SATURDAY Drug has no meaningful effect on mortality: WHO 21 NOVEMBER, 2020 The United Nation health body said on Friday that there’s no evidence that the drug improved the prospects of hospitalised Covid patients epaper.morningstandard.in facebook.com/TheMorningStandard MAY STILL BENEFIT A SUBGROUP OF PATIENTS twitter.com/TheMornStandard CHURN IN PARTY DISSENTERS IN CONG PANELS Sonia formed panels for matters related to economy, foreign affairs and security A CAPITAL VIEW OF NEWS PAGE 7 NEW DELHI J8.00 PAGES 12 RBI willing to let large companies own banks Regulator feels private lenders will drive growth; wants to expand sector after strengthening supervisory oversight S E S A S E N @ New Delhi IT is time to open up India’s banking sector to allow large companies to own banks, according to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). In its report released Friday , an internal RBI panel headed by RBI Central Board Director P K Mohanty said industrial houses can be allowed to promote banks after the Banking Regulations Act is amended to this effect. The supervisory wing of the regulator must also be strengthened to prevent connected lending and exposures between banks and other financial and non-financial group entities, the inter nal group report noted. The suggestions are significant as the central bank has in the past been firmly opposed to allowing large corporate entities to own banks. The working group also suggested that large non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) with asset size of `50,000 crore and above, including those owned by corporate entities, be converted into banks subject to completion of 10 years of op- erations. This could benefit industrial houses such as Aditya Birla, Bajaj, Mahindra & Mahindra and Tata Sons that already have large NBFCs with more than a decade of operations. Back in the 1990s, when RBI doled out its first set of licences for private banks, it had left out industrial houses. However, the P K Mohanty panel, whose brief was to review the extant ownership guidelines and corporate structure for Indian private sector banks, said private banks will be crucial for the future growth of the banking sector, which is Door-to-door survey as Delhi ramps up response EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi AMID continuing surge in Covid-19 cases, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday sought to enforce pandemic discipline by meeting representatives of market associations and seeking their cooperation, while assuring he does not want to shut the markets down. He urged the representatives to provide masks for free to shoppers not wearing them. Parallelly, the gover nment sought to wield the stick, as it provided legal teeth to the penalty of a whopping `2,000 it intends to slap on those flouting the mask norm. To do so, Lt Governor Anil Baijal approved a proposal to amend the Delhi Epidemic Disease Management of Covid-19 Regulations 2020, to insert the penalty . Meanwhile, the Delhi government has begun a door-todoor survey to identify people having Covid symptoms. The massive exercise is expected to be completed in five days and cover over 57 lakh people. In all, 6,608 new cases were detected in Delhi that is already witnessing a third Covid wave, taking the cumulative cases to 5,17,238. Also, 118 deaths were reported in a 24-hour span. The air quality too continued to be poor with smog choking the city’s lungs. Neighbouring Haryana recorded its highest single-day spike with 3,104 people testing positive. In Maharashtra, the fresh case count is now averaging 5,000 as compared to 2,0002,500 last week. Wary of a second wave, Mumbai’s schools and colleges will not open till December 31. They were earlier slated to reopen on November 23. With a steady uptick in fresh cases in Gujarat, night curfew has been imposed in Surat, Rajkot and Vadodara, in addition to Ahmedabad. In neighbouring Uttar Pradesh, Covid cases have reached 5,19,148 and continue showing an upward trend with Meerut leading the list. Meerut has reported a 126 per cent increase in the number of Coro- navirus cases in the past 15 days. Other districts that have shown a rise in daily cases in the last two weeks include Lucknow, Prayagraj, Kanpur, Gautam Buddha Nagar and Ghaziabad. The active Covid cases in the country’s most populous state also increased from 21,954 on Wednesday to 22,757 on Thursday . Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal speaks with representatives of market associations | CMO TESTING STATUS 23,507 RTPCR/CBNAAT/ TrueNat tests conducted 57,15,516 Total tests done so far 3,00,816 DELHI COVID WATCH STATUS OF CASES Today Cumulative RECOVERED 8,775 4,68,143 DEATH 118 8,159 ACTIVE CASES -40,936 TOTAL +VE CASES 6,608 5,17,238 PATIENT MANAGEMENT Total beds Occupied Vacant HOSPITAL 17,083 9,491 7,592 CARE CENTRE 8,217 584 7,098* HEALTH CENTRE 562 211 351 24,042 HOME ISOLATION *535 beds of CCC are occupied by persons under quarantine including travellers who came by Vande Bharat Mission and Bubble flights Tests per million Source: Delhi health bulletin | November 20 NATIONWIDE ACTIVE CASES DISCHARGED DEATHS 4,43,794 84,28,409 1,32,162 DIVORCE Fighting for maintenance? An RTI can help you get income data K A N U S A R D A @ New Delhi IF you suspect your estranged husband is concealing the size of his gross income to avoid paying maintenance, just file a Right to Information application with the income tax department to ferret out the data. The Central Infor mation Commission recently upheld the right of a spouse to get the data through the RTI mechanism. The order came as a huge relief for women, as in most matrimonial disputes, husbands understate their income, but are called out in court due to lack of proof. The order came on an appeal filed by Rahmat Bano of Jodhpur wherein the commission rejected the I-T department’s spin of her being a third party to block information. The CIC also rubbished the argument that seeking such information is out of the ambit of the RTI Act. It directed Jodhpur’s I-T department to provide the data to Bano within 15 days. Plugging the loopholes “If false statements and misrepresentations are made, the court may consider initiation of perjury proceedings and for contempt of court,” a Supreme Court bench recently said The order came days after the Supreme Court tightened the rules regarding grant of maintenance in matrimonial cases. Henceforth, both spouses will have to make full disclosure of their income and assets from the date the maintenance application is filed. While the claimant must file all income and asset details along with the maintenance application, the respondent has four weeks to make full disclosure. The top court took note of the fact that in many cases, husbands refuse to pay maintenance or alimony by disposing of assets and claiming reduced income. currently dominated by government-owned lenders. Fourteen licences for universal banks have been issued in the private sector since 1993, out of which only 10 are operational now. While private banks Higher promoter stake Promoters’ stake be raised to 26% from the current 15% over 15 years, the report suggested It also recommended minimum initial capital requirement for licensing new banks be doubled to `1,000 crore for universal banks and enhanced to`300 crore from `200 cr for small finance banks recorded sustained growth over the years, there’s a long way to break into the global top 100. Currently, only the government-owned State Bank of India figures among the top 100 global banks by size. Large private banks including ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank have sizes lower than that of Spanish Banco de Sabadell, which ranks 100th. RBI has sought comments from stakeholders on the internal group’s report by January 15, 2021, after which it will take P10 a final call. `74k CR TAX SIPHONED OUT: P9 ONLINE CLASSES Laptops for DU’s junked course may go to students G AYAT H R I M A N I @ New Delhi HUNDREDS of laptops bought at the time when Delhi University had introduced FourYear Undergraduate Programme (FYUP) may now help the students attend online classes in the times of Covid-19 as DU colleges are planning to issue the laptops, free data card and other resources for accessing the virtual lessons. Due to the pandemic, the college campuses have been closed for more than six months. The students who had gone back to their hometowns are now struggling to attend the online classes due to lack of access to laptops and smartphones, poor network and poor internet connection. Some colleges such as Rajdhani College, Miranda House, Arya Bhatta, Ramjas and others are working on ways to help the needy students with re s o u rc e s a s p e r t h e i r capabilities. The FYUP programme was introduced in 2013-14 under which nearly 50,000-60,000 laptops were procured by the university for the first-year students and 600-700 laptops were issued to each college. According to some DU officials, hundreds of laptops are lying unused in many colleges after the FYUP programme was scrapped in 2014. The Rajdhani College has written to its governing body seeking approval to issue laptops to the disadvantaged CONTINUED ON P4 students. Ordinance in UP soon for ending forced conversion N A M I TA B A J PA I @ Lucknow AFTER rising cases of forced religious conversions coming to the fore