DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE THURSDAY, MARCH 25, 2021, AHMEDABAD, LATE CITY, 18 PAGES BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY `4.00, WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 UK, SOUTH AFRICA, BRAZIL VARIANTS ALSO FOUND New ‘double mutant’ variant is detected, but no link with current surge, says govt No change in test, treatment protocol; need Covid-appropriate behaviour: govt EXPLAINED SIMPLY PUT VIRUS VARIANTS IN INDIAN POPULATION PAGE 15 THE EDITORIAL PAGE UPHOLD,DON'TALTER CONSTITUTION INCASEOFDELHI BY SHAILAJA CHANDRA PAGE 8 KAUNAIN SHERIFF M NEW DELHI, MARCH 24 THE GOVERNMENT announced on Wednesday that a new "double mutant variant" of the novel coronavirus has been detected in the country, along with the three variants from the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Brazil. The government underlined, however, that the mutations have not been detected in numbers that would be "sufficient" to establish the rapid in- Testing in progress in Delhi on Wednesday. Amit Mehra Needsstudy, butgovtflags complacence crease in cases in some states. Thesevariantsdetectedinthe community“havebeenprevalent sincelast6-8months”,theCentre said. “The occurrence of mutationsisanaturalprocess.TheRNA strand of the virus will replicate andwillmakemistakesresulting in mutations. We should not worry about mutations," Dr V K Paul,chairpersonofIndia'sCovid19 task force, said. "However", Dr Paul said, "the mostimportantthingtoremember is that viruses will not THE double mutant variant is a “variant of interest”, which requires further investigation to establish a direct link with the surge. The second wave is attributable to large susceptible population not affected in the first wave, and a lowering of the guard in the last few months. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 CJI recommends Distress in the services sector means Justice Ramana to women’s journeys of hope cut short be his successor NEW DELHI, MARCH 24 WITH ONE month to go for his retirement, Chief Justice of India S A Bobde has officially recommended the second most senior Judge of the Supreme Court, Justice N V Ramana, as his successor. Ramana will take over from CJI Bobde, who is due to demit office on April 23, and serve as thethe48thChief Justiceof India till August 26, 2022 -- a term of over sixteen months. The official letter recommending Justice Ramana's name was forwarded to the Centre Wednesday. Appointed as a judge of the top court on February 17, 2014, Justice Ramana has been a part of many significant rulings, including those on setting up of special courts for fast-tracking criminal cases against MPs and MLAs; bringing the CJI’s office Justice Ramana is seniormost judge after CJI Bobde amenable to the Right to Information Act; and, lifting Internet restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir. In the matter of MPs and MLAs, he headed a bench that asked High Court Chief Justices on September 16, 2020, to constitute a Special Bench to monitor the progress of trials in such cases and “forthwith” list those that are pending due to a stay and decide whether it should be lifted or not. Hearing petitions against the Internet curbs following the abrogation of Article 370 in J&K, a three-judge bench headed by Justice Ramana in January 2020 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 12 parties unite to oppose as Centre pushes through Delhi Bill; black day: AAP HARIKISHANSHARMA& KARISHMAMEHROTRA NEWDELHI,MARCH24 THE CONTROVERSIAL GovernmentofNationalCapitalTerritory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which seeks to make the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi equivalent to the Delhi government, was passed in Parliament WednesdaywiththeRajyaSabha giving its nod — but not before it becamearallyingpointfortheentire Opposition and saw regional partiesunitinginararepushback against what they called an overweening Centre. Asmanyas12OppositionpartiesinRajyaSabhaandnineinLok Sabha opposed the Bill. Outside the House, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who had slammedtheBillearlierasamove to undermine his government, described its passage as a “sad day” while Deputy CM Manish