Daily Briefing: ‘Up to us to stop 3rd wave,’ says PM Modi; Serum Institute of India adds Sputnik V to its portfolio

“It is true that tourism and business have been greatly affected due to corona. But today, I will say very strongly that it is a matter of grave concern to see people without masks in the market and not following the protocol in hill stations. This is not right,” PM Modi said.

Good morning, 

The Big Story 

Warning that a “third wave will not come on its own”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grave concern over the rampant violation of coronavirus norms reported from hill stations and markets over the last week. “And this coronavirus is such a thing that it does not come on its own. It comes if someone goes and brings it,” he said. 

Serum Institute of India has added Sputnik V to its growing portfolio of Covid-19 vaccines and intends to produce over 300 million doses per year, taking India’s annual production capacity of this vaccine to nearly 1.2 billion doses a year.

Amid fears of a possible third wave of Covid-19, the Uttarakhand government suspended the kanwar yatra even as  neighbouring Uttar Pradesh has started preparing for the yatra — “with restrictions”.

Only in the Express 

In an exclusive interview to The Indian Express, Farid Mamundzay, Afghanistan’s ambassador to India, said Indian development projects — roads, schools, dams among others — are “at risk” if the security situation deteriorates further in the country. India has committed about USD 3 billion towards projects in all 34 provinces of Afghanistan.

From the Front Page 

Days after the cabinet expansion, PM Modi has reconstituted the cabinet committees, trimming the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs and bringing in five new members as part of the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs.

“The criminal law, including anti-terror legislation, should not be misused for quelling dissent or for the harassment of citizens.” That was Supreme Court Judge Justice D Y Chandrachud, who made these comments while ‘Role of the Supreme Court in protecting fundamental rights in challenging times’.

Must Read 

“Will you be allowed to eat ice-cream after Olympics?” PM Modi asked shuttler PV Sindhu, who famously was asked to lay off the dessert during the run-up to silver at the Rio Olympics. In a session meant to motivate the country’s Tokyo Olympics-bound athletes, the Prime Minister also inquired about paddler Manika Batra’s Tricolour nail paint and asked Mahavir Phogat — the patriarch of the Phogat wrestling clan — what the family fed their daughters. 

India’s year-long battle against the coronavirus pandemic appears to have come full circle, with the country’s first recorded case of Covid-19, a 21-year-old woman from Kerala, testing positive once again. Sources in the health department said the woman, a medical student at Wuhan University of China, has not got either of her vaccination shots.

After holding multiple meetings with NCP supremo Sharad Pawar last month, poll strategist Prashant Kishor met former Congress president Rahul Gandhi and AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra yesterday, fueling speculation that these parleys are part of an elaborate spadework to bring opposition parties together to take on the BJP.

While Bihar CM Nitish Kumar believes education instead of legislation can help control population in the state, Bihar BJP President Dr Sanjay Jaiswal’s proposed solution is a ‘one-child norm’ similar to the one being considered by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. “Education and awareness can go alongside.”

And Finally 

Gutsy, improviser, and a crisis man. These are some of the words that have been used to describe former Indian cricketer Yashpal Sharma, who succumbed to a heart attack yesterday. An incident that best encapsulates his spirit, his colleagues from the cricket team say, is the standout shot he made 38-summers-ago during the semi-final of the ’83 world cup — widely considered one of the most audacious sixes ever walloped by an Indian batsman.

Delhi Confidential: Usually when he discusses the pandemic with states during virtual interactions, PM Modi allows the CMs to talk first. On Tuesday, however, before addressing the new Northeastern CMs in his first virtual meeting after the Cabinet was rejigged, he introduced new Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya and his team.

In today’s episode of 3 Things, we look at how India evacuated diplomats from Kandahar, Assam’s new cattle bill and what Supreme Court’s Justice Chandrachud said about the misuse of anti-terror laws to curb dissent.

Until tomorrow, 

Leela Prasad G and Rahel Philipose

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