DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE THURSDAY, MAY 21, 2020, NEW DELHI, LATE CITY, 16 PAGES `6.00 (`8 PATNA & RAIPUR, `12 SRINAGAR) WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 MORE EASING Class 10, 12 exams get govt nod, with conditions NEW DELHI, MAY 20 THE MINISTRY of Home Affairs on Wednesday allowed the conduct of board exams for Classes 10 and 12. The decision was taken after several states and central boards such as CBSE petitioned the government. In a letter sent to the states, Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said, “Takingintoconsiderationtheinterest of a large number of studentsithasbeendecidedtogrant exemption from the lockdown measuresfortheconductofBoard ExamsforClasses10thand12th.” Home Minister Amit Shah too announced this in a tweet, adding this permission was being given “with few conditions like social distancing, face mask etc, for their safety.” As opening of schools had been prohibited under the guidelines on lockdown measures, the annual board examinations being conducted by State Education Boards/ CBSE/ ICSE etc. for Classes 10 and 12 had been suspended. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 THE EDITORIAL PAGE THECASE FOR MASSIVETESTING BY AMARTYA LAHIRI AND URJIT R PATEL PAGE 8 THE IDEAS PAGE RELIEFAND REFORM BY RAJIV KUMAR PAGE 9 Home amends guidelines; a third of flights could start in the first phase PRANAV MUKUL NEW DELHI, MAY 20 GROUNDED FOR almost two months by the Covid pandemic andthelockdown,somedomestic commercial passenger flights will resume from May 25, Civil AviationMinisterHardeepSingh Puri said Wednesday. There are indications that only a third of theflightsmaycommenceinthe first phase of easing. Late on Wednesday night, the Ministry of Home Affairs amended its guidelines on lockdownmeasuresbydeleting“domestic air travel of passengers” from the list of prohibited activities. On Sunday, framing the rules for the fourth phase of the national lockdown, it had banned domestic passenger flights until May 31. But more spadework will be needed. For airlines to operate flights, they require support from the state government in CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 E E X P L A I NE D DEEPTIMAN TIWARY & RITIKA CHOPRA Airspace unlockdown: Some domestic flights from May 25, says Minister Puri 100 pairs of trains to start on June 1, bookings open today States need to ● board STATES SUPPLY transport and logistics at airports and given that most major metro hubs are in red zones, starting domestic aviation services poses a challenge. Standard Operating Procedures on health and safety of passengers will also need to be worked out before the resumption of flights. EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, MAY 20 SEVENTEEN JAN Shatabdis, five Durontos and a number of popular mail/express trains are among 100 trains that will start running again from June 1 in the secondphaseof gradedresumption of passenger operations. Railway Minister Piyush Goyal had announced the CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 PAGE 5 Cyclone Amphan batters coastal Bengal At least 10-12 killed, says Mamata SANTANU CHOWDHURY DIGHA, MAY 20 THEEXTREMELYseverecyclonic stormAmphanmadelandfallon the coast of West Bengal around 2.30 pm on Wednesday, bringing in its wake fallen trees, flattened homes,andfreshwaves of difficulty and anxiety for people struggling with the fallout of the novel coronavirus outbreak and the nationwide lockdown. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who spent all day at the cyclone control room at the state secretariat monitoring the situation, saidat least 1012 people had been killed. “Area after area has been ru- BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY ined. I have experienced a warlike situation today. At least 1012peoplehavedied.Nandigram, CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Facing migrant flood, UP, Bihar say need help to connect to districts 3 of 4 kits local as India tests 1 lakh plus for the second day AVISHEK G DASTIDAR THE CENTRE may have done away with the need for destination states’ consent to ramp up services of Shramik Special trains, but states such as Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, which are major destination states for migrants, are grappling with logistics issues in handling the rush. WhileBiharhasflaggedcapacityconstraintstotheCentre,Uttar Pradeshhassoughtlocaltrainsfor movement within the state. In a letter to Union Home SecretaryAjayBhalla,BiharChief