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News Highlights
Centre bans supply of oxygen for industrial usage to meet rising demand for treatment of COVID-19 patients            Home Minister Amit Shah says, fight against COVID-19 is topmost priority for government            DRDO to operationalize its dedicated Corona hospital in New Delhi today            Railways say it can setup 3-lakh isolation beds across country; all set to run Oxygen Express trains            Campaigning for sixth phase of assembly elections ends this evening in West Bengal           

Text Bulletins Details


Midday News

1400 HRS
24.02.2021

THE HEADLINEs:

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi says government is committed for transforming lives of farmers in the country.

  • President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurates world's largest Cricket stadium at Motera in Ahmedabad; Stadium named as 'Narendra Modi Cricket Stadium'.

  • Home Minister Amit Shah says, Ahmedabad has become a world class sports hub.

  • Government directs Public Sector Banks to facilitate quick and easy loan disbursal under the PM-SVANidhi scheme.

  • India's economic recovery entered into a consolidation phase in January 2021, says Credit Rating agency, ICRA. 

  • Supreme Court dismisses petitions seeking extra chance for last attempt  Civil Service Examination 2020.

  • UPSC adds Leh as exam centre for Civil Service candidates from Ladakh.

  • Centre deputes high level multi disciplinary teams to ten states for COVID response and management.

  • National COVID-19 recovery rate  reaches 97.25 per cent; Over one crore 21 lakh people vaccinated so far.

  • Schools reopen in Telangana for Classes 6th to 8th from today.

  • And in Cricket,  India to take on England in third test this afternoon in Ahmedabad.


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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 detail :


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Prime Minister Narendra Modi today reiterated the Centre's commitment for transforming lives of farmers in the country.  In a series of tweets on the completion of two years of PM-Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana today, Mr. Modi said the scheme has played an important role in the resolution that the country has taken to make the lives of farmers' easier. He said, the farmers in the country are also actively becoming an integral part of the Self-reliant India Campaign. The Prime Minister today said that the transformation in the lives of crores of farmers due to PM-Kisan has motivated everyone to work further for their development.


The Prime Minister said, over the last seven years, the government has taken many initiatives for transforming the agriculture sector. He asserted that efforts including for better irrigation, technology, credit availability, access to larger markets, crop insurance, focus on soil health to elimination of middlemen among others have resulted in positive outcomes. He said that the Centre had the honour of ushering a historic increase in the Minimum Support Price, MSP of food grains and other agri products. Mr. Modi assured that the government is committed towards doubling the farmers' income.


PM KISAN was started with a view to augment the income of the farmers by providing income support to all landholding farmers’ families across the country. A report -


"Under the PM KISAN Scheme, an amount of 6000 rupees per year is transferred in three installments of 2000 rupees directly into the bank accounts of the farmers. The Scheme initially provided income support to all Small and Marginal Farmers’ families across the country, holding cultivable land upto 2 hectares. Its ambit was later expanded to cover all farmer families in the country irrespective of the size of their land holdings. Affluent farmers have been excluded from the scheme. Since this scheme started, more than 1 lakh 10 thousand crore rupees have reached the account of farmers. With Anupam Mishra, Suparna Saikia, AIR News, Delhi."


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Home Minister Amit Shah has congratulated all the farmers on the successful completion of two years of PM Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana. Mr. Shah said that PM Kisan Scheme has empowered the farmers and provided them with dignity. He said the scheme is proving to be a blessing for farmers by benefiting more than 11 crore farmers. Mr. Shah thanked the Prime Minister for the positive efforts towards making farmers self-reliant. He said that the government is committed towards doubling farmers income.


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President Ram Nath Kovind today inaugurated the newly constructed world’s largest Narendra Modi Cricket Stadium at Motera in Ahmedabad. President Kovind has also laid the foundation stone of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Sports Enclave at THE newly-built Cricket Stadium.


Speaking on the occasion, Union Home Minister Amit Shah announced that the newly constructed world’s largest cricket stadium at Motera will be known as the Narendra Modi Cricket Stadium. He said that Ahmedabad has become the world class sports hub with infrastructure that can host any international sports events at a short notice. He said that Narendra Modi Cricket Stadium at Motera, Sardar Patel Sports Enclave and another sports complex in Naranpura area of Ahmedabad will be the parts of this sports infrastructure.


Mr. Shah said that Motera Cricket Stadium will accommodate one lakh 32 thousand spectators. He said no stadium in the world has the facilities and infrastructure which have been provided at the world’s largest Narendra Modi Cricket Stadium. 


Mr. Shah said that we are focusing on creating the best ever sports infrastructure at district level so that budding talents can get its benefit.


