OPINION, P2 MIND & GAMES Modi vs Didi and other battles FE LINES VACCINATION CAN BE RELAXING. JUST ASK THESE MUSEUM VISITORS The Lego life What used to be a kids’ product has over the years grabbed the attention of both youngsters & adults Page 8 Contemporary art museums are turning into inoculation centres, helping heal the soul and the mind along with the body Page 10 ACROSS THE AISLE , P CHIDAMBARAM Follow us on Twitter & Facebook. App available on App Store & Play Store WWW.FINANCIALEXPRESS.COM VOL. XVII, NO. 34 SPOTLIGHT STAYCOOL, OLD-SCHOOL FINANCIAL EXPRESS ON SUNDAY KOLKATA SUNDAY, MAY 9, 2021, 12 Pages, `10 (NE States & Andaman `13) P U B L I S H E D F R O M : A H M E D A B A D , B E N G A L U R U , C H A N D I G A R H , C H E N N A I , We bring you some age-old tips and tricks to stay cool this summer... Pages 6-7 READ TO LEAD H Y D E R A B A D , K O C H I , K O L K A T A , L U C K N O W , COVID CRISIS SC sets up task force to ensure oxygen supply WHAT'S INSIDE Genderless gems ■ WORDS WORTH, P4 Hyphenated citizenship A book on Assam’s NRC imbroglio offers insight on citizenship determination mechanisms ● Apex court will also suggest measures to ensure availability of medicines for Covid-19 patients FE BUREAU New Delhi, May 8 THE SUPREME COURT has set ODD & EVEN ROHNIT PHORE upa12-memberNationalTask Force (NTF) of top medical experts to ensure “effective and transparent” allocation of medical oxygen to states and Union Territories for saving lives of Covid-19 patients and to facilitate a public health response to the pandemic. Abench of Justices DYChandrachud and MR Shah said“the rationale forconstituting aTask Forceatanationallevelistofacilitatepublichealthresponsetothe COURT ORDER ■ Leading experts shall associate with the task force as members and resource persons to facilitate the formulation of scientific strategies pandemicbasedonscientificand specialiseddomainknowledge.” The court said that leading experts shall associate themselves with the task force, as membersandresourcepersons, to facilitate the formulation of scientific strategies to deal with public health response,including the supply of oxygen and essential drugs,based on scientific and specialised domain knowledge.The NTFwill enable the decision makers to have inputswhichgobeyondfinding ■ The Union government would have to take decisions on recommendations of the task force ■ The task force is supposed to take up and determine the “pressing issue” of the modalities of oxygen within a week ad hoc solutions to the current problems,thejudgessaidina24pageorderreleasedonSaturday. “We expect that the leading experts in the country shall associate with the work of the Task Force both as members and resource persons.Thiswill facilitate a meeting of minds and the formulation of scientific strategies to deal with an unprecedented human crisis,” the court explained. Continued on Page 11 Record 4,187 deaths, 4,01,078 new cases in a single day QuickPicks ‘Tech transfers, materials must to scale up vaccine production’ PARTNERSHIPS, TECHNOLOGY transfers and supply of various critical equipment and materials which go into the production of Covid19 vaccines are must for scaling up the production to cater to the huge demand, Bharat Biotech Joint MD Suchitra Ella said on Saturday, reports PTI. Speaking at the EU-India Business Roundtable, Ella noted that more than patent relaxations, it is the partnerships and continuous supplies of critical materials which are critical to ramp up the production and cater not only to domestic demand but also to countries across the globe. CBIC allows import, export without bonds to Customs THE CENTRAL Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) on Saturday allowed businesses to import and export goods without furnishing bonds to the customs authorities until June-end, a move aimed at ensuring no delay or disruption in EXIM trade due to Covid-19, reports PTI. In a circular, the CBIC said importers and exporters will have to furnish an undertaking to the Customs authorities in lieu of the bonds till June 30. The indirect tax body said it has received representation from traders to accept undertaking in lieu of bonds in certain cases of Customs clearance, in view of the difficulties being faced in the ongoing lockdown/ constraints imposed in different regions of India. DCGI approves anti-Covid oral drug developed by DRDO A RECORD 4,187 Covid-19 fatalities in a day took India’s death toll to 2,38,270, while 4,01,078 newinfectionswere reported during the period, pushing the tally of cases to 2,18,92,676,according to Union health ministrydataonSaturday.Activecaseshavereached 37,23,446whichcomprise17.01%ofthetotal infections,while the national Covid-19 recoveryratehasdroppedto81.90%. —PTI AN ANTI-COVID oral drug developed by the DRDO has been approved by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for emergency