DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 4, 2021, LUCKNOW, LATE CITY, 16 PAGES Rahul takes the lead to rally Opp, Cong hails ‘historic day’ Markets rally to new peak, Nifty crosses 16,000 for first time The Indian Express obtained latest registered death data from 8 states that point to a spike but limited to April & May and varying sharply across states ENS ECONOMIC BUREAU 1.12 times in Kerala to 2.86 times in MP: April-May death surge looms over Covid death count COUNT & DISCOUNT: THE TRAGEDY, IN NUMBERS DEATHS REGISTERED FROM APRIL 1 TO MAY 31 2021 All Cause OPPN INSULTING HOUSE, MAINTAIN RESTRAINT: PM TO BJP MPs PAGE 7 All Cause ** The Multiplier ■ Kerala 51,348 4,194 41,838 1.12x 25,490 3,878 17,819 1.21x ■ Karnataka NEW DELHI, AUGUST 3 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 2019 ■ Jharkhand* MANOJ C G CONGRESS LEADER Rahul Gandhi Tuesday took his attempts to rally the Opposition together one step further by chairing a breakfast meeting with leaders and MPs of likeminded parties. In his first such interaction with the Opposition without Congress president Sonia Gandhi present, Rahul again underlined a newfound readiness to assume the lead in taking on the government as wellasreachingouttootherparties --twoshortcomingsheisoften accused of. On Tuesday, the carefully planned interaction over breakfast with around a hundred Opposition MPs from 15 parties including the Congress, at Rahul's invitation, was followed by a surprise cycle rally to Parliament.Earlier,Rahulhadattended two meetings of the Opposition where the parties agreed to coordinate their protests in Parliament over Pegasus and the farm laws. In the evening, the Congress declared Tuesday as “a historic day”,saying“thisisthetrailerfor 2024”. Rahul put out a video of his engagement with the Opposition leaders prepared by his team. At the meeting, he said, “We represent 60% of thevoice of this country... and we are treated as if we represent nobody. When the government shuts us up in Parliament, humiliates us... not just humiliating us as Members of Parliament... they are humiliating and shutting up the voice Official Covid-19 1.37x 119,558 16,504 74,816 ■ Delhi ^ 39,473 13,210 18,713 1.4x ■ Punjab Centre has to inform SC about compensation by August 14 62,275 7,682 31,506 1.73x 101,480 3,587 48,177 2.03x 74,384 5,148 28,288 2.44x 4,081 69,842 2.86x 58,284 330,999 1.87x ■ Bihar AMITABH SINHA PUNE, AUGUST 3 HOW MANY people died of Covid during the brutal second wave in April and May? That question is key to not only understanding the scale of the unprecedented health tragedybutalsotoframingapolicyprescriptionforanyfutureresurge. There’sapracticalimperative too -- by August 14, the Centre needstogetbacktotheSupreme Court on how it plans to pay compensation to the next of kin of those who lost their lives to Covid-19. Onereadyansweris1.69lakh -- the official Covid-19 death count for the two months reported by state governments to the Centre. REPORTED BY Abhishek Angad in Ranchi, Iram Siddiqui in Bhopal, Johnson TA in Bengaluru, P Vaidyanathan Iyer & Abhinav Rajput in New Delhi, Santosh Singh in Patna, Navjeevan Gopal in Chandigarh, Shaju Philip in Thiruvananthapuram and Varinder Bhatia in Chandigarh TOMORROW: HOW TO COUNT THE UNCOUNTED COUNTING THE UNCOUNTED AN EXPRESS SERIES PART ONE An investigation by The Indian Express team of reporters suggests that there is an undercount. But exactly how much may never be known -- it can only be estimated and, that too, in at least a year given the way Indiacountsitsdead(seeadjoining report). As part of the investigation, the newspaper approached severalstategovernments of whom eight -- these account for almost a third of all Covid deaths as of last week -- provided records of CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 ■ Haryana ■ Madhya Pradesh 204,137 Total 678,145 Source: Obtained by The Indian Express from State governments and Municipal Corporations of Delhi ■ Uttar Pradesh 16,824 11,686 7,281 0.7x ■ Chhattisgarh 20,080 8,878 10,135 1.1x ■ West Bengal 64,270 5,212 44,100 1.33x ■ Tamil Nadu 61,034 11,513 33,917 1.46x 112,788 42,145 44,944 1.57x 41,241 5,567 17,077 2.08x ■ Andhra Pradesh 88,075 3,713 39,392 2.14x ■ Gujarat 59,010 5,314 16,282 3.29x 463,322 94,028 213,128 1.73x ■ Maharashtra ■ Rajasthan Total Source: National Health Mission, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare * Data from an Intensive Public Health Survey conducted by the state government ^ Does not include death registrations in New Delhi Municipal Council # 2019 was a non-pandemic year, hence taken for comparison **Multiplier = (All-cause deaths in 2021 minus official Covid deaths) divided by (All-cause deaths in 2019) Identifying Covid deaths is the challenge but hard to hide large numbers: experts AMITABH SINHA & P VAIDYANATHAN IYER PUNE, NEW DELHI, AUGUST 3 THAT THERE is a surge in the number of all-cause deaths in the months of April and May is established. To find out how much of the surge — beyond the 1.69-lakh official count — is becauseof Covidisataskcutoutfor