SATURDAY FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL SOLI SORABJEE PASSES AWAY 01 Distinguished jurist and ex-Attorney General Soli Sorabjee, who appeared in historic cases like S R Bommai, passed away on Friday MAY, 2021 WAS ADMITTED IN HOSPITAL FOR COVID epaper.morningstandard.in facebook.com/TheMorningStandard twitter.com/TheMornStandard TIGHT FINISH CLOSE FOCUS ON NORTH BENGAL Mamata tells TMC workers to look out for fraud on counting day A CAPITAL VIEW OF NEWS PAGE 8 NEW DELHI FIR on oxygen appeal to draw contempt: SC Govt’s special role to help Delhi Delhi represents people from the entire country, the bench said. “Centre has a peculiar role. Forget if someone wasn’t able to lift oxygen; you (Centre) have to push through to protect lives.” SLY CENTRE TRIES TO PASS BUCK ON STATES 10 APRIL 29 3,79,257 2,69,507 3,645 JAB-O-METER APRIL 30 3,86,452 2,97,540 3,498 April 29 TAKE YOUR SHOT 20,84,931 doses April 30 26,08,948 doses TOTAL DOSES: 15,48,54,096 OUR IPL SPACE A Covid-19 patient awaits admission for treatment at Jawaharlal Nehru Hospital in Ajmer, Rajasthan, on Friday | PTI Mechanism to show real-time data on oxygen allocation to hospitals doable? Restrictions to curb spread of Covid; measures to ensure tankers and cylinders reach destination? How to enable vax registration for illiterates or those without internet access? Will one state get priority access over another to get jabs? How will manufacturers ensure equity? Has Centre considered invoking Section 92 of the Patents Act to grant compulsory licences in the face of an emergency like this? New variant isn’t getting detected in RT-PCR test. Medical centres are driving away patients without positive report or charging high sums. What’s the policy in place? How have testing labs been directed to track second mutant variant? How is reasonable time frame met for reports? What steps to regulate very high hospital bills? What about shortage of med staff? How are docs safeguarded and treated for Covid? How much oxygen will be made available to critical states? Interestingly, Centre ducks a question when specifically asked whether it had issued specific advisory against organising Kumbh Mela and election rallies | P7 JABS FOR ALL NOT KICKING OFF TODAY IN DELHI: CM E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi DELHI will not be able to launch vaccinations for those above 18 from May 1 and so people should not make a beeline at vaccination centres, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced on Friday . Due to the unavailability of vaccines, Kejriwal appealed the citizens not to queue at vaccination centers, saying it could lead to law and order situation. “We have not yet received the vaccine, and are in continuous touch with the companies. We hope the vaccines will be delivered in a day or two. We have been assured of this,” he said. The news came on a day when the city saw yet another surge of 27,047 fresh Covid cases even as the toll w a s s l i g h t l y DELHI COVID WATCH APRIL 29 APRIL 30 down to 375. 24,235 27,047 Kejriwal was Positive cases 25,615 25,288 among the chief Recovery 97,977 99,361 ministers who Active cases 395 375 had been de- Deaths 37,223 manding vacci- Containment zones 35,924 Tests 73,851 82,745 nation for all. 32.82% 32.69% Pushing the Positivity rate buck on manufacturers for the delay Kejriwal said, “We are , trying our best that within the next three months the entire population of Delhi gets vaccinated. Now it will depend on the two companies as to how swiftly they provide us with the vaccine”. “If they are able to provide sufficient quantities of the vaccine, then we will try to vaccinate the people within three months.” The CM requested the people not rushas everyone will be inoculated in time. “It is my humble request that you not queue up at the centres, for this should not lead to a law and order situation or hinder social distancing protocols. Firstly, three lakh Covishield vaccines are to be delivered by tomorrow or the day after and P4&5 thereafter more doses will arrive.” A government school in Edamuri, Pathanamthitta (Kerala) is taking up veg cultivation to feed nearby villagers. The headmaster, teachers & staff have been cultivating vegetables in the one acre free land in the campus | P11 Bhopal auto driver turns his vehicle into free ambulance, saves over a dozen lives E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Bhopal India will get 5 mn doses of Russian Covid vaccine Sputnik V by June, India’s ambassador to Russia Bala Venkatesh Varma said on Friday. “We expect 1.5-2 lakh readymade vaccines to be available in the early part of May. This will be increased by the middle and the latter part of May. It is likely that by May, total sputnik V doses will be probably more than 3 million,” he said Sedition law under apex court lens E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi AMID rising instances of state