chennai l saturday l may 01, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l vellore EDITION Former Attorney General Soli Sorabjee passes away Distinguished jurist and ex-Attorney General Soli Sorabjee, who appeared in many historic cases like S R Bommai, passed away on Friday Soli Sorabjee 9 March 1930 30 April 2021 Was admitted in hospital for covid Appeared in many historic cases He was admitted to a private hospital in South Delhi after getting infected with Covid-19. He is survived by wife, a daughter and two sons. A recipient of the Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian award of the country, the renowned human rights lawyer served as the Attorney General for India from 1989-90 and then from 1998-2004 ■ ■ Born in a Parsi family in 1930, Sorabjee enrolled at the bar in 1953 and was designated senior advocate by the Bombay HC in 1971 He appeared in many important cases including the Kesavananda Bharati matter on basic structure doctrine and the S R Bommai matter relating to invocation of President’s rule in states 2000-2006 Sorabjee Served as a member of the u.n. world court at The Hague for six years 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 FIR on oxygen appeal to draw contempt: SC NATIONWIDE Jab-o-meter Take your shot Govt’s special role to help Delhi Delhi represents people from the entire country, the bench said. “Centre has a peculiar role. Forget if someone wasn’t able to lift oxygen; you (Centre) have to push through to protect lives.” 10 l Mechanism to show A Covid-19 patient awaits admission for treatment at Jawaharlal Nehru Hospital in Ajmer, Rajasthan on Friday | pti curb spread of Covid; measures to ensure tankers and cylinders reach destination? low stock to hit brake on tn’s vax drive? l How to enable E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Chennai real time data on oxygen allocation to hospitals doable? l Restrictions to vax registration for illiterates or those without internet access? l Will one state get priority access over another to get jabs? How will manufacturers ensure equity? l Has Centre considered invoking Section 92 of the Patents Act to grant compulsory licences in the face of an emergency like this? l New variant isn’t getting detected in RT-PCR test. Medical centres are driving away patients without positive report or charging high sums. What’s the policy in place? l How have testing labs been directed to track second mutant variant? How is reasonable time frame met for reports? l What steps to regulate very high hospital bills? l What about shortage of med staff? How are docs safeguarded and treated for Covid? l How much oxygen will be made available to critical states? Non-food bank loans hit an all-time low of 4.9% in FY2020-21 E x p ress N ews S erv i ce @ Hyderabad Non-food bank credit growth plunged to an all-time low of 4.9% in FY21, according to RBI data. This is the first time growth touched such a low since 1971 when RBI began publishing data separately for food and non-food credit. Non-food credit includes loans given to industries, services sector, retail loans and agriculture and allied activities. This, along with food credit and priority sector loans, defines overall bank credit. Decline in non-food credit is critical as it accounts for 88% of overall bank credit. According to RBI’s deployment of gross bank credit by major sectors released on Friday industrial credit , growth fell to 0.4% in FY21 from 0.7% in FY20. But within this, large industries saw a decline of 0.8%. A year ago, it stood at a relatively respectable 0.6%. In contrast, medium industries saw a growth of 28.8%, perhaps led by the government’s credit-driven stimulus. But micro and small industries saw growth go from 1.7% in FY20 to a 0.5% in FY21. Services sector including tourism, hotels and restaurants, too saw credit growth decline from 7.4% to a dismal 1.4% during the same period. Several segments of non-food sectors, barring agriculture, medium industries and gold loans, saw credit growth decline over the previous fiscal. This includes retail loans such as housing, consumer durables and education loans. Gross bank credit at `97 lakh crore excluding priority sector loans plunged to 5% -- perhaps hitting an all-time low. Including priority sector loans to agriculture and industries, overall bank credit growth in FY21 stood at `109.5 lakh crore, or a growth of 5.6% — the lowest in 58 years. April 30 3,86,452 2,97,540 3,498 April 29 20,84,931 doses April 30 26,08,948 doses Our IPL Space K a n u S a r d a @ New Delhi point poser 3,79,257 2,69,507 3,645 Total doses: 15,48,54,096 Hearing must make a difference, says bench Coming down heavily on states that had ordered registration of FIRs against individuals appealing for help or sharing grievances on social media or elsewhere during the ongoing Covid pandemic, the Supreme Court on Friday warned that any such action will be treated as a contempt of court. A three-judge bench comprising justices D Y Chandrachud, L Nageswara Rao and S Ravindra Bhatt said, “We will treat this as contempt of our court. Let us hear the voices of our citizens and not clampdown.” The bench was hearing a suo motu case on the national plan to manage the Covid surge. The Uttar Pradesh government had recently ordered civil and criminal action against those making false appeals over social media seeking help for Covid-19. Regarding the situation in Delhi where there is an acute paucity of oxygen and ICU beds, the bench urged the Centre to expedite plans to save lives. It also asked the AAP government to adopt a cooperative attitude and a spirit of dialogue with the Centre. The bench posed 10 questions to the Centre, adding: “Our hearing must make a difference.” A detailed order will be available on Saturday The next hearing is slated for May 10. . The judges questioned the national vaccination programme with Justice Bhat asking Solicitor General Tushar Mehta why the Centre cannot buy 100% of the requirement. Sharing concern over the possible exclusion of the marginalised communities from the drive, the court said, “Fifty-nine crore Indians in 18-45 age group