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Last Updated : May 29 2020 3:49PM     Screen Reader Access
News Highlights
HM Amit Shah speaks to all Chief Ministers; Seeks their views on future strategy in fight against Covid 19            COVID recovery rate improves to 42.88 %, Over 71 thousand patients cured so far            449 domestic flights operated on day-3 of resumption of Air Lines services: Civil Aviaiton Minister HS Puri            Railways Ministry appeals persons in COVID-19 risk category to avoid travel by trains            Over 2 lakh metric tonnes of food grains lifted by states for May & June: FCI           

Text Bulletins Details


Midday News

1400 HRS
22.05.2020
THE HEADLINES; 
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi announces one thousand crore rupees advance assistance to West Bengal; To visit Odisha in a short while from now.
  • RBI slashes lending rates and extends moratorium on loan repayment by 3 months to support economic growth. 
  • Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar says India has preserved around eight percent of World's Bio-diversity.
  • Domestic air travel to resume in calibrated manner from Monday; Civil Aviation Ministry issues guidelines for airlines and airports.
  • Seven flights to bring back stranded Indians from Muscat, Doha, Riyadh, Bahrain and Dubai today.

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The Centre will provide 1,000 crore rupees advance financial assistance to West Bengal for post-Amphan restoration work. Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced this at Bashirhat in North 24 Paraganas District after an administrative meeting to assess the extent of damages caused by the supper cyclonic storm. 
  
भारत सरकार के जो भी नीति नियम है  पूरी तरह उपयोग करते हुए पश्चिम बंगाल की मदद में हम खड़े रहेंगे।  अभी तक कालजोड़ की संकट की घड़ी में राज्‍य सरकारको कठिनाई  हो। इसके लिए एक एडवांस असिसटेंट के रूप में 1000 करोड़ रुपया भारत सरकार में व्‍यवस्‍था की जाएगी। साथ-साथ जिन परिवारों ने अपने सजनखोए हैउन परिवारों को प्रधानमंत्री राहत कोष से दो लाख रुपया और जिन लोगों की इंजरी हुई हैउनको 50 हजार रुपये तक सहायता देने का भी हम प्रधानमंत्रीराहत कोष से करेंगे।

He also informed that a Central team will arrive in the state soon to assess the damages. 
  
अभी राज्‍य सरकार ने और मुख्‍यमंत्री ने विस्‍तार से मेरे सामने जो भी प्राथमिक आकलन हैउसका ब्‍यौरा दिया है। हमने तय किया है कि हो सके उतना जल्‍द डिटेल मेंसर्वे हो। केन्‍द्र सरकार की तरफ से भी तत्‍काल एक टीम आएगी और वो टीम इन सभी क्षेत्रों में सर्वे करेगी और हम मिल करके रिहैब्रीट्रेशन होरेस्‍ट्रोरेशन होरिकंस्‍ट्रेशन होउसकी व्‍यापक योजना बना करके बंगाल की इस दुख की घड़ी में हम पूरा-पूरा साथ देंगेसहयोग देंगे। 

Earlier, accompanied by the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee the Prime Minister made an areial survey of the cyclone hit areas of the state.   
  
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee jointly made an aerial survey of the cyclone-ravaged areas in North and South 24 Paraganas districts of West Bengal. In about 45 minutes long arial survey both the leaders took stock of the large scale devastation  caused by Amphen at Minakha, Namkhana, Hingalgunj, Gosaba, Bashirhat and vast areas of Sundarbans . Later at the administrative meeting at Bashirhat in North 24 Paraganas District the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee submitted a preliminary report to the Prime Minister on the extent of damages and demanded appropriate Cental help for reconstruction work. The Prime Minister assured Ms Banerjee all kinds of Central help to the state as demanded. Arijit Chakraborty , AIR News , Kolkata. "

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to arrive at the Biju Patnaik International Airport, Bhubaneswar in the afternoon today. He will embark upon an aerial survey to assess the damage caused by Cyclone Amphan in the state. It will be followed by a review meeting of the ground situation in Bhubaneswar.
  
