudukkottai yesterday, he said in rural areas, it will soon be reduced to below 14 minutes. The state earlier had 1005 ambulances under the 108-service. Recently 500 additional vehicles were purchased at a cost of nearly 104 crore rupees, and 120 of them are fitted with advanced life support systems. Another notable feature is that a smartphone app is being developed by the state health department for the public to track the movement of the ambulance. It will help reduce the anxieties of the callers and improve the service quality. Jayasingh, AIR News, Chennai."


In Ladakh, the number of active Covid 19 cases has crossed the 1000 mark with 45 new cases being reported yesterday, the total count of active cases in the Union Territory have reached 1013.

"Ladakh has been witnessing surge in the covid 19 count in the past couple of months. In UT, 45 new cases of Covid postive are reported on Sunday which include 28 cases in Leh district and 17 cases in Kargil. With this , 3753 persons have tested positive for the Coronavirus so far and there are 1013 active cases in Ladakh. 2691 patients have recovered from the infection and the Covid-19 recovery in Ladakh stands at 71 percent.  However, 49 patients have died due to covid 19 pendemic ever since the first case was reported Ladakh in March. With Ramesh Chandra, this is Yangchan Dolma for AIR News from Leh Ladakh."


In Sikkim, a complete lockdown will be in force in Gangtok municipal area from today till 27th of this month. The lockdown was announced on Saturday following a spike in COVID19 cases in the state capital.

"During the seven-day Gangtok municipal area lockdown, movement of passenger and private vehicles will be prohibited except those involved in medical and essential services. All commercial establishments except medical and ration shops will remain closed. State government offices will operate with 30 per cent attendance.  Following the lockdown, the state government has allowed free interstate movement of people without any registration from 1st October and resumption of tourism-related services from 10th October. The health department will issue fresh COVID19 protocol for interstate movement beginning 1st October. Tourism department will also issue guidelines for tourism-related services. With Saikat Sarkar, Namo Dixit from Sikkim for AIR".


The Railways has started running 40 clone trains from today in the wake of huge demands for travel on specific routes. These clone trains -- primarily 3-AC trains with fewer halts, higher speeds and a departure time before the parent train come as a boon for the passengers who have to travel in an emergency or have made last-minute plans. Waitlisted passengers on high traffic routes can hope to reach their destinations two-three hours before the corresponding parent train.10 trains will operate between Bihar and Delhi under the East Central Railways. These trains will originate and terminate at Bihar's Saharsa, Rajendra Nagar, Rajgir, Darbhanga and Muzaffarpur.The two trains operating under the Northeast Frontier Railway are also from Katihar to Delhi and back. The Northern Railway will also run 10 trains which will operate between Delhi and Bihar and back, West Bengal to Delhi, Punjab to West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh to Delhi among others.The South Central Railway will operate two trains between Danapur (Bihar) to Secunderabad and back. The South Western Railway will operate 6 trains between Goa and Delhi, Karnataka-Bihar and Karnataka-Delhi. The Western Railway will run 10 trains between (Darbhanga)- (Ahmedabad), Delhi-Gujarat, Chhapra to Gujarat, Mumbai-Punjab, and Ahmedabad-Patna.


The schools in many States and Union Territories will partially reopen from today for students of 9th to 12th classes on a voluntary basis. These states are Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Nagaland, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Chandigarh. Under Unlock 4 guidelines, the central government had permitted the states to reopen schools from September the 21st. However, the states have the authority to decide whether they want to resume schools from today or not. Citing the high number of coronavirus cases, many states including Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal have announced not to resume classes from today. According to the Unlock 4 guidelines, schools are allowed to open with 50 percent teaching and non-teaching staff. Students of class 9 to 12 are permitted to go to school - strictly on voluntary basis. Students will have to get a consent slip from their parents to attend the schools. However, the students and teachers who live in the containment zones, are not allowed to attend schools. All the coronavirus preventive measures such as maintaining social distance, covering face with a mask or cover, washing or santising hands need to be strictly followed.


In Madhya Pradesh, the monsoon session of the state assembly is starting from today. However, due to COVID-19, the session is limited to only one day. Arrangements have been made in all districts of the state for legislators who want to attend today's one-day session of the Legislative Assembly virtually. The Protem Speaker Rameshwar Sharma said that MLAs have been given an option to attend virtually in view of the pandemic.

"Assembly officials informed that arrangements have been made at the National Informatics Centres (NIC) in every district for the legislators who will virtually participate in the proceedings of the assembly. The effective strength of the 230-member House has been reduced to 202 now due to deaths of three MLAs and resignation by 25 other MLAs earlier. As per the information, about 40 MLAs had tested coronavirus positive so far. Meanwhile, the number of COVID-19 cases in the state climbed up to 1 lakh 6 thousand after 2 thousand 579 new cases were reported in the past 24 hours. As per the state health bulletin, 2 thousand 216 coronavirus patients were discharged from the hospitals yesterday taking the number of recovered cases in the state to 81thousand 374. There are now 22 thousand 300 active cases in Madhya Pradesh. Sanjeev Sharma, AIR News, Bhopal."


The Monsoon session of Gujarat assembly begins today with strict adherence to Covid19 protocols. Nearly 20 bills will be taken up for discussion during the five day session.

