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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           

Text Bulletins Details

Morning News

0830 HRS


  • Fourth round of talks between Central government and farmers to be held in New Delhi today.

  • Country's COVID recovery rate reaches 94.03 per cent.

  • Britain becomes first country in the world to approve coronavirus vaccine.

  • A US Congress panel blames China for planning Galwan Valley clash.

  • All arrangements in place for Cyclonic Storm Burevi, likely to hit Tamil Nadu coast tonight.


As the nation fights the COVID-19 pandemic, we begin with a message of precaution to stay safe and protected by following these three simple steps --

  • Wear a face mask.

  • Maintain Do Gaz Ki Doori for social distancing.

  • Focus on hand and face hygiene. 


Fourth round of talks between the government and farmers' representatives will be held in New Delhi today. The third round of talks between the Centre and farmers remained inconclusive on Tuesday. Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal and Minister of State for Commerce Som Prakash represented the Centre at the meeting. During the meeting, Mr Tomar emphasized that the Government is fully committed to the welfare of farmers and agriculture development is always the top priority for Modi government.

Talking to reporters, Agriculture Minister reiterated that the new Farm Reform Acts which have been brought in are the interest of farmers. Mr Tomar said, if farmers have any objection to these Acts then the government is fully ready to discuss with them to address their concerns. Mr Tomar said, they should not resort to protest as it affects the citizens.

"कुछ विषयों पर चर्चा हुई है। लेकिन जब तक क्‍लॉज वाइज क्‍लॉज एक्‍ट पर चर्चा न हो और वो एक्‍ट ऐसे किसानों के विरूद्ध है उनका कौन-सा क्‍लॉज विरूद्ध है वो तभी तो दिशा आगे बढ़ेगी। सभी किसान बंधुओं से आग्रह करना चाहता हूं कि ये रिफॉर्म किसानों के हित में है और लम्‍बे समय के इंतजार के बाद ये रिफॉर्म आए हैं किसानों को कहीं भी आपत्ति है तो सरकार उनको सुनने के लिए, उस पर विमर्श करने के लिए, उसका निराकरण करने के लिए पूरी तरह तैयार है। इसलिए आंदोलन का रास्‍ता किसी को इख्‍तियार नहीं करना चाहिए"


The  Narendra Modi government has accorded high priority to the development of agriculture sector and has taken several measures with an aim to transform the sector in the country as well as to raise farmers’ income. The government has recently implemented new farm Acts in this direction which include Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020 and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020. More from our correspondent:

"The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020 will promote barrier-free inter-state and intra-state trade and commerce outside the physical premises of markets notified under State Agricultural Produce Marketing legislations. The farmers will not be charged any cess or levy for sale of their produce and will not have to bear transport costs. Under this Act, farmers will be able to engage in direct marketing thereby eliminating intermediaries resulting in full realization of price. The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 will empower farmers for engaging with processors, wholesalers, aggregators, large retailers, exporters  on a level playing field. The farmer will have full power in the contract to fix a sale price of his choice for the produce and they will receive payment within maximum 3 days. With Anand Kumar, Suparna Saikia AIR News, Delhi."


Home Minister Amit Shah has emphasised that there should be zero tolerance against terrorism. Mr Shah was speaking after inaugurating the 55th Annual Directors General of Police and Inspectors General of Police Conference in New Delhi yesterday. Mr Shah directed that security agencies should have a coordinated approach in the national security scenario and achieve the target of making India a developed and safe Nation. While stressing upon the need to ensure safety and dignity of the citizens, the Home Minister underlined the importance of capacity building of Police to deal with emergency situations and disasters.

Later, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also joined the Conference virtually and reviewed the action points of the previous Conference. A review of internal security situation was presented to the Prime Minister and Home Minister and discussions were held to improve the overall security scenario with more people-friendly initiatives.

During the Conference, a session on various initiatives of security forces on Left Wing Extremism (LWE) front was held in which discussions were held to improve the security situation in LWE-infested areas. Stress was also laid on coordinated action with States to check the LWE menace. Discussions on role of police during COVID-19 pandemic and implementation of safety protocol by the police was also discussed. During the Conference, follow-up actions were also suggested to develop an SOP to manage various types of emergency situation.

