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Last Updated : Apr 9 2020 9:35AM     Screen Reader Access
News Highlights
PM Modi interacts with political party leaders; says govt's priority is to save each and every life            Prez Trump thanks India on decision to allow Hydroxychloroquine export to US            First installment of relief package to 20 crore women Jan Dhan account holders released            SC directs COVID-19 tests in approved labs to be conducted free of cost            20 COVID-19 hotspots sealed in Delhi to tackle spread of virus; UP govt seals hotspots in 15 districts           

Text Bulletins Details


News at Nine

2100 HRS
26.03.2020
THE HEADLINES
·  Prime Minister Narendra Modi to address G-20 Virtual Summit to combat Coronavirus pandemic.
·  Centre  announces insurance cover of 50 lakh rupees for three months for COVID-19 warriors; Government to     contribute EPF share for 3 months for employees of small firms.
·  Finance Minister announces slew of measures to benefit  Women
·  No concrete evidence of community transmission of Corona virus in the country, says Health and family Welfare    Ministry
·  Centre fixes maximum retail price of face masks and hand sanitizers to  meet growing demand; Distilleries and sugar    mills to increase manufacture of hand sanitizers
·  Department of Science and Technology sets up COVID-19 Task Force  for addressing plethora of issues related to    COVID-19.
·  International Monetary Fund and World Bank call upon governments to put a hold on debt payments from the world's    poorest nations.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi is to address G-20 Virtual Summit to combat Coronavirus pandemic. Leaders from group of 20 nations are attending  an extraordinary virtual G20 Summit through video conference today. In his opening remarks to the world leaders at the Summit , King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia  called for an effective and coordinated response to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and restore confidence in the global economy. He said that they are carrying out their responsibilities as the leaders of the world’s largest economies and taking firm measures on various fronts in view of the challenge in the form of COVID-19
Earlier in a tweet, Mr. Modi said, he is looking forward to productive discussions at the G20 Virtual Summit.

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The government will contribute employees as well as employer's contribution to the provident fund for the next three months of companies with up to 100 employees with 90 per cent earning not more than 15,000 rupees. The contribution will be a total of 24 per cent of eligible wages.
The Government also announced a package of 1.7 lakh crore rupees for the poor who need immediate help in the wake of COVID-19 like migrant workers and urban and rural poor. Briefing media in New Delhi this afternoon, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said they have come up with the Prime Minister Gareeb Kalyan scheme to help the migrant and poor people.

"A package which will immediately take care of the welfare concerns of the poor and suffering workers and those who need immediate help. So the package that we come up with, will benefit those migrant workers, those urban and rural poor and the women and this Prime Minister Gareeb Kalyan Scheme  that we want to come out with is expected to meet a total of one lakh seventy thousand crores."

Ms Sitharaman also announced insurance cover of 50 lakh rupees per person for three months for COVID-19 warriors who are exposing themselves to the virus. They include doctors, paramedics, healthcare workers, sanitation workers and ASHA workers dealing with the coronavirus outbreak.
The Finance Minister elaborated that 5 kilo rice or wheat will be given for the next three months for free in addition to the 5 kilos already being given to 80 crore people. Additionally, one kilo of  preferred pulses will also be given per family for free under Pradhan Mantri Anna Yojana.
Ms Sitharaman said around 8 crore 70 lakh farmers will get 2000 rupees in first week of April in their account under existing PM Kisan Yojana. This will also cover women in Self Help Groups, women with Jan Dhan accounts and women under UJWALA scheme.

"The PM Kisan Yojana- Kisan Samman Nidhi through which they get their annual six thousand rupees. We will now be giving the first installment of that as the front loaded matter so that even at the beginning of the year they will get two thousand rupees. This will benefit immediately 8.69 crore farmers."
. The Finance Minister also announced wage increase for MNREGA worker which will benefit 5 crore families.

"We announce a wage increase in MNREGA. This will benefit five crore families and the wage rate being increased will result in two thousand rupees per worker so 182 rupees is being increased to 202 and as a result we expect two thousand rupees per worker will be the additional income he would get and this will benefit five crore families."
Senior citizens, widows and disabled will be given an ex-gratia of 1000 rupees in two installments over the next three months. This will benefit three crore poor senior citizens, widows and Divyangs.

