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Last Updated : Jan 18 2021 6:44PM     Screen Reader Access
News Highlights
PM Modi lays foundation stone of environment friendly Ahmedabad Metro Rail Project Phase-II and Surat Metro Rail Project            National COVID-19 recovery rate improves to 96.59 per cent            Over 2 lakh people vaccinated for Covid-19 across country during past two days            Britain invites PM Modi to attend G7 Summit to be held in June this year            Brisbane Test: Australia bundled out for 294 on day 4           

Text Bulletins Details

Evening News

2030 HRS

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi says, Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana is an important initiative to secure hardworking farmers from vagaries of nature.

  • Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar says, 90 thousand crore rupees disbursed to farmers in last five years.

  • Government approves procurement of 83 Light Combat Aircraft Tejas  for about 48 thousand crore rupees from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited for the Air Force.

  • Country's COVID-19 recovery rate reaches 96.51 per cent.

  • Festival of harvest being celebrated across the country.


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.


The Central Government's flagship crop insurance scheme - the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) has successfully completed 5 years of its operation. The government took a historic step towards strengthening risk coverage of crops for farmers and approved the scheme on 13th January, 2016.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana is an important initiative to secure hardworking farmers from the vagaries of nature. Congratulating all beneficiaries on the completion of  five years, the Prime Minister added that the scheme has increased coverage, mitigated risk and benefitted crores of farmers in the country.

The government has said that claims worth 90 thousand crore rupees have been disbursed to the farmers in the last five years under PMFBY. Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar has stressed on the need to raise awareness about the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana so that many more farmers can take advantage of the scheme.

Mr Tomar was interacting with stake-holders across the country through video conferencing today. He said, the scheme is a milestone crop insurance scheme, covering the full crop cycle against losses occurring due to non-preventable natural risks.

"राज्‍यों को ये चाहिए कि जो कंपनियां टेंडर में पार्टिसिपेट कर रही हैं, उनके साथ बैठकर हर किसान बीमा योजना के सम्‍पर्क में आगे उसकी तरफ आकर्षित होंगे। इस दृष्टि में निश्चित होल्‍ड में हमको कंपनियों के साथ मिलकर बनाना चाहिए। उसे होनी चाहिए कि फसल बीमा योजना के प्रति हर व्‍यक्ति जागरूक रहें।"

The Minister said, the scheme was fully operational even during the COVID-19 lockdown, distributing claims of over eight thousand 741 crore rupees to around 70 lakh farmers across the country.

The Agriculture Minister also congratulated the state governments, banks and insurance companies for successful implementation of the scheme throughout the country.

Earlier, in a media briefing in New Delhi today, Agriculture Minister said, more that 29 crore farmers have, so far insured their crops and about 5.5  crore new farmers are getting registered every year.

Mr Tomar said, Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana is safeguarding farmers from unexpected crop losses. He said, a crop insurance mobile app is also available, where farmers can get all information related to the scheme.

"प्रधानमंत्री फसल बीमा योजना ये किसानों के लिए प्रतिकूल प्रत्‍येक परिस्थितियों में एक बड़ा सुरक्षा कवच है, जिसका लाभ देशभर में किसानों को मिल रहा है।  क्रोप इंश्‍योरेंस ऐप के माध्‍यम से यह सुविधा किसानों को प्रदान की गई हैं कि वो अपनी स्थिति को कभी भी देख सकें, जांच सकें, किसानों के भुगतान ठीक समय पर हो सकें। राज्‍यों का केन्‍द्र का काम कम हो सकें और ईमानदारी से पूरे पारदर्शी ढंग से उनके नुकसान का मूल्‍यांकन किया जा सकें। इसके लिए सैटेलाइट का उपयोग भी करना प्रारंभ किया है। उसके भी एक अच्‍छे परिणाम आज हम लोगों के सामने आ रहे है।"

Hailing the success of the visionary scheme, Home Minister Amit Shah said, PMFBY has been successful in insuring income of the farmers by giving them crop-insurance cover even after the harvest. He asserted that Government is committed to making farming easy as well as profitable for the farmers in the country.

The scheme was conceived as a milestone initiative to provide a comprehensive risk solution at the lowest uniform premium across the country for farmers. In the scheme, premium cost over and above the farmer share is equally subsidized by the Centre and States.


