Social/ academic/ sports/ entertainment/ cultural/ religious/ political functions and other congregations will be permitted with a ceiling of 100 people from Sept 21. Open air theatres can function from that day ❷ Students of classes 9 to 12 may be permitted to visit schools if they are outside Containment Zones on a voluntary basis for taking guidance from teachers, subject to written consent of parents/ guardians Unlike in many other states, the trend on Odisha shows that most of the cases are confined to the urban localities. Even as the number of new patients falls in hard-hit Ganjam, cases continue to spike in other districts The share of Covid-19 cases in the districts (rural areas and small municipalities) out of the total cases reported in the state sharply increased from June to August, while the number of cases stabilised inside GHMC limits. In June, Telangana recorded 13,508 Covid-19 cases but a majority of them, 11,080 cases (82%), were from inside GHMC limits. However, come August the scenario is completely different as of the 49,885 cases recorded in the state till August 26, only 10,508 cases (21%) are from inside GHMC limits Balasore 208% 1,000 3,077 Khurda 254% 4,485 12,791 AUGUST Karimnagar 1508 2,424 Ganjam ODISHA 57% 10,672 16,740 Khammam 484 1,928 Nalgonda 3431,673 Gajapati 79% 1,510 2,714 Koraput The Covid-19 shift to rural areas is less noticeable in Kerala, but some of the smaller villages and towns have reported a surge in recent weeks Visakhapatnam 165% 11,920 31,561 TESTING SCALE East Godavari TOTAL COVID-19 TESTS CONDUCTED 145% 21,271 52,039 Guntur West Godavari 143% 12,804 31,179 Anantapur Chittoor 176% 11,327 31,292 27% The map shows the comparison of cases in the main urban centre(s) in each state with those of selected districts that have reported a sharp increase. The figure next to is the tally of total cases on Aug 1, and the one next to shows the Aug 25 total. The shaded circles show the level of increase in cases between the two dates Chennai 1,00,877 1,27,949 Vellore 62% 6,069 9,850 Salem 132% 3,670 8,511 TAMIL NADU Reading the map LOCKDOWN BAR ON STATES Coimbatore 146% 5,059 12,467 Ernakulam 1795 4191 162% SPREAD IN TOWNS TESTING IN PUBLIC KERALA Dindugal 107% 2,893 5,990 Idukki Kottayam : Kottayam taluk 9 284 818 95% 1,597 Ernakulam : Nellikuzhi 0 90 Alappuzha : Cherthala Taluk 29 70 T’puram Palakkad : Mudhuthala 7 60 4752 179% 13,264 Pathanamthitta : Pandalam-Kadackad 0 75 Theni 121% 5,355 11,864 August 1 August 25 25.1 lakh 129% 15,827 36,220 33.5 lakh 103% 15,669 31,776 ANDHRA PRAESH Kasaragod 1,795 4,191 132% Wayanad 671 1,364 103% 43.4 lakh TELANGANA 4,582 13,929 Villages report sharp increases Covid-19 fatalities Ganjam has recorded, the highest in the state, followed by 67 in Khurda 254% 817 2,894 Hyderabad 26,660 10,508 SPREAD IN TOWNS Shivamogga Shikaripura Kalaburgi 308 1,191 5,529 10,545 90% Bhadravathi 200 826 Belagavi Sagar 3,449 10,546 206% 68 205 Vijayapura Ballari KARNATAKA Muddebihal Town 6,672 18,536 178% 148 554 Bengaluru Basavana Bagewadi 57,396 95% 187 555 1,12,087 Sindagi Town 165 481 Tumakuru 160% Udupi 1,707 4,439 Brahmavar village Mysuru 28 72 204% 191 DETAILED REPORT ON PAGE 12 State/ UT governments shall not impose any local lockdown (state/ district/ sub-division/city/1st possible Musk shows off working brain implant village Relieving stress Zuckerberg level), outside containment zones, withoutreinfection prior in elephants slams Apple case in US consultation with Centre A woman in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh, gets tested at an iMASQ (Intelligent Monitoring Analysis Service Quarantine) bus on Saturday | PRASANT MADUGULA Odish Kanyakumari 81% 4,891 8,840 < 100% 100-150% > 150% a du desh il Na a Pra Tam Andhr Kerala Karna taka Telang ana FACT OF THE MATTER COMPUTER DISK SAN FRANCISCO: Futurist entrepreneur Elon Musk late Friday demonstrated progress made by his Neuralink startup in meshing brains with computers, saying the work is essential to the future of humanity . Musk has long contended that a neural lace merging minds with machines is vital if people are going to avoid being so outpaced by artificial intelligence that, under the best of circumstances, humans would be akin to “house cats.” “It’s gonna be important from an existential threat standpoint,” Musk said of the project. “That is what I think might be the most important thing that a device like this achieves.” Members of the team shared a “wish list” that ranged from the technology returning mobility to the paralyzed and sight to the blind, to enabling telepathy and the uploading of memories for later reference -- or perhaps to be downloaded into replacement bodies. “Yes, I think in the future you will be able to save and replay memories,” Musk said. “This is obviously sounding increasingly like a ‘Black Mirror’ episode, but I guess they are pretty good at predicting,” via common Bluetooth wireless signal to a device such as a smartphone, according to Musk. “It actually fits quite nicely in