THURSDAY www.thestatesman.com 15 APRIL 2021 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 12 |` 5|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR USA DISRESPECTED INDIA: THAROOR P4 P9 WEATHER Partly cloudy sky. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 39 and 19 degrees Celsius respectively. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max: 61% Min: 20.6°C (0) SUN SETS 18:47 hrs MOON SETS 21:43 hrs THUMBNAILS Defence minister Rajnath Singh pays homage to Babasaheb Bhim Rao Ambedkar on his birth anniversary at the BJP’s party headquarters in SNS the Capital on Wednesday. Vaccine theft: Amid a surge in the coronavirus infection, over 300 doses of anti-Covid vaccine have been stolen from a hospital in Jaipur, prompting authorities to lodge a criminal case against the theft. A total of 320 doses of Bharat Biotech's Covaxin went missing from the Kanwatiya government hospital in Shastri Nagar. The hospital authorities informed the Jaipur chief medical and health officer about the theft on Tuesday night following which an FIR was lodged on Wednesday. Vivo cargo: Domestic carriers SpiceJet and GoAir have decided not to carry any shipments of Vivo after a consignment of the Chinese company's smartphones caught fire at the Hong Kong airport's tarmac on Sunday. Moreover, Indian aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) will take a decision by Thursday on whether to issue any advisory regarding carrying of Vivo cargo by domestic carriers, a senior DGCA official said. CBI quizzes Anil Deshmukh for 8 hours CBSE puts off Class XII, cancels Class X exams STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 14 APRIL COVID EXIGENCY T he government today decided to cancel the CBSE's Class X board examinations and postpone the Class XII exams following an exponential surge in Covid-19 cases in the country. The decision was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi held amidst demands from many quarters, including Opposition political parties, to put off the examinations in view of the surge in Covid-19 cases. While state boards in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh followed suit to postpone their Class X and XII examinations, the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examination, which is the other prominent national board for school examinations, said it is reviewing the situation and will take a decision soon in this regard. “The board exams for Class 12 to be held from May 4 to June 14 are hereby postponed. These exams will be held hereafter. The situation will be reviewed on June 1 by the board and details will be shared subsequently. A notice of at least 15 days will be given before the start of the examinations," said a press statement released by the MHRD. “The board exams for Class 10 are hereby cancelled. The results of Class 10 board will be prepared on the basis of an objective criterion to be developed by the board. Any candidate who is not satisfied with the marks allocated to him or The CBSE exams for Class XII scheduled from May 4 to June 14 have been postponed, while the Class X exams have been cancelled. The CBSE will review the situation on 1 June and take a decision on when to hold the Class XII examinations. A notice of 15 days will be given before the start of the exams. The results of the Class X board will be prepared on the basis of an objective criterion to be developed by the board, a CBSE statement said. Candidates who are not satisfied with the marks allocated will be allowed to appear in an exam to be held when conditions are feasible. The Council for the Indian School Certificate Examination said it is reviewing the situation and will take a decision soon. The state boards of Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have decided to postpone their Class X and XII exams. her on this basis will be given an opportunity to sit in an exam as and when the conditions are conducive to hold the exams,” the press statement added. The decision affects around 21.5 lakh students who had registered for theClass X and XII CBSE exams. The country is seeing a resurgence of Covid-19 positive cases in many states, with a few states having been affected more than others. In this situation, schools have been shut down in 11 states. “Unlike state boards, CBSE has an all-India character, and therefore, it is essential to hold exams simultaneously throughout the country. Looking to ‘TRUTH TO TELL, WE SLIPPED ON THE BAD PITCH’ P12 P10 Decision affects over 21.5 lakh students; ISC council reviewing situation Min: 23% TEMPERATURE Max: 40.3°C (+4) SUN RISES 05:55 hrs MOON RISES 08: 27 hrs ROW OVER LOBBYING RULES AMIDST CAMERON PROBE TIME TO END AMERICA’S LONGEST WAR: BIDEN the present situation of the pandemic and school closures, and also taking into account the safety and wellbeing of the students, the crucial decisions have been taken,” a senior Ministry official said. The demands for cancellation of board exams were being raised from various quarters. Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and his deputy Mr Manish Sisodia had on Tuesday asked the Centre to cancel the exams, saying it can contribute to a large scale spread of the coronavirus. Last week, Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi had urged Union education minister Ramesh Pokhriyal to intervene and direct the CBSE to reconsider its decision to go ahead with the board examinations in May despite the "massive and uncontrolled" rise in Covid19 cases. The Shiv Sena had also written to the education ministry, requesting the government to develop a national consensus and reschedule CBSE and other board exams. Over 2 lakh students had signed an online petition demanding cancellation of board exams and the hasthtag "cancelboardexams" has also been trending on Twitter for a week. Meanwhile, the Rajasthan government also decided to postpone the state education board examinations for classes X and XII. The Rajasthan Board of Secondary Education was also directed to promote the students of Classes VIII, IX and X to the next classes.The Madhya Pradesh Board of Secondary Education also postponed the examinations of Classes X and XII scheduled to start from 30 April and 1 May respectively. Schools across the country were closed in March last year to contain the spread of Covid-19 ahead of a nationwide lockdown. Several states started reopening the schools partially from October last year, but physical classes are again being suspended in view of the rise in coronavirus cases. Last year, the board exams had to be postponed mid-way in March. They were later cancelled and the results were announced on the basis of an alternative assessment scheme. India records 1.84L new Covid-19 cases; lakhs ignore norms at Kumbh 17,282 cases, 104 deaths in Delhi NEW DELHI,14 APRIL Amid its continuing massive surge in coronavirus cases, Delhi today recorded 17,282 fresh Covid cases ~ its highest singleday count since the onset of the pandemic ~ and 104 virus-related fatalities, according to the Delhi government's latest health bulletin.Thecity'spositivity rate mounted to 15.92 per cent while the number of active cases soared to 50,736, the health bul(See P2) letin said. Devotees during the third 'Shahi Snan' of the Kumbh Mela, at Har ki Pauri Ghat in Haridwar on Wednesday. SNS & PTI NEW DELHI/DEHRADUN, 14 APRIL India reported a record single-day rise of 1,84,372 new coronavirus infections, pushing the total tally of cases to1,38,73,825, while the active cases surpassed the 13-lakh mark, according to Union health ministry data updated on Wednesday. The death toll increased to 1,72,085 with 1,027 new fatalities, the data updated at 8 a.m. showed. Registering a steady increase for the 35th day in a row, the active cases increased to13,65,704,comprising 9.84per cent of the total infections, while the Covid-19 recovery rate has dropped to 88.92 per cent. Meanwhile, throwing caution to the wind amid rising cases of coronavirus, lakhs of people congregated Wednesday on the ghats in Haridwar to take a dip in the Ganga during the third shahi snan of the Kumbh mela. Over 13.5 lakh people, including sadhus from 13 akhadas, had bathed in Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Wednesday announced that they had tested positive for Covid-19 the Ganga up to a little before sunset, in the mammoth event where following social distancing norms appears almost impossible, according to state authorities. The shahi snans and the Kumbh mela in general have triggered concerns over their role in possibly adding to rising coronavirus cases in the country. Uttarakhand recorded its highest single-day spike in Covid cases this year on Wednesday with 1,953 people testing positive. Meanwhile, tough new measures announced by the Maharashtra government for the next 15 days to curb rising Covid-19 cases came into force on 1,38,73,825 13,65,704 1,84,372 82,339 1,72,085 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. WEDNESDAY 14 APRIL 2021 Wednesday night, including prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code. India a trusted partner, limited Campaigning ends for 5th phase of Bengal polls cooperation with Pakistan: Russia SNS & PTI KOLKATA, 14 APRIL PRESS TRUST OF INDIA MUMBAI, 14 APRIL NEW DELHI, 14 APRIL Former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh was on Wednesday questioned for eight hours by the CBI conducting the Preliminary Enquiry (PE) on orders of the Bombay High Court in connection with the allegations of corruption raised against him by former Mumbai police chief Param Bir Singh, an official said. Deshmukh