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Last Updated : Jan 17 2021 9:58PM     Screen Reader Access
News Highlights
Connectivity through 8 new special trains to Kevadiya will give a boost to tourism, job opportunities: PM            Home Minister reiterates govt's commitment to national security, self reliance & social welfare            Country's Covid-19 recovery rate reaches 96.58 per cent            Sporting facilities to be named after renowned athletes: Kiren Rijiju            Australia lead India by 54 runs at stumps on day three           

Text Bulletins Details

Midday News

1400 HRS


  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi asks scientists to make extra efforts to inform public in simple language about COVID-19 vaccine and related matters.

  • Country's COVID-19 recovery rate improves to 93.81 per cent.

  • Home Minister Amit Shah says, Covid-19 pandemic time was utilised in making major policy decisions and latest GDP figures show encouraging results.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take part in world famous Dev Deepawali festival in Varanasi this evening.

  • Guru Nanak Jayanti being celebrated today across the country and abroad; President, Vice President and Prime Minister greet the people on the occasion.


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 in details:


Prime Minister Narendra Modi today held virtual meetings with 3 teams working on developing and manufacturing a COVID-19 vaccine. These teams were from Gennova Biopharmaceuticals Ltd Pune, Biological E Ltd Hyderabad and Dr. Reddys Laboratories Ltd Hyderabad.

Mr Modi appreciated the efforts being made by the scientists in these companies to come out with a vaccine solution to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. The potential of various platforms for vaccine development was also discussed.

He also asked the companies to come out with their suggestions and ideas regarding the regulatory processes and related matters. He also suggested that they should make extra efforts to inform the general public in simple language about the vaccine and related matters such as its efficacy etc. Matters relating to logistics, transport, and cold chain in respect of delivering the vaccines were also discussed.

All the vaccine candidates discussed are at different stages of trials and detailed data and results are expected early next year onwards. The Prime Minister advised all the departments concerned to engage with the manufacturers and seek to resolve matters so that the efforts by these companies bear fruit in order to serve the needs of the country and the entire world.


The Prime Minister undertook a 3-city tour recently to conduct an extensive review of the vaccine development and manufacturing process. He visited the Zydus Biotech Park in Ahmedabad, Bharat Biotech in Hyderabad and Serum Institute of India in Pune. 

Two of these sites are indigenously developing COVID-19 vaccines and one of these sites is capable of manufacturing crores of doses of vaccines to save the world. A report:

"Prime Minister Modi told the scientists that he chose to meet them face to face in order to boost their morale and help accelerate their efforts at this critical juncture in the vaccine development journey. He stressed that India considers vaccines as not only vital to good health but also as a global good. India has become the Pharmacy of the World in its fight against the pandemic. The country is not only leading the world in research for vaccines but will also be crucial for the world’s vaccine production. Next month, ambassadors of 100 countries are scheduled to visit Pune to visit Serum Institute of India and Gennova Biopharmaceuticals Limited. With Dipendra Kumar, Suparna Saikia, AIR News, Delhi. "


The country's COVID-19 recovery rate has improved to 93.81 per cent as a total of 45 thousand 333 patients have recovered during the last 24 hours. According to the Health Ministry, the total number of recoveries has gone up to over 88 lakh 47 thousand. The actual caseload currently comprises only 4.74 per cent of the total positive cases. Presently, the total number of active cases in the country is four lakh 46 thousand 952.

During the past 24 hours, 38 thousand 772 new cases were reported taking the total number of positive cases to over 94 lakh 31 thousand. The Ministry said, that effective implementation of the strategic and graded Test, Track and Treat approach has led to higher recoveries and lower fatality. Currently, India’s Case Fatality Rate is at 1.45 per cent which is one of the lowest globally. During the last 24 hours, 443 deaths were reported taking the toll to one lakh 37 thousand 139.

According to the Indian Council of Medical Research, over 8 lakh 76 thousand tests were conducted during the last 24 hours. The total number of samples tested so far has gone up to over 14 crore 3 lakh.


