YK MYK NEW UNOFFICIAL CENSUS IN ASSAM MAY REVIVE ETHNIC TENSIONS OPINION Rs. 3 KOLKATA MONDAY, 7 JUNE, 2021 PG-08, YEAR—8, ISSUE—23 (RNI NO: WBENG / 2014 / 56803) CHHETRI-LED INDIA IN NO MOOD TO TAKE BANGLADESH LIGHTLY SPORTS Morning India 'Centre's Covid vax strategy a dangerous cocktail of blunders, bloopers' MI NEWS SERVICE KOLKATA: Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury took a jibe at the Centre's Covid vaccination policy and said that the Government of India's vaccination strategy has been a dangerous "cocktail of blunders and bloopers". "The Modi Government's vaccination strategy has been a dangerous cocktail of blunders and bloopers. Our Government has deliberately WEATHER TODAY MAX 37 C MIN 28 C Sky will be partly cloudy. AT A GLANCE 'DELTA' COVID VARIANT 40% MORE TRANSMISSIBLE THAN 'ALPHA': UK MINISTER LONDON: UK Health Minister Matt Hancock on Sunday said that the 'Delta' variant of Covid19, first reported in India, is 40 per cent more transmissible than the 'Alpha' strain, detected in the UK itself. "We were previously told by the scientific advisory group for emergencies (Sage) that there would be problems if a variant was 40 per cent to 50 per cent more transmissible," Hancock was quoted as saying by the BBC. "The latest scientific advice is that the Delta variant, first detected in India, is 40 per cent more transmissible than the Kent strain," he said. While hospitalisations currently remain broadly flat, majorly because of the vaccination programme, the rapid spread of Delta. CORONA METER INDIA TOTAL CASES: 2,88,34,972 TOTAL DEATH: 3,47,259 WORLD TOTAL CASES: 173,799,395 TOTAL DEATH: 3,738,179 created a digital device, thereby slowing down the vaccination. Our government has been wilfully complicit in creating multiple pricing slabs for the same vaccine," the Congress leader said in his letter to Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar. Chowdhury said that the Central Government and State Government have till date ordered 'only' 39 crore vaccine doses for the population of 140 crore. "As per Government of "The Modi Government's vaccination strategy has been a dangerous cocktail of blunders and bloopers. Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury. US reinvigorates tariff war against India with retaliation to digital tax NEW YORK: The US tariff war against India has been reinvigorated by President Joe Biden threatening to increase import duties on a range of imports, from prawns and Basmati rice to furniture and jewellery, in retaliation against New Delhi imposing Digital Services Tax (DS) on tech giants. The US Trade Representative Katherine Tai announced on June 2 the plan for the 25 per cent increase in the tariffs on 26 items from India, but said that the hikes will be on hold till December. India imposed a two per cent tax starting in April last year on earnings in the country by foreign technology and e-commerce companies like Amazon, Facebook and Google. It was opposed by the administration of former President Donald Trump, and Biden has picked up the baton. The Trade Representative's Office said: "India's DST is unreasonable or discriminatory and burdens or restricts US commerce." The Office estimated the increased taxes on the selected imports from India will equal the taxes India assesses on the US companies under the DST. "Estimates indicate that the value of the DST payable by US-based company groups to India will be up to approximately $55 million per year. The level of trade covered by the action takes into five account estimates of the amount of tariffs to be collected on goods of India and the estimates of the amount of taxes assessed by India." The other items threatened with increased duties include bamboo, window shutters, cigarette papers, pearl, copper foil and bedroom furniture. Inaugurating the new phase of trade wars, the Biden administration also threatened to increase tariffs on imports from five other countries -- the UK, Austria, Italy, Spain and Turkey over their DST. Explaining the reason for holding the increases in abeyance for the six countries, Tai said it was to help the international negotiations on taxation. 