Our correspondent reports that due to COVID-19 pandemic, only 50 per cent spectators have been allowed inside the stadium. Narendra Modi Cricket stadium- that spreads across over 63 acres of land has three entrances. It has 76 air-conditioned corporate boxes with a seating capacity of 25 each. It has an Olympic-size swimming pool and four dressing rooms, a parking area that can accommodate around 3000 cars and 10000 two-wheelers. The stadium has a clubhouse with 55 rooms, gymnasium, indoor practice pitches and food courts. Instead of flood lights, LED lights have been installed on the roof of Motera stadium.


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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Tamil Nadu and Puducherry tomorrow to inaugurate and lay the foundation for several developmental projects.  He will lay the foundation stone of multiple infrastructure projects worth over 12 thousand 400 crore rupees in Coimbatore tomorrow evening. He will dedicate the Neyveli New Thermal Power Project to the Nation. The project was built at a cost of about 8 thousand crore rupees. The 709 Mega Watt Solar Power Project of NLCIL, built at a cost of over 3 thousand crore rupees will also be dedicated to the Nation tomorrow.


in Puducherry Prime Minister will lay the foundation stone for 4 laning of NH45-A - 56 kilometers Sattanathapuram - Nagapattinam package of Villupuram to Nagapattinam project covering Karaikal District. Mr Modi will also lay the foundation stone of the Medical College Building at Karaikal New Campus- the Prime Minister will also lay the foundation stone of Synthetic Athletic Track, Indira Gandhi Sports Complex, Puducherry. Mr Modi will inaugurate the Blood Centre at Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, JIPMER, Puducherry.


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The 73rd Birth Anniversary of former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa was celebrated all over Tamil Nadu. Chief Minister Edappadi Palanisamy and Deputy Chief Minister O. Paneerselvam today paid floral tributes at her memorial and inaugurated an exhibition portraying her life and also of her mentor and late Chief Minister MGR. Earlier today, leaders garlanded her statue at the party headquarters and planted saplings at Jayalalithaa campus in the city. More from our correspondent -


"Tributes were also paid to the late leader by the aiadmk cadres all over the State.  People paid floral tributes to her portraits kept in public places and distributed sweets  and distributed welfare schemes.The charismatic six time Chief Minister Amma died on December 5, 2016. She joined politics after having a successful thriving career  in tinsel town which helped her to retrain the image even after her death.  Jayalalithaa held the post of general secretary of the party for many years after the passing away of founder MGR. After her demise, her confidante V.K.Sasikala became the General Secretary of the party. Now that Sasikala has been expelled from the party and the party is being handled by a team of the party leaders in various capacities, it is to be seen whether Sasikala will continue with her present status quo after completing her sentence of four years imprisonment in the disproportionate assets case. Joy, Chennai."


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Prime Minister Narendra Modi remembered former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on her Birth Anniversary today. In a tweet, Mr Modi said, she is widely admired for her pro-people policies and efforts to empower the downtrodden. He added that she also made noteworthy efforts to empower Nari Shakti. Mr Modi said, he will always cherish his interactions with her.


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The Union Government has asked Public Sector Banks to facilitate quick and easy loan disbursal under the PM-SVANidhi scheme. The Housing and Urban Development Ministry in a letter written to the banks has suggested several measures to increase the outreach of the scheme extending collateral free loans to the street vendors in the country. It said that since the street vendors mostly rely on credit from informal sources, not much emphasis should be laid on their CIBIL score alone for disbursement of loans. It also added, that the banks need to review their guidelines for extending credit to the vendors having low CIBIL score under this scheme. The Housing and Urban Development Ministry has also informed that camps will be held in various cities across the country by the bank officials to facilitate one stop solution for the beneficiaries. 


The Ministry also informed that it has received nearly four million loan applications under the scheme till date, out of which over two million have already been sanctioned. 


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The Credit Rating agency, ICRA said that India's economic recovery has entered into a consolidation phase in January 2021. The agency said that six indicators have witnessed an improved YoY performance in January 2021, relative to December 2020, namely non-oil exports, electricity generation, rail freight traffic, scooter production, diesel consumption and domestic airline traffic. It added that the growth indicators continue to promise an upward and sustainable economic recovery.


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The Centre has deputed high level multi-disciplinary teams to 10 states for supporting them in public health measures for targeted COVID response and management. The three-member multi-disciplinary teams are headed by Joint Secretary level officers in the Health Ministry. These teams which have rushed to the states including Maharashtra, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir will work closely with the state and local administration in order to ascertain reasons for the recent surge in the number of COVID-19 cases.


The Centre has also written to Maharashtra, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab and Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir which have been witnessing a rise in daily COVID cases, along with decreasing proportion of RT-PCR tests.


