Top 5 SUVs sold during Covid lockdown

NEW DELHI: The SUV segment has come to the rescue in recent times when the Indian automobile industry faced a prolonged stretch of depleted sales. While the other segments saw a massive dip in their sales, the SUV market alone observed a 14% rise compared to last year. The SUV segment also commanded a 39% share in the total sales of passenger vehicles this in July.
The top SUVs that managed to keep their sales relatively high, belonged to the B-segment and C-segment particularly. Here’s a list of the top 5 SUVs sold during the lockdown (April-July 2020):
1. Hyundai Creta:
With 21,968 units sold during the lockdown, the Creta becomes the uncrowned king of the C-segment SUVs. The second-gen Creta struck the right chords with the Indian audience as the SUV makes no compromise when it comes to looks and performance. The Korean SUV also managed to top the charts because of the high demand for its upgraded diesel variant. The second-gen Hyundai Creta starts at Rs 9.99 lakh (ex-showroom).

09:152020 Hyundai Creta review

2. Kia Seltos:
With the sister company, Hyundai, commanding the charts, Kia couldn’t have stayed far behind. Kia Seltos performed well during the lockdown with 16,995 units sold. The C-segment SUV has only been in India for a little over a year, yet it still managed to get a good share in its segment leaving many old players behind. Kia Seltos not only managed to get a generous response in India, but also managed to be the Korean automaker’s second best-selling model globally. The Kia Seltos starts at Rs 9.69 lakh (ex-showroom).
3. Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza:
With 14,180 units sold during the lockdown, the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza clutches the third spot. The compact SUV is on a dream run and performing extremely well against some the biggest SUVs in India. The fact that Brezza only offers a petrol engine unlike its flexible rivals like Tata Nexon or Hyundai Venue, was not enough to stop it from becoming the best-selling B-segment SUV in India during the lockdown. The Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza starts at Rs 7.34 lakh (ex-showroom).

11:222020 Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza petrol review

2020 Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza petrol review

4. Hyundai Venue:
Hyundai gets its best-selling B-segment SUV to the list too. With 12,105 units sold during the lockdown, Hyundai Venue grabs the fourth spot. The Venue succeeded in gaining traction with the Indian audience because it is one of the most affordable urban compact SUVs. To cash in on the success of Venue, Hyundai recently launched its Sport trim that offers enhanced looks and performance. The Hyundai Venue starts at Rs 6.69 lakh (ex-showroom)

02:15Hyundai Venue iMT: No clutch but manual?

Hyundai Venue iMT: No clutch but manual?

5. MG Hector:
MG Hector recently completed a year in India. With 4,562 units sold during the lockdown, Hector seems to be having a good run in the SUV market. The C-segment SUV was a very fresh offering in the market as it was introduced as India’s first ‘internet car’. Riding on the success of the Hector, MG Motors also introduced the new MG Hector Plus. But the sales figures definitely suggest that the Hector still has a lot more to offer in the Indian market. The MG Hector starts at Rs 12.18 lakh (ex-showroom).

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Govt panel to discuss vaccine selection, procurement today | India News

Representtaive photo: Reuters

NEW DELHI: As Russia claimed that it has developed a coronavirus vaccine, India’s national expert committee on vaccine administration will meet on Wednesday to deliberate on key issues of suitable vaccine selection, procurement, delivery and who should be immunised on priority, keeping in mind logistics and equity aspects.
Though the health ministry refused comment on the Russian claim, it said the mandate of the committee headed by Niti Aayog member Dr V K Paul was to engage with all stakeholders, including state governments and vaccine manufacturers. “The terms of reference of the expert group include selecting a suitable vaccine, its delivery and prioritising groups that should receive it,” health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said.
Apart from Paul and Bhushan, the panel includes foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla, department of biotechnology secretary Renu Swarup, ICMR director general Balram Bhargava and All India Institute of Medical Sciences director Randeep Guleria, among others.
Asked whether India could procure the Russian vaccine, the government said procurement and funding mechanisms, as well as how many doses may be needed, were under discussion. “The issue of requirement of vaccine and various modalities of funding the procurement of a possible vaccine have been engaging the attention of the ministry of health. There have been internal consultations, which have been going on. We have also consulted a large number of stakeholders, and we have also made certain projections. It would be premature to share those projections with you right now,” Bhushan said.
In India, three vaccines are in the clinical trial stage. While Bharat Biotech and Cadila Healthcare are conducting phase 1 and 2 clinical trials on locally developed vaccine candidates, Pune-based Serum Institute is doing phase 3 trials for Oxford University’s vaccine candidate developed in the UK.
The government has maintained that once an effective vaccine is available anywhere in the world, efforts will be made to ensure it is available to people in the country as well.

