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Friday, July 23, 2021

Daily Briefing: GST rates cut for Covid essentials; 10 states send O2 ramp-up plan

Modi sought the G-7's support for a waiver on Covid-related technologies. Sources said Australian PM Scott Morrison and others came out strongly in support of this.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: June 13, 2021 8:13:28 am
Daily Briefing: Free Covid vaccines for all, only Centre to procure; Red flags as PNB stake in housing finance subsidiary may dip below 26%A look at the top news today, June 20, 2021.

Good morning,

The Second Wave

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) rates on Covid-related medicines has been reduced to nil from 5 per cent while that for pulse oximeters and oxygen concentrators was reduced from 12% to 5%. Covid testing kits also saw a reduction from 12% to 5% but the rate for vaccines was kept unchanged at 5%. 

Addressing the G-7 outreach session via video conference, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called on nations to “open supply chains for vaccine raw materials”, saying there should be “one earth, one health” approach

As part of the measures being put in place in anticipation of the next surge of Covid cases, 10 states, from Punjab to Kerala, have already sent their “action plans” to the Centre to expand their liquid medical oxygen generation capacity. 

Only in the Express 

At The Indian Express e-Adda held last week, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma spoke on Centre-state relations, on those excluded by the National Register of Citizens and why he supports the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

Former Union minister P Chidambaram draws up a list of mistakes made by the Centre in the last 15 months during the pandemic and offers five solutions for course correction on Covid vaccination programme. 

Must Read 

Even eight months after they first made Singhu border their home base as they protested against the Centre’s contentious new farm laws, farmers insist that they will not be vacating the protest site until the laws are repealed. In preparation for Delhi’s searing summers, they have now erected shelters, complete with air-coolers and ACs. Even tractor trolleys, now a familiar fixture at the border area, have been fitted with air conditioning. 

Meanwhile in Maharashtra, the State Human Rights Commission is calling for Rs 5 lakh compensation each for two women whose sexual harassment allegations against a man were ignored for two decades by the police. It took over 100 complaints and the intervention of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) for the Mumbai police to finally register a complaint, over 10 years after the incident allegedly took place. The man, who was arrested in 2020, died last September. 

In an effort to check the spread of Covid in far-flung areas, Kerala’s health department is taking vaccines to places like Attappadi, the state’s only tribal block. With TV channels constantly beaming news about the pandemic, locals were initially sceptical about the vaccine, health officials said. But the health team worked overtime to dispel their fears through awareness campaigns. 

A similar story emerged in Manipur, where a 60-year-old diabetic, a doctor, an Army official, and a government worker came together to accomplish the seemingly impossible — helping to vaccinate almost 95 per cent of a remote village called Ningchou. Since all four originally hail from Ninchou themselves, they were able to educate and encourage other residents to get vaccinated. How did they manage all this? By taking the vaccine themselves!

And Finally 

When this long season of suffering and darkness draws to a close, how would it have impacted the arts? Writers, poets, musicians, artists, thespians, filmmakers and architects reflect upon the effect of the pandemic on their work. 

Until tomorrow,
Leela Prasad G and Rahel Philipose

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