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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           

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Midday News

1400 HRS


  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi says, new National Education Policy focuses on providing self-confidence to the youth through education and skill, to build Aatmanirbhar Bharat.

  • People should do everything possible to ensure protection of the country's forests and safe habitats for animals, urges Prime Minister.

  • Political activities are gaining  momentum in poll bound Assam and West Bengal; First Phase of polling to be held on 27th of this month.

  • Airwaves over 77 thousand 814 crore rupees bought in two-day auction of telecom spectrum.

  • Over one crore 56 lakh people vaccinated so far; Centre allows more private hospitals to administer COVID-19 vaccine.

  • 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.

  • And in Swiss open badminton championship, many Indians to play their opening round singles matches today.

  • And, Jammu and Kashmir the tops medal 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. 

And now, the news in detail :


Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said that the Union Budget has broadened government's efforts to link education with employability and entrepreneurial capability.

"Education को Employability और Entrepreneurial Capabilities से जोड़ने का जो प्रयास किया गया है, ये बजट उनको और विस्तार देता है। इन्हीं प्रयोगों का परिणाम है कि आज scientific publications के मामले में भारत Top-3 देशों में चुका है। PhD करने वालों की संख्या और स्टार्ट अप इकोसिस्टम के मामले में भी हम दुनिया में Top-3  में पहुंच चुके हैं। Global Innovation Index में भारत दुनिया की Top-50 Innovative Countries में शामिल हो चुका है और निरंतर सुधार कर रहा है।"

The Prime Minister  said, the second biggest focus after health in this year's budget is on education, skill, research and innovation.

"खेल के बाद जो दूसरा सबसे बड़ा focus है वो education, skill, research और innovation पर ही है। देश के यूनिवर्सिटी, कॉलेज और R&D Institutions में बेहतर Synergy, आज हमारे देश की सबसे बड़ी जरूरत बन गई है।  इसी को ध्यान में रखते हुए ग्लू Grant का प्रावधान किया गया है, जिसके तहत अभी 9 शहरों में इसके लिए ज़रूरी mechanism  तैयार किए जा सकें।"

Addressing a webinar on implementation of Budget in the  education sector, Mr. Modi said to build Atmanirbhar Bharat, the youth of the country needs self-confidence which is directly connected to their education, knowledge and skill. He said, the new National Education Policy has been developed with this key thought.

"आत्मनिर्भर भारत के निर्माण के लिए देश के युवाओं में आत्मविश्वास उतना ही जरूरी है। आत्मविश्वास तभी आता है, जब युवा को अपनी Education, अपनी knowledge, अपनी skill पर पूरा भरोसा हो, विश्वास हो। आत्मविश्वास तभी आता है, जब उसको एहसास होता है कि उसकी पढ़ाई, उसे अपना काम करने का अवसर दे रही है और जरूरी Skill भी दे रही है। नई राष्ट्रीय शिक्षा नीति, इसी सोच के साथ बनाई गई है। प्री-नर्सरी से पीएचडी तक, राष्ट्रीय शिक्षा नीति के हर प्रावधान को जल्द से जल्द ज़मीन पर उतारने के लिए अब हमें तेजी से काम करना है।"

The Prime Minister also said, in the new National Education Policy, the use of the Indian languages has been encouraged and it is the responsibility of the experts of every language, how the best content of the world should be made available in Indian languages.

"भारत की talent गांव में भी हैं, भारत की talent गरीब के घर में भी है, भारत की talent किसी एक किसी एक कोई बड़ी भाषा से वंचित रह गए हमारे देश के बच्चों में भी है और इसलिए उस talent का उपयोग इतने बड़े देश के लिए जोड़ना बहुत जरूरी है। इसलिए भाषा के barrier से बाहर निकल करके हमें उसकी भाषा में उसकी talent को फलने-फूलने के लिए अवसर देना, ये Mission Mode में करने की जरूरत है। बजट में घोषित National Language Translation Mission से इसके लिए बहुत प्रोत्साहन मिलेगा।"

The Prime Minister said, it is an injustice to the nation to keep knowledge and research in limits. With this mindset, the government is opening up several sectors like agriculture, space, atomic energy and DRDO for youth. He added that India has tested the Hydrogen Vehicle and now the country has to make itself industry-ready to utilize hydrogen as a fuel for transport. He also said, future fuel and  green energy are very important so as to make the country self-reliant in the energy sector. Thus, the Hydrogen Mission announced in the budget is a massive project.

