DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE TUESDAY, MARCH 2, 2021, KOLKATA, LATE CITY, 12 PAGES THE EDITORIAL PAGE INDIA,PAK,CHINA MUSTBUILDON DE-ESCALATION BY PRATAP BHANU MEHTA PAGE 6 Man accused of raping relative when she was minor, CJI-led bench asks: will you marry her? SINCE 1932 `5.00/EX-KOLKATA `6.00 (`12 IN NORTH EAST STATES & ANDAMAN) WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM COVID-19 VACCINE FOR THOSE ABOVE 60, 45-PLUS WITH COMORBIDITIES Phase2,Day1:1.46lakhfrompriority groupsgetfirstshot,25lakhregister PM, Union ministers, V-P among those vaccinated; PM appeals to those eligible to get their shots BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das MUMBAI, MARCH 1 NEW DELHI, MARCH 1 PM Narendra Modi receives a dose of Covaxin at AIIMS. Reuters; (Left) At a hospital in Kolkata on Monday. Partha Paul KAUNAIN SHERIFF M NEW DELHI, MARCH 1 AS THE second phase of Covid19vaccination sawa nationwide rollout on Monday — for those above 60 years of age and those above45with specifiedco-morbid conditions — around 25 lakh potentialbeneficiariesregistered on the Co-WIN portal on Day 1. According to provisional figures late Monday evening, around 1.46 lakh people from the two priority groups got their first doses of the vaccine. This is the first time the general population is being vaccinated; in the first phase, 1.43 crore doses of Covishield and Covaxin vaccines were administered to healthcare and frontline workers. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was among the first to re- ceive the Covid-19 vaccine — he got his first dose of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin at AIIMS, New Delhi, early Monday morning. Inatweet,thePrimeMinister said, "Took my first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at AIIMS. Remarkablehowourdoctorsand scientists have worked in quick time to strengthen the global fight against COVID-19. I appeal to all those who are eligible to take the vaccine. Together, let us Maharashtra minister suggests foreign hack in Mumbai outage USfirmsaysblackoutaChinamessage; Centreconfirmsalert,saysnodataloss PRABHA RAGHAVAN & ZEESHAN SHAIKH NEW DELHI, MUMBAI, MARCH 1 INDIA’S NODAL agency to safeguard critical computer resources had informed the government about attempted intrusions by a Chinese statesponsored group into segments of the country’s power infrastructure early last month, the Power Ministry said on Monday. The Ministry's statement followedareportbyacybersecurity companybasedinMassachusetts, United States, which noted a E X P L A I NE D CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Flagsmoderationinhomeloanofftake, creditcontractiontolargeindustries GEORGE MATHEW EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE ASUPREMECourtbenchheaded by Chief Justice of India S A Bobde Monday asked a state government employee, who is facing charges of raping a relative when she was a minor, if he intended to marry her now. “Will you marry her?” the CJI asked while hearing a petition against an order of the Bombay High Court setting aside a sessions court order granting anticipatory bail to the accused. “We are not forcing you to marry. Let us know if you will. Otherwise, you will say we are forcing you to marry her,” the bench said. When the accused, a Maharashtra government employee represented by Advocate Anand Dilip Langde, replied that he had wanted to do so earlier but was married to someone elsenow,theapexcourtrejected his appeal. But the bench, also comprisingJustices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanium, gave thepetitionerinterimprotection from arrest for four weeks during which he can seek regular bail from the sessions court. Inhisplea,the23-year-oldaccused had prayed against being RBI says banks reluctant to lend to big business “steeprise”intheuseof malware by a Chinese group called Red Echo to target India’s power sector organisations in 2020, when tensions between the two countries were high. The contents of the study by Recorded Future were reported by The New York Times on Sunday.The report saidthefindings suggested a link between the Galwan clash of June 2020, andthe griddisturbancethat led to a massive power outage in Mumbai on October 12 last year. The NYT report spoke of a “broad Chinese cybercampaign E Strategic ● blow CYBERATTACKS CAN deliver strategic and psychological advantage. Russia shut down power in Ukraine on two occasions some years ago, and, after the US discovered that Russian hackers had inserted malicious code into its power grid, it responded in kind. China too has moved to inserting code into infrastructure systems, Western experts say. