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Last Updated : Sep 18 2020 10:31PM     Screen Reader Access
News Highlights
PM hails historic reforms in agriculture; says govt committed to MSP support for farmers            PM Modi inaugurates Kosi Rail mega bridge & 12 railway projects in Bihar            COVID recovery rate improves to 78.86 per cent            India -Japan economic cooperation is on upswing: S Jaishankar            Stage all set for 13th edition of IPL Cricket in Abu Dhabi           

Text Bulletins Details

Morning News

0830 HRS


  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi to release sixth installment of PM- Kisan scheme to 8.5 crore farmers today; To also launch finance facility worth one lakh crore rupees under Agriculture Infrastructure fund.

  • Recovery rate from COVID-19 infection improves to 68.32 per cent in the country.

  • Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal says, India can become trusted partner in global supply chain.

  • IMD warns of heavy rain in Northwest India during next two days.

  • Mahinda Rajapaksa to be sworn-in as new Prime Minister of Sri Lanka today.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch the financing facility of one lakh crore rupees under the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund  today through video conferencing. He will also release the sixth instalment of funds of 17000 crore rupees to 8.5 crore farmers under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojna (PM-KISAN) scheme. A report:

"The financing facility under the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund will catalyze the creation of post-harvest management infrastructure and community farming assets like cold storage, collection centres and processing units. These assets will enable farmers to get greater value for their produce, as they will be able to store and sell at higher prices, reduce wastage, and increase processing and value addition. One lakh crore rupees will be sanctioned under the financing facility in partnership with multi leading institutions. 11 Public Sector Banks have already signed MOUs in this regard. Three per cent interest subvention and credit guarantee of up to two crore rupees will be provided to the beneficiaries to increase the viability of these projects.The beneficiaries of the scheme will include farmers, Marketing Cooperative Societies, Joint Liability Groups, Multipurpose Cooperative Societies, Agri-entrepreneurs and Startups. Diwaker, AIR News, Delhi".

The PM-KISAN scheme has provided a direct cash benefit of over 75,000 crore rupees to more than 9.9 Crore farmers. This has enabled them to fulfil their agricultural requirements and support their families. The scheme has also been instrumental in supporting farmers during the COVID-19 pandemic, through the release of nearly 22,000 crore rupees to aid the farmers during the lockdown period.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has boosted the self-confidence and will-power of every countrymen and its impact is visible on the life of the poor. Speaking after inaugurating the Rashtriya Swacchata Kendra in New Delhi last evening, Mr Modi said, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has brought about a permanent change in our social consciousness and behavior.

The Prime minister said, cleanliness drive has been a big support in fight against Corona virus. Mr Modi asked what would have happened if pandemic like Corona virus had broken out before 2014. He said, the government could not have imposed lockdown when over 60 per cent of the population was forced to open defecation. 

Mr Modi said, in the last few years, lakhs of people across the country, who are inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, have made Swachh Bharat Mission a goal of their lives. He said, this is the reason that government has been able to provide toilet facility to over 60 crore people in just 60 months.

Mr Modi said, a comprehensive Quit India Campaign is going on against poverty, garbage, compulsion of open defecation, compulsion of wandering for fetching water. The Prime Minister announced a week-long campaign till 15th August to free India of garbage. He said, Rashtriya Swachhata Kendra is a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi's efforts towards cleanliness.


Prime Minister will inaugurate and dedicate the submarine Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) connecting Chennai and Port Blair to the nation tomorrow through video conferencing. The submarine cable will also connect Port Blair to Swaraj Dweep, Little Andaman, Car Nicobar, Kamorta, Great Nicobar, Long Island and Rangat. This connectivity will enable delivery of faster and more reliable mobile and landline telecom services to Andaman and Nicobar Islands, at par with other parts of India. At present, Andaman and Nicobar Islands have very weak telecom systems, that hamper communications with mainland and within the islands.


Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal has said that India can become a trusted partner in the global supply chain. He said, the world is looking for trusted partners where there is rule of law, transparency in systems, strong judiciary and democratic traditions and India fulfils all these conditions. Addressing India@75 Summit organised by CII, Mr Goyal said, India has to engage with the world with competitive prices, high quality products, large scale economies of manufacturing, high productivity levels, but not on the crutches of government subsidies. Talking about the performance of the country's exports, Mr Goyal said, the current numbers of outbound shipments are showing signs of signicant improvement. He said, exports last month reached about 91 per cent level as compared to July 2019. The minister also said that for the last 11 days, Indian railways has been running the freight trains at twice the speed of what they were running one year ago.


Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister DV Sadananda Gowda has said that in the next couple of years, India will be self-sufficient in the production of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients and Key Starting materials to reduce import dependency and attain drug security. Addressing a webinar organised by a Pharmacy College in Bengaluru, he said, three medical device parks and three pharmacy parks being developed at an investment of 13,600 crore rupees, will make this a reality. The Minister also informed that 50 new Janaushadhi outlets were opened recently taking the total of such outlets to 6500 across 732 districts in the country. He said by the end of this month, all the districts in the country will have Janaushadhi outlets. Janaushadhi outlets sell quality medicines at 50 to 90 per cent less rate than the branded medicines. For example it sells sanitary pad for just one rupee. During the previous year Janaushadhi kendras sold medicines worth 430 crore rupees. Mr Gowda informed that since the last four months during the pandemic period, the public saved 1260 crore rupees by buying medicines in Janaushadhi Kendras. 


Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri has said all issues like excessive rubber deposits, water stagnation and cracks that were red-flagged by the DGCA in the past were addressed and rectified by the Kozhikode airport operator. In a series of tweets, Mr Puri said raising such concerns is the normal work of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation. He said that the aviation regulator strictly ensures that these are complied with and rectified under all circumstances. This was done by the airport operator. His comments came after various news reports stated that the DGCA had issued a show cause notice to the director of the Kozhikode airport in July last year after it found various critical safety lapses in different places including the runway and the apron. Mr Puri said, an enquiry has been ordered under the Aircraft Act in case of the Kozhikode accident and black boxes of the flight have been recovered and findings of the investigation will be made public. The Minister asked people to exercise patience and refrain from making speculative observations bordering on the irresponsible. He said he is continuously taking stock of the situation arising due to the accident in Kozhikode and holding meetings with senior officials.


Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha has ordered immediate appointment of 200 Nursing Orderlies in the Union Territory after noticing shortage of staff in isolation wards during a visit to a hospital in Srinagar yesterday. Government spokesperson Rohit Kansal said that the two regions of the Union Territory Jammu as well as Kashmir will get 100 of these Nursing Orderlies each. The Lieutenant Governor visited SMHS hospital and reviewed the COVID situation there. Mr Sinha also approved the grant of special move Travelling Allowance of 25,000 rupees to all move employees irrespective of actual movement, as a special case this year.


In the run up to the 74th Independence Day celebrations, we bring you today a special story about Commerce and Industry in the country. Government's incessant efforts and policy reforms have changed world's outlook towards India. Through path-breaking decisions and special production linked incentive schemes, the government has been able to improve country's ranking substantially in terms of ease of doing business.  India is poised to become world leader in terms of electronic manufacturing especially in the field of mobile manufacturing. The forex reserves have touched new heights even in the midst of a global pandemic due to impetus on domestic manufacturing while ensuring a robust global supply chain.

Speaking exclusively to AIR News, Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog, Rajiv Kumar said that the reforms in the last six years in the country have drastically changed India's image at global forums. He said with increase in global investment and domestic manufacturing, the government is also credited with stream lining trade imbalances with many partner countries. Mr. Kumar enumerated the multi pronged approach of the government for coming years which he said will steer the country out of the aftereffects of COVID crisis.


