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Last Updated : Jan 17 2021 8:18PM     Screen Reader Access
News Highlights
PM Modi flags off eight trains connecting different regions of country to Statue of Unity at Kevadiya            Prime Minister says new trains represent the beauty of Ek Bharat Shreshta Bharat            Nation's first COVID-19 vaccination drive held successfully, over 1.91 lakh people inoculated on day one            COVID-19 recovery rate improves to 96.58 per cent in the country            Australia finishes day three on 21/0 in their second innings           

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Midday News

1400 HRS


  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi holds a meeting with Chief Ministers of States and Union Territories to review coronavirus situation in the country.

  • Covid-19 recovery rate improves to 93.76 per cent.

  • Central Government and ICMR scale up the Covid testing infrastructure to ensure easily accessible tests for all.

  • Deep Depression over Bay of Bengal intensifies into cyclonic storm Nivar affecting several districts of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.

  • In Bihar, BJP leader Vijay Sinha and Awadh Bihari Choudhary of RJD File nomination papers for Assembly Speaker.


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. 


Prime Minister Narendra Modi is holding a meeting with the Chief Ministers of States and Union Territories to review the coronavirus situation in the country.

Chief Ministers of Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal among others are attending the meeting through video conferencing. Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Union Health Minister Dr. Harshvardhan, Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba, Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan and NITI Aayog Member Dr. V K Paul are also present in the high level COVID review meet.

The Prime Minister had earlier on last friday held a meeting with top officials on India's strategy for developing a vaccine and making it accessible to the masses.


Before the high level meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Covid , Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath yesterday directed to make all arrangements with regard to the Covid vaccine in an organised  and time-bound manner. 

In a meeting Chief Minister directed to ensure cold-chain arrangements for vaccination in all the districts by 15th December, 2020 in order to enhance the efficacy of the vaccine. He said that the whole exercise should be done with inter- departmental coordination and all logistics should be in place in time. He also asked to ensure adequate availability of the vaccinators in view of the large population of the state. Directing to conduct covid testing to the full capacity, the CM said that the mass awareness for Covid protection should be continued. Yesterday he also inaugerated 8 new labs for Corona testing.  SUSHIL CHANDRA TIWARI, AIR NEWS, LUCKNOW


India has leaped across a significant milestone in its fight against COVID. With recovery of more than 86 lakh people so far, the national recovery rate has reached at 93.76 per cent. With overall recovery of nearly 86 lakh 5 thousand patients, the recovered cases in the country stand at nearly 20 times the number of active cases. Over 42 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 38 thousand.

The active case load of the country also continues to remain below 5 per cent. The total active cases in the country today stands at four lakh 38 thousand 667 which comprises merely 4.78 per cent of the total reported cases. The Health Ministry has informed that 26 States and Union Territories in the country have reported less than even 20 thousand active cases. The Health Ministry has said that fatality rate stands at 1.46 per cent. It informed that 480 case fatalities were reported in the past 24 hours.


Nearly 11 lakh COVID samples were tested in the country in last 24 hours. With this, the cumulative testing figure has reached nearly 13 crore 37 lakh mark. The Central Government and ICMR have scaled up the TESTING infrastructure in a calibrated manner. India's testing capacity has touched 15 lakh per day ensuring easily accessible COVID19 tests for all.

Health Ministry has said that very high levels of testing lead to early identification, prompt isolation and effective treatment of COVID-19 cases. It said, this also leads to low Fatality Rate.

Starting from just one testing lab at National Institute of Virology, Pune, in January this year, the country today has two thousand 134 labs for testing Covid samples which includes one thousand 166 government and 968 private labs.


In Gujarat, the Surat Municipal Corporation has decided to increase the Covid beds in the city by four fold. Surat Municipal Commissioner Banchhanidhi Pani has said that the bed availability in private hospitals dedicated for Covid-19 treatment in the city will be increased from present 129 to 560. AIR Ahmedabad correspondent reports that Gujarat government has also decided to increase the testing centers in four major cities of the state to check the infections: 

After recent spurt in Covid19 cases in Gujarat, the state Government has increased the testing facilities in Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara and Rajkot. Now, Surat has 200 antigen testing centers, after setting up 13 centers in textile market and 5 centers in diamond market yesterday. Surat Municipal Commissioner has asked all medical store owners to put the sign boards about the nearest testing centers in the city. Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation has also increased testing centers after spike in fresh cases post diwali. Meanwhile,tourists destinations in Dang and Valsad districts have been closed by the district authorities. <><>Yogesh Pandya/AIR News/Ahmedabad.


