WEDNESDAY www.thestatesman.com 28 JULY 2021 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 12 |`5|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR JOHNSON ENDS COVID ISOLATION P10 P4 WEATHER Generally cloudy sky. Light to moderate rain/thundershowers. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 28 and 25 degrees Celsius respectively. Min: 79% Min: 25.0°C (-2) SUN SETS 19:15 hrs MOON SETS 10:36 hrs 3,14,40,951 3,98,100 29,689 42,363 4,21,382 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. TUESDAY 27 JULY 2021 SNS & PTI NEW DELHI / HYDERABAD, 27 JULY Centre calls meeting of Assam, Mizoram chief secys, DGPs: The Centre has called a meeting of the chief secretaries and DGPs of Assam and Mizoram tomorrow to be chaired by Union home secretary Ajay Bhalla for a discussion over the ongoing border clashes in which five Assam police personnel were killed. Union home minister Amit Shah has already talked to chief ministers of Assam and Mizoram. IMF cuts India's GDP growth forecast to 9.5 pc for FY22: The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday cut its economic growth forecast for India to 9.5 per cent for the fiscal year to 31 March 2022 as the onset of a severe second wave cut into recovery momentum. For 202223, IMF expects economic growth of 8.5 per cent, larger than the 6.9 per cent it had projected in April. "Growth prospects in India have been downgraded following the severe second Covid wave during March-May and P8 expected slow recovery," IMF said. I ndia recorded less than 30,000 fresh Covid-19 cases after 132 days while its active caseload fell below 4,00,000 after 124 days on Tuesday, according to Union health ministry data. As many as 29,689 new infections took the country’s caselod to 3,14,40,951 while 415 fresh fatalities pushed the death toll to 4,21,382. The number of active cases dropped to 3,98,100. Total recoveries surged to 3,06,21,469. Under the nationwide vaccination drive, 44.19 crore have been inoculated. Delhi cases: The national capital reported 77 fresh cases of the coronavirus and two deaths Slowdown in rate of decline of avg daily cases: Govt Jabs for kids may begin in August: Mandaviya SNS & AGENCIES THUMBNAILS A water-logged road after heavy rain at Sadar (P 2) Bazar on Tuesday. SUBRATA DUTTA P12 New cases below 30K BSY loyalist Basavaraj Bommai anointed CM in over 3 months TEMPERATURE Max: 29.4°C (-5) SUN RISES 05:41 hrs MOON RISES 22:22 hrs LOVLINA MAKES QFs OF OLYMPIC BOXING P6 Locally-made Sputnik V to be available from Sept-Oct period RAINFALL: 100.0 Mm RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max: 100% RUDDERLESS TUNISIA MADRAS HC RELIEF FOR ACTOR VIJAY IN ENTRY TAX CASE NEW DELHI, 27 JULY Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya notified on Tuesday that the Centre is likely to start vaccination of children in August. The health minister reportedly said this during a BJP parliamentary party meeting that was also attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He had said, “We would likely begin vaccinating children from next month.” The statement comes at a time of apprehension that children are likely to be relatively more vulnerable in the third wave and, the absence of vaccines for children adds to the woes. Meanwhile, noting that Covid vaccines becoming available for children would be a milestone achievement, due to the infection on Tuesday, while the positivity rate stood at 0.11 per cent, according to the daily health bulletin issued by the Delhi government. Locally-made Sputnik Dr Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd expects the locally manufactured Russia’s Covid-19 vaccine Sputnik V to be available from September-October peri- AIIMS Chief Dr Randeep Guleria last week said it would pave the way for the reopening of schools and the resumption of outdoor activities for them. Speaking about Covid vaccines for kids, he mentioned that trials for Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin on children are underway and results are expected to be released by September. He added, “In the coming weeks or by September, vaccines should be available for children.” He further said that vaccine manufacturer Zydus Cadila, which recently requested EUA for its Covid vaccine ZyCov-D, has also included the data for children for their vaccine. Additionally, if the Pfizer vaccine also receives approval from the Centre then it could also become an option for children, Dr Guleria said. NEW DELHI, 27 JULY od, a senior official of the city-based drug maker said on Tuesday. M V Ramana, CEO of Branded Markets (India and Emerging Markets), Dr Reddy’s, said due to the sudden spike of Covid-19 cases in Russia, the arrival of Sputnik V doses are getting delayed and the situation may ease by August end. “The local manufacturers are currently in In the past few weeks, there has been a slowdown in the rate of decline of average daily Covid cases, which