in interfaith marriages, the Yogi Adityanath government is in the process of introducing an ordinance to check such practices shortly in Uttar Pradesh. As per informed sources, the draft of the ordinance has been prepared and sent to the ministry of law and justice for its perusal after being approved, in principle, by CM Yogi Adityanath. It might get promulgated very soon. During his recent poll campaign, the CM had promised to bring in a law to stop ‘love jehad’ in the state which has witnessed a spurt in such cases. Incidentally, the Allahabad High Court had also said that conversion for the sole purpose of marriage was unacceptable. As per the sources, even before coming out with his warning over ‘love jehad’ and the HC observation, the UP government had proceeded with a roadmap for bringing an ordinance to check the religious conversions. The government had already asked the law department and the State Law Commission to present their point of view. UP Law Minister Brajesh Pathak said such issues were disturbing the communal harmony in the state. “The government had already planned to take this up as law and the procedure has started,” he claimed. “It will be a warning for those to refrain from such acts else they will have to bear action.” Minority Affairs minister Mohsin Raza said, “In UP it won’t be , possible to deceive girls into changing their religion any more. This is a stern message to those jehadis who are indulging in such acts knowingly under an agenda. There is full preparation to put them in jail now.” The new guidelines come a month after results of WHO’s multi-country Solidarity Trial revealed that the antiviral drug had no significant positive outcome on the chances of survival, the need for a ventilator, or the length of hospital stay in patients with severe Covid-19. The WHO, however, said there could still be a potential small benefit in a subgroup of patients EXPERTS DIVIDED OVER ITS EFFECTIVENESS Reactions to the WHO trial’s findings have been mixed with many health experts welcoming it while others expressing reservations A recent study by a group of doctors in Bengaluru found that the drug improved patients’ survival chances if given early. A US govt-approved study had also come out with a similar finding in April `24,000 THE COST OF A COURSE OF REMDESIVIR TREATMENT IN INDIA REMDESIVIR OFF FROM WHO’S LIST OF COVID DRUGS S U M I S U K A N YA D U T TA @ New Delhi lacking to recommend its use. THE World Health OrganiSince the beginning of the zation (WHO) has now rec- pandemic, the repurposed ommended against using drug has generated much inthe Ebola drug remdesivir terest after it was shown to in hospitalised Covid-19 pa- work against SARS-CoV-2 in tients, over a month after its laboratory conditions. Solidarity Trial revealed The Recovery trial, overthat the antiviral, along with seen by the US National Infive other medicines tested, stitutes of Health, had also had no significant benefit suggested that the medicine for coronavirus patients. helped Covid-19 patients reThe drug — which is man- cover and get out of the hosufactured by 6 Inp i t a l f a s t e r by dian companies about four days Trial result following their tie- was negative even though there ups with its origiwas no impact on nal proprietor, US The multi-country mortality . based Gilead Sci- Solidarity Trial, for The multi-counwhich several ences — had been try Solidarity Trigranted emergency hospitals in India al, for which sevtook part, said use authorisation eral hospitals in remdesivir and in India for CovIndia were trial other drugs id-19 and is comsites, however, said studied “appeared remdesivir and monly used in moderate to severe to have little or no other drugs studeffect on patients. ied “appeared to hospitalised However, an exhave little or no efpatients pert panel of the fect on hospitalised WHO has now conCovid-19, as indicluded that remdesivir, giv- cated by overall mortality, en intravenously, has no initiation of ventilation, and meaningful effect on mortal- duration of hospital stay .” ity or on other important Some doctors have been outcomes for patients, such vouching for the medicine as the need for mechanical ever since it became availaventilation or time to clini- ble in India and say that the cal improvement. drug does work in many paThe report, published in tients in their personal expethe British Medical Journal rience. Many other medical on Thursday, did not rule practitioners, however, critiout the use of the drug alto- cise it especially the cost of gether as a Covid-19 treat- about `20,000-24,000 per ment, but said evidence was course per patient.
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