In Bihar, a high has been issued across the state for 15 days in view of rising number of corona cases in other states. District Magistrates and Superintendents of Police 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.

The number of active cases in the state is continuously declining. Four hundred and twelve new cases were reported in the state in the last 24 hours. Currently, five thousand 515 patients are undergoing treatment at various hospitals and 480 patients recovered in the last 24 hours. The recovery rate has improved to 97.25 per cent in the state.


Karnataka reported 1,509 new Covid cases and 1,645 recoveries according to the bulletin released by the Health department. The case positivity rate reported during the same period was 1.57 per cent and the Case fatality rate at 1.59 percent. There were 24 deaths reported due to the corona virus. Speaking about the decline in the positivity rate since October end, the Covid War room in-charge Munish Moudgil said that RT-PCR Positivity rate is one of the best measures of adequacy of testing. He said that Karnataka has done the highest RT PCR tests per lakh population in the country. Meanwhile Karnataka Health and Medical Education minister Dr. K Sudhakar has said that the state is prepared for the distribution of vaccine when it is introduced in the country.

Karnataka Health and Medical Education minister Dr. K Sudhakar has said that necessary action is initiated for Covid 19 vaccine delivery once it is introduced in the country. Speaking on the measures for management of vaccine, the minister said that 29,451 vaccination sites and 10,008 vaccinators are identified as per the norms of the Universal Immunization Programme. He further informed that around 2855 cold chain points are available for storage and distribution of vaccines. Three new regional vaccine stores in Bengaluru, Shivamogga and Bellary are proposed for a better supply chain network. <><> Sudhindra AIR News Bengaluru.


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

"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".


In Telangana, 921 fresh COVID cases were reported during the past 24 hours. With this, the total number of COVID cases in the state has gone up to 2 lakh 65 thousand 49. Over 42 thousand tests were conducted yesterday. The recovery rate slightly improved to 95.28 per cent with 1,097 more people recovering yesterday. According to the daily bulletin issued by the state agency, total 1,437 deaths were reported so far as 4 more people succumbed to COVID-19 and co-morbidities in the last 24 hours. Currently the state has over 11 thousand active cases out of which over 8 thousand are in home isolation.


In Tripura, 31,273  corona infected people have been cured so far while the recovery rate has further improved to 96.49 per cent.

In the past 24 hours, 19 new cases of Coronavirus were detected while 27 patients were discharged from hospitals after recovery. With this the total number of infected people now rose to 32,434 and, 768 people are undergoing treatment in different Covid care centres. With the death of a Covid patient yesterday the toll now stands at 367.


The state health bulletin stated that 5,13,040 samples have been tested till yesterday evening.


In Mizoram, 50 fresh cases of coronavirus infections were detected in the past 24 hours. With this, the total number of Covid19 positive cases rose to 3710. 

According to the state medical bulletin, the state has also recorded 11 cases of recovery of coronavirus infections in the last 24 hours. So far, 3,203 infected people have been recovered from the virus and discharged from different Covid care centres.  The recovery rate has also improved to 87.51%. The number of active cases presently stands at 502.


Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said that 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.

Ms Sitharaman 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 use of technology, such as faceless assessment, has eased the tax filing process. Ms Sithraman said the reduction in Corporate tax clearly shows that governmnent's intent is to show immediate benefits for the MNCs and any large 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 Ministry of External Affairs in small groups in view of 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 the details of the incident as it transpired as well as 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 on going 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.


In Bihar, election of new assembly speaker will be held tomorrow. Senior BJP leader Vijay Sinha filed nomination paper for the post of Bihar Assembly Speaker today. Sinha is a NDA candidate. On the other hand RJD leader Awadh Bihari Choudhary also filed nomination paper on behalf of the Grand alliance. Opposition leader Tejaswi Yadav appealed members to vote in favour of Mr. Choudhary.

In the new assembly, NDA has 125 seats including 74 members of the BJP. An independent MLA has also extended support to it. RJD is the largest party in the assembly with 75 members, leading the opposition's Grand alliance, which has got 110 seats. There are seven others including five members of AIMIM.


President Ram Nath Kovind today visited Padmavati Ammavari temple in Thiruchanur. He participated in the AMMAVARI puja along with his family. Andhra Pradesh Governor Bishwa Bhusan Harichandan also accompanied the President. 

The President today boarded the Air India One- B-777 aircraft on its inaugural flight to Chennai. He commended the pilots, crew members and the entire team of Air India and India Air Force for operating the state-of-the-art aircraft and facilitating VVIP movements within India and on state visits abroad.

