NEW DELHI 13 JUNE 2021 SUNDAY `12 PAGES 24 facebook/TheMorningStandard twitter.com/TheMornStandard https://epaper.morningstandard.in The Milk of Kindness Close Encounters of Many Kinds PLUS: 12 PAGES MAGAZINE Prabhu Chawla T J S George Shankkar Aiyar Ravi Shankar Remote Chances Pushpesh Pant Devapriya Roy Gautam Chintamani Sathya Saran No GST on black fungus medicine, rates cut for ventilators, sanitisers, test kits, ambulances Tax rate cut on essentials TESTING KITS & MACHINES MEDICINES Tocilizumab 5% nil Amphotericin B Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman addresses the media after chairing 44th GST Council meeting via video conferencing in New Delhi on Saturday | SHEKHAR YADAV THE GST Council on Saturday decided to maintain status quo on tax on Covid-19 vaccines, which will continue to be taxed at 5 per cent. However, the Council, which met via videoconferencing to discuss the recommendation by the Group of Ministers (GoM) on essential Covid supplies, slashed rates on medical grade oxygen, Covid testing kits, hand sanitiser and other items used in Covid-19 relief and management till September 30. “Five per cent GST on vaccines continues. The Centre will buy 75 per cent of vaccines as announced earlier and will also pay its GST. However, 70 per cent of income from GST will be shared with states,” Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told media after the GST Council meet. The FM explained that the existing 5 per cent GST on vaccines will not be a burden on users as the Centre is paying for 75 per cent of the vaccines which are given to citizens free of cost. However, those who go to private hospitals for vaccina- 5% nil Remdesivir 12% 5% Oxygen concentrator/generator 12% 5% Ventilators 12% 5% Ventilator mask/camula/helmet 12% 5% BiPAP machine 12% 5% High flow nasal camula device 12% 5% Present GST rate THE second wave of the pandemic has left another big challenge of handling biomedical waste (BMW) generated. There was nearly 50 per cent jump in Covid-related biomedical waste in just April-May this year and some of the high burden states are struggling to treat it. The data collated by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) shows that currently average quantity of Covid-related biomedical waste generation during May 2021 was about 203 tonnes per day (TPD), roughly 33 per cent of India’s non-Covid biomedical waste. The five states that generated about 50 per cent of this waste MADHYA PRADESH 7.3 ANDHRA PRADESH HARYANA TAMIL NADU UTTAR PRADESH KARNATAKA DELHI MAHARASHTRA GUJARAT KERALA 9.9 13.11 13.57 BMW GENERATION (TPD) 15.91 16.91 18.79 19.02 21.98 23.71 TPD: TONS PER DAY | BMW: BIO MEDICAL WASTE | SOURCE: CENTRAL POLLUTION CONTROL BOARD include Kerala, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Delhi and Karnataka. The peak generation of about 250 TPD was reported on May 10 while peak generation during the first wave in 2020 was in the range of 180-220 TPD. As the second wave started in February 2021, the Covid-relat- ed BMW generation saw a gradual increase in quantity from 53 TPD in February to 203 TPD in May (data available till May 10).The recently released CSE State of India’s Environment in Figures 2021 projects the lack of enough BMW treatment facilities in the country. Even Despite facing the challenges, there are indications that the BJP will not make any course corrections to woo turncoats. The saffron outfit is banking on them to strengthen its base in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Odisha, besides the traditional strongholds. “There are many good people in other parties who can make a good contribution by joining the BJP,” said a senior BJP leader M A N I S H A N A N D @ New Delhi OTHER COVID-19 RELATED RELIEF MATERIAL Pulse oxymeters including personal import 12% 5% Hand sanitizer 18% 5% Temperature check equipment 18% 5% Gas/electric/other furnace for crematorium 18% 5% Ambulances 28% 12% MUKUL Roy’s exit from the Bharatiya Janata Party and reports of more recent Trinamool Congress imports wanting to leave the party underline the challenges the saffron party faces in its attempt to expand its footprint outside its core base, the Hindi heartland. Most of the areas outside the Hindi belt are not the ideal breeding ground of the Hindutva ideology that the BJP professes. Recruits to the BJP do not have the same ideological commitment to the party and its beliefs as those from the saffron brigade’s stomping grounds. Yet the need to expand beyond its core area is necessary. So the BJP since 2014 has coopted leaders and workers from others parties, leading to its expansion in the northeast even. After