Wed, 02 February 2022
Delhi reports 3,028 new Covid cases, 27 deaths

Timeline  Refresh

23:54   Delhi reports 3,028 new Covid cases, 27 deaths
Delhi reported 27 fatalities and 3,028 cases in a day, while the positivity rate declined to 4.73 per cent, according to data shared by the city government's health department on Wednesday.

It was after a month that the positivity rate came down below five per cent. 

On January 2, the positivity rate was 4.59 per cent when 3,194 cases and a fatality were reported due to the infection. 

With the fresh cases, the national capital's case count increased to 18,35,979 and the death toll climbed to 25,919, the latest health bulletin stated. 

The number of COVID-19 tests conducted a day ago stood at 63,982, it said. 

Delhi on Tuesday reported 2,683 fresh COVID-19 cases with a positivity rate of 5.09 per cent, while 27 more people succumbed to the viral disease. 

Wednesday's tally was 12 per cent higher than the infections recorded the previous day. 

The city had on Monday reported 2,779 COVID-19 cases with a positivity rate of 6.20 per cent and 38 deaths. 

On Sunday, it recorded 3,674 cases with a positivity rate of 6.37 per cent and 30 deaths. -- PTI
23:33   Donate to MNM for 'honest politics', Haasan appeals to people
Makkal Needhi Maiam has ability and honesty but not adequate money, party president Kamal Haasan said on Wednesday and appealed to the people to donate to his outfit for 'honest politics.'           

The remark that the rest of his life is devoted to people was not a film dialogue but the norm of his life, 67-year-old Haasan said.         

Following the rout in the 2021 assembly election and after several party office-bearers' exit, actor-politician Haasan had said that he would be in politics till such time he was alive and that his party would soon witness a transformation.         

The MNM is committed to people's welfare, which is the 'people's politics', and in this war for them, Haasan said his party is in the field opposing corrupt elements with deep pockets and monstrous strength. 

"We have courage to struggle against them. We have efficiency and honesty. But not adequate money," he said in a statement.         

Haasan said he spent a large extent of his earnings for people's politics after properly paying tax for income from his profession. However, he said his earnings alone is not sufficient to tackle graft tainted elements in politics.         

The party never looked into an aspirant's caste or financial background to give him/her ticket to fight polls and this would be followed in future too, Haasan asserted.         

The MNM chief said his party is neither involved in 'sale of natural resources' nor ran breweries and distilleries, he said. Also, the party did not get money from big ticket companies. -- PTI
23:20   Mumbai records 1,128 Covid cases, 10 deaths
Mumbai reported 1,128 new coronavirus infections and ten fatalities on Wednesday.           

The financial capital of the country recorded more than 1,000 cases after a gap of two days.         

The caseload in the metropolis rose to  10,48,521 while death toll reached 16,640,  the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation said in a release.         

On Tuesday, the city had reported 803 new cases and seven fatalities.         

The positivity rate or infections found per 100 tests increased to 2.44 per cent from 1.55 per cent a day before.          

Since Tuesday evening 46,073 COVID-19 tests, nearly 5,400 fewer than the previous day, were carried out in the city, taking the tally of tests conducted so far to 1,53,87,006.         

With 1,838 patients recovering during the day, the tally of recoveries rose to 10,20,926, and the rate of recovery stood at 97 per cent.         

The case doubling period improved to 570 days, while the  growth rate of COVID-19 cases for the period between January 26 to February 1 was 0.12 per cent.  -- PTI
22:44   CNN's Jeff Zucker resigns over relationship with co-worker
CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker resigned on Wednesday after acknowledging a "consensual relationship" with a co-worker at the cable news network, which he has led since January 2013. 

"As part of the investigation into Chris Cuomo's tenure at CNN, I was asked about a consensual relationship with my closest colleague, someone I have worked with for more than 20 years. I acknowledged the relationship evolved in recent years. I was required to disclose it when it began but I didn't. I was wrong. As a result, I am resigning today," Zucker said in a statement. 

Cuomo, a leading television journalist, was fired late last year after allegations of sexual harassment. 

Jason Kilar, the CEO of CNN parent WarnerMedia, said he has accepted Jeff Zucker's resignation as Chairman of WarnerMedia News and Sports, and President of CNN Worldwide. 

"We thank Jeff for his contributions over the past 9 years," Kilar said in an email to staffers. "We will be announcing an interim leadership plan shortly. Both of these organizations are at the top of their respective games and are well prepared for their next chapters," Kilar added. 

The resignation of Zucker, one of the most influential executives in the media industry, comes as WarnerMedia is in the process of merging with Discovery. It also comes as CNN plans to launch a streaming service, CNN+, in the Spring.
22:17   Veteran Hindi-Marathi actor Ramesh Deo passes away
Veteran Hindi and Marathi cinema actor Ramesh Deo died of heart attack on Wednesday at a hospital in Mumbai, his son Abhinay Deo said. 

The actor was 93. 

"He passed away due to heart attack around 8.30 pm tonight at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital. He was 93," filmmaker Abhinay Deo told PTI. 

Deo worked in many Hindi and Marathi films in his extensive career. 

Beginning his career as a villain in Hindi cinema with 1962's Aarti, Deo went on to deliver memorable roles alongside stars such as Amitabh Bachchan, Rajesh Khanna and Shatrughan Sinha and Hema Malini-Dharmendra in films such as Anand, Aap Ki Kasam and Mere Apne and Dream Girl

He is survived by actor wife Seema Deo, actor son Ajinkya Deo and Abhinay Deo, who is known for directing films such as Delhi Belly and Force.

21:46   Court orders Honey Singh to submit voice sample
A district court in Maharashtra's Nagpur has directed singer Honey Singh to appear before a local police station to submit his voice sample in connection with a case registered against him for singing and uploading a vulgar song on the internet.

District and additional sessions judge S A S M Ali on January 27 directed the singer to appear at Panchpaoli police station in Nagpur between February 4 and February 11.

The court passed the direction while hearing an application filed by the singer seeking relaxation of condition imposed on him to travel abroad. 

While permitting Singh to travel to Dubai between January 29 and February 4, the court asked him to appear at the police station between February 4 and 11.

Singh's application was opposed by the investigating officer, who cited that the singer was supposed to appear at the police station on January 25, but he had failed to appear and informed in an email his inability to do so. 

The investigating officer claimed that the singer was not cooperating with the probe, and if he is permitted to travel, he may not remain present before the court.