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Noted Urdu poet Rahat Indori dies in Indore hospital | India News

INDORE: Noted Urdu poet Dr Rahat Indori died following a massive heart attack on Tuesday, a day after he was admitted to a hospital upon testing Covid-19 positive. He was 70.
Dr Indori suffered three consecutive cardiac episodes. After the first attack, he was stabilising, when the two successive cardiac episodes led to his death, Sri Aurbindo Institute of Medical Sciences (SAIMS) director Dr Vinod Bhandari told TOI.
The Urdu poet was shifted to SAIMS, a Covid-19 care hospital after he suffered breathlessness and lung congestion at a local nursing home. “He presented with bilateral pneumonia with the involvement of 50% of his lungs,” Dr Bhandari said.
Dr Indori also suffered from diabetes, hypertension and cardiac issues, he said.
Born on January 1, 1950, Dr Indori had gained accolades for his Urdu poetry that on many occasions tickled the funny bones of the audience. He was also a Bollywood lyricist.
A former Urdu professor, Dr Indori had taken part in numerous poetry meets in India and abroad.
In Video:Rahat Indori passes away due to cardiac arrest after testing positive for COVID-19

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No objection to CBI probe; Bihar govt politicised case: Rhea Chakraborty | Hindi Movie News

NEW DELHI: Actor Rhea Chakraborty told the Supreme Court on Monday that it could order a CBI probe into Sushant Singh Rajput’s suicide, but the the investigation by the central agency should be conducted under the jurisdiction of a Mumbai court rather under that of a court in Patna.

The actor, who had earlier written to home minister Amit Shah requesting a CBI probe into Rajput’s death, said the Bihar government illegally transferred to CBI the FIR registered in Patna on the basis of Rajput’s father K K Singh’s complaint. She said the case was handed over to the central agency on the eve of hearing scheduled in the SC on her petition seeking transfer of Bihar police’s FIR to Mumbai and was designed to render her plea infructuous.

While maintaining in her affidavit that she had “no objection if the SC refers the matter to CBI by its order”, she said the case had been heavily politicised by the Bihar government as the incident happened in the run-up to assembly elections. She said the FIR in Patna was purportedly registered because of interest shown by the Bihar CM.

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FAKE ALERT: No IPS officer Vinay Tiwari has not joined CBI to probe Sushant Singh Rajput’s death

Several social media posts are claiming that the Bihar IPS officer Vinay Om Tiwari, who was quarantined a few days back by the Municipal corporation of Greater Mumbai, after he landed in financial capital to probe actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death has now been transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The posts claim that he will now join the team probing Rajput’s death.

IPS officer Vinay Tiwari has not been transferred to CBI.
Times Fact Check got in touch with Tiwari who rubbished such claims.
“There is no truth in such claims. I have categorically denied them. Even some tweets with these claims have been removed,” Tiwari told Times Fact Check.
Tiwari also put out a tweet to refute such claims.

Times Fact Check has found the claims of IPS officer Vinay Tiwari being transferred to the CBI to probe Sushant Singh Rajput’s death to be false.

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Spike in cases due to high daily tests, trend may continue for 45 days: Govt | India News

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NEW DELHI: With daily testing hitting a new high of 7.2 lakh a day, the government said more testing will result in a high number of daily positive cases even as officials said detection was helping manage the disease and the current trend of cases was expected to continue over the next month and a half or so.
A doubling rate of 20 days was helping ensure medical facilities were not overwhelmed and government sources said there was greater focus on tier II and III cities and towns where cases were being detected in increasing numbers. Efforts are on to work with high case load states like Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka to implement containment strategies and step up testing of sections of population seen to be at risk of exposure to the virus.
The daily count of new cases has been rising — it was 62,482 on August 6; 61,163 on August 7 and 65,410 on August
8. This was a function of more testing and reflected an evolving strategy which, given limited resources and an evaluation of risks, initially focussed on foreign travellers returning to India, sources said. The trend is likely to continue for several more weeks before a tapering off can be expected.
A total of 2.4 crore tests have been carried out so far with the increasing use of rapid antigen tests helping boost testing. “India has recorded the highest number of recoveries in a single day with 53,879 Covid-19 patients having recovered and discharged on Saturday. With this, the total number of recovered cases touched another high of 14,80,884 on Sunday. This is more than twice the number of active cases (6,28,747 Sunday),” a health ministry release said.
The difference between recovered and active cases, indicative of higher number of recoveries as compared to those either in hospitals or in home isolation, was 8,52,137 on Sunday. The case fatality rate has further fallen, touching 2% on Sunday. Sources said these indicatorswere positive signs though the trajectory of the Covid-19 curve will depend on implementation of testing and containment strategies along with people’s compliance on use of masks and observance of social distancing.
With concerns expressed over rapid antigen tests delivering a high number of false negatives, the government has advised states on proper procedures as collection of samples has to be done carefully with a nasal swab collected from deep inside the nostril with a 10 second rotation. Clinical observation of the tested person is also important besides following up a negative test with an RT-PCR test.
Overall, the number of recovered cases was at 2.4 times the active cases, which were all under medical attention either in home isolation or in hospitals. As per health ministry, with a higher number of recovered patients, the recovery rate, which has continued on its growth graph, stood at 68.7% on Sunday.
The government said 7,19,364 tests were carried out in the last 24 hours.

