HIGHLIGHTS

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New Delhi, Apr 20 (PTI) Following are the top stories at 5 pm.

IN THE PIPELINE Defence Minister asks def PSUs, DRDO, Ordinance Factory Board to work on 'war footing' to provide oxygen cylinders, beds to state govts.

Economic interests do not override human lives, says Delhi HC; suggests cutting steel, petroleum production to divert oxygen to COVID-19 patients.

ON THE WIRE NATION DEL9 VIRUS-LD CASES COVID-19: India adds 2,59,170 new cases in single day, record 1,761 fresh fatalities New Delhi: India's total tally of COVID-19 cases climbed to 1,53,21,089 with 2,59,170 new coronavirus infections being reported in a day, while active cases surpassed the 20-lakh mark, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Tuesday.

DEL59 VIRUS-MHA-UT Centre asks union territories to ramp up testing; augment lab, hospital infrastructure New Delhi: The Centre on Tuesday advised union territories to ramp up testing for COVID-19 and augment laboratory and hospital infrastructure to prepare for the next three weeks keeping in view the critical situation.

DEL56 CONG-VACCINE-POLICY Cong slams new vaccination policy as 'regressive, inequitable; demands one nation, one price New Delhi: A day after the government tweaked its COVID-19 vaccination policy to widen the coverage, the Congress Tuesday alleged the changes will worsen the inequality between states as well as between poor and rich Indians, and demanded uniform pricing for the jabs at all health facilities.

DEL51 MAMATA-VACCINE-PM Mamata Banerjee writes to PM Modi, says Centre's vaccine policy appears hollow, without substance New Delhi/Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, hitting out at the Centre's new vaccine policy and terming it 'hollow, without substance and a regrettable show' of evasion of responsibility.

DEL25 VIRUS-LD ICSE-BOARD-EXAMS COVID: ICSE cancels class 10 boards exams, withdraws option for students to appear later New Delhi: The ICSE class 10 board exams have been cancelled in view of the worsening COVID-19 situation and the option for students to appear later has been withdrawn, board secretary Gerry Arathoon said on Tuesday.

DEL44 VIRUS-MOE-NET UGC-NET postponed in view of COVID-19 situation: Union education minister New Delhi: The UGC-National Eligibility Test (NET) scheduled to be held from May 2 to 17 has been postponed in view of the COVID-19 pandemic situation, Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' announced on Tuesday.

LEGAL LGD29 DL-HC-VIRUS-VACCINATION HC displeased over huge wastage of vaccines; says vaccinate whom all you can New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday expressed displeasure over 'huge wastage' of vaccines and asked the Centre to vaccinate whomsoever it can to ensure there is no wastage.

LGD19 SC-LOCKDOWN-3RDLD UP SC stays HC order directing UP govt to impose strict restrictions in 5 cities New Delhi: The Supreme Court Tuesday stayed the Allahabad High Court order directing the Uttar Pradesh Government to impose strict restrictions till April 26 in five cities amid the surge in COVID-19 cases.

BUSINESS DEL55 BIZ-VIRUS-LD FINMIN-VACCINE Govt to provide Rs 4,500 cr booster to vaccine manufacturers for ramping up capacity New Delhi: Looking to ramp up supplies ahead of the opening of Covid-19 vaccination to all citizens over 18 years of age, the government has approved a payment of about Rs 4,500 crore as advance to vaccine makers like Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech against future supplies, sources said.

DEL46 BIZ-BHARAT-BIOTECH-VACCINE Bharat Biotech ramps up Covaxin production capacity to 700 mn doses per annum New Delhi: To support vaccination campaigns in India and across the globe, Bharat Biotech has ramped up the manufacturing capacity of its COVID-19 vaccine, Covaxin, to 700 million doses per annum, the vaccine maker said on Tuesday.

FOREIGN FGN22 CHINA-XI-BFA Xi hits out at US; says there should be no 'bossing' and 'meddling' in other's internal affairs Beijing: Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday hit out at the US, saying there should be no 'bossing' and 'meddling' in the internal affairs of other countries as Beijing is increasingly coming under pressure from Washington and its allies over issues of human rights violations, Taiwan and Hong Kong. By K J M Varma FGN21 PAK-TLP-AGREEMENT Pak govt surrenders before radical Islamist party, announces resolution to expel French envoy Islamabad/Lahore: Pakistan’s government on Tuesday announced to introduce a resolution in Parliament on the expulsion of the French ambassador and quash all cases filed against the banned Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) as it reached a deal with the radical Islamist party following a marathon round of talks. By Sajjad Hussain and M Zulqernain FGN20 CHINA-INDIA Leaders’ consensus to maintain peace at borders cannot be 'swept under carpet', India tells China Beijing: India has told China that the significance of the consensus reached between their leaders to maintain peace along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) cannot be 'swept under the carpet' and called for the complete disengagement of troops in eastern Ladakh to rebuild bilateral ties strained by the 'serious incidents' which has strongly impacted the public opinion. By K J M Varma PTI IJT IJT