CHENNAI THURSDAY JUNE 25, 2020 `7.00 PAGES 16 LATE CITY EDITION MAKE COVID-19 TESTING WIDELY AVAILABLE: ICMR PUSH FOR RAPID ANTIGEN TESTS Since widespread testing is necessary to bring Covid-19’s spread under control, all symptomatic individuals in the country must be able to get themselves tested without any hassle, the new advisory says. To speed up the process, all hospitals and accredited labs have been told to use the faster and cheaper antigen-based testing in addition to RT-PCR tests | P7 In light of mounting Covid cases, the ICMR on Tuesday issued a new advisory listing additional strategies to boost testing ■ 73.5 lakh DAILY CASES TOUCH NEW HEIGHTS ■ A negative result in antigen-based testing would lead to an RT-PCR test, to ensure that the sample is negative. But those testing positive needs no further testing, the advisory says India recorded a fresh 15,968 Covid-19 cases in a day on Wednesday. The total confirmed cases now stand at 4.56 lakh SAMPLES HAVE BEEN TESTED FOR COVID-19 IN INDIA TILL JUNE 23 CHENNAI ■ MADURAI ■ VIJAYAWADA ■ BENGALURU ■ KOCHI ■ HYDERABAD ■ VISAKHAPATNAM ■ COIMBATORE ■ KOZHIKODE ■ THIRUVANANTHAPURAM ■ BELAGAVI ■ BHUBANESWAR ■ SHIVAMOGGA ■ MANGALURU ■ TIRUPATI ■ TIRUCHY ■ TIRUNELVELI ■ SAMBALPUR ■ HUBBALLI ■ DHARMAPURI ■ KOTTAYAM ■ KANNUR ■ VILLUPURAM ■ KOLLAM ■ WARANGAL ■ TADEPALLIGUDEM ■ NAGAPATTINAM ■ THRISSUR ■ KALABURAGI LOC GALWAN VALLEY JAMMU & KASHMIR LAC LADAKH Urban and multi-state co-op banks in RBI grip Cabinet okays the ordinance route for central bank’s supervision; `4.84 lakh crore deposits of around 8.6 crore customers secured EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi A satellite image taken on June 22 along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh shows structures built by troops on the tense border region | AP AMID DIPLOMATIC TALKS, CHINA KEEPS UP ITS BLAME GAME P U S H K A R B A N A K A R & M AYA N K S I N G H @ New Delhi Eastern Ladakh. The Indian side conveyed its concerns on the recent developments in INDIA and China on Wednes- Eastern Ladakh, including on day held diplomatic talks and the violent face-off in Galwan agreed to maintain communi- Valley area on 15th June that cation to resolve the existing had resulted in casualties. In situation peacefully even as the this regard, it was emphasised Chinese defence ministry and that both sides should strictly foreign ministry continued to respect and observe the Line of blame India for the June 15 vio- Actual Control (LAC),” a statelent face-off and reiterated ment from the Ministry of Extheir claim to the Galwan Val- ternal Affairs said. ley area. According to the MEA, the Also, Chinese detwo sides reaffirmed fence ministry spokesthat they should sinNo contact person Wu Qian’s between def cerely implement the claim that the defence understanding of disministers ministers of both engagement and deChinese defence sides were in commuescalation that was ministry nication over phone reached between senspokesperson Wu after the June 15 inciior commanders on dent, was rubbished Qian’s claim that June 6. “The two delethe defence by India. “No convergations agreed that sation took place be- ministers of both implementation of sides were in tween the two ministhis understanding exters,” highly placed communication peditiously, in accordsources in the minis- over phone after ance with the bilateral the June 15 try of defence said. agreements and protoincident, was At the 15th meeting cols, would help enrubbished by of the Working Mechsure peace and tranIndia anism for Consultaquillity in border tion and Coordination areas and the developon India-China Border Affairs, ment of broader relationship the Indian side was represent- between the two countries. ed by Joint Secretary (East Earlier in the day, the ChiAsia) Naveen Srivastava while nese defence ministry demandthe Chinese delegation was led ed that Indian troops to be withby the director general of the drawn from Galwan Valley and department of boundary and accused Indian diplomats and oceanic affairs of the Chinese media personnel of spreading foreign ministry . ‘large amounts of fake news’. “The two sides discussed in Its foreign ministry spokesperdetail the developments in the son Zhao Lijian accused the InIndia-China border areas, in dian side of going against the particular the situation in bilateral pact. CONTINUED ON: P7 T H E U n i o n C ab i n e t o n Wednesday approved an ordinance to bring 1,482 urban cooperative banks and 58 multistate cooperative banks under the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) ambit. RBI supervision will begin from the date the President grants his approval, Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said at a virtual press conference after the Cabinet meeting. The ordinance will help protect the savings of about 8.6 crore customers of these banks, who collectively `4.84 lakh crore in deposits. T he proposal was announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her budget speech, in the wake of Punjab and Maharashtra Bank fiasco last year. In February, the Union Cabinet amended the Banking Regulation Act to strengthen cooperative banks. The Cabinet also approved two schemes announced by Sitharaman under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat package last month, including the establishment of an Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund and 2% interest subsidy under the ‘Shishu’ category of the flagship Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana (PMMY). EXPRESS READ Deadline to file 2018-19 ITR pushed to July 31 New Delhi: The deadline to file income tax returns (ITR) for the 2018-19 fiscal has been extended by a month till July 31, 2020. The due date for filing ITR for 2019-20 fiscal has already been extended till November 30, 2020. Besides, the Centre has extended the deadline for linking Aadhaar with PAN till March 31, 2021. The time limit for making various investments for claiming deductions under the I-T Act for 2019-20 fiscal has been extended till July 31. Pak doing little to tame anti-India groups: US Army Chief Manoj Mukund Naravane speaks to a soldier as he reviews the ground situation in Eastern Ladakh, days after an India-China clash, on Wednesday | PTI Washington: Following last year’s attacks on jawans in Pulwama, Pakistan has taken only modest steps to curb terror financing and prevent anti-India groups, including the LeT and its affiliated front organisations, and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), from operating from its territory, a report by the US State Department has revealed. “Pakistan remained a safe harbour for other regionally focused terrorist groups,” the annual report mandated by the US Congress noted | P7 Other decisions 2% interest subvention approved on prompt repayment of Shishu loans under the Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana for a period of 12 months `15,000 CRORE Additional investment for further development of Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund set-up SHWE OIL AND GAS PROJECT Kushinagar Airport in UP declared as an International Airport Private sector participation in space activities approved in Myanmar approved Tenure of commission to examine the issue of sub-categorisation within Other Backward Classes in the Central List to get extension The Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund, with a corpus of `15,000 crore will be used to help animal husbandry improve milk , production, boost exports and create jobs. The Centre will provide 3% interest subvention to eligible beneficiaries. Javadekar added that this will help create 35 lakh jobs. Borrowers under the ‘Shishu’ category of the Mudra scheme already get collateralfree loans of up to `50,000. They will now get 2% subsidy for outstanding as on March 31, for 12 months, Javadekar said. The scheme is meant to incentivise people who regularly repay their loans. The PMMY was launched by Modi on April 8, 2015 for providing loans up to `10 lakh to non-corporate, non-farm small and micro enterprises. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on Wednesday approved additional investment of $121.27 million (about `909 crore) by ONGC Videsh Ltd for further development of two blocks in Myanmar. This will be used for the Shwe oil and gas project in Myanmar blocks. OVL had invested $722 million as of March 31 last year in the project. The Cabinet meeting also decided the extend the tenure of a commission that is examining the issue of sub-categorisation within the Other Backward Classes, by six months - till January 31, 2021. This was done in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak and the lockdown. The I&B minister also said the Cabinet has approved the declaration of Kushinagar Airport in Uttar Pradesh as an international airport. @ Hyderabad INDIA’S economy is going hell for leather with the IMF projecting FY21 GDP growth to contract by 4.5%. Such a sharp revision from its April estimate of 1.9% growth offers a withering assessment of the economic slowdown prolonged by the pandemic-induced lockdown and slower recovery . But IMF’s latest World Eco- nomic Report estimates, in its own words, are inscrutable due to a higher-than-usual degree of uncertainty which is to say , that the actual growth decline could be fiercer than all forecasts. Global growth too is projected to shrink 4.9% in 2020 as against its previous estimate of 3%. But the startling news is not so much about the extraordinary collapse in growth, but its recovery, the direction of HIGHEST GDP CONTRACTION (Numbers in %) -6 -8.4 Canada -9 -12 -15 -7.8 Germany -10.2 UK -12.8 Italy -12.8 Spain -8 US -10.5 Mexico -12.5 France New health plan for govt staff, pensioners EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Chennai The State government has included a new package for treatment of critical and noncritical care for Covid-19 cases covered under the new Health Insurance Scheme for government employees and pensioners. For non-critical care, the gover nment had initially sanctioned `5 crore towards corpus fund for government employees and `2.5 crore towards corpus fund for pensioners. For critical cases, the United India Insurance Company Limited can make payments to empanelled hospitals as per the recommended rates already fixed by the government. A Government Order said the empanelled hospitals should not collect any amount in excess to the amount that has been prescribed. Government employees and pensioners who have already taken treatment for non-critical Covid care in empanelled hospitals from March 1 till date can submit their claims for reimbursement. Meanwhile, the New Health Insurance Scheme, 2016, for SCHEME EXTENDED TILL JUNE 30, 2021 The New Health Insurance Scheme, 2016, for government employees, which is set to expire on June 30, has been extended till June 30, 2021, with assistance capped at `4 lakh for families of all insured employees and at `7.5 lakh for specified illnesses. g ove r n m e n t e m p l oye e s, which is to expire on June 30, has been extended for a period of another year, from July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021, with assistance capped at `4 lakh for families of all insured employees and at `7.5 lakh for specified illnesses, as per existing terms and conditions of agreement made with the United India Insurance Company Limited. 