BENGALURU WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 23, 2020 `7.00 PAGES 20 LATE CITY EDITION ‘AIR POLLUTION KILLED 1.7 LAKH INDIANS IN 2019’ As much as 18% of the total deaths last year were due to air pollution, says a new paper published in Lancet Planetary Health 1.4% GDP LOST DUE TO POOR AIR QUALITY According to the paper, air pollution shrank India’s GDP by 1.4%. However, the study found household air pollution decreased in India, resulting in 64% drop in the death rate attributable to it between 1990 and 2019. ICMR Director General Balram Bhargava attributed this to govt schemes such as the ‘Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana’ and ‘Unnat Chulha Abhiyan’ A2.6 lakh cr NORTHERN STATES BIGGEST LOSERS ■ ■ The scientific paper noted that the economic loss due to air pollution as a percentage of the state GDP was higher in the northern and central India states, with the highest in Uttar Pradesh (2.2% of the GDP) and Bihar (2% of the GDP) Delhi had the highest per-capita economic loss at $62 P9 LOSS TO ECONOMY AS PREMATURE DEATHS SHRANK INDIA’S PRODUCTIVITY 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 CBSE Class 10 & 12 board exams only after Feb ‘21 Minister says dates will be decided later, rules out online format EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi THE Central Board of Secondary Education examinations for Classes 10 and 12 will not be held in February, Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ announced during an interaction with teachers on Tuesday . “I received a lot of requests from students and teachers to postpone the CBSE board exams for Class 10 and 12. Keeping the Covid-19 pandemic in mind, we have decided that board exams will not be held in February,” the minister tweeted. The exams will be held later, the minister said, but did not givev any specify dates. He only said it will be announced soon. “Our government is in favour of students,” he posted on Twitter. Unlike classes, the board exams will not be held online since “many schools are in rural areas”, the minister said, adding that exams will not be cancelled either. “The CBSE board exams will be conducted based on a reduced syllabus,” Pokhriyal also said, adding that 30 per cent of the total syllabus has been scrapped. While some states have declared as much, others are likely to make an announcement soon. There will also be 33 per cent internal choice in the exam, he said. “We cannot allow Covid-19 to impact students and have them labelled as Covid-era students who cleared the classes without any examination,” Pokhariyal noted, emphasising the need to conduct exams despite trying circumstances. “We have organised JEE, NEET exams this year. It was one of the biggest examinations conducted amid the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said in response to a query by a teacher. The change in schedule for board exams comes days after the National Testing Agency published a brochure for the Joint Entrance Examination (Main), which said that the tests will be held four times next year beginning February . STUDENTS WILL HAVE 125 DAYS OF CLASSES P E A R L M A R I A D ’ S O U Z A @ Bengaluru STUDENTS of Classes 10 and 12 may get about 125 days from January 1, when offline classes reopen, to prepare for the board exams. While Primary & Secondary Education Minister S Suresh Kumar on Monday said during a phone-in programme that the board exams will not be held in March like usual, the minister informed The New Indian Express that the examinations will not take place for about 125 days, which means the board exams may not be conducted until the last week of April or early May However, an . P2 official communication in this regard is yet to be issued. average voter turnout in phase-1 panchayat polls No night curfew or lockdown in K’taka, says CM EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE ELECTIONS to 3,019 gram panchayats in 117 taluks were held in the first phase on Tuesday under the Covid-19 shadow, with half of rural Karnataka casting their votes. While polling was about 80 per cent overall, it crossed 85 per cent in some districts, which is much higher than the turnout for the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections. Except for a few stray incidents, where polling was disrupted for some time, the elections were by and large peaceful. The second phase of voting will be held on December 27 and counting of votes will be taken up on December 30. A total of 4,377 candidates have been elected unop- ALLAYING apprehensions that night curfew may be imposed in the state, like in neighbouring Maharashtra, after a new strain of SARSCoV2 was detected in Britain, Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on Tuesday said there was no need for such a measure as of now. The State Government is also not looking at any kind of lockdown or quarantine for inter-state travellers. The CM told media persons, “We understand that the finding of a mutated strain of the virus has worried the people of the state and also the country We have . come to know that someone who arrived in Chennai has been found infected. We have to be extra cautious and we have put stringent measures P3 in place,” he said. @ Bengaluru @ Bengaluru Voters queue up at a polling booth to exercise their franchise in Nelamangala, Bengaluru, on Tuesday | SHRIRAM BN posed already officials said. , According to Kar nataka State Election Commissioner Basavaraju, the voter turnout was around 80 per cent in 2015, and surprisingly this time, it is a little more. At many places like Kolar, voting was close to 90 per cent while in Hassan and Mandya districts, the turnout was over 85 per cent. In one of the taluks in Bengaluru Rural, it even crossed 91 per cent. Dharwad, Koppal and Ballari witnessed around 80 per cent polling. “We had made all arrangements, but were apprehensive about voter turnout. Surprisingly it crossed our ex, pectations,’’ he remarked. P4 Gupkar Alliance leads in 116 J&K DDC seats F AYA Z W A N I @ Srinagar IN the first major electoral exercise after Article 370 revocation, the Gupkar Alliance on Tuesday emerged the single largest group in the District Development Council (DDC) polls in Jammu & Kashmir. Notably , the BJP made inroads and won three seats in Muslim-majority Kashmir — in Srinagar, Bandi- pora and Pulwama. In the 280 DDC seats, elections for which were held in eight phases, People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration comprising the NC, PDP PC, ANC, , JKPM, CPI and CPM was ahead in 116 seats (86 won and leading in 30 seats). The BJP has emerged as the single largest party. It was ahead in 73 seats, having won 65 seats and leading in eight others. The independents have emerged as the third dominant force with 55 seats (36 won and leading in 19). Top leaders of Gupkar Alliance, which was formed in October to fight for Article 370 restoration, had stayed away from the poll campaign and let the second-rung leaders lead the P10 campaigning. $ 1 BILLION CONTRACTS FOR IT FIRMS Infosys and Wipro have won contracts worth over $ 1 billion each from German auto major Daimler AG and food services giant, METRO AG | P13
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