your skull. It could be under your hair and you wouldn’t know.” Breakthrough device The purpose of the event was to attract engineering talent to the project, which has much work still to do on chips, software, robotics and more, according to Musk. Experts and academics remain cautious about his vision of symbiotically merging minds with super-powered computing. Brain-computer interfaces have been done many times, and it is difficult to tell how successful the Neuralink project will be, according to University of Warwick biomedical engineering professor Christopher James. While technology has improved for reading information coming out of brains, it isn’t up to snuff when it comes to sending it back to all the necessary parts simultaneously, according to researchers. Moving arms or legs involves the brain sending them the proper signals, while hearing and seeing involve the brain receiving sensory information. Till Sept 20, marriage functions with guests up to 50 and funeral/ last rites gathering up to 20 people to stay; cap to be raised to 100 after that What hasn't changed 13.8 lakh JULY Nizamabad 6352,084 190% 2,125 6,168 10.2 lakh Monthly totals for Telangana Reverse migration leads to spike Covid-19 is spreading rapidly in Karnataka’s towns and villages. Reverse migration of people from big cities and increased testing may explain the spike in number of cases Guest cap raised In August, Bhubaneswar and Cuttack recorded 65.3% and 75.2% of the cases in Khurda and Cuttack districts, respectively. Of 8,261 cases in Bhubaneswar, 5,400 were registered till August 25 and of 3,653 cases in Cuttack city, 2747 cases reported Cuttack 281% Rayagada 897 3,420 14.8 lakh schools at a time for online teaching/ telecounselling and related work Skill or entrepreneurship training permitted in National Skill Training Institutes, ITIs, etc With Covid-19 at its peak in Odisha, seven districts — Khurda, Cuttack, Ganjam, Sundargarh, Sambalpur, Puri and Balasore — accounted for 56% cases of the total tally of 90,986 After the Covid-19 crisis hit Telangana in March, the capital city Hyderabad witnessed an exponential rise in number of cases in the following months. However, after movement restrictions were eased in June, the number of Covid-19 cases started drastically increasing in areas outside the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) limits The frontlines of India’s coronavirus battle have moved from cities to rural areas, which are reporting a growing proportion of the nation’s caseload. This long-feared shift raises new challenges, as the medical and testing infrastructure in villages and towns is weaker. We begin this series on the explosion of infections primarily in rural areas by tracking the rising Covid-19 burden in six states between August 1 and 25 In higher education institutions, only for PhD scholars and PG students of technical and professional programmes requiring laboratory/ experimental works can be permitted depending on case load in states and other factors Odisha bucks the trend 79% of infections outside Hyderabad GOING RURAL HIGHER EDUCATION SCENE newindianexpress com PART 1 27.1 lakh up of teaching ❶ States may permitstafftoto50%called to and non-teaching be INDIA CASELOAD IS samples India has tested cumulatively up to Friday for the Covid-19 disease, according to the tally maintained by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) 20.1 lakh While schools, colleges, educational and coaching institutions will continue to remain closed till September-end, the following will be allowed 4.5 lakh THUMBS UP TO MASS EVENTS RESTRICTED ACTIVITY IN SCHOOLS 4.04 crore VIRUS SPIKE 30 08 2020 7.9 lakh Metro rail will be allowed to operate from Sept 7 in a graded manner, the Union home ministry said as part of its Unlock 4.0 prescriptions. A look at the other takeaways SUNDAY VELLORE 14.8 lakh METRO RAIL FINALLY UNLOCKED 12 5.4 Lakh CHENNAI SUNDAY AUGUST 30, 2020 `8.00 PAGES 24 VELLORE EDITION PART OF A TREND? RENO: Nevada officials are reporting what may be the first documented case of coronavirus reinfection in the US, following similar reports earlier this week from Hong Kong and Europe. A 25-year-old Reno man with mild COVID-19 symptoms initially was found to have the virus in April, recovered and tested negative twice, and then tested positive again in June. He was much sicker the second time, with pneumonia that required hospitalization and oxygen treatment. Genetic tests from each episode showed that viruses were similar in major ways but differed in at least 12 spots that would be highly unlikely from natural evolution of the bug if the man had it continuously rather than being infected a second time, said Mark Pandori, director of the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory . A parent the man lives with also tested positive in June, so it’s possible he acquired a new infection in that way . Cinema halls, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres (excluding open air theatre) can't be