HIGHLIGHTS AT 9.45 PM

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New Delhi, Mar 16 (PTI) These are the top stories at 9.45 PM: NATION DEL82 LDALL VIRUS Maharashtra at 'beginning of second COVID wave', warns central team as countrywide cases cross 20,000 for 6th day New Delhi: A central team has warned that Maharashtra is at the 'beginning' of a second COVID-19 wave prompting the Union government to tell the worst hit state on Tuesday to focus on strict containment strategies even as India recorded over 20,000 coronavirus cases for the sixth consecutive day.

DEL70 PAR-LD VACCINE COVID vaccine not exported at expense of Indians: Harshvardhan New Delhi: A total of 5.94 crore doses of Indian-made COVID-19 vaccine has been exported to 72 countries till March 15 but it is in no way being sent at the expense of the people of India, Health Minister Harvardhan informed Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.

DEL11 BIZ-BANK-STRIKE Nationwide bank strike continues to impact PSB services on Day 2 New Delhi: Bank strike continued for day-two on Tuesday, led by nine unions of public sector banks (PSBs) in the country, opposing government's policy to privatise the lenders.

CAL26 WB-LDALL POLL BJP's war machine carpet-bombs Bengal, Mamata snipes at Shah Kolkata: BJP's star campaigners Tuesday carpet-bombed West Bengal with rallies, ridiculing Mamata Banerjee for her recent visit to temples and her new-found love for 'Chandi path', provoking retaliatory fire from the TMC boss who accused Home Minister Amit Shah of hatching a conspiracy against her party.

DEL68 CAB-LD DFI Cabinet approves bill to set up DFI for funding infrastructure projects New Delhi: The Union Cabinet on Tuesday approved a bill to set up a Development Finance Institution (DFI) to raise long-term capital to fund infrastructure development, as the government has envisaged an investment of Rs 111 lakh crore by 2025.

DEL43 ENV-AIR POLLUTION-REPORT 22 of world's 30 most polluted cities are in India: Report New Delhi: Twenty-two of the world's 30 most polluted cities are in India, with Delhi being ranked as the most polluted capital city globally, a new report said on Tuesday. DEL20 LD DASGUPTA Swapan Dasgupta tenders resignation as Rajya Sabha member New Delhi: Nominated Rajya Sabha member Swapan Dasgupta on Tuesday tendered his resignation from the upper house of Parliament after being named as a BJP candidate in the West Bengal assembly elections.

PAR11 LS-LD RAIL-GOYAL Indian Railways will never be privatised: Goyal New Delhi: Railways Minister Piyush Goyal on Tuesday asserted that Indian Railways will never be privatised but said private investment should be encouraged for more efficient functioning.

DEL63 BIZ-FM-BANKS Govt committed to protecting interest of staff in PSBs that may be privatised, says FM New Delhi: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday said the interest of all employees of state-owned banks which are likely to be privatised will be protected, even as bank unions observed a two-day strike against the government's privatisation decision.

DEL67 DEF-KRAS-MISSILE KRAS rolls out first batch of MRSAM missile for Indian Army & Air Force New Delhi: Kalyani Rafael Advanced Systems (KRAS) on Tuesday rolled out its first batch of medium range surface-to-air missile (MRSAM) for the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force.

DEL78 NCPCR-NETFLIX-BOMBAY BEGUMS NCPCR asks Netflix to remove 'objectionable' scenes of children from Bombay Begums New Delhi: Apex child rights body NCPCR on Tuesday asked online streaming platform Netflix to remove 'objectionable' scenes involving children from its series 'Bombay Begums' and gave it time till Thursday to act upon the issue.

LEGAL LGD1 SC-ZAKIA Gujarat riots: SC to hear plea of Zakia Jafri against SIT's clean chit to Modi on April 13 New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday fixed for hearing on April 13 the plea of Zakia Jafri, wife of slain MP Ehsan Jafri, challenging the SIT's clean chit to then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi in the 2002 riots, saying it would not entertain any request of adjournment on the next date.

LGD12 SC-QUOTA If only Parliament can make SEBC list, then Maratha quota beyond legislative competence: SC New Delhi: The Supreme Court Tuesday observed if the argument that after 102nd amendment of the Constitution only Parliament can prepare one 'Central' list of SEBC is accepted, then Maharashtra law granting quota to Marathas’ cannot be passed as it would be beyond the state's legislative competence.

FOREIGN FGN46 CHINA-LD VISA China to permit Indians and people from 19 countries to return only if they take Chinese vaccines Beijing/New Delhi: China has made it mandatory for people coming from India and 19 other nations to get Chinese-made COVID-19 vaccines if they want to travel to this country. By K J M Varma FGN53 UK-LD-INDOPACIFIC UK to shift foreign policy focus to Indo-Pacific in post-Brexit review London: The UK must do more to adapt to major changes in the world and therefore shift its foreign policy focus to the Indo-Pacific region, with countries such as India, Japan and Australia, a year-long of the country’s post-Brexit “Global Britain” vision concluded on Tuesday. By Aditi Khanna. PTI HDA