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  Industry body group, FICCI has said that the steps announced by the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman are critical and substantial to help the most vulnerable sections of society through the immediate crisis.
FICCI President Dr Sangita Reddy welcomed Prime Minister's Gareeb Kalyan Scheme saying it will take care of the poor and vulnerable, women and MSME workers, effectively. She said, the government has also shown that it’s determined to act with urgency and impact both to keep the citizens safe and also to mitigate their economic hardship. Ms Reddy said, FICCI is looking forward to the next set of announcements by the Finance Minister aimed at the corporate sector.

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  Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan has called the relief package announced by the Finance Minister as a step forward towards responsive governance in challenging times which will provide relief to vulnerable sections. He said, the relief package of one lakh 70 thousand crore rupees will help the nation deal with disruptions from the Covid-19 outbreak.
Mr Pradhan said that measures such as cash transfer, insurance cover, ensuring food security and the decision to provide free LPG cylinders for three months to all the beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana will give relief to millions of poor and ensure that no one in the country goes hungry. The Minister said that this will also mitigate the economic impact of the COVID-19 on the rural and urban poor, farmers, health workers, migrant workers, divyangs, senior citizens and other vulnerable sections of society.

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BJP President J P Nadda has welcomed financial relief package announced by the Centre. He termed this move as an important decision in the time of crisis to help the poor, farmers, women, youth, senior citizens and workers of the organized sector.
Mr Nadda in a tweet today said, health insurance worth 50 lakh rupees in the financial package for health workers will benefit nearly 20 lakh people.  He said, it is the government's resolve that no person should sleep hungry.

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Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has hailed the financial assistance package announced by the Centre. He termed it as a step in the right direction.
Mr Gandhi in tweet today said, nation owes a debt to its farmers, daily wage earners, labourers, women and the elderly who are bearing the brunt of the ongoing lockdown.

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The Union Government today said that there is no concrete evidence of community transmission of Corona virus in the country. It also said that the number of confirmed cases is increasing but the rate at which the numbers are increasing are stablizing now.
  Briefing media in New Delhi today, Joint Secretary in Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Lav Agarwal said, stablization in increasing number is only an initial trend and collective effort of people to practice social distancing measures will continue this trend and the country will come out from the problem of COVID-19.

"Country fully geared up यह Challenge बहुत बड़ा है, इस challenge को हम सबको collectively मिलकर लेना है और इसमें सबका support crucial है। कोई भी एक नागरिक अगर वो एक गलती करता है तो उसका इफैक्‍ट उसके आसपास के लोगों को, उसकी family को, समाज को, सबको manage करना पड़ेगा। तो इसके लिये फिर से मैं अपील करूंगा कि इसमें हर एक नागरिक इसमें हमें अपना सहयोग दे। ताकि मिलकर हम इस प्राब्‍लम से मुक्ति पा सकें।"

Mr Aggarwal  said, social distancing is the only way that can break the chain of transmission. He said, more than 64 thousand people are under survillence and one or two cases do not prove that it has spread to the community level. 

"अभी तक हमारे देश में total 649 confirm cases पाये गये हैं। उन केसेज़ के उपर एज़ पर प्रोटोकॉल हम रिक्‍वायर्ड एक्‍शन ट्रीटमेन्‍ट फॉलोअप कर रहे हैं। इसके साथ ही 13 डैथ्‍स भी रिपोर्ट हुई हैं। पिछले 24 घंटे में 43 नये कन्‍फर्म केस आये हैं और 4 नई डैथ रिपोर्ट हुई हैं।"
  The Joint Secretary said, the Cabinet Secretary held a meeting today with the Chief Secretaries of States to review the preparedness in terms of arrangements of hospitals to deal with the current situation. The Cabinet Secretary requested the Chief Secretaries to ensure proper supply of essential items.
Mr. Agarwal said, 17 states have started work to build dedicated COVID hospitals and online training for the Doctors has been started with the help of AIIMS, Delhi to bring uniformity in treatment.

"States को specifically हमने कोविड के लिये dedicated hospital बनाने के लिये जो रिक्‍वैस्‍ट की है उसके तहत करीब 17 स्‍टेट में यह कार्य शुरू भी हो चुका है। जहां पर भी dedicated कोविड hospital बनाये जा रहे हैं इसके साथ ही सारे पेशेन्‍ट्स का प्रॉपर प्रोटोकॉल के हिसाब से ट्रिटमेन्‍ट हो और देश में जो हमारे डॉक्‍टर्स हैं उनको हम ओरियेन्‍ट कर पायें कि उसका प्रोटोकॉल क्‍या है। यूनिफार्मिटी ऑफ ट्रीटमेन्‍ट हो उसके लिये एम्‍स दिल्‍ली के साथ मिल कर अभी हम लोगों ने ऑनलाइन ट्रेनिंग डॉक्‍टर्स के लिये शुरू की है। वह ट्रेनिंग जो कि महामारी विज्ञान और इन्‍फैक्‍शन कंट्रोल प्रैक्टिसिज़ और केस मैनेजमैंट के उपर डॉक्‍टर्स को ओरियेन्‍टेशन के द्वारा दी जा रही है।"
  Joint Secretary in Home Ministry Punya Salila Srivastava said the government has asked the States and Union Territories to ensure proper supply, production and distribution of essential items. She said, Home Ministry is continuously monitoring the situation and States and Union Territories have notified their helpline for COVID-19.