The Panchpaoli police had registered a complaint against Singh under section 292 (sale, distribution of obscene content) and other relevant provisions of the IPC and Information Technology Act, based on a complaint filed by one Anandpal Singh Jabbal. 
Representational image
Representational image
21:02   US to deploy 3,000 troops in Eastern Europe
"President Biden is dispatching additional US military personnel to Eastern Europe at the recommendation of the Pentagon, and about 3,000 service members are expected to deploy in the coming days, US officials said Wednesday,' the Washington Post reported.

"At Biden's direction and following defense secretary Lloyd Austin's recommendation," the Post said, "the defense department 'will reposition certain Europe-based units further east, forward deploy additional US-based units to Europe, and maintain the heightened state of readiness of response forces' to meet American commitments," a senior administration official said in Washington. 

"These forces are not going to fight in Ukraine. They are not permanent moves. They respond to current conditions.'' 
20:54   TMC will contest 2024 LS polls in UP: Mamata
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday said that Trinamool Congress will not contest the Uttar Pradesh elections but will field candidates in the state in the Lok Sabha elections in 2024. 

Mamata, who was re-elected as TMC chairperson at a party event on Wednesday, said Trinamool Congress will support Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav in the assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh.  

"In Uttar Pradesh, I am not going to contest Assembly polls but I am going to support Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav on February 8. We (TMC) will contest from Uttar Pardesh in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls," she said, reflecting her national ambitions in the next general elections. 

Mamata Banerjee urged party workers to strengthen the party unit and said the goal is to win all 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state in the next polls. 

"I have built my unit in Goa. In Tripura, our vote percentage is over 20 per cent. We have to make Bengal stronger in the next two years so that we get all 42 seats in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. We have to chase BJP away," she said. -- ANI
20:02   Akhilesh names Modi minister's sister as candidate
The Samajwadi Party on Wednesday declared Union minister Anupriya Patel's sister Pallavi Patel and former UP Cabinet minister Swami Prasad Maurya in the Yogi Adityanath government among three new candidates for the state assembly polls. 

Former UP minister Abhishek Mishra in the Akhilesh Yadav government was declared the third candidate. 

Patel, Maurya and Mishra will be fielded respectively on Fazilnagar seat in Kushinagar district, Sirathu in Kaushambi and Sarojini Nagar in Lucknow assembly seats. 

The assembly seats in Lucknow district go to polls on February 23, Kaushambi district on February 27 and Kushinagar district on March 3. 

Maurya, who quit the Adityanath government within days after the announcement of the assembly poll schedule and joined the SP, was fielded on the Fazilnagar assembly seat in the Kushinagar district. 

A five-time MLA, Maurya is currently the sitting MLA from Padrauna in the same district after winning the seat on a BJP ticket in the 2017 assembly elections. 

He had been representing Padrauna since 2009, first winning it on a BSP ticket in the assembly bypolls that year and then retaining it in the 2012 elections, before switching over to BJP. 

Before 2009, he represented the Dalmau assembly seat, first winning it in 1996 and then retaining it in 2002 as a BSP leader. After delimitation, the Dalmau assembly segment in Rae Bareli district was renamed Sareni.
Representational image
Representational image
19:53   Union home ministry restructures Intelligence Bureau cadre
The Union Home Ministry has approved the restructuring of the Intelligence Bureau in a bid to increase promotions in the organisation, and expenditure on this account would be met from its sanctioned budget grants. 

After the restructuring, the strength of the IB's executive cadre remains the same at 20,054. While the posts at the entry level, assistant central intelligence officer-II, have been reduced from 7,898 to 5,898, the posts of ACIO-I, deputy central intelligence officer, assistant directors, joint deputy Directors and additional deputy directors have been increased to 1,558. 

Besides, the number of special assistants has also been increased from 3,848 to 4,290. 

The IB had proposed the restructuring of the executive cadre for streamlining its functioning in July 2020, officials said. 

This, according to officials, will help increase promotions within the cadre. 

In an order issued on January 31, the home ministry approved the restructuring of the IB's executive cadre by the creation of 2,000 posts (joint deputy director 10, assistant director 80, deputy central intelligence officer 358, assistant central Intelligence officer 1,110, security assistant 442) with simultaneous abolition of 2000 posts of assistant central intelligence officer. 

The IB's executive cadre includes joint director (39 posts), deputy director (86), ADD (38), JDD (109), AD (583), DCIO (1558), ACIO-I (3807), ACIO-II (5998), junior intelligence officer-I (1612), JIO-II (2034), security assistant (4290), according to the order. 

It said the expenditure on account of restructuring would be met from the sanctioned budget grant of IB under the relevant head of account for the current financial year 2021-22 and subsequent years. -- PTI
19:24   MAPPED: India's Covid situation
India's active caseload falls to 16.21 lakh on Wednesday.  
18:57   No need for booster dose: SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav
Samajwadi Party leader and Rajya Sabha MP Ram Gopal Yadav on Wednesday claimed that there is no need for booster doses of COVID-19 vaccine, adding this is just an extra burden on the government exchequer. 

Yadav's remarks came during the debate on the motion of thanks to the President's address in the Rajya Sabha. Citing the statement of an additional director general of Indian Council of Medical Research, Yadav said the officer clearly said 'no need for booster dose' of COVID-19 vaccine when he was asked by our members in presence of the health secretary and director general of ICMR. 

The SP leader said that COVID vaccine manufacturing companies have already made huge profits by selling vaccines against the deadly pandemic and accused that they have consumed a huge amount of Central government. 

"Why is booster dose being injected when those already given such doses are getting infected with coronavirus," Yadav asked. 

The SP leader accepted that the COVID vaccine will save people from dying but it cannot stop the further spread of the disease. -- ANI
Representational image
Representational image
18:40   Hijab vs saffron row erupts in Karnataka college
While the row over wearing hijab (head-scarf) at a government pre-university college in Udupi, 56 km from Mangaluru, continues with a student moving court on the issue, another similar controversy erupted at a college 40.8 km away at Kundapur.        

Apparently, a few girl students attended the college wearing the hijab at Kundapur. 

This prompted 100 boys to wear saffron shawls. 

This happened on Wednesday.         

Realising the gravity of the situation, Kundapur MLA Halady Srinivas Shetty held a meeting with the college authorities and the students.        

The meeting failed to arrive at a consensus as the parents insisted that their children have the right to wear hijab.        

The authorities made it clear that students should stick to a uniform rule. -- PTI
18:16   Sea trials for 5th submarine of Project 75 commence
The fifth submarine of Project 75, Yard 11879, Indian Navy's Kalvari class commenced her sea trials on Tuesday. 

