chennai l wednesday l june 16, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 18 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) Beauty products among worst hit 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 ■ ■ ■ 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 70% 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 onda l & A rs h ad K h an @ 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 | P10 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.” | P10 AVERAGE SENSEX P/E RATIO 35 97 97 54 55 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 de c em b e r da 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 Five bloody brawls on the day TASMAC reopened Chennai: In less than 24 hours after the Tasmac outlets reopened across 27 districts in the State, five people were allegedly killed over drunken brawls at five places in Chennai and Madurai districts. Among the dead was a 71-year-old man from Madurai, who was allegedly assaulted by more than 19 people | P2 Rules invoking stringent UAPA against them in connection with the Delhi riots was illegal Kan u Sa r da @ 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. P9 Panel to probe enrolment into professional courses anything to quench one’s thirst Residents facing water scarcity in the foothills of Tirusulam in Chennai, are now using motorjets to draw it from the pipes installed by the city corporation. These pipelines ferry water from the quarries located inside the hills | ashwin prasath Chandran with his parents at his hut in Sundaipodu village of Erode district | Express and lives with his parents and nine siblings. Rescued from child labour, Chandran studied at a special school run under the National Child Labour Project in Kongadai, and was later mainstreamed. He was the first person to complete class 12 from his village and scored 444 marks out of 600, studying Agriculture Practices, a vocational discipline, in a gover nment school in Gobichettipalayam. Chandran then, applied for the Bachelor of Veterinary Sci- Chennai: The State on Tuesday constituted a commission, headed by Justice T Murugesan, retired judge of Delhi High Court, to investigate the enrolment rates of government school students into professional courses in the academic year 2020-21. The commission will have to submit its findings within a month. ENS 6 TN hosps under-reported deaths? O M J A SVI N M D @ Chennai Deaths related to Covid-19 in six government hospitals in Tamil Nadu, during the months of April and May, could be 8.4 to 9.8 times higher than the actual deaths of 863 issued by the government in its daily health bulletin, a report by NGO Arappor Iyakkam has claimed. The NGO concluded this by drawing up the government’s death certificates issued in six hospitals — Government Rajaji Hospital in Madurai, Coimbatore Medical College Hospital, Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Medical College Hospital in Tiruchy, Vellore Medical College Hospital, Karur Medical College Hospital, and Tiruppur Government Hospital. According to their report, during April and May 2021, the six hospitals have issued a total of 11,699 death certificates. Convenor of Arappor Iyakkam, Jayaram Venkatesan, said the NGO could only work on these six hospitals as only they had uploaded death cer- DISPARITY IN NUMBERS Covid deaths reported GRH Madurai Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Medical College, Tiruchy Karur Medical College Vellore Medical College Coimbatore Medical College Tiruppur GH Health bulletin NGO 172 3,152 55 1,806 115 960 104 1,416 323 3,464 94 901 ences and Animal Husbandry course, offered by TANUVAS in 2019-20. As per the rank list, he was placed at 146th position among all the vocational stream candidates and in the ST category he secured the first rank. , However, Chandran couldn’t get the seat as TANUVAS allocates only 5 per cent (18 seats) of the 360 seats to students studying vocational courses. Of those 18 seats, only one per cent is allocated to tribal students, that is 0.18 seat. Considering this, the university took the stand that ST category student will not be eligible, as a result of which tribal students from remote areas are unable to get admission. p4 tificates data in the State government’s portal for 2019, 2020 and 2021. The NGO drew data of deaths recorded during April and May this year and compared it with that of the health bulletin, which indicated a gross mismatch. During the said period, while there were 3,152 deaths in Madurai GH, the daily bul- More questions than answers E x p r e s s N e w s Se 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: P10 letin recorded only 172 Covid deaths. In the absence of any other natural calamity and the road traffic remaining less, due to a full lockdown, the NGO has said that the deaths could possibly be related only to Covid or complications related to it. Similarly, in Coimbatore GH, out of the 3,464 deaths, only 323 were recorded for Covid; in Tiruchy GH, of the 1,806 deaths, 55 were Covid; in Vellore, of the 1,416 deaths, 104 were Covid; in Karur, it was 115 out of 960 deaths; and 94 out of 901 in Tiruppur. The report also highlighted that in Tiruppur GH, no Covid deaths were declared in the State bulletin from April 1 to May 19, this year, but the total death certificates issued in these dates count to 489 for this hospital during that period. The NGO also flagged Tiruchy GH for grossly underreporting, saying that the mortality was 32.8 times more than the reported Covid deaths in April and May 2021. continued on: p2 Aid for Covid orphans even if parents tested -ve at death ‘Wanted to do cattle research, but herding them now’ S u b a s h i n i V i jaya k u ma r @ Erode 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: P12 . express read diary of a tanuvas aspirant Tired of legal struggles because of a technical glitch in the admission quota, U Chandran’s hopes of becoming a veterinary doctor was becoming distant with every passing day . The tribal student from the remote village of Sundaipodu in Bargur in Erode district has now appealed to CM MK Stalin to help him get a seat in the Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (TANUVAS), this year at least. Twenty-year-old U Chandran lives in a hut in his village, that is difficult to reach and has no mobile signal. He belongs to the Cholagar tribal community 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 E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Chennai 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 tamil nadu june 14 june 15 Fresh cases 12,772 11,805 Recoveries Deaths 25,561 254 23,207 267 Children, whose parents had tested positive for Covid but were negative at the time of their death, would also be considered for the `5 lakh financial aid and education support scheme announced by Chief Minister MK Stalin, said Health Minister Ma Subramanian. Speaking to reporters at Tiruvottriyur in north Chennai, the minister said the children would be included in the scheme on the grounds of compassion. “The drive to identify the eligible children are underway,” he said. The announcement came as a clarification to a question asked by a reporter, who said that many people who had tested positive eventually died but their cause of death said it was not related to Covid. As a result, their kin could not avail benefits of solatium or insurance. The minister responded that the guidelines for reporting Covid deaths were formulated by the ICMR and sometimes, patients die due to many comorbid factors and not because of the virus itself. continued on: p4
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