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Last Updated : Apr 19 2021 2:54PM     Screen Reader Access
News Highlights
Prime Minister Narendra Modi chairs a meeting on COVID-19 situation in the country            Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr. Harshvardhan says India has launched largest vaccination drive in the world            Cabinet Secretary to chair a meeting with Chief Secretaries of 10 states, UTs to discuss availability of Medical Oxygen            6 day lockdown in National Capital from tonight; Essential services to remain functional            Country registers over two lakh 73 thousand COVID-19 fresh cases           

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Evening News

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  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi emphasizes on creating world class maritime infrastructure through various reforms to achieve the vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat.

  • At UNHRC, India says, OIC has no locus standi to comment on Jammu & Kashmir; Slams Pakistan for providing pensions to terrorists.

  • Spectrum Auction concludes; Total bids for more than 77,814 crore rupees received.

  • Filing of nominations begins for 1st phase of Assembly Elections in Assam and West Bengal.

  • In Gujarat, ruling BJP registers clean sweep by wining all 31 District Panchayats.

  • Over 1 crore 48 lakh beneficiaries administered Covid vaccine in the country so far.

  • State Bank of India reduces home loan rates to 6.7 per cent.

  • Merchandise export figures recorded for last month in the country indicate robust growth in foreign trade sector.

  • In Hockey: Indian Men's team to take on hosts Germany in second match of European Tour Series in a short while from now.


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 emphasized on creating world class maritime infrastructure through various reforms to achieve the vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat. He said, India is very serious about growing in the maritime sector and emerging as a leading Blue Economy of the world. Speaking after inaugurating Maritime India Summit-2021 through video conferencing today, the Prime Minister invited the global investors to come to India and be a part of India’s growth trajectory. The three-day Maritime India Summit-2021 is being organized by the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways on a virtual platform www.maritimeindiasummit.in.

Mr Modi said, through the focus areas of upgradation of infrastructure, boosting reform journey, India aims to strengthen the vision of Atamnirbhar Bharat. The Prime Minister informed that capacity of major ports have increased from 870 million tonnes in 2014 to 1,550 million tonnes now. Mega ports with world class infrastructure are being developed in Vadhavan, Paradip and Deendayal Port in Kandla. The Prime Minister asserted that his Government is investing in waterways in a way that was never seen before. Domestic waterways are found to be cost-effective and environment-friendly ways of transporting freight. Mr Modi said, government aims to operationalise 23 waterways by 2030. He announced that steps are also being taken to introduce urban water transport systems in key states and cities such as Kochi, Mumbai, Gujarat and Goa.

Prime Minister Modi expressed the desire to share the best practices with the world and also the openness to learning  from global best practices. He said, continuing with India’s focus on trade and economic linkages with the BIMSTEC and IOR nations, India plans to enhance investment in infrastructure and facilitate mutual agreements by 2026.  More from our Correspondent :

" The Prime Minister mentioned that Ministry of Port, Shipping and Waterways has created a list of 400 investible projects which have an investment potential of 31 billion dollars.

He said, Government is also focusing on the domestic ship building and ship repair market. To encourage domestic shipbuilding approval has been given to the Shipbuilding Financial Assistance Policy for Indian Shipyards. Mr Modi said, government has initiated holistic development of island infrastructure and ecosystem.

Government is keen to promote the use of renewable energy in the maritime sector and is in the process of installing solar and wind-based power systems at all the major ports across the country.

Eminent speakers from several countries are attending the summit and exploring the potential business opportunities and investments in Indian Maritime domain. Denmark is the partner country for the summit this year. Danish Minister of Transport Benny Englebrecht was present in the inaugural ceremony. With Anand Kumar, Anupam Mishra, AIR News, Delhi."


India has exercised its right of reply at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to assert that Pakistan remains a haven for United Nations proscribed terrorists. India's representative at the Indian Mission in UN, Geneva, Pawan Badhe said that Pakistan has the dubious distinction of providing pension to terrorists.

Mr Badhe also stated that the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, OIC has no locus standii to comment on Jammu and Kashmir which is an integral part of India. He said, it is regrettable that OIC continues to allow itself to be exploited by Pakistan to indulge in anti-India propaganda.


The auction of telecom spectrum ended today with total bids of 77 thousand eight hundred 14 crore 80 lakh rupees for the airwaves. Telecommunications Secretary Anshu Prakash said, incremental bids for 668.20 crore rupees were made today on the second and concluding day of Spectrum Auction. The e-auction was based on Simultaneous Multiple Round Ascending Auction (SMRA) methodology.

