CMYK MONDAY www.thestatesman.com 10 MAY 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 SHADOW GOVT A TERRORIST GROUP: JUNTA JOHNSON CALLS COVID SUMMIT AFTER SNP VICTORY P10 WEATHER Partly cloudy sky with possibility of rain/thunderstorm. Temperature to be in the range of 35-24 degrees Celsius. RAINFALL: 28.5 mm RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max.95% Max: 36.0 °C (+1) SUN RISES 05:01 hrs MOON RISES 01:56 hrs New moon on 12 P9 P5 STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE Min: 27.5 °C (+1) SUN SETS 18:05 hrs MOON SETS 13:36 hrs May THUMBNAILS An overcast sky before a heavy downpour in the afternoon. In Kolkata on Sunday. IANS Bengal council of ministers: Forty-three MLAs would be inducted into the West Bengal Council of Ministers with 34 in Cabinet rank and remaining nine as junior ministers at a swearing in ceremony scheduled to be held at the Raj Bhawan on Monday. The Cabinet ministers list includes a host of TMC heavyweights, as well as several new faces. Mr Amit Mitra, former finance minister, who did not contest the (P3) Assembly election, is also on the list. KOLKATA, 9 MAY hief minister Mamata Banerjee today wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to exempt Covid-related life saving drugs and equipment from GST and customs duty to eliminate supply constraints amidst the rapid surge in fresh Covid cases in the second wave of the pandemic. Miss Banerjee also urged Mr Modi to strengthen health infrastructure and augment supplies of equipment, medicines and oxygen for treatment of Covid patients. Urging Mr Modi to consider exempting organisations, agencies and individuals who are supplying equipment and drugs related to management of Covid pandemic from customs duty and other Central taxes, Miss Banerjee wrote: “A large number of organisations, individuals and benevolent agencies have come forward to C Many of the donors and agencies, who are supplying equipment and drugs related to management of Covid pandemic, have approached the State government to consider exemptions of these items from customs duty/ SGST/CGST/IGST KEY DEMANDS To exempt organisations, agencies and individuals who are supplying equipment and drugs related to management of Covid pandemic from customs duty and other Central taxes To strengthen health infrastructure and augment supplies WEST BENGAL CM MAMATA BANERJEE donate oxygen concentrators, cylinders, cryogenic storage tank, tankers and tank containers and Covid related drugs. Donations from these organizations will greatly supplement the efforts of the state government in meeting the huge gap in demand and supply.” She added in the communication that “many of the donors and agencies have approached the State government to consider exemptions of these items from customs duty/ SGST/CGST/IGST”. “As the rate structure falls under the preview of the Central government, I would request these items may be exempted from GST/Customs duty and other such duty and taxes to help remove supply constraints of above mentioned drugs and equipment and contribute to effective management of Covid pandemic, “ the letter added. Miss Banerjee also pointed out that the everyone including her state government is “trying its best to face new challenges and making all efforts to channelling resources from different sources, including ensuring availability of life saving drugs and oxygen for Covid treatment” in the event of sudden spike of Covid cases in general and also in West Bengal. Miss Banerjee has been attacking the Centre for “failing” to control the spread of the disease in the country. Over the past few days she has written three letters to the Prime Minister requesting him to allow free-of-cost vaccination against Covid to all, to ensure adequate supply of essential drugs and hike allocation of medical oxygen for West Bengal. Slamming the Centre over Covid management, Miss Banerjee had said, “Why are they not allotting Rs 30,000 crores for vaccines when they are making new Parliament and statues, spending Rs 20,000 crores?” STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE GUWAHATI, 9 MAY Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Himanta Biswa Sarma is set to become next chief minister of Assam, with the party breaking conventional wisdom by replacing a sitting chief minister even though the party has won the Assembly elections, Sarma, a Cabinet colleague of outgoing chief minister and saffron leader Sarbananda Sonowal, is scheduled to take oath tomorrow as the 15th chief minister of the state. Sarma, who is also the convenor of China's rocket debris falls into Indian Ocean: The remnants of an out of control and China's biggest rocket re-entered the Earth's atmosphere with most of its parts burning up and disintegrating over the Indian Ocean near the Maldives, the country's space agency said on Sunday, ending days of fevered speculation (P9) over where the debris would hit. the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), was unanimously elected as the leader of the state BJP legislative party in a meeting held at Dispur today. Earlier, incumbent chief minister Sonowal tendered his resignation to State Governor professor Jagdish Mukhi at Raj Bhawan. Sonowal not only accompanied Sarma to the legislative party meeting in Dispur, but also proposed his name for the responsibility. It was seconded by state BJP president Ranjeet Kr Dass along with representatives from BJP allies Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) Delhi, UP extend lockdown; India adds 4 lakh new cases NEW DELHI/KOLKATA, 9 MAY Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana on Sunday extended their ongoing lockdowns by a week, while Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan enter a two-week shutdown starting Monday, even as the country recorded over 4 lakh new Covid-19 cases in a day yet again, with 4,092 fresh fatalities. According to Union Health Ministry data released on Sunday morning, India recorded 4,03,738 fresh Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, pushing the country’s