SATURDAY 10 nations suspend use of AstraZeneca vaccine 13 MARCH, 2021 Indian government looking into hospitalisation and deaths in people who took the Covid-19 vaccine by AstraZeneca-Oxford University epaper.morningstandard.in NO REASON TO STOP VACCINE, SAYS WHO facebook.com/TheMorningStandard twitter.com/TheMornStandard ■ U T TA RA K H A N D BJP BANKING ON BRAND MODI To fight factionalism & anti-incumbency before ’22 polls, party reworks plan PAGE 8 AUSTRIA, DENMARK REPORT DEATHS A CAPITAL VIEW OF NEWS NEW DELHI J8.00 PAGES 12 Quad decides to make 1 billion jabs in India Japan and US will fund initiative, Australia offers logistical support; joint working group to oversee implementation P U S H K A R B A N A K A R @ New Delhi PRIME Minister Narendra Modi on Friday participated in the first-ever Quad Summit meet virtually, where a combined initiative to boost India’s vaccine manufacturing capacity was announced. Sources said the Line of Actual Control stand-off with against China also came up for discussion. Speaking on the vaccine initiative, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said India will leverage strengths from each of the member countries to achieve the target of manufacturing a billion doses by the end of next year. “We will leverage the US’ strength of technology development and India’s strength of manufacturing vaccines. Japan and the US will finance the initiative while Australia will provide logistical support to the Stand-off at LAC The situation in Eastern Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control was discussed during the Quad Summit and members had sympathetic views, sources in the know revealed Force for global good “We are united by... our commitment to a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific. Our agenda today — covering areas like vaccines, climate change and emerging technologies — makes the Quad a force for global good,” PM Narendra Modi said programme,” Shringla said. A joint working group has been formed to oversee the implementation of the vaccine programme. Similarly Shring, la said, two more joint working groups have been constituted to work on other important agenda of the Quad like technology and climate change. Earlier, addressing the Summit virtually, Modi said the grouping was a positive extension of the country’s ancient philosophy of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, which regards the world as one family . The meeting was also attended by US President Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his Japanese counterpart Yoshihide Suga. The Quad grouping, comprising India, Australia, Japan and the US, is seen as a platform to counter the Chinese aggression in the region, especial- ly the South China Sea. This was the first time that the leaders of the Quad countries met. Earlier, the grouping’s foreign ministers had met in Tokyo. “Today’s summit meeting shows that Quad has come of age. It will now remain an important pillar of stability in the region,” Modi said. Announcing the vaccine programme, Biden said, “We are launching a new and ambitious joint partnership that is going to boost vaccine manufacturing for the global benefit and will boost vaccination programmes in the Indo-Pacific region.” Sources said that the next inperson meeting of the Quad leaders is likely to be held on the sidelines of the G7 Summit in the United Kingdom later this year. However, they said, that the US was keen to host the P7 first in-person summit. Didi back home, TMC & BJP Factory output back in take ‘conspiracy’ fight to EC negative territory, retail DOUBLE WHAMMY inflation soars to 5.03% EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi DASHING hopes of a sustained economic recovery, industrial production growth slipped back to the negative zone by contracting 1.6 per cent in January . And, retail inflation in February shot up to 5.03 per cent, driven by food prices and crude oil. The contraction in Index of Industrial Production (IIP), which measures factory output, comes after a 1.56 per cent growth in December 2020. According to data released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation on Friday, the manufacturing sector output contracted 2 per cent in January while the min, ing output declined 3.7 per cent. Meanwhile, power generation grew 5.5 per cent in January . The worst was seen by the capital goods sector, which recorded a contraction of 9.6 per cent in the month under review, followed by a fall of 6.8 per cent in the consumer non-durable section and 0.2 per cent in the consumer durables segment. EXPRESS READ G-23 ignored for Congress campaign New Delhi: Top Congress leaders including Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma and Kapil Sibal of the ‘Group of 23’ do not figure in the party’s list of star campaigners for the first phase of West Bengal polls. Only two from among the G-23 have been included among the campaigners. Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh, Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Congress CMs Ashok Gehlot, Amarinder Singh and Bhupesh Baghel are in the list. Sahitya Akademi award for Moily New Delhi: Congress leader M Veerappa Moily and poet Arundhathi Subramaniam are among 20 writers who will be bestowed with the Sahitya Akademi Award. Moily was named for his epic poetry titled Sri Bahubali Ahimsadigvijayam in Kannada. Three of the awardees — for Urdu, Hindi and Maithili — are from Bihar. The Akademi also announced a list of 21 winners of the Bal Sahitya Puraskar and 18 recipients of the Yuva Puraskar. “We remain circumspect regarding the intensity of the rebound in household consumption immediately after the vaccine rollout widens, as some categories of households may choose to rebuild the savings that they had drained during the lockdown and post-lockdown period,” said Aditi Nayar, Principal Economist, Icra. Food inflation rose steeply to 3.87 per cent in February com, pared with 1.89 per cent in the previous month. Inflation in the ‘fuel and light’ category remained elevated at 3.53 per cent during the month. While retail inflation at 5.03 per cent is still below RBI’s upper tolerance level of 6 per cent, experts feel it could make the central bank sit up and take notice. “As suspected, perhaps the low point for inflation is behind us for some months to come. From a monetary policy perspective, the rising inflationary risks (fuel prices, demand pressures), although still nascent, could trigger caution from RBI,” said Sakshi Gupta, senior economist at HDFC Bank. Discharged on request West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, who got injured while greeting the crowd in Nandigram on Wednesday, was released from hospital on Friday evening. She came out of on a wheelchair. “Doctors advised her to be on 48-hour observation. Due to her requests, she is discharged,” a bulletin said. Mamata Banerjee leaves hospital on Friday| BIBHASH LODH E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi HOURS before West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was discharged from a Kolkata hospital after doctors found her recovery from a recent leg injury satisfactory, the BJP and the Trinamool Congress on Friday approached the Election Commission of India seeking a probe into the alleged attack on her. The Trinamool delegation submitted a memorandum claiming the alleged attack was preplanned and demanded an immediate, thorough and unbiased investigation. The memorandum said the attack happened just a day after the West Bengal DGP was abruptly transferred. The BJP’s memorandum claimed that the Trinamool was spreading canards against the EC. As for the poll panel, it could take action against police personnel in charge of Mamata’s security sources said. It is waiting for reports from the , state government and the two observers appointed for the Assembly elections before deciding on the nature and quantum of the punishment. Following the incident, EC had sought reports from West Bengal Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay, special observer Ajay Nayak and special police observer Vivek Dube by Friday evening. Sources said the Commission has now sought more details from the chief secretary as the report was not comprehensive enough. The West Bengal government’s report to the Election Commission has no mention of “fourfive persons”, who the CM alleged, attacked her. It, however, referred to the presence of a huge crowd where the incident took place. The report also mentions there was no clear footage of the P7 spot where the incident took place. Govt officials can’t be election commissioners: SC E X P R E SS N E WS S E R V I C E @ New Delhi THE Supreme Court on Friday ruled that no government official can be appointed as Election Commissioner as the independence of the EC is sacrosanct under the Constitution. A bench headed by Justice R F Nariman, while pulling up the Goa government for giving law secretary the additional charge of state EC, said, “Henceforth, all state election commission shall be headed by independent persons... If they hold any such office, then they have to resign before taking charge of the office.” T he bench said it was appalled to find that the Goa law secretary, holding charge of the EC, attempted to overreach the hearing of petitions challenging reservation of seats in zilla panchayat elections and made a mockery of the constitutional mandate for independence of the EC. The Goa zilla panchayat elections were to be held in Febru- ary last year but were held up because of litigations. It will now be held before April 30, the bench ordered. Calling it a “disturbing feature”, the bench ruled that nobody who has been employed or holds an office of profit under the central or any state government could be appointed as election commissioners, who have to be independent persons. The SC gave a direction to all states — if they are in default — to comply with the constitu- tional scheme of an independent SEC. The ruling came on an appeal against an order of the Bombay High Court which had set aside the election notification issued by the Goa SEC in the municipalities of Margao, Mapusa, Mormugao, Sanguem and Quepem. The high court had allowed the SEC to continue the election process in other municipalities while disallowing the same in five municipalities for not reserving the wards for women, as required under the law. While Austria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania & Luxembourg withdrew one batch of AstraZeneca vaccine, Denmark suspended all batches. So far, 22 blood-clot cases reported among 3 mn people vaccinated in Europe. Austria, Denmark reported one death each due to “severe blood coagulation” INDIA TO REVIEW SETBACKS OF COVISHIELD VAX S U M I S U K A N YA D U T TA @ New Delhi WITH at least 10 countries suspending the use of the Covid-19 vaccine by AstraZeneca-Oxford University amid concerns that it may be potentially causing dangerous blood clots in some recipients, India, too, has decided to review the hospitalisations and deaths in people who took Covishield, this newspaper has learnt. The vaccine is being manufactured and marketed by the Serum Institute of India. Countries like Austria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Luxemburg have withdrawn the use of one batch of Astrazeneca vaccine, while others including Denmark have suspended the use of all its supply for two weeks, pending