DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE MONDAY, JANUARY 4, 2021, NEW DELHI, LATE CITY, 16 PAGES `6.00 (`8 BIHAR & RAIPUR, `12 SRINAGAR) WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 DCGI GIVES NOD TO COVISHIELD, COVAXIN FOR RESTRICTED USE TwoCovidvaccinesgetemergency usenod,oneinclinicaltrialmode On data pending for Covaxin, Health Minister says better against UK variant PRABHA RAGHAVAN NEW DELHI, JANUARY 3 HaryanapolicefiredteargasshellstostopprotestersinRewaridistrictonSunday. Reuters Haryana police use tear-gas on protesters; talks with Govt today SAKSHI DAYAL GURGAON, JANUARY 3 ON THE eve of the next round of talks between the protesting farmer unions and the Centre on Monday, the Haryana police on Sunday fired tear gas shells to stop a group of farmers, mostly fromRajasthan,frommovingtowards Delhi. The incident occurred near Sangwari village in Rewari district, on NH-48, about 16 km from Gurgaon, at around 4 pm. Confirming that tear gas shells were fired, Rajesh Kumar, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Bawal, said: “The protesters said those who had gone ahead did not have enough provisions. They asked for permission to go to them and set up a langar, and were allowed to do so. However, when they got there, the entire group tried to break through the barricades and move forward.” On Thursday, over 300 farmers had forced their way past the barricades at the RajasthanHaryana border and entered Rewari. On Sunday, about 50 more farmers, mostly from Hanumangarh and Sri Ganganagar in Rajasthan, followed them, after which police fired tear gas shells. Most of the protesters, however, remained at the border. “About 15-20 tractors entered Rewari today... they had a clash withpolice.However,thoseof us following the directions of the Samyukt Kisan Union are still at the border and will continue to remain there. The next course of action will be decided depending on the outcome of tomorrow's meeting with the government. If they don't fulfill our demands, we will look at moving towards Delhi after January 6,” said Ramzan Chaudhary, head of the Nuh unit of Jai Kisan Andolan, which is a part of the Samyukt Kisan Union — the BHOPAL, JANUARY 3 THE MADHYA Pradesh government is all set to bring in a stringent law against stone-pelters, with provisions to attach assets of theaccusedtopayfordamage caused to any property, including that belonging to individuals, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said here on Sunday. Speaking to mediapersons, Chouhansaid,"Stone-peltersare enemies of society, whoever they are. Stone-pelting is not an ordinarycrime,itcankillpeople, create an atmosphere of terror, chaos, and disrupt law and order." Therefore, it would no longer be treated as a petty crime,butastringentlawformulated to check it, the CM said. The move comes after two cases of stone-pelting on rallies by Hindu right-wing organisations in Ujjain and Indore districts seeking donations for the Shivraj Singh Chouhan Ram temple, as they passed through Muslim-dominated localities. "If someone raises their issuespeacefully, thendemocracy prevails. But no one has permissiontodamagepublicproperty," Chouhan said, adding that instructions had been given to formulate the law and work on it had started. A senior official said the law being drafted by the Madhya Pradesh government is on the lines of the Uttar Pradesh Recovery of Damage to Public and Private Property Ordinance, 2020, with more stringent provisions."Thebasicideaof thelaw is to cover all public and private CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 WORLD UK COVID SURGE: STRICT LOCKDOWN COMING UP CHINA’S NEW DEFENCE LAW EXPANDS POWER OF ITS MILITARYPAGE 13 PAGE 1 ANCHOR CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 BY UNNY KAUNAIN SHERIFF M NEW DELHI, JANUARY 3 EXPRESS NETWORK ROLLOUT TO BEGIN IN NEAR FUTURE, SCHEDULE SOON PAGE 6 AMITABH SINHA & PRABHA RAGHAVAN PUNE, NEW DELHI, JANUARY 3 PAGES 4, 5 A healthcare worker at a vaccine registration centre in Ahmedabad on Sunday. Nirmal Harindran MINISTER FOR ROAD TRANSPORT & HIGHWAYS, AND MSME PAGE 12 THE EDITORIAL PAGE POST-COVID,NOT BUSINESSASUSUAL BY VIKRAM S MEHTA PAGE 8 Crematorium roof built two months ago collapses in Ghaziabad, 23 killed ABHINAV RAJPUT & ANANYA TIWARI GHAZIABAD, JANUARY 3 AT LEAST 23 people were killed and over 15 injured when a roof atacrematoriuminMuradnagar, Ghaziabad district, collapsed on Sunday noon. Around 50 people were present for the cremation of Jai Ram, 55, a vegetable seller, and all those who died were his relatives or acquaintances. Thecurvedroof wasbuiltjust two months ago over a path leading to the platform where cremations are