India will be worst-affected among the world’s major economies even after Covid-19 wanes, with output 12% below pre-pandemic levels through the middle of the decade, says a report by global forecasting firm Oxford Economics.
Balance sheet stress that had been building even before the Covid-19 outbreak is likely to worsen further, Priyanka Kishore, head of economics for South Asia and South-East Asia, writes in the report. She projects potential growth for India at 4.5% over the next five years, lower than 6.5% before the pandemic hit the world.
“It’s likely that headwinds already hampering growth prior to 2020—such as stressed corporate balance sheets, elevated non-performing assets of banks, the fallout in non-bank financial companies, and labor market weakness—will worsen,” Priyanka states, adding: “The resulting long-term scars, probably among the worst globally, would push India’s trend growth substantially lower from pre-Covid levels.”
Meanwhile, with 45,576 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours on Thursday, India witnessed a jump of over 50% in such cases reported on Tuesday, pushing its cumulative tally to 89,58,483. As per Health Ministry data, the total death toll rose to 1,31,578 with 585 more fatalities in the last 24 hours, a jump of over 24% from Wednesday’s figures. Up to 4.43 lakh active cases remain in the country till Thursday.
Total death toll in the national capital has crossed the 8,000-barrier. On Thursday, Delhi recorded 7546 fresh Covid cases along with 98 deaths. The numbers take Delhi’s total cases to 5,10,603, with the death toll being at 8041. There are 43,221 active cases in the national capital.
Mumbai reported 924 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday, taking its tally to 2,72,449, while 1,192 more patients were discharged from hospitals following recovery, said the city civic body. This was the highest daily count so far this week. Cases have registered a steady rise after 409 new coronavirus patients were detected on 16 November, the lowest daily count since April.
Telangana reported 1,058 fresh coronavirus cases, taking the tally to over 2.6 lakh, while four fatalities pushed the toll to 1,419, said the state government. As many as 12,682 patients are under treatment. The case fatality rate in the state was 0.54%, while it was 1.5% at the national level. The recovery rate in Telangana was 94.59%.
The Union Health Ministry on Thursday said that Delhi accounted for 22.39% of the Covid-19 fatalities reported across India in the span of 24 hours. The national capital recorded 131 deaths and became the largest single-day contributor to coronavirus deaths in India on Wednesday.
The Ministry said that 79.49% of the 585 Covid fatalities reported in a span of 24 hours on Wednesday were from 10 states and Union territories – Delhi, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Maharashtra also saw a three-digit fatality count of 100, while West Bengal reported 54 new deaths.
Seeing the deteriorating health condition in the state, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal called for a high-level meeting which included the Coronavirus nodal officer, state Congress chief Anil Chaudhary and state BJP chief Adesh Gupta. Post-meeting, Kejriwal announced that the fine for not wearing a mask in public would be increased from Rs 500 to Rs 2000 in Delhi.
Appealing to citizens to not take the customary dip in Delhi’s water bodies during Chhath Puja, CM Arvind Kejriwal said that his government has directed the raising of non-ICU bed reservations at private hospitals in the city from 50% to 60% for coronavirus patients. He added, “The decision to reserve 80% ICU beds in private hospitals for Covid-19 patients has been implemented starting Thursday.”
Aam Aadmi Party MLA Saurabh Bharadwaj said that the number of RT-PCR tests will be enhanced from 18,000 to 27,000 daily in Delhi. CM Kejriwal, who previously deliberated over shutting markets to curb the spread of the virus, took the decision to shut markets that may prove to be hotbeds of infection.
With agency inputs
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BILL AND MELINDA GATES ARE OFFICIALLY DIVORCED
WASHINGTON: The divorce between Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates has been finalised. As per CNN report, filing with the King County Superior Court in Washington made the move official. Melinda French Gates filed the petition for divorce in King County, Washington.
Bill and Melinda announced in May that they would be ending their marriage after 27 years, saying, “we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives.”
However, the duo said they will continue to work together at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Meanwhile, the foundation said last month that the organisation was planning a two-year trial period to see if the pair could continue working together effectively.
