visakhapatnam l friday l june 04, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 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 Services activity contracts to 8-month low in May E XPR E SS N E WS S E RVIC E @ New Delhi 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. 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 servic, es 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. The survey highlighted that the overall demand contracted at the sharpest rate since August with foreign demand shrinking at the fastest pace since November. A disturbing finding of the survey was that services companies are pessimistic about this quarter’s growth prospects as many firms intensified job cuttings. Decline in business expectation, according to the survey, may force firms to cut jobs further in the coming months. Last year also, the services sector had pushed thousands of people out of work. SC quashes sedition case against Dua E x p r e s s N e w s Se 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. S e d i t i o n ch a r g e s we re slapped on Dua last year following his talk show criticising the Modi government’s handling of the Covid lockdown. But a bench led by Justice U U Lalit noted that Dua’s statements could at best be termed as disapprobation of actions of the government so as to get the situation addressed quickly . “They were certainly not made with the intent to incite people... The petitioner was within the permissible limits laid down in the decision of this court in Kedar Nath Singh. It may be that certain factual details...were not completely correct. However, considering the drift of the entire talk show and all the statements put together it cannot be said that the petitioner crossed the limits set out in the decision of this court in Kedar Nath Singh,” the P7 bench said. jagan launches mega housing scheme CM Jagan Mohan Reddy on Thursday launched the YSR Jagananna Colonies project, under which 15.60 lakh houses will be built at a cost of `28,084 cr in the State in the first phase | P4 Monsoon to set in Though monsoon is likely to reach AP in another two days, heavy rain lashed Machilipatnam on Thursday | P Ravindra Babu advance payment to block 30 cr Biological E vax doses E x p r e s s N e w s Se 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 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths june 2 june 3 1,32,788 1,34,154 2,31,456 2,11,499 3,207 2,887 June 2 22,45,112 doses June 3 26,24,971 doses Total doses: 22,37,27,632 Jab-o-meter Take your shot state wide Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths june 2 12,768 15,612 98 june 3 11,421 16,223 81 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 e x pr e s s r e a d Covid-19 patient jumps to death from hospital building in Vizag Visakhapatnam: In yet another incident, a 37-yearold Covid-19 patient died by suicide at Visakha Institute of Medical Sciences (VIMS) in the city on Thursday. M Venu Babu of Gollapalem in Bheemili, who was admitted to ICU in VIMS on Tuesday, jumped to death from the hospital building. While walking in the ward, he suddenly jumped through the window, eyewitnesses said. Police registered a case. This is the second suicide at VIMS. Four Covid patients died by suicide at King George Hospital. NITI A a y o g ’ s SDG I n d e x State ranks 4th in sustainable development E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Vijayawada Andhra Pradesh has emerged as one of the top five performing States in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the year 2020. NITI Aayog released the Sustainable Development Goals India Index 2020-21 on Thursday . With a composite score of 72, AP stood fourth in the country . Its overall performance has improved from 2019, when its composite score was 67. Kerala topped the list with composite score of 75, followed by Himachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu with 74. Beside Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Karnataka and Uttarakhand secured 72 points and were placed fifth, sixth and seventh respectively. India’s composite score on a global scale also improved from 60 in 2019 to 66 in 2020. AP stood first in SDG Goal 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy) by achieving 100 points. The State secured sixth place with 86 points in 2019. “The State getting 100 points in Affordable and Clean Energy is a great achievement. It is a result of continuous monitoring by Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy , who is committed to promoting clean energy. Complete electrification will have a positive impact for posterity . We are very happy for the recognition and will continue our efforts to remain on top,” Energy Minister Balineni SrinP4 ivasa Reddy said. Performance indicators 1st place SDG 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy) 2nd place SDG 14 (Life Below Water) 4th place SDG 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation 5th place SDG 5 (Gender Equality) Jagan urges CMs to be on same page on vaccination Writes to counterparts on need to put pressure on Centre to take responsibility of vax drive; says none responded to AP’s tenders E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Vijayawada Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Thursday wanted CMs of all the States to speak in a single voice and urge the Centre to take charge and responsibility of Covid-19 vaccination drive in the entire country “As the situation has . now transformed into States versus Union, we as CMs shall speak in one voice and ensure that India overcomes this pandemic,’’ Jagan said, in a letter written to his counterparts in other States. He sent the letter to his counterparts in the wake of the State government’s bid to procure vaccine through global tenders drew a blank. The government floated global tenders on May 13 for procuring vaccines directly from manufacturers to vaccinate one crore people in the State. Stating that the sharpest weapon against Covid-19 is vaccine and India’s vaccination drive has to be even faster, a fact pointed out by several experts, Jagan in his letter said, Any delay in vaccinating the people would come at a heavy price YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, CM Positivity rate, active caseload decline The State has recorded 49% decline in positivity rate in the last 15 days, while the number of active Covid cases has come down to 32%. The recovery rate has also gone up to 90.98% from 84.32% May 16 June 02 25.56% 13.02% Positivity rate “We (Andhra Pradesh) had gone for a global tender in order to procure vaccines directly in line with our commitment to vaccinate everybody free of cost. The last date for submission of bids was June 3 (Thursday), but to my dismay no one , quoted and the reasons being the situation now getting transformed into States versus Union and so on and so forth. The situation is no longer in our control as far as procurement of vaccines is concerned.’’ Jagan further added that the vaccine drive is plagued by multiple coordination issues and some States are feeling that they are not getting enough (vaccines) and the global tenders floated by States are not getting the desired response. “Any delay in vaccinating the people would come at a heavy price,’’ he warned. “It is my request that as Chief Ministers, we speak in a single voice and urge the Centre to take charge and responsibility of the vaccination drive, the way it was happening in the early part of the P5 year,’’ Jagan said.
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04-06-2021 of The New Indian Express-Vishakapatnam