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will embark upon an ariel survey to the affected districts. Prime Minister will be accompanied by the Governor of Odisha Prof. Ganeshi Lal, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of State Pratap Chandra Sarangi during the survey. It will be followed by a review meeting in Bhubaneswar. The aspects of relief and rehabilitation will be discussed in the meeting. Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had assured all possible help from the Centre to Odisha in this difficult situation. On the other hand, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik spoke to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today. He has also assured all possible support to West Bengal in terms of men and materials to overcome this critical situation. Itishree Singh Rathaur,AIR News,Cuttack.

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Director General of the National Disaster Response force (NDRF) S N Pradhan  has said, the Cyclone Amphan had more impact in West Bengal than the areas which came under it during the landfall in Odisha. Addressing the media in New Delhi yesterday, he said normalcy in the affected areas of Odisha is expected to be restored in 24 to 48 hours. He informed that a team of the Home Ministry will visit the states to assess the damage to property. 
  
Mr. Pradhan said, the situation in Odisha is under control. He said, the weather has moderated in Odisha and some people have started returning to their homes. Mr Pradhan said, soon after Cyclone Amphan landfall, NDRF teams had fanned out and started work, as per deployment in Odisha and West Bengal yesterday. He said, NDRF Teams deployed are operational and will continue to provide services till the states require them. He said, NDRF teams worked throughout the night in order to clear roads and restore normalcy as soon as possible. He also said, around 5 lakh people evacuated in West Bengal have been told to remain in shelters while in Odisha more than 2 lakh 37 thousand people were evacuated. 
  

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The Reserve Bank of India today cut the repo rate by 40 basis points from 4.4 per cent to 4 per cent, reducing the reverse repo rate at 3.35 per cent to maintain accommodative stance. The RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das while addressing the media said that the six-member Monetary Policy Committee voted 5:1 in favour of 40 basis points cut in interest rate. The RBI Governor said, measures announced today can be divided into four categories -- to improve functioning of markets, to support exports and imports, to ease financial stress by giving relief on debt servicing and better access to working capital and to ease financial constraints faced by State Governments.
  
Speaking about impact of COVID-19, the apex bank Governor said the GDP growth in 2020-21 goes in the negative territory. Granting relief to people the RBI extended moratorium on loan repayments by three more months in view of COVID-19 crisis starting from June 1 to August 31, 2020. It has relaxed rules governing withdrawal from Consolidated Sinking Fund (CSF) while at the same time, ensuring depletion of fund balance is done prudently. It will enable states to meet about 45 per cent of redemption of their market borrowings which are due in 2020-21.


Amidst this encircling gloom, the RBI Governor said, agriculture and allied activities have, however, provided a beacon of hope on the back of an increase of 3.7 per cent in food grains production to a new record. India’s foreign exchange reserves too have increased by 9.2 million during 2020-21 from April 1st onwards. So far, up to May 15th, foreign exchange reserves stand at 487 billion US dollars. SONALI GHADYALPATIL, AIR NEWS, MUMBAI.

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Industry Body ASSOCHAM, CII and FICCI have welcomed the RBI decision of rate cut. In a statement, ASSOCHAM Secretary General Deepak Sood said that the RBI has been doing a lot of heavy lifting and making great efforts to infuse liquidity into the economy that has suffered an unprecedented crisis due to COVID-19.He said, reduction in interest rates are a great relief and the move to convert the interest under moratorium into term loans should ease the immediate stress of repayments.
  
Director General, CII  Chandrajit Banerjee said that it is encouraging to note that RBI decided to cut repo rate by 40 basis points in order to provide the necessary impetus to growth which is expected to turn negative this fiscal. He said, the RBI should be congratulated on the move to extend the loan moratorium by another three months. 

FICCI Secretary General, Dilip Chenoy termed the RBI Governor's announcements as a welcome step. He said, this will further help the industry and the entire economy.