the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP’s soaring ambition to expand across the country was mirrored in party’s long list of 13 vice presidents consisting of four turncoats. But as long as power or the prospect of power or the sharing of the perks of power is there, such recruits pose no problem and they remain glued to the party Take away . these three essentials and the glue begins to wane, giving birth to indiscipline and dissension. This reality check is what the BJP is experiencing not only in West Bengal but also in Tripura, Goa and to some extent in UP Tripura CM . Biplab Kumar Deb for past one-and-a-half years has been fending off a challenge from the “scheming” of the turncoats who had joined the BJP f ro m t h e T M C a n d t h e Congress. In Goa, the BJP is staring at the prospect of internal rebellion while differences between SOLAR LAMPS USHER NEW LIGHT IN LIVES Women in UP are making & selling these lamps fulfilling twin purpose of earning & learning | P5 H A R P R E E T BA J WA @ Chandigarh GRAND FEAT Czech Republic’s Barbora Krejcikova celebrates after winning her maiden French Open women’s title on Saturday | AFP DELHI COVID WATCH JUNE 11 Positive cases Recovery Active cases Deaths Containment zones Tests Positivity rate JUNE 12 238 504 3,922 24 8,032 77,112 0.31% 213 497 3,610 28 7,062 71,513 0.30% as BMW generation in India grew from 559 TPD to 619 TPD between 2017 and 2019, the percenta g e of BMW treated dropped from 92.8 per cent to 88 per cent. Bihar (where 69% BMW remained untreated) and Karnataka (where 47% BMW was not treated) are the worst offenders. According to Annual Report on Biomedical Waste Management in 2019 by the CPCB, the present generation of 619 TPD of BMW may look adequate at national perspective; however, at individual state’s level availability of CBWTFs (Common Biomedical Waste Treatment Facility) may vary with half of the states use deep burial pits for disposal of BMW. chief minister Pramod Sawant and state health minister Vishwajit Rane, a recruit from the Congress, are hogging the limelight. Rane is long time Congress CM Pratap Singh Rane’s son. In UP, the BJP made handsome gains in expanding party’s social constituency by importing leaders from the BSP in the run up to the 2017 UP elections. The likes of Dara Singh Chouhan, S P S Baghel and Swamy Prasad Mourya helped the BJP make quick gains among the most backward castes, which had earlier been loyal to the BSP. While such leaders have maintained a low profile in the Yogi Adityanath dispensation, BJP brass is well aware of the risks if they are not suitably rewarded. But despite these challenges, there are indications have the BJP will not make any course corrections to woo turncoats. Akalis eye 32% Dalit votes, tie up with BSP LIGHT Biomedical waste tsunami during second wave E X P R E SS N E WS S E R V I C E @ New Delhi No course corrections Roy exit a setback for BJP’s expansion outside core area GST rate recommended by GST Council id-19 who are at high risk for progressing to severe Covid-19. In the US, the approval was granted after a clinical trial showed substantial benefit to those who had received the therapy In India, too, the . combination of Casirivimab and Imdevimab by Roche India and Cipla, which can be given only to high-risk patients within 10 days of disease onset, was made available in May-end, following approval from the CDSCO. The drug comes in a twodose pack, with a patient needing one dose and costs `60,000 per patient and can be given in only outpatient setCONTINUED ON P7 tings. Of Enthusiasm and Patience Mukul Roy and son Subhranshu Roy after joining TMC in Kolkata | BIBHASH LODH Applicable rate 5% Medical grade oxygen Second Helping Taking the Street by Storm 12% 5% Other drugs recommended for Covid treatment ANTIBODY COCKTAIL IS A RAY OF HOPE AND DESPAIR A month after the antibody cocktail was approved for treating mild to moderate Covid-19 in high-risk patients in India, some leading private hospitals have said they have achieved remarkable results with its usage so far. This therapy due to , its exorbitant costs and complex manufacturing process, however, is likely to remain a niche product and not a widely used tool in the country’s fight against the pandemic. Monoclonal antibodies are laboratorymade proteins that mimic the Specified inflammatory diagnostic kits 12% 5% OXYGEN, OXYGEN GENERATION EQUIPMENT & RELATED DEVICES AMMA SPEAKS 12% 5% 12% 5% tion will have to bear the cost of GST. The Council also removed the 5 per cent tax on black fungus medicine Amphotericin B. Also, the rate on Covid drug Remdesivir has been lowered from 12 per cent to 5 per