chennai l tuesday l june 01, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l vellore EDITION pLEA AGAINST Central Vista WORK REJECTED BY dELHI HC The court dismissed a petition seeking to stop construction activity at the site and imposed `1 lakh cost on the petitioner slams ill-intent, selective targeting not genuine public interest litigation The HC slammed the ill-intent behind selectively targeting the Vista work and said the project was of national importance that must be completed within the executive-set deadline of November 2021. The court dismissed the petitioner’s contention that a large gathering of workers at the site could become a super-spreader, saying Covid-19 protocols were in place ■ ■ ■ The Centre said the ongoing works were not for a new Parliament building, but to spruce up public amenities like new toilet blocks The government said the claims of the petitioner that there was no medical facility at the site was contrary to the ground reality The court dismissed the the plea, saying it was not a genuine PIL Jan 5 The sC gave green signal to the project by upholding its legality 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 Tough SC posers on vaccine policy, digital divide Ka n u S a r d a @ New Delhi The Centre had a torrid time before the Supreme Court on Monday as it was heavily criticised for its vaccination policy. A threejudge bench led by Justice D Y Chandrachud posed searching questions to Solicitor General Tushar Mehta on the policy and the rural-urban digital divide. Citing technical glitches on CoWIN application used for registration for vaccinations, Justice Bhat said he had received distress calls from all over the country and , added that young people, who had registered for vaccination, visit private hospitals, only to find all slots are booked. Asking to take its suggestions in the right spirit, the bench said: “We are not going to run the Central government and make policies for you.” Responding to the Centre’s request not interfere with the policy, Justice Chandrachud said is a platform for dialogue across the spectrum. “The idea is not to criticise, but to strengthen the arms of the government. The fact that MEA went abroad, had dialogue shows the seriousness of the situation,” he added. The Centre claimed it was confident of vaccinating all eligible persons over 18 years by this yearend. The court then gave two weeks to the Centre to file an affidavit responding to the questions raised during the hearing on the vaccine policy . P7 q u e s t i o n s a n d o b s e r vat i o n s 1 Article 1 of the Constitution says Bharat is a union of states, we are not a federation of states. In a time of national crisis, it is the Union which procure vaccines for the entirety of the country by negotiating What is the rationale behind 2 45+ getting free vaccines but asking states to make own arrangements for under-45? FY21 marks the worst performance of the country’s economy since 1951; major decline in private consumption and household spending; GDP grows at better-than-expected 1.6% in fourth quarter GDP growth at historic low of -7.3% A n u r a d h a S h u k l a @ New Delhi the Indian economy contracted 7.3% in 2020-21, posting its worst performance since 1951, government data released on Monday showed. Real GDP at constant prices stood at `135.13 lakh crore in FY21, against the first revised estimate of `145.69 lakh crore for FY20. Nominal GDP (at current prices) at `197.5 lakh crore for FY21 was 3% lower than `203.5 lakh crore in 2019-20. The 7.3% contraction, however, is better than the earlier estimate of 8% fall. The economy also grew 1.6% in the fourth quarter of FY21, bettering estimates of 1.1% growth. The positive growth in Q4 holds promise as private consumption, which accounts for 55% of the GDP showed a slight uptick -, from `21.04 lakh crore in Q4 of FY20 to `21.60 lah crore. Private investments, the second highest contributor to the GDP (34%), also showed signs of revival as they rose to `13.38 lakh crore from `12.07 lakh crore a year ago. For full year, though, private consumptions declined `7.6 lakh crore in real terms to `75.6 lakh crore despite pandemic forcing households to spend a fortune on healthcare, amid shortage of beds and oxygen. This drop was mainly on account of salary cuts, job losses and high medical bills. Private investments in real term also declined from `47.30 lakh crore to `42.20 lakh crore. State of the economy Sector-wise PERFORMANCE Growth rate (%) Indicators 2019-20 2020-21 Rice production 0.7 2.8 Fish production 4.4 17 Coal production -0.4 -4.8 Crude oil production -5.9 -5.2 Cement production -0.9 11.9 Steel cosumption 1.5 -6.7 Telephone subscribers -0.3 1.8 Commercial vehicle sales -28.8 -20.8 Passenger vehicle sales 17.8 -11.7 Passengers handled at airports -1.1 -66.2 Passengers kilometre (Railways) -10 -88.4 Export of goods & services -0.8 -1.7 Import of goods & services -4.6 -11.1 Manufacturing -1.4 -9.8 Mining 1.6 -7.8 Electricity 0.9 -0.5 Figures for Jan-Dec 2020 except for Bangladesh (July 2020-June 2021) and India (April 2020-March 2021). Source: Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation Source: World Bank, OECD, Govt data GDP growth is the lowest in India’s history since FY51, said Devendra Kumar Pant, chief economist at India Ratings and Research. “The previous lowest PFCE (private final consumption expenditure) growth was negative 2.2% in FY80 and lowest GFCF growth was negative 9.5% in FY58,” he added. While public expenditure by the government rose 2.91% in FY21, it is much slower than the 7.88% rise seen in FY20. On the supply side, barring agriculture, electricity and utility Fresh curbs: TN to allow emergency travel only E x p r e ss N e w s S e r v i c e @ Chennai Days after extending the lockdown, the State government has imposed inter-district travel restrictions for people travelling by air and rail as well. Currently, travel by train and flight within the State requires registration in the government portal https:// eregister .tnega.org/#/user/pass. Now, such travel is allowed only for medical emergencies, death and rituals, upon submission of relevant documents. “Police personnel, deployed at stations and check posts, have A quick look at how the economy struggled to cope with the Covid pandemic been directed to verify e-registration for both air and train passengers,” said a senior official. A senior railway official said owing to poor patronage, train services along several routes have already been cancelled till the second week of June. “With 112 trains, the zonal railway caters to passengers in the State, Kerala and other parts of the country As of now, these trains . receive minimum patronage. We will not be verifying e-registration; passengers with confirmed tickets will be allowed to travel,” said the official. HOW INDIA COMPARES WITH OTHER COUNTRIES GDP Country Growth in 2020(%) Bangladesh 3.60% Vietnam 2.90% China 2.30% South Korea -1.00% US -3.50% Japan -4.80% Germany -5.00% Thailand -6.10% India -7.30% Philippines -9.50% UK -9.80% services, all witnessed decline during FY21 and the services sector was severely hit, contracting 18.2%, followed by construction and mining at 8.6% and 8.5%, respectively . Sreejith Balasubramanian, Economist-Fund Management, IDFC AMC, said that with the onset of the second Covid-19 wave, the key aspects are how would household income and consumption shape up, the impact on and the contribution from the rural economy this time and investment pvt hospital charges `19L for treatment? Tiruppur: Relatives of a deceased Covid patient have submitted a petition to the District Collector alleging that the private hospital the patient was treated in, had charged them `19 lakh. The hospital has, however, refused to comment on the issue | P4 ‘sought more vax doses from centre’ Chennai: Health Minister Ma Subramanian on Monday said the State’s stock of Covid-19 vaccines will be exhausted within two days, and more supply is awaited from the Centre. “Once we get it, we will supply it to all districts,” he said | P4 Crafty Mamata gets to retain top babu P r a n a b M o n d a l @ Kolkata The tussle over the recall of Bengal Chief Secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay to Delhi took a dramatic turn on Monday with the officer opting out of the service extension granted to him, by retiring upon superannuation. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee promptly appointed him as advisor for three years, showing how good she is at playing mind games. The Centre had earlier accepted Mamata’s request for three-month extension to Bandopadhyay. But after Mamata stayed away from a meeting on cyclone Yaas with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday, the angry Centre played the Bandopadhyay card. Within the bureaucracy, state home secretary H K Dwivedi became the beneficiary of Bandopandhyay’s resignation, as he was appointed the new chief secretary . Earlier, Mamata wrote to Modi describing the Centre’s decision to transfer Bandopadhyay to Delhi as unilateral, unprecedented and unconstitutional. “The government of Bengal cannot release and it is not releasing its chief secretary at this critical hour, on the basis of our understanding that the earlier order of extension, issued after lawful consultation in accordance with applicable laws, remains operational and valid,” she said. Also, former bureaucrats, including D M Sukhtankar and Jawahar Sircar, criticised the Centre’s recall order, calling it a sheer misuse of power to humiliate the officer. Yet, the Union ministry of personnel later issued a show-cause notice to Bandopadhyay for not reporting for work in Delhi. and lending behaviour. “With exports alone insufficient to drive growth in the medium-term, demand visibility and thus a growthcycle in employment and wages