Wed, 26 January 2022
Azam Khan files nomination from Sitapur Jail

Timeline  Refresh

21:09   Azam Khan files nomination from Sitapur Jail
Samajwadi Party leader Mohammad Azam Khan on Wednesday filed his nomination for Rampur Sadar seat from inside Sitapur jail.

The Returning Officer from Rampur visited the jail to get his nomination papers after an order was issued by Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Rampur Court, Jailor RS Yadav told media.

"As of now all paper formalities have been completed," he said.

Rampur will go to polls on Feb 14 in the second phase of UP elections.

Khan, MP from Rampur, is lodged in Sitapur jail since Feb 2020 in case of land grabbing and several others.   -- PTI
20:14   Market approval for Covaxin, Covishield soon
The regular market approval from Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) to COVID-19 vaccine Covishield and Covaxin is expected soon, but only after price fixation which is still underway, official sources told ANI on Wednesday.

Recently, the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), DCGI, Drug regulators and senior officials of the Union Health Ministry conducted a meeting regarding fixing the prices of Covishield and Covaxin, but no final decision has been taken yet.

It is expected that the price of a vaccine will be fixed below Rs 275 per dose and additional service charges of 150 to make both the vaccines affordable for all.

As per the earlier information given by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO), "Subject Expert Committee (SEC) of CDSCO has recommended for an upgrade of Covishield and Covaxin status from restricted use in emergency situations to grant of new drug permission with conditions in the adult population, DCGI will evaluate the recommendations and give its decision."

The Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech both applied for market approval for the Covishield and Covaxin respectively in December 21.

The subject expert committee during the meeting that was held last week asked both the vaccine manufacturing companies to submit more data before granting market approval.

The market authorisation for vaccines means that they can be authorised for use without reservation and conditions.   -- ANI
19:28   Sena, TMC frown upon row over Padma for Azad
Shiv Sena, a key ally of the Congress, on Wednesday frowned upon attempts by a section of leaders of the grand old party to target Ghulam Nabi Azad for accepting the Padma Bhushan award conferred by the government.

Calling someone Azad for declining a national honour and Ghulam for accepting it, shows how shallow one's thought is towards a national honour, Shiv Sena leader and Rajya Sabha member Priyanka Chaturvedi said on Twitter.

'This isn't the first nor the last time that opposition leaders will be acknowledged for their work, please maintain that spirit and dignity,' Chaturvedi, who quit the Congress to join the Shiv Sena, said.

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh had taken a swipe at Azad, whose differences with the Congress leadership are well known, for accepting the Padma Bhushan honour.

Referring to former West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee's refusal to accept the Padma Bhushan, Ramesh had suggested that Azad follow suit.

'Right thing to do. He wants to be Azad not Ghulam,' Ramesh had said on Twitter.

Another former Congress leader Sushmita Dev also hit back at Ramesh wondering whether the Padma Bhushan honour for former Assam chief minister late Tarun Gogoi or the Bharat Ratna to former President late Pranab Mukherjee also made them 'Ghulams'.

'Padma Bhushan for Tarun Gogoi and Bharat Ratna for Pranab Mukherjee - does it make them Ghulams,' asked Dev, a Rajya Sabha member from Trinamool Congress.   -- PTI
18:36   Omicron-induced immunity neutralises Delta: Study
An Indian Council of Medical Research study has demonstrated that individuals infected with Omicron have significant immune response which could neutralise not only the Omicron, but also other variants of concern, including the most prevalent Delta variant. 
It suggests that the immune response induced by the Omicron could effectively neutralise the Delta variant, making the re-infection with Delta variant less likely, thereby displacing the Delta as dominant strain, the study said emphasising upon the need for Omicron-specific vaccine strategy. 
The study was conducted on 39 individuals, of which 25 had taken both the doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, eight people had taken double dose of Pfizer jab, while six were unvaccinated.  
Also, 28 of these 39 were mainly foreign returnees from the UAE, South/West/East Africa, Middle East, the US and the UK, and 11 people were their high-risk contacts.  All these individuals were infected with Omicron variant.  
The study assessed the IgG antibody and Neutralizing Antibody response in the people with breakthrough and natural COVID-19 infections.  
"Our study demonstrated substantial immune response in the individuals infected with Omicron. The neutralizing antibodies could effectively neutralize the Omicron and other variants of concern (VOCs), including the most prevalent Delta variant," the study stated.
The main limitation of this study are lesser participants in the unvaccinated group and the shorter window period post infection. This could be the important reason for the low immune response specifically in the unvaccinated individuals against Omicron, the scientists stated.  
The study has been conducted by ICMR scientists, including Pragya D Yadav, Gajanan N Sapkal,  Rima R Sahay and Priya Abraham. It is yet to be peer-reviewed and has been released on bioRxiv preprint server on  January 26.  -- PTI
17:56   AP to get 13 more new districts
The Andhra Pradesh government issued draft notifications on Wednesday for carving out 13 new districts out of the existing 13, taking the total to 26.
"The government, in the interest of better administration and development of the areas concerned, proposes to form a new district under Section 3 (5) of the AP Districts (Formation) Act, 1974," Chief Secretary Sameer Sharma said in the draft notification, issued separately for each district.
He invited objections and suggestions from the citizens residing within the district, who are likely to be affected, for being taken into consideration within 30 days.
In his Republic Day address, Governor Biswabhusan Harichandan referred to the creation of new districts and said they would be in place by this Telugu New Year's Day Ugadi (falling on April 2).
"For the delivery of more efficient services to people and for good governance, we will be creating 13 more districts in the state on the auspicious day of Ugadi. Two districts will be exclusively for tribal population," the Governor said in his address.
The state has 25 Lok Sabha constituencies and each is supposed to be made a revenue district.         

