kochi l saturday l may 29, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 16 l late city 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 Examinations to results in 45 days 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 ■ ■ “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 June 1 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 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 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, has gone north, as the accompanying charts show, fuelling inflation average cost of petrol on May 27 last year Relaxations for some businesses T’Puram: The state government has announced relaxation for certain businesses and activities from lockdown restrictions. P2 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 MAY 27 MAY 28 Fresh cases 2,11,298 1,86,364 Recoveries 2,83,135 2,71,770 Deaths 3,847 3,660 as on 28 May 2021 93.68 99.94 93.72 95.28 96.80 97.36 94.46 95.66 99.43 95.99 100.17 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 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths MAY 27 MAY 28 24,166 30,539 181 22,318 26,270 194 16 pages, including 4 pages of KOCHI Express Prices (D) Prices (I) (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 H/kg unless mentioned otherwise Source: Ministry of Consumer Affairs, commodity exchanges Steel (Hot rolled coil) statewide WHAT’S THE SCHEME Petrol Prices (I/lt) State’s vax papers to travel abroad T’Puram: The state government will issue Covid vaccination certificates to people travelling to foreign countries where it is mandatory. Various foreign countries demand vaccination certificates with the passport number of the visitor for travel clearance. P2 Copper 67,000 37,350 4,13,400 Nickel Aluminium Lead Zinc Court quashes 80:20 minority scholarship order; govt in a fix Kerala HC observes decision unconstitutional, LDF govt has been silent on issue No quick GST relief for Covid vax now, panel to look into it are imported or from SEZ is wrong. “This is limited to IGST THERE will be no immediate not CGST. Section 9, 17 and secrelief on GST over Covid-19 tion 52 of the CGST Act say vaccine and medical supplies that there is a provision of as the GST Council on Friday zero rated tax,” he said. left taxes on these unchanged, While there will be no immethough it decided to extend diate relief on GST over variduty exemption on import of a ous medical sur prises, a medicine used for treatment number of specified Covid-19 of black fungus. The Council related goods such as medical formed a Group oxygen, oxygen of Ministers concentrators and coMPENSATION (GoM) to decide if other oxygen storThe Centre will use the any further exage and transporsame formula of back-to- tation equipment, emption is back borrowing for GST required. certain diagnostic compensation for this “The GoM will markers test kits year, estimated at R1.58 submit its report and Covid-19 vaclakh cr. Centre will call a on or before June cines, will be exspecial session to 8. Any new rates empted from discuss extension of will now be decidIGST. compensation period to ed by the GoM,” “The Council states beyond 2022 | P10 has decided to exFM Nirmala Sitharaman said. Curempt the import rently, vaccines attract 5% of relief items even if they are GST. purchased. If these are meant “The consensus was that be- for donating to the governfore agreeing to fitment com- ment or on recommendation mittee, a GoM should study if of the state authority to any zero rated tax can be levied or relief agents. Also. This exfor mal tax of 0.1%,” said emption has been extended till sources. 31st August 2021,” Sitharaman Chhattisgarh commercial said. tax minister T S Singhdeo said Further, in view of rising the argument that Input tax black fungus cases, the above credit can be claimed only on exemption from IGST has been those zero-rated goods which extended to Amphotericin B. Diesel Prices (I/lt) J66 average cost of diesel on May 27 last year industrial commodities 13,16,000 Price in Rper tonne May 2021 The state provided 5,000 scholarships for degree and PG Muslim women students in 2008 Its benefit was extended to Latin Catholic and Converted Christian communities in 2011 A govt order in 2015 stated the reservation for Muslims and other minority communities would be in 80:20 ratio P R a m d a s @ Kochi THE Kerala High Court on Friday quashed a state government order that sub-classified minorities in the provision of merit-cum-means scholarships. The government had granted 80% scholarships to the Muslim community and 20% to Latin Catholic Christ i a n s a n d C o nve r t e d Christians. The High Court division bench comprising Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly observed that the government decision is unconstitutional and not supported by any law. The court also directed the government to pass appropriate orders providing merit-cum-means scholarships to members of the notified minority communities within the state equally and in accordance with the latest population census available with the State Minority Commission. The verdict has landed the Left government in a catch-22 situation with major Muslim organisations demanding that the state should appeal against the verdict. The LDF government has been maintaining a strategic silence on the issue though Christian and Muslim organisations had been making fifferent arguments from their points of view. Whatever may be the decision of the government regarding the appeal, it will upset either of the major minority groups. It may be re- tension mounts