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News Highlights
Prime Minister Narendra Modi to share his thoughts in 'Mann Ki Baat' programme at 11 this morning            Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan says Corona vaccine likely be available in country by January 2021            Last date for filing of Income Tax and GST returns extended till 31st of December            Dussehra is being celebrated across country today            IPL Cricket: Kings XI Punjab beat Sunrisers Hyderabad by 12 runs in Dubai           

Text Bulletins Details


Morning News

0830 HRS
18.09.2020

THE HEADLINES:

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi to inaugurate Kosi Rail mega bridge in Bihar today through video conferencing.
  • Lok Sabha passes two agriculture reform bills aimed at bringing revolutionary changes in the life of farmers. 
  • Prime Minister welcomes passage of farm bills in Lower House; Says Opposition parties trying to confuse farmers.
  • Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar given additional charge of Food Processing Industries Ministry, following resignation of Harsimrat Kaur Badal.
  • Covid-19 recovery rate improves to 78.64 per cent.
  • Health Minister Harsh Vardhan says, Corona vaccine will be available by early next year.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will dedicate the Kosi Rail Mahasetu (mega bridge) to the nation through video-conference  today. He will also inaugurate 12 rail projects related to passenger facilities to benefit the people of Bihar. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar will also be present on this occasion.

The 1.9 km long Kosi mega bridge has been completed at a total cost of 516 crore rupees. With the construction of the bridge the rail distance between Nirmali and Saraigarh would come down from the present 298 kms to 22 kms.

The project was completed during the COVID-pandemic where the migrant labour also participated. The dedication of this project will fulfil the 86 year old dream and the long wait of the people of the region. During the heavy flood and severe Indo Nepal earthquake in 1934, the rail link was washed away and thereafter due to the meandering nature of river Kosi no attempt was made to restore this rail link for a long period.

The bridge has connected Mitihila and Kosi region. This bridge is of strategic importance along the Indo-Nepal border. It will also make it easy for long distance travel to Kolkata, Delhi and Mumbai for the people of the region.

The Prime Minister will also flag off a DEMU train from Supaul railway station on Saharsa - Adampur - Kupaha section.

Among the 12 other projects to be inaugurated by the Prime Minister  are two new railway lines, five electrification projects, one electric locomotive shed and third line project between Barh and Bakhatiarpur.

The two new railway lines are  the Hajipur- Ghoswar - Vaishali section as well as Islampur - Nateshar section and Karnauti- Bakhtiarpur by pass rail line between Barh - Bakhtiarpur.

The railway electrification projects include Muzaffarpur- Sitamarhi sections, Katihar- New Jalpaiguri, Samastipur- Khagaria, Bhagalpur - Shivnarayanpur and Samastipur - Jaynagar sections.

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The Lok Sabha has passed the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 with Voice Vote and  Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar had moved two farm sector legislations in the Lok Sabha yesterday. The two bills, Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 and The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 will replace the synonymous ordinances promulgated on 5th June this year. Terming the bills as historic, Mr. Tomar said they will bring revolutionary changes in the life of farmers in the country.

Mr. Tomar said, the bill seeks to give independence to farmers in terms of selling their produce. The minister asserted that the new legislation seeks to free the farmers from the clutches of Mandis and Farm Produce Markets.

Allaying the apprehensions of few members over the bill, Mr. Tomar clarified that the bills will not dilute the APMC Act in any way. He said, Minimum Support Price (MSP) for farm produce will continue to remain in force and the bill will additionally fortify the farmers to reach out to interstate markets. The Bill facilitates increase in availability of buyers for farmers’ produce, by allowing them to trade freely without any license or stock limit. The increase in competition will result in better prices for farmers.  

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The Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the passing of the two farm related bills in Lok Sabha as historic. He said the agrarian reform bills are of utmost importance for the farmers and agriculture sector of the country. The Prime Minister said, the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 will truly free the farmers from middlemen and all obstacles. He said that these agrarian reforms will provide new opportunities to farmers to sell their produce, which will increase their profits. Mr. Modi asserted that these legislations will empower farmers in the country and will ensure that they get the benefit of modern technology. He said that various powers are engaged in confusing the farmers regarding the provisions of the new legislation. Mr. Modi assured farmers that the system of MSP and government procurement will continue as before. He exhorted that these bills will additionally fortify the farmers by giving them many more options.

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President Ram Nath Kovind has accepted the resignation of Harsimrat Kaur Badal from the Union Council of Ministers. A press communique issued by Rashtrapati Bhavan said, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar has been assigned the charge of the Ministry of Food Processing Industries in addition to his existing portfolios.

