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 MONDAY, JULY 19, 2021, MUMBAI, LATE CITY, 14 PAGES `5.00, WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 CLOUD OVER MONSOON SESSION Phones of 2 Ministers, 3 Opp leaders among many targeted for tap: report A RED initiative appears in today’s edition of The Indian Express. This page is an initiative of the marketing solutions team of The Indian Express Group and contains content paid for by advertisers. This page should be read as an advertisement. Rescuers at the site of a wall collapse that killed 19 people in Chembur, Mumbai. At least 32 people died as heavy rainfall hit the city early Sunday morning. Amit Chakravarty RELATEDREPORTP3,4 32killedasintenseraintriggers First time since March 2, Delhi sees landslides,leavesMumbaiflooded day with no Covid death EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, JULY 18 FOR THE first time in over four months, Delhi did not report a single Covid death on Sunday. Of the 71,546 samples tested, 51 were found to be positive — 0.07% positivity rate. The city, which at the peak of thesecondwavesaw448deaths in one day (May 3), has seen a sharp dip in cases and deaths over the past month. Over the last three days, for instance, six deaths were reported — one each on Thursday and Friday, and four on Saturday. And for almost three weeks now, the city has reported less than 100 new cases per day. The last time that the city saw no Covid death was on March 2. The city's total toll so far is 25,027.However,thosewhodied athome,whentheywereunable to get hospital beds during the peak of the second wave in April andMay,arenotpartof thistally. The cumulative case fatality ratio is 1.7%. According to Delhi government data, there are 592 activecases at present. LAXMAN SINGH, JAYPRAKASH S NAIDU, YOGESH NAIK & SANJANA BHALERAO MUMBAI, JULY 18 AT LEAST 32 people died and eightotherswere injuredin separateincidentscausedbyintense rainfall in the early hours of Sunday in the central and eastern parts of Mumbai. The heavy downpour also left most parts of the city flooded, with water entering houses and damaging properties. The India Meteorological Department’s (IMD) Santacruz observatory recorded 235 mm rainfall in 24 hours ending at 8.30amSunday,over200mmof it was recorded between midnight and 5.30 am. While 19 people were killed and five were injured at New Bharat Nagar in Chembur’s Vashi Naka after a landslide led to the collapse of a wall and damaged four to five houses. In another incident, a landslide at Surya Nagar in Vikhroli (west) killed 10 people. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 MUMBAI, JULY 18 MUMBAI RECORDED 235 mm rainfall in 24 hours until 8.30 am Sunday. Of this, 200 mm was recorded in six hours between 11.30 pm Saturday and 5.30 am Sunday,makingitthesecondextreme weather event to hit CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Intense waterlogging on Santacruz–Chembur Link Road Sunday. Amit Chakravarty Amarinder rebuffed POST-ELECTION VIOLENCE as Sidhu is named House to house, eight times in two months, 40 Punjab Cong chief AN EXPRESS SERIES PART-3 families say on the run RAVIK BHATTACHARYA, ATRI MITRA & SWEETY KUMARI KOLKATA, JULY 18 ON MAY 2, the results had just started showing signs of Trinamool returning to power when the men arrived, going housetohouse,ransackingthem, breaking some. By the end of the day,40familiesofacolonylocated on KPC Medical College grounds in Jadavpur had fled. All BJP supporters or workers, they say TMC threatshavekeptthemawaytwoand-a-half months later. Recently, when a team of the NHRC,investigatingpost-pollvi- olence in Bengal on the orders of the Calcutta High Court, visited thearea,theywerechasedaway, allegedly by TMC supporters -bringing to limelight one of the incidents the BJP has been highlighting in the state. In its report, the NHRC accused the Mamata Banerjee government of turning a blind eye to the violence. Of the 40 families, only eight agreed to meet with The Indian Express at their new locations, while two others spoke over the phone. Two families met by the roadside,sayingtheywereafraid of giving away where they were. Many claimed they had approached police but it didn't CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 IN WHAT could trigger a stormy start to the Monsoon session of Parliament commencing Monday, a global collaborative investigative project has revealed thatIsraelicompany NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware targeted over 300 mobile phone numbers in India including that of two serving Ministers in the Narendra Modi government, three Opposition leaders, one constitutional authority, several journalistsandbusinesspersons. The Wire, a digital news platform, which is part of the collaboration, reported Sunday that the leaked global database of 50,000 telephonenumbers, was first accessed by French nonprofit Forbidden Stories and AmnestyInternational,andthen shared with 16 media partners: The Guardian, Washington Post, Le Monde, Suddeutsche Zeitung, and 11 other Arab and European BY UNNY Celebrations in Patiala over Sidhu’s appointment. PTI ment, before finally conceding and saying the latter should at leastapologisepubliclyforhisdiatribe against his government. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 WORLD DEUBA SEEKS VOTE OF CONFIDENCE IN NEPAL HOUSE UK’S JOHNSON TO QUARANTINE AFTER COVID-19 CONTACT PAGE 9 No let-up in Covid, Kerala yields to pressure, relaxes curbs for Bakrid AMIDST CONSISTENTLY high Covid-19 cases in Kerala, the PinarayiVijayangovernmenthas given in to pressure and lifted lockdown restrictions for three days for celebration of Bakrid, which falls on July 21. Even in lo- NEW DELHI, JULY 18 ON THE eve of the Monsoon Session, while the government said Prime Minister Narendra Modiwouldbrieffloorleaderson TuesdayontheCovid-19situation and its vaccination programme, the Opposition rejected the offer, saying he should address the issue on the floor of the House. Thegovernment'soffer,which comesamidseverecriticismover itshandlingofthesecondwaveof CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 calbodieswherethetestpositivity rate has been steadily above 15%, restrictions have been waived for a day on Monday to enable people to go for festival shopping. Of 4.25-lakh active Covid cases in the country, Kerala accounts for 1.25 lakh. The state's share in national daily cases has been consistently around 35%. The Indian Medical Association criticised the government decision as “unwarranted and inappropriate at the time of a medical emergency”. “When many northern states like J&K, Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchalhavestopped,witha constructive sense of public safety, the traditional and pilgrimyatras,itisunfortunatethat the learned state of Kerala has CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and TMC leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay after the all-party meeting in Parliament. Prem Nath Pandey Express journalists among 40 in ‘surveillance list’ KRISHN KAUSHIK NEW DELHI, JULY 18 THREEEDITORSof theTheIndian Express — two current and one former — are among the over 40 journalists whose phone numbers figure in a leaked list of potential targets of surveillance by an “unidentified agency,” using the Pegasus spyware, online news portal The Wire reported Sunday. Its report was part of a global investigation by 17 media organisations drawing on data was accessed by Paris-based Forbidden Stories. The numbers of Deputy Editor Muzamil Jaleel, who reports on Jammu and Kashmir and internal security, and Senior Assistant Editor Ritika Chopra, who covers the Election Commission and the Ministry of Education, appear in the leaked records. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Cryptocurrency bank plans India operations, takes cooperative route to get around RBI rules MUMBAI, JULY 18 CHANDIGARH, NEW DELHI, JULY 18 IN A SURPRISE move at the end of a day where the Amarinder Singh camp got all the Congress Lok Sabha MPs from Punjab and several MLAs to plead his case, thehighcommandSundaynight announced Navjot Singh Sidhu as the new PCC chief. It also named four working presidentsasaplacatorygesture towards Amarinder, who fought fiercely against Sidhu's appoint- LIZ MATHEW & MANOJ CG GEORGE MATHEW & SUNNY VERMA KANCHAN VASDEV & MANOJ C G THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, JULY 18 BJP supporter Mana Adhikari’s house in KMC Medical College grounds is now rubble. Partha Paul BUSINESS AS USUAL 4workingpresidents;noneof CM’schoice SHAJU PHILIP OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALLIST & MEMBER OF IOC’S ATHLETES COMMISSION PAGE 1 ANCHOR SANJANA BHALERAO NEW DELHI, JULY 18 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 ‘Don’t know how Olympics will transpire. Must go in with open mind. Protocols in place, but will they be enough? Don’t know’ ABHINAV BINDRA PAGE 8 ‘Monstrous’ thunderstorm dumps 235 mm rain in 6 hrs AASHISH ARYAN & PRANAV MUKUL PM to brief floor leaders on Covid: Govt; Opp says no thanks, come to House ATAtimewhentheReserveBank of India (RBI) frowns on private virtualcurrencies,theproposalof cryptocurrency bank Cashaa to launch banking operations in Indiaforcustomersofvirtualcurrencies like Bitcoin from August, through the credit co-operative society route, has raised eyebrows in financial circles. Cashaa says it has launched Unicas, the world’s first cryptofriendlyfinancialinstitutionwith physicalbranchesinIndiainassociationwiththeUnitedMultistate Credit Co-operative Society. It allows services for both crypto and