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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 inaugurate submarine Optical Fibre Cable connecting Chennai and Port Blair today.

  • Prime Minister launches one lakh crore rupees agriculture infrastructure fund; Also releases sixth installment of PM-Kisan scheme to 8.5 crore farmers.

  • Industry welcomes  Defence Ministry's move to stop import of 101 defence items in a phased manner.

  • Country achieves remarkable feat by performing more than seven lakh tests of coronavirus samples in a single day.

  • Health ministry's tele-medicine platform provides over 1.5 lakh online consultations.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi will today inaugurate and dedicate to the nation submarine Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) connecting Chennai and Port Blair through video conferencing. The foundation stone for the project was laid by Mr Modi on 30th December 2018 at Port Blair. 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. Enhanced telecom and Broadband connectivity will boost tourism and employment generation in the Islands and also give an impetus to the economy and raise standards of living. Better connectivity will facilitate delivery of e-Governance services like telemedicine and tele-education. Small enterprises will benefit from opportunities in e-commerce, educational institutions will utilize enhanced availability of bandwidth for learning and knowledge sharing.

"The availability of the bandwidth for the Islands. It will now go up to a whopping 400 giga bytes per second at one go, with the commissioning of the project by Prime Minister Narendra Modi today. The green field landing stations at Chennai in the mainland have been established in advance, says the BSNL, Chennai Chief General Manager Munindranath, who oversaw the execution of the project.

"BSNL has executed the project from scratch, including acquisition of land, construction of buildings, laying of cables, installation of equipment and commission. BSNL has completed the project in a record time of about two years. BSNL will also be maintaining the network for next five years."

The most reliable hi-speed internet and seamless telecom connectivity is now possible in most parts of the archipelago. Jayasingh, AIR News, Chennai."

Once inaugurated, the submarine Optical Fibre Cable link will deliver bandwidth of 2x200 Gigabits per second, Gbps between Chennai and Port Blair, and 2x100 Gbps between Port Blair and the other islands. Provision of reliable, robust, and high-speed telecom and Broadband facilities in these Islands will be a landmark achievement from the viewpoint of consumers, as well as for strategic and governance reasons. 4G mobile services, which were constrained due to limited backhaul bandwidth provided via satellite will also see a major improvement. Business Process Outsourcing services and other medium and large enterprises will also reap the benefits of better connectivity.

The project is funded by the Government of India through the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) under the Department of Telecommunications in  Ministry of Communications. Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) executed this project while Telecommunications Consultants India Limited (TCIL) is the Technical Consultant. About 2,300 Kilometers of Submarine Optical Fibre Cable has been laid at a cost of about 1,224 Crore rupees and the project has been completed in time.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched one lakh crore rupees agriculture infrastructure fund to give a leg up to post-harvest management and marketing of agricultural produce. Speaking on the occasion, Mr Modi said this fund will provide better warehousing and cold storage facilities for farmers. He said new jobs will be created as food processing and post-harvest facilities are set up in rural areas.

Prime Minister said, it will enable startups to scale up their operations and India to build a global presence in organic and fortified food. The fund was launched with 1,128 crore rupees of new loans disbursed to more than 2,200 cooperative societies. During the event, the Prime Minister also releases sixth installment of 17,100 crore rupees to more than 8.5 crore farmers under the PM-Kisan direct income assistance scheme.

Under the infrastructure scheme banks and financial institutions will provide one lakh crore in loans to cooperative societies, farmer producer companies, self-help groups, entrepreneurs, startups and infrastructure providers. The objective is to provide medium to long-term debt financing for setting up of post-harvest infrastructure and community assets for marketing of farm produce.


Defence minister Rajnath Singh will launch the Atmanirbhar Bharat Saptah this afternoon. The move is aimed at promoting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision for a self-reliant India with increased local manufacturing.


Indian industry has welcomed the Defence ministry’s move to stop import of 101 defence items in a phased manner. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh yesterday announced to put 101 items on import embargo to boost indigenisation of defence production. Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) director general Chandrajit Bannerjee welcomed the curbs and the announcement that 52,000 crore rupees will be earmarked for procurement from domestic manufacturers. He said, defence minister's announcement for negative import list of defence systems and platforms marks the launch of a 'new glide path' for AtmaNirbhar Bharat.

FICCI has described it a great leap forward for Atmanirbhar Bharat program in defence production. FICCI’s defence committee head SP Shukla said earmarking of 52,000 crore rupees for domestic capital procurement fulfils a request by the industry chamber to provide long-term visibility on defence procurement plans.

Chairman and managing director of Bharat Forge Baba Kalyani said the announcement is a strategic step that will propel the Atmanirbhar Bharat narrative and bolster Indian defence equipment manufacturing industry. He said the growth of the domestic industry especially the MSME sector, will lead to self-reliance, reduced expenditure on imports, saving of foreign currency, creating job opportunities, revival of consumption and ultimately getting us closer to the common goal of five trillion economy.


