chennai l wednesday l june 02, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l vellore 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 Flu shots for kids can cut Covid rush at hospitals: Experts eXPR E SS n E WS s E RVIC E @ New Delhi / Bengaluru / Hyderabad District unlock norms include 70% vax among vulnerable ones 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 Covid-infected 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 @ 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 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 tamil nadu Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths MAY 31 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 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 added. CONTINUED ON: P7 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 E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e NATIONWIDE 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 point,” ed out. But not many kids became seriously ill. This is because children have smaller number of ACE 2 receptors, june 1 27,936 31,223 478 26,513 31,673 490 CBSE Class XII boards nixed E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e Possible evaluation criteria @ New Delhi Ignoring lockdown restrictions in place, people were seen taking a stroll on streets at Pondy Bazaar in Chennai on Tuesday | debadatta mallick If people cooperate, can end lockdown soon: CM one should understand that. The State has made arrangements to ensure supply of veg“Lockdown cannot go on and etables and groceries. Ration on. We have to end it soon. But, shops are also working. Soon, it depends on people’s coopera- relief kits will also be given to tion in breaking the chain of rice cardholders,” he said. Covid spread,” Chief Minister Touching upon a few of the MK Stalin said in a steps taken by the govvideo appeal to the ernment, the CM said, general public on Tues“Beds are now vacant day “Indeed the liveli. in many hospitals. On hood of a section of a daily basis, around people has been affectthree lakh people are ed by this lockdown being vaccinated. Simand it cannot be exilarly around 1.70 lakh , tended for a longer samples are being testTesting & time. The infection can ed per day .” vaccinating be arrested only if we Referring to his visit break the chain,” he On a daily basis, to the Covid ward in around three added. Coimbatore’s ESI hosStating that the com- lakh people are pital, he said, “Many plete lockdown has given vaccine in have commended my the State. started yielding revisit while a few others sults, the Chief Minis- Similarly, around chided me affection1.70 lakh ter said new cases in ately and advised that , samples are Chennai have come I have to protect mydown from the 7,000- being tested per self. But I have given day, said the levels to around 2,000 myself to protect peoChief Minister now, and within a few ple of Tamil Nadu. We days, it could be conare facing the second tained fully In the western zone, wave as we failed to put a full . including Coimbatore, the in- stop to the first one. Three fection was high in the previous weeks have passed since the week, but it has started coming DMK government assumed ofdown in the past couple of days, fice, and we have to plan for the he added. “There is no way out future in many departments. To to contain the infection except execute that quickly we have to , for a complete lockdown. Every- first break the Corona wall.” E XPR E SS N E WS S E RVIC E @ Chennai ex p r ess r e a d Western TN to get vaccines on priority: Health Min Chennai: Health Minister Ma Subramanian on Tuesday said that with the Centre’s supply of Covid vaccines to the State, Tamil Nadu now has a stock of 6.6 lakh doses. “So far, we gave vaccines equally to all districts. But now, western districts like Coimbatore, Erode and Tiruppur may get priority in distribution as there are higher cases there,” he said. 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- 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 New-gen must understand that marriages are sacramental: HC HARISH MURALI @ Chennai Expressing ‘concern’ over there being no provisions to deal with complaints against wives, filed by husbands, in the Domestic Violence Act, 2005, the Madras High Court has commented on the sacrament of a marriage, and said that the word has “lost its meaning”. The court said that the present generation must understand that marriage is not a contract to be broken at the drop of a hat, but “a sacramen- tal event” in a person’s life. “Of course, the word ‘sacrament’ has no meaning after the Domestic Violence Act, 2005, that approves live-in relationship, came into effect. Couples must realise that ‘ego’ and ‘intolerance’ are like footwear and should be left out of their house, else, the child/children will have to face a miserable life,” said the judge. The observations were made by Justice S Vaidhyanathan while quashing a suspension order of a government veteri- ‘Not a mere contract’ The court said that the present generation must understand that marriage is not a contract to be broken at the drop of a hat, but “a sacramental event” in a person’s life. The comments were made while quashing a suspension order of a veterinarian, issued after his wife lodged a domestic violence complaint narian, issued after his wife lodged a domestic violence complaint against him. According to the petitioner, he had moved a divorce application against his wife in 2015 because she deserted him. The family court also allowed the application on February 18, 2020. However just four days prior to the verdict, the wife filed a case under the Domestic Violence Act, that led to his suspension, said the petitioner. The judge, noting the timing of the wife’s complaint, observed, “It clearly shows she had anticipated the divorce order and created unnecessary trouble to the petitioner. Unfortunately, there is no provision like the Domestic Violence Act, for the husbands to proceed against their wives.” The court also directed the Department of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services to reinstate the petitioner to service within 15 days. 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. tn halts vax drive, then gets 4l doses E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Chennai Amid a dire vaccine shortage, Tamil Nadu on Tuesday received 4,20,570 additional doses of Covishield from the Central government. These will be used for people aged above 45 years. The Centre’s supply came hours after the State gover nment announced that it would be suspending vaccination till June 5 owing to the shortage. Health Minister Ma Subramanian, speaking to reporters at the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital in Chennai, said the doses will be distributed to all districts according to population. “We did not have enough doses as of Tuesday afternoon and if we had not gotten these, we may have had to suspend the drive,” he said. Earlier in the day, speaking at the Chengalpattu GH, the minister had said that the State expects to receive 42 lakh doses in different phases, from June 6. “MP TR Baalu was also asked by Chief Minister MK Stalin to camp in New Delhi to discuss with Centre’s officials regarding vaccine supply and an announcement on taking over the vaccine manufacturing plant at Chengalpattu,” he said. Meanwhile, the MP asked why the Centre was not importing vaccines from abroad to address the shortage. The former minister said that he had met Union Ministers, Harsh Vardhan and Piyush Goyal, and explained to them about the situation in Tamil Nadu. “I also told them about the need to open the Chengalpattu plant and they said they would let us know in a week. However, we do not know what happened after that,” said Baalu. continued on p4 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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