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 THURSDAY, MAY 6, 2021, MUMBAI, LATE CITY, 14 PAGES `5.00, WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 ‘LOCKDOWN PART OF DISCUSSIONS’ SCthrowsout Marathaquota Finally, Centre flags surge law,cites50% link to double mutant reservationcap Third Covid wave inevitable, didn’t foresee current ferocity: Scientific Advisor to PM Can’t predict timeframe of the next wave, were ready for a smaller surge, little parameters added up: VijayRaghavan KAUNAIN SHERIFF M BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY NEW DELHI, MAY 5 THE PRINCIPAL Scientific Advisor to the Prime Minister Wednesday said a third wave of Covid-19 was inevitable given the high levels of the circulating virus and that they couldn’t predict a time frame for it. Dr K V VijayRaghavan also admitted that experts had not anticipated the“ferocity”of thesecondwave currently sweeping the country. The PSA said the new variants now affecting people are “fitter”, had adopted a “hit and runlifestyle”,andrequiredanew approach. Addressing a briefing of the Union Health Ministry, VijayRaghavan said, “Phase 3 is inevitable given the high levels of circulating virus. But it is not clear on what timescale this Phase 3 will occur. Hopefully, incrementally, but we should pre- pare for new waves." He also said previous infections and vaccines could cause the coronavirus to further mutate in order to survive. “Therefore, we should be prepared scientifically to take care of that.’ Aboutthereasonsbehindthe second surge, the PSA said both the fact that the immunity from the first wave was not widespread and lowering of guard CONTINUEDONPAGE2 KAUNAIN SHERIFF M NEW DELHI, MAY 5 OVER a month after the Centre said that the “double mutant variant” of the Coronavirus (B.1.617) hasn’t been detected in numbers “sufficient” to link it to the current surge, it admitted otherwise Wednesday. Itsaidthatthe“surgeincases seen over the last one and a half month in some states” shows a “correlation with the rise in (presence) B.1.617.” However, the Centre added a key caveat: the epidemiological and clinical correlation of B.1.617 and the surge is not “fully established”. Significantly, the Centre includedB.1.617,underthecategory of “Variant of Concern,” along with B.1.1.7 (UK variant); B.1.351 CONTINUEDONPAGE2 HC CENSURE ON COVID POLLS Dissenting EC was keen to put views in affidavit, denied Always have appropriate deliberations before any decision, says poll panel RITIKA CHOPRA NEW DELHI, MAY 5 SO SHARP was the difference in opinionbetweenthetwoElection Commissionersovertheresponse tothecensurebytheMadrasHigh Court that the dissenting EC wantedtoputhisviewsonrecord in a separate affidavit, The Indian Express has learned. However, the Election Commissionrejectedhissuggestion and didn’t file his affidavit withtheMadrasHighCourt.The dissenting EC’s subsequent request to attach his separate affidavittotheSpecialLeavePetition (SLP) filed in the Supreme Court against the Madras High Court’s “murder-charges” remark was also ignored. The Indian Express had first reported Wednesday that the poll panel’s plea in the Madras High Court to gag the media fromreportingoralobservations CEC Sushil Chandra (left) and EC Rajiv Kumar. Express of judges and its SLP in the top court were not unanimously approved by the Commission. One of the commissioners, it is learned, did not entirely agree with the affidavit’s contents in Madras HC and the SLP inthe SC. Reacting to the report on Wednesday, the EC issued a statement that the "Commission always has appropriate deliberations before any decisions are taken.” AfterSunilArora’sretirement as Chief Election Commissioner CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 SC stays HC notice against Centre, wants plan on oxygen EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, MAY 5 THE SUPREME Court on Wednesday stayed the contempt notice issued by the Delhi High Court against the Centre in the matter of supply of Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) to Delhi, stating that “the aim is not to haul up officers for contempt” and that such action will not bring oxygen. While granting the stay, a Bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and M R Shah madeitclearthatitwasnotstopping the High Court from monitoring Covid-19 managementrelated issues, and directed a CONTINUEDONPAGE2 PAGE3 PAGE 1 ANCHOR THE SUPREME Court on Wednesday struck down the provisions of a Maharashtra law providing reservation to the Maratha community, which took the total quota in the state above the 50 per cent ceiling set by the court in its 1992 Indra Sawhney (Mandal) judgment. “The 50% rule...is to fulfill the objective of equality as engrafted in Article 14 of which Articles 15 and 16 are facets... To