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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


  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi to chair all-party meeting today to discuss Covid-19 pandemic and related issues.

  • Centre and farmers hold fourth round of talks in New Delhi; To meet again tomorrow.

  • Polling underway for third phase of DDC elections in Jammu and Kashmir.

  • Reserve Bank of India to announce its monetary policy review today.

  • Cyclone Burevi crosses Tamil Nadu coast; Weakens into a Deep Depression.

  • In Cricket, First T-20 of the three match series between India and Australia being played in Canberra.


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. 


Prime Minister Narendra Modi will chair an all-party meeting today to discuss Covid-19 pandemic and related challenges, including vaccine rollout and post-Covid India. Government said, floor leaders of both Houses of Parliament have been invited for the virtual meeting. Union ministers Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh and Harsh Vardhan will also be present at the meeting. The meeting comes close on the heels of the Prime Minister’s visits to Covid vaccine hubs in India.

India is looking to be self-reliant in both development and production of Corona vaccine. While at least five pharmaceutical companies of India are engaged in vaccine development, Serum Institute in Pune has been chosen for mass production of Covishield developed by Oxford-Astra Zeneca. The Centre has initiated a robust vaccine manufacturing and delivery ecosystem to meet the demand. Government has already announced a stimulus package of 900 crore rupees for “Mission Covid Suraksha” to promote indigenous vaccine development.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be delivering a keynote address at the IIT-2020 Global Summit, organised by PanIIT USA today evening. The theme of this year’s summit is ‘The Future is Now’. The Summit will focus on issues like global economy, technology, innovation, health, habitat conservation and universal education.

PanIIT USA is an organization that is more than 20 years old.  Since 2003 PanIIT USA has organised this conference and invited speakers from different sectors including industry, academia and government. PanIIT USA is  run by an all-volunteer team of IIT alumni.


Representatives of forty Farmers’ Unions participated in a dialogue with Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Railways Minister Piyush Goel and Minister of State for Commerce Som Prakash in Delhi yesterday. Senior officials from the Agriculture Ministry and the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution also participated in the dialogue. 

This was the fourth round of talks which was held in a cordial and frank atmosphere. The Unions have agreed to further participate in the next meeting tomorrow.

At the outset, Agriculture Minister Tomar reiterated the Government’s commitment to the welfare of the farmers. He requested the representatives of the Unions to present their point of view and flag the issues which they felt were contentious.

The Agriculture Minister assured the Unions that the MSP will continue and therefore the farmers should not fear that it will go away.

The representatives of the farmers unions raised the question of the constitutional validity of the three laws. The Government side explained the constitutional provisions under which the Central Government legislated these laws. The farmers brought out issues related to the APMCs. They said there has to be a level playing field between Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMCs) and Private Markets and Trade Yards. They also said that there is a need for proper registration of Trade outside APMCs.

The issue of protecting the land of farmers in the Contract Farming Act was also raised. The farmers unions also requested that the Minimum Support Price system should be made legal. Regarding dispute resolution system in the new Farms Acts, the unions said, there is a need for an alternate dispute resolution system. The need for registration of contract farming was also flagged.

Secretary, Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Sanjay Agarwal gave a detailed deion of the Farms Acts and the measures taken by the Ministry of Agriculture for the welfare of farmers and those measures taken to benefit agriculture during the lockdown period to keep the supply chains active. He said that the Farm Acts have been framed keeping in mind the farmers welfare.

The Agriculture Minister thanked the Farmers organisations for flagging their concerns and assured them that the dialogue will continue.


The Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has said that the speculations about closure of mandis and support price system are misleading and untrue. He said, farmers should not pay attention to such rumours. The Chief Minister was addressing a gathering at Nasrullaganj in Sehore district after transferring 100 crore rupees of Mukhya Mantri Kisan Kalyan Yojana to the accounts of 5 lakh farmers. Our Bhopal correspondent has filed this detailed report:

"In Madhya Pradesh, families occupying one-two acres of agricultural land in the state since 50 years will be given pattas. Online arrangements will be made soon for all land records. The mandi fee will be 50 paise and tax in Sabji Mandi has also been reduced to 2 percent. The Chief Minister held a discussion with the farmers on new agricultural laws which was welcomed and supported by farmers and expressed their gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi with loud applause. Shri Chouhan said that these laws will bring a revolutionary change in the lives of millions of farmers in the state and will double the income of farmers by 2022. Sanjeev Sharma, AIR News, Bhopal."


