CHENNAI SATURDAY FEBRUARY 06, 2021 `7.00 PAGES 12 VELLORE EDITION PFIZER WITHDRAWS REQUEST FOR EMERGENCY USE PERMIT The US company was the ﬁrst drugmaker to apply for emergency use authorisation of its Covid-19 vaccine in India on Dec 5, 2020 EXPERTS COMMITTEE DENIED NOD: REPORTS The move comes after an expert panel of India’s drugs regulatory authority reportedly recommended against granting approval to the firm at this stage. On February 3, the Subject Expert Committee of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation had taken up Pfizer’s application for its Covid-19 vaccine that it has developed with Germany’s BioNTech 95% PANEL FLAGS SERIOUS ADVERSE EVENTS ■ The committee in its meeting on Wednesday noted incidents of palsy, anaphylaxis and other serious adverse events after the vaccine’s approvals in some other countries ■ The panel was also worried that Pfizer had not spelt out a plan to generate safety/ immunogenicity data for the Indian population PFIZER VACCINE’S EFFICACY AGAINST 62% OF COVISHIELD MANUFACTURED BY SII 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 allows retail investors direct access to G-Secs Decision will help Centre meet its market borrowing target in the next financial year EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE What are G-Secs? @ New Delhi IN a game-changer move, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Friday said it would allow retail investors to buy government bonds directly from it. Currently, retail investors can only buy gilt or government issued bonds through a platform on the National Stock Exchange. However, this is not very popular. The RBI platform for G-Secs is likely to be dubbed Retail Direct, though its details have not been shared. The current yield on a 10-year government bond is 6.126%. Bonds with shorter tenor yield less as interest. “As far as I know, very few countries like the US and Brazil allow this. In Asia, we are the first country to do it,” RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das told reporters on Friday soon after the monetary policy meeting. The move to attract retail investors to the gilt market will help the government meet its market borrowing target of `12 lakh crore. Analysts said the reason why RBI is opening up a direct gilt trading window for small buyers is to widen the market for government bonds and to keep the interest rate paid by the government low. “While a promising move, a lot will depend on the platform and parallel investment opportunities available,” said Nimish Shah, chief investment officer, Waterfield Advisors. Meanwhile, RBI’s six-member monetary policy committee Government Security (G-Sec) is a tradeable instrument issued by the central or state governments. G-Secs carry practically no risk of default and, hence, are called riskfree gilt-edged instruments did not spring any surprises on Friday as key policy rates were kept unchanged. Repo and reverse repo rates currently stand at record low levels of 4% and 3.35%, respectively . Among others, the first monetary policy announcement after the Union Budget 2021-22 had a few key elements: restoration of the cash reserve ratio (CRR) to 4% in a gradual manner. CRR is the share a bank’s total deposits that is parked with RBI. Banks don’t earn interest on this amount. RBI also said it estimates India’s GDP growth at 10.5% during FY22, with an optimistic outlook on economic recovery Rural demand is . likely to be resilient on good agricultural prospects while urban demand and demand for contact intensive services is expected to strengthen with fall in Covid-cases and mass-vaccination drive. Consumer confidence is likely to remain upbeat as demand has moved beyond the ‘pent-up’ phase to actual demand. The central banks said inflation has returned within its ‘tolerance band’, revising inflation at 5.2% for Q4FY21 from P10 5.8% earlier). RAJAN FIAT CAN TORPEDO THE BUDGET AND ECONOMY If Raghuram Rajan’s 2016 formula on NPAs is reapplied, it could devastate the economy and set the Budget off-track, warns S Gurumurthy | P7 EXPRESS READ 4G services back in J&K after 18-month blackout Biden lets H-1B lottery system continue for now Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Friday announced restoration of highspeed mobile internet services (4G) in the entire Union territory, 18 months after they were snapped. However, mobile internet would be available to pre-paid subscribers only after thorough verification, a government order said Washington: The Joe Biden administration has announced it is delaying the H-1B policy of the previous Trump administration on allocation of the popular foreign work visas by continuing with the lottery system until December 31, 2021, to give the immigration agency more time to develop, test and implement the modifications to the registration system | P11 ‘Amma’ of all welfare schemes: EPS waives `12,110-cr worth farm loans EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Chennai CM Edappadi K Palaniswami announcing the loan waiver in the Assembly on Friday NEW UNIVERSITY IN THE NAME OF FORMER CM J JAYALALITHAA Chennai: The House on Friday passed a Bill for establishing a new University in the name of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa at Villupuram. The new university which would start functioning from this academic year itself, is being established by bifurcating the Vellore-based