FRIDAY RBI SLOWLY WITHDRAWING `2,000 NOTES FROM SYSTEM 28 MAY, 2021 An above average rise in note circulation in FY21 was reported by the central bank due to the pandemic. A look at the numbers | P10 epaper.morningstandard.in facebook.com/TheMorningStandard twitter.com/TheMornStandard CIRCULATION 16.8% 7.2% DIGITAL RULES FOCUS ON OTT, NEWS PLATFORMS Spike in value Such platforms have 15 days now to provide details on compliance with the rules `500 A CAPITAL VIEW OF NEWS PAGE 8 White fungus case reported in city, docs say unique EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi A first-of-its-kind case of white fungus was detected at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in which a Covid patient was found to have suffered multiple perforations throughout the intestine. The patient, a 49-year-old woman, was admitted on May 13 with complaints of severe abdominal pain, vomiting and constipation. She had undergone a mastectomy in December last year and had received chemotherapy till four weeks ago. “White fungus (Candida) causing multifocal perforations in the food pipe, small and large bowel in COVID-19 infection has not been reported in literature to the best of our knowledge,” said Dr Anil Arora, Chairman of the Institute of Liver, Gastroenterology and Pancreaticobiliary Sciences at the hospital. A CT scan of the abdomen revealed free air and moderate amount of free fluid in the abdominal cavity suggestive of an intestinal perforation, the hospital said. The doctors immediately placed a tube and drained about one litre of bile-stained pus. When a team of surgeons conducted an emergency surgery next day they found per, foration in the lower end of the food pipe. The patient was immediately started on anti-fungals and showed remarkable improvement. Five days later, she had to undergo a second surgery and is currently recovering from it, said another senior expert, Dr Aurobindo. FIRST PUNCH We will continue our constructive dialogue... It is the collective responsibility of elected officials, industry and civil society to safeguard the interests of the public Twitter statement NEW DELHI GLOVES were off on Thursday as the spat between Twitter and the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) turned ugly with the former calling , out the Centre’s new regulatory regime and the latter saying the platform has no locus in dictating India’s legal policy framework. Both claimed their goal was to protect the user’s privacy and the freedom of speech and expression. With Twitter claiming it was being intimidated by the Delhi Police for flagging BJP leader Sambit Patra’s tweet on an alleged Congress toolkit as ‘manipulated media’, the latter piled on it, calling the statement mendacious, “designed to seek dubious sympathy and impede a lawful enquiry”. “Twitter Inc. has taken upon itself, in the garb of terms of service, to adjudicate the truth or otherwise of documents in public space. Twitter is purporting to be both an investigating authority as well as an adjudicating judicial authority It has . no legal sanction to be either. The only legal entity... to investigate is the police and to adjudicate is the courts,” said Delhi Police spokesperson Chenmoy Biswal. The ministry said the company is refusing to comply with those very S E SA S E N @ New Delhi WHAT THE REPORT SAYS WITH the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic continuing to wreak havoc on India’s healthcare infrastructure as well as the country’s economy, it could take several months before glimpses of an economic rebound could be seen. “The near-term outlook is clouded, with an accentuation of downside risks and potential externalities of global spillovers,” the Reserve Bank of India said in its annual report for 2020-21, released on Thursday. Even as daily new infections have started dropping, it still “remains high for comfort” and the macro-economic costs of this wave are likely to spill over into July the cen, tral bank noted. Sharp rally in the domestic equity markets despite expected GDP fall poses the ‘risk of a bubble’ Indian industry suffered deep losses due to the pandemic While the pandemic hit most sectors, it opened up vistas of expansion for domestic pharmaceutical firms The slow pace of inoculation and bleak global economic outlook also add to uncertainty . Already, most economists have trimmed India’s real GDP forecast to settle at 7-8% in FY22. RBI, which had projected 10.5% for the current financial year may also follow suit as its projection was based on the assess- EXPRESS READ New Delhi: The Indian Medical Association lodged a police complaint against Ramdev, seeking an FIR for his “dishonest and wrongful representations” on allopathy. It said Ramdev “wilfully and deliberately spread false, baseless and malicious information” about treatment of patients by approved methods to take advantage of Covid situation. P4 ‘Mix-and-match of vax needs more scrutiny’ New Delhi: Any significant adverse effect is unlikely if the second dose of a different Covid vaccine is administered, but this subject needs more scrutiny and understanding, the Centre said in the wake of the Siddharthnagar fiasco. It, however, clarified that both doses to an individual should be of the same vaccine as per the existing protocol. UNDO ‘VICTIM SHOULD BE PROTECTED’ In Tarun Tejpal case, HC directs court to remove anything that reveals identity of woman | P8 PAGES 12 PRODUCTION OF COVAXIN IN GUJARAT regulations in the intermediary guidelines on the basis of which it is claiming a safe harbour from any criminal liability in