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Today is International Day for Bio diversity. Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar today addressed the Virtual Celebration of International Day for Biological Diversity in New Delhi. In his address, Mr Javadekar said, India has 2.5 per cent of world's land mass, 16 per cent of Human and 16 per cent of cattle population, but it has still preserved around eight per cent of world's biodiversity as Indian philosophy has always preached about the world as a family and living with Nature.

The Minister expressed happiness that many universities are giving certificate and degrees in Biodiversity.  He said, many steps are being taken to preserve biodiversity. He said, the government has passed Bio-diversity Act in Parliament and since 2014, every panchayat maintains a Bio-diversity register.

On the occasion, the Minister launched the Bio-diversity Samrakshan Internship programme. 

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Reflecting on the changed environmental circumstances following Covid 19 pandemic, this year the main theme selected is "Our Solutions are in Nature". As part of various initiatives being taken on this day, the Institute of Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding of the Ministry for Environment and Forests, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu has arranged for a digital interaction on Forest Groves and Ecological Sustainability. The aim of the interaction is to develop smarter strategies for conserving biodiversity. India is home to four bio diversity hotspots.

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The Civil Aviation Ministry has issued guidelines for airlines, airports, passengers and other stakeholders on the resumption of domestic flights' resumption. Only passengers with confirmed web check-in can enter the airport. Our correspondent reports that there will be no physical check-in at airport counters. 
  
"In a set of detailed guidelines, the Civil Aviation Ministry  has  advised the vulnerable people like the elderly, pregnant women and passengers battling health issues to avoid air travel. People residing in the containment zone will also  not be allowed to travel. People who were tested positive for COVID-19 will not be allowed to travel. All passengers will have to provide their medical details through the Aarogya Setu app or by filling up a self-declaration form. Passengers will have to report to airports two hours before flights are scheduled to depart and they will have to strictly follow social distancing norms.  The rules included no meals on board, mandatory temperature checks for all passengers and allowing only one check-in bag for each passenger.  Boarding for flight will commence 60 minutes before departure and boarding gate will be closed 20 minutes before departure. Passengers will have to wear protective gear like mask. Anand Kumar, AIR News, Delhi."

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Aviation regulator DGCA has issued seven bands of ticket pricing with lower and upper fare limits. The first such band will consist of flights that are less than 40 minutes in duration. A DGCA order said that the lower and the upper fare limits for the first band is 2 thousand rupees and  6 thousand rupees. For flights with durations of 40 to 60 minutes the lower and upper limits will be, 2 thousand 500 rupees and 7 thousand 500 rupees.

For 60 to 90 minute flights, the lower and upper limits will be 3 thousand rupees and 9 thousand rupees. For flights with durations of 90 to 120 minutes, the lower and upper limits will be 3 thousand 500 rupees to 10 thousand rupees. 120 to 150 minute flights will have lower and upper limits of 4 thousand 500 rupees and 13 thousand rupees. For flights with durations of 150 to 180 minutes, the lower and upper limits will be 5 thousand 500 rupees to 15 thousand 700 rupees. And for flights with durations of 180 to 210 minutes, the lower and upper limits will be 6 thousand 500 rupees to 18 thousand 600 rupees. 

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Seven flights from Muscat, Doha, Riyadh, Bahrain and Dubai from the Gulf under the Vande Bharat Mission will fly more than a thousand distressed and stranded Indians back to the country today. 
  

"Today there will be a Vande Bharat flight to Srinagar , which is expected to take back more than 150 people . Senior citizens, cases of medical emergency, pregnant women and worker in distress have been given priority. This is the first flight to the Jammu Kashmir from any of the Gulf countries. Besides this, there are two other flights from Dubai. One to Kochi and the other to Hyderabad. Doha has a scheduled flight to Bengaluru, Bahrain to Thiruvanathapuram, Muscat to Kannur and Riyadh to Hyderabad via Vijawada. More than a thousand Indians are expected to be home today. KANCHAN PRASAD, AIR NEWS, DUBAI."

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Under the Vande Bharat Mission, five flights are scheduled to arrive in Kerala today. They include four from the Gulf region and one from London. 

