bhubaneswar l Saturday l november 21, 2020 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l late CITY EDITION The UN health body said on Friday there’s no evidence that the drug improved the prospects of hospitalised patients May still benefit a subgroup of patients Experts divided over its effectiveness The new guidelines come a month after results of WHO’s multi-country Solidarity Trial revealed that the antiviral drug had no significant positive outcome on the chances of survival, the need for a ventilator, or the length of hospital stay in patients with severe Covid-19. The WHO, however, said there may still be a potential small benefit in a subgroup of patients ■ Axe remdesivir from covid treatment protocol: W.H.O. ■ Reactions to the WHO trial’s findings have been mixed with many health experts welcoming it while others expressing reservations A recent study by a group of doctors in Bengaluru found that the drug improved patients’ survival chances if given early. A US govtapproved study had also come out with a similar finding in April | P7 `24,000 The cost of a course of remdesivir treatment in India 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 RBI open to letting large companies own banks Regulator feels private lenders will drive future growth; wants to expand banking sector after strengthening supervisory oversight Se s a Sen @ New Delhi It is time to open up India’s banking sector to allow large companies to own banks, according to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). In its report released Friday, an internal RBI panel headed by RBI Central Board Director P K Mohanty said industrial houses can be allowed to promote banks after the Banking Regulations Act is amended to this effect. The supervisory wing of the regulator must also be strengthened to prevent connected lending and exposures between banks and other financial and non-financial group entities, the internal group report noted. The suggestions are significant as the central bank has in the past been firmly opposed to allowing large corporate entities to own banks. The working group also suggested that large nonbanking financial companies (NBFCs) with asset size of `50,000 crore and above, in- cluding those owned by corporate entities, be converted into banks subject to completion of 10 years of operations. This could benefit industrial houses such as Aditya Birla, Bajaj, Mahindra & Mahindra and Tata Sons that already have large NBFCs with more than a decade of operations. Back in the 1990s, when RBI doled out its first set of licences for private banks, it had left out industrial houses. However, the P K Mohanty panel, whose brief was to review the extant ownership guidelines and corpo- Higher promoter stake l Promoters’ stake be raised to 26% from the current 15% over 15 years, the report suggested l It also recommended minimum initial capital requirement for licensing new banks be doubled to `1,000 crore for universal banks and enhanced to`300 crore from `200 cr for small finance banks rate structure for Indian private sector banks, said private banks will be crucial for the future growth of the banking sector, which is currently dominated by gover nment-owned lenders. Fourteen licences for universal banks have been issued in the private sector since 1993, out of which only 10 are operational now. While private banks recorded sustained growth over the years, there’s a long way to break into the global top 100. Currently only the govern, ment-owned State Bank of India figures among the top 100 global banks by size. Large private banks including ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank have sizes lower than that of Spanish Banco de Sabadell, which ranks 100th. RBI has sought comments from stakeholders on the internal group’s report by January 15, 2021, after which it will P10 take a final call. `74k CR TAX SIPHONED OUT: P9 covid surge Door-to-door survey in Delhi E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ New Delhi Amid continuing surge in Covid-19 cases, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday sought to enforce pandemic discipline by meeting representatives of market associations and seeking their cooperation, while assuring he does not want to shut the markets down. He urged the representatives to provide masks for free to shoppers not wearing them. Parallelly , the government sought to wield the stick, as it provided legal teeth to the penalty of a whopping `2,000 it intends to slap on those flouting the mask norm. To do so, Lt Governor Anil Baijal approved a proposal to amend the Delhi Epidemic Disease Management of Covid-19 Regulations 2020, to insert the penalty . Meanwhile, the Delhi government has begun a door-to-door survey to identify people having Covid symptoms. The massive exercise is expected to be completed in five days and cover over 57 lakh people. In all, 6,608 new cases were detected in Delhi that is already witnessing a third Covid wave, taking the cumulative cases to 5,17,238. Also, 118 deaths were reported in a 24-hour span. The air quality too continued to be poor with smog choking the P5 city’s lungs. Puri custodial death: HC, NHRC seek report E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Cuttack/Bhubaneswar The heat is on the State government over the alleged custodial death of one K Ramesh in Puri, with the Orissa High Court and National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) taking cognisance of the incident and seeking reports on it. A division bench of the HC comprising Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq and Justice Biswanath Rath on Friday directed the State counsel Subir Palit to take instructions from the government and file an affidavit on the matter. The bench issued the direction after advocates Deepak Mohapatra and Padmalaya Mohapatra made mention of a PIL on the death of one K Ramesh in police custody The . bench further directed listing of the petition on Monday for hearing along with the affidavit. A Puri-based lawyer Sarat Kumar Rayguru filed the petition seeking court-monitored investigation, immediate action against police officials involved in the “unlawful incident” and compensation to the family of the deceased. The NHRC has also sought an action taken report from State Chief Secretary and Govt on damage control mode Bhubaneswar: The State government on Friday transferred Puri SP Akhileshwar Singh to the State Police Headquarters and posted Sambalpur SP K Vishal Singh in his place. The Baselisahi police station sub-inspector Biplab Kumar Pradhan and two constables Jagannath Swain and Babuli Behera have also been suspended by DGP Abhay. The DGP also placed Biramitrapur police station inspector-in-charge Smruti Prava Pradhan under suspension over the other alleged custodial death incident. DGP within four weeks. This includes a detailed report covering all aspects leading to the death of the accused, time and place of occurrence as well as the reason for his arrest or detention. Besides, the Commission has sought a copy of the complaint, FIR registered against the accused, copies of arrest, seizure and recovery memos, copy of medico legal certificate of the deceased, postmortem report, final cause of death based on forensic sci- ence laboratory report, magisterial enquiry report, among others. “The NHRC expresses its deep anguish over the recurrence of such custodial deaths despite several directions and guidelines issued by the Supreme Court and the Commission. This is not acceptable in a country governed by the rule of law,” the Commission observed. National BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra and chairperson of Human Rights Front Manoj Jena had lodged complaints in the connection and demanded a thorough enquiry into the matter. According to the petition filed in the High Court, Ramesh was arrested and taken to Baselisahi police station on November 18 morning. He was charged under different sections of IPC, including attempt to murder, and Arms Act. He, however, sustained severe injuries in his head and body in police custody He was . taken to Puri DHH but died on the way at around 8.30 pm. The body was cremated at around 12.30 pm on Thursday without handing over the body to the family members or allowing them to see it, the petition alleged. HRPC BEGINS PROBE IN PURI : P4
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