TUESDAY PLEA AGAINST CENTRAL VISTA WORK REJECTED BY DELHI HC 01 The court dismissed a petition seeking to stop construction activity at the site and imposed `1 lakh cost on the petitioner JUNE, 2021 SLAMS ILL-INTENT, SELECTIVE TARGETING epaper.morningstandard.in facebook.com/TheMorningStandard The HC slammed the ill-intent behind selectively targeting the Vista work and said the project was of national importance that must be completed within the executive-set deadline of November 2021. The top court dismissed the petitioner’s contention that a large gathering of workers at the site could become a super-spreader, saying Covid-19 protocols were in place twitter.com/TheMornStandard CHANGE OF GUARD MAJOR RESHUFFLE IN ARMED FORCES Two new commanders soon in Army; Navy and Air Force to also get new faces PAGE 8 A CAPITAL VIEW OF NEWS NEW DELHI J8.00 PAGES 12 NOT GENUINE PUBLIC INTEREST LITIGATION, SAYS HC The Centre said the ongoing works were not for a new Parliament building, but to spruce up public amenities. The Centre said the claims of the petitioner that there was no medical facility at the site was contrary to the ground reality | P7 Tough SC posers on vaccine policy, digital divide K A N U S A R D A @ New Delhi THE Centre had a torrid time before the Supreme Court on Monday as it was heavily criticised for its vaccination policy. A threejudge bench led by Justice D Y Chandrachud posed searching questions to Solicitor General Tushar Mehta on the policy and the rural-urban digital divide. Citing technical glitches on CoWIN application used for registration for vaccinations, Justice Bhat said he had received distress calls from all over the country and , added that young people, who had registered for vaccination, visit private hospitals, only to find all slots are booked. Asking to take its suggestions in the right spirit, the bench said: “We are not going to run the Central government and make policies for you.” Responding to the Centre’s request not interfere with the policy, Justice Chandrachud said is a platform for dialogue across the spectrum. “The idea is not to criticise, but to strengthen the arms of the government. The fact that MEA went abroad, had dialogue shows the seriousness of the situation,” he added. The Centre claimed it was confident of vaccinating all eligible persons over 18 years by this yearend. The court then gave two weeks to the Centre to file an affidavit responding to the questions raised during the hearing on the P7 vaccine policy . Q U E S T I O N S A N D O B S E R VAT I O N S 1 Article 1 of the Constitution says Bharat is a union of states, we are not a federation of states. In a time of national crisis, it is the Union which procure vaccines for the entirety of the country by negotiating What is the rationale behind 2 45+ getting free vaccines but asking states to make own arrangements for under-45? FY21 marks the worst performance of the country’s economy in four decades; major decline in private consumption and household spending; GDP grows at better-than-expected 1.6% in Q4 GDP growth at historic low of -7.3% A N U R A D H A S H U K L A @ New Delhi INDIA’s economy gained another dubious distinction on Monday, with government data showing it to have contracted by 7.3% in FY21 — a four-decade low. The GDP contraction, driven by protracted lockdowns that stifled consumption and disrupted most economic activities, however, turned out to be better than the earlier estimate of a 8% fall. As the pandemic sent households into an economic and medical nightmare, they spent `7.6 lakh crore less in FY21 over the previous year cutting costs on almost everything from bread to biscuits to electronics and travel, data released by the National Statistical Office on Monday showed. According to NSO, real GDP at constant prices stood at `135.13 lakh crore in FY21, against the first revised estimate of `145.69 lakh crore for FY20. Nominal GDP (at current prices) at `197.5 lakh crore for FY21 was 3% lower than `203.5 lakh crore in 2019-20. On the brighter side, the economy grew 1.6% in the fourth quarter of FY21, bettering estimates of 1.1% expansion. This holds promise as private consumption, which accounts for more than half of the GDP showed a slight uptick – from , `21.04 lakh crore in Q4 of FY20 to `21.60 lakh crore. Private investments, the second highest contributor to the GDP, also showed signs of a revival go- State of the economy A quick look at how the economy struggled to cope with the Covid pandemic SECTOR-WISE PERFORMANCE Growth rate (%) Indicators 2019-20 2020-21 Rice production 0.7 2.8 Fish production 4.4 17 Coal production -0.4 -4.8 Crude oil production -5.9 -5.2 Cement production -0.9 11.9 Steel cosumption 1.5 -6.7 Telephone subscribers -0.3 1.8 Commercial vehicle sales -28.8 -20.8 Passenger vehicle sales 17.8 -11.7 Passengers handled at airports -1.1 -66.2 Passengers kilometre (Railways) -10 -88.4 Export of goods & services -0.8 -1.7 Import of goods & services -4.6 -11.1 Manufacturing -1.4 -9.8 Mining 1.6 -7.8 Electricity 0.9 -0.5 Figures for Jan-Dec 2020 except for Bangladesh (July 2020-June 2021) and India (April 2020-March 2021) Source: Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation Source: World Bank, OECD, Govt data ing up to `13.38 lakh crore in the fourth quarter from `12.07 lakh crore reported a year ago. For the full financial year, though, private consumptions fell `7.6 lakh crore in real terms to `75.6 lakh crore. This was mainly on account of salary cuts, job losses and high medical bills. Private investments in real term also declined from `47.30 lakh crore to `42.20 lakh crore. “The previous lowest PFCE (private final consumption expenditure) growth was negative 2.2% in FY80 and the lowest GFCF growth HOW INDIA COMPARES WITH OTHER COUNTRIES GDP Country Growth in 2020(%) Bangladesh 3.60% Vietnam 2.90% China 2.30% South Korea -1.00% US -3.50% Japan -4.80% Germany -5.00% Thailand -6.10% India -7.30% Philippines -9.50% UK -9.80% was negative 9.5% in FY58,” said Devendra Kumar Pant, chief economist at India Ratings. While public expenditure by the government rose 2.91% in FY21, it is much slower than the 7.88% rise seen in FY20. On the supply side, barring agriculture, electricity and utility services, all witnessed decline during FY21 and the services sector was severely hit, contracting 18.2%, followed by construction and mining at 8.6% and 8.5%, respectively . Sreejith Balasubramanian, JAB OPTIONS CRAFTY MAMATA GETS TO RETAIN TOP BUREAUCRAT P R A N A B M O N D A L @ Kolkata THE tussle over the recall of Bengal Chief Secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay to Delhi took a dramatic turn on Monday with the officer opting out of the service extension granted to him, by retiring upon superannuation. CM Mamata Banerjee promptly appointed him as advisor for three years, showing how good she is at playing mind games. The Centre had earlier accepted Mamata’s request for threemonth extension to Bandopadhyay. But after Mamata stayed away from a meeting on cyclone Yaas with Prime Minister Narend r a Modi on F riday, the angry Centre played the Bandopadhyay card. Within the bureaucracy state , home secretary H K Dwivedi became the beneficiary of Bandopandhyay’s resignation, as he was appointed the new chief secretary . Earlier, Mamata wrote to Modi describing the Centre’s decision to transfer Bandopadhyay to Delhi as unilateral, unprecedented and unconstitutional. “The government of Bengal cannot release and it is not releasing its chief secretary at this critical hour, on the basis of our understanding that the earlier order of extension, issued after lawful consultation in accordance with Sputnik V to be available after June 20 in city Mamata with Alapan Bandopadhyay at a meeting in Kolkata | BIBHASH LODH applicable laws, remains operational and valid,” she said. Also, former bureaucrats, including D M Sukhtankar and Jawahar Sircar, criticised the Centre’s recall order, calling it a sheer misuse of power to humiliate the officer. Yet, the Union ministry of personnel later issued a show-cause notice to Bandopadhyay for not reporting for work in Delhi. P8 Cycle girl’s father dies at home in Bihar R A J E S H K U M A R T H A K U R @ Patna REMEMBER Jyoti Kumari? The girl had cycled from Haryana’s Gurugram to Bihar’s Darbhanga —peddling nearly 1,200 km — carrying her ailing father Mohan Paswan. More bad news from her: over a year after her extraordinary feat, the father of the ‘cycle girl died after a cardiac arrest early Monday morning at his home. On May 18 last year, Jyoti Kumari (15) took her father all the way home during the sudden lockd ow n f o l l ow i n g t h e C ov i d pandemic. Reports said a few days after Mohan Paswan performed the last rites of his uncle, he developed a severe chest pain and collapsed. “I pressed and massaged his chest when hecomplained about the pain. But he could not survive,” Jyoti told the media, weeping inconsolably at his home at Economist-Fund Management, IDFC AMC, said with the onset of the second wave, the key aspects are how would household income and consumption shape up, the impact on and the contribution from the rural economy this time and investment and lending behaviour. “With exports alone insufficient to drive growth in the medium-term, demand visibility and thus a growth-cycle in employment and wages becomes critical.” Going ahead, the aftershocks of the second Covid wave and fears of a third wave may keep the growth trajectory on shaky ground this year with economists saying the pace of vaccination will determine how soon the economy recovers. Explaining the numbers, Chief Economic Advisor KV Subramanian said while the overall economic impact of the second wave is not likely to be large, it would be difficult to