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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

Evening News

2030 HRS

2030 HRS.

24th February, 2021


  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi strongly backs privatisation programme saying Government has no business to be in business.

  • Prime Minister says PM-Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana played an important role in country's resolve to make farmers' lives easier.

  • Government to administer COVID-19 vaccine to people above 60 years of age from 1st March; People above 45 with comorbidities also to be vaccinated.

  • Union Cabinet recommends imposition of President's Rule in Puducherry. 

  • Government approves Production Linked Incentive Scheme for IT Hardware and Pharmaceuticals.

  • Prime Minister to visit Tamilnadu and Puducherry tomorrow.

  • President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurates world's largest Cricket Stadium at Motera in Ahmedabad; To be called Narendra Modi Cricket Stadium.

  • In Cricket, India bundles up England at 112 in the first innings; hosts were 34 for 2 when reports last came in.


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. 


Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asserted that the government has no business to be in business and it is committed to privatise all Public Sector Undertakings -PSUs except those in four strategic sectors with bare minimum requirement. The Prime Minister was addressing a webinar on various reforms undertaken in this year’s Union Budget. Defending government's move of disinvestment in PSUs, the Prime Minister said it is government's duty to support enterprises and businesses but it is not essential that it should own and run enterprises.

The Prime Minister said, the government is bringing reform in PSUs, and the aim  is to optimally utilise public money for the welfare of the people. He said,  the amount collected from monetisation and divestment will be used for funding development projects. 

"फोर स्ट्रेटेजिक सेक्टर के अलावा बाकी सारे पीएसयूसिज के प्राइवेटाइजेशन को लेकर सरकार प्रतिबद्ध है। स्ट्रेटेजिक सेक्टर्स में भी कम से कम पीएसयू रहे। जितनी जरूरत हो उतने ही रहे, ये भी हमने साफ किया है। ये नीति डिसइन्वेस्टमेंट टारगेट से आगे बढ़कर मीडियम टर्म स्ट्रेटेजिक अप्रोच रखते हुए इंडिविजुवल कंपनी के चयन में मदद करेगी। इससे इन्वेस्टमेंट का भी एक क्लियर रोडमैप बनेगा। इससे हर सेक्टर में आपके लिए इन्वेस्टमेंट के नये अवसर बढ़ेगे और भारत में रोजगार की अपार संभावनाएं बनेगी।"

Mr Modi said that monitoring is also equally necessary to ensure that the entire process remains transparent. He also mentioned that transparency, accountability, rule of law, parliamentary oversight and strong political will are evident today to make every enterprise in the country efficient. He told that the government's intention is clearly visible in the new policy announced for public sector enterprises in the Union Budget 2021-22.

The Prime Minister said that there are many under utilised and untilised government's assets and 100 such assets would be monetised which is expected to garner 2.5 lakh crore rupees investment.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reiterated the Centre's commitment for transforming lives of farmers in the country. In a series of tweets today on completion of two years of PM-Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana, the Prime Minister said that the scheme has played an important role in the resolution that the country has taken to make the lives of farmers' easier.  

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. The Prime Minister said, that the Centre had the honour of ushering a historic increase in the Minimum Support Price, MSP of the food grains and other agri products. Mr. Modi assured that the government is committed towards doubling the farmers' income.


Uttar Pradesh today received award for fastest implementation of Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath congratulated the people of state for this achievement. In tweet, the Chief Minister said that under the guidance of Prime Minister, the state government is committed for the welfare of farmers of the state. AIR Lucknow correspondent reports that during his reply on discussion on budget in state assembly today Chief Minister informed the house about this achievement. During his budget speech state Finance Minister had informed that more than 27 thousand crore rupees have been transferred in the accounts of the farmers of state under the Scheme. Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Narendra Singh Tomar today awarded the top-performing States and Districts for their exemplary work with respect to the implementation of the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Scheme. 


In Manipur, the State Chief Minister N. Biren Singh launched the Prime Minister Formalization of Micro Food Processing Enterprises (PM FME) Scheme. The launching of the Scheme was done during the inaugural function of Conference Cum Buyer Meet at Hotel Imphal today. The PM FME Scheme aims to provide financial, technical and business support to micro food processing units, Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) and Self Help Groups. The Scheme will also promote One District One Product to reap the benefit of scales in terms of procurement of inputs, availing common services and marketing of products.