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Andaman and Nicobar will play important role in govt’s self-reliant India programme: PM Modi | India News

NEW DELHI: A day before inaugurating a submarine optical fibre cable facility for Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserted on Sunday that it will ensure that the region faced no problem in getting virtually connected to the outside world as he highlighted his government’s various development initiatives for the union territory.
Speaking at an interaction with BJP workers from the distant region, he noted that the islands are “strategically” located and can become a key centre for global sea trade, stressing that the central government is working to make it a blue economy hub and also an important place for maritime startups.
PM Modi said 12 islands of Andaman and Nicobar have been selected for high-impact projects, with an emphasis on boosting trade of sea-based, organic and coconut-based products of the region.
The region will play an important role in his government’s self-reliant India project and the growth of new India, the Prime Minister said, while referring to the ongoing work to expand Port Blair airport and boost air connectivity.
Over 300km of national highway in the region is expected to be completed in a record time, he said.

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Landslips, floods took 900+ lives in 16 states this season | India News

NEW DELHI: Floods and landslides have caused widespread devastation across the country with more than 900 deaths reported so far by 16 states this monsoon season.
On Friday, Kerala added over 23 to its tally of 33 lives lost reported till August 6. West Bengal, Assam, Gujarat, Karnataka, MP and Maharashtra are the worst affected states.
About 69 lakh people in Bihar and 57 lakh in Assam have been affected by floods, displaced or marooned. Millions across India have lost their habitat, livestock and livelihood, taking shelter in thousands of relief camps run by state authorities. The Centre has deployed 141 teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) for rescue operations, besides the state disaster response forces (SDRF).

In the last 10 days state governments have reported more than 200 deaths due to floods and landslides, taking the overall tally close to 900. West Bengal has the highest deaths at 239, followed by 136 in Assam, 87 in Gujarat and 74 each in Karnataka and MP. The total flood-related casualties is likely to go up as many states are not filing their ‘situation reports’ regularly with the Centre and rivers are flowing above the danger level in almost all states.
In Assam, out of 136 flood-related deaths reported by the state government, at least 26 have been caused by landslides. Kerala’s Idukki, in a single day on Friday, saw over 23 perish and scores missing in landslides caused by floods.
The deluge has made it difficult for states to maintain social distancing and follow other guidelines, as prescribed by the Centre in view of the outbreak of coronavirus, at relief camps or during its evacuation operations.
Disasters related to climate change such as floods have become a recurring phenomenon in India with over a thousand deaths reported every year and millions of people pushed into poverty due to loss of habitat and livelihood.
Of all the disasters recorded globally between 1998-2017, floods accounted for 44%. Climate change is causing more havoc than earthquakes and tsunamis. That makes India’s development highly risky.

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England vs Pakistan Live score, 1st Test, Day 4: Dom Sibley, Joe Root resume England chase after lunch | Cricket News

