villupuram l thursday l september 23, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 14 l city EDITION wORLD HEALTH oRGANIZATION sets HIGHER bar for air quality W.H.O. on Wednesday issued its first air quality guidelines since 2005 aimed at reducing deaths from key pollutants Advised levels of pollutants revised Air pollution biggest health risk In the revised guidelines, the United Nations health agency slashed the recommended maximum levels of several pollutants, including particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide. WHO halved the recommended limit for average annual PM2.5 level from 10 micrograms per cubic metre to 5. It also lowered the advised limit for PM10 from 20 micrograms to 15 | P14 ■ ■ ■ Exposure to air pollution is estimated to cause 7 mn premature deaths and affect the health of millions more people each year According to the WHO, air pollution is now comparable to other global health risks such as unhealthy diet and tobacco smoking Reducing exposure to particulate matter is the priority, WHO said 90% OF WORLD POPULATION ALREADY LIVEs IN AREAS WITH HARMFUL pollutantS 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 pushes govt to let women write NDA exams this yr K a nu Sa r da @ New Delhi ThE Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected the Centre’s request to defer the induction of women into the National Defence Academy (NDA) till next year, directing the defence ministry to do the needful to ensure female candidates appear in the upcoming NDA entrance exams in November itself. Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati told the bench that the military establishment would need some time to induct women into NDA. She said a study group is looking into the infrastructure and course requirements for women cadets and that a system will be put in place by May 2022. However, a bench led by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul said the admission of women cannot be postponed as it will mean losing a year. “What answer would we have for the students who are on the anvil of taking the exam? Don’t ask us to effectively vacate the order. You go on with the exercise. Let us see the result and see how many women get in,” it said. “We have given a thought to the matter, and the difficulties expressed by the armed services. What effectively would mean by the submission of armed forces is ‘No Jam today Jam tomorrow’. It will be difficult for us to accept that position,” the bench said. The court said the armed forces are trained to deal with emergencies and expressed hope that they will come up with a faster solution to facilitate the entry of women. The bench kept the petition pending and slated it for further directions if needed in January 2022. life-giver turns virulent Continuing our series on TN’s rivers and what ails them ahead of World Rivers Day this Sunday, we focus on the Noyyal | P4 express read Reserve Bank Private consumption key to economic recovery: Das Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das said on Wednesday that the Covid-19 pandemic has hit the poor harder than others and restoring private consumption will be the key. “Our endeavour should be to ensure livable and sustainable growth in the post-pandemic future. Restoring the durability of private consumption, which has remained historically the mainstay of aggregate demand will be very crucial,” he said | P12 Reshuffle AI chief Rajiv Bansal is the new civil aviation secretary The Centre on Wednesday appointed 13 senior bureaucrats as Secretary in various Union ministries and departments. Air India CMD Rajiv Bansal will be the new civil aviation secretary, replacing Pradeep Singh Kharola, who is retiring on 30 September. Anurag Jain will be the new Secretary, DPIIT while K Sanjay Murthy has been named Secretary in the Department of Higher Education. K Rajaraman will take charge as the new telecom secretary after incumbent Anshu Prakash retires on September 30 | P9 Roadmap to $1tn economy: TN unveils export strategy E XPR E SS N E WS S E RVIC E @ Chennai Tamil Nadu has an estimated untapped export potential of `1.6 lakh crore ($22 billion) and there is a need for sector-specific export-oriented intervention to accelerate overall export growth, according to the Tamil Nadu Export Promotion Strategy 2021. The five-year strategy was unveiled by Chief Minister MK Stalin on Wednesday as TN targets a $1 trillion economy by quadrupling its exports in nine years. Drawing a comparison to ‘Made in India’ products that are available across the globe, the State should work towards ensuring ‘Made in Tamil Nadu’ products, too, are on par with them, said Stalin, unveiling the strategy at the Tamil Nadu Exports Conclave, held as a part of events commemorating the 75th anniversary of Indian Independence. Meanwhile, 24 memoranda of understanding (MoU) were signed which would provide investments worth `2,120 crore and 41,695 jobs. PM weighs in on vax certification at global summit UK okay with Covishield, not India’s certificate on October 4, those who have taken vaccines from a relevant public A day after India threatened re- health body and are from a speciprocal measures on its discrimi- cific list of countries, will be connatory policy on vaccination, the sidered fully vaccinated. India UK on Wednesday included Cov- does not figure on that list. ishield in its list of approved vac“We’re clear Covishield is not a cines. However, Indian travellers problem. The UK is open to travel will still have to undergo quaran- and we’re already seeing a lot of tine upon arrival as the British people going from India to the UK, government is yet to be it tourists, business Jab-o-meter recognise the vaccinapeople or students,” tion certificate citing Take your shot said Alex Ellis, British technical issues. High Commissioner to Sep 21 68,26,132 doses Later in the day Prime Sep 22 64,98,274 doses India. “We have been , M i n i s t e r N a re n d r a having detailed techniTotal doses Modi alluded to the hascal discussions regard83,33,46,676 sle and stressed the need ing certification, with for nations to mutually NATIONWIDE sep 21 sep 22 the builders of the recognise vaccination Fresh cases 26,115 26,964 CoWIN app and the certificates for ease of Recoveries 34,469 34,167 NHS app, about both travel. “We need to focus Deaths 252 383 apps” he added. on addressing the panAt the virtual sumdemic’s economic ef- tamil nadu sept 21 sep 22 mit, Modi said India has fects. To end the adverse Fresh cases 1,647 1,682 managed to administer effects on the