However, with its size being too large and spread over many districts, the tribal-dominated Araku Lok Sabha constituency is being split into two new districts.
The two new tribal districts will be Manyam, with headquarters in Parvathipuram, and Alluri Sitarama Raju, named after the legendary Telugu freedom fighter with headquarters in Paderu.
The other new districts are Anakapalli (out of the existing Visakhapatnam district), Konaseema and Kakinada (out of East Godavari), Eluru (out of West Godavari), NTR (out of Krishna), Bapatla and Palnadu (out of Guntur), Nandyal (out of Kurnool), Sri Satya Sai (out of Anantapuramu), Annamayya (out of Kadapa) and Sri Balaji (out of Chittoor).
The headquarters of the existing East Godavari district is being shifted to Rajamahendravaram and that of West Godavari to Bhimavaram.
Though he was born in the other part of Krishna district, falling under the Machilipatnam Lok Sabha constituency, the government chose to name the newly created district (spread over Vijayawada Lok Sabha constituency) after the Telugu legend N T Rama Rao (NTR).
In line with its 2019 election-eve promise, the Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy government initiated the districts reorganisation process in August 2020 but the exercise could not go ahead because of the impending Census operations and the ban on redrawing the geographical boundaries.

But, with the Government of India now easing the ban till July, the state government is seeking to fast-track the new districts formation. -- PTI
17:32   Congress-yukt BJP: Tharoor on RPN Singh's exit
A day after RPN Singh joined the Bharatiya Janata Party, senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Wednesday took a dig at the saffron party with rhyming sentences in Hindi and the phrase "Congress-yukt BJP".
Just weeks ahead of Uttar Pradesh assembly polls, Singh quit the Congress party on Tuesday and joined the BJP, in a setback for the grand old party.
A Union minister in the UPA-II government, the 57-year-old leader joined the BJP at the party headquarters New Delhi, evoking a sharp reaction from Congress leaders, including its spokesperson Supriya Shrinate, who called him a "coward".
On Wednesday, Tharoor took to Twitter to say in Hindi, "'Chorh kar ja rahe hain ghar apna, shayad unke kuch aur sapne hain, ab udhar bhi sab apna sa hai, ab udhar bhi toh sabhi apne hain. (Congress-yukt BJP)'"
The tweet roughly translates to: "He is leaving his home, maybe he has other dreams; now there also it feels homely, there also are his own people".
Tharoor's "Congress-yukt BJP" jibe is a wordplay on the BJP's slogan of 'Congress-mukt Bharat' (Congress-free India).
Responding to Tharoor, national spokesperson of the Congress Pawan Khera said in a tweet in Hindi: "One who couldn't be true to his ideology, cannot be our own."
Borrowing the essence of the 'Bhagwad Gita', Khera said, "Have to defeat those who divide people in 80-20, O Arjun; don't look for your people there, don't look for dreams there."

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said that the Congress is a movement having a history of 135 years and some leaders leaving the party does not make any difference.
All those leaders who are leaving or joining the Congress are welcome and there should not be much discussion on this, he said while interacting with reporters on the occasion of 73rd Republic Day.

