HYDERABAD SATURDAY APRIL 10, 2021 `7.00 PAGES 16 LATE CITY EDITION SECOND COVID WAVE POSES HIGHER RISKS FOR ECONOMY Fitch Ratings on Friday said the second wave of infections poses increased risks for India’s fragile economic recovery and its banks BUSINESSES TO TAKE HUGE HIT IF CASES SPIKE CHALLENGING TIMES FOR BANKING SECTOR 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 ■ ■ 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 Y S Sharmila waves at the crowd during her Sankalpa Sabha in Khammam on Friday They (BJP and Cong) appear to be fighting with the TRS but all of them are chips off the same old block Y S Sharmila Sharmila’s speech shows fire, YSR’s soul SUMMONING the mood when her late father YS Rajasekhar Reddy took out his historic Praja Prasthanam Padyayatra on this day 18 years ago, Y S 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 who have been fighting for ownership rights on podu lands. 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 — Congress and the BJP — which were “all working hand in glove”. “They appear to be fighting with the TRS but all of them are chips off NATION WIDE Fresh cases Not just vax, Remdesivir supply short EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Khammam Recoveries Deaths APRIL 8 APRIL 9 1,26,789 1,31,968 59,258 61,899 685 780 MAHA PITCH FOR 1,200 VENTILATORS Apart from vaccines and Remdesivir shots, Maharashtra needs 1,200 more ventilators from the Centre, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said on Friday TELANGANA Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths APRIL 7 APRIL 8 2,055 2,478 303 363 7 5 EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ 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 Maharash- Paddy cultivation up by 238%, Telangana awaits bumper harvest E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Hyderabad TELANGANA is all set to register a new high in foodgrain production as the paddy area covered in 2020-21 Yasangi (Rabi) season is 237.85 per cent higher than the season normal. According to State Agriculture Department’s weekly report released on March 24, paddy was sown in 52,78,636 acres as against the season normal of 22,19,326 acres. With the construction of irrigation projects and filling the minor irrigation tanks with river waters, the total cultivable area in the State has been increasing season after the season. In the present Rabi, the season normal area of all the coarse grains is 4,93,283 acres. But the area sown is 6,10,782 acres, a 123.82 per cent increase compared to the seasonal normal. It may be recalled that the normal area of paddy cultivation in Kharif was 27,25,058 acres. In Kharif 2020, it was 53,33,477 acres, 196 per cent higher than the normal area. In all, paddy was cultivated in 1.06 crore acres in Kharif and Rabi seasons this year. The total paddy production, both Kharif and Rabi put together, is estimated to be CONTINUED ON P4 around 2.37 crore tonnes. India cross as US Navy does unauthorised drill MAYANK SINGH @ New Delhi TWO days after a US Navy conducted an unusual ‘navigation operation’ through India’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) off Lakshadweep Islands without prior permission, New Delhi on Friday conveyed its concerns to Washington through diplomatic channels. On Wednesday the US Navy said 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 are inconsistent with international law. Admiral Arun Prakash, ex-Indian Navy chief, termed the US move ‘ironical’, saying it is strange that US not only chose to violate India’s rights but publicise it. the same old block,” she said. As the launch of the party is three months away she announced an agi, tation programme, apparently to sustain the momentum, 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 every day till such time the State government comes out with a notification for filling 1.91 lakh jobs in the government as promised by ChanCONTINUED ON P4 drasekhar Rao. tra, Gujarat, Karnataka and MP Sev. enty-five of the 120 centres across Mumbai 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. CONTINUED ON P5 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 B EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Kolkata/New Delhi/Patna/Mumbai 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.” 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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