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Dr Ashutosh Vishwas, who is a infectious disease experts in AIIMS, has said that it is challenging for the doctors to deal with situation arising out of COVID-19, but it is our profession to provide medical services.
Talking to AIR News, Mr Vishwas said that doctors, resident doctors, nurses and paramedic staff are working day and night for the management of COVID-19. He said, people are advised to stay at their homes and not move out.
 Mr Vishwas said, the mortality rate due to the COVID-19 is low but the possibility of transmission of the disease is high. He said, our focus is to enhance ventilator and critical care facilities.

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In Jammu and Kashmir, Northern Command Headquarter is taking all necessary steps to safeguard the troops from Corona virus  infection. The Command is setting up quarantine facilities in different places of Jammu, Kashmir and Leh, not only at army hospitals, but at all unit levels as well. Our correspondent has filed this report:
" Jammu and Kashmir UT Lt. Governor G.C.Murmu has appealed to  the general public to adhere to the appeal made by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi for ensuring complete lockdown and maintaining social distancing as it is the key to stop and prevent the spread of COVID-19 from those who are infected. Further, the UT  Government has appealed people not  to panic and  not  to believe in rumours. R K Raina, AIR News, Jammu"
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur today reviewed the situation of essential commodities in the wake of curfew due to COVID-19. He directed the concerned officers to ensure the supply chain of essential commodities in the state so that there should be no dearth of supply in wake of Corona epidemic.More from our correspondent:
 "In view of COVID-19 pandemic the state government again extended their employee's homestay till 31 of this month except for emergency and essential services.  Chief Minister Jairam Thakur stated social distancing must be ensured while purchasing essential commodities during the period of relaxation of curfew. He urged the general public not to go for panic purchasing as the state has sufficient essential commodities. Meanwhile Curfew was being relaxed for a few hours in the state for the general public to purchase necessary items. Many orangazaition have also come forward to help needy and poor people by providing them food items. Sanjeev Sundriyal, AIR News, Shimla."
Our Telangana correspondent reports, three more Corona virus positive cases have been reported taking the total number of positive cases to 44.
" In cities like Hyderabad and Warangal the authorities are forcing people to wear face masks when they are moving out. In rural areas the agriculture works are underway as the state government has issued permission to undertake harvesting works. The message regarding spread of coronavirus, lockdown clamped across the state and precautions to be taken to protect from covid-19 has reached even the interior tribal hamlets in Adilabad and Eturnagaram in the state as some of them have been spotted with wearing innovatively prepared face masks using natural leaves. The tribal women have prepared these environmental-friendly and safe to dispose face covers to protect themselves from coronavirus. Lakshmi, air news, Hyderabad."
Sikkim Chief Minister P.S. Tamang has  appealed to all to donate to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Our Gangtok correspondent has filed this report:
The East Sikkim District Civil Supplies Office today informed that there is no shortage of food and other essential commodities in the district. District Civil Supplies Officer Dakman Subba said that at current stock levels, the Administration will be able to cater to supplies for another two months. He said that as of now there is a stock of 80,000 metric tonnes of food grains at Food Corporation of India godowns. Mr Subba said, in view of the current situation due to COVID-19, East District has already completed distribution for March through the Public Distribution System and is prepared to supply for the next month, if needed. The South Sikkim District Administration in collaboration with Fire and Emergency Services, Namchi today initiated a set of measures, including disinfecting Namchi town to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In an order released today, the West Sikkim District Administration suspended all weekly markets in the district. All essential goods, pharmaceuticals, LPG, groceries, vegetables, milk and dairy products, meat, medical equipment and home delivery of medicines have been permitted till 15th of April. Saikat Sarkar from Gangtok for AIR.
The West Bengal Government has taken all necessary measures to maintain supply of essential commodities in the state. The Police conducted anti-hoarding drives in different parts of the state. A report from our correspondent:
  "The State Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee went on surprise visits at different markets in Kolkata to take stock of the situation . During visit she appealed to the Byers and sellers for maintaining social distance. The State administration has directed Police authority to take stern actions against black marketing of food items. The police is maintaining strict vigil on vehicular traffic movements. Police has arrested more than 8 hundred people from different parts of the metropolis for violating the directives of social distancing. Arijit Chakraborty, AIR News, Kolkata."
Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath has hailed the announcement of relief package by Central Government and said that it will play an important role in lives of 80 crore people of country. State Government has also started community kitchens today and provided packaged food to the needy people. Meanwhile, with the detection of four more positive cases of COVID-19, three from Gautam Budh Nagar and one from Baghpat, the number of patients of the virus has reached 42 in state.
"The Lockdown in all parts of state is being enforced properly. DGP of State Hitesh Chandra Awasthi told AIR that around 2 thousand cases have been filed against those persons who have violated the lockdown. He also appealed people to remain indoors and follow the lockdown. 
Meanwhile Administration is providing food and essential items on the doorstep of people in all districts. Around 18 thousand vehicles are being used for this purpose. Control Rooms have also established in all districts which will work 24*7. Administration is calling 60 thousand village heads and appealing them to spread the word about precautions and lockdown to the villagers in their areas. SUSHIL CHANDRA TIWARI, AIR NEWS, LUCKNOW."

