Highlights

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New Delhi, Feb 4 (PTI) Following are the top stories at 9 pm: NATION DEL58 UP-3RDLD PM Previous govts drafted Budget with eye on vote bank: PM Gorakhpur: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said the previous governments drafted the Union budgets with an eye on their vote banks and made them just a medium for making promises they could not fulfil.

DEL55 US-INDIA-2NDLD FARMERS US calls for dialogue to resolve farmers' protests; backs govt steps to improve efficiency of Indian markets New Delhi/Washington: In its first reaction to the ongoing farmers' agitation, the new US administration on Thursday said it encourages that any differences between the parties be resolved through dialogue even as it backed steps that can improve the efficiency of India's markets and attract greater investment. DEL80 FARMERS-MEA-INDOUS US reaction to farmer protests must be seen in its entirety: India New Delhi: Hours after the Biden Administration reacted to the farmer protests, India on Thursday said the comments must be seen in their entirety, and appeared to compare the reactions and sentiments in the country after incidents of violence and vandalism at the Red Fort on January 26 to those following the recent clashes at the US' Capitol Hill. DEL81 DL-FARMERS-POLICE Farmers' protest toolkit: Delhi Police files FIR, suspects Khalistan link New Delhi: The Delhi Police on Thursday said it has registered an FIR against unnamed persons in connection with the 'toolkit', which was shared by teen climate activist Greta Thunberg and others on Twitter, with a top official saying that the initial probe has suggested the document's link with a pro-Khalistan group.

DEL9 VIRUS-LD CASES COVID-19: India records 12,899 new cases, 107 fatalities New Delhi: With 12,899 people testing positive for coronavirus infection in a day, India's COVID-19 tally of cases rose to 1,07,90,183, while the recoveries surged to 1,04,80,455, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Thursday.

DEL50 VIRUS-HEALTH MINISTRY 21.5 pc of population showed evidence of past exposure to COVID in latest national serosurvey: Govt New Delhi: Over 21 per cent of the population, aged 10 years and above, showed evidence of past exposure to COVID-19 in the ICMR's latest national serosurvey, the government said on Thursday, noting that a large proportion of people are still vulnerable to the infection. MDS7 AEROINDIA-RAJNATH-IOR 'One's threat today may be another's tomorrow': India seeks to rally Indian Ocean Region countries Bengaluru: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday, in an apparent reference to the disputed South China Sea, said conflicting claims in some maritime areas have seen negative impact, amid continued border standoff with China.

DEL77 BJP-FARMERS Indian democracy doesn't need foreign certificate: BJP on global celebrities' support to farmer protest New Delhi: The ruling BJP on Thursday dubbed the support of some foreign celebrities to the protesting farmers as an attempt to destabilise the country and said that the Indian democracy doesn't need foreign certificate.

DEL39 RAHUL-BUDGET-MSME MSMEs 'betrayed' in 'crony-centric' budget: Rahul New Delhi: Describing the Union Budget as 'crony-centric', Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said the micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) were given no low interest loans or GST relief which meant that the employers of India's largest workforce were 'betrayed'.

LEGAL LGD4 SC-TREES-REPORT Heritage trees more beneficial than construction of railway over bridges:SC told New Delhi: The 300 heritage trees that are to be chopped for the construction of five railway over bridges in West Bengal are valued at Rs 220 crore in terms of oxygen and other products they offer which means a living tree will be more beneficial than the project, an expert committee has told the Supreme Court.

LGD15 RJ-HC-SALMAN-BLACKBUCK Salman Khan seeks HC nod to appear by video conferencing in poaching case Jodhpur: Actor Salman Khan moved the Rajasthan High Court on Thursday seeking exemption from a sessions court direction for him to appear in person for the hearing on appeals in the blackbuck poaching case and sought permission to appear in the proceedings virtually from Mumbai itself.

LGD14 SC-MEDICAL Migration of MBBS student from unrecognized college to recognized one impermissible: SC New Delhi: Migration of a student pursuing an undergraduate medical course is permissible only if both the medical colleges are recognized by the Central Government under the law, the Supreme Court has ruled. FOREIGN FGN18 VIRUS-UN-SERUM-VACCINES Serum Institute of India, UNICEF enter into long-term supply for COVID-19 vaccines United Nations: The Serum Institute of India (SII) and UNICEF have entered into a long-term supply agreement for the AstraZeneca/Oxford and the Novavax vaccines, with the UN children’s agency saying it will have access to up to 1.1 billion doses of vaccines for around 100 countries. By Yoshita Singh FGN7 US-INDIA-LD FARMERS Steps that would improve efficiency of India's markets welcome: US Washington: Recognising that peaceful protests are a hallmark of a thriving democracy, the US has said it welcomes steps that would improve the efficiency of India's markets and attract greater private sector investment. By Lalit K Jha PTI TDS TDS