This was the first such Conference organised by the Intelligence Bureau through virtual mode. Paying homage to the Police martyrs, Home Minister Amit Shah also awarded Indian Police Medal to 50 awardees and congratulated them on their achievements.


Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has urged the countrymen to voluntarily contribute to the Armed Forces Flag Day Fund. Speaking at a function organized in New Delhi for the customary launch of the Armed Forces Flag pinning, Mr Singh said, our forces have always been fighting valiantly to safeguard the sovereignty of the country. He said, in the process sometimes, they have even laid down their lives, leaving behind their families or were rendered disabled. He said, hence the rehabilitation and welfare of our Ex Servicemen, the next of the kin of our martyrs and our disabled soldiers is the responsibility of all citizens. He said, the Flag Day provides us an opportunity to fulfill this responsibility by contributing to the AFFD fund.

Noting that over 47 crore rupees were raised during 2019-20 through voluntary contributions of people, the Defence Minister  expressed hope that people of the country will manifest the same spirit of voluntary contributions this year too.


A meeting of the Board of Trade (BOT) was held under the chairmanship of the Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal, through Video Conference in New Delhi yesterday. The meeting focused on the new Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) (2021-26) and the strategies and measures to be taken in order to take forward domestic manufacturing and exports.

In his opening remarks, Mr Goyal said that our mission is to build a stronger nation and achieve transformational goals, together with the states. He expressed confidence that with the collective efforts of all the States and Central Government, they will all work together for the better future of people of India.


 Minister for Coal and Mines, Pralhad Joshi has said that the Government is coming up with many structural reforms in the mining sector to realise its true potential. He said, the proposed structural changes in the mining sector aim to increase participation of the private sector in mineral exploration. They will also redefine the standard of exploration required for auctioning of blocks for prospecting license-cum mining lease and open acreage licensing policy for allocation of mining rights. He said, it  will give a major boost to the production of minerals in the country. Mr Joshi was addressing the 15th edition of Global Mining Summit and International Mining & Machinery Exhibition yesterday.


Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ has set up a task force for preparing a roadmap on imparting technical education in Mother Tongue. The task force set up under the chairmanship of Secretary, Higher Education will take into consideration the suggestions made by various stakeholders and will submit a report in a month. The decision was taken by the Minister at a high level meeting held yesterday on imparting technical education in Mother Tongue.


IIT Bombay’s placement season started off on a good note on Day 1, witnessing the participation of 35 companies. For domestic jobs, the highest numbers of offers were made by Texas Instruments, Google, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Mastercard, and Boston Consulting Group. The number of International offers on Day 1 was 21, and the selection count by the end of Day 1 was 155. Total selections including PPO & PSU, by the end of day 1 were 313.  On Day 2 in slot 1, 16 companies made more than 64 job offers in various sectors. Prominent international offers were made by Sysmex Corporation (Japan). For the domestic jobs, the highest number of offers were made by Oracle, American express and Bajaj Auto.


India has leaped across a significant milestone in its fight against COVID-19. The number of new daily cases has been below the 50 thousand mark for 25 consecutive days. In the last 24 hours, nearly 36 thousand 600 new confirmed cases were reported while over 43 thousand people recovered successfully in the same time span. With cumulative recovery nearing almost 90 lakh, the national recovery rate has leaped ahead and reached 94.03 per cent.

The total active cases in the country today stands at four lakh 28 thousand 644 which comprises merely 4.51 per cent of the total reported cases.


Odisha Government yesterday approved the unified emergency helpline number 112 to provide all forms of police assistance to people in distress. Launching the service yesterday Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said the consolidated helpline number would enable police to rush services to people in an efficient manner. Our Bhubaneswar correspondent has filed this report:

"The helpline number 112 subsumes the earlier segregated helpline numbers like 100,101,108 and other for emergency services like police, fire and ambulance . These multiple helplines have been clubbed together into the single toll free number under a centre- sponsored scheme that is already functional in several States. The 112 single Pan India helpline number had been launched by the centre in February last year to trigger emergency response to distress calls. Girish Chandra Dash, AIR News, Bhubaneswar."


