YK MYK INDIA’S INVESTOR FRIENDLY IMAGE GATHERS MOMENTUM WORLD CUP 2022 QUALIFYING MATCHES MOVED OUT OF CHINA OPINION SPORTS Morning India Rs. 3 KOLKATA TUESDAY, 1 JUNE, 2021 PG-08, YEAR—8, ISSUE—17 (RNI NO: WBENG / 2014 / 56803) WEATHER TODAY MAX 35 C MIN 28 C Rainfall may occur. AT A GLANCE EPFO ALLOWS MEMBERS TO AVAIL SECOND COVID-19 ADVANCE NEW DELHI: In view of the financial crisis due to the second wave of COVID-19, the Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has allowed its members to avail second non-refundable COVID19 advance, the Ministry of Labour and Employment informed on Monday. The provision for this special withdrawal to meet the financial need of members during the pandemic was first introduced in March 2020 under the PMGKY. CENTRAL VISTA ESSENTIAL PROJECT, WORK TO CONTINUE: HC NEW DELHI: Describing the Central Vista project as "vital and essential", the Delhi High Court on Monday allowed construction work on the project to continue and imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh on the petitioners for their "motivated" plea. The court said the legality of the project was already upheld by the Supreme Court. It added that even the Delhi Disaster Management Authority allowed it to continue, workers were already present at the site. PG 5, 7 CORONA METER INDIA TOTAL CASES: 2,80,65,584 TOTAL DEATH: 3,29,390 WORLD TOTAL CASES: 171,102,995 TOTAL DEATH: 3,558,254 Indian economy contracts 7.3 pc in FY21 FISCAL DEFICIT AT 9.3 PC OF GDP IN 2020-21: GOVT DATA NEW DELHI: India's economy contracted by less-thanexpected 7.3 per cent in the fiscal year ended March 2021 after growth rate picked up in the fourth quarter, just before the world's worst outbreak of coronavirus infections hit the country.The gross domestic product (GDP) in Asia's thirdlargest economy grew by 1.6 per cent in the JanuaryMarch period, up from 0.5 per cent in the previous quarter when India began pulling out of a steep pandemicinduced recession in the earlier six months. GDP had grown by 3 per cent in the January-March quarter in the previous year. The economy, which was COVID CASUALTY The GDP in Asia's thirdlargest economy grew by 1.6 per cent in the January-March period, up from 0.5 per cent in the previous quarter when India began pulling out of a steep pandemic-induced recession in the earlier six months. GDP had grown by 3 per cent in the January-March quarter in the previous year. The economy, which was facing a slowdown even before the pandemic broke out last year, contracted by 7.3 per cent during April 2020 to March 2021 fiscal (FY21), weighed down by nationwide lockdown that pummelled consumption and halted most economic activities. facing a slowdown even before the pandemic broke out last year, contracted by 7.3 per cent during April 2020 to March 2021 fiscal (FY21), weighed down by nationwide lockdown that pummelled consumption and halted most economic activities. This is the first full-year contraction in the Indian economy in the last four decades since 1979-80, when GDP had shrunk by 5.2 per cent. The economy had grown by 4 per cent in the previous 2019-20 fiscal. The GDP expanded by 8.3 per cent in FY17 before slipping to 7 per cent in the following fiscal and to 6.1 per cent in 2018-19. According to data released by the National Statistical Office (NSO), India's real GDP contracted to Rs 135 lakh crore in FY21 (2020-21) from Rs 145 lakh crore at the end of March 2020. To regain Rs 145 lakh crore size, the economy will have to grow by 10-11 per cent in the current 2021-22 fiscal but the outbreak. of the second wave of COVID-19 infections last month has disrupted the momentum of economic activity and many expect the GDP may not touch doubledigit growth rate despite the low base. Even though daily COVID-19 cases have come down from a peak of over 4 lakh to 1.5 lakh. Govt not releasing its Chief Secretary, asserts Mamata Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at a press conference to discuss about the Central Government letter regarding Chief Secretary's transfer issue at Nabanna on Monday. MI NEWS SERVICE A medic inoculates the dose of the COVID19 vaccine to a beneficiary in Gurugram on Monday. India reports lowest daily Covid cases in 50 days NEW DELHI: India reported the lowest daily new coronavirus infections in 50 days with 1,52,734 cases, taking India's total tally to 2,80,47,534, while the active caseload further declined to 20,26,092, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Monday. The death toll climbed to 3,29,100 with 3,128 daily deaths, the data updated at 8 am showed. Recoveries continued to outnumber the daily new cases for the 18th consecutive day. The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 