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News Highlights
Nationwide COVID19 Vaccination drive to cover senior citizens, those above 45 yrs with co-morbidities begins tomorrow            PM asks people not to lower guard against Corona            PM emphasizes need to take science forward with mantra of 'Lab to Land'            ISRO successfully launches Brazil's Amazonia 1 satellite, along with 18 other passenger satellites            Hockey: Indian beats Germany 6-1 in first match of European tour           

Text Bulletins Details


Morning News

0830 HRS
24.12.2020

THE HEADLINES,

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi to address centenary celebrations of Visva-Bharati University, Shantiniketan today.

  • Prime Minister to release 18,000 crore rupees under PM-Kisan scheme to more than 9 crore farmers tomorrow.

  • Memorandum signed by over 3 lakh farmers submitted to Agriculture Minister extending support to new farm laws.

  • Cabinet approves post matric scholarship scheme for more than 4 Crore Scheduled Caste students.

  • Cabinet also gives nod to merger of four Film Media Units with NFDC through rationalization of infrastructure, manpower and other resources.

  • COVID-19 recovery rate reaches 95.69 per cent in the country. 

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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. 

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the centenary celebrations of the Visva-Bharati University, Shantiniketan at 11 am today through video conferencing. The Prime Minister is the Chancellor of the University. West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar and Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank will also be present on the occasion.


Founded by Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore in 1921, Visva-Bharati was declared a Central University and an Institution of National Importance by an Act of Parliament in May 1951.


Gurudev founded the University with a noble vision. He wrote Visva-Bharati represents India where she has her wealth of mind which is for all. Visva-Bharati acknowledges India's obligation to offer to others the hospitality of her best culture and India's right to accept from others their best. The University follows the pedagogy devised by Gurudev Tagore, though gradually it evolved in the format in which modern Universities developed elsewhere. 


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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will release the next installment of financial benefit under Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) tomorrow through video conferencing. With the push of a button, the Prime Minister will enable the transfer of more than 18,000 crore rupees to more than nine crore beneficiary farmer families.


The Prime Minister will also have a conversation with farmers from six different States during the event. The farmers will share their experiences about PM-KISAN and also on various other initiatives taken by the government for the welfare of the farmers. Union Agriculture Minister will also be present on the occasion.


Under the PM-KISAN Scheme, a financial benefit of 6 thousand rupees per year is provided to small and marginal farmers, payable in three equal 4-monthly installments of 2,000 rupees each. The fund is transferred directly to the bank accounts of the beneficiaries.


Speaking about the event, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said, on December 25th, Atal Bihari Vajpayee's birth anniversary is celebrated as Sushashan Diwas, good governance day. He said, after Mr Modi became the Prime Minister, many steps have been taken to promote good governance, ease of living and transparency. He said, DBT is an important scheme for good governance and transparency. The Minister said, there was a time when out of 100 rupees sent by the government only 15 rupees used to reach villages but Modi Government managed to send full 100 rupees to people directly through DBT. 


Mr Tomar said Modi government is committed to strengthening the agriculture sector. He said, representatives of the Confederation of NGOs of Rural India today met him and submitted 3 lakh 13,363 signatures taken across one lakh villages in support of the three farm laws enacted by the Centre recently.


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A memorandum signed by more than three lakh farmers has been submitted to Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar extending support to new farm laws. Confederation of NGOs of Rural India's delegation handed over the memorandum containing more than three lakh 13,000 signatures of farmers to Mr Tomar in New Delhi yesterday. Speaking on the occasion, Mr Tomar said there is enthusiasm among the farmers across the nation with respect to the new agri-laws. He said, these reforms were long overdue and  because of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's determination the necessary reforms can be seen taking shape on the ground. 


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Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar has said that the three progressive farm laws enacted by the parliament are important benchmarks of good governance in the country. Speaking at the launch of 196 better life farming centres which will be operating across nine states, he said, reforms in Agriculture sector will aid transparency in the field and will put an end to Inspector Raj. Mr. Tomar said contract farming will benefit even the small farmers, who is now enabled to sell their produce at a pre-decided and fixed price.


Speaking about the Farmer Producer Organisations, FPOs, he said the centre has approved an outlay of 6 thousand 850 crore rupees for setting up of 10 thousand FPOs in the country. Mr. Tomar said the 196 better life farming centres launched in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal and Karnataka will also work for the betterment of farmers along with the FPOs in these states.


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The Ministry of Health has issued Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for Epidemiological Surveillance and Response for a new variant of SARS- CoV 2 virus, which has been reported by the Government of United Kingdom to the World Health Organization. This variant is estimated by European Center for Disease Control to be more transmissible and affecting the younger population. This variant is defined by a set of 17 changes or mutations. One of the most significant mutation is in the spike protein that the virus uses to bind to the human ACE2 receptor. Changes in this part of the spike protein may result in the virus becoming more infectious and spreading more easily between people.