is a cause of concern, the Union health ministry said on Tuesday. It also said that there are 54 districts in 12 states and Union Territories, which reported over 10 per cent positivity rate for the week ending 26 July. “The average daily new cases declined from 3,87,029 cases between 5-11 May to 38,090 cases between 21-27 July,” joint secretary in the health ministry, Lav Agarwal, said. Twenty-two districts in seven states have reported an increasing trend in daily Covid cases for the last four weeks, the ministry said. There are also eight districts, witnessing a decline in positivity rate, but are now seeing a rise in Covid cases, it said, adding that “we cannot take the situation for PTI granted”. the process of Technology absorption and scale up,” Ramana told reporters adding that trials of Sputnik V in adolescents have begun in Russia. STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE BENGALURU, 27 JULY Karnataka finally has a new chief minister in Basavaraj Bommai, former state home minister. His name was proposed by BS Yediyurappa, who resigned as chief minister yesterday and approved by the party MLAs who met here late this evening. A close associate of Yediyurappa, Bommai, 61, a Lingayat, was one of the front runners for the post, along with former minister for mines, Murugesh Nirani, among others. His selection is also aimed at assuaging the dominant Lingayat community which was unhappy at the BJP for making the leader from their sect resign from his post yesterday. The decision was taken in the presence of three party observers sent by the BJP high command in Union education minister, Dharmendra Pradhan , G Reddy, minister of state for home and party general secretary for Karnataka, Arun Singh. Bommai’s selection was announced by Pradhan at the meeting which did not last very long. According to party sources here, the BJP leadership was keen to associate the former chief minister in selecting his replacement, perhaps explaining his presence at the meeting. Besides, the central observers had also visited his residence before attending the MLA’s meeting. The son of the former chief minister, SR Bommai, Basavaraj Bommai joined the BJP in 2008 after being in the JD for a while. A ‘non-controversial’ leader, he has also served as the state’s water resources minister earlier. He started his political ‘NON-CONTROVERSIAL, EFFICIENT’ Lingayat community which was disgruntled with the BJP over BSY’s resignation The decision was taken in the presence of three party observers sent by BJP high command-Union education minister, Dharmendra Pradhan , G Reddy, minister of state for home and party general secretary for Karnataka, Arun Singh Basavaraj Bommai is a close associate of BS Yediyurappa The son of the former chief minister, SR Bommai, Basavaraj Bommai joined the BJP in 2008 after being in the JD for a while His selection is aimed at assuaging the dominant He holds a degree in mechanical engineering career after finishing his studies in mechanical engineering. His selection ends speculation over Yediyurappa successor, a responsibility which will weigh heavily on the new chief minister with the pandemic and floods causing concern in the state. He will need to take quick decisions to provide immediate relief to the flood-affected districts besides sprucing up facilities for ensuring that the state does not get hit by the third wave of the pandemic. This apart, the new chief minister, known as an ‘efficient administrator’, will also have to ensure smooth governance while taking steps to improve the state’s finances which have been hit hard, thanks to the forced lockdowns owing to the first and second pandemic waves. These took a heavy toll on the state’s revenues. More importantly, his appointment comes barely 21 months before the state goes for assembly polls, followed by the Lok Sabha elections, a year later. Accordingly, his task will be cut out in ensuring that the BJP retains power with a bigger number besides making sure that the party wins more Parliament seats. Significantly, in 2019 Yediyurappa had helped the BJP win 25 of the 28 Parliamentary seats from the state, a record which the party would like his successor to emulate, or improve upon. Another challenge that the new chief minister will face relates to the formation of the council of ministers. Considering the importance of caste equations in the state, he will need to choose his cabinet accordingly, giving appropriate importance to different communities, including minorities. It would be equally important to see how many deputy chief ministers he would prefer to appoint. ‘PM should call all-party meet on Pegasus’ Rakesh Asthana appointed Delhi Police Commissioner SNS & AGENCIES NEW DELHI, 27 JULY Mamata Banerjee met Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his residence in Delhi today. This was the West Bengal chief minister’s first meeting with the PM after the fiasco