Czech Republic’s Barbora Krejcikova celebrates after winning the French Open women’s title on Saturday | AFP BHUBANESWAR l sunday l june 13, 2021 l `12.00 l PAGES 24 l JEYPORE EDITION two greats parry in paris, set, match & every point DJOKOVIC ‘on top of mount Everest’ Nadal did lead the first set but by the time it was done, the Serb had got a solid opening into Friday’s match. Forget who you support. The 90-minute third set is reserved for eternity where two of the sport’s greatest pushed each other their limits. Djokovic’s words aptly describes the match, “You have to kind of climb Mt Everest to win against this guy,” he later said World No 1 Novak Djokovic beats Rafael Nadal 3-6, 6-3, 7-6, 6-2 in one of the most exquisite semi-finals at French Open ■ 18 New czech-in: women’s champ barbora ■ ■ Barbora Krejcikova wins maiden Grand Slam title at French Open beating Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-1, 2-6, 6-4 The World No 33 becomes the first woman from Czech Republic to win a Grand Slam title in 40 years MEN’S FINAL: Djokovic vs Tsitsipas at 6.30pm (SUNDAY) | p11 number of grand slam titles djokovic has won 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 No tax on black fungus medicine; levy on several Covid essentials slashed; vaccine to be continued to be taxed at 5%; new rates applicable till Sept 30 GST Council offers Covid relief An u r a d h a Sh u k l a @ New Delhi The GST Council on Saturday decided to maintain status quo on tax on Covid-19 vaccines, which will continue to be taxed at 5%. However, the Council, which met via video-conferencing 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% of vaccines as announced earlier and will also pay its GST. However, 70% of income from GST will be shared with states,” Finance Minister Nirmala Sith- poll alliance SAD eyes revival, BSP foothold with Punjab pact H a r p r ee t B a j w a @ Chandigarh The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) on Thursday announced that they would contest the 2022 Punjab Assembly election as allies. The alliance comes at a crucial time for both the parties, with the SAD seeking to regain lost ground amid backlash over sacrilege case and its initial support to the Centre’s agri laws, and the BSP attempting to stay relevant on the national scene at a time it is facing existential crisis in its traditional stronghold, Uttar Pradesh, which also goes to the polls next year. The announcement was made jointly by SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal and BSP national general secretary S C Mishra, with the former calling it a ‘historic day’ in Punjab politics. Badal said the BSP will get 20 seats scattered across Malwa, Magha and Doaba regions, while SAD will contest from 97 in a house of 117. While announcing the decision, Mishra called upon the Dalits to support the alliance. At 28.9%, Punjab has the highest proportion of Dalit population, the traditional vote base of BSP in the coun, try Through this tie-up, the . BSP seeks an encore of the 2019 Lok Sabha poll results, when its vote share rose to 3.49% from 1.9% of the 2014 election. After the announcement, Mishra called on former five-time chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, who invited BSP chief Mayawati to contest from Punjab. belt & road G7 leaders agree to rival china policy G7 leaders on Saturday adopted a plan to oppose China’s Belt and Road Initiative by helping build infrastructure in poorer nations in a ‘values-driven and transparent’ partnership | P9 araman told media after the GST Council meet. The FM explained that the existing 5% GST on vaccines will not be a burden on users as the Centre is paying for 75% of the vaccines which are given to citizens free of cost. However, those who go to private hospitals for vaccination will have to bear the cost of GST. The Council also removed the 5% tax on black fungus medicine Amphotericin B. Also, the rate on Covid drug Remdesivir has been lowered from 12% to 5%. The Council said more medicine will be added if it is recomm e n d e d by t h e h e a l t h department. Sitharaman added that the tax cuts are valid till September 30 this year as against August-end recommended by the GoM. The timeline may be extended, if required. However, the Council decided against cutting tax on RT-PCR machines, RNA extraction machines, and genome sequencing machines. These items currently attract 18% GST. In the last GST Council meeting the finance minister announced a GoM headed by Meghalaya Deputy Chief Minister Conrad Sangma to examine whether any GST concessions or exemptions should be given on Covid-relief 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. RATES CUT From 5% to 0% Tocilizumab Amphotericin B From 12% to 5% Anti-coagulants like Heparin Remdesivir Medical grade oxygen Oxygen concentrator Ventilator, ventilator mask / helmet BiPAP machine High flow nasal canula device Covid testing kits Pulse oximeters From 18% to 5% Hand sanitizer Temperature check equipment Gas/ Electric/other furnaces for crematorium