SUNDAY www.thestatesman.com 13 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 ‘CONGRESS COULD REVIEW ARTICLE 370 REVOCATION’ INDIAN-ORIGIN JOURNALIST WINS PULITZER PRIZE P11 WEATHER Generally cloudy sky. Moderate rain/thundershowers accompanied with gusty winds. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 35 and 25 degrees Celsius respectively. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max: 77% Min: 50% Max: 35.0°C (-4) SUN RISES 05:23 hrs MOON RISES 08:28 hrs THUMBNAILS A man showers water on children on a hot IANS summer day. In New Delhi on Saturday. IMA to hold countrywide protest on 18 June: The Indian Medical Association will hold a protest on 18 June against assault on doctors, with the slogan of save the ‘saviours'. The apex medical body asked all its state and local branches across the country to observe the protest by wearing black badges, masks, ribbons, shirts and running awareness campaign against violence targeting healthcare professionals. It termed “extremely disturbing” a series of violence against doctors in the last two weeks in Assam, Bihar, West Bengal, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and other places. P5 Krejcikova wins French Open women's title: Czech Barbora Krejcikova claimed her maiden Grand Slam title when she beat Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-1 2-6 6-4 in the French Open final on Saturday. The 25-year-old is the first Czech to lift the Suzanne Lenglen Cup since Hana Mandlikova triumphed in 1981. When asked how she felt about winning, Krejcikova thanked the Court crowd and said, P12 “I can't believe what just happened.” Government tightens its purse strings amidst the second wave of the Covid pandemic; asks ministries to cut down on ‘controllable’ expenses like domestic and foreign travel, overtime allowance, rent and office expenditure NEW DELHI, 12 JUNE The government has asked all ministries and government departments to target 20 per cent reduction in expenditures like domestic and foreign travel, overtime allowance, rent and office expenses, in the current fiscal year as it tightens its purse strings amidst the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Department of Expenditure under the Finance Ministry issued an office memorandum in this regard on 10 June. “All the ministries/ departments are requested to take steps to curtail all avoidable non-scheme expenditure and aim for 20 per cent reduction in controllable expenditure. Expenditure in 2019-20 may be taken as the baseline for this purpose, the memorandum said. It said ministries should also aim to control expenditures related to publications, administrative expenses, supplies and materials, cost of ration, clothing and tentage, advertising and publicity, minor works and maintenance, service charges, grantsin-aid general, contribution and other charges. The savings that would accrue to the government due to this move cannot be ascertained. This is the second year in a row that the government has come out with steps to rationalise expenses.PTI P7 P12 No GST on Covid drugs; Centre slams report on ‘excess’ Covid-19 deaths 5 pc on vaccines to stay SNS/PTI FM explains levy will not put any additional burden on common man oxygen, oxygen concenPRESS TRUST OF INDIA KIND CUTS ON MEDS, EQUIPMENT T Min: 28.0°C (0) SUN SETS 19:20 hrs MOON SETS 21:56 hrs Target 20% cut in expenditure, ministries told P5 NEW DELHI, 12 JUNE TEMPERATURE THE SUB-PLOT SEHWAG IS SO KEEN ON WHAT IS MAYAWATI’S FUTURE IN UTTAR PRADESH? he GST Council on Saturday slashed tax rate on Covid19 drugs such as Remdesivir and Tocilizumab as well as on medical oxygen and oxygen concentrators but ignored demands for reduction in taxes on vaccines. The Council, acting on the recommendation of a group of ministers from different states, cut to nil GST on Covid-19 drug Tocilizumab and black fungus medicine Amphotericin B, from existing 5 per cent. Besides, hand sanitiser, pulse oximeter, BiPAP machine, testing kit, ambulance and temperature check equipment were among the 18 items on which GST rates were lowered. A 5 per cent GST levy on vaccines will continue which will allow manufacturers to get benefit of settling taxes paid on inputs. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman explained that the 5 per cent levy will not put any additional burden on common man as the government was procuring all vaccines and giving them to citizens for free. The reduced tax rates were based on a recommendation of a group of ministers, headed by Meghalaya deputy chief minister Conrad Sangma, and would remain effective till September 30, 2021. “It was felt that the GoM’s recommendations has brought in a lot of substantial change. Many items, that were at 18 per cent and 12 per cent, brought down GST on Tocilizumab and Amphotericin B is slashed to nil from 5 per cent Rate on Remdesivir and anticoagulants like Heparin is lowered from 12 per cent to 5 per cent. Hand sanitiser, pulse oximeter, BiPAP machine, testing kit, ambulance and temperature check equipment among the 18 items on which GST rates were lowered. GST rate on ambulance has been cut to 12 per cent from 28 per cent. Tax on medical grade oxygen, oxygen concentrator, ventilators cut to 5 per cent from 12 per cent Central government