BHUBANESWAR l tuesday l july 20, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l JEYPORE EDITION Retail sales dip 50% in June despite unlock measures Sports goods, Jewellery, apparel sales hit In its latest business survey, the RAI said the highest drop was witnessed in the sports goods category at 66%, followed by jewellery (64%) and footwear (61%). Similarly, apparel and clothing sales dipped by 52% in June this year. In May 2021, the segment had reported a negative growth of 77%, according to RAI’s monthly update released on Monday Retail sales continued to be weak last month after the drastic fall in May, according to the Retailers Association of India (RAI) ■ 80% Food, Grocery among least impacted ■ Consumer durables and electronics sales dropped 46% in June as compared to the same month in 2019. This shows a feeble improvement as the segment had posted a dip of 71% in May Foods and grocery had the least impact with a decline of just 7% in June 2021 compared to June 2019 figures | P10 The decline in retail sales in may 2021 amid the second covid wave 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 Delay in NEET-MDS counselling callous: SC E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ New Delhi TERMING the Centre’s approach towards conducting the counselling for NEET postgraduate dental surgery courses ‘callous’, the Supreme Court on Monday told the Central government to complete the process without further ado. After additional Solicitor General K M Nataraj said the Committee that finalises recommendations on OBC reservation in All India Quota (AIQ) needs more time in view of the Covid situation and other administrative difficulties, the court granted one week to move an application for extension of time. “We will hear the matter after two weeks, so we can be apprised of what has been done,” noted the bench of justices D Y Chandrachud and M R Shah. The bench was hearing a plea filed by dental graduates against the inordinate delay in announcing the counselling date for NEET-MDS 2021. The SC had on July 12 directed the Union health ministry to announce the counselling dates for NEET-MDS 2021 within a week, noting the results were announced on December 31, 2020. The Union health ministry said it was not dilly-dallying but, rather, was awaiting the SC’s clarification on OBC reservation in AIQ. The Committee was constituted on the Madras High Court’s direction in a plea involving the issue of OBC reservation against AIQ in undergraduate and postgraduate courses. The Madras HC had on July 27, 2020 ordered that a Committee be set up to finalise its recommendations after consultation with all states. “These seats cannot be allowed to go unfilled due to confusion created by Centre,” said senior advocate Vikas Singh. Implementing OBC quota not a choice: HC Chennai: The Madras High Court on Monday observed that the Centre’s attempt to not implement the OBC quota in respect of the All India Quota seats for medical admission in TN “appears to be contumacious”. The bench said, “To not implement the quota is not a choice to the Union government.” express read SC hearing on Kerala’s lockdown relief today New Delhi: The SC on Monday sought the Kerala government’s response to a plea challenging relaxation in lockdown rules in view of Bakrid. The plea alleged political considerations, and not medical advice, was behind the decision. The SC will hear the matter on Tuesday. SC orders release of Manipur activist New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday ordered the release of Manipur-based political activist Leichombam Erendro, booked under the stringent National Security Act for his criticism of BJP leaders, by 5 pm Monday, saying he cannot be put in jail for even a night | P8 Delta variant 40-60% more transmissible than Alpha New Delhi: For the first time quantifying the higher transmissibility of the delta variant of Covid virus, a top official said that it is 40-60% more transmissible than the alpha variant | P7 Ex-EC Ashok Lavasa’s phone, too, a potential target; Oppn to hold strategy session today Rahul, Kishor, 2 ministers part of Pegasus snoop list E x p r e ss N e ws Se r v i c e @ New Delhi Hack not established, says govt “The consortium has accessed a leaked database of 40,000 numbers. The presence of a number does not indicate whether there was an attempted hack, or a successful one,” Vaishnaw said ADR founder on list Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) founder Jagdeep Chhokar, associates of Union minister Smriti Irani and former Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje Scindia, and around 11 mobile phones belonging to a Supreme Court officer who leveled sexual harassment allegations former CJI Ranjan Gogoi were also on the list of potential targets An international collaborative of journalists on Monday continued to reveal more names, including those of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, election strategist Prashant Kishor and two ministers in the Modi government, whose phones were potentially targeted for hacking using Israeli malware Pegasus. The names, which included new IT minister Ashwini Vaishnaw and Minister of State for Food Processing Industries Prahlad Singh Patel, were revealed hours after the former defended the government in Parliament. Making a suo motu statement in Lok Sabha, Vaishnaw said the report on the government using Pegasus was nothing but an attempt to malign Indian democracy and its well-established institutions. “It is not a coincidence that the reports have been published a day before the monsoon session of Parliament. In the past, similar allegations were made on WhatsApp but there is no factual basis to these and have been categorically denied,” he said. While Union home minister UGC rules not binding, State tells HC on Universities Act E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Cuttack THE controversy over the Odisha Universities (Amendment) Act has taken a new turn with the State government claiming in the Orissa High Court that it is not bound to follow the University Grants Commission (UGC) regulations in its entirety . In an affidavit, the government said that the UGC regulations are binding on the