tadepalligudem l saturday l april 10, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l city EDITION Second Covid wave poses higher risks for economy Businesses to take huge hit if cases spike The rating agency expects a moderately worse environment for the Indian banking sector in 2021, but challenges would intensify if rising infections and follow-up measures to contain the virus further affect business and economic activity. Fitch forecasts India’s GDP growth at 12.8% for FY22. But the rising pace of infections poses renewed risks to the forecast, it said Fitch Ratings on Friday said the second wave of infections poses increased risks for India’s fragile economic recovery and its banks Challenging times for banking sector ■ ■ Over 80% of new cases are in six states, which account for 45% of total banking sector loans. Any further disruption in economic activity in these states would hit business sentiment, Fitch said Meanwhile, another report by Oxford Economics said India’s economy is resilient but the next few months will be critical MSME and retail loans are most at risk, according to Fitch Ratings 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 Not just vax, Remdesivir supply short E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Mumbai/Jaipur/Bhopal/Bengaluru Amid states grappling with stretched Covid facilities and vaccine shortage, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot sent an SOS to the Centre regarding vaccine supply on Friday, even as more inoculation centres were shut in Maharashtra, taking their total count to 592. There were also reports of shortage of Remdesivir that is used to treat Covid patients, in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh. Seventy-five of the 120 centres Big Data NATION WIDE April 8 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths across Mumbai, including a jumbo facility in the Bandra Kurla Complex that was inoculating 4,000 people daily, halted vaccinating people on Friday as supply dried up. “We have been asking the Centre to ramp up the supply, but there is no positive response. To set up a centre, we spend a lot of money on infrastructure and engage many trained people. Shutting down the centres is a big setback to our vaccination drive,” said a senior health official in Maharashtra. In Rajasthan, the vaccine stock April 9 1,26,789 59,258 685 Jagan sends SoS to PM, seeks 25 lakh vax doses for tika utsav in state Vijayawada: Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Friday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to urgently make available 25 lakh doses of Covid19 vaccine before April 11 (Sunday) so that the 4-day ‘Tika Utsav’ could be celebrated successfully. In a letter to the Prime Minister, Jagan drew his attention to the severe shortage of vaccines being faced by the State. “Currently, my state has only 2 lakh doses and another 2 lakh doses are expected to be received today. There is an urgent need for another 25 lakh doses for our State which if made available to us before 11th April, Tika Utsav can be celebrated,” he informed and further explained the roadmap drawn up for the Tika Utsav. It may be mentioned that the Prime Minister has given the call for the Utsav to be held from April 11 to 14. Jagan, in his missive, told Modi that an action plan has been drawn up to cover six lakh people (four lakhs in rural areas and two lakhs in urban areas) per day totalling to 24 lakh people in four days of the utsav. “However, for ensuring that such Tika Utsav is a success, the vaccine supplies must be assured,” he stressed. 1,31,968 61,899 780 will last only two days, Ashok Gehlot said in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and sought immediate supply of 30 lakh doses to ensure smooth continuation of the inoculation drive, particularly during the ‘tika utsav’ proposed by the PM. With hospital beds filling up fast and demand for oxygen shooting up, supply is drying up in some states. Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray has already stated that the state is in “dire need” of oxygen of 1,7002,500 MT oxygen by April-end. P5 Maha pitch for 1,200 ventilators andhra pradesh Apart from vaccines and Remdesivir shots, Maharashtra needs 1,200 more ventilators from the Centre, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said on Friday Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths April 8 April 9 2,558 915 6 2,765 1,245 11 6L Covid-19 jabs a day in State depend on supply of vaccine the vaccination drive. However, a decision on the number of beneficiaries to be vaccinated a day during the special drive will be taken only after receiving fresh stock from the Centre. At present, 1.4 lakh beneficiaries are being vaccinated a day on an average. As there are one crore people above 45 years of age in the State, the government wrote