In Karnataka, 1,440 new Covid-19 positive cases were reported during last 24 hours taking the tally to over eight lakh and eighy seven thousand. On the other hand, 983 people recovered and discharged from various hospitals in the state. With this the total recoveries have gone up to eight lakh and fifty one thousand. 16 Covid patients lost their life and the total fatalities have increased to 11,808. More  from our Bengaluru correspondent:

"Karnataka Health and Medical Education Minister Dr.K.Sudhakar said that the State is fully prepared for the distribution of  Covid  19  vaccine.  Speaking in a function in Bengaluru yesterday he said that 29,451 vaccine distribution centres have been identified and 10,008 trained staff are ready and 2,855 cold storage centres are available for storage of vaccines.  He further said that Regional Centres are being set up in Bengaluru, Shivamogga and Bellary for distribution of the Covid vaccine.  Health care workers will be given vaccination in the first phase followed by frontline warriors, people aged above 50 years  and people with co- morbidities.  Health Department already has 10 walking coolers and four walking freezers and government of India has promised the State to supply additional 3 walking coolers and two walking freezers. R. Murthy, AIR News Bengaluru."


In a historic move, Britain has become the first country in the world to approve the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine. They have said that the vaccine will be rolled out from next week onwards.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said, the government has accepted the recommendation from the Independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to approve Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine for use. Hancock said, the vaccine will be made available across the UK from next week. Priority for vaccination will be given to healthcare workers and care home residents.

Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has proven 95 per cent effective against COVID-19 in the final phase trials.


In United States, Moderna's Covid-19 vaccine could be approved for emergency use within 24 to 72 hours after the US health regulator’s advisory committee meeting. This was stated by Moderna's Chief Executive Officer Stéphane Bancel. The Food and Drug Administration is scheduled to hold the meeting on 17th of this month to discuss the company’s request for emergency use authorisation for its vaccine.

Moderna, which is one of the front-runners in the race to develop a coronavirus vaccine, has applied for emergency authorisations both in the US and the EU after full results from a late-stage study showed its vaccine was 94.1 percent effective with no serious safety concerns.


Talking to AIR, Dr. K. Shrinath Reddy, President, Public Health Foundation urged people to take all precautions and maintain social distancing to avoid coronavirus infection. He also suggested to have a rich diet to improve the immune system.


The GDP growth numbers went down, given the disruption due to the pandemic. However, GDP estimates of second quarter of Financial Year 2020 were quite encouraging in comparison to the first quarter. GDP for second quarter contracted by minus 7.5 per cent, much smaller when compared to the contraction of minus 23.9 percent reported for first quarter of Financial Year 2020. More from our correspondent:

"Between these two quarters, already a huge improvement can be seen in private consumption expenditure. Agriculture reported a growth of 3.4 per cent in second quarter, the same as in first quarter. Manufacturing has grown by 0.6 per cent in second quarter as compared to a contraction of minus 39.3 per cent in first quarter. A comparison with other economies globally shows that India’s position is better. Anupam Mishra, AIR News, Delhi.


In Uttar Pradesh, counting of votes for biennial election to 11 legislative council seats started this morning amid tight security. Fate of 199 candidates, including 114 for graduates and 85 for teachers constituencies, will be decided today.

Out of 11 seats for which voting took place on 1st of this month, five are graduates' constituencies and six teachers' constituencies. Graduates' constituencies included Lucknow, Agra, Meerut  ,Varanasi, and Allahabad -Jhansi divisions while teachers' constituencies comprised Lucknow, Agra, Meerut ,Varanasi, Bareilly- Moradabad and Gorakhpur-Faizabad divisions.


Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa met the Consular General of 13 countries seeking investments in the state. The Chief Minister said that Karnataka has secured the highest FDI among all Indian states in April-June quarter this year amounting to over 10,000 crore rupees. The state has also attracted 50 percent of all investments made in the country between January and May this year. Last year, NITI Aayog had adjudged Karnataka as number one in the innovation index. With nearly 250 billion economy, the state offers opportunity in digital technology, aerospace and defence, IT, BT and Engineering. The new Industrial Policy of 2020-25, he pointed out favors investment in every sector. The Consul General of Poland, Czech republic, Spain, Slovenia, Peru, Mali among others interacted with the Chief Minister.


Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has said that experience of the stalwarts from the film industry will prove vital in developing the world-class film city near Noida.

Addressing a press conference in Mumbai yesterday, Mr Adityanath said that setting up of the film city in Uttar Pradesh is a step towards realising the dream of 'Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat'. He clarified that he is not snatching away anything from any state as the move will eventually help in strengthening the country's economy.

The remarks by the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister comes after leaders from the Shiv Sena expressed reservation on forcibly taking away the film city elsewhere from Mumbai.


Today is the 36th anniversary of Bhopal gas tragedy. Thousands of people lost their lives in the worst industrial accident on the intervening night of 2 and 3 December at Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh in 1984. An all religion prayer meeting has been organized in the state today to pay tributes to the gas tragedy victims. More from our Bhopal correspondent:

"Various religious preaches will be recited by religious leaders in the prayer meeting at Barkatullah Bhawan in Bhopal from 10.30 am. A two-minute silent tribute will also be paid in memory of the deceased.  Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan will also attend the prayer meeting. In view of the corona epidemic, instructions have already been given to ensure compliance of the guidelines issued by the central and state government in the tribute meeting. Bhopal gas tragedy is termed as the world's worst industrial disaster because around 15,000 people were killed after methyl Isocyanate gas leaked on the intervening night of December 2-3 in 1984 from the pesticide plant of Union Carbide in Bhopal. More than five lakh people were affected due to the toxic leak. Sanjeev Sharma, AIR News, Bhopal."


A top US Congress panel has said the Chinese government had planned the clash with Indian army in Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh in June. The just-released annual report of the United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) said, the evidence suggests that the Chinese government had planned the incident as Beijing ramped up a coercion campaign against its neighbors. It said, satellite images depicted a large Chinese build-up in the Galwan Valley, including potentially 1,000 People's Liberation Army soldiers, the week before the skirmish. While 20 Indian soldiers lost their lives in the LAC clashes on June 15, the Chinese had suffered casualties too. The report said, Beijing ramped up its multi-year coercion campaign against its neighbors, provoking military or paramilitary standoffs with countries from Japan to India and much of Southeast Asia.

USCC was formed in 2000 and investigates national security and trade issues between China and the US. 


The Cyclonic Storm ‘Burevi ’ (बुरेवि) is set to emerge in the Gulf of Mannar near Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu this morning, as it has completed its first landfall near Trincomalee in Sri Lanka late last night. The Met Department said, it moves north westwards with a speed of 15 km an hour. It would be centred very close to Pamban (पामबन) near Rameswaram by noon. It will cross the southern Tamil Nadu coast between Kanyakumari and Pamban between tonight and early tomorrow morning as a Cyclonic Storm. When observed last, Cyclone ‘Burevi‘ was laying centered at about 190 km east-southeast of Pamban near Rameswaram and 380 km east-northeast of Kanyakumari.

Heavy to very heavy rain is predicted at many places in the southern districts of Tamil Nadu today, with the possibility of extremely heavy rain at isolated places. The Met Department has said the cyclone will gain a wind speed of 70-80 km per hour, gusting to 90 km per hour, on its landfall. Its impact over the southern coastal districts of Tamil Nadu is expected to commence this morning in Ramanathapuram, and it is set to gradually spread upto Kanyakumari district.

As the sea would be very rough, all fishing operations in the region remain suspended. Under the impact of the cyclonic storm, several places in southern Tamil Nadu are witnessing intermittent rain since last night. Some places including Chennai experienced light to moderate rain.

