COIMBATORE TUESDAY JUNE 08, 2021 `7.00 PAGES 12 LATE CITY EDITION WORLD BANK CLEARS $500 MN TO SUPPORT MSMEs IN INDIA PROVIDING WORKING CAPITAL FOR SMALL BIZ The multilateral development bank said it will support Indian government’s efforts to revitalise the Covid-hit MSME sector ‘MSMEs ARE INDIAN ECONOMY’s BACKBONE’ The $500-million Raising and Accelerating Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Performance (RAMP) will provide better access to finance and working capital for MSMEs by strengthening the receivable financing markets. It will also scale up online dispute resolution mechanisms to address the problem of delayed payments, the World Bank said ■ ■ “The MSME sector, a critical backbone of India’s economy, has been hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Junaid Ahmad, World Bank Country Director in India He added that the RAMP programme will support MSMEs firms to return to pre-crisis production and employment levels 18.5 yrs IS THE MATURITY OF THE WORLD BANK LOAN WITH A 5.5-YR GRACE PERIOD 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 CENTRE BLINKS, ‘ARBITRARY & IRRATIONAL’ VAX POLICY NIXED Differential pricing for states chucked; govt to procure for 18+ too; new policy from June 21 Hold Class 12 practicals in online mode, says CBSE M A N I S H A N A N D @ New Delhi E X P R E SS N E WS S E R V I C E @ New Delhi MAKING a sharp course correction after widespread criticism, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday announced that the Centre will take full responsibility for free vaccinations across all age groups. Private hospitals, however, can continue procuring 25% of the manufactured vaccines and levy a maximum of `150 extra as service charge for administering the jab. The rollout of the rollback scheme will begin on June 21. Modi also announcing the extension of the PM Garib Kalyan Ann Yojna scheme till Deepavali, November 4, for 80 crore of the population to avail free foodgrains. In his address to the nation, Modi sought to put the earlier policy in place since May 1 in context, saying the decision to ask states to procure doses for the 18+ was taken in line with their demand that they be given greater flexibility . “From June 21, Monday, the Centre will provide vaccines for all citizens above the age of 18 years free of cost. The Centre will procure 75% of the vaccines manufactured and give them free to the states. No state in the country will have to bear any cost.” Modi added that the Centre and the states will work out the modalities of the rollout in the next two weeks. He also entrusted the states with the task of ensuring that private hospitals charge only `150 as service charge for vaccinations. The reverting to the pre-May 1 vaccination procurement policy came in the backdrop of a BALLPARK FISCAL COST OF FREE VACCINES Estimated total 94 cr number of adults Total number of doses required @ 188 cr two doses/person Doses administered as on 23.3 cr 6 June Total additional 164.7 cr doses required Cost of additonal doses at average `24,705 cr `150/dose 75% cost to be borne by the `18,528.75 cr Centre Total additional cost for the Centre A18,529 crore Note: We have assumed `150 per dose as Centre’s cost. This is excluding the logistics cost the Centre could incur number of chief ministers appealing the Centre to take full responsibility for the procurement besides the Supreme Court taking a hard look at the the policy formulation. Modi sought to project that the Centre is in full control of the situation to deal with the ongoing pandemic. Exuding confidence that India will be able to scale up vaccinations against Covid-19, Modi stated that seven vaccine candidates are at the trial stage, including three in advance stages, while work is in progress for a nasal vaccine. He informed that trials of two vaccines are on at a fast pace for children amid the scientific community expressing concerns about them being vulnerable in the next wave of the pandemic. SC’S SHARP POSERS & OBSERVATIONS Why don’t you procure vaccines also for the states? Dual pricing and procurement policy prima facie discriminatory Why can’t Centre pay from `35,000 crore budgetary allocation for procurement for the 18+? Universal vaccination, including for all 18+, is Centre’ primary responsibility Submit files on how the policy was conceived, including file notings Accept responsibility for policy skew: Oppn to govt E X P R E SS N E WS S E R V I C E @ New Delhi PRIME Minister Narendra Modi on Monday sought point fingers at states that sought decentralisation of the rollout, to deflect blame for framing the widely criticised Covid vaccination policy that came into effect on May 1. “The Centre had been running the vaccination since January 16, and the people were following all the protocol to get the jabs. But some of the states began demanding decentralisation, while there were questions about the age groups and the priority categories. Varied kinds of pressure tactics were employed, including questions about initial vaccinations of senior citizens,” he said. A similar line of argument earlier came from NITI Aayog member V K Paul, who had squarely blamed the states for messing up the campaign. But CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury criticised the PM for blaming oppositionrun states. “The Union government and the BJP must learn to accept responsibility for its failures when people of this country have paid with their lives. This incessant focus on spin and PR is an assault on and insult to the millions who perished in the pandemic,” he said. Yechury attributed the latest policy shift to pressure from the Supreme Court. Opposition ruled states broadly welcomed the decision. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin said “as the Prime Minister stressed multiple times that health is a state subject, it will be appropriate for each state to be given complete control over registration, validation and administration procedures.” Chhattisgarh health minister T S Singh Deo had a pithy one-liner: “der aaye dusrust aaye” (better late than never). Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said he had written twice to the PM and the Union health minister for Central procurement and distribution of vaccines for all age groups. “This was the only feasible soP7 lution,” he said. People thronged grocery stores on RG Street in Coimbatore after relaxed lockdown norms came into effect on Monday | U RAKESH KUMAR Lockdown bears fruit, Kovai’s caseload down by 50% in last 10 days E X P R E SS N E WS S E R V I C E @ Coimbatore IN an indication that the lockdown restrictions could be relaxed in Coimbatore too as in other districts, Municipal Administration Minister K N Nehru on Monday said that the number of positive cases in Coimbatore had come down by half over the last 10 days. Addressing media persons after a review meeting, Nehru said the Test Positivity Rate in Coimbatore city had come down to 16 per cent from 25 per cent in ten days and that strict containment measures like door-to-door screening and fever clinics were yielding result. “Similar to Chennai. suspect covid cases are being brought under the radar. The patients are either placed in home quarantine or at Covid care centres,” Nehru explained. He added the district has enough oxygen beds. NCLT clears Piramal group’s bid for home loan provider DHFL DIPAK MONDAL @ New Delhi AFTER many twists and turns as well as an acrimonious fight between Piramal and Adani groups, the corporate insolvency resolution process of DHFL has finally seen a closure with the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) approving Piramal Group’s bid for the distressed home loan provider. Piramal Group’s resolution plan offers `37,500 crore against creditors’ total claim of `86,700 crore. The creditors included banks, financial institutions as well as around 74,000 fixed deposit holders. As per Piramal’s plan, banks will have to take a haircut of 60-65% while it is even higher for fixed deposit holders at 75%. However, the NCLT order suggests the Committee of Creditors reconsider the amount for deposit holders. DHFL was referred to the NCLT by the Reserve Bank of India in November 2019, making it the first financial service provider to be taken to the tribunal for insolvency RBI invoked the new . rule for insolvency of financial services providers to refer DHFL for insolvency, over its failure to repay a loan from State Bank of India. NCLT admitted the insolvency application on 3 December 2019 and appointed R Subramaniakumar as the administrator. Also in the race for DHFL were Oaktree Capital, which had offered `34,000 crore, and Adani Group, which was ready to shell out `33,000 crore. While NCLT has approved Piramal’s bid, there are a few legal impediments. Ex-promoter of DHFL Kapil Wadhawan had offered for settlement and was ready to pay back `91,000 crore to creditors. After his offer was rejected, Wadhawan moved the Supreme Court. Hearings are pending. Another writ petition filed by a fixed depositor – Sasakawa-India Leprosy Foundation – challenging the constitutional validity of Financial Service Providers rule under the IBC Code is also pending before the Delhi High Court. Welcoming the NCLT order, the Piramal group said it is a significant milestone in DHFL’s resolution and an affirmation of the sanctity of the IBC process in India. The minister on Monday issued job orders to as many as 100 nurses, who were recruited on a contract basis to treat patients in various health care facilities. To a query on whether the contract with French company Suez Projects Private Limited, which is laying drinking water pipelines in old wards, would be cancelled, Nehru said that was a policy decision and that Chief Minister MK Stalin has powers in this regard. Elsewhere in the State, it seemed like the city had come back to its old normalcy as streams of vehicles filled the streets after relaxations kicked in on Monday . EXPRESS READ Newborn tests +ve with 90% lung infection in TN Chennai: In a rare case of virus transmission from mother to foetus, a baby has tested positive for Covid with around 90 per cent lung infection. The baby was rushed to the hospital with breathing difficulty just two hours after birth on May 24 | P4 What will happen to DHFL shares? The shares of DHFL would be delisted from stock exchanges post acquisition by Piramal Capital and Housing Finance, say experts citing IBC guidelines and Sebi delisting norms. According to sources, the company