MCS/204/2020-22RNINO.MAHENG2002/21899 A PLACE to BELONG MUMBAI,LATECITY MAY30,2021 14PAGES,`5.00 WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA GOVT COMPLETES 7 YEARS IN OFFICE TODAY PM announces aid, free education for Covid orphans; pension for employees’ next of kin NEW DELHI, MAY 29 BATTLING THE pandemic as it completes seven years in office, the Modi government Saturday said all children who have lost both parents, the surviving parent, legal guardians or adoptive parents to Covid-19 will receive financial assistance under the PM-CARES for Children’s scheme. In another key decision, the government extended pension coverage under the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) scheme to all registered dependents of those who died due to Covid-19. It also reiterated the announcement of expansion of insurance benefits under the Employees’ Deposit-Linked Insurance (EDLI) scheme for COVID RELIEF CHILDREN ■ Corpus of Rs 10 lakh at age 18; stipend for 5 yrs ■ Corpus to be paid as lump-sum at age 23 FAMILIES ■ Pension to registered kin of ESIC members ■ 6.53 cr families eligible for benefits under EDLI members registered under the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO). Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a Twitter post, said: “Family pension under ESIC and EPFO-Employees’ Deposit Linked Insurance Scheme will provide a financial cushion to those families who have lost their earning member due to Covid-19. GOI stands in solidarity with these families.” He said efforts are being made through these schemes to mitigate financial difficulties that may be faced by them. Earlier, the Prime Minister, chairing a meeting to “discuss and deliberate” on steps which could be taken to support children who have lost parents to thepandemic,announcedfinancial assistance for these children intheformof fixeddeposits,free CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 E E X P L A I NE D Fixed deposits, free education till higher studies, loans, health insurance under PM-CARES for Children scheme EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE Pressure toexpand ● coverage THE CENTRE’s safety net for a section of the Covidaffected, as states announce their own relief, may see growing demand to expand it beyond those covered by EPFO or ESIC. States will face the challenge of enumeration and of how to factor in those who got ‘Covid protocol funerals’. THE SECOND SURGE STATESANNOUNCE HELP FOR CHILDREN COVIDEMPOWERED GROUPS SHUFFLED, 1O OF THEM NOW PAGE 5 Mother was in pain, tried to help, was late: Children battle grief, loneliness ABHISHEK ANGAD GUMLA, RANCHI, JAMTARA, MAY 29 IN A span of two days, a 17-yearold Class 10 student lost both his parents to Covid-19 in Jamtara district of Jharkhand. In Gumla district, a 17-year-old, a Class 5 dropout, is now the head of the family to three younger siblings, aftertheirmothersuccumbedto the virus. In Ranchi’s Bero block, a 14-year-old has been fighting nightmares since his mother, his only surviving parent, died. These are among the children identified officially as Covid-19 orphans in a drive launched by the Hemant Soren government to list families of A 17-yr-old in Gumla shows the photo of her deceased mother. Abhishek Angad those whohavelostmembersto the virus, through death CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 STATES CALIBRATE THEIR OPENING UP FROM JUNE Local lockdowns cushion impact of second wave but deeper fear hits spending, demand SUNDAY STORY PAGE 8 The 12th HOUR Four Class 12 students share their fears DC to Delhi: For and with India in Covid crisis… call on vaccines soon Jaishankar with US Secy of State Blinken Friday. Reuters SHUBHAJIT ROY NEW DELHI, MAY 29 THE UNITED States is closely monitoring India’s Covid challenge and will “respond positively to any Indian requirement,” US Secretary of State AntonyBlinkenissaidtohaveassured External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar during a “productive discussion” Friday. This was their second interaction after their May 3 meeting on the sidelines of the G-7 Foreign Ministers’ meeting in London. Sources said that the two discussed how ramped-up vaccine production in India can address both domestic needs and CONTINUEDONPAGE2 Key mobility indicators show sharp dips; vaccination may be booster shot SUNNY VERMA & SANDEEP SINGH NEW DELHI, MAY 29 AS STATES begin cautiously calibrating how to unwind their lockdowns beginning June, they faceadoublechallenge.Keyindicators show that industry and business activities may not be as adversely hit by the second Covidwaveastheywerebyanational lockdown last year, but they are still very vulnerable given the low vaccination levelsamongthelarger,younger population. And at the individual and household level, public fear and anxiety this time are deeper and have hit consumption and demand