a letter to the Centre in the last week of March seeking one crore doses of vaccine. The response from the Centre is that it could not supply one crore doses of vaccine to the State at one go and it would send vaccine stocks to AP in phases. The State is expected to receive 10,58,170 doses from April 15 to 20. In the wake of announcement of Tika Utsav, a fresh request was made to the Centre seeking supply of additional stock of vaccine. On Friday, the new stock of vaccine received from the Government Medical Store Depot was dispatched to the districts on the basis of reP4 quirement. E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Vijayawada The State received two lakh doses of Covid vaccine from the Government Medical Store Depot in Chennai on Thursday night, increasing the available stock to five lakh doses, which is expected to last another two days. With the available stock, it is nearly impossible to achieve the target of vaccinating six lakh people a day during Tika Utsav from April 11 to 14. After attending a video conference with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy directed officials to vaccinate six lakh people a day during the four-day Tika Utsav covering a total of 24 lakh beneficiaries. According to official sources, the action plan to vaccinate six lakh people a day during Tika Utsav has been sent to the Centre, seeking release of 24 lakh doses of vaccine to Andhra Pradesh. The State is expected to receive adequate stocks from the Centre for Resort politics back as Assam Oppn candidates flown to Raj Eighteen from AIUDF and two from Congress brought to Fairmont Hotel in Jaipur to keep them off BJP reach @ Kolkata/New Delhi/Patna/Mumbai Unauthorised US Navy drill in Indian Zone MAYANK SINGH @ New Delhi Two days after a US Navy conducted an unusual ‘navigation operation’ through India’s Exclusive Economic Zone off Lakshadweep Islands without prior permission, Delhi on Friday conveyed its concer ns to Washington through diplomatic channels. On Wednesday, the US Navy had issued a statement saying its warship, USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53), “asserted navigational rights and freedoms 130 nautical miles west of the Lakshadweep Islands, without requesting India’s prior consent.” According to the US, India’s claims on EEZ under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) are inconsistent with international law. While India ratified the UNCLOS in 1982, the US is not a signatory . Admiral Arun Prakash, former Navy chief, said it is strange the US Navy not only chose to violate India’s rights but publicise it. YS Sharmila, sister of CM Jagan Mohan Reddy, waves to the crowd at a public meeting in Khammam, Telangana on Friday | EXPRESS Sharmila fires at KCR, plans 3-day fast E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Khammam Summoning the mood when her late father YS Rajasekhar Reddy took out his historic Praja Prasthanam Padayatra on this day 18 years ago, YS Sharmila, in a prelude to launching her party , called Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao to account on the promises he had made to various sections of society including the jobless youth, farmers, minorities and other disadvantaged sections like the tribals. Though she deferred the launch of her party to her father’s birth anniversary on July 8, she did not leave much to imagination as to what the party’s philosophy would be and how she intended to go forward. She made no secret of her intention of fighting not only the TRS but also the other two Opposition parties — Con- gress and the BJP — which were all working hand in glove. She announced an agitation programme, which includes a three-day hunger strike by her at Hyderabad from April 15 and from then on, relay hunger strikes by the leaders of the party all over the State till such time the state government comes out with a notification for filling 1.91 lakh jobs in the government as promised by Chandrasekhar Rao. P4 Claims filed in APERC Discoms seek `2,542.86 crore true-up charges E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Vijayawada The three State power distribution companies (Discoms) have filed a petition in the Andhra Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission (APERC) seeking the approval of true-up charges of `2,542.86 crore pertaining to retail supply business for the financial year 2019-20. The APERC has invited views, suggestions or objec- tions on the true-up charges from public and stakeholders and it will hold a public hearing in this regard on May 12. True-up claim is the expenditure incurred by the Discoms over and above the approved annual revenue requirement by the True-up charges APERC due to variations in the approved and actual costs incurred. While the APSPDCL and APEPDCL made true-up claims of `1,167.75 crore and `701.28 