economy, Recoveries 1,619 1,627 800 million vaccine dos19 21 es so far and the prointer national travel Deaths should be made easier duction of vaccines is `50,000 by mutually recognisalso being ramped up. ex-gratia ing vaccine cer tifi“As our production incates,” the prime miniscreases, we will be able NDMA has ter said in his address at recommended that to resume vaccine supthe virtual Global Covid `50,000 be given plies to others too. For Summit on the sidelines to the kin of those this, the supply chains of the United Nations who died of Covid- of raw materials must General Assembly . be kept open.” 19, the Centre According to the UK US President Joe Biinformed the government’s amended Supreme Court on den announced that his guidelines, “Formulacountry will double its Wednesday | P9 tions of the four listed purchase of Pfizer’s vaccines, such as AstraZeneca Co- shots to share with the world up vishield, AstraZeneca Vaxzevria to 1 billion doses, in keeping with and Modern Takeda, qualify as the goal of vaccinating 70% of the approved vaccines.” From 4 am global population by next year. E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ New Delhi Zee Entertainment, Sony Pictures announce merger The proposed merger will combine both the companies’ linear networks, digital assets, production operations and program libraries Sony Pictures Networks India to hold majority stake in the merged entity Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd MD and CEO Punit Goenka to lead the merged entity The proposed merger will, HOWEVER, need shareholders’ approval The development comes a week after two largest investors of ZEEL — Invesco Developing Markets Fund and OFI Global China Fund — sought to remove Goenka | P12 15 years on Pondy local body polls on Oct 21, 25, 28 E XPR E SS N E WS S E RVIC E @ Puducherry After 15 years, Puducherry will conduct local body elections. Addressing reporters on Wednesday, State Election Commissioner (SEC), Roy P Thomas, said the polls will be held in three phases on October 21, 25, and 28. The counting is scheduled to take place on October 31. With this announcement, the model code of conduct comes into immediate effect in the Union Territory (UT), the commissioner said. The last local body polls in Puduch- erry were held in 2006. This was the second such poll in the UT, the first one being in 1968. The lack of will among political parties seems to have led to the long gap in holding these elections. The general perception is that the MLAs do not want to share power as the constituencies are small in size. Hence, if there are elected representatives at the local bodies, the MLAs not only lose their prominence, but there is also scope for political conflict if the councillors are from Opposition parties. After 2011, there was a delay in appointing an SEC, owing to a long tussle between the former Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi and former Chief Minister V Narayanasamy. However, even after appointing the SEC, the dilly-dallying continued as the government delayed completion of the delimitation exercise. It was only after the Supreme Court, in April 2021, gave directions to the Puducherry government to complete the delimitation exercise within two months and hold elections within four months, the ball was set rolling. continued on: p4 CM MK Stalin handing over a copy of the ‘Export Promotion Strategy Policy’ to Minister Thangam Thennarasu in Chennai | p jawahar Among them, 14 MoUs pertain to export-oriented units with a cumulative investment of `1,880.54 crore creating 39,150 jobs, and the remaining 10 are on behalf of the MSME department, with a `240 crore investment, providing 2,545 jobs. The investments have been made in textiles, chemicals, IT/ITES, steel, leather apparels, and general manufacturing sectors, at various locations in Chennai, Kancheepuram, Tirupattur, Krishnagiri, Madurai, Salem, Tiruchy, Thanjavur, T hoothukudi, Dindigul, and Tirunelveli districts, ‘ensuring a balanced growth across the State’. Stating that TN will adopt a twopronged approach — export promotion and export diversification — to achieve its aim of a $1 trillion economy by 2030, the CM said TN stood at number three in India with `1.93 lakh crore exports, taking 8.97 per cent share in national exports. “We should not be satisfied with this. The export percentage should go up every year,’’ said Stalin. P7 Capt raps Gandhis, vows to trounce Sidhu H a r p r ee t B a j w a @ Chandigarh Days after stepping down as Punjab chief minister, Capt Amarinder Singh on Wednesday took his first public swipe at the Gandhi siblings leading the party, Rahul and Priyanka, for forcing his hand, saying they were quite inexperienced, adding they were misguided. He also announced his decision to field a strong candidate against new Punjab Congress unit chief Navjot Singh Sidhu — who led the rebellion against him — to ensure his defeat in the forthcoming Assembly elections. “He is dangerous for the state,” he said as he lit into Sidhu. By saying so, he appeared to be baiting the party to expel him. Amarinder also said he would continue fighting against Sidhu’s elevation or making him the chief ministerial face tooth and nail. He questioned the judgement of the Gandhi siblings’ advisors, K C Venugopal, Ajay Maken and Randeep Surjewala, who helped constitute the new ministry led by Charanjit Singh Channi, and termed Sidhu options open on future trajectory Indicating he was keeping his political options open, Capt Amarinder Singh said he was talking to his friends before deciding on his future course of action. “You can be old at 40 and young at 80,” he quipped, making it clear that he did not see his age as a hurdle, going forward as the super chief minister. Asserting that he will only leave politics on a high, Amarinder said, “I was ready to leave after victory but never after a loss. He disclosed that he had offered his resignation to party president Sonia Gandhi three weeks ago but she had asked him to continue. “If she had just called me and asked me to step down, I would have,” he said, adding, “as a soldier, I know how to do my task and leave once I am called back.” He bitterly criticised the Congress Legislative Party meeting called in a secretive manner to unseat him. “I would not have taken MLAs on a flight to Goa or some place... the Gandhi siblings know that is not my way he said, adding, “Priyanka and ,” Rahul (Gandhi siblings) are like my children. This should not have ended like this. I am hurt.”
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