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 make India COVID-19 free!" The Union Health Ministry said that of the 25 lakh potential beneficiaries who registered on theCo-WIN portal on Day 1, 24.5 lakh are those from among the two priority groups in the general population, and the rest are healthcare and frontline workers. “About 6.44 lakh appointments (from among those who registered) were booked today by the citizen beneficiaries,” the WORLD Ministry said. The Ministry added that 1.28 lakhbeneficiariesabove60years and18,850beneficiariesaged45 and above received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine on Monday. The option of self-registration was opened up for beneficiariesontheCo-WINwebsiteand app, and the Aarogya Setu app. Several vaccination centres also CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 THERESERVEBankof India(RBI) has expressed concern over the contraction in credit offtake by large industries and infrastructure and pointed out that there’s reluctanceonthepartof bankers to lend to large industries. The central bank also raised concernoverthesharpdecelerationincreditgrowthinthehome loansegmentandtheadverseeffect it may have on sectors like steel, cement and construction. The recent decline in credit growth was mainly due to large industries, the central bank said in its study on ‘Sectoral deployment of bank credit’. “Owing to thestressedassetsinlargeindustries, there was a general reluctance on the part of bankers to lendtotheseindustries,withthe problemgettingcompoundedby the pandemic,” the RBI said. “Contractionincredittolarge industries and infrastructure remains a cause of concern,” the report said. Credit to industry contracted by 1.3 per cent in January 2021 as compared to2.5 per cent growth in January 2020 WEST BENGAL NEW DELHI, MARCH 1 PAGE 10 ECONOMY SPECTRUM AUCTION: ON FIRST DAY, BIDS WORTH Rs77,000 CR CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Sharma attacks Adhir on alliance with Bengal cleric, he hits back MANOJ C G SARKOZY CONVICTED IN GRAFT CASE, LIKELY TO AVOID JAIL PROTESTERS MARCH AGAIN IN MYANMAR mainly due to contraction in credit to large industries by 2.5 per cent (2.8 per cent growth in January 2020). The outstanding bank credit to large industries declined by Rs 59,610 crore on a year-on-year basis to Rs 22.78 lakhcroreasonJanuary29,2021, according to the latest RBI data. Although credit growth to large industries turned negative inNovember2020,thesilverlining has been the robust growth of credit to medium industries. Credit to micro and small industries registered a moderate increase between November 2019 and November 2020. Credit to medium industries registered a robust growth of 19.1 per cent in January 2021 ascompared to2.8 per cent a year ago and credit to micro & small industries registered a growth of 0.9 per cent in January 2021 ascompared to0.5 per cent a year ago. A DAY after senior Congress leaders shared the stage with an influential Muslim cleric at an election rally in Kolkata, Anand Sharma,aprominentmemberof the party's dissident “G-23 group”, said such association flew in the face of the core ideology of the Congress. The alliance with the Indian SecularFront(ISF),apartyformed in January by Abbas Siddiqui of the Furfura Sharif shrine in West TEJASHWI MEETS MAMATA, TO BACK TMC; SAYS CONG, CPM ALLIES IN BIHAR PAGE 4 Bengal'sHooghlydistrict,needed to be endorsed by the Congress WorkingCommittee,thehighest policymaking body of the party, Sharma said on Monday. Late in the evening, Congress leader in Lok Sabha and West BengalCongresspresidentAdhir Ranjan Chowdhury hit back at Sharma,saying his criticism was “only serving the polarising agenda of BJP”. Siddiqui, who had earlier been in talks with Asaduddin Owaisi's All India Majlis-eIttehadul Muslimeen, formally CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 PAGE 11 MP lawyer in jail after Half-baked, useless piece of paper: judge says his birthday Delhi HC pulls up police on report message ‘indecent’ PROBE INTO ‘LEAK’ OF ‘CONFESSION STATEMENT’ IN RIOTS CASE SOFI AHSAN NEW DELHI, MARCH 1 IN A