TUESDAY YAAS’ LIKELY LANDFALL NEAR BALASORE ON WEDNESDAY 25 It is expected to intensify into a very severe cyclonic storm on the east coast, where most of the oxygen plants are located MAY, 2021 epaper.morningstandard.in MAY TRIGGER HEAVY RAINS, STORM SURGE facebook.com/TheMorningStandard twitter.com/TheMornStandard COVID VACCINE MIX & MATCH IN THE OFFING? Officials say unlikely in India, add that focus is on management of 2nd wave A CAPITAL VIEW OF NEWS PAGE 7 NEW DELHI J8.00 PAGES 12 EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi THE Centre on Monday allowed walk-in vaccinations at government hospitals for people in the 18–44 age group to reduce vaccine wastage. It was also an acknowledgement of the point put across by states that not all beneficiaries may have access to internet or smart phones or mobile phones to register themselves on the CoWIN portal. The final decision on whether or not to opt for it will be taken by state governments. While announcing the decision, the Union health ministry clarified that those choosing private hospitals for inoculation must continue booking slots via CoWIN portal or Aarogya Setu app. The decision came after several states reported vaccine wastage whenever some registered beneficiaries failed to turn up. In such cases, on-site registration of a few beneficiaries may be necessary to minimise the wastage, the health ministry said. Advising states to exercise caution to avoid overcrowding at centres, the ministry said clear instructions must be issued to all immunisation officers that the decision of respec- tive states on walk-in facility is strictly adhered to. Stating that fully reserved sessions can be organised for beneficiaries belonging to facilitated cohorts (those needing assistance) category, the ministry said: “Wherever such sessions are organised, all efforts must be made to mobilise such beneficiaries in sufficient numbers.” NATIONWIDE MAY 23 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths MAY 24 2,40,842 2,22,315 3,55,102 3.02.544 3,741 4,454 May 23 9,42,722 doses May 24 23,65,395 doses TOTAL DOSES: 19,84,43,550 JAB-O-METER TAKE YOUR SHOT Till Monday, only those above 45 years were allowed the benefit of walk-in jabs. By allowing on-site registration for those in the 18-44 category , the ministry aims to cut wastage and increase the number of beneficiaries. Official data reveal that only about one crore people in the 18-44 group — out of an estimated 49 crore across India — have received at least one dose after May 1. Disaster Rapid Action Force personnel loading rescue equipment on to a vehicle ahead of Yaas’ landfall in Odisha | BISWANATH SWAIN States trim capex, vax adds to burden Walk-in jabs for 18-44 group at govt hospitals Centre aims to reduce wastage while giving full access to those unable to book online The storm would generate speeds up to 165 kmph, gusting to 185 kmph, besides triggering storm surge on the coasts of Balasore, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara and Bhadrak in Odisha. Heavy rainfall predicted in parts of West Bengal, including Kolkata. In a review meeting, home minister Amit Shah assured all help to CMs of Bengal, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh | P8 A N U R A D H A S H U K L A @ New Delhi A poster reads out no vaccination at a centre on Monday as Delhi faces a shortage of doses to inoculate citizens | SHEKHAR YADAV After Punjab, Delhi govt hits hurdle in quest to get vax directly from abroad E X P R E SS N E WS S E R V I C E @ New Delhi FOREIGN vaccine manufacturers have refused to directly deal with states and instead informed that they are in touch with the Centre, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Monday . With Delhi like other states facing a shortage of vaccine doses, the AAP government had reached out to Moderna and Pfizer for directly procuring the vials. But like its Punjab counterpart, the Delhi government also got the response that the vaccine deals would be done directly with the Centre. “We spoke to the people from Pfizer and they said that they will communicate with the Centre directly. We contacted Moderna, and they said the same. The central government should talk to these firms to import and distribute vaccines a m o n g t h e s t at e s, ” s a i d Kejriwal. Questioning the Centre’s DELHI COVID WATCH MAY 23 MAY 24 Positive cases 1,649 1,550 Recovery 5,158 4,375 Active cases 27,610 24,578 Deaths 189 207 Containment zones 46,570 45,483 Tests 68,043 61,506 Positivity rate 2.42% 2.52% lack of ‘urgency’, Kejriwal asserted the government should act now given that a lot of time has been wasted already “Why . is the work not being done with urgency? It is my earnest request to the Central government that our country has lost a lot of time already… It has been a long time. We should not waste time anymore.” Vaccine rollout for the 18-44 age group was paused on Saturday in Delhi due to the shortage of doses. The AAP government has been blaming the Centre of not having a contingency plan to meet the massive demand of vaccine given the large popula- tion of the country . Kejriwal said that “why can’t this be the case that the Central Government calls, invites and talks to these companies and I think within 3-4 days deals and agreements can be made with all the companies.” While Delhi needs 80 lakh cases, Kejriwal had said, it had only received 16 lakh doses in May and the city’s June share had also been reduced further to eight lakh doses. The chief minister also drew the Centre’s attention to the shortage of medicine required for treatment of mucromycosis. “Suddenly this illness has emerged and there is a shortage