DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE TUESDAY, JUNE 8, 2021, NEW DELHI, LATE CITY, 16 PAGES `6.00 (`8 BIHAR & RAIPUR, `12 SRINAGAR) WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 PM ADDRESS TO NATION ON POLICY REVERSAL After adverse reaction, a change in dose: Free Covid vaccines for all, only Centre to procure Pvt hospital charges capped; Modi extends free foodgrain scheme till Nov SHARES DOUBLE IN SIX DAYS Red flags as PNB stake in housing finance subsidiary may dip below 26% HARIKISHAN SHARMA NEW DELHI, JUNE 7 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 THE EDITORIAL PAGE THESECOND SHOT Centre’s course correction couldn’t have come a day too soon. Steps must now be taken to increase supply P8 CORRECTION DUE TO SC RAP: OPPN, CMs PAGE 6 Rs 4,000-cr investment led by Carlyle Group unfair, against PNB: report SANDEEP SINGH NEW DELHI, JUNE 7 Delhi Metro resumed its services at 50% capacity Monday as the Capital began its un-lockdown after a month-and-a-half of restrictions. Abhinav Saha Next up: Ensuring small hospitals Facing Opp heat, SC’s get supply, e-vouchers for poor scrutiny, a bid to turn KAUNAIN SHERIFF M NEW DELHI, JUNE 7 BESIDESTHEshiftinvaccineprocurement, the revised Covid-19 vaccination guidelines, likely to be issued in the next two days, will include key policy changes thatseektoreduceinequityinthe private sector, top government sources told The Indian Express. According to these sources, whilethecurrentmetricusedby theCentretosupplydosesonthe basis of caseload, performance and wastage will remain, the states will have a say in formulating priority groups in the 1844 years age group. Some key changes likely from June 21 are: ■ The Centre will step in to helpchannelisevaccinesupplies CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Over 3,000 orphaned, 26,000 lost a parent since April ’20: Panel EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, JUNE 7 BETWEEN APRIL 1 last year and June 5 this year — a period that saw the country battling two waves of Covid-19 — 3,621 children were orphaned, 26,176 lost either parent and 274 were abandoned, the National Commission for Child Rights (NCPCR) said in an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court. The Commission, however, clarified that the deaths of parents, as reflected in its affidavit, were notjustrelatedtoCovid-19 and could be due to other reasons too. PAGE 1 ANCHOR WHAT CHANGES FOR... Of the 30,071 children who the Commission said are in “need of care and protection”, 15,620 are boys, 14,447 girls and four are transgenders. The major chunk — 11,815 children — are in the 8-13 age group, followed by 5,107 children in the 4-7 age group. The figures were uploaded by states and Union Territories on the NCPCR's ‘Bal Swaraj’ portal following a recent order by the top court. The state-wise breakup shows Maharashtra with 7,084 children “in need of care and protection”.UttarPradeshissecond with 3,172 affected children CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 CENTRE Currently, it gets 50% of total doses, allocates it to states for priority groups and 45+ for free. Now, it will procure 75% of doses and distribute to states to vaccinate for free the priority groups, and18-44-yr-olds. 45+ GROUP Will continue to get the biggest share of free vaccines. At private centres, will have to pay for the shots. E EXPLAINED REVERSING HIS government’s Covid-19 vaccination policy amid a chorus from states that it should take over vaccine procurement, and probing questions recentlyfrom the Supreme Court, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced Monday that the Centre will provide free vaccines to states for inoculation of all above age 18 from June 21. In an address to the nation, the Prime Minister said the Centre will buy 75 per cent of doses from vaccine makers, including 25 per cent of the state quota, and give it for free to state governments. No state government, he said, will have to spend on vaccine procurement. He said private sector hospitals can continue to procure 25 per cent of vaccines, but the service charge will be capped at Rs 150 per dose over the fixed price of the vaccine. On Monday, The Indian Express had reported that the Centre was “willing” to rethink its vaccination policy and take over vaccine procurement. Modi also announced extensionofthefreefoodgrainscheme, PradhanMantriGaribKalyanAnn Yojana (PMGKAY), until November this year. Under the PMGKAY, 5 kg foodgrain — rice/wheat/coarse grains — is provided free of charge once a A banner for PNB Housing Finance Ltd’s IPO offering. Archives STATES Since May 1, had to procure 25% of doses from open market for 18-44 group. Now won’t be involved in procurement, will use doses from Centre. ● 18-44 GROUP From June 21, their jabs are free at