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Last Updated : Jan 18 2021 10:21PM     Screen Reader Access
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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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Midday News

1400 HRS


  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi chairs all-party meet to discuss Covid-19 related challenges including vaccine roll out.

  • Prime Minister says, experts believe that India will have Covid vaccine in next few weeks.

  • Covid-19 recovery rate improves to 94.20 per cent in the country.

  • In Jammu and Kashmir, polling concludes for the third phase of DDC elections.

  • Counting underway for Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation elections.

  • Reserve Bank keeps the repo rate unchanged at 4.25 per cent.

  • And in Cricket, Australia win the toss and put India to bat first in the opening T-20 match 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. 

And, now the news in detail:


Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that India will have a vaccine against corona virus in the next few weeks. Addressing an all party meeting today, Mr. Modi informed that eight possible vaccine candidates are under different phases of trials in the country. He said, Indian scientists are confident of coming up with a vaccine against the corona menace in the next few weeks.

"अब जब हम वैक्सीन के मुहाने पर खड़े हैं, तो वही जन भागीदारी, वहीं scientific approach, वहीं सहयोग आगे भी बहुत जरूरी है। आप सभी अनुभवी साथियों के सुझाव समय-समय पर भी इसमें प्रभावी भूमिका निभाएंगे।"

The Prime Minister said the world is looking towards India for a cost efficient and effective vaccine against the pandemic. He said, through the collaborative efforts of the scientific fraternity, the country will deliver a viable option for mass vaccination in near the future. The Prime Minister said, the vaccination programme in the country will commence after a nod from the research scientists. He said, the country has a robust network for such massive vaccination programmes and appropriate cold storage facilities are also being added for proper storage and supply of the vaccines.

"कोल् चैन को और मजबूत करने के लिए भी, साथ ही साथ अनेक नए प्रकल् भी चल रहे हैं। कई और नए ऐप भी चल रहे हैं। भारत ने एक विशेष सॉफ्टवेयर भी बनाया है - को-विन, जिसमें कोरोना वैक्सीन के लाभार्थी वैक्सीन के उपलब् स्टॉक और स्टोरेज से जुड़ी रियल टाइम इनफॉरमेशन रहेगी।"

Mr. Modi said, the healthcare workers and frontline corona warriors will be the ones who will be administered the vaccine first. He informed that the detailed priority list for the vaccination programme will be prepared with the assistance of the State and Union Territory governments. The Prime Minister said that the pricing of the vaccine will be decided only after due consultation with the state governments keeping public healthcare as the topmost priority.

"वैक्सीन की कीमत कितनी होगी ? इसे लेकर भी सवाल स्वभाविक हैं। केन्द्र सरकार इस बारे में राज् सरकारों के साथ बात कर रही है। वैक्सीन की कीमत को लेकर फैसला जन स्वास्थ् को सर्वोच् प्राथमिकता देते हुए किया जाएगा और राज् सरकारों की इसमें पूरी सहभागिता होगी।"

The Prime Minister said, the country has come a long way since last December when the first news of corona virus emerged and thanked everyone for their indomitable spirit and efforts. He urged everyone to continue Jan-bhagidari as the country is on the verge to undertake one of the largest vaccination programmes.

"भारत आज उन देशों में है जहां पर प्रतिदिन टेस्टिंग बहुत ज्यादा हो रही है। भारत आज उन देशों में है जहां पर रिकवरी रेट भी बहुत ज्यादा है। भारत उन देशों में भी शामिल है जहां पर कोरोना की वजह से होने वाली मृत्युदर इतनी कम है। भारत ने जिस तरह कोरोना के खिलाफ लड़ाई को लड़ा है, वो प्रत्येक देशवासी की अदम् इच्छा शक्ति को दर्शाता है।" 

Mr. Modi asked authorities to sensitise people about the vaccination programme by giving right information as he said, rumour-mongering becomes rampant whenever such massive scale exercises are undertaken. He also urged everyone not to shun the time tested cautionary measures of maintaining safe distance and cleaning hands untill the vaccination drive is complete. 

The all party meet which lasted for around three hours was attended by floor leaders of both Houses of Parliament. Union ministers Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh and Harsh Vardhan were also present in the meeting. Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and Ghulam Nabi Azad, TMC leader Derek O'Brien, DMK leader T R Baalu, NCP patron Sharad Pawar and party leaders from other political parties  participated in the virtual meeting.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi inspires India to become the Pharmacy of the World. He undertook a 3-city tour to conduct an extensive review of the vaccine development and manufacturing process. Recently, he visited the Zydus Biotech Park in Ahmedabad, Bharat Biotech in Hyderabad and Serum Institute of India in Pune. In Ahmedabad and Hyderabad, India is indigenously developing vaccines to fight COVID and in Pune, crores of vaccines to save the world will be manufactured. The Prime Minister told the scientists that he chose to meet them face to face in order to boost their morale and help accelerate their efforts at this critical juncture in the vaccine development journey. He stressed that India considers vaccines as not only vital to good health but also as a global good. Mr. Modi said, it is India’s duty to assist other countries, including the nations in our neighbourhood, in the collective fight against the virus.