Reacting on the issue, Gehlot said, "Congress is such a big organization. Congress is like a movement in the country, it has a long history of 135 years, it is like a sea. In this, many big people left and they had to come back in the party and history is witness." -- PTI
17:14   Don't destroy 'own property': Rail minister on violence by job aspirants
Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Wednesday urged job aspirants not to destroy public property and assured them that their grievances would be resolved as candidates of went on a rampage over alleged irregularities in a recruitment exam by the public transporter.
Earlier in the day, the ministry suspended the Non-Technical Popular Categories (RRB NTPC) and the Level 2 exams after reports of vandalism by job aspirants from different parts of the country came to light.
"I am telling the aspirants that this is their own property. Why are they destroying something that is their own? However, authorities will follow due process if public property is damaged," the minister said at a press conference. 
His comments came after violent protests by job aspirants erupted in Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh.
Vaishnaw said the Railways is in touch with chief ministers and the issue is being handled "sensitively".
"I urge the candidates to put forth their grievances formally. Our intention is to resolve this issue quickly. A committee has been formed and it will examine representations by the candidates," he said. -- PTI 
17:03   Air India likely to be handed over to Tatas tomorrow
The Indian government is likely to hand over Air India to the Tata Group on Thursday, nearly 69 years after it was taken from the conglomerate, officials said on Wednesday.
After a competitive bidding process, the government had on October 8 last year sold Air India to Talace Private Limited - a subsidiary of the Tata Group's holding company - for Rs 18,000 crore.
Meanwhile, two airline pilot unions -- Indian Pilots' Guild (IPG) and Indian Commercial Pilots' Association (ICPA) -- on Monday warned Air India's CMD Vikram Dev Dutt of legal action as "multiple deductions and recoveries have been projected" on the dues owed to pilots.
"This recovery exercise is entirely illegal, and we demand that this anomaly is rectified and the amount due is repaid with immediate effect," the letter sent by the two unions said. 
Additionally, two other unions have opposed the carrier's January 20 order to check grooming and measure the body mass index (BMI) of cabin crew members at the airports just before their flights.
These unions -- Air India Employees' Union (AIEU) and All India Cabin Crew Association (AICCA) -- on Monday wrote to Dutt opposing the order on the grounds that it is dehumanising and in violation of rules prescribed by aviation regulator DGCA.
"BMI is a person's weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in metres. A high BMI can indicate high body fatness," stated the website of US' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Three days after Air India's sale was announced on October 8 last year, a Letter of Intent (LoI) was issued to the Tata Group confirming the government's willingness to sell its 100 percent stake in the airline. On October 25, the Centre signed the share purchase agreement (SPA) for this deal.
Officials said on Wednesday that the airline will most likely be handed over to the conglomerate on Thursday as all the formalities are close to completion.
As a part of the deal, the Tata group will also be handed over Air India Express and a 50 percent stake in ground handling arm Air India SATS.
Tatas had on October 8 beat the Rs 15,100-crore offer by a consortium led by SpiceJet promoter Ajay Singh and the reserve price of Rs 12,906 crore set by the government for the sale of its 100 percent stake in the loss-making carrier.
16:18   Railway job aspirants set train on fire in Bihar
A train was set on fire and demonstrations were staged at a couple of stations on Wednesday, marking the third day of unrest in Bihar against alleged anomalies in the tests conducted by the Railway Recruitment Board for the NTPC category.
A crowd stormed the Gaya Junction, raising slogans, and set fire to the Bhabhua-Patna Inter City Express, though nobody was injured.
East Central Railway CPRO Rajesh Kumar told PTI-Bhasha, "The rakes were empty and parked inside the yard when miscreants set a coach on fire. It has not resulted in disruption of rail traffic."
Gaya SSP Aditya Kumar said some of the agitators were taken into custody.
"We have brought the situation at Gaya Junction under control. Some protesters have been taken into custody. Action will be taken after the arsonists are identified," Kumar said.
The ECR CPRO said demonstrations were also witnessed at Taregana, on the outskirts of Patna, and at Jehanabad though agitators there were pacified without much trouble.
"The Railways is requesting people to stay calm and place their grievances before the high-powered committee that has been set up to look into their concerns," he added. -- PTI 
16:06   Elton John tests positive for COVID, postpones Texas shows
Music legend Elton John has tested positive for coronavirus, forcing him to postpone his concerts in Dallas, Texas.
The 74-year-old singer shared the news of his COVID-19 diagnosis in a statement posted on his Instagram Stories.
"Hi everyone, wanted to send a message to let you know that I have contracted COVID and so have had to reschedule my shows in Dallas. If you have tickets, you'll be contacted with the new dates really soon," John said.
The British veteran had been due to perform at the American Airlines Center in Dallas on Tuesday and Wednesday as part of his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour. 
"It's always a massive disappointment to move shows and I'm so sorry to anyone who's inconvenienced by this but I want to keep myself and my team safe," he added.
John said he is "fully vaccinated and boosted" against COVID-19 and is only experiencing mild symptoms.
"So I'm fully expecting to be able to make the Arkansas shows this weekend. As always, thank you for all your love and support and I can't wait to see you all soon!" he ended the statement.
The singer resumed his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour in New Orleans last week. He had returned to the stage after a hiatus of almost two years,.
The tour kickstarted in 2018 but was postponed due to the pandemic and then because the star musician needed hip surgery after a fall in September last year.  -- PTI
Umar Ganie/
Umar Ganie/
15:45   JK: Tricolour hoisted in Lal Chowk after 30 yrs
National flag was hoisted atop the historic Clock tower in Srinagar's Lal Chowk on Wednesday, 30 years after veteran Bharatiya Janata Party leader Murli Manohar Joshi did it for the first time.
Social activists Sajid Yousuf Shah and Sahil Bashir Bhat along with dozens of supporters had organized the flag hoisting ceremony at Clock Tower, locally known as Ghanta Ghar, to mark the Republic Day.
The activist used a hydraulic crane elevator to install the national flag on top of the clock tower amidst rendition of the national anthem. 
