Thu, 16 September 2021
PM to hold review meeting with secretaries on Sep 18
23:48 PM to hold review meeting with secretaries on Sep 18
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold a review meeting with secretaries of various ministries and departments on September 18, according to sources.
The meeting comes days after Modi chaired a meeting with his council of ministers, which was termed as 'Chintan Shivir'.
The sources said the meeting with the secretaries is scheduled to be held in the evening on September 18.
Specific details about the meeting could not be immediately ascertained.
Against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic that has ravaged lives and the economy, the government has been taking various measures to revive the situation, including steps to boost economic growth.
In July, Modi effected a reshuffle of his Cabinet ahead of seven states going for polls next year. Out of them, BJP is in power in six states, including Uttar Pradesh.
At the meeting with the ministers on September 14, Modi stressed that simplicity is the way of life.
Four more such 'Chintan Shivirs' will be held for further improving governance, sources had said.
At the meeting, Modi asked the ministers to learn from the best practices of their colleagues.
Stating that sharing is caring, the prime minister had also spoken about tiffin meetings during his Gujarat days where everyone used to bring their own tiffins in meetings and shared the food as well as ideas. -- PTI
23:42 Communal rioting cases nearly doubled in 2020: NCRB
Cases of communal or religious rioting in 2020 nearly doubled from 2019 even as the country witnessed "very limited" outdoor activities due to COVID-19 pandemic during the past year, according to latest government data.
In its annual report, the National Crime Records Bureau which functions under the Union Home Ministry, stated that 857 cases of communal or religious rioting were reported in the country in 2020.
In 2019, India had logged 438 such cases across states and Union Territories while the figure was 512 in 2018, it added.
In the report the NRCB stated that the country remained under complete lockdown from March 25, 2020 till May 31, 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic (first wave), during which the movement in public space was "very limited".
The year 2020 witnessed several protests and demonstrations on citizenship laws and communal riots in northeast Delhi during January and February while the pandemic outbreak started in March.
There were 736 cases of 'caste conflict' in 2020, up from 492 in 2019 and 656 in 2018. Another 167 cases were lodged under the 'sectarian' conflict category in 2020, up from 118 the previous year and down from 209 in 2018, the data showed.
The NCRB report stated that a total of 71,107 cases of 'offences against public tranquillity' were lodged across the country in 2020, an increase of 12.4 per cent over 63,262 such cases in 2019.
As many as 2,188 cases of such offences were lodged under the 'agrarian' category while 1,905 for 'rioting during protests or demonstrations', the data revealed.
Of the total offences against public tranquility recorded under various sections of the Indian Penal Code in 2020, rioting (51,606 cases) accounted for 72.6 per cent of total such cases, the data showed.
"The cases registered under crimes against women, children and senior citizens, theft, burglary, robbery and dacoity have therefore declined, whereas COVID-related enforcement has resulted in increase of cases registered under 'disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant (Section 188 IPC)', under 'Other IPC Crimes' and under 'Other State Local Acts'," it added in the report. -- PTI
23:40 Modi govt only knows intimidation: Cong on IT raids
The Congress on Thursday hit out at the Centre after searches were carried out by probe agencies at the premises of activist Harsh Mander and actor Sonu Sood, saying the government only knows threats and intimidation but democracy will triumph.
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said even though 'raid raaj' continues under the Narendra Modi government, accountability will continue to be sought.
"Raid Raj continues unabated ! Intimidation is all Government knows! Threats is the mantra of Modi Government! New targets are Harsh Mander and Sonu Sood," he said on Twitter.
"Truth will.prevail, dissent will.persist, accountability will be sought, questions will be asked, democracy will triumph," he added.
The Enforcement Directorate on Thursday conducted searches at the premises of human rights activist and retired IAS officer Harsh Mander here in connection with a money laundering investigation, official sources said.
The Income Tax Department officials had descended on the premises linked to actor Sonu Sood in Mumbai and some other places on Wednesday in connection with an alleged tax evasion probe, official sources had said.
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh also said fear, deception and intimidation continue under the Modi government.
"One day after the International Day of Democracy, Modi Sarkar continues with its FDI obsession Fear, Deception, Intimidation, by harassing a renowned activist and intellectual, Harsh Mander. And He gives lectures to others on inclusiveness and democracy," Ramesh said in a tweet.
He cited reports of raids on Sood and Mander. -- PTI
CM Bhupendra Patel with ex-dpy CM Nitin Patel
21:01 No Deputy CM in Bhupendra Patel-led Gujarat govt
There will be no deputy chief minister in the Bhupendra Patel-led Bharatiya Janata Party government in Gujarat, a post that existed in the previous Vijay Rupani-headed cabinet.
The post was held by Nitin Patel during the Rupani government.
Since its formation in 1960, Gujarat has seen five deputy chief ministers, three of them during the Congress-led dispensations.
Nitin Patel has been the longest-serving deputy chief minister in the state, who was appointed to the post in August 2016.
At the cabinet swearing-in and portfolio allocations on Thursday, nobody was named deputy chief minister.