Government has rejected a letter circulating in the social media which claims that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has written a letter to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. In a tweet, Press Information Bureau (PIB) termed the letter as fake.


Ministry of Railways has said that advertisement for any Railway recruitment is always done by Indian Railways only and no private agency has been authorized to do the same. The Ministry said, it has come to its notice that one organization Avestran Infotech having website www.avestran.in has given an advertisement in a prominent newspaper calling for applications against 5,285 posts in eight categories on outsourcing basis on Indian Railways on 11 years contract. The applicants have been asked to deposit 750 rupees as online fee and last date for receipt of applications has been mentioned as 10th September. Ministry of Railways said, the issuance of the advertisement in question is illegal.

It also clarified that the recruitment  of various categories of Group ‘C’ and erstwhile Group ‘D’ posts on Indian Railways is presently catered to by 21 Railway Recruitment Boards and 16 Railway Recruitment Cell only and not by any other agency. Vacancies on Indian Railways are filled up by giving wide publicity through Centralized Employment Notifications. Railways said, on-line applications are called for from eligible candidates all over the country. Centralized Employment Notifications is published through Employment News and Rozgar Samachar and an indicative notice is given in National Daily and Local Newspapers. It is also displayed on the official websites of RRBs and RRCs. 


Railway will observe cleanliness week from today to mark the Independence Day. During the week, a special Cleanliness drive will be launched and special focus will be given to clean the tracks, station offices, colonies, work sites, edge of stations and other areas near railway premises. The Railway Ministry said, while focusing on cleanliness of tracks special attention will be given to plastic waste collection along with other waste.


In the run up to the 74th Independence Day celebrations, we bring you today a special story about the initiatives for Digital India. The NDA government has laid a lot of emphasis on transforming India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. The Digital India programme was launched on the 1st of July, 2015 to achieve this objective. The Digital India journey in the past five years has centred around empowerment, inclusion, and digital transformation. It has positively impacted all aspects of the lives of Indian citizens identity management through Aadhaar, Direct Benefit Transfer, Common Services Centres, DigiLocker, mobile based UMANG services, participatory governance through MyGov, Ayushman Bharat, and PM-Kisan.

Talking to AIR News, Digital India Corporation CEO Abhishek Singh said Indian citizens are more digitally connected to the government today and it is helping government to deliver better services. 

Digital India’s initiatives have also played a pivotal role during the COVID-19 situation, such as Aarogya Setu, E-Sanjeevani, sensitisation through MyGov and Social media platforms. The number of e-Services has increased from 2,463 in 2014 to 3,858 till May this year. Daily average electronic transactions have increased from 66 lakh in 2014 to 16.3 crore in 2020.


The Health ministry’s initiative eSanjeevani OPD, a telemedicine service, has registered one lakh 58000 online consultations. Health and family welfare minister Harsh Vardhan said, since last November, 23 states have launched the services covering 75 per cent of the country’s population, while others are in the process of rolling it out. The eSanjeevani platform has enabled two types of tele-consultations-doctor-to-doctor (eSanjeevani) and patient-to-doctor (eSanjeevani OPD). Dr Harsh Vardhan said, eSanjeevani is being implemented under the Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centre (AB-HWCs) programme. It seeks to connect all 1,50,000 health and wellness centres using the hub-and-spoke model by December 2022, he said. So far, 12,000 health professionals, including 2,800 doctors, have been trained to offer consultations on the national e-platform through over 3,000 HWCs across ten states. Every day, around 250 doctors and specialists are providing eHealth services despite the lockdown, he said. This service is available on Android apps. A patient gets to see the doctor in around five minutes after logging in.


India achieved a remarkable feat by performing more than seven lakh tests of coronavirus samples in a single day. The Union Health Ministry said, continuing the streak of more than six lakh tests in a single day for several days, India’s tests have grown exponentially. During the last 24 hours seven lakh 19,364 tests were done. The Ministry said, states have been advised to firmly focus on comprehensive tracking, prompt isolation and effective treatment. Several meetings have been taken in the past week to engage with States that are showing higher fatality rate.


India's COVID-19 recoveries have crossed the historic peak of 1.5 million. Health Ministry said recovery of more than 15 lakh has been made possible because of the policy of Testing aggressively, Tracking comprehensively and Treating efficiently. It said better ambulance services, focus on Standard of Care and use of non-invasive oxygen have given desired results. COVID-19 infection still remains concentrated in 10 States that contribute more than 80 percent of the new cases.