Young players from Kashmir Martial Arts Academy also participated in the function.
The participants danced to patriotic songs as hundreds of Police and paramilitary personnel stood guard around the clock tower.
Senior BJP leader had hoisted the national flag at Lal Chowk in 1992 at the peak of militancy in the valley. 
Elsewhere in the Srinagar, thousands of tricolors donned the landscape of several public parks including Pratap Park and Iqbal Park to mark the Republic Day. -- PTI
14:59   PLA responded positively: Rijiju on missing Arunachal boy
A hotline was exchanged on Wednesday between the Indian Army and China's People's Liberation Army which responded positively, indicating handing over of the missing youth from Arunachal Pradesh, Law Minister Kiren Rijiju said.
The PLA suggested a place of release, the minister said.
"They are likely to intimate date and time soon. Delay attributed to bad weather conditions on their side," he wrote on Twitter.
On Tuesday, Rijiju had said that India had shared details of the missing Arunachal Pradesh teenager with the PLA to corroborate the identity of the youth in their custody.
"Hotline exchanged on Republic Day by Indian Army with Chinese PLA. PLA responded positively indicating handing over of our national and suggested a place of release," he said on Wednesday.
The Union minister, who represents the state in Lok Sabha, had earlier said that the Chinese side had conveyed to the Indian Army on January 20 that they had found a boy on their side and requested for further details to establish the identity.
"To assist Chinese side in corroborating the identity, personal details and photo of the individual has been shared with the Chinese side by the Indian Army. Response from the Chinese side is awaited," Rijiju had said in a statement put out on Koo app.
According to the statement by Rijiju, 19-year-old Miram Taron of Jido Village in Upper Siang District of Arunachal Pradesh was found missing on January 18.
"Some people reported that Chinese PLA had taken him into their custody,  it said. 
Rijiju said that since the individual was missing from an area close to the Line of Actual Control, the Indian Army immediately approached the Chinese side on January 19, asking for assistance in tracing and return of the individual, in case he had strayed into the Chinese territory or PLA has taken him in their custody.
14:42   Omicron survives much longer on plastic, skin: Study
The Omicron variant of coronavirus can remain alive on skin for over 21 hours, and more than eights days on plastic surfaces, which may be contributing to its faster spread compared to other strains, according to a study.
The researchers from Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine in Japan analysed the differences in viral environmental stability between the SARS-CoV-2 Wuhan strain and all variants of concern (VOCs).
The yet-to-be peer-reviewed study, posted recently on the preprint repository BioRxiv, found that the Alpha, Beta, Delta, and Omicron variants exhibited more than two-fold longer survival on plastic and skin surfaces, than the Wuhan strain.
"The high environmental stability of these VOCs could increase the risk of contact transmission and contribute to their spread," the authors of study said.
"This study showed that Omicron has the highest environmental stability among VOCs, which might be one of the factors that have allowed the variant to replace the Delta variant and spread rapidly," they said.
The study shows on plastic surfaces, average survival times of the original strain and the Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta variants were 56 hours, 191.3 hours, 156.6 hours, 59.3 hours, and 114 hours, respectively.
That compared to 193.5 hours for the Omicron variant, according to the researchers.
On skin samples, average virus survival times were 8.6 hours for the original version, 19.6 hours for Alpha, 19.1 hours for Beta, 11 hours Gamma, 16.8 hours for Delta and 21.1 hours for Omicron, they said.
There was no significant difference in survival times between Alpha and Beta variants, and they had similar environmental stability, which is consistent with the results of previous studies, according to the researchers.
Although Alpha, Beta, Delta, and Omicron variants showed a slight increase in ethanol resistance in response to increased environmental stability, all VOCs on the skin surface were completely inactivated by 15 second exposure to 35 per cent ethanol.
"Therefore, it is highly recommended that current infection control (hand hygiene) practices use disinfectants... as proposed by the World Health Organization," the researchers added.
14:18   President's bodyguard horse, Virat retires on R-Day
Virat, the President's Bodyguard Commandant's black horse, retired from his years long service after the 73rd Republic Day parade on Wednesday.
Virat was the mount of President's Bodyguard Commandant Colonel Anup Tiwary and took part 13 times in Republic Day parades. 
President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh patted and bid farewell to the magnificent horse after the parade. 
Virat was awarded the Chief of the Army Staff Commendation on the eve of Army Day on January 15. 
Virat is the first horse to receive the commendation for exceptional service and abilities. 
14:03   Actor Chiranjeevi tests positive for COVID-19 with mild symptoms
Superstar Chiranjeevi on Wednesday said he has tested positive for COVID-19 and is under home quarantine.
The 66-year-old actor took to Twitter and informed his fans that he is experiencing "mild symptoms" post his COVID diagnosis. 
"Dear All, despite all precautions, I have tested COVID-19 positive with mild symptoms last night and am quarantining at home. I request all who came in contact with me over the last few days to get tested too. Can't wait to see you all back soon," Chiranjeevi  tweeted.
13:20   Mobile internet suspended in Kashmir on R-Day
Internet services on mobile devices were suspended in Kashmir on Wednesday as a precautionary measure for ensuring smooth passage of Republic Day celebrations in the Valley, officials said.
However, mobile phone services and internet on fixed lines remained unaffected.
"The mobile internet telephone services have been temporarily suspended in the valley for ensuring peaceful Republic Day celebrations," the officials said.
Suspension of mobile phone and internet services on Republic Day and  Independence Day have been part of the security drill in the Valley since 2005 when terrorists used a mobile phone to trigger an IED blast near the venue of Independence Day celebrations.
The services are usually restored in the afternoon following culmination of official functions across the Valley. 
Republic Day celebrations were held amidst tight security arrangements in Srinagar City and elsewhere in the valley. 
Officials said here were no report of any untoward incident from anywhere in Kashmir. -- PTI
Wikimedia commons
Wikimedia commons
13:18   Tabla maestro Anindya Chatterjee refuses Padma award
Eminent Tabla player Pandit Anindya Chatterjee has declined to receive the Padma Shri honour.
Chatterjee is the second person from Bengal's vibrant musical world who was offered the Padma award this year and refused it.