scathing indictment of the vigilance inquiry conducted by police into the alleged leak of an accused’s“confessionstatement” in the conspiracy case related to the Northeast Delhi riots, the Delhi High Court Monday describedtheprobereportsubmitted before it as “half-baked”, “a useless piece of paper”, and “worse than...what they do in an ordinary theft case”. The court also asked the Special Commissioner of Police (Vigilance) to appear before it Friday. It said that such leaks need to be controlled for “fairness”tothe accused andfor“purity of investigation”. Hearing a petition filed by Jamia Millia Islamia student Asif Iqbal Tanha against the alleged leak, Justice Mukta Gupta said: “Do you want me to comment on this vigilance inquiry? I will say this is a useless paper and ratheritiscontemptof courtthat this court had asked for a proper inquiry to be conducted on your own statement where you thought it was a matter of national importance and you were also aggrieved that your investigationpapershavebeenleaked... and see this vigilance inquiry.” “This vigilance inquiry is worse than even a routine PG (Public Grievance) Cell inquiry... whattheydoinanordinarytheft case,” observed the court. The Delhi Police, which has denied any role in the alleged leak, told the court in a report on thestatusof thevigilanceinquiry that “copies of complete case file along with documents were sentbySpecialCelltotheadministrative offices of GNCTD (Governmentof NationalCapital CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 IRAM SIDDIQUE BHOPAL, MARCH 1 AN ADVOCATE in Madhya Pradesh's Ratlam has been lodgedinjailsinceFebruary9on variouscharges,includingunder the IT Act, for allegedly sending birthday greetings to a Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC) in the district through an email at 1.11 am on January 28 and speed post later. TheFIR in the case states that the accused Vijay Singh Yadav, 37, allegedly downloaded a profile picture of the JMFC from her Facebook account without her consent and sent it to her as part of thegreetingwithan“indecent message”. The FIR was registered at the Station Road police station on February8based on acomplaint from Mahendra Singh Chouhan, System Officer, Ratlam District Court, and includes charges of cheating, forgery and forgery for the purpose of harming reputation, and sections of the IT Act. The complaint stated that apart from the mail, Yadav allegedly sent the JMFC a greeting card through speed post the CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 On the road with Covid: Auto-rickshaws and bike taxis recover faster, cabs behind PAGE 1 ANCHOR PRANAV MUKUL NEW DELHI, MARCH 1 THERE WASatime when people using e-mobility apps preferred cabs to bike taxis and autos. It seems to be the other way now, according to data available on transportation in the time of Covid. Theyshowthatevenasusage of public transportation continues to climb toward pre-Covid levels, modes such as bike taxis and auto-rickshaws have recovered faster than cabs. Stakeholders say this is mainly drivenbytheperceptionthatpassengers have a lower risk of contractingthevirusinbiketaxisand auto-rickshaws than inside cabs. “With fewer physical touchpoints, better air circulation and social distancing measures in place, autos are largely being perceivedascomparativelysafer modesof transport,”taxi-hailing firm Uber said. In terms of gross bookings, it said, the number of auto-rickshaw rides on its platform have exceeded pre-Covid levels in places like Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Mysore, NUMBER OF MONTHLY RIDES BOOKED THROUGH E-MOBILITY APPS JANUARY 2020 JANUARY 2021 CABS 66 million 36 million BIKE TAXIS 19 million 12 million AUTOS 28 million 23 million Source: RedSeer Bhubaneswar, Jaipur, Nagpur, Indore, Nashik and Kochi. Accordingtodataprovidedby Internet sector consultancy firm RedSeer,cabs,biketaxisandautorickshawsbookedthroughonline platforms like Uber, Ola, Rapido, etc.,haverecoveredto54percent, 83percentand62percentofpreCovid levels, respectively. In January 2021, the data show, cab bookings on these platforms clocked 36 million rides compared with 66 million in the same month last year. However, auto-rickshaw bookings recorded 23 million rides against 28 million last year, and CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Kolkata
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