useasanadjuncttherapyinmoderatetosevere coronaviruspatients,thedefenceministrysaid onSaturday.Clinicaltrialsofthedrug2-deoxyD-glucose(2-DG)showedthatithelpsinfaster recovery of hospitalised patients and reduces oxygen dependence,it said. —PTI PRIVATE SECTOR LENDER Bandhan Bank on Saturday reported an 80% year-onyear fall in its net profit for the quarter ending March at `103.03croreonthebackof additional provisions on non-performing assets, reports FE Bureau. The Kolkata-based bank had posted `517.28 crore net profitinthefourthquarterof 2019-20.The lender’s total provision and contingencies during the fourth quarter of 2020-21rose92.7%y-o-yto `1594.30 crore. ■ Page 3 Positive test report not mandatory for hospitalisation IN A SIGNIFICANT direc- tive to states and Union Territories, the Union health ministry on Saturday said a positive Covid19 test report is not mandatory for admission to a health facility. In its revised national policy for admission of Covid patients to various dedicatedhealthfacilities, both public and private, theUnionHealthMinistry said no patient will be refused services on any account,includingoxygen and essential drugs, even iftheheorshebelongstoa different city. “In a significant directive to states, the Union ministry of health and familywelfarehasrevised the national policy for admission of Covid patients to various categories of Covid facilities. “This patient-centric measure aims to ensure prompt, effective and comprehensivetreatment ofpatientssufferingfrom Covid-19,” the ministry said. —PTI THE FINANCE MINISTRY has askedpublicsectorbanks(PSBs) to be on high vigil against any attempt being made to seize their overseas deposits to recover $1.2 billion that the UK’s Cairn Energy has been awarded against India levying retrospectivetaxes,sourcessaid. Cairn had previouslystated that it can seize Indian assets abroad if it is not paid $1.2 billion plus interest and cost that an international arbitration panel had awarded against levy of retrospective taxes. CashofIndianbankslyingin nations such as the US and the UK are said to be easy target for seizing and enforcing the arbitration award.To guard against such cash being taken over,the financeministryhasaskedPSBs tobeextravigilantandimmediately report back any attempt Cairnmakestolegallyattachthe deposits, two sources aware of the mattersaid. This will allow the Indian government to quickly take legal recourse to prevent the assets from being taken over, they said adding that this has been done out of abundant caution and funds with banks THE EUROPEAN UNION cemented its support for Pfizer-BioNTech and its novelCovid-19vaccinetechnology Saturday by agreeing to a massive contract extensionforapotential1.8billion doses through 2023. THE TRUMP JUSTICE Depart- mentsecretlyseizedthephone records of three Washington Post reporterswho covered the federal investigation into ties between Russia and Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign,the newspaper said Friday. The disclosure sets up a new clash between the federal government and news organisations and advocates ❝ — CAMERON BARR , ACTING EXECUTIVE EDITOR, WASHINGTON POST for press freedom, who regard the seizures of reporters’ records as incursions into constitutionally protected activity. newsgathering Continued on Page 11 Cairn said that it can seize Indian assets if it is not paid $1.2 bn plus interest and cost awarded against levy of retrospective taxes The firm has taken steps to have the arbitration award recognised in 9 jurisdictions such as the US, UK, France, the Netherlands, Singapore and Canada’s Quebec, where Indian assets have been identified Banks keep funds in their nastro account to carry on activity of trade finance and other overseas businesses Assets could include Air India’s planes, vessels belonging to the Shipping Corporation of India and property owned by state banks are not of government of India butofpublic.Anodalofficerhas been appointed to deal with thissubjectinthefinanceministry for escalating the matter to the competent authorities for the further action, the sourcesadded.Thesourcesalso said banks are keeping enough fundsintheirnastroaccountso that they can carry on activity oftradefinanceandotheroverseas businesses. Continued on Page 11 EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen tweeted that her office “has justapprovedacontractfora guaranteed 900 million doses” with the same amount of doses as a future option. —AP Disruptions hit revenue: D-mart CSB Bank net at all-time high AVENUE CSB BANK ON Saturday reported a net profit of `42.9 crore in the fourth quarter of FY21 largely on higher interest income, reportsFEBureau.TheThrissur-based lender had reported a net loss of `59.7 crore in Q4 FY20 and a net profit of ` 53 crore in the third quarter of last fiscal. CSB reported the highest ever net profit of `218.40 crore for the full year 2020-21 