"Last time, Nitin Patel was made deputy CM as it was the requirement of that time," party sources said.
In 2016, when the BJP replaced Anandiben Patel, she had insisted on appointing Nitin Patel as her successor. However, the party wanted Vijay Rupani to occupy the top post. Therefore, Nitin Patel was made the deputy CM as a compromise, they said.
This time, deputy CM was not required, so nobody was given the responsibility, the sources said.
Chimanbhai Patel, Kantilal Ghia and Narhari Amin were deputy CMs in the state during the Congress governments at different points, while late BJP leader Keshubhai Patel had occupied the post for a few months in 1990 during the coalition government.
The BJP on Thursday inducted 24 members, including 21 who debuted as ministers, into the four-day-old Bhupendra Patel-led ministry, discarding all ministers in the previous Vijay Rupani-led regime in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state, a year ahead of the assembly polls. -- PTI
20:50 Shah to visit Maharashtra, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh
Union Home Minister Amit Shah will undertake a two-day visit to Telangana, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh from Friday during which he will participate in a number of programmes and address rallies.
Shah will visit Nanded in Maharashtra on Friday where he will participate in a tree plantation drive by the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs). He will plant the 10 millionth sapling of this drive in 2021, an official spokesperson said.
The CAPFs have so far planted 99.99 lakh saplings this year and last year had planted about 1.47 crore saplings.
Thereafter, Shah will inaugurate a blood donation camp in Nirmal district of Telangana on the occasion of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's birthday.
He will also address a public rally in Nirmal district.
On Saturday, the home minister will visit Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh to pay floral tributes at the statues of Veer Balidani Raja Shankar Shah and Raghunath Shah.
While in Jabalpur, Shah will participate in a programme to honour the tribal leaders, who participated in the independence movement, on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of country's independence.
He will also launch the 'Ujwala 2.0 Yojana' and participate in a conference of booth presidents of the BJP in the Jabalpur parliamentary constituency. -- PTI
20:48 WB post-poll violence: Mamata's poll agent interrogated
The Central Bureau of Investigation on Thursday interrogated Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee's election agent in Nandigram, SK Sufian, as part of its probe into cases of violence in the aftermath of March-April assembly polls, agency sources said.
Sufian was interrogated for over four hours at the port town of Haldia in Purba Midnapore, the sources said.
The Calcutta high court, after taking cognisance of an NHRC report on post-poll violence, has handed over probe into �heinous� cases of rape and murder to the Central Bureau of Investigation.
The agency has filed 35 FIRs so far, based on complaints received from various quarters.
Sufiyan later claimed that it was a "conspiracy" on the part of BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari that led to his interrogation.
He stated that he wasn't involved in any criminal activity.
Adhikari and Banerjee had crossed swords in Nandigram in Purba Midnapore during the elections, with the BJP leader emerging victorious from the seat. -- PTI
19:59 Gujarat CM keeps home, urban development
Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel on Thursday allocated portfolios to the newly-inducted ministers, keeping a host of departments including Home with himself and without appointing any deputy.
Kanubhai Desai was allocated Finance and Energy and Petrochemicals portfolios.
Besides Home ministry, CM Patel will hold the charge of General Administration Department, Information and Broadcast, Industries, Mines and Minerals, Capital Projects, Urban Development, Urban Housing and Narmada and Ports, an official release said. -- PTI
18:58 MS Dhoni named in defence ministry panel on NCC
Cricket icon Mahendra Singh Dhoni and industrialist Anand Mahindra were on Thursday named in a 15-member panel constituted by the defence ministry to carry out a comprehensive review of the National Cadet Corps in order to make it more relevant.
The committed headed by former lawmaker Baijayant Panda includes Col. (Retd) Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Rajya Sabha member Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, Principal Economic Advisor in the Finance Ministry
Sanjeev Sanyal and Jamia Millia Islamia Vice Chancellor Najma Akhtar.
Former vice-chancellor of the SNDT Women's University Vasudha Kamat, National Organising Secretary of Bhartiya Shikshan Mandal Mukul Kanitkar, Maj Gen (retd) Alok Raj, Managing Director of SIS India Ltd Rituraj Sinha and CEO of Databook Anand Shah are also members of the panel.
Dhoni's inclusion in the high-level panel came days after he was appointed mentor for India's T20 cricket world cup team.
The former India captain is a Lieutenant Colonel (Honorary) in the Indian Army.
The defence ministry said the committee has been constituted for a comprehensive review of the NCC in order to make it more relevant in changing times.
"The terms of reference of the committee, inter-alia, broadly provide for suggesting measures which can empower NCC cadets to contribute more effectively towards nation-building and national developmental efforts in various sectors," it said.
Officials said the committee will propose measures for gainful engagement of the NCC cadets for the betterment of the organisation as a whole and to recommend best practices of similar international youth organisations for inclusion in the NCC curriculum.
The NCC is the largest organisation in uniform that aims at developing character, discipline, a secular outlook and ideals of selfless service among young citizens, the ministry said in a statement.
It also aims to create a pool of organised, trained and motivated youth with leadership qualities in all walks of life.