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Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has said that India is committed to resolve the current border issue with China through a fair and peaceful manner and at the same time the country is also prepared to deal with all contingencies. He said, China is trying to change the status quo at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) which is unacceptable to India at any condition. The Defence Minister was making a statement in the Rajya Sabha on the development on the border in Ladakh region.

Mr. Singh said, the current situation is very different both in terms of scale of troops involved and the number of friction points. He said, the conduct of Indian forces throughout the standoff shows that while they maintained patience in face of provocative actions, they also equally displayed valour when required to protect territorial integrity of the country.

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The Chief of Army Staff General MM Naravane arrived in Srinagar yesterday on a two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir. Soon after his arrival, he proceeded to undertake a firsthand assessment of the situation along the Line of Control (LoC) in North Kashmir. During his interaction with the soldiers deployed in high altitude areas, the Army Chief appreciated their high morale and complimented them on their response to Pakistan ceasefire violations. General Naravane also commended use of technology to ensure effective day and night surveillance across the LoC which has resulted in many successful operations to foil infiltration bids from POJK in the recent past. The Army Chief reinforced the need to extend all possible support to civilians residing in the border areas who are victims of targeted ceasefire violations by the Pakistani Army and are facing hardships due to the pandemic.

General Naravane also interacted with commanders and troops deployed in the hinterland. While interacting with jawans, he highlighted that it was a dawn of a new era of development, peace and prosperity in Kashmir and applauded them for their high level of morale and contribution to peace building in Jammu and Kashmir.  He appreciated the high level of coordination amongst all government agencies towards maintaining peace in the valley and efforts to reach out to the “Awam” to overcome the challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Later, General Naravane reviewed the overall security situation along with the Northern Army Commander and Chinar Corps Commander. He also called on Jammu and Kashmir Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha and assured the wholehearted support of the Army in ushering in peace and stability in the region.

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Employees' State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) has issued instructions for submission of claims by the affected workers to claim relief under recently expanded Atal Beemit Yyakti Kalyan Yojna. Under the scheme, relief is to be paid to those ESI members who lost their job. Claims to get the relief can be made online at website www.esic.in along with submission of the physical claim with an affidavit, photocopy of the Aadhaar Card and Bank Account details to the designated ESIC Branch Office by post or in person.

ESI Corporation under the Chairmanship Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar has taken the decision to extend the scheme of Atal Beemit Yyakti Kalyan Yojana from 1st July, 2020 to 30th June, 2021. It has also been decided to enhance the rate of unemployment relief under the scheme to 50 per cent of wages from earlier rate of 25 per cent due to the COVID-19 pandemic and related lockdown.

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In our series on Seva Saptah, today we bring you a special story on Swachh Bharat. In the last six years, the Narendra Modi government has laid a lot of emphasis on Clean India.

The Swachh Bharat mission has focused on rural and urban areas separately and has played a crucial role in ensuring sanitation in the country. Since the launch of the mission in 2014, more than ten crore individual toilets have been constructed across the country. As a result, rural areas in all the states have declared themselves Open Defecation Free ODF on 2nd of October last year.

Inaugurating Rashtriya Swachhata Kendra in New Delhi last month, Mr Modi said Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has brought about a behavioural change among the citizens.

"The Swachh Bharat Mission (Rural) has moved towards its second phase which is also called ODF-Plus. This phase will continue till 2024-25. The Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban) has also made remarkable progress in the area of both sanitation and solid waste management. Over 4324 Urban Local Bodies have been declared ODF in the country so far. More than 66 lakh individual household toilets and over 6 lakh community and public toilets have also been constructed or are under construction. In the area of solid waste management, 96 per cent of wards have 100 per cent door-to door collection while 66 per cent of the total waste generated is being processed. With Anupam Mishra, Suparna Saikia, AIR News, Delhi".

People from different walks of life shared their views, on the occasion of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's birthday yesterday.

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Thanking the people for their birthday wishes, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged everyone to continue wearing masks and follow social distancing norms in a bid to contain Coronavirus.

In a late-night tweet yesterday, the Prime Minister wrote, since many have asked, what is it that he wants for his birthday, here is what he seeks right now, Keep wearing a mask and wear it properly, follow social distancing, remember 'Do Gaj Ki Doori, avoid crowded spaces and improve your immunity.

The Prime Minister, who turned 70 yesterday, said, people from all over India and from all over the world have shared their kind wishes. He said he is grateful to each and every person who has greeted him. Mr Modi said, these greetings give him the strength to serve and work towards improving the lives of the fellow citizens.