cumulative tally to 2,22,96,414, while the death toll climbed to 2,42,362 with 4,092 daily deaths. PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 9 MAY Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday said GST exemption to domestic supplies and commercial import of Covid drugs, vaccines and oxygen concentrators would make these items costlier for consumers as manufacturers would not be able to offset the taxes paid on inputs. Currently, domestic supplies and commercial imports of vaccines attract a 5 per cent Goods and Services Tax, while it is 12 per cent in case of Covid drugs and oxygen concentrators. “If full exemption from GST is given, vaccine manufacturers would not be able to offset their input taxes and would pass them on to the end consumer/citizen by increasing the price. A 5 per cent GST rate ensures that the manufacturer is able to utilise ITC and in case of overflow of ITC, claim refund. Hence exemption to vaccine from GST would be counterproductive without benefiting the consumer,” Sitharaman tweeted. Maharashtra, K’taka. Delhi, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, UP, Bengal among the 10 states that account for 71.75 per cent of the overnight addition Announcing the lockdown extension, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said although Covid-19 cases and positivity rate have come down in the last few days, any leniency would squander the gains achieved so far. In further tightening of the curbs, an order issued by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) said there will be a complete prohibition on marriage ceremonies at public places, banquet halls, hotels and similar places. Delhi Metro services will also be suspended during the lockdown, said the order. The Metro trains were so far operating with 50 per cent seating capacity and ban on standing commuters. The Delhi government had been forced to impose lockdown amidst a steep rise in Covid-19 cases on 19 April. Although the cases have come down and positivity rate has reduced from the high of 35 per cent on 26 April to around 23 per cent now, strictness is needed, Kejriwal said. The “corona curfew” in Uttar Pradesh, which was ear- lier scheduled to end at 7 am on Monday, has also been extended by a week. Maharashtra, Karnataka and Delhi are among 10 states that account for 71.75 per cent of the 4,03,738 new Covid19 cases registered in a day, the Union Health Ministry said on Sunday. The other states are Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Rajasthan, and Haryana. West Bengal registered 19,441 fresh Covid-19 cases and 124 deaths today. Kolkata recorded 3,966 cases and 28 deaths in the last 24 hours. The total Covid case count is 9,93,159 while there are 1,26,027 active cases. and United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL) in the presence of Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar and party leaders Arun Singh, BL Santosh & Vijayanta Jay Panda, who were there as central observers. A meeting of NDA partners BJP, AGP and UPPL was also subsequently held and Sarma was unanimously elected as the leader of the NDA Legislature Party, paving the way for him to become the next chief minister of the state. The swearing-in ceremony will take place at Shrimanta Shankardev Kalakshetra where the saf- NEW DELHI, 9 MAY The Indian Medical Association (IMA) on Saturday said that the Union health ministry should “wake up” and respond to mitigate the growing challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic. The doctors’ body in a statement also alleged that the ministry has not taken appropriate action to deal with second Covid-19 wave. “IMA demands the health ministry to wake up from its slumber and respond to mitigate the growing challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic. IMA is astonished to see the extreme lethargy and inappropriate actions from the NIRMALA SITHARAMAN FINANCE MINISTER She further said that if Integrated GST (IGST) Rs 100 is collected on an item, Rs 50 accrues to the Centre and the States each as Central GST and State GST respectively. Further 41 per cent of the CGST revenue is devolved to States. So out of a collection of Rs 100, as much as Rs 70.50 is the share of the states. From the GST collected on vaccine, half is earned by the Centre and the other half by the States. Further, 41 per cent of Centre’s collections also get devolved to the States. So states end up receiving almost 70 per cent of the total revenue collected from vaccines. “In fact, a nominal 5 per cent GST is in the interest of the domestic manufacturer of vaccine and in the interest of the citizens,” Sitharaman said. The Finance Minister tweeted her response to ministry of health in combating the agonising crisis born out of the devastating second wave of Covid-19 pandemic,” it said. The statement said for the last 20 days, the IMA has been insisting for a complete and well-planned national lockdown to ramp up health infrastructure and replenish both material and manpower. “The collective consciousness, proactive cognisance, and requests made by the IMA and other professional learned colleagues are put into the dustbin, and often without realising the ground realities the decisions are taken,” IMA president J A Jayalal said. STINGING LETTER The Indian Medical Association (IMA) in a statement alleged that the ministry has not taken appropriate action to deal with second Covid wave The statement said that for the last 20 days, the IMA has been insisting for a complete national lockdown to ramp up health infrastructure and replenish resources, manpower The doctors body insisted the ministry has failed to make the necessary road map and ensure adequate stock of vaccines “However, the Central government has refused to implement lockdown, resulting in mounting of new patients beyond four lakhs every day and the number of moderate to severe cases are increasing to nearly 40 per cent. “Sporadic night curfews have not done any good. Life is precious than the economy,” the IMA said. On Covid-19 vaccination, it said