SATURDAY 30 STATES, UTs SEEK SHORTER CBSE CLASS XII BOARD EXAMS 29 MAY, 2021 Except Delhi and Maharashtra, all other states have written to the Centre saying these tests are crucial for students’ future epaper.morningstandard.in HOLDING EXAMS RISKY: DELHI, MAHARASHTRA facebook.com/TheMorningStandard twitter.com/TheMornStandard WAR OF WORDS CONGRESS VS BJP VERBALS CONTINUE Rahul says PM responsible for second wave, Javdekar retorts he’s following toolkit A CAPITAL VIEW OF NEWS PAGE 7 NEW DELHI J8.00 PAGES 12 Didi skips PM meet on Yaas damage review Rajnath expresses shock, Mamata meets Modi separately as Centre announces `1K cr for 3 cyclone-affected states M A N I S H A N A N D & P RA N A B M O N DA L @ New Delhi/Kolkata THE optics of the first in-person meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi had lined up with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at Kalaikunda, was as turbulent as cyclone Yaas itself, whose destruction they were expected to review, since the latter skipped the scheduled interaction. Defence minister Rajnath Singh expressed shock at the no-show, saying Mamata had violated the basic tenets of the Constitution’s federal system. Mamata later met Modi for 15 minutes and presented a sheaf PM Modi holds a meeting to review damage caused by Cyclone Yaas in West Bengal. Bengal chief secretary transferred to Delhi West Bengal chief secretary Alapan Banerjee, who accompanied CM Mamata Banerjee to Kalaikunda where she met PM Narendra Modi, has been transferred to Delhi. He was asked to report to the Personnel & Training department. He was given a three-month extension recently Why you are spending more J73 It’s not just your grocery bill that has gone up this year after the second deadly wave of the pandemic. The cost of fuel and industrial commodities, too, have gone north, as the accompanying charts show, fueling inflation average cost of petrol on May 27 last year PETROL PRICES (`/lt) Food items Sunflower oil (Packed) Palm oil (Packed) Soya Oil (Packed) Mustard oil (Packed) Vanaspati (Packed) Loose Tea Groundnut oil (Packed) Tur/Arhar Dal Gram Dal Onion Salt (Iodised) Masoor Dal Rice Milk (1 litre) Urad Dal Sugar Tomato Gur Moong Dal Atta Wheat Potato Prices (`) Prices (`) (As on May 27, 2020) (As on May 27, 2021) % change 110.94 87.2 101.78 118.28 90.52 220.09 147.51 93.78 67.65 20.69 16.08 77 34.2 46.77 103.69 39.7 18.9 48.32 111.66 31.29 28.86 25.72 172.57 133.24 151.01 168.84 128.82 282.59 175.64 107.84 76.75 23.46 17.85 85.44 35.98 49.17 108.68 39.44 18.25 46.03 106.12 29.3 26 19.16 55.55 52.8 48.38 42.75 42.31 28.4 19.07 14.99 13.45 13.39 11.01 10.96 5.2 5.13 4.81 0.71 -3.44 -4.74 -4.96 -6.36 -9.91 -25.51 All prices in Rs/kg unless mentioned otherwise Source: Ministry of Consumer affairs and commodity exchanges Steel (Hot rolled Coil) Copper 67,000 37,350 4,13,400 Nickel Aluminium Lead Zinc 1,94,350 1,32,000 1,78,550 1,34,250 2,33,500 1,56,200 84.61 91.87 87.46 89.39 89.7 92.24 92.25 90.93 93.75 90 93.59 AVERAGE RETAIL PRICE NEW DELHI MUMBAI KOLKATA CHENNAI BENGALURU HYDERABAD BHUBANESWAR THIRUVANANATHAPURAM VIJAYAWADA PATNA JAIPUR 93.68 99.94 93.72 95.28 96.8 97.36 94.46 95.66 99.43 95.99 100.17 as on 28 May 2021 Delhi to unlock from May 31; nod for factories & construction work E X P R E SS N E WS S E R V I C E @ New Delhi Artificial scarcity of vax: AAP The AAP alleged that the Centre was creating “artificial scarcity” of vaccines to benefit Bharat Biotech and SII, a charge termed by BJP as “unfounded” AAP’s Atishi said the drive has stopped in schools but in private hospitals, it is still going on at different rates WITH Delhi’s Covid-19 positivity rate falling below 2 per cent, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday said the national capital has somehow gained control over the second wave of the pandemic and the government will now start the process of lifting the lockdown gradually, beginning with resumption of construction activities and reopening of factories for one week from Monday . The announcement came even as Delhi reported a positivity rate of around 1.59 per cent and 1,141 new cases in the last 24 hours. The capital was placed under a lockdown on April 19, with the city recording over one lakh cases in the previous five days. “We need to maintain a balance where we have to control coronavirus on one hand and allow as many economic activities as possible on the other hand. It is time to start the un- DIESEL PRICES (`/lt) as on 28 May 2021 J66 13,16,000 average cost of diesel on May 27 last year INDUSTRY COMMODITY Price in tonne May 2021 May 2020 DATA COMPILED BY: SESA SEN A five-judge bench of the Calcutta High Court on Friday granted interim bail to three Trinamool MLAs, including two ministers, and a former mayor of Kolkata in the Narada sting operation case. Brushing aside Solicitor General Tushar Mehta’s