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The Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament from Karnataka Ashok Gasti passed away in a private hospital in Bengaluru. In a statement issued by hospital Director Dr. Manish Rai, the 55 year old leader passed away at 10:31 pm yesterday. He was diagnosed with severe Covid-19 pneumonia and critically ill with multi-organ failure when admitted to the hospital in Bengaluru on September 2nd.  Ashok Gasti was the first time MP who had taken oath as member of Rajya Sabha on July 22nd. A lawyer by profession and former General Secretary of BJP, he had also served as Chairperson of the Backward Class Development Corporation in Karnataka.

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The Government has said the country's recovery rate among the COVID-19 patients has reached 78.64 per cent. During the last 24 hours, more than 82 thousand COVID patients have recovered. The Health Ministry said, the total number of recoveries has reached over 40 lakh 25 thousand. The constantly increasing recoveries have ensured that the actual caseload of the country has reduced and currently comprises only 19.73 per cent of the total positive cases. It said, that active cases of Covid-19 in the country are less than one fifth of the total cases. Presently, the total number of active cases in the country is 10 lakh nine thousand. Currently, India’s Case Fatality Rate is at 1.63 per cent, which is one of the lowest globally. In the last 24 hours, one thousand 132 deaths have been reported taking the toll to 83 thousand 198.

According to the ICMR, the total number of samples tested so far has reached over six crore five lakhs. 

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Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan has expressed hope that COVID-19 vaccine would be available in the country by early next year. He informed that three vaccine candidates have reached the clinical trial stage of Phase one, two and three.

Dr. Harsh Vardhan appealed to the people to adopt the social distancing and "Do Gaz Ki Doori" as a social vaccine till the arrival of vaccine. He was replying to a discussion in Rajya Sabha on COVID-19 pandemic situation in the country yesterday. He said, India is working with the WHO and other international organizations in the direction of vaccine development.

Appreciating the role of COVID warriors in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic, he said, the Prime Minister has taken every decision with the help of experts and the government tried to resolve every issue related to this disease. He said, India started the fight against COVID-19 disease from the initial days and fought this battle in an  honest and meticulous manner. He added that effective contact tracing, surveillance mechanism and lockdown reduced the number of COVID-19 cases and mortality.

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Gujarat has reported a record 1379 new cases of Covid-19 in the last 24 hours. The total number of cases in the state has gone up to 1 lakh 19 thousand 88. More from our correspondent:

"With the recovery of 1652 patients yesterday, the recovery rate has further improved and reached upto 83.81 per cent. Total 99,808 patients have recovered in the state till now. More than 36 lakh 9 thousand tests have been carried out in the state till date, out of which 85,820 tests were carried out yesterday. At present total active cases in the state are 16,007, out of which 96 patients are on ventilator. 14 patients died yesterday taking the total deaths due to Covid-19 upto 3273. Meanwhile, Ahmedabad municipal corporation has added 11 new areas in the micro containment zone following detection of new cases. Yogesh Pandya, AIR News, Ahmedabad".

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In Chhattisgarh, sero surveillance has started amidst increasing cases of Corona infection. On the first day of the survey, the teams of ICMR collected samples from the people in Raipur, Durg and Rajnandgaon districts to examine antibodies in people. These samples are being taken from selected clusters as well as from persons belonging to high risk groups such as immuno-compromised individuals, hospital staff, police and migrant workers.

This survey is being conducted to know the status of herd immunity in people against Corona virus. The survey is being conducted by ICMR and the Health Department of Chhattisgarh. The  survey will help to identify people who may have contracted Covid-19 and have already recovered from the disease without realizing it.

The report of sero surveillance will also help in preparing a strategy to deal with Corona infection in the state.

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In Tamil Nadu, the Covid-19 recovery rate has reached nearly 89.5 per cent. The total infection has gone up to five lakh 25-thousand while the recoveries have surpassed 4.7 lakh.

Chennai Corporation has initiated the process of disbursing the third round of the dole of a thousand rupees each to the hawkers in the city.

"The active Covid-19 caseload in Tamil Nadu is almost stable for the past several weeks and the latest count is put at 46.6 thousand. The daily average new cases are estimated to be around five thousand five hundred for long despite the Unlock-4 relaxations. The number of tests every day has exceeded 80-thousand. In Chennai, the daily infections have also come under a thousand. The case mortality rate remains 1.64 per cent. Jayasingh, AIR News, Chennai".

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Odisha has been witnessing the addition of about 4 thousand new covid-19 cases daily. The total caseload rose to 1,67,161 yesterday. The state also witnessed a record 4,121 patients  recovering from the infection on a single day yesterday, taking the total number of recoveries to 1,33,466. The state has an active caseload of 32,973 while 669 people have lost their lives due to the infection so far.

