330c. 290c. Sunrise: 06:00 am Sunset: 07:13 pm FY21 FISCAL DEFICIT AT 9.3%, BELOW REVISED ESTIMATES Pg 7 COVID IN INDIA & CHINA: A STUDY IN CONTRAST ‘MUSIC LABELS AREN’T APPROACHING ME AS I WON’T ALLOW THEIR INTERFERENCE’ Pg 20 “You cannot know the meaning of your until life you are connected to the power that created you.” GDP CONTRACTS 7.3% H. H. Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi Vol. 65 No. 24 | TUESDAY | JUNE 1, 2021 | 14 Pages | ` 4 | EDITIONS: MUMBAI*, Pune, Indore, Bhopal, E-Paper EDIT Pg 15 ONLINE REPORT/ ew Delhi BETWEEN THE LINES CENTRAL VISTA OF NATIONAL IMP: HC INDIAN VAX BAN IMPACTING AFRICA India's decision to ban vaccine exports has had a severe impact on 91 nations dependent on Serum Institute of India's (SII) products, including the AstraZeneca vaccine (Covishield) and the forthcoming Novavax. With inadequate stocks, these countries, several of them in Africa, remain extremely susceptible to new strains of Covid, including B.1.617.2, first discovered in India, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said. Unfortunately, most African countries have vaccinated less than 0.5 per cent of their populations and haven't even vaccinated all their healthcare workers. 10% EWS quota for Maratha students SANJAY JOG / Mumbai In a serious bid to pacify the Maratha community which , has threatened to launch an agitation for the restoration of 12% quota in education and 13% in government jobs after the Supreme Court scrapped it, the Maha Vikas Aghadi government on Monday issued a notification providing for 10% Economically Weaker Section (EWS) quota for admission in educational institutions and direct recruitment. The students and job aspirants from the Maratha community can now avail of these benefits, provided the annual family income is less than Rs 8 lakh. The Maratha community was not in a position to take the benefit of 10% EWS quota when the reservation under the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) Act, 2018, was in FROM OUR BUREAU / New Delhi “It is time we define the limits of sedition,” the Supreme Court said on Monday while staying the coercive proceedings against two Telugu TV channels -- TV5 News and ABN Andhra Jyothi; the channels were booked for airing alleged offensive speeches of YSR Cong rebel MP Krishnam Raju against party leader and Chief Min- The Mumbai civic body circular issued on Monday said nonessential goods shops on the right-hand side of the road would remain open only on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, while those on the left-hand side of the road would be permitted to operate on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with the arrangement to be swapped the following week. This alternating system would be in place until further notice A day after the Maharashtra government issued a circular/notification easing the ‘Break the Chain’ order, the BMC followed suit, on Monday Despite the lockdown be. ing extended until June 15, shops dealing in essential commodities in Mumbai will now be allowed to remain open from 7am to 2pm on all days of the week. However, shops and establishments selling non-essential goods in the city can only be open on weekdays, from 7am to 2pm and must remain closed on weekends. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had announced at his press conference on Sunday that curbs would be relaxed in districts where cases had been steadily dropping ister YSR Jagan Mohan Reddy for his ham-handed handling of the pandemic. A Bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud, L Nageswara Rao and S Ravindra Bhat took a strong view of attempts to muzzle the Fourth Estate and called for defining "the limits of sedition," flagging the need to put curbs on indiscriminate use of the law against critics, journalists, social media users, activists and citi- zens — often for merely airing their grievances or seeking help to gain medical facilities. "This is muzzling of the media," observed Justice L Nageswara Rao. Justice Chandrachud, who heads the Bench, pointed out that the Apex Court had categorically told the states not to initiate penal action against the critics of Covid management measures in its April 30 order in a suo motu case. He referred to how, in an earlier suo motu hearing, he had wondered whether sedition charges would be launched against a news channel that had published a photograph of two persons throwing the body of a Covid patient into a river from a bridge in Uttar Pradesh. "I had this case (Andhra) in mind when I said that," Justice Chandrachud said. CONTD. ON P12 DIPTI SINGH / Mumbai STATE TO HAVE HERITAGE TREES SANJAY JOG Mumbai Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Monday flagged off the trial run for the Metro 2A and Metro 7 corridors, which run along the Link Road and Western Express Highway. Jabs after degrees of confusion 987 STUDENTS GOING ABROAD GET THEIR FIRST SHOT OF COVISHIELD ON DAY 1 PRATIP ACHARYA / Mumbai total of 987 students set to travel overseas for higher studies received their first dose of Covishield at three civic hospitals, on Monday . The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had announced free walk-in vaccination for students with confirmed admissions to foreign universities at Cooper, Rajawadi and Kasturba hospitals. Meanwhile, many students accompanied by their parents, who had decided to avail of the drive on Monday had complained earlier in the morning that the hospitals had stopped in- oculating students, citing inadequate stock. The parents claimed that at each of the centres, they were told that only 50 