apprehension that the accused are influential and could tamper with evidence, the bench said: ‘’The investigation started four years ago. Why the CBI did not arrest the accused in past four years? They were influential when the probe was going on.” Meanwhile, it emerged that a sitting judge of the Calcutta high court wrote on May 24 to the all brother judges, including acting chief justice Rajesh Bindal, questioning the way the case has been handled. “Our conduct is unbecoming of the majesty the HC commands. We have been reduced to a mockery am requesting all of us to sal....I vage the situation... (for) re-affirming sancP8 tity of our Rules,” the judge said. Shimla’s iconic Coffee House stares at closure THE iconic Indian Coffee House on Mall Road in Shimla, which has been running for 64 years and visited by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2017, is on the brink of closure. Following a drastic fall in the number of customers due to Covid-19, its liabilities have grown manifold. It has not been able to pay salaries to employees for 10 months. Talking to this newspaper over phone from Shimla, Senior Manager of Indian Coffee House, Atma Ram said: “We run on a no-prof- lock process. It should not be the case that people escape coronavirus but die of hunger...,” Kejriwal said during an online press briefing. He, however, requested people to strictly follow the Covid-19 protocols and stay at home, unless necessary . The decision on graded relaxation was taken during a high-level DDMA meeting under Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal. “Based on public suggestions and experts’ opinions, we will continue the unlock procedure given that the cases don’t increase any further,” the CM said. Some traders’ associations, however, called the move unfair and demanded phase-wise reopening of markets. “More than 15 lakh traders of Delhi are employing over 35 lakh employees, mostly migrants, and as such for their livelihood, the shops should be eligible to reopen,” said secretary general of CAIT P4 Praveen Khandelwal. States bat for shorter Class XII exams, final decision in 2-3 days S U M I S U K A N YA D U T TA and Tripura — have asked the Centre to organise the shorter version exam, spanOVER 30 states and Union ning 90 minutes each, for all territories have written to subjects, in which the majorthe Union Education Minis- ity of the questions will be try requesting to conduct a objective or short answer shorter version of the CBSE types. Class XII board examinaThe CBSE had proposed tions for all subjects at home two options, one where an schools, top officials told exam of only 19 major subthis newspaper. jects can be taken while evalFollowing a May 23 meet- uation for other subjects can ing between top authorities be carried out based on the from the Centre inter nal assessand states on holdment and the secing the board exond preferred by a m i n at i o n , t h e most states. central gover nA report has been “We have recompiled after the ment had asked ceived the responsrecommendations states to send dees from the states tailed suggestions by the states and is and are in the procbeing discussed within two days. ess of analysing with the PMO and Senior officials them the majority we are about to in the ministry of the states are in reach a final said barring Delhi favour of conductdecision very soon and Maharashtra, ing shorter verOfficial, of school 32 states and Unsions of tests for education and literacy ion territories all subjects and department have asked the completing the Centre to hold the process from exam examinations, citing that to results within 45 days,” these tests a r e said a senior government crucial for the children’s fu- official. ture and career prospects. The official added if the Delhi and Maharashtra, tests are taken at all CBSEhowever, have said allowing affiliated schools, it will gathering at exam centres raise the number of centres could cause massive risks of and will reduce crowding. infection to students and “As we have said the final teachers and these tests decision on Class XII board could turn into superspread- exams will be announced beer events. fore June 1, we will anAlso, 29 states — except nounce within the next 2-3 for Telangana, Rajasthan days,” the official said. @ New Delhi JAB-O-METER May 27 TAKE 26,58,218 doses YOUR May 28 SHOT 28,07,411 doses TOTAL DOSES: 20,86,12,834 NATIONWIDE MAY 27 MAY 28 2,11,298 1,86,364 2,83,135 2,59,459 3,847 3,660 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths DELHI COVID WATCH MAY 27 MAY 28 Positive cases 1,072 1,141 Recovery 3,725 2,799 Active cases 16,378 14,581 Deaths 117 139 Containment zones 34,354 22,701 Tests 70,068 71,853 Positivity rate 1.53% 1.59% INTERIM BAIL TO TMC LEADERS VICTIM OF COVID H A R P R E E T B A J W A @ Chandigarh Friday “It was not possible for . me