Morning Digest — March 20, 2021

The Supreme Court on Friday prima facie found no harm in State Legislative Assemblies, such as those in Kerala and West Bengal, passing resolutions against Central laws like the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act or the controversial new farm laws.

Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Harsh Vardhan on Friday asserted that there should not be any doubt regarding the efficacy and safety of the two vaccines being administered in India and informed the Lok Sabha that the COVID-19 vaccination drive will be extended in the coming days.

India’s middle class may have shrunk by a third due to 2020’s pandemic-driven recession, while the number of poor people — earning less than ₹150 per day — more than doubled, according to an analysis by the Pew Research Center. In a comparison, Chinese incomes remained relatively unshaken, with just a 2% drop in the middle class population, it found.

The Department of Science and Technology (DST) has funded a clinical trial at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Rishikesh, to determine if the chanting of the Gayatri Mantra, a religious hymn, and performing the yoga practice of Pranayama, can aid the quality of recovery as well as cure COVID-19 quicker in a subset of patients.

A sharp exchange between top U.S. and Chinese officials in Alaska on Friday, played out fully in the eyes of the gathered media, marked the start of a new phase in U.S.-China relations — one that comes with fresh challenges for India.

Union Minister of State for Agriculture Parshottam Rupala, in the Rajya Sabha on Friday, questioned the methodology and data accuracy of the Global Hunger Index (GHI) report, which has placed India at 94th (out of 107 countries) rank in 2020.

The Delhi High Court on Friday asked the Centre to respond to a petition challenging the new Information Technology rules which seek to regulate digital news media. A Bench of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jasmeet Singh asked the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to submit their responses on the plea by April 16, the next date of hearing.

The Lok Sabha on Friday passed a Bill to amend the Mines and Mineral (Development and Regulation) Act (MMDR Act) through a voice vote, with Mines Minister Pralhad Joshi stating that the amendments will create jobs and allow private players with enhanced technology into the mining sector.

Rattled by a surge in incidents of crimes against women passengers, the Indian Railways have rolled out an elaborate security plan to ensure safety of women on their premises. Of the 23 million passengers who travel in trains across the railway network everyday, about 4.6 million are women passengers. A majority of complaints from women related to molestation, eve teasing, harassment, and unauthorised entry of male passengers in coaches reserved for women, among others.

Six tigers — four adults and two sub-adults — have been unaccounted for since March 2020 in the Ranthambore tiger sanctuary, Rajasthan. However, State forest officials are not willing to label them “missing” and denied reports that they may have been poached.

The Tamil National Alliance’s (TNA) “hopes are high” that India will vote for the UN resolution on promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka next week, according to its spokesman and Jaffna legislator M.A. Sumanthiran.

In its exercise to get the team composition right ahead of the ICC T20 World Cup later this year, India has been in the mood to experiment in this series against England. New players such as Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav and Rahul Chahar have got their chances, while experienced men, including Rohit Sharma, have enjoyed some rest.

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