visakhapatnam l wednesday l june 16, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l late city EDITION Retail sales decline 79% in May over pre-Covid levels North, West India regions suffer the most Pandemic-induced restrictions have brought retail businesses to their knees, according to the Retailers Association of India (RAI) The impact on sales was the steepest in western and northern parts of the country, which witnessed a whopping 83% dip in May 2021 compared to May 2019. The eastern region, according to the retailers’ body, witnessed a 75% fall, while South India suffered a 73% drop in sales. The government should step in to ameliorate the financial woes of the sector, RAI said ■ 70% Beauty products among worst hit ■ ■ The retailers’ body said the sector is struggling to pay salaries, rentals, electricity charges and various taxes Beauty, personal care products saw the steepest decline at 87% Food and grocery business, however, was relatively better off with a decline of just 34% in May 2021 compared to May 2019 Fall IN Quick service restaurants sales in May 2021 over May 2019 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 Beware the equity market bubble, warn experts, raise the red flag D i pa k M o n da l & A rs h a d K h a n @ New Delhi The Indian equity markets seem to be going through a purple patch. Even as the Covid-19 pandemic wrecked the backbone of the economy in 2020 and 2021, the markets don’t seem to mind a bit. In the past year, the BSE 30 Index Sensex has sprung from 33,228 to 52,773 points, gaining 59% on the way Since 23 March . political play Chirag removes rebel MPs, gets sacked by Paras New Delhi: The Lok Janshakti Party faction headed by Chirag Paswan on Tuesday expelled the five party MPs who had rebelled against him, while the group led by his uncle Pashupati Kumar Paras removed him from the post of the party president. Both factions moved swiftly to take control of the party a day after Paras, the youngest brother of Chirag’s father and party founder Ram Vilas Paswan, was recognised by the Lok Sabha secretariat as the leader of the Lok Janshakti Party in the House. The matter is now likely to reach the Election Commission | P8 2020, when the lockdown was first announced, the equity markets have returned almost 100%. The Sensex during the period rose from 27,600 points to 52,773, gaining 91%. The ‘bull run’ continues even if regulators and a few market experts have already raised the red flag. The RBI in its recent annual report warned of a possible equity market bubble, subtly cautioning investors against irrational exuberance. Lucknow: The going may be tough for BSP supremo Mayawati as at least five rebel MLAs, who were suspended from the party last year, are likely to contest the upcoming Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh on Samajwadi Party ticket. After meeting SP leader Akhilesh Yadav on Tuesday at his party office in Lucknow, Sushma Patel,an MLA from Mungra Badshahpur constituency in Jaunpur district, said, “I have decided to contest 2022 polls on Samajwadi Party ticket. We met Akhilesh ji to discuss our future. We were expelled wrongly last year.” | P8 AVERAGE SENSEX P/E RATIO 35 97 97 55 54 69 61 76 72 68 88 99 77 76 30 26.44 25 20 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 d e c embe r d a t a 32.31 15 18.05 18.73 17.09 17.38 28.1 23.78 23.71 20.62 20.18 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 2019-20 2020-21 2021-22* Source: BSE *Estimate E x p r ess Ne w s S e r v i c e @Vijayawada Rules invoking stringent UAPA against them in connection with the Delhi riots was illegal K a n u S a r d a @ New Delhi Faulting the state for blurring the line between the right to protest and a terrorist activity in order to suppress dissent, the Delhi High Court on Tuesday granted bail to a couple of activists and a student, who were arrested under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) in connection with the northeast Delhi riots in February last year. A bench of justices Siddhartha Mridul and Anup J Bhambhani granted bail to Pinjra Tod activists Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal and Jamia Milia Islamia student Asif Iqbal Tanha in three separate verdicts. Over a year after they were arrested, all three can expect to be free on bail. While Kalita was booked in four cases, Narwal had three FIRs registered against her. They already have bail in all the other cases. The UAPA case against them pertains to the larger conspiracy angle behind the riots, being probed by the Delhi Police’s Special Cell. “We are constrained to say, that it appears, that in its anxiety to suppress dissent and in the morbid fear that matters may get out of hand, the State has blurred the line between the constitutionally guaranteed ‘right to protest’ and ‘terrorist activity’,” the order said. Reacting to the high court order, Delhi Police said it will file a Special Leave Petition against it in the Supreme Court. observations peaceful protest without use of arms Stressing that