Green Energy, हमारी Energy में आत्मनिर्भरता के लिए बहुत ज़रूरी है। इसलिए बजट में घोषित Hydrogen Mission एक बहुत बड़ा संकल्प है। भारत ने Hydrogen Vehicle का Test कर लिया है। अब Hydrogen को ट्रांसपोर्ट के Fuel के रूप में उपयोगिता और इसके लिए खुद को Industry Ready बनाने के लिए अब हमें मिलकर आगे बढ़ना होगा।


In poll-bound West Bengal, preparations for the upcoming elections are going on rapidly. Filing of nominations started yesterday after notification was issued for the First Phase of polling on 27th of March. Though most of the political parties are yet to announce their candidates, joining of eminent personalities or leaders is taking place at regular intervals. Popular faces of the regional film fraternity continue to join different political parties. Leading Bengali actress Sayantika Banerjee joined Trinamool Congress this morning while another actress Srabonti Chattopadhyay had joined BJP two days ago. A key organizational meeting of the BJP was held this morning. Several senior leaders of the party will be taking part in rallies in different districts today. TMC leaders and party workers are also campaigning in the districts. On the other hand, hectic parleys are  on to finalize the seat sharing formula among the left parties, Congress and Indian Secular Front.


In poll-bound Assam, several senior leaders and cine stars are to campaign for different political parties. Though most of the parties are yet to submit the list of star campaigners to Election Commission of India, but necreassry preparations are being made in this direction.  Assam will be witnessing three-phase Assembly polls.  The First Phase of polls will be held on 27th of this month. More from our correspondent:-

"The voters of Assam would witness a star studded election campaigns in the next 30 days. Prime Minister and senior leader Narendra Modi, National President J. P. Nadda,  Union Home Minister Amit Shah would lead the campaign for the party. Apart from them, several Union Ministers, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, cine star Sunny Deol and Ravi Kishan are also likely to woo the voters for the NDA candidates. Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Wadra has already started campaigning for the party in Assam. Several Chief Ministers of Congress-ruled states and other senior leaders including Rahul Gandhi would also campaign for the Grand Alliance. On the other hand, regional party Assam Jatiya Parishad is in talks with Telangana and Jharkhand Chief Ministers. Apart from the national leaders, the local leaders of all prominent parties would also intensify their campaigns in coming days.Manas Pratim Sarma, AIR News, Guwahati."


President Ram Nath Kovind today received the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine. He was administered the vaccine at R.R. Hospital in the national capital.


The center has decided to allow all the private hospitals to function as COVID Vaccination Centers. Government 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 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 Adverse event following immunization.


Speaking to AIR News, a Senior Citizen beneficiary who took the vaccine jab today said that he was satisfied with the swift registration and vaccination process. He said that he felt completely comfortable after the vaccination and resumed his work immediately after that.


The COVID-19 recovery rate in the country has touched 97.06 per cent. The Health Ministry said, over 13 thousand people were discharged in the last 24 hours. Till now, over one crore 8 lakh 12 thousand people has recovered from the COVID-19 infection. In the last 24 hours, around 15 thousand new cases were reported. With this, total number of cases have reached over one crore 11 lakh. The Ministry said, 98 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours. So far, over one crore 56 lakh beneficiaries have been vaccinated.


In Madhya Pradesh, 259 COVID-19 patients were discharged from different hospitals yesterday, taking the state's overall recovery count to 2,55,595. More from our correspondent:-

"Madhya Pradesh reported a total of 331 new positive cases. State did not report any death due to COVID-19 yesterday and no new infection case was recorded in 15 out of the total 52 districts in the state during the day.  The death toll currently stands at 3,865. Bhopal has now 556 active cases while Indore has 1,069 active cases. Meanwhile, State Immunization Officer Dr Santosh Shukla said that the vaccination drive for senior citizens is being  conducted smoothly in the state. Pooja P. Vardhan , AIR News, Bhopal."