Government has approved procurement of 83 Light Combat Aircraft, LCA, Tejas worth about 48 thousand crore rupees from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited for Indian Air Force. The Cabinet Committee on Security, CCS chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi today met in New Delhi.

In a series of tweets, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said this deal will be a game changer for self reliance in the Indian defence manufacturing. He said the LCA-Tejas is going to be the backbone of the Indian Air Forces fighter fleet in the years to come. He added that LCA-Tejas incorporates a large number of new technologies many of which were hitherto unattempted in India.

The Defence Minister said the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, HAL has already set-up second line manufacturing facilities at its Nasik and Bengaluru Divisions.

The Defence Minister said the LCA-Tejas programme would act as a catalyst for transforming the Indian aerospace manufacturing ecosystem into a vibrant Atmanirbhar-self-sustaining ecosystem. Under the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan, India is continuously growing its power to indigenously design, develop and manufacture advanced cutting edge technologies and systems in the Defence Sector. About 500 Indian companies including MSMEs in the design and manufacturing sectors will be working with HAL in this procurement.


An ICT Grand Challenge for development of a ‘Smart water supply measurement and monitoring system’ is underway. It was launched on the 15th of September, 2020 by National Jal Jeevan Mission in partnership with Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

Currently, 10 applicants that have been selected are developing prototypes. They will be evaluated in the last week of January and the 4 best techno-economically viable prototypes will be selected for product development.


The Karnataka state cabinet was expanded today with the induction of seven new ministers. Governor Vajubhai Vala administered the oath of office and secrecy to the ministers at a ceremony at the Raj Bhavan. The new ministers are Umesh Katti, S Angara, Murugesh Nirani and Arvind Limbavali and MLCs R Shankar, MTB Nagaraj and C P Yogeshwar.

"Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa and his cabinet colleagues were present during the ceremony. Others present were BJP General Secretary incharge of Karnataka Arun Singh and state unit President Nalin Kumar Kateel. This is the third expansion of the cabinet since Yediyurappa assumed charge in July 2019. The 17 month old Cabinet now has all the 34 berths full. Umesh Katti is an eight time MLA  from Belagavi where Lok Sabha and Assembly by election will be held soon. Nirani and Limbavali are state BJP vice President and former ministers and Angara is a six time MLA from Sullia. Speaking to the media, the Chief Minister had indicated that Excise minister H Nagesh will be asked to step down thereby keeping one berth vacant in the state cabinet. Sudhindra AIR News Bengaluru"


The country's COVID-19 recovery rate has now improved to 96.51 per cent. A total of 17 thousand 817 COVID patients recovered during the last 24 hours. The total number of recoveries has gone up to over one crore one  lakh and 29 thousand. Health Ministry said, the actual caseload currently comprises only 2.04 per cent of the total positive cases. Presently, the total number of active cases in the country is  two lakh 14 thousand 507.

During the past 24 hours, 15 thousand 968 new cases were reported taking the total number of positive cases in the country to over one crore four lakh and 95 thousand. The Ministry said, currently, India’s Case Fatality Rate is at 1.44 per cent, which is one of the lowest globally. During the last 24 hours, 202 deaths were reported taking the toll to one lakh 51 thousand 529.


India will start world’s biggest COVID-19 vaccination drive from Saturday. The much awaited distribution of the Covid vaccine -Covishield developed by the Serum Institute of India Pune has also begun.

The Health Ministry today stressed that there is no question of discrimination against any state in allocation of COVID vaccine doses. In a series of tweets, Health Ministry said full initial procurement amount of one crore 65 lakh doses of Covishield and Covaxin vaccines have been allocated to all States and Union Territories in proportion to their Health Care Workers database. The ministry said this is the initial lot of supply of vaccine doses and would be continuously replenished in the weeks to come. It said any apprehension being expressed on account of deficient supply is totally baseless and unfounded.

The Ministry said, States have been advised to organize vaccination sessions taking into account a 10 percent reserve or wastage doses and average of 100 vaccinations or session per day. Health Ministry said any undue haste on the part of States to organize unreasonable numbers of vaccination per site per day is not advised. The States and UTs have also been advised to increase the number of vaccination session sites that would be operational every day in a progressive manner as the vaccination process stabilizes and moves forward.