The submarine was launched in November 2020 from the KanhojiAngre Wet Basin of Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited. 

The submarine would be named Vagir, after commissioning, said.   

The submarine will now undergo intense trials of all its systems at sea, including propulsion systems, weapons and sensors. 

The submarine is scheduled for delivery to the Indian Navy in the year 2022 after the completion of these trials. -- ANI
17:41   Harsh Mander nominated for Nobel Peace prize
The administrators of the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) have nominated human rights activist Harsh Mander led organisation Karwan-e-Mohabat to Nobel Peace Prize shortlist. 

Co-founders of Alt News Mohammed Zubair and Pratik Sinha have also been nominated.

The PRIO writes on Mander, "Religious extremism helps justify discrimination and violence, and stokes tensions between groups that can result in armed conflict. Making a significant contribution to fighting religious extremism and promoting interreligious dialogue is therefore a compelling rationale for being awarded a Nobel Peace Prize. A worthy recipient of such a prize is Harsh Mander, along with the campaign he launched in 2017, Karwan-e-Mohabbat ("Caravan of Love")."

 While the PRIO nominations are deemed respectable, the institute and its director don't have any affiliation with the Nobel Institute or the Norwegian Nobel Committee and can have no bearing on the ultimate resolution.

PRIO directors come out with their personal shortlists for the Nobel Peace Prize every year. 

Mander is among four other nominees. 
17:24   Bitcoin will never become legal tender: Govt
Finance Secy TV Somanathan on cryptocurrency. "Digital currency will be backed by RBI which will never be at default. Money will be of RBI but the nature will be digital. Digital rupee issued by RBI will be a legal tender. Rest are not legal tender and will never become legal tender.

"Bitcoin, Ethereum or NFT will never become legal tender. Crypto assets are assets whose value will be determined between two people. You can buy gold, diamond, crypto, but that will have not have the value authorization by govt.

"People investing in private crypto should understand that it does not have the authorisation of govt. There is no guarantee whether your investment will be successful or not, one may suffer losses and govt is not responsible for this."

Yesterday, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said only RBI-issued 'digital rupee' will be recognised as currency and the government will levy 30 per cent tax on gains made from any other private digital assets from April 1.

The finance secretary added that crypto is a speculative transaction, so the tax will be at a 30% rate. "No one knows the real value of Ethereum. Their rate daily fluctuates. One who earns income through crypto will have to now pay 30%. This is the new policy of the government. This is not only for crypto, this is for all speculative income. 

"For example, if I take horse racing, that also attracts 30% tax. There is already a 30% tax on any speculative transaction. So we have decided to tax crypto at the same rate."
17:08   CR announces 72-hr mega block on suburban network during weekend
The Central Railway will carry out a 72-hour mega block from the intervening night of Friday and Saturday for adding two new lines between Thane and Diva stations located near Mumbai on its suburban network.

 At least 350 suburban locals and 117 mail, express and passenger trains will be cancelled during the mega block period, Central Railway's (CR) chief public relations officer Shivaji Sutar said on Wednesday. 

 Daily commuters and outstation train passengers are likely to face hardship due to the block, as many outstation trains along with suburban locals will be cancelled during the block period, the CR said in a release. 

 The CR said the block on its fast corridor between Thane and Diva stations will start from February 5 midnight and will carry on till February 7 midnight.
17:06   The big gainers today
IndusInd Bank was the top gainer in the Sensex pack, spurting over 5 per cent, followed by Bajaj Finserv, HCL Tech, Bajaj Finance, Kotak Bank and Axis Bank. On the other hand, Tech Mahindra, Nestle India, Maruti and L&T were among the laggards.
17:06   Nitesh Rane surrenders in attempt to murder case
BJP MLA Nitesh Rane on Wednesday surrendered before a court in the Sindhudurg district of Maharashtra in an alleged attempt to murder case. Nitesh, son of Union minister Narayan Rane, has been sent in judicial custody, said special public prosecutor Pradeep Gharat.

"He has surrendered and sent in judicial custody. Now we are arguing before the court for police custody," the prosecutor added.

Earlier in the day, Nitesh withdrew his bail plea from the Bombay High Court. His lawyer said he intended to surrender and join the investigation. District and additional sessions judge (Sindhudurg) R B Rote had on Tuesday rejected his bail application, saying the plea was "premature and not maintainable".

 The court had also held that custodial interrogation of Nitesh Rane was necessary as probe into the attempt to murder case was "incomplete." 

 The case pertains to an alleged attack on Shiv Sena activist Santosh Parab during the campaigning for the Sindhudurg District Co-operative Bank elections. 

 The BJP MLA had claimed that he was being targeted by the ruling Shiv Sena (which heads the MVA coalition government in Maharashtra) as it felt slighted by an incident of mocking outside the state legislature complex here last month. A Shiv Sena MLA had alleged that Nitesh Rane made 'meow meow' sound to mock minister and Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray on December 23 during the winter session of the legislature. 

 Nitesh's father Narayan Rane, a former Shiv Sena leader, is a bitter critic of his former party and its leader, chief minister Uddhav Thackeray. PTI
The communal riots in Delhi in 2020
The communal riots in Delhi in 2020
16:35   Bihar, Maha, Haryana lead in communal riot cases
A total of 1,807 communal riot cases were registered in different parts of the country during 2018-2020 in which 8,565 people were arrested, the Rajya Sabha was informed on Wednesday. 

 Replying to a written question in the Upper House, Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai said the highest number of communal riot cases were registered in Bihar, followed by Maharashtra and Haryana. 

 A total of 512 communal riot cases were registered across India in 2018, 438 in 2019 and 857 in 2020, Rai noted. 

 While 4,097 people were arrested for riots in 2018 in different parts of the country, 2,405 people were arrested in 2019 and 2,063 in 2020, he said. A total of 4,169 people were charge-sheeted in 2018, 2,281 in 2019 and 1,908 in 2020, he added. 

 Altogether, 200 people were convicted for the riots in 2018, 332 in 2019 and 229 in 2020. 

 In Bihar, 419 riot cases were registered in the said three years, in which 2,777 people were arrested, 2,316 charge-sheeted and 62 were convicted. 