Prime minister Narendra Modi will visit Tamil Nadu and Puducherry tomorrow to inaugurate  several developmental projects. In Puducherry the Prime Minister will lay the foundation stone for projects to the value of more than 3022 crore rupees.

"According to an official release, the Prime Minister will lay the foundation stone for 4 laning of NH 45-A,covering Karaikal  at a cost of Rs. 2426 crore. The Prime Minister will lay the foundation stone for the Jipmer Karaikal building to be constructed at a cost of Rs. 491 crore and to be completed by August 2022. Under the Sagarmala scheme the Prime Minister will lay the foundation stone for developing a minor port in Puducherry at a cost of 44 crore rupees. And will also lay foundation stone for a synthetic track at the Indira Gandhi sports complex here at an estimated cost of Rs.7 crores. Besides inaugurating a Blood centre at JIPMER, which will function as a research laboratory and a Training centre for short - term and continuous in all aspects of transfusion, at an estimated cost of Rs. 28 crore, Will inaugurate, 100 bedded Sports Authority of India girls hostel at Lawspet for female athletes with an estimated cost of 11.85 crore rupees and the reconstructed Heritage Marie building with an expenditure of 14.83 crore rupees. All these projects are in line with the vision of the Prime Minister for a New India and Atmanirbhar Bharat. Chandra Mohan, AIR NEWS, Puducherry."

Our Chennai Correspondent reports that the Manchester of South India Coimbatore is gearing up to welcome Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Security has been tightened at all areas and a local holiday has been declared due to the visit. Mr.Modi will launch various projects worth more than 12 thousand crore rupees relating to infrastructure development and lay foundation for various projects. He will also dedicate completed projects to the Nation.


Government will start administering COVID-19 vaccine to people  above 60 years of age from 1st March. Those above 45 years of age with comorbidities will also be vaccinated in this phase. Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said that the decision was taken in the Union Cabinet meeting today. Briefing the media about the cabinet decision, the I&B Minister said that the vaccine will be administered free of cost at ten thousand government hospitals to these groups while the cost of the vaccine at 20 thousand private vaccination centres will be borne by them. 

Mr Javadekar informed that the Union Cabinet recommended imposition of President's Rule in Puducherry. He said Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayansamy resigned from the post and no party claimed to form the government and therefore the LG has recommended suspension of the UT Assembly. He added Cabinet decision will be sent to the President and after his assent the assembly will be dissolved.

Union Cabinet also approved Production Linked Incentive Scheme for IT Hardware. The scheme proposes incentive to boost domestic manufacturing and attract large investments in the value chain of IT Hardware. Briefing the media, Communication and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, the target segments of the scheme include laptops, tablets, all-in-one PCs and servers.

Mr Prasad said, the total cost of the proposed scheme is around 7,350 crore rupees over four years. Mr. Prasad added that the scheme has direct and indirect employment generation potential of over one lakh 80 thousand.

"आईटी हार्डवेयर का देश में जो वैल्यू-एडीशन है, वो फाइव टू टेन परसेन् है। ये आने वाले पांच वर्षों में बढ़कर 20 से 25 प्रतिशत बढ़ जाएगा और इसमें बड़ी संख्या में लोगों को नौकरियां भी मिलेगी, लगभग एक लाख 80 हजार यानी दो लाख लोगों को नौकरी मिलेगी और ये हार्डवेयर का प्रोडेक्शन वन परसेन् डिजिटल इकोनॉमी में भी अच्छा कांट्रीब्यूट करेगा।"

The Cabinet also approved PLI Scheme for Pharmaceuticals over a period of Financial Year 2020-21 to 2028-29. The scheme is expected to promote the production of high value products in the country and increase the value addition in exports. It is expected to generate employment for both skilled and un-skilled personnel, estimated at 20 thousand direct and 80 thousand indirect jobs as a result of growth in the sector.


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 Centre has lifted embargo on private sector banks for conduct of government related transactions. They include taxes and other revenue payment facilities, pension payment and small saving schemes. Earlier, only few private banks were permitted for such transactions. The move is expected to further enhance customers convenience, spur competition and higher efficiency in the standards of customer services. With the lifting of embargo, there is now no bar on Rerserve Bank of India for authorisation of private sector banks for government business. 