investigations. As per reports, at least 22 recipients of AstraZeneca had developed coagulation disorders and pulmonary embolism in various European countries. However, the World Health Organization on Friday said there was no reason to stop using AstraZeneca’s vaccine. Its vaccines advisory committee was looking at s a f e t y d at a a n d W H O stressed that no link had been established between FIVE per cent of parking space will be reserved for electric vehicles (EVs) in commercial establishments and institutions having parking capacity of 100 vehicles or more. The management of the complexes will also need to provide suitable EV chargers with a minimum output of 3.3 kilowatt so that people get adequate infrastructure to charge their vehicles, Delhi government has decided. In a meeting held under the chairmanship of power minister Satyendar Jain on Friday it , was also decided that all new constructions will have 20 per cent of their parking capacity for charging infrastructure for EVs. The minister said that 500 charging points would be installed at 100 locations in the first phase. With this, the city can have more than 10,000 charging points for EVs by December, a gover nment official said, adding that the buildings are expected to be given time till the year-end to incorporate these facilities. The commercial and institutional buildings that will be covered by the order include malls, shopping complex- es, cinema halls, office spaces, hotels, restaurants and hospitals. Under the Delhi government’s EV policy, a subsidy of up to `6,000 per charging point can be availed by these buildings, the official said. In February the Delhi , government had ordered all its departments, autonomous bodies and grantee institutions to replace their existing the vaccine and clotting. Senior authorities in the Union health ministry and national committee on Adverse Event Following Immunisation said the development is assessed in India’s context. “We have not found any thing of concern with respect to administration of Covishield so far but we will look at all hospitalisations and deaths closely again in the light of the new information,” Narendra Arora, advisor to the AEFI committee, told this newspaper. Officials say the exercise, whose results will be shared in a day or two, will involve determining whether there has been any increase in blood clot formation in vaccinated people as compared to the population in the same age group. “If that is the case, then there would be further investigations to assess whether the coagulations are a result of the vaccine,” another official said. Of nearly 2.63 crore vaccinations in India, over 90% of doses has comprised of Covishield. The Centre has insisted none of the deaths, reported in people who died within a few days of taking the shot, have been found to have a link with vaccine, but the national panel is yet to complete its assessment. SPIKE IN MAHARASHTRA MARCH 12 MARCH 11 MARCH 10 MARCH 9 MARCH 8 MARCH 7 MARCH 6 56 57 54 56 22 38 47 15,817 14,317 13,659 9,927 8,744 11,141 10,187 POSITIVE DEATHS 1,10,485 ACTIVE CASES Most Mumbai Covid cases from posh areas S U D H I R S U R YA W A N S H I @ Mumbai NEARLY 90 per cent of Covid-19 cases in Mumbai in the first two months of 2021 were reported from highrise residential buildings. According to a report by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), a large number of patients are reported from posh localities such as Andheri East and West, Mulund and Peddar Road and Malabar Hill in south Mumbai. Of the total 23,002 people who tested positive in January and February 10 per cent , were from slums. Over the past few days, though, positive cases in slums are also on the upwards. The report says Mumbai had 10 containment zones and 137 sealed buildings on March 1. The number of such zones went up to 27 and the figure for sealed build- Five per cent of parking space in capital to be reserved for EVs E X P R E SS N E WS S E R V I C E @ New Delhi ■ “We haven’t found anything of concern with respect to Covishield so far,” said Dr Narendra Arora, advisor to the national panel on Adverse Events Following Immunisation Meanwhile, the World Health Organization said on Friday that there is no reason to stop using AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine fleet of conventional vehicles with EVs. Following the decision, over 2,000 cars will be replaced in the next six months. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had said it would go a long way in curbing pollution in the national capital. Under its EV policy the gov, ernment offers multiple financial and non-financial incentives to accelerate the adoption of electric cars. ings was 228 on March 10. The civic body pointed out that of the 7.46 lakh people living in these zones, over 23 per cent were from slums and chawls, while the remaining 77 per cent were from sealed buildings. The number of containment zones and sealed buildings in the city increased by 170 per cent and 66.42 per cent, respectively, from the beginning of this month. A BMC official blamed the casual approach of people for the sudden spike in cases. “They started going to parties and functions with families and stopped following guidelines. On the other hand, in slum areas social gathering was avoided and guidelines were largely followed,” said the official. Elsewhere in Maharashtra, a lockdown has been declared in parts of Aurangabad, Jalg aon, Dhule, Amaravati and Nagpur. JAI HO PM FLAGS OFF I-DAY MEGA CELEBRATIONS Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad sees beginning of a series of programmes that will go on for 75 weeks in 75 locations in India PAGE 8
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