CMYK SATURDAY www.thestatesman.com 05 JUNE 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 ‘JAPAN STANDS WITH INDIA’ FACEBOOK TO END RULE EXEMPTIONS FOR POLITICIANS P10 WEATHER Partly cloudy sky. Maximum and minimum temperature most likely to be around 37 °C and 29 °C respectively. P7 P4 Plans steps to support economy after recovery pummelled due to 2nd wave Max. 88% PRESS TRUST OF INDIA Max: 37.0 °C (+1) SUN RISES 04:51 hrs MOON RISES 01:05 hrs New moon on 10 Min. 52% Min: 29.0 °C(+1) SUN SETS 18:18 hrs MOON SETS 13:14 hrs June THUMBNAILS ‘Oxygen on Wheels’, a bus and a small car, parked outside a shopping mall after its (See Pg 3) launch, in Kolkata on Friday. IANS Delhi man calls PCR, threatens to kill PM Modi: A 22-year-old man was arrested from northeast Delhi's Khajuri Khas area after he called the Police Control Room (PCR) and allegedly threatened to kill Prime Minister Narendra Modi, officials said on Friday. The accused, who has been identified as Salman alias Arman, told police that he made the call as he “wanted” to go to jail. He is addicted to drugs and was released from a juvenile correction home in 2018. Visas of stranded foreigners extended: The Indian visa or “stay stipulation period” of foreign nationals stranded in India since March, 2020 due to Covid-19 has been made valid till 31 August, 2021 on gratis basis without levy of any overstay penalty, an order issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs said on Friday. India team heads home without Choksi: India's multi-agency team that had gone to Dominica to bring back Mehul Choksi is headed back home on a Qatar Airways private jet after the island nation's high court adjourned the hearing on the fugitive diamantaire's habeas corpus petition, sources said. P12 RBI holds key rates; B.1.617 variant drove surge in last 2 months lowers GDP forecast RAINFALL: NIL RELATIVE HUMIDITY TEMPERATURE STORY OF SOLITARY CONFINEMENT IN SOUTHAMPTON `20K CRORE COVID REVIVAL PACKAGE IN LDF’S BUDGET GRIM OUTLOOK MUMBAI, 4 JUNE he Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Friday left key interest rates unchanged at record lows and announced new measures to support the economy after the nascent recovery was pummelled by the devastating second wave of Covid-19 infections. It brought down its forecast for economic growth by 100 basis points to a 9.5 per cent real GDP growth in the current fiscal year ending 31 March, 2022, while the inflation forecast was bumped up by 10 bps to 5.1 per cent. The six-member monetary policy committee (MPC) headed by Governor Shaktikanta Das voted unanimously for keeping repo rate - RBI’s key lending rate - unchanged at 4 per cent, and the reverse repo rate - the borrowing rate - at 3.35 per cent. It decided to retain an accommodative policy stance “as long as necessary to revive and sustain growth on a durable basis and continue to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on the economy,” signaling there is still room to cut rates further. RBI expanded its version of quantitative easing to keep borrowing costs anchored. It will buy an additional Rs 1.2 lakh crore of bonds under the Government Securities Acquisition Programme (G-SAP) 2.0 in the second quarter. In April, RBI committed to buying Rs 1 lakh crore worth of government bonds RBI brought down its forecast for economic growth by 100 basis points to a 9.5 per cent real GDP growth in the current fiscal year ending 31 March, 2022. RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das said retail inflation is seen at 5.1 per cent in 2021-22, with upside risks from higher commodity prices and re-emergence of higher supply constraints amidst the current phase of lockdowns. T The MPC (six-member monetary policy committee) was of the view that at this juncture policy support from all sides is required to gain the momentum of growth that was evident in the second half of 2021, and to nurture the recovery after RBI GOVERNOR SHAKTIKANTA DAS it has taken root from the market between April and May under G-SAP 1.0. Under G-SAP 1.0, RBI will purchase government securities worth Rs 40,000 crore on 17 June. The move is aimed at supporting the government’s borrowing plan at comfortable interest rates. The speed, scale and severity of the second wave of Covid-19 has impacted the economic recovery. But Das said unlike the first wave of Covid-19 infections which brought the economy to an abrupt standstill under a nationwide lockdown, the impact of the second wave on economic activity is expected to be relatively contained with restrictions on mobility being regionalised and nuanced. Other announcements include a separate liquidity window of Rs 15,000 crore being opened till 31 March, 2022, with tenors of up to 3 years at the repo rate, under which banks can provide fresh lending support to Covid-hit sectors such as hotels, restaurants and tourism. Further, an additional Rs 16,000 crore funding has been earmarked for Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) for lending to Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), directly or indirectly over and above the quantum of Rs 50,000 crore that was set aside for government financial institutions in the April policy. In order to provide further relief to the businesses hit by Covid 2.0, the newly announced restructuring window has been extended for all entities with outstanding credit of Rs 50 crore, up from Rs 25 crore. Das said India’s foreign exchange reserves have by all indications crossed $600 billion, a huge buffer that will help the economy from global spillovers and volatile external flows. RBI had slashed the repo rate by a total of 115 basis points (bps) since March 2020, to soften the blow from the pandemic. Commenting on the issue, Moody’s Analytics said new coronavirus infections are on a declining trend, but with restrictions likely to be eased only gradually, the sharp slowdown in domestic demand is set to weaken the revival beyond the June quarter. PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 4 JUNE The surge of Covid-19 cases in the country in the last two months shows a