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Last Updated : Jan 17 2021 8:21PM     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           

Text Bulletins Details

Evening News

2030 HRS
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserts that COVID-19 vaccine will meet all necessary scientific criteria before reaching every citizen.

  • Government blocks access to 43 mobile apps engaging in activities prejudicial to sovereignty and defense of the country.

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

  • Cyclone Nivar likely to intensify into a severe cycloic storm by tonignt; NDRF teams deployed in TamilNadu, Puducherry and Andhra Pradesh.

  • India announces launch of Phase-IV of  High Impact Community Development Projects in Afghanistan.


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. 
And now, the news:


Prime Minister Narendra Modi  has reassured that the government is keeping a close watch on the development of COVID-19 vaccines. Mr Modi said, the government is in contact with Indian developers and manufacturers, along with global regulators, governments of other countries, multilateral institutions and international companies on vaccine development. The Prime Minister added that it will be ensured that the vaccine for citizens will meet all necessary scientific criteria. He stressed that just like the focus in the fight against COVID has been on saving each and every life, the priority will be to ensure that the vaccine reaches everyone. He  made his remarks during a high-level meeting held with Chief Ministers of all States and Union Territories via video conferencing, to review the status and preparedness of COVID-19 response and management, with special emphasis on eight high focus States. 


"कोरोना के खिलाफ अपनी लड़ाई में हमने शुरुआत से ही एक-एक देशवासी का जीवन बचाने को सर्वोच्च प्राथमिकता दी है। अब वैक्सीन आने के बाद भी हमारी प्राथमिकता ही होगी कि सभी तक कोरोना की वैक्सीन पहुंचे, कोरोना की वैक्सीन से जुड़ा भारत का अभियान, अपने हर नागरिक के लिए एक प्रकार से नेशनल कमिटमेंट की तरह है।"

Mr Modi said, Governments at all levels will have to work together to ensure that the vaccination drive is smooth, systematic and sustained.

During the meeting, the Prime Minister noted that the priority of vaccination is being decided in consultation with the States and the requirements of additional cold chain storages has also been discussed with the States.

"किस प्रकार से आप delivery नीचे तक ले जाएंगे- आप जितना जल्दी बहुत डिटेल प्लान करके लिख करके भेजेंगे तो निर्णय करने में सुविधा होगी और आपके विचारों की ताकत इसमें बहुत है। राज्यों का अनुभव बहुत अहमियत रखता है क्योकि वहीं से ये चीजें आगे बढ़ने वाली हैं। और इसलिए मैं चाहूंगा कि आपका बहुत ही एक प्रकार से proactive participation इसमें बने, यही मेरी अपेक्षा है।"

The Prime Minister also forewarned that past experience tells us several myths and rumours are spread around vaccines and rumours about side effects of the vaccine may be spread. He emphasized that such attempts need to be tackled through spreading greater awareness, by taking all possible help including civil society, students of NCC and NSS and the media.

The Prime Minister remarked that the country has faced the pandemic through concerted efforts and in terms of both recovery rate and fatality rate and the situation in India is better than most other countries. He said that our target should be to bring down Fatality Rate below one per cent.


"आज Recovery Rate और Fatality Rate, दोनों ही मामलों में भारत दुनिया के अधिकतर देशों से बहुत संभली हुई स्थिति में है। हम सभी के अथक प्रयासों से देश में टेस्टिंग से लेकर ट्रीटमेंट का एक बहुत बड़ा नेटवर्क आज काम कर रहा है। इस नेटवर्क का लगातार विस्तार भी किया जा रहा है। पीएम केयर्स के माध्यम से ऑक्सीजन और वेंटिलेटर्स उपलब्ध कराने पर भी विशेष जोर है। कोशिश ये है कि देश के मेडिकल कॉलेज और जिला अस्पतालों को ऑक्सीजन जेनरेशन के मामले में Self-sufficient बनाया जाए। इसलिए अभी 160 से ज्यादा नए ऑक्सीजन प्लांट्स के निर्माण की प्रक्रिया already शुरू की गई है।"