A farmer of Ujjain district in Madhya Pradesh has said that new farm laws have benefitted the farmers a great deal.

Another farmer from Bareily, Uttar Pradesh, Vidhya Ram Maurya said that the Farm Bill is beneficial for the farmers.


In Jammu and Kashmir, polling is underway for the third phase of DDC elections. Voting is taking place for 33 constituencies in this phase. Out of these, 16 are in Kashmir valley and 17 in Jammu  region. A total of 305 candidates are in the fray. Polling, which began at seven this morning, will conclude at 2 pm.


India and China continue to maintain communication through diplomatic and military channels with the objective of ensuring complete disengagement in all friction points along the LAC in the Western sector and full restoration of peace and tranquility.

Replying to a media query, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said, both sides have agreed to have another round of Senior Commanders meeting at an appropriate time.

On another query, Mr Srivastava said the core issue remains that both India and China need to strictly follow the various bilateral agreements and protocols in their entirety including the 1993 and 1996 agreement on maintenance of peace and tranquility along the LAC in the border areas.


India has consistently conveyed its views and concerns on China building a dam on Brahmaputra to the Chinese authorities as a lower riparian State with considerable established user rights to the waters of the trans-border rivers. India has urged Chinese authorities to ensure that the interests of downstream states are not harmed by any activities in upstream areas. Replying to a media query, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said, government monitors all developments on the Brahmaputra River. He said, Chinese side has conveyed on several occasions that they are only undertaking run-of-the-river hydropower projects which do not involve diversion of the waters of the Brahmaputra.

Mr Srivastava said, various issues relating to trans-border rivers are discussed with China under the ambit of an institutionalized Expert Level Mechanism which was established in 2006, as well as through diplomatic channels. He said, India intends to remain engaged with China on the issue of trans-border rivers to safeguard our interests.


India said yesterday that Pakistan has failed to respond on the core issues concerning the Kulbhushan Jadhav case which would form the basis of an effective review and reconsideration as ordered by the International Court of Justice. Replying to media query, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said, Pakistan is trying to link the case of Kulbhuashan Jadhav with another prisoner’s case. He said that in a routine consular practice, Shahnawaz Noon was selected by Indian High Commission to appear in the case for release and repatriation of an Indian prisoner, Mohammad Ismail, who has completed his sentence but continues to be in jail in Pakistan. He added that during proceedings of the case regarding Ismail, Pakistan Attorney General raised the matter pertaining to Jadhav though the two cases are not connected in any way. The spokesperson said, Mr Noon is reported to have made those statements which are not true and are in contravention of India's stand in the case. He said, Mr Noon appears to have acted under pressure from the Pakistani establishment to make such statements for which he has no authorisation. He said Mr Noon has misrepresented the position of the High Commission. He stressed that Shahnawaz Noon was clearly told by the High Commission that he had no authority to represent either the Indian government or Kulbhushan Jadhav. The spokesperson said the India Mission in Islamabad has written to Mr. Noon reiterating that he has no authority to represent Jadhav and has no basis to suggest that the Indian chargé d'affaires would appear in the court.


The External Affairs Minister  S Jaishankar held a virtual conversation with Roberto Alvarez, Foreign Minister of Dominican Republic yesterday. They discussed expanding business, increasing capacity building and training and working on health and digital cooperation.


India has crossed 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 the cumulative recovery total nearing almost 90 lakh, the national recovery rate has leaped ahead and reached 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 stand 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. 


Nearly 11 lakh 12 thousand samples were tested for COVID in the country in the 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.

The Health Ministry has said that very high levels of testing lead to early identification, prompt isolation and effective treatment of COVID-19 cases. It said, this also leads to low Fatality Rate. Higher volumes of testing have also ensured lower daily positivity rate which continues to remain below 4 per cent. The country is undertaking almost 5 times the number of daily tests per million of the population as per the standards prescribed by the WHO.


