The total confirmed case count in India has now crossed 9.1 million. India reported 44,404 fresh Covid-19 cases, taking its tally to 9,140,312. The country’s death toll has mounted to 133,773. At 1,780,208, Maharashtra has the highest number of coronavirus cases, followed by Karnataka 873,046, Andhra Pradesh 862,000, Tamil Nadu 769,000 and Kerala 562,735.
Meanwhile, the Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest manufacturer of vaccines by volume, will first focus on supplying AstraZeneca Plc’s Covid-19 vaccine to Indians before distributing it to other countries, Reuters reported Serum’s Chief Executive Adar Poonawalla as saying on Monday.
“It’s very important we take care of our country first, then go on to COVAX after that and then other bilateral deals with countries. So I’ve kept it in that priority,” said Poonawalla, referencing the global COVAX facility, which has been set up to provide Covid-19 vaccines to poorer countries.
The company remains in discussion with the Indian government about inking a purchase agreement for the vaccine, Poonawalla said in an interview with CNBC-TV 18, adding that Serum should have quantities of it ready to sell into India’s private market in the first quarter of 2021.
Looking at the tallies of individual states and UTs, Delhi reported 4,454 new Covid-19 cases, 7,216 recoveries, and 121 deaths in the last 24 hours. Total cases in the state have risen to 5,34,317, total recoveries till date have been recorded are 4,88,476. The national capital has 37,329 active cases till date with the death toll at 8,512.
Maharashtra reported 4,153 new coronavirus cases, 3,729 recoveries and 30 deaths in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of positive cases in the state to 17,84,361 till date. There are 81,902 active cases in the state, and 16,54,793 patients have recovered so far. The death toll is at 46,653.
Haryana reported 2,633 new Covid-19 cases, 2,567 discharges, and 28 deaths. Total cases are at 2,19,963, the number of discharged patients till date stands at 1,97,335, and the deaths so far are at 2,216. Active cases now stand at 20,214.
Meanwhile, Chandigarh reported 98 new coronavirus cases, taking the total positive cases to 16,769. A total of 15,389 patients recovered from the infection till date and the death toll is at 263. Active cases stand at 1,117.
Rajasthan reported 3,232 new Covid-19 cases, 18 deaths, and 2,288 recoveries/discharges in the last 24 hours. Total cases in the state have risen to 2,47,168, including 2181 deaths, and 2,20,871 recoveries/discharges. Active cases stand at 24,116.
A total of 487 new coronavirus cases, 1,234 discharges/recoveries, and 17 deaths have been reported in Gujarat in the last 24 hours. Total cases stand at 1,98, 899 while recoveries are at 1,81,187. Active cases in the state are currently 13,836. The death toll is at 3,876.
Andhra Pradesh reported 545 fresh cases from 47,130 sample tests in the last 24 hours. This is by far is the lowest number of daily cases reported in the state after a gap of close to five months. The gross Covid-19 positive cases stood at 8,62,758. After 1,390 got cured in 24 hours, the total recoveries touched 8,42,416. Jammu & Kashmir reported 351 new coronavirus cases, 608 recoveries, and 12 deaths in the last 24 hours. Total positive cases are now at 1,06,899, including 5,431 active cases, 99,827 recoveries, and 1,641 deaths.
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IAF ready to tackle any challenge from Leh to Kanyakumari, says Rafale pilot
Jodhpur (Rajasthan) [India], January 23 (ANI): Indian Air Force’s (IAF) Rafale fighter jet pilot and Squadron Leader Sarthak Kumar on Saturday asserted that the force is ready to undertake any challenge from Leh to Kanyakumari, with their fleet of Rafale jets.
Kumar, who was part of the IAF and the French Air and Space Force’s bilateral exercise ‘Desert Knight-21’ at the Air Force Station Jodhpur being held from January 20 to 24, said that it was a great learning experience.
“IAF is ready to undertake any challenge from Leh to Kanyakumari. The Rafale fleet is ready to undertake any operation. Rafale is not only able to operate in different parts of the county but across the world. It is able to complete all the tasks that any fourth-generation or fifth-generation fighter can do,” Kumar told ANI.
“The Rafales we (IAF) have are the fastest and most advanced as of now,” said the Rafale pilot, when asked if Indian Rafales were more advanced than their French counterparts.
