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Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Daily Briefing: As farmers harden stance, govt considers house session; Pfizer first in India to apply for emergency vaccine use

From a government proposal that could erode the autonomy of IIMs across the country, to the love story and political career that started with a devastating bus accident in Chhattisgarh; here are today's top stories.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: December 6, 2020 9:05:12 am
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Good morning,

The Big Story

With farmers hardening their stance on repeal of all three farm laws, the option to convene a special Parliament session is being considered to resolve the stand-off, a senior government source told The Indian Express. Talks between Government and farmers remained inconclusive even after they met three times this week. Both sides agreed to meet again on December 9.

Farmers at Delhi’s Singhu border. (Photograph: Praveen Khana)

From the Front Page

Celebrities such as Diljit Dosanjh, Harbhajan Mann and Ranjit Bawa had turned up at the Singhu border—the focal point of the farmers agitation—but were allowed to address them only on the condition that they speak about farm issues. All of this is handled by a committee that carefully vets the speakers, and those with political links are expressly kept out.

A farmer preparing the day’ meal at Delhi’s Singhu border. (Photograph: Praveen Khana)

After securing clearances in the UK and Bahrain, Pfizer became the first pharma company to seek from the Drugs Controller General of India emergency use authorisation for its Covid-19 vaccine. It has sought permission to import the vaccine for sale and distribution in the country, besides waiver of clinical trials on Indian population.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone for the new Parliament building on December 10 at a ceremony that will be attended by leaders and representatives of all parties. The building is being built at a cost of Rs 971 crore and will incorporate indigenous architecture from different parts of the country.

Only in the Express

The autonomy of the Indian Institutes of Management is under threat of erosion as the Government is mulling a proposal that would allow it to initiate an inquiry against the Board of Governors of an institute.

A statewide alert against poaching has been issued after camera traps in and around the Ranthambore Tiger Reserve captured images of a tiger with a hunting snare-like wire noose coiled around its neck. State forest department officials said the tiger, T-108, was tranquilised and the wire removed on Saturday.

With the government claiming India is weeks away from getting a Covid-19 vaccine, the Indian Express tracks the hectic backend preparations for the mammoth exercise of inoculating lakhs of people. Who will get the shot when, and how?

Must Read

Eleven years ago, while trying to save a stranger from being crushed in a bus accident in Chhattisgarh, nursing student Jyoti Kundu’s life changed forever. While she lost her arm in the accident, she also met her future husband PV Vikas, a CISF personnel from Kerala. Today, Jyoti is contesting as a BJP candidate in Kerala’s Palakkad district.

A Bollywood director-writer, who was fostering a toddler for the last seven months while his biological mother underwent treatment for schizophrenia, has sought to extend his custody longer. But the child’s mother now says that she is medically fit to look after her son.


India conveyed that External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will not be part of a video-call initiated by his Canadian counterpart after PM Trudeau’s comments on the farmer protests.

Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij has tested positive for Covid-19, two weeks after taking the first dose as part of the trials for Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin vaccine.

Amidst speculation of a RLSP-JD(U) alliance in Bihar, RLSP Chief Upendra Kushwaha has started responding to feelers from JD(U) national president and Bihar CM Nitish Kumar.

A 21-year-old man was assaulted on his way to register an interfaith marriage in an Aligarh court on Thursday.

Due to delayed procurement by the state government, a majority of farmers in Bihar have no option but to sell their produce at rates far below the Minimum Support Price.

And Finally…

What do Malayalam author S Harish and Tamil writer Perumal Murugan have in common? Ironically, it was only after right-wing mobs — in separate language and cultural settings — tried to suppress their books that they first garnered mainstream attention and were propelled into the national spotlight. They now hope for a more nuanced reading of their work.

Inside Track: President Ram Nath Kovind is said to be excited about the new VVIP Air India One aircraft, equipped with the latest features, including a sophisticated defence system and audio/video communications.

Until tomorrow,

Leela Prasad G and Rahel Philipose

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