bhubaneswar 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. India among recipients of vax to be supplied by US The Joe Biden administration on Thursday announced its Global Strategy for Vaccine Supply. Under this, several countries in Asia, including India, will get 7 million Covid-19 vaccine doses | P7 ritual for Rath Yatra As part of ‘Ratha Chaka Dera’ ritual, servitors fixing wheels to the axles of chariots in Puri on Thursday | Ranjan Ganguly 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 Take 22,45,112 doses your June 3 shot 26,24,971 doses Total doses: 22,37,27,632 Jab-o-meter june 2 odisha Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths 8,399 10,594 40 june 3 8,839 10,434 42 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 p r e ss r e a d Breakthrough infections rare and not fatal: AIIMS study New Delhi: A first genomic study of breakthrough infections In India, conducted at AIIMS, Delhi, during the peak of the second Covid-19 wave, has confirmed that the disease in those vaccinated is a rarity | P7 CMC leaves victims’ kin in lurch Cuttack: What can be a more telling example of the apathy and inconsiderate conduct of CMC than providing phone numbers of retired staff and unreachable persons as cremation helpline for hapless families who have lost their loved ones to Covid! | P2 variant analysis VOC B.1.617 losing transmissibility in State! Hemant Kumar Rout @ Bhubaneswar Is the highly infectious ‘double mutant’ that fuelled Covid-19 cases across the country in the second wave this year losing its transmissibility? The genome sequencing of samples in the last week of May in Odisha indicates that the presence of B.1.617 strain has reduced by almost onethird in the State. The new mutations of the variant were found in only around 40 per cent (pc) sam- ples, down from 60 pc during the first week of May. Of the three lineages of B.1.617, two lineages - B.1.617.1 and B.1.617.2 - have been detected in the State so far. An analysis of variants revealed the original B1 variant of coronavirus is fast replacing the B.1.617, also known as double mutant. Although the B.1.617 was a mutation of concern across the districts, current data shows it is being replaced by the old variants. Of the 903 samples sequenced till May 28 in the State, as many as 251 samples carried the B.1.617 lineages including 182 B.1.617.2 and 69 B.1.617.1. Only 30 samples were detected with the UK variant B.1.1.7 till April. “The share of double-mutant is declining. Around 40 pc of the 173 samples sequenced recently were found to have the twin mutations. The rest are B1 and other variants of less infectivity. The numbers are down in almost every district in Odisha,” said a researcher associated with genome sequencing. CONTINUED ON: P5 The share of double-mutant is declining. Around 40 pc of the 173 samples sequenced recently were found to have the twin mutations. The rest are B1 and other variants of less infectivity Researcher State slips 4 places, key SDGs not up to mark Odisha remains one among bottom five states; found lagging in key social parameters like poverty, health, edu, gender equality and peace E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Bhubaneswar Odisha has slipped four places in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) rankings released by the NITI Aayog for 2020-21. From 15th slot last year, it has fallen a few notches down to 19th rank. Though its composite score has improved from 58 to 61, putting it among the performers bracket, it remains among bottom five states along with Nagaland and Chhattisgarh. Performances of the states were assessed from 16 SDGs. Besides a drop in its ranks, the report of the NITI Aayog also exposed the State’s performance in several critical social sector parameters. In achieving the SDG goals - zero poverty, no hunger, good health and well being, quality education, gender equality and peace, justice and strong institutions - the State is found lagging in crucial areas. In No Poverty, its population below poverty line (32.59 pc), household covered by health insurance (47.7 pc) and those living in kutcha houses (14.2 Worrying stats from 15 to 19th rank Slip in SDG pc of population still 32.59 below poverty line pc of people still live in 14.2 kutcha houses Nearly 29 pc underweight and stunted children pc pregnant women are 47.6 anaemic 6 Crime against women at 103.5 per lakh among the highest in country pc) have shown no improvement. Employment provided against demand under MGNREGA has seen a marginal drop. The share of people living in kutcha houses is second only to Arunachal Pradesh’s 29 pc. In the Zero Hunger SDG, the picture is poor. Odisha still has 29.2 pc children below five years who are underweight and an equal number of children with stunted growth. Besides, 47.6 pc of pregnant women and 29.5 pc adolescents are anaemic. Gross value added in agriculture has shown a drop. The Decent and Economic Growth segment shows employment rate has grown from 7.1 pc in 2019 to 7.6 pc in 2020. In terms of manufacturing employment as a percentage of total employment, it has recorded a growth to 8.15 pc from 7.42 pc in 2019. Suprisingly, in Ease of Doing Business criteria under SDG Goal 8, it scored a zero. In Good Health and Well Being, the maternal mortality rate (MMR) has shown good improvement - from 168 deaths per one lakh live births to 150 while child mortality rate at 44 in 1,000 births has also registered an improvement from 48 in 2019. However, the number of physicians, nurses and midwives per 10,000 population remained at 39, a drop from 41 last year. Besides, in the Quality Education SDG, the State’s performance has improved rapidly to 9.52 pc from over 28 pc in 2019. However, only 68.71 pc of schools have access to infrastructure like electricity and drinking water. CONTINUED ON: P5
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