24.60 CRORE VACCINE DOSES PROVIDED TO STATES/UTS: CENTRE NEW DELHI: Amid reports of vaccine shortage in some states, the Centre on Sunday said that 24.60 crore Covid vaccine doses have been provided to states/UTs till date. It said that it has so far provided, both through the free of cost category and through direct state procurement category, more than 24 crore vaccine doses (24,60,80,900) to states/UTs, and of this, total consumption, including wastages, is 22,96,95,199 doses (as per data available at 8 a.m. on Sunday). More than 1.63 crore vaccine doses (1,63,85,701) are still available with the states/UTs to be administered, it added. India, it has administered 21.31 crore vaccine doses till May 31. But only 4.45 crore Indians have received both the doses of vaccine, which is only 3.14 per cent of India's population," he said in his letter. In his letter to Dhankhar, the Congress leader said, "The average pace of vaccination is about 16 lakh vaccine doses per day. At this pace, it will take over three years for us to vaccinate our adult population. If this is the case, how will us be able to save our fellow citizens from the third wave of COVID-19?""The need of the hour is that the Union BJP Government should procure the vaccine and supply for free to the States and private hospitals. Also, we need to vaccinate our entire adult population on or before December 31. This is the only way to save our people," he said. "We, therefore, urge upon your good self to direct Modi Government to ensure one crore vaccination per day and also universal free," he added. We will suffocate Trinamool in the Assembly: Dilip Ghosh MI NEWS SERVICE KOLKATA: The BJP did not fare as expected in the Assembly elections. The saffron camp could not capture the throne of the State. They had to be content with being the opposition party of the. This time, BJP state president Dilip Ghosh threatened the ruling party. He warned that his party would suffocate Trinamool in the Assembly. Dilip Ghosh took part in 'Chai Pe Charcha' programme on Sunday morning. There he shouted at the Trinamool. The BJP State president said, "I will suffocate TMC in the Assembly. I will also make movement outside. " Dilip Ghosh claims that even though Mamata Banerjee came to power after getting the mandate, the misery of the common people still remains. The BJP State pres- ident claimed that their movement was against Trinamool. Dilip Ghosh once again claimed that the activists and supporters of the saffron camp have been practically cornered since the huge victory of the Trinamool. He claimed that BJP workers and supporters were being arrested in a false case. He said that they are being harassed by the police. However, the Trinamool has responded to Dilip Ghosh's rhetoric. Their leader Tapas Roy said, "Dilip Ghosh is saying these horrible things because there is no issue." Meanwhile, the BJP leadership is holding a meeting to assess why the result of the Assembly elections was not in their favour. The BJP State president was in Bankura to attend a party meet on Saturday. However, MP Soumitra Khan did not attend the meeting. Rumours started circulating in the political circles about it. However, Soumitra argued that he could not attend the meeting as there were restrictions in the State against Coronavirus. Meanwhile, there was a speculation of a preplanned protest rally on June 4 against the party's State president Dilip Ghosh. Allegations are being made after an audio clip went viral. It is claimed that the audio clip was a telephonic conversation between Subir Nag, former president of BJP's Hooghly district (organisational) and a party worker. Dilip Ghosh went to Hooghly on June 4 after a miserable defeat in the elections. He held a meeting with the party leaders at the district office in Chinsurah. BJP workers protested around him. Protests erupted demanding the removal of the party's current Hooghly district (organisational) president Gautam Chattopadhyay and State secretary Dipanjan Guha. The workers also raised questions about the selection of candidates. The audio clip came to the fore just when the controversy is at its peak. WB board exams Govt seeks public opinion before taking call MI NEWS SERVICE KOLKATA: Three days after forming an expert panel to check the feasibility of conducting board exams amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bengal school education department on Sunday shared email ids and sought public opinion on the matter within 24 hours. The six-member expert committee, comprising the head of the Secondary board, the chief of State child rights protection panel, a doctor and academics, has already submitted its report to the Government on Saturday, but its recommendations have not been made public. A member of the panel, however, said, that he and the others have unanimously agreed that conducting offline exams, both for Class 10 and Class 12 students was not realistic, under the present circumstances. Opinions, however, differed about the next course of action -- if an open book examination system would be more apt for the students or an online assessment. The school education department, in a notice issued on Sunday, said, views of the public are being sought on "whether to conduct or not conduct the Madhyamik/Uchha Madhyamik examinations 2021. If yes, suggestions should be made on the mode of conducting the examinations." The department has also sought views about the possible criteria for assessment. "While the expert