Mr Prakash informed that bidding took place for spectrum in 800 Megahertz, 900 Megahertz, 1,800 Megahertz, 2,100 Megahertz and 2,300 Megahertz bands. The total quantity of spectrum for which right to use has been acquired in these bands is 855.60 Megahertz. The participants did not bid in 700 Megahertz and 2,500 Megahertz bands. Four rounds of bidding, two each with stipulated activity levels of 80 per cent and 90 per cent took place yesterday. Two rounds of bidding with stipulated activity level of 100 per cent took place today.

Three bidders, Bharti Airtel Limited, Vodafone Idea Limited and Reliance JioInfocomm Limited participated in the auction.

A total quantity of 2,308.80 Megahertz spectrum was put to auction, including spectrum that is expiring up to December this year. 

Spectrum Usage Charges for the spectrum acquired in this auction will be payable at the rate of three per cent of Adjusted Gross Revenue of the licensee, excluding revenue from wireline services.

Ministry of Communications said, the auction has concluded and the provisional results are subject to scrutiny and approval by the government. It said, with the deployment of additional spectrum acquired in this auction in the networks of Telecom Service Providers, the Quality of Service and customer experience of telecom consumers across the country are expected to improve.


With the issuance of notification for 1st phase of Assembly Elections in Assam and West Bengal today, the process of filing of nomination papers has begun. 

In Assam, notification for the 47 assembly constituencies has been issued. Assembly polls  in the state will be held in three phases. The first phase of Polling will be held on the 27th of this month. Polling will be held in 12 districts in this phase mostly covering Upper Assam. BJP and Asom Gana Parishad leaders held another round of meetings in Guwahati on seat sharing today . Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Wadra launched the Five Guarantees campaign for the upcoming Assam Assembly Elections at a public rally in Tezpur today. The party is undertaking Five Guarantees for the election that includes a law that nullifies the CAA and five lakh government jobs.

In West Bengal, notification for the first phase of Assembly Elections in 30 assembly constituencies has been issued . The additional CEO of the state Sanjay Basu told AIR News that the time of voting has been extended till 6.30 pm in the evening. This time, elections will be held in 8 phases in West Bengal. Filing of nominations for the first phase ends on the 9th of March.

Meanwhile, all political parties have started their campaign for the upcoming polls in the state. Senior BJP leader and Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath today addressed a public meeting at Gajole in Malda and alleged that there has been no rule of law in the state. He accused the ruling TMC of siphoning the money sent by the Centre for relief work after cyclone Amphan.

TMC leader and State Minister Bratya Basu has refuted the allegations and said that the UP Government has failed to do justice to the people of the state. He was attending a road show in Purulia today.

On the other hand, another round of discussions were held today among the Left Front, Congress and the Indian Secular Front regarding seat sharing formula for the upcoming polls.


Bharatiya Janata Party National President J. P. Nadda has said that the farm reforms initiated by the Central Government will change the fortune of the farmers. Addressing the meeting of the party State Working Committee in Jaipur today, Mr. Nadda said that Opposition leaders have only done politics from the last several years while Prime Minister Narendra Modi took steps for the welfare of the farmers. 


In Gujarat, the ruling BJP has registered a clean sweep by wining all 31 District Panchayats. The party has also won 75 out of 81 Municipalities that went for polls. Congress won four Municipalities, while two Municipalities won by others. BJP has also won 196 out of 229 Taluka Panchayats results declared so far. Congress won 33 Taluka Panchayats. Polling for 31 District Panchayats, 231 Taluka Panchayats and 81 Municipalities was held yesterday.

According to the latest information, BJP has won 2,027 seats of Municipalities, 771 seats of District Panchayats and 3,236 seats of Taluka Panchayats. Congress has won 375 seats of Municipalities, 164 seats of District Panchayats and 1201 seats of Taluka Panchayats. Independents have won 168 seats of Municipalities, two seats of District Panchayats and 112 seats of Taluka Panchayats.

Our correspondent reports that BJP workers are celebrating the huge victory by the party in local bodies’ elections. State Congress President Amit Chavada and the leader of the Congress Legislative Party Paresh Dhanani have resigned from their posts after the party’s dismal performance in the polls. More from our Ahmedabad correspondent: 

"After losing the 6 municipal corporations from the urban voters, opposition Congress was expecting favourable results from the rural voters. But the ruling BJP has registered a big win in district panchayats, taluka panchayats and municipalities elections. At the other end, the outcome from rural Gujarat is a big setback for the Congress. Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and State BJP President have termed this mandate in favour of the party's development agenda. Meanwhile, State Congress President Amit Chavda and the leader of the Congress legislative party- Paresh Dhanani have resigned after the party’s dismal performance. According to sources, Congress high command has accepted the resignations and a new leader will be appointed by the month end.Yogesh Pandya, AIR News, Ahmedabad."