In Assam, hostels will be reopened in a limited manner  from the 15 th of December in the state. Health and Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that students of the final year will be allowed in hostels from the 15th of next month. Our Correspondent reports that classes from 7th standard onwards have already started following all COVID-19 protocols. 

"Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that elementary schools upto class six will be reopened on 1st of January in Assam. He said that SOP for re- opening of hostels and classes for nursery to 6th standard will be issued by the Education department. The minister said that Covid test will be conducted before re-opening of hostels and schools. Mr. Sarma further clarified that number of Covid cases are declining in the state however he urged all to remain vigil. The Minister said that opening of hostels for other students will be decided later after observing the situation. Classes from 7th standard onwards have already started in the state with all COVID-19 protocols. Manas Pratim Sarma, AIR NEWS, GUWAHATI."


In Tripura 31,707 people infected with Coronavirus have been cured and the recovery rate has improved to 97.11%. The state registered 33 new cases in the past 24 hours and 75 patients were discharged from hospitals yesterday. As of today, the tally rose to 32,674. Presently, the active cases have also dropped to 574.


In Mizoram, three fresh cases of coronavirus infections were detected and 15 patients have recovered in the past 24 hours. With this, the total number of Covid19 positive cases rose to 3826. The recovery rate has further improved to 89.98%. According to the state medical bulletin, 3,440 people have recovered and the number of active cases presently stands at 381.


In Delhi, a total of four thousand 906 new confirmed cases of Corona virus infection were reported during the last 24 hours taking the total number of cases to over five lakh 66 thousand. the Delhi Government has said that over five lakh 22 thousand people affected with Corona virus have been cured so far. In the last 24 hours, 6 thousand 325 people recovered and 68 deaths were reported in the city taking the toll to 9 thousand 66. Presently, the total number of active cases in the national capital is 35 thousand 91.

Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has directed that the rates of RT PCR tests are to be reduced in Delhi. In a tweet, Mr Kejriwal said this will help those who get their tests done in private labs. He added that tests are being conducted free of cost in government establishments.


Telangana state reported 593 fresh COVID cases during the past 24 hours. With this the total COVID cases reported in the state has gone up to 2 lakh 69, 816. The state conducted over 33 thousand tests yesterday. The recovery rate marginally improved to 95.74 per cent with 1058 more people recovering yesterday. This took the number of recovered people so far in the state to 2 lakh 58 thousand 336.


The Tamil Nadu Government has extended the lockdown till the 31st of December with a slew of further relaxations. The move comes in the wake of the current phase of the unlock necessitated by the Covid-19 pandemic drawing to a close tonight. More from our correspondent:

 "The new phase of the unlock comes into force from tomorrow. It envisages reopening of all colleges on the 7th December, for the final year undergraduate classes. For the medical colleges, all the classes would begin on the day. However, the announcement made by the state chief minister is silent on the reopening of schools. The iconic Marina Beach in Chennai and all other beaches would be accessible for tourists and visitors from the 14th December. Religious, socio and political events in indoor stadia will be admissible in December this year with the maximum of 50 percent of the seat occupancy and a ceiling of 200 people at a time, with due permission from the district officials. Jayasingh, AIR News, Chennai."


Archer Kapil has tested positive for coronavirus. He is part of the National Archery camp underway at Army Sports Institute, Pune. Youth Affairs and Sports Ministry said Kapil is asymptomatic and being monitored by a medical team.

He was on 18 days leave and was tested on arrival upon rejoining the camp as per the standard SOP established by the Sports Authority of India.


In Madhya Pradesh, strict steps are being taken by the administration in view of the increasing cases of corona infection in many cities including Bhopal and Indore. For the past several days more than 500 new cases have been reported in Indore and more than 300 cases in Bhopal. The number of active cases in the state has increased to around 15 thousand. A report from our Bhopal Correspondent:

"To stop the spread of corona infection in Bhopal, the Roko Toko campaign has been started by the NSS and social organizations on the instructions of the administration. Under this campaign, people are being advised to wear masks through the characters of Yamraj and Chitragupta, along with the distribution of masks free of cost by the organizations. Collector Avinash Lavania has given the instructions to implement the Roko-Toko campaign effectively in the entire district. The Roko Toko campaign is advising people to wear masks, not to go to crowded places and not to leave homes without reason to avoid corona infections. Fines are also being imposed on those who do not follow the rules. Sanjeev Sharma, AIR News, Bhopal"


Talking to AIR, Dr. Neeraj Gupta of Vardhman Mahavir Medical College and Safdarjung Hospital said that precautions are important while attending marriage ceremonies.


Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan distributed masks and soaps at the Old Delhi Railway Station today. Emphasizing on the importance of wearing Mask and washing of hands, Dr Vardhan said the most important principle is to follow basic principles of hygiene and physical distancing. He said mask and sanitizer are the biggest weapon in the fight against COVID.


Union Home Minister Amit Shah has said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had anticipated the adverse impact of Covid 19 pandemic on the economy and utilised this difficult time in making decisions of policy making .

Virtually inaugurating two flyovers in Ahmedabad Mr. Shah said the Government has taken a series of long term policy decisions whether in the farm sector, electricity or tax reforms. He said the latest GDP figures are encouraging and hopefully it will be in positive territory in the coming days.

The Union Home Minister said that Gujarat has already achieved the electricity consumption and GST collection of pre-covid level. He said that Gujarat is also leading the country in getting the highest GDP numbers despite Covid19 pandemic.

Mr. Shah said that the work of connecting all means of transportation has begun under the able leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He said that he was happy that the Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel are taking these works forward in Gujarat.  


Agriculture market reforms brought about by the NDA government in September this year are aimed at bringing about transformational change in the lives of farmers. Eliminating middlemen who pocketed most of the farmers’ productive incomes and ending the monopoly of buyers’ cartels in the mandis were the key objective behind the reforms.

The farmers have been given the freedom to sell their produce wherever they can get a better price. They can even sell their produce at the farm gate, factory premises, warehouses, silos or cold storages where their grains and other produce was stored. These agriculture market reforms are a culmination of a clutch of measures taken by the centre in last six years to double farmers’ income.


Union Minister Prakash Javadekar has asked people not to harbor misunderstandings regarding the recent agriculture reforms. In a tweet, Mr Javadekar said farmers in Punjab have sold more rice than last year in the market and at a higher MSP. He said MSP is still in place, mandis are alive and government procurement is also happening.


The opposition parties in Tamil Nadu led by the DMK have demanded talks with the agitating farmers in Delhi. In a joint statement, the leaders of the DMK, the TNCC, the Left and several other parties have said talks should be held unconditionally. They have also demanded the roll back of the three farm acts passed recently, saying they are against the interest of the farmers.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi is reaching his parliamentary constituency Varanasi today and take part in the world famous Dev Deepawali festival in the evening. During his day-long visit the Prime Minister will take part in many functions.

In a short while from now the Prime Minister will dedicate to the nation the six-lane widening project of the Handia (Prayagraj) - Rajatalab (Varanasi) section of National Highway 19. The 73 Km stretch of the newly widened and six laned NH-19, made with a total outlay of 2447 crore rupees, is expected to reduce the travel time between Prayagraj and Varanasi by one hour. Mr. Modi will address a gathering also. During the tour, the Prime Minister will  undertake a site visit of Kashi Vishwanath Temple Corridor Project and also visit the Sarnath Archaeological Site. More from our Uttar Pradesh correspondent:

"Dev Deepawali, which has become a world famous festival of light and fervour in Varanasi is celebrated on every Poornima of the Kartik month. The festival will be started by the Prime Minister by lighting a diya on the Raj Ghat of Varanasi, which will be followed by lighting of more than 15 lakh diyas on various ghats on both sides of River Ganges. Many cultural troops will perform on the ghats to welcome the Prime Minister who will also address a small gathering there. Prior to this Prime Minister will undertake a site visit of the under construction Kashi Vishwanath Temple Corridor Project to review its progress. SUSHIL CHANDRA TIWARI, AIR NEWS, VARANASI."


