Mumbai local trains news: BIG update for daily passengers

As the Maharashtra government extended the full lockdown in the state till June 1, the restrictions that already in place on Mumbai Local Trains will continue as before.

The Maharashtra government told the Bombay High Court that only frontline health workers and state government staff are currently allowed to use the services of suburban trains, the monorail, and metro trains amid the deadly second wave of COVID-19.

Local Trains

The reply on Mumbai local trains from the state government came when the Bombay HC bench was hearing a plea filed by the Cooperative Banks Employees Union (CBEU) seeking permission to travel to work by local trains, metro, and monorail services in the city.

Related:- Taking COVID vaccine during periods is not safe?

Who can travel in Mumbai local trains? 

The guidelines say that Mumbai local trains will run only for essential services at the moment and with the new curbs. Only government personnel and those in emergency services would be allowed to use suburban trains, metro, and mono services in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region.

On the other hand, doctors, nurses, paramedics, lab technicians, and clinical staff – will be issued travel passes based on their identification. In other news, on anticipated lines, the Maharashtra government on Thursday announced that it has decided to extend the ongoing stringent lockdown-type restrictions across the state till June 1.

As per the new directives, Mumbai suburban trains will not permit regular commuters but only those engaged in essential services and other pre-notified categories. At the cabinet meeting presided over by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday, all ministers belonging to Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress supported the need to extend the lockdown.

Related:- Can people in 18-44 group choose their preferred COVID-19 vaccine?

The state also made it mandatory for any persons entering the state by any mode of transport to carry a Covid-19 negative report which is issued within 48 hours before his/her arrival. The government has directed the local Disaster Management Authorities to keep tight vigils over rural markets and APMCs to ensure covid appropriate behavior.

Can people in 18-44 group choose their preferred COVID-19 vaccine?

Amid the deadly second wave of COVID-19 in India, the registration for vaccination of people above the age of 18 is all set to begin today on the Co-Win app.

Now, RS Sharma, the chairperson of an empowered committee on COVID-19 vaccination has said that people who are in the age group of 18-44 years can choose a vaccine according to their preferences at private centres.

covid-19

Speaking to CNN-News18, Sharma said, “The government centres will continue to vaccinate (beneficiaries with) whatever vaccines they are getting. And obviously, if they are giving the second dose, they will also have to ensure that the second dose is of the same vaccine as the first dose…Private centres will declare as to which vaccines they are (using for) vaccinating, and what the prices of those vaccines are.”

Related:- Pakistan, India & Afghanistan: Biden’s South Asia Policy

For the unversed, healthcare, essential workers, people above 45+ did not have the option to choose between Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covishield, the two vaccines being administered in India.

“The CoWin portal will be able to show the prices and the vaccine types (at private centres),”  said Sharma, who is also the chief of Cowin platform.

It was on April 19 that the Union government announced that the third phase of COVID-19 vaccination in India will begin from May 1 and everyone above the age of 18 will be eligible to get the jab.

Related:- Taking COVID vaccine during periods is not safe?

In order to ramp up the coronavirus vaccination drive in the country, the Indian government on April 19 had announced a “liberalised and accelerated” Phase 3 strategy of COVID-19 vaccination from May 1.

In phase 3 of the vaccination drive, vaccine manufacturers would supply 50 percent of their monthly Central Drugs Laboratory (CDL) released doses to the Government of India (GoI) and would be free to supply the remaining 50 percent doses to the State government and in the open market.

Taking COVID vaccine during periods is not safe?

WhatsApp has become a den for fake news circulation as a lot of cases have been reported recently on lies spread with malicious intentions on these platforms.

Days after the Centre announced scaling up vaccination against the Covid-19 infection by allowing people above 18 years of age to get vaccinated from May 1, a viral post is being forwarded on WhatsApp, claiming that women should not take vaccines five days before and after their period cycle.

periods

The social media post claimed that women should not take vaccines five days before or after their periods as their “immunity is very less” during periods.