The  eminent percussionist, who has been 'jugal bandis' (duets) with classical maestros like Pandit Ravi Shankar, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and Ustad Ali Akbar Khan said on Wednesday he had recieved a phone call from Delhi on Tuesday seeking his consent to accepting the honour.

"However I politely declined. I said thank you but I am not ready to receive Padma Shri at this phase of my career. I have passed that phase," Chatterjee  who received the Sangeet Natak Akademi award in 2002 said. 

A disciple of Pandit Jnan Prakash Ghosh, he has performed at the Rastrapati Bhavan in the past and was the youngest tabla player to perform in the British Parliament's House of Commons in 1989. 

Chatterjee said he would have accepted the honour with gratitude had it been conferred on him 10 yeats back. "Many of my contemporaries and juniors were given Padma Shri years ago. Anyway I said with all humbleness, that I am sorry but I cannot accept it (award) now."

Singing legend Sandhya Mukherjee similarly turned down the offer of the Padma Shri Award offered to her by the Centre on Tuesday evening.

"At the age of 90, having regaled generations of listeners for around eight decades, she deserved something more," her daughter said. 

Besides Mukherjee and Chatterjee, Communist Party of India-Marxist leader and former West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee also turned down an offer to award him Padma Bhushan on Tuesday. -- PTI 
12:27   Modi wears Uttarakhand cap, Manipur stole in R-Day

