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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           

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Midday News

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  • India records maximum COVID-19 recoveries in single day; Recovery rate improves to over 70 percent.

  • Over One Lakh loans sanctioned under PM SVANIDHI scheme.

  • Four Maoists killed in an encounter in Sukma district in Chattisgarh.

  • International Youth Day is being celebrated today; Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu urges people across the world to be more active change agents.

  • Festival of Janmashthami being celebrated across the country.

  • In Sri Lanka, New Cabinet sworn in under Mahinda Rajapksa as the Prime Minister.


The country has reported the highest ever single-day COVID-19 recoveries of over 56 thousand patients in the last 24 hours. Health Ministry today said that 16 lakh 39 thousand 599 people have recovered till date. India’s rate of recovery has also improved to over 70 per cent. The Ministry said, active COVID-19 cases in the country stands at six lakh 43 thousand 948. It said, single day spike of 60 thousand 963 COVID-19 cases has taken the virus caseload to over 23 lakh 29 thousand. In the last 24 hours, 834 deaths pushed the death toll to 46 thousand 91.


An expert committee under the chairmanship of NITI Aayog member Dr VK Paul is meeting today to consider the logistics and ethical aspects of procuring and administering the COVID-19 vaccine. Health Ministry said, The Committee on vaccine administration will engage with all the stakeholders including state governments and vaccine manufacturers. The committee would chalk out strategies on the aspects of prioritisation of the vaccine administration once it is developed, rollout and cold chain logistics and training of the people who would be administering it. ICMR had said that the phase-1 human clinical trials of the two COVID-19 vaccine candidates, developed indigenously by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research and Zydus Cadila Limited, have been completed and the trials have moved to phase 2. The Serum Institute of India, Pune has also been permitted for conducting Phase 2 and 3 human clinical trials of the Oxford University-developed COVID-19 vaccine candidate in the country.


A microwave device named ‘Atulya’ which can disinfect premises in just 30 seconds, disintegrating COVID 19 virus was unveiled by Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Nitin Gadkari in Nagpur today. Certified by the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and based on French and American standards, the device is 100 per cent Made in India and has been manufactured under the aegis of the MSME.

"The ‘Atulya’ microwave like device can be used to disinfect any premises up to 5 meters area, besides surface areas, home and office furniture, beds, new boxes and even the contents of the boxes. This equipment can be hand handled as its weight is mere three kilograms. The device disintegrates the COVID-19 virus with the help of differential heating in the range of 56 degree to 60 degree Celsius temperatures. The positive thing about this device is it is 100 percent safe for humans and does not emit Utraviolet rays for disinfection, that could be harmful to the human body. Depending upon the size and shape of objects, the disinfection time is 30 seconds to one minute. SONALI GHADYALPATIL, AIR NEWS, MUMBAI."


India hockey team Captain Manpreet Singh and five other hockey players who were found COVID positive and were then isolated in the National Centre of Excellence in Bengaluru have now been shifted to the Super-Speciality Hospital for better medical care. After the admission of team mate Mandeep Singh to the hospital on Monday, it was decided to shift all other players to the hospital as a precautionary measure. Captain Manpreet Singh, Jaskaran Singh, Surender Kumar, Varun Kumar and Krishnan B Pathak were shifted to the hospital yesterday. The statement issued by the Sports Authority of India says that all the six players are in good health and recovering well. It is said that the decision to shift all the COVID positive players from the National Camp at the National Centre of Excellence to the hospital was taken to provide them the best possible treatment.


In Telangana, the total number of COVID-19 cases has reached 84 thousand 544 with 1897 Positive cases reported during the last 24 hours. 1920 more people recovered from COVID-19, taking the recovery rate to 72.49 per cent. With this, over 61 thousand people recovered from COVID-19 so far in the state.  9 more people succmbed to the disease yesterday taking the total toll to 654.


In Mizoram, 25 more COVID-19 positive cases were found in the last 24 hours. With this, the total number of cases  has risen to 648 in the state. According to the official statement, 323 patients have been discharged post recovery from the infections, while 325 patients are undergoing treatment. The District Administration of Aizawl has imposed a complete lockdown in two city areas, namely Dwarpui and Mission Veng as a preventive measure. Also, the state is facing shortage of fuel as many oil tankers are stranded after an area between Hmangkhawthlir and Sethawn on Aizawl bypass road was declared a containment zone. Due to this, the State Government has capped the quantity of fuel for daily buying according to the type of vehicle.