Today is World Wildlife Day.  The day is observed to celebrate and raise awareness of the world's wild animals and plants.  On the occasion, Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu today urged everyone to put in dedicated efforts to save and preserve wildlife and create greater awareness on the need to maintain a healthy ecological balance on our planet. Mr. Naidu said that we need to make environment-friendly choices and ensure that natural habitats are not disturbed so as to hand over a healthier planet to future generations.

The Prime Minister has saluted all those working towards wildlife protection on World Wildlife Day. He said, be it lions, tigers and leopards, India is seeing a steady rise in the population of various animals. Mr Modi added that people should do everything possible to ensure protection of the country's forests and safe habitats for animals.

On the occasion, Environment Minister Prakash  Javadekar said, the big cat will be a reality soon as the government will bring Cheetah back from extinction.  He said, the government is working on reintroduction of Cheetah, which went extinct in 1952.  He said, India has thriving wildlife and biodiversity with 70 per cent  of global tiger population and 70 per cent  of Asiatic Lions. The country also has 60 per cent  of Leopard population.  Here is a desk report:-

"On 20 December 2013, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 3 March as the world wildlife day marking the signature of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora in 1973. This year, the day is being celebrated under the theme "Forests and Livelihoods: Sustaining People and Planet". It seeks to highlight the central role of forests, forest species and ecosystems services in sustaining the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people, particularly of Indigenous and local communities with historic ties to forested and forest-adjacent areas. Between 200 and 350 million people live within or adjacent to forested areas around the world, relying on the various ecosystem services provided by forest and forest species. Tripti Srivastava news desk."


The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi was today apprised of the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and the French Republic in the field of renewable energy cooperation. The MoU was signed in January this year. The objective of the MoU is to establish the basis for promotion of bilateral cooperation in the field of new and renewable energy on the basis of mutual benefit, equality and reciprocity.  It covers technologies relating to solar, wind, hydrogen and biomass energy. The MoU entails exchange and training of scientific and technical personnel; exchange of scientific and technological information and data; organization of workshops and seminars and transfer of equipment.


The Union Cabinet today approved the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Agriculture Ministries of India and Fiji for cooperation in the field of Agriculture and Allied Sectors. The MoU between India and Fiji provides for cooperation in the areas including exchange of research personnel, scientific experts, specialists, and technical trainees; Enhancement and transfer of technology; Development of infrastructure for agriculture development; Promotion of joint ventures between private sectors of both the countries; Promotion of investment in marketing and value addition and Promotion of direct trade of agriculture products through market access among others.


Bihar Government has approved a proposal to allow Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) for disbursement of funds for the students of all government schemes to purchase uniform and bicycle for the current financial year without the rider of minimum 75 per cent attendance. This decision was taken at State Cabinet meeting which was chaired by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

In another decision, the State Cabinet approved a proposal to sanction funds to the tune of 112 crore rupees for the procurement of Electronic Voting Machines ( EVMs) for the upcoming Panchyat elections in the state.


In Gujarat, the Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel has presented the budget for the year 2021-22 in the State Assembly today. Mr. Patel who holds the portfolio of Finance Ministry presented the Budget.  More from our correspondent:-

"Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel has presented the state budget with the biggest ever total outlay despite the shortfall in income due to covid19 pandemic. The total outlay of Rs. 2 lakh 27 thousand 29 crore is reflecting the increase of 9700 crore in comparison to the last year’s budget. Record allocation has been made for the most of the sectors including agriculture, farmer’s welfare, health and family welfare and education. Mr. Patel has said that this year’s budget will focus on ongoing development of the state and welfare of the people. He announced the recruitment of 2 lakh youth in the government and public sector units in next five years. Mr. Patel also announced free electricity for all gram panchayats for waterworks. Yogesh Pandya, AIR News,  Ahmedabad."


Airwaves worth of over 77 thousand 814 crore rupees were bought during the two-day auction of telecom spectrum which concluded yesterday. Telecommunications Secretary Anshu Prakash said, incremental bids for 668.20 crore rupees were made on the 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 on the first day. Two rounds of bidding with stipulated activity levels of 100 per cent took place yesterday.

Three bidders, Bharti Airtel Limited, Vodafone Idea Limited and Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited participated in the auction. Reliance Jio emerged to be the biggest bidder by acquiring a total of 488.35 MHz of spectrum for over 57 thousand 122 crore rupees followed by Bharti Airtel with 355.45 MHz at around 18 thousand 698  crore rupees and Vodafone Idea with 11.80 MHz for over 1,993 crore rupees. 