To clear the air around the claim, the government on Saturday, through its PIB fact check handle, took to Twitter and said, “#Fake post circulating on social media claims that women should not take #COVID19Vaccine 5 days before and after their menstrual cycle. Don’t fall for rumours!”
Related:- COVID-19: India’s overall vaccine wastage at 6.5%

Several doctors and activists also took to Twitter to quash the claim that women shouldn’t take vaccines five days before and after their periods.

Gynaecologist Dr Munjaal V Kapadia said, “Some silly WhatsApp rumour has spooked everyone. Your period has no effect on the vaccine efficacy. Take it as soon as you can. Spread the word, please.”

Doctor Faheem Younus, Chief of Infectious Diseases at University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health (UM UCH), Maryland USA, has a tweet debunking this fake claim that the COVID-19 vaccine should not be taken around periods.

“Myth: COVID Vaccine will cause female/male infertility or don’t take it around periods or other reproductive fears… Fact: It’s Nonsense. There is no scientific data to suggest this. NO ONE should be afraid of the vaccine except the VIRUS,” he tweeted.

Related:- Pakistan, India & Afghanistan: Biden’s South Asia Policy

All citizens are hereby advised to not forward any WhatsApp messages on the COVID-19 vaccine without verifying with the relevant authorities. The Government of India has also requested citizens across the country to rely on official government channels for information on the Coronavirus vaccine, and pandemic.

Registration for vaccination for all those aged above 18 will begin on the CoWIN platform and Aarogya Setu App from April 28.

Pakistan, India & Afghanistan: Biden’s South Asia Policy

On 19 January, General (retired) Lloyd Austin, president-elect Joe Biden’s pick to become the United States (US) Secretary of Defence, spoke at the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing and emphasised that he will put pressure on Pakistan to prevent it from allowing its territory to be used as a sanctuary for militants and violent extremist organisations.

Pakistan

On a separate note, however, the defence secretary nominee has shown a keen desire to enhance the US-India strategic partnership and bolster the overall arrangement of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad). These statements illustrate how a Biden administration may recalibrate the US’ South Asia policy and preserve India’s role as a status quo regional leader.

Related:- Nepal PM Oli receives first jab of Indian-made vaccine

The Pakistan Dilemma

Throughout history, Pakistan has been an important element in the US foreign policy in Afghanistan particularly in relation to the peace process. However, time and time again, Pakistan has demonstrated its lack of effectiveness in brokering the peace in the country. Instead, Pakistan’s ISI continues to wreak havoc and deteriorate the situation by targeting innocent people to significantly fracture the rule of law. This is its way of showcasing to the government of Afghanistan that groups such as the Taliban and the Haqqani Network (which it controls parts of) will eventually dominate. The relatively ‘unruled areas‘ along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, have allowed Pakistan to set-up terror training camps and bases, with the active support and cooperation from the Taliban and Haqqani Network. Moreover, Pakistan-based terror groups such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) are also involved in the fighting and instability of Afghanistan. As a result, Pakistan’s malign intentions and involvement in the affairs of Afghanistan have ironically caused more harm than good. Despite this, the US has continued to accommodate Pakistan role in the region.

However, in 2018, a significant policy shift occurred when the Trump Administration cancelled USD 300 million worth of aid to Pakistan due to the latter’s inability to improve its terror record. Moreover, in 2020, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) retained Pakistan in the grey list for its insufficient progress in addressing terror financing. Recently, the defence secretary nominee highlighted Pakistan’s inadequacy in alleviating issues of terror in the South Asian region. He added that, “Many factors in addition to the security assistance suspension may impact Pakistan’s cooperation, including Afghanistan negotiations and the dangerous escalation following the Pulwama terrorist attack.”

The statements made by Austin show that the US will be taking a tougher position on Pakistan and will not allow it to free ride on Washington’s history of accommodation. This will also put pressure on China towards its “all weather” support for Pakistan in international fora. However, in order to effectively address Pakistan’s terror activities, the US must remain committed towards Afghanistan’s stability and look for alternative like-minded partners to secure the order of not only the country but the region as well.