From 28% to 12% Ambulances Banks write off `1.53 lakh crore bad loans in FY21 to look good Sesa Sen @ New Delhi Write-offs in the past 4 yrs iNDIAN banks wrote off loans worth `1.53 lakh crore in 2020-21 to show low non-performing assets (NPAs) in their books, an analysis of the numbers released by individual banks show. This is the second-highest amount being written off in a single financial year in the past decade. The highest write-off was in 2018-19 at `2.54 lakh crore. What is worrisome is that loans that have remained bad for years have been erased from the balance sheet of banks at the stroke of a pen. Corporate houses are among the biggest defaulters. Write-offs were high during Q4 of FY21 comprising 55.65% of total NPA written off in the year. Banks were sitting on `1.2-1.4 lakh crore worth unrecognised bad loans as of December 2020, which were identified after the Supreme Court lifted the ban on NPA classification. Yes Bank saw the sharpest surge in write-offs at `17,208 crore in FY21, followed by PNB (`15,877 crore), Bank of Baroda (`14,878 crore), Axis Bank (`13,906 crore), ICICI Bank (`9,608 crore), and Central Bank (`5,992 crore). SBI wrote off `34,403 crore worth of bad loans in FY21, though it was lower than the previous year’s `52,387 crore. Meanwhile, Punjab & Sind Bank managed to reduce write-offs by an impres- 2018 2019 2020 2021 K1.44 K2.54 K1.45 K1.53 lakh crore lakh crore lakh crore lakh crore Loans written off in FY21 `34,403 crore State Bank of India `9,608 crore ICICI Bank `17,208 crore Yes Bank `15,877 crore Punjab National Bank `13,906 crore Axis Bank `14,878 crore Bank of Baroda Central Bank of India Govt orders probe as fake Covid drugs seized from more dists E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Bhubaneswar The Odisha government on Saturday ordered a probe into the spurious Covid drug trade following the seizure of huge quantities of fake drugs from different parts of the State. A day after the Drug Control Administration squad seized 170 boxes containing 17,000 allegedly fake antiviral drug Favipiravir from a pharmaceutical wholesaler in Cuttack, spurious medicines were seized from Balangir, Jharsuguda, Sambalpur, Rourkela and Bhubaneswar. Additional Chief Secretary of Health PK Mohapatra said the Drugs Controller has been asked to conduct a detailed probe and submit a comprehensive report on source of procurement and transaction trail. “As per the Supreme Court ruling, the Drug Control Administration will carry out the investigation and file a chargesheet against the accused in the competent court,” he said. The alleged spurious drugs under the brand name Favimax-400 were seized from Cuttack before the stock was released in the open market. Acting on a tip-off from Food and Drugs Administration, Maharashtra that spurious Favipiravir tablets allegedly manufactured by Max Relief Health Care at Solan in Himachal Pradesh, a non-existing manufacturer, have been purchased by Medilloyd Medicament Pvt Ltd at Kanika Chowk, Cuttack, the raid was conducted. The firm had purchased 58,000 Favimax tablets from one Max Relief Health Care, Gautam Budh Nagar, UP, of which he had supplied 40,600 tablets to Mahadev Medicals and Surgicals, Gwalior. “Of the available stock of 17,400 tablets, 400 were sent for statutory testing and the balance 17,000 tablets were seized under the provision of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act and Rules,” said Drugs Controller Annada Sankar Das. During investigation, it was also found that nine other drugs allegedly manufactured by Max Relief Health Care have been purchased by the firm. The supply details to Gwalior has been communicated to the Food and Drugs Administration, Madhya Pradesh. Since the drugs were found to have been supplied to different districts, all drugs inspectors have been alerted. “After completion of the investigation, prosecution cases will be filed in the designated courts under the provisions of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act,” he added. E X P R ES R EAD Fake testing racket busted, one arrested Cuttack: A day after 17,000 tablets of counterfeit Fabiparivir, a drug recommended for treatment of Covid-19 were seized from a wholesaler in the city, an alleged fake testing racket was busted by Markat Nagar police here on Saturday. The police arrested a laboratory technician, Ganesh Pradhan of Kunjabana in Nayagarh district who works at a private hospital here and stays at CDA. Ganesh was apprehended basing on a complaint filed by a resident of CDA Sector 7 locality, who had fallen victim to the racket | P3 Man slits throats of 4 daughters, kills self Sambalpur: Shockwaves spread across the district as a 50-year-old Covid positive man attempted suicide after trying to kill his four daughters by slitting their throats in Jautukbahal village within Gobindpur police limits here late on Friday night. While one of the girls, three-year-old Salmi, was killed in the incident, Sukha Oram, the father, succumbed to his injuries on Saturday | P4 