Prime Minister Modi noted that it is important to increase RT-PCR tests, ensure better monitoring of patients especially  those in home isolation, better equip health centres at village and community level and keep running awareness campaigns for safety from the virus. Saying India fought COVID-19 bravely, Prime Minister cautioned against complacency in fight against Covid 19. The Prime minister said, after seeing good recovery rates, many think that virus is weak . He cautioned this has led to rampant carelessness. Mr Modi stressed the need to bring positivity rate under 5 per cent.

Chief Ministers of Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana among others attended 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 were 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.


Government today blocked access to 43 mobile apps. This action was taken based on the inputs regarding these apps for engaging in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity, defence, security of state and public order. Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has issued the order for blocking the access of these apps by users in India based on the comprehensive reports received from Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Center.

Earlier on 29th June Government had blocked access to 59 mobile apps and on 2nd September, 118 more apps were banned under section 69A of the Information Technology Act.


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.

Meanwhile, 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.


Karnataka Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai has informed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked the state to make all necessary preparations for Covid vaccination when it is ready for use. Mr Bommai was interacting with the media persons after a video interaction of the Prime Minister with the state Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa today. The Home minister informed that the Prime Minister has asked the state to be ready with a digital platform to feed the details of vaccination. He has also asked the Chief Minister to set up a steering committee under him and set up a distribution network in each district and taluk. Mr Bommai said that the country is planning to provide Covid vaccine to 30 crore people, including one crore health workers, two crore Covid warriors and 26 crore people above the age of 50.

In a statement issued to the media persons, the state Health and Medical Education minister Dr. K Sudhakar informed that 29,451 vaccine distribution centres, 10,000 vaccinators and 2855 cold chain centres are identified for carrying out Covid vaccination drive in the state.


Maharashtra Government has formed a task force that will oversee all the modalities regarding distribution of COVID-19 vaccine. Interacting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a video-conference meeting, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray further informed that the task force will discuss issues related to availability of vaccine along with its effectiveness, if the said vaccine has any side effects, cost involved to vaccinate every person in the state and its proper distribution. Mr. Thackeray informed the Prime Minister that the state is in constant touch with Adar Poonawalla of the Serum Institute of India to track development of the coronavirus vaccine.

A statement issued by the Chief Minister’s office informed that Mr. Thackeray informed the Prime Minister how the state has been able to curb the number of new infections. He explained the critical role played by the ‘My Family My Responsibility’ campaign in bringing down the number of infections from about 24,000 per day a couple of months back to around 5,000 per day currently. He said that the state has collected health data of over 11 crore individuals through this campaign, besides detecting about 51,000 coronavirus infected patients who then went on to receive treatment.

Stating the Maharashtra is conducting upto 80,000 COVID-19 tests daily, the Chief Minister further informed that the focus is now also on providing post-recovery care. He said, the government is making all efforts to bring down the positivity rate below 5 percent and is urging citizens to follow the three golden rules of washing hands frequently, wearing masks and maintaining social distancing so that the chance of a possible second wave of COVID infections can be successfully prevented.


In Himachal Pradesh, the state government today launched ‘Him Suraksha Abhiyan’ to sensitize the people regarding Covid-19 pandemic and also to collect information regarding symptoms of diseases like TB, Leprosy, sugar and blood pressure by door to door campaign throughout the State. This campaign is being launched from tomorrow and will continue till coming 27th December, across the State.

While launching the program in Shimla, Chief Minister Jairam Thakur said that not only symptomatic patients with probable Covid-19 would be detected under this campaign but patients with other ailments would also be listed through the campaign. He urged the people of the State to provide wholehearted support to the health workers by providing them accurate information about their diseases and health parameters.

Under this Abhiyan about 8,000 teams comprising of Health, Ayurveda, Women and Child Development, Panchayati Raj Departments, District Administration and NGOs would be involved in this campaign. It would ensure door to door data collection of health parameters of the people.


