Modi at Delhi rally
File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a rally in east Delhi's Karkardooma area | Photo: Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint
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The Prime Minister’s address to the nation, announcing a ‘janata curfew’ on Sunday, 22 March as the coronavirus crisis looms large across the country, is the headline maker of the day.

The blanket ban on international flights from March 22 to March 28 is also Page 1 news

In financial news, Mint and Business Standard note the string of meetings that Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will hold to gauge the economic impact of the outbreak.

Before one can reach the flap story in The Times of India, one has to read a four-page advertorial about UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and his achievements ‘Uttar Pradesh Three Fold Success: New India’s New Uttar Pradesh.’

The lead story (‘Modi: 14-hr ‘janata curfew on Sun…’) is on the ‘janata curfew’ this Sunday. The curfew is to be observed by “staying indoors on Sunday between 7am and 9pm as an expression of resolve to emphasise the need to reduce public interaction to the very minimum,” writes TOI, reflecting the PM’s speech.

There’s more news about a “blanket ban on commercial international airlines from operating to India from March 22 till March 28” in ‘Govt bans all int’l…’ The report notes that railways, metros and buses have also been asked to scale down their services.

And Delhiites will have to entertain themselves at home as the  flap report ‘No dining at city restaurants, but delivery & take-out okay’ notes, “…the Delhi government on Thursday closed down dine-in facilities at all restaurants, including those located at five star hotels, till March 31. It also made thermal screening mandatory at shopping malls, courts, offices, hotels, hospitals, residential complexes and other public places.”

The Indian Express, too, leads with PM Modi’s address in ‘Janata Curfew & Janata Thank You Sunday…’ It notes that the curfew will be a test of people’s “self-discipline” and the only exceptions will be “doctors, media and providers of other essential services”. The PM also “urged people to thank them for five minutes at 5 pm by ringing bells, clapping or other means’’.

Meanwhile, “With the COVID-19 wreaking havoc in Indian financial markets”, an economic response task force has also been constituted under Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. According to the page 1 report ‘Economy infected: Task force has a prescription…’, its agenda will include”an immediate cut in policy rate, regulatory forbearance for sectors in the frontline of disruptions, government guarantee for loans to SMEs, deferment of taxes, and livelihood support for unorganised workers”.

The 16 December gang rape-murder convicts were hanged early Friday morning and the Express report, ‘Dec 16 Delhi gangrape convicts…’,  highlights their last ditch effort to avoid the gallows.

A photograph of a steely-faced Ranjan Gogoi, the former chief justice of India, getting out of his car before his oath taking in the Rajya Sabha features on Page 1 with the caption ‘Enters House to Chants of Shame’.

Read the story, ‘In Mumbai’s lifeline on tracks…’, about the big conundrum several employees of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) are facing in the wake of the outbreak— all safai karamcharis have been warned against taking any leave to fight the coronavirus pandemic but what brings them to work, Mumbai’s suburban train network, could become the problem as it transports more than 7.8 million passengers everyday, making it hard to practice precautionary measures.

Unsurprisingly, The Hindu also leads with ‘COVID-19: PM calls for social distancing, people’s curfew’ but the other prominent story, ‘Virus toll touches 5; Gujarat, Chhattisgarh report first cases’ highlights that the total number of active coronavirus cases is 148 so far. While the official death toll in the country is 4, Hindu makes notes of the death of an Indian national in Iran.

The Telegraph is back with its headline game. The lead, ‘All hands on deck and one hand on thaali’ compares the responses of the Modi government, the Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal and Pinarayi Vijayan’s government in Kerala to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Impressed by the Kerala government, Telegraph notes, “The voice that reassured Malayalis two years ago when floods ravaged Kerala is making its presence felt again in the state that was first hit in India by the coronavirus. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is defying the nose-diving fortunes of communists elsewhere in the country by displaying stellar leadership that has left the Congress-led Opposition in disarray.”

While speaking about PM Modi’s speech the paper notes, “Modi did not announce any such drastic step. He underscored that panic must be avoided.”

The New Indian Express front page is cluttered with coronavirus news. Apart from the PM’s speech, the page is taken up by updates on the outbreak and a directive listing how to wash hands. The list of updates includes: ‘Punjab man 4th fatality in India’, ‘All govt, semi-govt departments in Rajasthan closed’, ‘Puri, Tirupati Balaji temples bar entry of devotees’, ‘Third positive case in State (Tamil Nadu)’ and ‘…no fresh domestic case in China’.

