BHUBANESWAR l wednesday l june 02, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l JEYPORE EDITION Buzz on ‘modi admirer’ judge Arun Mishra as NHRC chief The retired SC judge’s name was reportedly pushed through by the Centre at a five-member selection panel meeting Modi-led panel clears it, Kharge dissents The committee, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, cleared the names of Justice Mishra and two others – ex-IB director Rajeev Jain and former chief justice of Jammu & Kashmir HC Mahesh Mittal Kumar. Opposition leader Mallikarjun Kharge, the lone member who is not from the ruling NDA, dissented citing lack of consultation prior to the meeting ■ 5 months No Dalit candidates in shortlist ■ Kharge raised a specific point of dissent about the lack of any candidates from the Dalit, Adivasi or minority communities While serving as an SC judge, Justice Mishra had raised eyebrows when he described PM Modi as a “visionary who could think globally and act locally” in a public function nO full-time head FOR n.h.r.c. after Justice H L Dattu retired IN DEC ’20 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 Test positivity Odisha seeks Central vax procurement, says ready to bear the cost Expr e ss N e ws S e rvic e @ Bhubaneswar District unlock norms include 70% vax among vulnerable ones Expr e ss N e ws S e rvic e @ New Delhi The Centre on Tuesday listed two crucial parameters for opening up districts after weeks of heavy restrictions to contain Covid-19: test positivity rate of less than 5% for at least a week; and a minimum of 70% vaccination coverage for the vulnerable groups. There are 344 districts in India as of now that have a positivity rate of under 5%. But there is no publicly available data yet on the districts that are anywhere near the 70% cut-off point of vaccination among vulnerable groups. The vulnerable population comprises people above the age of 60 as also the 45 + with comorbidities. “Gradual lifting (of lockdown) will not witness a massive surge. However, we have to ensure that vaccination is prioritised. The vaccination rate for the vulnerable population must be up to 70% and Covid-appropriate behaviour should be followed,” said Balram Bhargava, ICMR Director General. The World Health Organisation recommends a positivity rate of under 5% for at least two weeks before an outbreak can be considered to be under control in a geography . As coronavirus cases across India are now showing a declining trend, many states that had resorted to lockdowns are slowly opening up but some like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Chhattisgarh have extended the Covid-related curbs with specific relaxations. The weekly test positivity rate across India was 8.31% on Monday while the daily positivity rate that had crossed 22% in early May, tapered down to 6.62% on the last day of the month. Thirty states reported a decline in active cases since last week, which now stands at 18.95 lakh. MAY 31 NATIONWIDE Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths june 1 1,52,734 1,27,510 2,38,022 2,55,287 3,128 2,795 May 31 25,52,501 doses June 1 22,08,941 doses Total doses: 21,83,58,591 Jab-o-meter Take your shot ODISHA Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths MAY 31 8,313 10,405 35 june 1 8,735 11,095 37 State reports 1st recovery of black fungus patient Bhubaneswar: Amid the rising mucormycosis (black fungus) cases across the country, Odisha on Tuesday reported the recovery of a patient from the deadly disease. The 44-year-old man from Ganjam is the first to recover from the disease in the State. Doctors at SUM Ultimate Medicare treated the patient who was diagnosed with black fungus nearly five days after his recovery from Covid-19, by opting for the surgical route | P2 With vaccine manufacturers shying away from the global tender floated by it, Odisha on Tuesday joined several other states in demanding Central procurement of vaccines, but said it is ready to bear the cost of the supplies. Foreign manufacturers including Pfizer and Moderna have not participated in the tender because of indemnity issues and preferred to deal directly with the Centre in this regard. Health and Family Welfare Minister Naba Kishore Das said as indemnity related issues fall within the domain of the Centre, the latter should procure the vaccines and distribute among the states. He emphasised that the State government will pay for the vaccine doses procured by the Centre on its behalf. The State gover nment’s move comes a day after Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan wrote to 11 non-BJP chief ministers including Naveen Patnaik urging Flu shots for kids can cut Covid rush at hospitals: Experts e X P R E S S n E W S sE R V I C E @ New Delhi / Bengaluru / Hyderabad AMID concerns that children, who are not vaccinated against Covid-19, might be the biggest casualty in the next pandemic wave, the Centre on Tuesday said it will soon issue guidelines for Covid-19 management in kids and prepare hospital infrastructure to face any influx of child patients. However, Dr V K Paul, Niti Aayog member (health) and chairman of national Covid-19 task force, on Tuesday said that so far, only 2-3% of Covidinfected kids have required hospital care. Dr Paul, who himself is a paediatrician, averred that available scientific evidence suggests that children are less susceptible to severe disease. He said the government is nevertheless prepared for any exigency “We will strengthen . our facilities as required and do an audit of what is required and what might be required in a worst-case scenario,” he said. According to public health expert Chandrakant Lahariya, serosurveys have shown prevalence of infection was similar across all age groups. “So, a large number of kids may have been affected already he ,” pointed out. But not many kids became seriously ill. This is because children have smaller number of ACE 2 receptors, which the coronavirus