India has crossed a significant milestone in its fight against COVID. With cumulative recovery of over 90 lakh people so far, the recovery rate has further improved to 94.20 per cent. The number of daily recoveries also continue to outnumber the new daily cases, taking the total recovered cases in the country at around 22 times the number of active cases. The daily positive cases have been below the 50 thousand mark for 27 consecutive days. In the last 24 hours, nearly 36 thousand 500 new cases were reported while nearly 43 thousand people recovered successfully in the same time span.

The active caseload of the country witnessed further reduction and has reached below 4.5 per cent. Total active cases in the country today stand at four lakh 16 thousand 82 which comprises merely 4.35 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 territory of Delhi, Maharashtra, Kerala, West Bengal, Haryana and Rajasthan among others.

The Health Ministry has said this has also led to a commensurate dip in the fatality rate which stands at 1.45 per cent. It informed that 540 case fatalities were reported in the last 24 hours.


Over 11 lakh 70 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 47 lakh 28 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 a 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.


Telangana reported 631 fresh COVID cases during the past 24 hours. With this the total COVID cases reported in the state have gone up to 2 lakh 72 thousand 123. The state conducted over 57 thousand tests yesterday. The recovery rate slightly improved to 96.21 per cent with 802 more people recovering yesterday. This took the number of recovered people so far in the state to 2 lakh 61 thousand 830.

The daily bulletin issued by the state Medical and Health department this morning stated that total 1,467 deaths have been reported so far following two more persons succumbing to COVID and co-morbidities during the past 24 hours. Currently the state has less than 8 thousand active cases out of which over 6 thousand 8 hundred are in home isolation.


In Mizoram, 63 patients recovered from the coronavirus infection in the past 24 hours, while seven new cases were  detected. With this, the total number of positive cases of Coronavirus rose to 3,888. According to the state medical bulletin, the recovery rate has further improved to 93.97 per cent. 

So far 3,647 people have been discharged from different Covid care centres after recovery from the infection. The number of active cases presently stands at 235.


In Madhya Pradesh, the number of COVID-19 cases in the state climbed up to around 2 lakh 10 thousand after 1 thousand 450 new cases were reported in the past 24 hours. With 13 patients succumbing to the infection, the death toll rose to 3 thousand 300. More from our Bhopal correspondent:

"As per the state health bulletin, 1 thousand 569 corona virus patients were discharged from the hospitals in the past 24 hours taking the number of recovered cases in the state to more than 1 Lakh 93 thousand. There are now 13 thousand 887 active cases in Madhya Pradesh. More than 30 thousand tests were conducted in the state yesterday. At the same time, around 38 lakh tests have been conducted so far. Sanjeev Sharma, AIR News, Bhopal"


Additional Professor, Cancer Wing, AIIMS, New Delhi, Dr. Rakesh Garg says, the Corona pandemic is on and we must follow the Covid appropriate behaviour. He told AIR News, just by taking easy precautions, we can save ourselves and others from the Virus.


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. The Unions have agreed to further participate in the next meeting tomorrow.

Farmers' representatives 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 Agriculture Minister reiterated the Government’s commitment to the welfare of the farmers.

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

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 measures taken to benefit agriculture during the lockdown period to keep the supply chains active. He said the Farm Acts have been framed keeping in mind the farmers welfare. 


In Rajasthan, farmers are getting benefit from the three farm laws recently brought by the Central Government. Farmers, farmer producer organizations, FPOs and last mile consumers, are all benefiting from these legislations. Our Jaipur correspondent has filed this report: 

"With these agricultural laws, selling produce through FPOs is proving to be profitable for the farmers. FPO Ajaymaru Kisan Samriddhi Producers Company Limited, in Ajmer district, recently purchased 41 MT of gram directly from farmers of Neemod village in Kekri Block. Farmers received Rs 100 per quintal more in comparison to market rates. The CEO of the organization, Om Niwas Sharma, told AIR -

Mr. Sharma says that the new agricultural laws are going to prove very beneficial not only for farmers but also for urban consumers. Jitendra Dwivedi, AIR News, Jaipur "


The Narendra Modi government has taken several measures with an aim to  transform the 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 both accessible and cost effective. Anand Chaturvedi, AIR News, Delhi."


In Jammu and Kashmir, polling for the third phase of DDC elections has concluded. Voting is taking place for 33 constituencies in this phase. Out of these, 16 are in Kashmir valley and 17 in Jammu  region.

Overall voter turnout till 11 AM was 25.58 percent across constituencies spread over different districts of the Union Territory. The Kashmir Division recorded an overall polling percentage of 13.64 percent while Jammu Division recorded 37.17 percent upto 11 AM.

Three hundred five candidates are in the fray. A total of 2046 polling stations including 792 in Jammu and 1254 in Kashmir division have been setup for the conduct of elections in a smooth manner.

Our Srinagar correspondent reports that militants fired upon an Apni Party candidate in Anantnag district. Anees-ul-Islam contesting from DDC constituency Sagam Kokernag was fired upon while he was touring in the area. He was shifted to District hospital where his condition is stated to be stable.


In Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation elections, the ruling TRS is leading in more number of seats. However, the BJP is giving a tough fight and in some divisions, neck and neck fight is on. The first result has come out for Mehidipatnam, where least polling took place. The AIMIM candidate and former Mayor, Mohammed Majid Hussain won the division. According to election authorities, by the end of the first-round counting, the TRS is leading in 57 divisions while BJP is leading in 13 divisions and AIMIM in 32. The Congress is in the lead in 3 divisions. Our Correspondent files this report: 

"Except in one or two, the counting of votes in all divisions of the GHMC is underway peacefully. Though in small numbers, the counting of postal ballots has raised the hopes for BJP candidates as the party shown its leads in over 80 segments out of 150 divisions. However, after the end of the first round, the leads are getting stabilised. At many places, close contests between TRS and BJP are seen. The AIMIM is leading at several old city divisions. Declaration of results is slowly taking place. Lakshmi, air news, Hyderabad"


Maintaining an accomodative stance, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das today said that the Monetary Policy Committee has unanimously decided to leave the policy repo rate unchanged at 4 per cent. He said the marginal standing facility remains unchanged at 4.25 per cent and reverse repo rate stands unchanged at 3.35 per cent.

Mr. Das said the MPC was of the view that inflation is likely to remain elevated with some relief in the winter months from the prices of perishables and bumper kharif arrival.

The RBI Governor said the signs of recovery are far from being broad based and are dependent on sustained policy support. He said, the real GDP growth is projected at minus 7.5 percent in 2020-21.


Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises Nitin Gadkari today laid the foundation stones of 15 National Highway projects of Nagaland through video conference. The Union Minister also inaugurated the improvement of city portion of Dimapur City NH-39. The total cost of the 15 National Highways projects in the state is worth over 4,127 crore rupees having a total length of 270 km.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Gadkari said the government is committed for the progress of the Northeast region especially the state of Nagaland.


The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has issued a notice to the Delhi government to take corrective measures to mitigate the menace of pollution in the capital city. Briefing media in New Delhi today, Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar informed that the notice asks the Delhi government to check various sources of pollution in the capital city.

Mr Javadekar said that even after the season of stubble burning has almost come to an end, the air quality in the city remains a matter of serious concern. 


Navy day is being celebrated today. The day is celebrated on the 4th of December every year to recognize the achievements and role of the Indian Navy to the country. It was on this day in 1971, during Operation Trident, that the Indian Navy sank four Pakistani vessels including PNS Khaibar, killing hundreds of Pakistani Navy personnel.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has greeted all valorous navy personnel and their families on the occasion. He 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 also greeted all Navy personnel and their families on the Navy Day. 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. 


In the first T20 International of three-match series, Australian captain Aaron Finch won the toss and elected to bowl first against India at Manuka Oval, Canberra.

India were 74 for 2 in 10 overs when reports last came in.


Kerala remains on high even as cyclone Burevi has weakened. Met dept predicts the Cyclone to weaken into a depression as it enters Kerala. As widespread rain and strong winds are forecast in the Southern part of the State, coastal regions are on high . State is fully prepared with constant vigil by disaster response forces and authorities.


Normal life in Puducherry was disrupted for the second conseucutive day as the rain lashed the city during the last 48 hours. There has been heavy downpour throughout last night inundating the low lying areas like Rainbow Nagar, Venkata Nagar and Indira Gandhi Square. Authorities are working hard to drain the flooded areas.

Adjoining districts of Tamil Nadu, Cuddalore and Viluppuram have also been receiving heavy rains. The lakes in these districts are nearing their full capacity. Rains have inundated various crops like Paddy and groundnuts.


President Ram Nath Kovind, paid floral tributes to former President of India, R. Venkataraman, on his birth anniversary at Rashtrapati Bhavan today. The President and officials of Rashtrapati Bhavan paid respects before a portrait of former President R. Venkataraman.

Ramaswamy Venkataraman was an Indian lawyer, Indian independence activist and politician who served as a Union Minister and as the eighth President of India from 1987 to 1992.


Now, let us take a look at the weather 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 35 degrees Celsius.

Chennai will have thunderstorm with rain. The temperature will hover between 24 and 27 degrees Celsius.

Kolkata will witness mainly clear sky. The city will observe minimum temperature of 17 degrees Celsius and a maximum of 28 degrees.

Srinagar will have generally cloudy sky with Light rain. Temperature will hover between minus one degree celsius and 10 degrees.

In Jammu, the minimum temperature was 11 degrees Celsius while maximum will be 24 degrees. The city will have mainly clear sky becoming partly cloudy towards afternoon or evening.

Leh will have mainly clear sky. The minimum temperature was minus seven degrees Celsius while the maximum will be five degrees.

Gilgit will have generally cloudy sky with temperature hovering between zero degrees celsius to 15 degrees.

Muzafarrabad will have Mainly clear sky. The temperature will hover from five to 20 degrees Celsius.

In Dehradun, the temperature will hover between Nine and 24 degrees Celsius. Mainly clear sky will prevail.



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