correlation with the rise in B.1.617 variant of the SARSCoV-2, according to INSACOG, a grouping of 10 national laboratories. April and May witnessed a deadly second wave of coronavirus cases that swept through the country stretching the healthcare infrastructure to its limits. According to INSACOG, a grouping of 10 National Laboratories that was established by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on 25 December 25 last year, the B.1.1.7 lineage of the virus, which was first identified in the UK is declining in proportion across India in the last one and half month. The B.1.1.7 variant of the coronavirus has been named ‘Alpha’. The B.1.617 lineage of SARS CoV-2 was first report- The B.1.617 lineage of SARS CoV-2 was first reported from Maharashtra but it is now seen in other states such as West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat and Telangana ed from Maharashtra but it is now seen in other states such as West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat, Telangana. “The current surge in cases seen over the last two months in some states shows a correlation with the rise in the B.1.617 lineage of SARS CoV-2,” the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics (INSACOG) said. The B.1.617 lineage has further evolved into three sublineages ~ B.1.617.1, B.1.617.2 and B.1.617.3. Early data shows B.1.617.2, dubbed as Delta by WHO, has higher transmission advantages over the other HEAP OF WASTE Birds perch on a pile of garbage at a dumping site, on the eve of World Environment Day, at Ghazipur in New Delhi on Friday. AGENCIES (See Pg 68 pc decline in Covid cases since May peak After Opp jibe, Punjab govt orders SNS & PTI NEW DELHI/KOLKATA, 4 JUNE India has seen a nearly 68 per cent decline in Covid-19 cases since the highest reported peak of cases on 7 May, the government said on Friday, even as the country reported 1.32 lakh new cases and 3,207 deaths in the previous 24 hours. There has also been a fall in active cases by more than 21 lakh since the peak of active cases on 10 May. Registering a decline of 56 per cent after around 50 days, there were 16,35,993 active cases as of Friday. While the weekly positivity rate currently stands at 7.27 per cent, the daily positivity rate stands at 6.38 per cent, less than 10 per cent for 11 consecutive days, according CBSE panel to set assessment norms in 10 days NEW DELHI, 4 JUNE The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) on Friday constituted a 13-member committee to work out an objective criteria for assessment of class 12 students after their board exams were cancelled in view of the pandemic. The panel will submit its report within 10 days. The panel will also have one representative each from UGC and NCERT and two representatives from schools. The government on Tuesday cancelled the CBSE class 12 board exams amidst the continuing Covid-19 pandemic across the country with Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserting that the decision was taken in the PTI interest of students. SII gets Sputnik V nod: The DCGI has granted permission to the Serum Institute of India to manufacture the Sputnik Covid-19 vaccine in India for examination, test and analysis with certain conditions, official sources said. The Punebased firm has collaborated with Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, Moscow in Russia for developing Sputnik V at its licensed PTI Hadapsar facility. to data updated by the Union ministry of health. India has also overtaken the USA in terms of number of people who have received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine, the government said. Addressing a press conference, NITI Aayog member (Health) V K Paul said 43 per cent of the 60-plus population has been covered with at least one dose and over 45 years, 37 per cent of the population has been covered. India, in terms of number of people who received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine, has administered 17.2 crore doses and the USA has administered 16.9 crore doses, he said. PM Modi on Friday evening reviewed the progress of the country’s Covid-19 vaccination drive. He is reported to have said that the vaccine wastage numbers are still on the higher side and that steps need to be taken to bring them down. Bengal today registered 7,913 fresh Covid cases and 113 deaths, with Kolkata logging 899 cases and 23 deaths. return of vaccines from pvt hospitals STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE CHANDIGARH, 4 JUNE 2,85,74,350 Facing criticism over alleged diversion of Covid vaccines to private hospitals at hefty margins, the Punjab government on Friday issued an order for taking back the vaccines from private hospitals with immediate effect. The health minister, Balbir Singh Sidhu, said that instructions for providing one-time limited vaccine doses to private hospitals have been withdrawn and all these vaccines will be administered free of cost to the age group of 18 to 44 years at government jab centres. Sidhu stated that as per information provided by the state in-charge 16,35,993 1,32,364 2,07,071 3,40,702 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. FRIDAY 04 JUNE 2021 Govt approves project to build six submarines STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE The decision to build six submarines is significant as it will go a long way in reducing the gap in strength between the Indian Navy and the Chinese Navy NEW DELHI, 4 JUNE The government today cleared one of the largest ‘Make in India’ projects to indigenously build six new conventional submarines under the strategic partnership model for the Indian Navy at a cost of about Rs 43,000 crore. At its meeting chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) also approved proposals concerning capital acquisition of various equipment, including air defence guns and ammunition, for modernisation and operational needs of the Indian armed forces amounting to about Rs 6,800 crore. The decision to build six submarines is significant as it will go a long way in reduc- ing the gap in strength between the Indian Navy