Daily Briefing: CBSE class 12 board exams cancelled; DGCI relaxes norms for clearing foreign vaccines

Dr Balram Bhargava, ICMR Director General and a member of India’s Covid-19 task force, underlined that while “gradual lifting [of restrictions] will not witness a massive surge”, districts have to “ensure that vaccination has to be prioritised…”

Good morning,

The Second Wave 

For gradual lifting of lockdown or curfew restrictions in districts, the Centre said it rests on “three pillars”: positivity rate below 5 per cent for a week, vaccination of 70 per cent of the vulnerable population, and community ownership of Covid-appropriate behaviour and care. While nearly half of India’s 718 districts now report seven-day positivity of less than 5 per cent, only 32 per cent of those in the 45+ age group have got their first dose.

Speaking of vaccines, the country’s drug regulator has waived some key requirements for imported doses if they have approvals from specific countries or health bodies. 

In a decision that will have a cascading effect on admissions to higher education institutions, the Central Government has scrapped this year’s CBSE Board examination for Class 12 students. The results will be compiled as per “a well-defined objective criteria”.

Only in the Express

Pratap Bhanu Mehta writes on the prospect of long-term economic stagnation post the pandemic: “This is the first time in a generation that India is experiencing something like this. Instead of moving towards being a high middle income country, we will be relieved if we don’t slip further down the global ladder.”

From the Front Page 

Alapan Bandyopadhyay, who retired as West Bengal Chief Secretary, was issued a show-cause notice for being 15 minutes late to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cyclone review meeting. He could face up to two years imprisonment if the notice is converted to a statutory case. 

In its amended appeal before the High Court of Bombay at Goa in the Tarun Tejpal case, the Goa government stated that the trial court order acquitting him of sexual assault was “unsustainable in law and is coloured by prejudice and patriarchy”. 

Must Read 

“From the time I wake up till 2 o’clock, I have continuous classes…Why do they give so much work to little children, Modi saab?” Five-year-old Mahiruh Irfan complained in an adorable video, which has since gone viral. Her heartfelt appeal seemed to have done the trick, as the Jammu and Kashmir administration announced that they would amend the policy for online classes to help school children deal with the stress of online learning.

Even over two weeks after cyclone Tauktae ravaged the country’s west coast, Gujarat’s Amreli district remains in darkness as snapped power lines are yet to be restored. But apart from the infrastructural damage and piped water supply taking a hit, there is a bigger threat prowling in the dark — lions. “Lions roar outside the damaged wall of my house. My family, my five cows, my bullocks, we live in terror,” one Amreli resident said. 

“I owe my life to my two brothers,” said 47-year-old Rinku Singh, who survived a 53-day battle against Covid-19 against all odds. Early in April, she found herself all alone in an overcrowded Covid ward in Bhagalpur, her condition quickly worsening. Afraid he would contract the deadly illness, her husband stayed away from the hospital. With Rinku’s oxygen levels steadily dropping, her brothers stepped in to nurse her back to health. 

And Finally 

Like other Olympics-bound Indian teams, Fouaad Mirza is staring at a selection headache of his own. With the Tokyo Games less than two months away, the Indian rider has to finalise which one of his two horses will accompany him: Medicott, the experienced gelding, or the young mare, Dajara.

Delhi Confidential: After speaking with state leaders virtually for six hours everyday, a Congress panel has submitted three “honest” and “frank” reports looking into the party’s defeats in the recent Assembly elections. The reports offer an honest analysis of what went down during the polls, and how the party must course correct. 

 In today’s episode of ‘3 Things’, Udit Misra explains how the economy has actually been steadily worsening under the Modi government, which last week completed its 7 years in power.

Until tomorrow,
Leela Prasad G and Rahel Philipose

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