uses to enter the human cells, compared to adults, he added. While some doctors have advocated flu shots for kids to guard against Covid, a senior paediatrician in AIIMS, Delhi said it may not be suitable for India. “The flu shots are prepared for influenza virus strains prevalent in Europe,” he said. Expressing similar views, Dr Jagadish Chinappa, a consultant child specialist at Manipal Hospitals in Bengaluru, said vaccinating children with flu shots will not protect them from the risk of Covid-19 infection. However, it will help avoid the confusion if the cough, cold and fever in children are due to Covid-19 or influenza. “The Indian Paediatric Society has recommended vaccinating children to only reduce the need for Covid testing, decrease the burden on the healthcare system and protect children from influenza and not because the flu shot will prevent Covid-19. They are two different vaccines,” he CONTINUED ON: P7 added. Change in virus behaviour a cause of concern The Centre cautioned that even though Covid-19 has not taken a serious shape among children till now, its impact can increase among them if there is a change in virus behaviour or epidemiology dynamics them to unitedly press the Centre to procure vaccines and supply to states free of cost. However, Naveen government has made it clear that it is ready to bear the costs of the vaccines supplied by the Centre and will provide it free to the citizens. “Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is committed to providing vaccines free of cost to the people and the State will bear the cost of the vaccines,” Das said. In a letter to Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Tuesday Das urged the Centre , to act immediately on statutory clearances for global vaccine manufacturers which are interested for Central procurement and not participating in bids. “Global vaccine manufacturers like Pfizer and Moderna are concerned about @ Bhubaneswar Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday emphasised early identification of widows and orphans due to Covid casualties and asked officials to sanction pension to them under Madhu Babu Pension Yojana within the next 15 days. Reviewing the Covid situation in the State through video conference, the Chief Minister also asked the officials to s a n c t i o n a dva n c e t h re e months pension for all social security beneficiaries. The pension will be paid to the beneficiaries in cash in their villages, he added. Expressing concern over the black fungus cases in several states, the Chief Minister directed the officials to remain prepared to deal with any such situation in Odisha. He said trained doctors and medicines should be ensured to treat black fungus cases. He asked the officials to identify Covid and non-Covid black fungus patients and treat them in separate wards at all the medical colleges and hospitals and DHHs. Official sources said so far, 38 black fungus cases have been detected in the State out of which four have died and one has recovered. He hoped that the number of Covid cases in the State will come not be able provide vaccines to the states and there is an urgent need to scale up their capacities.” Das also sought flexibility to design and decide on distribution of vaccines for Odisha taking local f actors into consideration. In hilly terrains, internet connection is poor and online registration cannot be made mandatory in such areas, he said and added the State is aiming to vaccinate Plus Two students and their families on a priority CONTINUED ON: P5 basis. Decision taken so as to end anxiety among students, parents and teachers, says Modi; most states, however, had suggested pen-and-paper test; CISCE board follows suit CBSE Class XII boards nixed Expr e ss N e ws S e rvic e Possible evaluation criteria @ New Delhi The Centre on Tuesday decided to scrap the Class XII CBSE board examinations this year, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying at a high-level meeting that the “health and safety of our students is of utmost importance and there would be no compromise on this aspect.” Evaluation of marks will be made based on an objective criterion prepared by the board in a time-bound manner, the government said but the formula was released immediately . Sources in the CBSE said there might be changes in the evaluation criteria it had proposed earlier, according to which results of classes IX, X and XI, apart from internal assessments through Class XII, will be weighed in for scoring the students. “It has now been decided that Class X results and internal assessment of Class XII alone will be taken into account for preparing the final results and the detailed criteria will be released soon,” a senior CBSE official said. It has also been decided that for some of the students who may not be satisfied with 1 One proposal doing the rounds earlier was for the CBSE to consider the results of classes IX, X and XI, apart from internal assessments in Class XII, to arrive at the final score so that this does not become a zero year 2 While there is no official word yet, CBSE might just take Class X results and internal assessment of Class XII into account for preparing the final results 3 Students who want the option of written tests will get it when the Covid situation improves Health and safety... is of utmost importance.... In today’s time, such exams cannot be the reason to put our youth at risk. All stakeholders need to show sensitivity for students - Narendra Modi, prime minister the results, an option to write papers will be offered when the Covid situation is conducive. The decision to cancel the board exams came even though all states and Union Territories — barring Delhi and Maharashtra — had given written consent for conducting the penand-paper mode tests. The decision was taken after wide-ranging consultations, including a deliberation presided over by Modi and a second one by Union defence minister Ra- e x p r e ss r e ad BRICS FMs agree on Covid vaccine IPR waiver SC asks Centre for details of orphan plan New Delhi: BRICS leaders on Tuesday reiterated their commitment to equitable access to Covid vaccines and agreed to support the proposal for IPR waiver on the vaccines at the WTO. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, who chaired the meeting, said the principles guiding this grouping remain consistent | P7 New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday took note of the Centre’s welfare scheme to provide relief to children who have lost parents to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Centre has announced that the PM Cares Fund will be used for this purpose. The court sought details of the plan and the mechanism devised to monitor it | P7 Covid widows, orphans to get pension in 15 days: Naveen Expr e ss N e ws S e rvic e indemnity related issues among others. Secondly, they are willing to deal with federallevel Central procurement only at this stage. Global vaccine manufacturers will require Central government’s statutory clearances for supplying vaccines to the states,” he said. Even domestic players - Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech - have not participated in the pre-bid meeting, the Minister said, adding, “It is understood that in their present capacity they would down by the next week. However, he asked officials not to let their guard down and focus on child care for a possible third wave. Tests should be increased in cyclone affected areas, he directed. Stating that vaccination is the main weapon in the fight against the pandemic, the Chief Minister said supply of vaccines is likely to improve in the next month. Referring to appreciation from the United Nations’ Office for Disaster Risk Reduction for Odisha’s disaster management during cyclone Yaas, he said it was possible only due to community participa- tion. Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mahapatra said the government is now focusing on containment of infection in rural areas of the State. Additional Chief Secretary of Health and Family Welfare department PK Mohapatra said the situation has improved in the State and death rate has come down to 0.3 pc. Similarly pressure on ICU and , HDU is decreasing. Positivity rate has also come down in south and western Odisha districts. He, however, said the situation is still serious in 11 coastal districts from where 63 pc of the positive cases have been reported. Similarly, oxygen consumption has come down from from 69.78 tonne last week to 66.02 tonne. jnath Singh. “In view of the uncertain conditions due to Covid-19 and the feedback obtained from various stakeholders, it was decided that Class XII board exams would not be held this year. It was also decided that CBSE will take steps to compile the results of Class XII students as per a well-defined objective criterion in a time-bound manner,” the PMO said in a statement. The PM underlined that while the pandemic has affected the academic calendar, the issue of board examination has been causing immense anxiety among students, parents and teachers, which must be put to an end. “The Covid situation is dynamic across the country While . the numbers are coming down in the country and some states are managing the situation through effective micro-containment, some have still opted for lockdowns,” the PM was quoted having said in the meeting. “Students, parents and teachers are naturally worried about the health of the students in such a situation. Students should not be forced to appear for exams in such a stressful situation,” he added in the meeting where apart from Rajnath Singh, other ministers like Amit Shah, Nirmala Sitharaman, Prakash Javadekar, Piyush Goyal, Dharmendra Pradhan and Smriti Irani, and top officials were present. Meanwhile, following the decision on the CBSE, the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations, the country’s largest private education board, also announced its decision to cancel its Class XII board (ISC) exam for this year. Health of global economy The total global debt has reached $281 trillion — a whopping 340% of total global GDP of $84.5 trillion — according to the International Institute of Finance, raising concerns that the Covid-hit world is living beyond its means. The situation has been aggravated by increasing inflation and job losses. Here’s a look at how some major global and Asian economies are faring Country Japan US France South Korea Brazil UK India Germany Vietnam China Total debt Debt/ Consumer Unemployment ($tn) GDP (%) inflation(%) rate (%) 10.94 28.16 3 1.77 1.42 3.022 2.27 2.66 0.13 7.5 217% 134.50% 117% 110% 99% 97.50% 84% 70% 48.50% 47% -0.50% 4.20% 1.20% 2.30% 6.80% 1.50% 4.29% 2% 2.70% 0.90% 2.8 6.1 7.9 3.5 14.7 4.9 8 4.5 NA 5.1 Note: Debt/GDP ratio measures the ability of a country to repay its debt. A higher debt/GDP (usually over 100%) is not considered healthy for an economy Consumer Inflation data as of April; unemployment figures are latest available data Source: Govt bureaus, IIF, Moody’s Analytics c o v id u p da t e Odisha saw 3.19 lakh Covid cases, 737 deaths in May alone Bhubaneswar: While new Covid-19 cases are declining in Odisha, the State reported the highest single-day fatalities as 37 people succumbed to the disease in the last 24 hours taking the cumulative death toll to 2,791. As many as 8,735 fresh cases were detected from 62,293 samples during the period pushing the tally to 7,73,732. The tests included the highest 23,064 samples through RT-PCR bringing down the positivity rate to 14 per cent (pc) | P2 costly borrowing States’ borrowing cost soars 30 bps this fiscal The cost of funds for states, whose finances are crippled by the continuing lockdowns, has been heading north and so far this fiscal, the average interest rate on their market borrowings has jumped 30 basis points to 6.86%
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