opened. Also, no international air travel of passengers 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 S F ANXIOUS ANIMALS APP STORE cientists at Warsaw’s zoo have been taking blood, saliva and other samples from the zoo’s three elephants in recent days to prepare to test whether giving them hemp oil can reduce their stress. Dr. Agnieszka Czujkowska, a zoo veterinarian, said hemp oil, also known as CBD, or cannabidiol oil, has been shown to reduce anxiety and stress in other animals, including horses and dogs. The zoo’s experts thought it made sense to see if could also help their animals, including giraffes and rhinos. They decided, however, to start their tests on their three African elephants, who have undergone a period of stress following the death in March of a fellow older female. acebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg has slammed Apple for its App Store policy, saying it blocks innovation and allows the tech giant to “charge monopoly rents”. Buzzfeed first reported that Zuckerberg told 50,000 employees in a webcast that Apple has a “unique stranglehold as a gatekeeper on what gets on phones.” The Facebook chief executive officer added that App Store “blocks innovation, blocks competition” and “allows Apple to charge monopoly rents.” “Now more than ever, we should have the option to help people understand where money they intend for small businesses actually goes,” a Facebook spokesperson told FOX Business on Friday . This video grab made from the online Neuralink livestream shows Elon Musk standing next to the surgical robot during his presentation | AfP TN reports spurt as 6,352 test Covid positive; CM says situation is under control he quipped, referring to a Netflix series that puts disturbing twists on near-future technology . For now, Neuralink is being tested in pigs with the team working on the potential for clinical trials. A trio of pigs in pens took part in the demonstration: one of them named Gertrude was said to have been implanted with a Neuralink device wired to detect spikes in nerve activity in her snout. Gertrude happily focused on food, mostly ignoring Musk and others gathered for the event. Musk said that since the first version of Neuralink was revealed slightly more than a year ago, the device has been simplified and reduced to about the size of a large coin and the thickness of the skull. With the help of a surgical robot, a piece of the skull is replaced with a Neuralink disk, and its wispy wires are strategically inserted into the brain, the demonstration showed. The disk registers nerve activity relaying the information , SILENT CARRIERS E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Chennai EVEN as the State witnessed a spurt in cases on Saturday with , 6,352 people testing positive, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami assured that the spread of the virus in Tamil Nadu is “well under control” compared to other States. In a meeting held with District Collectors through video conference from the Secretariat in Chennai, the Chief Minister thanked the bureaucrats and frontline workers for their service. “The infection can only be eradicated if people follow all the regulations laid out by the government,” he said. The State tally has gone up to 4,15,590, and toll to 7,137 including 87 deaths reported on Satur- day. The discharge rate, however, continues to remain high at 85.5 per cent. Currently, 52,726 people are under treatment for the viral infection, and the mortality rate is at 1.73 per cent. Chennai recorded 1,285 fresh cases. A d d re s s i n g t h e m e d i a , Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan said the city has tested close to 10 per cent of its Cross-border Pak tunnel detected in Samba sector The BSF found a Pakistani tunnel 150 m inside the International Border fence in the Samba sector of Jammu. Its mouth was reinforced with sandbags with Pakistan markings. Remember, one of the masterminds of the Pulwama attack had infiltrated into India via a tunnel in 2018 | P8 ‘CENTRE MUST TAKE LOAN, GIVE US CASH’ Kerala has rejected both the options for GST compensation mooted by the Centre, the state’s finance minister Thomas Isaac said on Saturday. “Kerala wants the Centre to borrow and pay us the GST compensation,” he said, adding that other states also want the same Border Security Force personnel at the site in J&K’s Samba district where a major underground tunnel, originating in Pakistan, was detected | PTI China in mind, India opts out of multinational wargames M AYA N K S I N G H @ New Delhi IN a last minute decision, India on Saturday withdrew its contingent from participating in a multinational military exercise slated to be held in Russia in mid-September because of Chinese and Pakistani participation. A senior officer confirmed, “We have withdrawn from the Kavkaz 2020 strategic command post exercise scheduled to be held in Astrakhan region, Russia from September 15 to September 26.” Given the ongoing Sino-Indian stand-off