The NCC was formed under the National Cadet Corps act in 1948. -- PTI
18:44 Govt downplays NYT article criticising PM over Covid
The government called the recent New York Times article on India's Covid response a "provocative, attention seeking" piece that comes at a time when the country is doing well in tackling the pandemic.
The article claimed that the "ICMR tailored its findings to fit Prime Minister Narendra Modi's optimistic narrative despite a looming crisis".
Responding to a question at a press briefing, ICMR Director General Dr Balram Bhargava said, "This is a provocative, attention seeking article published at a time when India is doing good and our vaccination is excellent and it is diverting attention. All the issues raised are dead ones and probably do not merit any attention."
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said the Union government as well as the state governments are fully emerged in fighting a pandemic and all our energies and time is devoted to that.
"We greatly value journalistic and editorial freedom and at the same time we must also realise that all of us - Union government as well as the state governments - are fully emerged in fighting a pandemic and all our energies and time is devoted to that," he said.
"We cannot afford to be diverted by things that can be addressed at a later day which are not priority from the public health point of view," Bhushan said.
NITI Aayog Member (Health) Dr V K Paul condemned the article.
"We actually condemn this type of distorted out of context reporting. This is not desirable and it should not happen," he said. -- PTI
18:30 Virat Kohli to step down as T20 captain after WC
Virat Kohli on Thursday announced he will step down as India's T20 captain after the T20 World Cup in UAE but will continue to lead the side in ODIs and Test cricket.
"I've decided to step down as the T20 captain after this T20 World Cup in Dubai in October," Kohli said in a statement posted on his Twitter page.
For some time, there has been speculation about Kohli's future as white-ball captain especially in the backdrop of Rohit Sharma's brilliant track record of winning five IPL titles for Mumbai Indians.
"Understanding workload is a very important thing and considering my immense workload over the last 8-9 years playing all three formats and captaining regularly for last five to six years, I feel I need to give myself space to be fully ready to lead Indian team in Test and ODI cricket," Kohli said in a statement on his Twitter page.
"I have given my everything to the Team during my time as T20 captain and I will continue to do so for the T20 captain and will continue to do so for the T20 team as a batsman moving forward," he further added.
The decision, Kohli said, was taken after consulting head coach Ravi Shastri, his heir apparent Rohit, BCCI President Sourav Ganguly and secretary Jay Shah.
The T20 World Cup starts on October 17.
18:14 Understanding workload is a very important thing: Virat Kohli
Here is Virat Kohli's full statement: -
I have been fortunate enough to not only represent India but also lead the Indian Cricket Team to my utmost capability. I thank everyone who has supported me in my journey as the Captain of the Indian Cricket Team. I couldn't have done it without them -- the boys, the support staff, the selection committee, my coaches and each and every Indian who prayed for us to win.
Understanding workload is a very important thing and considering my immense workload over the last 8-9 years playing all 3 formats and captaining regularly for last 5-6 years, I feel I need to give myself space to be fully ready to lead the Indian Team in Test and ODI Cricket. I have given everything to the Team during my time as T20 Captain and I will continue to do so for the T20 Team as a batsman moving forward.
Of course, arriving at this decision took a lot of time. After a lot of contemplation and discussions with my close people, Ravi bhai and also Rohit, who have been an essential part of the leadership group, I've decided to step down as the T20 Captain after this T20 World Cup in Dubai in October. I have also spoken to the secretary Mr Jay Shah and the President of BCCI Mr Sourav Ganguly along with all the selectors about the same. I will continue to serve Indian Cricket and the Indian Team to the best of my ability.
18:04 Indian abducted in Af: In touch with concerned, says MEA
India on Thursday said it is in touch with all concerned following reports that an Indian national has been kidnapped from Kabul.
According to reports, Bansri Lal Arendeh was kidnapped at gunpoint on Tuesday in the Afghan capital city.
"We are in touch with all concerned. We have seen reports about local authorities undertaking investigations into this matter. We will continue to monitor the situation," Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said at a media briefing.
When specifically asked whether Arendeh is an Indian national, Bagchi said, "I am given to understand that he is an Indian citizen but we are also checking that part."
Reports said that Arendeh's family lives in Faridabad, and he has been engaged in business in Kabul for the last two decades.
Replying to another question, Bagchi said it is difficult to say about bringing back remaining Indians and some other Afghan nationals till flight services are resumed in the Kabul airport.
"Till operations at Kabul airport is not resumed, it is difficult to say how to bring them back. Our focus is that operations at Kabul airport resume. Then, it will be easier for us to bring back the people," Bagchi said. -- PTI
17:36 FM announces sovereign guarantee for bad banks
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday announced a formal government guarantee on the securities receipts that the planned 'bad bank' will issue to banks as it takes on non-performing assets from their books.
The Union Cabinet yesterday approved Central Government guarantee up to Rs 30,600 crores to back Security Receipts to be issued by National Asset Reconstruction Company Limited, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said at a press conference in New Delhi.
"In 2018, just two out of 21 public sector banks were profitable. But in 2021, only two banks reported losses," the FM said.