In Uttarakhand, 173 people recovered from Covid-19 infection today. As per health bulletin released this evening, Covid 19 recovery  rate of the state is 91.05 per cent. 528 people tested positive for the infection today while 11 people died due to corona in the last 24 hours in the state.


Meghalaya registered 57 new COVID 19 cases bringing the total active cases to 893, while 59 recoveries were also recorded today. According to Directorate of Health Services, the total number of recovered cases in Meghalaya has reached 10, 451. There are 33 containment zones across the State and the fatality rate is 0.96 percent.

So far, Meghalaya has a total of 11, 454 confirmed COVID 19 cases. Out of them, 10,451 have recovered, 893 are under treatment and 110 have died.


In Manipur, the State Health Department has conducted testing of COViD-19 for 4,06,095 samples while 4,66,372 people have been screened for the virus till date.

Meanwhile, 290 people have tested positive for COVID-19 during the past twenty four hours in the State. Among them, 82 people are from Imphal West district alone. The total number of positive cases has reached 23940 in the state.

Two persons died due to COVID-19 during the past twenty four hours in Manipur thus increasing the death toll to 240.

The government is allowing identified positive cases for home isolation. During the last twenty four hours, 73 home isolation patients have recovered taking the total number of recoveries to 5025.


In Karnataka, government schools have been adopted by legislators, institutions and individuals for the purpose of developing them. Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa has adopted 10 government primary schools in his assembly constituency Shikaripura. Totally 34 Government primary and secondary schools were adopted today. More from our Correspondent:


"Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa had announced this school adoption programme in his budget for 2020-21. Accordingly many universities and other institutions came forward to adopt the schools. The Chief Minister informed that this is for the first time that such a programme is launched in the country. He said the programme will give a new lease of life to the Government schools by providing them modern teaching equipment and other infrastructure. The Primary and Secondary Education Minister Suresh Kumar said that Government schools cater mostly to the deprived sections of the society and the community must come forward to improve their infrastructure. He cited the example of a school in Daddalakadu village that was on the verge of closure due to its poor infrastructure and how the community formed a Trust to develop it. Due to their efforts the village school is attended by 650 children. There are 53000 schools in the state and 85 percent of children are dependent on them. Sudhindra, AIR News, Bengaluru."


India Meteorological Department, IMD today said that Cyclone Nivar is presently concentrated at 370 Kilometer East Southeastwards of Puducherry. It is expected to move West-North Westwards for next 12 hours and then North Westwards to cross Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts between Karaikal and Mamallapuram. Addressing media, IMD Director General Dr M Mohapatra said that the Cyclone is likely to intensify into a severe cycloic storm by tonignt and tomorrow morning into a very severe cyclonic storm.


"जो साइक्लोनस्ट्रॉम हैं उसका नाम निवार है। धीरे-धीरे यह इंटिसिफेकेशन होकर आज रात को एक सेवियर साइक्लोनस्ट्रॉम में परिणत होने का पूर्वानुमान किए हैं और कल सुबह ये वेरी सेवियर साइक्लोनस्ट्रॉम में परिणत हो सकता है और धीरे-धीरे इसका विंड स्पीड अकॉर्डिंगली बढ़कर सबसे ज्यादा मैक्सिम स्पीड 120-130 कि.मी./आवर और गस्टिंग 145 कि.मी./आवर होने का उम्मीद किया जा रहा है"

Director General of National Disaster Response Force-NDRF, S N Pradhan said that it is keeping a 24 hour close watch on Cyclone Nivar and is coordinating with Tamil Nadu Puducherry and Andhra Pradesh. He said, altogether 30 teams of NDRF are available there.


The cyclonic storm “Nivar,” in the South West Bay of Bengal has caused widespread rain in Tamil Nadu. Many parts of Chennai and its suburbs were pounded by several hours of heavy rain, leading to flooding even on arterial roads. 