 In Maharashtra, 167 riot cases were registered in the three years, in which 1,332 people were arrested, 1,324 charge-sheeted and 10 were convicted. In Haryana, 146 riot cases were registered in the three years, in which 294 people were arrested. All of them were charge-sheeted and just three convicted. PTI
16:20   Neeraj Chopra nominated for Laureus Award
Neeraj Chopra, India's first ever winner of an Olympic athletics gold medal, is selected as one of the six Nominees for the 2022 Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year Award. Other nominees include Emma Raducanu, Daniil Medvedev, Pedri, Yulimar Rojas, Ariarne Titmus.

He is only the third Indian athlete to be nominated for a Laureus Award, after wrestler Vinesh Phogat in 2019 and cricket maestro Sachin Tendulkar, who won the Laureus Sporting Moment Award 2000-2020.
16:17   Sensex rallies nearly 700 pts, Nifty above 17,750
Equity benchmark Sensex surged nearly 700 points on Wednesday to recapture the 59,000-level, as the post-Budget rally continued for the second session with intense buying in banking and financial stocks.

Supportive global cues also propped up the domestic indices, traders said.

The 30-share BSE Sensex closed 695.76 points or 1.18 per cent higher at 59,558.33. Likewise, the NSE Nifty jumped 203.15 points or 1.16 per cent to end at 17,780.00. 

IndusInd Bank was the top gainer in the Sensex pack, spurting over 5 per cent, followed by Bajaj Finserv, HCL Tech, Bajaj Finance, Kotak Bank and Axis Bank. On the other hand, Tech Mahindra, Nestle India, Maruti and L&T were among the laggards.
16:02   RSS-affiliated body slams Union Budget
The RSS-affiliated Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) on Wednesday said the Union Budget 2022-23 is "growth-oriented" but lacks a push for employment. 

 A "quantum jump" of 35 per cent in capital expenditure, taking it to over Rs 7.5 lakh crores, can improve the future growth prospects in the country, it said. 

 "The Swadeshi Jagran Manch believes that the Union Budget 2022-23 is a growth-oriented budget with sufficient push for development of infrastructure of various kinds including digital infrastructure, infrastructure of education, potable water and housing for poor," the SJM said in a statement. It, however, noted with concern that "very limited efforts" have been taken towards promotion of small scale industries and creation of employment in the country. 

 "Union Budget 2022-23--good for growth, but lacks push on employment," it said, adding, "Swadeshi Jagran Manch expresses its concerns for very limited efforts towards promotion of small scale industry and creation of employment in the country." 

 The RSS body said there was "an urgent need" to promote self-employment in the country, for which central as well as state governments need to push entrepreneurship development programs, infuse more funds and seed capital for small businesses "which can motivate the youth to start their own enterprises". 

 There is also a need for an entrepreneurship development centre in each district of the country, it added. 

 The SJM welcomed the scheme for enhanced lending to the MSME sector by extending the guarantee cover for such loans. "However, we feel that government support by way of equity subsidy is something which is urgently required," it added.
15:53   National anthem insult case: Mumbai court issues summons to Mamata
A Mumbai court on Wednesday issued summons to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and directed her to appear before it on March 2 in a case of allegedly showing disrespect to the national anthem during her visit to the city. 

 The court also said that though Banerjee is the CM, "a sanction is not required and there is no bar to proceed against the accused (Banerjee)", as she was not discharging her official duty (during that event held in Mumbai in December last year). 

 Mumbai BJP unit functionary Vivekanand Gupta approached the metropolitan magistrates court at Mazgaon in December 2021 with a complaint, alleging that Banerjee, who is also head of the Trinamool Congress (TMC), had showed disrespect to the national anthem during her visit to the city. 

 He demanded that an FIR be registered against her. 

 The court said it is prima facie evident from the complaint, verification statement of the complainant, video clip in the DVD and video clips on YouTube links that the accused sang the national anthem and stopped abruptly and left the dais. 

 This prima facie proves that the accused has committed an offence punishable under Section 3 of the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971. 

 "Though the accused is the chief minister of West Bengal, she was not discharging her official duties (during the event in Mumbai). Thereby, this act of the accused, though she is the chief minister of West Bengal, does not come under her official duty. Therefore, sanction is not required and there is no bar to proceed against the accused," the court said.

 Banerjee was on a visit to Mumbai last year during which she met leaders of the ruling Shiv Sena and the NCP in Maharashtra.
15:47   All fire and brimstone
Brahmos and Uran anti-ship missiles successfully launched by the Andaman and Nicobar Naval Command validates the capabilities for defence of the islands.
Pic courtesy: Global Times News
Pic courtesy: Global Times News
15:43   PLA soldier to be China Olympics torchbearer
China state-affiliated media, Global Times News, says the country has appointed Qi Fabao, the regimental commander from the PLA as the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics torch bearer. 

The paper writes that Fabao was with the Xinjiang military command and "suffered serious head injury while fighting bravely in #GalwanValley border skirmish caused by #India's provocation."

During various levels of talks with India, Chinese officials have, at different points of time, unofficially, given contradictory figures for their Galwan clash casualties. China has publicly accepted only four deaths so far.

The current border standoff between the Indian and Chinese armies erupted in May 2020 following a violent clash in the Pangong lake area. Both sides gradually enhanced their deployment by rushing in tens of thousands of soldiers as well as heavy weaponry.

The row escalated after the Galwan Valley clashes on June 15, 2020. Twenty Indian Army personnel laid down their lives in the clashes that marked the most serious military conflicts between the two sides in decades.

In February 2021, China officially acknowledged that five Chinese military officers and soldiers were killed in the clashes with the Indian Army though it is widely believed that the death toll was higher.

As a result of a series of military and diplomatic talks, the two sides completed the disengagement process in Gogra area last month.
15:24   Rajnath forced to hold public meet over phone
Ahead of Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, BJP leader and Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday addressed a public meeting over the phone after bad weather prevented him from reaching the venue in Lakhimpur Kheri.

As scheduled, Singh arrived at Bareilly at 11 am and travelled to Lakhimpur Kheri and Pilibhit by helicopter but even after several attempts, failed to land at either of the venues due to poor visibility because of dense fog. Now, he will be travelling to Pilibhit by road to attend public meetings and door-to-door campaigns.

Earlier, in the day Singh tweeted that he will be visiting constituencies in Lakhimpur Kheri and Pilibhit and will interact with prominent voters.

Lakhimpur Kheri will go to the polls in the fourth phase of UP Assembly Election 2022 on February 23. And February 3 is the last day to file a nomination.

