DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA ● REG.NO. MCS/067/2018 - 20 RNI REGN. NO. 1543/57 JOURNALISM OF COURAGE MONDAY, AUGUST 24, 2020, MUMBAI, LATE CITY, 16 PAGES `5.00, WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 CRUCIAL CWC MEETING TODAY AFTER LETTER OF 23 CALLING FOR CHANGE Facing dissent within, Sonia offers to quit, sets off chorus of support for herself, Rahul Not the time to ask for change when India facing threat, say CMs Amarinder, Baghel, Gehlot; PCC chiefs join in MANOJ C G NeveropposedSonia,wantdebateonkeyissues:signatories NEW DELHI, AUGUST 23 FACING A slew of critical questions put on record by 23 senior leadersin anunprecedented letter to her, as reported by The Indian Express Sunday, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, ahead of the crucial Congress Working Committee meeting Monday, signalled she is “not willing” to continue as interim Congress president. Thissetoffawell-coordinated chorusof supportforherandson Rahul Gandhi in the form of letters and statements from across state units led by Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, his Chhattisgarh counterpart Bhupesh Baghel and Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot. The party’s leader in Lok Sabha,AdhirRanjanChowdhury, sentheraletterpledgingfullsupport to her and Rahul and so did Top leader, one of 23, had sent two earlier letters to Sonia on same issues MANOJ C G NEW DELHI, AUGUST 23 THE UNPRECEDENTED letter by 23 senior Congress leaders to partychief SoniaGandhiseeking far-reaching changes in the way Sonia, Rahul Gandhi in January this year. PTI file several PCC chiefs: Kerala’s Mullappally Ramachandran; Karnataka’s D K Shivakumar; ‘Non-Gandhi Cong chiefs couldn’t restore lost ground. That’s the reality. Letter will help BJP’ ADHIR RANJAN CHOWDHURY CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 MORE REPORTS LEADER OF CONGRESS IN LOK SABHA PAGE 7 PAGE 8 thepartyisbeingrunwasnotthe first such communication to Gandhi. A top leader, who is a signatory to the letter, had sent two letters to her earlier during the lockdown outlining the same concerns. Letter vs letter: show of loyalty via copy and paste SANDEEP ASHAR & MANOJ C G MUMBAI, NEW DELHI, AUG 23 AHEAD OF a crucial Congress WorkingCommitteemeetingon Monday,alettertoCongressparty presidentSoniaGandhideclaring “complete and unwavering sup- MUMBAI, AUGUST 23 THREE DAYS after the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court quashed FIRsagainst29foreignersinconnection with a Tablighi Jamaat gathering in Delhi amid the coronavirus restrictions in end March, the men said they would be approaching the trial court to get possession of their seized passportstoreturntotheircountries after being jailed and stranded here for months. The men, who are from countries, including Ivory Coast, Tanzania, Iran, Djibouti, Brunei and Ghana, are currently in various talukas of Ahmednagar, in private accommodation arranged by local residents after their release from jail in June. Manyof themwereinjailfortwo TABASSUM BARNAGARWALA MUMBAI, AUGUST 23 INDIA CROSSES 3 MILLION MARK An 800-bed Covid-19 treatment centre, on the grounds of the College of Engineering, Pune, was inaugurated on Sunday. The total number of Covid-19 cases in the country has crossed the 3-million mark. Pavan Khengre Phase 2 trials of Oxford vaccine Pak says Dawood name on could begin at 3-4 sites this week SHUBHAJIT ROY NEW DELHI, AUGUST 23 INAturnof eventsthathadbeen expectedbyNewDelhi,Pakistan on Sunday steppedback from its acknowledgment — which became public on Saturday — of thepresenceof terroristDawood Ibrahim on its soil. Dawood, one of the most wanted men in India, figured in a list of 88 individuals published as a Statutory Regulatory Order EXPLAINED CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 ANURADHA MASCARENHAS PUNE, AUGUST 23 Accused of 1993 serial blasts in Mumbai (SRO) by Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to escape blacklisting by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). On Sunday, however, the Pakistani Foreign Ministry in a BY UNNY Mumbai woman suffers miscarriage due to Covid, says study CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 list is as per UN, does not mean admitting he is there BUSINESS AS USUAL CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 As HC quashes FIRs, next step for 29 foreigners is to get passports back months. Mostof themenhadcometo India before March 10 – before the Covid-19 lockdown came into effect – as part of a religious group to study Islam, they had told HC. They also submitted that they had informed the local authorities, including the police, regarding their visit. After the Jamaat gathering came under spotlight in Delhi, the Maharashtra Police also booked foreigners in the state, including these 29 men. The police have claimed that themenwerepropagatingIslam and had violated both visa and lockdown conditions. The chargestheywerebookedunder included the Epidemic Diseases Act, Foreigners Act and sections of theIndianPenalCodepertaining to the spread of infectious diseases. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 port” to the Gandhi family was circulatedamongCongressMLAs and MPs across states. The letter, first written by Leader of Congress party in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, declares “unequivocal and complete faith” in her TABLIGHI JAMAAT SADAF MODAK Whilethere wasnoresponse to those letters, Gandhi is learnt to have spoken to Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad after the receipt of the third letter — signed by him as well as 22 others ‘NOT ALL WILLGET VACCINE QUICKLY, NEEDSTRATEGY’ PAGE 9 PHASE 2 human clinical trials of the Oxford UniversityAstraZeneca vaccine candidate for Covid-19, manufactured by Serum Institute of India, will begin in the coming week. Three-four trial sites have demonstrated the requisite preparedness, and doses of the candidatevaccinecouldbeadministered as early as Monday or Tuesday, top officials at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said. Thegovernmenthasallowed fast-trackingof regulatory clearances for the vaccine against the novel coronavirus; the final approval was related to certification from the Directorate General of Health Services' Central Research Institute in Kasauli, Himachal Pradesh, for use of the investigational product in Phase 2/3 clinical trials. The trials can begin simultaneously at all sites that are prepared, ICMR officials said. Four A FIRST trimester miscarriage in a Mumbai resident is being linked to the SARS-CoV-2 virus aftertestsfoundtheinfectionhad travelledintotheumbilicalcord, placentaandpossiblycausedinflammation in the foetus. “Toourknowledge,thisisthe first case demonstrating persistence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in a tissue weeks after clearance in the throat swabs... the virus not just survived in the tissue but is replicativeintheplacentalcells,” stated a research paper submitted last week by the National Institute of Research in Reproductive Health (NIRRH) – a research arm of the Indian Council of Medical Research – in collaboration with ESIS (Employees’ State Insurance Scheme) hospital at Kandivali. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 PAGE 12 HARISH DAMODARAN NEW DELHI, AUGUST 23 APRIL-JUNEmaybethefirsttime thatIndia’seconomywouldcontractyear-on-yearsincethegovernment started coming out with quarterly estimates of GDP from 1996-97. But the data for thequarter,tobereleasedbythe National Statistical Office on August 31, could also show GDP fallingforthefirsttimeinspiteof agriculturalproductiongoingup. Thecountry’sGDPregistered anannualdecline,atminus5.2%, lastin1979-80.Butthatyearalso recorded negative growth for agriculturalGDP,atminus12.8%. Even the previous GDP contractions of 0.3% in 1972-73, 3.7% in 1965-66, and 1.2% in 1957-58 were accompanied by farm output falling by 5%, 11% and 4.5% respectively. The first quarter of 2020-21 (April-March) may turn out differently. Most investment banks and rating agencies are predicting Could behistoric, notdesirable INDIA’S GROWTH fortunes have been tethered to agriculture. All years of GDP contraction, the last one in 1979-80, were farm sector-led. April-June 2020 could be the first time when the economy will shrink despite agriculture notching up decent growth. It would be historic if this extends to the rest of the fiscal. But it would not be desirable — agriculture can only support, not the economy to shrink this fiscal, with the Reserve Bank of CONTINUEDONPAGE6 In 40 days, 69 lakh seek jobs on govt portal, just a fraction employed LIZ MATHEW & HARIKISHAN SHARMA NEW DELHI, AUGUST 23 A GOVERNMENT jobs portal launched by the Prime Minister onJuly11hasseenregistrationof over69lakhindividualsinjust40 days. But the number of individualswhogotjobsisjustafraction of those who registered, showing that employment will be the biggest political economy challenge for the government as it restartseconomicactivitieswhile trying to contain the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. In just a week, between August 14 and August 21, more than 7 lakh people registered. The number of people who took up jobs during the week, however, stood at just 691. According to data collated by theMinistryofSkillDevelopment and Entrepreneurship on its ASEEM (Aatmanirbhar Skilled Employee Employer Mapping) portal, only 2 per cent of the 3.7 lakh candidates looking for jobs have actually got one. Of the 69 lakhmigrantworkerswhoregistered,1.49lakhwereofferedjobs, but only 7,700 could join work. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 TRACKING INDIA’S COVID CURVE 174 CASES: DAYS SINCE PANDEMIC BEGAN RECOVERED: 22,80,566 30,44,940 DEATHS: 56,706 TESTS: 3,52,92,220| DOUBLING RATE: 30.76** KEYSTATES TOWATCH SURGEIN 7-DAYAVG DOUBLING 24HOURS GROWTH* RATE** TOTAL CASES 6,71,942 14,492 ■ Tamil Nadu 3,73,410 5,980 1.69% 42.63 ■ Andhra 3,45,216 10,276 2.94% 24.48 ■ Karnataka 2,71,876 7,330 3.08% 23.41 ■ Uttar Pradesh 1,82,456 5,217 2.83% 25.43 ■ Maharashtra REMEMBERING ARUN JAITLEY * Compounded Daily Growth Rate over last 7 days 2.01% 35.91 ** Calculated over 7-day growth CASE FATALITY RATIO POSITIVITY RATE DAILY IN, DAILY OUT 7 DAYS EARLIER: 7 DAYS EARLIER: DETECTED TODAY NOW: NOW: RECOVERED TODAY: Positives against number tested (in %); indicator of the spread of disease Becoming sick vs recovering; more recoveries for 14 days may signal the peak 1.93 1.86 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 KEY PLAYERS KNOCK ON INDIA’S DOOR FOR VIALS, SYRINGES For the first time, farm sector set to grow even as GDP sees a contraction THEBUILDEROF COMMONGROUND BY NIRMALA SITHARAMAN THE IDEAS PAGE, P11 Deaths as a ratio of positive cases (in %); indicator of progress in averting deaths 8.84 8.63 69,239 57,989 DataasonAugust22,releasedbyUnionMinistryofHealth,ICMRandstates.Oftendailynumbers includedatafrompreviousdays.Assuch,trendsbasedondailynumbersareindicative,notdefinitive No Internet, school comes home to children in rural Sikkim ` 64 per kilo LOCKDOWN LESSONS ` 92 per kilo CHANGING CLASSROOMS ` 111 per kilo AN EXPRESS SERIES ` 54 per Dozen MAHARASHTRA GOVT SET TO LIFT RESTRICTIONS ONINTER DISTRICT TRAVEL, DISCONTINUE E-PASS PAGE4 ESHA ROY NEW DELHI AUGUST 23 SOMETIME IN April, with Covid forcing schools shut, Indra Mukhi Chhetri, a maths and science teacher in a rural area of South Sikkim district, began worrying about her students. While schools were expected to conduct online classes, Chhetri knew that would be a nonstarter considering these were areaswithlittleornophoneconnectivity, let alone Internet. “Iwasreallyworried.Thepeopleinmyvillagearemostlyfarmers,verypoor.Thismakeseducation an even bigger priority for childrenintheseareasthanthose in urban centres,’’ says Chhetri, who teaches at the VCGL Senior Secondary School in Ravangla. So every day, Chhetri begins her rounds of the village at 9 am, visiting her students “one by one” and taking impromptu classes — maths to science and English to general knowledge. While the Sikkim government has launched the Sikkim Edutech App to help students A class being held in Posakey village, East Sikkim. Express from Class 9-12 cope with the learning loss, it's the junior studentsandthoseinfarflungareas whowereleftwithlittlesupport. It's into this vacuum that teachers such as Chhetri have steppedintoensurethatchildren don't miss out on learning. As moreteachersreachedouttotheir students,visitingthempersonally with resources, word spread of thesimple,yeteffective,teaching programme, all the way up to Gangtok. Last month, when the lockdown was lifted, the government formally adopted the programme,callingit“home-schooling for elementary education”. “The teachers were doing this arbitrarily. We decided to issueguidelinesandmakethesystem more structured,’’ says Director, Elementary Education, Bhim Thatal, adding that all of Sikkim’s 10,252 government school teachers have been pressed into service under the programme. The Education Department meticulouslymappedoutthelocation of every government school teacher and assigned them areas. “A teacher living in a village may actually be employed in another village or district. But now they can ask their counterpartinthatvillagetotake over their students and vice versa,’’ says Thatal, adding that the government was also using community radio to impart lessons as well as local television networks to telecast science and maths classes. Additional Chief Secretary (Education) with the Sikkim government G S Upadhyay says it was the poor connectivity in the state (both phone as well as Internet)thatpromptedthegovernment to adopt the “homeschooling” programme. “It’s only in a few urban areas of Sikkim that parents own smartphones or tablets. So there is a glaring digital divide in these parts. There had to be a solution to this divide. Many teachers started this initiative to ensure that children kept up with their education. When we saw how successful this was, we decided to make it an official system last month,’’ he says. Nevika Kafley is an English teacher at the Senior Secondary school in Bermiok Tokal, South Sikkim. From 9 am till lunch CONTINUEDONPAGE6
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