change the 50% limit is to have a society which is not founded on equality but based on caste rule,” a five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan ruled in four separate decisions. “The democracy is an essential feature of our Constitution and part of our basic structure. If the reservation goes above 50% limit...itwillbeslipperyslope,the politicalpressure,makeithardly to reduce the same,” it said. The Bench, also comprising EXPLAINED SIMPLY PUT READINGMARATHA QUOTAVERDICT PAGE 9 Justices L Nageswara Rao, S Abdul Nazeer, Hemant Gupta, andSRavindraBhat,agreedwith the findings of the Indra Sawhney judgment that reservation should not exceed 50 per cent unless “extra-ordinary circumstances...for which extreme caution is to be exercised”. It rejecteddemandsto revisit the verdict, or to refer it to a largerBenchforreconsideration. “We are of the considered opinion that the cap on percentage of reservation as has been laid down...in...Sawhney is with CONTINUEDONPAGE2 At a vaccination centre in Mumbai on Wednesday. The Union Health Ministry said the cumulative number of Covid vaccine doses administered in the country has crossed 16 crore. Ganesh Shirsekar EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE Rs 50,000-cr boost for health, loan recast for small borrowers GEORGE MATHEW MUMBAI, MAY 5 WITH THE SECOND wave of Covid-19 putting fresh stress on the economy, the Reserve Bank of India Wednesday unveiled a host of measures to boost fund flowtothehealthcaresectorand pump more liquidity into the system,apartfromprovidinganother window to individual borrowers and small units for loan restructuring. The central bank has opened ULHASNAGAR, MAY 5 CHAOS AT SOME VACCINATION CENTRES AS PEOPLE ARRIVE BEFORE TIME, BREAK BARRICADES NEW DELHI, MAY 5 THE WAIT TABASSUM BARNAGARWALA EVERY MORNING for the last four days, 9-year-old Naitik Sharmahaswokenup,hadpoha for breakfast, and sat by his doorstep for hours to do just one task – insert two earbud-like longsticksinaplasticpacket.For 1,000 packets, he earns Rs 20. These plastic sticks, one thicker than the other, with cot- ANANTHAKRISHNAN G Uddhav asks PM, President to take urgent decision on quota an on-tap liquidity window of Rs50,000crorewithtenorsof up to three years at the repo rate – 4 per cent — till March 31, 2022, to boost provision of immediate liquidity for ramping up Covidrelatedhealthcareinfrastructure and services in the country. Underthescheme,bankscan provide fresh lending support to a wide range of entities including vaccine manufacturers, importersandsuppliersof vaccines and priority medical devices, hospitals and dispensaries, CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Focusing on stress segments THE segments worst hit by the second wave have got some relief. These include a liquidity boost to ramp up healthcare infrastructure, and more time till September 30 to small borrowers for restructuring their loans. ‘Sterile’ test swab sticks, made in Ulhasnagar slum THE CITY ‘To change 50% limit is to have society based not on equality but caste rule’ Children pack swab sticks. ton buds at each end, are swab sticks used to collect nasal and throat samples for RT-PCR tests. UnderMedicalDevicesRules, 2017 (Form MD-5), which deals with low to moderate risk devices, the sticks require a sterile environment for production. Sharma places the sticks on the floor and uses his bare hands to pack them. Dozens of slum households at Sant Gyaneshwar Nagar in Ulhasnagar, 50 km east of Mumbai, have been packing RT- PCR nasopharyngeal kits since last week through a local supplier, Maneesh Keswani. On Wednesday, the local police and the Ulhasnagar Municipal Corporation (UMC) seized leftover swab stick stock from at least five households. Keswani has beenbookedunder Indian Penal code and Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897. The packed kits have ‘BioSwab’writtenonthem.TheFood and Drug Administration (FDA) CONTINUEDONPAGE2 Sushil Kumar Police raids to trace wrestler Sushil Kumar in murder case MAHENDER SINGH MANRAL NEW DELHI, MAY 5 DELHI POLICE have launched raids to locate top wrestler and two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar for questioning over his alleged role in the murder of a 23-year-old former junior national champion, who was beatentodeathinaclashinvolvingtwogroupsontheChhatrasal stadiumpremisesinNorth-West Delhi late Tuesday night. “We are probing the role of SushilKumarasallegationshave been madeagainsthim. Wesent ourteamtohishousebuthewas found to be missing. We are CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Uddhav Thackeray to write to PM, President MUMBAI, MAY 5 TERMING THE Supreme court quashing the Maratha reservation“unfortunate”,Maharashtra ChiefMinisterUddhavThackeray threw the ball in the court