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Last Updated : Jan 21 2021 5:43PM     Screen Reader Access
News Highlights
Govt approves over one crore one lakh houses under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) till date            More than 8 lakh beneficiaries get COVID-19 vaccine across country            Nation Covid-19 recovery rate reaches 96.75 per cent            Meghalaya, Manipur & Tripura celebrate their statehood day today; Prez, Vice Prez & PM greet the people            Sensex breaches 50,000 mark for the first time           

Text Bulletins Details

Morning News

0830 HRS


  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman says government will take more steps to continue the momentum of economic reforms in the country.

  • Foreign Secretary briefs ambassadors of various countries on Pakistani terrorists' plot to carryout attack in Jammu and Kashmir.

  • Covid-19 recovery rate improves to 93.68 per cent.

  • All educational institutions closed in Himachal Pradesh till 31st December.

  • Widespread rain lashes several districts of Tamil Nadu due to a depression in Bay of Bengal.


As the nation fights the COVID-19 pandemic, we begin with a message of precaution to stay safe and protected by following these three simple steps --

  • Wear a face mask.

  • Maintain Do Gaz Ki Doori for social distancing.

  • Focus on hand and face hygiene. 


Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said the government will take more steps to continue the momentum of economic reforms in the country. Addressing a conference organised by CII, she said, the momentum of reforms will continue to make India a hotspot of global investment. Ms Sitharaman said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not lost any opportunity to take deep reforms at this time of pandemic. She said, Mr Modi also undertook those kinds of reforms which have not seen the light of  day over decades.

She said, the financial sector is being professionalised and the government will continue with disinvestment and privatisation agenda.

On reforms in taxation system, the Finance Minister said the use of technology, such as faceless assessment, has eased the tax filing process. On corporate tax, Ms Sithraman said the reduction in Corporate tax clearly shows that our intent is to show immediate benefits for the MNCs and any large companies or small companies.


Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla briefed a select group of Heads of Missions on the planned terrorist attack in Nagrota district in Jammu and the implications of the incident on security, diplomacy and the battle against terrorism. A terrorist attack was foiled on the 19th of this month by the security forces. 

Sources said this is the first of several briefings to be conducted by the Ministry of External Affairs in small groups in view of the Covid-19 situation.  Other Secretaries will also be briefing Heads of Missions in their areas of jurisdiction. Sources said, the idea is to share information as widely as possible with the international community.

The Heads of Missions were provided with a detailed information docket giving details of the incident as it transpired as well as a list of items and munition that were recovered from terrorists clearly indicating their Pakistani origins.  

It was shared with them how preliminary investigations by the police and intelligence authorities, markings on the recovered AK47 rifles and other items lead us to believe that the terrorists belonged to Pakistan based Jaish-e-Mohammad. It was also  pointed out how the incident of 19th November is part of Pakistan’s ongoing terror campaign in Jammu and Kashmir and that in the year 2020 itself we have seen 200 incidents of terrorist violence and neutralization of 199 terrorists.


India has leaped across another significant milestone in its fight against COVID. With more than 85 lakh people recovering so far, the national recovery rate has improved to 93.68 per cent. With overall recovery of nearly 85 lakh 62 thousand patients, the recovered cases in the country stand at nearly 20 times the number of active cases. Over 41 thousand patients recovered and were discharged in the last 24 hours whereas the new confirmed cases reported in the same time span stood at nearly 44 thousand.

The active caseload of the country has also fallen below 5 per cent. The total active cases in the country today stand at four lakh 43 thousand 486 which comprise merely 4.85 per cent of the total reported cases. The Health Ministry has informed that 26 States and Union Territory in the country have reported less than 20 thousand active cases. The Health Ministry has said that this has also led to a commensurate dip in the fatality rate which stands at 1.46 per cent. It informed that 511 case fatalities were reported in the past 24 hours.