The recovery rate from COVID-19 infection has improved futher and it has now reached 68.32 per cent. Union Health Ministry in a statement said that with 48,900 patients recovering in the last 24 hours, the country's total recoveries from COVID-19 has reached 14 lakh 27,005. At present, the active cases are 6,19,088 which account for 29.64 per cent of total positive cases. Such persons are under medical supervision either at hospitals or in home isolation. The Ministry said, due to coordinated implementation of 'Test, Track and Treat' strategy, the Case Fatality Rate has been low when compared to the global scenario.


The Centre has directed State Governments to focus all efforts on reducing COVID-19 mortality. Union Health Ministry said, coordinated, graded and pro-active management of COVID-19 by the Centre, States and Union Territories has ensured the national Case Fatality Rate is on the slide. It currently stands at 2.04 per cent. As part of the continuous process of review and handholding of States and UTs for collaborative management of COVID-19, two high level virtual meetings were chaired by Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan to engage with the states reporting with high case load and higher Case Fatality Rate than the national average. It said, government is supporting them on efforts to prevent and reduce mortality due to COVID-19.

The Ministry said, the meeting focused on 13 districts concentrated in eight States and UT. These are Kamrup Metro in Assam, Patna in Bihar, Ranchi in Jharkhand, Alappuzha and Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, Ganjam in Odisha, Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh, 24 Paraganas North, Hooghly, Howrah, Kolkata and Maldah in West Bengal. These districts account for nearly nine per cent of India's active cases and about 14 per cent of COVID deaths. They also report low tests per million and high confirmation percentage. A surge has been observed in the daily new cases in four districts - Kamrup Metro in Assam, Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh, Thiruvananthapuram and Alappuzha in Kerala. They were advised to ensure timely referral and hospitalization in view of reports from some districts of patients dying within 48 hours of admission. States were asked to ensure a timely assessment and make advance preparedness for infrastructure like ICU beds and oxygen supply, based on the prevailing case load and the estimated growth rate.


In Odisha, COVID-19 recoveries have crossed 30,000 mark after 1,544 patients from 28 districts were discharged from hospital during the past 24 hours. Our correspondent reports, the state government has allowed private hospitals to treat corona patients.

"In Odisha, 1544 patients discharged from different COVID hospitals, Odisha has now 13,644 actives cases. The state health and family Welfare Department has issued a guideline for provisioning a Covid-19 unit in private hospitals with 30 or more beds. The state government, cautioned private hospitals not to collect excessive fees. All asymptomatic or mild cases shall be sent to institutional quarantine or home isolation, or a paid COVID Care Centre run by the hospital. The government has clarified that only those patients who want to pay on their own or covered under their own insurance shall be treated in the hospital. Itishree Singh Rathaur, AIR News, Cuttack".


In Gujarat, 1101 new cases of Covid-19 recorded yesterday. The recovery rate in the state has further improved to 75.48 per cent. More from our correspondent:

"According to official sources, out of 1101 new cases recorded yesterday. Total cases of COVID-19 in the state have gone up to 69986. Out of 14,530 active cases in the state, the conditions of 82 patients are serious. At the other end, 1135 patients have been discharged from various hospitals after recovery. 23 patients have lost their lives yesterday. More than 9,6,000 tests have been carried out till date. Meanwhile, Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation has added 17 new areas in the Micro Containment Zone. Door to door surveillance and mass screening will be launched in the new areas from today. Yogesh Pandya, AIR News, Ahmedabad".


Uttar Pradesh government is ahead of other States in controlling spread of Corona virus infection. Despite the COVID-19 cases tally crossing 1.18 lakh mark, Test Positivity and Mortality Rates remains quite low in comparison to other states. Medical Education Minister Suresh Kumar Khanna said that Uttar Pradesh has done an excellent work in containing Corona. He said the mortality rate in UP is just 1.75 per cent when it is higher in most of the states and it was lower than the national average 2.04 per cent. Here is a report:-

"Health Education Minister Suresh Khanna said the number of testing has gone over to one lakh per day from 100 tests done in March while there are over 1.51 lakh beds in the Covid hospitals. Now home isolation facility has given more benefit to the asymptomatic patients and setting up of Corona command and control centre in all the districts have started making the management of the Covid-19 patients more efficiently. Health department report said- The state has tested 29,96,406 people. The current Test Positivity Rate remains 3.9 per cent. MS Yadav, AIR News, Lucknow".


