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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

Midday News

1400 HRS


  • Talks between central government and farmers are underway in New Delhi.

  • Country's COVID recovery rate reaches 94.11 per cent.

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

  • Cyclonic Storm ‘Burevi ’ reaches Gulf of Mannar near Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu ; All arrangements in place to minimise the effect.   

  • Nongpok Sekmai police station in Manipur's Thoubal district  chosen as best performing Police Station in the country.


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. 

And, now the news:


Fourth round of talks between the government and farmers' representatives over the three farm bills is being held in New Delhi today. Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Union Minister Piyush Goyal are representing the Centre at the meeting.

Speaking to media before attending the meet, Mr. Tomar said the centre is constantly discussing the issues with the farmers and hoped for a positive outcome after today's meeting.

The fourth round of talks today is being attended by 40 representatives of 32 farmer unions. The third round of talks between the Centre and farmers remained inconclusive on Tuesday. Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar has emphasized that the Government is fully committed to the welfare of farmers and development of agriculture is always the top priority for Modi government. He reiterated that the new Farm Reform Acts which have been brought in are in the interest of farmers. Mr. Tomar said, they have been brought after a long wait. He urged farmers not to resort to protest as it affects common citizens.


Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh today appealed to the agitating farmers and the Centre for early resolution of the issue pertaining to the farm laws. Speaking to reporters after meeting Home minister Amit Shah in New Delhi, Mr. Singh said that he reiterated his position in the meeting today and requested the Home Minister to resolve the issue at the earliest as it affects the economy of Punjab and also the security of the nation.

Mostly farmers from Punjab are protesting outside Delhi and NCR.


The Narendra Modi government has taken several measures to  transform  agriculture sector in the country and 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 key objective of Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion & Facilitation) Act of 2020 is to eliminate middlemen who pocketed most of the farmers’ productive incomes. It also aims at ending the monopoly of buyers’ cartels that fleeced farmers’ income in the mandis.Through the path breaking historic reforms, the farmers in the country  have been for the first time, given the freedom to sell their produce wherever they could demand a better price. The three crucial farmer-oriented and progressive legislation allows farmers to trade their produce online. Above all, the new legislations do not change the existing system of MSP and Mandis in any way, leaving the prerogative of choice solely on the farmers. Setting up of APMCs are controlled by the State Governments and the new Central legislations only give the farmers free and viable options to market and sell their produce. And all this comes with an added advantage of sufficient safeguard mechanism which can be accessed by the farmers right at the sub divisional level ensuring dispute resolution to be both accessible and cost effective. Anand Chaturvedi, AIR News, Delhi.


Government of Chhattisgarh has communicated its acceptance of Option-1 to meet the revenue shortfall arising out of GST implementation. The number of States which have favoured Option-1 has gone up to 27. All States except Jharkhand and all the 3 Union Territories with Legislative Assembly  have decided in favour of Option-1.

The States and Union Territories which choose Option-1 are getting the amount of shortfall arising out of GST implementation through a special borrowing window put in place by the Central Government. The window has been operationalised since 23rd of October this year. The Centre has already borrowed an amount of 30 thousand  crore rupees on behalf of the States in five instalments. The amount has been passed on to the States and Union Territories, who chose first Option.


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.


The Reserve Bank of India has asked country’s largest private bank, HDFC, to stop new digital business launches and avoid adding new Credit Card customers after repeated reports by its customers facing multiple cases of technical glitches. HDFC Bank said in a regulatory filing that RBI has issued an order dated December 2, 2020, to HDFC Bank Ltd with regard to certain incidents of outages in the internet banking/ mobile banking/ payment utilities of the bank over the past two years, including the recent outages in the bank's internet banking and payment system on November 21, 2020, due to a power failure in the primary data centre.   DFC Bank said over the last two years, it has taken several measures to fortify its IT systems and will continue to work swiftly to close out the balance and would continue to engage with the regulator in this regard.