over meeting on cyclone Yaas and amid Miss Banerjee lambasting the Modi-led Centre over the snooping allegations. Miss Banerjee described her meeting with Modi as a ‘courtesy visit’ where she discussed Covid situation, supply of vaccines and medicine to the state and also a proposal to rename Bengal as Bangla. “I should not speak what the PM said,” she told reporters. She said she was also supposed to meet President Ram Nath Kovind. “But the problem is they are asking me to have an RT-PCR done before meeting him. I have got both doses though. Where will I go here,” she said. Tomorrow, Congress president Sonia Gandhi has invited the chief minister, who has recently been elected as her party’s parliamentary chairperson, and has a packed three-day visit to Delhi with politically significant meetings. Miss Banerjee will also meet her Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday. Later speaking to reporters Opp not allowing Parl to function: PM to BJP MPs PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 27 JULY Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked BJP MPs on Tuesday to expose the opposition parties as the government is ready for a discussion but they are not letting Parliament to function, sources said. Addressing the BJP parliamentary party meeting, Modi told the lawmakers to mark 75 years of the country’s Independence by organising programmes in every village of their constituencies, minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Arjun Ram Meghwal said. Underlining that the 75th anniversary celebrations of Independence should not merely be a government programme, Modi said it should be a people’s movement with people’s participation, Meghwal told reporters after the meeting. He asked the BJP MPs to form a team of two party workers in each Assembly segment, which will organise the programmes and seek suggestions and ideas from people on how they envisage India in 2047, when the country will complete a century of Independence. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi briefed the BJP MPs about parliamentary proceedings and the government’s floor strategy for the ongoing Monsoon session. BJP president JP Nadda asked the party MPs to make sure that the government schemes reach people. the TMC supremo also said the unity of opposition parties would take shape on its own. Responding to a question on opposition unity against the ruling NDA, she said it would take shape on its own. Asked whether she will lead the opposition parties, Miss Banerjee said the country would lead the opposition unity. She said the prime minister should convene an allparty meet on the Pegasus snooping row and decide on a Supreme Court-led probe. 7 Opp parties write to Kovind over farmers’ issues, Pegasus NEW DELHI, 27 JULY Seven opposition parties have written to President Ram Nath Kovind seeking his intervention to direct the government to discuss farmers’ issues and Pegasus in Parliament, NCP leader Supriya Sule said on Tuesday. The BSP RLP SAD, NC, CPI , , and the CPI(M), besides the NCP are the signatories to the , letter. SAD leader Harsimrat Badal said it is unfortunate that farmers have died while protesting against the three farm laws but the Centre is not ready to discuss their issues. Sule said the letter sought Kovind’s intervention to instruct the government to discuss the issues in the (See Pg 5) Parliament. Earlier in the day, the Bengal CM met senior Congress leaders Kamal Nath and Anand Sharma here. This is the first of her series of meetings with senior political leaders in the national capital after her Assembly poll victory in Bengal. Nath, after meeting the TMC supremo, said he had come to congratulate Miss Banerjee for her victory in the recent Assembly elections. “We have not discussed any strategy. That will be discussed by the leaders of our party. We just discussed the current situation and the issue of rising prices,” the Congress leader told reporters. Later, Miss Banerjee met Sharma. During the meeting, Sharma is reported to have told her that there cannot be a non-BJP front without Congress as it is a national party. SNS & AGENCIES NEW DELHI, 27 JULY Rakesh Asthana, a senior IPS officer of the 1984-batch of Gujarat cadre, was appointed as the Commissioner of Delhi Police on Tuesday. According to a Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) order, Asthana, currently serving as Director General of the Border Security Force (BSF) and holding additional charge of Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) will join as the Delhi Police Commissioner with immediate effect. The appointment of Asthana to the post came just days before his superannuation on 31 July. He will have a tenure of one year. This is one of the very few instances when an IPS offi- cer outside of the AGMUT cadre has been appointed as the Delhi Police chief. Usually, an officer belonging to the Arunachal PradeshGoa-Mizoram