In the letter written by the Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, he exhorted the state administration to focus on undertaking aggressive measures to break the chain of transmission and to ensure amplification of RT-PCR tests. These States/UTs have been advised to increase testing in a focussed manner in the affected districts with the appropriate split of RT-PCR and Rapid Antigen Tests. The Centre has reminded the State and Union Territories that any laxity in implementing stringent measures to curb the spread, especially in view of new strain of virus observed in certain countries, could compound the situation. The Union Health Secretary has separately requested the Chief Secretaries of 10 States and UTs to provide time to the High Level Central teams to debrief the respective Chief Secretaries at the conclusion of their visits.


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The COVID-19 recovery rate in the country presently stands at 97.25 per cent. The Health Ministry said, 14 thousand and 37 people were discharged after recovery during the last 24 hours. Till now, one crore seven lakh 26 thousand 702 people have recovered from the COVID-19 infection. In the last 24 hours, 13 thousand 742 new cases were reported. With this, total number of cases have reached one crore ten lakh 30 thousand 176. The Ministry said, 104 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours. So far, one crore 21 lakh 65 thousand 598 beneficiaries have been vaccinated. 


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In Telangana, direct teaching for students of Standard VI to VIII has begun in schools across the state today. The State Government has asked managements of schools both in private and public sector to commence classes for Standard 6th-8th by the 1st of March following increasing demand from parents. It may be recalled that the direct teaching for Standard IXth and X is already underway. Our correspondent reports that the State Government has issued guidelines for the managements to keep the schools premises safe for both teachers and students;


"Over 17 lakh students of 6-8th Standard will have direct learning at their schools in Telangana from today onwards. However, the state government has given time for beginning classes till 1st March for the school managements. The government has taken the decision to reopen classes for 6-8 standards following smooth functioning of direct classes for 9 and 10th standard students from 1st of this month. Besides growing demand from parents and school managements also one of the reasons to begin direct teaching. However, the government has made the written consent of parents a must for allowing students to attend classes keeping in view their safety and also made compulsory maintenance of COVID guidelines on the school campuses to prevent spread of Corona Virus. Meanwhile, the online classes will also continue for the benefit of those children who does not want to attend classes directly. Lakhsmi, AIR News, Hyderabad."


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The Union Health Ministry has asked Madhya Pradesh, along with some other states including Maharashtra, Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir and Chhattisgarh to expedite the vaccination of health care and frontline workers so as to confer immunity in the shortest possible time-frame in the wake of a rising trend of COVID-19 cases and positivity rate in some districts. More from our correspondent; 


"In a letter to the Madhya Pradesh Government, the Centre has advised state to speed up vaccination in  the state particularly in three districts Indore, Bhopal and Betul. Additional Chief Secretary (Health) Mohammad Suleman informed that 75 per cent target has been achieved in the joint vaccination of health and frontline workers. Health Department is gearing up to speed up vaccination drive in the state. Meanwhile, state reported 248 fresh COVID cases yesterday while 200 recovered from infection." Pooja P. Vardhan ,AIR News Bhopal."


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In Odisha, more than five lakh seventy thousand beneficiaries have been vaccinated against COVID-19. Among them about four lakh forty seven thousand are health care workers and above one lakh thirty thousand beneficiaries are frontline workers. More from our correspondent:


"Yesterday alone the state vaccinated above 11 thousand five hundred beneficiaries, with about 7 thousand seven hundred being innoculated with the second vaccine shots. The state had arranged 120 session sites to vaccinate both the health care workers and frontline workers. Meanwhile, the covid-19 active caseload of the state has gone down to 625 with 68 fresh cases as against 77 recoveries having been reported during the last 24 hours. Girish Chandra Dash, AIR News, Bhubaneswar."


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India has started shipping COVID-19 vaccines to Africa under the COVAX facility. Ministry of External Affairs Spokesman Anurag Srivastava called it commitment to help the world with COVID-19 vaccines.


COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access, abbreviated as COVAX, is a global initiative aimed at equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines led by the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and others.


After the shipment was dispatched yesterday, Mr Srivastava tweeted, India is fulfilling it's commitment to help the world with COVID-19 vaccines.


Last month, the MEA announced that India plans to supply one crore or 10 million vaccine doses to Africa and 10 lakh to United Nations health workers.


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The Supreme Court today dismissed the petition filed by  aspirants seeking an extra attempt in Civil Services Examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission for those who had exhausted their last attempt in October 2020.


The petitioners, who had given their last attempt in Civil Service Examination-2020, had sought for an extra chance citing difficulties created by the COVID-19 pandemic and the national lockdown. They had argued that the pandemic affected their preparation. The Centre had initially made an offer to give extra attempt, subject to the age-bar. However, the petitioners argued for age-relaxation as well.


Detailed reasons for the dismissal of the petition will be known when the full copy of the judgment is made available.


The Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination was scheduled for the 31st of May last year and was rescheduled to the  4th of October due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


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In a first of its kind the Union Public Service Commission(UPSC) has opened a new centre for the Civil Services Examination, in Leh for the candidates from the Union Territory of Ladakh.  Preliminary exam will be held on the 27th of June this year. More from our Leh correspondent:-


"Sanctioning of new centre for Civil Services examination in Leh is a great relief for the aspiring candidates. Leh will be 73rd centre in the country to hold the preliminary exam for Civil Services on 27th of June this year. In a communication to the UT Ladakh Advisor Umang Narula, the UPSC Secretary Vasudha Mishra informed the decision to allocate a centre in Leh for Ladakh. Leh Deputy Commissioner will be the Coordinating Supervisor for the Leh centre. The supervisor has to ensure the accessibility, infrastructure and other parameters as prescribed by the UPSC, at the exam venues. At least 800 candidates are expected to attend the civils preliminary exam from the Union Territory Ladakh. After successfully conducting the NEET exam amidst Covid pandemic, now UT Administration is taking the Civils exam prestigeously and making all efforts to meet the UPSC indicated list of points by the cutoff dates. Ramesh Chandra, ALL INDIA RADIO, Leh."


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Deputy Election Commissioner and In-Charge of West Bengal Sudeep Jain will be visiting the state to oversee the preparedness for the upcoming Assembly Elections. According to sources, Mr Jain is scheduled to hold a series of meetings tomorrow. He will be meeting with Divisional Commissioners, District Election Officers, IGPs, DIGs, Police Superintendents and Commissioners.


According to sources, a guideline regarding deployment of Central forces may be chalked out in the meetings. Already a three- member committee has been formed at state level to look after the deployment of Central forces. The committee comprises the Chief Electoral Officer, ADG (Law and Order) and the DIG BSF (South Bengal) who is the state coordinator of the Central forces deployed in the state. Central forces started arriving in poll-bound West Bengal last Saturday and they are engaged in route march and area domination to instill confidence among voters.


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The first India Toy Fair-2021 is being organized on a virtual platform from the 27th of February to the  2nd of March with a view to boost toy manufacturing in the country and improve its global market share in line with the theme of Atmanirbhar Bharat. This first of its kind initiative aims to bring together all stakeholders of the Indian toy industry to create sustainable linkages. The toy maker from Karnataka KIDO is one of the participants in the fair. The Managing Director of KIDO Ms. Geetha Shridhar told AIR News that the fair provides a big platform for the Indian toy manufacturers to grow globally.


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Paddy procurement for the Kharif season of 2020-21 has seen an increase of over 16 per cent  as compared to the corresponding period last year. The Centre has informed that over 658 lakh Metric Tonnes of paddy has been purchased till yesterday in the ongoing Kharif Marketing Season. Out of the total purchase, Punjab alone has contributed over 30 per cent of total procurement. Over 95 lakh farmers have already benefitted from the ongoing procurement operations with MSP value of over one lakh 24 thousand crore rupees. The government has said the process of procurement of Kharif  crops at MSP from farmers is continuing smoothly in the States  & UTs of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Uttarakhand, Tamil Nadu, Chandigarh, Jammu & Kashmir, Kerala, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, Jharkhand, Assam, Karnataka, West Bengal and Tripura.


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In Nepal, the political uncertainty regarding the fate of Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli's Government continues. According to reports, Mr Oli may not tender his resignation immediately. The development assumes significance as Nepal's Supreme Court had overturned Oli's government's decision to dissolve the House of Representatives. 


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In Cricket, England have won the toss and elected to bat first in the third test of the four-match series between India and England, at Narendra Modi Cricket Stadium, Motera in Ahmedabad. The four-match Test series between India and England is currently levelled at 1-1 after India won the 2nd Test at the Chepauk Stadium in Chennai by 317 runs.


India's chances of earning a World Test Championship final spot depends upon the outcome of the remaining tests and hence India is fielding their strongest bowling attack of the series so far. 


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


National Capital Delhi experienced mist in the morning. The minimum temperature was 12 degrees Celsius, the maximum is expected to be around 31 degrees Celsius.


Mumbai will have mainly clear sky with temperature varying from 18 to 33 degrees Celsius.


In Chennai, sky will be partly cloudy. The lower limit of temperature was 22 degrees Celsius while upper limit will be around  32 degrees.


In Kolkata, minimum temperature was 20 degrees Celsius, while maximum would be 32 degrees.


Srinagar may witness thunderstorm with rain. The temperature will hover between four and 15 degrees Celsius.


Jammu will witness generally cloudy sky towards afternoon or evening. The lower limit of temperature was 13 degrees Celsius while upper limit may be nearly 25 degrees.


Leh is having generally cloudy sky. The minimum temperature was minus six degrees Celsius while the maximum may be around ten degrees.


Gilgit is having generally cloudy sky with light rain. The temperature may hover between six and 19 degrees Celsius.


Muzaffarabad will witness thunderstorm with rain. The temperature will fluctuate between nine and 17 degrees Celsius.


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