along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, New Delhi was reluctant to participate in a joint exercise with the Chinese and Pakistani troops, the source said. For the record, the govern- ment attributed its decision to the pandemic and logistics. “In view of pandemic and consequent difficulties in exercise, including arrangements of logistics, India has decided not to send contingent this year to Kavkaz-2020,” the defence ministry said. The decision came a week after India had confirmed the participation of its tri-services contingent of 178 troops — 140 from the Army, 36 of the Air Force and two from the Navy The Army had planned . to send troops of the Dogra Regiment, the Special Forces, Armoured, Mechanised, Artillery, Signals, Engineers and Army Air Defence. In June last, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his Chinese counterpart Wei Fenghe were in Moscow to attend the victory parade for World WarII but there was no bilateral meeting. Rajnath Singh is expected to travel again to Moscow for the Shanghai Cooperation Org anisation (SCO) Defence Ministers’ meeting on September 3-4. Wei Fenghe, too, will be present, throwing up a fresh possibility of bilateral dialogue. In all, 12,500 troops from 18 countries, including Iran, Turkey, Syria, Central Asian Nations and all other SCO members are expected to participate in the wargames. China will send three naval frigates as well. The scope of the exercise includes joint counter-terror operations so as to empower troops of participating nations to ensure security in the southwest of Russia. With dictatorship barb, Sonia tears into Modi E JA Z K A I S E R @ Raipur Today the country finds itself at a crossroads. Anti-national and antipoor forces, besides those who rule by making the people fight against each other, are spreading animosity and the venom of violence Sonia Gandhi, Congress president CONGRESS SHOOTS ANOTHER LETTER TO FB New Delhi: The Congress leadership on Saturday wrote another letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg after Time Magazine reported that the BJP has been allowed to exercise control over WhatsApp’s India operations, possibly in return for a license to begin its payment operations. Congress general secretary (Organisation), KC Venugopal told Zuckerberg that “more than one person in your company’s leadership team in India is biased and partisan in favour of the ruling BJP in their professional endeavours” total population. “Special focus is on Anna Nagar, Kodambakkam, and Adyar zones,” he said. Meanwhile, speaking at the Collectors’ meeting, the Chief Minister explained the efforts initiated by the State government in battling the virus. “The State has so far spent `7,162 crore in battling Covid and for relief works. As a result, our WITHOUT naming any political party or individual, Congress president Sonia Gandhi said on Saturday that the nation was witnessing a “growing influence of dictatorship in our democracy .” Gracing the bhoomi-pujan of the new Chhattisgarh Assembly building at the new capital, Naya Raipur, she alleged that the influence of tanashahi (dictatorship) over lokshahi (democracy) was getting stronger and said that bad thinking was subjugating good thoughts. The Congress leader said democratic institutions were being destroyed and “anti-national and anti-poor forces” were spreading “hatred and the venom of violence”. Sonia said there was an attempt to silence the people. “ They want our youth, tribals, our women, our farmers, businessmen, our jawans and the people of the country to re- main silent and keep their mouth shut,” she said. While mentioning that the nation would complete 75 years of independence two years from now, she said the father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi, G V Mavalankar (who was Speaker of the Constituent Assembly) and B R Ambedkar would have never imagined that the country would face such a difficult situation. “The legislature remains the biggest pillar of our democracy Parliament and legis. lative assemblies are sacred temples of democracy that safeguard our Constitution. But it should be kept in mind that the Constitution will not be saved through buildings, it will be protected by emotions,” she added. “We should make a commitment that as long as we are in power, we will take every decision keeping in mind the interests of the people standing at the end of the queue,” she said. Asymptomatic children with Covid-19 may shed coronavirus for weeks, says study recovery rate is highest in the country and our mortality rate is the lowest.” With the Union government announcing its next set of relaxations to Covid-related restrictions, the Chief Minister chaired a late evening meeting to finalise the State government’s announcements, details of which are likely to be announced on Sunday . NO KIDDING WASHINGTON: Children can shed the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, even if they are asymptomatic, or for long after their symptoms have cleared, according to a new