Related:- COVID-19: India’s overall vaccine wastage at 6.5%

India’s Role

Among the like-minded partners of the US, India holds an incredibly special place. India-US relations continue to hold bipartisan support. During the hearing, Austin also said that if he is confirmed for the position, he will maximise all efforts to continue elevating the defence partnership with India and endeavour to “further operationalise India’s ‘Major Defense Partner’ status”. This continuity in the US’ India Policy paints a positive picture for the rising Asian power. Moreover, by leveraging its relations with the US, India will be in a better position to maintain stability in South Asia at a time when the Pakistan-China nexus continues to deepen. In line with this, a Biden administration has also been seen to have the potential of pursuing a more robust position against an “assertive and aggressive” China.

If materialised, this orientation will be in India’s favour especially in securing its position as a regional leader in South Asia. It would be expected, however, that India will have to play a bigger role in stabilising the situation Afghanistan. This involves not only securing its assets in the country, but also maintaining the rule of law which Pakistan aims to provoke. This will not be an easy task considering India has shown reluctance in involving itself in the affairs of Afghanistan in the past; however, if it seeks to play a bigger role in maintaining the status-quo order in South Asia, India will have to make decisions that do not necessarily reflect its previous orientations.

COVID-19: India’s overall vaccine wastage at 6.5%

India’s overall percentage of COVID-19 vaccine wastage is at 6.5 percent, with Telangana and Andhra Pradesh topping the list with 17.6 percent and 11.6 percent of vaccine wastage respectively, informed the union health ministry on Wednesday.

vaccine

“India’s overall percentage of COVID-19 vaccine wastage is 6.5 percent. We have told the states that vaccine wastage needs to be drastically reduced,” Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said at the weekly press briefing.

He added that states have been requested to do testing, tracking and treating in a more efficient manner amid the recent spike in COVID-19 cases.
Despite the increase of COVID-19 cases across states and union territories in the country, India’s coronavirus mortality rate remains below two percent while the cumulative positivity rate has dropped below five percent, informed the Health Secretary.

Related:- Pakistan, India and Afghanistan: Biden Asia Policy

He informed that a 43 percent week-on-week increase in new coronavirus cases and almost 37 percent week-on-week increase in new deaths have been recorded.

“Cases are building up again, which is a matter of concern. 70 districts in 16 states saw a 150 percent increase in COVID-19 cases in the last 15 days,” he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also expressed disappointment at the vaccine wastage while speaking to Chief Ministers in the meeting that was held earlier in the day regarding the COVID-19 situation, said Dr VK Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog.

Related:- Nepal PM Oli receives first jab of Indian-made vaccine

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a detailed discussion with states and Union Territories on the COVID-19 situation and vaccination. He expressed disappointment at vaccine wastage. It is a precious commodity. At an individual level and for the country, this wastage is not right. He has said that wastage should be absolutely minimal,” Paul said.

Till now, over 3.51 crore total doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administrated, Bhushan informed. “On March 15, 8.34 million COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered worldwide, of which India alone administered 36 percent of doses.”

As many as 28,903 new COVID-19 cases and 17,741 recoveries were reported in India in the last 24 hours taking the total cases in the country to 1,14,38,734, including 2,34,406 active cases and 1,10,45,284 recoveries. The death toll stands at 1,59,044 including 188 fatalities recorded in the last 24 hours.

Nepal PM Oli receives first jab of Indian-made vaccine

Nepal`s caretaker Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on Sunday received his first dose of the Made-in-India COVID-19 vaccine, as the second phase of the inoculation drive officially began in the country.

Prime Minister Oli got vaccinated at the Maharajgunj-based Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital (TUTH) in Kathmandu.After receiving the vaccine, PM Oli urged the eligible group to take the vaccine without any fear in order to defeat COVID-19.India

The vaccine was also administered on PM Oli`s spouse Radhika Shakya, The Himalayan Times reported. Oli, 69, has a history of comorbidities and underwent a kidney transplant in 2020.