In Bihar, a record 3,992 Corona positive cases were reported during the past 24 hours. This is the highest single day spike of Covid-19. Recovery rate is over 64 per cent.


In Karnataka, 7,178 new Covid-19 case reported yesterday taking the total to 1,72,102. This is the highest ever single day spike in the State. 5,006 patients cured and recovered from various hospitals in the State and the total number of recovered patients have gone up to 89,238. 


Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswamy has said schools in the state will be reopened after the Covid-19 situation improves. He also said that small temples, mosques and churches including those in Corporation limits will be permitted to reopen from tomorrow. Driving schools will also be allowed to function from tomorrow. More from our correspondent:

"Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswamy has said the government would be very cautious in the matter of reopening of schools as it involves the safety of children. He said the decisions being taken nationwide in this matter will be followed in Tamil Nadu as well. There were charges of reducing the solatium for the demise of frontline staff due to Covid-19 infection. He clarified that for the loss of lives of the doctors and nurses who come in direct contact with the Covid-19 patients, fifty lakh rupees compensation would be given. He further explained that the solatium for the other frontline staff who fight against the pandemic has earlier been fixed at ten lakh rupees which is now enhanced to twenty five lakh. He said a person from their families would also be offered a government job. Jayasingh, AIR News, Chennai".


The West-Central Railway has started COVID-19 protection centre at Jabalpur station of Madhya Pradesh. Soon these centers will also be started at other stations. Our corresondent has filed this report:-

"Railways have prepared a special disposable pack worth Rupees 50 for the convenience of the passengers. In this pack, passengers will get a bed sheet, napkin, pillow, sanitizer and a mask. Apart from this, a mask for 10 rupees and a sanitizer for 15 rupees are also available in this centre. Chief Public Relations Officers of west central railway Priyanka Dixit told AIR that the railway has taken this new initiative.

Travelers can also travel in the train by buying and wearing a PPE kit for just Rs 600. Travelers are also being provided the facility to sanitize their luggage for just Rs 10 at the station. Most of the material in this disposable pack is made up of biodegradable elements. Sanjeev Sharma, AIR News, Bhopal".


Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha has lauded the role played by Health Workers and Frontline Corona Warriors in containment and management of COVID-19 pandemic in the union territory. He said J&K Government is considering to provide additional support to them, in addition to the existing insurance cover of 50 lakh rupees.


To intensify the COVID-19 testing, Leh has procured an Automated RNA extractor machine for Covid Lab Chuchot. For the first time, at an high altitude of 11500 feet above mean sea level it has been installed. Installation of this Automated RNA Extractor Machine will increase efficiency, reduce time of RT-PCR Test and will need less manpower. 


Union Minister of State for Agriculture Kailash Chaudhary has tested positive for Corona virus. In a tweet, Mr Chaudhary said, all friends who came in contact with him in the last few days should keep distance from their family members and get themselves tested.


In our series "Expert Speak" on All India Radio we bring you the views of the leading medical experts on COVID-19. Dr. Nand Kumar, Professor of Psychiatry, AIIMS suggested people to stay at home, spend time with family members and practice Yoga. 


Ahead of the nations 74th Independence Day celebrations, a special tribute was paid to the Corona Warriors by the Navy Band. A special performance of the Naval Band Squad was held last evening at the premises of Gateway of India in Mumbai.


India and China held Major General-level talks yesterday to take forward the disengagement process along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh. The talks began at 11 AM at a border personnel meeting point in Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO) area on the Chinese side of the LAC and concluded at 7:30 PM. The meeting primarily focused on implementation of certain decisions taken at the fifth round of talks between Corps Commanders of the two armies last week on the disengagement process.


In Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa will take oath as the new Prime Minister today after landslide victory of his party at general elections held on Wednesday. His party and allies have secured two-thirds majority in Parliament. The oath taking ceremony will be held at an ancient Buddhist temple near Colombo. He will be administered oath by his younger brother Gotabaya Rajapaksa. However, other cabinet members will be sworn in next week at a ceremony in Kandy.


