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Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Daily Briefing: Third vaccination round rolls out today for key group; Govt rolls back interest rate cuts on small savings schemes

Good morning, The Big Story The Government has rolled back the cuts on interest rates of various small savings schemes, less than 24 hours after it slashed rates by 40-110 basis points. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the rates prevailing as of the last quarter of 2020-21 will continue. “Orders issued by oversight shall be […]

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: April 1, 2021 8:51:38 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 18, 2021.

Good morning,

The Big Story

The Government has rolled back the cuts on interest rates of various small savings schemes, less than 24 hours after it slashed rates by 40-110 basis points. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the rates prevailing as of the last quarter of 2020-21 will continue. “Orders issued by oversight shall be withdrawn,” she tweeted.

Only in the Express

The motive behind the alleged murder of businessman Mansukh Hiran, the NIA believes, is that arrested Mumbai police officer Sachin Waze “panicked” that a Central agency might take over the probe and he could be shut out of the case. While Waze has continued to deny his involvement in Hiran’s murder, sources said, there is mounting evidence against him.

From the Front Page

Two and a half months after the country began its Covid-19 vaccination drive, those above the age of 45 years are now eligible for a vaccine shot. The third phase of vaccination will cover the population which is at the highest risk: 90 per cent of Covid deaths in India have been in the category of those above the age of 45.

Three police officers, including one of IPS rank, were discharged by a special CBI court in the 2004 extrajudicial killing of Ishrat Jahan and four others. The court said there was “no question of any fake encounter” and there was “nothing on record to suggest that the victims were not terrorists”.

Nearly two years after Pakistan banned the import of cotton and white sugar from India, the country’s Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) lifted it on Wednesday, effectively restarting bilateral trade after relations between the two soured over removing the special status accorded to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Staffers at the Delhi Zoo sanitise the premise a day ahead of its reopening after a years closure owing to the covid lockdown. (Express Photo by Tashi Tobgyal )

Decision 2021

A day ahead of the second phase of the Assembly elections in West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wrote to top Opposition leaders, asking them to unite against BJP’s “one-party authoritarian rule” and proposing that they chart a plan of action after the ongoing polls. The recipients of the letter included Congress President Sonia Gandhi, NCP Chief Sharad Pawar, and Shiv Sena’s Uddhav Thackeray. 

In the 2016 Assembly polls, of the 49 constituencies that lie in Kerala’s coastal area, spread across eight districts, the CPM-led LDF had won 34, out of its total tally of 91. Today, clouds of uncertainty loom over the ruling front here as the fishermen community are angry with the state government for “betraying” them by signing a deal with an American firm over fishing which, they say, will cost them their livelihood.

Across districts in southern and central Tamil Nadu, the Edappadi Palaniswami government does not seem to be facing significant anti-incumbency. However, what appears set to cost the CM is his perceived “subservience” before the “Modi-Shah” duo of the BJP.

Must Read 

India has fallen 28 places in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2021, and is now one of the worst performers in South Asia, trailing behind neighbours Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Myanmar -— it is now ranked 140 among 156 countries.

Brazil’s health regulator has rejected an application to give Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin a certificate of Good Manufacturing Practices following an inspection of the company’s site in Hyderabad earlier this month. While this won’t affect the company’s application for emergency use authorisation in Brazil, it could potentially delay its ability to supply doses of the Covid-19 vaccine to the country until the issue is resolved.

And Finally 

Last week, Sutirtha Mukherjee came from behind to beat India’s highest-ranked woman paddler Manika Batra 4-2 (7-11, 11-7, 11-4, 4-11, 11-5, 11-4) in the Asian qualifiers at Doha, Qatar to clinch a spot in the Tokyo Olympics. “I couldn’t believe it, and I was crying, then I called up my mother to tell her. She couldn’t believe it either,” the 25-year-old told the Indian Express. Here is a look at her journey to the Olympics. 

Delhi Confidential: Unlike many politicians, top leaders of the Congress party who got the Covid vaccine have done it rather quietly. Most of them have not shared photographs of them getting the jab on their social media accounts

In today’s episode of the ‘3 Things’ podcast, we look at the significance of the Nandigram constituency in West Bengal, the Supreme Court’s latest decision on electoral bonds, and the Centre’s latest advisory on rising Covid cases. 

Until tomorrow,
Leela Prasad G and Rahel Philipose

Express Cartoon by EP Unny.

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