state governments and the Centre. “To go back and identify who amongst those who died during the pandemic period was due to Covid if not already tested or officiallycountedasCoviddeathby thestateis,inpracticalterms,impossible,”PronabSen,Chairman, StandingCommitteeon EconomicStatistics,and ex-Chief Statistician of India, told The Indian Express. “What we can, however, do is modellingbasedonpilotstudies, study of symptoms, and surveys of next of kin to get an estimate.” Thatwilltakesometime.For, expertspointout,itwillbea“humongous and impractical task” inthemiddleof apandemictodo a national door-to-door survey assisted by medical experts to find the post-mortem cause of the deaths. But given how India counts its dead and, is getting better at it with ● each year, experts said, there is a consensus that the extra deaths will not go uncounted; although it may go unidentified as Covid. E CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 A vaccination queue in Noida on Tuesday. Gajendra Yadav Reproduction numberrisingin 8states&UTs, warnsGovt Matter of concern that only 50% of vulnerable group vaccinated: V K Paul KAUNAIN SHERIFF M NEW DELHI, AUGUST 3 SOUNDING A Covid-19 alarm all over again, the Centre said Tuesday the fact that the reproduction number, a key metric measuring how fast the pandemic is spreading, has risen beyond 1 in eight states and Union Territories, is “truly a cause of concern”, and indicated the possibility of a further rise in cases in the coming days. Dr V K Paul, head of the Covid-19 task force, said the rising reproduction number, or Rvalue, coupled with the dominant presence of the highly infectious Delta variant, meant that the pandemic is still “raging” in India, and is far from over. He made these remarks on the day the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said there are eight states and UTs in the country the R-value has risen above 1: Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir (1.4); Lakshadweep (1.3); Tamil Nadu, Mizoram,Karnataka(1.2);Kerala and Puducherry (1.1). R-value estimates the number of people that an infected person is transmitting the disease to, on an average. A value of 1 means every infected person, onanaverage,istransmittingthe disease to one more person. A value greater than 1, therefore, means the pandemic is in an ascendant phase, and that cases will rise. “We know that the Delta variant has spread in the country.Thisisaverydominantproblem. This varianthascaused a 30 per cent increase in cases in the US.IntheWesternPacificregion, there has been a 25 per cent increase in cases. The pandemic is stillraginganditstillpersists.We are concerned that some states have a reproduction number in the wrong direction,” Paul said. “We have to remember that this number had come down to 0.6 and below. If it is rising in CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Chhattisgarh sets aside paddy to keep elephants away from villages RAIPUR, AUGUST 3 PARIMAL DABHI GANDHINAGAR, AUGUST 3 Bronze medallist P V Sindhu at New Delhi airport on her return from Tokyo Tuesday. Abhinav Saha LAUDING THE performance of Team India at the Tokyo Olympics, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday that they showcased “New India's” “new confidence”, and such “confidence comes when systems change and become transparent”. APTIreportsaidModiwillinvite India's Olympic contingent to the Red Fort as special guests on August 15. Quoting official sources, it said he will also invite them to his residence for an interaction. Addressing an event in Dahod, via video conference, to mark Chief Minister Vijay CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 ASPARTofthestateforestdepartment's pilot project to stop wild elephantsfromenteringvillages, theChhattisgarhgovernmenthas setasidepaddyacquiredin20192020for“elephantmanagement” in nine districts. “For management of elephants, it has been directed to provide paddy of 2019-2020 to theforestdepartmentatthecost of procurement in Gariyaband, Balod,Sarguja,Raigarh,Surajpur, Korba, Dhamtari, Kanker and Mahasamund,”theChhattisgarh State Cooperative Marketing Federation said in a letter to the Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) dated July 22. According to the letter, the RIDING ON the back of encouraging economic data that showed a recovery in the manufacturing sector index, higher GST collection and improved corporate earnings, India’s benchmark stock indices rallied to new peaks on Tuesday, with the Nifty index scaling the 16,000 level for the first time. With European markets making good gains and the vaccination drive gaining ground in the country, the benchmark Sensex jumped 873 points to a new high of 53,823.36 and the NSE Nifty Index soared 246 points to close at 16,130.75 on all-round buying support. The seasonally adjusted IHS Markit India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI)movedbackabovethecritical50.0threshold--upfrom48.1 to 55.3 -- in July, pointing to the strongest rate of growth in three months. On the other hand, India'sgrossGSTrevenuesinJuly