In Mizoram, Legislator Z R Thiamsanga, who is a doctor by profession set an ideal instance of humanitarian service by performing an emergency caesarean to a woman delivering a baby, while he was on a visit to village people. The incident happened in Champhai North near the Indo-Myanmar international border. 


The 38-year-old woman, C. Lalhmangaihsangi of Ngur village in Champhai district was in critical state of delivery pain which made her and all closed ones anxious, because the sole doctor in the nearby hospital was reportedly on leave.

"Dr. Thiamsanga was visiting the area on Monday to take stock of the situation in Covid-19 pandemic and also to assess the damages caused by the recently occurred series of earthquakes in the area. Sooner the news appeared before him, Dr. Thiamsanga rushed to the Champhai hospital and perform the emergency caesarean and the operation was successful. He said that the woman and her baby are presently safe and sound. He said that he did it as a responsibility to help the needy, which is one of his top priorities.  A specialist doctor in gynaecology Dr. Thiamsanga, retired in 2018 and presently he is the vice-chairman of the state health and family welfare board. Earlier in June, Dr. Thiamsanga walked about 7 km in the forest and treated a sick policeman, who was guarding the Mizoram-Myanmar border. Subhasis Chanda, AIR News, Aizawl."


In our series Expert Speak on All India Radio, we bring you views of some leading medical experts on COVID-19.


Talking to AIR News, Member (Health) in NITI Aayog, Dr V K Paul urged everyone to follow social distancing in order to break the chain of transmission.

Dr. Sanjay Pandey of Govind Ballabh Pant Hospital, Delhi, spoke about the use of mask saying it is important to wear them while stepping out of home.


In Rajasthan, 55 thousand 482 people have been infected by Novel Corona Virus so far, out of which 40 thousand 558 people have recovered from the infection. In all, 821 people have died due to COVID-19 infection in the state so far, out of which maximum 220 deaths have been reported in Jaipur. Five hundred 95 positive cases have been reported in the state this morning. Highest 115 people tested positive in Bikaner. One hundred seven cases have reported from Dholpur while 96 persons found positive in Jodhpur. Total17 lakh 84 thousand samples have been tested in the state.


The Government has rejected the claim of newspaper that Centre is going to permit the opening of schools from 1st September to 14th November in a phased manner. In a tweet, the Press Information Bureau, PIB has termed the news as fake. It clarified that no such decision has been taken by the government.


The number of loans sanctioned under the PM Street Vendor’s Atmanirbhar Nidhi -PM SVANidhi scheme has crossed one lakh.The number of applications received under the scheme has crossed the five lakh mark within 41 days of commencement of the lending process. The PM SVANidhi scheme has generated considerable enthusiasm among the street vendors, who have been looking for access to affordable working capital credit for re-starting their businesses post COVID-19 lockdown. The scheme was launched by Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs under the ambit of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’. It aims at facilitating collateral free working capital loans upto 10 thousand rupees of one year tenure, to about 50 lakh street vendors in the urban areas, including those from the surrounding peri-urban/rural areas. Incentives in the form of interest subsidy at seven per cent per annum on regular repayment of loan, cashback upto 1,200 rupees per annum on undertaking prescribed digital transactions and eligibility for enhanced next tranche of loan have also been provided.


PM SVANidhi Scheme envisages bringing Banks at the door steps of these nano-entrepreneurs by engaging the Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) and the Micro-Finance Institutions as lending institutions. This is in addition to the Scheduled Commercial Banks - Public and Private, Regional Rural Banks, Cooperative Banks, and SHG Banks. The onboarding of the vendors on digital payment platforms is a very important component to build the credit profile of the vendors to help them become a part of the formal urban economy.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch the platform for Transparent Taxation-Honoring the Honest through video conferencing tomorrow. The Central Board of Direct Taxes, CBDT has carried out several major tax reforms in direct taxes in the recent years. Last year, the Corporate Tax rates were reduced from 30 per cent to 22 per cent and for new manufacturing units the rates were reduced to 15 per cent. Dividend distribution Tax was also abolished.