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. 

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.

Armed Forces Flag Day will be observed all over the country on 7th December like previous years. Since 1949, the day is observed to honour the martyrs as well as men and women in uniform, who valiantly fight on borders to safeguard the country’s honour.


NongpokSekmai police station in Manipur's Thoubal district  has been chosen as best performing Police Station in the country. AWPS-Suramangalam police station in Tamil Nadu's Salem district and Kharsang in Arunachal Pradesh's Changlang district have been adjudged as the second and third best performing police stations. While addressing the Directors General of Police during the 2015 Conference in Kutch, Gujarat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had directed that parameters should be laid down for grading police stations and assessing their performance based on feedback.

Our correspondent reports, this year's survey for best police stations was conducted under challenging circumstances by the Home Ministry . Union government selects best performing Police Stations across the country every year to incentivize more effective functioning of police stations and bring healthy competition among them. 

Home minister Amit Shah  said that a vast majority of police stations short-listed from the thousands of police stations in the country are police stations located in small towns and rural areas. 


India has leaped across a significant milestone in its fight against COVID. The number of new daily cases have been below the 50 thousand mark for 26 consecutive days. In the last 24 hours, nearly 35 thousand 500 new confirmed cases were reported while nearly 41 thousand people recovered successfully during the same period. With cumulative recovery toll nearing almost 90 lakh, the national recovery rate has leaped ahead and reached at 94.11 per cent. The recovered cases in the country stand at over 20 times the number of active cases.

The active caseload of the country has witnessed further reduction and has reached below 4.5 per cent. The total active cases in the country today stands at four lakh 22 thousand 943 which comprises merely 4.44 per cent of the total reported cases. The Health Ministry has informed that nearly 75 percent of the new covid cases are concentrated in 10 states and Union territories of  Delhi, Maharashtra , Kerala, West Bengal, Haryana and Rajasthan among others. 

The Health Ministry has said that this has also led to a commensurate dip in the fatality rate which stands at 1.45 per cent. It informed that 526 case fatalities were reported in the past 24 hours. 


Nearly 11 lakh 12 thousand COVID samples were tested in the country in last 24 hours. With this, the cumulative testing figure has reached around 14 crore 35 lakh 58 thousand. The Central Government and ICMR have scaled up the TESTING infrastructure in a calibrated manner. India's testing capacity has touched 15 lakh per day ensuring easily accessible COVID-19 tests for all.


Head of the ENT Department, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Dr. Alok Thakkar says, there is no reason for anybody to go off guard from precautions to fight CoronaVirus.  Dr.Thakkar told AIR News that wearing a mask properly, maintain do gaz doori and frequently washing or sanitising hands are a must to save oneself and others from the Covid19.


Telangana reported 609 fresh COVID cases during the past 24 hours. With this, the total COVID cases reported in the state has gone up to 2 lakh 71 thousand 492 (2,71,492). The state conducted over 53 thousand tests yesterday. The recovery rate slightly improved to 96.14 per cent with 873 more people recovering yesterday. This took the number of recovered people so far in the state to 2 lakh 61 thousand 28 (2,61,028).


In Tripura, 58 persons recovered from coronavirus while 38 fresh cases were recorded during the past 24 hours. With this, the tally rose to 32,764.

According to the state health bulletin, 31,856 people infected with the virus have been cured so far while the recovery rate has further improved to 97.30%.  As of today, the number of active cases has also dropped down to 513.

According to the state health bulletin, over five lakh thirty thousand samples have been tested till last evening. Out of the total samples tested, over four lakh ninety seven thousand persons  were found negative.


Nagaland reported 45 fresh cases of COVID-19 while 164 COVID-19 patients  recovered from the infection.

According to Health and Family Welfare Minister S Pangnyu Phom, 22 new cases were detected from Dimapur- 22, 13 in Tuensang, 9 in Kohima and 1 in Kiphire. He also added that Dimapur has recorded  112 recoveries, 35 in Kohima, 12 in Peren and 5 from Mon.

