YK MYK ILL PLANNED VACCINATION PROG STUMBLES AMIDST SHORTAGES LIC EMPLOYEES TO GET OVER 25 PER CENT WAGE HIKE OPINION SPORTS Morning India Rs. 5 RANCHI SATURDAY, 17 APRIL, 2021 PG-12, YEAR—10, ISSUE—340 (RNI NO: JHAENG / 2012 / 44137) ICSE BOARD EXAMS FOR CLASS 10, 12 POSTPONED WEATHER TODAY MAX 35 C MIN 22 C Sky will be partly cloudy. AT A GLANCE GOLD AT OVER 1 MONTH HIGH ON INFLATION FEARS NEW DELHI: Gold prices have climbed to an over one month high as inflation fears sweep the world while rising Covid cases rile the Indian economy. Gold futures on MCX were up 0.35 per cent or Rs 162 at Rs 46,770 per 10 gm. Silver futures added 0.20 per cent or Rs 137 to Rs 67,775 per kg. Navneet Damani, VP Commodities Research, Motilal Oswal Financial Services, said that gold traded higher at more than one-month peak as US Treasury yields slipped despite better than expected US economic data, pushing investors to bullion as a refuge against possible inflation ahead. COAI SEEKS BAN ON ILLEGAL MOBILE SIGNAL BOOSTERS NEW DELHI: The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has asked the Department of Telecommunications to ensure a complete ban on sale of illegal repeaters and boosters, offline or online, through e-commerce websites. CORONA METER INDIA TOTAL CASES: 1,42,95,430 TOTAL DEATH: 1,74,350 WORLD TOTAL CASES: 139,857,929 TOTAL DEATH: 3,002,728 Ravindra Jadeja and Deepak Chahar of Chennai Super King celebrate the wicket of KL Rahul of Punjab Kings during the match between the Punjab Kings and the Chennai Super Kings at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. ANI CM calls all-party meet on Covid today MI NEWS SERVICE RANCHI: Chief Minister (CM) Hemant Soren has called an all-party meeting on Saturday evening to discuss the Covid situation in the state. The Chief Minister is likely to take a decision on further curbs to bring the pandemic under control after seeking suggestions from the political parties. Officials said that information regarding the meeting is being provided to state presidents of political parties, adding the link would be provided to them by Saturday afternoon. It may be noted here that the CM is keeping a watch over the Covid situation in the state and taking steps to check its spread. He has issued several instructions for increasing the rate of testing and providing better MEANWHILE Polling officials carry EVMs and other polling materials to a distribution center ahead of the Madhupur Assembly by-polls in Madhupur on Friday. ANI treatment to patients. The Chief Minister said that saving the lives of people is of primary importance and the government is taking necessary steps in this regard. He said that strict measures would be taken soon to control the pandemic. INSIDE BJP TO LAUNCH WELFARE PROGRAMME FOR COVID PATIENTS COVAXIN PRODUCTION CAPACITY TO BE DOUBLED BY MAY-JUNE: GOVT NEW DELHI: The current production capacity of indigenously developed Covaxin vaccine will be doubled by May-June 2021 and then increased nearly 6-7 fold by July-August 2021, the government announced on Friday as the country is witnessing a record surge in COVID-19 infections in past some weeks. In an effort to accelerate the development and production of indigenous COVID-19 vaccines, under the mission, the government will provide financial support as Grant to vaccine manufacturing facilities for enhanced production capacities. NEW DELHI: The Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) on Friday postponed the board exams for classes 10 and 12 amid the massive surge in COVID-19 cases across the country. The Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE), which conducts the ICSE examinations, said that the new dates will be announced in the first week of June. "In the light of the nationwide surge in Covid 19 cases, the CISCE has decided to defer the ICSE (Class X) and ISC (Class XII) board examinations scheduled to be held from May 4," CISCE said in an official statement. "The COVID-19 situation will be closely monitored and the deferment of the ICSE and ISC 2021 Examinations will be reviewed and a final decision on the conduct of the board examinations will be taken by the 1st week of June 2021," the statement further said. The CISCE has also given an option to Class 10 students to not write ICSE board exams, adding that they may at their discretion write examinations with Class 12 students. "While the ISC (Class XII) examination will be conducted at a later date, the candidates for the ICSE (Class X) examination will be given the following options: to write the offline examination, along with the Class XII candidates or not to write the offline examination," the council said. PAGE 3 