as against a net profit of `12.72 crore in 2019-20. ■ Page 3 SUPERMARTS, which owns and operates retail chain D-Mart, on Saturday said it is having an “adverse and severe impact” on its revenues due to “significant disruptions” of its storeoperationsfromMarch 2021 onwards. Besides, D-Mart may also have to face a challenge of “excess inventory” as with the receding threat of the pandemic and sales surge in the last two quarters, it had optimistically made plans. —PTI FOR MAINTENANCE FE BUREAU New Delhi, May 8 till May 16 India, EU to resume FTA Covid surge: negotiations after 8 yrs Maruti plants to remain shut INDIA AND EUROPEAN Union (EU) on Saturday agreed to enhance the bilateral trade and investment relationship through the resumption of negotiations for a balanced, ambitious,comprehensive and mutuallybeneficialtradeagreement, eight years after its suspension, the external affairs ministrysaid. The two sides also agreed to launchnegotiationsfortwokey pactsoninvestmentprotection The talks were frozen in 2013 due on differences on issues such as market access and mobility of professionals and geographical indications. These decisions were taken during a virtual summit betweenPrimeMinisterNarendra Modi and the heads of state or governments of all the 27memberstates of the European bloc with a focus on expanding overall cooperation in trade, investment and connectivity. Continued on Page 11 US secretly seized scribes’records Google childcare staff seek commute pay We are deeply troubled by this use of government power to seek access to the communications of journalists. The Department of Justice should immediately make clear its reasons for this intrusion into the activities of reporters... Legal tangle EU agrees 1.8 bn-dose Pfizer jab purchase WASHINGTON POST SAYS ASSOCIATED PRESS Washington, May 8 P U N E ENHANCING CONNECTIVITY Q4 performance Bandhan Bank net down 80% PTI D E L H I , Govt-run banks told to keep high vigil on overseas funds PRESS TRUST OF INDIA New Delhi, May 8 People queue up to refill their oxygen cylinders at a refilling station in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, on Saturday. (Right) An employee refills cylinders from an oxygen tanker in Agartala N E W TO BLOCK CAIRN ATTEMPT ● Finmin asks PSBs to report back any attempt Cairn makes to legally attach the deposits abroad ■ LEISURE, P5 Accessorising has gone a step ahead today, with gender-fluid jewellery the hot new trend. Taking a cue, many brands and labels are offering new-age design sensibilities, blending the masculine with the feminine M U M B A I , JOSH EIDELSON & MARK BERGEN May 8 GOOGLE’S WORKERS WHO provide childcare and education for staffers’ kids say the internet giant is summoning them back to the office without restoring the shuttle service they rely on, and they’re circulating a petition urging the Alphabet Inc. unit to provide a transportation stipend to cover commuting costs. “Shifting this cost to essen- Reading alphabets The petition in its first hours garnered signatures from about 200 Alphabet workers A Google representative said the shuttle service will be available as soon as it’s safe, but didn’t give a timeline tial workers, who earn far less than the Googlers whose children they care for,is unacceptable,”accordingtothepetition, which members of the Alpha- betWorkers Union drafted and began circulating Friday. “Google can be an extraordinary problem solver, but is choosingnottosolvethisprob- lem for its childcare workers.” Thepetition,whichinitsfirst hours had garnered signatures from about 200Alphabetworkers, says the staffers at Google Children’sCentershavetriedraising the issue with managers,to noavail:“Thecorporateresponse was‘Transportationisjustaperk, not a benefit.’”A Google representative said on Friday that the shuttle service will be available “assoonasit’ssafe,”butdeclined togiveatimeline. Continued on Page 11 PRESS TRUST OF INDIA New Delhi, May 8 THE COUNTRY’S LARGEST car- maker Maruti Suzuki India on Saturday said it has extended maintenance shutdown of its plants till May 16 amid the ongoing surge in Covid-19 cases across the country. The company had last month said it was advancing the annual plant maintenance shutdown to May 1-May 9, which was originally scheduled for June. “... the maintenance shutdown, which was till the 9th May, 2021, is being extended tillthe16thMay2021keeping in view the current pandemic situation,” Maruti Suzuki said in a regulatory filing. It, however, said some activities will continue in the plants located at Gurgaon and Manesar in Haryana. Suzuki Motor Gujarat has alsotakenasimilardecision,the filing added. MSIhadearlierstatedthatas part of the car manufacturing process,it uses a small amount of oxygen in its factories,while relatively much larger quantitiesareusedbythemanufacturers of components. Kolkata
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