crore, APCPDCL, in its first true-up filing, claimed `673.83 crore. Though the true-up claims were to be filed APSPDCL `1,167.75 cr APEPDCL `701.28 cr APCPDCL `673.83 cr B E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e Apprehending poaching by the BJP Assam’s Congress-led grand alli, ance of Opposition has moved 20 party candidates to a hotel in Jaipur. Eighteen from minority-based All India United Democratic Front and two from the Congress were sent to Rajasthan in a chartered plane on Friday . They all have been kept in Fairmont Hotel, where Rajasthan Congress MLAs were kept for days after rebellion by party leader Sachin Pilot. “We have just landed in Rajasthan. The Chief Minister (Ashok Gehlot) is making all arrangements for our stay one of them said. ,” Speculations are rife that the remaining Opposition candidates will fly out of Assam soon. The third and final phase Assam polls were held on April 6 and the results of the keenly-contested elections will be declared on May 2. Given past experiences, they are not taking any chances. In the last Manipur elections, the Congress had bagged 28 seats compared to the BJP’s 22 in the 60-member House but the latter managed to cobble together the numbers — courtesy defections — and form the government. Congress and AIUDF are components of the 10-party Opposition alliance, which was formed two months ago to oust the BJP from power. Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) is another key constituent of the alliance. Confirming this development, Congress Chief Whip in the Rajasthan Assembly Mahesh Joshi said, “It is now a well-known trend that the BJP tries to indulge in horse-trading. So, the aim is to take measures for protecting our people.” along with true-up petition and annual revenue requirement filings for the financial year 2021-22, the Discoms sought the APERC permission to file them later due to delay in completion of audit. “Views/objections/ suggestions on true-up charges may be sent to the secretary APERC, on or before , the public hearing on May 12 at 11 am through web hearing,” the commission said in its notice. P4 Buddha and what’s left of the citadel The possibility of the BJP indulging in dirty tricks and influence our candidates made us take the decision AIUDF organising secretary Md Aminul Islam It has become a trend that the BJP tries to break the Congress after losing polls. So, the allies want to take guard Congress general secretary R S Surjewala Twenty leaders have come from Assam and we have been asked to take care of them. I don’t know how long they will stay here Congress Chief Whip in Raj Assembly Mahesh Joshi etween the binary of a ladaku neta (the warlike Mamata Banerjee) and the PM’s fort-destroyer act, complete with taunts and slogans, there’s another figure who’s also in the contest—quite strangely in his absence. He is Bud, dhadeb Bhattacharjee. The 77-year-old former West Bengal CM’s failing health—especially respiratory trouble in this Covid season—has kept him away from the public stage. All that has come from him by way of intervention in this election season is a statement. He shot a single arrow, talking of “the unravelling of the Singur-Nandigram conspiracy”, and the irony of “the conspirators now fighting each other” in the silence of the graveyard. Where did he find ‘silence’ in this deafeningly high-decibel contest? What he refers to is the silence— West Bengal the lack of any discussion, amidst this very personalSANTWANA BHATTACHARYA ised campaign—on what he believes to be the real issue. That is, the derailed industrialisation of Bengal. His own attempt to reverse that, beginning from Singur-Nandigram, was a dark and fated one: it had cost Buddhadeb his government and led to his ignominious exit from electoral politics. He had even lost the Jadavpur seat to his former chief secretary Manish Gupta, , by a margin of over 16,000 votes. That was in 2011, when Mamata swept into power on what was called a mandate for paribartan (change). Ten years down the line, the BJP is riding on the idea of asol paribartan (real change). If that sounds like an echo, there are reasons why it resonates. They are the same reasons from a decade ago. Jobless youth are the most common sight everywhere in the state—even though Bengal’s unemployment, if CMIE data is to be believed, is less than that of Haryana, Rajasthan or Bihar. Indeed, at 17.4% as per the CMIE 2020 annual survey , Bengal’s unemployment is even less than the national average. But it’s nearly double compared to neighbouring Odisha and Assam’s 9.6%. Take the group of youth, all graduates, whiling away their time around a tea stall outside one of Bishnupur’s famous terracotta temples. None of them have jobs. Continued on P8
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10-04-2021 of The New Indian Express-Tadepalligudem