constitute a large segment. How will the poor and marginalised people find money to get vaccinated? We cannot have this private sector model.” Turning to the procurement policy, the bench said the jabs the states have to procure are overpriced. “AstraZeneca is providing vaccines at a far lower price to the US. Then why should we be paying so much? Manufacturers are charging you `150 but `300 or `400 to states. Why should we as a nation pay this? The price difference becomes `30-40,000 crore,” Justice Ravindra Bhat asked. P7 April 29 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths PUTTING the cart ahead of the horse, one might say, considering the government’s announcement of opening the vaccination drive for people in the age group of 18 to 44, but falling short of vaccine stock to go ahead with the initiative. Despite the delayed-yet-ambitious move to cover the younger population, the low stock of Covid-19 vaccines is hampering the drive across the country. Ergo, like many other States, Tamil Nadu might also not begin vaccinating people in the age bracket from May 1. Reason, the Union government is yet to give any information on the supply of vaccines to the State, said Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan, on . STATEWIDE Apr 29 Apr 30 Friday Speaking to the Fresh cases 17,897 18,692 press after inRecoveries 15,542 16,007 specting Unified Deaths 107 113 Command Centre (UCC) at the DMS campus, Radhakrishnan said, “The State is yet to receive any information from the Centre on things like how much supply the State would receive from the Serum Institute of India (SII) (Pune) and Bharat Biotech (Hyderabad).” Chennai city corporation commissioner Prakash said the city is not yet ready to vaccinate this group. Chennai is one of the Covid hotspots in the south. The Health Secretary said, “Instead of waiting till tomorrow (and disappoint people), I wish to clarify (now) that we are unsure when and how much out of the 1.5 crore doses of vaccine sought by the State will arrive.” continued on p4 A government school in Edamuri, Pathanamthitta (Kerala) is taking up veg cultivation to feed nearby villagers. The headmaster, teachers & staff have been cultivating vegetables in the one acre free land in the campus | P11 India to get 5 mn doses of Sputnik by June India will get 5 mn doses of Russian Covid vaccine Sputnik V by June, India’s ambassador to Russia Bala Venkatesh Varma said on Friday. “We expect 1.5-2 lakh readymade vaccines to be available in the early part of May. This will be increased by the middle and the latter part of May. It is likely that by May, total sputnik V doses will be probably more than 3 million,” he said Sedition law under apex court lens E x p ress N ews S erv i ce @ New Delhi Amid rising instances of state governments slapping charges of sedition against dissenting individuals, the Supreme Court on Friday sought response from the Centre on a plea challenging the Constitutional validity of the law. A bench justices U U Lalit, Indira Banerjee and K M Joseph were hearing a plea challenging section 124-A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, which penalises sedition. The plea, filed by journalists Kishorechandra Wangkhemcha and Kanhaiya Lal Shukla — working in e x p r e ss r e a d Illegal sale of Remdesivir: Cops bust three rackets T’malai: Arrest of a health worker at Tiruvannamalai Medical College Hospital has led to unearthing of at least three networks illegally selling Remdesivir for high prices. Among arrested were an MBBS graduate and a pharmacy assistant | P4 FIlmmaker KV Anand passes away at 54 Chennai: Acclaimed cinematographerfilmmaker KV Anand passed away in the wee hours of Friday after suffering a cardiac arrest. He was 54. KV Anand is survived by his wife and two daughters | P3 Manipur and Chhattisgarh, respectively — have urged the top court to declare Section 124-A as unconstitutional. The SC will give a detailed hearing in July. This comes months after a similar plea was dismissed by the court. The petition claimed that section 124-A infringes the fundamental right of freedom of speech and expression, guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution. FIRs were registered against them under Section 124A for comments and cartoons shared by them 37 on Facebook. There is frequent misuse, misapplication and abuse of Section 124-A since 1962, the petition said, adding that the abuse of a law, in itself, may not bear on the validity of the law but clearly points to the vagueness and uncertainty of the current law. The petition also argued that the vagueness of Section 124-A exerts an unacceptable chilling effect on the democratic freedoms of individuals who cannot enjoy there legitimate democratic rights and freedoms for fear of life imprisonment. Covid deaths recorded at Madurai GRH in 24 hours E x p ress N ews S erv i ce @ Madurai At least 37 Covid patients reportedly died at Government Rajaji Hospital (GRH) in just 24 hours till Friday evening. Sources said that until last October, the number of Covid deaths reported at the hospital was on declining trend. “However, there has been an alarming spike in the number in the past 15 days,” they said. An official said that in a day, at least 25 patients at GRH who are diagnosed with Covid-19 (tests positive in RT-PCR test) or clinical Covid (tests negative in RT-PCR test but has lung involvement akin to Covid patient) or suspected Covid (RT- PCR results awaited at the time of death) are being reported dead. In a span of 24 hours, at least 41 patients, admitted to Covid wings of GRH, died and were cremated/ buried at various places in Madurai and the surrounding districts on Friday sources said, adding that of , them, 37 had tested positive. “As a result, on Friday, long queues could be witnessed at the two electric crematoriums in the city. Due to an overwhelming number of bodies that arrive at the Thathaneri crematorium, the working hours were extended till 10 pm four days ago, based on an oral instruction from Madurai Corporation authorities,” sources said. P4
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