in udf Hurt Chennithala to Sonia: Chandy’s posting cost dear Mullappally skips meeting, leaders say didn’t see LDF wave E x pre s s N e w s Ser v i c e @ T’Puram as on 28 May 2021 7,57,400 9,05,200 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 Twitter yet to follow new IT rules 84.61 91.87 87.46 89.39 89.70 92.24 92.25 90.93 93.75 90 93.59 express read May 2020 Data Compiled by: Sesa Sen POLICY ADDRESS E x pre s s N e w s Ser v i c e @ T’Puram Pained by his removal from the Opposition leader post, Ramesh Chennithala, in a strongly worded letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, said the party high command’s decision to appoint the election management committee headed by Oommen Chandy alienated Hindu voters from the party and UDF. This was one of the major reasons for the Congress’ poll debacle in the state, he said. In the letter, he said, “Despite performing efficiently throughout the tenure, that too when the opposition activities were crippled by Covid, I was sidelined and humiliated by appointing an election management committee headed by Chandy at the fag end of my tenure, even after Chandy himself never wanted the same. That was one of the reasons for losing the ● More on P4 Hindu votes,” he said. Giving strong indications that all is not well in the Congress camp, the party’s state president Mullappally Ramachandran kept away from the UDF coordination committee meeting held here on Friday. Sources close to Mullappally said he skipped the meeting since he has already decided to step down from the post of party chief and is only a caretaker now. RSP leader Shibu Baby John too stayed away from the meeting. Sources said he is not happy with the way his party was treated by the UDF in recent times. The coalition partners who spoke at the meeting stressed the failure of the front in foreseeing the proLDF wave. The front misjudged the public feeling by seeing the crowd in the Aiswarya Kerala Yathra led by Opposition Leader Ramesh Chen● More on P4 nithala. called the LDF has analysed overwhelming support from Muslims and Christians across the state as a major reason for its thumping electoral win. Ahead of the assembly elections, BJP had used the issue to make inroads into Christian community In January . this year, a delegation of senior bishops from Kerala led by Cardinal Georg e Alancher ry and Cardinal Baselios Mar Cleemis had met PM Narendra Modi and lodged a formal complaint regarding the discrepancy in the distribution of scholarships to m i n o r i t y s t u d e n t s. T h e issue was later used as a campaign topic by BJP in central Kerala during the assembly ● More on P4 elections. L’dweep issue: Court seeks response from administrator E x pre s s N e w s Ser v i c e @Kochi The Kerala High Court on Friday sought the response from the administrator on a petition challenging the draft Lakshadweep Development Authority Regulation 2021, a proposal which is stated to be initiated for the development of towns on the island, but it did not allow an interim stay on implementing it. The draft bill gives sweeping, arbitrary unchecked pow, ers to the government and all its bodies to interfere directly with an islander’s right to possess and retain his/her property, argued petitioner K P Noushad Ali, secretary of Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee. K M Natarajan, Additional Solicitor General, who appeared for the administrator, sought two weeks’ time to inform the court of their views on the matter. At this, the petitioner’s counsel requested for an interim stay on implementing the regulation ● More on P5 till that time. Covid death count: Oppn leader wants probe A N U R AD H A S H U K L A @ New Delhi GUV CAUTIONS AGAINST IMPACT OF COVID ON ECONOMY Arif Mohammed Khan says the downturn in growth of GSDP would naturally have its adverse consequences on the state’s revenue receipts. P4 E x pre s s N e w s Ser v i c e @ T’Puram THE state government should probe the irregularities in the reporting of Covid deaths in the state, Opposition Leader V D Satheesan said on Friday . The state should ensure that all Covid-orphaned children get the benefits announced by the state government, Satheesan told mediapersons after the governor’s policy address. TNIE, in a report on Friday, said that thousands of Covidorphaned children would miss the benefits of the package announced by the chief minister on Thursday because of to under-reporting of deaths. “A lot of complaints have emerged from various quarters about the under-reporting of Covid deaths. If the state does so, a lot of deserving children will miss the benefits announced by the state,” he said. yaas & after Mamata skips PM’s cyclone meet, Centre recalls chief secy P R A N A B M O N DA L a n d MA N IS H A N A N D @ Kolkata/New Delhi 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 Cen- Narendra Modi holding a cyclone review meeting with Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik; West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee’s no-show tre’s order to recall Bengal Chief Secretary Alapan Banerjee, whose tenure was extended for three months on the CM’s request just four days ago. Bengal has been asked to send him to the Department of Person- nel 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 (Congress) too had gone out. 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 such short notice,” he said. Modi later announced financial assistance of `1,000 crore for Odisha, West Bengal and Jharkhand.
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