saturDAY Second Covid wave poses higher risks for economy 10 Fitch Ratings on Friday said the second wave of infections poses increased risks for India’s fragile economic recovery and its banks April, 2021 epaper.morningstandard.in Businesses to take huge hit if cases spike facebook.com/TheMorningStandard twitter.com/TheMornStandard The rating agency expects a moderately worse environment for the Indian banking sector in 2021, but challenges would intensify if rising infections and follow-up measures to contain the virus further affect business and economic activity. Fitch forecasts India’s GDP growth at 12.8% for FY22. But the rising pace of infections poses renewed risks to the forecast, it said ANTI - CON V E R SION FREE TO CHOOSE their faith Supreme Court refused to entertain a plea seeking ban on religious conversions A CAPITAL VIEW OF NEWS Page 7 diplomatic message US naval ship conducts op without permission, India conveys concern l New Delhi l l J8.00 PAGES 12 Assam Oppn packs off candidates to Raj MLA aspirants lodged in Jaipur hotel fearing poaching after results Buddha and what’s left of the citadel B MAYANK SINGH @ New Delhi “upheld the rights, freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea recTwo days after a US Navy fleet ognised in international law by conducted an unusual ‘naviga- challenging India’s excessive tion operation’ through India’s maritime claims”. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) Reacting to the announceoff Lakshadweep Islands with- ment, the Ministry of External out prior permission, New Del- Affairs said, “The USS John hi on Friday conveyed its con- Paul Jones was continuously cerns to Washington over US monitored transiting from the warship’s un-authorised ma- Persian Gulf towards the Manoeuvre through diplacca Straits. We have lomatic channels. conveyed our conOn Wednesday, the cerns regarding this US Navy’s 7th Fleet passage through our had issued a stateEE Z t o t h e U S A ment saying its warthrough diplomatic ship, USS John Paul channels.” Jones (DDG 53), “asAdmiral Arun PraIndian claim serted navigational as per UN law kash, former Navy rights and freedoms chief, termed the US The US says 130 nautical miles move ‘ironical’ sayIndia’s claims on west of Lakshadweep, ing it is strange that without requesting EEZ under the UN the US Navy not only India’s prior con- Convention on the chose to violate InLaw of the Sea sent”. The Freedom dia’s rights but publi(UNCLOS) are of Navigation Operacise it. “While India inconsistent with tions was carried out ratified UN Law of international law. the Seas in 1995, the on April 7. India ratified the According to the US has failed to do it UNCLOS in 1982, US, India’s claims on so far. For the 7th EEZ under the UN but the US is not a Fleet to carry out FoN signatory Convention on the missions in Indian Law of the Sea (UNCEEZ in violation of LOS) are inconsistent with in- our domestic law is bad enough. ternational law. While India But publicising it? USN please ratified the UNCLOS in 1982, switch on IFF (Identification, the US is not a signatory “India friend or foe)!” he tweeted. . requires prior consent for miliThe IFF is used to distinguish tary exercises or manoeuvers between a friendly and an enein its exclusive economic zone my. India is examining the or continental shelf, a claim in- event closely “We have to exam. consistent with international ine it from the view of the inlaw,” the statement said. tent and its future implicaIt added that the operation tions,” said an official. Assam Opposition leaders during a campaign rally in Dispur; the Fairmont Hotel where the candidates are staying Express News Service @ Guwahati/New Delhi /Jaipur Apprehending poaching by the BJP, Assam’s Congress-led grand alliance of Opposition has moved 20 party candidates to a hotel in Jaipur. Eighteen from minority-based All India United Democratic Front and two from the Congress were sent to Rajasthan in a chartered plane on Friday They all . have been kept in Fairmont Hotel, where Rajasthan Congress MLAs were kept for days after rebellion by party leader Sachin Pilot. “We have just landed in Rajasthan. The Chief Minister (Ashok Gehlot) is making all arrangements for our stay,” one of them said. Speculations are rife that the remaining Opposition candidates will fly out of Assam soon. The third and final phase As- sam polls were held on April 6 and the results of the keenlycontested elections will be declared on May 2. Given past experiences, they are not taking any chances. In the last Manipur elections, the Congress had bagged 28 seats compared to the BJP’s 22 in the 60-member House but the latter managed to cobble together the numbers — courtesy defections — and for m the government. Congress and AIUDF are components of the 10-party Opposition alliance, which was formed two months ago to oust the BJP from power. Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) is another key constituent of the multi-party alliance. “The possibility of BJP in- dulging in dirty tricks and influence our candidates made us take the decision. Also, our candidates wanted to go on a pilgrimage to Ajmer Sharif Dargah after hectic campaign,” AIUDF organising secretary Md Aminul Islam said. In Delhi, Congress general secretary RS Surjewala said: “It’s now a trend since the BJP tries to break the Congress after losing elections. So they (allies) want to take guard.” Even though it is not unusual for political parties to lodge their MLAs and MPs in hotels outside their states to ward off the threat of poaching by rival parties, shifting candidates, when the votes are yet to be counted, to another state could be a first. It is now a well-known trend that the BJP tries to indulge in horsetrading. So, the aim is to take measures for protecting our people Mahesh Joshi, Congress Chief Whip in Rajasthan Assembly etween the binary of a ‘ladaku neta’ (the warlike Mamata Banerjee) and the PM’s fort-destroyer act, complete with taunts and slogans, there’s another figure who’s also in the contest — quite strangely, in his absence. He is Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee. The 77-year-old former West Bengal CM’s failing health — especially respiratory trouble in this Covid season — has kept him away from the public stage. All that has come from him by way of intervention in this election season is a statement. He shot a single arrow, talking of “the unravelling of the Singur-Nandigram conspiracy”, and the irony of “the conspirators now fighting each other” in the silence of the graveyard. Where did he find ‘silence’ in this deafeningly high-decibel contest? What he refers to is the silence — the lack of any discussion, amidst this very personalised campaign— on what he believes to be the real issue. That is, the derailed industrialisation of Bengal. His own attempt to reverse that, beginning from SingurNandigram, was a dark and West Bengal fated one: it had cost Buddhadeb his government and SANTWANA BHATTACHARYA led to his ignominious exit from electoral politics. He had even lost the Jadavpur seat to his former chief secretary Manish Gupta, by a margin of over 16,000 votes. That , was in 2011, when Mamata swept into power on what was called a mandate for paribartan (change). Ten years down the line, the BJP is riding on the idea of ‘asol paribartan’ (real change). If that sounds like an echo, there are reasons why it resonates. They are the same reasons from a decade ago. Jobless youth are the most common sight everywhere in the state — even though Bengal’s unemployment, if CMIE data is to be believed, is less than that of Haryana, Rajasthan or Bihar. Indeed, at 17.4 per cent as per the CMIE 2020 survey Bengal’s unemployment is even , less than the national average. But it’s nearly double compared to neighbouring Odisha and Assam’s 9.6 per cent. Take the group of youth, all graduates, whiling away their time around a tea stall outside one of Bishnupur’s famous terracotta temples. None of them have jobs. Continued on PAGE 8 Vaccine shortage continues in several states, supply of Remdesivir also less than demand Continued on Page 7 Express news service @ Mumbai Delhi Covid watch @ Mumbai/Jaipur/Bhopal/Bengaluru Amid states grappling with stretched Covid facilities and vaccine shortage, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot sent an SOS to the Centre regarding vaccine supply on Friday, even as more inoculation centres were shut in Maharashtra, taking the count to 592. There were also reports of shortage of Remdesivir that is used to treat Covid patients. Seventy-five of the 120 centres across Mumbai, including a jumbo facility in the Bandra Kurla Complex that was inoculating 4,000 people daily halted , vaccinating people on Friday . “We have been asking the Centre to ramp up the supply, but there is no positive response. To set up a centre, we spend a lot of money on infrastructure and engage many trained people. Shutting them down is a big setback to our vaccination drive,” said a senior health official in Maharashtra. In Rajasthan, vaccine stock will last only two days, Ashok Gehlot said in a letter to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and sought immediate supply of 30 lakh doses to ensure smooth continuation of the inoculation drive, particularly during the ‘tika utsav’ proposed by the Prime Minister. With hospital beds filling up fast and demand for oxygen shooting up, supply is drying up in some states. Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray has already stated that the state is in “dire need” of oxygen of 1,7002,500 MT oxygen by April-end. In Madhya Pradesh, there were reports about deaths of patients due to lack of oxygen at government hospitals in Sagar, Ujjain and Khargone, though the state government denied these claims. Fire at Covid hospital in Nagpur kills 4 PTI Express news service April 9 April 8 Positive cases 8,521 7,437 Recovery 5,032 3,687 Active cases 26,631 23,181 39 24 4,768 4,226 Deaths Containment zones Tests Positivity Rate 1,09,398 91,770 7.79 8.10 % Three women in UP given anti-rabies injections instead of Covid-19 shots namita bajpai @ Lucknow In a shocking incident of negligence, three elderly women were administered anti-rabies injections instead of Covid-19 vaccine at a government health centre in Shamli district of Uttar Pradesh, their families alleged on Friday One of the vic. tims was claimed to be critical. The families reported the matter to the medical superintendent of the community health centre (CHC) at Kairana NATIONWIDE April 8 April 9 Fresh cases 1,26,789 1,31,968 Recoveries 59,258 61,899 685 780 Deaths maharashtra reeling Over 83% of new Covid-19 cases in India are reported from 10 states. These are Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Rajasthan. Maharashtra alone accounts for 53.84% of the total active caseload in the country. The Maharashtra government an all-party meeting on Saturday to discuss steps and retail loans are most at risk, according to Fitch Ratings and sought action against the erring health officials. The superintendent, Dr Vijendra, said the complaint had been forwarded to senior officers. District Magistrate Jasjeet Kaur deputed Kairana SDM and two other officials to inquire into the matter. “Strictest action will be taken against anyone found guilty she said. ,” Saroj (70), Anarkali (72) and Satyavati (60) — had gone to the CHC to get vaccinated on Thursday. They claimed they were asked by the health workers to bring syringe from the medical store. They were administered the shot and returned home. After a while, Saroj started feeling giddy Family members . took her to a private doctor and showed him the OPD slip given to her at the CHC. The doctor was shocked to notice that Saroj was given anti-rabies vaccine. When the slips given to the other women were checked, it was seen that they were also administered anti-rabies vaccines. All schools in city closed due to rapid rise in infection cases Express news service @ New Delhi In view of the rapid surge in Covid-19 cases, the Delhi government has ordered closure of all schools in the state till further orders. Schools which were allowed to run classes from IX to XII for doubtclearing sessions, mock tests and pre-board revision have also been asked to suspend classes. “In view of the sudden surge in Covid-19 cases in Delhi, all the heads of government-aided and unaided recognised schools are informed that conduct of all academic and examination activities through physical mode shall remain suspended with immediate effect,” read the circular issued by Director of Directorate of Education, Udit Prakash Rai. Teaching can continue in online mode. pandemic-proof AB de Villiers of RCB in action at MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Friday. RCB defeated MI in the opening match of this year’s IPL | pti | P11 rip Prince philip, husband of queen elizabeth II, dies The 99-year-old was the longest serving royal consort in UK history. PM Narendra Modi among world leaders expressing grief at the passing away of Prince Philip | P9 Four people died while several got injured in a major fire incident in Well Treat Multi Speciality Hospital in Nagpur late on Friday evening. It is a 30-bed Covid-19 hospital. However, when the short circuit at an air conditioner occurred, 28 Covid-19 positive patients were in the hospital. Twelve were in ICU, while the rest were in normal wards. Injured patients were shifted to a nearby hospital. Eyewitnesses said the fire started from the AC and patients near the AC alarmed others. But before they could be moved to safer places, the fire spread to other parts of the hospital, killing four. Devendra Fadnavis, Leader of Opposition and Bharatiya Janata Party MLA from Nagpur, tweeted saying he was pained to learn about the incident. “I spoke to the Nagpur Collector and he said all assistance is being provided. Heartfelt condolences to families who lost their loved ones in this tragedy. Praying for speedy recovery of the injured,” read his tweet. U’khand puts on hold Gairsain status vineet upadhyay @ Dehradun The Uttarakhand cabinet on Friday decided to put the commissionerate status of Gairsain ‘on hold’. Subodh Uniyal, cabinet minister and gover nment spokesperson, said: “The decision to accord commissionerate status to Gairsain has been put on hold for now. Further decision will be taken keeping in mind public sentiments.” Sources indicated this means not implementing the decision. Last month, Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat had said the decision was ‘under consideration’. The hilltown was accorded the status by the state government led by former CM Trivendra Singh Rawat in March, 2021. The decision is said to be one of factors leading to his removal as CM. The new division was carved with the districts of Chamoli, Rudraprayag, Bageshwar and Almora along with a senior IAS officer as commissioner and senior IPS as DIG of police like other two divisions of the state — Kumaon and Garhwal. Last month, Rekha Arya, a cabinet minister, had said that inclusion of Almora in Gairsain commissionary was not a ‘practical’ decision. Sources in government said that adding Almora in the newlyformed Gairsain commissionary acted a big catalyst in his removal.
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