of its medicine in the market. The Central Government is distributing all the medicines it has to the states. As there is an extreme shortage of medicine, its production also has to be increased,” he said, adding that there are about 500 cases of Black Fungus are reported P5 from city hospitals. HIGH market borrowing and sharp revenue decline due to the pandemic are forcing many states to cut capital expenditure, as they are struggling to foot the cost of the vaccine amid widening fiscal deficit. “Many states, including Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana and Orissa, are reducing capital expenditure by about 25-30%. If states have to incur the vaccine cost also, they would have to cut corners, which means lowering their capex,” a senior member of Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council (PMEAC) said. The only way to fix this is to have a centralised vaccine procurement policy, the member suggested. “State capex fall will not help the economy. Market borrowing has also cost in terms of interest burden. With GST shortfall to continue this year, this is not a good scenario. Till we are able to vaccinate all, the cost of the pandemic for the economy will continue to remain high, keeping recovery uncertain,” the member said. According to estimates, the total vaccination cost is `3.7 lakh crore for states at the highest vaccine price. This is large given the budgeted capital expenditure of states. “If we map this scenario analysis with the budgeted FY22 total expenditure of 20 major states at the highest price point, the vaccine procurement is 16% of the total expenditure for Bihar and 12% for states like Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand,” Soumya Kan- 26% more market borrowing in FY21 In FY21, 28 states and 2 UTs raised a total of `7.98 lakh crore via market borrowings, 26% higher than the borrowings of `6.35 lakh crore in FY20 ti Ghosh, Group Chief Economic Adviser, State Bank of India said in a recent report. An analysis of the states’ finances suggests that since this year, too, they may have to borrow, they are cautious in raising money from the market. Also the increase in proceeds from cesses and surcharges from 3% of gross tax revenue in 2000-01 to 23.5% in 2020-21 has reduced the divisible pool and brought down the effective devolution share to about 30% of gross tax revenue. Trade body too seeks help from Centre The local chapter of the Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry at Coimbatore requested the Centre to extend the time limit for filing of the GSTR 3B till June 26. The government has not extended the due date for filing for traders who have more than ` 5 crore turnover, instead relief was given to tax-payers by way of nil or reduced interest for certain period of delay in discharging the tax liability, it said. Police at Twitter’s doorstep, Cong cries foul EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi BKU leader Rakesh Tikait along with farmers in Hisar on Monday | PTI Farmers in numbers head towards borders of Delhi G AYAT H R I M A N I @ New Delhi IN spite of the raging Covid-19 second wave, thousands of farmers from Punjab and Haryana have started moving towards the Delhi-NCR borders to mark the completion of six months of protests against the farm laws, which is on May 26. More than 40,000 farmers will assemble at Singhu Border carrying black flags, said Paramjeet Katyal, spokesperson of Samyukta Kisan Morcha. Farmers will also assemble in thousands at Tikri, Ghazipur, Surajpur and other borders. “There is no plan to enter Delhi. Farmers will join in large numbers at these borders marking six months of protests. They will celehrate Budh Purnima on May 26 at the borders,” said Katyal. The Morcha said the government is trying to defame the farmers as spreaders of Covid-19, while it could not provide enough beds, oxygen, medicines and vaccination. “We also appeal to the government that instead of defaming us, they withdraw the laws and enact a law on MSP. Farmers will go back home. The government is intentionally not fulfilling the demand of farmers.” The SKM’s statement was issued by farmer union leaders Balbir Singh Rajewal, Darshan Pal, Gurnam Singh Charuni, Hannan Mollah, Jagjit Singh Dallewal, Joginder Singh Ugrahan, Yudhvir Singh, Yogendra Yadav and Abhimanyu Kohar. DAYS after Twitter tagged a tweet by BJP leader Sambit Patra — alleging the Congress had drafted a toolkit to malign the Centre’s image — as ‘manipulated media’, the Delhi Police Special Cell on Monday landed at the social media giant’s offices in search of the ‘right person’ to serve a notice. Calling it a routine process, and not a raid, Delhi Police spokesperson DCP Chenmoy Biswal said they had to visit Twitter’s offices at Lado Sarai and Gurugram Golf Course Road as the reply from the company’s MD, India operations, M Maheshwari was ‘ambiguous’. The special cell had issued a notice on Maheshwari on May 21, asking him to appear before it with information on why the platform tagged Sambit’s tweet as ‘manipulated media’. “It appears that Twitter has infor mation, which is not known to us, on the basis of which they classified it as such. The special cell wants to find out the truth. Twitter, which claimed to know the underlying truth, should clarify,” he added. A Delhi Police team at one of the offices of Twitter on Monday | PTI On May 18, Sambit Patra and other BJP leaders posted screenshots of an alleged ‘toolkit’ and accused the Congress of creating it to malign @ New Delhi A meeting of a high powered committee comprising Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Justice of India N V Ramana