2,56,92,342, with 2,38,022 patients having recovered in a span of 24 hours, while the case fatality rate stands at 1.17 per cent, the data stated. Also, 16,83,135 tests were conducted on Sunday, taking the total cumulative tests conducted so far in the country to 34,48,66,883, while the daily positivity was recorded at 9.07 per cent . It has been less than 10 per cent for seven consecutive days, the ministry said. Weekly positivity rate has declined to 9.04 per cent. The active cases have further reduced to 20,26,092, comprising 7.22 per cent of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate has improved to 91.60 per cent. COVID-19: INDIA'S NEW VACCINE PLAN TO STUDY MIXING DOSES NEW DELHI: Amid a shortage of vaccines, India plans to do a study on mixing COVID19 doses and to ascertain its efficacy in boosting the immune response to coronavirus. "India may in few weeks start testing the feasibility of a regimen that mixes two different doses of Covid vaccines to see if it helps boost the immune response to the virus," said Dr N K Arora, Chairman of COVID-19 working group under the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI). "We have heard the news that in some states people have received a vaccine of a particular brand as the first dose and a different vaccine brand as second dose two due to programmatic error. This is a program error. It shouldn't have happened and the frontline workers have been advised to be more careful.” GATHERING STORM Dark clouds over the Mumbai skyline on Monday. ANI NEW DELHI/KOLKATA: Three days after the Central Government had issued an order to recall Bengal Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday asserted that the State Government "can't release and is not releasing its Chief Secretary at this critical hour" and requested the Prime Minister to withdraw, recall and reconsider the decision and rescind the order. "I request you "to withdraw, recall, reconsider your decision and rescind the latest so-called order in larger public interest. The Government of West Bengal cannot release, and is not releasing its Chief Secretary at this critical hour, on the basis of our understanding that the earlier order of extension, issued after lawful consultation in accordance with applicable, laws, remains operational and valid. The latest order is also clearly in violation of applicable laws and against public interest: it is in any case ab initio void," stated the letter written by Mamata to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday. She further said, "I must confess that I have been shocked and stunned by-the unilateral order dated 28th May, 2021 sent to us by the Post-poll violence Calcutta HC asks setting up of panel to monitor return of displaced people KOLKATA: The Calcutta High Court on Monday ordered constitution of a three-member panel to monitor and co-ordinate the return of people, who were allegedly forced to flee owing to post-poll violence in Bengal, to their homes, and said it is the duty of the State to ensure that law and order situation is maintained. The committee will comprise a top official each from the National Human Rights Commission, West Bengal Human Rights Commission and the State Legal Services Authority. Hearing PILs on post-poll violence in the State, a five-judge bench directed the committee to file a report before it on July 4 when the matter would be heard again. One of the petitions was regarding 200 people, who were allegedly not allowed to go back to their houses in Entally constituency in Kolkata after Assembly polls were concluded. The bench directed the committee to file a report on whether the people are peacefully allowed to return home and live there. "The Committee shall consist of an officer each nominated by the Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission and the West Bengal State Human Rights Commission and the Member Secretary of the West Bengal State Legal Services Authority," the bench ordered. The bench, comprising of Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justices I P Mukerji, Harish Tandon, Soumen Sen and Subrata Talukdar observed that no person can be forced to stay away from his or her house because of a threat to life. "They have the right to live in their houses peacefully. It is the duty of the State to ensure that law and order situation is maintained," the court observed. The bench directed that the persons, who are allegedly not being allowed to return home, will communicate on the official e-mail ID of the West Bengal State Legal Services Authority, firstname.lastname@example.org, regarding problems being faced by them in going back. The bench ordered that