bhubaneswar l wednesday l march 24, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l late CITY EDITION India SKIPS votE on UNHRC Resolution ON sRI LANKA However, the resolution was adopted at the United Nations body as it garnered the support of 22 of the 47 member states India ASKS lanka to empower Tamils Eleven members voted against the resolution titled ‘Promotion of Reconciliation Accountability and Human Rights in Sri Lanka’ tabled by the Core Group on Sri Lanka consisting of countries such as the UK, Canada and Germany. India, however, reiterated its demand to devolve political power to Tamils in Sri Lanka including holding early polls to provincial councils ■ 14 gLOBAL PRESSURE to probe war crimes ■ The resolution calls upon the Sri Lankan government to ensure thorough and impartial investigation on all its alleged war crimes The resolution was moved after a scathing report released by the UN rights watchdog in January warned that Colombo’s lack of accountability increased the risk of war crimes Countries, including India, abstained from voting on the sri lanka resolution 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 ec o n d w a v e CM asks collectors to strictly enforce norms Bhubaneswar: As the second wave of Covid-19 looms over Odisha with spike in cases, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik asked the districts to enforce guidelines by enhancing surveillance. Reviewing the Covid19 situation through video conference with district collectors, SPs and other stake holders, the CM warned that the State will be faced with a dangerous situation unless strict precautionary measures are taken | P2 Fresh cases Recovered 113 60 SC ends moratorium interest riddle Rules compound interest during grace period be waived; asks banks to refund amounts collected E x p r ess Ne w s S e r v i c e The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that compound interest on loans of all borrowers between March and August 2020 will be fully waived. This is nothing but a fiscal stimulus bearing an SC imprint and is, strangely effective , retrospectively It may also be the . first time interest-on-interest is being waived uniformly, which will cost the exchequer `15,000 crore. Of this, the Centre had presumably spent `5,500 crore. Hearing a batch of petitions, a three-judge bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan refused to allow a complete waiver of interest on loans, which the government pegged at `6 lakh crore. Such a sum could charge the earth and seriously impact the financial health of a string of banks. The SC also refused to extend the moratorium period beyond August 2020 Last October, the Centre agreed to waive interest-on-interest component for retail and small business loans up to `2 crore for six months. The benefit was extended to MSMEs, education loans, housing loans, loans for con- ‘Fiscal policies not amenable to judicial review’ Noting that policy decisions are better left to the government and regulators, the bench said economic policies are not amenable to judicial review and court can’t interfere unless there are malafides and arbitrariness sumer durables, credit card dues, auto loans, personal and professional loans and consumption loans. The waiver will now be extended to all borrowers, including large industries. Any amount collected as compound interest shall be adjusted to the next instalments payable. The SC also lifted asset standstill on loans. This means, banks are now free to classify loans as bad if they deemed so and make recoveries. It is estimated the NPAs will swell by `1.3 lakh to P10 `8.5 lakh crore. Experts sound caution Vaccine eligibility for Odisha books 15% seats as R value rises rapidly 45+ from next month in med, engg colleges for govt school students in several parts of State Assembly resolution S u m i S u k a n ya D u t ta @ New Delhi E x p r ess Ne w s S e r v i c e @ Bhubaneswar With new Covid-19 clusters emerging in Odisha and leading to sudden rise in reproduction (R) value, experts have sounded alert to take immediate precautionary measures. The R value is rising significantly across the State and has gone from 0.84 to 1.3 within a week. New cases soared from the previous week average of around 60 to 146 on March 21. The steady rise in infections in Cuttack and Bhubaneswar was primarily responsible for the R value growth. R value re presents the number of people one patient can infect. The number above one means the number of infections is rising. According to the researchers at the Chennai-based Institute of Mathematical Sciences (IMS), the individual R estimation for Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Puri was more than the State average. For Cuttack city, the R estimate was 1.7 for the period between March 20 and 22 and 1.18 between March 11 and 16 for Bhubaneswar. It was 1.76 for Khurda district and 1.82 for Puri district between March 18 and 22 and 1.62 between March 16 and 21 for Cuttack district. A senior researcher at IMS Prof Sitabhra Sinha said the growth rate is high in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack and the situation can rapidly escalate if proper containment measures are not put in place. “The high R values we see now can be easily reversed by taking immediate action. The situation is still manageable because of the low numbers involved. But the growth is very fast. The time to act is now,” he said and suggested the State Government to strictly enforce Covid norms. Meanwhile, with 113 new cases from 21 districts, the number of active cases rose to 838 in the State. The maximum 20 fresh cases were recorded from Sundargarh, followed by 17 from Cuttack, 14 from Khurda and 11 from Mayurbhanj. Additional Chief Secretary of Health department PK Mohapatra said since there has been a recent upsurge in Covid cases in some pockets of Odisha, all health facilities and community health workers have been asked to step up surveillance and testing. “The districts will ensure testing of returnees from red flag States and dispatch all samples to laboratories on the same day Mini-con. tainment zones can be set up wherever a cluster of cases is detected. Enforcement and surveillance activities will be keenly monitored in urban areas which are more vulnerable to rapid spread,” he added. The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday approved Covid-19 vaccination for all citizens above 45 years across the country beginning April 1, adding an estimated 18-19 crore people to the beneficiary list. By expanding the ambit, about 30% of