and the Chinese Navy. It is understood that the specifications of the submarines and other critical requirements have been completed by the Indian Navy. “This (submarine project) is a landmark approval, being the first case processed under the strategic partnership model. This would be one of the largest ‘Make in India’ projects and it will create a tiered industrial ecosystem for submarine construction in India,” the defence min- ister’s office tweeted. The approval of the project will enable India to achieve its 30-year submarine construction programme envisioned by the government to acquire national competence in this field and for the Indian industry to independently design and construct submarines in India. “The availability of new technologies and advanced manufacturing capabilities to Indian Industry will be an important step towards enhancing the nation’s quest for self-reliance in modern conventional submarine construction and create direct and indirect job opportunities in India,” the Ministry of Defence said. The six submarines to be built will be conventional, diesel-electric vessels and are expected to be larger than the Scorpene-class subs currently under construction at Mazagon Dockyards Ltd in Mumbai. The submarines are likely to be equipped with land attack missiles and anti-ship cruise missiles. CMYK two sub-lineages. B.1.617, initially termed as double mutant, has three new spike protein mutations. Two mutations ~ E484Q and L452R~ are in the area important for antibody-based neutralisation. The third mutation~ P681R in B.1.617 ~ along with the reversion of E484Q allows its sub-lineage to be more infectious. The World Health Organisation has termed it as ‘Variant of Concern’. B.1.617.1 and B.1.617.3 sub-lineages have two receptor binding domain mutations~ L452R and E484Q. In the case of B.1.617.3, it has nine to 10 spike mutations and two receptor binding domain mutations. In the case of all the three sub-lineage, it has the potential to reduced antibody efficacy and potential reduced neutralisation by vaccine sera, which, however, remains to be established. The state health minister said that instructions for providing one-time limited vaccine doses to private hospitals have been withdrawn and these vaccines will be administered free of cost to 18-44 age group for Covid vaccination, Vikas Garg, about 42,000 doses have been allotted to the private hospitals, from which only 600 doses have been administered to people. He said that instructions have been issued to all civil surgeons that no fresh allotment be made to any private hospitals and the private hospitals should return forthwith all the vaccine doses available with them. The Amarinder Singh government faced criticism from Opposition parties over selling Covid vaccines to private hospitals. The Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Badal said it had re-sold 40,000 doses of Covaxin at “hefty margins”. Badal said the doses had been purchased at Rs 400 per dose and sold to private hospitals for Rs 1,060 per dose - a “profit” of Rs 660 per dose. The hospitals sold it at Rs 1,560 per dose, he alleged. . The Aam Aadmi Party Punjab affairs co-in-charge and MLA from Delhi, Raghav Chadha on Friday said the Captain government had committed another major vaccine scam, thus robbing the people of Punjab of crores of rupees. HC quashes Chawla’s 5G suit; imposes fine of `20L PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 4 JUNE The Delhi High Court on Friday dismissed actress Juhi Chawla’s lawsuit challenging the setting up of 5G wireless networks in the country and slapped a cost of Rs 20 lakh on her and co-petitioners by describing the plea as “defective”, “abuse of process of law” and filed for “gaining publicity”. Justice J R Midha said the plaintiffs~Chawla and two others~ have abused and misused the process of law and wasted the court’s time. The judge said the plaint in which questions have been raised about health hazards due to the 5G technology was “not maintainable” and was “stuffed with unnecessary, scandalous and frivolous averments”. The court said the suit filed by actress-environmentalist and others was to gain publicity which was clear as Chawla circulated the video conferencing link of the hearing on her social media account which resulted in repeated interruptions by unknown persons. The court issued contempt notices against unknown persons and asked the Delhi Police to identify them. During the 2 June hearing on Chawla’s plea, a man started singing some of the hit songs of the actress’ movies and caused repeated interruptions in the virtual hearing. On the judge’s directions the person was repeatedly removed from the hearing. 5) Lioness dies of Covid-19 at Chennai zoo CHENNAI, 4 JUNE A lioness has died of coronavirus infection at Chennai’s Vandalur zoo, while eight other lions have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. A month ago eight Asiatic lions tested positive for the coronavirus at the Nehru Zoological Park in Hyderabad. The zoo authorities conducted Covid tests on the lions after the Iioness died with symptoms of Covid-19. In a press release, the Arignar Anna Zoological Park said that on 26 May, five lions started showing loss of appetite and occasional coughing. A team of experts was formed and samples collected and sent for testing. The tests of nine lions returned positive. The release added that one of the nine, a 9-year-old female, called Neela, died on 3 June at around 6.15 p.m. The feline had been asymptomatic and showed some nasal discharge only the day before her death and had been treated immediately. In order to ascertain whether or not the reported findings are in the nature of false positives or the animal could have died of comorbidities, samples have also been sent on 4.6.2021 to the Indian Veterinary Research institute, Bareilly and the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad. All the lions that have tested positive are under close observation, on prescribed treatment by the zoo’s veterinary and expert teams. SNS
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