India. The Centre said that Twitter’s statement is an attempt to dictate its terms to the world’s largest democracy . The ministry charged Twitter with being complacent in taking action against those who incited violence during the Red Fort violence, promoting vaccine hesitancy through its platform as well as showing Ladakh a part of China during the border disputes between two countries. It asked Twitter to stop beating around the bush and comply with the laws of land. “Twitter is just a social media platform and it has no locus in dictating what India’s legal policy framework should be,” the ministry said. Earlier in the day, Twitter said it is planning to advocate changes in the core elements of the recentlyframed social intermediary guidelines. “To keep our service available, we will strive to comply with applicable law in India. But, just as we do around the world, we will continue to be strictly guided by principles of transparency, a commitment to empowering every voice on the service, and protecting freedom of expression and privacy under the rule of law,” the company said in a statement. Full statements of Twitter, MeitY & Delhi Police on newindianexpress.com ment done in March. For now, however, RBI has retained its projection. “This is the most optimistic scenario that can be envisaged at this juncture – it provides a limited window to establish strict pandemic protocols and logistics, ramp up vaccines production and medical supplies, fill gaps in the health infrastructure and build up stocks, especially of vaccines, in preparation for the next wave of infections. In all other outcomes, losses in terms of lives, jobs and output are likely to be adverse and long lasting” the RBI noted. Price instability the RBI said, , remains a key concern constraining monetary policy from utilising any available room to support growth. DISTRAUGHT Relatives attend to a woman who passes out while mourning the loss of a family member who succumbed to Covid-19, at a crematorium in Jammu on Thursday | PTI Hester Biosciences on Thursday said an MoU has been signed between Bharat Biotech (BB) and Gujarat Covid Vaccine Consortium of four firms to produce Covaxin. While BB will provide technology, Gujarat Biotech Research Centre will handle the tech transfer. Hester shall provide its full infra in Gujarat and Omnibrx Biotech will be the tech support partner Share of `500 and `2,000 notes in total value Fall in note indent (reprinting) order 0.3% Fall in supply of banknotes NATIONWIDE MAY 26 MAY 27 Fresh cases 2,08,921 2,11,298 Recoveries 2,95,955 2,83,135 Deaths 4,157 3,847 DELHI MAY 26 MAY 27 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths 1,568 4,251 156 1,072 3,725 117 JAB-O-METER May 26 17,19,931 doses TAKE YOUR May 27 SHOT 26,58,218 doses TOTAL DOSES: 20,54,51,902 Shortage of jabs: No more bridging trials for global vax manufacturers, says govt S U M I S U K A N YA D U T TA @ New Delhi Pfizer has indicated a certain volume of vaccine availability, possibly starting from July… looking at what their expectations are from us, and what are our expectations from them VK Paul, Niti Aayog member Spurned earlier Back in December, 2020 when Pfizer had first applied for EUA, it insisted on doing away with the bridging trial completely. The government had then completely refused the demand of the pharma major. THE Centre has decided to completely exempt foreign vaccine manufacturers from bridging trials in the backdrop of ongoing negotiations with Pfizer over the import of its Covid vaccine which is likely to begin from July . The decision comes barely a month ago after the government announced that the first 100 beneficiaries of foreign vaccines will be assessed a week for safety outcomes before the vaccine is incorporated in the immunization drive. Pfizer has indicated the availability of its vaccine for India while other terms of the agreement are under discussion, India’s Covid taskforce head V K Paul said in a press conference on Wednesday “Pfizer has indi. cated a certain volume of vaccine availability possibly start, ing from July… looking at what their expectations are from us, and what are our expectations from them.” The company he said, sought , indemnification from cost of compensation. “They have requested indemnity from all nations. It’s their condition. We are examining this request. There is no decision as of now.” A document released by the Niti Aayog, meanwhile, said that the Centre has “proactively” eased entry of vaccines approved by US FDA, EMA, UK’s MHRA and Japan’s PMDA, and WHO’s emergency use listing in April. “These vaccines will not need to undergo prior bridging trials,” said the statement. “The provision has now been further amended to waive off the trial requirement altogether for the well-established vaccines manufactured in other countries.” Duty-free import of drug for black fungus till Centre decides, says HC EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi Import duty range not clear While one of the advocates informed that the import duty was in the range of 27 per cent, another one said it was 78 per cent. The Centre’s counsel said he was not aware of the exact percentage and will inform after inputs from the competent authority THE Delhi High Court on Thursday asked the Centre as to why high import duty was imposed on drugs essential to treat Mucor mycosis, also known as black fungus. A division bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh suggested waiving off import and customs duties on drugs used for the treatment of black fungus. “The drug is required to