Cyclone Nivar is expected to move in the west-northwest direction for the next 12-hours and then turn towards the north-western direction. It is set to cross the coast between Karaikal (कारैक्कॉल) and Mamallapuram (मामल्लपुरम), close to Puducherry, Wednesday late evening as a very severe cyclonic storm. More from our correspondent:


"Prime Minister Narendra Modi has assured the Centre’s full-fledged support to the Tamil Nadu Government in its efforts to mitigate the effects of Cyclone ‘Nivar.’ He gave the assurance to Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswamy during his interaction this morning. Meanwhile, the state government has deployed senior IAS officials to the vulnerable districts to coordinate the rescue and relief works. Director General of Police JK Tripathy has delegated nine IPS officials to the districts to coordinate the works on behalf of the police. The Chennai Corporation, Metrowater and the districts concerned have also established control rooms with helpline to monitor the situation seamlessly and to attend to the grievances of the public during and after the cyclone. Jayasingh, AIR News, Chennai."

Our Puducherry correspondent reports that all steps are being taken to meet the challenge of cyclone “Nivar".

"Puducherry its suburbs and Karaikal started experiencing rainfall since, early this morning. The District administration is being geared up to meet the challenge of cyclone “Nivar”. Prohibitory order under section 144 CrPC has been clamped in Puducherry district in view of the cyclone. District Magistrate Apoorva Garg in her order said that the prohibitory order will be in force from 9PM today to 6 AM on Thursday and is subject to  further revision. The order shall not apply to agencies, officials of the government involved  in the enforcement of Law and Order and cyclone duty. Maintenance of essential service like milk and pharmacies etc are allowed to continue. Chandra Mohan, AIR NEWS, Puducherry."


There has been a change in weather from the afternoon in Andhra Pradesh, due to the NIVAR cyclone.  As per IMD, Amaravathi, moderate rain or thundershowers are very likely over entire Andhra Pradesh tomorrow and Thursday, with isolated heavy to very heavy at one or two places  of South coastal AP and Rayalaseema. Extremely heavy rain is likely to occur at Nellore and Chittoor during this period. Light to moderate rain or thundershowers are expected at few places of South coastal AP and Rayalaseema today. Almost all the 13 Districts of Andhra Pradesh have been kept on high .


 Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar today unveiled Sahakar Pragya. The 45 new training modules of Sahakar Pragya of the National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) will impart training to primary cooperative societies in rural areas of the country along with Lakshmanrao Inamdar National Cooperative Research and Development Academy. On this occasion, Mr. Tomar called upon the cooperative sector to play a role in making the village-poor-farmers Atma Nirbhar. He said, today, India boasts a huge network of over 8.50 lakh cooperative societies with about 290 million members and around 94 per cent of the farmers are member of at least one cooperative society.


President Ram Nath Kovind, will visit Kevadia, Gujarat  tomorrow to inaugurate the two day 80th All India Presiding Officers’ Conference. The two-day Conference is being organized by the Lok Sabha. The Theme for this year’s Conference is Harmonious Coordination between Legislature, Executive and Judiciary-Key to a Vibrant Democracy.

  Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the concluding session of 80th All India Presiding Officers Conference on Thursday. The All India Presiding Officers Conference began in 1921 and this year is also being celebrated as the centenary year of the Presiding Officers Conference.  To celebrate the centenary year, the two day Conference is being held in Kevadia in Gujarat. The Conference will also be attended by Vice President  M. Venkaiah Naidu, Speaker, Lok Sabha and Chairperson of the Conference Om Birla, Governor of Gujarat, Acharya Devvrat and Chief Minister of Gujarat Vijay Rupani.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the virtual third Global Renewable Energy Investment Meeting and Expo-2020 on Thursday. The three days summit is organised by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy .

The theme for RE-Invest 2020 is Innovations for Sustainable Energy Transition. It will feature a 3-day conference on renewables and future energy choices, and an exhibition of manufacturers, developers, investors and innovators.


