LIVE: Shiv Sena decides to contest the West Bengal Assembly elections

Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut
Latest LIVE news updates: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday flagged off eight trains connecting different parts of the country to Kevadia in Gujarat, via video conferencing. These trains will connect Kevadia to Varanasi, Dadar, Ahmedabad, Hazrat Nizamuddin, Rewa, Chennai and Pratapnagar. Modi said these trains will help boost tourism in the tribal region and increase connectivity to the world's tallest statue, the Statue of Unity.

BJP's Puducherry unit Treasurer and MLA K G Shankar died of cardiac arrest at his residence early Sunday, his family said. The 70-year old leader, a nominated MLA of the Union Territory Assembly, is survived by wife, a son and a daughter.

In another news, the Central government on Saturday requested the state governments across the country to rethink the ban on the sale of poultry, and allow the selling of poultry products sourced from non-infected areas/states.

On the political front, the first of the three-phase Panchayati Raj Institution elections in Himachal Pradesh will be held today, and over 1,200 panchayats will go to polls. Voting in 1,227 gram panchayats will be held from 8 am to 4 pm, and the remaining two phases are slated to be held on January 19 and January 21.

Meanwhile, farmer leader Baldev Singh Sirsa and Punjabi actor Deep Sidhu have been summoned by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for questioning today in a case related to Sikhs for Justice (SFJ). 

Cold weather conditions continued to persist at many places in Haryana and Punjab on Sunday, with temperatures hovering below the normal limits.

Stay tuned for the latest news of the day.

LIVE UPDATES

Schools, coaching institutes in Rajasthan set to reopen Monday

Schools and coaching institutes in Rajasthan are set to reopen in the state on Monday after remaining closed for nearly 10 months with wearing of face masks, maintaining social distancing and thermal scanning made mandatory for the students.
 
These institutes were closed on March 21 last year.
 
The government has decided to restart schools from classes nine to 12 with each room having 50 per cent seating capacity and students attending classes with consent from their parents.
 
For students of coaching institutes coming from other states, they will have to get themselves tested for COVID-19, a day before joining classes. All coaching institutes will have to send details of their students to the nodal officer appointed by the district collector.

Modi talks about 5G coming to India, while Kashmir is still living under 2G: Farooq Abdullah

Shivsena has decided to contest the West Bengal Elections: Sanjay Raut

Avian flu: 836 Maha birds found dead, samples sent for tests

Deaths of 836 different birds were reported on January 16 across Maharashtra and samples have been sent for bird flu tests in laboratories in Pune and Madhya Pradesh's Bhopal, officials said on Sunday.
 
As per an official statement, the deaths include that of 745 poultry birds, with Nagpur and Amravati districts from Vidarbha region reporting deaths of 290 and 75 poultry birds respectively.

Indian classical musician Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan passes away

EC team to visit Assam from Monday to review poll preparedness

Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora is scheduled to arrive in Assam on Monday on a three-day visit to take stock of preparations for assembly polls due in March-April, officials said.
 
The CEC will hold separate meetings with senior officials of the state government, including the chief secretary, home secretary, director general of police, chief electoral officer and police nodal officer.

UK must not do trade deals with rights abusers: Dominic Raab

Britain should not engage in free trade with countries that abuse human rights, but proposals that the country's courts should decide whether genocide has been committed by trade partners is flawed, foreign minister Dominic Raab said.
 
Last week, Raab said Britain would introduce new rules for its companies to try to prevent goods linked to China's Xinjiang region entering their supply chains.

Maharashtra's ruling parties Shiv Sena, Congress spar over renaming Aurangabad city

The Shiv Sena and the Congress, which are ruling allies in the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, on Sunday sparred over renaming Aurangabad city, with the Uddhav Thackeray-led party saying it is not "secular" behaviour if one finds "cruel and religiously blind" Mughal emperor Aurangzeb "dear".
 
Hitting back, the Congress accused the Sena and the opposition BJP of playing politics over renaming and asked them why they did not they remember the issue while they were in power in Maharashtra for the past five years.

