WEDNESDAY www.thestatesman.com 03 MARCH 2021 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 12 |` 5|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR P5 WEATHER Mainly clear sky. Mist in the morning. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 30 and 14 degrees Celsius respectively. Min: 44% TEMPERATURE Max: 28.8°C (+2) SUN RISES 06:43 hrs MOON RISES 22:47 hrs P8 Min: 15.3°C (+2) SUN SETS 18:22 hrs MOON SETS 10:07 hrs THUMBNAILS Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath during a public rally ‘Parivartan Yatra’, at Gazole in Malda district on Tuesday. Bengal polling time extended: The Election Commission has extended the polling time by 30 minutes for the first phase of West Bengal Assembly elections, and voters will now be able to exercise their franchise from 7 a.m. to 6.30 p.m., a notification issued by the poll panel on Tuesday said. The decision was taken in view of the Covid-19 restrictions, an election official said. The first phase of elections is scheduled to be held on 27 March in 30 assemP5 bly constituencies. Indigo flight makes emergency landing in Karachi: An Indigo flight from Sharjah to Lucknow made an emergency landing at the Karachi airport in Pakistan on Tuesday morning after a passenger on board fell sick and later died. An official of the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority said the landing permission was granted to the Captain of the Lucknow-bound IndiGo flight 6E1412 after an elderly passenger identified as 67-year-old Habib ur Rehman fell seriously ill. The official said that by the time the medical team boarded the flight to treat the passenger, he had died. The flight was allowed to take off around 8.36 a.m. for Ahmedabad after completion of all formalities, the official added. NEW DELHI, 2 MARCH The BJP on Tuesday took a swipe at the Congress amid a vocal dissidence within the opposition party, saying its ideology is all about fulfilling the Gandhi family's “ambition”, and anyone speaking against it or standing with the rightful agenda of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is castigated. BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra told a press conference that the Congress will “castigate” anyone who wants democracy in the party, wants its president to be elected, speaks in favour of politics of development or stands with Modi's rightful agenda. While stating that the G23, a reference to the group of 23 Congress leaders who have P12 About 50 lakh registrations on Co-WIN W In the first two phases so far, 1,48,55,073 vaccine doses have been administered No glitches in system, says Govt SNS & PTI A bout 50 lakh people have registered themselves on the Co-WIN portal, without any system glitch, since the window opened Monday morning, the Centre said Tuesday, adding that over 2.08 lakh beneficiaries above 60 or those aged 45-60 with comorbidities have received the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine till this afternoon. Union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan and his wife Nutan Goel received their first Covid vaccine doses on Tuesday in the Delhi Heart and Lung Institute. The duo received Bharat Biotech's Covaxin and paid ` 250 each for the doses. He urged people who can afford the cost of vaccination, to go to their nearest private facility to get vaccinated without fear. The vaccination drive for those over 60 years of age and within the age bracket of 45-60 years with specified comorbidities began on March 1, and the registration opened at 9 a.m. on Monday on the Co-WIN Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and his wife take the first dose of Covid vaccine at Delhi Heart and Lung Institute in New Delhi. AGENCIES portal ~ cowin.gov.in. In the first two phases so far, 1,48,55,073 vaccine doses have been administered in the country till 1 p.m. on Tuesday, out of which 67,04,856 healthcare workers have been given the first dose of the vaccine and 25,98,192 healthcare workers have been administered the second dose. Besides, 53,43,219 frontline workers have been administered the first dose of vaccine till now. As many as 2,08,791 people above 60 years of age and those aged 45-60 years with comorbidities have taken the first dose of the vaccine, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan told the weekly press conference. R S Sharma, the Chairman of the Empowered Group (EG) on Covid-19 Vaccine Administration, said there were no glitches in the system. What happened was that people were looking for an App on Playstore which appeared similar to CoWIN and started using that, when no mobile App meant for registration is actually present right now, he said. Citizens can register and book an appointment for vaccination, anytime and anywhere, using the Co- WIN 2.0 portal or through other IT applications such as Aarogya Setu, he said. “Since last morning, when the registrations were opened up at 9 a.m., we had about 50 lakh registrations on our site. Though there were some glitches in the first version of the Co-WIN which was launched on January 16, we have had no glitches in the new version of the system,” he said. He said the government is watching the system closely as it has to be “highly scalable”. “It should be able to take care of huge amount of load. After all, it is a program with which we will be vaccinating 1/6th of humanity and this program has to cater to millions of people,” he said. The number of transactions and data transmission will be very large, he said. “We want data to be secure and free from cyber-attacks. We are taking the best security practices,” he said. Total number of hospitals which are involved in this job are 26,000-27,000. There are 12,500 private hospitals. HC grants bail to BARC’s ex-CEO in TRP scam ARTIST’S IMPRESSION MUMBAI, 2 MARCH An artist paints the Taj Mahal, as a part of the beautification of road, in Bhopal on Tuesday. AGENCIES BJP takes a swipe at Cong over internal dissidence PRESS TRUST OF INDIA THE CEREBRAL, SEASONED CAMPAIGNER P10 NEW DELHI, 2 MARCH RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max: 88% US SETS SANCTIONS OVER RUSSIA OPP LEADER'S