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Last Updated : Apr 19 2021 2:43PM     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           

Text Bulletins Details

Morning News

0830 HRS


  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi says India will invest 82 billion dollars in port projects by 2035.

  • Centre allows more private hospitals to administer Covid-19 vaccine.

  • Election Commission extends polling time in West Bengal.

  • BJP records massive victory in Gujarat local body polls.

  • Haryana implements 75 percent reservation for locals in private sector jobs.

  • Indian Air Force to participate for the first time in Exercise Desert Flag beginning in UAE today.

  • US imposes fresh sanctions against Russia over Navalny issue.

  • Indian Men's hockey team draws against hosts Germany 1-1.

  • Jammu and Kashmir tops medals tally at Khelo India Winter National Games in Gulmarg.


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 said that India will invest 82 billion dollars in port projects by 2035. Prime Minister emphasized on creating world class maritime infrastructure through various reforms to achieve the vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat. Mr. Modi was speaking after inaugurating Maritime India Summit-2021 through video conferencing yesterday, He said  India is very serious about growing in the maritime sector and emerging as a leading Blue Economy of the world. 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.

"In his address during the inaugural ceremony. 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."


Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the inaugural session on 'Harnessing Education, Research and Skill Development for an Atmanirbhar Bharat' at 10:30 AM. Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank will address valedictory session in the evening.


The Election Commission  has extended polling time by 30 minutes for the first phase of West Bengal assembly elections. A notification issued by the poll panel said that the voters will now be able to exercise their franchise from 7 am to 6.30 pm.

Its said the decision was taken in view of the COVID-19 restrictions. The first phase of elections is scheduled to be held on March 27 in 30 assembly constituencies.


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 Monday.

"BJP has replicated its remarkable win in six Municipal corporations with an equally impressive performance in rural Gujarat. At the other end, the Congress ceded all its electoral gains of 2015 in districts and taluka panchayats. New entrants Aam Aadmi Party and AIMIM have also got some seats in different pockets. State BJP President C.R. Patil termed this victory a result of hard work by party workers and welfare schemes of the government. He said that the people have shown their faith in the leadership of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Chief minister Vijay Rupani said that the people have given us a huge mandate and we will fulfil their expectations. Yogesh Pandya, AIR News, Ahmedabad."


Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that results of the Nagar Palika, Taluka Panchayat and District Panchayat polls across Gujarat give a crystal clear message that Gujarat is firmly with the BJP’s agenda of development and good governance. In a tweet, Mr Modi said, he bows to the people of Gujarat for the unwavering faith and affection towards THE BJP.


Home Minister Amit Shah also hailed the BJP's spectacular victory in local body polls in Gujarat. In a series of tweets, Mr Shah said the results show that the people of Gujarat have faith in BJP’s  development agenda.  He said under the leadership of PM Modi, the country has set a development agenda for the poor, farmer and common people. He also congratulated Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel and state BJP President C R Paatil as well as party workers for the grand victory.


The Haryana Governor has approved yesterday a bill that reserves 75 percent of the private sector jobs with gross salary upto 50,000 rupees per month for the people of the state. The legislation was passed by the state assembly last year.

Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala said that the youth of the state will now get 75 percent reservation in private sector jobs, that includes companies, societies and trusts. Reservation in the private sector for locals was the main election promise of Mr Chautala's Jannayak Janta Party, which had formed a government in the state in alliance with the BJP.

The bill, tabled by Mr Chautala last year, makes it mandatory for the private sector companies to reserve 75 percent of jobs with salary upto 50,000 rupees per month for natives of Haryana. Companies must register details of all employees getting upto 50,000 rupees per month, the government had said, adding failure to do so within three months of it becoming a law will attract penalties. The Haryana government had said the reservation will be socially, economically and environmentally desirable.


The auction of telecom spectrum ended yesterday 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 yesterday.

Three bidders, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Reliance JioInfocomm 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. 


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, 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. He said, Indian toys not only showcase our rich culture and heritage, but also have huge potential in the training of our children to develop their minds. The Minister said, Prime Minister Narendra Modi initiated this movement as a part of Atmanirbhar Bharat to inculcate the true potential of toys and to develop the ecosystem of toys in India. He said, the potential the toy industry holds to help our youth evolve in their formative years was recognised by the Prime Minister.