fiat(currencies)fromasinglesavingsaccount,Cashaafounderand CEO Kumar Gaurav said. The “bank” has ambitious planstoextendloanstobuycryptocurrenciesandopensavingsaccountsforcustomers.Thegovernmentisalsoplanningtobringina law to regulate cryptocurrencies. Asked whether the firm has sought RBI's permission to launch a “bank”, Gaurav said United is a multistate credit cooperativesocietywhichis“registered and works under the Registrar of Societies”. “As we give services to members only, E E X P L A I NE D NEW ROADS OF EDUCATION Israeli Pegasus spyware used, says report; baseless…bid to malign Indian democracy, institutions: Govt ● All eyes on Govt REGULATION OF cryptocurrencies and their acceptance has been a matter of debate, with its proponents vouching for their virtues even as central banks remain sceptical. The government is yet to decide on introduction of a cryptocurrency regulation, leaving investors uncertain. wedonotneedtheRBI’spermissionforthismodel.Unitedisalso a member of the National Federation of Urban Co-operative Banks and Credit Societies Ltd (NAFCUB) vide membership No. 1753 and certified with ISO 9001:2008 for Quality Management Systems,” he said in an email reply to a questionnaire from The Indian Express. A credit co-operative society doesn’tdealinbankingbusiness, insteaditlendsmoneyonlytoits members. “This society doesn’t come under the RBI. The promoters of the so-called bank are taking the credit co-operative CONTINUED ON PAGE 10 MP plans bridge module as studies show students far behind grade IRAM SIDDIQUE BHOPAL, JULY 18 IT WASN'T easy but Sitaram Dewar, 40, a farmer owning 10 acres in Raisen district of Madhya Pradesh, put together some money to buy a mobile phone last year so that his daughter Neetu, entering Class 9, and son Ashish, a grade younger, could follow the online classes being conducted by their government schools. Still, to Dewar's worry, Ashish is now struggling in basic math, which he once excelled at. After a study across five states by the Azim Premji Foundation confirmed findings of its own Rajya Shiksha Kendra regarding the alarming regression in learning among students over the year of the pandemic and school shutdowns, the Madhya Pradesh government is set to roll out a course to make up the gap. Starting August 1, a basic learning module, split into three parts, would be covered over four months, so that students can be brought up to their grade should, as expected, all classes start by then. When Covid forced schools to shut down, the state government had made course material available online, as well as over TV and radio transmissions. However, the inadequacy of this compared to in-person teaching was shown by an Azim Premji Foundation study in January 2021 to assess the foundation abilitiesof studentscomparedto their previous class. Released in February, it said that about 92% of children had regressed in one particularlanguageabilityacross all classes while the regression in mathematical skills was seen among 82% of them. The foundation covered 16,067 government school students,including1,767inMadhya Pradesh.Itsubmitteditsfindings COVID AND CLASSROOM AZIM PREMJI FOUNDATION FINDINGS: 92% of children regressed in one particular language ability, 82% in math skills MP GOVT’S RAJYA SHIKSHA KENDRA FINDINGS: Of 80 lakh govt school students up to Class 8, only 30.9% could access material over WhatsApp, 25% over TV, 12% over radio UNICEF FINDINGS: Nearly 60% govt school students did The learning module is to be covered over four months not use any remote learning material, 40% parents struggled to pay for Internet recharge to theCentre,which later shared them with states. Ashok Prateek, Deputy Directorof RajyaShikshaKendra (RSK), says till then they had no scientific study to show the effect of school shutdowns on the 80 lakh-odd government school students in the state till Class 8. “The findings matched the feedback we had received from our field officers.” It was then that the idea for a bridge course was formalised. A body under the Madhya Pradesh Education Department, the RSK looks after elementaryeducation,aswellas the State Council for Education Research and Training, Shiksha Mission and adult education. An internal assessment by the RSK had also shown that while textbooks reached 98% of the 80 lakh government school students till Class 8, only 30.9% could access material over WhatsAppduringthelockdown, while the figure for radio and TV was 12% and 25% respectively. While the government had announced mohalla classes to reach such students, these faced practical challenges. Preeti Dawar, a middle-school governmentteacherinAlirajpurdistrict, points out that during the first lockdown even transport was CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
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