is purchasing 75 per cent and is paying GST also. But the impact of this GST on people will be nil since people would be getting vaccines free of cost at government hospitals. Centre is purchasing and it is given free to people NIRMALA SITHARAMAN FINANCE MINISTER to 5 per cent. So there was a lot of substance in the recommendation made by GoM. The Council largely agreed to go with GoM’s recommendation...,” Sitharaman said while briefing reporters after the 44th GST Council meeting here. Goods and Services Tax (GST) rate on Covid vaccines was, however, retained at 5 per cent as the Council felt that majority of the vaccine procurement was being done by the Centre and given free to people. “Central government is purchasing 75 per cent and is paying GST also. But the impact of this GST on people will be nil since people would be getting vaccines free of cost at government hospitals. Centre is purchasing and it is given free to people,” Sitharaman said. Revenue Secretary Tarun Bajaj said vaccines would continue to attract 5 per cent rate and the GST Council discussed that the Centre is purchasing all the vaccines~ at least 75 per cent is being purchased by the Centre. “The GST will also be borne by the Centre. But out of the income from GST, 70 per cent will be shared with the states... As far as people are concerned who are coming to get their inoculation done, it is tax free. It is not an issue with the people, they are not paying any tax, cost of the vaccine. So it is free for them,” Bajaj said. He said the notification of lower GST rates would be issued “tomorrow or day after”. While GST on Tocilizumab and Amphotericin B is slashed to nil from 5 per cent, the rate on Remdesivir and anticoagulants like Heparin is lowered from 12 per cent to 5 per cent. GST rate on ambulance has been cut to 12 per cent from 28 per cent. Tax on medical grade trator (including personal imports), ventilators, BiPAP machines and high flow nasal cannula (HFNC) devices has been cut to 5 per cent from 12 per cent. Also, tax on Covid testing kits, pulse oximeter (including personal imports) has been brought down to 5 per cent from 12 per cent. Hand sanitisers, temperature check equipment, gas/electric furnaces for crematoriums too will attract lower 5 per cent tax, compared to 18 per cent earlier. In the previous meeting of the GST Council on 28 May, taxes on Covid-19 vaccines and medical supplies were left unchanged after the BJP and Opposition-ruled states sparred over whether the tax cut benefits will reach the common man. An 8-member GoM, under Sangma, was set up to recommend GST rate on Covid essentials. Industry chamber PHDCCI said the calibrated reduction in the rates of GST on Covid relief essentials will go a long way in treating Covid cases and to provide required relief for treatment of infections. “PHDCCI looks forward to the continued reform measures by the government to mitigate the daunting impact of Covid on people and to make India free from the pandemic,” it said in a statement. EY Tax Partner Abhishek Jain said majority population will not be affected on account of no GST rate cut on Covid vaccines as most people are opting for free of cost vaccinations from the government. NEW DELHI, 12 JUNE India on Saturday refuted a report which claimed that its Covid deaths could be “five-to-seven times” higher than the official number, saying the assessment is based on extrapolation of data without any epidemiological evidence. In a statement, the Union Health Ministry also slammed the publication, without naming it, for the article which claimed “India has suffered perhaps five to seven times ‘excess deaths’ than the official number of Covid-19 fatalities”. The ministry termed the article, published byThe Economist, speculative, without any basis and misinformed. “The unsound analysis of the said article is based on the extrapolation of data without any epidemiological evidence,” the ministry said, adding the studies used by the magazine to estimate the mortality are not validated tools for determining the death rate of any country or region. The ministry then went on to list the reasons why the studies used by the publication cannot be trust- Choksi being taken to a police van in a wheelchair by a police officer. PRESS TRUST OF INDIA STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE The Dominica High Court has denied bail to fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi in the case of illegal entry into the island country after his mysterious disappearance from neighbouring Antigua and Barbuda where he is staying as a citizen since 2018, local Caribbean media reported. The high court on Friday gave the ruling by concluding that Choksi was a “flight risk”, did not have any ties with Dominica and the court could not impose any conditions which will stop him from leaving the country, news outlet AntiguaNewsroom said. Choksi had approached the high court after the magistrate The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) on Saturday formed an alliance to contest the 2022 Assembly elections jointly “to free Punjab from the arrogant ‘raja’ (king) Captain Amarinder Singh and the corrupt scam ridden Congress govt”. An announcement in this regard was made jointly by SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal and BSP national general secretary Satish Chandra Mishra. Mishra said party president Mayawati had approved the alliance and both parties would strive to form the next government in the state under the leadership of Sukhbir Badal. The BSP leader also appealed to the Dalit and disadvantaged sections of society to support the SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal offers sweets to BSP General Secy Satish Chandra Mishra during a joint press meet. alliance wholeheartedly. He also visited five-time former chief minister and SAD patron Parkash Singh Badal along with the BSP Punjab coordinator Randhir Singh Beniwal and Punjab BSP president Jasbir Singh Garhi to take the for- mer CM’s blessings. The SAD chief announced that the BSP would contest twenty out of the 117 seats under its alliance with the SAD including eight seats in the Doaba region, seven in Malwa and five in Majha. These seats are Kartarpur, Jalandhar West, Jalandhar North, Phagwara, Nawan-sheher, Hoshiarpur City, Tanda, Dasuya, Chamkaur Sahib, Bassi Pathana, Mehal Kalan, Ludhiana North, Sujanpur, Boha, Pathankot, Anandpur Sahib, Mohali, Amritsar North, Amritsar Central and Payal. He said a coordination committee of leaders from both parties would be formed soon to ensure seamless working in all the constituencies. Terming the alliance as historic, Badal said it was not limited to the 2022 Assembly elections but would continue after the elections also. He said both the SAD and the BSP had the same ideology and had always worked for the welfare of farmers, poor and khet mazdoor (farm workers). Mishra, while terming the development as a red letter day for Punjab, said both parties had come together after 25 years, adding the last time both parties had contested an election jointly they had swept eleven out of thirteen seats in the Lok Sabha elections of 1996. Mishra alleged the Congress government in Punjab was discriminating against Dalits by not releasing funds reserved for scheduled castes, deleting lakhs of Aata – Daal (subsidised ration scheme) and pension cards, not filling SC and OBC vacancies, not releasing SC scholarship fee to students and not implementing the Shagun and houses for homeless schemes. (SEE PAGE 3) The government on Saturday dismissed the claims of hacking of the Co-WIN system and data leak as “baseless”. The Health Ministry said the matter of the alleged hacking of the Co-WIN system has been investigated by the Computer Emergency Response Team of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. PTI ed. An internet search of research studies in scientific databases such as Pubmed, Research Gate, etc., did not locate this study and its detailed methodology has not been provided by the magazine either, the ministry said. “Another evidence given is the study done in Telangana based on insurance claims. Again, there is no peer-reviewed scientific data available on such a study,” the statement said. In order to avoid any inconsistency in the number of deaths being reported, the ministry said, the Indian Council of Medical Choksi denied bail by Dominica High Court SAD, BSP tie up for 2022 polls with Sukhbir as CM-face CHANDIGARH, 12 JUNE ‘Baseless’: Govt on Co-WIN hacking, data leak claims NEW DELHI, 12 JUNE had rejected his bail petition. The 62-year old diamantaire, who has an Interpol Red Notice against him, had mysteriously gone missing on 23 May from Antigua and Barbuda where he has been staying since 2018 as a citizen after fleeing from India. He was detained in the neighbouring island country of Dominica for illegal entry after a possible romantic escapade with his rumoured girlfriend. Choksi’s lawyers had filed a habeas corpus petition calling his arrest illegal and alleging that he was abducted, tortured and handed over to Dominica authority to deny him rights available to him in Antigua and Barbuda as a citizen. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the External Affairs Ministry have sought to implead in the habeas corpus petition by filing two affidavits in the Dominica High Court. The affidavits, if admitted, will pave way for noted lawyer Harish Salve to plead Indian case in Dominica, they said. 2,93,59,155 10,80,690 84,332 1,21,311 3,67,081 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. SATURDAY 12 JUNE 2021 Research issued guidelines as early as in May 2020. : Delhi cases: Delhi today logged 213 new Covid cases ~ the lowest in over three months ~ and 28 coronavirus-linked deaths while the positivity rate stood at 0.30 per cent, according to the Delhi government's latest health bulletin.The fresh fatalities pushed the city's Covid toll to 24,800. The number of Delhi's cumulative tally now rose (SEE P2) to 14,30,884. Biotech to make Covaxin Ph-III trials data public HYDERABAD, 12 JUNE Bharat Biotech, the manufacturer of the indigenous Covid-19 vaccine Covaxin has assured that it will soon make the data from both efficacy and safety follow-up of the phase III trial public, while claiming that within the span of a year as many as nine research studies on the vaccine have been published in five globally reputed peerreviewed journals. “Currently, data from both efficacy and safety follow-up of Covaxin’s phase III trial is being analysed and