SATURDAY FROM JANUARY 1, CHEQUES ABOVE `50,000 WILL NEED RECONFIRMATION OF CERTAIN DETAILS AS A FRESH SAFETY LAYER 02 NEW BANK RULES FOR DIGITAL PAYMENTS KICK IN JANUARY, 2021 epaper.morningstandard.in facebook.com/TheMorningStandard twitter.com/TheMornStandard CONTACTLESS CARD TRANSACTION LIMIT RESHUFFLE The RBI has also increased contactless card transaction limit from NEW WING FOR HUMAN RIGHTS `2,000 to `5,000 Army has created a wing under a Major General to handle human rights issues A CAPITAL VIEW OF NEWS PAGE 7 NEW DELHI J8.00 with effect from January 1. The same has been done for e-mandates for recurring transactions through cards and the Unified Payment Interface PAGES 12 Contactless card payments are done without punching in the PIN, which makes it a safe mode of transaction in the current circumstances First jab barely a few days away in India Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine gets emergency use approval; Bharat Biotech’s candidate yet to pass muster WHAT HAPPENS IN NEXT STAGE The National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration on Covid-19 will likely meet on Saturday and share specific details with SII on how many vials per state are to be sent Special cargo planes with cold boxes storage space and refrigerated vans may start ferrying vials of the vaccine from Pune SSI, under the supervision of the Union and state governments, will be responsible for transportation of the vaccine From state capitals, vials will be distributed to district headquarters before they reach inoculation centres The initial lots of the vaccine will be sent to government hospitals, public health centres or large private hospitals where healthcare and frontline workers will be inoculated Polling booths, wedding and community halls, and mobile vans could then be converted into temporary vaccination centres where those above 50 and people with serious comorbidities will be vaccinated against Covid-19 S U M I S U K A N YA D U T TA @ New Delhi HEALTHCARE workers across India may be just a few days away from getting shots against Covid-19, as an expert panel of the Central Drugs Standards Control Organisation (CDSCO) on Friday granted emergency use authorisation to the vaccine candidate develo p e d by O x fo rd U n ive r s i t y AstraZeneca. The Pune-based Serum Institute of India is its local partner and had already manufactured the vaccine, under the brand name, Covishield. The official confirmation of the approval, however, is yet to follow. Also, it is not clear under what conditions has the approval been granted or the quantum of vaccines the government will immediately procure from for one of the world’s largest vaccination drives ever. Sources said data from the vaccine’s late stage clinical trials in the UK and Brazil, safety and immunogenicity data from its bridging trial in India and the approval granted by the UK regulator to the vaccine, were taken into account for making the recommendation. “The first vaccine against Covid-19 has been approved in India but the first beneficiaries may be about a week away from getting the actual shots as transportation of the vaccines has to be done under specified conditions,” a top official in the Union ministry of health and family welfare told this newspaper. The subject expert committee of the CDSCO, which also considered Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech’s candadate, felt the company needs to present at least an interim analysis of its phase 3 clinical trial. “The panel was of the view that the data from phase 1 and 2 are not sufficient to approve it for wider use in the country said a source. ,” THE GREAT HOPE HOW THE VACCINE WORKS EFFICACY 70.4% 1 Scientist take genes for the spike protein on the surface of the coronavirus and put them into a harmless virus to make a vaccine. This is injected into the patient efficiency of the vaccine, according to interim data DOSING The UK drug regulator, Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, has recommended a two dose regimen given in interval of 4-12 weeks SPIKE PROTEIN 2 The vaccine enters cells which then start to produce the spike protein IMMUNITY First dose gives immunity beyond 22 days, second one gives protection beyond three months at least T-CELLS PROTECTION ANTIBODIES The body’s immune system reacts, produce antibodies and activates T-cells to destroy cells with the spike protien 3 If the patient later catches coronavirus, antibodies and T-cells are triggered to fight the virus For how long does the vaccine will give protection is not known yet, but annual vaccination, as with the flu jab, may be required Source: Oxford University/Nature Delhi all set for dry run at 3 hospitals today NEW DELHI: Three hospitals in the national capital — one each in Shahdara (Shahdara district), Dwarka (Southwest district) and Daryaganj (Central district) — have been selected for conducting a dry run for Covid-19 vaccination on Saturday, officials said on Friday. Preparations are on for a smooth dry run | P4 UK flights to resume on Jan 8 NEW DELHI: Air services between India and the United Kingdom will resume on January 8, but only 30 flights per week