governments slapping charges of sedition against dissenting individuals, the Supreme Court on Friday sought response from the Centre on a plea challenging the Constitutional validity of the law. A bench justices U U Lalit, Indira Banerjee and K M Joseph were hearing a plea challenging section 124-A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, which penalises sedition. The plea, filed by journalists Kishorechandra Wangkhemcha and Kanhaiya Lal Shukla — working in Manipur and Chhattisgarh, respectively — have urged the top court to declare Section 124-A as unconstitutional. The SC will give a detailed hearing in July . This comes months after a similar plea was dismissed by the court. The petition claimed that section 124-A infringes the fundamental right of freedom of speech and expression, guaranteed under Ar ticle 19(1)(a) of the Constitution. FIRs were registered against them under Section 124A for comments and cartoons shared by them on Facebook. There is frequent misuse, misapplication and abuse of Section 124-A since 1962, the petition said, adding that the abuse of a law, in itself, may Javed Khan says he was inspired to help people after seeing moving scenes on TV | EXPRESS tals. When people insist on paying me, I tell them that my service is for a human cause and not a source of income during the holy month of Ramzan,” Khan said. Khan says there could be at least a dozen drivers like him who would like to operate a similar service if supported by generous donors. not bear on the validity of the law but clearly points to the vagueness and uncertainty of the law. The petition also argued that the vagueness of Section 124-A exerts an unacceptable chilling effect on the democratic freedoms of individuals who cannot enjoy there legitimate democratic rights and freedoms for fear of life imprisonment. The plea also pointed out that there were extensive enactment of new legislations dealing directly with safety and security public dis, order and terrorism. Such enactments include the Unlawful Activities Act, the Public Safety Act and the National Security Act. Weekend lockdown in nine districts of Haryana H A R P R E E T B A J W A @ Chandigarh Police try to stop members of Kisan Sangharsh Committee from breaking barricades near Punjab CM’s residence in Patiala on Friday | PTI Non-food bank loans hit nadir of 4.9% in FY2020-21 E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Hyderabad deeply moved by TV images of suffering people. “Some of them died in the absence of an ambulance. We decided to start a free auto-rickshaw ambulance which can be accessed by anyone by calling on my cell number 7999909494. In the last three days, I’ve rushed 15 Covid patients to AIIMSBhopal, Hamidia and Paliwal hospi- INDIA TO GET 5 MN DOSES OF SPUTNIK BY JUNE DESPERATE MOVE BEYOND CALL AN autorickshaw driver in hopal has turned his vehicle into a free ambulance service. Javed Khan has saved at least 15 lives in the last three days by rushing patients to various hospitals of Bhopal, a city among the top two Covid hotspots of Madhya Pradesh. Father of three kids (two daughters and a son), Khan also takes care of his three jobless daily wage labourer brothers. He sold his wife’s gold necklace to fund his free service. “I have stocked three months of ration for my family The jewelry that I . sold funded the conversion of my auto rickshaw into an ambulance. The 7 kg oxygen cylinder which is fitted in the auto-rickshaw has been gifted by social activist Bharti Jain,” Khan said. Some people have donated a small amount which helps him in his cause. The money has been used to refill the oxygen cylinder, buy an oximeter, sanitizer and a protective gear to keep him safe. Khan says he and his wife were PAGES 12 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths K A N U S A R D A @ New Delhi POINT POSER NATIONWIDE Hearing must make a difference, says bench COMING down heavily on states that had ordered registration of FIRs against individuals appealing for help or sharing grievances on social media or elsewhere during the ongoing Covid pandemic, the Supreme Court on Friday warned that any such action will be treated as a contempt of court. A three-judge bench comprising justices D Y Chandrachud, L Nageswara Rao and S Ravindra Bhatt said, “We will treat this as contempt of our court. Let us hear the voices of our citizens and not clampdown.” The bench was hearing a suo motu case on the national plan to manage the Covid surge. The Uttar Pradesh government had recently ordered civil and criminal action against those making false appeals over social media seeking help for Covid-19. Regarding the situation in Delhi where there is an acute paucity of oxygen and ICU beds, the bench urged the Centre to expedite plans to save lives. It also asked the AAP government to adopt a cooperative attitude and a spirit of dialogue with the Centre. The bench posed 10 questions to the