"We are also setting up India Debt Resolution Company Ltd. The PSBs will have 49% stake in India Debt Resolution Company Ltd, the rest will be for private players."
17:13 Modi calls new Gujarat ministers 'outstanding karyakartas'
Congratulating the Gujarat ministers sworn in on Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi lauded them as outstanding karyakartas who have devoted their lives to public service and spreading the BJP's development agenda.
Making it amply clear that it is in a mood for a complete overhaul in Gujarat ahead of the 2022 state polls, the BJP on Thursday inducted 24 ministers, including 21 who have become ministers for the first time.
With the fresh inductions, the strength of the ministry led by Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel, a first-term MLA, has gone up to 25. No minister from the earlier Vijay Rupani-led ministry was inducted.
17:01 This place got 3,396 mm of rainfall so far...
Maharashtra's Raigad district has recorded 3,396.43 mm rain so far since June 1, which is 105.6 per cent of its average annual rainfall, an official said on Thursday.
Khalapur taluka of the district has recorded the lowest 87.82 per cent rainfall, while Murud reported the highest 159.78 per cent so far, he said. During the same period (June 1 to September 16) last year, the district had reported 3,288.63 mm rains.
The big gainers today
16:53 Sensex crosses 59k for first time
The BSE Sensex scaled the 59,000-mark for the first time on Thursday, propelled by gains in Reliance Industries, ITC and ICICI Bank amid unabated foreign fund inflows and positive cues from European markets.
IndusInd Bank was the top gainer in the Sensex pack, spurting over 7 per cent, followed by ITC, SBI, Reliance Industries, Kotak Bank, ICICI Bank and Axis Bank. On the other hand, TCS, Tech Mahindra, Tata Steel, Bharti Airtel, HCL Tech and Dr Reddy's were among the laggards.
16:50 Savarkar's book will not be taught in PG course: Kannur University
The Vice Chancellor of Kannur University, Gopinath Ravindran on Thursday said portions of books of RSS leader M S Golwalkar and Hindu Mahasabha leader V D Savarkar would not be taught presently as part of the varsity's post graduate course on Governance and Politics.
The VC said the new portions, after necessary changes are made, would be taught in the fourth semester of the course.
For now the varsity would continue to teach the Contemporary Political Theory paper as it was doing in the past, he said.
The VC said that changes were suggested to be made in the varsity's new syllabus by a two-member expert committee appointed by the state government to look into the matter.
He said that after making the suggested changes the syllabus would be sent to the committee.
The varsity's decision had drawn criticism from various student unions, which have alleged saffronisation of the university, and Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who said his government will not glorify the ideas and leaders who had turned their back on the freedom struggle. -- PTI
16:24 Drone industry will have turnover of Rs 15K cr!
The Indian drone industry will have a total turnover of up to Rs 15,000 crore by 2026 as the government has given a major boost to the sector with the production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme announced on Wednesday and liberalised rules implemented last month, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said on Thursday.
The Civil Aviation Ministry on Wednesday approved a PLI scheme for drones and drone components with an allocation of Rs 120 crore spread over three financial years.
The PLI scheme comes as a follow-through of the liberalised Drone Rules, 2021, released by the Centre on August 25. In the press briefing, Scindia said on Thursday, "With Drone Policy (Rules) and Drone PLI scheme, we have an aim that drone manufacturing companies in India should reach a turnover of Rs 900 crore in the coming three years."
Currently, Indian drone manufacturing companies have a turnover of approximately Rs 80 crore, he mentioned.
16:19 Pakistan's COVID toll crosses 27,000
Pakistan's coronavirus death toll crossed 27,000 on Thursday after another 66 people died in the last 24 hours, according to the official data on Thursday.
In its daily bulletin, the Ministry of National Health Services said 3,012 new cases were also reported in this period, taking the confirmed cases to 1,215,821 while the death toll touched 27,004.
The data showed that another 3,897 patients have recovered and with it the number of people who have completely recovered reached 1,112,236 in the country.
The latest positivity rate was 5.3 per cent, which was slightly higher than 4.78 per cent of the previous day. The ministry reported that more than 71.3 million doses of vaccines have been administered so far, including 23.24 million fully vaccinated people. PTI
15:50 NIA arrives at Bengal BJP MP's home
NIA officials arrive at BJP MP Arjun Singh's residence in Jagaddal, North 24 Parganas to probe September 8 bombing case there. "I've seen two officers here and another NIA team is on the way. They'll talk to local police. I have given all details about bombings," says Singh.
15:36 Anti-terror meet at Delhi Police HQ tomorrow
An anti-terror conference will be held at Delhi Police Headquarters on Friday to discuss the new models and threats of terrorism, informed sources on Thursday.
Delhi Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana who has recently returned from Mumbai to Delhi will be part of the conference, the sources informed. State Anti Terror Squad (ATS) officers and senior officers of intelligence agencies will also be involved, as per the sources.
Few officials will join via video conferencing as well.
14:48 Too busy to know: Shilpa on Kundra's porn racket
Actor Shilpa Shetty, who has been listed as a witness in the Mumbai Police charge sheet against her jailed husband Raj Kundra, says she was unaware of his activities.