Related:- Rail Roko: DMRC closes entry, exit at four metro stations

According to The Himalayan Times, in the second phase, people over 65 years all across the country will get inoculated against the coronavirus.Nepal earlier this year received one million doses of Covishield vaccine from India in grant assistance and procured another two million vaccines from its Southern neighbour out of which one million is awaited.

The vaccine developed locally by the Serum Institute of India (SII) is the only vaccine being administered in the Himalayan nation.

India, under the Vaccine Maitri initiative, has been providing coronavirus vaccines to its neighbouring countries.

Related:- Pakistan, India and Afghanistan: Biden Asia Policy

The Government of Nepal from Sunday is set to start the second phase of its vaccination drive targeting as many as 1.6 million senior citizens above 65 years of age.

About 6,000 vaccination centres are set up across the country. Likewise, people above 55 will be administered the vaccine against the disease in 15 districts in the mountainous region. Nepal launched the first phase of the vaccination campaign on January 27 earlier this year and administered vaccines to the frontline workers.

Pakistan, India and Afghanistan: Biden Asia Policy

On 19 January, General (retired) Lloyd Austin, president-elect Joe Biden pick to become the United States (US) Secretary of Defence, spoke at the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing and emphasised that he will put pressure on Pakistan to prevent it from allowing its territory to be used as a sanctuary for militants and violent extremist organisations.

Biden

On a separate note, however, the defence secretary nominee has shown a keen desire to enhance the US-India strategic partnership and bolster the overall arrangement of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad). These statements illustrate how a Biden administration may recalibrate the US’ South Asia policy and preserve India’s role as a status quo regional leader.

Related:- Rail Roko: DMRC closes entry, exit at four metro stations

The Pakistan Dilemma

Throughout history, Pakistan has been an important element in the US foreign policy in Afghanistan particularly in relation to the peace process. However, time and time again, Pakistan has demonstrated its lack of effectiveness in brokering the peace in the country. Instead, Pakistan’s ISI continues to wreak havoc and deteriorate the situation by targeting innocent people to significantly fracture the rule of law. This is its way of showcasing to the government of Afghanistan that groups such as the Taliban and the Haqqani Network (which it controls parts of) will eventually dominate. The relatively ‘unruled areas‘ along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, have allowed Pakistan to set-up terror training camps and bases, with the active support and cooperation from the Taliban and Haqqani Network. Moreover, Pakistan-based terror groups such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) are also involved in the fighting and instability of Afghanistan. As a result, Pakistan’s malign intentions and involvement in the affairs of Afghanistan have ironically caused more harm than good. Despite this, the US has continued to accommodate Pakistan role in the region.

However, in 2018, a significant policy shift occurred when the Trump Administration cancelled USD 300 million worth of aid to Pakistan due to the latter’s inability to improve its terror record. Moreover, in 2020, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) retained Pakistan in the grey list for its insufficient progress in addressing terror financing. Recently, the defence secretary nominee highlighted Pakistan’s inadequacy in alleviating issues of terror in the South Asian region. He added that, “Many factors in addition to the security assistance suspension may impact Pakistan’s cooperation, including Afghanistan negotiations and the dangerous escalation following the Pulwama terrorist attack.”

The statements made by Austin show that the US will be taking a tougher position on Pakistan and will not allow it to free ride on Washington’s history of accommodation. This will also put pressure on China towards its “all weather” support for Pakistan in international fora. However, in order to effectively address Pakistan’s terror activities, the US must remain committed towards Afghanistan’s stability and look for alternative like-minded partners to secure the order of not only the country but the region as well.

Related:- Is ‘international tukde tukde gang’ behind farmers’ protest?

India’s Role

Among the like-minded partners of the US, India holds an incredibly special place. India-US relations continue to hold bipartisan support. During the hearing, Austin also said that if he is confirmed for the position, he will maximise all efforts to continue elevating the defence partnership with India and endeavour to “further operationalise India’s ‘Major Defense Partner’ status”. This continuity in the US’ India Policy paints a positive picture for the rising Asian power. Moreover, by leveraging its relations with the US, India will be in a better position to maintain stability in South Asia at a time when the Pakistan-China nexus continues to deepen. In line with this, a Biden administration has also been seen to have the potential of pursuing a more robust position against an “assertive and aggressive” China.