the India’s 1.3 billion population can expect to shield themselves against the pandemic. The vaccines can be taken free of cost in government hospitals or by paying `250 per dose in private facilities. “I appeal to every citizen who from 40,715 New cases across India, 80.9% of which areand TN Maharashtra, 202.3 Case doubling time on March 23 as against 504.4 on March 1 Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh The high R values we see now can be easily reversed by taking immediate action. The time to act is now Prof Sitabhra Sinha, researcher IMS, Chennai is 45 or above to register for vaccination,” Union information and broadcasting minister Prakash Javadekar said after the Cabinet meeting. “This deci- sion has been taken by the Cabinet on the basis of the advice of the coronavirus task force and experts,” he said, assuring there is enough supply of vaccine to ensure immunisation of all eligible beneficiaries. The expansion of the vaccination drive comes in wake of what looks like a second wave of the pandemic in several states with chief ministers of Maharashtra, Delhi and Punjab, asking the Centre to let all above 40 or 45 years take the jab. So far, nearly 4.85 crore across categories have got the shots, of whom 80 lakh have completed the two-dose regiP8 men. High alert Commissionerate police takes out a motorcade with sirens blaring to create awareness on Covid-19 in Bhubaneswar | Express E x p r ess Ne w s S e r v i c e @ Bhubaneswar THE Odisha Assembly on Tuesday unanimously passed a resolution for reservation of 15 per cent seats for students of government schools in medical and engineering colleges of the State. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik brought the resolution in the House which was supported by all political parties. Earlier on December 28, 2020, the State Cabinet had cleared a proposal for reservation of seats for poor students in government schools in various medical and engineering colleges. Following the Cabinet approval, the State government had formed a high power committee headed by Justice AK Mishra to make recommendations in this regard from the 2021-22 academic session. The committee found that about 86 per cent of the students in Odisha are in government schools, but they get only 23 per cent seats in State medical colleges and 21 per cent in State engineering colleges. The committee further found that 12 per cent of the students studying in private schools get almost 60 per cent seats in both medical and engineering colleges. Moving the resolution, the Chief The reservation for Minister said that there is inequity government school among the students arising out of the students will operate physical and economic access to horizontally covering coaching institutions which play a all vertical reservations major role in national entrance as well as general examinations. unreserved groups. The The Chief Minister said that the government will soon reservation for government school issue a notification students will operate horizontally covering all vertical reservations as well Naveen Patnaik, as general unreserved groups. The Chief Minister government will soon issue a notification under section 9 of the Odisha Professional Educational Institutions (Regulation of Admission and Fixation of Fee) Act, 2007 to implement the decision, he added. Requesting members to unanimously accept the recommendations of the high power committee in the interest of lakhs of children of the State, the Chief Minister said reservation will give a huge boost to talented and intelligent students who cannot have physical and economic access to coaching institutions. The Chief Minister said after the introduction of common entrance examinations like NEET and JEE, the number of students from government schools and colleges of the State in these courses is getting reduced considerably Stating that this is not due to lack of merit, he . said rather the students are unable to fare better in these tests due to lack of proper coaching facilities. express read Sundari kisses Odisha, Satkosia’s hopes goodbye 18 MBBS students of VIMSAR fined `54,000 for ragging E x p r ess Ne w s S e r v i c e @ Sambalpur The authorities of Veer Surendra Sai Institute of Medical Sciences and Research (VIMSAR), Burla have imposed a fine of `54,000 on 18 fourth year MBBS students for their involvement in ragging of juniors earlier this month. Director Lalit Meher said, the anti-ragging committee of the institution probed the allegation and as per its suggestion, 18 students were slapped with a fine of `54,000. Besides, the students have been issued warning letters and made to sign undertakings stating that they would not get involved in such incidents in future. Dean and Principal of VIM- SAR Jayashree Dora confirmed that the students have deposited the fine amount on Tuesday. The incident reportedly took place in the evening of March 10 when some fourth year MBBS students allegedly called second year students to the basketball ground. When the second year students didn’t comply, the seniors came to their hostel in the night and again called them to the ground. The juniors were made to stand there from 11 pm to 4 am next morning. The seniors also abused the juniors verbally and mentally harassed them. Subsequently, the second year students lodged a complaint with the anti-ragging cell. After being informed about the incident, VIMSAR authorities immediately launched a probe and the senior students were slapped with the fine after being found guilty. In a similar incident in October, 2018, some first year students and their parents had lodged complaints of ragging with the anti-ragging cell, New Delhi. After inquiry, VIMSAR authorities had debarred 23 underg raduate students, who were members of the students’ union, from attending classes and library for one month over the allegation. 81% Punjab samples +ve for UK strain A whopping 81 per cent of the latest 401 samples sent by Punjab for genome sequencing have been found to be positive for the new UK Covid-19 variant, prompting CM Amarinder Singh to appeal to the Centre to expand the vaccination drive to cover the under-60 population | P8 Close to four years after it was planned, country’s first interState tiger reintroduction project folded up as tigress Sundari on Tuesday bid goodbye to Satkosia Tiger Reserve and headed back home. After spending an agonising 28 months in captivity in Satkosia, Sundari went back to Kanha Tiger Reserve tranquillised in a cage | P4
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