denied the allegations raised against him by Singh during questioning and told the officers that they were an attempt to malign the image of the state government, PTI sources said. Describing India as a “trusted partner”, Russia onWednesday said there were no divergences or misunderstandings between the two countries and that it has “limited cooperation” with Pakistan based on “independent” relations. Deputy Chief of the Russian mission Roman Babushkin also welcomed the recent commitment by India and Pakistan to follow the 2003 ceasefire on the Line of Control and said these are “very important steps” for regional stability. At a joint media briefing with Babushkin, Russian ambassador Nikolay Kuda- shev criticised the Indo-Pacific strategy by the western countries describing it as “dangerous” and an effort to revive the cold war mentality. Babushkin said India must be part of the process of shaping regional consensus on Afghanistan and that New Delhi and Moscow have similar approaches for the Afghan peace process. Asked about reports of bad optics during Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov's recent visit to India as he travelled to Islamabad from Delhi, Babushkin said Russia has independent ties with Pakistan and that it does not “target any relations against anyone”. “We believe that there is absolutely no reason to see that there are divergences or any misunderstandings between us. It is not the case in RussiaIndia ties,” he said. Kudashev said India is a trusted partner of Russia and ties between the two countries were “equal, solid, comprehensive, coherent and forward-looking”. He said that the visit by Lavrov to India on April 6 contributed a lot to the ties. “It was a very important and remarkable event, which contributed a lot to the special and privileged strategic partnership between our two friendly nations. Our ties remain equal, solid, comprehensive, coherent and forward-looking despite any global turbulence,” he said. See also Page 4 Campaigning for the fifth phase of the West Bengal assembly elections, in which 45 seats will go to polls on April 17, ended on Wednesday. The campaigning ended at 6.30 p.m. The Election Commission has increased the silence period from 48 to 72 hours in view of the Cooch Behar killings in the fourth phase. A total of 1.13 crore voters are eligible to cast their votes to decide the fate of 342 candidates, including Siliguri Mayor and Left Front leader Ashok Bhattacharya, state minister Bratya Basu and BJP's Samik Bhattacharya. Polling will be held from 7 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. at 15,789 polling stations in 16 assembly seats in North 24-Par- Jaya Bachchan and TMC candidate for Bidhannagar AC Sujit Bose SNS during a road show at Salt Lake, Kolkata, on Wednesday. ganas, eight each in East Burdwan and Nadia, seven in Jalpaiguri, five in Darjeeling and one in Kalimpong district. In view of the Cooch Behar killings, in which four people died in CISF firing and one man was shot dead outside a polling booth, the EC has decided to deploy at least 853 companies of central forces, an election official said. The BJP's star campaigners including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, party chief J P Nadda and actor Mithun Chakraborty had addressed several rallies in the region, attacking the TMC over corruption charges. Chief minister Mamata Banerjee, at election meetings during the day, said the BJP will not be able to win even 70 seats. She also met family members of those killed in CISF firing in Cooch Behar during the fourth phase of the elections, assuring them of a probe that will track down and bring the culprits to book. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also addressed rallies in the state on Saturday. The TMC had won 32 seats in the 2016 assembly polls, the Left-Congress alliance 10, while the BJP had drawn a blank. Votes polled in the eight-phase assembly elections to 294 seats being held from March 27 to April 29 will be counted on May 2. More reports on Pg4 India will raise climate ambitions, but not under pressure: Javadekar PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 14 APRIL Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar on Wednesday said India will raise its climate ambitions but not under pressure, and that it will not allow anybody to forget their historical responsibility. He also said that India is suffering because of the mistakes of others and “is not responsible for climate change that is happening”. Javadekar made the remarks during a speech after a meeting with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian at the French Embassy. French minister le Drian said the consequences will be disastrous if the world is not able to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius, or