Sisodia called it a "black day" for democracy. InRajyaSabha,16MPsfrom14 partiesparticipatedinthediscussion.Inashowofunity,representatives from Congress, AAP, TMC, BJD,DMK,YSRCP,SP,CPI(M),Shiv Sena,SAD,TDPandNCPopposed the Bill, leaving only the BJP and ally RPI (A) in its favour. Boosting the Opposition ranks, YSRCP, which supported the Bill in the LokSabha,opposeditintheUpper House. Although the Bill was passed inRajyaSabhaby83votesagainst 45, the proceedings also witnessedawalkoutbytheCongress, SP, YSRCP, BJD and AIADMK. In the Lok Sabha, eight Opposition parties -- AAP, BSP, Congress, IUML, NC, NCP, Shiv Sena and SP – had opposed the Bill, which was supported by BJP and YSRCP. In all, 28 members participated in the discussions in both houses, of whom 22 supported the Bill. On Wednesday, the Upper THE FEMALE LABOUR FORCE PARTICIPATION RATE AND GREATER UNEMPLOYMENT RATE BY AGE GROUPS MISSING WOMEN AgeGroup (Years) AN EXPRESS SERIES PART 2 15-19 20-24 25-29 30-34 35-39 40-44 45-49 50-54 55-59 60-64 >=65 PRANAV MUKUL, AANCHAL MAGAZINE & ANIL SASI GURUGRAM, NEW DELHI, MARCH 24 A GELATERIA in Bengaluru, a top European hotel operator, a tony boutique in a high-end Gurgaon mall, a global HR consultancy -these are far away from factory shop-floors in Manesar or Tirupur but here too, it’s the women who have been hit hard bytheCoviddistress,losingtheir jobs and finding re-instatement a challenge. Like 24-year-old Lavleen Manglani. A Bachelor’s in catering technology from Hyderabad’s Culinary Academy washerticketoutof Ichalkaranji, WORLD MASSIVE CARGO SHIP TURNS SIDEWAYS, BLOCKS SUEZ CANAL UN BEGINS TO MONITOR SRI LANKA: REPORT PAGE 16 GUJARAT HIGHEST ONE-DAY RISE OF 1,790 COVID CASES, 8 DEATHS LOCKDOWN FEARS: MIGRANTS START ‘LEAVING SURAT’ PAGE 3, 10 CONTINUEDONPAGE2 Lavleen Manglani lives with her parents now, is trying out baking from home. Express a town in Maharashtra’s Kolhapur district known for its weaving industry where her father is a cloth trader. She started off with a five-star hotel in Kolkata and then moved as an outlet manager at a gelateria in Bengaluru. Last year’s Covid lockdown cut short her aspirational journey -- she is back in LabourParticipation Rate(%) Sep-Dec Sep-Dec 2020 2019 2.71 2.32 10.93 14.31 10.39 13.14 10.98 12.43 12.68 14.96 13.39 15.11 13.09 13.58 9.85 11.13 9.47 10.13 4.07 6.19 1.81 1.95 GreaterUnemployment Rate(%) Sep-Dec Sep-Dec 2020 2019 95.16 83.36 78.01 72.24 42.73 43.85 25.65 22.18 22.85 15.66 15.67 10.78 14.23 9.54 13.26 5.79 16.39 3.64 20.43 1.56 29.12 9.70 Source: CMIE Ichalkaranji, struggling to earn a steady income as a home baker. She’s aware of the privilege her father’s income cushion brings. “I got calls from my subordinates, housekeeping and security guards, for whom things had become really difficult…I sent e-mails to the manager but to no avail…They wanted to cut Nuns forced off train; Shah promises action after Vijayan protests AVISHEK G DASTIDAR & ASAD REHMAN NEW DELHI, LUCKNOW, MARCH 24 ONE YEAR AFTER LOCKDOWN 1.0 ANANTHAKRISHNAN G The nuns in a grab from video posted on social media. Express down on comparatively higher paidemployees(so)theydidnot ask me to join back,” she said. For Madhu, her work as an Area Sales Manager at a leading hospitality brand backed by one of Europe's biggest hotel operators became increasingly untenable in the months leading up to CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 FOUR CHRISTIAN women, including two nuns, were verbally harassed and forced off a train in BJP-ruledUPbyRailwaypersonnel and some fellow passengers identified as ABVP workers who falselyaccusedthemof engaging in forced religious conversion. Theincident,whichoccurred attheJhansistationonMarch19, was brought to light in a video that showed the women being heckled, prompting a wave of outrage across Kerala from where the nuns are -- and an assurance from Union Home Minister Amit Shah. Addressing a rally in Kerala's Kanjirappally, which has a sizeable Christian population and where former Union minister K J Alphons is the BJP candidate in the Assembly polls on April 6, Shah said his party's “government in Uttar Pradesh will ensure that the culprits...will be brought to justice”. The assurance came on a day when the