Kundra is accused of producing and streaming porn on mobile apps.
Shilpa Shetty's statement according to the charge-sheet read: "I was too busy with work, did not know what Raj Kundra was up to."
Her statement is part of the 1,400-page charge sheet filed by the Mumbai Police.
Shetty also told the police that she was not aware of the controversial apps "Hotshots" or "Bollyfame", both linked to the porn racket.
14:19 New Central Vista Ave will host 2022 R-Day parade
The redevelopment work of the Central Vista Avenue, stretching from Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate in New Delhi, will be completed within two-and-a-half months, Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Thursday.
According to the Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry, the project will be ready in time to host the Republic Day parade in 2022.
Puri asserted that the Winter session of Parliament next year will take place in the new Parliament building.
He was speaking at the inauguration ceremony of two new multi-storey swanky office complexes at Kasturba Gandhi Marg and Africa Avenue for over 7,000 employees of the Defence Ministry and the armed forces. Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated these two new buildings earlier in the day.
"I would like to give you (PM) assurance that the redevelopment work of Central Vista Avenue will be completed in two-and-a-half months, where the Republic Day parade will be held (next year)," Puri said.
Talking about the two new office complexes for the employees of the Defence Ministry, the minister said the construction work of these buildings has been completed in just 12 months. The project has generated over 6.4 lakh person days' of employment. He said that light gauge steel framing (LGSF) technology has been used in constructing these two new office buildings.
14:07 Review of tax rates on Covid drugs on Friday
The GST Council, chaired by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, will meet on Friday, which among other things may review tax rate of over four-dozen items and extend till December 31, tax concessions on 11 COVID drugs.
Also, taxing petrol and diesel under the single national GST tax and a proposal to treat food delivery apps such as Zomato and Swiggy as restaurants and levy a 5 per cent GST tax on supplies made by them would be taken up by the Council at its meeting in Lucknow on September 17.
"Finance Minister Smt @nsitharaman will chair the 45th GST Council meeting at 11 AM in Lucknow tomorrow. The meeting will be attended by MOS Shri @mppchaudhary besides Finance Ministers of States & UTs and Senior officers from Union Government & States," the Finance Ministry tweeted.
The Council, comprising central and state finance ministers, will deliberate on the proposal of extending the existing concessional tax rate structure on Amphotericin B, Tocilizumab, Remdesivir and anti-coagulants like Heparin, till December 31, 2021, from the present September 30. Tax rate on Amphotericin B, Tocilizumab was cut to 'Nil', while Remdesivir and Heparin was reduced to 5 per cent in June 2021.
The Council on Friday may also discuss the proposal of reducing GST from 12 per cent to 5 per cent to seven more drugs till December 31, 2021. These are Itolizumab, Posaconazole, Infliximab, Bamlanivimab & Etesevimab, Casirivimab & Imdevimab, 2-Deoxy-D-Glucose and Favipiravir.
13:32 ED raids premises linked to activist Harsh Mander in Delhi
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday conducted searches at premises linked to human rights activist and retired IAS officer Harsh Mander here in connection with a money laundering investigation, official sources said.
They said at least three premises located in south Delhi-- Adchini, Vasant Kunj and Mehrauli-- are being searched. The ED case is understood to be based on a Delhi Police economic offences wing (EOW) FIR filed in February against the Centre for Equity Studies (CSE) run by Mander who is its director.
Mander has authored a number of books and apart from other social activities, he also writes newspaper editorials on subjects related to social justice and human rights.
The police complaint was filed under Sections 75 and 83(2) of the Juvenile Justice Act along with Indian Penal Code Section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) on the complaint of the registrar of National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) against alleged violations in Umeed Aman Ghar and Khushi Rainbow Home in south Delhi, both established by the CSE.
The police had then said that the case was registered on the basis of an inspection by teams of NCPCR in October, 2020 in these homes. -- PTI
13:17 COVID-19 pandemic made mothers hesitant to have another baby: Study
A new study has shown that nearly half of New York City mothers who had been trying to become pregnant again before the coronavirus pandemic began stopped in the first few months of the outbreak.
The findings of the study were published in the journal 'JAMA Network Open'.
Led by researchers at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, the survey of 1,179 mothers in New York City also found that one-third of women who had been thinking about becoming pregnant before the pandemic but had not yet begun trying said they were no longer considering it.
"Our findings show that the initial COVID-19 outbreak appears to have made women think twice about expanding their families and, in some cases, reduce the number of children they ultimately intend to have," said study lead author and epidemiologist Linda Kahn, PhD, MPH.
"This is yet another example of the potential long-lasting consequences of the pandemic beyond the more obvious health and economic effects," added Kahn.
Pregnancy becomes riskier and more difficult to achieve as women age, so the delays prompted by the pandemic may lead to increased health risks for both mother and child, as well as the need for costly fertility treatments, she added.
12:53 Pak terror module was planning 1993-like blasts
The Delhi Police Special Cell has revealed that a probe into the planning by the Pakistan-organised terror module was on the pattern of 1993 Mumbai serial blasts.