that it had made persistent calls for inoculation of those in the 18 to 45 years age bracket. But it is “unfortunate” that the ministry has failed to fron party’s national president JP Nadda will be present along some other senior leaders. Both Sonowal and Sarma were in New Delhi on Saturday as they were summoned by party national president JP Nadda for finalising the name of next chief minister because of continued suspense about who would get the post since the Assembly election votecount took place on 2 May, a week ago. The ruling BJP alliance is the first non-Congress government in the state to win the elections for the second consecutive term. IN MOTHER’S ARMS 2,22,96,414 37,36,648 4,03,738 3,86,444 2,42,362 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. SUNDAY 09 MAY 2021 A medic takes a swab sample from a child as the mother looks on. In Trichy region of Tamil Nadu on Sunday. IANS Health Ministry should wake up to Covid challenges: IMA PRESS TRUST OF INDIA If full exemption from GST is given, vaccine manufacturers would not be able to offset their input taxes and would pass them on to the end consumer/ citizen by increasing the price End of suspense: Sarma to take oath as Assam CM CBI prosecution against top TMC leaders: Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, on a request by the CBI, sanctioned the prosecution of Firhad Hakim, Subrata Mukherjee, Madan Mitra and Sovan Chatterjee, all of them ministers during the time of the alleged commission of a crime that came to light in the purported Narada sting tapes, a Raj Bhavan official said on Sunday. All four were ministers in the Mamata Banerjee cabinet when (P3) the tapes were allegedly made in 2014. SNS & PTI P12 Waive taxes on Covid GST exemption counter productive, replies FM drugs: Mamata to PM Bengal CM urges Modi to eliminate supply constraints amidst rapid surge Min. 45% TEMPERATURE ‘T20 WC COULD BE SHIFTED OR POSTPONED’ CALL ALL-PARTY MEETING ON COVID, KHARGE URGES PM make the necessary road map and ensure adequate stock of vaccine. This has resulted in non-roll out of vaccination for the age group in many places, the IMA said. It also attacked the government on different prices of Covid vaccine and said it is because of this that the 18-45 year age group “are forbidden to get the free vaccination from the Central share of 50 per cent and they are placed under the mercy of state governments”. The IMA said in 1997 and 2014, India could declare eradication of smallpox and polio only by adopting universal free vaccination. “Unless the government comes out and implements CMYK with steadfastness for equitable distribution, we will not be able the achieve the goal (of speedy vaccination),” it said. Claiming that the crisis of oxygen is deepening every day, the IMA said though there is enough production it is often the distribution which is not proper. “Imported oxygen concentrators and oxygen plants are yet to reach beneficiaries,” it said. “Hundreds of deaths happening in big hospitals are shown as non-Covid deaths and crematoriums are showing house full boards.Why are we trying to hide actual deaths?” it asked. The IMA demanded capping of prices of life-saving drugs and removing GST from them. Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s letter urging for a waiver of GST and other duties on Covid drugs and equipment, saying these items are already exempted from customs duty and health cess. Besides, Integrated GST is exempted on all Covid relief material imported by the Indian Red Cross for free distribution in India. IGST exemption has been given in case of goods when imported free of cost for free distribution in the country by any entity. The government has already exempted from customs duty import of a host of Covid-related relief materials, like Remdesivir injection and its APIs, Inflammatory diagnostic (markers) kits, medical grade oxygen, oxygen therapy equipment such as oxygen concentrators and Covid vaccines. Death toll soars to 50 in school bombing in Afghan capital The books of students who were killed in the car bomb attack. In Kabul on Sunday KABUL, 9 MAY Grieving families buried their dead on Sunday following a horrific bombing at a girls’ school in the Afghan capital that killed 50 people, many of them pupils between 11 and 15 years old. The number of wounded in Saturday’s attack climbed to more than 100, said Interior Ministry spokesman Tariq Arian. In the western neighbourhood of Dasht-eBarchi, families buried their dead amidst angry recriminations at a government they said has failed to protect them from repeated attacks in the mostly Shiite Muslim neighbourhood. Three explosions outside the school entrance struck as students were leaving for the day, said Arian. The blasts targeted Afghanistan’s ethnic Hazaras who dominate the Dasht-e-Barchi neighbourhood, where the bombAP ings occurred. Details on Page 9 Covid-19 chaos at AFC Cup; Bengaluru FC told to leave PRESS TRUST OF INDIA MALE/NEW DELHI, 9 MAY It was a chaotic Sunday for Indian football as Bengaluru FC was asked to leave Male for violating Covid-19 safety protocols ahead of their AFC Cup play-off against Eagles FC, while all Group D fixtures in the same event stood postponed hours after ATK Mohun Bagan reported two positive cases. The Asian Football Confederation did not give any reason for postponing the matches but it is understood that the deadly resurgence of Covid-19 in many Asian countries is behind the decision. It all started with Bengaluru FC’s play-off match against Eagles FC, scheduled here on 11 May, being left in doubt after the host country’s sports minister asked the ISL side to leave citing breach of Covid19 protocols. The exact nature of the violation by BFC, which is captained by India skipper Sunil Chhetri, was not specified but sports minister Ahmed Mahloof termed it as “unacceptable”. The sentiment was echoed by BFC owner Parth Jindal, who apologised and promised strict action against the errant players and support staff. Details on Page 12
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