to attend the meeting at such short notice,” he said. The meeting in Odisha was attended by Chief Minister Navin Patnaik and also by Union ministers Dhar menda Pradhan and P C Sarangi, both hailing from the state. “The PM and the CM are not individuals, but institutions. Both discharge duties, swearing on the Constitution, for the public welfare. Such behaviour towards the prime minister is painful,” said Rajnath. The Prime Minister later announced a financial assistance of `1,000 crore for Odisha, West Bengal and Jharkhand. FINAL DECISION ON CLASS XII BOARD EXAMINATIONS EXPECTED BY THEN E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Kolkata 7,57,400 9,05,200 of papers containing the state government’s assessment of the cyclone damage. As for the meeting, the presence of the leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari was the trigger for Mamata’s anger, as Suvendu had defected from Trinamool to the BJP and defeated her in a tight race in Nandigram. But the Centre claimed invites to other Opposition leaders like Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury (Congress) too had gone out. But Adhir expressed his inability to make it as he was in Delhi for a meeting. However, Adhir told this newspaper that he had been informed about the meeting only around 7.30 am on According to Delhi and Maharashtra, allowing gathering at examination centres could cause massive risks of infection to students and teachers and these tests could turn into superspreader events. The other states also asked the Centre to organise shorter, 90-minute exams for all subjects, in which most questions will be objective or short answer types it-no-loss basis. We hardly have funds. For more than a year, the Coffee House we are running losses. We have a liability of around `2 crore from the Shimla unit alone”. The outlet has not been able to meet the wage bill of 47 employees, which is `7.50 lakh per month. These employees have withdrawn their provident fund or taken loans against their savings. “The situation is bad, yet none of our employees has left us,’’ Ram said. “There are several overheads as well like `3.50 lakh pending water bill, `11,000 per month The Indian Coffee House in Shimla’s Mall Road was established in 1957 garage charges. Somehow we have been able to pay electricity charges, which is around `15,000 a month. There are other expenses on raw material amounting to `4 lakh.” Ram says they earned around `60,000 daily before the pandemic. “Earnings have dipped to hardly `4,000. We are open only for three hours. I do not know how long we will be able to survive,’’ says Ram. Set up in 1957, the Coffee House was the most popular hangout in town. Besides Modi, LK Advani and , Indira Gandhi were among its illustrious visitors. ADMIRAL’S FITNESS CHALLENGE It was a passing-out parade at the National Defence Academy in Pune like every year, but Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh decided to push the envelop a little further when he did push-ups with cadets | INDIAN NAVY No GST relief for Covid vaccine for now, ministerial panel to look into it A N U R A D H A S H U K L A @ New Delhi THERE will be no immediate relief on GST over Covid-19 vaccine and medical supplies as the GST Council on Friday left taxes on these unchanged, though it decided to extend duty exemption on import of a medicine used for treatment of black fungus. The Council formed a Group of Ministers (GoM) to decide if any further exemption is required. “The GoM will submit its report on or before June 8. Any new rates will now be decided by the GoM,” FM Nirmala Sitharaman said. Currently, vaccines attract 5% GST. “The consensus was that before agreeing to fitment committee, a GoM should study if zero rated tax can be levied or for mal tax of 0.1%,” said sources. Chhattisgarh commercial tax minister T S Singhdeo said the argument that Input tax credit can be claimed only on those zero-rated goods which are imported or from SEZ is wrong. “This is limited to IGST not CGST. Section 9, 17 and section 52 of the CGST Act say that there is a provision of zero rated tax,” he said. Specified Covid-related goods such as medical oxygen, concentrators and other oxygen storage and transportation equipment, some diagnostic markers test kits and vaccines, will be exempted from IGST. “The council has decided to exempt the import of relief items even if they are purchased. If these are meant for donating to government or on recommendation of the state authority to any relief agents,” Sitharaman said. P10
Express Network Private Limited publishes thirty three E-paper editions of The New Indian Express newspaper , thirty two E-paper editions of Dinamani, one E-paper edition of The Morning Standard, one E-paper edition of Malayalam Vaarika magazine and one E-paper edition of the Indulge - The Morning Standard, Kolkatta.