Thiruvalluvar University. The new university extends to areas comprising the districts of Villupuram, Cuddalore and Kallakurichi | P4 EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Chandigarh/Jaipur/Lucknow/New Delhi WITH the government on Friday strongly defending the farm laws in Rajya Sabha despite protests against them gathering momentum, farmers unions said that the chakka jam planned for Saturday will not take place in UP, Uttarakhand and Delhi, but will cover other parts of the country, including southern states. While agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar said that the offer to amend the laws should not be viewed as if they had any flaws, the Opposition demanded that they be repealed and fresh ones brought after consultations. At the protest site, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) announced their action plan on the chakka jam following a meeting between Balbir Singh Rajewal and Rakesh Tikait. “As sugarcane harvesting is on in UP and Uttarakhand, farmers will be busy The SKM has de. cided that farmers in these two SOME RELIEF Comedian Munawar Faruqui finally gets ad-interim bail EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi THE Supreme Court on Friday granted interim bail to standup comedian Munawar Faruqui who was arrested by the Madhya Pradesh Police for allegedly hurting the sentiments of Hindus during a show. “The petitioner (Faruqui) is released on ad-interim bail on conditions to the satisfaction of the trial court,” a bench headed by Justices R F Nariman ordered. While issuing notice to the Madhya Pradesh government on Faruqui’s plea, it also stayed a warrant for production of the comedian in Uttar Pradesh in another case. The bench granted interim bail to the comedian after it was pointed out that procedure under Section 41 of CrPC and the law laid down by the Supreme Court with regard to arrest weren’t followed. On behalf of the comedian, advocate Saurabh Kir pal termed it a case of victimisation and said the allegations made in the FIR were vague. He argued that a person cannot be arrested unless there is a magistrate’s order or a warrant, which is stated in Section 41 of the criminal code, and the law laid down by the Supreme Court with regard to arrest weren’t followed. “Do you say that Section 41 CrPC was not followed as per our 2014 judgment,” the bench asked his lawyer. Kirpal said it wasn’t and his client was being harassed. Faruqui was arrested on January 1 by the Madhya Pradesh Police in Indore. On January 28, the Madhya Pradesh High Court dismissed the bail pleas of Faruqui and fellow comedian Nalin Yadav. The high court while rejecting his bail plea said, “Maintaining that every right was coupled with duty Liberty . of an individual has to be balanced with his duties and obligations towards his fellow citizens.” The high court further stressed that the state must endeavour to ensure that the ecosystem and sustenance of coexistence in our welfare society is not polluted by negative forces. IN the name of our religious beliefs, we, as a society are falling , into the hands of misconceptions and extremities, the Madras High Court observed on Friday “These extremities have . always known to incite hatred, violence, bloodshed and bitterness across history,” it said, while hearing a case filed against an evangelist for his alleged “derogatory statements” against Hinduism. deems, was accused of making derogatory statements while addressing a gathering in Chennai, in 2016. Multiple FIRs were filed against him after a video of his speech went viral on social media, prompting Lazarus to approach the court seeking to quash the FIRs. When the plea was taken up for a final hearing on Friday , Justice N Anand Venkatesh cited the Sermon on the Mount and said, “The words of Jesus states will not resort to chakka jam and will submit memos to the deputy commissioners. Delhi is also kept away from tomorrow’s stir, though it will cover the rest of the country ,” said Tikait and Rajewal. Tikait welcomed the support from international artistes and activists, including Rihanna and Greta Thunberg, but admitted he didn’t know them. The SKM’ said only national and state highways are to be jammed from 12 noon to 3 pm. The farmer leaders appealed to CONTINUED ON: P4 Christ clearly reveals that the religion or its ideals do not intend to incite its followers to judge or demean another religion for the purpose of its own growth and propagation.” Senior counsel, Issac Mohanlal, filed an affidavit on behalf of Lazarus tendering an unconditional apology. He also assured the court that such an instance will not happen in the future. In view of the same, the complainant also agreed not to precipitate it any further. Farmers wave Indian flag during Kisan Mahapanchayat in Uttar Pradesh’s Shamli district on Friday | SHEKHAR YADAV keep it peaceful. Sources said farmer unions fear angry outbursts in UP’s Pilibhit belt as the kisans there are upset over the deaths of some of their comrades. “That’s why the blockade has been called off in these areas,” said a source. Two mahapanchayats, one each in Rajasthan’s Dausa and Shamli in western UP, drew massive crowds. While Dausa is Congress leader Sachin Pilot’s pocket burough, the one in Shamili was organised by SP and RLD. TN govt to withdraw cases against Jallikattu protestors, CM tells House EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Chennai THE ruling AIADMK has decided to take the bull by its horns ahead of the Assembly elections. Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Friday announced in the Assembly that his government would withdraw cases filed during the Jallikattu agitations that took place in various parts of the State in 2017. All cases, except those filed over “undesirable incidents”, such as assault on policemen and arson, would be withdrawn after consultations with legal experts, he said. “Those agitations were staged to establish the rights of Tamil people for Jallikattu,” he told in the Assembly “Many . cases were filed in this regard, of which some were required to maintain law and order as some unwanted incidents happened during the agitation.” Considering the fact that many people who staged agitation for restoring Jallikattu have also been affected due to the cases, the CM said, it has been decided to withdraw such cases. “The public protested only to express their sentiments, while ‘some’ others engaged in propaganda.” The pro-Jallikattu protests of 2017, claiming to be a leaderless youth-driven move- ment, had attracted nationwide attention until violence brought it to an end. Following the protest, the Assembly had adopted an amendment to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, to allow the bulltaming sport to be conducted without hindrance. Interestingly, on the same day DMK chief MK Stalin said , that his party if voted to pow, er, would scrap cases filed against anti-Sterlite agitators in Thoothukudi. This poll season, instead of sops and freebies, TN might witness a novel attempt being made to reduce judicial pendency, with the new government withdrawing a few cases. Man burns ex, mother, kills self in Chennai EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Chennai Regal Root takes flight Influencers must be cautious while exercising their right to free speech: Madras High Court The court held that persons capable of influencing large sections of the society, driven by religious sentiments, must be extremely cautious in exercising rights of expression or religion. “This court will not hesitate to say that it is, in fact, the fundamental duty of every citizen to preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture.” Mohan C Lazarus, an evangelist and founder of Jesus Re- Sabha elections, that they would waive off farmer loans, Palaniswami said that they had forgotten that promise after winning seats. “Even during the 2006 Assembly elections, the DMK promised to provide two acres of lands each to landless farmers, but they could not fulfil that, he said. “This has been their routine in every election. However, the people know very well that the AIADMK always walks the talk, and fulfils election promises without fail,” added Palaniswami. Chakka jam today outside Delhi, UP, Uttarakhand ‘EXTREMITIES INCITE HATRED’ E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Chennai IN a huge relief for cashstrapped farmers, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Friday announced that crop loans to the tune of `12,110 crore, availed by as many as 16.43 lakh farmers through cooperative banks, would be waived. After a year of the pandemic, the farmers were subsequently hit hard by two cyclones — Nivar and Burevi — and the non-seasonal rains in January . Palaniswami, making the announcement under Rule 110 during the zero hour in the State Assembly, assured that the crop loan waiver would be enforced immediately by issuing a Government Order (GO) and the financial allocation for the same would be made in the Interim Budget for 2021-22. “This announcement has facilitated farmers in continuing cultivation works without any difficulty in the forthcoming year,” the Chief Minister said. Recalling the DMK’s promise, made during the 2019 Lok Chennai: The England skipper scored his 20th century to help the visitors to a promising 263/3 at stumps on Day 1 of the first Test against India in Chennai. On a docile pitch, the visitors’ No 4 unfurled his full batting arsenal 7 Root has at least one score over 50 in seven consecutive Tests in India. Only Javed Miandad (eight) has more 9 Root became the ninth cricketer to hit a century while playing in the 100th Test NOT YOUR AVERAGE JOE Joe Root is pleased as punch after bringing up a century at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on Friday. This was his third on the trot and second in India | BCCI IN a shocking incident, a 29year-old man allegedly killed a woman and her mother, and then died by suicide in Korukkupet, early on Friday The . man, Bhoopalan, who worked as a driver for the Corporation office on contract, was in love with one Ranjitha (26) for the past few years. “Ranjitha landed a job with the Corporation on compassionate grounds after her father’s death. Since then, she distanced herself from him and got engaged to somebody else,” said the police. However, Bhoopalan approached her again, only to get rejected. At around 4 am on Friday, Bhoopalan reached her house in Anand Nayaki Nagar and locked the door. A serious argument broke out between them. A little later, the neighbours heard cries and rushed in, only to find Bhoopalan, Ranjitha and her mother, Venkattama (46) on fire. Their bodies were retrieved and sent to Stanley GH for autopsy . (State Suicide Helpline: 104)
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