may merge itself with DHFL for which a call would be taken after all legal and regulatory clearances are obtained COVID WATCH 2,564 Fresh cases Deaths 26 Discharged 4,815 Active cases 29,268 Cumulative tally 1,90,593 THE Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) on Monday asked all schools affiliated with it to complete internal assessments by June-end and conduct practical examinations for Class 12 students online. The directive comes a week after the Centre, following a high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, decided to cancel the board examination this year in view of the pandemic. Nearly 12 lakh students had registered for the examinations, traditionally held in the month of March every year. The government has said students will be evaluated instead through a “well-defined” and “time-bound” criteria for an assessment plan, which is now being drafted and will include inter nal assessment among others. CBSE sources said many schools had approached it saying carrying out internal assessments was proving to be difficult as conducting practicals was a problem due to the Covid situation. “Schools with pending internal assessment and practicals should complete them through online mode and submit to the board by 28 June,” read the CBSE circular. The earlier deadline for uploading marks was June 11. The latest order gives schools extension for conducting practical work while underlining that no further extension will be given. Schools have also been asked to strictly adhere to Covid protocols while conducting the assessments. Hyatt Regency Mumbai suspends operations 18 DEAD IN PUNE CHEM FACTORY FIRE Fire bellows out of a unit at SVS Aqua Technologies at Ghotawade Phata in Pune on Monday | PTI | P8 Most of those killed are women workers At least 18 workers, mostly women, were charred to death in a devastating fire that broke out at a chemical firm in an industrial area in Pune district on Monday afternoon, officials said. One other worker suffered burn injuries Firm manufactures chlorine dioxide Maharashtra, Central govts announce `7L aid According to the officials, the fire broke out at SVS Aqua Technologies, which manufactures chlorine dioxide, and is located at Urawade in the Pirangut MIDC area of Mulshi tehsil on the outskirts of Pune city Maharashtra deputy CM Ajit Pawar announced an ex-gratia of `5 lakh to the families of those who died while Prime Minister Narendra Modi also announced `2 lakh each ex-gratia for the next of kin of the deceased Mumbai: Hyatt Regency Mumbai is set to shut down as it is unable to pay salaries. In a brief statement, General Manager Hardeep Marwah said Asian Hotels (West), which owns the five-star hotel, has not sent money for operations 1 MONTH OF STALIN AS CM Express gives you a lowdown of all key schemes and announcements he made in his first 31 days | P5 TAMIL NADU Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths NATIONWIDE 1-yr property tax waiver for Guj hotels, resorts Ahmedabad: The Gujarat government on Monday announced property tax waiver for one year for hotels, resorts, restaurants and water parks due to the coronavirus pandemic Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths JUNE 6 20,421 33,161 434 JUNE 6 JUNE 7 19,448 31,360 351 JUNE 7 1,14,460 1,00,636 1,89,232 1,74,399 2,677 2,427 June 6 33,53,539 doses June 7 31,04,989 doses TOTAL DOSES: 23,59,39,165 JAB-O-METER TAKE YOUR SHOT MONTH-LONG HOMEWORK BEFORE VERDICT Judge takes counselling to understand same-sex relationships E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Chennai “IGNORANCE is no justification to normalise any form of discrimination,” Justice Anand Venkatesh of Madras High Court stressed. In a country battling institutional indifference and prejudice, Justice Anand Venkatesh is an aberration, albeit a positive one. He took a month-long counselling to better understand same-sex relationships before passing a judgment on the matter. On Monday, he issued a slew of guidelines to the State and Centre to protect the rights of LGBTQIA+ persons in consensual relationships. Recalling his upbringing and the society at large, Justice Anand Venkatesh observed that historically the terms ‘homo- sexuals’, ‘gays’, and ‘lesbians’ were always met with anathema. “Personally, I have never encountered an LBTQIA+ person, which is why I needed the counselling to better understand the matter,” he said before writing the judgment. “Unlike regular litigations, the present case has given this court, not only an opportunity but also a vested responsibility to weigh the cause for inclusivity and justice against discrimination by bringing to the fore social understanding of morality and traditional notion.” “That being said, I also felt that I remove the “Lordship’s” hat and instead wear the hat of the average commoner in the society, who have not given thought to understand or accept, who are attempting to understand, who totally refuse to understand or accept the LGBTQIA+ community. I have no hesitation in accepting that I, too, belong to the majority of commoners who are yet to comprehend homosexuality completely Ignorance is no jus. tification for normalising any discrimination,” he said.
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