Secretary Deepak Kumar has said that to receive additional trains, the state requires those trains to carry passengers directlytothehomedistrictsof mi- INDIA IS now procuring about 75% of its testing kits from domestic manufacturers, officials said on Wednesday. While the number of samples tested crossed 1 lakh for the second day on Tuesday, efforts are on to further increase daily testing, maybe even double it by the end of June. Amidprojectionsof casesrising in June-July, self-sufficiency in testing kits forms an important part of the government’s Covid-19 strategy. “In the first fortnight of April, we were struggling a little with supplies. But today, that has changed in two ways — the A civil defence staffer asks people to stay indoors as Digha sees high tide ahead of the landfall of Cyclone Amphan on Wednesday. ANI ABANTIKA GHOSH NEW DELHI, MAY 20 PAGE 1 ANCHOR CONSIDER STARTING METRO: DELHI HC TRACKING INDIA’S COVID CURVE LOCKDOWN DAY CASES: 57 106,750 RECOVERED: 42,297 | DEATHS:3,303 TESTS:2,512,388 | DOUBLINGRATE:13.54** NEW DELHI, MAY 20 Mangal Singh, 32, on his way to Bihar with his 15-monthold son in Ghaziabad on Wednesday. Gajendra Yadav grant passengers and halt at the stations in those districts. “If this is not followed and trainsbringpassengersfromdifferentdistricts,thenitwillcreate CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Defaming on social media: Maharashtra cops give ‘last warning’ to 100 MOHAMED THAVER TOTAL CASES SURGEIN 24HRS ■ Maharashtra 37,136 2,078 6.17% 11.68 ■ Gujarat 12,141 395 4.53% 15.90 ■ Delhi 11,088 534 4.78% 15.07 ■ Tamil Nadu 12,448 688 5.22% 13.79 ■ Rajasthan 5,732 338 5.20% 13.86 ■ West Bengal 2,961 136 4.52% 15.93 KEYSTATES TOWATCH * Compounded Daily Growth Rate over last 7 days CONCERN DELHI: Two days of 500-plus new cases. Uncounted deaths continue to be adjusted. CAUTION 7-DAYAVG. DOUBLING GROWTH* RATE** ** Calculated over 7-day growth KARNATAKA: Nearly 250 cases in 2 days, doubling time faster than national average. A GLIMMER ANDHRA PRADESH: Slow growth, doubling time of 34 days. Impressive testing. Based on daily data by Centre, ICMR, state governments MUMBAI, MAY 20 MAHARASHTRA Cyber Police Wednesday sent notices to over 100 individuals for publishing defamatorycontentagainst“prominentpersons”onsocialmedia. The notices, sent under section 149 CrPC, are a “final reminder” thatrepeatingsuchactionwillresult in a cognisable offence. “We have observed that certain users are using social media platforms for posting offensive/ abusive/defamatory/malicious posts. Maharashtra Cyber Police Department...is issuing a notice under section 149 CrPC to all such users posting offensive CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 India builds road north of Ladakh lake, China warns of ‘necessary counter-measures’ SUSHANT SINGH NEW DELHI, MAY 20 TWO ROUNDS of talks between IndianandChineselocalmilitary commanders at Pangong Tso, where troops of the two sides came to blows two weeks ago, remained inconclusive Tuesday andBeijingwarnedof “necessary counter-measures”. It claimed the Indian Army had “entered Chinese soil on the Baijing and Lujin duan section of the SinoIndian border, obstructing the normal patrol of Chinese border troops, and was “attempting to unilaterallychangethestatusquo of border territory”. WhiletheArmyandMinistry of ExternalAffairsmaintainedsilence, officials in New Delhi describedthesituationas“delicately poised” and “very sensitive” at a time when the country is grappling with the Covid-19 pandemic and its fallout. The Indian Express has learnt thattherehasbeenmovementof troops to eastern Ladakh follow- ing the continuing objections of the Chinese to the construction of aroadintheGalwanriverarea, well within Indian territory. The site of the current construction is near the confluence of Shyok and Galwan rivers, some 200 km north of the Pangong Tso lake. The Chinese, sources said, have objected to construction of a new road which branches off the Darbuk-Shyok-Daulat Beg Oldie (DSDBO) road along the riverbank towards the LAC. The Chinese have moved troops to the area, pitched70-80 tents and parked heavy vehicles and monitoring equipment, not very far from the Indian side. This falls in SSN or sub-sector north under the Army, while areas south to it are in the Hot Springs sector under the ITBP. “Galwan is not a disputed area between India and China, unlike Pangong Tso. Both sides agree on the LAC and patrol accordingly. There was no transgression by Chinese patrols in CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Road row triggers new Nepal map, India hits back SHUBHAJIT ROY & YUBARAJ GHIMIRE NEW DELHI, KATHMANDU, MAY 20 THEROWoverconstructionofan Indian road linking Dharchula in UttarakhandtoLipulekhaspartof theMansarovarYatraroutedeepened Wednesday after Nepal Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli took a swipe atIndia and his government released a new map including territory on Indian maps. India hit back within hours. AnuragSrivastava,spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs, said: “The Government of Nepal has released a revised official map of Nepal today that includespartsof Indianterritory. Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli Thisunilateralactisnotbasedon historical facts and evidence.” “It is contrary to the bilateral understanding to resolve the outstanding boundary issues through diplomatic dialogue. Such artificial enlargement of territorial claims will not be accepted by India,” Srivastava said. In Kathmandu, Oli said he had doubts on whether India subscribed to “Sinhaev Jayate” (the lion prevails) or “Satyamev CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 When room moves to home, class comes into the classroom UMA VISHNU NEW DELHI, MAY 20 ■ A 14-year-old Class X student in Delhi spends close to four hours each day attending virtual classes and uploading assignments.Then,onlineguitarclasses, weeklychatswithfamily,streaming movies and music — her MacBook is powered all day. ■ Across the city, in another virtual classroom, while most windows display children against designer décor and stuffed toys, in one, the child sits in the commonlandingareaof hisbuilding, people walking past him. ■Two states away, the principal of a school in Nagaur, Rajasthan, which topped national rankings in math and reading outcomes in 2017-18, says less than 30 per of her students access the material she shares with parents on WhatsApp every day. IN THIS tale of three snapshots, is a telling story of how the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown is playing out in schools, private to public,metrostoTierIIcities,and far-flung rural districts. The Indian Express sat through several virtual sessions to find that the classroom is being reshaped, not just by tech- LOCKDOWN LESSONS AN EXPRESS SERIES PART 1 nology, but also by who the children are, state of infrastructure in their school and, more importantly, at home. Access becomes key given that less than half the households (42%) in urban India have Internet facility, according to the National Sample Survey Office’s Education in India report for 2017-18.Inruralareas,thisnumber falls to less than 15%. Which Schools have been locked down, and are being used for other purposes by government authorities. Express Archive furtherdropstoapaltry10.7%for households (both rural and urban) with a computer, laptop or other computing devices. It’s this digital divide that has added another layer to this social inequity, one that always existed, but has only deepened in these times. Yet, students and schools have responded to this in different ways. Take a Zoom session for primary children of a Noida school which has reserved 25 per cent seats for Economically Weaker Sections under the RTE Act, and has a sensitive social integration programme. But virtual classes mean that the inequities, relatively flattened in the classroom — where they shared the same food and the desk — become more conspicuous online. But in another Central Delhi school that has had a long and successful EWS programme, these inequities are less jarring. After her Geography class on Zoom, during which a 17-yearold raised a virtual hand to almost every question her teacher asked, the Class 12 student says shemisses“thefeelof myschool desk”, but is glad that she has a way to attend the virtual school. Daughter of a taxi driver, she was admitted under the EWS quota and now, in her final year in school, is a proud recipient of four honour badges. She uses her father’s Samsung phone for her classes. “Luckily, papa applied for a broadband connection last year, when I had a lot of projects to submit,” she says. Speaking on phone from the terrace of their home, “since the signal at home is never strong”, her father says that with the lockdown on, his taxi has been idle since March 22. “We have beenlivingoff oursavings.Baithe baithe kha rahen hain. Kya karein. My daughter will be CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
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