A man using a piece
of cloth to shield
himself from the
heat in New Delhi.
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Central investigators question key
opposition party leader
The Central Bureau of Investigation
called in Delhi Chief Minister Arvind
Kejriwal on Sunday to question him
over allegations of irregularities in a
new liquor policy that was accused of
favouring private retailers.
This case also led to the arrest of
former deputy chief minister Manish
Sisodia in February.
Both politicians have denied any
Mr Kejriwal said he was asked 56
questions, all of which he answered.
He tweeted that he would continue his
fight against oppression.
Death toll in Bihar hooch tragedy
rises to 32
The death toll in a toxic liquor
consumption case in Bihar rose to 32
on Monday, All India Radio reported.
The figure is likely to increase as
the condition of 14 people is critical
and they are undergoing treatment in
different hospitals in Motihari and
The deaths were first reported on
Saturday in East Champaran district.
Senior police officer in Motihari
Kantesh Kumar Mishra said five
station house officers and nine village
watch and ward personnel have been
Daily Covid count crosses 12,000,
highest in eight months
India recorded 12,591 new Covid
cases in a day, the highest in around
eight months, while the active case
burden increased to 65,286, according
to Union Health Ministry data updated
The death toll has increased to
5,31,230 with 40 fatalities, which
includes 11 reconciled by Kerala.
The total tally of Covid cases was
recorded at 4.48 crore. The daily
positivity rate was 5.46 per cent and
the weekly positivity rate was 5.32 per
Active cases now comprise 0.15 per
cent of the total infections, while the
national Covid-19 recovery rate was
98.67 per cent. The number of people
who have recuperated from the disease
has surged to 4,42,61, 476 while the
case fatality rate was recorded at 1.18
Nepal’s president flown to New
Delhi for medical treatment
Nepal’s President Ram Chandra
Paudel was flown by air ambulance on
Wednesday to New Delhi to seek
advanced treatment for chest and
abdominal problems at a premier
The 78-year-old spent five days this
month at Tribhuvan University
Teaching Hospital in Kathmandu after
complaining of a chest problem. He
was taken to the hospital again on
Tuesday with the same problem. This
time, Nepali doctors and family
members decided he should be sent to
the state-run All-India Institute of
Medical Sciences in New Delhi for
“better and advanced treatment”.
Stress seen as major cause of
Indian military fratricides
The arrest of an Indian Army soldier
over the killing of four colleagues at a
military base has brought into focus
the issue of fratricide in the country’s
military and paramilitary forces.
Fratricide, in military parlance,
refers to a soldier or security
personnel killing their own colleagues.
Multiple studies over the last two
decades have attributed fratricides and
suicides in India’s armed forces to
stress and depression.
On Monday, police in Punjab said
they had arrested the soldier at
Bathinda military base.
The army said the soldier had
“confessed to his involvement”in
stealing an assault rifle and killing four
colleagues last week and that “initial
investigations indicate that this was
apparently due to personal reasons or
Villages under curfew after deadly
Hundreds of villagers in Uttarakhand
were under orders not to leave their
homes after dark on Monday after two
people were killed in tiger attacks.
The curfew banned people in two
districts from going out between 7pm
and 6am. Schools were also closed for
two days, starting Monday.
Officials said the first death was
reported on April 13 and the second
on April 16 but it was unclear whether
the two killings involved the same
At least 108 people were killed in
tiger attacks in India between 2019
and mid-2021, the government said
Govt calls same-sex marriage
appeals ‘urban elitist views’
Court appeals in India to legalise
same-sex marriage are “urban elitist
views”, the Central government said
in a new court document that seeks
the dismissal of the challenge and says
that parliament is the right platform to
debate the matter.
The government has already
opposed the appeals, including some
by gay couples, on the grounds that
same-sex marriages are not
“comparable with the Indian family
unit concept of a husband, a wife and
Delhi refuses to renew Pernod’s
liquor sale licence
The Delhi government has rejected
Pernod Ricard’s application to renew
its liquor sale licence, citing ongoing
investigations into the company – the
latest blow to the French spirits giant
in a critical growth market.
Pernod in a statement to Reuters
said it will challenge the decision and
“is keen to restart supplies as soon as
The April 13 order from
government authorities said the
decision was reached after reviewing
Pernod’s licence application along with
“considerable documents” received
from investigating agencies in India.
Balbir Singh Sr, Milkha Singh to
figure in Punjab textbooks
To motivate and encourage students to
excel in sports, the life stories of four
great sportsmen from Punjab will be
taught in local schools, said the state’s
School Education Minister Harjot
The four are three-time hockey
Olympian Balbir Singh Sr, legendary
athlete Milkha Singh, Asian champion
boxer Kaur Singh and India’s first
Olympian athlete Gurbachan Singh
They have been included in the
physical education textbooks of Class
9 and 10.
Mizoram declared happiest state
Mizoram has been declared the
happiest state in India according to a
study conducted by Rajesh K Pillania,
professor of strategy at the
Management Development Institute in
According to his report, the state,
which is the second in India to achieve
100 per cent literacy, offers students
opportunities for growth even in the
most difficult of circumstances.
“Mizoram’s happiness index is
based on six parameters including
family relationships, work-related
issues, social issues and philanthropy,
religion, Covid-19’s effect on
happiness and physical and mental
health,” it said.
Indian climber Baljeet Kaur
arriving at the Clinic Travel
Medicine Centre Hospital in
Kathmandu, Nepal, for treatment
The prominent climber was
rescued on Tuesday, a day after
she went missing near Camp IV
(7,375m) on Mount Annapurna
while descending from the summit.