The SOP describes the activities to be undertaken at the point of entry and in the community for all International passengers who have travelled from or transited through UK in the past four weeks from 25th November to date. Any reference to testing in this SOP implies RT-PCR testing only. Flights from UK are suspended temporarily from 23rd December till 31st December or till further orders.


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Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan has reviewed the status of passengers coming from UK to India and more found positive in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Goa, Punjab, Gujarat and Kerala and their response measures in a meeting held through Video Conferencing. The Standard Operating Procedure issued by the Ministry for Epidemiological Surveillance and Response in the context of new variant of SARS-CoV-2 virus detected in the United Kingdom was discussed in detail in the meeting.


The States and Union Territories were advised to access the details of passengers from UK to India from the online portal AIR-SUVIDHA and Bureau of Immigration.


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The country's COVID-19 recovery rate has reached 95.69 per cent. During the last 24 hours, more than 26,000 COVID patients have recovered. The Health Ministry said, the total number of recoveries has gone up to over 96 lakh 63 thousand. The actual caseload currently comprises only 2.86 per cent of the total positive cases. Presently, the total number of active cases in the country is around two lakh 89,000.


During the past 24 hours, 23,950 new cases were reported taking the total number of positive cases in the country to over one crore 99 thousand.  In the same period, 333 deaths were reported taking the toll to one lakh 46 thousand 444.


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The recovery rate of COVID patients in Delhi stands at 97.03 per cent. The city recorded recovery of one thousand 585 patients in the last 24 hours taking the total number of recovered patients till date to six lakh one thousand 268. A total of 871 new confirmed cases of Coronavirus were reported in the National Capital during the last twenty four hours. With this the total number of COVID cases reported in the Capital city so far, has reached six lakh 19 thousand 618.


The Delhi Government confirmed that 18 deaths have been reported in the last 24 hours, taking the total to 10 thousand 347. The total number of active corona cases in the city now stands at 8,003. 


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In Uttar Pradesh, State Board examinations will be based on the reduced syllabus in view of the covid situation this year. Now the examinations of class 9th, 10th. 11th and 12th will be based on 70 per cent of the total syllabus.


"Covid took a toll toll on the classes and education of students this year that is why  the UP board has decided to reduce the syllabus of all subjects for examinations by 30%.Secretary of Uttar Pradesh Madhyamik Shiksha Parishad Divyakant Shukla said that the reduced syllabus has been provided to the principals of all the schools across the state. He said that the reduced syllabus is also available on the website of department and this year the state board examinations will be based on the 70% syllabus of 9th, 10, 11 th and 12th class. Meanwhile the last date for filing application for class 10th and 12th Board examinations has been extended till 5th January 2021 due to covid situation. Deputy Chief minister and education minister of state Dr Dinesh Sharma said  that with the late fee the application for this year board examination will be accepted till 5th of next month. He said that for the session 2020-21 the last date for the advanced registration of class 9th and class  11th students has also been extended till 10th January 2021. SUSHIL CHANDRA TIWARI, AIR NEWS, LUCKNOW."


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 In Gujarat, 958 new cases of COVID-19 were detected during the last 24 hours. The recovery rate has further improved to 93.58 per cent.


The total number of Covid-19 cases detected so far in Gujarat has reached up to 2 lakh 38 thousand 205. Out of these, 2 lakh 22 thousand 911 patients recovered. 1309 patients recovered during the last 24 hours. More than 92 lakh 17 thousand tests have been carried out in the state till date. Maximum 202 new cases reported from Ahmedabad, while Surat recorded 157 new cases. At present total active cases in the state are 11040, out of which 63 patients are on ventilator. Six patients died yesterday taking the total deaths due to Covid-19 up to 4254. Yogesh Pandya, AIR News, Ahmedabad


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In Odisha, COVID-19 active caseload has fallen to 2732. While the state has conducted more than 6.7 million sample tests so far, the test positivity rate too has come down to 4.88 per cent.


At a time when Odisha is witnessing a sharp decline in covid-19 active cases, the state government is not taking any chances following the recent discovery of the highly infectious mutant variety of coronavirus away in the United Kingdom. Accordingly, it has made testing and 14 days home quarantine mandatory for persons arriving at the airports of the state, with travel history to or translating through the United Kingdom. Meanwhile, passengers with travel history to foreign countries are being subjected to screening at the special kiosk at the airport terminals in the state. Girish Chandra Dash, AIR News Bhubaneswar


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In Karnataka, 958 new COVID-19 positive cases were reported during the last 24 hours. At the same time 1206 people were cured from the disease and discharged from various hospitals in the State. At present, 13,736 COVID patients are taking treatment across the State among them 217 are in ICU. Nine COVID patients lost their life and the total fatalities have increased to 12038. 