139 fresh cases of COVID-19 reported in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. These all are among contacts who found positive during sample testing. Meanwhile, 148 patients recovered as well. A total of 1490 cases of COVID-19 reported in the islands till date out of which 648 patients recovered while the total number of active cases has dipped to 822. Twenty patients have died so far. Acting upon the situation administration is extending medical infrastructure in the islands. Now, 900 beds are available for Corona patients. An ITI and DBRIT institution of technology has been converted as COVID care centre.


In Karnataka 5,985 new COVID-19 positive cases reported yesterday, taking the total to 1,78,087. A total number of 4,670 patients were cured and discharged from various hospitals in the State and the total number of discharged people have gone up to 93,908. Among the new cases  Bengaluru city reported with highest number of 1,948 cases followed by Mysuru with 455, Ballary 380 and Udupi with 282.

"A total number of 80,973 active cases are under treatment in various hospitals in the State among them 678 patients are in ICU. The total death toll has risen to 3,198. 37,936 swab samples were tested yesterday. The recovery rate of the State stand at 52.73 per cent  and the mortality rate is 1.79 per cent. Meanwhile the State Health Minister B. Sriramulu tested positive and admitted in the government run Bowring hospital in Bengaluru.  He has appealed to the people who came in contact with him to go for testing. R.MURTHY, AIR NEWS, BENGALURU."


In Bihar, corona virus cases are is increasing rapidly across the state. Positive cases mounted to 79,720 with reporting of fresh cases of 3,934. Fifty one thousand 315 patients have been discharged from hospitals after treatment while 27,975 are undergoing treatment. 429 people died due to Corona. Recovery rate stands at over 64 per cent.


In Gujarat, 1,311 COVID-19 patients recovered during the past 24 hours. The recovery rate in the state has gone up to 76.18 per cent.

"1,078 new patients of COVID-19 recorded in Gujarat yesterday. Total cases of Covid-19 in the state have gone up to 71,064. Out of 14,272 active cases in the state, the conditions of 73 patients are serious. The number of total patients recovered from COVID-19 in the state has gone up to 54,138. 25 patients have lost their lives yesterday. More than 9 lakh 87,000 tests have been carried out till date. Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation has added 11 new areas in the Micro Containment Zone. Yogesh Pandya,AIR News, Ahmedabad."


The Municipal corporation of Greater Mumbai this week onwards will start using a voice sampling method to diagnose COVID-19 at one of its jumbo facilities in Mumbai. Although, this will be on pilot basis but the app based tool will soon be introduced in other hospitals as well.

"The Municipal corporation of Greater Mumbai will start a pilot project to use voice analysis at the jumbo COVID-19 facility at NESCO grounds, in suburban Goregaon. The audio based app can find a person's COVID-19 status from the voice's timbre. Such voice based apps or tools have been tested across the world. A suspected patient will be asked to speak into a cellphone or computer, where the voice analysis app has been uploaded. The sample will be compared with the voice of a person not suffering from Covid 19 to provide an analysis. The app comes preloaded with thousands of voice patterns. If the pilot shows promise, the MCGM plans to use the program in its other hospitals as well. Madhuri Pange, AIR News, Mumbai."


In Madhya Pradesh, in view of the Corona pandemic, the ensuing festivals like Ganesh Utsav, Moharram and Janmashtmi will not be celebrated publicly in the state. Independence Day will also be celebrated at a limited scale. Gathering of people will not be allowed at any place. Reviewing the COVID-19 situation in the state, the Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan urged the citizens of the state to celebrate these festivals at home itself.

"Ganesh idols will not be installed at public places and procession of Janmashtmi as well as Moharram will not be allowed. Gathering of more than five people at a time at places of worship will not be permitted. Meanwhile, the recovery rate has reached 74.1 per cent and the fatality rate has come down to 2.52 per cent in the state. The state government instructed that the health screening of people, moving in and out from the borders of state should be done essentially. The state government also issued instructions that awareness should be spread among the people to wear masks and follow social distancing. Sanjeev Sharma, AIR News, Bhopal."


In our series "Expert Speak" on All India Radio we bring you views of leading medical experts on COVID-19. Dr S Rajeshwari, Department of Anesthesiology, AIIMS has advised the people to stay at home and maintain hand hygiene.

Dr Purva Mathur, Professor Lab Medicine, AIIMS has said that social distancing is very important to check the spread of virus.


Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath has directed officials of the flood affected districts in the state to continuously monitor the flood situation with the help of drones and through ground patrolling. District magistrates have been directed to take the flood relief work as top priority. 802 villages of 20 districts in the state are currently flood affected.

