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Thursday, September 24, 2020

Daily briefing: Pilot still in touch with Priyanka; Why community transmission no longer matters

From Rajasthan desert storm to the latest news on the Covid pandemic, here are the top stories from The Indian Express print edtition.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | July 20, 2020 9:02:54 am
Daily briefing: Cong strips Sachin Pilot and loyalists of all posts; First intel on PLA came mid-April, long before Pangong clash July 20, 2020: A look at the top news today.

Dear Reader,

Big story 

Not all communication lines have been snapped between Sachin Pilot and the Congress. Pilot, according to sources, telephoned AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra over the weekend. The top leadership, including Priyanka, is open to meeting Pilot, the sources said.  The BJP, however, believes that the crisis in the Rajasthan Congress has gone past the point of no-return.

The Pandemic 

Even as India reported over 38,000 fresh Covid-19 cases on Sunday, its highest single-day spike till date, the country can take comfort from the fall in the case fatality rate (CFR) as it dropped below 2.5 per cent for the first time. However, the CFR among big states Maharashtra (3.85), Gujarat (4.48) and West Bengal (2.67) is a cause for concern. 

A 800-bed hospital in Bihar’s Bhagalpur is under severe strain due to the lack of manpower and complaints of negligence. Afraid they wouldn’t get proper care, relatives of Covid patients sleep on the floor of the isolation ward. And junior resident doctors have either quit or stopped reporting for duty properly.

Although the government continues to insist that coronavirus has not reached the community transmission stage in India, leading scientists disagree and say it has. We look at what community transmission means, and why it no longer matters at this stage.

Beyond Covid 

If last year it was the price of onions that left consumers in tears, this year belongs to potatoes and tomatoes. While the price rise is primarily due to low production, lockdown and closure of hotels meant there was a drip in consumption of potato-based snacks–from samosa, aloo chaat, tikki, and paav bhaji to masala dosa and French Fries.

The preference for English as a medium of instruction at different levels of education until secondary is an enduring and a rising trend, reveals the latest all-India survey conducted by the National Statistical Office (NSO). However, the share of Hindi-speaking students in English-medium schools at the primary level has dipped from 18.3 per cent in 2014 to 18.2 per cent in 2018.

In what raises issues of propriety, IDFC Bank, which is IDFC First Bank now, and chaired by Rajiv Lall, had let out premium space in its South Mumbai office to Asia Society India Centre, a not-for-profit organisation, headed by Lall’s wife Bunty Chand, for four years from 2015 to 2019, at a nominal rent of Re 1 a month.


  • The discovery of the body of a teenage girl in West Bengal’s Uttar Dinajpur triggered violence in a part of the district on Sunday with a group of about 200 people blocking NH31.
  • Scientists from AIIMS Delhi and AIIMS Raipur have critiqued ICMR study that found HCQ an effective preventive drug against coronavirus in healthcare workers.
  • Three men, suspected to be Bangladeshi nationals who had allegedly crossed the border illegally to steal cows, were lynched by villagers in Assam’s Karimganj district.
  • The HRD ministry is seeking feedback from parents of schoolgoing children as to when they would be comfortable with reopening of schools — August, September or October 2020.
  • Bihar Congress working president Kaukab Qaudri speaks on the alliance with the RJD, Tejashwi Prasad Yadav as the CM candidate, and LJP keeping its options open.
Heavy rains lashed the national capital on Sunday leaving several areas inundated with water.

And Finally…

She is an Asian youth gold-winning long-jumper but wants to take a break to help her father, an autorickshaw driver. He is an Asian youth bronze medallist but fears that he will end up selling bananas on a cart in the market. The COVID shutdown in sports, with no training for months, is beginning to wear down the country’s young athletes, many of whom are from underprivileged families without organisational support.

Delhi confidential: Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar was trolled after he put out a tweet that a UNDP report had found that 27 crore people in the country had been pulled out of poverty in the past 10 years. 

🎧 In the latest episode of Three Things podcast, Ravik Bhattacharya joins us to talk about how an Indian Express investigation into the Cyclone Amphan relief fund has revealed glaring irregularities, bizarre errors and undeserving people receiving compensation.

Until tomorrow,

Leela Prasad G

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