In a massive operation, the Delhi Police's Special Cell on Tuesday busted a Pakistan-organised terror module with the arrest of six men, including two Pak-ISI trained terrorists, officials said.
People from separate locations were supposed to meet together after conducting recce of different locations.
Even though two terrorists (part of Pak-organised terror module) travelled to Pakistan there was no stamp on their passports. They opted for the sea route through Gwadar Port and also changed motor boats while en route towards Pakistan from Oman.
The terrorists who were part of the recently busted Pak-organised terror module were given training in blowing up railway tracks and bridges. Large gatherings were also on their target. The role of sleeper cells has also emerged.
Read the backgrounder on the module here.
12:45 'Link between menstrual changes and Covid vaccination should be investigated'
A link between changes in the menstrual cycle and COVID-19 vaccination is plausible, and should be investigated, according to an editorial published in the British Medical Journal on Thursday.
In the editorial, Victoria Male, a reproductive specialist at Imperial College London, UK noted that periods or unexpected vaginal bleeding are not listed as common side effects of COVID-19 vaccination.
Over 30,000 such reports had been made to the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) surveillance scheme for adverse drug reactions by September 2, she said.
The expert, however, noted most people find that their period returns to normal the following cycle and, importantly, there is no evidence that COVID-19 vaccination adversely affects fertility.
"One important lesson is that the effects of medical interventions on menstruation should not be an afterthought in future research," Male said.
MHRA states that its surveillance data does not support a link between changes to menstrual periods and COVID-19 vaccines, since the number of reports is low in relation to both the number of people vaccinated and the prevalence of menstrual disorders generally.
However, Male said the way in which data is collected makes firm conclusions difficult. She argues in the editorial that approaches better equipped to compare rates of menstrual changes in vaccinated versus unvaccinated populations are needed.
Reports of menstrual changes after COVID-19 vaccination have been made for both mRNA and adenovirus-vectored vaccines, she said. This suggest that, if there is a connection, it is likely to be a result of the immune response to vaccination, rather than to a specific vaccine component, Male said. -- PTI
12:27 Hyd rape accused found dead after encounter threat
A man wanted in the case of the rape and murder of a six-year old girl in Hyderaba was found dead on a railway track in Jangaon district on Thursday, Telangana Director General of Police M Mahendar Reddy tweeted.
The accused was identified after the verification of identification marks on the body, he said. "The accused of "Child Sexual Molestation and murder @ Singareni Colony, found dead on the railway track, in the limits of #StationGhanpurPoliceStation. Declared after the verification of identification marks on deceased body," Reddy tweeted.
A senior police official from Janagaon said the body with head injuries was found on the track in Station Ghanpur and the police reached the spot after some locals noticed a body on the track at around 9.45 am.
The police suspect that the 30-year old P Raju, the accused must have committed suicide by jumping before a running train, the official said.
News of the death comes two days after Telangana Minister Malla Reddy's comment that the accused "will be killed in an encounter".
"We will catch the rapist and murderer. There will be an encounter after he is caught," Reddy had told reporters in Hyderabad on Tuesday.
The police had released a photo of the suspect and had announced a reward of Rs 10 lakh for the 30-year-old, who was a neighbour of the child he allegedly raped and killed.
The girl was raped and murdered allegedly by a man in a neighbouring house at Saidabad on the evening of September 9. The incident triggered protests by residents of the locality who had raised slogans and demanded justice and quick arrest of the culprit. PTI
12:21 That's what a section of the Mumbai-Delhi Expressway looks like
Union Road & Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari conducts an aerial survey of the Delhi-Mumbai expressway. He had inspected the express highway, this morning in Sohna, Haryana.
11:54 Maha boat mishap: 7 more bodies recovered, toll 10
Rescue teams on Thursday recovered seven more bodies of victims who were on a boat which capsized in the Wardha river in Maharashtra's Amaravati district two days back, taking the toll in the incident to 10, police said.
There were total 13 people on the boat and after it capsized on Tuesday, two of its occupants swam to safety, police earlier said.
Three bodies were recovered on Tuesday, and with the police and disaster management cell rescue teams tracing seven more bodies the toll has now gone up to 10, an official on Thursday said, adding that an 11-year-old girl is still missing.
The deceased included seven females and three males, he said. Among the dead were three children - two girls, aged two and 13, and an eight-year-old boy, the official said.
The incident had taken place in Warud tehsil under the jurisdiction of Benoda police station limits of Amravati, located over 600 km from Mumbai, when 12 members of some families from Gadegaon village along with the boatman were on way to a temple after visiting a waterfall nearby, an official earlier said.
Police had said it appeared that the boat was unable to sustain the weight of its occupants. PTI
11:46 Modi inaugurates Defence Offices Complexes in Delhi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday inaugurated the Defence Offices Complexes at Kasturba Gandhi Marg and Africa Avenue in the national capital.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat, Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, and Army chief General MM Naravane were also present at the event.
The Prime Minister will interact with Army, Navy, Air Force and Civilian Officers. This will be followed by his address to the gathering, the statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office read.