will operate for the next 16 days. Operations till January 23 will be restricted to 15 flights each for carriers of the two countries per week, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri announced, adding that flights will be allowed to and from Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad only . The ministry had suspended all flights between to and from the UK on December 23 to prevent the spread of the new strain, considered to be much more infectious. Before the temporary suspension, over 60 flights a week carrying almost 2,500 passengers a day were operating between the two countries. Airlines like Air India, Virgin Atlantic, British Airways, and Vistara operated over 60 weekly flights between the two countries from cities like Chenna, Kolkata, Ahmedabad and Amritsar, apart from Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore and Hyderabad. However, officials said the restrictions on number of flights will lead to pressure on the airlines as 10 flights used to operate daily before the ban. Now, there will be only two daily. The UK is among the countries with which India has air bubble pacts. ENS Children help prepare meals for the protesting farmers at a community kitchen at Singhu border in New Delhi on Friday | SHEKHAR YADAV Farmers to govt: Meet demands on Monday or else... H A R P R E E T B A J W A @ Chandigarh PROTESTING farmer unions on Friday threatened to intensify their agitation if the Centre does not accept their core demands of repealing the three contentious farm laws and legal guarantee for the minimum support price system during their next round of talks on Monday . From a tractor march to an awareness drive, the unions finalised a clutch of programmes to scale up pressure on the Centre. On the 37th day of protests, a meeting of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of 40 farmer unions, decided to hold their twice-postponed tractor march at KundliManesar-Palwal on January 6 if Monday’s talks fail to offer any headway . A national awareness programme, called Desh Jan Jagruti Abhiyan, from January 7 to 20 to counter the Centre’s narrative, was part of the basket of initiatives decided by the morcha, said Yogendra Yadav, president of Swaraj India. Mahila Kisan Diwas on January 18 and Kisan Chetna Diwas on January 23 ( Subhash Chandra Bose birth anniversary) will be observed, added Yadav. “We will intend to announce dates for shutting all malls and petrol pumps in Haryana if the talks fail,” said another farmer leader. During the last round of talks, the Centre accepted two of their four demands — on stubble burning penalty and electricity tariff — but the core issues were left unaddressed. Meanwhile, a 57-year-old farmer died of heart attack while protesting at the Ghazipur border on Friday Galtan . Singh was a resident of Bhagwanpur Nangal village in Baghpat district in UP. P5&7 GST mop-up zooms to all-time high of `1.15L cr EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi GOODS and services tax (GST) collections soared to an all-time high of `1.15 lakh crore in December 2020, helped by better compliance by companies following the I-T department’s crackdown on tax evaders and pick-up in economic activities. The mop-up in GST, which is levied when a consumable item is sold or a service rendered, was 12% higher than that in the same month in 2019. The latest GST mop-up, which had plummeted to `32,172 crore in April 2020 in the wake of the Covid-19 lockdown, marks the highest since the indirect tax re- Multiple reasons According to the finance ministry, “the combined effect of the rapid economic recovery post pandemic and the nation-wide drive against GST evaders and fake bills along with many systemic changes introduced recently” helped improve collections gime was rolled out in 2017. The highest collection to date was `1,13,866 crore in April 2019. “This is the highest growth in monthly revenues for the last 21 months. This has been due to the combined effect of the rapid economic recovery post-pandemic and the nation-wide drive against GST evaders and fake bills along with many systemic changes introduced recently, which have led to improved compliance,” the finance ministry said. Of the total GST revenue of At `1,15,174 crore, Central GST NOW, SENA & CONG SPAR ON AURANGABAD RENAMING SAVARKAR ROW War of words erupted when Congress rejected Shiv Sena’s demand for Bharat Ratna to Savarkar SAAMANA PIECE Congress told off Shiv Sena for meddling in the UPA affairs when Sena leader Sanjay Raut wrote a piece critical of Rahul Gandhi’s flaws. Raut had demanded NCP chief Sharad Pawar be made the chairman of UPA FUND SHORTAGE A Congress leader had raised allegations that the Thackeray govt was allocating less funds to them to carry out works POKING NOSE Sena leader Sanjay Raut said that UPA lacks Narendra Modi and Amit Shah like leaders. Congress slammed Sena asking its should not interfere in the party’s internal affairs S U D H I R S U R YA W A N S H I @ Mumbai A tug-of-war over individual aspirations and alliance necessities seems to be straining the already fraught relationship between the Congress and Shiv Sena in the Maha