performed. A NEW DELHI, JANUARY 3 JUST AS it was stepping up its economic offensive against China, India, through a newlyfloated state-owned company, inked a pact with an Argentine firm mid-last year to jointly prospect lithium in the South American country that has the third largest reserves of the sil- CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 ver-white alkali metal — a crucialbuildingblockof thelithiumion rechargeable batteries that power electric vehicles (EVs), laptops and mobile phones. The new company, Khanij Bidesh India Ltd — incorporated in August, 2019 by three stateowned companies, NALCO, Hindustan Copper and Mineral Exploration Ltd, with a specific mandate to acquire strategic mineral assets such as lithium MEMBERS OF the National Covid-19 task force clarified that Covaxin,thevaccinebeingdevelopedbyBharatBiotech,wouldbe usedina“clinicaltrial”modeand Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said its emergency use approval was “a strategic decision for our vaccine security.” Butsomeindependentscientistssaidthatwhiledatafromthe vaccine’sPhase1andPhase2trials is very encouraging, they questioned the process of approval when efficacy data from thevaccine’sPhase3trials,which beganinNovember,hadn’tcome in.Efficacydataisanindicationof how effective the vaccine is in preventing the virus attack. "If you take a look at what wasproposedbytheDCGI(Drug ControllerGeneralof India)asan adequate data package back in September, when they published their draft guidance (for CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 In 3-month trip to India, Christchurch attacker visited Goa, Mumbai and Jaipur TravelledinIndiafromNov21,2015to Feb18,2016,mostlyvisitedsouthstates Rescue workers at the site in Muradnagar on Sunday. PTI senior police officer said the mourners were offering prayers CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 andcobaltabroad—isalsolearnt to be exploring options in Chile and Bolivia, two other top lithium-producing countries. Currently,India is heavilydependent on import of these cells and the move to ink sourcing pacts for lithium is seen as another salvo in the front against China, a key source of both the raw material and cells. India is seen as a late mover as it attemptstoenterthelithiumvalue DEEPTIMAN TIWARY NEW DELHI, JANUARY 3 RELATED REPORT PAGE 3 Eye on China, India looks at lithium reserves in Argentina, Chile and Bolivia ANIL SASI THE INDIGENOUS vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) will be used as a "back-up", only if the country needs extra doses to vaccinate a large number of people, particularly given the possibility of a surge triggered by the UK variant. And, unlike the Serum Institute of India's (SII) vaccine Covishield, Covaxin will be used only in 'clinical trial mode', where consent will be taken and side-effects monitored, the heads of AIIMS and ICMR, part of the NationalCovid-19taskforce,told The Indian Express. On Sunday, Indian regulator Phase 3 efficacy data is missing, say experts, call for close monitoring MORE REPORTS ‘Root cause of the problem is surplus foodgrains and higher MSP than the market price’ NITIN GADKARI Covaxin back-up, for use if surge, under controls: AIIMS, ICMR heads Whole virus vaccine, so may be more effective against new strain: ICMR CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Democracy only if peace: Chouhan warns of strict law against stone-pelters IRAM SIDDIQUE INDIA’S TOP drug regulator SundayapprovedCovishieldand Covaxin vaccines for restricted useagainstCovid-19inthecountry,pavingthewayformassvaccinationagainstthevirusthathas so far infected more than a crore peopleandkillednearly1.5lakh. Theapprovalstothetwovaccines, both to be given in two doses,followarecommendation regarding the same by theDrugs Controller General of India's (DCGI) expert panel. In the case of Covaxin,forwhosePhase3trials limited data is available, informed consent would have to be sought from those receiving the vaccine, which will be administered according to a protocol that is still in the process of being decided, according to a senior government official close to the development. Announcing the clearance to Covishield and Covaxin at a media briefing on Sunday morning, DCGI Dr V K Somani said clinical trials regarding both the drugs wouldhavetocontinue.Thefirms arerequiredtosubmitsafetydata every 15 days for the first two months and monthly thereafter. “After adequate examination, the CDSCO (Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation) hasdecidedtoaccepttherecommendations of the expert committeeand,accordingly,vaccines BUSINESS AS USUAL chain, coming at a time when EVs are predicted to be a sector ripe