On January 31, the election commission allowed public meetings of up to 1,000 people and doorstep campaigning with up to 20 persons instead of 10 but continued ban on the ban on roadshows, vehicle rallies and processions in the five poll-bound states till February 11. -- ANI
15:04   Bua-Bhatija govts pushed UP to BIMARU status: HM
Senior BJP leader and Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday slammed the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Samajwadi Party (SP) governments for pushing Uttar Pradesh to the category of BIMARU states saying the "bua-bhatija governments are not good for UP".

Addressing a gathering at Atrauli, Shah said, "The elections of 2014, 2017, 2019 have been the ones that changed the fate of Uttar Pradesh. The casteist governments of bua-bhatija could not do any good to UP; the state came under the category of BIMARU state. The BJP government worked to bring about a change." 

BIMARU is an acronym formed from the first letters of the names of the Indian states of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh. It was coined by Ashish Bose in the mid-1980s. BIMARU has a resemblance to a Hindi word meaning "sick".

Lauding the BJP-led state government for helping revive Aligarh's lock industry, Shah said, "The governments of bua-bhatija had closed down the lock factory of Aligarh. The BJP government promoted the lock industry under one district-one product. Now hundreds of lock manufacturing factories have started here again." -- ANI
INS Vikrant
INS Vikrant
15:00   India flight tests Rafale-Marine for INS Vikrant
The marine version of the French-made Rafale fighter jet has been successfully flight-tested at a shore-based facility in Goa where conditions similar to that on the indigenously-developed aircraft carrier INS Vikrant were simulated, a top diplomat said. 

 The Rafale-M is pitted against the US-made Super Hornet -- both of which are being evaluated for a possible purchase by the Indian Navy for deployment on the 44,000-tonne INS Vikrant that is undergoing trials in the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal for likely commissioning in August.

 "Tests were done to check its (Rafale-Marine's) take-off (capability) from the deck of your (India's) carrier and it has done very well," French Ambassador to India Emmanuel Lenain told journalists on Tuesday evening here in a free-wheeling conversation. 

 India's new aircraft carrier has been designed as a ski-jump launch ship, different from many other such carriers, which use a catapult launch for their jets. 

The aircraft selected by the Indian Navy consequently must be capable of taking off in this fashion, carrying all weapon systems and full fuel load. The Rafale-M jet was tested for 12 days last month at Goa's INS Hansa facility using a 283 metre mock ski-jump facility, Lenain said. 

 The ski-jump ramp uses what naval experts call short take-off but arrested recovery (STOBAR) technology. Boeing's Super Hornet or F/A-18 jet, which is also being offered to India, is expected to undergo similar tests at INS Hansa next month. The suppliers have made modifications to both Rafale-M and Super Hornet to make them suitable for the Indian order, defence sources said.
14:48   Mumbai civic body budget tomorrow
BMC's budget will be presented tomorrow. "Shiv Sena doesn't present 'Jumle Ka Budget', keeping in view elections, but we present a pro-people Budget. Shiv Sena is fully ready for the upcoming BMC elections and will win this time also," Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar (centre) said. 
14:42   Prepared to go solo in BMC, to win 100+ seats: Sena
The Shiv Sena is prepared to go solo in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections and win more than 100 seats on its own, party leader Anil Desai said on Wednesday. 

 Taking cognisance of media reports that claimed that the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) will contest the Pune municipal elections on its own, Desai said the Shiv Sena, which has been in power in BMC for several terms, may therefore go solo. 

"In Maharashtra, we are in alliance with the Congress and the NCP... But today, NCP leadership in Pune announced that they will be going all alone. We were always in the range of 100 seats in BMC, and this time we are prepared to go alone in BMC elections," Desai told reporters outside Parliament. 

 However, the Shiv Sena will contest elections in alliance with the NCP in the Goa Assembly polls as announced, he said. 

 The delimitation exercise increased the total seats in the BMC from 227 to 236 in 24 wards. Civic polls in Mumbai are to take place in late March or early April. Of the 227 seats currently, the Shiv Sena has 97 seats, while the BJP has 83, Congress 29, NCP 8, Samajwadi Party six seats, All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen has two and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena has one seat. PTI
14:36   Mamata re-elected TMC chief unopposed
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was on Wednesday re-elected as the TMC chairperson, a top party official said.
The ruling Trinamool Congress held its organisational elections after a gap of five years.

According to TMC Secretary General Partha Chatterjee, Banerjee was declared elected without a contest as no other leader entered the fray.

"A total of 48 proposers and seconders had submitted nominations in favour of Mamata Banerjee. As there was no other nomination for the post of chairperson, Mamata Banerjee has been re-elected unopposed," Chatterjee, the returning officer for the organisational polls, said.

Mamata Banerjee had founded the party in 1998 after breaking away from the Congress, and has headed it ever since.

After two unsuccessful attempts at the hustings in the 2001 and 2006 assembly polls, the party came to power in 2011, defeating the mighty Left Front regime, riding the crest of massive public outrage against the Communists.

It stormed to power for the third consecutive term in May last year after bagging 213 out of the 294 seats in the state assembly. -- PTI
14:10   Australia's Covid cases, death numbers continue to rise
Australia reported more than 40,000 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday when more than 50 million doses had been delivered in total during the vaccine rollout. 

 Nationally there were 70 deaths reported on Wednesday, including 27 in New South Wales, 25 in Victoria, 16 in Queensland and one each in the Northern Territory (NT) and South Australia, according to official figures from states and territories. 

 According to Department of Health data published on Tuesday night, there were 4,954 cases being treated in hospitals nationwide, including 375 in intensive care units. 

 Health Minister Greg Hunt on Wednesday announced that Australia has surpassed 50 million coronavirus vaccine doses administered, including more than eight million booster doses. 

 Health authorities in NT said it was approaching the peak of the current wave of coronavirus infections. The NT health officials on Wednesday reported more than 1,000 new coronavirus infections and the NT's third COVID-19 death.
File pic
File pic
14:07   Nearly 8.35L pieces of counterfeit notes seized in 2020
The government on Wednesday informed the Rajya Sabha that nearly 8.35 lakh pieces of counterfeit notes, including 2.44 lakh pieces of Rs 2000 denomination, were seized last year.

 Replying to a question in the House, Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai provided a data of counterfeit notes seized in five years since 2016. 

 As per the data, 8,34,947 pieces were seized in 2020, 2,87,404 in 2019, 2,57,243 in 2018, 3,55,994 in 2017, and 2,81,839 in 2016. 

 Replying to supplementary questions, Rai also refuted suggestions that there was rise in counterfeit notes seizures in the country, saying the number of fake notes seized in 2018 were lower than in 2017. No significant pattern had emerged in seizures of fake notes, he said.
13:30   Sensex soars on a Budget high
 The Indian equities markets key indices rose sharply for the third straight day on Wednesday led by strong buying support in banking and IT stocks.

