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News Highlights
'Teeka Utsav' is the beginning of 2nd big war against Corona Pandemic: PM Modi            India becomes fastest vaccinating country in world; Administers over 10 crore doses of COVID-19 vaccine in 85 days            Centre prohibits exports of injection Remdesivir & Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients of Remdesivir            Delhi govt bans all gatherings except marriages & funerals till 30th April            Campaigning in full swing for 5th phase of assembly elections in West Bengal along with by-polls in different states           

Text Bulletins Details

Evening News

2030 HRS

2030 HRS.

26th February, 2021


  • Election Commission announces schedule for Assembly elections in West Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry; Polling to be held between 27th March to 29th April.

  • Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry to go to polls in one phase on April 6.

  • Three phase polling for Assam, 8-phase elections for West Bengal.

  • Model Code of Conduct comes into effect in poll bound states.

  • Prime Minister says farmers, processing units, MSMEs and Start-ups will be real drivers of Atmanirbhar Bharat.

  • GDP growth for third quarter of current fiscal shows that positive growth of economy is returning to pre-pandemic times.

  • Preparations underway for next phase of administering Covid 19 vaccines to citizens over 60 years of age and those above 45 years of age with co-morbidities.

  • Centre extends existing COVID Guidelines for Surveillance, Containment and Caution till 31st of March this year.

  • India Toy Fair 2021 to be inaugurated by Prime Minister tomorrow through video conferencing.

  • Finance Minister asserts that National Infrastructure Pipeline will play a critical role in revitalizing economy post pandemic. 

  • Sensex sheds 1,939 points amid global selloff; Nifty down 568 points.


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. 


Assembly elections in West Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry will be held between 27th March to 29th April. The counting of votes in all the four states and one Union Territory will take place on 2nd May. 

Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora announced the poll schedule in New Delhi this evening. The assembly elections in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry will be held in a single phase on 6th April.

In West Bengal, polling will be held IN eight phases on 27th March, 1st, 6th, 10th, 17th, 22nd, 26th and 29th April.

Assam will go to polls in three phases on 27th March and 1st and 6th April. 

The Chief Election Commissioner said, 18.68 crore electors will vote at 2.7 lakh polling stations for 824 seats in this election for four states and one Union Territory.

Mr Arora said, the polling time has been increased by one hour. He said, webcasting arrangement will be in place at polling stations in critical and vulnerable areas. The Chief Election Commissioner said, adequate Central Armed Police Forces deployment will be ensured during elections and all critical, vulnerable polling stations. He added that special observers have been appointed in the four states going to polls.

Elaborating about measures in view of the Covid-19 pandemic, Mr Arora said, everyone on poll duty will be vaccinated before the elections. He said, door-to-door campaigning will be restricted to five persons including the candidate. The CEC said, the model code of conduct came into force with the announcement of the elections. 

On the occasion the Commission also announced By-poll for Kanyakumari Lok Sabha constituency in Tamil Nadu and Malappuram Lok Sabha in Kerala which be held on 6th April.


Political parties have welcomed the announcement of assembly polls in four states and one UT. 

Talking to AIR ( News), BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli said his party will go to the poll with its positive agenda and work done by it for the welfare of people.

Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said his party will raise the issue of failure of BJP rule on the issue of price rise, unemployment and others.

Senior CPI leader Atul Anjan said, this polls will be the challenge for the BJP to retain power in Assam, perform well in West Bengal and open accounts in southern states. 


In Assam, all the political parties have welcomed the polls dates. Talking to AIR Correspondent, the Spokespersons and leaders of the BJP, Congress, Asom Gana Parishad, AIUDF, Raijor Dal welcomed the announcement of the ECI that the polling process would come to an end before the Bohag Bihu in mid - April. Assam is going to polls in 3 phases beginning 27th of March.

" With the declaration of  schedule today, the polls process intensified. There are 126 assembly seats in the state. Due to Covid situation, number of polling stations have been increased in the election. The Office of the Chief Electoral Officer has already started awareness drive to increase the polling percentage. Manas Pratim Sarma, AIR News, Guwahati"


In West Bengal, the elections will be held in 8 phases  from 27th march 2021 to 29th April 2021 for 294 assembly constituencies.

" West Bengal CEO Aariz Aftab informed in a press conference held  today in Kolkata that elections will be held in 1,01,916 polling stations.There are total 7,32,94,980 voters including third gender. He further informed that All polling stations will be on the ground floor. It is to be noted that central forces have already been deployed in West bengal. The forces will lay stress on area domination, specially in sensitive zones, assisted by state poli e and senior officials of the district administration. Dr Priyanka Charan for AIR News, Kolkata."