Light rainfall was reported from several part of Ranchi on Friday. MI Photo Monsoon to be normal this year, says IMD NEW DELHI: The Southwest monsoon, which brings more than 75 per cent of rainfall to the country, is expected to be normal this year, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Friday. The Long Period Average (LPA) will be 98 per cent with an error margin of plus and minus 5 per cent, said M Rajeevan, secretary of the Ministry of Earth Sciences. Rainfall in Odisha, Jharkhand, eastern Uttar Pradesh and Assam is likely to be below normal, but normal or above normal In the rest of the country, he said while releasing the first Long Range Forecast for the fourmonth rainfall period from June to September. "The monsoon will be 98 per cent of the LPA which is normal rainfall. It is really good news for the country and will help India have a good agriculture output," Rajeevan said at a virtual press conference. The news augurs well for economy, battered due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Southwest monsoon is one of the primary drivers of the country's economy which is largely based on agriculture and its allied activities. Large parts of the country rely on the four-month rainfall season for agriculture and also for filling reservoirs. RAINFALL IN ODISHA, JHARKHAND, EASTERN UTTAR PRADESH AND ASSAM IS LIKELY TO BE BELOW NORMAL, BUT NORMAL OR ABOVE NORMAL IN THE REST OF THE COUNTRY, HE SAID WHILE RELEASING THE FIRST LONG RANGE FORECAST FOR THE FOUR-MONTH RAINFALL PERIOD FROM JUNE TO SEPTEMBER. This is the first time the IMD has made a specific forecast on spatial distribution. Rajeevan said the IMD will also issue month-wise forecasts during the next four months. The country has recorded above normal rainfall for the last two rainfall seasons. The La Nina and El Nino factors major influence on the Indian monsoon. The former is associated with the cooling of the Pacific waters and brings good rainfall while the latter is linked to the heating of Pacific waters and could lead to deficient precipitation. "There are less chances of formation of an El Nino," Rajeevan said. LPA, the average of the season's rainfall across the country from 1961-2010, is 88 cm. Covid resurgence: PM reviews UK Home Secretary nod to extradition of fugitive businessman Nirav Modi status of oxygen availability NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday took a comprehensive review to ensure adequate medical grade oxygen supply in the country. Inputs from ministries such as health, DPIIT, steel, road transport and others were also shared with the Prime Minister. The PM stressed that it is important to ensure synergy across ministries and state governments. Modi also took a detailed review of the current situation of oxygen supply and projected use in the coming 15 days across 12 high-burden states such as Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar A worker carrying the oxygen cylinders to distribute to various hospitals, in Jabalpur on Friday. ANI Pradesh, Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. An overview of the district-level situation in these states was presented to the Prime Minister. The PM was informed that the Centre and States are in regular contact and estimates for projected demand have been shared with states as on April 20, April 25 and April 30. In the statement, the Prime Minister's Office said that accordingly, 4,880 MT, 5,619 MT and 6,593 MT have been allocated to these 12 states for meeting their projected demand as on April 20, April, 25 and April 30, respectively. "The PM was briefed about production capacity in the country to meet the rising demand," the PMO said. Modi suggested increase of oxygen production as per capacity of each plant. The PM urged officials to ensure seamless and free movement of tankers carrying oxygen throughout the country. MORE ON PG 5 NEW DELHI: In a major boost to the Central Bureau of Investigation's (CBI) probe into the Rs 13,500 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case, the UK Home Minister has approved the extradition request of fugitive businessman Nirav Modi, sources said on Friday. "The UK Home Minister has approved the extradition request of Nirav Modi," a CBI source related to the probe told IANS. Asked how long will it take for the CBI will bring back the fugitive businessman, who has been lodged in a prison in London since his arrest in March 2019, the source said that if Nirav Modi files an appeal, then it may take some time. On February 25 this year, a UK court allowed extradition of Nirav Modi in the Rs 13,500 crore PNB scam case. The District Judge at the Westminster Magistrates' Court, Samuel