In Union Territory of Ladakh, the number of deaths due to Covid infection are going up. Ladakh region, especially Leh district, is witnessing rise in Covid cases. The UT Administration is on high to meet the challenge. Our correspondent has filed this report:

"Union Territory Ladakh has recorded over hundred Covid related deaths since the outbreak of pandemic in the region. By Monday, a total of hundred and one deaths were recorded in Ladakh. Leh district has recorded the highest with 60 deaths, while Kargil saw 41. UT administration and the Health services are on high after alarming raise in Covid cases and deaths due to infection. Senior officials have reviewed availability of oxygen, mobility and Covid management infrastructure, during the winters in Leh and Kàrgil districts. The change in weather and spike in the numbers of Covid infections and deaths have invited the Leh civil society to call for a voluntary lockdown to control the spread of infection. A similar response received from Nubra valley in Leh as well. However, the UT Administration appealed to the general public to follow and adhere to the SOPs. Ramesh Chandra, AIR NEWS, LEH".


In view of sharp rise in COVID-19 cases the Himachal Pradesh government has  decided to shut  all educational institutions in the state till the 31st of December. Our correspondent reports that the State government has also decided to impose night curfew from 8 pm to 6 am in four districts. More from our correspondent:

"The decision to close all education institutions till 31st December has been taken in a state cabinet meeting in shimla. The cabinet has also decided to impose night curfew from 8 pm to 6 am in four districts i.e  Shimla, Mandi. Kangra and Kullu from November 24 to December 15. However, online studies would commence from coming 26th November.  The state government has also decided that all the social, political, cultural, sports etc gatherings in open areas would be restricted to 200 persons with social distancing. Cabinet also decided that a fine of Rs. 1000 would be imposed for not wearing a face mask in public places. Sanjeev Sundriyal, AIR News, Shimla".


Home Minister Amit Shah inaugurated a mobile COVID-19 RT-PCR Lab at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in New Delhi yesterday. It has been jointly developed by Spice Health and the ICMR. This testing lab and more such labs which are planned to be set up will help in adding more capacity to COVID-19 testing. The lab is accredited by NABL and approved by the ICMR. 

These tests will be free of cost for the people. This initiative is a step in making COVID-19 testing affordable and more accessible to the common person. The test report would be available within 6 to 8 hours from the time of sample collection compared to the average 24 to 48 hours taken by similar test reports.

The Home Ministry statement said, Spice Health has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the ICMR for setting up testing facilities and collection centres across the country.  

In a tweet, Mr Shah said, the Narendra Modi government is committed to contain the spread of COVID-19 in Delhi and this lab will surely help in early detection and cure.


Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has said that the COVID infection in the state is moving towards a dangerous situation. He said that the State government has taken tough decisions in the public interest to prevent the spread of infection. The Chief Minister reviewed the COVID situation in the state through video conference yesterday evening.

Health Minister Raghu Sharma said more than 3000 cases are reported daily in the state and it is the second peak of Corona. Our correspondent reports that the number of active cases in the state has exceeded 24 thousand.

"For the first time, the number of active cases of COVID 19 in the state has exceeded 24 thousand. More than three thousand cases are being reported daily for the last three days. In Jaipur, the number of active patients has reached above eight thousand. whereas number of active cases in Jodhpur is more than 5 thousand. COVID cases are also being reported in a large number in Alwar, Bikaner, Ajmer and Kota districts. With the death of 18 people yesterday, the death toll has increased to 2 thousand 181. More than 41 lakh corona samples have been tested in the state so far. Jitendra Dwivedi, AIR News, Jaipur".


The Uttar Pradesh government has revised its guidelines related to public gatherings due to the recent surge in covid cases. Under the new norms, the state government restricted the number of guests at a wedding venue to 100. More from our correspondent:

"Earlier on October 15, state government had permitted 200 guests at weddings with proper safety protocols but now the number has been reduced to 100 at a time in any function outside containment zone. New guidelines also restricted the use of open spaces to 40 per cent of the total capacity, while it directed the local administration to make arrangements for sanitisation, thermal screening, and social distancing. State currently has 23776 active cases with Lucknow having highest number of cases followed by Meerut, Ghaziabad and Gautam Buddh Nagar. SUSHIL CHANDRA TIWARI, air news, LUCKNOW".


