chennai l saturday l may 29, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l vellore EDITION 30 states, UTs seek shorter CBSE Class XII board exams Holding exams risky: Delhi, Maharashtra Except Delhi and Maharashtra, all other states have written to the Centre saying these tests are crucial for students’ future According to Delhi and Maharashtra, allowing gathering at examination centres could cause massive risks of infection to students and teachers and these tests could turn into superspreader events. The other states also asked the Centre to organise shorter, 90-minute exams for all subjects, in which most questions will be objective or short answer types ■ June 1 Examinations to results in 45 days ■ “Most states are in favour of conducting shorter versions of tests for all subjects and completing the process from examination to results within 45 days,” said an official The official added if the tests are taken at all CBSE schools, it will raise the number of centres and will reduce crowding Final decision on class XII board examinations expected by then 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 Chennai: The Madras High Court on Friday issued a notification stating that it will hear only extremely urgent matters till June 11. Only three division benches and three single judges would function from June 1 to 11 in both the Principal and Madurai benches of the court | P4 Why you are spending more J73 It’s not just your grocery bill that has gone up this year after the second deadly wave of the pandemic. The cost of fuel and industrial commodities, too, have gone north, as the accompanying charts show, fueling inflation average cost of petrol on May 27 last year Petrol Prices (`/lt) Twitter yet to follow new IT rules New Delhi: Google, Facebook and WhatsApp have shared details with the Centre but Twitter is still not following the IT rules, sources said. Twitter has only shared details of a lawyer working in a law firm as their Nodal Contact Person and Grievance Officer, sources added Jab-o-meter May 27 Take 26,58,218 doses your May 28 shot 28,07,411 doses Total doses: 20,86,12,834 NATIONWIDE Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths MAY 27 MAY 28 2,11,298 1,86,364 2,83,135 2,59,459 3,847 3,660 corona relief kit as on 28 May 2021 93.68 99.94 93.72 95.28 96.8 97.36 94.46 95.66 99.43 95.99 100.17 Separate ward to treat black fungus Chennai: With more people getting affected by mucormycosis or black fungus, the Health Department for the first time opened a separate ward with six beds for treatment of the disease at the Omandurar Medical College Hospital in Chennai on Friday | P2 express illustration Average Retail Price Food items Sunflower oil (Packed) Palm oil (Packed) Soya Oil (Packed) Mustard oil (Packed) Vanaspati (Packed) Loose Tea Groundnut oil (Packed) Tur/Arhar Dal Gram Dal Onion Salt (Iodised) Masoor Dal Rice Milk (1 litre) Urad Dal Sugar Tomato Gur Moong Dal Atta Wheat Potato Prices (`) Prices (`) (As on May 27, 2020) (As on May 27, 2021) % change 110.94 87.2 101.78 118.28 90.52 220.09 147.51 93.78 67.65 20.69 16.08 77 34.2 46.77 103.69 39.7 18.9 48.32 111.66 31.29 28.86 25.72 172.57 133.24 151.01 168.84 128.82 282.59 175.64 107.84 76.75 23.46 17.85 85.44 35.98 49.17 108.68 39.44 18.25 46.03 106.12 29.3 26 19.16 55.55 52.8 48.38 42.75 42.31 28.4 19.07 14.99 13.45 13.39 11.01 10.96 5.2 5.13 4.81 0.71 -3.44 -4.74 -4.96 -6.36 -9.91 -25.51 All prices in Rs/kg unless mentioned otherwise Source: Ministry of Consumer affairs and commodity exchanges Steel (Hot rolled Coil) 67,000 37,350 Copper 4,13,400 Nickel Aluminium Lead Zinc TN extends lockdown till June 7, to supply free Corona relief kits Fresh cases dip marginally across State; Chennai records fewer than 3K cases 1,94,350 1,32,000 1,78,550 1,34,250 2,33,500 1,56,200 New Delhi Mumbai Kolkata Chennai Bengaluru Hyderabad Bhubaneswar Thiruvananathapuram Vijayawada Patna Jaipur Extremenly urgent matters only in HC 84.61 91.87 87.46 89.39 89.7 92.24 92.25 90.93 93.75 90 93.59 e x p r e s s r ead @ Chennai As expected, Chief Minister MK Stalin on Friday extended the ongoing complete lockdown in the State by another week, till 6 am on June 7. Supply of vegetables and fruits will continue through government departments while grocery will be sold through vehicles or push carts in association with local grocery shops. Besides, delivery of groceries at doorsteps of customers, for orders received over telephone and online, is allowed between 7 am and 6 pm. The Chief Minister, in a statement, said the decision to extend the lockdown was taken after a district-wise consultation and with a view to protect lives of people besides contain- Interim bail to TMC leaders tamil nadu Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths MAY 27 MAY 28 33,361 30,063 474 31,079 31,255 486 ing the spread of the infection. With a view to reduce difficulties faced by the public, Corona Relief Kits, containing 13 grocery items will be supplied to all rice cardholders in the State free of