Our Puducherry correspondent reports that the term of the Puducherry legislative Assembly will come to an end on 8th June this year.

The term of the Puducherry legislative Assembly will come to an end on 8 th June, 2021. Puducherry will go to poll on April 6th 2021 in single phase along with the polling state Tamil Nadu. The notification will be issued on March 12 th. And the filing of nominations also starts on the day. The last date for nomination is 19 th March and it will be scrutinised on 20 th and those who are not willing to contest can withdraw their nominations before 22 nd. Polling will be held on April 6 th and counting along with results will be announced on May 2nd. Chandra Mohan, AIR News. "


Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that farmers, processing Units, MSMEs and Start Ups will be the real drivers of an Atmanirbhar Bharat. Addressing a webinar on implementation of Budget in the financial services sector, Mr Modi said, the government's vision regarding the financial sector is very clear. He said, trust, transparency and faith are the cornerstones of the financial sector.

" देश के फाइनेंशियल सेक्टर को लेकर सरकार का विजन बिल्कुल साफ है। कोई इफ्स एण्ड बट्स की जगह नहीं है। देश में कोई भी Depositor हो या कोई भी Investor, दोनों ही Trust और Transparency अनुभव करें, ये हमारी सर्वोच्च प्राथमिकता है। देश की वित्तीय व्यवस्था चलती ही, अगर किसी एक बात पर वो टिकी हुई है तो वो है विश्वास। विश्वास अपनी कमाई की सुरक्षा का, विश्वास निवेश के फलने-फूलने का और विश्वास देश के विकास का।"

Mr Modi asserted that under the NDA government the banking and Non Banking sectors have undergone sea changes making them much more transparent and reliable.

"बैंकिंग और नॉन बैंकिंग सेक्टर के पुराने तौर-तरीकों और पुरानी व्यवस्थाओं में स्वाभाविक रूप से बहुत बड़ा बदलाव रहा है। और बदलना हम लोगों के लिए भी अनिवार्य हो चुका है। 10-12 साल पहले Aggressive Lending के नाम पर कैसे देश के बैंकिंग सेक्टर को, फाइनेंशियल सेक्टर को नुकसान पहुंचाया गया, ये आप अच्छी तरह जानते भी हैं, समझते भी हैं। Non-Transparent क्रेडिट कल्चर से देश को बाहर निकालने के लिए एक के बाद एक कदम उठाए गए हैं। आज NPAs को कार्पेट के नीचे दबाने के बजाय, उसे यहां-वहां दिखाकर बचने के बजाय, 1 दिन का NPA भी रिपोर्ट करना ज़रूरी है।"

The Prime Minister also underscored the importance of continued and robust participation of public sector units in the banking and insurance sector in order to ensure universal financial inclusion. Emphasizing on the key reforms introduced by the government in the financial sector, he said that the Insolvency and Bankrupty Code has instilled faith in the lenders. He said the leakage free delivery system, merger of small banks, and provision for Asset Restructuring bodies and Development Financial Institution will ensure a robust, vibrant and transparent financial sector in the country. Mr. Modi said that the usage of technology has helped the country in achieving an unprecedented growth in financial inclusion. He said the country has accomplished the feat of rolling out Aadhar Cards for nearly 130 crore countrymen in addition to opening of Jan Dhan Accounts for 41 crore beneciaries. The Prime Minister said with the existing pace of growth, the FINTECH sector in the country is expected to reach the 6 trillion dollar mark in the next three years.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur also participated in the webinar.


India's economy grew 0.4 percent in October-December period of current fiscal. According to official data released today, the Gross Domestic Product, GDP, in third quarter, Q3, of 2020-21 is estimated at 36.22 lakh crore rupees showing a growth of 0.4 percent at constant prices of 2011-12 fiscal. GDP growth for third quarter of current fiscal shows that positive growth of economy is returning to pre-pandemic times.

GDP of the country witnessed growth after logging contraction in the last two quarters. In Q1, the GDP of Covid-19 hit economy logged a contraction of 23.9 percent while in Q2 it shrank 7.5 percent.

According to the National Statistical Office, NSO, data GDP during 2020-21 is estimated at minus 8.0 percent as compared to 4.0 percent in 2019-20 at the constant prices.

According to the data, the Per Capita Income in real terms at 2011-12 Prices during 2020-21 is estimated to attain a level of 85,929 rupees with negative growth of 9.1 percent as it was 94,566 rupees in the year 2019-20.

