chennai l Sunday l may 30, 2021 l `12.00 l PAGES 26 l late city EDITION domestic Air travel to get costlier as base fare hiked Starting June 1, airfare would be 13-16% costlier, while carriers can operate at 50% of fleet capacity from the existing 80% duration-based hike, lowest fare at `2,300 Slump in traffic amid second wave Fare for less than 40 minute travel will be hiked from `2,300 to `2,600. Flights between 40- and 60-minute duration will have fares at a lower limit of `3,300. For flights of 60-90 minute duration, fare will be charged at `4,000; 90-120 minutes at `4,700; 150-180 minutes at `6,100; and 180-210 minutes will cost `7,400, the Ministry of Civil Aviation announced ■ ■ ■ The ministry said the revision was made after a surge in Covid cases resulted in a marked decrease in passenger traffic The new fare price limit will not include taxes and the airport development fees, which will be added to the passenger fare New fares will see a rise of `300 to `1,000 depending on duration 2nd hike in three months. In february, the fare was hiked by 10-13% 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 Real efficacy of Covaxin, Covishield under ICMR lens Centre’s help sought as TN to run out of vaccine in two days EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Tiruppur/Erode Tamil Nadu currently has about six lakh doses of Covid vaccines in stock and it would only be enough to inoculate people for two days across districts, said Health Minister Ma Subramanian on Saturday . Speaking to reporters after chairing a review meeting in Tiruppur on the day, he said the State has paid `85 crore and procured 13.85 lakh doses. Another 12 lakh doses are yet to arrive, he said. Stating that Tamil Nadu had so far, received 95.59 lakh doses of the vaccine and had in- NATIONWIDE Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths MAY 28 MAY 29 1,86,364 1,73,790 2,59,459 2,84,601 3,660 3,617 4,000 vaccinated people across 10 cities in India being tracked oculated nearly 84.5 lakh people, Subramanian said, “With the current stock, the department can conduct the drive for just two to three more days. For people aged over 45 years, we have six lakh doses, and for those in the 18-44 age group, we have two lakh doses.” He said DMK’s Sriperumbudur MP TR Baalu is camping in New Delhi for more than a week to bridge the communication between the Centre and the State to procure vaccines. Later in the day, he also inspected a newly-opened bed facility at the Government Erode Medical College Hospital. He recalled that the government has floated a global tender for 3.5 crore doses and the tender process will be completed on June 5. The procurement will be done over six months and everyone who is eligible would be vaccinated, he said. Besides, Chief Minister MK Stalin has sent a minister to Delhi to urge the Centre to take steps to commence vaccine production at Chengalpattu Integrated Vaccine Complex. If done swiftly, TN will be self-sufficient in producing vaccines, he added. p4 tamil nadu Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths MAY 28 31,079 31,255 486 MAY 29 30,016 31,759 486 Inhumane to levy tax on life-saving drugs: PTR EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Chennai Tamil Nadu Finance Minister Palanivel Thiagarajan on Saturday expressed concern over the unduly long discussions happening on granting tax exemption for life-saving drugs and equipment for Covid patients. Tamil Nadu and many other States had sought this concession for a short period of time to make them available at reduced prices. Briefing reporters at the Secretariat about the 43rd GST Council meeting that happened on Friday, the minister said, “It is inhumane to levy tax on life-saving drugs and equipment during a pandemic. The zero rating GST for these items would come to a few thousand crores at the national level. I wonder why the government cannot give up this nominal amount for the sake of the poor.” Thiagarajan took a dig at the Central government, saying, “If the government has to survive on the GST collected for these drugs, I would say the government is inefficient.” Explaining what happened at the meeting, the minister said, “The demand for zero rating GST for Covid medicines was countered saying that there was no rule in the GST Code to provide for that. “However, Finance Ministers of many States pointed out that there indeed was a clause dealing with this. Either zero rating can be done or it can be fixed at 0.1 per cent. But after this was pointed out, the Council argued that there would be a slide in revenue if it was allowed,” he added. He heavily criticised the ‘One