India's demographic dividend needs to be fully leveraged; Venkaiah Naidu

India's biggest strength is its 'demographic dividend' and people need to fully leverage it to fast-track the country's progress in various sectors, Vice- President M Venkaiah Naidu said here on Sunday.
 
Naidu also called upon the youth of the country to be at the forefront in accelerating progress and scripting the country's growth story.
 
"One of our biggest strengths today is our demographic dividend.

More than 3,600 birds rescued in 2020: Delhi Fire Service

Firefighters in the national capital rescued more than 3,600 birds between January-December last year, officials said on Sunday.
 
The maximum number of such cases were reported around Independence Day in August when people traditionally fly kites and the strings remain suspended on trees and poles creating a death trap for birds.
 
According to data shared by the Delhi Fire Service (DFS), the firefighters in the national capital responded to 25,416 distress calls last year, of which 3,691 were for rescue of birds and 2,902 for animals.

Russian cargo ship sinks in the Black Sea, rescue underway

A Russian-flagged dry goods ship sank off the Black Sea coast in Turkey on Sunday and a rescue operations for the crew was underway, an official said.
 
The governor of Bartin province announced the shipwreck off Inkumu in northern Turkey and said emergency workers were out trying to rescue 15 people on three lifeboats.

India among fastest growing markets: Prime Video

India is among the fastest growing markets for Amazon Prime Video (APV) globally, and the content streaming platform is focussing its investments on bringing more content and expanding the service to a larger audience in the country, a top company official said.
 
APV, which has recently partnered with Airtel to bring a mobile-only plan (a global first) for Indian users, competes with platforms like Netflix, Disney+Hotstar, Zee5 and others in the country.
 
"We've been in the country for the last four years and growing very steadily...APV is watched in over 4,300 cities and towns in the country, and India is amongst the fastest growing markets for Prime and APV. Our investments in content across 10 languages, both originals and films, have helped us," Amazon Prime Video India Director and Country General Manager Gaurav Gandhi told PTI.

Delhi schools prepare to open the doors for classes 10 and 12

Staggered and shorter class hours, frequent sanitisation, and entry and exit through multiple gates are among various new ways adopted by schools in Delhi as they prepare to welcome students of classes 10 and 12 back on Monday, for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic forced closure of educational institutes in March last year.
 
The Delhi government has allowed all schools outside Covid-19 containment zones to reopen for classes 10 and 12 from January 18 in view of board exams. However, it made clear that physical attendance is not compulsory and students will attend schools only with consent of parents.
 
The Directorate of Education (DoE) has instructed schools to follow all Covid-19 guidelines when classroom studies resume.

Shift Freight expects its topline to touch Rs 50 cr by FY22

On-demand shifting services provider Shift Freight expects its topline to touch Rs 50 crore by the end of fiscal 2022on the back of a pan-India presence and a significant jump in daily movements, its Co-founder, Avinash Raghav has said.
 
The Noida-based start-up entered the fast-growing logistic services space just prior to the imposition of the coronavirus-induced lockdown in March last year.
 
The firm with presence across 10 cities including Delhi-NCR, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Jaipur, among others, conducts over 1,000 movements per month and is growing at 75-80 per cent month-on-month in terms of both order and revenue, with a fleet of 560 trucks attached to the platform, according to Raghav.

DHFL creditors vote in favour of Piramal's $5 billion bid: Report

Creditors of India's Dewan Housing Finance Corp have voted in favour of a 372.5 billion rupees ($5.09 billion)takeover bid submitted by the Piramal Group for the troubled "shadow" lender, a source with knowledge of their decision said on Sunday.
 
DHFL's creditors finished voting on Friday evening, and the source requested anonymity as the result has not been officially released.

Delhi's Transport department firming up 'rent a bike' scheme

Tourists in the national capital may soon enjoy rides on rented two-wheelers as the Delhi government's transport department is firming up a scheme to issue licences for 'rent a bike' services in the city, officials said.
 
A presentation of the draft scheme is likely to be made before the transport minister next week for further discussions, a senior transport department officer said.
 