for disruption. And 2021 is likelytobeaninflectionpointfor battery technology, with several potential improvements to the Li-ion technology, and alternativestothistried-and-testedformulation, under advanced stages of commercialisation. The most promising are solid-state batteries that use CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 BRENTON TARRANT, the lone gunmanwhokilled51people,including five Indians, in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, on March 15, 2019, had stayedinGoa,MumbaiandJaipur, amongtheseven-eightplaceshe visited in India, in 2015-16. Following inputs from their counterparts in New Zealand, Indian intelligence agencies launched an investigation into Tarrant's three-month visit to India. They found that Tarrant, an Australian, travelled extensively in India between November 21, 2015, and February 18, 2016. Sources said Tarrant largely travelled and stayed in southern states, spending considerable time in Goa. He spent a few days in Mumbai too; the only north Brenton Tarrant. AP file Indian state he visited was Rajasthan. “We have verified the informationprovidedbyNewZealand authorities about his travel details. As yet, we have not found anythingthatsuggeststhatanyof hisactivitieshere,orconnections made thereof, had any link with the attack. There is nothing to suggest that his travels in India could have prompted him CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 In fantasy games surge, policy plays catch-up with reality MIHIR VASAVDA MUMBAI, JANUARY 3 AS DIFFERENT courts and state governments debate its legality, there is a growing body of opinion in the official establishment in favour of a unified regulatory apparatusthatallowsonlinefantasy games — and looks at opening some doors to legalising sports betting. In a draft paper last month, NitiAayog,thegovernment’spolicythinktank,proposed“uniform national-level regulation” of Online Fantasy Sports Platforms (OFSPs) with a set of initiatives: “legislative safe harbour,” “lighttouch regulatory framework,” and “self-regulation.” Inviting stakeholder comments until January 18, Niti Aayog, citing a KPMG India report, flagged the sharp surge in thesector:2millionusersinJune 2016 to 90 million December 2019; number of OFSPs up from 10 in 2016 to more than 140 in 2019; a tripling of revenue growth, from Rs 920 crore in 2018-19toRs2,470crorein201920 and the potential of 12,000 jobs in the next couple of years. Key barriers to this growth, Niti Aayog said, were the lack of a “definable test” or “regulatory guideline or forum” to assess and determine if a game is one of skill or chance; and fragmented regulation. “WhileOFSPsoperatethrough online media on a pan-India basis, their regulation proceeds under varied State-wise regulatory regimes. This could impact fantasy sports users’ interests of transparency, OFSP operator integrity, and fairness may vary fromstatetostate,”saidthedraft. Niti Aayog’s paper comes a month after Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur was Dream 11 is the Indian Premier League’s main sponsor. File quoted by PTI that his “suggestionwillbetolegalisebettingand gambling activities.” Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs Kiren Rijiju said online fantasy games are“veryinstrumentalinrevolutionising” sports watching. The paper also red-flags “unscrupulous operators who lure users with games of questionable legality in the guise of fantasy sports.” This amid scrutiny at several levels showing how policy plays catch-up. Consider: ■ In the last 18 months, at least six petitions seeking a ban on online gambling and fantasy sports have been filed in different High Courts. ■ In March last year, the Supreme Court stayed the operation of a Bombay High Court judgment dated April 30, 2019, upholding the legality of fantasy sports, which bear a close resemblance to gambling, an illegal activity. ■ In September, Andhra Pradesh joined Telangana, Assam, Odisha, Nagaland and Sikkiminbanningonlinefantasy games played for money. ■ In November, the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court issued notices to India captain Virat Kohli and cricket board president Sourav Ganguly, among others, for endorsing online fantasy games. And yet, industry-watchers underline, growth is the irreversible force. According to a Financial Times estimate, venture capital into gaming start-ups in India hasskyrocketedfromamere$25 million in 2015 to $337 million last year. In September alone, DreamSports—theparentcompany of Dream11, the biggest daily fantasy sports operator — raised $225 million from CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
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