If materialised, this orientation will be in India’s favour especially in securing its position as a regional leader in South Asia. It would be expected, however, that India will have to play a bigger role in stabilising the situation Afghanistan. This involves not only securing its assets in the country, but also maintaining the rule of law which Pakistan aims to provoke. This will not be an easy task considering India has shown reluctance in involving itself in the affairs of Afghanistan in the past; however, if it seeks to play a bigger role in maintaining the status-quo order in South Asia, India will have to make decisions that do not necessarily reflect its previous orientations.

Rail Roko: DMRC closes entry, exit at four metro stations

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) decided to shut the entry and exit games of four metro stations in Delhi on Thursday (February 18), keeping in view of the ‘Rail Roko Andolan’ called by the protesting farmers. The four metro stations closed throughout the day fall on the Green Line of the Delhi Metro network.Metro

The metro passengers in Delhi are advised to avoid travelling to these four stations: Pandit Shree Ram Sharma, Brig. Hoshiar Singh, Bahadurgarh City, and Tikri Border. The commuters should plan their travel accordingly to places that fall on these routes.

The security at borders of Delhi with Haryana and Punjab as well as at the Ghaziabad border with Uttar Pradesh has been increased. The Indian railways have sent 20 additional companies of the Railway Protection Special Force (RPSF) across India. The primary focus is on Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal.

Related:- Is ‘international tukde tukde gang’ behind farmers’ protest?

Uttar Pradesh is on alert in view of the protests to keep the situation in control. In addition, additional police have been sent to the Palwal railway station in Haryana.

According to the reports, the protesting farmers blocked some of the routes for their agitation two hours ahead of the call time of the ‘Rail Roko Andolan’. The protestors reportedly blocked the Jodhpur Howrah Express at the Bhabhua station in the Kaimur district of Bihar.

Related:- Poll 2020: COVID-19 was the biggest news of the year

The umbrella body of farmer unions leading the ongoing farmers’ movement, Samyukta Kisan Morcha, had announced the ‘Rail Roko Andolan’ last week. It is the third major protest demonstration, after the Republic Day tractor rally and the ‘chakka jam’ earlier this month.

The farmer’s protest has been ongoing for many months now. The farmers want the central government to repeal three agricultural laws passed last year. These laws are the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act.

Is ‘international tukde tukde gang’ behind farmers’ protest?

Today’s DNA episode is very important as today, DNA is going to expose the real face behind the farmers’ movement in India, which has been going on for the last 72 days. His name is Monminder Singh Dhaliwal, and he is creating a dangerous conspiracy to break up India under the guise of the farmers’ movement and you can also call him the poster boy of the International Tukde Tukde Gang.

His aim is Khalistan. This means, even if the Government of India, today, withdraws the agricultural laws passed by the Parliament and accept all the demands of the farmers, then also this movement will not end.

farmers

Today, even if the Government repeals the agricultural laws, then tomorrow these people will demand the restoration of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir. Then, they will push for repeal of the citizenship amendments and they can also put forth the demand for the release of the Urban Naxals in the jails. And even if the government agrees to all these demands then too this movement will not end. This movement will not end until Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is removed from the center.

Monminder Singh Dhaliwal is the co-founder of the NGO – Poetic Justice Foundation – the same NGO that prepared a dangerous plan against India on 26 January called Global Day of Action.

It is a Canadian NGO, which was registered on 23 March 2020. And its current status is ‘Active’, which means that this NGO is still fully active and is conspiring Khalistan under the guise of the farmers’ movement.

This NGO has a total of four Directors. The name of the first director is Hardeep Singh Sahota, who lives in a city in the province of British Columbia, Canada. The second director’s name is Monminder Singh Dhaliwal. The third director’s name is Anita Lal. And the name of the fourth director is written as Sabrina Sohi.