state governments to a limited extent of coordinating and determining the standards of higher education. The State legislature is empowered to enact laws prescribing higher standards of education than that provided under the UGC regulations. Laws enacted by the State legislature cannot be struck down unless they prejudicially affect the standard of education, the affidavit said. The amended Act has been at a centre of storm as it seeks to bring appointment to important academic and administrative posts in the universities, including recruitment of teaching staff, under complete State government control. While it changed the selection committee composition for selection of vice chancellors of universities, the teacher recruitment will be done by the Odisha Public Service Commission (OPSC). The Higher Education department filed its response to the affidavit that UGC had filed in response to the notices issued by the Court on two separate PIL petitions. Retired Professor of Jawaharlal Nehru University Ajit Kumar Mohanty and Professor of Utkal University Kunja Bihari Panda had filed the two petitions, challenging the constitutional validity of the Odisha Universities (Amendment) Act, 2020 which was notified on November 9 last year. Taking a stand against the Act, the UGC affidavit said that it was in conflict with the UGC Regulation-2018 issued under the University Grant Commission Act, 1956. In the affidavit Higher Education Department Deputy Secretary Surya Narayan Mohapatra claimed that the stand of UGC is limited to the Amendment Act dealing with the appointment of vice chancellors and teaching staff of the universities. He said the UGC has not opposed the other amendments made vide the Odisha University (Amendment) Act, CONTINUED ON: P5 2020. spin-off effect Jadhav’s village will win if archers hit bullseye S u d h i r S u r ya w a n s h i @ Mumbai When Pravin Jadhav, a member of the Indian men’s archery team at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, used to join his parents as a farm labourer during his boyhood, he was not doing anything very unusual. Hundreds of other children in Sarde, a hamlet of around 1,100 in the drought-prone Satara district of Maharashtra, did the same. Acute poverty forces boys/ girls of Jadhav’s village to join their parents as daily wage earners to supplement their family income. Vikas Bhujbal, a school teacher who taught the archer, said while the elders are paid `300 a day to work in the bajra and jowar farms, the children who join their parents get half the sum. Bhujbal said Jadhav’s parents come from a less than humble background with no house or land of their own. “They work in the farms of others as daily wage workers. There are days they do not get work and struggle to meet daily expenses. But poverty did not stop Pravin from chasing his dream,” he said. Jadhav’s village lacks basic facilities. It depends on wells and bore wells for water, P a r the potholed roads have puddles of water in the monsoon, there is no primary health centre and the single local school is up to Class VII only Beyond this, the children of . Sarde have to walk a fair distance to attend school. But the years of neglect appears to be slowly changing. The village has seen a steady flow of visitors, including the local MLA and MP to , meet the rising star. They presented flower bouquets to his parents and Bhujbal noticed that some of these visitors have shared those photographs on social media. Like other fellow villagers, Bhujbal thinks if Jadhav does t - 2 well at the Olympics, the village will draw attention and things will take a turn for the better. “Mere wishes are not enough to change the lives of people in our vilContinued on: P7 lage,” he said. Amit Shah called it a ‘report by disrupters for obstructers’, the Congress sought his resignation and a probe into the role of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the matter. The Opposition will hold a strategy session on Tuesday on how to corner the government in Parliament on Pegasus. West Bengal Chief Minister ‘Report by disrupters’ Union home minister Amit Shah called it a ‘report by disrupters for obstructers’ and said they have been amplified by a few whose only aim is to do whatever is possible to humiliate India on world stage | P7 Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee, renowned virologist Gagandeep Kang, India head of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Hari Menon and former election commissioner Ashok Lavasa’s names also featured on the potential list of targets. Over 1,000 Indian phone num- bers were on the list of potential targets of which 300 were verified by the collaborative following which technical forensic analysis was performed on 22 smartphones. The portal claimed that traces of the malware were found in Kishor’s smartphone. According to the portal, the list of around 50,000 phone numbers across the world was obtained through leaked data by Amnesty International and Parisbased Forbidden Stories. The use of the malware could be confirmed on the smartphones only after forensic analysis. Some smartphones do not leave its traces and hence the potential hack could not established. Israeli company, the NSO group, which owns Pegasus, claims only ‘vetted governments’ are part of its clientele. Monday’s list came a day after it was revealed that the malware was used to hack into the phones of around 40 journalists and activists critical of the government. While Lavasa’s phone was added to the list after he faulted prime Minister Modi for poll code violations, Kang’s was added in 2018 and Menon’s around 2019. NATIONWIDE july 18 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths Jab-o-meter july 19 41,157 38,164 42,004 38,660 518 499 July 18 Take 51,01,567 doses your July 19 shot 47,77,697 doses Total doses: 41,13,55,665 odisha Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths july 18 2,215 2,492 66 july 19 1,648 2,248 58 Freedom day in England as Covid ramps up in Asia England lifted most pandemic restrictions on Monday despite surging infections and dire warnings from experts, as the Delta variant sweeps parts of Europe and Asia | P9
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