kochi l friday l june 04, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 16 l late city EDITION ‘Gautam Gambhir Foundation hoarded Covid drug Fabiflu’ Delhi govt’s drug controller told the Delhi HC that the Foundation bought and distributed the Covid medicine without a licence Caused inconvenience to patients: DELHI HC AAP MLA, too, guilty of similar offence The HC was hearing a PIL alleging politicians procure huge quantities of Covid drugs even as patients were running from pillar to post to get them. The bench noted that while the BJP MP did a lot of charity, he also caused inconvenience to patients. The HC directed that action be taken against the Foundation as well as others who made unauthorised sales ■ ■ The court, however, ordered that no action be taken against those purchasing drugs on the black market out of desperation AAP MLA Praveen Kumar has also been found guilty for similar offences under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act and action will be taken against him, the court was informed 2,628 Strips of Fabiflu were bought using a doctor’s prescription 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 E x p r ess Ne w s S e r v i c e @ T’Puram IN AN EFFORT to bring down the Covid test positivity rate, the state has decided to impose additional restrictions from June 5 to 9. Commercial establishments which have been permitted to operate will be allowed to function on Friday from 9am to 7pm. They will remain closed from Saturday to Wednesday. Only shops selling essential commodities, goods for industrial establishments and construction materials will be allowed to open Kerala retains top spot in Niti Aayog rankings Death counting in dists The state government is mulling measures to confirm Covid deaths at the district level instead of the state level, as is the practice now. The chief minister has directed doctors to fix a proper criteria for categorising Covid deaths. during the period. At a high-level meeting on Covid control on Thursday, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan proposed several measures to lower the TPR. Government and E XPR E S S N E W S S E R V IC E @ New Delhi KERALA has retained the top rank in Niti Aayog’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) India Index 2020-21 for the third consecutive year, a recognition of its social, economic and environmental progress. Kerala bagged 75 points, an improvement from 70 and 69 in the previous years. Since its launch in December 2018, Kerala has been topping the index, which has become the primary tool for monitoring progress on the SDGs in the country. It has also fostered competition among the states and union territories by ranking them on the global goals. Bihar, Jharkhand and Assam were the worst performing states this year, as per the report released in New Delhi on Thursday . Kerala scored in segments such as ‘zero hunger’, ‘quality eduction’, and ‘affordable and clean energy’, according ● More on P4 to Niti Aayog. Activity in India’s services sector, which contributes the most to the country’s economy, contracted in May as reintroduction of Covid restrictions across the country dented demand, a monthly survey said on Thursday . The Nikkei/IHS Markit Services Purchasing Managers’ Index fell to an eight-month low of 46.4 in May from 54.0 in April, sliding below the 50-level by a big margin. An index below 50 means contraction. E x p r ess Ne w s S e r v i c e @ New Delhi The Supreme Court on Thursday quashed a sedition case against senior journalist Vinod Dua filed in Himachal Pradesh, saying a citizen has a right to criticise or comment upon measures taken by a government and its functionaries so long as he does not incite people to indulge in violence or create public disorder. The verdict comes days after another SC bench decided to examine the interpretation of sedition law, particularly on media rights and free speech. Sedition charges were slapped on Dua last year following his talk show criticising the Modi government’s handling of the lockdown. Allowed to function from June 5 to 9 (9am to 7.30pm) Ration shops (under PDS) Shops dealing with food, groceries, fruits & vegetables, milk & dairy products, meat & fish, animal fodder, poultry & cattle feed, bakeries Shops selling building materials including electrical and plumbing equipment, raw materials including for packing for industries Slump in new orders: Services sector activity shrinks to 8-month low in May E XPR E S S N E W S S E R V IC E @ Kochi SC quashes sedition case against Dua WHAT’S ON quasi-government offices, PSUs, Corporations, and Commissions will start functioning with 50% employees from June 10. They were earlier scheduled to begin from June 7. Permission has been given to cut rubber trees and plant new rubber saplings. Those engaged in garbage clearing too will be allowed to work. If Covid positive cases are reported in apartments, residents associations should alert health centres, police and local body offi● More on P4 cials. The dismal performance of the services sector, the worst in eight months, was accentuated by a drastic fall in new business orders, which forced companies to cut jobs at the fastest pace since October. High demand for MGNREGA work Demand for work under the rural job scheme has shot up in the past two months, data from the MGNREGA portal show. In March, 3.36 crore people opted for rural work; this zoomed to 3.52 crore in May and 3.61 cr in April | P10 Despite active Covid cases falling, localised lockdowns in many states have kept the services activities low. “While PMI data released at the start of the month showed that the manufacturing industry managed to keep its head above water in May, the services sector struggled as the pandemic escalated,” noted Pollyanna De Lima, economics associate director at IHS Markit. “The intensification of the Covid-19 crisis and associated restrictions suppressed domestic and international demand for Indian services,” she added. advance payment to block 30 cr Biological E vax doses E x p r ess Ne w s S e r v i c e @ New Delhi The Centre on Thursday announced advance payment of `1,500 crore to Hyderabadbased vaccine maker