She was found above Camp IV
and airlifted to the base camp and
then to Kathmandu, where she is
being treated for frostbite.
Another Indian climber Anurag
Maloo, who went missing last
week while descending Mount
Annapurna, was found alive on
Thursday, but is in a critical
He has been taken to hospital
in Kathmandu for treatment.
Three other climbers –
Shehroze Kashif and Naila Kiani
from Pakistan and Arjun Vajpai
from India – were also rescued,
while Noel Hanna from Ireland
was found dead.
Climber Baljeet Kaur rescued
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Nearly 90 per cent of India can be
severely impacted by abnormal rise in
temperatures caused by climate
change, a new study has shown, even
as the country reels from scorching
More than 48 meteorological sta-
tions across India recorded more than
42 deg C on Tuesday, with the highest
at 45.2 in Bundi, Rajasthan. Prayagraj
and Hamirpur in Uttar Pradesh and
Bubaneswar in Odisha recorded 44.2.
In New Delhi, hot weather condi-
tions persisted for the third consecu-
tive day on Wednesday, with weather
stations recording the maximum tem-
perature at 5 deg C above normal.
The threshold for a heatwave is 40
deg C in the plains, 37 deg C in
coastal areas and 30 deg C in hilly
regions. The departure from normal in
India is at least 4.5 deg C.
Not only will heatwaves adversely
hit people’s productivity, health and
well-being, but also critically hamper
the country’s progress towards its sus-
tainable development goals.
The new study, led by University of
Cambridge researchers in the United
Kingdom, analysed India’s latest heat
index (HI) along with climate vulnera-
bility index (CVI) using 2022’s record-
breaking heatwave as a case study. It
shows that heatwaves are now likely to
put more states at extreme climate risk
than previously estimated by the gov-
“Heatwaves are getting more in-
tense in India, putting 80 per cent of
the country’s people in danger, which
remains unaccounted for in its current
climate vulnerability assessment. If this
impact is not addressed immediately,
India can slow its progress towards
sustainable development goals,” the
“It is high time that climate experts
and policymakers re-evaluate the met-
rics for assessing the country’s climate
India usually assesses its vulnerabil-
ity to climate change through CVI – an
index devised by the department of
science and technology (DST).
According to this index, around 20
per cent of the country is highly
vulnerable to climate change. But the
heat index puts 90 per cent of India in
the danger zone, the researchers said.
The report shows that almost all of
Delhi’s population of 32 million is
threatened by severe heatwave impact,
which is not reflected in its recent state
action plan for climate change.
“Our estimation shows that 100 per
cent of the city is at ‘danger’ HI levels.
This is concerning as the current heat-
action plans are designed and imple-
mented as per the Delhi government’s
vulnerability assessment, which does
not include HI estimations,” the au-
thors said in the study published in
peer-reviewed journal PLOS Climate.
This is further worsened by fast-
paced urbanisation leading to a “heat
island effect”, they said.
Earlier this week, 13 people died
from heatstroke and many others were
admitted to hospital after attending a
government-sponsored event in an
open ground under a blazing sun in
Navi Mumbai in Maharashtra.
According to a medical journal The
Lancet study, India is one of the
countries most exposed and vulnerable
Heatwaves are predicted to arrive
earlier, stay longer and become more
Climatologist and weather historian
Maximiliano Herrera described the un-
usually high temperatures in India and
China, which have caused deaths and
school closures, as the “worst April
heatwave in Asian history”.
The April heatwave has battered
some Indian states, with the meteoro-
logical department this week issuing
an orange warning of a severe heat-
wave in parts of Bihar, Jharkhand,
Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and West
Bengal – states with a high proportion
of rural workers and labourers who
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata
Banerjee closed all schools in the state
this week due to concerns over the
severe heat, and urged private educa-
tion institutions to take the same
measures. She was cited to be saying
that the heat has caused health prob-
lems, such as headaches, in children.
Schools have also been closed this
week in Tripura and Odisha, while in
Delhi schools will no longer conduct
Meghalaya’s West Garo Hills district
administration ordered schools to re-
main shut for three days from Wednes-
day due to the heat, reported PTI.
The weather office has predicted
above-average temperatures and heat-
waves until the end of May.
Average temperatures in India have
risen by around 0.7 per cent between
1901 and 2018.
Heatwaves killed more than 22,000
people between 1992 and 2015 in
India, according to official figures.
Experts reckon the actual toll would
be much higher.
Yet, the country really “hasn’t un-
derstood the importance of heat and
how heat can kill”, said the director of
the Gujarat-based Indian Institute of
Public Health Dileep Mavalankar.
“This is partly because we don’t
compile our mortality data properly.”
India saw a 55 per cent rise in
deaths due to extreme heat between
2000-2004 and 2017-2021, a recent
study published in The Lancet found.
Exposure to heat also caused a loss
of 167.2 billion labour hours among
Indians in 2021, resulting in loss of
incomes equivalent to about 5.4 per
cent of the country’s GDP.
But Indians are still not taking heat
According to reports, the govern-
ment event in Navi Mumbai recorded
a maximum temperature of 38 deg C
on Sunday. Yet, photos of the event
showed thousands sitting directly un-
der the sun with no shelter. Only a few
carried umbrellas or wrapped towels
on their heads.
“I live in Delhi where the tempera-
ture can touch 50 deg C and I see very
few people with umbrellas,” said Mr
Aditya Valiathan Pillai of think-tank
Centre for Policy Research.
Indo-Asian News Service
The government-sponsored event under a blazing sun in Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra.
putting 80 per
cent of the
for in its
– Report by University
90% of India vulnerable to heatwave
April 21, 2023
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