beneficiaries would be vaccinated. Powai resident Neha Boradia took her son who will be going to the US for further studies, to Rajawadi Hospital on Monday morning. Boradia said they stood in the queue from 8am, only to be later told that the vaccination had been stopped due to inadequate stock. “There were at least 400 students in the queue, from different parts of the city The hospital authorities told us . that they had run out of stock and only had 50 doses reserved for students,” Boradia told The Free Press Journal. Similarly Cuffe Parade resident , Anita Desai too said they had to return emptyhanded from Kasturba Hospital, after spending more than two hours in the queue. CONTD. ON P12 www.freepressjournal.in twitter.com/fpjindia Reg. No. Mcs/048/2018-20; RNI No. 1541/1957 M.p.c.s office Mumbai-400001 while boosting liquidity to the economy said last week the , country's growth prospects will depend on how fast India can arrest infections. Analysts warn that the slow rollout could pose medium-term risks to growth, especially if the country were to experience a third wave of COVID-19. Unemployment soared to a near one-year high of 14.7 per cent in the week ending May 23, according to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy a Mumbai-based private , think tank. CONTD. ON P12 Both essential and non-essential goods stores to stay open from 7am to 2pm but latter to remain closed on weekends force. The Maratha community which has been classi, fied as a SEBC, can now avail of the 10 per cent EWS quota. The state general administration department held by the Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray issued the notification. The EWS quota will be applicable to the community from the period of interim stay on Maratha reservation granted by the Supreme Court on September 9, 2020, to the final verdict delivered on May 5 this year. The EWS quota will be applicable for SEBC candidates whose appointments were pending before the interim stay However, it will not be . applicable to those candidates who have benefited from the SEBC quota in appointments and admissions, the government notification said. CONTD. ON P12 PIC: BL SONI Per litre BMC eases curbs on shops Time to define limits of sedition: SC JUHI CHAWLA PLEA: Actorenvironmentalist Juhi Chawla on Monday approached the Delhi High Court against the setting up of 5G wireless networks in the country, raising issues related to the radiation impact on citizens, animals, flora and fauna. Justice C Hari Shankar, before whom the matter came up for hearing, transferred the suit to another bench for hearing on June 2. A the government to offer growth stimulus due to its rising debt. Sakshi Gupta, senior economist at HDFC bank, said while the year-on-year numbers for the April-June quarter might look upbeat due to a low base, the sequential growth is likely to contract. "With the spread of the virus more acute in rural areas in this wave, rural demand and sectors dependent on the rural economy might come under stress." The central bank, which has kept monetary policy loose Per litre DIESEL ` 92.45 First it was heritage buildings, and now, Maharashtra will soon have heritage trees. The Maha Vikas Aghadi government, in a bid to protect and preserve old trees, proposes to amend the Maharashtra (Urban Areas) Preservation of Trees Act, 1975, to strike a balance between the development and environment conservation. Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar told The Free Press Journal, “The idea is to preserve and protect old trees by giving them heritage status. Trees that are in the way of roads, highways and other infrastructure projects will be saved, not cut. The government will soon form a committee to identify such trees to accord them heritage status and decide on other necessary norms.” He recalled that Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray had last year written to Union Minister Nitin Gadkari to protect a 400-year-old banyan tree in Sangli which stood right in the middle of a NHAI project. Gadkari responded positively and the tree was saved, with NHAI realigning the highway . CONTD. ON P12 As the sky opens up, so will the shops in Mumbai while stringent restrictions would be enforced in those parts of the state witnessing an upward trajectory of infections. The Mumbai civic body cir- cular issued on Monday said non-essential goods shops on the right-hand side of the road would remain open only on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, while Didi’s Chief Secy opts to retire rather than go to Delhi Will join her as Special Adviser, now OUR CORRESPONDENT Kolkata Caught in political crossfire, West Bengal Chief Secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay opted to retire under Mamata Banerjee’s patronage on Monday rather than report at North Block in the national capital, as directed by the Modi dispensation. He will now take over as Chief Advisor to the West Bengal Chief Minister in his personal capacity and possibly on a retainership. However, that will not shield him from Centre’s wrath and he may be slapped with a charge sheet as part of disciplinary action. The Centre is miffed with him for disregarding its recall order. Addressing the media, Chief Minister Mamata those located on the left-hand side of the road would be permitted to operate on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with the arrangement to be swapped in the following week. This alternating system would be in place until further notice. An exception has been made for shops dealing in agriculture-related materials, allowing