International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples or World Tribal Day is being observed today. The day is aimed at promoting and protecting the rights of the world’s indigenous population. The date recognizes the first meeting of the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations in Geneva in 1982.


India Meteorological Department has warned of heavy rain across northwest region during the next two days. It has issued an orange category warning for parts of northwestern India, which means disaster management authorities should be prepared to avert any possible disasters. IMD said the monsoon trough is likely to shift northwards and cause heavy to very heavy rain in Uttarakhand, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, western Uttar Pradesh and eastern Rajasthan. Rainfall activity over northwestern India is likely to increase from today and heavy to very heavy rainfall is expected at isolated places in the Western Himalayan region over the next two days.

IMD said extremely heavy rain is likely to continue at many places in Kerala till tomorrow. Extremely heavy rains continued on Friday and Saturday in Kerala, where a red category warning has been issued for the weekend. A red warning implies disaster management authorities need to act immediately to control or prevent any rain or flooding disaster.


Now, let us take a look at today's weather .

The National Capital Delhi may witness thunderstorm with rain. The minimum temperature was recorded at 28 degrees Celsius and the maximum will be around 35 degrees.

Mumbai will experience a generally cloudy sky with heavy rain. The minimum temperature was 25 degrees Celsius and the maximum temperature will be around 30 degrees.

Chennai will have a generally cloudy sky. The temperature will hover between 28 and 36 degrees Celsius.

Kolkata will have generally cloudy sky with one or two spells of rain or thundershowers. The minimum temperature in the metropolis was 27 degrees Celsius while the maximum will be around 33 degrees.

On to the North, in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, the minimum temperature in Jammu was 26 degrees Celsius while the maximum will be around 32 degrees Celsius. The city may witness thunderstorm with rain.

In Srinagar, the minimum temperature was 19 degrees while the maximum will be around 30 degrees Celsius. The city will have a generally cloudy sky with moderate rain.

Ladakh will have partly cloudy sky with possibility of rain or thunderstorm or duststorm. The temperature will hover between 18 and 30 degrees Celsius.

In Gilgit, the temperature will hover between 19 and 35 degrees Celsius. It will experience a generally cloudy sky with moderate rain.

In Muzzafarabad, thunderstorm with rain is expected today. The minimum temperature was 22 degrees Celsius while the maximum temperature will be around 36 degrees.

Chandigarh will have a generally cloudy sky with one or two spells of rain or thundershowers. The minimum temperature in the city was 27 degrees Celsius while the maximum will be around 32 degrees.

In Dehradun, the temperature will hover between 25 and 32 degrees Celsius. The city may have a generally cloudy sky with a few spells of rain or thundershowers.

In Hyderabad, the minimum temperature was 22 degrees Celsius while the maximum will be around 31 degrees. Generally cloudy sky with one or two spells of rain or thundershowers is expected in the city.


Newspapers Headlines

  • The tragic crash of the Air India Express Jet at Calicut airport, dominates the front pages of newspapers today. "What caused the crash? Black box retrieved, probe begins" reports the Times of India. The Indian Express informs "Air India Express flight touch down beyond the safe zone, death toll rises to 18".

  • The Hindustan Times headlines "Twin tragedy for Kerala: 27 die in landslide, more feared".

  • On the border parley between India and China, the Hindu reports "India, China Major Generals discuss situation at Depsang". The Pioneer notes "Parleys to defuse LAC crisis yield no results again".

  • On the Corona virus situation the Hindustan Times reports "13 districts account for 1 in seven Covid deaths". The Hindu adds "IMA flags death of 196 doctors to PM - in letter, it cites Covid-19 casualities".

  • The Sunday Tribune reports that the centre has ed state governments as well as the seed industry and research bodies to be vigililant about '"unsolicited seed parcels" from unknown sources entering India as these can be a threat to the country's bio-diversity.


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