End of 24th over: Maiden! A terrific first over from Yasir Shah post lunch. Almost got Dom Sibley in that over. Yasir is getting a lot of purchase from the surface. ENG 59/1
End of 23rd over: An eventful first over from Mohammad Abbas after lunch. A boundary and a close caught behind call in it. Yasir Shah will share the ball with Abbas from the other end. ENG 59/1
Dom Sibley and England skipper Joe Root are out in the middle to resume England chase in the post lunch session. Mohammad Abbas will start the proceedings for Pakistan. Two slips and a gully in place for him. Here we go!
Lunch, Day 4
First session in a nutshell: Mohammad Abbas removed Rory Burns after Yasir Shah added valuable late-order runs for Pakistan on the fourth day of the first Test against England at Old Trafford in Manchester. England were 55-1 at lunch, still needing a further 222 runs to reach a challenging victory target of 277. Dom Sibley was 26* and Joe Root, the England captain, 18 not out. The pair kept Pakistan at bay after Burns (10) was lbw to Mohammad Abbas to leave England 22-1, with the accurate seamer pinning the left-hander on the back leg from around the wicket. Abbas had lunch figures of 1-13 from six overs, with a disciplined Sibley and Root content to pick off the occasional loose balls in the face of some tight Pakistan bowling. Only twice has a team chased more than 200 to win in the fourth innings of a Test at Old Trafford, with England making 294-4 against New Zealand in 2008 and 231-3 against the West Indies in 2004.

So, just one wicket for Pakistan before lunch and Joe Root and Dom Sibley with be satisfied with their performances. England looking strong but they still have a long way to go in this 277-run chase. Yasir Shah completes the final over and umpires have called for the break. ENG 55/1 after 22 overs. Need another 222 runs to win.
20 overs into the England chase and Dom Sibley (21*) and Joe Root (15*) are steadily taking their team forward. Just over five minutes to go for lunch. ENG 47/1, need another 230 runs to win. Change in bowling for Pakistan as Shadab Khan comes into the attack.
End of 17th over: Another probing over from Naseem Shah comes to an end. Just a single from it. Naseem has bowled pretty well so far in this session but just has not been lucky enough. Yasir Shah to continue from the other end. Just under 20 minutes to go for lunch. Can Pakistan chip in another one here? ENG 36/1
End of 13th over: A decent over from Naseem Shah comes to an end. Four runs from it. And, Pakistan now bring in leggie Yasir Shah into the attack. ENG 31/1
11.1 overs: OUT! Trapped in front! Mohammad Abbas gets the opening breakthrough for Pakistan. Removes Rory Burns for 10. The left-hander takes the review but the umpire’s call stays. Pakistan move a step towards win. They need nine more wickets. England, on the other hand need 255. ENG 22/1

End of 10th over: England openers off to a strong start in the 277-run chase. Both Rory Burns (10*) and Dom Sibley (11*) looking good at the crease. And we have the first bowling change for Pakistan. Naseem Shah comes in to replace Shaheen Afridi. ENG 22/0
End of 8th over: Another tight over from Mohammad Abbas comes to an end. A maiden! Pakistan have bowled well in the first 30 minutes or so but just have not been lucky enough to get the breakthrough. Both Rory Burns and Dom Sibley are just looking to survive the first crucial hour. ENG 14/0
End of 5th over: A watchful start from the England openers. Shaheen Afridi and Mohammad Abbas have bowled pretty accurately so far and both Rory Burns (10*) and Dom Sibley (2*) are looking very cautious at the moment. ENG 13/0
End of 2nd over: Mohammad Abbas starts off with a maiden. Both Dom Sibley and Rory Burns looking very cautious at the start. Shaheen Afridi to continue from the other end. ENG 2/0
End of 1st over: A tidy start from Shaheen Afridi. Two runs from his first over. Rory Burns gets off the mark with a couple. Mohammad Abbas to share the new ball with Afridi from the other end. ENG 2/0
Rory Burns and Dom Sibley are out in the middle to start England’s chase of 277. Shaheen Afridi has the new ball in hand for Pakistan. Three slips and a gully in place for him.
Innings Break!
Pakistan 169 all out in second innings, set England a target of 277
Asad Shafiq 29
Stuart Broad 3/37
Chris Woakes 2/11
Ben Stokes 2/11

