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Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Daily briefing: Phase 2 trials of Oxford vaccine could begin at 3-4 sites this week; AAP looks to expand footprint

From the leadership crisis in Congress to Aam Aadmi Party's expansion plans, read the top stories from print edition here.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: August 24, 2020 8:59:58 am
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Good morning Readers,

We are covering the Congress leadership crisis, phase 2 trials of Oxford vaccine, and AAP’s plan to expand its support base.

The Big Story

Ahead of the crucial Congress Working Committee meeting today, interim Congress president Sonia Gandhi has offered to quit from her post, setting off a well-coordinated chorus of support for her and son Rahul Gandhi in the form of letters and statements from across state units. 

The chorus has surprised some of the senior party leaders who signed a letter calling for sweeping reforms within the party. Many told The Indian Express that they never challenged Sonia’s leadership. “There is nothing in the letter against which anybody should take offence to,” one of the signatories said.

Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury had this to say at The Indian Express Idea Exchange: “In the history of the Congress, non-Gandhis have also held the post of party president and the party has always encouraged it… In reality, none other than a member of the (Gandhi) family has ever made any significant achievement. There lies the problem.”

From The Front Page

The previous four times the country’s GDP registered an annual negative growth, its fortunes were largely tethered to the agriculture sector which also saw contraction in farm output. This year could be the first time when the economy will shrink despite agriculture notching up decent growth.

A government jobs portal launched by the Prime Minister on July 11 has seen registration of over 69 lakh individuals in just 40 days. But the number of individuals who got jobs is just a fraction of those who registered.

The Pandemic

Showing good progress, the Phase 2 human clinical trials of the Oxford University-AstraZeneca vaccine candidate for Covid-19, manufactured by Serum Institute of India, is ready to begin in three-four trial sites in the coming week.

Now that they are cleared of all charges such as visa and lockdown violations in connection with a Tablighi Jamaat gathering in Delhi, the 29 foreign nationals, who are stranded in India since March, would be approaching the trial court to get possession of their seized passports to return to their countries.

Beyond Covid-19

This day last year, former Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who heralded the Goods and Services Tax, passed away. Recalling his contribution in making India a single market, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman writes: “Recounting the benefits that this single tax has given us is the best tribute we can pay Jaitley today.” 

The Aam Aadmi Party is all set to expand its support base. After ruling in Delhi and serving as the prime opposition in Punjab, the Arvind Kejriwal-led party plans to fight the Assembly polls in Uttarakhand, make a push in Goa and contest local body elections in places like Mumbai and Ladakh.


And finally

With no internet in far-flung areas, Indra Mukhi Chhetri is among the several teachers in Sikkim who have stepped in and personally visited children to ensure that they don’t miss out on learning. Last month, when the lockdown was lifted, the government formally adopted this programme, calling it “home-schooling for elementary education”

Delhi Confidential: The Public Relations Department of the Kerala government has started a fact-check section to identify “fake news and fake information on Covid pandemic”. What has triggered a row is the department’s move to expand the exercise to all news related to the state government.

🎧 In today’s episode of Three Things Podcast, we discuss how the Election Commission is planning to hold polls in Bihar despite the spread of Covid-19 and how it could affect the results.

Until tomorrow,

Leela Prasad and Liu Chuen Chen

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