"Most flood affected districts are in Purvanchal and terai region of the state where 283 e shelter homes and 715 flood stations have been established. 15 teams of NDRF and 7 teams of SDRF and PAC flood platoon have been deployed for rescue and relief work. Major rivers of the region like Saryu, Ghagra, Rapti and Sharda are flowing above the danger mark. state government has established disaster control centres at district and state level. Anyone who is facing difficulty due to flood or any other reason can call on Helpline number 1,070. State government has said that there is no need to worry. SUSHIL CHANDRA TIWARI, AIR NEWS, LUCKNOW."


The flood situation in Bangladesh has improved as most of the rivers are receding across all the four major river basins in the country. Northern and Central parts of Bangladesh have been severely affected by the ongoing floods. Only five rivers in the country were flowing above danger level.  

In the Brahmaputra river basin, all the rivers showed a decline in the water level though some rivers including Gur, Atari, Dhaleswari, Kaliganga and Banshi are still running above the dangler level at several observation points. The floods have affected more than 54 lakh people in 33 districts of Bangladesh. The Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief put the figure of death due to floods at 41.


Minister for Environment and Forest Prakash Javadekar will release document on Best Practices and launch a portal on Human Elephant Conflict today on the eve of World Elephant Day, 2020. The World Elephant Day is observed every year to spread awareness about the animal. It was launched in 2012 to bring attention to the urgent plight of Asian and African elephants. Poaching, habitat loss, human-elephant conflict and mistreatment in captivity are some of the threats to both African and Asian elephants.


Lebanese environment minister, Damianos Kattar, resigned in the wake of a powerful deadly blast in the port of Beirut killing at least 158 people and injuring over 6,000 on Tuesday. According to Al-Jadeed broadcaster, the country's Prime Minister Hassan Diab was trying to persuade Kattar to continue performing his duties on this post. Earlier, Lebanese Information Minister Manal Abdel Samad announced her resigning from office in the wake of the massive explosion in Beirut and subsequent civil anti-government unrest. On Saturday, thousands of people took to the streets of Beirut, demanding the government to resign. Protesters have stormed four ministries and the banks association.


US President Donald Trump has called for Lebanon to conduct a full and transparent investigation into the huge explosion that hit Beirut, and expressed his support for protests demanding reform in the country. Trump urged the Government of Lebanon to conduct a full and transparent investigation, in which the United States stands ready to assist. White House said, US President called for calm in Lebanon and acknowledged the legitimate calls of peaceful protesters for transparency, reform, and accountability. Lebanese army said that hopes have dwindled of finding survivors at the blast site following days of search-and-rescue operations.


In Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa has been sworn-in as prime minister for the fourth time. He was administered oath by his younger brother and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at a ceremony held at Kelaniya Mahaviharaya near Colombo. Other cabinet members will be sworn in next week at a ceremony in Kandy. Mahinda Rajapaksa has served as the country’s President from 2006 to 2015 and his party has got landslide victory at general elections held on Wednesday.


Take a look at the weather forecast for today.

The National capital Delhi witnessed minimum temperature of 25 degree Celsius. Maximum temperature is expected to hover around 36 degree Celsius with generally cloudy sky and moderate rain.

Mumbai will have generally cloudy sky with moderate rain. The minimum temperature recorded was 27 degree Celsius and maximum will be around 30 degrees.

Chennai will have generally cloudy sky and light rain. The minimum temperature recorded was 24 degree Celsius and maximum is expected to go upto 31 degrees.

Kolkata will have generally cloudy sky with one or two spells of rain or thundershowers. The minimum temperature in the metropolis was 28 degree Celsius while maximum will be around 33 degrees. 

On to North, in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, the minimum temperature was 25 degree Celsius in Jammu while maximum will be around 32 degrees. The city is likely to experience thunderstorm with rain today.

In Gilgit, the minimum temperature was recorded 17 degree Celsius and maximum is expected to be around 37 degrees. The region will experience thunderstorm with rain today.

In Muzzafarabad, also there will be thunderstorm with rain. The minimum temperature recorded was 20 degree Celsius and maximum is expected to be around 34 degrees.



  • 101 defence items, weapons on import ban 'negative list' reads the headline in The Asian Age. The Pioneer refers to it as "Desi Push".

  • "To check post-harvest wastage, PM launches Rs. 1-lakh crore infra fund" is The Indian Express headline.  The plan is to boost farm sector's infra, writes The Asian Age.

  • The headline in the Financial Express lead story reads, "Job guarantee for urban poor on cards".  The paper refers to it as stimulus 2.0.

  • The top story in The Tribune refers to India's suggestion to Pakistan for virtual Indus talks. Pak insists on Wagah meet, writes the paper.

  • Following the explosion in Lebanon, 740 tonnes of ammonium ntriate in Chennai is to be sent to Hyderabad in a phased manner, reports The Statesman.

  • The Asian Age reports that the PMO has set September deadline for final Naga pact. 


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