"The presentation was scheduled earlier this month but it was postponed. Now it will be held next week. The draft proposal for bike rent service will require approval of the State Transport Authority (STA)," he said.

Newsprint cost up 20 pc in 3 months

Cost of paper used to publish newspapers and magazines has jumped 20 per cent in the past three months due to demand-supply imbalance following the pandemic, prompting news publishers to rush to the government seeking waiver of 5 per cent import duty to help cut cost.
 
An industry that was facing headwinds from a slowing economy even before the pandemic, was hit hard when most readers stopped buying newspapers and magazines on fears of them being carriers of viruses.
 
While there are no medical studies that have established the virus transmission theories, sales did not pick up even after lockdown restrictions were relaxed, industry leaders said.

President, PM express grief over Jalore bus tragedy

President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed their grief over the bus accident which took place in Rajasthan's Jalore district.
 
"I am deeply saddened to learn of the painful bus accident in Jalore, Rajasthan. My condolences to the bereaved families. I wish those injured to get well soon," tweeted President Kovind.
 
Taking to Twitter, Prime Minister's Office (PMO) tweeted: "The news of a bus accident in Jalore, Rajasthan, has caused immense grief. Many people have lost their lives in this accident. I express my condolences to the family members and wish the injured to get well soon."

Demand to rationalise GST on food delivery biz to 5 per cent

The restaurants and food delivery sector has demanded that goods and services tax (GST) on home delivery of food be reduced to five per cent from 18 per cent now to boost the $3 billion segment, industry officials said.
 
Customers taking food delivery at their home or office are paying 13 per cent higher price on the same food and beverages compared to customers who are walking down to restaurants as the dine-in tax rate is 5 per cent, they claimed.

Indian economy may contract 25 pc in current fiscal: Noted Economist

The Indian economy is not recovering as fast as the government claims and the country's economy may contract 25 per cent in the current financial year, noted economist Arun Kumar said on Sunday.
 
Kumar further said that due to a big decline in the GDP during the current financial year, the budget estimates have gone completely out of gear and, therefore, there is a need to correct the Budget.
 
"India's economic growth is not recovering as fast as the government is showing because the unorganised sector has not started recovering and some major components of the services sector have not recovered.

Modi has been invited by the United Kingdom to attend G7 summit as a guest in June 2021

Excise duty collection jump 48 per cent this fiscal

While the pandemic pummelled tax collection across the board, excise duty mop-up jumped 48 per cent in the current fiscal on the back of a record increase in taxes on petrol and diesel, that more than made up for the below normal fuel sales.
 
Excise duty collection during April-November 2020, was at Rs 1,96,342 crore, up from Rs 1,32,899 crore mop-up during the same period in 2019, according to data from the Controller General of Accounts (CGA).
 
This despite the fact that over 10 million tonnes less diesel - the most used fuel in the country - was sold during the eight months period.
 
Diesel sales during April-November 2020, stood at 44.9 million tonnes as compared to 55.4 million tonnes a year back, according to data from the oil ministry's Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC).

Cold weather conditions prevail at many places in Haryana, Punjab

Cold weather conditions continued to persist at many places in Haryana and Punjab on Sunday, with temperatures hovering below the normal limits. According to Meteorological Department officials, Narnaul in Haryana reeled under intense cold, recording a low of 2.5 degrees Celsius, three notches below normal limits.
 
Hisar, too, experienced a cold night at 3.4 degrees Celsius, down four notches, while Sirsa, Bhiwani and Rohtak registered below normal minimums at 4 degrees Celsius, 4.7 degrees, and 5.6 degrees respectively.
 
In Punjab, Bathinda recorded below normal minimum at 3.4 degrees, while Faridkot and Gurdaspur, too, recorded below normal lows at 5.5 degrees and 7 degrees Celsius respectively.