"A day after Chief Minister Navin Patnaik expressed displeasure over the mounting Covid-19 caseload particularly in the capital Bhubaneswar and the adjoining Cuttack Municipal area, the police have intensified its enforcement drive in the twin cities. Coming down heavily on the protocol violators in these two cities, police have been impressing upon the people not to lower their guards on social distancing, using face mask and other sanitization measures. While the capital city of Bhubaneswar alone has already contributed more than 20 thousand cases to the total caseload of about 29 thousand in Khordha district, the Cuttack Municipal area accounts for more than 5 thousand cases from out of about 14 thousand cases reported from Cuttack district sofar. Girish Chandra Dash, AIR News, Bhubaneswar".

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In a unique step towards eliminating the malnourishment among children, Uttar Pradesh government has decided to give cows to the families with malnourished children to ensure availability of milk to them. The step taken under 'Poshan Abhiyan’ will help in bringing down the level of malnourishment among children and women in the state.

"State  Government has decided to give cattle from its cow shelters in the state under the Chief Minister Destitute Cow Participation Scheme to the families which have malnourished children or women as cow milk will be extremely useful in removing malnutrition. As per the order issued to all district magistrates of the state by Bhuvnesh Kumar, Principal Secretary animal husbandry department, the cows will be given to the families who are willing to keep them and also have available space for them. As far as possible, the cow would be handed over to the family in the presence of a public representative. An amount of 30 rupees per day will also be given through DBT to the family for taking care of the cow. SUSHIL CHANDRA TIWARI, AIR NEWS, LUCKNOW".

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

Speaking to AIR News, Dr. Saurabh Mehrotra, consultant at Mental Health Division in Medanta Hospital emphasised that people should indulge in positive addictions such as reading books, music activities, and excercise. He said, special care should be taken not to over-expose oneself to excessive COVID related news which leads to anxiety related issues.

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Talking to AIR News, Dr. Neeraj Nishchal from the All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS), New Delhi said that self isolation is a key factor to stop the spread of Covid-19 and that wearing mask can also play a vital role in this regard.

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Odisha has sought a financial support of about 1,100 crore rupees from the Centre due to the damages caused by the recent flood in the state. It followed the detailed discussion between the visiting Central team and the state administration led by the chief secretary in Bhubaneswar yesterday. The Central team visited several flood affected districts for the past two days before meeting the top officials in the capital.

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Today’s weather forecast

On to the North, in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, the minimum temperature was recorded at 25 degree Celsius in Jammu while the maximum will be around 36 degrees. The city will have mainly clear sky.

In Srinagar, the temperature will hover between 12 and 30 degree celsius. The city is likely to have mainly clear sky becoming partly cloudy towards afternoon or evening.

Ladakh will also have mainly clear sky. The temperature may hover between 12 and 28 degree Celsius.

In Gilgit, the minimum temperature was 15 degrees and the maximum will be 29 degree Celsius. The city will have a partly cloudy sky becoming generally cloudy towards afternoon or evening or night.

Muzzafarabad is also likely to have mainly clear sky. The minimum temperature was 18 degree Celsius and the maximum is expected to be around 34 degree Celsius.

The National Capital Delhi will have generally cloudy sky with light rain or drizzle. The minimum temperature recorded in the city was 28 degree Celsius and the maximum will be around 38 degrees.

In Mumbai, there will be generally cloudy sky with moderate rain. The temperature is likely to hover between 25 and 32 degree Celsius.

Chennai is likely to witness generally cloudy sky with light rain or drizzle. The minimum temperature was 26 degree Celsius while the maximum is expected to be around 33 degree Celsius.

Kolkata may have a partly cloudy sky with possibility of moderate rain or thunderstorm. The minimum temperature was 28 degree Celsius while the maximum is likely to be 33 degrees.

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Newspaper Headlines

  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh's statement in the Rajya Sabha on the situation in Ladakh gets highlighted across newspapers.

  • " China's words and actions don't match, no power can stop (Indian soldiers from) patrolling at LAC says Rajnath " headlines the Indian Express.

  • The Asian Age reports "Women, kids along Uttarakhand border villages told to move to safer areas"--- a first since 1962 war.

  • Union Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badals's resignation from the Cabinet over farm bills also gets wide coverage.

  • Around 6.6 million white collar professionals lost their jobs during lockdown from May to August, reports the Asian Age, adding engineers, teachers amongst the worst hit.

  • Quoting an Oxfam report, The Pioneer writes "Rich nations with just 13 per cent global population have already bought up more than half of the promised doses of future COVID-19 vaccines".

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