In Bihar, a high has issued across the state for 15 days in view of rising number of corona cases in other states. DMs and SPs have been instructed in this regard. This decision was taken at a meeting of crisis management group headed by chief secretary Deepak Kumar. The Chief Secretary said campaigning on wearing masks has been launched. Stern action will be taken against those who violate the instructions. Vehicles will be seized if driver and travellers are found without mask. This will apply to all vehicles including car, bike and bicycles. Shops will be sealed if shopkeepers and customers are found without mask.


In Madhya Pradesh, more than 1 lakh 79 thousand patients have recovered so far in the state. 1 thousand 120 patients were also discharged from the hospital in the past 24 hours. A report:

"The numbers of COVID-19 cases in the state climbed up to more than 1 lakh 94 thousand after 1 thousand 701 new cases were reported in the past 24 hours. With 10 patients succumbing to the infection, the death toll rose to 3 thousand 172. Maximum 586 people have been infected in Indore, while 349 new infections have been reported in Bhopal yesterday. There are now 12 thousand 336 active cases in Madhya Pradesh. Meanwhile, around 30 thousand tests conducted yesterday, the total number of tests in the state has exceeded 35 lakhs. Sanjeev Sharma, AIR News, Bhopal".


In Gujarat, night curfew is being strictly enforced in Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara and Rajkot- the four major cities of the state. More from our correspondent:

"Gujarat has recorded a total 1 lakh 98 thousand 899 cases till now. Out of these, 1 lakh 81 thousand 187 patients recovered. 1234 patients recovered during the last 24 hours. More than 73 lakh 4 thousand tests have been carried out in the state till date. Total active cases in the state are 13836, out of which 89 patients are on ventilator. 17 patients died yesterday taking the total deaths due to Covid-19 up to 3876. Meanwhile, state government has banned the organizing of marriage ceremony during the curfew hours - where it has been in force. According to latest orders, the maximum limit of guest for marriage ceremony will be 100 while it will be 50 for funeral procession with effect from today. Yogesh Pandya, AIR News, Ahmedabad".


The Maharashtra government has issued a new set of SOPs for persons travelling to the state by Air, trains or road with effect from the 25th of this month. According to the latest order, domestic travellers whether by air or train coming from Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Goa to Maharashtra will require a Covid negative report. Air travellers will need to get the Covid test done within 72 hours of their flight and train passengers should get the test within 96 hours of their arrival in Maharashtra. More in this report:

"According to the standard operating procedure (SOP) to prevent the spread of Covid in Maharashtra, all domestic passengers travelling from airports railway and by road from Delhi NCR, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Goa shall carry RT PCR negative test report with them before starting their journey. The State Government has asked the concerned authorities to check for the report before allowing the passengers to begin the journey.The SoP also stated that passengers not having the RT-PCR test reports fulfilling conditions shall compulsorily undergo RT-PCR test at the concerned airports, or railway stations at their own cost. Only after undertaking the test, the passengers will be allowed to go home by the converned authorities. With Nivedita, this is Kunal Shinde, Air News, Mumbai".


Talking to AIR, Dr. Ghan Shyam Pangtey of Lady Hardinge Medical College and Associated Hospitals, New Delhi has urged people to avoid crowded places to stay safe from Covid-19.


The Depression over the South West Bay of Bengal has caused widespread rain in several districts of Tamil Nadu since last evening. It has been moving north westwards at a speed of four kilometers per hour for the past six hours. It lies 470 km south east of Chennai and 440 km south east of Puducherry as observed early this morning. It is set to intensify into a cyclone today and cross the coast between Karaikal and Mamallapuram near Chennai Wednesday afternoon as a severe cyclonic storm. During its landfall, the cyclone is set to trigger a wind speed of 100 to 110 km an hour. As per the naming convention, the weather system will assume the name “Nivar,” once it becomes a cyclone.