One lakh tourists will visit Kevadiya in Gujarat daily after improvement in connectivity: PM Modi

Trains to Kevadiya in Gujarat will help improve lives of tribals: PM Narendra Modi

The improved connectivity to Kevadiya will not only be beneficial for tourists coming to see the Statue of Unity but also help in changing the lives of the tribal community there, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday. Addressing the ceremony after he flagged off eight trains connecting different regions of the country to Kevadiya, Prime Minister said now more tourists coming to see the Statue of Unity than the Statue of Liberty.
 
"This connectivity will be beneficial for tourists coming to see the Statue of Unity but it will also help in changing the lives of the tribal community of Kevadiya. It will bring new opportunities for job and self-employment,' he said. PM Modi noted that it is probably for the first time in the history of railways that so many trains have been flagged for the same place from different corners of the country.
 
"The identity of Kevadiya is from the world's tallest statue of Sardar Patel, who gave the mantra of one nation, best nation (Ek Bharat-Shreshtha Bharat)... After the inauguration, nearly 50 lakh people have come to see the Statue of Unity," he added.
 
The eight trains started for Kevadiya aim to facilitate seamless connectivity to the Statue of Unity in Gujarat. Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and Union Railways Minister Piyush Goyal were also present on the occasion.

Puducherry BJP MLA K G Shankar passes away due to cardiac arrest at 72

BJP's Puducherry unit Treasurer and MLA K G Shankar died of cardiac arrest at his residence early Sunday. The 70-year old leader, a nominated MLA of the Union Territory Assembly, is survived by wife, a son and a daughter. Lt Governor Kiran Bedi, Chief Minister V Narayanasamy, Assembly Speaker V P Sivakolundhu, state BJP president V Saminathan and assembly Secretary R Munusamy were among those who paid their last respects to the departed leader.
 
Bedi placed a wreath on the body of Shankar and conveyed her condolences to the bereaved family.
 
Narayanasamy also consoled the family members of the BJP leader. Shankar was one of the three legislators nominated by the Union Home Ministry to the assembly and all of them were sworn-in at Raj Nivas on July 5, 2017 by Lt Governor Kiran Bedi.

This connectivity will be beneficial for tourists coming to see Statue of Unity: PM Modi

Two Chinese nationals held in money laundering case sent to 14-day ED remand

Two Chinese nationals, who were arrested in a money laundering case, have been sent to 14-day remand of the Enforcement Directorate, said ED officials on Sunday. Two Chinese nationals Charlie Peng and Carter Lee were produced to a court which sent them to 14-day remand, ED officials told ANI.
 
"They have been accused of allegedly running a hawala racket to the tune of Rs 1,000 crore. In August 2020, ED has registered a case of money laundering against a Chinese national after their premises were raided by the Income-tax department," they added.
 
42-year-old Peng has been allegedly holding a fake Indian passport and also accused of creating a web of sham companies which he used to launder hawala funds to and from China.
 
Peng had been arrested in 2018 by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police on charges of fraud and forgery. It may be recalled that in August 2020 the Income Tax Department conducted raids against some Chinese individuals and their local associates for allegedly indulging in a money-laundering racket involving Rs 1,000 crores using shell or dubious firms.

PM Modi flags off 8 trains to boost connectivity to Statue of Unity

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday flagged off eight trains connecting different regions of the country to Kevadiya with an aim to facilitate seamless connectivity to the Statue of Unity in Gujarat. Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and Union Railways Minister Piyush Goyal were also present on the occasion.
 
The trains flagged off include 09103/04 Kevadiya-Varanasi Mahamana Express (Weekly), 02927/28 Dadar-Kevadiya Express (Daily), 09247/48 Ahmedabad-Kevadiya Janshatabdi Express (Daily), 09145/46 Nizamuddin - Kevadia Sampark Kranti Express (Bi-Weekly), 09105/06 Kevadia - Rewa Express (Weekly), 09119/20 Chennai - Kevadia Express (Weekly), 09107/08 Pratapnagar-Kevadia MEMU train (Daily) and 09109/10 Kevadiya-Pratapnagar MEMU train (Daily).
 
According to the Railway Ministry, the Ahmedabad-Kevadiya Jan Shatabdi Express has been provided with the new-age "Vista-dome tourist coach" which will offer a panoramic view of the skyline.
 
