Morning Digest | India reports 1.16 lakh new COVID-19 cases on Jan. 6; Punjab, Centre form panels to probe PM Modi’s security lapse, and more

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India reports 1.16 lakh new COVID-19 cases on January 6, 2022

India reported 1,16,836 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, the highest in over 200 days, taking India’s caseload to 3,52,25,699, according to data released by the health bulletins of States and Union Territories. This is the first time in seven months that daily cases have crossed the one lakh mark in the country. Previously, 1,01,209 new cases were registered on June 6, 2021.

PM Modi security lapse | Punjab, Centre form panels

Centre and Punjab government formed two separate committees on Thursday to probe the security lapses that led to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s convoy being stranded on a flyover in Punjab’s Ferozepur on Wednesday. The constitution of committees were announced as BJP and Congress continued to engage in a verbal spat on the issue, with the latter playing down the incident.

WHO yet to authorise use of Covaxin among adolescents

On December 25, 2021, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that adolescents aged 15-17 years will be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine beginning January 3.. Two days after the announcement, the Health Ministry issued guidelines for the vaccination programme for teenagers . While clearly stating that teenagers aged 15 or older (all those whose birth year is 2007 or before) will be able to register on Co-WIN, the Ministry emphasised that only Covaxin will be administered to this age group.

Government says ₹8-lakh EWS cap derived after study

The Supreme Court on Thursday wondered how the Union government came up with the ₹ 8 lakh annual income limit within just three days of introducing 10% reservation for the economically weaker sections (EWS) of society. The Constitution (One Hundred and Third) Amendment Act introducing EWS quota came into force on January 14, 2019. On January 17 the same year, the government released an official memorandum (OM) informing that families earning a gross annual income below ₹ 8 lakh would be identified as EWS for benefit of reservation.

India terms China renaming places in Arunachal ‘ridiculous exercise’

China renaming various locations in Arunachal Pradesh is a “ridiculous exercise”, according to the official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs. Addressing the weekly press briefing on Thursday, Arindam Bagchi addressed a number of issues related to India-China ties. He stressed that China should not complicate the bilateral relations “further”.

Greater COVID-19 spread can lead to more mutations, say doctors

Justifying the revised shorter home isolation period for mild and asymptomatic COVID-19 cases announced by the Health Ministry recently, doctors note that going by available new data it has been found that the most infectious period is 2-3 days before the first symptom and 2-3 days after.

India inks deal with Sri Lanka to develop Trincomalee oil tank farm

Marking a major milestone in a strategic project in Sri Lanka whose fate has remained uncertain for decades, Lanka IOC, Ceylon Petroleum Corporation and the Government of Sri Lanka on Thursday signed three lease agreements on jointly developing the Trincomalee oil tank farm in eastern Sri Lanka.

Farmers had no programme to obstruct PM Modi’s event: SKM

The Samyukta Kisan Morcha on Thursday said the protesting farmer bodies had no programme to obstruct Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s event at Ferozepur in Punjab. In a "major security lapse", Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s convoy was stranded on a flyover due to a blockade by protesters in Ferozepur on Wednesday after which he returned from poll-bound Punjab without attending any event, including a rally.

Expenditure limit for Lok Sabha, Assembly candidates revised

Ahead of Assembly polls in five States, the expenditure limit for candidates for Lok Sabha constituencies was increased to ₹75 lakh from ₹54 lakh and ₹95 lakh from ₹70 lakh, depending on the State, while the spending limit for Assembly constituencies was hiked from ₹20 lakh to ₹28 lakh and ₹28 lakh to ₹40 lakh, the Election Commission said on Thursday.

SC sets aside Calcutta HC order against transfer of Alapan case to Delhi

The Supreme Court on Thursday set aside a Calcutta High Court order which stopped the transfer of a case concerning disciplinary proceedings against former West Bengal Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay from West Bengal to the national capital.

A Bench of Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and C.T. Ravikumar held that the High court order was “without jurisdiction and hence, it is ab initio void. Accordingly, it is set aside.”

Dozens of protesters, 12 police dead in Kazakhstan protests

Security forces in Kazakhstan killed dozens of protesters and 12 police officers died in an eruption of violence that saw demonstrators storm government buildings and set them on fire, authorities said on Thursday. One police officer was found beheaded in the unrest, which poses a growing challenge to authoritarian rule in the former Soviet republic.

Intermediate Jet Trainer has cleared a major milestone, says HAL chief

In an important milestone, the Intermediate Jet Trainer (IJT), designed and developed by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for stage-II training of Indian Air Force (IAF) pilots, has successfully demonstrated the capability to carry out six turn spins, displaying an important requirement for the platform. The aircraft will require another two years of testing after which it will be ready for induction, said R. Madhavan, Chief Managing Director, HAL.

U.P. CM slashes tube well electricity rates by half to woo farmers

In what appears to be a step taken to tackle the Samajwadi Party’s promise of providing 300 units of free electricity to domestic households and irrigation, the BJP government on Thursday announced a 50% rebate in electricity rates for farmers and urban users who own private tube wells. The decision would benefit 13 lakh consumers, the State government said. The electricity rates would be halved for metered, unmetered and energy-efficient pumps in rural areas and metered tube wells in urban areas, the BJP government said.

Capitol Attack anniversary | Biden rips into Trump in January 6 speech

U.S. President Joe Biden ripped into his predecessor Donald Trump during remarks delivered at the Capitol to mark the first anniversary of the attack on the building by a mob of Trump supporters. “The former President of the United States of America has created and spread a web of lies about the 2020 election,” Mr. Biden said, referring to Mr. Trump as “the former President” throughout his speech.

Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam, Shirdi Saibaba Sansthan, Ramakrishna Mission lose FCRA nod

Among the 6,000 NGOs that did not have their FCRA registration renewed by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) recently are also included the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD), the Ramakrishna Mission, and Shirdi’s Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust (SSST). The famous Tirupati Venkateswara temple in Andhra Pradesh and the Ramakrishna Mission are registered as Hindu religious organisations, while the SSST falls under the “religious (others)” category of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA).

SA vs Ind second Test | Gutsy Elgar steers South Africa home

Dean Elgar takes us to the heart of Test match cricket where guts and resilience take centre-stage. An old-fashioned warrior in the modern era, the left-hander Elgar was Captain Courageous, undefeated on 96, guiding his team to a series-levelling seven-wicket win. He built partnerships along the way as South Africa chased down 240 with plenty to spare on day four of second Freedom Test at the Wanderers on Thursday. The series level at 1-1, the teams travel to Cape Town for a high-voltage decider beginning January 11.

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