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.


Aam Aadmi Party has won four wards while Congress bagged the remaining one in the Delhi Municipal Corporation by-polls. The AAP registered victory in Kalyanpuri, Shalimar Bagh North, Trilokpuri and Rohini-C wards. The Congress won Chauhan Banger seat in the East Delhi Municipal Corporation. The election for five wards was held on Sunday.


International Women’s Day is celeberated on 8th of March. All India Radio News honors Women Achievers from diverse fields by bringing their stories. One hundred and five- year old Pappamal also known as R. Rangama from the Thekkampatti village of Tamil Nadu was conferred the Padma Shri this year for her work in organic farming for more than seven decades now. More from our correspondent:


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.


In Swiss Open Badminton Championship, many Indian players will play their singles opening matches today including P.V. Sindhu, Saina Nehwal, H.S. Prannoy, P. Kashyap and Sai Praneeth. In men's singles, match between Kidambi Srikanth and Sameer Verma is underway. Sameer won the first game 21-18.

In Women's singles, P.V. Sindhu will take on Neslihan Yigit of Turkey, Saina will be clashing with Phittayaporn Chaiwan of Thailand.

Ajay Jayaram will meet Thailand's Sitthikom Thammasin and P. Kashyap will square off against Spain's Pablo Abian. Olympic hopeful Praneeth, who was forced to withdraw from the last event in Thailand after testing positive for COVID-19, will clashes with Israel's Misha Zilberman. Young Lakshya Sen, who missed the Thailand events due to an injury, will be rearing to go when he opens against Victor Svendsen of Denmark. H.S. Prannoy takes on Mark Caljouw of Netherlands, while Sourabh Verma will open against Switzerland's Christian Kirchmayr.

In the men's Doubles, the duo of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty will play against the Scottish pair of Chistropher and Mathew Grimley. Ashwini Ponappa and N. Sikki Reddy will play their women's doubles match against German pair of Annabella Jaiger and Stine Kuspert.


The Sensex and Nifty today surged more than one and half per cent in intra-day trade amid positive global cues, shrugging off concern about the bubble in stocks. Global equity indices climbed amid optimism that more U.S. stimulus will boost the economic recovery world-wide. The BSE Sensex regained 51,000 mark while the NSE Nifty reclaimed 15,000 level. The Sensex was trading 779 points, or 1.55 per cent, up at 51,076 and the NSE Nifty climbed 232 points, or 1.56 per cent, to trade at 15,151. 

At the forex market the rupee also strengthened 43 paise to 72 rupees and 94 paise against the US dollar in afternoon deals.


Now, let us take a look at today's weather .

National Capital Delhi has a clear sky. Minimum temperature was 13 degrees Celsius and maximum will be around 29 degrees.

Mumbai is having mainly clear sky with temperature hovering between 20 and 35 degrees Celsius.

Chennai has a partly cloudy sky. The temperature varies between 22 and 34 degrees Celsius. After fog and mist in the morning, Kolkata is having partly cloudy sky. Minimum temperature was 22 degrees Celsius while maximum may go up to 36 degrees.

Jammu has mainly clear sky becoming partly cloudy towards evening or night. Minimum temperature was 12 degrees Celsius while maximum is expected to be around 27 degrees.

Srinagar, will have generally cloudy sky towards evening or night with possibility of rain or thundershowers along with squall. Minimum temperature was three degrees Celsius and maximum is expected to be around 14 degrees.

Leh has a clear sky. Minimum temperature was minus six degrees Celsius, maximum will be around seven degrees.

Gilgit has mainly clear sky. Temperature will hover between five and 19 degrees Celsius.

Muzaffarabad has generally cloudy sky with possibility of rain or thunderstorm. Temperature will vary from nine to 24 degrees Celsius.

Dehradun is having mainly clear sky. Temperature will hover between nine and 30 degrees Celsius.

Chandigarh also has mainly clear sky. Minimum temperature was 14 degrees and maximum will be around 29 degrees Celsius.

Hyderabad is having haze today.  Ahmedabad also has a clear sky. 

In Patna, the temperature will move between 15 and 31 degree Celsius, with mainly clear sky.



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