predict the exact growth number amid predictions of a third wave. “Our assessment is it poses some downside risk to growth in the first quarter,” he said, while admitting that the economy needs fiscal support. Sakshi Gupta, senior economist at HDFC Bank, said while the numbers for the April-June quarter might look upbeat due to a low base, the sequential growth is likely to contract. “With the spread of the virus more acute in rural areas, sectors dependent on the rural economy will come under stress,” P10 she said. Sirhulli village under Singhbara panchayat of Darbhanga. Confirming the death of Jyoti’s father, DM Darbhanga Dr SM Tyagrajan said that Jyoti’s father suffered a severe cardiac arrest. “The administration joined the family in sharing their grief and reassuring the girl. Senior district officials were present to console the family at Singhabara block.” Due assistance will be provided to the bereaved family he added. , Jyoti’s younger brother lit the pyre at the cremation ground. Their father was the sole bread earner. Jyoti has two brothers and three sisters; one of them married. E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi SPUTNIK V is set to be incorporated in Delhi’s Covid immunisation drive, with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announcing that limited doses of the Russian vaccine will arrive in the national capital by June 20. Kerjiwal on Monday also indicated that the city would be getting more stock of Sputnik V from August when its production begins in the country . “There is an acute shortage of vaccines. Sputnik has offered to deliver stock this month. They will give some doses after June 20. At present, they are importing vaccines. They will give some quantity to Delhi from the stock they are importing. Production will begin from August,” the CM said after visiting a walk-in vaccination facility set up for journalists. As of now, Covishield and Covaxin are available in the national capital. Over 45 lakhs doses of both vaccines have been administered so far since January. Till Monday evening, the city had 4.80 lakh doses for the 45 years and above category and only 3,190 doses for those till the age of 44. DELHI COVID WATCH MAY 30 MAY 31 Positive cases 946 648 Recovery 1,803 1,622 Deaths 78 86 3 How are you ensuring that migrant agricultural labourers get vaccination? 4 25% of the 50% jab doses available to states, goes to private hospitals that primarily service urban areas. Core rural areas are getting left out PINARAYI WRITES TO 11 CMs ON FREE VAX EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ T’Puram Initiating a collective move to ensure free administration of Covid19 vaccine, Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan urged 11 non-BJP states to present a united effort to seek free vaccines from the Centre. “The statements that the responsibility to provide vaccine entirely falls on the states defy the very basis of the co-operative federal system. The need of the hour is a united effort to put forth the genuine demand that the Centre should procure the vaccines needed by the states and distribute them free of cost,” he said, adding that it would be more effective. CONTINUED ON P7 MEDIA MUZZLED ‘High time to define limits of sedition law’ E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi STATING it was high time to define the limits of the sedition law on free speech and media rights, the Supreme Court on Monday gave protection to two Telugu TV channels from coercive action by the Andhra Police. FIRs were registered against TV5 News and ABN Andhra Jyoti for airing the statements made by rebel YSR Congress MP Raghu Rama Krishnam Raju. “If TV channels say something, it cannot be called sedition,” said a threejudge bench, led by Justice D Y Chandrachud, while hearing a plea by the channels, which invoked Article 32 of the Constitution to initiate contempt proceedings against the Andhra government for muzzling free speech. The court had earlier granted bail to Raju, who was also named as an accused in the FIR registered on May 14. “This is a case of muzzling the media,” the bench observed. “We are of the view that the provisions of Sections 124A (sedition) and 153A (promoting enmity between different groups) of the IPC require interpretation, particularly on the issue of the rights of press and free speech.” Holding that the FIRs did not establish the offence invoked against the channels, the top court issued a notice returnable in four weeks to the Andhra government. It also issued a direction to the state police not to adopt any coercive action till the next hearing. Earlier, the court took a dig at the authorities for reacting sharply to critical media reportage on Covid, wondering whether a sedition case was lodged against a news channel for showing a body being thrown into a river.
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