POISONING $82 BN INVESTMENT IN PORT PROJECTS BY 2035: MODI ‘CENTRE CONCERNED ABOUT THE RICH AND POWERFUL’ Their only agenda is ‘hate Modi'. It has grown to such an extent that Congress workers are protesting on the streets against their own leaders who have praised good works of Modi SAMBIT PATRA- OFFICIAL SPOKESPERSON, BJP pushed for an organisational overhaul in the party, is an internal matter of the opposition party, Patra said it is “saddening” to see senior leaders like Ghulam Nabi Azad and others being targeted. The Congress is now all about four leaders, he alleged, referring to its president Sonia Gandhi, her son Rahul and daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, both party general secretaries, and Priyanka's husband Robert Vadra. “Their only agenda is 'hate Modi'. It has grown to such an extent that Congress workers are protesting on the streets against their own leaders who have praised good works of Modi,” he said, mocking Rahul Gandhi as an empty missile. Patra's comments, in an answer to a question, came after Azad praised Modi at an event in Jammu on Saturday, saying he speaks frankly about his past as a tea-seller and does not try to hide his background from the world. Another senior Congress leader Anand Sharma had on Monday slammed the party's tie-up with Indian Secular Front (ISF) led by Muslim cleric Abbas Siddiqui in West Bengal, saying it was against the party's core ideology and Gandhian and Nehruvian secularism. Congress workers in Jammu on Tuesday set ablaze an effigy of Azad and accused him of conspiring against the party at the behest of the BJP to weaken it for “personal gains”. This is the first such protest against Azad, who is a former chief minister, and had a huge following in J&K. However, his statements against the party leadership have not been relished by the majority of his supporters. DETAILS ON PAGE 5 Covid: Slight dip after upsurge SNS & AGENCIES NEW DELHI, 2 MARCH India's total Covid caseload rose to 1,11,24,527 with 12,286 new infections reported in a day, while the total recoveries have surged to 1,07,98,921, according to data by the Union Health Ministry on Tuesday. As per the Ministry's data, there are currently 1,68,358 active cases after 12,464 patients were discharged in past 24 hours, which accounts for 1.51 per cent of total infections. The death toll increased to 1,57,248 with 91 new fatalities, the data updated at 8 a.m. showed. According to experts, a number of possibilities which could be attributed to the concerning situation ranging from lax attitude of people towards following Covid protocols to the likeability of "mutations and new strains", as has been studied by the laboratories involved in virus detection across the country. 1,11,24,527 1,68,358 12,286 12,464 1,57,248 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. TUESDAY 2 MARCH 2021 In mid February, officials had said that the average daily new infections oscillated between 9,000 to 12,000, while the deaths were between 78 to 120. Till now, 1,07,98,921 persons India accuses Pak of giving pensions to terrorists STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE The Bombay High Court on Tuesday granted bail to Broadcast Audience Research Council's (BARC) former CEO Partho Dasgupta, an accused in the alleged Television Rating points (TRP) rigging scam. Justice P D Naik granted bail to Dasgupta (55) on a personal bond of Rs 2 lakh and two solvent sureties of the same amount. The court allowed him to furnish a temporary cash surety of the same amount for a period of six weeks, until which he would have to submit the solvent sureties. The permission was given after Dasgupta's counsel Aabad Ponda told the court that the process of preparing and submitting the solvent sureties will take time. The court directed Dasgupta to surrender his passport to the police station concerned and not leave India without permission of the trial court. “The applicant shall attend the police station concerned on the first Saturday of each month for a period of six months. After that, he shall appear once in three months,” it said. The court directed Dasgupta to attend the case trial as and when required and not tamper with evidence or witnesses in the case. Dasgupta was arrested on December 24 last year. PTI NEW DELHI, 2 MARCH India today accused Pakistan of not only hosting the largest number of terrorists proscribed by the United Nations but also providing them pensions. Pakistani leaders have themselves admitted the fact that their country has become a factory for producing terrorists, said Pavan Badhe (in photo), India delegate at the 46th session of the Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva while exercising India’s ‘Right of Reply’ on the statements made by Pakistan and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). He said Pakistan has ignored that terrorism was the worst forms of human rights abuse and the supporters of terrorism were the worst abusers of human rights. Badhe said the HRC should ask Pakistan why the size of its minority communities such as Christians, Hindus and Sikhs has drastically has shrunk since independence and why other communities such as Ahmadiyyas, Sikhs, Pashtuns, Sindhis and Baloch have been subjected to draconian laws, systematic persecution, blatant abuses and forced conversions. Holy and ancient sites of religious minorities in Pakistan have been attacked and vandalised daily, he noted. The Indian diplomat said enforced disappearances, extra-judicial killings and arbitrary detentions of those who try to speak against the establishment were rampant in Pakistan and have been carried out by state security agencies with impunity. He said Pakistan, a country in dire economic situation, would be well advised to stop wasting time of the HRC and its mechanisms, stop statesponsored cross border terrorism and end institutionalised violation of human rights of its minority and other communities. Rejecting the reference to Jammu and Kashmir in the OIC's statement at the HRC, Badhe said it has no locus standi on Jammu and Kashmir, which is an integral part of India. “It is regrettable that OIC