46.2 over: Bowled him! And, Jofra Archer cleans up Naseem Shah to wrap up Pakistan innings. The visitors are all out for 169 in the second innings but they have set a difficult 277-run target for England.
45.5 overs: OUT! A quick cameo from Yasir Shah comes to an end. Once again Yasir goes for the big hit but this time only manages to edge it straight to wicketkeeper Jos Buttler. Stuart Broad gets his third wicket of the second innings. PAK 158/9
45.1 overs: FOUR! Yasir Shah is looking for some quick runs here. Dispatches Stuart Broad’s first ball of the over straight to mid-wicket fence. 150 also comes up for Pakistan with that boundary. PAK 152/8
44.3 overs: FOUR! FOUR! Two excellent shots from Yasir Shah and Pakistan lead crosses 250 mark in the first over. A pull and a scoop off Jofra Archer and Yasir Shah gets straight into the act. Pakistan will need a few more of those from Yasir and Shaheen. PAK 147/8, lead by 254 runs.
44.1 overs: Runs straightaway for Yasir Shah and Pakistan. On the pads from Jofra Archer and Yasir tucks the ball to the mid wicket region for a couple. PAK 139/8
Yasir Shah and Mohammad Abbas are out in the middle to resume Pakistan innings. Jofra Archer has the ball in hand and will start the proceedings for England. Two slips and a gully in place for him. Here we go!
It is bright and sunny in Manchester at the moment. Just under 10 minutes to go for the start. The players are warming up and we are just moments away from an exciting day’s play.
So, just under 30 minutes to go for the start on Day 4. The weather for the weekend looks great in Manchester and so a result is a certainty in this Test.
Hello and welcome to’s live coverage of Day 4 of the first Test between England and Pakistan at Old Trafford in Manchester.

England roared back into contention with the ball but Pakistan remained in the driving seat following an intriguing Day 3 at Old Trafford.
Pakistan closed the day on 137 for eight in their second innings, an overall lead of 244 on a wearing wicket where the tourists’ spinners bowled England out for 219 earlier in a fast-moving contest.
Yasir Shah (12 not out) and Mohammad Abbas (0 not out) will look to build Pakistan’s lead further on the fourth morning and take the game away from their hosts.
Only once before in 81 Tests has more than 244 been successfully chased to win at Old Trafford, when England reached 294 for four to defeat New Zealand in 2008.
Centurion from the first innings, Shan Masood was out for a duck second time round, caught behind down the legside off Stuart Broad (2-23), who also removed Shadab Khan (15).
Chris Woakes (2-11) got among the wickets early, picking up captain Azhar Ali (18) and dangerman Babar Azam (5), but was only used for five of the 44 overs in the second innings by captain Joe Root.
Ben Stokes, who did not bowl in the first innings with a quad injury, dismissed Mohammad Rizwan (27) in what was an important breakthrough late on.
Yasir (4-66) was the stand-out performer with the ball during the England innings as he produced prodigious turn that will have him licking his lips for more when England bat last. The hosts had resumed the day on 92 for four and Ollie Pope (62) looked relatively assured as he moved to his fifth Test half-century before 17-year-old Naseem Shah got a delivery to rise sharply off a length, catching the bat and providing a catch for Shadab Khan in the gully.
Yasir bowled Jos Buttler (38) between bat and pad, caught the edge of Dom Bess (1) for a fine catch at slip by Asad Shafiq, before a skidding delivery castled Woakes (19). Only a late cameo from Broad (29 not out) helped England past 200, with the second leg-spinner in the Pakistan side, Shadab (2-13), wrapping up the innings.

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Amid LAC face-off, Army to study lasers, robotics & AI for warfare | India News

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NEW DELHI: The Army is undertaking a major study headed by a senior lieutenant general on advanced “niche and disruptive warfare technologies”, which range from drone swarms, robotics, lasers and loiter munitions to artificial intelligence, big data analysis and algorithmic warfare.
Sources on Friday said the aim of the “holistic study”, which comes amid the ongoing military confrontation in eastern Ladakh with China, is to bolster the conventional war-fighting capabilities of the 13-lakh strong Army as well as prepare for “non-kinetic and non-combat” warfare in the years ahead.
China has been assiduously working to develop futuristic warfare technologies, like artificial intelligence (AI)-powered lethal autonomous weapon systems, towards its endeavour to usher in a major “revolution in military affairs with Chinese characteristics”.
Indian Army’s new land warfare doctrine in 2018 had stressed the need to sharpen the entire war-fighting strategy, ranging from creation of agile integrated battle groups (IBGs) and expansive cyber warfare capabilities to induction plans for launch-on-demand micro satellites, directed-energy weapons like lasers, AI, robotics and the like.
The new IBGs, after a similar study, have started to take initial shape as self-contained fighting formations that can mobilise fast and hit hard. Each with around 5,000 soldiers and a varying mix of infantry, tanks, artillery, air defence, signals and engineers, the IBGs were war-gamed in exercises on both the western and eastern fronts last year, as earlier reported by TOI.
“Technology will be the key driver in future wars. The new study, which is headed by one of the seven Army commanders, will recommend the roadmap for inductions with timelines,” a source said. The study incorporates AI, remotely-piloted aerial systems, drone swarms, big data analysis, block-chain technology, algorithmic warfare, Internet of Things, virtual reality, augmented reality, among others.

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