Mumbai Mirror worries that not enough is being done to detect coronavirus cases. Its lead says, ‘As queues at Kasturba – the only Covid-19 testing center – grow longer. AWAITED: TESTS AND MORE TESTS’. It notes that Maharashtra is the epicentre and also the “slow response to two letters to ICMR to allow more testing centres”.

It adds forcefully, “In light of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to the nation Thursday evening, reinforcing the alarming health crisis the country is facing, even calling for a complete lockdown this Sunday, it is inexplicable the number of Covid-19 tests carried out in Mumbai and in the state in the past couple of weeks has been so low.”

The ‘flap’ in The Tribune is another front page with as many stories. Like the Hindustan Times yesterday, today, Tribune has a small “announcement”, “reassuring” readers that the paper will respond to the ongoing pandemic as it has done in the past crises. “The Tribune is printed and published in a safe, hygienic and sanitised environment,” it promises.

The Chandigarh-based daily notes that Nawanshahr village in Punjab, the village of the fourth victim of coronavirus infection, has been put under quarantine. “Police checkpoints had been set up at eight entry points, a doctor deputed and a vehicle pressed into service to ensure uninterrupted supply of essential commodities to the village (of 2,200 people)” the report notes.

And in another public health hazard, some reassuring news too. Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari told the Lok Sabha Thursday that the “number of road accidents in the country has gone down by an average 10 per cent since the implementation of the new Motor Vehicles Act and a steep increase in fines”. He also said that the “killer/black spots have now increased to 5,000 for which the government has made a Rs 14,000-crore plan”.

Mint has an important message for the country: ‘Stay at Home, India’ as it highlights the “drastic measures” being implemented by the Modi administration. “From a group of ministers (GoM) set up to monitor the situation, to a ‘mitigation plan’ that involves roping in Employees’ State Insurance Corporation, defence, railways and paramilitary personnel; India is pulling out all stops to mitigate the crisis,” the report notes.

Also, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who is heading the economic meeting “will meet animal husbandry, dairy and fisheries, civil aviation, MSME, and tourism ministers on Friday to assess the economic impact of the outbreak”.

Market regulator Sebi has eased the deadline for publicly traded companies to file their earnings reports (‘Sebi gives companies more time…’). “Companies, which had 45 days from the end of the quarter to file their quarterly earnings, will now get an extra 45 days.”

The anchor story reflects public anxiety in ‘Panic buying holds up Big Basket’s deliveries’ which says online buyers are stocking up on provisions out of sheer panic over the outbreak. Online grocery app BigBasket “is finding it tough to fulfil a sudden surge in orders as people resort to panic buying”. “Consumer staples such as flour, tea and milk are out of stock on the grocer’s app,” the report notes.

Business Standard also focuses on the Finance Minister’s meeting with the different ministers today “to gauge the economic impact of the pandemic and take suitable steps”.

There’s an exclusive report ‘NPA norms may be eased…’ about the relief package being drawn up by the government for the industry. “The relocation of asset-classification norms by banks, thus allowing companies to delay the repayment of loans, and tax holidays for the worst-hit sectors like aviation and hospitality are expected to part of the package,” the report notes and says that the Economic Response Tax Force “is also expected to announce sector-specific measures in the coming weeks”.

Among the other drastic steps the government is considering is unemployment benefits to “a section of organised workers who may lose their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic”. The report ‘Unemployment sops to affected workers on cars’ reveals that “the government’s ‘Atal Beema Vyakti Kalyan Yojana’, which provides unemployment insurance to workers who have subscribed to the Employees’ State Insurance scheme, will cover such workers”.

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  1. Shekarji, I am disappointed with your moderator allowing the post of Samir Sardana, literally bringing down the decency and decorum of the comments section. Do you people allow abusive language in the name of freedom, hurting the sentiments of many?

  2. Blunders are a way of life with Narendra Modi – the Tea Vendor PM Of India – whose mother Was a dishwasher.He correlates his mother with Ho Chi Minh who was a dishwasher in London.

    Throughout Indian History – when men w/o pedigree,have ruled over India – they have destroyed India immediately thereafter.They all thought they were special,and from the grass roots.This is a apocalyptic trait peculiar to Hindoos.dindooohindoo

    To hide over the “shame of their birth and upbringing” and the “vicious physical and mental torture” as children – they “gravitate to extreme forms of menial thought and cruelty” – ignoring all sage counsel – as they feel it is a sign of courage and fortitude,in the face of adversity and pressures (Like the Kashmir disaster).

