CMYK MONDAY www.thestatesman.com 12 APRIL 2021 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 12 |` 5.00|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR ‘PRINCE PHILIP'S DEATH A HUGE VOID FOR QUEEN’ BANERJEE TRASHES THEORY OF LIMITED GOVT INTERVENTION P10 P8 MADRID PULL OFF THRILLING CLASICO WIN BIDEN’S NORTH KOREA TEST P6 P12 RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Govt prohibits exports Active cases breach 11-L mark for 1st time of Remdesivir till Covid situation improves Max. 92% SNS & PTI STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 11 APRIL NEW DELHI, 11 APRIL ctive Covid-19 cases in India breached the 11 lakh-mark for the first time after a record high of 1.52 lakh new infections while a massive vaccination push, dubbed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the beginning of another major war against coronavirus, was launched on Sunday in a bid to curb the surge. Until now, the active caseload was at its lowest at 1,35,926 on February 12 this year and at its highest at 10,17,754 on September 18, 2020. Amidst an unprecedented burden on health infrastructure in 15 states and Delhi, which are witnessing an upward trajectory, authorities have started reserving more Covid hospitals and taking steps to address any shortage of medical supplies, besides enhancing curbs on the movement of people. India's tally of Covid-19 cases climbed to 1,33,58,805, and the death toll increased to 1,69,275 with 839 daily new fatalities, the highest since October 18, 2020, the data updated by the Union health ministry on Sunday morning showed. While the cumulative number of Covid-19 vaccine doses administered in the country has crossed 10 crore after 85 days, the 'Tika Utsav' or special 'vaccination festival' was started on Sunday, which will continue till April 14. “Anyone eligible for the vaccine should get the jab, and for this the society and Amidst the recent surge in Covid-19 cases, India on Sunday prohibited the exports of remdesivir injections and active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) till the situation improves. The decision was taken considering a sudden spike in demand for remdesivir, which is used in treatment of Covid-19 patients, a health and family welfare Ministry statement said. Noting that India has 11.08 lakh active Covid cases as on Sunday amidst an increasing trend, the ministry said: "There is a potential of further increase in demand of injection remdesivir and remdesivir WEATHER Partly cloudy sky. Rain or thundershower likely. Temperature likely to be in the range 37-26°Celsius. TEMPERATURE Max: 36.4°C (1) SUN RISES 05:19 hrs MOON RISES 05:31 hrs New moon on 12 'Tika utsav' beginning of another major war on Covid-19: PM Modi Min. 38% Min: 26.0°C (1) SUN SETS 17:55 hrs MOON SETS 18:11 hrs April THUMBNAILS DTC buses are carrying only half passenger capacity in the wake of recent surge of Coronavirus cases, in the capital on Sunday. SUBRATA DUTTA Next Chief Election Commissioner: Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra is set to become the next chief election commissioner, sources said on Sunday. Going by the convention of appointing the senior-most election commissioner as the CEC, the government is learnt to have cleared his name for the top post. The order for his elevation may be issued anytime, the sources said. Chandra will assume charge on April 13, a day after incumbent Sunil Arora demits office. Iran nuclear facility: Iran on Sunday described a blackout at its underground Natanz atomic facility an act of nuclear terrorism, raising regional tensions as world powers and Teheran continue to negotiate over its tattered nuclear deal. Details remained few about what happened early Sunday morning at the facility, which initially was described as a blackout caused by the electrical grid feeding the site. Many Israeli media outlets offered the assessment that a cyberattack darkened Natanz and damaged a facility that is home to sensitive centrifuges. P10 Ambani scare: NIA arrests Waze associate Riyaz Kazi A 1,33,58,805 11,08,087 1,52,879 Covid-19 vaccine is administered to employees and others at Le Meridien Hotel, New Delhi on Sunday. SUBRATA DUTTA administration have to make full efforts,” Prime Minister Modi said pitching for “zero vaccine waste” and urging the people to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour. “This festival is, in a way, the beginning of another major war against corona. We have to lay special emphasis on personal hygiene as well as social hygiene,” he said. Five states ~ Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Kerala ~ cumulatively account for 70.82 per cent of India's active Covid-19 cases, while Maharashtra alone accounts for 48.57 percent, the Union Health Ministry said. Besides these states, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Rajasthan, Punjab, Telangana, Uttarakhand, Andhra Pradesh andWest Bengal are displaying an upward graph in daily new cases. Most of these states have reimposed restrictions, including the closure of schools, night curfew, week- end and local shutdowns, while ruling out a total lockdown, but as the latest wave of patients continues to flood hospitals, there are some signs of a rethink. Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and his Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal have said that a lockdown will be the only option if the infections don't abate and the health system shows signs of collapsing. Kejriwal on Sunday said the Covid-19 situation in the national capital is "very serious". The city recorded 10,774 fresh Covid-19 cases on Sunday, the highest single-day spike so far, with 48 more fatalities. "The fourth wave is more dangerous than the previous wave,” he told a press conference, and urged people not to step out unless there is urgent work. The chief minister said that his government does not want to impose lockdown in Delhi but such a situation may arise if there is a rush to the hospitals and beds are unavailable for 1,69,275 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. SUNDAY 11 APRIL 2021 serious patients. Speaking at an all-party meeting held virtually to discuss the Covid-19 situation in the state on Saturday, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had indicated the imposition of a strict lockdown in the state given the alarming rise in Covid-19 cases. "The number of patients is increasing so fast that if we do not decide on a lockdown today, a lockdown-like situation will automatically arise tomorrow,” he said. The state has already announced a slew of curbs, including night curfew. The Uttar Pradesh government, meanwhile, announced night curfew in districts reporting over 100 daily cases or 500 active cases and extended closure of all schools till April 30. 900 Odisha vaccination sites shut due to shortage PRESS TRUST O F INDIA BHUBANESWAR, 11 APRIL On Sunday when 'Tika Utsav', a special inoculation drive against the coronavirus was launched across the country, at least 900 session sites in Odisha remained shut owing to shortage of Covid-19 vaccines, triggering a blame game between the ruling BJD and the BJP . Director of FamilyWelfare Bijay Panigrahi said, while vaccination is underway in only 579 out of over 1,400 centres in the state, the inoculation programme may have to be stopped in many places on Monday, if fresh vaccine stock does not arrive. While state labour minister Sushant Singh accused the Centre of not performing 'Rajdharma' and discriminating against Odisha in the distribution of the vaccines, BJP MLA Mukesh Mahaling said, eastern India, including the coastal state, is on the priority list of the central government. “Till Saturday, the state had 2,33,658 doses of Covishield and 77,960 doses of Covaxin vaccines.We will know the actual position only after completion of vaccination work in the evening. I think the entire stock will be exhausted by today,” Panigrahi said. STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE JAMMU, 11 APRIL Miss Mamata Banerjee leads a TMC road show in Burdwan town on Sunday. SANJOY KARMAKAR A 14-year-old boy, who had joined terrorist ranks 3 days ago, was among 5 terrorists killed on Sunday in two back-to-back overnight encounters with security forces in south Kashmir. With this, 12 terrorists have been eliminated in four encounters during the past 72 hours in the valley. Two terrorists who had on Friday night killed an unarmed Army soldier, Mohammad Saleem Akhoon, in his home in Bijbehara, were also eliminated in a separate encounter in Anantnag district, an Army spokesman said. The minor boy who was killed this morning in the encounter in Shopian, has been identified as a resident of Chitragam in Shopian. IGP (Kashmir) Vijay Kumar said that police and security forces made efforts to take surrender of the boy. His parents also made appeals for his surrender but other terrorists didn't let him. Troops of the Army, CRPF and J&K police eliminated the five terrorists (3 in Reban Bandpawa area of Shopian and 2 in Semthan village of Bijbe- Govt may hike FDI limit in pension sector to 74 per cent; Bill likely in Monsoon session PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 11 APRIL The government may hike foreign direct investment (FDI) limit in the pension sector to 74 per cent and a Bill in this regard is expected to come in the next Parliament session, according to sources. Last month, Parliament approved a Bill to increase FDI limit in the insurance sector from 49 per cent to 74 per cent. The Insurance Act, 1938 was last amended in 2015 which raised FDI limit to 49 per cent, resulting in foreign capital inflow of Rs 26,000 crore in the last 5 years. Amendment to Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) Covid surge: Central teams find fault with three states NEW DELHI, APRIL 11 Central teams have reported non-adherence of Covid-19 appropriate behaviour in almost all of the 50 most-affected districts in Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Punjab, the Union health ministry said, advising the states to more strictly enforce norms to prevent spread of the coronavirus. On the basis of feedback from the teams, the health ministry has written to the states highlighting the areas of concern, including sub-optimal containment operations and contact tracing, skewed testing and shortage of health workers. Authorities need to work in these areas, it said. Of the 50 districts most affected by Covid19, 30 are in Maharashtra, 11 in Chhattisgarh and nine in Punjab, it said. In a letter to the states, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said the Centre has also taken note of issues related to vaccine availability, and required action to augment supplies will be taken based on availPTI able stock. 14-yr-old among 5 terrorists killed in Kashmir ON THE ROAD MUMBAI, 11 APRIL The NIA on Sunday arrested police officer Riyaz Kazi, an associate of suspended cop Sachin Waze, in connection with the case of an explosivesladen SUV found near industrialist Mukesh Ambani's residence, a police official said. After his arrest, Kazi was produced before a holiday court here which remanded him in the National Investigation Agency's (NIA) custody till April 16 for further probe into the case. “Assistant police inspector (API) Kazi was called for questioning again by the NIA on Sunday and later placed under arrest,” the police official said. He was previously also questioned multiple times by the NIA in connection with the case of the SUV with explosives found near Ambani's multi-storey residence 'Antilia' in south Mumbai on February 25 and the subsequent death of Thane businessman Mansukh Hiran. Kazi was shunted out of the Mumbai Crime Branch last month, the official said. After Kazi was presented in the court on Sunday, the NIA told the court that he was arrested for destroying evidences and that he is involved in the conspiracy of the case along with Waze, the main accused in the case. While seeking his remand for 10 days, the prosecution said that when the NIA startedconducting a parallel probe soon after explosives-laden vehicle was found, the accused allegedly killed Hiran fearing that he will disclose their plan. The prosecution also submitted that Kazi was well PTI aware of the crime. 