continues to allow itself to be exploited by Pakistan to indulge in anti-India propaganda,” he added. have been discharged. The recovery rate has reduced to 97.07 per cent. The Ministry also informed that 7,59,283 samples were tested on Sunday. The cumulative tests carried out by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) so far stands at 21,76,18,057. No new Covid death in Delhi: The count of fresh coronavirus infectionlinked fatality in Delhi was nil today even as the city logged 217 new cases, according to the Delhi government’s latest health bulletin. This was the fifth time within a month that there was not a single daily fatality from the pathogen in the national capital. The infection tally rose to 6,39,681, the health bulletin said. Over the last 24 hours 78 more people recuperated from the deadly, contagious virus, taking the number of total recoveries in the city to 6.27 lakh, the bulletin stated. (SEE P2) China rejects reports of cyberattacks against India NEW DELHI, 2 MARCH Rejecting reports of Chinese cyberattacks on India’s power system, ports and two vaccine companies, China said it is “firmly opposed to such irresponsible and ill-intentioned practice”. “The allegations are pure rumours. Cyberattacks are highly complicated and sensitive, and their origin is difficult to trace. Speculation and fabrication have no role to play on the issue of cyberattacks. It is highly irresponsible to accuse a particular party when there is no evidence,” a spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi said. The New York Times on Sunday quoted a report by a US-based cybersecurity firm which claimed that Chinesestate sponsored groups had targeted the power sector in India with malware. This came months after the clash between troops of the two nations at the Galwan Valley in June 2020. On speculation about China’s ‘theft’ of other countries’ vaccines through hacker attacks, the spokesperson said, “China takes the lead in vaccine research and development, we don’t need to and will not rely on stealing to obtain vaccines,” he added. He said China was firmly opposed to politicising and stigmatising cyber security SNS issues. Unemployment high due to ‘ill considered demonetisation decision’: Manmohan PRESS TRUST OF INDIA THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, 2 MARCH Attacking the Centre, former Prime Minister sManmohan Singh on Tuesday said unemployment is high in the country and its informal sector is in shambles following the “ill considered demonetisation decision” taken by the BJP-led government in 2016. He also criticised the Central government for not holding regular consultations with the states. Inaugurating a development summit virtually organised by the Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Development Studies, an economic think tank aligned to the Congress ideology in poll-bound Kerala, Singh said temporary measures by the Central government and the RBI to paper over the credit problem cannot blind us to the looming credit crisis ahead that could affect the small and medium sector. The summit, “Pratheeksha 2030”, was organised to launch a Vision Document, a framework of ideas for development of Kerala well in advance of the state elections. He observed that in Kerala and many other states, public finances were in disarray with states having to resort to excessive borrowing, which creates an intolerable burden on future budgets. “Federalism and regular consultation with states, which was the cornerstone of India's economic and political philosophy as enshrined in the Constitution, no longer finds favour with the present Central government,” he said. Singh said while Kerala's social standards are high, there are other sectors that need strong attention in the future. “There are many roadblocks ahead that the state has to overcome. The global downturn of the last two or three years, aggravated by the pandemic, has made the global interface of Kerala more fragile”. “While the increased use of digital modes of work may keep the IT sector afloat, tourism has been hit badly and Federalism and regular consultation with states, which was the cornerstone of India's economic and political philosophy as enshrined in the Constitution, no longer finds favour with the present Central government MANMOHAN SINGH FORMER PRIME MINISTER the rate at which the pandemic is galloping in Kerala poses challenges for this industry”, Singh said. Noting that the focus on health and education has enabled Kerala to take advan- tage of job opportunities elsewhere in the country and in all parts of the world, Singh said this has led to a growing stream of remittances from abroad which created a booming real estate sector and sharp growth of the services sector, led by tourism and information technology. The former PM also hailed the decision of the leadership of Kerala's Congress-led UDF to incorporate “radical ideas” like “NYAY” in its Assembly election manifesto, saying the scheme outlined in the Congress manifesto of 2019 Lok Sabha polls,will provide direct benefit transfer to the poorest among us. He said this, together with other measures such as no- bill health care through more medical establishments and other measures to strengthen the social infrastructure will provide a framework for inclusive development, focused on the needs of the underprivileged. “This is the essence of Congress ideology and it is a matter of gratification that all UDF parties think alike on this.” According to Singh, while providing support to the poor, such schemes will also kickstart the economy as demand will be stimulated, leading to more production particularly in the small and micro sector, in agriculture and in the unorganised sector, creating more employment opportunities and bringing the economy rapidly back to normalcy after the prolonged economic slowdown at the national level. “In the midst of all the gloom, I see the UDF's steadfast adherence to planned growth with a clear sense of direction and concern for the common man a beacon of hope, not only for Kerala, but for the whole country”, he said.
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