    Some Samples

    Ashoka – Born out of wedlock to a dancer (who was not a Kshatriya),was of ugly features,mocked all his life by his brothers (born from wedlock).
    Net Result – Ashoka Killed all his family members,became a murderous savage – and then met a monk and became a Buddhist (easy kill for the monk).The Monk convinced him to set up a “Temple of Hell on Earth” (where insane and cruel forms of torture were witnessed by Ashoka and the Monk – what impact would that have had on Ashoka’s cranium).His defective DNA – both his children left India forever and his wife poisoned the roots of the Bodhee Tree.
    Ashoka beheaded 19000 Jain Monks in 1 Day.

    Ade Shankara – Was called a Bastard by Madhavacharya.His mother was a Brahmin – and his father was unknown.All his life he suffered taunts from the lower castes and Kshatriyas w.r.t. his birth.Net Result – he immersed himself in religion and managed to enter the dead body of a king to have sex with the wife of the dead king.This man vented his entire hate of women,Lower castes, harlots. Kshatriyas etc. into his “magnum opus on Hindooism” – which treated women worse than aninals,and Dalits as “not even sentients”.His magnum opus was “used to destroy Buddhists and Buddhism” (as his opus was a copy and paste pf Pali scriptures), cement caste and Brahminism – which led to the Mughal invasions and rampages.If the the millions,had stood up against the
    Mughals – history would have been just the reverse.But the Dalits did not care – as the Mughals came to redeem the Dalits , Devdasis and Hindoo women

    The Blunders of the Chaiwala – which you will not read in the media – as the media is owned by Banias and operated by Brahmins – a race of servile slaves and cowards.

    The Chronicles of Narendra (Narnia Chaiwala) Modi

    Make in India = Total Disaster. The man has destroyed the atchitecture of manufacturing.It is no surprise – as Rama used apes to make a bridge to Lanka.Rama knew the worth of Indians
    Exports from India = Total Disaster.So long as PRC exists – and the sea exists (with the commercial principles of Archimedes,for a ship), there is nothing which an Indian can make – which cannot be sold faster,cheaper,better and at a better quality by the PRC.The PRC conquered India 2000 years ago – via the Yueh Chi Tribe (who were kicked out of Imperial China).Indians excel only in making and cleaning toilets – which unfortunately cannot be exported – as Bill
    Gates is making tolets in Africa
    Defense Manufacturing in India = Total Disaster.Pakistan is exporting JF to East Asia and West Asia and Africa and has got orders from Malaysia – and the Hindoos are still struggling to make the Arjuna – MBT .Arjuna was a impotent,coward and a eunuch – as per the Mahabharata ! Touche ! Arjuna – was “cursed by Urvashi “,to be an “impotent and a eunuch”
    The Mahabharata, Book 3: Vana Parva: Indralokagamana Parva: Section XLVI
    O Partha, thou shalt have to pass thy time among females unregarded, and as a dancer, and “destitute of manhood and scorned as a eunuch
    Demonetisation = Total Disaster.The man has wiped out the SME sector FOREVER.That was the aim.The Ego Trip was to Monetise the Grey economy (to bull shit at G-7,via a higher GDP,and to shift the unorganised sector to Ambani and Company)
    GST = Disaster for SME and Unorganised sector.The man has wiped out the SME sector FOREVER.Now the scams will start
    Space = Disaster.ISRO Chandrayaan has doomed all hopes.The problem of the Hindoo – 1 low brain ASAT hit and they start dreaming and jay walking.All the effect of Gau Maut-ram
    Employment = Disaster.Destruction of all SME and Unorganised Jobs – FOREVER.
    IAF = Disaster.IAF completely destroyed by the PAF.The IAF took the advice of Modi.They did not send the best fighter jets against the PAF – Why ? How did 6 PAF – F-16s cross the Indian ADS (in daylight) and almost kill the Indian Army Chief and GOC-in-C Northern Command (and all escaped the ADS on the way back
    and the ADS shit down its own Chopper)
    Banking = Doomed.NPA is at least 400 Billion USD in the organised sector – RBI is defrauding the nation by hiding and lying.MUDRA loans are 150 Billion USD of which at least 40% will disappear.Then there is the informal banking disaster (NBFC/Chit Funds etc.).It

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