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Monday, January 25, 2021

Daily Briefing: Farmer talks hit wall as Shah steps in; Frontline staff, those over 50 in vaccine first-shot list

From thirteen infants dying at a Madhya Pradesh district hospital in the last week alone, to the Congress' less than satisfactory performance in Rajasthan's panchayat samiti and zila parishad elections; here are today's top stories.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | December 9, 2020 8:51:14 am
Daily Briefing: Govt calls for talks on Dec 30, says pressure won't work on PM Modi; Tesla preparing to start operations in India by early 2021A look at the top news today, January 19, 2021.

Good morning, 

The Big Story 

The Bharat Bandh called by farmer unions might have received a mixed response across the country, but the 13 farmer leaders who met Union Minister Amit Shah were unequivocal in their demand for repeal of the new farm laws. However, the only concession the Government is prepared to make is to amend the existing laws.

Farmers at Delhi border during the Bharat Bandh against the three central farm laws on Tuesday. (Express Photo by Gajendra Yadav)

From the Front Page

Meanwhile, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant feels that “too much of a democracy” is impeding “tough” reforms. Kant, however, was not exclusively referring to agriculture but across sectors including mining, coal and labour. Incidentally, he was speaking at an event organised by a magazine called Swarajya (self-rule) .   

A town in West Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh has been left shaken by a “mystery” illness that has affected over 500 people since Saturday evening. In most cases, the symptoms were the same: seizures, followed by loss of consciousness. While authorities suspect food or water contamination, what is puzzling is that in most cases only one member of a family was affected. 

In what could end up as an embarrassment for the ruling Congress in Rajasthan, the party was trailing in the panchayat samiti and zila parishad elections even as counting was still on till late Tuesday evening. State BJP president Satish Poonia said the party had bucked the trend of the ruling party winning local polls in the state, and described the BJP’s performance as “historic”.

Only in the Express

One crore health care workers, two crore frontline workers including the police and armed forces, and about 27 crore people above the age of 50 years and those less than 50 years with associate comorbidities. These are the three groups who should be vaccinated on priority, according to recommendations made by a high-level expert committee. 

Meet Somia Sadaf. She is a local star who has interacted with the Prime Minister, an entrepreneur, and an Independent candidate in the first District Development Council (DDC) polls in J&K. But it is another line in her bio that makes her stand out — she hails from Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

In the last week alone, 13 infants have died at the Shahdol district hospital in Madhya Pradesh. According to the data from the hospital, between April and November, 262 infants out of the 1,516 admitted to the SNCU passed away. Acutely understaffed and short on equipment, the hospital has brought to the fore the gaps in the district’s health infrastructure.

Must Read

The crisis that has come to grip the agriculture sector in Punjab is unique. The farmers railing against the Centre’s three new farm legislations in the national capital are not in complete penury or demanding loan waivers.This is because their socio-economic composition is in line with Punjab’s land holding patterns. 

According to official data, at least 9.10 lakh students belonging to Scheduled Castes (SC), Other Backward Classes (OBC), Vimukta Jati and Nomadic Tribes (VJNT) and Special Backward Class (SBC) communities in Maharashtra have been put in a precarious position due to the state government’s delay in scholarship  disbursal for 2018-19 and 2019-20.


Amid an internal tussle for power, Tripura CM Biplab Deb asked people of the state to gather at Astabal Grounds on Sunday and give their mandate on whether he should stay at the top post.

The Allahabad High Court said charging a person with attempt to murder for attending Tablighi Jamaat congregation in New Delhi “prima facie reflects an abuse of the power of law”.

Seeking a stay on the probe by the Mumbai Police in the alleged TRP fraud case, Republic TV said one of its employees was tortured by the police. 

The Oxford Covid-19 vaccine has been found to be safe, with only three out of 23,745 participants experiencing serious adverse events possibly linked to the vaccine. 

The Bombay HC has said workshops need to be organised for prison authorities to understand the needs of inmates after Elgaar Parishad case accused Gautam Navlakha said that he was denied a pair of spectacles. 

And Finally…

Who are Beitar Jerusalem? Their fans call them “the most racist football team in Israel”. They are considered to be the symbol of the right wing in Israel. And they are the only side in the Israeli Premier League never to have signed an Arab player. Now, they are owned by one.

Delhi confidential: With Ahmed Patel, who used to coordinate the Congress’s engagements with other opposition parties, no more, it seems the Gandhis have decided to carry out the task themselves.

In today’s podcast episode, we look at the India-China standoff, the political go-ahead that led to India occupying heights in the Chushul sub-sector along the LAC, and the challenges that the troops have to face during the harsh winters in eastern Ladakh.

Until tomorrow, 

Leela Prasad G and Rahel Philipose

Express Cartoon by EP Unny.


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