Union Minister Nitin Gadkari has announced that the Nag River Pollution Abatement Project has been approved at a cost of over 2,117 crore rupees. The river which flows through Nagpur city thus giving its name to the city is now a highly polluted water channel of sewage and industrial waste.

Mr Gadkari announced it after chairing a meeting of World Bank officials, Director General National Mission for Clean Ganga(NMCG) and Nagpur Municipal Commissioner in his office in New Delhi yesterday.

The project approved under the National River Conservation Plan will be implemented by the National River Conservation Directorate. It will reduce the pollution level in terms of untreated sewage, flowing solid waste and other impurities flowing into the Nag river and its tributaries.


Union Information and Broadcasting Secretary Amit Khare has written to Manipur government saying that powers to administer notices have not been delegated to state governments, police commissioners or District Magistrates under the new digital media laws. In his letter to Chief Secretary of Manipur, Mr Khare said, the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021 were framed under the Information Technology Act 2021. Mr Khare wrote, part 3 of these rules relate to news publishers and publishers of Online Curated Content (OTT) Platforms including the Code of Ethics, the three Tier Grievance Redressal Mechanism and the requirement of furnishing of information and disclosure of information are to be administered by the I&B Ministry. 


Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar has ordered officers to take immediate action on the the forest fires raging in Simlipal Tiger Reserve. Replying to Petroleum Minister, who expressed concern over the incident, Mr Javadekar said, he has ordered officers to take immediate action and report it to him.


The center has decided to allow all the private hospitals  to function as COVID Vaccination Centers. In a press release the government has said, the decision was taken to utilise 100 percent capacities of all private hospitals.  Earlier private hospitals empanelled to Ayushman Bharat- Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana (AB-PM JAY) Central Government Health Scheme, and similar State Health Insurance Schemes were allowed to function as COVID Vaccination Centers. 

It said, the private hospitals will work as COVID Vaccination Centers, if they have adequate number of vaccinators, adequate space for observation of the vaccinated, adequate cold chain arrangement and adequate arrangement for management of AEFI.


Uttar Pradesh government has issued new guidelines for the vaccination of people aged between 45 to 60 years. Overall, about two crore estimated beneficiaries have been identified across the state.

"As per directions issued by additional chief secretary health,  Amit Mohan Prasad, the government district hospitals and medical colleges will work six days a week for Covid vaccination while the other government health-care facilities like the primary health centres, community health centres and dispensaries will take up vaccination on three days -- Monday, Thursday and Friday. Slots for urban centres will be reserved 60% for those availing self-registration while 40% will be for citizens who walk in. People registering though self-registration method will get preferential vaccination timing from 9am to 11am while the rest can take up vaccination on ‘first come, first served’ basis from 11am to 5pm. Slots at rural centres will be in ratio of 50% each for those registering though self-registration and walk-in. on 8th March which is international women's day 3 sessions for vaccination will be organised in every districts in which beneficiaries as well as vaccinators will be only women.  SUSHIL CHANDRA TIWARI, AIR NEWS, LUCKNOW."


In Bihar, a total of 88 thousand 868 healthcare workers took the second dose of Covid-19 vaccine.  So far, 6 lakh 56 thousand 501 beneficiaries have been inoculated with vaccine doses since the start of vaccination drive in the state. Meanwhile, two lakh 60 thousand 687 patients have recovered from the COVID-19 infection in state so far. COVID-19 recovery rate has improved to 99.27 percent in Bihar. The number of active cases is continuously declining. Currently, only 368 patients are receiving treatment at various hospitals.  No positive case has been reported from 22 districts.


In Odisha, more than 27 thousand beneficiaries were given covid-19 vaccine shots yesterday. The state has arranged 219 session sites for vaccination across the state.

"The majority of the beneficiaries numbering about 21 thousand out of the total 27 thousand seven hundred sixty three were the senior citizens. Conversely, 774 persons between 45 to 59 years of age with comorbidities were also given the vaccine shots in addition to about 4,000 healthcare workers receiving their second vaccine jabs. Meanwhile the State Health department has asked collectors and municipal commissioners to find out more private health care centres having the requisite facilities for their onboarding in the ongoing vaccination drive. The state has already designated 183 private hospitals as vaccination centres besides the government health facilities to maximise the reach of covid-19 vaccination in the state. Girish Chandra Dash, AIR News, Bhubaneswar."