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The International Monetary Fund and World Bank have called for governments to put a hold on debt payments from the world's poorest nations so they can battle the COVID-19 pandemic. In a joint statement, the two institutions said the step is needed to provide a global sense of relief for developing countries and a strong signal to financial markets. In addition, the institutions called for an analysis of the financing needs of these countries, and whether their total debt load is sustainable.
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The Centre has capped the maximum retail price of three-ply face masks made of meltblown non-woven fabric at 16 rupees per piece till 30th of June. Talking to AIR News, Consumer Affairs Secretary Pawan Agarwal said that the rate of 16 rupees per mask has been fixed after holding consultations with the mask manufactures. He said, the decision will ensure adequate availability of masks.   

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Union Government has asked distilleries and sugar mills to maximize manufacture of hand sanitizers. Consumer Affairs Ministry said, one hundred distilleries and more than 500 manufacturers have been permitted to produce hand sanitizers. Most of them have  commenced production and others are likely to commence production in a week.
In order to ensure that hand sanitizers are made available to general public and hospitals at a reasonable price, government has also fixed the Maximum Retail Price of sanitizers. The retail prices of hand sanitizers shall not be more than 100 rupees per bottle of 200 milliitres.

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 Department of Science and Technology (DST) has set up a COVID-19 Task Force for mapping of technologies from Research and Development labs, academic institutions, start-ups and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. It also aims at  funding nearly market-ready solutions in the area of diagnostics, testing, health care delivery solutions and  equipment supplies. Some of these solutions include masks, sanitizers, affordable kits for screening, ventilators and oxygenators. DST is also  coordinating an effort to upscale appropriate technologies and manufacturing available in India for addressing a plethora of issues related to COVID-19.

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All India Institute of Medical Sciences, AIIMS, Delhi has set up a Task Force to develop a management protocol for COVID-19. It has also constituted several committees to respond to challenges of rising number of infections which may emerge in the coming days.
The committees have been constituted for coordination of various activities related to management of patients. The AIIMS also said that all health care personnel will be trained to handle and use personal protection equipment.

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Union Minister Prakash Javadekar held an audio conference this morning with officials of the three ministries under him and told them to stay positive and engaged during the 21-day lockdown period. Mr Javadekar holds the portfolios of Information and Broadcasting Ministry, Environment Ministry and Heavy Industries Public Enterprises Ministry.
The Information and Broadcasting Minister interacted with  400 officers through Audio Bridge. In a tweet, Mr Javadekar said he told the officers to stay positive, stay home, stay engaged and 'stay happy'. He expressed confidence that in 20 days, meaningful work will be accomplished in all three ministries.

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The Government is looking for volunteer doctors to fight against the COVID-19 outbreak. In a statement posted on Niti Aayog's website, the Centre has appealed to retired government, Armed Forces Medical Services, public sector undertaking or a private doctor to come forward and join the efforts to fight the deadly virus. Those who wish to contribute to this and be a part of this nobel mission to serve the country may register themselves on a link provided on the official website of the Niti Aayog.

