TUESDAY Jaishankar likely to visit Italy for meeting of G20 FMs 15 JUNE, 2021 Talks were held virtually during the Covid-19 pandemic epaper.morningstandard.in Italy is the current chair of the grouping and will host the G20 leaders’ summit in Rome at the end of October. facebook.com/TheMorningStandard twitter.com/TheMornStandard SAFETY STEP RESERVE BEDS FOR CHILDREN Group of experts suggests measures in anticipation of Covid-19 third wave PAGE 7 A CAPITAL VIEW OF NEWS NEW DELHI J8.00 The foreign ministers’ meet will see the participation of FMs of countries including China, Russia, the US, UK, France and other member states. A host of bilateral meetings are expected to be held on the sidelines of the foreign ministers’ meeting If other foreign ministers confirm their participation, this meeting in all likelihood will be the first G20 in-person gathering since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic last year PAGES 12 AAP to contest all seats in Gujarat in 2022: Kejriwal E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Mumbai BUOYED by its impressive performance in the Gujarat local bodies elections in FebruaryMarch this year, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has decided to contest all 182 seats in the next assembly elections in the state scheduled next year. AAP national convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced this in Ahmedabad on Monday . Kejriwal, who inaugurated AAP’s Gujarat office and inducted former television anchor Isudan Gadhvi into the party during his visit, said the Aam Aadmi Arvind Kejriwal greets Gujarati journalist Isudan Gadhvi who joined AAP | PTI Party was a credible alternative to the ruling BJP and opposition Congress, both of which, he alleged, were hand-in-glove. “Eve- ryone knows that the Congress is in BJP’s pockets in Gujarat. Even after 75 years of Independence, government schools and hospi- tals are in a shambles and the business community is scared… We are here to change Gujarat,” the APP chief said. Welcoming the immensely popular journalist to the party, Kejriwal tweeted in Gujarati, “I am confident that Isudan Bhai will definitely fulfil the dream he has for Gujarat together with the people of the state. Now Gujarat will change.” Asked if the ‘Delhi model’ of governance will be implemented in the state if his party comes to power, Kejriwal said, “Every state has its own problems and solutions. Gujarat will choose its own model of development.” Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia also tweeted to welcome Gadhvi to the party. “Gujarat’s voice and most popular journalist Isudan Gadhvi, welcome to the Aam Aadmi Party family With the arrival of Isu. dan Bhai, AAP Gujarat will get a new energy and I am sure that in future, the politics of Gujarat will definitely change,” he tweeted in Hindi. Gadhvi is the former editor of VTV News who hosted Mahamanthan, a popular debate programme. He became the youngest channel head in Gujarati media after taking over VTV News in 2015. Food, fuel prices INDIA’S FATALITY MATH MESS push wholesale, retail inflation There is a complete mismatch between death certificates issued across various districts and the official Covid count EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE May consumer price index-based inflation at 6-month high, wholesale prices break record E X P R E SS N E WS S E R V I C E @ New Delhi RISING fuel and food prices pushed retail inflation to a sixmonth high of 6.3% in May, breaching Reserve Bank of India’s targets, government data released on Monday showed. This is way above the projected levels, implying that the impact of the localised Covid-19 restrictions was more severe than expected. “The month-onmonth uptick in the CPI in May 2021, which saw widening statelevel restrictions, is nearly as high as the hardening seen in April 2020 during the nationwide lockdown, testing the assumption that supply disruptions have been limited in the second wave,” said Aditi Nayar, chief economist, ICRA Ltd. According to data by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, food inflation shot up to 5.01% in May from 1.96% in April. While vegetable prices softened, fruit price zoomed 12% and the cost of pulses and products rose 9.4%. Even the prices of nonalcoholic beverages rose 15%. In non-food items, the rise was steep in fuel and light, registering an inflation of 11.6%, and transport and communication at 12.4%. With wholesale FEELING THE PINCH Item Infation rate Oil & fats 30.84% Egg 15.16% Transport & communication 12.38% Fruits 11.98% Fuel & light 11.58% Pulses & products 9.39% Meat & fish 9.03% Personal care & effects 7.99% Spices 6.86% Household goods & services 3.89% Milk & products 0.64% Figures are year-on-year provisional inflation rates for May 2021 price index (WPI)-based inflation also touching a whopping 12.94% – the highest since 2013 – experts warn that inflation will worsen in the coming months. WPI-based inflation in May was pushed by fuel and power basket, which shot up to 37.6% in the