Kumar further said that the ‘Desert Knight-21’ was a successful exercise.
“This has been a really important exercise for the integration of Rafale in the operations of the IAF. The basics of all these exercises were all about cooperation, learning from each other’s experiences while operating in different terrains, spectrum and thereafter applying it to enhance our operational capability. So this has been a really successful exercise,” he said.
“We have flown with their (France) pilots in Rafale cockpits. We learned from them what they do in different situations and similarly, they have also learned from us. Both of us learned great lessons,” he added.
India and France have fielded a number of fighter jets in the exercise which include Rafales of two sides besides Mirages and the Sukhois of the Indian Air Force.
The French are participating in the exercise with Rafale, Airbus A-330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT), A-400M Tactical Transport aircraft and approximately 175 personnel.
The IAF aircraft participating in the exercise include Mirage 2000, Su-30 MKI, Rafale, IL-78 Flight Refuelling Aircraft, Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AWACS) and an AEW&C aircraft. (ANI)
Income Tax Department conducts raids in Jaipur, recovers antique items
Jaipur (Rajasthan) [India], January 23 (ANI): The Income Tax (I-T) Department conducted raids in Jaipur and recovered not only unaccounted income of Rs 1,400 crores so far, but also precious jewels and antique items. The police will investigate the source of the procured antique items, said city Police Commissioner Anand Srivastava on Saturday.
“We will start our procedure after I-T Department completes their work and provide the inputs. As per the newspaper reports the assessee had sold antique articles to foreigners. Now we have to investigate the matter as selling of such articles is prohibited by law in the country,” Srivastava told reporters.
“If antique items are discovered in a raid, it is the police’s responsibility to investigate its source and also to investigate whether these antiques are registered in related department or not,” he said.
According to a statement issued by Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance, Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the raids and survey operations have been carried out at various premises of the three firms in the city, involving one jeweller and two real-estate colonisers and developers.
“The jeweller group was a multi-venture activity group, which is engaged in the business of precious stones, jewellery, antiques, handicrafts, carpets and textiles. During the raids, a concealed cavity was discovered by the I-T team along with the documents relating to Benami property amounting to Rs 15 crore from the secret chamber,” the CBDT said in a statement.
The department added that the jeweller had denied maintenance of any stock register, the same was unearthed from the secret cavity. The alpha-numeric secret code mentioned on each item had the actual sale price embedded in it and the team is working on cracking the code. Two hard-disks and pen-drive were also found from there containing details of various items in coded form, along with the photographs of the items.
The second group was a prominent builder, developer and coloniser.
“A plethora of incriminating documents and digital data, in the form of unaccounted receipts, unexplained development expenses, unexplained assets, cash loans and advances, on-money receipts were found and seized. Total unaccounted transactions amounting to Rs 650 crore have been detected, so far in this group,” the CBDT said.
The last group is a builder and developer who was engaged in the development of commercial centres, farmhouses, townships and residential enclaves.
The search revealed that the group had taken over a real-estate project at the Airport Plaza by showing an investment of Rs 1 lakh only in the books of account whereas, the WIP pertaining to the project, reflected in the balance sheet was found to be about Rs 133 crore. The substantial income from various affordable housing schemes run by the group had not been disclosed in the returns of income.
“The search operations are still continuing and further investigations are underway,” added the department. (ANI)
From LAC to LoC, world is witnessing avatar of India envisioned by Netaji: PM Modi
Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], January 23 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said the armed forces were giving a befitting reply to challenges along LoC with Pakistan and along LAC with China and the world is witnessing a powerful avatar of India envisioned by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.
Speaking at an event at Victoria Memorial here on the birth anniversary of Netaji, the Prime Minister said the late freedom fighter used to count poverty, illiteracy, disease, among the biggest problems in the country and noted that these problems can be solved if society comes together.
“The form in which Netaji is seeing us, he is blessing us. From LAC to LOC, the world is witnessing avatar of India that was envisioned by Netaji. India is giving a befitting reply wherever attempts have been made to challenge its sovereignty,” the Prime Minister said, without naming any country.
While Pakistan has been resorting to cross-border terrorism across the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir, there has been a standoff with China along the LAC (Line of Actual Control) in Ladakh due to actions of Chinese Army.