The focus of the tax reforms has been on reduction in tax rates and on simplification of direct tax laws. Several initiatives have been taken by the CBDT for bringing in efficiency and transparency in the functioning of the IT Department. This includes bringing more transparency in official communication through the newly introduced Document Identification Number, DIN wherein every communication of the Department would carry a computer generated unique document identification number. Similarly, to increase the ease of compliance for taxpayers, the IT Department has moved forward with pre-filling of income tax returns to make compliance more convenient for individual taxpayers. Compliance norms for start-ups have also been simplified.


With a view to provide resolution of pending tax disputes the IT Department also brought out the Direct Tax 'Vivad se Vishwas Act, 2020' under which declarations for settling disputes are being filed currently. To effectively reduce taxpayer grievances and litigation, the monetary thresholds for filing of departmental appeals in various appellate Courts have been raised. Several measures have been taken to promote digital transactions and electronic modes of payment. The upcoming launch of the platform for Transparent Taxation - Honoring the Honest by the Prime Minister will further carry forward the journey of direct tax reforms.


Today is International Youth Day. The day gives an opportunity to celebrate and mainstream young peoples’ voices, actions and initiatives, as well as their meaningful, universal and equitable engagement. In 1999, the United Nations General Assembly endorsed the recommendation made by the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth that 12th August be declared International Youth Day. The theme of this year is Youth Engagement for Global Action.

Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu has urged young people across the world to be active change agents in building a more equitable and sustainable world. He appealed to youth in India to be at the forefront of eradicating various social evils like caste and gender discrimination.


"On this occasion, I call upon the youth to take inspiration from the life of Shri Subhash Chandra Bose and strive towards building a new India-strong, stable, prosperous and egalitarian India."


Home Minister Amit Shah has conveyed his greetings on the International Youth Day. In a series of tweets, Mr Shah said, the greatest strength and asset of any nation is its youth. India is truly blessed to have a youth power filled with tremendous ambitions and skills. Mr Shah said, he is sure that youth will continue to strive towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of New India.


Home Minister said, skilled and enthused youth have the power to make the best of the opportunities on their way. He added that Narendra Modi Government with its decisions like Skill India, Start-Up India, Make in India and the New Education Policy has been constantly creating an ecosystem to unlock the immense potential of the youth.


Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said, the day offers a chance to raise awareness of the need to ensure the engagement and participation of youth.


Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu has said that sacrifices of freedom fighters from across the country must be highlighted in text-books. Speaking after releasing the book, NETAJI-India’s Independence and British Archives in New Delhi today, the Vice President stressed on the need for providing a comprehensive and objective account of the historical events. Referring to the International Youth Day today, the Vice President called upon the youth to take inspiration from the life of Netaji and strive towards building a New India. He said, COVID-19 has also underlined the urgency for countries like India to build a resilient economy by becoming truly self-reliant. He said, the need of the hour is to give a major push to the Atma Nirbhar campaign by all the stakeholders, including the private sector and academia through research.


The Home Minister’s Medals for Excellence in Investigation for 2020 have been awarded to 121 Police personnel. This medal was constituted in 2018 with the objective to promote high professional standards of investigation of crime and to recognize such Excellence in Investigation by the investigating officers.


Among the personnel receiving these awards, 15 are from Central Bureau of Investigation, 10 each are from Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra Police, eight are from Uttar Pradesh Police and seven each from Kerala and West Bengal Police. The remaining are from the other States and UTs. These include twenty one women police officers.


In Chhattisgarh, four Maoists were killed in an encounter with security forces in Sukma district today. The gun battle took place in the jungles of Jagargunda area when a joint team of Central Reserve Police Force and District Reserve Guard was carrying out a search operation on the basis of an intelligence input. After the exchange of fire, security personnel recovered four arms from the spot.