Goozee, accepted the prima facie evidence against Nirav Modi for money laundering, saying: "Many of these are a matter for trial in India. I am satisfied again that there is evidence that he could be convicted," according to reports. The CBI had then dubbed the UK court judgement as a "significant" achievement in its efforts to curb corruption. The CBI in a statement had said that the UK court ruling is "a reminder that fugitives, who have eluded the process of law after commission of large value frauds, cannot consider themselves above the process merely because they have changed jurisdictions". MORE STORIES ON PAGE 9 You may actually be ‘dissaving’ by putting money in savings instruments YOU MAY not have noticed it but the actual interest rate that you are getting on your bank deposits and investments in small savings schemes has fallen into the negative territory. This means that the return on investments is not yielding any positive value but only covering for higher inflation and savings may actually be falling in their real value. The situation has emerged in wake of a sharp fall in deposit rates due to aggressive rate cuts by banks in response to the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) reduction in the benchmark rates, coupled with a rise in consumer prices. What this meant is that the real interest rate (actual return that you get on your sav- ings minus inflation) has been pulled into the negative territory, disincentivising savings. As per the latest RBI data, household financial savings had declined sharply to 10.4 per cent of the nation's gross domestic product (GDP) in the JulySeptember period of FY21, down from 21 per cent of the GDP in Q1 of FY21. It is estimated to have further declined in the December quarter as consumption intensified and options to save were disincentivised. A look at the official inflation data based on wholesale price index (WPI) makes things clearer on the trajectory for returns on savings. The data released on Thursday showed WPI inflation accelerated to 7.4 per cent in THIS MEANS THAT THE RETURN ON INVESTMENTS IS NOT YIELDING ANY POSITIVE VALUE BUT ONLY COVERING FOR HIGHER INFLATION AND SAVINGS MAY ACTUALLY BE FALLING IN THEIR REAL VALUE. March, higher than the 27-month high of 4.2 per cent in February. This is the highest inflation rate recorded in the new data series. The previous high was 7.4 per cent in October 2012. Even if one looks at inflation based on consumer price index (CPI), the trajectory has been going up and up. After falling to 4.06 per cent in January, CPI inflation inched up to 5.03 per cent in February and further to 5.52 per cent in March 2021. Food inflation also increased recently; however, the concern is the elevated level of core inflation. Core inflation has not come down and has remained above 5 per cent since June 2020 and touched 6 per cent in March 2021. If we compare the developments on inflation with the rate of interest prevailing on prime savings instruments, the plight of the common man becomes clearer. Interest on five-year time deposits is being maintained at 6.7 per cent in Q1 of FY22, the Senior Citizen Savings Scheme is earning 7.4 per cent, PPF and NSC are offering interest of 7.1 per cent and 6.8 per cent for the coming three months, five-year recurring deposits is offering 5.8 per cent, and one-year to threeyear time deposits are fetching 5.5 per cent interest rate. Similarly, interest on five-year time deposits is being maintained at 6.7 per cent, Kisan Vikas Patra is offering 6.9 per cent interest while the Sukanya Samriddhi Account scheme is offering interest rate of of 7.6 per cent. Not to mention savings deposits that is giving around 4 per cent. In most of the savings instruments, the real rate of interest has fallen sharply or fallen off the cliff into the negative territory, barring the Sukanya Samriddhi Account scheme that is still offering some positive returns after taking inflation into account. The situation would have been worse had the Finance Ministry not withdrawn a decision to reduce interest rates in small savings instruments by upto 110 basis points from April. The rate of interest on these had already fallen in April 2020 by about 140 basis points. "Present, interest rates will further pressurise savings which have been hit hard by the Covid pandemic. However, if stricter lockdowns are imposed, then the rate can go up temporarily again as it will be hard to spend disposable income, but this is unlikely to repeat the extent of last year shot up in savings rate as the lockdown stringency levels are easier than last time," said Madhavi Arora, Lead Economist, Emkay Global Financial Services.