90,584 active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) in the coming days... In light of the above increasing Covid cases, Government of India has prohibited the exports of injection remdesivir and remdesivir active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) till the situation improves." Seven Indian companies are producing injection remdesivir under voluntary licensing agreement with Gilead Sciences, US. They have an installed capacity of about 38.80 lakh units per month. "Drugs inspectors and other officers have been directed to verify stocks and check malpractices and ... take other actions to curb hoarding and black marketing," the Ministry said. Act, 2013 seeking to raise FDI limit in the pension sector may come in the monsoon session or winter session depending on various approvals, sources said. Currently, the FDI in the pension funds is capped at 49 per cent. Besides, sources said, the amendment Bill may contain separation of NPS Trust Last month, Parliament approved a Bill to increase FDI limit in the insurance sector from 49 per cent to 74 per cent. The Insurance Act, 1938 was last amended in 2015 which raised FDI limit to 49 per cent from the PFRDA. The powers, functions and duties of the NPS Trust, which are currently laid down under the PFRDA (National Pension System Trust) Regulations 2015, may come under a charitable trust or the Companies Act, they said. The intent behind this is to keep NPS Trust separate from the pension regulator and managed competent board of 15 members. Out of this, the majority of members are likely to be from the government as they, including states, are the biggest contributor to the corpus. The PFRDA was established for promoting and ensuring the orderly growth of the pension sector with sufficient powers over pension funds, the central recordkeeping agency and other intermediaries. It also safeguards the interest of members. The National Pension System (NPS) was introduced by the Government of India to CMYK replace the defined benefit pension system. NPS was made mandatory for all new recruits to the central government service from January 1, 2004, (except the armed forces in the first stage) and has also been rolled out for all citizens with effect from May 1, 2009, on voluntary basis. The government had made a conscious move to shift from the defined benefit, payas-you-go pension scheme to defined contribution pension scheme, NPS, due to rising and unsustainable pension bill. The transition aimed at freeing the limited resources of the government for more productive and socio-economic sectoral development. hara in Anantnag district) in the two encounters. These ter-rorists belonged to AlBadr and Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) outfits. An AK-56 rifle, two AK-47 rifles and two pistols were recovered from the encounter spots. A joint cordon and search operation was launched in Shopian village by police, 34RR of the Army and 178 bat- talion CRPF following intelligence inputs about presence of three terrorists in the area. The terrorists were given an opportunity to surrender but they started firing indiscriminately at the security forces. In the initial retaliatory firing, one terrorist was killed, but the operation was suspended to give the trapped terrorists another chance to surrender, said police. The security forces facilitated the presence of family members of the 14-year-old at the encounter site in a bid to persuade him to surrender. However, despite repeated appeals by the family and assurances by the security forces, the other terrorists didn't allow him to surrender. Ultimately in the wee hours, during the gunfight both the trapped terrorists were killed. Dilip Ghosh warns of more shootings, causes outrage SNS & PTI KOLKATA, 11 APRIL West Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh on Sunday courted fresh controversy by saying that more Cooch Behar-like killings may happen in the next phase of Assembly elections if “naughty boys like the ones who died in Sitalkuchi” try to take the law into their hands. Strongly reacting to the BJP leader's statement, the Trinamul Congress demanded his arrest while the CPI(M) said the comment “unmasks the saffron party's fascist face”. “Naughty boys received bullets at Sitalkuchi. If anyone dares to take the law into his hands, this will happen to him also,” Ghosh said. “The naughty boys, who had presumed that the rifles of the central forces were just for a show during election duty, will not dare repeat the same mistake after seeing what happened in Sitalkuchi,” he said, while addressing an election rally at Baranagar in North 24=Parganas district. His comment triggered protest with the TMC demanding his arrest. “We demand his immediate arrest for making such an inflammatory statement which will encourage trigger happy forces and threaten the safety of voters,” Trinamul Congress MP Sukhendu Sekhar Roy told reporters. Left Front leader Sujan Chakraborty said, “Dilip Ghosh is making irresponsible statements. His comment unmasks the fascist face of the BJP.” More on Page 3
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