cost, in the month of June. Stalin also appealed to the general public not to step out of their homes unnecessarily He . urged people to strictly adhere to the guidelines to contain the spread of the infection, by wearing masks, maintaining physical distance and approaching the nearby hospital if one is showing Covid symptoms. Dielsel Prices (`/lt) as on 28 May 2021 J66 average cost of diesel on May 27 last year industry commodity 13,16,000 Price in tonne May 2021 May 2020 Data Compiled by: Sesa Sen According to sources, the 13 grocery items that are included in the Corona Relief Kit are likely to be: wheat flour, free flow iodised salt and rava (one kg each), sugar and urad dal (500 grams each), tamarind and bengal gram (250g each), mustard, cumin, turmeric powder and chilli powder (100g each), one branded bathing soap (125g) and one branded washing soap (250g). The State has also recorded a dip in fresh cases of Covid-19 since the intensified lockdown kicked in on May 24. While as many as 34,867 cases were recorded on that day Tamil Nadu , clocked 31,079 cases on Friday . The capital city, Chennai, has also seen a drastic drop, with 7,149 cases on May 10, 4,985 on May 24, and just 2,762 cases on May 28. Covid spike crumples Tiruppur’s textile industry Ex p r e ss N e ws S e r v i c e @ Kolkata 7,57,400 9,05,200 Sources said the 13 items included in the kit are likely to be: wheat flour, iodised salt & rava (1 kg each), sugar & urad dal (500g each), tamarind & bengal gram (250g each), mustard, cumin, turmeric powder & chilli powder (100g each), one branded bathing soap (125g) and one washing soap (250g) E X PRE S S N E W S S ERV I CE B I N I TA J A I S W A L @ Chennai A five-judge bench of the Calcutta High Court on Friday granted interim bail to three Trinamool MLAs, including two ministers, and a former mayor of Kolkata in the Narada sting operation case. Brushing aside Solicitor General Tushar Mehta’s apprehension that the accused are influential and could tamper with evidence, the bench said: ‘’The investigation started four years ago. Why the CBI did not arrest the accused in past four years? They were influential when the probe was going on.” Meanwhile, it emerged that a sitting judge of the Calcutta high court wrote on May 24 to the all brother judges, including acting chief justice Rajesh Bindal, questioning the way the case has been handled. “Our conduct is unbecoming of the majesty the HC commands. We have been reduced to a mockery am requesting all of us to sal....I vage the situation... (for) re-affirming sanctity of our Rules,” the judge said. P8 The sharp spike in cases in Tiruppur has wreaked havoc for the textile industry With no . drop in cases, the administration has imposed a strict lockdown in the city, where one of the biggest textile manufacturing clusters in the country is located. This has resulted in units closing down, with traders and exporters worried about completion of their export orders on time. “For the past three weeks, our factories have remained shut. We don’t have any idea when we can resume operations as there is no decrease in daily caseload in the region,” said Raja M Shanmugam, president of Tirupur Exporters’ As- sociation. The industry had recovered well from the first jolt of Covid and orderbooks of the units were full with export orders in the months that followed. Infact, export orders this year have increased by at least 15 to 20 per cent from preCovid levels as casual wear is in very much demand nowadays, said Shanmugam. The exporters and manufacturers were busy working on their orders when the second wave hit them. With lockdown imminent, many migrant workers left for their native. However, the manufacturers ran the show with local labourers, but the shut down has left them all in a lurch. continued on: p4 No GST relief for Covid vaccine for now, ministerial panel to look into it A N U R A DH A S H U K L A @ New Delhi THERE will be no immediate relief on GST over Covid-19 vaccine and medical supplies as the GST Council on Friday left taxes on these unchanged, though it decided to extend duty exemption on import of a medicine used for treatment of black fungus. The Council formed a Group of Ministers (GoM) to decide if any further exemption is required. “The GoM will submit its report on or before June 8. Any new rates will now be decided by the GoM,” FM Nirmala Sitharaman said. Currently, vaccines attract 5% GST. “The consensus was that before agreeing to fitment committee, a GoM should study if zero rated tax can be levied or for mal tax of 0.1%,” said coMPENSATION The Centre will use the same formula of back-to-back borrowing for GST compensation for this year, estimated at `1.58 lakh cr. Centre will call a special session to discuss extension of compensation period to states beyond 2022 | P10 sources. Chhattisgarh commercial tax minister T S Singhdeo said the argument that Input tax credit can be claimed only on those zero-rated goods which are imported or from SEZ is wrong. “This is limited to IGST not