Follow Us:
Thursday, April 15, 2021

Daily Briefing: Pakistan army chief reaches out to India; Gadkari announces new scrapping policy

From the latest on the Covid pandemic in India, to PM Modi's latest rally in West Bengal; here are today's top stories.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: March 19, 2021 8:39:36 am
Daily Briefing: Amid Covid second wave, govt rethink on offline CBSE Board exam; 102 test positive at KumbhA look at the top news today, April 15, 2021.

Good morning, 

The Big Story 

In a potentially radical shift in its India policy, Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa reached out saying that “it is time to bury the past and move forward”.  He said “for resumption of peace process or meaningful dialogue, our neighbour will have to create conducive environment, particularly in [Kashmir].” Bajwa, however, did not specify what he meant by “conducive” conditions in Kashmir. 

Only in the Express 

At least in four states and a Union Territory, inadequate training of vaccinators and lack of detailed planning at vaccination sites have been identified by top government officials as the two key gaps that lead to wastage of Covid-19 vaccine doses. 

In this interview with The Indian Express, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan fields questions on LDF’s main challenge in the upcoming Assembly polls, the CPM’s decision not to field legislators who completed two continuous terms, and the Opposition’s accusations against him of running an autocratic government.  

From the Front Page 

Set to kick in from April 2022, India’s new vehicle scrapping policy will see commercial vehicles over 15 years old and personal vehicles over 20 years old marked for scrapping if they fail to pass the mandatory fitness test. Vintage cars will be exempted from this policy. 

In his resignation letter earlier this week, noted scholar and commentator Pratap Bhanu Mehta put on record that the founders of Ashoka University made it “abundantly clear” his association with the institution was a “political liability.” The crisis at the university deepened with former Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian also resigning in protest. 

Must Read

From a 100% solar-powered battery-less cold store that can preserve around 2 tonnes of freshly-harvested produce at 3-4°C during the day and 8-12°C at nighttime, to a technology for imparting elasticity and structural strength to bajra and maize dough — the women scientists at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) are behind some game-changing innovations. Interestingly, unlike at most prominent Indian institutions, half of IARI’s divisions are headed by women. 

The Supreme Court has urged all judges not to encourage or even suggest marriage or any such compromise between a prosecutor and the accused as a solution in gender-related cases. The apex court called on courts to be more sensitive and to “avoid stereotypical or patriarchal notions about women and their place in society”. 

Decision 2021

Addressing a public meeting in West Bengal’s Purulia ahead of the Assembly elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi switched to Bengali to take a swipe at Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and the ruling Trinamool Congress’ election slogan of ‘Khela Hobe’ (Game on). “Didi you have played for 10 years. Now the game will end and development will start,” he said. 

Ahead of the Assembly elections, two announcements in the last leg by the AIADMK government seem to be paying off for it: a decision to waive loans up to Rs 2 lakh taken by women’s self-help groups from cooperative banks, unions; and loans taken against jewels up to six sovereigns from agriculture cooperative institutions by farmers.

Ahead of the polls, the Congress appears to have got its act together in Assam, having managed to paper over cracks as well as stitch together a Mahajot (Grand Alliance), in its first election after veteran leader Tarun Gogoi’s death. But much like the BJP, the Congress is yet to announce a Chief Minister candidate. 

And Finally 

During the medal distribution ceremony for the 100 metre hurdles at the Federation Cup on Wednesday, officials found it difficult to tell apart 22-year-old Nithya Ramraj, the third-placed finisher, from her twin sister Vithya who is a medal contender in the upcoming 400 metre hurdles final. The daughters of a tempo driver, the twins took up athletics in school on the insistence of their physical education teacher when they were in Class 5. 

Delhi Confidential:  Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari is often complimented by MPs across party lines for his ministry’s performance and how he replies to questions in Parliament. On Thursday, he fielded questions about the works on NH-15 in Punjab, NH-4 in J&K, and the status of a road connecting Raipur-Jagadalpur and Visakhatanam.

In today’s episode of ‘3 Things’, we look at why many European countries are temporarily suspending the use of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, why CAA is not a concern for voters in Upper Assam, and Punjab’s recent Covid surge. 

Until tomorrow, 

Leela Prasad G and Rahel Philipose

📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines

For all the latest Live News, download Indian Express App.

  • The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.