In Karnataka, five people including three children and two women were charred to death when a private bus caught fire in the early morning today. Many passengers have sustained burn injuries. The police sources informed that the incident took place when the bus was parked on the road side at K R Halli gate in Hiriyur taluk of Chitradurga district. The bus was on its way from Vijayapura to Bengaluru. The injured have been shifted to a District Government Hospital in Hiriyur and the police has registered an FIR to take up further investigation.


The festival of Janmashtami, which marks the birth of Lord Krishna, is being celebrated in different parts of the country today.


President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have greeted people on the occasion. In a tweet, President said, Lord Krishna's message of Karmayoga is a call to focus on our responsibilities rather than caring for rewards. He said, this spirit has been evident in the working of all our Corona warriors. He hoped that Lord Krishna will bless everyone with good health and prosperity.


In a tweet the Vice President said, the tales of the young Krishna's mischiefs and his heroic acts have captivated our collective imagination since time immemorial. He said,  the eternal message of performing our duties sincerely without attachment to results, elaborated by Lord Krishna in the Bhagwad Gita has been a source of inspiration for the entire humanity. He added, Janmashtami, which is usually celebrated across the country with great fervor and gaiety, would have to be celebrated in a modest manner this year due to Covid-19. On this auspicious day, the Vice President called upon everyone to perform our duties faithfully and to seek the path of righteousness. He hoped that the festival will bring peace, harmony and prosperity to everyone.


In Uttar Pradesh, Janmashtami is being celebrated with all the rituals at Mathura, birthplace of Lord Krishna and Vrindavan. The devotees will not be allowed entry to the temples due to the ongoing pandemic. However, arrangements have been made to live stream the puja for devotees.

"Rymes and slogans on the birth of lord krishnana are reverberating entire Mathura city and adjoining areas. Although devotees from outside of Mathura will not be allowed to enter the city and devotees from various countries are also not here on the auspicious day due to Corona pandemic, but that could not deter people of Mathura to celebrate the birthday of Lord Krishna in a grand manner. At Krishna Janmbhoomi Mangla Arti was performed in the early morning at Bhagwat Bhawan temple and Thakurji was dressed in new clothes. Secretary of the Shrikrishna Janm sewa sansthan Kapil Sharma told AIR that all rituals will be performed in traditional way and special decoration is being done at Bhagwat Bhawan. All temples in Mathura, Vrindavan, Gokul, Nandgram, Govardhan and Barsana are adorned with flowers and beautiful lightings. With Mohammad Omar Qureshi, Sushil Chandra Tiwari, AIR News, lucknow."


Krishna Janmashtami - the birth of Lord Krishna is being celebrated virtually in Gujarat today.  Our correspondent reports that the famous Lord Dwarkadhish Temple and Ranchhodraiji Temple in Dakor are closed for devotees due to the ongoing pandemic.

"Where lakhs of devotees visit during the Krishna Janmashtami festival every year, the Lord Dwarkadhish temple in Devbhoomi Dwarka district is closed today. To avoid the mass gathering on the occasion of Krishna janmashtami, the temple authorities have decided to close the temple for three days. Similarly, the Ranchhodrai Ji temple in Dakor is also closed. However, both the temples have made special arrangements for Darshan, puja and celebrations of Krishna Janmotsav through online mode. Shri Dwarkadhish Temple will also telecast Krishna Janmotsav celebrations live at 12 midnight through television channels. Other temples in the state including ISKCON temple, Hare Krishna temple and Sola Bhagwat Vidhyapeeth in Ahmedabad and Shamlaji temple in Aravalli district are also closed for devotees. The State Government has already banned traditional fairs and melas being organized on the occasion of Krishna Janmashtami.

Yogesh Pandya, AIR News, Ahmedabad."


In Maharashtra, the widely popular Dahi Handi festival in Mumbai is a low key affair this time owing to the  pandemic. While most of the big organizers of the festival which is held to mark Krishna Janmashtami, preferred to cancel the celebrations this year, the housing societies organized their own mini Dahi Handis with just two tiers. Others opted for day-long virtual celebrations in the form of Maha Aaratis, chanting of Mantras, Havans and religious discourses, showing them online on the temple website, Facebook and YouTube channels. Many temple authorities appealed to people not to throng the temples, instead visit the temple website or see Facebook live for Darshan of Lord Krishna and the celebrations. The famous ISKCON temple and Radha Gopinath Temple at Girgaum Chowpatty in Mumbai are organizing Kathas and Kirtans to mark the festival.