Dr Sanjay Pandey of GB Pant hospital has assured people that the Covid vaccine is absolutely safe and asked them to cooperate with the government in the vaccination drive:

"सरकार की जो भी रेगुलेरेट्री एजेंसियां हैं, चाहे वो आईसीएमआर हो, चाहे वो डीसीजीआई है या चाहे नीति आयोग है, चाहे स्‍वास्‍थ्‍य मंत्रालय है, ये सबने मिलकर यह फैसला किया है और जो भी वैक्‍सीन मुहैया कराई जाएगी वो बिल्‍कुल सेफ है, तो मैं जनता में इस बात का भरोसा दिलाना चाहता हूं कि जो भी भारत सरकार ने वैक्‍सीनेशन स्‍टार्ट किया है और जो 16 जनवरी से प्रारंभ होगा, उसपर पूरा भरोसा रखें और इसमें सरकार का सहयोग करें।"

Dr Pandey appealed to people not to panic. He said, a person will be monitored for 30 minutes after administration of vaccine to check for any allergic reaction after vaccination.


Bharat Biotech has announced the successful air-shipment of Covaxin, to 11 cities in the country early today. It has handed over 16.5 Lakh doses to the Government of India. The BBIL in a statement released in Hyderabad, expressed its gratitude to the nation, all the clinical trial volunteers, and its partners for making this a successful and milestone public-private partnership for the development of COVID19- vaccine. Covaxin is a totally indigenous COVID-19 vaccine developed in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) - National Institute of Virology (NIV) and the BBIL at its BSL-3 (Bio-Safety Level 3) biocontainment facility in Hyderabad.


The first consignment of about 94,000 doses of the Covishield vaccine reached the Bhopal airport in Madhya Pradesh today.

"The first  batch of the vaccine doses arrived at the Raja Bhoj Airport in a scheduled flight from Mumbai today. State Medical Education Minister Vishwas  Sarang inspected the State Vaccine Store at Kilol Park , Bhopal.

Mr. Sarang informed that 94 thousand vaccines have come to Bhopal which are being sent to 8 districts of the division Bhopal, Betul, Harda, Hoshangabad, Raisen, Rajgarh, Sehore and Vidisha.  The vaccine will also be available to Gwalior on Thursday. More than 5 lakh 6 thousand vaccines are being received in the first phase. Pooja P. Vardhan, AIR News Bhopal"


In Uttar Pradesh, covid vaccines today reached many prominent cities like Kanpur and Prime minister's constituency Varanasi. Vaccines arrived in Lucknow yesterday and were dispatched to different locations.

"Additional chief secretary health Amit Mohan Prasad informed that vaccines are being dispatched to nine locations and on 16th January they will be given to the target groups. health Minister of state Jai Pratap Singh said that Uttar Pradesh will get around 11 lakh vaccines for vaccination out of which 1lakh 60 thousand vaccines reached Yesterday under first consignment. Meanwhile after a long gap the number of new Corona patients found in one day is less than 500. State now has 10 thousand १३२ covid patients. The recovery rate from covid has father increased to 96.86%. He said that my covid app is helping a lot in getting information about the testing centre for covid in the 5 kilometre radius of any  persons location. it also helps in getting the test results online. SUSHIL CHANDRA TIWARI, AIR NEWS, LUCKNOW"


All preparations for the first phase of COVID vaccination have been completed in Rajasthan. Today 5 lakh 63 thousand 500 doses of vaccine were received by the state. Of these, 4 lakh 43 thousand 500 doses are Covishield vaccine from the Serum Institute of India, while 20 thousand vaccine doses are Covaxin from Bharat Biotech.

"Director of the Health Department,  Dr. Laxman Ola told that the work of sending the vaccines to all the district headquarters will be started from tomorrow morning.  He told that vaccination work will start at 161 places on January 16,, in which four and a half lakh health workers will be vaccinated. Meanwhile, the number of active cases of corona in the state has been reduced to less than 6 thousand. Today 373 new cases of infection have been reported. For the past few days, no district has reported more than 100 case reports in a single day. At the same time the number of new cases is limited to 10 in most of the districts. - Jitendra Dwivedi, AIR News, Jaipur"


The first consignment of COVID-19 vaccine 'Covishield' arrived today in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The consignment has been sent to Central Vaccine Depot at G B Pant Hospital in Port Blair.  Adequate security arrangements were made at the airport for handing over the vaccine. Initially, the vaccination will be carried out at two sites in Port Blair i.e. GB Pant Hospital. Later, this will be extened to six other sites  located  on different Islands.


