PM to meet CMs of 8 worst Covid-hit states today: Sources - The Daily Guardian
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PM to meet CMs of 8 worst Covid-hit states today: Sources

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on Tuesday chair a virtual meeting with the Chief Ministers of the eight worst Covid-hit states to review the pandemic situation, top government sources said. The PM is expected to discuss with the states the cause for a surge in Covid numbers and what the respective states are doing to curb the spike.

PM Modi’s meeting is scheduled to start at 10:30 am and will be conducted in two parts, sources said. First, he is likely to interact with the CMs of the eight worst-affected states and Union Territories; and then he will hold a discussion with the CMs and L-G’s of all the states and UTs on vaccine delivery, sources said.

The focus of the meeting is likely to be the development of a mechanism for efficient delivery of Covid-19 vaccine and identification of priority beneficiaries, sources added.

Meanwhile, as India’s coronavirus tally on Monday crossed the 91 lakh-mark, Delhi, Kerala and Maharashtra continued to report the largest number of daily cases in the country. The national capital saw 6,746 fresh infections in a day, followed by Maharashtra and Kerala with about 5,200 to 5,700 cases respectively. West Bengal registered almost 3,600 cases followed by Rajasthan, which saw its highest numbers yet in the last 24 hours at 3,260.

The Centre is also worried about rise in Covid cases in smaller states like Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Gujarat.

Coming to Delhi, its overall Covid tally has gone up to 5,34,317. As per government records, from November 1 to November 23, the national capital reported 1,950 deaths, which is 22.9 per cent of the total fatalities caused by the virus in Delhi. The city had reported 118 deaths on Friday, while 111 fatalities were reported on Saturday. The infection rate remained as high as 11.94 per cent while the case fatality rate stood at 1.59 per cent.

Currently, 9,464 out of 17,553 beds are occupied in the hospitals, 527 out of 8,217 beds in the dedicated Covid Care Centres and 184 out of 562 beds in the dedicated Covid Health Centres. Over 22,700 people are in home isolation. The number of containment zones has been raised to 4,692.

November is turning out to be the most precarious month for the national capital in managing the Covid-19 pandemic. The cases in Delhi have surged in their third and the deadliest wave so far, with the positivity rate (the number of those infected as a percentage of those tested) spiking to 15 per cent. 

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If China can be aggressive at LAC, so can we: IAF Chief Bhadauria

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Jodhpur (Rajasthan) [India], January 23 (ANI): Amid the threat of China getting aggressive on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the coming months, Indian Air Force Chief (IAF) Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria on Saturday said India too can be aggressive if Beijing tries to get aggressive.
Addressing a press conference here on the sidelines of IAF and the French Air and Space Force’s bilateral exercise ‘Desert Knight-21’, Bhadauria said, “If they can be aggressive, we can also be aggressive. We are fully prepared.”
On being asked if the training or exercises are also being done at the Eastern border as the current exercise ‘Desert Knight-21’ is being done at the Western border, Bhadauria said, “The bilateral exercises are not part of exercises against any country. It is to develop capability and improve bilateral ties. If it is not being seen that does not mean it is not happening. Several trainings are also being done there.”
The IAF Chief said that eight Rafale fighter jets have arrived in India and three will come by the end of the month. “Enough training of pilots are being done. By next year, the induction of the jets will conclude,” he added.
India has signed an inter-governmental agreement with France to procure 36 aircraft at a cost of Rs 59,000 crore.
He further said that Rafale is a serious contender for India’s project to buy 114-multirole fighter aircraft.
“Our initial priority was to operationalise Rafale and also to integrate with other combat fleets, Su-30 being primary and that has been already done. So all the task has already been done,” he said.
Responding to a question on the capabilities’ enhancement of the IAF, Bhadauria said, “We have started the fifth-generation fighter aircraft programme with DRDO under AMCA aircraft project. We would like to add sixth-generation capabilities in that but we would like to first focus on the fifth-generation fighter aircraft.”
Indo-French air exercises “Desert Knight-21” is underway at Air Force Station Jodhpur, from January 20 to 24.
The joint exercise is being conducted to enable the two air forces to share operational experience, particularly regarding Rafale jets and learn how to operate together more effectively, according to a statement on January 19.
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 with Rafale, Airbus A-330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT), A-400M Tactical Transport aircraft and approximately 175 personnel.
The Indian Air Force 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 AEW&C aircraft. (ANI)

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IAF ready to tackle any challenge from Leh to Kanyakumari, says Rafale pilot

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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)

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Income Tax Department conducts raids in Jaipur, recovers antique items

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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)

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From LAC to LoC, world is witnessing avatar of India envisioned by Netaji: PM Modi

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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)

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Lalu reaches Ranchi airport, condition ‘stable’

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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)

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Odisha CM lays foundation stone of new bus terminal in Netaji’s birthplace

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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)

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