2,865 FRESH CASES Cancel final-year univ exams, says UGC panel 33 67,468 866 28,836 S U M I S U K A N YA D U T TA @ New Delhi TN scraps travel zones till June 30 A University Grants Commission (UGC) panel has recommended that final year exams in universities and colleges across India be cancelled in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. Students can be evaluated on the basis of their performances in previous semester exams as well as the internals, the panel told the Union human resource development ministry on Wednesday . Wait till The panel, led by Haryana University October to vice-chancellor R C Kuhad, said exams for start classes the final semester, due in July as per the revised academic calendar, can also not be The UGC panel held as Covid-19 continues to pose a threat. recommended So, what if a student is unhappy with that the new the results based on his/her previous peracademic year, formances? The panel suggested that he or which was to she can be given a chance to improve his start in August or her score by taking the exams later on, for senior once the pandemic threat subsides. students and in The UGC is expected to release a comSeptember for prehensive guideline for institutions of freshers, be put higher education, later this week. on hold till In April, as Covid-19 cases in India were October. rising, the UGC recommended that the exams be pushed to July The new recommendations were made . after the HRD ministry asked the higher education regulator to revisit its earlier guidelines and suggest alternate ways to assess students. “The ministry made it clear that the foundation for revisited guidelines shall be the health and safety of students and teachers,” an official said. IMF pegs contraction of India’s GDP this year at 4.5% EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE TREATING COVID which the multilateral agency has no hold on. If forced lockdowns choked economies’ lungs, an uncertain recovery has left countries to gasp for breath, literally landing them at the death’s door. Two things await us -- a faster recovery and a potential second wave of infections. The world’s fortunes and individuals’ fate depends on which one reaches us first and survives longer than the other. Until three months ago, India was one of the only two emerging economies with a potential to turn in positive growth. Now, that job is left to one country, which unsurprisingly, is China. Having reopened its economy in April, it’s expected to punch in positive growth of 1% this fiscal and 8.2% next. In 2020, barring China, all other countries, for the first time, will witness negative P10 growth, as per IMF. DEATHS TALLY TOLL ACTIVE CASES CM has said that the `1,000 aid being given to rice cardholders in parts of TN under intensified lockdown, will be given to those in Madurai at their doorstep from June 27 EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Chennai THE Tamil Nadu government on Wednesday scrapped its May 31 order of classifying 37 districts into eight zones. The latest order will be valid till June 30, when the current phase of the intense lockdown ends. Movement of people between districts, which were coming under these zones, has now been restricted. However, those who are in an emergency can travel from one district to another with an e-pass. Intra-district movement will not need an e-pass and public transport in parts of the State which are not under the intense lockdown will continue. The State government had created these zones to identify hotspots and tighten curbs in vulnerable districts. According to that classification, Chennai was in Zone VIII, while its adjoining districts of Kancheepuram, Tirvallur and Chengalpattu were in Zone VII. Madurai and Theni, which were brought under an intense week-long lockdown from Wednesday were classi, fied under Zone V . The decision on the temporary suspension of the zones was taken at a high-level meeting with District Collectors, chaired by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami through a video conference on Wednesday, even as 2,865 more people tested positive, taking the Statewide tally to 67,468. The State also reported 33 deaths, taking the toll to 866. Chennai reported 1,654 cases, increasing the city’s tally to 45,814. Explaining the difficulties faced in tackling the rise in cases owing to travel, the Collectors said that when a person who comes into a district without an e-pass and tests positive, contact tracing becomes a challenge. As such, the movement of people should be restricted to only emergencies. The Chief Minister heard them out and reiterated his appeal to the people on maintaining social distance whenever they go out to buy essentials and stressed on hand hygiene. He urged them to cooperate with the government to tackle the pandemic. Stating that death rate in Tamil Nadu was the lowest among all States in the country, Palaniswami said the State was taking steps in accordance with the recommendations of health experts and as per the guidelines of the P3 WHO and ICMR.
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