In Mizoram, 14,421 healthcare workers have registered for the first phase of Covid19 vaccination drive. Of the total health workers, 14,107 are  state health workers and 314 are central healthcare workers.

State Health Secretary H Lalengmawia, who is also the chairman of the state task force for Covid19 vaccination said that the state government is fully prepared for the first phase of the vaccination drive.


In Sikkim the first phase  of Covid19 vaccination programme will be launched on 16th January at STNM hospital, Gangtok, East Sikkim. So far, 180 doses have been allocated for central health care workers, 10,650 for state health care workers and 1,290 for Armed Force Medical Services while the remaining will be kept as buffer stock. 220 vaccinators have been trained so far.


The Government has advised States to efficiently manage the spread of Avian Influenza in accordance with the Action Plan 2021. In a statement, Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying said, as on today, the cases of Avian Influenza have been confirmed in ten states. The cases of unnatural mortality of birds have been reported in Ganderbal district of Jammu and Kashmir and four districts of Jharkhand.

The Ministry said, to deal with the situation the states were asked to coordinate with the department of health and forest and sensitize them about the issue. States were also asked to maintain sufficient supply of protective equipment and maintain bio-security measures in poultry farms. They have been directed to identify BSL-II labs at the state level for speeding up the identification of infection in the state and timely introduction of control mechanism. States were also asked to ensure that the infection does not spread among poultry, as it would have a high economic cost for the poultry farmers. The Ministry said, it was found that many states are banning supply of poultry and poultry products from other states. It has requested states to reconsider such decision, as this will a negative impact on the poultry industry.


A World Health Organization team of experts probing the origins of the pandemic is set to arrive in Wuhan tomorrow amid a spike in new COVID cases in China. The team will undergo quarantine when they reach Wuhan, in central Hubei Province, a National Health Commission (NHC) official said at the press conference today.

"WHO team is visiting at a time when China is facing a rising virus outbreak in multiple cities ahead of its biggest annual festival. WHO experts will communicate with Chinese medical experts by video during their quarantine period in wuhan. China has been sensitive about accusations of a cover-up that delayed its initial response and allowed the virus to spread. Also, China actively pursued to shift the narrative that COVID originated else where, amid allegations on the World Health Organisation’s role, especially in the beginning of the pandemic. Since then, many theories came about the origins of the coronavirus and much remains to be known. It will be a joint investigation by WHO and Chinese scientists and not much details have been published about the action plan. Meanwhile, to guard the capital Beijing against the recent outbreaks in neighboring Hebei, Beijing city authorities have stepped up screening and prevention measures to prevent another cluster from developing there. Anshuman Mishra, All India Radio, Beijing"

The NHC said that Chinese mainland reported 115 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases yesterday, the biggest daily number in months, of whom 107 were locally transmitted.

Heilongjiang province declared a COVID-19 emergency today. The city of Suihua has put its 5.2 million people under lockdown. Hebei province has already put three cities - Shijiazhuang, Xingtai and Langfang bordering beijing city on under lockdown.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi has condoled the passing away of noted social activist and padma shree D Prakash Rao in Cuttack in Odisha today. In a tweet, the Prime Minister has said that he rightly saw education as a vital means to empowerment. Recalling his meeting with D. Prakash Rao in Cuttack a few years ago, the Prime Minister said his outstanding work will continue motivating  people.

Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, in his condolence message said that he worked for the development of the downtrodden. A number of dignitaries including the governor of Odisha Professor Ganeshi Lal, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Union Minister of state Pratap Chandra Sarangi have expressed grief over the sad demise of the social activist.


Celebrations have begun for the festival of harvest across the country. The festival is referred to by different names in different parts of the country such as Pongal in Tamil Nadu, Makara Sankranti in Northern India, Gujarat, West Bengal, and Karnataka and Bihu in Assam.

The festival of harvest, Lohri, is being celebrated today in North India especially in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Jammu and Chandigarh. Lohri marks the end of winter and welcomes longer days of summer as the sun begins its journey to the northern hemisphere. People light bonfire to celebrate the harvest.

In Punjab, this harvest festival is marked by eating sheaves of roasted corn from the new harvest and eating Kheer made with sugarcane juice from January harvest.