Met Department has said that extremely heavy rainfall is likely at isolated places over the Delta region and Ariyalur in Tamil Nadu and Karaikal in Puducherry today. Chennai and its adjoining districts and central Tamil Nadu are set to get heavy to very heavy rainfall under the impact of the weather phenomenon.

On Wednesday, the day of the landfall of the cyclone, extremely heavy rainfall is likely to occur at isolated places in eight districts including in the Delta region and the north interior districts in Tamil Nadu and neighbouring Puducherry. Heavy to very heavy rain is expected in 13 other districts including Chennai and its adjoining areas. Isolated heavy rainfall is likely in four of the north western districts.

Fishermen have been asked not to venture into the sea during the period due to rough weather. More from our correspondent:

"The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswamy had a review meeting on the cyclone Nivar, with his cabinet colleagues and senior officials in Chennai last evening. As a measure of precaution, bus services have been suspended in the Delta districts and Chengalpattu and Villupuram from today. The Southern Railway has already suspended its operation of trains in the vulnerable routes. The public have been asked to avoid travel in their vehicles until the cyclone subsides. All major water bodies are under constant vigil and sandbags are kept ready to plug any breaches. Telecom service providers have been asked to keep emergency plans ready to ensure an unhindered connectivity. The Chief Minister has asked the public to have the battery cell-operated radio sets with them to get d with reliable information on the cyclone, as there is the possibility of the power lines getting shut down. Jayasingh, AIR News, Chennai".


Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla will pay an official visit to Nepal on the 26 and the 27 of November 2020. This will be the first visit of the Foreign Secretary to Nepal since he assumed charge.

The visit is in keeping with the tradition of regular high-level exchanges between the two countries and the priority India attaches to its relations with Nepal. During the visit, Foreign Secretary will meet his counterpart and other Nepalese dignitaries to discuss the wide ranging bilateral cooperation between the two countries. The visit will be an opportunity to further advance bilateral ties.


External Affairs Minister, Dr. S. Jaishankar will be undertaking a visit to Bahrain, UAE and Seychelles from today. During the six day visit, he will be meeting his counterparts and also the top leadership of these countries.

Dr. Jaishankar’s visit to Bahrain will be his first visit to the country as External Affairs Minister. He will personally convey condolences on behalf of Government and people of India to the Bahraini leadership on the sad demise of Prime Minister of Bahrain Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa on the 11th of this month. He will also hold talks on bilateral issues as well as regional and international issues of mutual interest.

Dr Jaishankar will next visit UAE on the 25th and the 26th November. He is scheduled to meet his counterpart, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

In the last leg of his tour, the Minister will travel to Seychelles on the  27th of November for a two day visit. The Minister will also hold bilateral consultations with the newly appointed Minister for Foreign Affairs and Tourism.


In Jammu and Kashmir, Advisor to Lieutenant Governor Baseer Ahmad Khan visited Pulwama district to review the arrangements being put in place by the district administration for smooth conduct of the upcoming District Development Council and Panchayat by-elections.

During the meeting, Mr. Khan also reviewed winter preparedness of the twin districts of Pulwama and Shopian.

Deputy Commissioners of Pulwama and Shopian informed the Advisor about the measures being put in place especially preparedness for distribution, collection and counting of votes and provisions of security to contesting candidates.

The meeting was informed about the foolproof arrangements made by the district administrations to meet any eventuality during harsh winter conditions.  The Advisor also reviewed the status of election preparations including location of polling stations, establishment of strong rooms, election training, deployment and return of polling staff.


In Assam, the Environment and Forest department is implementing an ambitious project of building a park by planting tree saplings of 1000 species. Talking to AIR, Conservator of Forest in Eastern Assam circle Narayan Mahanta said that the project is in full swing in Upper Assam districts including Golaghat and Tinsukia among others. More from our Correspondent:

"The Sahitya Monikhi Upobons are spread across 3 hectare of land. The project is being implemented under the CAMPA scheme. The Conservator of Forest in Eastern Assam circle Narayan Mahanta said that rare and endangered species including herbal, flowering, orchid, bamboo and medicinal saplings are being planted.