CGST. Section 9, 17 and section 52 of the CGST Act say that there is a provision of zero rated tax,” he said. While there will be no immediate relief on GST over various medical sur prises, a number of specified Covid-19 related goods such as medical oxygen, oxygen concentrators and other oxygen storage and transportation equipment, certain diagnostic markers test kits and Covid-19 vaccines, will be exempted from IGST. “The council has decided to exempt the import of relief items even if they are purchased. If these are meant for donating to the government or on recommendation of the state authority to any relief agents. Also. This exemption has been extended till 31st August 2021,” Sitharaman said. Further, in view of rising Black Fungus cases, the above exemption from IGST has been extended to Amphotericin B. Prime Minister Narendra Modi holding a cyclone review meeting with Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik; and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s no-show Mamata skips PM meet, Centre recalls Chief Secy M A N I S H A N A N D an d PR A N A B MO N D A L @ New Delhi/Kolkata The optics of the first in-person meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi had lined up with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at Kalaikunda, was as turbulent as cyclone Yaas itself, whose destruction they were expected to review, since the latter skipped the scheduled interaction. Defence minister Rajnath Singh expressed shock at the no-show, saying Mamata had violated the basic tenets of the Constitution’s federal system. The first fallout was the Centre’s order to recall Bengal Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay whose tenure was , extended for three months just four days ago. Bengal has been asked to send him to the Department of Personnel and Training’s office in Delhi by May 31 morning. Mamata has to relieve him first before he can be sent back. Mamata later met Modi for 15 minutes and presented a sheaf of papers containing the state government’s assessment of the cyclone damage. As for the meeting, the presence of the leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari was the trigger for Mamata’s anger, as Suvendu had defected from Trinamool to the BJP and defeated her in a tight race in Nandigram. But the Centre claimed invites to other Opposition leaders like Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury (Cong) too had gone out. But Adhir expressed his inability to make it as he was in Delhi for a meeting. However, he told this newspaper that he had been informed about the meeting only around 7.30 am on Friday. “It was not possible for me to attend it at p ande m ic dia r ie s Lockdown inducing behavioural changes in children with special needs E X PRE S S N E W S S ERV I CE @ Chennai The pandemic has turned over a new leaf in the learning aspects with schools going the digital way The classrooms are . now at fingertips, at least for those who can afford it. Gone are the days when teaching was confined within the four walls of a classroom. The phase is really worrisome as it poses serious challenges on learning and growth of children, with the most-affected among the lot being children with special needs. Con- fined to their homes with no socialisation and no opportunity to hang out with friends, some of them are showing behavioural changes, often leading to medical issues. Severe anger issues, obesity, mood swings are a few of the common problems they face. Children with special needs usually consult psychologists, speech and language coaches, and occupational therapists. But since the onset of the pandemic, receiving the same amount of care may not be possible in person. Not all care can be felt remotely as well, and there are many circumstances where such virtual care is inadequate. In many cases, parents have been forced to miss therapy and counselling sessions of their children, which impacts their physical and mental health. Experts feel the major cause of concern is that due to the prolonged lockdown, these children’s abilities to become independent may get compromised. The issues were discussed in detail in a webinar titled, “Childhood locked down, coping strategies for parents”, organised by Citizen Matters. P4 such short notice,” he said. The meeting in Odisha was attended by Chief Minister Navin Patnaik and also by Union ministers Dhar menda Pradhan and P C Sarangi, both hailing from the state. “The PM and the CM are not individuals, but institutions. Both discharge duties, swearing on the Constitution, for the public welfare. Such behaviour towards the prime minister is painful,” said Rajnath. Modi later announced financial assistance of `1,000 crore for Odisha, West Bengal and Jharkhand. Covid origin probe India on Friday supported calls for a full probe into the origins of Covid-19, days after US President Joe Biden asked American intelligence agencies to find out how coronavirus emerged in China | P7
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