Bhartiya Janta Party today attacked the Congress for adopting unholy alliances with various parties in different States. The party said, Congress is promoting the ideology of corruption, nepotism and religion and caste based hatred among the people.

Addressing the media in New Delhi today, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said, the Congress is dependent on the alliances to maintain its relevance. He said, all the alliances have not been made for good performance, good reforms or good governance. He said, these alliances were made to maintain political relevance of Gandhi family. Mr. Patra added that BJP does the politics of development instead of division.


The Union Government today said that the country’s present COVID-19 active caseload now consists of just 1.51 per cent of total positive cases and recovery rate is more than 97 per cent. Briefing media in New Delhi, Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said, only two states- Maharashtra and Kerala  with more than 40 thousand active cases contribute 75 per cent.

He said, there has been a marginal increase in daily new cases in the last two weeks. The Health Secretary said, government has deputed Central teams to states including Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Punjab and Gujarat to help the State Government  in containing the surges in cases. 

On vaccination, Mr Bhushan said, more than 1.48 crores doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered till 1 p.m. today. He said, out of this, over 2.08 lakh doses have been given to people who are 45 to 59 years of age with comorbidities and to people above 60 years of age. The Health Secretary said, there are nine States and UTs where either 100 per cent or more than 90  per cent of 1st dose has been given to the registered health care workers. These include Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Ladakh, Karnataka, Jharkhand and Odisha. He said, nine States and UTs have given second dose to more than 75 per cent of eligible health care workers.

Replying to a media question, Health Secretary said, the Centre has asked for a report from Karnataka Government on the matter of a Minister calling vaccinators to his home for vaccination.

Chairman, Empowered Group on COVID Vaccination, R.S. Sharma said, since yesterday, 50 lakh registrations have been done on CoWIN portal for COVID-19 vaccination. On technical glitches, Mr Sharma said, people should register themselves only on CoWIN portal or through Aarogya Setu App  which has got an extension for CoWIN and not on any other App. Mr Sharma also informed that around 46 to 47 thousand hospitals have been roped in for the vaccination of the third prioritized group. He said, out of them, around 12 thousand 500 are private hospitals, 11 thousand are Ayushman Bharat empanelled hospitals and 800 are CGHS empanelled hospitals.

Member (Health) in NITI Aayog Dr V. K. Paul said, with the launch of the vaccination for third prioratised group the vaccination covergae has become more wide which will help in breaking the chain of transmission of infection. He urged people to take both doses compulsorily at the scheduled time as without the second dose the whole vaccination process will not be complete. In view of surge in cases in certain states, Dr Paul advised people to avoid gatherings and follow COVID Appropriate Behaviour. He said, it is a matter of satisfaction that India has the least COVID-19 mortality rate in the world. 


Defence Minister Rajnath Singh was administered with the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine in New Delhi today. He was administered the vaccine at Army Hospital Research and Referral in New Delhi this evening.


The News Services Division of All India Radio in its bilingual live phone-in programme today will bring you a Special discussion Programme on  Covid-19. Dr. Surya Kant, Professor Pulmonary Medicine, KGMC Lucknow will participate in the discussion. This can be heard tonight on FM Gold Channel and additional frequencies from 09:30 PM onwards. Listeners can ask questions to the experts on Toll Free Telephone No: 1800-115767. You can also ask questions on telephone number: 011: 2331-4444 and post queries on our Twitter handle @airnews s by #tag Askair. This programme will also be available on our website NEWS ON AIR DOT COM and on our YouTube Channel NEWSONAIROFFICIAL. You can also follow us on the NEWSONAIR app for s.


The State Bank of India has reduced the home loan interest rates to 6.7 per cent. The Bank has said that, the interest rate of 6.70 per cent will be charged for loans up to 75 lakh rupees and 6.75 per cent for loans above 75 lakh rupees. The interest concession is based on the loan amount and CIBIL score of the borrower. 

The offer will be available till 31st March 2021 and the lender is also given 100 per cent waiver on the processing fee. Customers can also apply online the ease of their home via YONO App to get additional interest concession of 5 Basis points. On the eve of International Women’s day, a special 5 Basis points concession is being made available to the women borrowers.


The merchandise export figures recorded for the last month in the country suggest a robust growth in the foreign trade sector. With a total mechandise export of 27.67 billion US Dollars last month compared to 27.74 billion US Dollars in February last year, the gap between the corresponding export figures have reduced to stand at merely 0.25 per cent.