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Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar (IITGN) has launched Project Isaac to engage its students in creative projects to enhance their critical skills while they are confined to their homes because of Corona virus.
The official release said, the project is inspired by Sir Isaac Newton, who was similarly sent home by Trinity College, Cambridge, because of the Great Plague of London in 1665. During this year, Newton, then a 22-year-old college student developed some of his most profound discoveries, including early calculus, as well as his theories of optics and gravity.

Under Project Isaac, the IIT Gandhinagar has introduced several exciting and fun contests with daily prizes and rewards for its students. Director, IITGN Prof Sudhir Jain, said, Project Isaac is a model for academic institutions worldwide to explore ways to engage students in the midst of the pandemic. He said In 12 Days of Code competition, students work for 24 hours on new coding problems released daily. In Leadership Video Challenge, students watch handpicked Ted/TedX talks on leadership and write about it. The other one is ‘Don’t Quarantine Your Cornea!, in which students write reviews of TV shows episode/movie/documentary/web series of their choice. Mr Jain added The Project Showcase will culminate in a massive talent contest once students return to campus. Nearly 40 percent of IITGN students are already participating in various activities, which are entirely voluntary. APARNA KHUNT, AIR NEWS, AHMEDABAD."

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Grocery and essential supplies stores in Delhi will be allowed to operate 24 x 7 in Delhi as a special measure. Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal said this will help in staggering customer visits and help in maintaining social distancing norms.
In a joint press briefing in New Delhi today, Mr. Baijal said, all the Sub Divisional Magistrate and Assistant Commissioner of Police have been instructed to ensure sufficient stock and supply of essential items in their respective areas.
Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal said, in Delhi 36 confirmed cases have been reported so far. He said, government is taking every step to ensure the supply of essential items in Delhi. He said, anyone can apply for the e-pass required to provide the essential items by calling helpline number 1031. Refering to the decision to allow online delivery agencies, he said, delivery person can show their official ID card and that will be considered sufficient by the law enforcing agencies.
Earlier, Delhi Police has issued an order to allow online delivery services and other retailers to supply the essential items in Delhi.

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Ministry of Food Processing Industries has established a Grievance Redressal Cell to ensure that problems faced by food processors, amid the nationwide lockdown are resolved at the earliest.
Food Processing Industries Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal today said, industry members facing any problem in operations and distribution of food products can send their queries to covidgrievance-mofpi@gov.in. She said, the government is committed to ensure the continuity of agro-food business. A Business Immunity Website www.investindia.gov.in/bip has been designed to help business and investors to ensure  hassle free operations.

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Shahi Imam of the Jama Masjid in Delhi Syed Ahmed Bukhari has appealed to the Muslims to offer all the prayers including Friday prayer from their homes. He asked them not to come out of their houses and follow the complete lockdown ordered by the government. He appealed to the people to take precautions and abide by the instructions issued by the government in the wake of COVID-19.

"आज तमाम इंसानियत और हमारा मुल्‍क कोरोना वायरस की मौलिक बीमारी से मुतासिर है। यह वक्‍त सिर्फ और सिर्फ एहतियात और प्रीकॉशन्‍स का है। हुकुमत की जानिब से जो भी स्‍टैप्‍स उठाये जा रहे हैं उस पर सख्‍ती के साथ अमल करने का है। लोगों को घरों पर ही नमाज़ पढ़ने की हिदायत दी गई है और लोग इस पर अमल भी कर रहे हैं। कल जुम्‍मा है, तमाम ओलामा की यही राय है लोग घरों में नमाज़ जरूर अदा करें।"

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 At the stock markets, rising for the third straight day, key indices posted over 4 percent gains, each, today; and the rupee jumped against the dollar.

"The Sensex at the Bombay Stock Exchange zoomed 1,411 points, or 4.9 percent, to end at 29,947. The Nifty shot up 324 points, or 4 percent, to 8,641. At the forex market, the rupee advanced 78 paise, to 75.16 against the dollar. Bullion market was closed for a holiday today.And... Brent crude oil futures slipped 44 cents, to trade at 26.95 dollars a barrel. Arjun Chowdhury for AIR News."

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The United States Senate has passed 2.2- trillion-dollar economic rescue package steering aid to businesses, workers and health care systems engulfed by the Corona virus pandemic. The unanimous vote came late yesterday. The 880-page measure is the largest economic relief bill in US history.
When asked how long the aid would keep the economy afloat, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said, they have anticipated three months and hopefully, it would not be needed even for three months.

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