State, One Vote’ formula (with no consideration of either population, or GSDP, or proportion of national production or consumption) for the GST Council, since this arrangement perpetuates injustice against larger, well-developed States in multiple ways. S u m i S u k a n ya Du t ta @ New Delhi Jab-o-meter May 28 Take 28,07,411 doses your May 29 shot 28,09,436doses Total doses: 21,18,39,768 A health worker administering vaccine to a beneficiary at a drive-through centre on MG Road in Gurugram on Saturday. Such facilities have been started to prevent overcrowding | PtI EXPRESS READ Vairamuthu to return award as jury rethinks decision Chennai: Lyricist Vairamuthu has announced that he would be returning the prestigious ONV Award. The decision follows ONV Cultural Academy President Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s statement that the jury would be reconsidering its original decision after a social media backlash | P5 Renowned academician Anandakrishnan dies at 93 Chennai: Padma Shri M Anandakrishnan, a renowned educationist, former Vice-Chancellor (VC) of Anna University and chairman of the Board of Governors of the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, passed away on Saturday after battling Covid-19. He was 93 | P3 IN a bid to address concerns that Covid vaccines may not be offering full protection from serious infection, the Indian Council of Medical Research has started a crucial project to measure the real-world effectiveness of Covishield and Covaxin, authorities told TNIE. The exercise, which started earlier this week, is to peruse post-vaccination effects to understand if they run contrary to clinical trial results. Anecdotal reports suggest that a number of people who have taken two doses of both Covishield as well as Covaxin have landed in hospitals after contracting the virus and a few have died. However, there is no E xpress N ews S ervice @ New Delhi The Centre on Saturday decided that children who have lost both their parents due to Covid19 will be supported under ‘PMCARES for Children’ scheme, which will ensure educational their needs, including higher education. The decision was taken in a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to deliberate on the steps needed to help such Covid-orphaned children. The PM announced a number of benefits to children impacted by the current pandemic. PM CARES will contribute Showing the Gates PLUS 12 PAGES through a specially designed scheme to create a corpus of `10 lakh for each child when he or she reaches 18 years of age. The corpus will then be used to give monthly financial support for the next five years to take care of his or her personal requirements including higher education. Upon reaching the age of 23 years, he or she will get the corpus amount as a lump-sum payment. The scheme will also take full responsibility for the educational needs of such children, as they will be given admission in the nearest Kendriya Vidya- laya or in a private school as a day scholar. PM-CARES will pay for expenditure on uniform, text books and notebooks of such children. Children in the 11-18 age group will be given admission in any Central gover nment residential school such as Sainik School, Navodaya Vidyalaya etc. The scheme will also ensure enrollment of such children under Ayushman Bharat Scheme with a health insurance cover of `5 lakh. Premium for these children till the age of 18 years will be paid by PM-CARES. P9 Sulking BJP playing dirty games: Didi E xpress N ews S ervice @Kolkata Relief aid disbursal The West Bengal government will distribute Yaas cyclone relief through special task forces, which will bypass the local civic bodies. The decision follows allegations that people with close ties to the ruling party had wrongfully claimed relief in districts in the aftermath of cyclone Amphan | P10 The Prime Minister should not play ‘dirty games’ and instead withdraw the letter directing West Bengal’s top bureaucrat to report to Delhi, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Saturday . Not one to cower under attack, the CM added that the BJP failed to digest its defeat in the recent elections and the saffron camp is now pursuing ‘vendetta politics’. Mamata claimed that PM Narendra Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah were trying to create problems for her government at every step ever since her party came to power. West Bengal Chief Secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay was served the transfer notice after Mamata, whom he had accompanied, skipped a review meeting with the PM to assess Cyclone Yaas’ damages. “You (Modi and Shah) are not only disturbing me, but also my secretariat. You issued the letter without consulting the state government. Earlier, I wrote seeking Bandopadhyay’s three-month extension as he is assigned to oversee the fight against Covid and the government’s relief operation for cyclone victims. He was scheduled to retire on May 31 and the request was approved. Now you are asking him to report to the DoPT on the same day. Why? Is it because he is a Bengali bureaucrat?’’ asked Mamata. Many saw her statement as an extension of her election ploy of appealing to the Bengali sentiment of the masses. Continuing the same narrative, Mamata said she was ready touch Modi’s feet if needed for the sake of Bengal’s growth and development. B e f ittin g trib u te Pulwama martyr’s wife quits cushy job, joins Army “I love you Vibhu!” said Lt Nitika Kaul, wife of martyr Major Vibhuti Shankar Dhaundiyal, after a ceremony at the Officers Training Academy Chennai, on Saturday , . Chief of the Army’s Northern Command Lieutenant General Y K Joshi placed stars on Nitika Kaul’s shoulders. venting serious Covid. “This study is also crucial to determine whether the effect of vaccines is influenced by other factors such as age, prior Covid, number of doses and variants among others,” he added. Besides, the vaccination status of nearly 1,300 severe Covid-19 patients admitted in hospitals will be compared with that of 2,600 persons who are found Covid -ve in tests. “If the vaccines are effective, the proportion of the unvaccinated should be much higher among the 1,300 than among the 2,600,” said an ICMR official. “The study is expected to yield an actual number for effectiveness in percentage terms and the results are expected within the next 2-3 months.” PM-CARES to support Covid-orphaned children WITH THIS ISSUE V inee t U pa d h yay @ Dehradun concrete official data on such people so far. There have also been concerns that these vaccines may be less effective against the B.1.6.17 variant of SARS-CoV-2, the strain that has been driving the second wave of the pandemic in India. The exercise led by the Chennai-based National Institute of Epidemiology (NIE), under the ICMR, is using a case-control protocol of tracking about 4,000 people at 11 sites across 10 cities in India. Tarun Bhatnagar, a scientist with the NIE and also the principal investigator for the study said while clinical , trials give the efficacy data on whether vaccines will work, effectiveness study will gauge whether vaccines are working in real-world settings in pre- Nitika was married to Major Vibhuti Shankar Dhoundiyal for 9 months when he was killed in action fighting terrorists in Pulwama, Kashmir in February 2019. “He will always be a part of my life. I feel he is around looking at me, wishing me luck for having made it to the Army,” Ni- tika said. An engineer by training, Nitikia holds a master’s degree in business administration. She has worked with a corporate house as a business analyst for three years but left the job to join the Army She cleared written and in. terview of the Services Selection Board in February 2020 and re- ceived her letter in March 2020. “The day I stepped inside the academy, I imagined he too must have traversed the same path,” said Kaul. Vaishnavi, Nitika’s sister-in-law said, “We are happy but we miss Vibhuti. Nitika has been more than brave. She picked herself quickly and decided to follow in Vibhuti’s footsteps.” T N o f f ers re l ie f Chief Minister M K Stalin on Saturday announced a package of relief measures for children who have lost their parents to Covid in Tamil Nadu. Decisions in this regard were taken at a high-level meeting at the Secretariat `5 lakh to be deposited in banks in children’s name. The amount with interest will be given to them when they complete 18 years Admission on priority basis to these children in government homes and hostels State will bear all of their educational expenses till graduation, including hostel fees `3,000 per month will be given to children being taken care of by a relative or a guardian, till they attain the age of 18 A special district-level committee will monitor education and well-being of these children `3 lakh will be given as immediate relief assistance to women/men who lost their spouse to Covid and have children All government welfare schemes will be extended to these children on a priority basis; People who have lost their spouses and having children, too, will get this concession A steering committee, headed by the Finance Secretary and composed of NGOs, to form guidelines to implement the relief assistance
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