DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA ` 200 per kilo BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY AS THE country fought the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in mid-2020, the Ministry of Finance’seconomicdivisionwas draftingastrategytocounterthe “negativecommentary”onIndia by global think-tanks, indices, and media, amidst worries that this could lead to downgrading of sovereign rating to “junk”. SOVEREIGN RATINGS: DOWN AND UP MOODY’S FITCHRATINGS Nov ’19: Sovereign rating affirmed at Baa2; outlook changed to negative from stable Dec ’19: BBB-, stable outlook June ’20: Rating down to Baa3, negative outlook Oct ’21: Affirms Baa3 rating; outlook changed to stable June ’20: BBB-, negative outlook Nov ’21: BBB-,negative outlook,butnotes“rating balancesstill-strongmedium -termgrowthoutlookand externalresilience” IndiGo ‘denies’ boarding to child with special needs PRANAV MUKUL & ABHISHEK ANGAD NEW DELHI, RANCHI, MAY 8 JAHANGIRPURI Court: Cops accompanied illegal rally, probe if any complicity EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, MAY 8 NOTING THAT there was “utter failure” on the part of Delhi Police in stopping the unauthorised Hanuman Jayanti procession in Jahangirpuri last month that triggered communal clashes in the locality, a local court said the issue “seems to havebeensimplybrushedaside” CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Security outside the entrance to Kashi Vishwanath temple and Gyanvapi mosque on Sunday. Anand Singh Gyanvapi case: One of five petitioners to withdraw, says lawyer ASAD REHMAN LUCKNOW, MAY 8 ONE OF the petitioners in the Kashi Vishwanath TempleGyanvapi Mosque complex dispute,DelhiresidentRakhi Singh, is all set to withdraw from the petition on Monday, her lawyer told The Indian Express. Singh is among five women who had filed a petition in a Varanasi court in August 2021 seekinganordertoallowthemto worship at the disputed site. The otherfourpetitionersareVaranasi residents Laxmi Devi, Sita Sahu, Manju Vyas and Rekha Pathak. Advocate Hari Shankar Jain, who is one of the lawyers representing the five women, said Singh will withdraw from the suit on Monday. “She is withdrawing but that will not affect CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 IN AN incident that raises questions over the handling of air travellers with special needs, budget airline IndiGo allegedly denied boarding to a specially abled child on a Hyderabadbound flight at the Ranchi airport on Saturday. A senior official of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) told The Indian Express that the aviation safety regulatorisprobingtheincident, and that a report has been sought from the airline. IndiGo saidin a statement that the child “couldnotboardtheflight...ashe was in a state of panic”. The incident was brought to light in a Facebook post by a passenger at the airport who was waiting to board another flight. The author of the post, Manisha Gupta, told The Indian Express that the IndiGo staff “did not show any compassion”. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 In June 2020, then Principal Economic Advisor in the Ministry of Finance, Sanjeev Sanyal, prepared a presentation — “Subjective Factors that impact India’s Sovereign Ratings: What can we do about it?” — for internal circulation within the government. Sanyal is now a member of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council. The 36-page presentation, seen by The Indian Express, noted CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 ‘Aggression by Russia, not sanctions, is affecting global food security and prices’ UGO ASTUTO E.U. AMBASSADOR TO INDIA AT HIGHEST LEVEL SINCE JAN 2010 Demandup,outputdown: Attapricesatrecordhigh Bakery bread prices up as well with 8.39% inflation in Mar HARIKISHAN SHARMA FLOUR PRICE RISE NEW DELHI, MAY 8 THEALL-INDIAmonthlyaverage retail price of wheat flour (atta) was Rs 32.38 per kg in April, the highest since January 2010, the earliest month for which data are available. Atta prices have been rising as both production and stocks of wheat have fallen in India, and demand has risen outside the country. Data reported by State Civil Supplies Departments to the Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution show the all-India average retail price of wheat flour was Rs 32.78/ kg on Saturday(May 7) —9.15per cent higher than the price (Rs 30.03 Retail prices of wheat flour (`/kg) 35 `32.38 30 `18.07 25 20 15 Jan-2010 Apr-2022 Note: All-India monthly avg per kg) a year ago. Among the 156 centres for which data are available, the price on Saturday was the highest in Port Blair (Rs 59/ kg) and lowest (Rs 22/ kg) in West Bengal’s Purulia. Among the four metros, the average wheat flour retail price was the highest in Mumbai (Rs 49/per),followedbyChennai(Rs 34/ kg), Kolkata (Rs 29/ kg) and Delhi (Rs 27/ kg). All-India average daily retail prices of wheat flour have been rising since the beginning of the calendar year, having increased by 5.81 per cent since January 1, the data show. The record high in April was significantly higher thantheaverageretailpriceof Rs 31/ kg recorded in April 2021. Sources said that the steady increaseinthepriceofflourisdue to the rise in wheat prices amid the fall in production due to the warinUkraine,andahigheroverseas demand for Indian wheat. Thehighdomesticpriceof diesel has added to the logistics cost of both wheat and flour. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 PAGE 6 US moves can push Indo-Pacific over edge of abyss, warns China SHUBHAJIT ROY NEW DELHI, MAY 8 PUSHING FORWARD Chinese PresidentXiJinping’sconceptof a “GlobalSecurityInitiative”,animportant Chinese official has said thattheIndo-Pacificstrategyofthe United States, “if left unchecked”, would bring “horrible consequencesandpushtheAsia-Pacific overtheedgeof anabyss”. ChineseViceForeignMinister LeYucheng,whoisoneof thetop E X P L A I NE D ` 160 per kilo NEW DELHI, MAY8 `5.00, WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 Worried India rating may turn junk, govt pushed ‘narrative management’ strategy ANISHA DUTTA REG.NO. MCS/067/2018 - 20 RNI REGN. NO. 1543/57 JOURNALISM OF COURAGE MONDAY, MAY 9, 2022, MUMBAI, LATE CITY, 14 PAGES ` 132 per kilo ● E The Chinese ● point of view BEIJING IS trying to clear the air on its intent on the Indo-Pacific, Russia, and possible consequences for the region. Le is an influential official — his words carry the weight of the party and government. don’t bother for scars any more. To get blemish free skin use NO SCARS. It helps to reduce and remove, scars and marks. RA ALOE VE Face h Was contenders to succeed Foreign Minister Wang Yi, also said, “Ratherthanlearningthepainful lessons of conflict and suffering in Europe, they seek to create a “second theatre” and bring the conflict to the Asia-Pacific.” Beijing refers to the IndoPacific as Asia-Pacific, and Vice ForeignMinisterLehasbeenone of the voices presenting the Chinese government's view on developmentsintheregion.Le,a former Chinese ambassador to CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 WORLD JILL BIDEN, TRUDEAU MAKE SURPRISE VISIT TO UKRAINE RUSSIA BOMBS UKRAINE SCHOOL, MANY FEARED DEAD PAGE 10 Get dazzling Glamour with... Long Lasting Premium Quality Soap N o t h i n g m a k e s a wo m a n m o re beautiful than the belief that she is beautiful. This belief paves the way to real beauty inside which reflects outside. No Scars beauty soap helps making your skin look soft and radiant. 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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.