The government in its release said, the measures taken by the Government to contain spread of the Covid-19 pandemic have had an impact on the economic activities as well as on the data collection mechanisms.


Preparations are underway for the next session of COVID 19 Vaccination for citizens over 60 years of age and those above 45 years of age with comorbidities. In view of this, the ongoing sessions of vaccination will not take place on Saturday and Sunday in wake of IT system transition from Co-Win 1.0 to Co-Win 2.0.

Participating in a programme on All India Radio, Director AIIMS, Dr Randeep Guleria explained the process of vaccination at Government and Private Centres:


Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan today chaired a high-level meeting with Health Secretaries of States and Union Territories on the vaccination of age-appropriate groups through a video conference. The nationwide COVID-19 Vaccination drive was launched on 16th January this year. The government will start administering the COVID-19 vaccine to people above 60 years of age and those within the age bracket of 45 to 59 years with specified co-morbidities from the 1st of next month. The States and UTs were explained the basic features of version 2.0 of the digital platform CO-Win, which is a population-scale software with capacity of processing several thousands of entries. The new phase of vaccination of age-appropriate groups will expand the COVID vaccination in the country manifold.

All beneficiaries must be advised to carry any one of the photo ID document including Aadhar Card, Electoral Photo Identity Card, Certificate of co-morbidity for citizens in age group of 45 years to 59 years, signed by a registered medical practitioner.

The beneficiaries will be able to self register in advance by downloading the CO-Win 2.0 portal and through other IT Applications such as Arogya Setu. This will show the Government and private hospitals serving as COVID Vaccination Centres with date and time of the available schedules. The beneficiary would be able to choose the COVID Vaccination Centres of his choice and book an appointment for vaccination.

Vaccination will be free of charge at the Government Vaccination Centres. The beneficiary will have to show a photo ID document for proof of age and certificate of co-morbidity. Those taking the COVID vaccine at any designated and empanelled private health facility will have to pay a pre-fixed charge.


Over 1.37 core COVID-19 vaccinations were done so far in the country.  Briefing media in New Delhi today,  Joint Secretary in Health Ministry Dr Mandeep Bhandari said, over 88 lakh 41  thousand Health Care Workers  and 49 lakh 15  thousand  Front Line Workers  have administered the vaccines till now. He said, Health Care Workers first dose coverage of more than 80 percent was done in seven  States and UTs and Front Line Workers first dose coverage of more than 60 percent was done in seven States and UTs. Dr Bhandari said, two lakh 84 thousand vaccines  were given today.

Meanwhile, the country's COVID-19 recovery rate stands at 97.17 per cent with recovery of more than 12 thousand 179 patients within 24 hours. 


Ministry of Home Affairs has extended the existing COVID Guidelines for Surveillance, Containment and Caution till the 31st of March this year. The Ministry said, while there has been a substantial decline in the active and new COVID-19 cases, there is need to maintain surveillance, containment and caution so as to fully overcome the pandemic. The States and Union Territories have been advised to speed up the vaccination of the target population to break the chain of transmission. They have also been asked that Containment Zones continue to be demarcated carefully, prescribed containment measures strictly followed within these zones and COVID-appropriate behaviour promoted and strictly enforced. The Standard Operating Procedures prescribed in respect of various permitted activities will be followed scrupulously.  The Minister has directed them to strictly enforce the focussed approach on surveillance, containment and strict observance of the guidelines and SOPs.


China has recognized India’s efforts in supplying COVID-19 vaccines to the world especially poorer nations. In response to a question at a press briefing in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said that it welcomes India shipping more doses of free COVID-19 vaccines around the world, especially to poorer countries, compared with Chinese vaccine supplies. He added, China hopes to see more countries taking actions to provide vaccines to the world, especially developing countries, to help with the global response.

True to its earned fame of World’s Pharmacy, India focused on its production capacity to vaccinate its own billion plus population as well as supplying to the world especially, poorer nations through WHO led COVAX.


India and China should jointly consolidate the existing outcomes, maintain the momentum of consultation, improve the border control mechanism, advance the border negotiation process, continue to accumulate and enhance mutual trust, further ease the situation and achieve peace and tranquility in the border area, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said during his telephonic conversation with India’s External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar. Both the leaders spoke over phone on Thursday to discuss the implementation of Moscow agreement and to review the status of the disengagement process in the eastern Ladakh area near the Line of Actual Control (LAC). A Chinese Foreign Ministry statement over this telephonic conversation said today that the recent disengagement of front-line Chinese and Indian forces in the Pangong Lake area has clearly eased the situation on the ground. The statement also said that both sides have agreed to establish a hotline for better communication and to exchange opinions in a timely manner.