Guru Nanak Jayanti or Gurpurab is being celebrated with religious fervour across India and the world today. It marks the birth of the first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak, who laid the foundation of Sikhism. This year marks the 551st birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.

On this day, devotees around the world offer prayers. The Golden temple in Amritsar celebrates Gurpurab with much aplomb.


President Ram Nath Kovind and Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu have greeted people on the occasion. In his message, Mr Kovind has said that the life and teachings of Guru Nanak Dev are an inspiration for all human-beings. He showed people the path of unity, harmony, fraternity, comity and service, and gave an economic philosophy to realize a lifestyle based on hard work, honesty and self-respect. 

The President said that Guru Nanak Dev gave the basic mantra of ‘Ek Onkar’ to his followers and insisted on treating all human beings equally, without discriminating on the basis of caste, creed and gender. Mr Kovind said that his message of 'Naam Japo, Kirat Karo and Vand Chhako' contains the essence of all his teachings.

Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu has greeted the nation on the occasion of Guru Nanak Jayanti. In his message, Mr Naidu said that the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak Dev Ji has remained an icon of truth, compassion, and righteousness through his noble life. He has a unique place among the spiritual leaders, preceptors, reformers and saints of India. Mr Naidu said, his teachings have universal appeal and would forever inspire us to follow the path of compassion and humility and to show respect for all humankind, irrespective of caste, creed or religion.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has greeted the people on the occasion. In his Mann Ki Baat programme, Mr Modi said he is deeply inspired by the noble ideals of Guru Nanak Dev. Prime Minister Modi said, the world over, the influence of Guru Nanak Dev ji is distinctly visible.


Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh today  greeted everyone on the occasion of 551st Prakash Parb of Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji before leaving for Sultanpur Lodhi and Dera Baba Nanak to participate in the festivities. On reaching Sultanpur Lodhi, he led  the sangat in paying obesiance at historic Gurdwara Sri Ber Sahib. He also laid the foundation stones of various development projects in the town associated with Baba Nanak. Later, Chief Minister  paid visit to Dera Baba Nanak, where he paid  respects at Gurdwara Sri Darbar Sahib .


In Telangana, elaborate arrangements have been made for tomorrow’s polling for Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation. Over 74 lakh 67 thousand electors comprising of over 38.89 lakh men and over 35.76 lakh women voters are likely to exercise their franchise at 9101 polling stations.

State Election Commissioner C Parthsarathy informed that all arrangements are in place. The polling will be held through ballot paper in the wake of COVID -19 pandemic from 7AM to 6PM tomorrow. Electors can show their EPIC card to cast their vote or slips distributed by the authorities or any one of the 18 listed photo identity cards.

Our Hyderabad Correspondent says there are a total of 1122 candidates in the fray for the 150-division Municipal Corporation. A report:

"Amidst tight security arrangements, the State Election Commission authorities have made all arrangements for free and fair poll tomorrow. Over 52 thousand police forces have been deployed near and around 9101 polling stations out of which more than half of them were identified as sensitive or hypersensitive.  Over 48 thousand polling staff have been put on duty and they all will be reaching the concerned polling stations this evening. Considering the COVID pandemic, 1 lakh 20 thousand COVID-19 kits have been distributed, at a rate of 10 to each Polling Station and 60 thousand sanitizer bottles have been put for use at the polling stations. Special arrangements have been made for the aged electors who are above 80 years of age, differently abled, and mothers with small children and those who are COVID positive. The COVID positive electors will be allowed to exercise their franchise during the last hour of the polling. Lakshmi, Airnews, Hyderabad'


The Karnataka State Election Commission has announced elections for 5,762 Gram Panchayats today. The Commissioner of the state Election Commission Dr. B Basavaraj informed media persons in Bengaluru today that the elections will be held in two phases. The first phase of the election will be held on December 22nd for 2930 Gram Panchayats in 113 Taluks and the second phase election will be held on December 27th in 2832 Gram Panchayats in 113 Taluks.

The counting of votes will be held for both the phases on December 30th.


In Kerala, fishing has been banned along the coast from midnight  tonight as the  Met Department  predicts heavy rain and strong winds in the State from tomorrow, on account of low pressure formed over the Bay of Bengal.