harder than last year on several accounts. So Google mobility and other high-frequency data, until third week of May (see chart), point towards decline in activity on all fronts including retail, grocery, transit stations and toll collections as compared to March and April. For example, according to Google mobility data, visits on May 18, 2020 (Monday), to grocery and pharmacy stores were down 21% compared to a preCovidbaseline.Thisyear,onMay 17, 2021 (Monday), the corresponding decline was sharper at 27.6%. Similarly, for workplaces, visits were down 45% on May 18 last year but down 51% this year. Experts attribute this to a deeper sense of anxiety given CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 eye THE SUNDAY EXPRESS MAGAZINE The deserted Terminal 2 of Mumbai international airport on Saturday evening. Pradip Das INDICATORS SHOW LOOMING ANXIETY, SLOW UPTICK Week-on-week % Feb 15 Mar 22 Apr 19 May 17 -65.3 Google Mobility* Retail and recreation -21.9 -21.7 -36.7 Grocery and pharmacy 16.9 19.1 7.9 -27.6 Transit Stations -6.9 -5.1 -22.7 -52.0 -15.4 -10.3 -28.7 -51.1 Electronic toll collections 4.1 13.2 -6.6 -18.7 Power supply: energy met 0.1 1.8 -3.3 -4.5 Railway Freight -1.2 2.9 3.6 1.7 GST e-way bills 3.1 3.6 -6.2 -14.0 Workplaces Other High Frequency indicators Note:*Mobilityindicatorsdatais%changefrombaseline(January-February2020);Forotherhighfrequencyindicators thedatais%changeoverpreviousweek.Source:CRISILRatings,Google,NETC,POSOCO,MinistryofRailways,GSTN Traveller traffic on Railways slumps in April-May, regular trains almost halved AVISHEK G DASTIDAR NEW DELHI, MAY 29 AS THE SECOND wave of the pandemic unfolded over the past three months, just about 3.27 crore people undertook long-distance train travel in April. To put this in perspective, in April 2019, the last ‘normal’ year before the pandemic, as many as 30 crore passengers travelled long-distance in trains. In May this year, so far 1.76 crorepassengerstravelledbythe mail and express trains. Regular train services have been curtailed since April this year not just in response to re- duced demand but also to discourage non-essential travel. From around 1,500 a day before the second wave, the number of regular trains has been reduced to 865 a day. This includes the “special” trains. Before the pandemic struck early 2020, as many as 1,768 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Flights see passengers down to tenth of Feb peak PRANAV MUKUL NEW DELHI, MAY 29 IN JUST about three months since the second surge of Covid19 hit India, the number of passengers carried by domestic airlines has sharply plunged — on May 25, about 39,000 passengers took a flight compared with the peak of about 3 lakh a day in February. It was on May 25 last year that domestic flights resumed services in 2020 after being shut down for two months following the announcement of a national lockdown. On that day, domestic airlines had carried 30,000 passengers,almostsimilartothe numberof passengerscarriedon May 25 this year. The sharp plunge in air passenger traffic prompted the government on Friday to reduce the number of flights that airlines could operate on domestic routes. Compared with the Summer CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 As Central Vista project kicks off, memories of cultural spaces that safeguarded a nation’s history PAGES 11, 12, 13 Maharashtra’s road development agency to conserve ancient temples, floats tender YOGESHNAIK MUMBAI, MAY 29 THE MAHARASHTRA State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), the Maharashtra government’s in house go-to infrastructure development agency, on Saturday floated a tender for the work of conservation of old temples across the the state. The public works department-controlledMSRDC’stender invitesproposalsforconservation ofeighttemplesinthefirstphase. “Nearly 100 crore has been sanctionedforthepurposeinthe Budget. We have called for tenders and proposals have been sought for conservation of the temples. From the proposals received, we will select one. It will be examined by a committee of senior IAS officers,” said MSRDC Joint Managing Director Chandrakant Pulkundwar. MSRDC Executive Engineer S S Jagtap said the plan included addition of amenities for devotees at these temples. The PWD, led by Congress’ Ashok Chavan, had issued a government resolution in December 30, 2020 for the project. The temples on which work will be undertaken in the first phase are Dhootpapeshwar in Rajapur,Ratnagiri;Kopeshwarin Kolhapur; Ekvira temple in Lonavala; Gondeshwar in Nashik; Khandoba temple in Aurangabad; Bhagwan Purshottam temple in Beed; Anandeshwar at Daryapur in Amravati and Shiv temple in Gadchiroli. All are frequented by thousands of pilgrims as well as tourists in normal times. INSIDE AGROUND AT PALGHAR, BARGE WRECKAGE RAISES OIL LEAK FEARS BYCULLA ZOO AREA TO BE