even 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels. We will complete our commitments, raise our ambitions but not under pressure. And we will also ask countries to provide finance and technological support and about their (climate) actions PRAKASH JAVADEKAR That's why it is absolutely indispensable that all countries increase their climate commitments by the time the COP26 takes place in Glasgow, as required by the Paris Agreement, he said. “This increase in ambition must include setting new nationally determined contributions by 2030 and also long- term strategies to achieve carbon neutrality. We must stop building new coal-based power plants and it is essential that we progressively stop this mode of electricity production at a global level,” le Drian said. Javadekar said, “We will complete our commitments, raise our ambitions but not under pressure. And we will also ask countries to provide finance and technological support and about their (climate) actions.” He said India is the only G-20 country to walk the talk on the Paris climate agreement and “we have done more than we promised”. The minister said that the frequency of abnormal (weather) events has increased but “let us not forget that this is not a new phenomenon”. “What we are suffering today was caused 100 years ago. European and American coun- tries and China, in the last 30 years, emitted (greenhouse gases) and therefore, the world is suffering India is suffering because of the actions of others,” he said, adding that historical responsibility is a very important aspect in climate debate. “We cannot just forget it (historical responsibility), and we will not allow anybody to forget it,” Javadekar said. Everyone is facing common threats, but those who have polluted will have to act more, he said. “They committed in Copenhagen, 100 billion dollars per year but where is the money. There is no money in sight,” he said. Under the Copenhagen Accord, developed countries committed to a goal of mobilising 100 billion dollar a year by 2020to help developing countries mitigate climate change. Global warming making Indian monsoon seasons stronger, more chaotic: Study PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 14 APRIL Climate change will make summer monsoon rainfall in India stronger and more erratic, according to a study that predicts extremely wet years in the future, with potentially grave consequences for over a billion people's wellbeing, economy, food systems and agriculture. The study, published in the journal Earth System Dynamics, compared more than 30 climate models from all around the world. “We have found robust evi- dence for an exponential dependence: For every degree Celsius of warming, monsoon rainfalls will likely increase by about 5 per cent,” said study lead author Anja Katzenberger from the PotsdamInstitute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in Germany. “Hereby we were also able to confirm previous studies but find that global warming is increasing monsoon rainfall in India even more than previously thought. It is dominating monsoon dynamics in the 21st century,” Katzenberger said. The researchers noted that more rainfall is not necessarily a good thing for the farming sector in India and its neighbouring countries. “Crops need water especially in the initial growing period, but too much rainfall during other growing states can harm plants ~ including rice on which the majority of India's population is depending for sustenance,” said study co-author Julia Pongratz from Ludwig-Maximilian University (LMU) in Germany. “This makes the Indian economy and food system highly sensitive to volatile monsoon patterns,” said Pongratz. A look into the past underlines that human behaviour is behind the intensification of rainfall, according to the researchers. Starting in the 1950s, human-made forcings have begun to overtake slow natural changes occurring over many millennia, they said. At first, high sun-light blocking aerosol loadings led to subdued warming and thus a decline in rainfall. However, from 1980 onwards, greenhouse gas-induced warming has become the deciding driver for stronger and more erratic Monsoon seasons.
The Statesman is one of India's oldest English newspapers. It was founded in Kolkata in 1875 and is directly descended from The Friend of India (founded 1818). The Englishman (founded 1821) was merged with The Statesman in 1934. The Delhi edition of The Statesman began publication in 1931. The Statesman Weekly is a compendium of news and views from the Kolkata and Delhi editions. Printed on airmail paper, it is popular with readers outside India. The Statesman (average weekday circulation approximately 180,000) is a leading English newspaper in West Bengal. The Sunday Statesman has a circulation of 230,000.