President Ram Nath Kovind today inaugurated the newly constructed world’s largest Cricket Stadium at Motera in Ahmedabad. President Kovind also laid the foundation stone of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Sports Enclave at newly-built Cricket Stadium. Speaking on the occasion, the President said:

On the occasion, Union Home Minister Amit Shah announced that the newly constructed stadium will be known as the Narendra Modi Cricket Stadium. He said, Ahmedabad has become the world class sports hub with infrastructure that can host any international sports event with 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 part of this sports infrastructure.

"The newly built world’s largest Motera Cricket Stadium is equipped with all modern technologies and facilities necessary for present day cricket. Former International Cricket Umpire and Cricket analyst Amish Saheba told AIR that new Motera Stadium has four dressing rooms, which are necessary to host back to back twenty twenty matches.Yogesh Pandya, AIR News, Ahmedabad."


Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar has clarified that only the name of the cricket stadium, within the Sardar Patel Sports Enclave in Ahmedabad,  has been named after Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He said the name of the Sports Complex is still  Sardar Patel Sports Enclave. Reacting to Congress criticism over it, Mr. Javadker hit back at the main opposition party. In an apparent reference to the Nehru- Gandhi family, Mr. Javadekar said, ironically, the family, which never respected Sardar Patel, even after his death, is now making hue and cry.

Earlier, Congress leaders including Rahul Gandhi attacked the government over the renaming of the Motera cricket stadium.


The Health Ministry has said that the cumulative number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered to healthcare and frontline workers has crossed 1.23 crore in the country. So far over one crore 23 lakh 66 thousand vaccine doses have been given to the beneficiaries. These include 65 lakh 24 thousand 726 Healthcare Workers who have taken the first dose and 14 lakh 81 thousand 754 Healthcare workers who have taken the second dose. A total of 43 takh 60 thousand 153 Frontline workers have received the first dose. The Ministry also informed that a total 2 lakh one thousand and 35 vaccine doses were given till 6 pm today on the fortieth day of nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive. Out of which one lakh 17 thousand 681 beneficiaries were vaccinated for first dose and 83 thousand 354 Healthcare workers received the second dose.

Meanwhile, the COVID-19 recovery rate in the country has reached 97.25 per cent. Fourteen thousand and 37 people were discharged after recovery in the last 24 hours. In the same period 13 thousand 742 new cases were reported. With this, total number of cases have reached one crore ten lakh 30 thousand 176. A hundred and four deaths were reported in the last 24 hours.


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. The states include Maharashtra, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab and Karnataka. The teams will work closely with the local administration to ascertain reasons for recent surge in the cases.

The state administrations have also been asked to focus on undertaking aggressive measures to break the chain of transmission and to ensure amplification of RT-PCR tests.


In the wake of surge in COVID-19 cases in some States, Delhi Government has decided to make it mandatory for those arriving from such states to carry a negative Covid test report while entering the National Capital. Official sources said that people traveling to Delhi from Maharashtra, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab by flights, trains or buses will have to show a negative RT-PCR test.


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, had sought an extra chance citing difficulties created by 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.


Election Commission has convened a meeting of Revenue Secretary, officials of Central Board of Direct Taxes, Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs and Financial Intelligence Unit on 2nd of next month. The meeting has been called to develop a strategy to combat the pernicious effects of suspicious and illicit cash, liquor, psychotropic substances and freebies meant for inducements in forthcoming assembly elections. The assembly elections are scheduled to be held in Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry. The meeting will be held at Nirvachan Sadan in New Delhi. 


In Jammu and Kashmir, two unidentified terrorists were killed in an encounter in Shalgul forest of Srigufwara area of South Kashmir's Anantnag district.

According to Police sources, the two terrorists were eliminated following an encounter which started in the morning today. The search operation was still going as police, army and other security forces cordoned off the area. Details are awaited.


Enforcement Directorate has conducted raids in connection with the ongoing investigation related to siphoning and diversion of 605 crore rupees loan funds by Shree Bankey Bihari Exports Limited. During investigation, it was found that the company had diverted the loan funds through its sister units by adopting fictitious transactions.