study which sheds more light on the significance of the pediatric population in the pandemic’s spread. The study, published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, followed 91 children at 22 hospitals throughout South Korea, infected with the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, and found Thomas Isaac, finance minister, Kerala that they carried the viral genetic material RNA for a longer period than expected. “Symptom screening fails to identify most COVID-19 cases in children, and SARS-CoV-2 RNA in children is detected for an unexpectedly long time,” the researchers, including those from Seoul National University College of Medicine in South Korea, noted in the study . In a commentary, published on the study scientists, includ, ing Roberta L. DeBiasi from the The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences in the US, said children may play an important role in the COVID-19 transmission. “To our knowledge, no prior studies have systematically focused on the frequency of asymptomatic infection in children or the duration of symptoms and viral shedding in both asymptomatic and symptomatic children,” the researchers noted in the commentary . According to the study about , 22 per cent never developed symptoms, 20 per cent were initially asymptomatic but developed symptoms later, and 58 per Ajit Pawar, Dy CM and FM, Maharashtra cent were symptomatic at their initial test. Over the course of the research, the scientists said the hospitals where these children stayed continued to test them every three days on average, providing a picture of how long viral shedding continues over time. The findings revealed that the duration of symptoms varied widely, from three days to nearly three weeks. The authors of the commentary noted that there was also a significant spread in how long children continued to shed virus and could be potentially infectious. While the virus was detectable for an average of about twoand-a-half weeks in the entire group, a significant portion of the children -- about a fifth of the asymptomatic patients, and about half of the symptomatic ones -- were still shedding virus at the three week mark, they said. The scientists cautioned that children -- a group widely thought to develop mostly mild disease that quickly passes -can retain symptoms for weeks, and even asymptomatic kids continued to shed virus for a long time after initial testing, making them potential key in the transmission However, despite these findings, the commentary noted that a qualitative “positive” or “negative” on testing platforms may not necessarily reflect infectivity . They explained that some positives may indicate the presence of bits of genetic material that may not be able to make someone sick, or negatives reflecting low levels of virus that may still be infectious. According to the scientists, testing reliability may be further limited by the testers. ‘MAHARASTRA WON’T RAISE ANY DEBT’ Maharashtra finance minister Ajit Pawar said his state has rejected both the options suggested by the Centre. He alleged the Centre has not paid GST compensation to the state since April 2020. He warned the Centre’s liability to Maharashtra would soon touch `1 lakh crore Centre seeks to sweeten deal as opposition peaks Govt issues detailed clarification on GST compensation, promises to keep borrowing cost low; Kerala, Maharashtra, Punjab not impressed A N U R A D H A S H U K L A @ New Delhi EVEN as a clutch of states including Kerala, Maharashtra and Punjab rejected the Centre’s twin borrowing options to meet states’ revenue shortfall, the finance ministry on Saturday sought to hardsell its idea saying the Centre will ensure the cost remains affordable. Promising to keep the cost not higher than the G-sec yield, the finance ministry offered to pay the difference if the cost inches up. It will bear the margin between G-secs and average of State Development Loan yields up to 0.5% through a subsidy the finance ministry said. , However, the devil is in the detail. States planning to fix the entire revenue shortfall (due to GST implementation and pandemic) will have to borrow from the open market and bear the interest cost. On Saturday, the finance ministry wrote to all states and Union Territories clarifying that the special borrowing window will be available only for filling the GST shortfall. States that go for full borrowing will have to interest from their own resources,it added. In the GST Council meeting on August 27, the finance ministry had estimated this year’s GST shortfall at `3 lakh crore — `97,000 crore due to GST implementation and the rest because of Covid-19 pandemic. With cess collection pegged at `65,000 crore, states may stare at a `2.35 lakh crore gap. How the two options will work OPTION 1 Finance ministry will allow a special window for states to borrow shortfall in revenues due to GST implementation (`97,000 crore) Centre will ensure borrowing cost is not above the G-sec yield; if cost is higher, Centre will pay