month against 20.94% in April due to hardening global commodity prices. “If wholesale prices are rising, eventually it will start finding its reflection in retail inflation as well,” said Sunil Kumar Sinha, principal economist with India Ratings and Research. He warned that this trend will make things worse for the RBI. WHILE the Centre recently bristled at an international news magazine pegging India’s excess deaths due to the pandemic at 5-7 times the official count, the fact that there is under-reporting cannot be brushed away . Under mounting pressure for an honest admission on the scale of the pandemic, Maharashtra and Bihar raised their fatality figures last week through data reconciliation after audit/validation by around 14,000 and 4,000, respectively But allega. tions that not all deaths in private hospitals or of patients on their way to hospitals in rural areas were recorded under the Covid category refuse to go away, prompting the Patna High Court to direct the Bihar government to confirm whether its data revision was full and final. Death certificates issued by GHMC Apr 2019-Mar 2020 Plus 4% rise* Apr 2020-Mar 2021 65,019 67,620 70,758 Covid 3,496 GHMC issued 9,235 additional death certificates *Bar indicates for 2020-21, but only 3,496 deaths have been the assumption recorded as Covid in entire Telangana so far. of a 4% normal Subtracting 4% normal rise (2,601) leaves 3,138 rise from 2019-20 fatalities deaths not recorded as Covid in Hyderabad alone Note: 998 certificates are being processed to 67,620 Hyderabad: Data discrepancy, to put it mildly, is visible across the country and under all political dispensations. Take Hyderabad. There was a 14.2% jump in deaths within the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) limits in 2020-21, as compared to the same period in the previous year. A Right to Information que- ry by this newspaper on the death certificates it issued revealed that the corporation handed out 9,235 more certificates between 2020 March and 2021 April (see box). Besides, 998 other death certificates are under process. Also, data was available only for 18 erstwhile circles of GHMC, which have now been reorganised into 30 circles within the same area. Yet, the cumulative count of Covid deaths recorded in the entire Telangana as on June 14 is just 3,496, though there were humungous crowds at the state’s burial and cremation grounds when the second wave was at its peak. A municipal officer in Hyderabad said an year-on-year increase of 3-4% in death certificates is normal because of continued migration and rising awareness of the need for death certificates. However, a 14.2% increase in a year when for three months the city was under lockdown was concerning, he said. “During lockdown there were hardly any road traffic deaths, which is one of the major contributors to daily toll,” he added. Mysuru: Sa Ra Mahesh, a legislator from Mysuru, disputes the district administration’s Covid-19 death figures. CONTINUED ON: P8 N A T I O N W I D E JUNE 13 JUNE 14 Positive cases 80,834 70,421 Recovery 1,32,062 1,19,501 Active cases 3,303 3,921 June 13 34,84,239 doses June 14 22,15,947 doses TOTAL DOSES: 25,87,13,321 JAB-O-METER TAKE YOUR SHOT DELHI Positive cases Recovery Active cases Deaths Containment zones Tests JUNE 13 JUNE 14 255 131 376 355 3,466 3,226 23 16 6,782 6,714 72,751 59,556 UP REPORTER WHO FEARED FOR HIS LIFE FOUND DEAD EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Lucknow A day after writing to the Uttar Pradesh additional DGP for security cover, a 42-year-old TV channel journalist died under mysterious circumstances in Pratapgarh district on Sunday late night. The death of Sulabh Srivastava triggered condemnation from a cross section of the society ranging from opposition leaders including Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Mamata Banerjee, Akilesh to he the Editors Guild of India. While preliminary probe indicated Sulabh died in what appeared to be an accident, his family alleged foul play claim, ing the journalist was killed by the Uttar Pradesh liquor mafia for running a news story against them. “Sulabh had gone for news coverage to the Kotwali Lalganj area on Sunday and was returning home late in the night. He was found seriously injured near the Sukhpal Nagar brick kiln and was taken to the district hospital, where doctors declared him dead,” Cops draw flak for ‘cavalier’ approach The Editors Guild expressed concern over the ‘cavalier manner’ in which UP Police has treated the case. It said the death comes at a time when media is facing more pressure from governments on following the ‘official narrative’ over how the pandemic was handled. Superintendent of Police Akash Tomar told reporters. On Saturday, Sulabh had written to ADGP-Prayagraj Zone, expressing fears that his family and he could be targeted over his news report on illicit liquor dens of Pratapgarh. His report was telecast days after 22 people died in UP’s Aligarh district after consuming spurious liquor. Hours after claiming Sulabh