Prime Minister Narendra Modi ditched his traditional turban look on Republic Day this year and wore a traditional cap from Uttarakhand with an image of the brahmakamal, the state flower, and sported a stole from Manipur.
Official sources said Modi uses the brahmakamal whenever he offers prayers at Kedarnath. 
Turbans have been a highlight of the prime minister's sartorial choices at Independence Day and Republic Day events.
'Vinaash' formation compromising 5 Rafale
'Vinaash' formation compromising 5 Rafale
12:23   R-Day parade concludes with stunning flypast
The grand parade of the Republic Day at Rajpath comes to an end with a splendid flypast of the Indian Armed forces.  
12:06   Glimpses of liberation struggle in Goa's R-Day tableau
Dancers from the Kunbi community, the original inhabitants of Goa, and glimpses from the liberation struggle were the highlight of the tableau of the coastal state that rolled down Rajpath during the Republic Day parade on Wednesday. 
The front portion of the tableau showed the majestic Fort Aguada overlooking the Arabian Sea, and is considered as the defining symbol of Goan heritage. 
The fort was built by the Portuguese in 1612 to defend against possible Dutch invasions. During the Goan liberation struggle, the fort served as a jail where freedom fighters were imprisoned before being deported to Lisbon for longer sentences. 
The tableau, designed by Sushant Khedekar, also showcases the Martyrs' Memorial at Azad Maidan, Panaji, which is a symbol of selfless sacrifice made by hundreds of freedom fighters for the liberation of Goa.  
The lotus placed at the top of the memorial symbolises universal brotherhood.
The rear portion of the tableau showcased the rocky headland of Dona Paula that stretches into the Arabian sea with dancers from the Kunbi community celebrating the spring festival of Shigmo. 
Dubbed as the pearl of the orient, Goa has preserved its heritage, culture and natural beauty and is also the permanent venue of the International Film Festival of India.
11:45   India's 1st woman Rafale pilot in R-Day IAF tableau
The country's first woman Rafale fighter jet pilot Shivangi Singh was part of the Indian Air Force tableau at the Republic Day parade on Wednesday. She is only the second woman fighter jet pilot to be part of the IAF tableau.
Last year, Flight Lieutenant Bhawna Kanth became the first female fighter jet pilot to be part of the IAF tableau.
Singh, who is from Varanasi, joined the IAF in 2017 and was commissioned in the IAF's second batch of women fighter pilots. She had been flying MiG-21 Bison aircraft before flying the Rafale. 
She is part of the IAF's Golden Arrows squadron based out of Ambala in Punjab.
The IAF tableau was based on the theme -- 'Indian Air Force transforming for the future'. Scaled down models of Rafale fighter jet, indigenously developed light combat helicopter (LCH) and 3D surveillance radar Aslesha MK-1 were part of the float.
It also featured a scaled down model of MiG-21 aircraft that played a major role in the 1971 war in which India defeated Pakistan, leading to the creation of Bangladesh, as well as a model of India's first indigenously developed aircraft Gnat.
The first batch of Rafale fighter jets arrived on July 29, 2020, nearly four years after India signed an inter-governmental agreement with France to procure 36 aircraft at a cost of Rs 59,000 crore.
So far,  32 Rafale jets have been delivered to the IAF and four are expected by April this year
11:42   Masked, vaccinated: Only 5000 attend R-Day parade

Crowds at the Republic Day parade on Wednesday were curtailed to just 5,000 people, all double masked, vaccinated and maintaining strict 'do gaz ki doori' in view of the Covid situation. 
Only double vaccinated adults and children above the age of 15 who have taken at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine were allowed to enter the venue. Children below 15 years were not permitted to attend.  
There was strict security with personnel maintaining strict vigil. 

Chairs were placed at a distance to ensure social distancing. Participants also received a white cap with "Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav" printed on it.
India is presently battling the third wave of COVID-19 driven by the Omicron variant. India logged 2,85,914 new coronavirus infections taking the total tally of COVID-19 cases to 4,00,85,116, according to Union health ministry data updated on Wednesday. -- PTI  
11:32   Army's marching contingents display evolution of uniforms, rifles since independence
How Indian Army uniforms and rifles have evolved over the decades since the Indian independence was on display at this year's Republic Day parade.
Three marching contingents of the Indian Army wore uniforms and carried rifles from previous decades, while one contingent wore the new combat uniform and carried the latest Tavor rifles at Republic Day Parade-2022 (RDP-2022) as a part of 'Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav' celebrating the 75th year of India's independence.
There were a total of six marching contingents of the Army at the parade this year. 
Each marching contingent this year comprised 96 soldiers instead of the usual 144 so that proper attention can be given to COVID-19 protocol.
The Indian Army's first marching contingent, of Rajput regiment soldiers, wore the 1950s uniform and carry .303 rifles. 
The second marching contingent, of Assam regiment soldiers, wore the 1960s uniform of the Indian Army and carry .303 rifles.
The 1970s uniform of the Army was worn by soldiers of the Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry regiment, who formed the third marching contingent, and they carried 7.62 mm self-loading rifles.
The fourth and fifth marching contingents were of Sikh Light Infantry and Army Ordnance Corps Regiment, respectively, and these soldiers wore the current uniform of the Army and carry 5.56 mm Insas rifles.
11:27   R-Day parade: Navy's tableau depicts 1946 uprising
The Indian Navy's tableau at the Republic Day parade on Wednesday depicted the 1946 naval uprising, which contributed to the country's Independence movement, and its marching contingent was led by a woman officer.
The uprising was started by the Royal Indian Navy's sailors of 'Talwar' ship on February 18, 1946, and it then spread to 78 ships.
The tableau on Tuesday showed the navy's theme of 'Combat Ready, Credible and Cohesive'.
 The naval contingent comprised 96 men, three platoon commanders and one contingent commander.
It was led by Lieutenant Commander Aanchal Sharma, who is an observer officer posted at the Indian Naval Air Squadron (INAS) 314.
Sharma, who was commissioned in June 2016, had on January 22 said that the enthusiasm and energy of the contingent is unparalleled and it is indeed an honour to be leading it at Republic Day parade.
11:24   Tableaux of 12 states march down Rajpath
Tableaux of 12 States/Union Territories and nine Ministries/Departments, which have been prepared on various themes under 'Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav'.
Centurion Tank
Centurion Tank
10:56   India displays its military might at R-Day parade
Detachments of Centurion Tank, PT-76, MBT Arjun MK-I, and APC Topaz, 75/24 Pack Howitzer MK-I indigenously developed gun system participate in the 73rd Republic Day parade at the Rajpath in Delhi.
10:53   Kovind posthumously awards Ashok Chakra to JK Police ASI Babu Ram
Jammu and Kashmir Police ASI Babu Ram has been conferred with Ashok Chakra posthumously for "displaying valour and exemplary raw courage" during an anti-terror op in Srinagar in which he killed three terrorists in August  2020. 

