THURSDAY 25 FEBRUARY, 2021 epaper.morningstandard.in facebook.com/TheMorningStandard twitter.com/TheMornStandard AGRICULTURE ‘DOUBLING INCOME OF FARMERS’ On PM-Kisan scheme’s anniv, Modi lists out steps taken by govt for farmers A CAPITAL VIEW OF NEWS PAGE 7 NEW DELHI J8.00 PAGES 12 60+, 45 + with ailment to get vax from March Covid vaccine to be free at govt centres, those who want jabs from private hospitals will have to pay on their own KEY QUESTIONS S U M I S U K A N YA D U T TA @ New Delhi WHO WILL DECIDE CO-MORBIDITIES? THE Union Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday approved the launch of Covid-19 vaccination for the third priority group from March 1, which includes people above 60 years and those above 45 years with comorbidities, and involves the private sector. The vaccines will be administered at 10,000 government facilities free of cost and at 20,000 paid private facilities. The cost of the vaccines at private hospitals will be decided in three-four days after a meeting with manufacturers and representatives of hospitals, said Union minister Prakash Javadekar. “From March 1, people above 60 years of age and those above 45 years of age with comorbidities will be vaccinated at 10,000 government and over 20,000 private vaccination centres. The vaccine will be given free of cost at government centres,” A panel of doctors will release the list in a few days WHAT ARE THE COMORBIDTIES RECOGNISED FOR VACCINATION PRIORITISATION? Diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, stroke, cancer and chronic respiratory diseases (tentative) WHAT IS THE PROCESS OF TAKING THE VACCINE? Vaccination is voluntary and beneficiaries will need to register on CoWin App Upon submitting the details, they will be asked choice of hospitals They will then need to select a an available slot If a beneficiary misses an assigned slot, they can register again At the site of vaccine administration, beneficiaries will require to submit proof of age through a valid government ID and proof of co morbidity (for the comorbidity group only) EXPRESS READ Kashmir only dispute with India, says Imran Colombo: Pakistan PM Imran Khan said on Wednesday that Kashmir is the only dispute with India and it can only be resolved through dialogue. Addressing the Sri Lanka-Pakistan Trade and Investment Conference, he said he approached India for talks but nothing came to pass. Earlier this month, India said it desires normal neighbourly relations with Pakistan in an environment free of terror | P7 Govt has no business to be in business: Modi New Delhi: PM Narendra Modi on Wednesday made his strongest pitch for privatisation of non-strategic PSUs, saying the government has no business to be in business and sustaining loss-making units on taxpayers’ money drains resources that could otherwise have been spent on public welfare. He said 100 under-utilised assets with PSUs will be monetised | P10 WHAT WILL BE THE COST OF VACCINES? It will be free at government hospitals At private hospitals, beneficiaries will have to pay the price fixed by manufacturers and overhead cost charged by the hospital for administering the shot said Javadekar in a press briefing on the Cabinet’s decisions. The government is yet to make public the clinical criteria for those with underlying conditions to qualify for vaccinations against coronavirus but sources in the Union health ministry told this newspaper that these include diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, stroke, cancer and chronic respiratory diseases. The underlying conditions have been defined by a special panel of doctors appointed by the government and are likely to be released within the next few days. Officials also said that port- ‘Prices to be capped’ AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria said the private hospitals would levy charges primarily to cover the overhead costs. The charges would be fixed by the government, similar to the caps that were imposed on testing rates, he said. STADIUM GETS A NEW NAME India take control of the third Test against England after a grand opening ceremony and foundation stone laying event of the Motera sports complex BIG STAGE President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated the world’s largest cricket stadium and renamed it Narendra Modi stadium leading to a controversy. However, the govt later clarified that it’s only the cricket arena that has been renamed; the whole complex is still named after Sardar Patel RAHUL JIBE Congress leader Rahul Gandhi got an opportunity to land a punch after the surprise renaming. “Beautiful how the truth reveals itself. Narendra Modi stadium — Adani end — Reliance end. With Jay Shah presiding,” he tweeted, with the hashtag ‘HumDoHumareDo’ PATEL SIXER Once again, Axar Patel showed his guile picking up six wickets for 38, including the scalps of Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow & Ben Foakes. England were all out for 112 on a turning track. This is his second fifer in three innings. He took five wickets in the second innings of the second Test STARTING GEAR India’s approach was clear. Fight out the most challenging session and get going on Thursday. Openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill shelved the shots. Although they ended up losing Gill, Pujara and Kohli, Rohit got going at the first sight of opportunity to take India to 99/3 TALKING POINTS ON THE FIELD