of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind to take “an urgent decision” towards restoring the quota. Thackeray, in his address to the state on Wednesday night, said that he would also write a letter to them on the same and appealed to the Maratha community to maintain peace. Thackeray said the state government’s decision to grant the quota was in response to a demand from the Maratha community, and it had been passed byallpoliticalpartiesinthestate legislature. “The state’s decision based on the Gaikwad committee recommendations has been rejected by the SC. Maharashtra decided to give reservation only to protect the self-esteem of the Maratha community. The government took the decision due totheoutcryof thedeprivedsection,” he added. He further said that the SC has ruled that while the state does not have the power to CONTINUEDONPAGE2 Plan panel, not a plea: top officials advise CM Suggest new study on backwardness of Marathas, say appeal may not help YOGESH NAIK MUMBAI, MAY 5 TOP BUREAUCRATS in the Maharashtra government have advisedthestate’spoliticalleadershiptoundertakeafreshstudy which shows the Maratha community to be a socially and economically backward group. Thiscanthenbesubmittedto the National Commission for BackwardClasses,abodythatreceived constitutional status in August 2018. The Maharashtra StateReservationforSociallyand CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 MORE REPORTS PAGE 4 World chips in: French O2 plant at Apollo, US oximeters in Safdarjung SHUBHAJIT ROY NEW DELHI, MAY 5 WHITE HOUSE'S Covid-19 testing kits in New Delhi's Safdarjung Hospital; an Italian oxygen plant in the ITBP hospital in Greater Noida; a French oxygen plant at Indraprastha Apollo hospital in New Delhi; and Irish oxygen concentrators in PGI, Chandigarh. Amid a rising Covid curve, as help pours in from the global community and asIndiadeparts fromits16-year-oldpolicyof not acceptingforeignaid,oxygen-related equipment and life-saving medicines from abroad have started reaching hospitals in Delhi and beyond. At least 14 countries have already started sending their material in aircraft and ships, and they are being sent out, mostly to government hospitals. According to sources, the suppliesare being sent asper requirement spelt out by the Health Ministry. FromtheUStoRussia,Italyto Thailand, Germany to Ireland and France — countries have beensendingoxygenconcentrators, some have been building oxygenplants,somearesending ventilators, while others are sending rapid testing kits, and essential medicines. Among the supplies that went out: ■ Pulse oximeters from the US have gone to Safdarjung Hospital. About 7 lakh rapid detection kits from the US — the kind that is used by the White House — have gone to Safdarjung, AIIMS Jhajjar, ICMR and Lady Hardinge Medical College. One large oxygen plant from the US has arrived from California. ■20largeoxygenconcentrators, 75 lung ventilation equipment and 150 bedside monitors from Russia have gone to Lady INS Talwar arrives in Mangaluru on Wednesday from Bahrain with two liquid oxygen cryogenic containers. ANI Hardinge Medical College in New Delhi. Out of 2 lakh flavipiravir (an oral antiviral drug) from Russia, 25,000 have been sent to Safdarjung Hospital, 2,000 to LHMC, 30,000 to AIIMS Rishikesh, 40,000 to AIIMS Jodhpur, 10,000 to AIIMS Rai Bareilly, 30,000 to RML Hospital, 38,000 to AIIMS Delhi and 25,000 to AIIMS Jhajjar. ■ Oxygen generation plants from France have gone to Dharamshila Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, Sanjay Gandhi Memorial Hospital, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital in Delhi,AmbedkarNagar Hospital in Delhi, and Telangana Institute of MedicalSciences.Sourcessaid one oxygen plant can sustain a 250-bed hospital, and has a lifecycle of 12 years. ■ 30 oxygen concentrators from Thailand have gone to CGHS hospitals (15) and Safdarjang Hospital (15). ■ 700 oxygen concentrators from Ireland have gone to AIIMS in various states and PGI, Chandigarh. ■ Oxygen plant from Italy is being set up at the ITBP hospital in Greater Noida. ■ 120 ventilators from Germany have been sent to the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, Safdarjung Hospital and AIIMS in New Delhi. Sources said these are just someof thematerialwhichwere received from foreign governments since May 26. German ambassador Walter JLindnersaid the120ventilators sent to India are from the German government to the Government of India, but there are many more that are coming in through the private sector. “The Tatas are importing 20 mobile oxygen tankers, and FICCI and German companies are bringing in 1,500 oxygen concentrators,” Lindner told CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
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