Top news of the day: SC notice to Centre, WhatsApp on plea alleging lower standards of privacy for Indian users; SC allows journalist Siddique Kappan to visit ailing mother in Kerala, and more

The major news headlines of the day, and more.

India is putting out its mapping, geospatial data available for general use

India’s Department of Science and Technology (DST) on Monday opened access to its geospatial data and services, including maps, for all Indian entities by saying, “what is readily available globally does not need to be regulated.” The move is said to release a lot of data that is currently restricted and not available for free.

WhatsApp policy: Indians apprehensive about privacy, says CJI

Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad A. Bobde on Monday said Indians have “grave apprehensions” about privacy from Facebook and WhatsApp.

SC allows journalist Siddique Kappan to visit ailing mother in Kerala

The Supreme Court on Monday gave Kerala Union of Working Journalists’ secretary Siddique Kappan, charged with sedition and in a Uttar Pradesh jail since October, five days to visit his mother at her deathbed in Kerala.

India set to roll out newer COVID-19 vaccines in next 2-3 months: Harsh Vardhan

In the coming two to three months, India would be all set to roll out more COVID-19 vaccines other than the two in use now, said Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan on Monday. The country had not seen a single vaccine-related death so far and negligible rate of hospitalisation following vaccination, he claimed.

No COVID-19 deaths in 18 States/Union Territories in last 24 hours

Eighteen States/UTs, including Assam, Rajasthan, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, Manipur, Nagaland, Lakshadweep and Meghalaya, have not reported any COVID-19 deaths in the last 24 hours, with ten States/UTs not reporting any COVID-19 deaths in the last week. These include Arunachal Pradesh, Ladakh, Lakshadweep, Manipur, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura, according to data released by the Health Ministry on Monday.

Ind vs Eng, 1st Test, Day 3 | Ashwin’s master-class century puts India in command as England wobble in chase of 482

R. Ashwin first gave a lesson on how to bowl on a rank turner and then provided a batting master-class with a sparkling hundred on a deteriorating strip, putting India on the brink of a massive series-levelling victory against England on the third day of the second Test in Chennai.

Explained | The disengagement plan between India and China along the LAC

Starting in April 2020, China amassed a large number of troops and armaments along the disputed Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh and other areas along the 3,488 km LAC, leading to stand-offs and skirmishes at Galwan Valley, Pangong Tso (lake), Gogra-Hot Springs and other areas. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) moved into Indian territory and built fortified structures and defences, changing the status quo on the ground. While there are differences in perception on the alignment of the LAC, over the years both sides concluded a series of agreements to maintain peace and tranquillity on the border, while talks continued to resolve the dispute.

Data | As petrol prices cross ₹90 per litre, new cess could deepen Centre’s coffers

Following Mumbai, petrol prices in Chennai breached the ₹90/litre mark in February. Delhi and Kolkata are about a rupee short of the mark. Heavy taxation on crude oil combined with a significant uptick in international crude prices are responsible for this recent price rise. While the recently introduced Agriculture Infrastructure and Development cess on crude oil will not burden the customers, the money collected will not be shared with States as they are excluded from the purview of the divisible pool of taxes. Importantly, not a single rupee of the cess collected on crude oil in the past ten years was used for the intended purposes.

Nikita, Shantanu, Disha created and spread ‘toolkit’: Delhi Police

Mumbai-based activist Nikita Jacob, associates Shantanu and activist Disha Ravi created the ‘toolkit’ on farmers’ protest and spread it further, Delhi Police said on Monday.

Former Supreme Court judge P.B. Sawant passes away at 90

Former Supreme Court judge P.B. Sawant passed away at his Pune residence after a brief illness on February 15, aged 90.

BJP names former BPF member Biswajit Daimary as its Rajya Sabha candidate from Assam

The BJP on February 15 named Biswajit Daimary, who had joined it after quitting his Rajya Sabha seat as a Bodoland People’s Front MP, as its candidate for the bye-election to the Upper House from Assam.

AIADMK only party that fulfils promises: C.M. Palaniswami

The AIADMK is the only party that fulfils all the promises made in its election manifesto, asserted AIADMK co-coordinator and Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami in Coimbatore on Monday.

Mamata Banerjee launches ‘Maa’ scheme to provide meals at ₹5 to poor people

Ahead of the assembly election in the State, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday virtually launched the ‘Maa’ scheme under which her government would provide a meal at a nominal cost of ₹5 to poor people.

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