and Union Territory (AGMUT ) cadre is appointed to the post. While clearing his appointment as the CP Delhi, the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC), headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved the intercadre deputation from Gujarat to AGMUT cadre. The ACC also extended his service initially for a period of one year beyond the date of his superannuation on July 31 or until further order, whichever is earlier. Olympics: Shooters way off mark, more disappointment PRESS TRUST OF INDIA TOKYO, 27 JULY There was resilience on display in hockey, a tactical mind sparkled in the boxing ring but the free fall in shooting remained perplexing and worrying as India’s Olympic campaign oscillated between some celebration and a lot of dejection on day 4 here on Tuesday. At the Asaka shooting range, the Indians largely misfired and with that, the hopes of medals in the 10m air pistol and 10m air rifle mixed team events went up in smoke. The performance so far has resurrected the ghosts of the 2016 Rio Games when similar hype and expectations had ended in a deflating medal-less campaign. But perhaps the shooters can take a leaf out of the men’s hockey team’s book and find a way out of their current misery. Hammered 1-7 by Australia on Sunday, the Manpreet Singh-led side claimed a 3-0 triumph over Spain to inch closer to a quarterfinal berth. It was a tremendous fightback after a loss that could have easily scarred them for the entire Games. Any talk of a fight by an Indian in these Games would be incomplete without the table tennis veteran A Sharath Kamal. The 39-yearold took a game off the reigning Olympic and World champion Ma Long of China. It wasn’t enough to fetch him a victory as he bowed out in the men’s singles third round but it did show the tremendous athlete that Sharath has been for several years. In the boxing ring, Assamese debutant Lovlina Borgohain (69kg) displayed what a calm mind can achieve. The Indian became the first from her nine-strong team to make the quarterfinal stage. Indian sailors Vishnu Saravanan and Nethra Kumanan finished way behind the leaders as they ended at 22nd and 33rd spot in the respective events after six races. The Indian tennis team’s campaign ended as Sania Mirza and Sumit Nagal could not make the cut for the mixed doubles event due to their low combined ranking of 153. In badminton, it was tough luck for the debutant pairing of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy in the men's doubles. They fought something that the shooters have been unable to do so far, prompting the national federation to promise a coaching overhaul after the Games. Considered the team’s best bet for a podium finish, the duo of Saurabh Chaudhary and Manu Bhaker caved in under pressure and failed to qualify for the final of the 10m air pistol mixed team event. Later in the day, both the Indian pairs participating in the 10m air rifle mixed team event, crashed out in the first qualifications stage, missing out on yet another final after an outing that left a lot to be desired. The duo of Elavenil Valarivan and Divyansh Singh Panwar finished 12th with a total of 626.5 across three series each, while Anjum Moudgil and Deepak Kumar ended 18th out of 29 pairs with an aggregate score of 623.8. On Wednesday, the misfiring archers will begin their individual campaigns, while star shuttler PV Sindhu will play her second (See pg 12) group match. Blinken arrives for wide-ranging talks with Modi, S Jaishankar STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 27 JULY US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived here tonight on a two-day visit for talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar tomorrow on a wide range of issues, including the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan, China’s aggressive behaviour and ways to enhance cooperation to fight Covid-19. “I look forward to consultations with our partners to further cooperation in support of our shared interests in the Indo-Pacific and Middle East,” Blinken tweeted before departing for New Delhi. “Secretary Blinken’s visit is an opportunity to continue the high-level bilateral dialogue and bolster the IndiaUS global strategic partnership,” according to the MEA. “Both sides will review the robust and multifaceted India-US bilateral relations, and potential for consolidating them further,” it said. Acting Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Dean Thompson said on Friday that the discussions will focus on expanding ties in areas of security, defence, cyber, and counterterrorism cooperation. The two sides are also expected to explore ways to deepen defence collaboration, including exercises, defence transfers and technologies ahead of the next edition of the 2+2 defence and foreign ministerial dialogue to be held in the US later this year, they said.
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