had died in an accident, Pratapgarh East ASP Surendra Dwivedi on Monday said the police were looking into other angles as well. The police registered a case against unknown persons based on Sulabh’s wife Renuka’s complaint. Renuka said Sulabh was being threatened by the liquor mafia ever since his report was telecast. “Because of this, unknown mafia elements murdered my husband on Sunday night while he was returning from Lalganj after news coverage,” she said in her complaint. Coming ahead of the next year’s crucial UP elections, the opposition leaders came out in full force to attack the Yogi Adityanath-led BJP government. “The liquor mafia from Aligarh to Pratapgarh: has caused death throughout the state. The government is silent,” Priyanka tweeted in Hindi. “Journalists uncover the truth, warn the administration about the dangers. The government is asleep,” she alleged. BON APPETIT Customers at a restaurant that opened after Covid-19 restrictions were relaxed, in New Delhi on Monday | PARVEEN NEGI After nearly two months, restaurants in the national capital have opened. They can function only with 50% of their sitting capacity Only eating out is allowed at the moment. Bars are not allowed to serve liquor to their customers until further instructions from government authorities Protective screens, temperature check, physical distancing and contact-less ordering are among the new norms to be followed by every restaurant POST-TRIAL CLAIM Novavax says vaccine has 90% efficacy in prevention S U M I S U K A N YA D U T TA @ New Delhi THE Covid-19 vaccine made by the US-based Novavax has shown an efficacy of over 90% in preventing infection and 100% against moderate to severe disease, the company claimed on Monday. while announcing results from its Phase 3 clinical trials. These results are important for India, considering that Serum Institute of India (SII) is a manufacturing partner for the vaccine. Authorities indicated earlier that about 20 crore doses may be available in the country between August-December. Novavax said in a statement its recombinant nanoparticle protein-based vaccine was tested on nearly 30,000 volunteers between January-April in the US and Mexico. Two doses of this vaccine are administered 21 days apart and its efficacy results are compared to the vaccines by Pfizer and Moderna. Phase 3 trials of this vaccine conducted later meant it was pitted against more aggressive variants of the Covid virus. Efficacy endpoints were accrued from January 25 to April 30, a period when the Alpha (B.1.1.7) variant, first identified in the UK, became the predominant strain in the US while other strains, including Variants of Interest and Variants of Concern were also on the rise. The firm said 77 cases were observed, 63 in the placebo group and 14 in the vaccine group, while all cases observed in the vaccine group were mild as defined by the trial protocol. In the late-stage trials, Novavax sequenced 70% of all the coronaviruses that caused illness. In more than half of the sequenced cases, the culprit was the Alpha variant, which accounted for 70 per cent of US infections by the time Novavax’s trial closed. But the statement released on Monday did not provide specific efficacy data against Alpha or any other variant. Chirag removed as LJP chief as party implodes R A J E S H K U M A R T H A K U R @ Patna Chirag Paswan at the residence of Pashupati Kumar Paras | SHEKHAR YADAV IN what appears to be a carefully planned move, five of the six MPs of the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) on Monday united against LJP founder late Ram Vilas Paswan’s son Chirag Paswan and elected Pashupati Kumar Paras as their leader. Paras is the youngest brother of the late leader. Chirag’s unceremonious removal comes after months of disgruntlement among other party leaders who felt the young politician’s functioning was autocratic. According to sources, the five MPs held a secret meeting on Saturday evening to give finishing touches to their plan. Later, they submitted a letter to Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla demanding recognition for the new LJP faction with Paras as its national president. “I have not executed a spilt in the party Rather, I have saved . the party so that it doesn’t deviate from the path shown by late Ram Vilas Paswan,” Paras told reporters. He added that 99% LJP leaders and workers wanted to contest the last Bihar Assembly election as an NDA ally but Chirag decided to go in the opposite direction. “As a result, the LJP suffered a lot politically virtually reducing the party , base in Bihar to zero. Now, we will be with the NDA in Bihar and the Centre,” Paras said. Expressing the new line of the party Paras also lauded Bi, har CM Nitish Kumar as ‘vikas purush’. Earlier in the day, Chirag tried to meet his uncle but was made to wait at the gate for over 15 minutes before he was let in. He spent nearly two hours there but could not meet Paras as he P7 was not at home.
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