them to conduct business till 2pm on all weekdays. Meanwhile, e-commerce services have been allowed to continue without any restrictions. Government offices too have been permitted to function at 25 per cent capacity . Offices directly involved in Covid-19 management are completely exempt from the ‘Break the Chain’ guidelines. CONTD. ON P12 PIC: BHUSHAN KOYANDE THE Delhi High Court on Monday dismissed a petition seeking to halt the ongoing construction at Central Vista project in the national capital, holding that it is a "vital and essential"project of "national importance" and that the petition was "motivated" and "not a genuine PIL." A Bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh, which had reserved the ruling after a hearing last week, rejected the plea to stop the construction in view of the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic and slapped a fine of Rs 1 lakh on the petitioners. ''The Central Vista is an essential project of national importance, where the sovereign functions of Parliament are to be conducted. Public will be greatly interested in this project," the bench said. Also, since the workers who are engaged in the project are staying on site, there is no question of issuing directions to suspend the work, the court said. Uniion Minister Hardeep Singh Puri also said at a press interface on Monday said that a false narrative is being created over the Central Vista redevelopment plan and asserted that it is not a "vanity project", but a necessity. India’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew 1.6 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2021; but even though annual economic growth rate picked up in January-March compared with the previous three months, economists are increasingly pessimistic about this quarter after a huge second wave of COVID-19 infections hit the country last month. India also clocked a negative growth rate of 7.3 per cent for 2020-21. But it was still better than what Reserve Bank of India and the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation had forecast earlier. A slow vaccination drive and local restrictions after a massive second wave of infections and deaths across the country have hit economic activities like retail, transport and construction while putting millions out of work. Economists said the country faces a slowdown in consumer demand as household incomes and jobs have declined, with limited scope for PETROL ` 100.47 Strain 1st found in India named as Delta variant ONLINE REPORT Banerjee said that Alapan had retired from his post on the last day in office and will be her chief advisor from June 1. “Just because the BJP-led central dispensation doesn’t like me they are harassing my bureaucrats. Such an incident has happened for the first time in the last 74 years,’’ said Mamata, adding that HK Dwivedi will be the new chief secretary and BP Gopalika the new home secretary of West Bengal. Citing the good work done by Alapan, Mamata Banerjee had written a letter to the Central government in May seeking a three-month extension of his services. On May 24, despite initially affirming the extension, on May 28 the Centre had recalled Alapan, asking him to join at Delhi by May 31. CONTD. ON P12 The COVID-19 variant first found in India will henceforth be referred to as the "Delta variant", the World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Monday . India had on May 12 objected to it, identified as B.1.617 till now, being labelled the "Indian variant". The world health body had earlier said that viruses or variants should not be identified by the names of countries they were found in. ''The labels don't replace existing scientific names, which convey important scientific information and will continue to be used in research. No country should be stigmatised for detecting and reporting Covid variants," said Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, Technical lead COVID-19 at WHO. Together, lineages of the B.1.617 variant were officially recorded in 53 territories and unofficially in another seven. It was shown to be more transmissible, while disease severity and risk of infection are still under investigation. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta's bid to pacify the judges with the assurance that the government expects to vaccinate all Indians by the end of 2021 angered them further. They questioned the government on the erratic vaccine supply to different age groups, firing a barrage of questions on why the Centre didn't procure vaccines for all and thereby ensure a fixed price. Justice Dhananjaya Chandrachud, who is heading a 3member Bench, said the Centre should ensure that vaccines are available at the same price across the nation. "Are you willing to state today that the Centre will take the responsibility of ensuring that states will get the vaccines? That will resolve the entire problem," he said. The Special Bench, which also comprised Justices L Nageswara Rao and S Ravindra Bhat, was meeting after a month to take up the suo motu case on supply of essential medicines, vaccines and medical Oxygen. CONTD. ON P12 SC finds flaws in vaccination policy, gives two weeks to Centre to clarify FROM OUR BUREAU New Delhi Over two hours of heated hearing in the Supreme Court on Monday did not yield a uniform price for vaccines. The Supreme Court gave a tongue lashing to the Centre on its Covid vaccination policy flagging "various flaws" , in the drive, which it faulted for different streams of pricing, shortage of doses and lack of access in rural areas, and gave it two weeks to respond.