With this the total COVID-19 caseload in the state stands at 11, 254 while the  recovered cases has gone up to 10, 358 improving the recovery rate to 92.04 percent.

Presently, there are 720 active Corona cases in the state. So far, 57 persons have died due to COVID-19.


In Mizoram, 12 Covid-19 related patients recovered from the infection while 12 more positive cases  were also detected during the past 24 hours. With this, the total number of positive cases of Coronavirus rose to 3881.

According to the state medical bulletin, the recovery rate has improved to 92.63%. So far 3,584 infected people have been discharged from different Covid care centres after recovery of the infections. The number of active cases presently stands at 291.


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.


Indian Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh has said that the Navy is prepared to handle the dual challenge of both COVID-19 and Chinese attempts to change the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Adressing a press conference today, Admiral Singh said the Navy’s activities are in close coordination and synergy with the Indian Army and Indian Air Force. He informed that three Chinese warships are in the Indian Ocean region which he said have been there since 2008 for anti-piracy patrols. Admiral Singh asserted that the Navy has an SOP in place to tackle situation in case of an infringement by the Chinese research vessels. Admiral Singh informed that adding a push to the goal of self-sustainability 41 out of the 43 warships and submarines, including the indigenous Aircraft Carrier,  will be built indigenously in the country for the Indian Navy.


Karnataka is celebrating the 526th birth anniversary of legendary Kannada saint poet, composer- musician Kanakadasa who lived in the 16th Century during the Vijayanagara Empire. Kanakadasa’s keertanas and upabhoga with social messages are very popular in the state. Born in a family of shepherds, he came to be known as Bhakta Kanakadasa for his devotion to God. He has composed prominent works like Narasimha stotra, Rama Dhyana Mantra and Mohana Tarangini.


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 2nd and 3rd December in 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."


Today is International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The theme this year is building back better towards a disability inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-Covid 19 world.  In an exclusive interview to All India Radio, Mr.Satoshi Sasaki, Deputy Director International Labour Organisation said the day marks the resolve of global community to respond to the challenges faced by people with disability.


Parliamentarians today paid tribute to the first President of the country, Dr Rajendra Prasad. Lok Sabha Speaker  Om Birla,  Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi and  Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha  Ghulam Nabi Azad and others  paid floral tributes at the portrait of  Dr Prasad  in the Central Hall of Parliament House on his Birth Anniversary today.

A booklet containing the profile of Dr. Rajendra Prasad, brought out in Hindi and English by the Lok Sabha Secretariat, was presented to the dignitaries who attended the function.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today paid tributes to former President of India Bharat Ratna Dr Rajendra Prasad on his birth anniversary. In a tweet, Mr Modi said, Dr Rajendra Prasad's role in the freedom struggle and in making of Constitution is incomparable. The Prime Minister said, his life based on the principle of simple living and high thinking will always inspire the countrymen.


Union Minister Prakash Javadekar will deliver this year's Dr. Rajendra Prasad Memorial Lecture. The theme for this year's Lecture is Good Governance. Dr. Rajendra Prasad Memorial Lecture is organized by All India Radio every year in commemoration of India's first President, Dr. Rajendra Prasad. The Lecture seeks to thoroughly evaluate the nation's political, social and cultural environment. The achievements and the future prospects of the country are also critically analyzed in these lectures.


President Ram Nath Kovind has expressed deep grief over the demise of Padma Bhushan, Dharam Pal Gulati. Mr. Gulati was the President of the 'Mahashiya Di Hatti', popularly known as MDH Pvt. Ltd, a renowned Indian company into the business of spices and condiments. President Kovind said that Mr. Gulati was a well-known personality of the Indian industry and his work done for social service has been commendable. Mr. Kovind extended condolences to the family and fans of Mr. Gulati. Dharam Pal Gulati passed away this morning due to cardiac arrest. He was 98 years old.