Extending the previous two days rally, the benchmark Sensex opened with handsome gains at 59,293.44 points and touched a high of 59,536.53 points. At 12.25 pm the 30 stock S&P BSE Sensex was trading at 59,427.95 points, which is 565.38 points or 0.96 per cent higher than its previous day's close at 58,862.57 points.

The Sensex had surged 848.40 points or 1.46 per cent on Tuesday as Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman proposed in the Union Budget 2022-23 to significantly boost investments in order to accelerate economic growth.
13:25   Fresh snowfall, rains likely in Kashmir
The minimum temperature across Kashmir dropped below the freezing point as the Meteorological Department predicted widespread rain or snow over the next three days, officials said on Wednesday. 

Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 1.9 degrees Celsius nearly four degrees down from 1.8 degrees Celsius the previous night, they said. 

 The famous ski-resort of Gulmarg, in north Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 8.0 degrees Celsius up from minus 9.0 degrees Celsius the previous night. 

 Pahalgam tourist resort in south Kashmir, which also serves as the base camp for the annual Amarnath yatra, recorded a low of minus 6.1 degrees Celsius almost same as the previous night, they said. 

 Officials said Qazigund recorded a minimum of minus 2.8 degrees Celsius down from the previous night's minus 0.3 degrees Celsius. 

 The nearby south Kashmir town of Kokernag recorded a low of minus 2.6 degrees Celsius, they said, adding the mercury in north Kashmir's Kupwara settled at a low of minus 2.2 degrees Celsius. 

 The MeT Office has said there is a possibility of rain or snow "at fairly widespread to widespread places" for two days from Wednesday and at scattered places on Friday.

Kashmir is currently under the influence of a 20-day-long 'Chillai-Khurd' (small cold) which began on Monday after the Chilla-i-Kalan -- the 40-day harshest winter period -- ended. Chilla-i-Kalan, which had begun on December 21 last year -- is a period when a cold wave grips the region and the temperature drops considerably leading to the freezing of water bodies, including the famous Dal Lake here, as well as the water supply lines in several parts of the valley.
Illustration: Dominic Xavier/
Illustration: Dominic Xavier/
13:23   Budget's revenue targets achievable, says Goldman Sachs
'The Indian government in its annual budget targeted a reduction in the fiscal deficit to 6.4% of GDP (GSe: 6.3%, Consensus: 6.0%) in FY23[1] from a projected 6.9% (GSe: 6.8%, Consensus: 6.8%) in FY22, revised higher from 6.8% budget estimate (BE). 

'The budgeted fiscal consolidation will be primarily driven via a decrease in total expenditure as a percentage of GDP, especially current expenditure, while capital spending was increased from 2.6% of GDP in FY22 to 2.9% in FY23. 

'Overall, the revenue targets look achievable to us,' says Goldman Sachs' research report, Asia in Focus: India: A growth focused budget, with higher borrowing.

'The thrust of the government's policies lie on infrastructure creation, and reviving the rural economy. To encourage exports, the government proposed to replace the existing law governing special economic zones with a new legislation to enable states to become partners in the hubs, the report says.

'The net market borrowing in FY23 is budgeted at INR 11.6tn, higher than our already large borrowing expectation. This, along with borrowings by states, means that the combined issuance for the Centre and states is likely to remain elevated. 

'With no mention of India's inclusion in global bond indices in the budget speech today, we stick to our base case assumption of an announcement of India's likely inclusion into the GBI-EM Global Diversified Bond Index in Q4 2022, with actual inclusion to begin in early 2023. 

'With elevated supply, and comparatively lower incremental demand from natural buyers, we estimate that the RBI will have to continue to support government bond purchases in FY23, despite domestic liquidity constraints,' Goldman Sachs said in a press release.

'We remain bearish on INR longer-dated rates in the medium term due to three key reasons: a) unfavourable supply/demand dynamics in Indian bonds, b) our view on monetary policy normalization in India in 2022, and c) our US economics team's view of five Fed rate hikes by the Fed in 2022,' Goldman Sachs said in the release. 

To read Goldman Sachs' research report, Asia in Focus: India: A growth focused budget, with higher borrowing, click here.
13:12   Guj HC dismisses PIL for rehabilitating slums affected by bullet train
The Gujarat High Court has dismissed a PIL seeking rehabilitation of families evicted from a slum to make way for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project, but said these people can still approach state authorities which should consider their claim "with a sympathetic approach."

 The court passed its order on Tuesday on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Bandhkaam Mazdoor Sangathan, seeking rehabilitation of 68 to 70 families evicted from a slum near a railway bridge in Ahmedabad's Sabarmati area to make way for the bullet train project. 

 The court, however, ordered rehabilitation of some of the families living in an area given to the National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRC), which is carrying out the project. 

 In its plea, the workers' union had claimed that the 'JP Ni Chali' slum was illegally demolished by the state and railways authorities for the bullet train project, without providing them an alternate accommodation as per state government policies. They had sought the court's direction to restrain authorities from carrying out any further eviction and to provide them immediate relief, including temporary shelter. 

They had also sought rehabilitation under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana. The slum comprised 68 to 70 houses comprising around 350 people, with all of them possessing requisite documents, entitling them for rehabilitation as per the Gujarat slum rehabilitation policy and government housing schemes, they said in the plea. 

 The slum was demolished on March 15, 2021, where these families resided for over three decades, said the plea. The first demolition happened in 2018 to make way for the bullet train project. After that, the slum dwellers moved to the road side. The demolition was then carried out in March last year, despite several representations made by the slum dwellers to the railway and local authorities, it said. -- PTI
Arunachal youth Miram Taron was abducted by the PLA
Arunachal youth Miram Taron was abducted by the PLA
12:57   BJP MP urges govt to resolve fracas with China
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from Arunachal Pradesh Tapir Gao on Wednesday claimed that Arunachal youth Miram Taron, who was handed over to India by the People's Liberation Army (PLA) on January 27, days after he went missing, was given electric shock and was beaten up by China's Peoples Liberation Army.

He urged the Centre to raise issues with the authorities concerned. "I have received news that Miram Taron (who was handed over to India by PLA on January 27 days after he went missing) was beaten up and given electric shocks by the PLA. This is a serious matter. I urge the government to raise this issue with authorities concerned," Gao told ANI.