In Bihar, COVID-19 recovery rate has improved to 97.12 per cent. This is 3.01 per cent more than the national average. The number of active cases in the state is continuously declining. Currently, five thousand 564 patients are undergoing treatment at various hospitals. Two thousand 18 patients are undergoing treatment in Patna. In all, 502 patients recovered in the last 24 hours, while 571 new cases were reported. Over two lakh 30 thousand 503 patients have so far recovered from the infection in the state.


Odisha has crossed another milestone in conducting over 6 million tests for covid-19. The state, which has been conducting over 40 thousand tests per day, completed a total of 60,19,855 sample tests yesterday. A report from our Bhubaneswar correspondent:

"It is for the first time in over four and half months that the active cases in the state have gone down below 5 thousand. As for the last 24 hours, the state reported 434 new cases as against 629 recovered cases. Moreover, while two out of the 30 districts of the state have not reported any case, four districts came up with a single case each during the last 24 hours. Girish Chandra Dash, AIR News, Bhubaneswar."


Gujarat recorded 1540 new cases during the last 24 hours. Recovery rate has improved to 91.16 percent. More detalis from our Ahmedabad correspondent:

"The number of total cases of Covid19 detected so far in Gujarat has reached up to 2 lakh 14 thousand 309. Out of these, 1 lakh 95 thousand 365 patients recovered. 1427 patients recovered during the last 24 hours.  More than 80 lakh 33 thousand tests have been carried out in the state till date. At present total active cases in the state are 14913, out of which 96 patients are on ventilator. 13 patients died yesterday taking the total deaths due to Covid19 up to 4031. Yogesh Pandya, AIR News, Ahmedabad."


In Karnataka 1,446 new Covid-19 cases were reported during the last 24 hours taking the tally to 8,89,113. At the same time 894 people were recovered and discharged from various hospitals in the State. So far 8,52,584 people were recovered from the disease. 24,689 active cases are taking treatment in various hospitals in the State among them 299 are in ICU. 13 people lost their life for Covid and the total number of fatalities have increased to 11,821.


The Reserve Bank of India will announce its bi-monthly monetary policy review this morning in Mumbai. The Monetary Policy Committee of the Reserve Bank began its three-day deliberations on Wednesday. More from our Mumbai correspondent:

"The Monetary Policy Committee of Reserve Bank of India, led by Governor Shaktikanta Das will announce its bi-monthly monetary policy review this morning in Mumbai. In its last MPC meeting in October, the RBI kept policy rates unchanged to help tame inflation. The reverse repo rate remained unchanged at 3.35 per cent, the repo rate at 4 per cent. The MPC had also decided to maintain its accommodative stance as long as necessary at least through the current financial year and next year as Indian economy has been entering into a decisive phase in its fight against coronavirus. Madhuri Pange, AIR News, Mumbai."


Prime Minister Narendra Modi has greeted all valorous navy personnel and their families on the navy day today. Mr Modi said, Indian Navy fearlessly protects country’s coasts and also renders humanitarian assistance in times of need.


Home Minister Amit Shah and Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar have greeted all Navy personnel and their families on Navy Day today. Mr Shah said, India is proud of all courageous navy personnel for their unwavering commitment in protecting marine borders and serving the nation during calamities. Mr Javadekar also greeted all the Navy personnel for their indomitable courage.


Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar has said that there has been a decrease in corruption due to the steps taken by NDA government. He said, due to Direct Benefit Transfer, beneficieries are getting subsidies directly in their bank accounts. Delivering this year's Dr. Rajendra Prasad Memorial Lecture, Mr Javadekar said New Education Policy was brought by the government which will help in developing critical thinking ability among the youth.

Dr. Rajendra Prasad Memorial Lecture is organized by All India Radio every year in commemoration of India's first President, Dr. Rajendra Prasad.


The Cyclone Burevi crossed the shores in Southern Tamil Nadu in a weakened form as a Deep Depression in last night. Met Department said the weather system had hit the coast between Ramanathapuram and Thoothukudi. It has triggered moderate to heavy rain at a few places in the southern districts and at isolated places in other parts of the state. More from our Chennai correspondent:

"In view of the rainfall caused by the Depression, the Tamil Nadu Government has announced holiday today for six districts that lie along its path. They include Kanyakumari, Tirunelveli, Tenkasi, Thoothukudi, Ramanathapuram and Virudhunagar. The Thoothukkudi Airport will be kept closed for the day. There is no report of major losses to properties as the wind speed was moderate when the weather system crossed the shores. The rain activity has improved the water table considerably in the state. Jayasingh, AIR News, Chennai."


