NOTE IT! An above average rise in note circulation in FY21 was reported by the RBI due to the pandemic. A look at the numbers CIRCULATION 16.8% 7.2% Spike in value Rise in volume `500 Notes were the most in circulation with a 31.1% share COIMBATORE FRIDAY MAY 28, 2021 `7.00 PAGES 12 LATE CITY EDITION RBI SLOWLY WITHDRAWING `2,000 NOTES FROM SYSTEM Since 2018, `1.82 lakh crore worth notes have been pulled out of circulation. RBI had frozen printing of pink notes 2 yrs ago RBI STATS 9.7% 85.7% Share of `500 and `2,000 notes in total value Fall in note indent (reprinting) order 0.3% Fall in supply of banknotes REASON: PRECAUTIONARY HOLDING OF CASH BY THE PUBLIC DUE TO COVID-19 REDUCING DEPENDENCY ON HIGH-VALUE NOTES The move indicates RBI’s intent to reduce dependency on high-value bank notes. From 33,632 lakh notes in circulation in 2018, the number fell to 27,398 lakh notes in 2021, a decrease of 6,234 lakh notes. In value terms, `2,000 face value notes worth `6,72,642 crore were in circulation in 2018, which came down to `4,90,195 crore in 2021, a decline of `1,82,447 crore | P10 RAMPING UP PRINTING OF `500 NOTES ■ ■ ■ A former RBI official said the withdrawn notes could have been soiled ones, which were not indented (reprinted) by the bank RBI is ramping up printing of `500 notes to match the demand for cash. It now accounts for 68.4% of total notes in circulation Another reason for the withdrawal could be to dissuade hoarders 45.48 cr WORTH SOILED `2,000 NOTES DISPOSED OF BY THE RBI IN 2020-21 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 Bridging trials waived off for global vaccine manufacturers S U M I S U K A N YA D U T TA @ New Delhi THE Centre has now decided to exempt foreign Covid-19 vaccine makers from bridging trials in India completely, after announcing last month that the first 100 beneficiaries of foreign vaccines will be assessed for seven days for safety outcomes before the vaccine is incorporated in the immunisation drive. The development comes in the backdrop of the negotiations between the Centre and Pfizer on the import of its vaccine, which is likely to begin in July. V K Paul, member (health) Niti Aayog, said in a press conference on Thursday that Pfizer has indicated the availability of its vaccine for India while other terms of the agreement are under discussion. “They have requested indemnity from all nations. We are examining this request. There is no decision as of now,” he added. A document, released by Niti Aayog to issue a detailed clarification on the narrative that the government is not doing enough to ramp up the supply said the Centre ‘proac, tively’ eased entry of vaccines approved by US FDA, EMA, UK’s MHRA and Japan’s PMDA, and WHO’s emergency use listing into India in April. “These vaccines will not need to undergo bridging trials,” said the statement. “The provision has now been amended to waive off the trial requirement altogether for the well-established vaccines manufactured in other countries.” FIRST PUNCH We will continue our constructive dialogue... It is the collective responsibility of elected officials, industry and civil society to safeguard the interests of the publicr Twitter statement The only instance of scuttling free speech... is Twitter itself and its opaque policies, as a result of which people’s accounts are suspended and tweets deleted arbitrarily without recourse Ministry’s statement Govt, Twitter turf fight gets nasty Both claim their goal is to protect user’s privacy EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi/Bengaluru GLOVES were off on Thursday as the spat between Twitter and the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) turned ugly with the former calling , out the Centre’s new regulatory regime and the latter saying the platform has no locus in dictating India’s legal policy framework. Both claimed their goal was to protect the user’s privacy and the freedom of speech and expression. With Twitter claiming it was being intimidated by the Delhi Police for flagging BJP leader Sambit Patra’s tweet on an alleged Congress toolkit as ‘manipulated media’, the latter piled on it, calling the statement mendacious, “designed to seek dubious sympathy and impede a lawful enquiry”. “Twitter Inc. has taken upon itself, in the garb of terms of service, to adjudicate the truth or otherwise of documents in public space. Twitter is purporting to be both an investigating authority as well as an adjudicating judicial authority It has . no legal sanction to be either. The only legal entity... to investigate is the police and to adjudicate is the courts,” said Delhi Police spokesperson Chenmoy Biswal. The ministry said the company is refusing to comply with those very regulations in the intermediary guidelines on the basis of which it is claiming a safe harbour from any criminal liability in India. The Centre said that Twitter’s statement is an attempt to dictate its terms to the world’s largest democracy . The