He further added that this issue is not limited to Miram Taron. "We have dense jungles in border areas where intruding PLA troops abduct our people when they go hunting and collecting herbs. Such incidents will keep happening until we resolve the boundary," the BJP MP said.

"Until we settle the border issue, this type of action will keep happening, till then the PLA will keep doing the violence, give an electric shock, tomorrow they will also shoot. Therefore, there should be a flag meeting between the Indian Army and the Chinese PLA. A settlement should come that this kind of thing should not happen in the future. The Indian Government, ITBP, Army should look into this matter," he added.

On reports of three more labourers getting kidnapped in the Longding district, he said "this is a very disturbed area, in this, I have also contacted the deputy commissioner of police. Which underground organization has kidnapped the three labourers, it will have to be seen. One worker was released but two others are still captive. I request the government of India to tackle the issue to get them released."

Earlier In January, Arunachal East MP Tapir Gao had claimed that a 17-year-old youth has been abducted from inside Indian territory.Gao claimed that the youth was 'abducted' from Arunachal Pradesh's Upper Siang district.

He further claimed that China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) has abducted the youth from where the Tsangpo River enters India in Arunachal Pradesh. -- ANI

12:31   Terrorist killed in encounter in Shopian
An unidentified terrorist was killed in an encounter with security forces in Shopian district of Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday, police said. Security forces launched a cordon and search operation at village Nadigam in Nowpora area of the district, a police spokesman said. 
12:10   India's winter Oympics manager tests Covid+ve
Manager Of Indian Contingent at Beijing Winter Olympics, Abbas Wani tested Covid positive at Beijing Airport. Chef De Mission Harjinder Singh is coordinating for re-test. Athlete & his coach have been shifted to another flat to avoid any interaction: IOA President Narinder Batra.
12:09   Naidu asks MPs to ensure smooth functioning of RS
Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu on Wednesday asked MPs to ensure smooth functioning of the House during the ongoing Budget session and said they should conduct themselves in a manner befitting the trust citizens still have in India's parliamentary democracy. 

 The country's 5,000 MPs, MLAs and MLCs should resolve in this historic year to return to the people the favour they have doing by relentlessly nurturing democracy over the last 70 years, Naidu said. 

 "The only way of doing so is to conduct themselves (the 5,000) in a manner befitting the trust the citizens still have in our parliamentary democracy," Naidu said soon after the listed papers were listed. 

 He described the disruptions in the House during the last two sessions as highly disturbing. "I refer to the same with fervent hope that we all reflect on the same and conduct in a manner befitting the historic time that we are passing through." 

 The chairman pointed out that Rajya Sabha had lost 52.10 per cent of the valuable sitting time due to disruptions and forced adjournments in the last winter session. During the preceding monsoon session last year, the loss of functional time of the House was as high as 70.40 per cent. 

 The Budget Session started on January 31. On the first two days, the House functioned briefly and proceedings were adjourned after laying of Economic Survey and Union Budget. The House is now scheduled to take up Motion of Thanks on the President's Address, and discussion on the Budget.
11:41   Adani Ports shares decline over 2% post earnings
Shares of Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ) on Wednesday slipped over 2 per cent after the company reported a 6.20 per cent decline in consolidated profit for the third quarter ended December 2021. 

 The stock declined 2.41 per cent to Rs 721.50 on the BSE. At the NSE, it dipped 2.33 per cent to Rs 721.50. Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone on Tuesday reported a 6.20 per cent decline in consolidated profit to Rs 1,478.76 crore for the third quarter ended December 2021.
11:38   Modi explains Union Budget to BJP workers
PM Narendra Modi speaks on the Union Budget 2022. 

"Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman comprehensively explained the Budget in a timely manner given its vastness. I will also try to focus on important aspects of the Budget, today," Modi says while addressing BJP workers and leaders on the Budget.

"With the world's changed perspective towards India, it is imperative for us to take the country forward at a rapid pace by strengthening our economy.

"There is a possibility of a new world order post-COVID pandemic. Today, the world's perspective of looking at India has changed a lot. Now, the world wants to see a stronger India.

"It is very important for us to make a self-reliant and modern India. This Budget has several important provisions to take India forward in the direction of modernity. India's economy is expanding continuously due to the decisions taken in the last 7 years.

"The budget was has been appreciated. Prior to 7 years, India's GDP was Rs 1 lakh 10,000 crores but today it's about Rs 2 lakh 30,000 crores. Even country's forex reserves have increased to $630 billion from $200 billion. All of this due to our govt's effective policies."
11:08   Cong fields gangster Vikas Dubey's relative from Kanpur
Congress has fielded a relative of slain gangster Vikas Dubey in Kalyanpur constituency in Kanpur which will go to polls in the fourth phase of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections.

Congress candidate Neha Tiwari on Tuesday filed a nomination from Kalyanpur. She has replaced her mother Gayatri Tiwari, whose name was announced earlier by the party. 

Neha Tiwari is the sister of Khushi Dubey who is the wife of Amar Dubey, brother of gangster Vikas Dubey, who was killed in an encounter with the Uttar Pradesh Police.
10:55   Over 11.48 cr Covid-19 vaccine doses with states
The Central Government on Wednesday said that over 11.48 crore balance and unutilized COVID-19 vaccine doses are still available with the States and Union Territories (UTs).

According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, "More than 164.89 crore (1,64,89,60,315) vaccine doses have been provided to States/UTs so far through Government of India (free of cost channel) and through direct state procurement category." 

"More than 11.48 crore (11,48,99,956) balance and unutilized Covid vaccine doses are still available with the States/UTs to be administered," it added. -- PTI
10:50   Health minister rides to work
Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya rides a bicycle to Parliament in New Delhi. 
10:43   Zydus Cadila starts supply of Covid vax to govt
Drug firm Zydus Cadila on Wednesday said it has commenced supplies of its COVID-19 vaccine ZyCoV-D to the central government.

 The company has initiated the supply as per the order placed by the government, the drug firm said in a statement. 

 The group is also planning to make the vaccine available in the private market, it added. ZyCoV-D is a three-dose vaccine administered intradermally. 

 "The vaccine will be priced at Rs 265 per dose and the applicator being offered at Rs 93 per dose, excluding GST," Zydus Cadila said. 

 The Ahmedabad-based drugmaker has also entered into a definitive agreement with Shilpa Medicare Ltd, a contract manufacturing organisation, to produce mutually agreeable doses of ZyCoV-D. 

 It has also entered into an agreement with Enzychem Lifesciences of the Republic of Korea for the manufacturing license and technology transfer for the Plasmid DNA Vaccine, Zydus Cadila noted. 