England all-rounder Ben Stokes was seen applying saliva on the ball. The incident took place at the end of the 12th over, prompting umpire Nitin Menon to have a chat with him. The ball was sanitised Two third-umpiring decisions went against England much to their chagrin. To be fair to the visitors, they had a point with at least one of those appeals — the stumping of Rohit Sharma A fan ran on the the ground breaching bio-bubble protocols SALAMI SLICING CHINA’S CREEPING Govt biz bar lifted for private banks: FM PLAYBOOK WON’T WORK NOW: GEN EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi THE Centre on Wednesday decided to lift the embargo on granting government-related business to private banks. Till now, gover nment banking transactions were done only through public-sector banks and select private banks such as Axis Bank. The decision, announced by Finance Minister Nir mala Sitharaman, will open the doors for the private sector to participate in government-related banking transactions run- ning into lakhs of or crores, such as taxes and other revenue payment facilities, pension payments, small savings schemes. In 2012, RBI had allowed private sector banks to act as agency banks but the move was not supported by the then government, which put an embargo on extending governmentbusiness to private banks. Now the government has decided to lift the embargo to push its privatisation drive. Bankers have welcomed the move. Uday Kotak, chairman of Kotak Mahindra Bank, said, “It will enable the banking sec- LEVEL PLAYING FIELD Private banks will get to handle government transactions such as: Tax payments Revenue receipts and payments on behalf of the Centre as well as State governments Pension payments in respect of Central and State governments Work related to Small Savings Schemes, the commission for which is borne by the Centre Defence transactions tor to serve customers better.” Meanwhile, bank unions opposed the government’s decision saying it is unfair and to the disadvantage of public sector banks, which have to meet social banking obligations. “If the government will distribute their business to private banks, the ability of public sector banks to lend to weaker and priority sectors on concessional rates of interest will become difficult because the government’s business helps these banks to balance the cost,” said C H Venkatachalam, General Secretary AIBEA. , CRASH TIGER WOODS SURVIVES, CAREER IN DOUBT Tiger Woods was lucky to be alive with multiple fractures, according to those present at the crash site, but might jeopardise his career. No other vehicles or passengers were involved in the crash | P11 Biden against Taliban rule in Afghanistan Washington: US President Joe Biden would not be okay if the Taliban ruled Afghanistan, the White House has said. The US and the Taliban had reached an agreement in February 2020 calling for a permanent ceasefire, peace negotiations between the Taliban and the Afghan government, and a withdrawal of all foreign forces by May 1 | P9 ability facilities will be offered for the vaccination, which means that the beneficiaries can get the jabs anywhere in India after registering on CoWin app and furnishing required documents at the time of vaccine administration. “At the time of registration on CoWin, beneficiaries will be allotted a slot and will have a bunch of hospitals to choose from. For this purpose, the app is being updated,” said a senior ministry official. He added that the CoWin portal is being integrated with the Aarogya Setu app for ease of registration for beneficiaries. There are two approved Covid-19 vaccines, one each by the Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech. However, the government is yet to clarify whether the third priority group can choose its jab brand. Meanwhile, the subject expert committee of the CDSCO took up an application of Dr Reddy’s Laboratories seeking emergency approval for Sputnik V P7 . India skipper Virat Kohli introduces his team to President Ram Nath Kovind and home minister Amit Shah before the Test | BCCI | P11 TIRADE MAMATA GOES AFTER MODI-SHAH DUO RIDERS TO THE SEA Congress MP Rahul Gandhi joins fishermen in their morning catch on the high-sea off the Kollam coast in Kerala | PTI Without naming the BJP’s top two leaders at a rally in Hooghly’s Dunlop ground, the Trinamool supremo said two persons are running the country whom she dubbed as Ravan and Danav | P8 M AYA N K S I N G H @ New Delhi ARMY Chief General M M Naravane on Wednesday said China’s known strategy of nibbling into neighbouring territory slowly, like it did in the South China Sea, will not work with India. “I think more than anything else what we have achieved is to show that this strategy will not work with us,” the General said referring to the recent reciprocal disengagement at Pangong lake in Ladakh after a stand-off that lasted more than nine months. He was giving a talk on the ‘Role of the Indian Army in dealing with the contemporary national security challenges’ at a Delhi-based think tank, Vivekananda International Foundation. “China has been in the habit of creeping forward making very small incremental changes where in each change by itself was not very big or worthy of a very strong reaction.” And because of the very small incremental moves that were never contested, it has been able to achieve its aims without firing a shot or any loss of life, he pointed out. Gen