committee is considering and discussing the matter, the Government of Bengal invites views from the general public, guardians/parents, students on the above points by 2 pm on Monday, 7th June 2021," the notice said, sharing the email ids pbssm. email@example.com -commission- firstname.lastname@example.org m -email@example.com Authorities had on June 3 cancelled a joint press conference, which was scheduled for announcing dates for Class 10 and 12 board examinations. Last week, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had declared a possible time period for holding Madhyamik (Class 10), and Higher Secondary (Class 12) exams. Taking to Twitter, she said on Sunday, "Our children's future is my greatest priority. To this regard, we have formed an expert committee to decide over holding the Class 10th & 12th board exams in 2021." "We are also inviting views & opinion from parents, general public, sector experts, civil society & students. I request each one of you to send us your feedback on the issue by e-mailing us on following addresses by June 7th, 2021, 2 PM," she added. BJP MEETS GUV, SEEKS ANNULMENT OF TAC RULES RANCHI: A delegation of the BJP on Sunday met Governor Droupadi Murmu to demand annulment of cabinet decision on Tribes Advisory Council (TAC) and also a CBI inquiry into the sub-inspector (SI) Rupa Tirkey murder case. COVID-19 COUNT IN INDIA LOWEST IN 60 DAYS NEW DELHI: India reported 1,14,460 new coronavirus infections, the lowest in 60 days, while the daily positivity rate further dropped to 5.62 per cent, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Sunday. With the fresh cases, the total tally of coronavirus cases in the country climbed to 2,88,09,339. The COVID-19 death toll climbed to 3,46,759 with 2,677 daily deaths, the lowest in 42 days, while the active cases dropped below 15 lakh, the data updated at 8 am showed. A total of 96,982 new cases were recorded in a span of 24 hours on April 6. Also,20,36,311 tests were conducted on Saturday taking the total cumulative tests conducted so far for detection of COVID-19 in the country to 36,47,46,522. The daily positivity has further declined to 5.62 per cent . It has been less than 10 per cent for 13 consecutive days, the ministry said. The weekly positivity rate has declined to 6.54 per cent. The active cases have reduced to 14,77,799 comprising 5.13 per cent of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate has improved to 93.67 per cent. A net decline of 77,449 cases has been recorded in the COVID19 caseload in a span of 24 hours. Recoveries continue to outnumber daily new cases for the 24th consecutive day.The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 2,69,84,781, while the case fatality rate stands at 1.20 per cent, the data stated. Indian scientist too flagged Wuhan lab leak way back NEW DELHI: Amid the clamour for an in-depth investigation into the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic, Indian scientists from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi were reportedly the first to have flagged the lableak theory. A team of biologists at the Kusuma School of Biological Sciences in IIT Delhi wrote a 22-page research paper that was released as a pre-print on bioRxiv on January 31, last year. It suggested an "uncanny similarity" between aspects of SARS-CoV-2 and HIV, MIT Technology Review reported. Studying the protein structure of the virus, the team found four unique inserts in the novel coronavirus glycoprotein, not seen in any other coronaviruses. The inserts are critical for the virus to identify and latch onto their host cells in humans and then multiply, media reports say. However, in response to a deluge of criticism, the paper was withdrawn soon after it was posted. It was the first scientific study signalling the possibility of the virus being engineered. Various scientists and experts have piled up circumstantial evidence pointing to the theory that the coronavirus may have leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). The list also includes a Pune-based scientist couple, Rahul Bahulikar and Monali Rahalkar. Rahalkar is a scientist at Bioenergy Group, Agharkar Research Institute, Pune. Bahulikar is scientist at BAIF Development and Research Foundation, Pune. While the lab-leak theory has long been dismissed as a conspiracy, it has now become too substantial to ignore. According to media reports, Bahulikar and Rahalkar started an online expedition at the end of March 2020 to unravel the origins of Covid-19. They read several scientific papers on coronaviruses and Covid19 and found that a relative of SARS-CoV-2, RATG13, a coronavirus was collected from a mineshaft in Mojiang of Yunnan province in South China by the WIV. Cloud cover over heritage and other buildings on a deserted Esplanade during lockdown in Kolkata.