save the lives of people suffering from a serious disease which is afflicting thousands across the country . We are of the opinion that the Centre should seriously consider a waiver of customs duty/import duty for the pe- riod while the drug is in short supply it said. ,” The Centre told the court that decision will soon be taken by the CBDT and the Secretary Finance. “We direct that if any import is made by any person for these medicines, the same must be cleared after filing a bond instead of payment of duty for now,” the court said, adding the bond should stated that the importer shall pay the duties if the Centre decides not to waive off duties. “An assurance is given that the customs will clear without any delay,” the court said. “It has to be on war footing. Please understand that fight... every hour counts.” ‘Submit report on Doon-Mussorie foothill loss’ V I N E E T U PA D H YAY @ Dehradun THE Uttarakhand High Court on Thursday directed the state government to submit a detailed report in response to a PIL on illegal constructions at the foothills between Dehradun and Mussorie region. The court also directed to seal any kind of construction that is in contravention to the building by-laws, which clearly mandate that no construction can be carried out where the angle of slope is over 30 degrees. The PIL was filed by social activist Reenu Paul. Abhinay Negi, counsel for the petitioner, said: “The division bench of the High Court has directed the vice-chairman of Mussorie-Dehradun development authority and municipal commissioner De- 9.7% 85.7% REASON: PRECAUTIONARY HOLDING OF CASH BY THE PUBLIC DUE TO COVID-19 Ministry’s statement Both claim their goal is to protect user’s privacy @ New Delhi/Bengaluru J8.00 The only instance of scuttling free speech... is Twitter itself and its opaque policies, as a result of which people’s accounts are suspended and tweets deleted arbitrarily without recourse Govt, Twitter turf fight gets nasty EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE Notes were the most in circulation with a 31.1% share COUNTERPUNCH PANDEMIC CLOUDING NEAR-TERM ECONOMIC OUTLOOK, SAYS RBI IMA files complaint against Ramdev Rise in volume RBI STATS The two photographs are part of evidence submitted to show how illegal constructions have devastated the eco-fragile areas | EXPRESS hradun to personally inspect the foothills, especially in Rajpur area forthwith. Any construction found in contravention of building by-laws contained in the 2015 amend- ment should be sealed.” According to the petitioner, the foothills policy mandates that the small hillocks that define the early features of the Shivalik rang e are preserved. The petitioner requested the court that throughout the Rajpur region, the foothills have been systematically destroyed. He produced photographs before the court showing the damage caused to the local ecology . On May 3, the court had directed Nagar Nigam Dehradun and Mussoorie Dehradun Development authority to submit a report to the court by May 26, but it has not been submitted yet. The court took a serious view of the matter and the respondents were given another opportunity to file a proper report and affidavit by June 9. The Uttarakhand Biodiversity Board was also directed to file a reply by that date. The court will hear the matter on June 16. In a statement regarding fast tracking emergency approvals for foreign vaccines on April 13, the government had said that the permissions would be granted, “mandating the requirement of post-approval parallel bridging clinical trials in place of conduct of local clinical trials.” Officials said in December, 2020 when Pfizer had first applied for the emergency approval, it insisted on doing away with the bridging trial completely — a demand that was turned down completely by the government. “As of now, this vaccine has been used in several countries and there is real global data on its safety and efficacy therefore , we are okay to immediately launch the vaccine in the Covid vaccination drive upon import,” said a top official from the health ministry . GST MEET No tax on Covid medicine, clear our GST dues: States tell govt R A J E S H A S N A N I @ Jaipur AHEAD of the GST Council meeting on Friday, seven nonBJP ruled states have unanimously asked the Centre to remove the goods and services tax (GST) on medicines and medical equipment used to treat Covid-19. At the moment, these attract GST in various slabs ranging from 5% to 18 %. The states also sought early release of the outstanding GST compensation to all states. “The Centre should have zero rates on goods related to Covid so that there is no loss of input credit and consumers can also get relief,” said Rajasthan Urban Development and Housing Minister Shanti Dhariwal in a virtual meeting of the finance ministers of West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand, Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Kerala and Rajasthan on Wednesday . Both the issues will be raised in the GST Council meeting on Friday sources said. , Both the issues will be raised in the GST Council meeting on Friday States will also seek to . enhance their additional borrowing limit to 5% of the GDP , said sources who had information of the meeting. The virtual meeting, hosted by Rajasthan minister Dhariwal, was attended by West Bengal finance minister Amit Mitra, Punjab’s Manpreet Singh Badal, Jharkhand’s Rameshwar Oraon, Chhattisgarh’s T S Singh Deo, Kerala’s K N Balagopal and Tamil Nadu minister Palanivel P10 Thiagarajan.
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