Chief Minister of Kerala's Left government, Pinarayi Vijayan, sent a letter to Shah demanding action against “all groups and individuals who disrupt and impair the freedom of individual rights guaranteed by the Constitution”. In UP, IG (Railways) CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Won’t say cheese: Dairy industry frowns as FTA with EU nears closure HARISH DAMODARAN NEW DELHI, MARCH 24 AFTER SUCCESSFULLY blocking milk product imports from New Zealand and Australia under the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, the Indian dairy industry is mounting similar pressure vis-à-vis a free trade deal with the European Union (EU). “They want to include dairy in the India-EU free trade agreement (FTA), which we are strongly resisting. When import of cheese, ice-cream, yogurt and whey is already allowed at 30% duty, butter/milk fat at 40% and milkpowderat60%,whyshould we further open up our market? Even in milk powder, the basic duty is 15% on imports of up to 10,000 tonnes a year, with only quantitiesbeyondthatattracting 60%,”atopdomesticdairyindustrysourcetoldTheIndianExpress. The Commerce Ministry has been holding stakeholders’ consultations regarding the IndiaEU FTA that is in the final stages of negotiation. Dairy and CONTINUED ON PAGE 14 BHANVAD MUNICIPALITY BJP losses power in civic body as rebels back Cong no-confidence motion EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE RAJKOT, MARCH 24 THE BJP lost power in the Bhanvad municipality of Devbhumi Dwarka district on Wednesday after party rebels supported a no-confidence motion moved by the opposition Congressagainstthecivicbody’s incumbent president and vicepresident. The motion was passed by a two-thirds majority. Bhanvad is the second municipality in the Saurashtra region where the BJP has lost power over the last week, despite having won 16 of the 24 seats in the election to the civic body in 2018. Last week, 11 of the 24 newly elected BJP councillors had rebelled against the party in Wankaner municipality of Morbi district. With the help of four councillors of the Bahujan Samaj Party, the BJP rebells had installed Jayshree Sejpal and Dharmendrasinh Jadeja as the president and vice-president of Wankaner civic body by defeating official nominees of the BJP. In Bhanvad municipality, the Congress had moved the noconfidence motion against Godavari Kanjariya and NarendrasinhBharani,president and vice-president, respectively, on January 25. Government officers in the district said as per provisions of the Gujarat Municipalities Act, 1963, the incumbent president of themunicipalitywasrequired toconveneameetingof thegeneral board of the civic body CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Ahmedabad’s riverfront to get longer with open gyms, restaurants, and clear view of Sabarmati PAGE 1 ANCHOR RITU SHARMA AHMEDABAD, MARCH 24 THE SABARMATI riverfront, one of Ahmedabad's most defining landscapes which has hosted at least three heads of state, is set to get longer and greener, offering an uninterrupted view of the river on both its west and east banks. Tenders for a 1-km pilot of Artist’s impression of what the waterfront could look like. Phase 2 of the riverfront project were floated recently, with the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation’s draft budget tabled on Wednesday allocating Rs 1,050 crore for the new stretch. Work on the 11-km-long Phase 1 of the riverfront -- extending from Vasna Barrage to Torrentpowerhouseonthewest side and to Dafnala on the east - was carried out in phases, with the last stretch completed in 2016. The new stretch, nearly 6 km long, will extend the river front on both banks of the Sabarmati river up to Indira Bridge, with roads connecting Narendra Modi stadium on the west bank and the world heritage city on the east bank. Plans in the new phase include an “international park” to showcase “green wealth from differentcountries",aferryservice and possibly even a water taxi, said Keshav Verma, chairman of the Sabarmati Riverfront Development Corporation Ltd (SRFDCL), the city corporation’s Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) CONTINUED ON PAGE 10 Ahmedabad
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