Kerala remains in high even as cyclone Burevi weakens. Our correspondent from Thiruvananthapuram has filed this report:

Met dept predicts the Cyclone to weaken into a depression and  enter the Kerala border during daytime today. Red has been withdrawn. Yellow is issued in 10 districts and in Lekshadweep. Public holiday declared in 5 southern districts. Thiruvanathapuram Airport close its service from 10 am to 6 pm today. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that the  Sate is fully prepared and high will be continued till the cyclone passes through the State. Mayusha AIR News Thiruvananthapuram."


Aircraft and ships of Indian Coast Guard had their sorties off Thiruvananthapuram and Lakshadweep Coast for overall surveillance yesterday. They asked the fishermen to go back to the shore immediately.


US President Donald Trump’s administration has issued new rules to restrict travel to the United States by members of China’s ruling Communist Party (CCP) and their families. According to a State Department spokesman, the new policy, which took immediate effect, limits the maximum duration of travel visas for party members and their families to one month from 10 years. Previously, party members, like other Chinese citizens, could obtain visitor visas for the US that were valid for up to 10 years. Travel visas for party members will also be limited to a single entry rather than multiple entries as was possible before.


Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said that Bangladesh can’t forget the atrocities committed by Pakistan in 1971 and the pain will remain forever. She made the comments during her meeting with the High Commissioner of Pakistan Imran Ahmed Siddiqui when he called on her at her official residence in Dhaka yesaterday.

Referring to the incidents between 1948 and 1971, Prime Minister Hasina said that the volumes of the book ‘Secret Documents of Intelligence Branch on Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’ contains lots of historical facts of this period.


Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju has said that para athletes are the strength and the source of inspiration for everyone in the country. He said Sports Ministry is leaving no stone unturned to support them. Mr Rijiju said this while attending a virtual session on the occasion of 29th World Disability Day in the presence of Paralympic Committee of India President Deepa Malik, Indian Para Athletes Devendra Jhajharia, Parul Parmar and Shatabdi Awasthi.


In Cricket, India will take on hosts Australia in the first of three match Twenty20 series in Canberra today.

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. India defeated the Hosts by 13 runs in the third and final ODI at Canberra on Wednesday. 

Both the countries will also play four Test matches. The first test will begin in Adelaide from 17th December.


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 eight and 27 degrees Celsius.

Mumbai will have mainly clear sky. Temperature will vary between 21 and 35 degrees Celsius.

Chennai is likely to have generally cloudy sky with moderate rain. The temperature will hover between 23 and 27 degrees Celsius.

Kolkata the city will observe minimum temperature of 17 degrees Celsius and a maximum of 28 degrees.

Srinagar will have fog or mist in the morning and mainly clear sky later. Temperature will hover between  one degrees celsius and 10 degrees.

In Jammu, lower level of temperature will be 11 degrees Celsius while upper level will be 23 degrees. The city will have Mainly clear sky becoming partly cloudy towards evening or night.

Leh the minimum temperature will be minus five degrees Celsius while the maximum will be five degrees.

Gilgit will experience mainly clear sky becoming partly cloudy towards afternoon or evening with temperature hovering between minus one  degrees celsius to 15 degrees.



  • Insisting on the need to wear mask during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic the Supreme Court on Thursday said "No mask violates the right to life of others" informs the Hindustan Times.

  • Addressing the malaise of COVID-19 pandemic, "Indian vaccines after phase 3 trials "Emergency use authorization in country similar to UK, US process, says experts", writes the Hindu.

  • Inspite of the COVID-19 pandemic, Global trade is finishing the year on a strong upswing "Globalization is alive and kicking" writes the Financial Express.

  • Commenting on the security situation at the LAC, the Pioneer quoting the Indian Navy Chief states, "Bid to change status quo at LAC warrants deployment".

  • And finally, in an interesting story on life beyond Earth, the Asian Age "States Probable life on Mars likely lived below the surface".


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