chennai l thursday l july 01, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 18 l late city EDITION Core sector output rises in May due to low base effect Output of eight core sectors grew 16.8% in May against 21.4% contraction in the year-ago month, government data showed Steel production up 59%, Natural gas 20% Retail inflation for industrial workers According to commerce ministry data, production of steel rose by 59.3% in May 2021 (-40.4% in May 2020), natural gas 20.1% (-16.8%), refinery products 15.3% (-21.3%), cement 7.9% (-21.4%) and electricity 7.3% (-14.8%) in May 2021. Coal output, too, rose 6.9% during the month under review against a negative growth of 14% in the same month a year ago ■ ■ Retail inflation for industrial workers rose to 5.24% in May 2021 from 5.14% in April due to increase in prices of certain food items Consumer Price Index for Industrial Workers is calculated on the basis of retail prices collected from 317 markets spread over 88 industrially important centres in the country | P12 Rate of Small savings for july-september quarter remains unchanged 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 SC rejects Centre’s contention, Covid victims to get ex-gratia Madurai AIIMS: Centre says it can start classes EXPRE S S NEW S S ER V ICE @ Madurai Lets the National Disaster Management Authority decide the quantum of relief E x p r e ss N e w s S e r v i c e @ New Delhi The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected the Centre’s contention that it cannot pay ex-gratia to Covid-19 victims and directed the government to frame guidelines specifying the relief amount within six weeks. The court held that the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) failed to perform its duty by not recommending minimum standards of relief to be provided to the families of those who had died of Covid-19. A two-judge bench of justices Ashok Bhushan and M R Shah directed the NDMA to frame guidelines for ex-gratia but left the amount to the discretion of the national authority The bench . refused to accede to the request of the petitioner to provide `4 lakh as ex-gratia compensation, saying it was beyond judicial review. “The impact and effect of the present pandemic/disaster would be different from the other disasters/natural disasters for which ex-gratia assistance is provided. There shall not be any justification to provide for the same/similar amount by way of ex-gratia assistance as provided in the case of other disasters/natural disaster, i.e., `4 lacs,” Can’t afford `4L, said Centre The Centre had stated that states would not be able to afford ex-gratia of `4 lakh as their finances are under severe strain due to low tax revenues and increase in Covid healthcare expenses Germany hops in, other EU states told to OK India vax P u sh k a r B a n a k a r @ New Delhi With the European Union’s Digital Covid Certificate or Green Pass coming into effect from July 1, India on Wednesday urged all member states to individually grant exemption to those who have taken Indian vaccines. Germany was the first to get on board, with its Ambassador to India Walter J Lindner confirming recognition to Covishield. “Confirming that a double shot of Covishield is fully recognized by GER as valid proof of antiCOVID vaccination (this does nevertheless not modify existing travel or visa restrictions for travelers from areas of concern/virus variants areas),” he tweeted. Sources said it has also been conveyed to EU member states that India will institute a reciprocal policy for recognition of the Green Pass. “Upon notification of Covishield and Covaxin for inclusion in the EU Digital Covid Certificate and recognition of Indian CoWIN vaccination certificates, Indian health authorities would reciprocally exempt the concerned EU member state from mandatory quarantine of all those carrying the EU Digital Covid Certificate,” they said. “We have requested EU member states to individually consider extending similar exemption to those persons who have taken Covid-19 vaccines in India, i.e., Covishield and Covaxin, and accept the vaccination certificate issued through the CoWIN portal. The genuineness of such vaccination certification can be authenticated on the CoWIN portal,” sources said. The European Medicines Agency (EMA), the EU’s regulatory body had , approved four vaccine products — manufactured by Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna and at AstraZeneca’s Europe plant — and allowed people who have taken either of those jabs to travel within the bloc for tourist and business purposes. The Serum Institute of India’s Covishield was not on Jab-o-meter Take your shot June 29 33,79,525 doses June 30 25,14,153 doses Total doses: 33,54,69,340 the list though it is manufacturing AstraZeneca’s vaccine under licence. However, the EMA gave its member states the freedom to amend the rule and allow entry of persons who had not taken any of the four vaccines. The matter figured in the talks External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had with Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representative of the EU, on the sidelines of the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Italy . the court held. It also directed the authorities concerned to issue simplified guidelines for issuance of death certificates/official documents stating the exact cause of death, that is ‘Death due to Covid-19’ for enabling dependents to get benefits of welfare schemes. There will be also facility for correcting the cause of death if the family is not satisfied, the court added. Section 12 of the Disaster Management Act, which deals with minimum standards of relief to the affected persons, says it shall include ex-gratia assistance on account of loss of life. The Centre sought to interpret the word ‘shall’ as ‘may’, but the court read it as mandatory since Covid is already a ‘notified disaster’. Jab purchase by private hospitals well below quota Harpreet Bajwa, Pranab Mondal, Sudhir Suryawanshi & Vineet Upadhyay @ Chandigarh/Kolkata/Mumbai/Dehradun PRIVATE hospitals in at least four states are buying well below their quota of Covid-19 vaccines. Information gathered by this newspaper reveals the stock is going unused in some places. Private Covid Vaccination Centres (PCVC) in Punjab had a quota of 5.5 lakh doses in June, but they bought only 50,000. In West Bengal, these entities were entitled to nearly 20 lakh, but they procured around 2.5 lakh. In Maharashtra, of the 