The President will also be visiting Tirupati to offer prayers at the Sri Venkateswara Swamy Temple.


A two-day All India Presiding Officers' Conference will be held at Statue of unity at Kevadia in Gujarat from tomorrow.

Addressing the press conference at Gandhinagar this afternoon, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said that the theme of this year conference is Harmonious Coordination of Legislative, Executive and Judiciary - Key to a Vibrant Democracy.

The speaker said that President Ram Nath Kovind will inaugurate the two day conference. He said that the Vice President and Deputy Chairman of Rajya sabha M. Venkaiah Naidu will also be present on this occasion. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the valedictory session on Thursday to mark the celebration of the constitution day.

Mr Birla said that it is our collective efforts to maintain the constitutional sanctity which is very important for mutual co-existence between the three organs of governance and the sustenance of democracy in the country.


The Deep Depression over the South West Bay of Bengal has intensified into the cyclonic storm “Nivar,” early this morning. It has triggered widespread rain in several districts of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. Chennai and its suburbs have witnessed intermittent rain since last evening.

The MET Department in Chennai says the Cyclone Nivar is moving north westwards at a speed of 5-km per hour for the past six hours. It currently lies 450 km south east of Chennai and 410 km south east of Puducherry. It is very likely to intensify into a severe cyclonic storm in the next 24-hours.  It is set to cross the coast between Karaikal (कारैक्कॉल) and Mamallapuram (मामल्लपुरम), close to Puducherry, Wednesday evening. During its landfall, the wind speed is expected to be in the range of 100 to 110 km an hour, gushing to 120 km per hour.

During his interaction with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswamy explained about the preparatory measures being undertaken by the administration to tackle the cyclone. District administrations in the vicinity of the cyclone have identified houses with thatched roofs and weak structures to evacuate people to safety. Shelters and relief centres have been established with sufficient social distancing. Control rooms at district levels have been established, functioning on a 24-by-7 basis and the state level control centre at Chennai being run by the state Disaster Management Authority is also functioning round the clock.  Jayasingh, AIR News, Chennai.

Our Puducherry correspondent has filed this report:

The Union Territory Administration setting up 80 relief centres and control rooms in all the departments and made war-foot arrangements for the rehabilitation of people in low-lying areas. All shops and other establishments have been asked to close business today evening as safety measure. Schools are closed for today and tomorrow. Chief Minister Narayanasamy ordered to ensure uninterrupted drinking water supply and instructed the electricity department to be ready to restore power supply in case of disruption with in 12 hours. To assist the District administration in relief activities, 2 teams of National Disaster Relief Force to Puducherry and one team to Karaikal, each consisting of 20 members deployed. <><>Chandra Mohan, AIR NEWS, Puducherry.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Edappadi Palaniswami and Puducherry Chief Minister, V Narayanasami regarding the situation. He assured all possible support from the Centre to the State and the Union Territory. Mr Modi prayed for the safety and well-being of those living in the affected areas.


Cyclonic storm, Nivar is also expected to hit the coastal areas of Andhra Pradesh. There is a forecast of widespread rain in many districts in coastal and Rayalaseema regions of the State in the next three days. The frontline departments in Andhra Pradesh and district administrations across the state have been asked to remain tomorrow and the day after. Meteorological Centre Amaravathi Head, S. Stella told our Vijayawada correspondent that Sea would be very rough and  the fishermen have been advised not to venture into the sea till 26th.


In Uttarakhand, following a fresh spell of snowfall, the mercury dropped across the state. According to the Met Department, light to very light showers occurred in the high altitude areas of Uttarkashi, Rudraprayag and Chamoli districts in the last twenty-four hours, while a few places in Bageshvar, Pithoragarh, and Dehradun received light showers. According to reports, Badrinath, Kedar Nath, the valley of flowers, Rudranath, Auli, and surrounding hills also received snowfall in the last twenty-four hours. The Met department has issued a forecast of snow and rain in the state today.


In Odisha, many parts experienced cold with mercury dipping below 15 degree celsius in at least 12 places in the last 24 hours. While the minimum temperature of 9 degree Celsius was recorded in Daringibadi in Phulbani district, the state capital Bhubaneswar recorded 16 degree Celsius.