cent. The Council said more medicine will be added if it is recommended by the health department. However, the Council decided against cutting tax on RT-PCR machines, RNA extraction machines, and genome sequencing machines. These items currently attract 18 per cent GST. In the last GST Council meeting the finance minister announced a GoM headed by Meghalaya Deputy CM Conrad Sangma to examine whether any GST concessions or exemptions should be given on Covidrelief items. The GoM gave its recommendations on Tuesday and after that a single agenda meeting was called. However, finance ministers from states ruled by the Congress party expressed disapproval on not providing zerorate on Covid relief items and they walked out before the meeting concluded. immune system’s ability to fight off viruses. Of late, some monoclonal antibodies have been designed to target the spike protein of Covid — they don’t let the virus attach itself and enter into human cells. In February , the US drug regulator had issued an emergency use authorisation for monoclonal antibodies —bamlanivimab and etesevimab, months after then US President Donald Trump was treated with the therapy while infected with the virus. The antibody cocktail needs to be used only for patients with mild to moderate Cov- Covid testing kits Anti-coagulant like Heparin The tax cuts are valid till September 30 this year as against Augustend recommended by the Group of Ministers. The timeline may be extended, if required —NIRMALA SITHARAMAN, Finance Minister SUMI SUKANYA DUTTA @ New Delhi Journey of the Enlightened One EXCLUSIVE VOICES COVID DRUGS, TOOLS GET CHEAPER A N U R A D H A S H U K L A @ New Delhi Fowl is Fair High transmission reason for quicker drop in cases S O M R I TA G H OS H @ New Delhi THE national capital saw 28,000-plus single day Covid cases. June second week: the cases have hovered around 200 per day. Compared to the last three waves that Delhi saw, the fourth one has seen cases drop quickly . Experts believe the prime reason for such a drastic decline is because of a high infection rate and faster spread of the virus strain in the fourth wave. “The virus was very infectious. But once the virus circulation started to decline, its transmission too went down. These are interlinked -- the proportion in which it went up and spread, and then came down. A large number of people got infected. They developed immunity too. So, when people are immune, the virus cannot spread further,” said Lalit Kant, former Scientist ‘G’ and Head (Epidemiology and. Communicable Diseases Division), ICMR. 28,395, highest single-day spike 6,430 13,336 Cases declining 3,231 1,550 381 648 Apr 20 May 9 May 15 May 20 May 31 May 31 Jun 6 Dr Jugal Kishore, head, Community Medicine at Safdarjung Hospital, says the virus had involved a large number of people in a short span and that’s why the peak went up quickly. “Now when you have a large number of people infected in a very short span, mild-to-moderate cases take 7-10 days to recover. That is why the graph goes down,” he said. Experts say lockdowns have a minimal role to play in controlling such waves. “Lockdown is not the case. If it is because of that, then the peak wo u l d h ave b e e n m u ch delayed and blunt,” said Dr Kishore said. THE Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) on Saturday announced a pre-poll alliance for the 2022 Assembly elections in Punjab. The announcement in this regard was made jointly by SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal and BSP national general secretary Satish Chandra Mishra. The last two parties had come together in 1996 Lok Sabha elections bagging 11 out of the total 13 seats. Describing it as a new day in politics of Punjab, Badal said, “It is a big turn in Punjab’s politics.” On the seat-sharing formula, Badal said that the BSP will fight on 20 seats, while the SAD will contest on the remaining 97 seats. The BSP will contest on seven seats in the Malwa region, five seats in the Magha region and eight seats in the Doaba region. According to sources, the BSP wanted 35 seats but only got 20 seats. This is the same figure that was BJP’s quota when it contested elections in partnership with the Akalis. SAD, a former ally of the BJP , is aiming to fill the vacuum left in some seats after the end of the ties over farm laws. Punjab has 31.94 per cent scheduled caste populationthe highest in the country as per the 2011 census. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BSP got a vote share of 3.49 per cent. In 2017 assembly elections, the BSP vote share was 1.50 per cent but failed to get any seats.
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