the right to peacefully protest without arms is a fundamental right, the court said, “Considering, however, that the right to protest is a fundamental right that flows from the Constitutionally guaranteed right to assemble peaceably and without arms enshrined in Article 19(1)(b) of our Constitution, surely the right to protest is not outlawed and cannot be termed as a ‘terrorist act’ within the meaning of the UAPA, unless of course the ingredients of the offences under sections 15, 17 and/or 18 of the UAPA are clearly discernible from the factual allegations contained in chargesheet and the material filed therewith.” Ambit of the ‘terrorist act’ phrase The court said the phrase ‘terrorist act’ under UAPA could not be permitted to be applied in a cavalier manner to criminal acts or omissions that fall squarely within the definition of conventional offences as defined under the Indian Penal Code. “Even if we assume for the sake of argument, without expressing any view thereon, that in the present case inflammatory speeches, chakka jams, instigation of women protesters and other actions, to which the appellant is alleged to have been party crossed the line of peaceful , protests permissible under our Constitutional guarantee, that, however, would yet not amount to commission of a ‘terrorist act’ or a ‘conspiracy’ or an ‘act preparatory’ to the commission of a terrorist act as understood under the UAPA,” the bench said. P7 up in arms Municipal staff stage a protest at the Collectorate in Vizag on Tuesday demanding payment of pending wages I G Satyanarayana @Vizianagaram Banala Aruna with her daughter Vagdevi SBI Account No: 20243079633 SBI, Vizianagaram Fort Branch, IFSC Code: SBIN0001004 itive for Covid-19 on May 15 and breathed his last on May 29. He is survived by his wife Aruna and 6-year-old daughter Vagdevi. Aruna, an illiterate, is not in a position to sustain herself and nourish her daughter. She has to repay nearly `2 lakh debt as Rao’s hospitalisastion cost a lot. “Even if I sell the auto, I could not repay the debt. We have to pay dues to the auto financier also,’’ she said. She has been under pressure from the owner of the house as the rent for the past three months is due. She has been asked to vacate the house as she has no source of income to run the family “I have to look . for a source of livelihood for With fresh Covid-19 infections steadily declining in the State, the education department is planning to conduct Intermediate examinations in the first week of July and SSC exams in the last week. A decision on the conduct of Intermediate and SSC exams will be taken after discussing the matter with Chief Minister on Thursday, Education Minister A Suresh said. Speaking to the media, he said, “Second year Intermediate practical exams were already held in March. We are studying the possibilities of conducting the theory exams in the first week of July The . exam schedule will be finalised at the earliest as it is P3 linked with Eamcet.” Are Covid deaths underreported? S G u r u S r i k a n t h @ Vijayawada Compared to 29,403 deaths registered in the State in May 2020, the total number of deaths registered in May 2021 was 86,757, which is an increase of 195.06 per cent. However, the number of Covid-19 deaths officially reported is only 2,898 out of the total 86,757. The huge number raises a question whether Covid toll is underreported? When the same was brought to the notice of health officials during the daily Covid briefings, they maintained that what they were reporting were facts and did not have any necessity to hide the facts. If the increased number of deaths registered in May, for that matter in every month this year, is not related to Covid, then what other reasons could be attributed to it? Logically, after the Covid-induced lockdown and several other restrictions on the movement of people came into force in the following months and now, partial curfew being enforced Covid tracker 2,06,34,891 17,32,948 Total recoveries Total samples tested 18,20,134 Total cases 75,134 12,052 Active cases Total deaths myself and to take care of my daughter,” she said. “My husband did a lot of social service for over a decade. He attended every phone call received from those in need round-the-clock. He offered free transport to pregnant women during their regular visits to hospital. Now, my future is bleak. I am finding it extremely difficult to feed my daughter,’’ she said, seeking help from the government as well as philanthropists. Those who want to help Aruna, can contact her on mobile Nos. 8977504095 and 9347370574 and those who want to send financial aid can deposit the amount in her SBI account No. 20243079633. for more than a month, the number of deaths attributed to road accidents and crimes has comparatively come down. A senior health official on condition of anonymity told TNIE that though the increase in the number of deaths could not be directly attributed to Covid, it could be to indirect causes. The official, who is More questions than answers E