Meanwhile, the State government announced night curfew from 11 pm to 5 am starting from today till 5 am on 2nd January, 2021.


Night curfew has been imposed in the State as per the suggestions given by the technical advisory committee.


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In Andaman & Nicobar Islands, the RT-PCR test report has been made mandatory for all the passengers arriving at Port Blair airport from 26th December. Accordingly, all incoming passengers are required to carry negative RT-PCR report. The RT-PCR test should be taken 48 hours prior to the commencement of journey. The ongoing Rapid Antigen Test at the airport would be stopped. Now, there are a total of 73 active cases. 4761 people recovered so far. The recovery rate is more than 97 per cent while the test positivity rate is 2.87 per cent.  62 deaths reported till date.


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The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has also approved 59 thousand 48 Crore rupees post matric scholarship scheme for more than 4 Crore Scheduled Caste students in five years. Briefing the media, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thawarchand Gehlot said, the Central Government will spend 35 thousand 5 hundred 34 crore rupees for it which is 60 per cent and the balance 40 per cent will be spent by the State Governments.


It is estimated that 1.36 Crore such students, who are currently not continuing their education beyond 10th standard would be brought into the higher education system in the next five years.


The Cabinet also approved the merger of Films Division, Directorate of Film Festivals, National Film Archives of India, and Children's Film Society with the  National Film Development Corporation. Mr Javadekar said, the Cabinet also approved an ordinance for extending National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Act for another 3 years, giving protection to unauthorized colonies from punitive action in Delhi.


The Cabinet also gave its nod for signing the revised Air Services Agreement between India and Philippines. It also gave its approval for signing the revised Air Services Agreement between India and Afghanistan.


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Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that Cabinet decision on post-matric scholarship will ensure greater educational access to youngsters belonging to SC communities. In a tweet, Mr Modi said, ensuring top quality and affordable education to our youth is an important focus area for our Government.


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In our Special Series Year ender-2020 today we bring you a report on Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Gramin). Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched PMAY (Gramin) on 20th November 2016 with an aim to provide housing for all in rural areas. On the 20th of last month, the scheme completed four years. 


Addressing a public meeting in Agra after launching the rural housing scheme Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that the Government wants every Indian to have a house by 2022 and PMAY-Gramin will benefit the working class, farmers and the deprived.

Rural Development Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana Gramin has immensely benefited the rural population.


Our Correspondent reports that the program envisages the completion of 2.95 crore houses in rural areas with all basic amenities by the year 2022.


"Under the PMAY-G, houses are being constructed with new technologies and amenities like water, gas, toilet and electricity supply. In the 1st phase of the scheme from 2016-17 to 2018-19, a target for construction of 1 crore pucca houses were set. In the 2nd phase of the scheme starting from 2019-20 to 2021-22, the target of construction of the remaining 1.95 crore houses has been set. As on date, a total of 1.75 Crore PMAY-G houses has been sanctioned and 1.20 Crore houses have been completed against the allocated cumulative target of 2.26 Crore houses. Under PMAY-G, the minimum size of a house has also been increased to 25 square meters. Government has ensured that all houses constructed under PMAY-G are designed properly by experts who have made it on the basis of topology and they are climate resistant homes. The selection of beneficiaries through a three stage validation (Socio Economic Caste Census 2011, Gram Sabha, and geo-tagging) has ensured selection of the poorest of the poor under PMAY-G. The increased pace of work has been reflected in the NIPFP study which indicated 114 days as average completion time for PMAY-G as compared to 314 days earlier. The entire payments are through IT and DBT mode with Aadhaar linked Bank accounts with consent, to ensure complete transparency and accountability. Anupam Mishra, AIR NEWS, Delhi."


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BJP President JP Nadda has expressed gratitude to people of Jammu and Kashmir for making BJP the largest party in the DDC elections. In a tweet, Mr Nadda said, the people of Jammu and Kashmir have expressed faith in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's leadership and decisions. He said, the BJP is committed to the all-round development of Jammu and Kashmir and to connect its people to the mainstream. 


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Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said that the government has issued a notification to curb the menace of fake GST invoice by fraudsters or fly-by-night firms. She said, the move comes following recommendations of the GST Council’s Law Committee in this regard. Ms Sitharaman said, the GST laws passed by the Parliament and state legislatures provide that GST registration is liable to be canceled for those who have not filed six or more returns. It is, therefore, wrong to say that the cancellation will be done without reasons.