Vikas Aghadi. This time, the tussle is over Shiv Sena’s attempt to rename Aurangabad as Sambhaji Nagar, a move that Congress opposes, saying it did feature on the common minimum agenda. In the run-up to the polls, Shiv Sena had promised to rename Aurangabad. With municipal corporation elections shortly due, Shiv Sena is mulling ways to act on its word. However, Congress president and Revenue Minister in Thackeray cabinet Balasahab Thorat said that Shiv Sena cannot unilaterally take the decision. “Before drafting the common minimum agenda, we held extensive meetings. was `21,365 crore, State GST `27,804 crore, while Integrated GST stood at `57,426 crore. The Cess collection stood at `8,579 crore. “The gover nment settled `23,276 crore to CGST and `17,681 crore to SGST from IGST as regular settlement. “The total revenue earned by the Union government and the state governments after regular settlement in the month of December 2020 was `44,641 crore for CGST and `45,485 crore for the SGST,” the finance ministry added”. EXPRESS READ India begins 2-yr term at UN Security Council New Delhi: India on Friday began its two-year tenure as a nonpermanent member of the United Nations Security Council. India will sit in the 15-nation UNSC for the 2021-22 term as a nonpermanent member, the eighth time it has had a seat on the powerful horseshoe table. Army man killed in Pak firing along LoC in J&K The agenda bears the signs of the top leaders of the three parties. It was decided that any new subject would be added after the signatories’ were satisfied. Renaming Aurangabad as Sambhaji Nagar is a subject Congress will oppose,” he added. BJP has been raking up the issue by taking potshots at Shiv Sena. BJP’s Maharashtra president Chandrakant Patil said Shiv Sena has surrendered before the Congress. Congress countered Patil by saying that renaming a city did not solve its civic issues. The common minimum agenda bears the signs of the top leaders of the three parties. Renaming Aurangabad as Sambhaji Nagar is a subject Congress will oppose —Balasahab Thorat, Revenue Minister Srinagar: Naib Subedar Ravinder of the Army was killed in firing and mortar shelling by Pakistani troops along the LoC in Naushera sector of Rajouri in Jammu and Kashmir on Friday. Indian forces retaliated to the unprovoked ceasefire violation on the first day of the New Year. Schools reopen in Kerala, K’taka, Assam New Delhi: Corridors rang out with the chatter of students and teachers as schools in Kerala, Karnataka and Assam reopened on Friday with strict Covid-19 regulations. Though many attended school with letters of consent from parents, some chose to continue online classes. Dense fog engulfed Delhi on Friday morning as the temperature dropped to almost 1 0 Celsius | PARVEEN NEGI Delhi chills out as it welcomes New Year No respite from toxic air EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi THE first day of 2021 saw Delhiites chilling out, literally, with the mercury dipping to 1.1°C, the lowest this winter so far and also in the last 15 years, as per the India Meteorological Department (IMD). Dense fog had also engulfed the city in the morning as it welcomed the New Year. According to IMD, the minimum temperature recorded at the Safdarjung observatory, which provides representative data for the city was just slight, ly above 1 degree C. The last TESTING STATUS 46,228 RTPCR/CBNAAT/ TrueNat tests conducted 87,40,395 Total tests done so far 4,60,020 Tests per million DELHI COVID WATCH According to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research, the overall air quality index in the national capital stood at 332. P5 time Delhi had recorded temperature below 1°C was in the year 2006 on January 8, when the mercury had dropped to 0.2°C. The lowest minimum temperature recorded in January last year was 2.4°C. As per the IMD, the mercury will start rising from January 2 owing to the impact of an ‘intense’ western disturbance STATUS OF CASES Today Cumulative RECOVERED 717 6,10,039 DEATH 21 10,557 ACTIVE CASES -5,358 TOTAL +VE CASES 585 6,25,954 PATIENT MANAGEMENT Total beds Occupied Vacant HOSPITAL 17,943 2,072 15,871 CARE CENTRE 7,992 61 7,737* HEALTH CENTRE 562 24 538 2,616 HOME ISOLATION *124 beds of CCC are occupied by persons under quarantine including travellers who came by Vande Bharat Mission and Bubble flights Source: Delhi health bulletin | January 1 which will affect northwest India till January 6. The minimum temperature is predicted to rise to 8°C by January 4-5. ‘Very dense’ fog prevailed in the morning, reducing visibility at many parts of Delhi and NCR. Palam reported zero visibility till 7am which later improved to around 150 metres, the IMD said. The Met department had earlier predicted that the cold wave conditions will continue in Delhi for the next two days. Delhi’s Air Quality Index also remained between ‘very poor’ to ‘severe’ on Friday morning. JOLT VISA FREEZE FOR THREE MONTHS The US president has extended the freeze on the most sought-after H-1B visas by Indian IT professionals along with other types of foreign work visas till March 31 PAGE 7
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