Export figures for Rice, Oil meals, Iron Ore and other cereals have recorded positive growth in the last month compared to the corresponding period last year. Ministry of Commerce & Industry has informed that in the same time frame import of Silver, Newsprint, Fertilisers, Coal & Coke and Leather Products have shown significant reduction in their numbers.

With India’s overall merchandise imports of 40.55 billion US Dollars recorded in the last month, the trade deficit figures for February month stand at 12.88 billion US Dollars.


Benchmark domestic stocks today climbed around one per cent in sync with gains in the global equity markets. The BSE Sensex regained 50,000 mark while the NSE Nifty reclaimed 14,900 level.  The rupee also appreciated 18 paise against the US currency. A report from the business world-

"Sensex closed 447 points, or 0.9 per cent, up at 50,297 and the NSE Nifty surged 158 points, or 1.07 per cent, to finish at 14,919. Oil prices fell, extending losses of last week, amid concern that OPEC may agree to increase global supply in a meeting this week. In intra-day trade, Brent crude prices were trading around 63 dollars and 50 cents per barrel. And at the forex market, the rupee weakened 18 paise against the US dollar to settle at 73 rupees and 37 paise. Arjun Chowdhury, for AIR News."   


Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal has said that Government of India has identified the toy sector as one of the champion sectors with a long-term vision and plan to develop toy clusters in the country. Speaking at the closing ceremony of India Toy Fair this evening, Mr Goyal said, the mission is not only to make India Atmanirbhar in toys, but also to become a global player with toys made and developed in India, helping create brand India across the world.


International Women’s Day falls on 8th of March. In this context, All India Radio News brings you stories of Women Achievers from diverse fields. India has the maximum number of female commercial pilots as compared to other developed nations. 10th of January 2021 was a historic day in the Indian aviation industry. The all-women cockpit crew of Air India flew over the North Pole, it was the longest non-stop flight from San-Francisco to Bengaluru. More from our correspondent :

"The all-women cockpit crew created history by flying over the North Pole. Flying over North Pole is significant as it takes away the basic navigational reference. It is largely uninhabited and hostile landscape making it one of the most challenging path. The feat was achieved by Capt Zoya Aggarwal with her fellow commander Captain Papagari Thanmei, first officers Captain Akansha Sonawane and Captain Shivani Manhas. Talking to AIR News, Captain Papagari shared her experience of this historic flight.

The path over the North Pole was chosen as it minimised the distance saving 5,000 kgs of fuel. Deeksha Saksena, AIR News, Delhi.


In Hockey, the second match of the European Tour Series between Indian Men's team and hosts Germany is underway at Krefield.

On Sunday, the Indian Men's Team led by PR Sreejesh put up a scintillating show in the first of their four match series, as they outclassed Germany 6-1. It was their first international match in over 12 months.

On March 6th and 8th, India will take on Great Britain at Antwerp in Belgium before wrapping up the 17-day tour.


In Badminton, Indian mixed doubles pair of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N. Sikki Reddy will clash with England's Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith in first round of Swiss Open tournament in Basel today. In another mixed doubles match, India's Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa will take on Hafiz Faizal and Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja of Indonesia.


The weather forecast for tomorrow.

National Capital Delhi is likely to have mist in the morning. The temperature will hover between 14 and 30 degrees Celsius.

Mumbai will have mainly clear sky. The minimum temperature will be 22 degrees Celsius while the maximum is expected to be around 35 degrees.

Chennai is expected to have partly cloudy sky. The temperature will vary between 23 and 34 degrees Celsius.

Kolkata may also witness mist in the morning and partly cloudy sky later. The city will observe minimum temperature of 22 degrees Celsius and a maximum of around 36 degrees.

Srinagar will have partly cloudy sky with possibility of rain or thunderstorm or dust-storm. Temperature will hover between three and 14 degrees Celsius.

Jammu will also have mainly clear sky becoming partly cloudy towards afternoon or evening. The minimum temperature will be 11 degrees Celsius while the maximum will be around 27 degrees.

Leh is expected to have partly cloudy sky. The minimum temperature will be around minus nine degrees Celsius while the maximum will be around six degrees.

Gilgit will have generally cloudy sky. The temperature will hover between five and 18 degrees Celsius.

In Muzaffarabad, the sky will be partly cloudy sky becoming generally cloudy towards afternoon or evening or night. The temperature will varry between eight and 23 degrees Celsius.

In Dehradun, the minimum temperature will be 10 degrees Celsius while the maximum will be around 29 degrees.


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