U.S President Donald Trump is expected to sign a bill that could  delist  some Chinese companies on U.S. exchanges unless they adhere to U.S. auditing standards, the White House said yesterday. 


The Cyclonic Storm ‘Burevi ’ has emerged 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. According to  weather bulletin issued by the MET Department, cyclone was moving north westwards with the speed of 11 km an hour for the past six hours. It would be centred very close to Pamban near Rameswaram by noon. Later, it will cross the southern Tamil Nadu coast between Kanyakumari and Pamban between tonight and early in the morning tomorrow as a Cyclonic Storm.

When observed last, the Cyclone ‘Burevi‘ was laying centered at about  30 km east-north-east of Mannar, 110 km east-southeast of Pamban and 310 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 very heavy rain at isolated places. 

The MET Department has said the cyclone will gain the wind speed of 70-80 km per hour, gusting to 90 km per hour, while having its landfall. Its impact over the southern coastal districts of Tamil Nadu is believed to have commenced this morning in Ramanathapuram, and it is set to gradually cover up to 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 witnessed intermittent rain since last night. Some places including Chennai experienced light to moderate rain. More from our Chennai  correspondent:-

Prime Minister Narendra Modi called up Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswamy yesterday and inquired about the cyclone situation in the state. He assured all help from the Centre to the state. Union Home Minister Amit Shah also called him up this morning and has assured all help to the state in tiding over any situation that may arise out of the cyclone. Meanwhile, 979 of the total 7605 lakes in the ten southern districts in Tamil Nadu have reached their full reservoir level. The lakes are being kept under watch by the authorities to manage the water flow so that the inundations of nearby villages are avoided. Nine NDRF teams are camping in the southern region and their state counterpart, the SDRF has also deployed its teams. The revenue, police, fire and rescue and health officials are ed to respond to any need anywhere anytime in the region. Various control rooms are being made operational 24-by-7. Jayasingh, AIR News, Chennai.

Kerala is also on high as cyclone Burevi nears, all the arrangement are in place to minimise the effect of the cyclone. Our Thiruvananthapuram correspondent reports:-

Cyclone is expected to hit the southern part of the State tomorrow .Red is issued in 4 districts today . Met dept predicts heavy rain and strong winds  in southern districts  from today evening. . Necessary arrangements are being taken in the respective districts by authorities along with navy, coast guard , air force and disaster response teams.. Relief camps and 24 x7 control rooms are opened. 8 teams of the National Disaster Response Force had reached Kerala. People are advised to be and  to contact the State Control room 1077 in case of emergency. Fishing is completely banned in Kerala coast and those out in the sea are advised to reach the nearby coast at the earliest. Mayusha for AIR News from Thiruvananthapuram .


Now, let us take a look at the weather forecast for today.

The National capital will  have mainly clear sky  with tempearture varying between eight and 27 degrees Celsius.

Mumbai will have mainly clear sky. Temperature will vary between 20 and 34 degrees Celsius.

Chennai is likely to have generally cloudy sky with moderate rain. The temperature will hover between 23 and 28 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 one degree celsius and 13 degrees.

In Jammu, the minimum  temperature was  11 degrees Celsius while maximum 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 was minus eight 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 one degrees celsius to 18 degrees.

Muzafarrabad will have Mainly clear sky becoming partly cloudy towards evening or night. The temperature will hovering from five to 21 degrees Celsius.

In Dehradun, the temperature will hover between 10 and 25 degrees Celsius. Mainly clear sky will prevail.

Chandigarh will have mainly clear sky. The temperature is likely to hover from 10 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 33 degrees.

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

And, in Guwahati experienced Fog/mist in the morning and partly cloudy sky later. The minimum temperature will be 15 degrees Celsius while maximum will be 28 degrees.



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