The festival of Janmashtami is also being celebrated in Bangladesh. The festival is somewhat muted this year due to the outbreak of Corona pandemic in the country. All the religious rituals and programs are being held inside the temples with health guidelines in place.


President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina greeted the Hindu community on the occasion of the Janmashtami fest.


In the United States, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has named Indian-origin senator Kamala Harris as his Vice-Presidential running mate.  Kamala Harris is currently the US Senator from California. Former US President Barack Obama has often described her as a trailblazer. 


If elected, Kamala Harris would be the first ever woman to be the vice president of the United States and the first ever Indian-American and African vice president of the country. Daughter of an Indian mother and a Jamaican father, Harris has known many firsts. She has been a county district attorney; the district attorney for San Francisco  - the first woman and first African-American and Indian-origin to be elected to the position. She was also the first female African-American and Indian-origin to become California's attorney general. Harris became the first Indian-origin and second African-American woman to join the Senate, winning the California seat vacated by Senator Barbara Boxer. Leading Indian-American groups across the US have lauded the selection of Kamala Harris as the Vice Presidential candidate, saying it was a moment of pride and celebration for the entire community in America.


In Sri Lanka, the swearing-in ceremony of the new Cabinet  and the State Ministers was held today with a 28-member Cabinet been administered the oath of office by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Dinesh Gunewardena will continue as the  Foreign Minister of the country as well as several other ministers from the previous Cabinet. President Rajapaksa kept the Defence Ministry with him while his elder brother and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapksa retained the Finance and Urban Development. Mahinda’s son Namal became the youngest member in the Cabinet with the Sports portfolio. Another member of the Rajapkasa family Chamal Rajapksa took oath as the Irrigation Minister with charge for State Minister of Internal Security.  The new Cabinet took over in wake of the General Elections held last Wednesday. The  Rajapksa party received a landslide victory with two-third majority. Mahinda Rajapksa was sworn in as the Prime Minister on Sunday. A total of 39 State Ministers also took oath. Today’s Cabinet swearing-in ceremony took place at the historic audience hall of the Sri Dalada Maligawa in Kandy.


In Bihar, flood situation remains grim in the flood-affected areas of the state. Rain in catchment areas of various rivers in north Bihar aggravated the situation. Over 75 lakh people spread over 16 districts are reeling under the impact of flood. The worst situation is in Darbhanga district where over 20 lakh people have been affected by floods. The other districts where the situation is grim are Muzaffarpur, East Champaran, Saran and Samastipur. Darbhanga- Samastipur section of East Central Railway remain suspended. Long route trains are running on alernate routes. Forty three people have lost their lives in flood related incidents. Thirty three teams of NDRF and SDRF are carrying out relief and rescue operations. Over Five lakh 60 thousand people have been evacuated so far. About 15 thousand people have taken shelter in relief camps. In all, 1,204 community kitchen centres have been set up  to provide food to affected people and about 10 lakh people are taking food at the centres.


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

In the National capital Delhi minimum temperature was recorded at 27 degrees Celsius while maximum temperature is expected to be around 32 degrees with generally cloudy sky with heavy rain.Mumbai will have a generally cloudy sky with heavy rain. The minimum temperature was 26 and maximum will be around 30. Chennai will have a generally cloudy sky and the minimum temperature was 26 and maximum is expected to be around 34. Kolkata will  have a generally cloudy sky with one or two spells of rain or thundershowers. The minimum temperature in the metropolis was 27 while maximum will be around 33 . On to the North, in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, the minimum temperature was 26 in Jammu while maximum will be around 34 . The city will have a partly cloudy sky with possibility of rain or thunderstorm of duststorm. In Srinagar, mainly clear sky will become partly cloudy towards afternoon or evening. In Gilgit, the minimum temperature was 18 and maximum is expected to be around 36. Muzzafarabad will see a partly cloudy sky with possibility of rain or thunderstorm or dust-storm. The minimum temperature was 23 while the maximum is expected to be around 36.



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