The Prime Minister said while the world is discussing the rights of women, Netaji created the ‘Rani Jhansi Regiment’ and associated women with the freedom movement.
“He gave training for modern warfare, gave soldiers courage to live for the country and a purpose to die for the country. I bow to him, I bow to his mother. I also salute this virtuous land of Bengal which turned child Subhas into Netaji,” he said.
The Prime Minister said Netaji had taken a pledge that he will lay the foundation of a free Indian government and he fulfilled his promise by hoisting the Tricolor in Andaman islands.
“He went to the place where the Britishers used to torture the freedom fighters and paid his tributes. It was the first independent government of undivided India. Netaji was the first head of the Azad Hind government,” the Prime Minister said.
He also referred to the renaming of three islands of Andaman and Nicobar archipelago in 2018 as a tribute to Netaji. The Prime Minister had announced the renaming of Ross Island as Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Dweep, the Neil Island as Shaheed Dweep and the Havelock Island as Swaraj Dweep.
He also recalled INA veterans taking part in Republic Day parade in 2019.
PM Modi said that the files related to Netaji were also made public realising the feelings of people. (ANI)
Lalu reaches Ranchi airport, condition ‘stable’
Ranchi (Jharkhand) [India], January 23 (ANI): After a ‘slight deterioration’ in his health earlier in the day, former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav’s condition is now stable.
The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader chief is currently being shifted from the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) in Ranchi to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Delhi on the advice of the State Medical Board. He reached Ranchi’s Birsa Munda Airport on Saturday evening from where he will be airlifted to Delhi.
As per a health bulletin from RIMS, his condition remains the same and he is stable.
The RJD Chief has also tested negative for COVID-19, and his blood report shows normal infection.
A high-resolution computed tomography (HRCT) reflected pneumonia in his lungs.
Lalu’s son Tejashwi Yadav arrived at RIMS in Ranchi earlier in the day where Lalu Yadav is being treated for a lung infection.
“His health (Lalu Yadav) has deteriorated, he is facing breathing difficulty. I have come to see the reports after which the further decision that will be taken, will be told to you,” Tejashwi Yadav had said.
Dr Umesh Prasad, Lalu’s physician had said last month that Yadav’s kidney was functioning at 25 per cent capacity and his situation could take a turn for the worse. (ANI)
Odisha CM lays foundation stone of new bus terminal in Netaji’s birthplace
Cuttack (Odisha) [India], January 23 (ANI): On the 125th birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik visited the birthplace of the iconic freedom fighter named ‘Janakinath Bhawan’ in Cuttack and also laid the foundation stone of the new Netaji Bus Terminal in Cuttack to honour Netaji.
Paying tribute to the great patriot, Patnaik said that Netaji, who was born and brought up in Cuttack, had learnt his lessons of selfless service and struggle on the very soil. He also announced that Odisha will celebrate his 125th birth anniversary throughout the year to give him a befitting tribute.
The new Netaji Bus Terminal will have state-of-the-art facilities to promote hassle-free movement of passengers from arrival to departure, according to a statement by the Chief Minister’s office.
The Inter-State Bus Terminal (ISBT) will be developed at a cost of around Rs 65 crore and will have a built-up area of 11,000 square meters with 180 bus bays along with parking space for 274 vehicles in the ISBT.
In addition, the area of around two acres adjoining the terminal will be reserved for the development of the Public-Private Partnership model. (ANI)
Delhi reports 197 new COVID-19 cases, 10 deaths
New Delhi [India], January 23 (ANI): Delhi reported 197 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours taking the total number of reported cases in the national capital to 6,33,739.
According to the Delhi Health department, the death toll has gone up to 10,799 with ten more people succumbing to the virus.
It said 367 COVID-19 patients have recovered taking the total recoveries in Delhi to 6,21,060.
Delhi has 1,880 active cases. The health department said that 76,868 tests were conducted in the national capital in the last 24 hours including 29,401 rapid antigen tests.
However, the vaccination drive against coronavirus is underway throughout the nation.
India has given emergency use authorisation to two COVID-19 vaccines being manufactured in the country – Covishield and Covaxin. While Covishield has been developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, Covaxin is an indigenous vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). (ANI)
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