58 lakh procured by them this month, around 34.2 lakh were used. Uttarakhand had a quota of 2.5 lakh for private hospitals, of which 65,000 were purchased. Under the current vaccination policy 75% of shots produced and availa, ble in the country — Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, Covishield by Serum Institute of India and the Russian vaccine Sputnik V — is bought by the Centre and distributed to the states. The states administer these free of cost. The remaining 25% is for the PCVCs to buy at `650 per dose. They can charge `150 per shot from the beneficiaries. In several states, only a handful of private hospitals are taking part in the vaccination drive. In Bengal, 176 of the 2,013 establishments are part of the process. Of 800 registered private hospitals in Madhya Pradesh, vaccination is going on in around 20. cost factor the deterrent: P9 PM’s dust off inertia message to his ministers Cabinet rejig? M a n i sh A n a n d @ New Delhi Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday presided over a marathon meeting with his Council of Ministers, dropping hints that a Cabinet reshuffle is around the corner and that non-performers may be eased out. While the PM asked his ministerial colleagues to make the vaccination drive a resounding success, it is reliably learnt that some ministers were told they were not seen doing enough in their respective spheres during the pandemic. The meeting was part of the exercise at the level of the Prime Minister to review the performances of the ministries with his senior colleagues in the Cabinet, during which BJP chief J P Nadda was also present. NATIONWIDE june 29 june 30 Fresh cases 37,566 45,951 Recoveries Deaths 56,994 60,729 907 817 tamil nadu june 29 june 30 Fresh cases 4,512 4,506 Recoveries Deaths 6,013 118 5,537 113 After the meeting, sources said an imminent Cabinet reshuffle could be on the cards as the mood appeared to be directed on rejuvenating governance It is also reliably learnt that the ministers were asked for better coordination with the BJP, with a few of the senior party leaders singling out lack of team work for the “excessive negative buildup of perception against the government during the second wave of the pandemic”. “The meeting also gave a sense that the Prime Minister wants the governance to be seen in tune with business as usual after a long spell of the Covid19 shadow. The government is confident of the success of the vaccination drive, but the focus also needs to return on other aspects of the governance, which is essential for fast normalisation of the economy and mitigating the hardships of the people,” sources said. That the PM has held a number of review meetings points to the urgency at the top level for a return to normalcy in governance, sources added. More so, because the party is headed for tough Assembly polls next year, which will set the mood of the nation for the 2024 general elections. e x p r e ss r e a d Brazil suspends $324 mn deal with Bharat Biotech for Covaxin New Delhi: Brazil on Wednesday temporarily suspended a $324 mn deal with Bharat Biotech for the procurement of 20 million doses of Covaxin, days after a whistleblower from the Brazilian health ministry claimed President Jair Bolonaro hurriedly signed the deal though cheaper options were available | P9 Indian-origin US boy is world’s youngest GM Chennai: Chess prodigy Abhimanyu Mishra, who is an American citizen of Indian origin, has become the youngest Grandmaster in the world at the age of 12 years, 4 months & 25 days. Chief Minister MK Stalin with SS Kim, MD & CEO of Hyundai Motor India at the company’s 10 millionth car roll-out at its manufacturing facility near Sriperumbudur on Wednesday industrial growth across tn our goal: cm EXPRE S S NEW S S ER V ICE @ Chennai Chief Minister MK Stalin on Wednesday said that industrial growth, encompassing all districts and key cities, would be the objective of the State government and that it would be achieved soon. “Our government has started functioning with the objectives of multifarious industrial growth, spread of industries across all districts, providing employment opportunities for local youth in respective districts at these industrial units, creating an atmosphere favourable for new industrial growth, and transforming all districts and cities so they are conducive for starting new industries. We will achieve this very soon,” he said. Stalin was speaking after taking part in a function to mark 25 years of service of the Korean auto major, Hyundai Motor, in India and for rolling out its 10 millionth car at its manufacturing facility in Sriperumbudur. He said the industrial growth of Tamil Nadu had grown along with Hyundai’s. “You are contributing to the State’s industrial growth in a big way I request other indus. trial houses to increase their investments, like Hyundai has done.” He said the government aims at making TN the most-favourable investment destination in all of South Asia. “We have constituted a committee of renowned economic experts to advise the government and this has created a huge confidence among the industrial houses.” P4 The Madurai Bench of Madras High Court on Wednesday sought reply from the State government to a counter affidavit filed by the Centre expressing interest in beginning outpatient services and MBBS classes at AIIMS in Madurai. The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had filed the counter in response to a PIL filed by a law student, K Pushpavanam of Madurai. The ministry stated that it is keen to start services at AIIMS Madurai, subject to availability of suitable alternative space for MBBS classes and outpatient services as well as faculty and other manpower. Necessary processes would be expedited in consultation with the State government, it said. The ministry also informed that the project cell posts for AIIMS Madurai has already been sanctioned and appointments to the posts of Executive Director, Deputy Director (Administration), Executive Engineer and Administrative Officer have been made. Assistant Solicitor General L Victoria Gowri, appearing for the ministry , contended before the court that it has not received any proposal from the State government for starting the aforesaid services. However, Additional Advocate General Veera Kathiravan argued that the State government had not received any communication from the Centre voicing the said intention. continued on: P7
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