becomes critical,” he added. Going ahead, the aftershocks of the second wave and prediction of a third wave may keep the growth trajectory on shaky ground this year with economists saying the pace of vaccination will determine how fast the economic will recover. Explaining the numbers, Chief Economic Advisor KV Subramanian said while the overall economic impact of the second wave is not likely to be large, it would be difficult to predict exact growth number amid predictions of a third wave. “Our assessment is it poses some downside risk to growth in the first quarter,” he said, while admitting that the economy needs fiscal support. Sakshi Gupta, senior economist at HDFC Bank, said while the yearon-year numbers for the AprilJune quarter might look upbeat due to a low base, the sequential growth is likely to contract. “Looking forward, while the year-on-year numbers for the first quarter might look upbeat due to a low base, the sequential growth is likely to contract. In particular, with the spread of the virus more acute in rural areas in this wave, rural demand and sectors dependent on the rural economy might come under stress.” media muzzled High time to define limits of sedition law: SC E x p r e ss N e w s S e r v i c e @ New Delhi Stating it was high time to define the limits of the sedition law on free speech and media rights, the Supreme Court on Monday gave protection to two Telugu TV channels from coercive action by the Andhra Police. FIRs were registered against the two channels – TV5 News and ABN Andhra Jyoti – for airing the statements made by rebel YSR Congress MP Raghu Rama Krishnam Raju. “If TV channels say something (news), it cannot be called sedition,” said a three-judge bench, led by Justice D Y Chandrachud, while hearing a plea by the channels, which had invoked Article 32 of the Constitution to initiate contempt proceedings against the Jagan Reddy government for muzzling free speech. The court had earlier granted bail to Raju, who was also named as an accused in the FIR registered on May 14. “This is a case of muzzling the media,” the bench observed, adding: “We are of the view that the provisions of section 124A (sedition) and 153A (promoting enmity between different groups) of the IPC require interpretation, particularly on the issue of the rights of press and free speech.” Continued on: P8 3 How are you ensuring that migrant agricultural labourers get vaccination? 4 25% of the 50% jab doses available to states, goes to private hospitals that primarily service urban areas. Core rural areas are getting left out NATIONWIDE MAY 30 may 31 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths 1,65,553 1,52,734 2,76,309 2,38,022 3,460 3,128 May 30 30,35,749 doses May 31 25,52,501 doses Total doses: 21,58,18,547 Jab-o-meter Take your shot tamil nadu MAY 30 may 31 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths 28,864 32,982 493 27,936 31,223 478 PF withdrawal allowed EPFO has allowed its over five crore subscribers to withdraw three months basic wages (basic pay + DA) or up to 75% of their PF as the second advance in view of the pandemic May the worst in case spike At the height of the second wave in May, India reported more than 88.82 lakh cases in a month, accounting for 31.67% of the over 2.8 crore cases reported in the country so far cases plateau in kovai Covid largely tamed in TN except for West O M J A S VIN M D , DEE PA K S AT HI S H @ Chennai, Coimbatore Western districts in Tamil Nadu continue to record an upward swing compared to data from other districts. Weekly cases calculated by Express show that Coimbatore, Erode and Tiruppur districts have clocked higher cases from May 24 to 30 than the previous week (May 17 to 23). However, the opposite trend was seen in northern districts like Chennai, Chengalpattu and Tiruvallur. While Coimbatore recorded 20,057 cases from May 17 to 23, it rose to 23,839 the next week. In the same period, there was a drastic fall in Chennai (from 34,339 to 18,173 cases). Cases in Erode and Tiruppur, too, rose from 9,157 and 9,447 to 10,096 and 10,866, respectively in the said period. A de, crease, similar to Chennai was visible in Chengalpattu, which recorded 13,082 from May 17 to 23, and 8,676 from May 24 to 30. In Tiruvallur, too, it fell from 9,783 to 6,801. Noticing the rise in cases, Chief Minister MK Stalin visited Coimbatore and Erode on Sunday Health officials . and ministers, too, have been making frequent tours to the districts. Meanwhile, Coimbatore district health department stated that the curve is entering a plateau. For the fourth consecutive day, the district reported fewer than 4,000 cases, with 3,488 cases being clocked on Monday . Speaking to Express, Coimbatore’s Deputy Director of Health Services (DDHS) S Senthilkumar said the plateau would continue for a few days until a descending trend in caseload. continued on: p4
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