In Maharashtra, 29 private hospitals in Mumbai have been given permissions to carry out COVID vaccination in addition to BMC centres. This was informed by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation on its twitter handle. The decision was taken to increase the speed of the vaccination drive as long queues were seen outside the designatied vaccination centres in Mumbai and number of beneficiaries had to wait long to get the dose of the Covid-19 vaccine yesterday.


In Tamilnadu approximately 4 lakh eight thousand people have been vaccinated for Covid-19 so far. Over 5,800 senior citizens and 5,197 people aged between 45 to 59 with co morbidities got their jabs in the state till yesterday.

"Tamilnadu has registered 462 fresh cases yesterday. Chennai registered 167 new cases of Covid-19 followed by 39 in Coimbatore and 33 in Chengalpet. All other districts reported less than 25 cases and 24 of them reported cases in single digits. Tirupathur was the only district to report zero cases.  The State Government's principal health secretary Dr.K.Radhakrishnan visited the Chennai Airport yesterday and  had talks with the airport officials on monitoring for Covid 19 for those arriving from other countries and also from states like Kerala and Maharashtra. Joy, AIR News, Chennai."


In the Union Territory of Puducherry as many as 10,701 persons were administered the Covid vaccine so far. 9,668 health workers were given the vaccine in 29 days while, 1033 frontline workers were vaccinated in 18 days.

"The 2nd phase of Covid 19 Vaccination drive has began in the UT and 36 elderly people took vaccination so far. Health Director Dr Mohan Kumar said that this phase will cover all citizens above 60 years of age and those above the age of 45 years with specified co-morbidities.  Vaccines will be available in any of the 17 government based centres. Senior citizens can visit these centres with any age proof document like Aadhar card , voter ID etc and those above 45 years can take their medical report of their health condition. 32 persons were discharged from the hospitals . No deaths were reported. Presently, 79 persons are being treated in hospitals and another 95 positive cases are under home isolation in the union territory. The case fatality rate is 1.68 percent and the recovery rate  stands at 97.88 percent. Chandra Mohan, AIR NEWS, Puducherry."


As Kerala reports slight decrease in covid cases, Covid vaccination drive for senior citizens and those aged above 45 years with co-morbidities is continuing in full swing in the state.

"Aa part of the  mass vaccination, many State Ministers including State Health Minister KK Shailaja  received the first dose of Covid vaccine.  Mrs.Shailaja said the State would explore the possibility of starting mass vaccination centres to speed up the process. Meanwhile Kerala confirmed  2938  new covid cases  last day.3512  recoveries were also reported. Presently the total active Covid cases in Kerala is  47,277.  The test positivity rate reduced to 4.31%.16 recent deaths were also confirmed  due to Covid lately,  taking the  death toll  in the State to 4226. Mayusha for AIR News from Thiruvananthapuram."


International Women’s Day is celeberated on 8th March every year. All India Radio News honors Women Achievers from diverse fields by bringing their stories. 

Mountaineer Anshu Jamsenpa, received the Padma Shri this year. She is the world's first woman to climb Mount Everest twice in five days. She has scaled Everest 5 times till now.

"Anshu Jamsenpa has scaled Everest 5 times till now. In 2011 she scaled the Everest twice in a season. She earned the Record of being the first woman to scale the world's tallest peak twice in a season. In 2013 she climbed Everest for the third time. In 2017 she created the world record by climbing Everest twice in five days.This is for the first time ever a woman has climbed Everest this fast. Speaking to All India Radio News Ms. Jamsenpa shared her experience. She also spoke about the challenges she faced during her journey.

Ms Jamsenpa believes women should have faith in themselves and follow their dream.  Deeksha Saksena, AIR NEWS Delhi".