ministry charged Twitter with being complacent in taking action against those who incited violence during the Red Fort violence, promoting vaccine hesitancy through its platform as well as showing Ladakh a part of China during the border disputes between two countries. It asked Twitter to stop beating around the bush and comply with the laws of land. “Twitter is just a social media platform and it has no locus in dictating what India’s legal policy framework should be,” the ministry said. Earlier in the day, Twitter said it is planning to advocate changes in the core elements of the recentlyframed social intermediary guidelines. “To keep our service available, we will strive to comply with applicable law in India. But, just as we do around the world, we will continue to be strictly guided by principles of transparency, a commitment to empowering every voice on the service, and protecting freedom of expression and privacy under the rule of law,” the company said in a statement. Full statements of Twitter, MeitY & Delhi Police on newindianexpress.com PANDEMIC CLOUDING NEAR-TERM ECONOMIC OUTLOOK, SAYS RBI S E SA S E N @ New Delhi WITH the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic continuing to wreak havoc on India’s healthcare infrastructure as well as the country’s economy, it could take several months before glimpses of an economic rebound could be seen. “The near-term outlook is clouded, with an accentuation of downside risks and potential externalities of global spillovers,” the Reserve Bank of India said in its annual report for 2020-21, released on Thursday. Even as daily new infections have started dropping, it still “remains high for comfort” and the macro-economic costs of this wave are likely to spill over into July the cen, tral bank noted. WHAT THE REPORT SAYS Sharp rally in the domestic equity markets despite expected GDP fall poses the ‘risk of a bubble’ Indian industry suffered deep losses due to the pandemic While the pandemic hit most sectors, it opened up vistas of expansion for domestic pharmaceutical firms The slow pace of inoculation and bleak global economic outlook also add to uncertainty . Already, most economists have trimmed India’s real GDP forecast to settle at 7-8% in FY22. RBI, which had projected 10.5% for the current financial year may also follow suit as its projection was based on the assess- ment done in March. For now, however, RBI has retained its projection. “This is the most optimistic scenario that can be envisaged at this juncture – it provides a limited window to establish strict pandemic protocols and logistics, ramp up vaccines production and medical supplies, fill gaps in the health infrastructure and build up stocks, especially of vaccines, in preparation for the next wave of infections. In all other outcomes, losses in terms of lives, jobs and output are likely to be adverse and long lasting” the RBI noted. Price instability the RBI said, , remains a key concern constraining monetary policy from utilising any available room to support growth. ‘LOVELY REPORT’ Sanction funds to feed stray animals during lockdown, HC tells State H A R I S H M U R A L I @ Chennai THE Madras High Court on Thursday observed that the committee appointed by the court to feed stray animals has come up with a “lovely report” to ensure that they are fed during the lockdown. The court also directed the State to take immediate steps to release required funds to procure fodder. The issue pertains to VE Shiva, founder of Mothers of Animals Welfare Trust, stating that stray animals are among the worst-affected due to the pandemic. The committee decided that rice and dal would be supplied to Blue Cross by the State Civil Supplies Corporation, through PDS. At least 5,000 kg of dog food and 200 kg of cat food should be procured and then replenished, said the committee. Placing water troughs in the city was also proposed. However, lack of funds was not forthcoming, the report said. During Thursday’s hearing before the first bench, advocate A Yogeshwaran submitted that the committee met twice, but lack of funds persists. The bench directed the State to mop up funds for the initiative. The court said, “Since the amount SECOND WAVE ON THE DOWNSWING COUNTERPUNCH which has to be expended would run into a few lakhs and not more, the State should release adequate funds to the Animal Husbandry Department for the stray animals to be fed to some extent.” The Advocate General submitted that a detailed proposal is already under consideration. The Animal Husbandry Department has sought an initial amount of `9 lakh. Calling for CSR funds from corporates, the bench said the government must ensure funds must go to feed the right mouths, and adjourned the plea to Monday . DISTRAUGHT Relatives attend to a woman who passes out while mourning the loss of a family member who succumbed to Covid-19, at a crematorium in Jammu on Thursday | PTI The Centre on Thursday said the second wave is on the ‘downswing’ and hoped the trend will be sustained even when restrictions are systematically relaxed. At the same time, it highlighted that the current number of active cases is ‘still very high’. The Centre stressed that any relaxation of curbs may be considered at an appropriate time in a graded manner Centre to decide soon on Chengalpattu vaccine unit E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Chennai A few hours after Chief Minister MK Stalin requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to hand over the Integrated Vaccine Complex at Thirukazhukundram in Chengalpattu district to the State government, Union Minister Piyush Goyal, in New Delhi, told State Industries Minister Thangam Thennarasu that the Centre would convey its decision in a week’s time. The complex, which can produce one billion doses annually has been lying unused , for years after it was built on a 100-acre land under the Universal Immunisation Programme of the Union government. This drew much criticism at a time when the country is facing a vaccine shortage and is dependent on private companies. In the national capital, Minister Thennarasu and DMK parliamentary party leader TR Baalu called on Goyal and conveyed the Chief Minister’s message. The duo told reporters that Goyal said the Centre was negotiating with certain companies and will convey its decision in a week’s time. They added that an investment of `300 GST COUNCIL MEET Remove tax on Covid medicine, clear GST dues, 7 states tell govt R A J E S H A S N A N I @ Jaipur AHEAD of the GST Council meeting on Friday, seven nonBJP ruled states have unanimously asked the Centre to remove the goods and services tax (GST) on medicines and medical equipment used to treat Covid19. At the moment, these attract GST in various slabs ranging from 5% to 18 %. The states also sought early release of the outstanding GST compensation to all states. “The Centre should have zero rates on goods related to Covid so that there is no loss of input credit and consumers can also get relief,” said Rajasthan Urban Development and Housing Minister Shanti Dhariwal in a virtual meeting of the finance ministers of West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand, Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Kerala and Rajasthan on Wednesday . Both the issues will be raised in the GST Council meeting on Friday sources said. , Both the issues will be raised in the GST Council meeting on Friday. States will also seek to enhance their additional borrowing limit to 5% of the GDP, sources said. The virtual meeting, hosted by Rajasthan minister Dhariwal, was attended by West Bengal finance minister Amit Mitra, Punjab’s Manpreet Singh Badal, Jharkhand’s Rameshwar Oraon, Chhattisgarh’s T S Singh Deo, Kerala’s K N Balagopal and Tamil Nadu minister Palanivel P10 Thiagarajan. NATIONWIDE MAY 26 MAY 27 Fresh cases 2,08,921 2,11,298 Recoveries 2,95,955 2,83,135 Deaths 4,157 3,847 TAMIL NADU MAY 26 MAY 27 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths 33,764 33,361 29,717 30,063 475 474 JAB-O-METER May 26 17,19,931 doses TAKE YOUR May 27 SHOT 26,58,218 doses TOTAL DOSES: 20,54,51,902 Black fungus claims 5 lives in Tamil Nadu? EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Vellore/Cuddalore/Krishnagiri CM: TN WILL MAKE EFFORTS TO COMMENCE PRODUCTION “The State will identify a suitable private partner immediately and make all efforts to commence production at the earliest. A suitable financial arrangement for the Centre to recover a part of its investment can be subsequently worked out, after commencement of operations,” Chief Minist MK Stalin wrote in his letter to PM crore is required to commence production of vaccines at the complex. Ten days ago, the Centre had called for tenders, but there are fewer takers for the same, and the process is thus getting delayed. On the production capacity the duo said two crore doses , within six months, and around eight crore doses in a year, could be produced. Earlier in the day Stalin, in his letter to , PM Modi, said the assets of this complex could be handed over to the State on lease, without any past liabilities and with full operational freedom. CONTINUED ON: P5 ALREADY reeling under the impact of the pandemic, the State has been plagued by yet another epidemic — muc o r m yc o s i s, c o m m o n l y known as black fungus. As many as five deaths were recorded across Tamil Nadu, in the past week, reportedly due to the said infection. In the first case, a 42-yearold man died at the Christian Medical College (CMC) in Vellore on Wednesday. The deceased was identified as K Muruganantham, a resident of Shenbakkam in Vellore, who was employed at a popular educational institute in the city Sources said he was . admitted to CMC on May 17 with irritation in eyes and a swab test showed him positive for Covid two days later. After undergoing treatment P4 for 10 days, he died.
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