Centre, adding: “Our hearing must make a difference.” A detailed order will be available on Saturday The next hearing is slated for May 10. . The judges questioned the national vaccination programme with Justice Bhat asking Solicitor General Tushar Mehta why the Centre cannot buy 100% of the requirement. Sharing concern over the possible exclusion of the marginalised communities from the drive, the court said, “Fifty-nine crore Indians in 18-45 age group constitute a large segment. How will the poor and marginalised people find money to get vaccinated? We cannot have this private sector model.” Turning to the procurement policy, the bench said the jabs the states have to procure are overpriced. “AstraZeneca is providing vaccines at a far lower price to the US. Then why should we be paying so much? Manufacturers are charging you `150 but `300 or `400 to states. The price difference becomes `30,000-40,000 crore. Why should we as a naP9 tion pay this?” Justice Bhat asked. J8.00 SOLI SORABJEE 9 MARCH 1930 30 APRIL 2021 He was admitted to a private hospital in South Delhi after getting infected with Covid-19. He is survived by wife, a daughter and two sons. A recipient of the Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian award of the country, the renowned human rights lawyer served as the Attorney General for India from 1989-90 and then from 1998-2004 NON-food bank credit growth plunged to an all-time low of 4.9% in FY21, according to RBI data. This is the first time growth touched such a low since 1971 when RBI began publishing data separately for food and non-food credit. Non-food credit includes loans given to industries, services sector, retail loans and agriculture and allied activities. This, along with food credit and priority sector loans, defines overall bank credit. Decline in non-food credit is critical as it accounts for 88% of overall bank credit. According to RBI’s deployment of gross bank credit by major sectors released on Friday industrial credit , growth fell to 0.4% in FY21 from 0.7% in FY20. But within this, large industries saw a decline of 0.8%. A year ago, it stood at a relatively respectable 0.6%. In contrast, medium industries saw a growth of 28.8%, perhaps led by the government’s credit-driven stimulus. But micro and small industries saw growth go from 1.7% in FY20 to a 0.5% in FY21. Services sector including tourism, hotels and restaurants, too saw credit growth decline from 7.4% to a dismal 1.4% during the same period. Several segments of nonfood sectors, barring agriculture, medium industries and gold loans, saw credit growth decline over the previous fiscal. This includes retail loans such as housing, and consumer durables. Gross bank credit at `97 lakh crore excluding priority sector loans plunged to 5% -- perhaps hitting an all-time low. Including priority sector loans to agriculture and industries, overall bank credit growth in FY21 stood at `109.5 lakh crore, or a growth of 5.6% — the lowest in 58 years. THE Haryana government has imposed weekend lockdown in nine of the 22 districts of the state. The nine districts are: Gurugram, Faridabad, Sonipat, Rohtak, Karnal, Hisar, Sirsa, Fatehabad and Panchkula. As per the orders issued by Chief Secretary Vijai Vardhan, the weekend lockdown will come into force from 10 pm on April 30, (Friday) and continue till 5 am on May 3 (Monday). The restrictions are covered under the Disaster Management Act (DMA), 2005. Any person violating the restrictions will be liable to be proceeded against as per the provisions of Sections 51-60 of the DMA, besides legal action under Sec. 188 of the IPC and other legal provisions as applicable. An official said during the lockdown, residents must stay indoors. No person shall leave their homes or shall move on foot or by vehicle or travel or stand or roam around on any road or public places during the restriction hours. Those exempt from the measure are persons and services tasked with law and order, emergencies and municipal services, duties including executive magistrates, police personnel, military/CAPF personnel in uniform, health, electricity fire, media persons with ac, creditation and government machinery tasked with COVID-related duties. He said those exempted for appearing in examination and on exam duties would have to produce admit/ identity cards. Those engaged in the manufacture of essential goods will also be exempt. There shall be no curbs on movement (inter-state and intra-state) of essential and non-essential goods. All vehicles or persons in bona fide transit (inter-state or intra-state) shall be allowed to pass, but only after verification of point of origin and destination. Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij said all chief medical officers should ensure that treatment and admission of Covid patients is not affected during the VIP movement in hospitals.
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