His wife Rina Rani and son Manik received the award from President Ram Nath Kovind
10:43   Parade begins with flypast by Mi-17V5 helicopters
The 73rd Republic Day parade begins with flypast by four Mi-17V5 helicopters of the 155 Helicopter Unit flying in a wineglass formation.
10:43   National flag unfurled with 21-gun salute
As per tradition, the national flag was unfurled followed by the National Anthem with a booming 21-gun salute, presented by Ceremonial Battery of 871 Field Regiment.
10:24   Modi pays homage at war memorial
Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid homage at the National War Memorial, a monument to the soldiers who have made supreme sacrifice for the country, on Republic Day on Wednesday. 
Modi was joined by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and the three service chiefs as he paid tributes at a solemn ceremony. 
Republic Day events commence with the homage ceremony at the war memorial.
India is celebrating its 73rd Republic Day on Wednesday. 
10:20   India logs 2,85,914 fresh COVID-19 cases
India logged 2,85,914 new coronavirus infections taking the total tally of COVID-19 cases to 4,00,85,116, according to the Union health ministry data updated on Wednesday.
The death toll has climbed to 4,91,127 with 665 fresh fatalities, the data  updated at 8 am stated.
The active cases have decreased to 22,23,018 and comprise 5.55 per cent of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate has decreased to 93.23 per cent, the ministry said.
09:40   India's rich heritage comes alive in 73rd R-day Google doodle
Elephants, camels, saxophone and various other rich elements from the annual January 26 ceremonial parade on Rajpath, have been depicted in a vibrant doodle by internet search giant Google to mark India's 73rd Republic Day on Wednesday.
The artwork showcases animal forms, musical instruments complemented with delightful dash of colours, with of course, a nod to the tricolour.
In a note released on the august occasion, the company said, "Today's Doodle celebrates India's Republic Day, commemorating 72 years since the Indian Constitution took effect and the nation completed its transition to an independent republic".
The Indian Constitution was adopted on November 26, 1949 and officially enacted on this day in 1950 to coincide with the day the Indian National Congress declared 'Purna Swaraj' or "complete freedom," it said.
The doodle portrays the elements of the grand parade, with each letter of 'Google' embedded with lot of symbolism.
The 'G' has been formed with a wonderous mix of an elephant, a camel, a horse and a dog, being depicted together. All four animals are seen in the parade.
The 'O' next to it had been made using the image of a 'tabla', while the other 'G' had been depicted with a curvy saxophone, a wind instrument using by the bands in the parade.
Two doves, a symbol of peace, fly around the letter 'L' symbolically depicting the parade route with blue colour, standing next to the 'E' which is suffused in tricolour, representing the Indian flag.
Google, in its note further said, across the South Asian subcontinent, Republic Day is celebrated over a three-day period with cultural events that "honour the resilience, history, and diverse social fabric of the world's most populous democracy".
"The largest official display of national pride held today is the Republic Day Paradeelements of which are depicted in the Doodle artworkfrom left to right, parade animals: an elephant, a horse, a dog, a camel; a red tabla; the parade path; a saxophone as part of the iconic camel-mounted band; doves; and the tricolours of the national flag," it said.
Along Rajpath, a ceremonial boulevard in the Indian capital of New Delhi, this momentous parade features a float for Indian states alongside dozens of bands, folk dancers, and government officials, the note said.
In 2021, vibrant colours, art, and architectural, cultural and sartorial heritage of India was captured in a fascinating doodle to mark the Republic Day. -- PTI
09:33   Railway suspends exams after protests by aspirants
Railways has decided to suspend its NTPC and Level 1 tests after violent protests by job aspirants over the selection process of its recruitment exams, a spokesperson for the national transporter said on Wednesday.
It has also formed a committee which will examine the grievances of those who have passed the exams under different railway recruitment boards and those who have failed.
After listening to both the parties, the committee will submit a report to the railway ministry, he said. 
On Tuesday, the railways had issued a general notice, warning its job aspirants that those found involved in vandalism and unlawful activities while protesting will be barred from ever getting recruited in the railways. This came a day after protesters squatted on railway tracks in several places in Bihar. -- PTI
09:09   Yuvraj Singh, Hazel Keech blessed with baby boy
Yuvraj Singh and wife Hazel Keech have been blessed with a baby boy, the former India cricketer announced on Tuesday.