The Tamil Nadu administration is making all efforts to ensure the safety of the fishermen who are involved in deep sea fishing. More from our correspondent:

"124 fishing vessels from Tamil Nadu that are involved in deep sea fishing are said to be currently in the high seas. The state fisheries department has said it has taken all out efforts in coordination with the Indian Coast Guard and the Navy to establish contact with them and ask them to return to the shores before the cyclone hits the coast. Its officials have been delegated to several coastal states and the Union Territory of Lakshadweep to facilitate their return to safety to the nearest points and to arrange for their stay and food. 120 other vessels that embarked on deep sea fishing from the Thengapattanam fishing harbour in Kanyakumari district are reported to have returned safely. The state fishing department has established control rooms in Kanyakumari and Thoothukudi districts besides operating its state level control room in Chennai on a 24-hour basis. Jayasingh, AIR News, Chennai."

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu and Kerala on the prevailing situation due to cyclonic storm Burevi in the two states. In a tweet, Mr Modi said that he has assured all possible support from the Centre to Tamil Nadu and Kerala. During a telephonic conversation with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami, Mr Modi discussed the conditions prevailing in parts of the state due to cyclone Burevi. The Prime Minister also prayed for the safety and well-being of those staying in the affected areas.


Take a look at the weather forecast for today.

The National capital will have fog or mist in the morning and mainly clear sky later with temperature varying between nine and 25 degrees Celsius.

Mumbai will have mainly clear sky. Temperature will vary between 24 and 33 degrees Celsius.

Kolkata will witness mainly clear sky. The city will observe minimum temperature of 16 degrees Celsius and a maximum of 29 degrees.

Srinagar will have fog or mist in the morning and mainly clear sky later. Temperature will hover between minus two degrees celsius and 14 degrees.

In Jammu, lower level of temperature will be 10 degrees Celsius while upper level will be 24 degrees. The city will have mainly clear sky.

Leh will have mainly clear sky becoming partly cloudy towards afternoon or evening. The minimum temperature will be minus nine degrees Celsius while the maximum will be eight degrees.

Gilgit will experience mainly clear sky becoming partly cloudy towards afternoon or evening with temperature hovering between minus two degrees celsius to 16 degrees.

Muzafarrabad will have mainly clear sky. The temperature will move from five to 21 degrees Celsius.

In Dehradun, the temperature will hover between nine and 25 degrees Celsius. Mainly clear sky will prevail.

Chandigarh will hve mainly clear sky. The temperature is likely to move from nine to 24 degrees Celsius.

In Hyderabad, the minimum temperature will be 15 degrees Celsius while the maximum will be 30 degrees.The city will have partly cloudy sky with haze.

Ahmedabad will witness a clear sky. The minimum temperature will be 16 degrees Celsius while maximum will be 34 degrees.

Patna will have mainly clear sky. Temperature will hover between 11 degrees celsius to 26 degrees.

And, in Guwahati fog or mist would occur in early morning. The minimum temperature will be 15 degrees Celsius while maximum will be 29 degrees.


In Cricket, India will take on Hosts Australia in the first of three match Twenty20 series in Canberra tomorrow.The second and third Twenty20 matches will take place in Sydney on 6th and 8th of this month. Australia have already clinched the three match ODI series by winning the first and second ODIs. Last evening, India defeated the Hosts by 13 runs in the third and final ODI at Canberra.  Both the countries will also play four Test matches. The first test begins in Adelaide from 17th December.



  • The news of UK giving a nod to Covid vaccine has made headlines across dailies.  UK 1st country to OK Pfizer's Covid vaccine, shots next week, headlines The Pioneer. Shots to roll out next week, reports The Asian AgeThe Times of India writes, "Hope is here".

  • Hindustan Times and other papers quote US reports that reveal that Galwan clash was planned by Chinese government.

  • The Hindu reports the assertion by the External Affairs Minister that India will not accept less than bottom line in talks with China.

  • CCTV cameras must at CBI, ED offices, police lock-ups, orders the Supreme Court, writes The Pioneer.

  • "Ex-judge Karnan held for obscene posts against judges, their families" headlines The Times of India.

  • Kohli fastest to score 12,000 ODI runs, overtakes Tendulkar, writes The Asian Age.

  • "Republic Day chief guest: Delhi reaches out to Boris Johnson" is the headline in The Indian Express.

  • And finally, "Top honey brands adulterated with sugar syrup, says the Centre for Science and Environment, reports The Tribune.  "Honey, the sweetener on your plate may be sugar syrup" headlines The Hindu.


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