Flight carrying stranded Indian nationals from Ammam in Jordan arrived in Kochi this morning. Fight from Muscat to Kannur, Bahrain to Thiruvananthapuram and Dubai to Kochi are scheduled to arrive today by late evening. A flight from London via Delhi carrying expatriates  will be reaching Kochi shortly. Meanwhile, heavy rain continue to lash Kerala, especially in the southern parts of the state. Water level in major rivers had risen. Shutters of Aruvikara dam raised. Met Department predicts heavy rain to continue for coming five days. Mayusha for AIR News from Thiruvananthapuram."

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The first Air India flight from the Maldives capital of Male will depart for Bengaluru this afternoon to bring back around 150 Indian nationals. Passengers have begun arriving at the Male airport where emigration and medical formalities are to be carried out. Another Air India flight will fly to Delhi tomorrow. Today’s flight will carry people domiciled in Karnataka and some from Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh while the Delhi flight will carry people from Delhi, Haryana and Chandigarh. 

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A special flight carrying about 150 migrants from London is to land at Jaipur International Airport this afternoon. All the necessary preparations have been made at the airport by the Administration. All these migrants are to be screened at the airport, after which they will be shifted to hotels for mandatory 14-day Quarantine. The Jaipur District Administration has identified hotels near the airport, where these evacuees will stay at their own expense for quarantine. 

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Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has said, booking of train tickets will resume at around 1.7 lakh common service centres across the country today. He said, people who are in remote locations where the availability of computers and internet is negligible or absent can also access it. The minister said bookings will also resume at counters at specific railway stations over the next two to three days. 

 Mr. Goyal credited Prime Minister Narendra Modi for conceptualising the railways' isolation coaches for Covid-19 patients. He informed that Railways has so far converted around 5,000 coaches into Covid-care centres which will be deployed at 225 stations. 

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The Ministry of Railways in a statement said that Zonal Railways have been instructed to decide and notify opening of reservation counters as per local needs and conditions. It said, these reservation counters will open in a phased manner, along with dissemination of information about their respective locations and timings as per the local needs and conditions. The Railways has also allowed booking of Reservation Tickets through Common Service Centers and Ticketing agents from  today.
Talking exclusively to All India Radio, a senior railway official said only confirmed and RAC ticket holders will be allowed to board the trains.

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The Southern Railway's daily goods service between Egmore in Chennai and Nagercoil is receiving good patronage from small merchants and agriculturists. The daily service, via the longer main line route through Thanjavoor, had been started in view of the lockdown announced in the country from the 25th of March.
Railway sources clarified that the tenure of the goods only service has been extended to be co-terminus with the time period of Lockdown IV. 

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The number of COVID-19 cases in the country has gone up to one lakh 18 thousand four hundred 47 while the death toll rose to three thousand five hundred 83. 
Health Ministry data said, the number of active COVID-19 cases stood at 66 thousand three hundred 30. As many as  48 thousand five hundred 33 people have been cured and discharged so far.

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The Indian Council of Medical Research, ICMR has said that a total of one lakh three thousand 514 samples were tested in the last 24 hours. The figure of total number of tests has reached 27 lakh 19 thousand 434 in the country.
Meanwhile, ICMR is continuously scaling up its testing facilities for COVID-19 by giving approval to government and private laboratories. As of now, total 579 laboratories across India have been given approval to conduct the test for COVID-19 including 401 government laboratories and 178 private laboratory' chains. 

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In our series "Expert Speak" on All India Radio, we bring you the views of  leading medical experts on COVID-19.

Dr. M.V.Padma, Head of Neurosciences Centre, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi has said people need to stay home to stay safe and break the chain of transmission of COVID-19.

Dr. Neeraj Nishchal, Associate Professor (Medicine) in AIIMS, Delhi spoke about why it is essential to follow advisories.

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In Gujarat, the total number of COVID-19 cases rose to 12,910 after 371 infections were reported yesterday. The death toll in the state also jumped to 773 after the addition of 24 deaths yesterday. Our correspondent reports that the rapid surge in COVID-19 cases continues in Ahmedabad. The city reported 9,449 Corona virus cases so far. It remains the second-largest hit city in the country due to COVID-19. As many as 619 patients succumbed to the infection in the city so far. The fatality count in Ahmedabad is highest in the state. 
  