 ZyCoV-D is a Plasmid DNA vaccine that produces the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and elicits an immune response mediated by the cellular and humoral arms of the human immune system, which play a vital role in protection from disease as well as viral clearance. PTI
10:26   India reports over 1.61 lakh Covid cases
With 1,61,386 people testing positive for coronavirus infection in a day, India's total tally of cases increased to over 4.16 crore, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Wednesday.
The death toll has climbed to 4,97,975 with 1,733 fatalities reported during the 24-hour period, the data updated at 8 am showed.
The active cases decreased by 1,21,456 to reach 16,21,603-- 4.20 per cent of the total infections -- while the country's recovery rate stands at 94.60 per cent, the ministry said.
The daily positivity rate was recorded at 9.26 per cent, while the weekly positivity rate was 14.15 per cent, according to the health ministry.
09:26   Jinnah Tower in AP painted in tricolour amid row
Days after a controversy arose over the name of Jinnah Tower in Andhra Pradesh's Guntur, it was painted in tricolour and arrangements were made to hoist the national flag near it.

"On the request of various groups, it was decided to decorate the tower with the tricolour and to construct a pole to hoist the national flag near the tower," said Guntur East MLA Mohammed Musthafa.

"Necessary arrangements will be made to hoist the National flag at Jinnah Tower on Thursday," said Musthafa.

Musthafa visited the tower with GMC Mayor Kavati Manohar Naidu on Tuesday to inspect the security arrangements.

"Muslim elder leaders fought against the Britishers during the freedom struggle. After achieving independence, some of the Muslims left the country and settled in Pakistan. But, we wanted to continue in our country as Indians and we love our motherland," he said.

Slamming the Bharatiya Janata Party which raised the issue of Jinnah tower earlier last month, Musthafa said, "BJP leaders should participate in helping needy people amid COVID19 pandemic, instead of provoking communal clashes."

Earlier on January 26, a group of people stormed into Jinnah Tower to unfurl the tricolour after which they were detained. -- ANI
08:58   Budget 22 balanced, fiscally prudent and growth oriented: US-India forum
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has been able to once again come up with an impactful and visionary budget which is balanced, fiscally prudent and growth oriented in the midst of third wave of COVID-19, the  USA India Chamber of Commerce said.
"Opting to keep the fiscal deficit at 6.9 per cent and increase capital expenditure by 35 per cent is a masterstroke. The annual budget estimates the effective capital expenditure of Rs 10.68 lakh crore in 2022-23, making up about 4.1 per cent of the GDP.
"A phenomenal increase in the government's capital expenditure is likely to facilitate the expenditures on infrastructure and create jobs. It also paves the way for post-pandemic longer-term restructuring of the India economy," Karun Rishi, president of Boston-based USA India Chamber of Commerce (USAIC) said.
However, it is a matter of concern that the budget lacks tangible measures to increase revenue generation, he noted.
Stating that the finance minister has incorporated innovative measures in the budget, Rishi said the new battery swapping' policy for electric vehicle sector can offer a practical alternative to increase the adoption of electric vehicles in India.

'One Nation, One Registration' will facilitate ease of living and doing business. Building up on the Technologies of the Future' announced during the 2018 budget, digital rupee to be issued by the Reserve Bank of India using blockchain technology will give a big boost to the economy,  he added. 
"The extension of Section 115BAB provision of 15 per cent for newly incorporated manufacturing companies is another excellent step to promote the much-needed investments in the manufacturing sector. The budget does give a blueprint of economy from India at 75 to India at 100'," the USAIC president  said in a statement.
Noting that the pandemic has taught the world the importance of BioPharma Research and Development (R&D), Rishi said for over a decade, USAIC has been nudging India to create an ecosystem of academia, industry, venture capitalists and public institutions to foster innovation in BioPharma.
It is encouraging to see classification of genomics and pharmaceuticals as a sunrise sector. With this, India continues its thrust towards BioPharma R&D, he said.
08:30   Rahul Gandhi to open debate on President's address
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will be the first speaker in the debate on motion of thanks to the President's address on Wednesday in Lok Sabha, said sources.

According to sources, 12 hours have been allotted to opposition parties to express their reply to the Presidential address during the motion of thanks in Lok Sabha. Congress has been allotted one hour out of the total 12 hours of opposition parties.

"Rahul Gandhi will open the debate from the side of opposition parties as Congress being the largest opposition party will get the first chance to speak," said sources.

"He will speak on Presidential address, Budget and will raise the issue of spyware software Pegasus in his address," source added.

Meanwhile, the Youth Congress workers will protest outside parliament and raise the Pegasus issue.
Representational image
Representational image
00:47   Foreigner held with 5 bullets at Delhi airport
A woman passenger from Zimbabwe was apprehended by the Central Industrial Security Force personnel at the Delhi airport for carrying five bullets in her luggage, officials said on Tuesday.  

The woman was intercepted by the security personnel during security checks at Terminal-1 of the Indira Gandhi International Airport on Monday, they said.

She was supposed to take a SpiceJet flight to Jammu.

As the passenger, a Zimbabwean national, could not furnish any valid authorisation for carrying bullets of 6.35 mm calibre, she was handed over to the Delhi police for investigation, the officials said.

The CISF is tasked with securing and providing counter-terrorist cover to the IGI airport. -- PTI
UP Speaker Hriday Narain Dikshit
UP Speaker Hriday Narain Dikshit
00:18   Speaker, Swati Singh not in UP BJP's list of 17
The Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday announced a list of 17 candidates for the Uttar Pradesh polls and did not include assembly Speaker Hriday Narain Dikshit and minister Swati Singh in it while Brijesh Pathak's seat was changed. 

The names announced on Tuesday included candidates for all the nine assembly seats in Lucknow. 

Ashutosh Shukla has been fielded from Bhagwantnagar in Unnao district where Hriday Narain Dikshit is the outgoing MLA. 

Rajrejeshwar Singh, who has taken voluntary retirement after being deputed to the Enforcement Directorate from the Uttar Pradesh police, has been fielded from Sarojini Nagar, the seat of outgoing minister Swati Singh. 

Both Swati Singh and her husband Daya Shankar Singh had been vying for the Sarojini Nagar seat. Incumbent Lucknow (central) MLA and minister Brijesh Pathak has been fielded from Lucknow Cantonment, burying speculations of the new entrant in the BJP Aparna Yadav, the daughter-in-law of SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav, being fielded from there. -- PTI