Mr. Mahanta hoped that this initiative would also be a boon for the conservation point of view. Manas Pratim Sarma, AIR News, Tinsukia".


The Government has extended the period for submission of Life Certificate by Central Government pensioners till the 28th of February next year. Earlier, the government had extended the timeline for submission of Life Certificate from 1st of November to 31st of December, 2020. According to the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pension, the Department has been in receipt of numerous petitions from various Pensioners' Associations as well as individuals requesting a further extension in the date for submitting Life Certificate in view of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and vulnerability of the elderly population to corona virus.


The Martyrdom Day of Guru Tegh Bahadur, the ninth Guru of Sikhs, is being observed today across the country. It was on this in 1675, Guru Tegh Bahadur sacrificed his life to protect religion, human values, ideals and principles. The martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur is remembered as Shaheedi Divas every year.

President Ram Nath Kovind paid tribute to Guru Teg Bahadur on his Martyrdom Day.


US President-elect Joe Biden has announced key figures for his cabinet, picking longtime foreign policy advisor Antony Blinken to be his secretary of state and former US Chief Diplomat John Kerry as his special climate envoy. Mr Biden also nominated the Cuba-born lawyer Alejandro Mayorkas, to lead the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees immigration. He picked Avril Haines, the former deputy CIA director, as his director of national intelligence, the first woman to ever hold that position. Mr Biden also said that long-time diplomat Linda Thomas-Greenfield will be nominated to serve as his ambassador to the United Nations, with status as a cabinet member.


The weather forecast for today.

In Jammu witnessed a minimum temperature of 12 degree Celsius while maximum will be around 20 degrees. The city will have generally cloudy sky with Light rain.

Srinagar will have rain or snow. Temperature will hover between one degree celsius and six degrees.

In Leh, the sky will be generally cloudy with Light rain. The minimum temperature was minus five degree Celsius while the maximum will be around 1 degree.

Gilgit will experience light snow with temperature hovering between minus one degree Celsius to eight degrees.

Muzafarrabad is likely to have thunderstorm with rain. The temperature will move from four to 14 degree Celsius.

In Dehradun, the temperature will hover between 10 and 23 degree Celsius. Sky will be partly cloudy with possibility of development of thunder and lightning.

Chandigarh will have generally cloudy sky. The temperature is likely to move from 13 to 22 degree Celsius.

The National capital is likely to experience Fog or mist in the morning and partly cloudy sky later with temperatures varying between 10 and 25 degree Celsius.

Mumbai will observe  a mainly Clear sky and the temperature will vary between 20 and 32 degree Celsius.

Chennai will have Thunderstorm with hail. The temperature will hover between 23 and 31 degree Celsius.

Kolkata is likely to have partly cloudy sky. The city observed a minimum temperature of 16 degree Celsius and is likely to experience maximum temperature of 28 degree Celsius.

In Hyderabad, the minimum temperature will be 20 degree Celsius while the maximum will be 30 degrees. The city will have generally cloudy sky with light rain or drizzle. 


Newspapers Headlines

  • "Boost for India as Oxford shot, up to 90 per cent successful" headlines the Hindustan Times, in a crucial development raising realistic expectation of a vaccine by the year-end. " 1 crore health workers to get first dose; PM to hold meeting with CMs today" writes The Indian Express.

  • "Supreme Court raises concerns over COVID relapse" is the lead in The Pioneer, as the apex court asks Centre, States to file status report in 2 days. The Times of India notes "Delhi weekly cases drop after 5 weeks; But Deaths rise to Highest in India". 

  • "After 2 months, rail services resume in Punjab" observes The Tribune.

  • "LoC : Massive operation on to look for tunnels that terrorists could use", The Asian Age reports on security forces using hi-tech gadgets including satellite imagery, to find tunnels along the entire LoC and the International Border with Pakistan.

  • "Under fire, facing heat within, Kerala government holds back social media law" states The Indian Express.

  • The Economic Times reports " Google looking to ShareChat in Indian Languages", with Google in preliminary talks to acquire the regional language social media platform. 


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