Taking to Twitter, Yuvraj wrote: "To all our fans, family and friends. We are elated to share that today God blessed us with a baby boy. We thank god for this blessing and wish you to respect our privacy as we welcome the little one into the world."

Yuvraj and Hazel had tied the knot in a traditional ceremony in 2016. 
08:52   In -40 degree Celsius, ITBP celebrates R-Day
Indo-Tibetan Border Police personnel celebrate Republic Day at 15,000 feet altitude in -40 degree Celsius temperature in Ladakh.
08:23   Modi greets people on Republic Day
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday greeted people on the occasion of the Republic Day. India is observing its 73rd Republic Day, the day its constitution came into force. 

Modi tweeted, "Wishing you all a happy Republic Day. Jai Hind!"  
08:16   India to witness many firsts at R-Day Parade
India's military might, cultural diversity and varied unique initiatives will be showcased as President Ram Nath Kovind leads the nation on Wednesday in celebrating the 73rd Republic Day. 

The celebrations this year are special as India is in the 75th year of Independence -- being celebrated as 'Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav'. 

To mark the occasion, the ministry of defence has conceptualised a series of new events during the parade on Rajpath, and the 'Beating the Retreat' ceremony at Vijay Chowk on Saturday.

The government had said that the Republic Day celebrations will now be celebrated for a week -- between January 23 and 30 -- every year. 

The celebrations now start on January 23, the birth anniversary of great freedom fighter Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and end on January 30 -- observed as Martyrs' Day.

According to the ministry of defence, for the first time, an Indian Air Force will show grand flypast by 75 aircraft or helicopters.

A drone show by 1,000 indigenously developed drones has been planned for the 'Beating the Retreat' ceremony, along with projection mapping will be shown for the first time.

In another first, 480 dancers will perform during the cultural programme at the parade have been selected through a nationwide Vande Bharatam dance competition.

The main parade will also see the launch of 'Shaheedon Ko Shat Shat Naman' programme by the National Cadet and a display of ten scrolls each of 75 metres prepared during the 'Kala Kumbh' event and installation of 10 large LED screens for a better viewing experience of spectators.

The parade at Rajpath will start at 10:30 am, instead of 10 am, to provide better visibility to the parade and flypast.

Special arrangements have been made keeping in view the current COVID-19 situation. The number of seats for spectators has been significantly reduced and people are being encouraged to register online to witness the live celebrations.

"Only double vaccinated adults/one dose vaccinated children of 15 years and above will be allowed entry at the parade. Children below 15 years of age will not be permitted," an official statement reads.
02:12   Jairam's swipe at Padma for Ghulam Nabi Azad
Soon after former West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya declined the Padma award, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh on Tuesday took a veiled dig at party leader Ghulam Nabi Azad who was also conferred with the award.

'Right thing to do. He wants to be Azad not Ghulam,' Ramesh said on Twitter after Bhattacharya declined the Padma award.

Veteran Congress leader and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, who was part of the group of 23 which has been critical of the party leadership and has sought an organisational overhaul, has also been awarded the Padma Bhushan for his contribution to public affairs.

After it was announced that Bhattacharya has been awarded the Padma Bhushan, the country's third-highest award, the veteran Communist Party of India-Marxist leader said he was rejecting it.

'I know nothing about this award. No one has told me anything about it. If they have decided to offer Padma Bhushan to me, I refuse to accept it,' he said in a statement.

Official sources said the Union home ministry informed the wife of ailing Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee about the government's decision to give him Padma Bhushan before announcing his name and no one from his family objected to it.   -- PTI