"As sea is expected to be rough with high waves, fishermen who are out in the sea,  are directed to reach the nearest coast at the earliest. The Kerala State Disaster Management Authority is presently taking stock of the situation in a high level meeting headed by the Chief Secretary. The departments of Revenue and Local Self-Government  have been directed to make arrangements to face any adverse situation. Southern regions mainly the coastal and low lying regions of Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Idukki and Pathanamthitta districts are in high . Mayusha for AIR News from Thiruvananthapuram"


Senior BJP leader and MLA from Rajsamand in Rajasthan, Kiran Maheshwari died last night at a hospital in Gurgaon. She was 59 and tested positive for coronavirus. Kiran Maheshwari, a three-time MLA from Rajsamand, was undergoing treatment at Medanta hospital for the past few days. She had served, previously, as a member of parliament in the 14th Lok Sabha where she represented the Udaipur Constituency. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Assembly Speaker CP Joshi, BJP state president Satish Poonia and other leaders have condoled her demise.

In his message, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed pain at the demise of Rajasthan BJP MLA Kiran Maheshwari. In a tweet, Mr Modi said be it as an MP, MLA or Cabinet Minister in the Rajasthan Government, Kiran Maheshwari made numerous efforts to work towards the progress of the state and empower the poor as well as the marginalised.

Union Minister Prakash Javadekar has also expressed grief at the demise of former National President of BJP Mahila Morcha, Kiran Maheshwari. In a tweet, Mr Javadekar extended his condolences to the bereaved family.


India will host Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Council of Heads of Government Meeting in virtual format today. Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu will chair the meeting. In a statement, External Affairs Ministry said, it will be the first time that a Summit-level Meeting will be held under India’s Chairmanship, since it gained full membership of the organization in 2017. This Summit is held annually at the level of Prime Ministers of SCO and deals primarily with the trade and economic agenda of the organization. India assumed the Chairmanship of the SCO Council of Heads of Government on 2nd November last year as per rotation from the previous Chair - Uzbekistan and will complete its year-long tenure on 30th of this month.


The News Services Division of All India Radio in its bilingual live phone-in programme tonight will bring you a Special discussion Programme on Covid-19. Dr Lt Gen Ved Chaturvedi, Rheumatologist, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital will participate in the discussion. Listeners can ask questions to the expert on Toll Free Telephone No: 1800-115767 and on telephone number: 011: 2331-4444. You can post queries on our Twitter handle @airnews s by #tag Askair. This can be heard on FM Gold Channel and additional frequencies from 9.30 PM onwards. This programme will also be available on our website NEWS ON AIR DOT COM and on our YouTube Channel NEWSONAIROFFICIAL. You can also follow us on the NEWSONAIR app for s.


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

Jammu witnessed a minimum temperature of 10 degree Celsius while the maximum will be around 25 degree. The City will have a mainly clear sky.

Srinagar will have mainly clear sky becoming partly cloudy towards afternoon or evening. Temperature will hover between minus one degree celsius and 12 degree.

In Leh, there will be partly cloudy sky becoming generally cloudy towards evening or night. The temperature will varying between minus four degree Celsius  and five degree.

Gilgit will have a partly cloudy with temperature vary between minus three degree celsius to 14 degree.

Muzaffarabad is likely to have a mainly clear sky becoming partly cloudy towards evening and temperature will move between four to 20 degree Celsius.

The National capital will have mainly clear sky.The minimum temperature was recorded at seven degree celsius and maximum will be  around 26 degree Celsius.

Mumbai will observe partly cloudy sky and the temperature will vary between 23 and 34 degree Celsius.

Chennai will have a generally cloudy sky with temperature hovering between 23 and 31 degree.

Kolkata is likely to have mainly clear sky and temperature will vary  between 16 and  28 degree Celsius.

In Dehradun, the temperature will hover between nine and 25 degree Celsius. The sky will be mainly clear.

Chandigarh will have mainly clear sky. The temperature in the city will hover between nine and 24 degree Celsius.



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