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New Delhi has said that the India-Russia Annual Summit did not take place in 2020 because of the COVID pandemic and this was a mutually agreed decision between the two governments. In response to a media report regarding the India-Russia Annual Summit, MEA Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said, any imputation otherwise is false and misleading. He said, spreading false stories on important relationships is particularly irresponsible.


Russian Ambassador to India, Nikolay Kudashev said, the article published about the annual summit is far from reality. He said, special and privileged strategic partnership between Russia and India is progressing well despite the COVID-19 pandemic.


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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will share his thoughts with the people in the country and abroad in the 'Mann Ki Baat' programme on All India Radio at 11 AM on Sunday. It will be the 72nd episode of the monthly radio programme.


Citizens can share their suggestions and ideas for the Mann ki Baat programme through Namo App, MyGov Forum or through toll free number 1800-11-7800.


It will be broadcast on the entire network of AIR and Doordarshan and also on AIR News website www.newsonair.com and newsonair Mobile App.


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National Investigation Agency (NIA) has arrested absconding Khalistani terrorist Gurjeet Singh Nijjar at the Delhi airport on his deportation from Cyprus, where he was hiding. He has been arrested for allegedly hatching a criminal conspiracy to revive terrorism in India. A resident of the Ajnala town in Amritsar, Nijjar left for Cyprus on October 19, 2017. The NIA had registered a case on January 10 last year against Nijjar and another accused Harpal Singh under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967. Further investigations revealed by the NIA that Nijjar, Singh and a third accused Moin Khan had orchestrated a criminal conspiracy to revive terrorism in Punjab.


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Protest rallies were carried out in different cities across Balochistan yesterday against the killing of prominent leader and activist Banuk Karima Baloch in Canada. Hundreds of people including activists gathered in various places in Quetta and Hub City demanding a fair probe by the Canadian government into Karima's sudden death.


Karima, a vocal critic of the Pakistan Army and government atrocities in Balochistan, was found dead in Toronto. The Baloch activist had arrived in Canada in 2016 and campaigned extensively against disappearances and human rights violations in the troubled Balochistan province.


In a statement, Free Balochistan Movement said that due to the atrocities of Pakistan, Baloch refugees were forced to migrate to neighbouring Afghanistan. It urged the UN refugee agency to take steps to protect and assist the Baloch refugees.


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Take a look at the weather forecast for today.


In Srinagar, sky will have partly cloudy sky. The minimum temperature was minus four degree Celsius while the maximum will be around nine degrees.


In Jammu, the lower level of temperature was seven degree Celsius while the upper level will be around 21 degrees. The city will witness mainly clear sky later. 


Leh may witness partly cloudy sky. The minimum temperature dipped to minus 13 degree Celsius while the maximum will be zero degrees.


In Gilgit, sky will be mainly clear. The temperature will hover between minus three and seven degree Celsius.


In Muzafarrabad, the sky will be mainly clear becoming partly cloudy towards afternoon or evening.


In Dehradun, the temperature will hover between six and 22 degree Celsius. The city will have mainly clear sky.


Chandigarh may witness mainly clear sky. The minimum temperature was recorded at five degrees celsius while the maximum is expected to be 20 degree Celsius.


 The National Capital is expected to witness dense fog as the minimum temperature dipped to four degree Celsius while the maximum is expected to be around 23 degree celsius.


In Hyderabad, the minimum temperature was 11 degree Celsius while the maximum will be around 29 degrees. The city may have fog or mist during early morning hours.


Ahmedabad will see mainly clear sky. The minimum temperature was 13 degree Celsius while the maximum will be around 30 degrees.


Patna will have fog/mist in the morning and mainly clear sky later, with temperature hovering between eight and 23 degree Celsius.


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NEWSPAPERS HEADLINE:

  • Most newspapers have covered the latest related to the new variant of the coronavirus.

  • "Mutant virus spreading, new SA strain now in mix." writes Hindustan Times.  In some alarming news, The Indian Express reports, "Two Covid-positive passengers from UK go missing at Delhi airport, one reaches Ludhiana, other Andhra." The Economic Times has covered the course of action regarding the vaccine. The paper notes, "Covid jabs likely in open market between April and June."

  • Papers have also noticed Army Chief's visit to forward areas along the LAC.  The Asian Age has shown a picture of General Naravane in Ladakh while The Statesman reports, "Army chief visits forward posts in eastern Ladakh amid border impasse."

  • "Changes to SC scholarship scheme get government approval," says The Hindu

  • "Cabinet nod for 100 per cent FDI in DTH service." reports The Hindu.

  • And finally, yesteryear actress of Bobby fame, Dimple Kapadia has made a comeback in cinema from distant shores. The Asian Age writes, "Dimple leaves everyone awestruck with performance in Christopher Nolan's Tenet.

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