We came to know that these people have been propagating against India on their Twitter Handle for the past several days, which shows that these four people are associated with Khalistan and control of the farmers’ movement in India can also be with them.

Related:- Farmers union threaten to bring tractors to Republic Day

Monminder Singh Dhaliwal, who described himself as Khalistani, in his Facebook post written on 27 December 2020, also wrote against Zee News.

A company name comes up again and again in this foreign alliance working against India. The name of this company is Sky Rocket and it is a public relations company. And most importantly, Dhaliwal has described himself as the Director of Strategy of this company on Facebook.

This company also has a picture of a Canadian MP on its official website. And the name of this MP is Jagmeet Singh, whose visa was cancelled by the Government of India in 2013 because then India’s investigative agencies had talked about his connection with Khalistan. And the big thing is that this happened when the Congress had a coalition government in the country and the Prime Minister was Dr Manmohan Singh. Think for once what would have happened if Jagmeet Singh’s visa was canceled today.

Think how big and dangerous this nexus is. And in this, people like Dhaliwal are also seen sharing connections with Canadian MP Jagmeet Singh. Singh is the leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada and the Justin Trudeau government there has the support of this party. And the biggest thing is that if Jagmeet Singh’s party withdraws its support, then the government of Justin Trudeau will fall. So this shows how far the reach of Monminder Singh Dhaliwal is in Canada. And perhaps this is the reason that Canada has become the epicenter of Khalistani propaganda against India, from where efforts are being made to control the farmers’ movement.

Another big thing related to this nexus is that America’s famous pop singer Rihanna, who is tweeting in support of farmers’ protests, follows Jagmeet Singh on Instagram.

The total number of Instagram users worldwide is more than 100 crore and Rihanna only follows 1525 people out of these 100 crore users and among them is Canadian MP Jagmeet Singh. Singh in a tweet on 3 February thanked Rihana for supporting the farmers’ movement.

A few days ago, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau supported the ongoing farmers’ protest in India and said that Canada stands in defense of the rights to hold a peaceful demonstration. But when violence erupted in Delhi on 26 January during this movement, Justin Trudeau did not respond nor did he condemn the farmers who did so. Think how these people provoke the people of a country for their own interests.

Related:- Poll 2020: COVID-19 was the biggest news of the year

While Justin Trudeau has supported the ongoing farmers’ movement in India, on the other hand, Canada has been opposing the subsidy given to Indian farmers in World Trade Organization meetings for years.

Not only this, in July 2019, Canada opposed giving more MSP of rice and wheat to farmers in India and tried to tarnish India’s image in front of the WTO. Think about what farmers in India are most afraid of? That the new farm laws of the government will end the system of minimum support price for crops. Now the question is that if Canada is with the ongoing farmers’ movement in India then why does it oppose India on MSP at WTO?

Now let us tell you about the neighboring country of Canada, America, which gave its first response to the ongoing farmers’ protest in India yesterday and praised the farm laws brought by the Government of India. But this is one side of the response from America. The other side is that the United States, along with supporting agricultural laws, advised India that it should not stop internet services.

We think America forgot the violence in Washington DC on January 6 when supporters of former President Donald Trump attacked Capitol Hill, the parliament there. And to deal with these disturbances, American soldiers had to fire bullets. Five people lost their lives in this violence. But now, recall the violence in Delhi on 26 January, when an attempt was made to hurt the police personnel during the tractor parade. They were showered with stones and sticks. 394 Delhi Police personnel were injured in the violence. But the police did not take action on any farmer. But perhaps, America cannot understand this.

You should also understand what the toolkit, which Sweden’s environmental activist Greta Thunberg probably had mistakenly put on Twitter, means.

Some action points are prepared to start any movement and then to expand its scope. The document in which these action points are entered is called the Toolkit. The toolkit is part of any movement strategy, the presence of which can help in increasing the impact of the movement. In the Toolkit, people are given information about campaign materials, news articles. And they are told how to protest.