" The phone call which lasted 75 minutes, was the first formal contact between both the foreign ministers since they met on the margins of the (SCO) meeting in Moscow on September 10th last year, and it came days after India and China completed first phase of troops disengagement around Pangong Lake along with armoured vehicles and artillery. After this, Both the sides completed 10th round of Corps Commander level talks on 20th February but no breakthrough has yet been announced on the disengagement in other areas as agreed in the Moscow agreement. However, it is important that both the sides have given importance to communication and agreed to establish a hotline for better communication. It is also worth noting that both the sides have recognized that recent disengagement of the two militaries in the Pangong Lake area is an important result of the earnest implementation of the Moscow consensus of the two foreign ministers. India hopes to strengthen dialogue and consultation with China to achieve complete disengagement in other regions as soon as possible. Anshuman Mishra, AIR News, Beijing."


Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the India Toy Fair 2021 tomorrow through video conferencing. Toys play a significant part in the development of a child’s mind and also help improve psychomotor and cognitive skills in children. The Fair aims to provide an impetus to the underlying themes of Atmanirbhar Bharat and vocal for local campaigns, launched by the Government to promote indigenous industries. It also aims to leverage the potential of toys in making learning joyful across all ages in education.

In his Mann ki Baat programme in August last year, the Prime Minister had said that toys not only augment activity, but also give flight to aspirations. Noting the importance of toys in the holistic development of a child, the Prime Minister has earlier also emphasized boosting toy manufacturing in India.

" टॉय इंडस्ट्री बहुत व्यापक है इसे आगे बढ़ाने के लिए देश को मिलकर मेहनत करनी होगी। मैं अपने स्टार्टअप मित्रों से अपने नए उद्यमियों से कहता हूं कि टीमअप और टायज़ आइये मिलकर खिलौने बनाएं। सभी के लिए लोकल खिलौनों के लिए वोकल होने का समय है। आइए हम अपने युवाओं के लिए कुन नए प्रकार के अच्छी क्वालिटि वाले खिलौने बनाते हैं। खिलौना वो हो जिसकी मौजूदगी में बचपन खेले भी खिलखिलाए भी। हम ऐसे खिलौने बनाए जो पर्यावरण के भी अनुकूल हों।"

Our correspondent reports that the Toy Fair is being organized in line with this vision of the Prime Minister. Through this platform, the government and the industry will come together to discuss how India can be made the next global hub for manufacturing and sourcing of toys by way of attracting investments in the sector and promoting exports. 

"The four-day event aims to bring together all stakeholders including buyers, sellers, students, teachers and designers on a virtual platform to create sustainable linkages and encourage dialogue for the overall development of the industry. Over one thousand exhibitors from across 30 States and Union Territories will display their products in an e-commerce enabled virtual exhibition. It will showcase traditional Indian toys as well as modern toys including electronic toys, plush toys, puzzles and games. The fair will also host numerous webinars and panel discussions with eminent Indian and international speakers with proven capabilities in toy design and manufacturing. For children, it is an opportunity to participate in a plethora of activities, including craft demonstrations on traditional toy making and virtual visits to toy museums and factories. With Dipendra Kumar, Anupam Mishra, AIR News Delhi. "


Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today highlighted that the National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) will play a critical role in revitalizing economy post pandemic.  She said, NIP is not only just central government budgetary expenditure on Infrastructure but also includes infra spending by states and private sector. Chairing a virtual meeting with CEO, NITI Aayog and Secretaries of 22 Infrastructure Ministries and Departments, she discussed post-budget action points for infrastructure roadmap ahead including NIP implementation.


Benchmark domestic stocks today tumbled 3.8 percent in sync with the plunge in the global equity markets.

The BSE Sensex closed 1939 points, or 3.8 percent, down at 49,100, The NSE Nifty also fell 568 points, or 3.76 percent, to finish at 14,529. The broader market at BSE also declined but outperformed the Sensex. The BSE Mid-Cap index ended 1.44 percent down while the BSE Small-Cap index slipped 0.74 percent. In the Sensex pack, shares of all 30 companies fell. Sectoral indices at BSE also all 19 sectors declined. In the Global equity market, Asian stocks plunged the most in nine months. Japan's NIKKEI-225 plunged four percent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng tumbled 3.6 percent and South Korea’s KOSPI declined 2.8 percent. China’s Shanghai Composite index fell 2.1 percent and Singapore Straits Times slipped 0.8 percent. Arjun Chowdhury, for AIR News."


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