The Prime Minister inaugurated Dabhoi-Chandod broad gauge railway line, Chandod-Kevadiya new broad gauge railway line, newly electrified Pratapnagar- Kevadiya section and the new station buildings of Dabhoi, Chandod and Kevadiya.

Eight trains services started today up to Kevadiya in Gujarat: Indian Railways

LIVE: This 'connectivity' will bring new employment opportunities, says PM Modi

PM Narendra Modi flags off eight trains connecting Statue of Unity in Gujarat

PM Modi inaugurates various projects relating to Railways in Gujarat

Trains delayed as dense fog engulfs Delhi-NCR

Due to dense fog in Delhi and adjoining states on Sunday morning, around 26 trains travelling in and around the national capital were delayed. As per Northern Railways, Train number 04217--Prayagraj Sangam-Chandighar COVID special and Train number02397--Gaya-New Delhi Special suffered a maximum delay of 3.45 hours
 
"Train number 02391--Shramjeevi Express (Rajgir to New Delhi), train no 02303-- Howrah Jn Railway Station to New Delhi railway station special, Train no 02225-- Azamgarh to Delhi Kaifiyaat COVID 19 Special and Train number 02393-- Patna to Delhi Sampoorna Kranti COVID 19 SF Special were also delayed for over three hours," a Railway official said.
 
Earlier today, India Meteorological Department (IMD) in a tweet said, "Dense to very dense fog was observed over Punjab, West Uttar Pradesh and moderate to dense fog was observed over Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, East Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Assam and Meghalaya at 5.30 am on January 17.

PM Modi flags off eight trains facilitating seamless rail connectivity to Statue of Unity

PM Narendra Modi shares glimpse of Kevadia Railway Station in Gujarat

Joe Biden to prioritize legal status for millions of immigrants

President-elect Joe Biden's decision to immediately ask Congress to offer legal status to an estimated 11 million people in the country has surprised advocates given how the issue has long divided Democrats and Republicans, even within their own parties.
 
Biden will announce legislation his first day in office to provide a path to citizenship for millions of immigrants in the United States illegally, according to four people briefed on his plans.
 
The president-elect campaigned on a path to citizenship for the roughly 11 million people in the U.S. illegally, but it was unclear how quickly he would move while wrestling with the coronavirus pandemic, the economy and other priorities. READ ON...

Bird flu: 983 more birds die in Maharashtra, state death toll soars to 5,151

Amidst a bird flu scare in some parts of the country, Maharashtra on Saturday reported deaths of 983 birds, taking the cumulative toll to 5,151 in the state. According to the state department, the highest number of poultry birds were found dead in Latur (253), followed by Yavatmal (205), Ahmadnagar (151), Wardha (109), Nagpur (45), Gondia (23), among others.
 
"A total of 983 birds have died on January 16. The samples have been sent to the National Institute of High-Security Animal Diseases in Bhopal and DIS, Pune. A total of 5,151 deaths of various birds have been reported till the date since January 8," the department said.
 
The samples from Mumbai, Ghodbander (Thane district) and Dapoli for crows and herons and samples of poultry farm from Muramba have been found positive for (H5N1 strain) and samples of crows from Beed district have been found positive for H5N8 strain. Accordingly, the area is declared as an "infected zone" and action is taken to enforce the prescribed preventive measures, at Murumba, District Parbhani.

Puducherry BJP MLA K G Shankar passes away due to cardiac arrest at the age of 72

Coronavirus LIVE: 15,144 new cases, 181 deaths in India in last 24 hours

Death toll from Indonesia earthquake surpasses 50: Report

The death toll from a 6.2-magnitude earthquake that hit Indonesia's Sulawesi island on Friday has gone up to 56 with the number of injured stands at 826, according to the Indonesian National Board for Disaster Management (BNPB). Most of the deaths occurred in Mamuju Regency in Indonesia's West Sulawesi Province. In Majene Regency, at least nine people have died, according to BNPB.
 