EXTENDED BY 10 ACRE PAGES 3, 4 A senior government official said that while some of the populartemplesarewellmaintained, thelesser-knownoneshavetobe preservedandhence,theMSRDC had been allocated funds. Some of these temples are in the protected list of the state archaeology department. There is somedisquietingovernmentthat thisdepartmenthasbeenleftout of the project, though the task of conservation requires a high degree of specialisation and is best lefttoexperts.However,thesenior official dismissed these concernsandsaidthatMSRDCwould hireconservationexpertstooversee the work. MSRDC was set up by then PWDministerNitinGadkariduring the Shiv Sena-BJP regime of 1995. Its main task was to constructtheMumbai-Puneexpressway and 55 flyovers in Mumbai. Of late, it has bagged many big ticketprojectsinthestate,including the construction of the Sales TaxBhavanatWadalainMumbai. For Bengal, can touch PM’s feet, but don’t humiliate me: Mamata EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE KOLKATA, NEW DELHI, MAY 29 A DAY after she skipped a cyclone review meeting called by the Prime Minister and the Centre ordered the state Chief Secretary to Delhi, West Bengal Chief MinisterMamataBanerjee saidSaturdaythatshewasbeing “insulted” and “humiliated” by the BJP-led government at the Centre which was unable to “digest” herparty’s landslidewinin the Assembly elections. Targeting Prime Minister NarendraModifor“creatingconfusion and confrontation”, Banerjeesaidshewasevenready to touch his feet, for the sake of Bengal, if he were to ask her. “Youcannotdigestthedefeat. That is why from Day One, you startedthistypeof action…If the Prime Minister tells me, ‘you Banerjee in cyclone-hit Digha on Saturday. Express touch myfeet, IwillhelpBengal’, that also I am ready to do. But please don’t humiliate me like this. Don’t insult me like this. Don’t defame Bengal… Onesided manipulation, news manipulation, you are giving from the PM House, and you are pressuring the press to carry the news,” she said. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 EXPRESS NETWORK BJP MLA WAITS FOR FIR ON SON’S DEATH ALIGARH HOOCH TOLL NOW 22 PAGES 5, 6 A Covid passing turns a history page: the last Maharaja of Kutch PAGE 1 ANCHOR EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE AHMEDABAD, MAY 29 THE MAHARAJA of Kutch, Maharrao Pragmalji III, was laid to rest at a quiet funeral on Friday after he died of Covid-related complications early in the day. He was 85 and the titular head of the Jadeja dynasty, which traces its origins to 1,000 years back as the rulers of Kutch, having ceded to the Indian Union in 1948. Born as Prithvirajji on May 3, 1936, he was the eldest of five children — three brothers and two sisters. He is survived by a brother and a sister, and MaharaniPritiDevi,theprincess of the erstwhile state of Tripura, whom he had married in 1957. The royal couple had no children,andwithPragmalji'sdeath, the title may cease to exist since he did not name an heir apparent. Both were infected with Covid-19 three weeks ago and were under treatment at Accord Hospital in Bhuj. “Maharani is out of hospital but still recover- ing,” said Pratapsinh Jadeja, the late Maharaja’s nephew. The royal family’s contributions included giving land in the port town of Kandla besides Adipur and Gandhidham, to refugees who came from Sindh in Pakistan after Partition. A strong advocate for a separate state of Kutch, Maharrao Pragmalji was also the Director (emeritus) of the Sindhu Resettlement Corporation (SRC) Ltd, formed for the resettlement andrehabilitationof peoplewho migrated from Sindh to India during Partition in 1947. Upon the death of his father No more titles, willed Maharrao Pragmalji III, 85; his wife is recovering from Covid. File Maharrao Madansinhji in 1991, Prithvirajji was appointed the Maharrao and renamed Pragmalji III, said Pratapsinh. “The Maharrao had willed that the title should cease to existwithhim,”claimsKrutarthsinh Jadeja, the Thakoresaheb of Devpur,aprincipalityof theerstwhile Kutch state. He is a distant relativeofMaharraoPragmaljiIII. Pratapsinh, however, says there will be a successor, as the “gaddi” or throne cannot be vacant. “It does not matter now as we are also commoners. Our grandfather Maharrao Madansinhjiwasthelastrulerof Kutch,” says Pratapsinh. Nearly 200 people including government officials of the district came to pay their last respectsattheRanjitvilasPalacein Bhuj where Maharrao Pragmalji’s body was kept in stateonFriday.Hewascremated with due Covid-19 protocol at Chhaterdi in Bhuj, the royal resting place, the same day. Pragmalji prided in the fact that they were “descendants of Lord Krishna". “We are Chandravanshis(descendantsof themoon)andasperthegenealogy Lord Krishna was the 54th CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
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