government centres. At private hospitals, they will continue to pay. PVT HOSPITALS Along with Centre, can deal with manufacturers. Can charge Rs 150 as administrative cost. tables, claim lost ground RAVISH TIWARI & ANANTHAKRISHNAN G NEW DELHI, JUNE 7 BLINDSIDEDbythesecondCovid wavethatbroughtoutinharshrelief how the Centre dropped the ball on Covid management — from detecting the variant to stockpiling vaccines — Prime MinisterNarendraModi’saddress to the nation Monday was more than mere course-correction. Bymakingvaccinesfree,taking over their procurement and extending food rations to November,Moditriedtoturnthe tables on the Opposition, deflect growing heat from the Supreme Courtandgivefreshactionpoints to his beleaguered party. The political framing of his BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY address was unmistakable. TimedwiththefallingCovidsecond wave and reducing public anxieties, Modi’s references to CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 ‘Cure therapy’ ban to training for police: HC reaches out to LGBTQ INSIDE Plea filed by lesbian couple opposed by parents; Madras HC says, ‘Ignorance no ground for normalising discrimination’ 18 DEAD IN FACTORY ARUN JANARDHANAN FIRE IN PUNE CHENNAI, JUNE 7 KERALA POLICE FILE CASE AGAINST STATE UNDERLINING THAT sexual autonomy is an essential aspect of BJP PRESIDENT PAGE 7 WORLD 50 KILLED AS TRAINS COLLIDE IN PAKISTAN FDA APPROVES ALZHEIMER'S DRUG PANNED BY EXPERTS PAGE 12 the right to privacy, the Madras High Court on Monday issued far-reaching guidelines aimed at mainstreaming LGBTIQA+ persons — from prohibiting attempts to “medically cure” persons belonging to the community to seeking changes in school and university curricula and recommending awarenessprogrammesfor judicial officers, police and prison officials. The order was issued by Justice N Anand Venkatesh on a plea filed by a lesbian couple whose relationship was being opposed by their parents. After theyfledtheirhomesinMadurai to live in Chennai, families of the petitionershadfiledmissingperson complaints with the police, eventually leading to the registration of two FIRs and the couple being interrogated. The petitioners had moved the Madras High Court seeking protection against police harassment and fromanythreatordangertotheir safety and security. SayingLGBTQIA+personsare entitled to their privacy and “have a right to lead a dignified existence, which includes their choiceof sexualorientation,gender identity, gender presentation, gender expression and choice of partner thereof”, the court said, “This right and the manner of its exercise are constitutionally protected under Article 21 of the Constitution.” With the order prohibiting “any attempts to medically cure or change the sexual orientation of LGBTIQA+ people to heterosexual or the gender identity of transgender people to cisgender”, Tamil Nadu is set to be the first state to ban ‘conversion therapy’, a widely available CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 QUESTIONS ARE likely to be raisedattheshareholders’meeting of Punjab National Bank Housing Finance (PNBHF) later this month over the possibility of Punjab National Bank (PNB) losing its dominant shareholder status in the company. And into the circumstances of last week’s Rs 4000-crore investment in PNBHF announced by a consortium of investors, led by US private equity giant The Carlyle Group and former HDFC Bank Ltd chief executive Aditya Puri. The capital infusion will make Carlyle the largest shareholder in PNB Housing. This despite the fact that both the government and PNBHF publicly committed to ensuringthatPNB maintains a 26% stake. Shares of PNBHF have doubledoverthelastsixdaysevenas a report prepared by Stakeholders’ Empowerment Services, a leading “proxy advisory firm” to protect minority shareholder interests, has called the PNBHF board resolution on preferentialissueofequityshares and warrants to the consortium as “unfair transaction, against public shareholders and PNB”. It has also called the transaction “ultra vires” of the Articles of Association. The preference share allotmentbyPNBHousingFinanceto Pluto Investments, a Carlyle affiliate (it will subscribe to 80% of the shares issued) and Puri’s Salisbury Investments, along with two other existing foreign investors, will leave PNB with just 20.3% stake in the housing finance major. This means it will not only lose its dominant shareholder status but also its veto power on the board of the company. The Carlyle Group will see its stake rising to above 50 per cent. On the pricing of the preference share at Rs 390, PNBHF, the report said, ignored its Articles of Associationwhichcallsforthe price to be “determined by the valuation of a registered valuer”. Given that the book value of CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 CHOKSI COMPLAINT TALKS OF BARBARA, ‘ABDUCTION’ PAGE 7 TMC to look beyond Bengal, will go to a state only to win: Abhishek EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE KOLKATA, JUNE 7 ADDRESSINGHISfirstpressconference as Trinamool Congress general secretary, MP Abhishek Banerjee Monday said there would be renewed push to take the party across the country. With the BJP emerging as the TMC’sprimaryopponentinWest Bengal, Abhishek said, “Our target is not to defeat the BJP. Our target is to save the country and protect our Constitution.” Countering the BJP’s attacks on him citing dynasty politics, Abhishek, who is Trinamool supremo and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew, said,“Youranacampaignon‘dynasty’. People gave you the answer. I wantto telltheBJP, sometimes dynasty is better than being nasty.” Daring the BJP to bring in a law banning dynasty politics if it felt so strongly against it, the MP said,“If theypasssuchaBill,Iwill resignfrommypost.”Hesaidthe ‘Won’t take any post for 20 yrs, can Jay Shah say same?’: Abhishek, Monday. Partha Paul BJP won’t bring such a law as it was “importing dynastic turncoats”. Several TMC leaders had joined the BJP ahead of the recent Assembly elections, including Suvendu Adhikari and his family members. Abhishek also declared, “I don’t want any ministerial berth for the next 20 years. Can Jay Shah (Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s son) say the same about his BCCI post?” CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 90 km from Srinagar, a village without network, a class on a hill NAVEED IQBAL LIMBER (BARAMULLA), JUNE 7 EVERY WORKING day, school teacher Manzoor Ahmad Chak walks3kmfromhisvillage, then turnstoclimbupahillforabouta kilometre.That’swhenhissmartphonegetsconnectedtothenetwork so that he can upload the lesson plan for the day on the Learning Management System portal of Jammu & Kashmir’s Education Department. With him are students from government schools in the area, who settle down on a patch of grass nearby, waiting patiently for their classwork to download on their parents’ phones. The networkisnevergoodenoughto attend online classes but they hope to at least see the chapters being read so that they can follow up at home. “Mystruggletogetaneducation is now the struggle of our children,” says Chak. The high school teacher and the students are residents of Baramulla’s Limber, a village just 90 km from Srinagar, across the Jhelum and up a hill where the road is still being constructed — and even a landline is yet to arrive. For the children from a village of around 650 households, Srinagar Limber village (Baramulla) that small patch is an oasis where they study, socialise and even log in for exams. “The area has some wild animals... brown bears have been spotted. We cannot send our children here alone, we don’t allow them to come here after 6 pm,” says Sajad Ahmad, a Limber resident They study, socialise, even log in for exams here. By evening, there is fear of attacks by wild animals. Shuaib Masoodi who has accompanied his son. “Evenwithinthevillage,people still go from house to house to stay in touch. About 20 per cent of the population migrates temporarily every year to provideeducationtotheirchildren,” saysAhmad,whowaspartof the team that conducted the 2011 Census in the village. Chak,whohasbeenteaching since 2007, says that with schools remaining shut amid a string of Covid restrictions, his students often dropbyhis house for notes. “In a small village like this, I have to teach them all subjects. There is a secondary school and three middle schools in the area, apart from primary schools. All students have to move out after Class 10 to neighbouring towns to finish school, and the District Headquarterstopursuecollege,” he says. “It is Rs 70 one way in a jeep to Baramulla. With money for food, etc., it comes to about Rs 250 to attend a day in college. This is a lot for the low-income families here,” says Chak. But then, those who can affordtomoveoutencounteradifferent set of problems. Aqib Hafeez, a 20-year-old B.Tech student at Kurukshetra University in Haryana, says that whenhefirstleft,hecouldbarely bring himself to talk to his classmates. “There are a lot of adjustment issues, apart from language. I have to work extra hard tokeepupbecauseweneverhad access to the technological tools that others had,” he says. Hafeez appeared for his exams online from a rented room at Baramulla where he paid Rs 2,000 to stay for four days to prepare with a steady Internet connection. Rouf Ahmad, an 18-year-old who has cleared Class XII, says it takeshimfour daystodownload one class. Arveen, a 14-year-old, CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
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