it will be the duty of the local police to ensure that all the persons alleged to have been displaced are re-instated in their houses and they do not face any threat to their life, liberty and property. SC STAYING STEPS AGAINST NEWS CHANNELS ‘TIME WE DEFINE LIMITS OF SEDITION’ NEW DELHI: Taking a strong view on attempts to muzzle the Fourth Estate, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court on Monday called for defining "the limits of sedition", as it put on hold coercive action against two Telugu channels -- TV5 news and ABN Andhra Jyoti. The Andhra Pradesh police had mentioned the coercive measures in an FIR alleging sedition. The bench comprising Justices D.Y. Chandrachud, L. Nageswara Rao and S. Ravindra Bhat said: "It's time we define the limits of sedition" and expressed prima facie that FIRs are an attempt to muzzle media freedom. Emphasizing everything cannot be treated as sedition, the bench said the Andhra Pradesh govern- Government of India, asking us to releast Alapan Bandyopadhyay IAS, Chief Secretary, Bengal, so that he may join the Government of India on 31st May, 2021, the normal date of his superannuation. She also alleged that the unilateral "order" came without any prior consultation with the Government of West Bengal, 'without any volition by the officer, without meeting any of the pre-conditions of the Indian Administrative Service (Cadre) Rules; 1954 and other applicable laws under reference. She further alleged that the unilateral directive is legally untenable, historically unprecedented and wholly unconstitutional. Banerjee's letter further said, "Only a few days back, on my request, you had kindly allowed, and the Government of India had issued an order to extend his service for 3 months as Chief Secretary, beyond 31st May, 2021 for the purpose that he could serve." The Bengal Chief Minister said with the State severely affected by the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and further devastated by an extremely severe cyclone, she presumes that the said order granting extension to Alapan Bandyopadhyay as the Chief Secretary of the State, issued after mutual written consultations stands in any case. ment's act of filing sedition cases against the channels is an attempt to muffling their voice. The channels moved the top court seeking quashing of FIRs and also contempt petitions contending that Andhra police action violated the April 30, court's order, which emphasized on restraining prosecution against citizens, who ventilate grievances in connection with Covid issues. The top court said the TV channels broadcasting programmes and print media publishing views, "howsoever critical of government, may not be seditious". The top court observed that it would endeavour to define sedition in the context of such charges being invoked against media. The apex court asked the Andhra government to respond to the petitions and contempt pleas of two TV channels within four weeks and in the interim, the court added that the police will not take any coercive steps against TV channels and journalists. Senior advocates Shyam Divan and Sidharth Luthra, representing TV5 News and ABN Andhra Jyoti, contended that the FIRs were registered against the channels for publishing the press statements of rebel YSRCP MP Raghu Rama Krishnam Raju. The bench noted there was a need to define the scope of offences under Section 124A (sedition) and 153A (promotion of communal hatred) under the IPC, especially in the context of media freedom. Luthra sought for a stay of investigation, but the bench replied that it will only stay coercive action at the moment. The pleas argued that the only allegation in the FIR against the news channels was that they allotted "premediated" and "organized" slots to Raju, which evinces a meeting of minds amongst the accused persons. On May 14, Raju, was arrested weeks after he asked a CBI special court to cancel the bail of Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy, in a disproportionate assets case. On May 21, the top court granted bail, citing a possibility that he was "ill-treated in custody". GST RETURN FILING DEADLINE FOR MAY EXTENDED TILL JUNE 26 NEW DELHI: The entre has extended the deadline to file GST returns for May by 15 days till June 26. The development comes on the basis of the recommendations of the GST Council, which, in its 43rd meeting on May 28, had decided to extend certain compliance relaxations on account of Covid-19. In a series of tweets on Monday, the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) said that for composition taxpayers, the due date for furnishing annual return in 'Form GSTR-4' for FY 202021 would has been extended to July 31.