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, he said, Guru Tegh Bahadur made supreme sacrifice to protect the faith, belief and rights of the people. Mr Kovind said, his sacrifice inspires all of us to unite for the true service of humanity.


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.


India has announced the launch of Phase-IV of the High Impact Community Development Projects in Afghanistan. It envisages more than 100 projects worth  80 million dollars that India would undertake in Afghanistan. External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar said this during the  2020 Afghanistan Conference organized in Geneva through video- conference. The two day conference began from yesterday and was co-hosted by the United Nations, the Government of Afghanistan and the Government of Finland.

 Dr Jaishankar also announced that India had just concluded with Afghanistan an agreement for the construction of the Shatoot dam, which would provide safe drinking water to two million residents of Kabul city. He said, India had earlier built the 202-kilometer Phul-e-Khumri transmission line that provided electricity to Kabul city.

In his statement, Dr Jaishankar emphasized India’s long term commitment to the development of Afghanistan and the benefit of it’s people as a contiguous neighbor and strategic partner.

He said, India’s development portfolio in Afghanistan has to-date amounted to over 3 billion US dallars. He highlighted that no part of Afghanistan today is untouched by the 400 plus projects that India has undertaken in all 34 of Afghanistan’s provinces. He said, more than 65 thousand Afghan students have also studied in India.

Dr Jaishankar pointed out that Afghanistan’s growth has been constrained by its land locked geography and highlighted India’s efforts to provide an alternate connectivity through Chabahar port and a dedicated Air Freight Corridor between India and Afghanistan. He said, India’s humanitarian assistance of 75 thousand  tonnes of wheat to strengthen food security of Afghanistan during the Covid pandemic has been transported through Chabahar port.  India has invested heavily in peace and development in Afghanistan and believes that the gains of the last two decades must be preserved and the interests of minorities, women and vulnerable sections must be ensured. The EAM expressed concern regarding the increasing level of violence in Afghanistan and reiterated India’s call for an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire.


Key domestic indices today zoomed one percent to hit lifetime highs. Amid gains in global markets, the BSE 30-share index, Sensex achieved 44,500 mark. The NSE Nifty-50 index also ended at a record high as it climbed above 13,000 level. A report from the business world-

"Sensex jumped 446 points to settle at 44,523. The NSE Nifty-50 index also surged 129 points to settle at 13,055. In the forex market, the rupee depreciated 10 paise and settled at 74 rupees against the US dollar. And Brent crude prices were trading around 46 dollars and 50 cents per barrel while WTI crude prices were around 43 dollars and 60 cents per barrel. Rajesh Lekh for AIR News."


Now, let us take a look at the weather forecast for tomorrow.

In Jammu, the minimum temperature will be 12 degrees Celsius while the maximum will be 18 degrees. The city will have generally cloudy sky with light rain.

 Srinagar will have rain or snow. Temperature will hover between zero degree celsius and four degrees.

In Leh, there will be light snowfall. The minimum temperature will be minus four degrees Celsius while the maximum will be zero degree.

Gilgit will experience light snow with temperature hovering between minus two degree celsius to seven degrees.
Muzafarrabad is likely to have thunderstorm with rain. The temperature will move from five to 14 degrees Celsius.

The National capital will have fog or mist in the morning and partly cloudy sky later with tempearture varying between 12 and 25 degrees Celsius.

Mumbai will have mainly clear sky. Temperature will vary between 20 and 34 degrees Celsius.
Chennai to have generally cloudy sky with heavy rain and the temperature will hover between 24 and 28 degrees Celsius.

Kolkata will have partly cloudy sky. The city will observe minimum temperature of 18 degrees Celsius and  a maximum of 27 degrees.

In Dehradun, the temperature will hover between 9 and 22 degrees Celsius. Sky will be partly cloudy with possibility of rain or Thunderstorm or Duststorm.


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