DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE TUESDAY, JUNE 15, 2021, NEW DELHI, LATE CITY, 18 PAGES `6.00 (`8 BIHAR & RAIPUR, `12 SRINAGAR) WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 MAY INFLATION: WPI 12.94%, CPI 6.3% Pushed by rising fuel and food prices, retail inflation breaches 6% comfort zone of RBI Growth-inflation dynamics complicates RBI task of keeping an accommodative stance in the face of rising prices NEW DELHI, JUNE 14 IN WHAT complicates the RBI’s task of setting the direction of monetary policy, Wholesale Price Index-based inflation scaled to a record high of 12.94 per cent in May, pushed by higher fuel and commodity prices, and a low base effect. It also translated into a higher retail inflation of 6.30 per cent in May—asix-monthhigh,datare- leased by the government on Monday showed. With this, the retail inflation has breached the inflation target of 4+/-2 per cent set by the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI). The wholesale inflation has beenrisingforfivemonths,andis expected to rise further as the impact of high crude prices and surging commodity prices feeds in.Thiswouldcausetheretailinflationtoriseaswell,puttingthe central bank on a tightrope walk inbalancingthegrowth-inflation INFLATION RATES 15 ■ CPI (in per cent) ■ WPI (in per cent) 12 9 12.94 6.93 6.30 6 3 0 2.29 Nov 2020 Dec 2020 Jan 2021 Feb 2021 March 2021 April 2021 May 2021 Source: Commerce Ministry, MoSPI dynamics. While the RBI is unlikely to change its accommodativestanceorthepolicyrateanytime soon, there is also pressure onthegovernmentforfiscalpolicy action to spur growth. WPI inflation rate was -3.37 per cent in May 2020 and 10.49 per cent in April 2021, while CPI inflation rate was 4.23 per cent in April 2021. Thefoodinflationcomponent forretailinflationrosesignificantly higher to 5.01 per cent in May from 1.96 per cent in the preced- Disengagement of troops: China suggests Major Gen-level talks NEW DELHI, JUNE 14 FOUR MONTHS after Indian and Chinese troops disengaged in Pangong Tso, and two months after Corps Commander-level talks failed to make headway on pullbackof troopsfromotherareas of eastern Ladakh, China has suggested negotiations at the level of DivisionCommanders — an offer that the Indian side is said to be considering. Division Commander-level talks involve teams headed by officers of the rank of Major General. This is different from the Corps Commander-level talksthatinvolvemoreseniorofficers — Lt Generals who head Corps or equivalent formations. The Chinese suggestion comes at a time when there is a stalemate over the disengagement process. The Corps Commander-level talks on April 9 made no progress. Incidentally, June 15 will mark one year of the Galwan Valley incident in which 20 IndianArmy personnellosttheir lives in clashes with PLA troops. China belatedly admitted to the loss of four PLA personnel. A senior officer from the defence establishment said China has conveyed to India that negotiations for disengagement at Hot Springs and Gogra Post — at both places, small contingents of Chinese troops are on the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control — can be discussed by Division Commanders. India, the officer said, is considering the idea. He said China has conveyed this to India through different levels, including hotline talks on the ground. The officer did not rule out future discussions between Corps Commanders, but said if negotiations between Division Commanderscanfindasolution, then senior commanders may not need to meet again. He pointed out that though there has been no progress since troops from the two sides CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Two allege gangrape by TMC men after polls, ask SC to monitor probe EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE MUMBAI/ NEW DELHI, JUNE 14 Chirag Paswan waits outside uncle Pashupati Kumar Paras’s house in New Delhi Monday. He spent around half-an-hour in his vehicle before being let in. Anil Sharma Uncle dumps Chirag, takes all LJP MPs, says wrong to have left NDA SANTOSH SINGH, LIZ MATHEW & DIPANKAR GHOSE PATNA, NEW DELHI, JUNE 14 LESSTHANayearafterRamVilas Paswan’sdeath,theLokJanshakti Party (LJP) that he founded in 2000 is headed for an imminent splitwithfiveofthepartyMPsrebelling against the sixth — BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY ANANTHAKRISHNAN G, RAVIK BHATTACHARYA & ATRI MITRA Paswan’s son and the party’s national president, Chirag Paswan. The five MPs — Pashupati Kumar Paras (Hajipur), Choudhary Mehboob Ali Qaisar (Khagaria), Chandan Kumar (Nawada), Veena Devi (Vaishali) and Prince Raj (Samastipur) — met Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Sunday evening and again on Monday, saying that they have electedParasasLJPparliamentary SRINAGAR, JUNE 14 BJP leader Adhikari meets Governor on ‘law, order’. PTI murdered, allegedly by TMC workers,duringthepost-pollviolence in May. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 BENGAL TO SC: NO STATE COMPLICITY IN VIOLENCE PAGE 11 INSIDE DEATH DAYS AFTER CUSTODY, COPS FACE MURDER FIR CAMP IN DISTRICTS FOR 2 MONTHS: YOGI TELLS MINISTERS PAGES 10, 6 partyleaderandKaiserasdeputy leader. Late Monday night, the LokSabhaSecretariatissuedacircular confirming Paras as leader of the LJP in the Lok Sabha. Of the five MPs, two are related to the Paswan family — Hajipur MP Paras is Ram Vilas Paswan’s younger brother and Samastipur MP Prince Raj is Paras’s son. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 J&K activist behind bars for remarks on ‘outsider’ officers at janata durbar BASHAARAT MASOOD NEW DELHI, KOLKATA JUNE 14 TWOWOMENfromWestBengal have moved the Supreme Court allegingrapebysupportersof the ruling Trinamool Congress during the post-poll violence in the state in May, immediately after Mamata Banerjee led her party to a third term in power. Seeking a court-monitored probe by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) or the CBI, both the women--a60-year-oldanda17year-old--haveinseparatepleas sought to be made parties in a pendingpetitionfiledbyBiswajit Sarkar, brother of Bengal BJP worker Abhijit Sarkar, who was AN ACTIVIST who led a delegation to a public hearing held by one of the advisors of Jammu and Kashmir Lt Governor Manoj Sinha has spent the past four days in custody for apparently rubbing Ganderbal Deputy Commissioner Krittika Jyotsna the wrong way. TheLt Governor hasinitiated these public hearings or durbars across Kashmir to reach out to people.Topofficers,includingadvisors to Sinha, attend the hearings and listen to the grievances anddemandsof public.However, SajadAhmadSofimaybepaying a price for speaking his mind. At the durbar held at Safapora village in Ganderbal on June 10, Sofi, who led a group of five-six members of a civil society group, told advisor Baseer Ahmad Khan that people could have expectations from local officials like him and seek answers from them. On the other hand, what could he hope from officers who belong to outside the region, Sofi told Khan. Jyotsna, an IAS officer of Uttar Pradesh-cadre who was posted to the Union territory recently and was present at the hearing, strongly objected to what Sofi said. Soon after the hearing , Sofi, who belongs to Safapora, was booked under Section 153A (promotingenmitybetweenthe groups) and jailed. After he was CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Billionaire start-up founder beats Anand in chess celebrity fundraiser game, admits ‘took help, sorry’ PAGE 1 ANCHOR NIHAL KOSHIE NEW DELHI, JUNE 14 ITWASahigh-profilefund-raiser that had all the ingredients of a blockbuster: five-time former world champion Viswanathan Anand taking on Bollywood star Aamir Khan, singers Arijit Singh and Ananya Birla, cricketer Yuzvendra Chahal, young billionaire Nikhil Kamath, and film producer Sajid Nadiadwala -- all at the same time. Butthecelebrityonlinechess eventendedupbeingmarredby a bizarre controversy involving Kamath, who is the founder of Zerodha,aunicornstockbrokerage firm. At theevent toraise funds for Akshaya Patra Foundation, the 34-year-old beat Anand at the Checkmate Covid Celebrity Editionhostedbychess.com.But hoursafterthegame,chess.com, which live-streamed the action, closedKamath’saccountforviolation of its fair play policy. On Monday, Kamath issued a public apology on Twitter, admitting that his Grandmasterlike moves were only possible because of external help. “It is ridiculous that so many CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 See-saw for Adani Group stock, denies freeze on a/c of investors A YEAR AFTER GALWAN KRISHN KAUSHIK ingmonth.Someoftheitemsthat pushed retail inflation were fuel whichrecordedaninflationof11.6 percent(thehighestsinceMarch 2021),transportandcommunication at 12.6 per cent, edible oil at 30.8perandpulsesat9.3percent. Core inflation — the nonfood, non-fuel inflation component — surged to a 83-month high of 6.55 per cent in May. The RBI, which primarily focusesonretailinflationwhiledeliberating on its monetary A board position during the Anand vs Nikhil Kamath match are thinking that I really beat Vishy sir in a chess game, that is almost like me waking up and winning a 100 mt race with Usain Bolt. I had help from the people analyzing the game, computers andthe graciousness of Anand sir himself to treat the game as a learning experience. This was for fun and charity. In hindsight, it was quite silly as I didn't realise all the confusion that can get caused due to this. Apologies,” he posted. That tweet, however, appeared to have soured the situation further. Anand’s manager and wife Aruna said Kamath had spoken to them over phone before sharing the text of what he was going to tweet. “Anand didn’t insinuate anything but said he will go by what the algorithm (used by the fair play team at chess.com) says. He told Kamath, ‘please do not CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 SHARESOFAdaniGroupcompanies plunged up to 25 per cent intra-day Monday following news reports that accounts of three foreign investor funds holding sizeable stake in the group’s companies had been frozen by National Securities Depository Ltd (NSDL). The shares recovered partially after the group companies denied the news reports and informedstock exchangesthat the demat accounts in which these foreign funds hold their shares were not frozen. An email sent by NSDL to the Adani Group following a query on the status of these funds, and seen by The Indian Express, noted that the status of the demat accounts of the three funds holding shares in Adani Group companies is “active” in the NSDL system. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 SII-partner Novavax reports 90% efficacy, says focused first on developing countries PRABHA RAGHAVAN NEW DELHI, JUNE 14 NOVAVAX WILL prioritise developing countries for the initial supplies of its Covid-19 vaccine, theChief ExecutiveOfficer of the American biotechnology company said on Monday. The Maryland-headquartered company said its vaccine had demonstrated 100 per cent protection in late-stage trials againstmoderateandseveredisease caused by SARS-CoV-2 — a boost for the prospects of its Indian version, Covovax. Overall, the efficacy of the vaccine was 90.4 per cent — that is, it showed the ability to bring down symptomatic Covid-19 cases by more than 90 per cent compared with those who had not received a vaccine. “It should be noted... that, given that we’ve got a commitmentof 1.1billiondoseswithCOVAX along with our partner SerumInstitute(of India),alotof ourfirstdosesaregoingtogointo low- and middle-income countries,astheyshould,”CEOStanley CErcksaidinaconferencecallon CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 A jam in Bengaluru Monday, as Covid curbs are eased. PTI E E X P L A I NE D AANCHAL MAGAZINE Hope and caution ● for India NOVAVAX’S COMMITMENT to developing countries, and India’s ability to produce this vaccine are promising. However, attention needs to be paid to the fine print, including how effective the vaccine is against specific variants.
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