"Gujarat Assembly Speaker Rajendra Trivedi has made special arrangements for the monsoon session amid Coronavirus pandemic. Visitors will not be allowed in the house during the session. Instead, many legislators will sit in visitors galleries to maintain the social distance. Covid19 test is compulsory before entering the Assembly secretariat. People with Covid19 positive results will not be allowed to enter the house. According to sources, more than 500 staff members of assembly have been tested during the last two days, out of which five employees found positive. Four MLAs also found Covid19 positive ahead of the monsoon session. There will be no question hour during the session, however legislators can raise important issues through short call notice. On the first day today, the government will present the report on the work done to fight the Covid19 Pandemic in the state. Nearly 20 bills will be introduced during the session. Yogesh Pandya, AIR News, Ahmedabad."


In our series on Seva Saptah, today we bring you a special story on Education Sector. In the last six years, the Narendra Modi government has laid a lot of emphasis on the Education sector. Recently, a new National Education Policy has been launched with an aim to transform the existing education system and to provide quality education to all.

"The new Education Policy will bring transformational reforms in school and higher education. The policy has been formulated after an unprecedented process of consultation that involved nearly over two lakh suggestions from 2.5 lakhs Gram Panchayats and 676 Districts. The Policy aims for universalization of education from pre-school to secondary level with 100 per cent Gross Enrolment Ratio in school education by 2030. It will promote research and innovation in the country. This will bring two crore out of school children back into the main stream through open schooling system. The new Policy promotes Multilingualism in both schools and higher education. Higher Education Commission of India will be set up as a single overarching umbrella body for the entire higher education, excluding medical and legal education. The Centre and the States will work together to increase the public investment in Education sector to reach six per cent of GDP at the earliest. With Dipendra Kumar, Suparna Saikia, AIR News Delhi."


In our series on Gandhian philosophy, today we bring you a report on Mahatma Gandhi's ideas about cleanliness and good habits. He pointed out the close relationship of cleanliness to good health. He had said that no one should spit on the streets as it is harmful. Our correspondent reports that Gandhiji strongly emphasized on observing cleanliness in lavatories.

"Gandhi Ji has said that Sanitation is more important than independence. He made cleanliness and sanitation an integral part of the Gandhian way of living. His dream was total sanitation for all. Mahatma Gandhi said, cleanliness is most important for physical well-being and a healthy environment. He said, it is essential for everyone to learn about cleanliness, hygiene, sanitation and the various diseases that are caused due to poor hygienic conditions. Gandhi ji said habits learnt at a young age get embedded into one's personality. With Dipendra, Anand Kumar, AIR News Delhi."


A meeting between military commanders of India and China is scheduled to be held this morning to defuse tension along the border between the two neighbours. Sources said, the talks will be held at Moldo on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh.


World No. 1 Novak Djokovic is set to clash with Diego Schwartzman of Argentina in the Men's Singles final of Italian Open today. In the semi final match, Schwartzman defeated Canadian Denis Shapovalov 6-4, 5-7, 7-6. While, Djokovic reached the final after a 7-5, 6-3 victory over Casper Rudd of Norway.

Four-time champion Djokovic is playing his first tournament since his disqualification at the US Open and a win here would be a record 36th Masters title for the Serbian. The Argentine had upset nine-time Rome champion Rafael Nadal on Saturday evening. If he wins the final, he will crack the Top 10 of the FedEx ATP Rankings for the first time. On the women's side, Number one seed Simona Halep of Romania will take on Czech Karolína Pliskova in the championship match.


Delhi Capitals beat Kings XI Punjab in the Super Over in the IPL at the Dubai International Stadium last night. Both teams scored 157 runs which dragged the match into the Super Over. Punjab managed to score just two runs as Kagiso Rabada dismissed KL Rahul and Nicholas Pooran in the second and third delivery respectively. Delhi Capitals then chased the target of three runs easily.


Take a look at the weather forecast for the day. 

The National Capital of Delhi is expected to have a partly cloudy sky. The minimum temperature recorded was at 26 degree Celsius and maximum is expected to be 37 degrees. In Mumbai, there will be generally cloudy sky with moderate rain. The minimum temperature was 25 and the maximum will be around 30 degrees. Chennai will have a generally cloudy sky with light rain. The temperature is likely to hover between 26 and 31. Kolkata is likely to see thunderstorm with rain. The minimum temperature in the metropolis was around 25 while the maximum is expected to be 31. On to the North, in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, the minimum temperature was 25 in Jammu while the maximum will be around 37. The city will have a mainly clear sky. In Srinagar, the minimum temperature was 9 while the maximum will be around 29 degrees. The city will see a mainly clear sky. Ladakh will have mainly a clear sky. The temperature is likely to hover between 11 and 25. In Gilgit, the temperature is likely to hover between 11 and 34 . It will have a mainly clear sky. Muzzafarabad,  will see a mainly clear sky. The minimum temperature was 16 degree Celsius and the maximum will be around 36 degrees.



  • Almost all papers have given their top headline space to the passage of the farm bills through the Rajya Sabha.

  • Hindustan Times reports, "Stormy Sunday in House as two farm bills go through" while The Tribune says, "RS clears two farm Bills amid bedlam."

  • And finally, The Hindu writes, "Pandemic puts on hold age-old Kashmiri tradition," adding, "Ëating from one plate ends at weddings."


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