Morning Digest: Government puts off decision on tax relief for COVID-19 supplies; Jaishankar, Antony Blinken hold bilateral talks, and more

A select list of stories to read before you start your day.

GST Council leaves tax rate on vaccines unchanged

The GST Council on May 28 left taxes on COVID-19 vaccines and medical supplies unchanged but exempted duty on import of a medicine used for treatment of black fungus.

Jaishankar, Antony Blinken hold bilateral talks

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken held bilateral discussions on Friday afternoon at the State Department, as Mr. Jaishankar’s trip to Washington drew to a close.

PM announces ₹1,000 crore aid for three ‘Yaas’-hit States

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday announced a ₹1000 crore assistance for cyclone ‘Yaas’-hit Odisha, West Bengal and Jharkhand. While ₹500 crore would be immediately given to Odisha, ₹500 crore was announced for West Bengal and Jharkhand, which would be released on the basis of the damage, said the Prime Minister’s Office in a statement.

Ground Zero | Turning the COVID-19 tide in Chennai

With an exponential rise in infections, Chennai quickly became a COVID-19 hotspot during the second wave. Serena Josephine M. reports on how the situation was stabilised before it could spiral out of control

IT Rules: Google, Facebook, WhatsApp share details with Ministry

Twitter is yet to share details of their Chief Compliance Officer for the India market — a key requirement under the new IT Rules, with the government, source said, adding that most other major social media intermediaries, including Google, Facebook and WhatApp have submitted compliance details.

Eatala Rajender likely to join BJP next week

Former Health Minister and TRS MLA Eatala Rajendra is in all likelihood expected to join the Bharatiya Janata Party next week in the presence of national party president J.P. Nadda and other top leaders in New Delhi.

Modi responsible for second wave, says Rahul Gandhi

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of being responsible for the second wave of COVID-19, and warned of multiple such waves if the Union government didn’t evolve an effective vaccination policy.

NGT stays green nod for NTPC’s Karimnagar plant

The southern bench of the National Green Tribunal has put in abeyance the Environment Clearance (EC) granted to the 2×800 MW thermal power plant of the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) in Karimnagar district in Telangana for a period of seven months or till a re-appraisal is done and additional conditions are imposed by the Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change (MoEF & CC) .

Centre to give ₹100 each to children covered by mid day meal scheme

The Centre has decided to give about ₹100 each to children studying in Class 1 to Class 8 in government schools, who are beneficiaries of the Mid Day Meal scheme. However, Right to Food activists say this is insufficient to provide the nutrition security envisaged by this measure.

COVID toll on economy deepens: poll

India’s economic outlook has weakened again, albeit slightly, with worst-case scenario forecasts suggesting the toll from the COVID-19 pandemic could be much deeper, stoking fears the job crisis may worsen over the coming year, a Reuters poll found.

Couldn’t sleep for 8-9 days during IPL, had to pullout: R. Ashwin on family’s fight with COVID

Ravichandran Ashwin had "sleepless nights" inside the IPL bio-bubble when most of his family members were suffering from COVID-19 and said he had to leave the tournament midway to help his close ones fight the deadly virus.

Boxing | Panghal, Thapa inch closer to title

Amit Panghal (52kg) and Shiva Thapa (64kg) gave impressive performances to make it to the finals of the Asian boxing championships here on Friday. Defending champion Panghal, who had beaten Saken Bibossinov in the World championships semifinals, again showed his supremacy over the Kazakh to record a 5-0 victory. Thapa landed some accurate combinations to get the better of top seed Bakhodur Usmonov 4-0.

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