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Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Daily Briefing: 1.91 lakh Indians get Covid shot; Farmer unions ask SC for new panel with “neutral people”

From the stories of frontline workers behind India's nationwide inoculation drive, to the latest on WhatsApp's privacy policy; here are today's top stories.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: January 17, 2021 8:44:31 am
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Good morning, 

Big story 

On Day 1 of the world’s largest coronavirus inoculation drive, 1.91 lakh people received vaccine shots across the country, but it wasn’t without a few minor glitches. Mumbai suspended the drive for two days till glitches in the CoWIN app are ironed out. And several in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and West Bengal did not turn up despite being eligible to receive the vaccine. 

Only in the Express

Meet some of the first recipients of the Covaxin and Covishield vaccines — from a health officer in a remote Arunachal district to a community worker in Naxal-hit Dantewada. 

P Chidambaram writes on farm laws —  “Please notice the irony: the government that rammed the Bills through the Rajya Sabha without a clause-by-clause discussion or vote should offer a clause-by-clause discussion on the streets of Singhu!”

Healthcare workers celebrate the arrival of Covid vaccines. (Express Photo By Amit Mehra)

From the Front Page

A farmers’ organisation has urged the Supreme Court to reconstitute the four-member committee appointed by the court, saying its members have already taken positions in favour of the farm laws. The body wants someone like a retired judge, and its president or presidents of other farmers bodies participating in the protests.

Instant messaging platform WhatsApp announced late on Friday that it was delaying the implementation of its recent privacy policy changes, which triggered a global backlash, to May 15, instead of the scheduled February 8.

Must read

The build up to the Australian Open got off to a rocky start on Saturday, after three tested positive on two chartered flight ferrying players and coaches to Melbourne for the season-opening Grand Slam tournament. While the organisers quickly confirmed that none of the three positive tests belonged to players, everyone on board both the flights — including 47 tennis players — have been forced into two weeks of hotel quarantine. 

The officials behind the Covid-19 inoculation drive to vaccinate frontline workers in Maharashtra’s Palghar experienced a few hiccups along the way. The biggest hurdle was faced in Palghar’s sub-district hospital, where ‘CoWIN’ — the specialised software to create and send automated messages scheduling appointments for vaccination — refused to load on the big day. But officials say they have learnt a lesson.

The BJP, which has launched an aggressive poll campaign in West Bengal, is all set to take out Rath Yatras with a message of “parivartan” (change) in the state ahead of the elections, sources said. The party will take out five Rath Yatras that will cover all 294 Assembly constituencies, starting February.

A Special Investigation Team (SIT) set up by the Yogi Adityanath government to probe cases related to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in Kanpur has claimed to have collected evidence of murder and arson from a house in the district’s Naubasta area where two people were killed and set ablaze.


Delhi Zoo has confirmed its first bird flu death after a captive brown fish owl that died earlier this week tested positive for the illness, director of the National Zoological Park (NZP) Ramesh Pandey said.

The NIA issued summons to Punjabi actor Deep Singh Sidhu, who is associated with the ongoing farmers’ agitation, in connection with a case filed against the outlawed group Sikhs For Justice (SFJ). 

In an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a group of 100 retired civil servants have flagged a lack of transparency in the PM Cares Fund, asking for the financial details of receipts and expenditures to be made public.

A special court in Thane district, on Saturday, granted bail to 89 accused persons in the Palghar mob lynching case, in which two sadhus and their driver were killed.

And Finally

If the farmers behind the ongoing agitation at Delhi’s borders have taught us one thing, it is that Bollywood got it wrong all along. From films about village life in the ‘50s, doused in poverty and deprivation, to ‘60s films about shehri babus visiting the picturesque gaon to romance ghagra-clad belles —  we draw an agrarian map of post-independence Hindi cinema to see how classic Bollywood tropes have failed the country’s farmers. 

Inside Track: The rivalry between the Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech became open knowledge after the heads of both took veiled digs at each other publicly, forcing the PMO to intervene. But it is still unclear how Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin got clearance in the first place. 

Until tomorrow, 
Leela Prasad G and Rahel Philipose

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