odisha Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths june 11 june 12 5,235 8,516 43 4,852 7,578 47 47 deaths in 24 hours The Covid fatality graph got steeper in Odisha with 47 patients succumbing to the disease in last 24 hrs | P2 W IT H T H IS ISS U E Close Encounters of Many Kinds PLUS 12 PAGES `5,992 crore UCO Bank `9,411 crore sive 96% to `70.51 crore in FY21 from `1,781 crore a year ago. Explaining the trend, Care Ratings’ chief economist Madan Sabnavis said gross NPAs shot up 43.7% from `7.1 lakh crore in March 2017 to `10.2 lakh crore in March 2018. After FY18, the NPAs witnessed moderation and reached `8.9 lakh crore by March 2020 driven by write-offs and lower slippages. Over the last couple of years, public sector banks registered substantial contraction in their gross NPAs and they are expected to be around `6 lakh crore by March 2021 compared with `6.8 lakh crore in March 2020. covid update Vaccination drive a Covaxin late-stage trial bumpy ride in tribal belts data soon: Manufacturer Covid-19 vaccination in the tribal belts of India has been an eventful exercise. In most places, there is hesitancy and numbers are low. There are villages without a single shot administered. Inoculation is higher in this section of the population only in a handful of states | P7 Under pressure to release the findings of its Covid-19 vaccine Covaxin’s efficacy clinical trials, Bharat Biotech on Saturday issued a statement saying it will soon make public the data from the late-stage trials. The firm emphasised it has published nine papers so far, related to clinical trials of the vaccine, over the last year | P7 Vivid reflections An autorickshaw passes by a water puddle created under Rajmahal flyover after a spell of rain in Bhubaneswar on Saturday | Biswanath Getting ECMO machines fine, but who will run the unit? Hemant Kumar Rout @ Bhubaneswar Even as the Odisha government has announced its plan to start a full-fledged extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) unit at SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack, lack of specialised manpower to operate the advanced machines will prove to be a big hindrance. An ECMO machine is run by perfusionists and as per the standard operating procedure one unit of four machines requires at least four such trained personnel for round-the-clock service. For patients suffering from respiratory failure, ECMO systems can completely support the lungs for days or even months. This gives critically ill patients an opportunity to heal and overcome life-threatening illnesses. Apart from perfusionists, an ECMO unit will also need three cardiothoracic and vascular surgeons (CTVSs), cardiologists, pulmonologists and intensivists. And, the SCB MCH does not have bare minimum faculty in the departments concerned for regular operations. Though bypass surgery start- Odisha badly needs an institute of its own to impart education in at least five disciplines - dialysis, perfusion, ECG, EEG and OT technicians. These are full time courses. Paramedics are the pillars of the healthcare pyramid Prof Siddharth Das, former dean of SCB MCH ed in late 80s, the hospital has only one perfusionist, that too on contract. Similarly, of the seven faculty positions in CTVS department, four - one professor and assistant professor each and all two associate professors - are lying vacant. Instead of appointing a professor, the government has deputed a professor of another discipline to the department. There are no pulmonologists and the cardiology department is struggling with vacancies. How is it possible to run the ECMO unit in such a scenario, wondered a senior doctor privy to the development. He said the specialists will only supervise, but there must be a required number of perfusionists. Sources said though the CTVS department has written at least 12 letters in the last three years for permanent posts of perfusionists and filling up vacant posts, there has been no response from the government. “If the ECMO unit is set up without creating the required number of posts and appointing right persons, the open heart surgery will be stopped as Covid-19 treatment and heart surgery cannot go on simultaneously. The SCB MCH conducts at least 15 such surgeries every month,” said the doctor. Former Dean of SCB MCH Prof Siddharth Das said the requirement of perfusionists for a bypass surgery is for 8 to 10 hours. “But for ECMO, per- fusionist is needed till the patient recovers. It may go up to a month or more,”he said. “Odisha badly needs an institute of its own to impart education in at least five disciplines - dialysis, perfusion, ECG, EEG and OT technicians. These are full time courses. Paramedics are the pillars of the healthcare pyramid,” he said. Additional Chief Secretary of Health PK Mohapatra said the Finance department has been moved for the creation of the required number of posts for the proposed ECMO unit. Once it is approved, the recruitment process will start, he added
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