11:08 Gadkari reviews India's longest expressway
Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari and Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Thursday reviewed the progress of the Delhi-Mumbai Expressway (DME) covering the States of Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.
Addressing the media in Sohna, Gadkari said, "Delhi-Katra expressway will be launched in two years, to reduce the distance from 727 to 572 kilometres, you will reach Katra from Delhi in six hours. We are also working on new roads from Delhi-Chandigarh, Delhi-Dehradun and Delhi-Haridwar, to take you there in two hours."
As per the official release by the Transport and Highways Ministry, the expressway is being developed at a cost of Rs 98,000 crores. The 1,380 kilometres long Delhi Mumbai expressway will be the longest expressway in India.
It will enhance connectivity between Delhi and Mumbai. The expressway will connect the urban centres of Delhi through the Delhi-Faridabad-Sohna section of the corridor along with a spur to Jewar Airport and Jawaharlal Nehru Port to Mumbai through a spur in Mumbai. -- ANI
10:42 Delhi remains most unsafe for women irrespective of drop in crime rate
While the overall crime rate in the national capital dipped by 16 per cent in 2020 as compared to 2019, Delhi has reported the highest number of crimes against women among all the metropolitan cities of the country.
According to the data released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), the number of cases registered under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) in Delhi saw a sharp dip by 18 per cent between 2019 and 2020.
The rate of crime, occurring per 1,00,000 population, against women last year is 129.1 in Delhi, according to the NCRB data issued on Tuesday.
According to the data, Delhi is the most unsafe city for women.
Nearly 10,000 cases of crimes against women were registered in the national capital last year.
As many as 9,782 cases were registered for the violence against women, as compared to 11,724 cases registered in 2018 and 12,902 registered in 2019.Delhi's data in 2020 is more than twice the number of cases registered in Mumbai, Pune, Ghaziabad, Bangalore or Indore.
10:30 Afghan Hindu businessman abducted in Kabul
The Indian Express reports: An Afghan Hindu businessman was allegedly abducted at gunpoint while he was on the way to his shop in Kabul on Tuesday.
Bansari Lal Arendeh, in his fifties, belonged to Khost province of Afghanistan and established his pharmaceutical business in Karte Parwan of Kabul. He and his family had taken Indian citizenship, but used to visit Kabul frequently for his business.
His wife and children are in Delhi.
On Tuesday, he was allegedly abducted on the way to his shop near Hotel Parwain Khair in Kabul.
Ashok Kumar Arendeh, his elder brother, who is also in Kabul, said it was unlikely that his brother was abducted by the Taliban.
The Taliban are also trying to locate him and have offered us full support. Maybe it is the handiwork of robbers. He was on the way to his shop as usual when a vehicle started following him. He was taken away in a vehicle at gunpoint. Till now we have no clue about his abductors, said Ashok.
10:08 Gujarat's new cabinet to be sworn-in today
The swearing-in of new ministers in the Gujarat Cabinet of Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel will take place on Thursday at Raj Bhawan in Gandhinagar at 1 pm.
According to sources, over 20 leaders would be sworn in as ministers. The majority of ministers in the cabinet headed by previous Chief Minister Vijay Rupani are likely to be dropped, the sources said.
Senior leaders in the party are reaching out to those not likely to be retained as ministers.
"There is a massive exercise going on to see that leaders who won't be accommodated in the cabinet do not feel left out," the sources added.
Bhupendra Patel took oath as the 17th Chief Minister of Gujarat on Monday.
The party is counting on Patel to shore up the party's fortunes ahead of the assembly elections towards the end of next year. In the 2017 state election, the BJP won 99 of the state's 182 Assembly seats and Congress got 77 seats.
10:01 India reported 30,570 new COVID-19 cases in 24 hours
And the Covid numbers for the day, which have almost become a blindspot, coming as it were, for 1.5 years now.
India reported 30,570 new COVID-19 cases, 38,303 recoveries and 431 deaths in the last 24 hours, as per Health Ministry.
Total cases: 3,33,47,325
Active cases: 3,42,923
Total recoveries: 3,25,60,474
Death toll: 4,43,928
Total vaccination: 76,57,17,137 (64,51,423 in last 24 hours)
09:56 Raj Kundra porn case: Shilpa Shetty quizzed
Actors Shilpa Shetty and Sherlyn Chopra were among 43 witnesses whose statements were recorded in the 1,500-page supplementary charge-sheet which was submitted yesterday in the court, in connection with the pornography case against businessman and Shetty's husband Raj Kundra, the Mumbai Police said today.
The Mumbai Crime Branch submitted a 1500-page supplementary charge-sheet in connection with the pornography case before the Esplanade Court. The charge-sheet has been filed against businessman Raj Kundra.
Kundra was the "main facilitator" in a pornographic content case and he along with other accused exploited young women struggling in the movie industry by filming them in obscene ways, the Mumbai Police claimed in a supplementary charge-sheet filed in a court on Wednesday.
09:37 Heavy rains in Delhi: IMD issues orange alert
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued an orange alert warning of moderate to heavy rain in the national capital on Thursday.