x p r ess Ne w s S e r v i c e Scratch the surface of the Covid fatality data in various districts and they throw up searching questions. Kamrup: Take Assam. Its Kamrup (Metropolitan) district includes the Guwahati Municipal Corporation. During the first corona wave in April 2020, altogether 183 death certificates were issued in that district, but there was not a single recorded case of Covid death. In April 2021, as many as 912 death certificates were issued in the same district, during which time 78 Covid deaths were recorded. How does one explain the big year-on-year difference in the number of deaths in April, which is 729? Health officials contacted by this newspaper said it could be because of various factors. “The significantly high fatality count this April could perhaps be due to comorbidities in patients. There was hardly any road accident death last year due to strict lockdown. Continued on: P8 privy to field-level communication, said there are more deaths due to “comorbidities” (other diseases or ailments), probably due to lack of timely medical treatment. It is common knowledge that whenever people visit a hospital, be it private or government, for non-Covid treatment, the first thing they are asked for is Covid test report. It reportedly happened even in serious cases. By the time the reports were submitted, there were instances of patients succumbing to serious health ailments they were suffering from. It could be one of the reasons for the increase in the number of deaths registered, he speculated. It is also suspected that not all Covid deaths were reported as some were attributed to comorbidities the patients were suffering from like heart ailments and kidney failure, even if Covid was the possible trigger. Going by the statistics of the health department, there is a 126.23 per cent increase in deaths in May compared to April this year. P4 Inflammatory syndrome in children causes concern Good Samaritan’s death leaves family in lurch S r ee n u B a b u Pat i v a d a five-year average of 21. However, experts are not impressed by such high valuations. According to Geojit Financial Services’ chief investment strategist V K Vijayakumar, robust foreign institutional buying, select highquality buying by domestic institutions and enthusiastic retail activity are positives for the market, but the froth building up in the broader market is a big worry continued on: P10 . Inter exams likely in July covid blow The family of an auto driver, who offered free service to pregnant women for a decade, is now looking for help as its breadwinner has fallen victim to Covid-19. Banala Madhusudan Rao of Vivekananda Colony in Vizianagaram used to offer free transport to pregnant women 24x7 though he was poor. Rao lost his parents in his childhood, but he could lead a normal life with the help of his elder brother Jagadeeswara Rao. Unfortunately, Jagadeeswara Rao died of illness in April. After his brother’s death, Rao tested pos- RBI’s concerns are not without reasons. Valuations have gone through the roof, and yet the markets have climbed new peaks driven by easy liquidity provided across the globe by governments to support growth to pandemic-hit economies. India’s current market cap to GDP ratio is 112%, against the historic average market cap to GDP ratio 76%. The Sensex is currently trading at a price-toearnings ratio of 32 against the Delhi HC upholds right to protest, activists get bail significant Rebel BSP MLAs meet Akhilesh, may join SP Market Cap to GDP Ratio (%) 146 G Janardhana Rao @Visakhapatnam NATIONWIDE june 14 june 15 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths 70,421 1,19,501 3,921 60,471 1,17,525 2,726 June 14 22,15,947 doses June 15 25,68,858 doses Total doses: 26,17,40,273 Jab-o-meter Take your shot statewide june 14 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths Samples tested 4,549 10,114 59 87,756 june 15 5,741 10,567 59 96,153 Even as the State is grappling with black fungus, at least 15 cases of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) have been reported in the district in the last two weeks. Though the MIS-C cases were reported during the first wave of Covid-19, the number was negligible. Speaking to TNIE on Tuesday, King George Hospital Superintendent Dr P Mythili said the incidence of MIS-C is slightly more now. “Though the cases are reported mostly among children, there are chances of elderly persons getting infected. The recovery rate in MIS-C cases is almost 100 per cent. We are administering IV immunoglobulin injections to the infected children. All the child re n h ave b e e n discharged within a week after hospitalisation,’’ she said. Since the MIS-C infected are not Covid positive patients, they need not be isolated. It may occur within four to six weeks post-Covid infection. The MISC cases need not require oxygen. The syndrome is linked with SARS Covid-2 and multiple systems are impacted. P5
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16-06-2021 of The New Indian Express-Vishakapatnam