On Saturday, Indonesian media reported citing BNPB data that the death toll was at 46, while the number of injured was at 637. West Sulawesi authorities have declared a state of emergency in the region. According to BNPD chief Doni Monardo, the state of emergency could be lifted within one or two weeks depending on the situation.
 
Over $284,000 have been allocated to eliminate the consequences of the disaster. A 6.2-magnitude earthquake rocked West Sulawesi in the early hours of Friday. Initially, nearly 15,000 people were forced to leave their homes.

UK to host G7 Summit in Cornwall in June to discuss Covid-19 recovery, climate change

The leaders of the seven world's leading industrial nations (G7) will meet from June 11-13, 2021, in the English coastal county of Cornwall to address shared challenges such as the recovery from the COVID-19 crisis and climate change, the UK government announced on Sunday.
 
"The Prime Minister will use the first in-person G7 summit in almost two years to ask leaders to seize the opportunity to build back better from coronavirus, uniting to make the future fairer, greener and more prosperous," Boris Johnson's office said in a statement.
 
According to the statement, Johnson wants to use the meeting, which will also be attended by Australia, India and South Korea as guest countries, to intensify cooperation between the world's democratic and technologically advanced nations.
 
"As the most prominent grouping of democratic countries, the G7 has long been the catalyst for decisive international action to tackle the greatest challenges we face," the Prime Minister said, as quoted in the statement.

PM Modi announces Rs 1,000 cr startup fund to push growth of tech ventures

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday launched a Rs 1,000 crore startup seed fund at ‘Prarambh: Startup India International Summit.’ This fund would help to launch and grow new-age ventures.
 
PM Modi said this fund is one of the initiatives that the country has started so that startups don’t face any capital crunch. Startups are already being helped to raise equity capital through the Fund of Funds scheme. Further, the government will also help startups raise debt capital through guarantees.
 
“India is trying to create a startup ecosystem which is based on the mantra 'of the youth, by the youth, for the youth'," said Modi. “For the next five years, we have a mission that our startups, unicorns emerge as global giants and lead in futuristic technologies.” READ ON...

Delhi's air quality continues to remain in 'severe' category; AQI at 428

PM Narendra Modi will flag off eight trains in Gujarat today at 11 am

Over 1,000 birds found dead across Maharashtra, samples sent for testing

Over a 1000 birds were found dead in different parts of Maharashtra on January 15 and samples have been sent for bird flu tests, a health official said on Saturday. Nine districts, namely Pune, Ahmednagar, Parbhani, Latur, Osmanabad, Beed, Nanded, Solapur and Raigad, have so far reported bird flu cases, he added.
 
"We received reports of deaths of 982 poultry birds and 67 other varieties. Samples have been sent to check for avian influenza virus. So far, 22 districts have reported such bird deaths," he said.

PM Modi to flag off 8 trains connecting Statue of Unity in Kevadiya with different parts of country

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on Sunday inaugurate virtually the newly-built Kevadia railway station near the Statue of Unity in Narmada district and a broad gauge line connecting Vadodara with Kevadia, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said on Friday.
 
The inauguration was earlier scheduled for Saturday but, apparently, got pushed back by a day due to the prime minister kicking off the nationwide Covid-19 vaccination drive on the same day.
 
”Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the Kevadia railway station through video-conference from New Delhi on January 17. He will also inaugurate the Vadodara- Kevadia railway line on the same day," the chief minister said in Jamnagar. READ ON...


 

PM Narendra Modi to e-inaugurate railway station near Statue of Unity

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on Sunday inaugurate virtually the newly-built Kevadia railway station near the Statue of Unity in Narmada district and a broad gauge line connecting Vadodara with Kevadia, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said on Friday.
 
The inauguration was earlier scheduled for Saturday but, apparently, got pushed back by a day due to the prime minister kicking off the nationwide Covid-19 vaccination drive on the same day.
 
”Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the Kevadia railway station through video-conference from New Delhi on January 17. He will also inaugurate the Vadodara- Kevadia railway line on the same day," the chief minister said in Jamnagar. READ ON...


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