compiled. The company will make Phase III trials data from the final analysis public soon,” said Bharat Biotech today. The firm had earlier said the data from Phase III trials will be available in July. In a bid to assure people about its credibility in terms of data transparency, the company has said that it is the first and only Covid-19 vaccine manufacturer to have published any data from human clinical trials in India. It is also the first and only Covid vaccine to have efficacy data in Indian population, in an apparent dig at Serum Institute of India’s Covishield developed by OxfordSNS AstraZeneca. Details on Page 4 LeT militants ambush police patrol; Policy on declassification of war histories gets nod PRESERVING THE PAST Two personnel, three civilians dead STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 12 JUNE STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE JAMMU, 12 JUNE Three civilians and two personnel of J&K Police were among five persons killed on Saturday when Lashkare-Toiba (LeT ) terrorists ambushed a Police patrol in the Arampora Chowk of north Kashmir’s Sopore of Baramulla district. The terrorists heavily fired at a police vehicle that was passing through the area. Two policemen died on the spot and the terrorists fled from the scene when the security forces retaliated. Reports said that at least seven persons, including four policemen, were injured in the terror attack amidst heavy movement of central securi- Troops cordon off the terror attack spot at Sopore. SNS ty forces in north Kashmir during the past few days. J&K’s Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha has warned: “Such despicable and cowardly act will not go unpunished”. “The perpetrators of violence are the enemies of humanity,” he said, while condemning the attack on civilians and security personnel. He offered condolences to kin of those who were killed in the terror attack. Several civilians were trapped in the crossfire and many of them took refuge in nearby shops in the area. The injured were shifted to sub-district hospital Sopore for treatment where two cops and two civilians were declared dead on arrival. Three others critically injured, including two cops and a civilian, were shifted to Srinagar for treatment. Police sources said the cops were part of a patrol party that was on routine security duty. Army and CRPF have cordoned the area to nab the terrorists behind the attack. Former CM & NC leader Omar Abdullah, Peoples Conference chief Sajad Lone and other leaders took to Twitter to condemn the terror attack. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has approved the policy on archiving, declassification and compilation of war histories by the Ministry of Defence (MoD). The policy envisages that each organisation under the MoD such as Services, Integrated Defence Staff, Assam Rifles and Indian Coast Guard, will transfer the records, including war diaries, letters of proceedings and operational record books, etc., to the History Division of ministry for proper upkeep, archival and writing the histories. The responsibility for declassification of records rests with the respective organisations as specified in the Public Record Act 1993 and Public Record Rules 1997, as The policy envisages that each organisation under the MoD such as Services, Integrated Defence Staff, Assam Rifles and Indian Coast Guard, will transfer the records, including war diaries, letters of proceedings and operational record books, etc., to the History Division of ministry for proper upkeep, archival and writing the histories. According to the policy, records should ordinarily be declassified in 25 years. amended from time to time, the MoD said today. According to the policy, records should ordinarily be declassified in 25 years. Records older than 25 years should be appraised by archival experts and transferred to the National Archives of India once the war histories have been compiled. The History Division will be responsible for coordination with various departments while compiling, seeking approval and pub- lishing of war histories. The policy mandates the constitution of a committee headed by a Joint Secretary in the MoD and comprising representatives of the Services, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and other organisations and prominent military historians for compilation of war histories. The policy also set clear timelines with regard to compilation and publication of war histories. The committee will have to be formed within two years of completion of war. Thereafter, collection of records and compilation should be completed in three years. The requirement of having war histories written with clear cut policy on declassification of war records was recommended by the Kargil Review Committee, headed by K Subrahmanyam as well as the N N Vohra Committee in order to analyse lessons learnt and prevent future mistakes. Post Kargil War, the Group of Ministers’ (GoM) recommendations on national security also mentioned the desirability of authoritative war history. Timely publication of war histories is expected to give people accurate account of the events, provide authentic material for academic research and counter rumours.
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.