Poll 2020: COVID-19 was the biggest news of the year

The COVID-19 or coronavirus pandemic brought the world to a stand-still in 2020. The outbreak was first identified in Wuhan, a city in China’s Hubei province, in December 2019, and was recognized as a pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11.

As the year came to a close, the Coronavirus pandemic had already claimed more than 1.79 million lives across the globe. Worldwide efforts are now on to produce an effective and safe COVID-19 vaccine. Three major vaccines have already been developed and have more success rate.

The Zee News conducted the Zee Readers Poll 2020 to know your views on the key news events of the year. Here are the top News stories of 2020 shortlisted for the Zee readers.

COVID-19

1. COVID 19, 2. COVID Vaccine, 3. Lockdown, 4. India China Border Dispute, 5. Sushant Singh Rajput’s demise, 6. Sudden demise of Irrfan Khan & Rishi Kapoor, 7. Bollywood Drug Case, 8. US Presidential Election, 9. Bank Loan Moratorium, 10. Farmers Protest and Farm Laws, 11. Bihar Assembly Elections 2020, 12. TRP Scam

The coronavirus or the COVID-19, is largely believed to have originated from a wet market in China’s Wuhan province. This turned into a pandemic within weeks as rapid virus transmission occurred across the world.

A year after the COVID-19 pandemic struck the world, several pharmaceutical companies across the world have produced vaccines to counter the virus. Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccine uses bits of genetic code to cause an immune response, and is called an mRNA vaccine.

Related:- Farmers union threaten to bring tractors to Republic Day

The government announced a nationwide lockdown for 21 days to contain the highly contagious virus on March 24. Since then, the curve has not flattened and India is now among the top three-worst affected nations across the world. The coronavirus-induced lockdown led to displacement of millions of migrants, job losses, and economy hitting the rock-bottom level. The lockdown was announced in 4 phases after which Unlock period started.

Since May 5, 2020, the Indian and Chinese troops have been engaged in aggressive face-offs and skirmishes at locations along the Sino-Indian border, including the disputed Pangong Lake in Ladakh and the Tibet Autonomous Region and near the border between Sikkim and the Tibet Autonomous Region.

In a piece of tragic news, earlier this year on June 14, 2020, late actor Sushant Singh Rajput was found dead in his Bandra Apartment. The actor’s death case which was earlier being probed by the Mumbai Police was said to be a case of death by suicide.

Legendary and prolific actors Irrfan Khan and Rishi Kapoor breathe their last on April 29 and April 30 respectively. The sudden news of the two most loved and talented actors of the film industry leaving for their heavenly abode in less than 48 hours earlier this year left their fans across the globe in shock, leading to a massive outpouring of grief on social media.

After the tragic death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput, while the Central Bureau of Investigation was probing the death case of the star, there were instances of drug abuse that had come to light when Rhea Chakraborty‘s phones and other evidence were scrutinised. Both Rhea and her brother Showik Chakraborty’s name had come under the NCB radar for procuring and alleged consumption of drugs.

Related:- US election 2020: All eyes on Tuesday’s Trump-Biden face off

The United States of America’s race to elect its 59th President was one of the most controversial and long-drawn process in recent history. Democrat candidate Joe Biden upset incumbent US President Donald Trump to secure his entry into the White House on January 20, 2021.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on March 27 issued the circular which allowed lending institutions to grant a moratorium on payment of instalments of term loans falling due between March 1, 2020, and May 31, 2020, due to the pandemic.

Farmers are protesting against the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020. These laws were passed in Parliament in September following which there have been widespread protests.

Bihar Assembly Election was the first major election to be held amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The NDA won the state election with a wafer-thin majority and got 125 of Bihar’s 243 assembly seats, three above the halfway mark.

The Mumbai Police on October 8 busted a “TRP scam”, whereby Television Rating Points (TRPs) were allegedly being manipulated. Republic TV, owned by Arnab Goswami, has been named in the scam. Fakt Marathi and Box Cinema were also among those allegedly indulging in the fraudulent activities.