"In Punjab Haryana and Chandigarh the bonfires of Lohri are being seen everywhere. The people are celebrating the seasonal as well as harvesting festival of undivided Punjab with great zeal. Everybody is in joyous mood and enjoying the groundnuts, sheaves of roasted corn, gajjak, Rewri and other items made of jaggery, which were offered in the sacred bonfire, lit in the evening. People are dancing on the beats of drum. In Punjab today chief Minister captain Amrinder Singh launched a programme " Dhian Di Lohri" which will continue throughout the month. Today in various institutions and hospitals Dhian Di Lohri was celebrated and girls students and newborn babies were offered gifts in the form of Lohri. Ashwini Kumar Sharma AIR News Chandigarh"

President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have extended their greetings and wishes to the citizens on the occasion.


Puducherry Lt. Governor Kiran Bedi has greeted the people of the Union Territory on the eve of ‘Pongal”.

In her message, the LG said Pongal, the four-day festival is  celebrated at the beginning of the Tamil month “Thay”. The festival is celebrated to express gratitude to the Sun God, the nature and cattle reflecting our culture and tradition observed by the Tamil  Diaspora worldwide. Our Puducherry correspondent tells us more about the festival:

"The first day of Pongal is called Bogi, and is celebrated in honour of Lord Indra. As a customary practice, In Puducherry people cleaned the homes and lighting a bonfire to get rid of unused items. Mean while the Puducherry Pollution Control Committee propagated the message of controlling air pollution during Bhogi by asking people not to burn tyres, plastics and rubber. The burning of tyres, plastics and unwanted household articles, let out poisonous gases which caused irritation of eyes, nose, throat, skin, respiratory diseases such as asthma, bronchitis and other health disorders. Chandra Mohan AIR NEWS Puducherry."


Defence Ministry has said that 321 School Children and 80 Folk Artists will feature in the Cultural Programme of Republic Day Parade this year on 26th January. School children from four Delhi schools and folk artists from East Zonal Cultural Centre, Kolkata will take part in the cultural programme.


The Republic Day parade this year will see a contingent of Bangladeshi armed forces marching on Rajpath.

A 122 member strong Bangladesh armed forces contingent will be participating in the Republic Day parade on 26 January in India. The contingent left Dhaka aboard a special Indian Air Force C-17 Globemaster flight on Tuesday. The Bangladesh Armed Forces contingent comprises Soldiers of the Bangladesh Army, Sailors of the Bangladesh Navy and Air Warriors of the Bangladesh Air Force. According to a press release issued by the High Commission of India in Dhaka, this is only the third time in India’s history that any foreign military contingent has been invited to participate in the National Parade at Rajpath in  Delhi. It is especially significant as the year 2021 marks 50 years of the Liberation War of Bangladesh. A majority of the soldiers in Bangladesh contingent come from the most distinguished units of the Bangladesh Army,  from East Bengal Regiments and Field Artillery Regiments, which  fought in the 1971 Liberation War of Bangladesh. Rajesh Jha for AIR News, All India Radio, Dhaka.


In Tamil Nadu the Met department has predicted heavy rain under the influence of cyclonic circulation for the next five days over  many places in the Southern districts of the State.

Rains continue to lash the southern districts and reservoirs are filling upto the brim. As a result, acres of lands have been inundated and crops which were ready to be harvested have suffered heavy damage.


Weather forecast

The National Capital will have dense fog in the morning. The city will observe minimum temperature of around four degrees Celsius and a maximum of around 17 degrees.

Mumbai will experience mainly clear sky. The temperature will hover between 21 and 33 degrees Celsius.

Chennai will have generally cloudy sky with light rain. The temperature will vary between 24 and 29 degrees Celsius.

Kolkata, is likely to have fog or mist in the morning and mainly clear sky later. The city will observe minimum temperature of around 14 degrees Celsius and a maximum of around 25 degrees.

Srinagar will have mainly clear sky becoming partly cloudy towards afternoon or evening. The minimum temperature will be around minus seven degrees Celsius and a maximum of around six degrees.

Jammu will experience Fog or mist in the morning and mainly clear sky later. The minimum temperature will be around seven degrees Celsius and a maximum of around 15 degrees.

Gilgit to have mainly clear sky. The minimum temperature will be around minus four degrees Celsius and a maximum of around 11 degrees.

Leh will have mainly Clear sky. The minimum temperature will be around minus fourteen degrees Celsius and a maximum of around minus one degree.

Muzaffarabad will have mainly clear sky becoming partly cloudy towards afternoon or evening. The minimum temperature will be around three degrees Celsius while the maximum will be around 17 degrees.


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