The weather forecasting agency has also predicted strong winds in the national capital along with the rainfall.
Earlier on September 11, senior scientist R K Jenamani said that the national capital will receive a fresh bout of rain from September 17.
The senior scientist had informed that Delhi has received the highest 24-hour rainfall this year in 121 years.
Several areas, including the Delhi airport, were waterlogged after heavy rain lashed the national capital on Saturday.
Heavy rainfall and consequent waterlogging have disrupted the normal, everyday life in various parts of Delhi. -- ANI
09:14 Glitches remain on I-T portal ahead of FM's deadline to Infy
The Income Tax portal remains a festering worry for taxpayers scrambling to file their returns, ahead of the September 15 deadline set by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for the portal's tech developer, Infosys, to resolve glitches.
Tax practitioners said a slew of problems still abound in the return filing modules of the portal. Even routine tasks like seeking an adjournment in ongoing assessments, complying with the Vivad Se Vishwas scheme and uploading a digital signature, are proving to be a challenge.
Although the government has extended the deadline for individual taxpayers to file income tax return (ITR) till December 31, it is levying a 1 per cent interest for each month of delay beyond the original July 31 deadline, prompting questions about the exchequer penalising them for administrative failures.
Although the government has extended the deadline for individual taxpayers to file income tax return (ITR) till December 31, it is levying a 1 per cent interest for each month of delay beyond the original July 31 deadline, prompting questions about the exchequer penalising them for administrative failures.
Some glitches still remain to be sorted out even as there has been some 'gradual improvement' in the portal's interface, said Suresh Surana, founder of RSM India, listing out several hiccups.
Read the full report in The Hindu, HERE
Photo courtesy: SpaceX
08:47 SpaceX launches spaceship with all-civilian crew
American aerospace manufacturer SpaceX on Thursday launched the Falcon 9 carrier rocket that placed the Crew Dragon spaceship into orbit.
This was the first-ever fully civilian crew mission dubbed as Inspiration4.
The launch took place at 00.03 GMT from Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
'Dragon and the @inspiration4x astronauts are now officially in space! Dragon will conduct two phasing burns to reach its cruising orbit of 575km where the crew will spend the next three days orbiting planet Earth,' SpaceX tweeted later.
This mission is the first orbital mission in the history of spaceflight to be staffed entirely by non-astronauts.
This journey will see the quartet free-flying through Earth's orbit. -- ANI
00:12 'Rocket force' to bolster our air power: Gen Rawat
India is looking at "creating a rocket force", Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat said on Wednesday even as he underlined the need for extensive use of niche technology to combat various national security challenges, including possible aggression by China.
In an address at an event, Gen Rawat described Pakistan as a "proxy" of China, noting that Islamabad will continue its "proxy war" against India in Jammu and Kashmir and that it is now attempting to create trouble in Punjab and some other parts of the country.
"As far as our northern adversary is concerned, since we have unsettled borders with them and they have shown aggression on the east coast, on the South China Sea with nations in that area, are they (China) likely to show aggression on our northern borders?" Gen Rawat said.
"Whether it happens in the form of direct aggression or through use of technology, we have to be prepared. This preparation can only happen if we work together," the Chief of Defence Staff said.
Referring to measures initiated to bolster India's air power, he said, "We are looking at creating a rocket force". Gen Rawat, however, did not elaborate on the plan.
On the situation in Afghanistan, Gen Rawat said nobody ever thought the Taliban will take over the country "so fast".
"Only time will tell what happens. Let us wait and watch. We do not know what is likely to happen in the future in Afghanistan. There could be still more turmoil and more changes which cannot be anticipated now," he said.
Speaking on the occasion, former defence secretary NN Vohra called for allowing declassification of Henderson Brookes Report on the 1962 war with China.
Talking about overall geopolitical developments, Gen Rawat said China's rise has happened faster than envisaged and that it is becoming more and more aggressive.
"We share a land border with them. Therefore, I think it is time for us to start looking at our strategies as how we are going to deal with two borders having aggressive neighbours, Pakistan on the western front and China on the north," he said.
"We need to start looking at transformation for the betterment and ensuring that the national security architecture that we want to evolve is capable of dealing with the kind of threats we are seeing," he added.
The Chief of Defence Staff said ensuring integration among the armed forces was key to confront future security challenges.
He said technology must be considered as the fifth pillar of national power after diplomacy, information, military and economic prowess.
The Chief of Defence Staff said all the three forces must understand the importance of new technology to meet future challenges.
Referring to the ambitious theaterisation initiative for the three services, Gen Rawat said the plan has been to have one theatre command each for the western border and northern border.
To a question on key roles of top commanders in case of a war, he said the chiefs of the three forces will ensure training and look at the wherewithal of the theatre commands besides other key aspects.
Gen Rawat said any war will be precisely fought by the theatre commanders on an approved plan made by the Chiefs of the Staff Committee. The Chiefs of Staff Committee will be headed by the Chief of Defence Staff.
In his address, Gen Rawat spoke extensively about India's future military challenges, security doctrine and key aspects of the ambitious reform process in the armed forces.