recovered sharply to Rs 1,16,393 crore, after slipping below the Rs 1lakhcroremarkforthefirsttime in eight months in June. "Progressive economic data indicates strong rebound from CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 E Momentum may ● continue DERIVING COMFORT from good first quarter earnings, PMI growth and lowerthan-expected impact of the second Covid wave, the premier indices rose to close at new highs on Tuesday. If fundamentals of the economy remain strong, experts believe the market momentum is likely to sustain. WORLD AMID COVID SURGE, U.S. HITS 70% VACCINATION GOAL ONE MONTH LATE CHINA ORDERS MASS TESTING IN WUHAN AS COVID OUTBREAK SPREADS PAGE 14 GARGI VERMA PM hails Team India, says ‘confidence comes when right talent is encouraged’ MUMBAI, NEW DELHI, AUGUST 3 E X P L A I NE D BY UNNY ALL-CAUSE DEATHS IN APRIL-MAY 2021 COMPARED TO ALL-CAUSE DEATHS IN SAME PERIOD IN PRE-PANDEMIC 2019 EXPLAINED BUSINESS AS USUAL `5.00 WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 Experts question plan: ‘Elephants can’t be force-fed’ paddy was sourced from Raipur, Mahasamund, Bilaspur and Surajpur districts at Rs 2,095.83 per quintal. The letter, however, didn't specify the quantities set aside for the nine districts. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 UTTAR PRADESH ONALLIANCEWITH BJP, RAJBHARSAYS CONDITIONS APPLY PAGE 3 Bronze assured, Lovlina chases boxing history at home of sumo wrestling EXPRESSAT OLYMPICS MIHIR VASAVDA TOKYO, AUGUST 3 WHEN SHE strides out of the tunnel at the Kokugikan Arena Wednesday, Lovlina Borgohain will attempt to go where no other Indian boxer has been before. Street-smart and brave, she has assured herself of a bronze medal by making it to the semifinals in welterweight. But the 23-year-old has set her sights on gold.Andsheknowsthatagainst Turkey’sBusenazSurmeneli,her aggressive world champion opponent, it will require a sumosized performance -- in an arena that is home to Japanese sumo wrestling. Driving through downtown Tokyo, past the bay area, crisscrossing some of the stadiums that resemble sci-fi movie sets, you reach the old city’s sumoobsessed neighborhood of Ryogoku. It is a world unto itself. The sprawlingsix-lanehighwayconverges into a narrow two-way lane dotted by restaurants, whichsell‘yokozunaburgers’,on one side and sumo stables, sim- ilar to akharas across Haryana, on the other. There’s graffiti of sumo wrestlers through the street,withmuseumsandshops that sell posters with touts looking to make a quick buck. Towards the end, a tiny gate opens up to the shrine-like Kokugikan Arena. “This is the home of Japanese sumo wrestling,” says Yoshitaka Tsuchiya, who works with the Nihon Sumo Kyokai, Japan’s sumo association. Japanesesumowrestlinghistory has been written and rewritten for decades at this venue, which has been transformed into a boxing arena for the Olympics. It's a daunting arena, even Lovlina faces Turkey’s Busenaz Surmeneli on Wednesday thoughitislargelyempty during bouts. Portraits of 32 rikishis (professional sumo wrestlers) hang from the roof, bearing down on the boxers in this bullring style arena with bright red interiors. Somewhere underneath the ring where the boxers spar is the "dohyo", a pit made of clay and rice straw bales in which the sumos wrestle. A roof similar to that of a Shinto shrine, which is raised during a sumo match, has given way to a giant steel frame. Tsuchiya says sumo wrestlingismorethanjust brute force and big bellies. “It’s an art, a sport steepedinrichtradition,” he says. “For instance, before entering the pit, the wrestlers throw salt on it. We believe throwing salt brings good fortune. They have been doing this since the Edo dynasty, for 170180 years.” During a sumo wrestling tournament, known as “honbashos”,thestadiumlooksvastly different. Spectators have to remove their shoes, sit on the floor in the giant box seats, and chomp on “yakitori” -- similar to a chicken lollipop -- along with beer. “Yakitori is a signature dish on the menu during a honbasho,” Tsuchiya says. “Chicken walks on two legs. And during a sumowrestlingmatch,if youput your hands on the ground, you lose.You have to beonbothyour feet at all times. So it is believed that two-legged animals can bring good fortune.” Outside the arena, the “twolegged” bird is sold everywhere. Not in the form of “yakitori” but in a stew that Tsuchiya says is called “chankonabe”. It forms the main part of a sumo wrestler’sdiet.Theirtraining begins on empty stomachs, followedbyamiddaymealconsistingof upto10bowlsof rice,beer, and “chankonabe”. The wrestlers are encouraged to sleep after lunch, and another big meal is offered at night. The official sumo tournament takes place every year. In fact, professional wrestling CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Lucknow
Indian Express Limited is an Indian news media publishing company. It publishes several widely circulated dailies, including The Indian Express and The Financial Express in English, the Loksatta in Marathi and the Jansatta in Hindi.