Besides coldwave, the significant drop in temperature has also ushered in dense fog in some parts of the state. Districts like Pulbani and Sundargarh witnessed a cloud of fog cutting visibility down below hundred metres. Other areas too experienced low visibility early in the day today due to drop in temperature. Meanwhile, the Bhubaneswar-based meteorological Centre has predicted heavy rainfall in at least four south Odisha districts like Malkangiri, Koraput, Rayagada and Gajapati  on Thursday night even as the cyclonic storm NIVAR  over South-West Bay of Bengal faces likely intensification into a severe cyclonic storm and cross Tamilnadu and Puducherry coast by afternoon tomorrow.  Girish Chandra Dash, AIR News, Bhubaneswar.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tribute to prominent leader Sir Chhotu Ram on his birth anniversary today. He said, Sir Chhotu Ram dedicated his life for public service and farmer welfare and fought for the rights of the food givers of the country. Mr. Modi said, Sir Chhotu Ram became the voice of the workers, the deprived and the exploited and his contribution towards the upliftment of society will always remain unforgettable.


The Prime Minister also paid tributes to the courageous general of erstwhile Ahom Kingdom, Lachit Borphukan on the occasion of Lachit Diwas today .  Mr. Modi said, Lachit Borphukan, was an outstanding leader and strategist, who played a pivotal role in protecting the unique culture of Assam. He said, Borphukan's contribution towards empowering the poor and downtrodden will inspire generations to come.


In Assam,  people from all walks of life are paying their last respect to former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi. The former Chief Minister passed away in Guwahati yesterday. His mortal remains have been taken to Congress party office in Guwahati. Later the mortal remains will be kept at Sankardev Kalakshetra so that people can pay their tributes to the departed leader. Party sources said that his last rites will be performed on Thursday.


Martyrdom Day of Guru Tegh Bahadur, the ninth Guru of Sikhs, is being observed today across the country. It was on this day 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. In a message, the President said, Guru Tegh Bahadur made supreme sacrifice to protect the faith, belief and rights of the people. Therefore, the fellow citizens call him 'Hind di Chaadar' with love and respect.


In Assam, Bhoot Jalokia or chilly king farming has brought tremendous financial help to the women folk at Tinsukia districts. The financial assistance of Assam State Rural Livelihood Mission has hugely complimented the efforts of the rural women .

The women Self Help Groups in rural Assam is boosting household income. Jarnali Hazarika, a member of the Seuji self help group at Matiakhana village in Tinsukia district is in the business of bhoot jolokia cultivation as well as selling of saplings. She earned over 3 lakh rupees per year by cultivating bhoot jolokia in 1 bigha of land.  Ms. Hazarika has also started a nursery of bhoot jolokia and this year she would sell 3 lakh saplings . Apart from neighboring districts, she sells her product in Dimapur and Itanagar also. <><>Manas Pratim Sarma/AIR News/ Tinsukia


In the United States, the General Services Administration(GSA) has acknowledged Joe Biden as the apparent winner of the presidential election following weeks of inaction. President Donald Trump has called on his agencies to cooperate. He said, a formal transition should begin for President-elect Joe Biden to take office. The president said the federal agency overseeing the handover must "do what needs to be done", even as he vowed to keep contesting his election defeat.


Weather Forecast for Today :-

The National Capital will have a hazy sky. Minimum temperature recorded in the morning was 6.8 degrees. Maximum will be around 25 degree celsius.

In Mumbai, sky will be mainly clear. Minimum temperature was 20 degree celsius and the maximum will be around 34 degree Celsius.

Chennai will have generally cloudy sky with heavy rain. The temperature will hover between 24 and 29 degree Celsius.

Kolkata is expected to have mainly clear sky with temperature hovering between 15 and 28 degree Celsius.

In Srinagar, rain and snowfall is expected. Minimum temperature was zero degree Celsius while the maximum will be around 5 degrees.

Jammu will have generally cloudy sky with light rain. Minimum temperture was 14 degree Celsius while maximum will be around 19 degrees.

Leh will also have generally cloudy sky with light rain. Minimum temperature was minus 6 degrees Celsius while the maximum will be around one degree.

Gilgit will have light snowfall and the temperature will hover between minus two and 8 degree Celsius.

Muzaffarabad is expected to have thunderstorm with rain today. The temperature will vary from 5 degrees to 11 degree Celsius.

In Dehradun, the temperature will hover between 9 and 23 degree Celsius. The city will have partly cloudy sky.

Chandigarh will have generally cloudy sky. Minimum temperature was recorded at 12 degree celsius while the maximum is expected to be 21 degree celsius.

In Hyderabad, the minimum temperature was 18 degree Celsius while the maximum will be around 29 degrees.


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