"As many as 3,300 patients from Ahmedabad have been recovered from COVID-19 and were given a discharge from the hospital. The city still has 5,500 active cases of COVID-19 who are undergoing treatment. The State Health Department said, the discharge rate in the state has improved to 42.50 per cent. Two districts namely Dang and Morbi were declared Corona free as there are no active cases. APARNA KHUNT//AIR NEWS//AHMEDABAD."

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The J&K government has so far arranged 23 COVID special trains, 3 flights and several buses to bring back its residents, stranded outside the Union Territory due to lockdown imposed in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic. AIR Correspondent reports that nearly 83,334, J&K residents have been brought back to the UT so far. The UT administration has put in place elaborate arrangements and facilities for safe and successful boarding and de-boarding of returnees and their journey towards their home districts. 100 per cent sampling of returnees is being done and it is ensured that the people in the administrative quarantine go home only after they are tested negative for Corona virus. The administration is strictly adhering to the guidelines issued by MHA and MoFHW regarding COVID-19. 

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In Andhra Pradesh, 149 people have arrived at the Tirupati airport from Kuwait in an Air India flight in the early hours today as part of continuing efforts to bring back Indian nationals stranded in various countries across the globe. Earlier, a flight arrived at Vijayawada International Airport from Kuwait last evening. 

Chittoor District Joint Collector Veera Brahmam told reporters that the Air India flight from Kuwait arrived at Tirupathi Airport with 150 passengers on board, reached the Rajiv Gandhi international airport, Hyderabad last evening where one passenger disembarked and after the immigration formalities have been completed of all the passengers, the flight reached Tirupati airport in the early hours  today
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In a unique outreach initiative, Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar will talk to Community Radios in the country today. It will take place at 7 PM. The talk will be simultaneously broadcast on all Community Radio stations of the country. The talk will be broadcast in two segments one in Hindi and one in English. Listeners can also tune in to AIR FM Gold to listen to the Minister, at 7:30 PM in Hindi and at 9:10 PM in English.

The move comes as the government makes earnest efforts to reach out to all sections of the country for COVID -19  related communication. 
   

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Now, Let us take a look at the weather for today. 
New Delhi witnessed minimum temperature of 24 degrees Celsius and the maximum is expected to be  44 degrees Celsius. The national capital is likely to witness generally cloudy sky with light rain. 
Mumbai will witness partly cloudy sky. The minimum temperature in the city was 28 degrees Celsius while maximum will remain around 34 degrees Celsius. 
In the south, Chennai will see a partly cloudy sky. The temperature will hover between 29 and 43 degrees Celsius.

Kolkata will witness generally cloudy sky with heavy rain. The minimum temperature in the metropolis was 24 degrees Celsius while maximum will be around 27 degrees. 


Moving on to the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, the minimum temperature was 22 degrees Celsius in Jammu while maximum will be around 39 degrees Celsius. The city will observe mainly clear sky, becoming partly cloudy towards afternoon or evening. In Srinagar, the minimum temperature was 11 degrees Celsius while maximum will be around 29 degrees. The city will observe partly cloudy sky with possibility of rain or thundershowers.


In Gilgit, the minimum temperature was 14 degrees celsius while the maximum temperature will settle at 32 degrees Celsius. The city will witness partly cloudy sky.


In Muzzafarabad, the sky will be mainly clear becoming partly cloudy towards afternoon or evening. It witnessed a minimum temperature of 15 degrees Celsius while maximum temperature will be around 37 degrees Celsius.

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The News Services Division of All India Radio in its live phone-in programme SAMVAAD today (22.05.2020) will bring you a Special programme on Railways where listeners can ask questions to the experts related to passenger trains on Toll Free Telephone No: 1800-115767 (Repeat 1800-115767). 


This can be heard tonight on FM Gold Channel and additional frequencies from 7.10 PM onwards. 

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