Naravane described the Pangong disengagement as a win-win for both sides, adding it was achieved as all the organs of t h e g ove r n m e n t wo rke d in tandem. “As a result of this whole approach, disengagement has taken place. I think it is a very good end result. It is a win-win situation, and I think for any agreement to last both sides should feel that they have achieved something,” he said, adding it’s the outcome of 10 rounds of military-level talks. Regarding descalation and deinduction, the Army chief said, “We still have a long way to go. We now have to go at a stage of descalation and ofcourse after that moving back of the troops and the deinduction of the troops which went higher reaches.” “In doing whatever we are doing we also keep in mind that we have to be wary. We will be very cautious and I mentioned in my talk also that there is a trust deficit.” As for furture issues, he said, India has its strategies in place. “There are pending issues in the areas of Eastern Ladakh... But we have our strategies in place for that,” he asserted. Strategies in place to deal with pending issues Army Chief Gen Naravane spoke about the existing trust deficit, which makes India wary of China’s intentions. “Going forward there are... pending issues in the areas of Eastern Ladakh (like Depsang, Gogra, Hotspring, Demchok); also pending issues in other areas along the Line of Control. But we have our strategies in place for that,” he said Gehlot proposes separate farm budget, Promotion for students up to Class 8 sans exam announces `3.5K cr healthcare scheme RELIEF G AYAT H R I M A N I @ New Delhi THE Delhi government has decided to promote students of classes up to VIII with any written exam — offline or online — in view of the pandemic. The Directorate of Education (DoE) on Wednesday issued guidelines to government and aided schools to grade the students on the basis of projects and assignments. The examination branch of DoE directed the schools that the assessment should be done by subject teachers on the basis of worksheets/assignments already submitted by students from time to time through digital modes or in person. The students/parents/guardians will not be asked to submit or re-submit the previous worksheets/assignments under any circumstances, the department stated. Projects and assignments for the final term will be provided to the students from March 1 to 15. The weightage of final term assessment will be 50 marks for Classes VI-VII and 40 for Classes III-V While allotting the as. signments/projects, subject teachers will explain the nature and method of attempting the same. For students who have no digital device, parents will be called to school and given the assignment works. When asked about students who are not in Delhi and cannot submit the assignments or could not do so for the previous terms due to lockdown, a senior education department official said a “good percentage” of students have collected the assignments, worksheets and other study materials provided by the schools. However, “due to these unprecedented times”, all students up to Class VIII will be promoted to the next class under no detention policy . “The purpose of this assessment is to understand the impact of alternate learning approach that is needed to be adopted under the prevailing circumstances. The data of this assessment will also help the DoE in determining the course content and learning strategies for next session,” said the official. Schools shut since March 2020 (for upto Class VIII) Direct promotion for KG to Class II WEIGHTAGE 30 30 of marks for Class III to V For summer assignments Winter break assessment FORTY Final term assessment from March 1 to 15 (Total Marks 100 ) WEIGHTAGE OF MARKS FOR VI TO VIII Summer assessment — 20 Winter break — 30 Final term — 50 R A J E S H A S N A N I @ Jaipur CHIEF Minister Ashok Gehlot presented a ‘farmer-friendly’ budget in the Rajasthan Assembly on Wednesday. He announced a separate ‘agricult u r a l b u d g e t ’ wo u l d b e presented from next year. This will make it the first state in the country to have such a separate budget. “Given the farmers’ anger over the Centre’s three farm laws, we passed our own bills in the Assembly a few months ago and even sent them to the Governor. It is in that spirit that our government has now initiated several steps to ensure a better future for farmers and the agricultural sector in the state,” Gehlot said. He listed a series of steps focused on providing relief to farmers. He said his government has waived loans of over 20 lakh farmers amounting to `8,000 crore and a total of over `14,000 crore have already been spent on the issue. The CM said his government was also committed to evolving a ‘one time settlement scheme’ to waive the farmers’ commercial loans. The CM declared that farmers’ electricity bills would be sent only once in two months and that power connections would be specially provided to 50,000 farmers of the state. Over the next three years, more areas will be brought under the micro-irrigation sector and automation would also be encouraged. He announced mega food parks in various districts at a cost of `200 crore. A Universal Health Care scheme worth `3,500 crore will be started from next year. Under this scheme, every family in the state will get medical insurance benefit of up to `5 lakh, Gehlot added.
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