Indian Air Force will participate for the first time in Exercise Desert Flag which is beginning in Al-Dhafra airbase in UAE from today. Exercise Desert Flag is an annual multi-national large force employment warfare exercise hosted by the United Arab Emirates Air Force. The Indian Air Force is participating in the Exercise along with air forces of United Arab Emirates, United States of America, France, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Bahrain. The exercise will conclude on 27th of this month.

The Indian Air Force is participating with six Sukhoi Su-30 MKI, two C-17 and one IL-78 tanker aircraft.


The United States has  slapped sanctions on Russian individuals and entities over the near-fatal poisoning of prominent opposition figure Alexei Navalny with a nerve agent. Speaking to reporters, the senior White House officials said the sanctions were being imposed in coordination with the European Union, and urged the release of Navalny from prison. The white house said these sanctions mark the first of several steps by the Biden administration to respond to a number of destabilizing actions.


In a nail-biting match, Indian Men's hockey team drew against hosts Germany 1-1 last night. India's Jarmanpreet Singh opened the scoring for the visitors. Germany equalized by converting a penalty corner.

On Sunday, Indian Men's Team-led by PR Sreejesh outclassed Germany 6-1 in the first of their four-match series.

Now India will travel to Antwerp, Belgium where they will take on Great Britain on Saturday and Monday before wrapping up the 17-day tour.


Jammu and Kashmir has topped the medals tally at the Khelo India Winter National Games which concluded at Gulmarg in Baramulla district yesterday. The Union Territory bagged 11 Gold, 18 Silver and 5 Bronze. Karnataka stood second with 5 Gold and 4 Bronze followed by Maharashtra which got 3 Gold, 3 Silver and 2 Bronze medals. While Uttrakhand won 3 Gold, 1 Silver and 3 Bronze medals, Himachal Pradesh bagged 2 Gold, 2 silver and 4 Bronze medals. More than 1200 athletes from 27 States and Union Territories took part in the tournament.


Take a look at the weather for the day.

National Capital Delhi will experience mist in the morning. The minimum temperature was around 14 degree Celsius while maximum will be 29 degrees.

Mumbai will have mainly clear sky with temperature varying between 22 and 35 degree Celsius.

Chennai will have partly cloudy sky. The temperature will fluctuate between 24 and 34 degree Celsius.

Kolkata will also have partly cloudy sky. Minimum temperature was around 22 degree Celsius while maximum may go up to 36 degrees.

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

In Srinagar, will have generally cloudy sky with Light rain. Minimum temperature was around three degree Celsius while the maximum is expected to rise up to 14 degrees.

Leh will have partly cloudy sky. Minimum temperature was minus nine degree Celsius while the maximum will be six degrees.

Gilgit will have generally cloudy sky. Temperature will hover between 5 and 18 degree Celsius.

Muzaffarabad will have partly cloudy sky becoming generally cloudy towards afternoon or evening or night. The temperature will vary from eight to 23 degree Celsius.

In Dehradun, there will be mainly clear sky. The city will experience temperature between 10 to 29 degree Celsius.

Chandigarh will also have mainly clear sky. The temperature is likely to hover between 13 and 29 degree Celsius.

In Hyderabad, the temperature will hover between 17 and 36 degree Celsius. The city will be covered by haze.

Ahmedabad will have clear sky. The minimum temperature was 17 degrees while the maximum will be around 37 degree Celsius.



  • The ongoing drive to give Corona Virus vaccines to the most vulnerable sections of the general public is one of the stories that find prominent mention in most of the dailies this morning. "All private hospitals allowed to offer jab" leads the Tribune.  "Delhi to cover 2.1 million in 2nd leg of vaccinations" reports the Hindustan Times."

  • "BJP goes full throttle in Bengal" informs the Pioneer. The paper writes that "Modi to address 20 rallies, first on Mar 7; BJP plans over 800 rallies". 

  • "BJP sweeps Gujarat local bodies, Congress loses even bastions" states the Indian Express.

  • "Congress stays quiet over 'dissent' in the party" informs the Asian Age.

  •  "India accuses Pakistan of giving pensions to terrorists" reports the Statesman.

  • "25 Rupees hike in LPG, total rise 125 Rupees in past 24 days" says the Times of India.

  • And finally, "Spectrum auction fetches government 78 thousand crore rupees" reports the Economic Times.


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