Army Chief General MM Naravane has said the disengagement with China at LAC is a very good end result and it is a win- win situation. He said the outcome was good from ten rounds of talks with China. He said, right from the beginning of the standoff, the political or diplomatic quarters worked together to achieve the goal.

He was delivering a lecture on the role of the Army in dealing with the contemporary national security challenges. The Army Chief said there are pending issues in Eastern Ladakh and other parts and strategies are in place to deal with them. He added that India always wants peace and tranquility at border areas as nobody wants an unsettled border issues. General Naravane attacked Pakistan for its continuous support for terrorism. Saying that India is conscious of the fact that terrorist launch pads continue to be active from the neighbouring country, he added that New Delhi is always prepared to deal with fresh influx from the borders.


Bangladesh has said, it wants to elevate its relationship with the US from partnership to the strategic level. Foreign Minister of Bangladesh Dr. A K Abdul Momen and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken have expressed their willingness to further deepen Bangladesh-US relations by advancing common goals and mutual interests.

Dr. Momen is on a visit to the US during which he held a telephonic discussion with the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. The US state department said that Secretary Blinken and Foreign Minister Momen discussed ways to deepen economic, counterterrorism, and defense cooperation related issues. Both leaders expressed the desire for closer collaboration to address challenges in South Asia and the greater Indo-Pacific region.


In Cricket, India were 48 for the loss of 2 wickets against England in their first innings in the third test match at Narendra Modi Cricket Stadium in Ahmedabad.

"England were all out for 112 against India in their first innings. The Indian spinners duo Ravi Chandran Ashwin and Akshar Patel kept the England batters guessing and ripped through the visiter's batting line up. For India  Akshar  took 6 wickets and Ashwin bagged 3, where as Ishant Sharma took one.Nine wickets by spinners in this innings is the most an innings in  day and night Tests bettering eight by Devendra Bishoo against Pakistan in Dubai in 2016/17. Earlier, England won the toss and elected to bat first. 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. This is the 100th test for 32-year old pacer Ishant Sharma. Only ten pacers have played 100 tests in their career. That includes all time greats like - Ian Botham, Kapil Dev, Courtney Walsh, , Shaun Pollock, Glenn McGrath, Chaminda Vaas, and James Anderson."


Benchmark domestic stocks today surged around two percent even as the global cues were negative. The BSE Sensex regained 50,000 mark while the NSE Nifty closed near 15,000 level. The Sensex gained 1030 points to finish at 50,782. The Nifty also rose 274 points to end at 14,982. During the session the National Stock Exchange halted its trading at 11:40 am due to a technical glitch. Later the trading was resumed at 3:30 pm. Considering the shortened time of trading due to the glitch the BSE and the NSE both extended trading time for 90 minutes till five pm.


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

National Capital Delhi is likely to have shallow fog. The temperature will hover between 12 and 32 degrees Celsius.

Mumbai will have mainly clear sky. Minimum temperature will be 30 degrees Celsius while maximum is expected to be around 34 degrees.

Chennai is expected to have partly cloudy sky. The temperature will vary between 22 and 32 degrees Celsius.

In Kolkata, there will be fog or mist in the morning and mainly clear sky later. The city will observe minimum temperature of 21 degrees Celsius and a maximum of around 33 degrees.

Srinagar will witness generally cloudy sky with Light rain. Temperature will hover between four and 15 degrees Celsius.

Jammu will have partly cloudy sky becoming generally cloudy towards afternoon or evening or night. The minimum temperature will be 13 degrees Celsius while maximum will be around 25 degrees.

Leh will have overcast sky. The minimum temperature will be minus three degrees Celsius while the maximum will be around eight degrees.

Gilgit will have generally cloudy sky with Light rain. The temperature will hover between three and 19 degrees Celsius.

Muzaffarabad will witness generally cloudy sky with moderate rain. The temperature will hover between nine and 16 degrees Celsius.

In Dehradun, the minimum temperature will be 13 degrees Celsius while the maximum will be around 30 degrees. The city will observe partly cloudy sky with haze.

Chandigarh will have mainly clear sky. The temperature is likely to hover between 12 and 31 degrees Celsius.


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