and Leader of Opposition Adhir Ranjan Chowdhary on Monday to pick the new chief of the CBI saw the latter raising objections over the selection process. “The way the procedure was followed, it was in conflict of the mandate of the committee. On May 11, I was given 109 names... and today by 1 pm, 10 names were shortlisted while by 4 pm, six names were shortlisted. This casual approach of the department of personnel and training is highly objectionable,” his dissent note said. According to sources, the names of senior IPS officers H C Awasthi, K R Chandra and V S K Kaumudi have been shor tlisted for the job. Awasthi (1985, UP cadre) is the current DGP of UP; Kau- mudi (1984, Andhra Pradesh cadre) is a special secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs; and Chandra (1985, Bihar cadre) is the current Director General of the Sashastra Seema Bal. The meeting was held after a delay of around four months despite former CBI chief R K Shukla retiring on February 3. The agency is currently helmed by interim chief Pradeep Sinha. Covid effect: 75L students will suffer loss of learning in Bihar R A J E S H K U M A R T H A K U R @ Patna A Unicef estimate says nearly 75 lakh children in Bihar will experience learning loss in the midst of Covid-induced lockdown. This is so because as many as 31% of school students do not have access to digital devices to avail online classes. Nearly 7 lakh students are not expected to return to their schools, the Unicef study said. The adolescents (14-18-yearold), comprising nearly 5.49% girls and 0.26% boys, are expected to drop out of schools. In a presentation to education officials, Prassana Ash, monitoring and evaluation specialist, and Pramila Manoharan, education specialist in Unicef Bihar, highlighted the scenarios related to the Covid-19 second and third wave and its impact on children’s learning. Citing some key point-estimations, they said nearly 75 lakh children in Bihar will experience learning loss; assuming 31% students do not have access to digital devices; 3 per cent or nearly 7 lakh students are not expected to return to school. Bihar additional chief secretary, in-charge of education department, Sanjay Kumar also spoke about strategies and solutions to ensure continuity of learning for the most marginalized children in Bihar in light of the pandemic and continued lockdown and school closures. “We are aware that a vast majority of children cannot access online classes or e-resources. We are looking at solutions and have requested the Centre to PLEA CBI CHALLENGES HC RELIEF TO TMC LEADERS The federal agency has sought judicial custody of three Trinamool leaders who are right now in house arrest in the Narada sting case PAGE 8 SCIENTIFIC APPROACH 3 ON SHORTLIST TO HEAD CBI; CONG SORE EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE the Centre’s pandemic management. The Congress retaliated by writing to Twitter, asking it to suspend Patra’s account for posting a “forged toolkit to create disharmony”. Two days later, Twitter tagged the tweet as manipulated media. The Delhi Police action came on a day when External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar landed in the US to meet his counterpart Anthony Blinken. Soon after the news broke out, Congress leaders condemned the police action, saying it was a murder of freedom of speech. provide devices to bridge the digital divide in education.” Terry Durnnian, Chief of Education, Unicef India, said all efforts should be made to ensure that the most marginalized groups of children can continue their learning. Nafisa Binte Shafique, chief of Unicef Bihar, made a strong plea for safe re-opening of schools with complete adherence to safety protocols. Easy tools to manage the virus at the district level M S SESHADRI, T JACOB JOHN AND MURU SUBRAMANI FOUR peaks characterise the second wave of India’s Covid epidemic — momentum peak (21.4.21), numerical peak of new cases two weeks later (6.5.21); acceleration peak of mortality (28.4.21) and numerical mortality peak three weeks later (18.5.21). Each state and district has these four peaks. Yet, the dynamics of onset, tempo and peak are asynchronous even among districts of the same state. While many districts are in post-peak decline of the momentum, in others momentum is still accelerating. Every district should be able to look for the four peaks in their ‘local epidemic curves’ and take appropriate individualised district-level action. To facilitate this, a set of easy-to-use Microsoft Excel Spreadsheets for health administrators are available for download from https:/tiny .cc/covidmomentum. At a glance you can discern epidemic momentum and mortality accelera- tion, district-wise. How does this help? ‘Social vaccine’ and biological vaccine should be top priority in districts with rapid epidemic momentum. Short district level lockdown may be needed to buy time. Post-peak decline in momentum indicates a substantial level of herd immunity; the proportion of vulnerable is low, manpower shortage and potential crowding at vaccination centres will argue against large vaccination drives. However, imminent mortality acceleration necessitates quick increase in hospital and critical-care beds, oxygen supply and essential drugs. Districts with mortality curve deceleration should anticipate decreased demands for oxygen and essential drugs, and prepare to move surplus supplies to needy neighbours. Such streamlined and science-based approach will optimise use of scant resources to manage the epidemic, reduce new infections and lower Covid mortality . Full article: newindianexpress.com
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