Biological E for procuring its Covid vaccine, still under phase 3 clinical trials, marking its first such jab deal. The government had entered into purchase agreements with Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech only after their shots had received regulatory approvals. The advance payment is to secure 30 crore doses of the vaccine candidate, which is a foreign construct, being produced in India. The candidate consists of NATIONWIDE june 2 june 3 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths 1,32,788 1,31,280 2,31,456 2,05,771 3,207 2,705 June 2 Take 22,45,112 doses your June 3 shot 26,24,971 doses Total doses: 22,37,27,632 Jab-o-meter statewide Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths june 2 19,661 29,708 213 june 3 18,853 26,569 153 an antigen developed by Texas Children’s Hospital Centre for Vaccine Development, inlicensed from BCM Ventures, Baylor College of Medicine’s integrated commercialization team, along with Dynavax Technologies — all in the US. The Centre said the vaccine candidate is currently undergoing phase 3 clinical trials after showing promising results in phases 1 and 2, whose details are yet to be published in a peer reviewed scientific journal. The vaccine, based on RBD protein subunit — had been tested in about 360 people between November and April in early-stage trials and has got approvals for latestage trials in 1,268 volunteers in the 18-80 age group. Wait for a few months It is not yet fully clear whether phase 3 trials have started in India. Biological E’s proposal was accepted after due diligence by a national expert group. The vaccine is likely to be available in a few months express read 80:20 scholarship ratio: Muslim groups call for law, not appeal Kozhikode: Certain Muslim organisations have altered their suggestions to overcome the impasse created by the Kerala High Court order that cancelled 80:20 ratio in the educational scholarships awarded to members of the community in the state. Earlier, all organisations had unanimously asked the state government to go for an appeal against the High Court verdict. They have reached a conclusion that enacting a legislation would be a better option. P5 16 pages, including 4 pages of KOCHI Express sudani boy’s death Yusuffali pays `1-cr blood money, saves a life E x p r ess Ne w s S e r v i c e @ Kochi A KERALITE, who was awaiting capital punishment in the UAE in connection with the death of a young boy, received a lease of life as NRI tycoon Yusuffali M A extended help by paying a compensation (blood money) of `1 crore (5 lakh dirhams) to the victim’s family . Becks Krishnan, 45, a native of Puthenchira in Thrissur, has been languishing in Al Wathba prison in Abu Dhabi for the past seven years after the UAE Supreme Abu Dhabi police Court sentenced him slapped murder chargto capital punishment es against him. The in 2013. police collected CCTV Krishnan was workfootage as proof and ing with a private comthe court awarded pany in Abu Dhabi death penalty . when he got entangled As all their efforts Becks Krishnan in the death row. On t o s ave K r i s h n a n September 7, 2012, failed, the family apKrishnan was driving to Musaf- proached Yusuffali with the fah to attend a job-related meet- help of BJP leader Sethumading when he lost control of the havan. Meanwhile, the family wheel and the car rammed into of the victim had returned and a group of kids playing on the settled in Sudan, which made roadside. A young Sudani boy efforts for mediation really dif● More on P4 died in the accident and the ficult. Rebirth: Krishnan Krishnan told Indian Embassy officials it was a rebirth for him and that he had lost hope of meeting his family at one point. He said he was waiting to meet Yusuffali and convey his gratitude. Less room, FM may play it safe in debut budget K N Balagopal to present budget at 9am today, hike in fair value of land expected, mobilising revenue amid pandemic stiff challenge M S V i d ya n a n d a n @ T’Puram FINANCE Minister K N Balagopal will present the maiden budget of the second Pinarayi Vijayan government on Friday. As additional resource mobilisation has become a necessity for the government in the wake of the pandemic, speculation is rife that the minister may propose a hike in the fair value of land, among other measures. The minister will present the renewed budget at 9am. Vote on account for the next three months will also be presented. Former finance minister T M Thomas Isaac had avoided tax hikes in the budget presented in January in the view of the assembly elections. A drastic fall in the GST revenue coupled with the drop in revenue from petroleum and liquor will force Balagopal to make announcements to shore up revenue. Additional revenue mobilisation is also imperative to fulfil the `1,600-crore worth of additional expenditure proposed in the previous budget. H1,19,930 cr the revenue expenditure in 2020-21 Finance Minister K N Balagopal after giving finishing touches to his debut budget speech at the Government Guest House in T’Puram on Thursday | B P Deepu WHAT TO EXPECT Stringent curbs in state from June 5 to 9 Additional revenue mobilisation imperative to fulfil the C1,600crore worth of additional expenditure proposed in the previous budget An increase in social security pension Handsome allocations to health sector Schemes to bridge the digital divide In Kerala, nearly 61% of the borrowed amount is spent for meeting the day-today expenditure or covering the revenue deficit. The state has been borrowing money for meeting the monthly expenditure B A Prakash, economist State’s deficit & borrowing soared by 60% last fiscal | P2 Ambitious initiatives like strengthening the knowledge economy, which was announced in the last budget of Isaac need solid funding and the challenge before the minister is to devise innovative schemes to mobilise revenue. The only solace for the state is that the revenue deficit grant from the Centre has been pegged at around `19,000 crore in FY 2021-22. Of this, the state has already got `4,972 crore as the allocations for the first two months of the fiscal. ● More on P2
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