for the difference through a subsidy States can repay the entire borrowing from proceeds from the Compensation Cess; States won’t have to depend on any other source Borrowing won’t be treated as debt of the State OPTION 2 States can borrow the entire revenue shortfall of `2,35,000 crore (due to GST implementation plus Covid-impact) through the issue of market debt States are supposed to pay interest from their own resources, but the principal can be paid from proceeds of the Cess The borrowing will not be treated as debt to the extent of the shortfall arising from GST implementation (`97,000 crore) The Centre listed out two options — borrow the entire shortfall or fill only the GSTinduced shortfall. The finance ministry also clarified that the Centre will pay the principal and interest on the borrowed amount from the compensation cess only if states opt for the first option. In the second option, the Centre will only take care of the principal amount; states will have to bear the interest cost. The Centre has also claimed said the new borrowing programme for states to compensate them for the shortfall in GST collection has sufficient legislative backing. Notably, the letter highlighted that the Centre is not obligated to compensate states for all types of revenue losses. Only those arising from GST implementation will be the Centre’s responsibility it said. , “The states are entitled to compensation... regardless of the cause of the shortfall. However, compensation is to be paid only from the Compensation Fund. It is not an obligation of the Government of India in the event of a shortfall,” the finance ministry said. OVER `7,000 CR SPENT ON COVID BATTLE: CM Palaniswami said the govt has so far spent `7,162 crore on preventive measures, treatment and relief work. As many as 58,840 beds are available at Covid hospitals and 77,223 beds at care centres. Recovery rate is highest in TN (85.45 %) while mortality rate the lowest in the country (1.7%) Hospitals struggling to find nurses amid Covid S I NDUJA JANE @ Chennai WHEN doctor Govindaraj, who manages a private hospital in Tiruchy wanted to start , a Covid treatment centre, he did not think the biggest barrier would be the unavailability of trained human resource. He managed to hire an entire range of workforce — from specialist doctors to sanitary workers. However, despite several attempts, he did not get enough nurses for the job. Thanks to the pandemic, the healthcare sector in the State is facing a shortage of paramedics, especially nurses. “I put my plan on hold,” Govindaraj tells Express. What if after creating the required infrastructure I do not find enough nurses to run the centre? For ICU management, we need trained nurses. But, they are all already employed elsewhere. Even if we consider hiring freshers and training them, their families are not willing to send them for Covid duty For my 30-bed hospital, I . need at least 24 nurses, so that even if one batch has to go on quarantine there will be another to take care of things at work.” While many hospitals have increased their bed-count, they lack sufficient manpower to manage all patients, says CN Raja, president of the Indian Medical Association’s P4 Tamil Nadu branch. WITH THIS ISSUE GAME ON! PLUS 12 PAGES TNUSRB ANSWER KEY HC Bench raps expert panel for ‘reckless’ guidance E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Madurai IF demonetisation shook the nation back in 2016, the realization that even members of an expert panel, constituted to guide the Tamil Nadu Uniformed Services Recruitment Board, cant differentiate it from ‘devaluation’ of currency has come as a bigger shock. The panel, which was consulted by the board to prepare the answer key for a written exam to fill SI posts, had given a wrong answer for a question — How many times the Indian Rupee was devalued since 1947? The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has granted relief to two candidates who could not make it to the next level of selection process due to the panel’s mistake. The petitioners had appeared for the written exam on January 12, 2020. Both had scored 48 marks, just 0.5 mark short of the cut off mark fixed for BC category . Stating that they were denied mark despite giving the correct answer, the petitioners claimed that they are eligible for the next round of selection. While the petitioners contended that the answer is ‘three times’, the Board claimed it to be ‘four times’. Pointing out the panel’s mistake, the Bench said demonetisation — defined as ‘stripping a currency unit of its status as legal tender’ — is entirely different from devaluation which means ‘deliberate reduction of the official rate at which domestic currency is exchanged for another currency .’ Expressing displeasure over the ‘reckless’ manner in which the exper ts had advised TNUSRB, the Bench told the Board to be cautious while selecting experts and to obtain a second opinion to avoid such mistakes in future.
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