India in 2 minutes

India readies for 600 million Covid-19 vaccine jabs

India will deploy its vast election machinery to deliver 600 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines to the most vulnerable people in the next six to eight months through conventional cold chain systems.

The government has lined up cold storage facilities with temperatures between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius, said Mr V.K. Paul, who heads the group of experts on vaccine administration for Covid-19 that advises Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Wistron violence could sour Apple's 'Make in India' plans

Violence at a Wistron factory in Bengaluru is likely to stall the company's and its client Apple's drive to expand local manufacturing, while forcing the government to redouble efforts to encourage foreign investors.

Thousands of contract workers angry over the alleged non-payment of wages, destroyed equipment and vehicles at the Wistron plant on Saturday, causing damages worth an estimated US$60 million.

Facebook to test Instagram Lite in India

Facebook said on Wednesday it is testing a new, less data-intensive version of its photo and video sharing app Instagram in India, a key growth market for the United States social media giant.

The app, Instagram Lite, is less than 2MB in size, which will help it run smoothly on low-memory smartphones and broaden its userbase. 50 arrested in Delhi over call centre 'drug cartel' scam Police have arrested more than 50 people in Delhi on suspicion of being involved in an international call centre scam. The group is accused of defrauding more than 4,500 people in the United States and other countries.

The suspects allegedly took more than US$14 million by telling their victims that they faced legal action because their details were being used to pay international drug cartels. Victims paid up to avoid legal action as the team claimed to be law enforcement officers.

Republic TV CEO in judicial custody

Police in Mumbai on Sunday arrested the chief executive of ARG Outlier Media, which owns Republic TV, on suspicion of manipulating ratings figures.

Mr Vikas Khanchandani was picked up from his home.

India slips a spot in UN's human development index

India on Wednesday ranked 131st among 189 countries and territories in the 2020 human development index, according to a report released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

India was ranked 130th in 2018 in the index. The human development index is the measure of a nation's health, education and standard of living.

Delhi unlikely to scale up Covid-19 testing

Delhi is unlikely to scale up Covid-19 testing with the positivity rate - the proportion of samples tested found positive - dipping below 2 per cent. This became clear from Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain's remarks on Wednesday.

"The World Health Organisation says that the tests should be scaled up till a positivity rate of less than 8 per cent is achieved. The positivity rate of 5 per cent is considered to be optimum, which means that a sufficient number of tests is being performed. Right now, the positivity rate is about 2 per cent in Delhi. Let us wait and watch how long the positivity rate of 2 per cent is maintained," said Mr Jain, implying that the Delhi government is unlikely to increase the number of tests.

Bids received to buy state-owned Air India

The Central government said it has received "multiple expressions of interest" in buying its 100 per cent stake in debt-laden national carrier Air India to shore up falling government revenues after an initial attempt in 2018 failed to attract any bidders.

The deadline for submission of formal bids was Monday. The government is expected to announce the list of qualified bidders on Jan 5. It did not reveal the identity of the bidders or the number of bids received.

Indian media reports said conglomerate Tata Group and a group of 219 Air India employees along with Interups, a United States-based fund, filed expressions of interest.

Pesticide residues caused Eluru's mysterious illness

The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and other organisations on Wednesday found that pesticide residues were the reason for the recent outbreak of a mysterious illness in Andhra Pradesh's West Godavari district headquarters Eluru.

The experts said a long-term in-depth study is required to understand how these residues of pesticides entered the human body.

Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy has entrusted this responsibility to AIIMS and the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology.

Cabinet approves framework against cyber threats

In a significant decision, India on Wednesday introduced its first and biggest framework to protect itself from cyber attacks, data theft and other virtual vulnerabilities threatening its national security.

The Union cabinet approved the National Security Directive on the Telecom Sector in view of the alarming magnitude of cyber threats to India.

'Divine Maharashtra' tourist train to run from Jan 8

The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) is all set to start the Divine Maharashtra tourist train operations from Jan 8 to cover the prominent religious and heritage tourist destinations in central India.

The first five-day tour will start from Delhi's Safdarjung Railway Station.

Army officer accused of raping friend's wife arrested

An army colonel accused of raping his friend's Russian wife after sedating her husband at the Officers' Mess in the Cantonment area in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, was arrested by the police on Tuesday.

Superintendent of Police (East) Raj Kumar Agarwal said: "Col Neeraj Gahlot was arrested while trying to flee to an unknown place to evade his arrest".

Kerala CM asks opposition to introspect after civic polls win

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who dashed opposition hopes of an anti-government backlash against alleged scams, on Wednesday asked the media and the opposition parties to do serious introspection as civic poll results indicated a victory for the ruling Left Democratic Front.

Mr Vijayan said that he owes a big thanks to the people of Kerala who gave the Left government a huge thumbs up despite the massive smear campaign unleashed against it.

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