“If after two years either decide they cannot continue to work together as co-chairs, French Gates will resign her position as co-chair and trustee,” CEO Mark Suzman said. In the weeks following the initial announcement of the divorce, Bill faced allegations of questionable workplace conduct in the early years at Microsoft.
BLINKEN ANNOUNCES US REFUGEE ADMISSIONS PROGRAMME FOR AFGHAN NATIONALS
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced a US refugee admissions programme Priority 2 designation for Afghan nationals on Monday. The US is weeks away from completing military withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Blinken, during a press briefing, said, “The State Department is announcing a new resettlement program for Afghans who assisted the United States, but who do not qualify for special immigrant visas. We’ve created a Priority-2 or P-2 designation, granting access to the US refugee admissions program for many of these Afghans and their family members.”
He said that even as the US forces withdraw from Afghanistan, the US will remain deeply engaged with the country.
“We’ll continue to work toward an Afghanistan, where all Afghans can live in safety and security, and we will continue our support for Afghan institutions, and for the gains that the Afghan people have made over the past 20 years,” said Blinken.
“We will keep engaging intensely in diplomacy to advance negotiations between the Afghan government, the Taliban, with the goal of a political solution, which we believe is the only path to lasting peace. And we’ll keep working closely with countries in the region, which all have a stake in a stable, peaceful, democratic Afghanistan,” he stated.
Blinken said that Afghans who work with the United States or the International Security Assistance Force at some point since 2001 are facing acute fears of persecution or retribution that will likely grow as coalition forces leave the country.
He further added that “We have a special report the responsibility to these individuals. They stood with us. We will stand with them. Over the past 13 years, the State Department has issued more than 73,000 Special Immigrant Visas to eligible Afghans who have helped the United States, and also to their families. We’ll continue to welcome Afghan immigrants and refugees as our neighbours in gratitude for helping us, despite the danger. We won’t forget it.”
AFGHAN PRESIDENT GHANI’S TIME HAS RUN OUT: TALIBAN
KABUL: Taliban said that Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani’s “time has run out” on Monday. Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid, while reacting to Ghani’s remark that the ongoing war is an external intrigue imposed on the people of Afghanistan, accused the President of lying and spreading false information.
A tweet by Mujahid said that his (Ghani’s) time is over and the announcement of warfare will not survive him. “Speech by @ashrafghani is nonsense, an attempt to control his fears & dire situation. Nation has decided to pursue & bring national traitors to justice. Declarations of war, accusations & lies cannot prolong Ghani’s life, his time has run out, God willing,” said Mujahid.
INDIA WANTS PEACEFUL RELATIONS, ONUS IS ON PAKISTAN: TIRUMURTI
WASHINGTON: India’s Permanent Representative to United Nations, T.S. Tirumurti said that India desires to have peaceful and normal relations with Pakistan but in an atmosphere free from terror.
The Indian Ambassador to the UN informed that issues between the two countries should be resolved in an atmosphere free from terror, hostility, and violence and the onus is on Pakistan to create such an environment. “Pakistan should take credible and verifiable action not to allow any territory under their control to be used for cross border terrorism against India,” said Tirumurti. He also informed that India wants to keep a spotlight on counter-terrorism.
US-China seek alignment of Afghan interests: Ned Price
US State Department spokesperson Ned Price has said that China’s interest in Afghanistan could be ‘an alignment of interest’ when it comes to what the US and China seek in Afghanistan.
The People’s Republic of China (PRC) interest in Afghanistan could be “an alignment of interest” when it comes to what the US and China seek in Afghanistan, said US State Department spokesperson Ned Price on Monday. “There’s an alignment of interest in at least some areas when it comes to what we seek, what China seeks and what the broader international community seeks in Afghanistan,” Price told ANI on being asked what is US’ assessment of meeting between Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Taliban delegation led by its Chief Negotiator Abdul Ghani Baradar.
Experts say thay although the US might once have fiercely resisted Chinese attempts to increase their influence inside Afghanistan, now Washington’s priority appears to keep away a civil war. Spokesperson Price also affirmed that is in no one’s interest to see Afghanistan descend into an all-out civil war. “It is in everyone’s interest to see a solution to the conflict that is just as durable as Afghan-led, and Afghan Owned,” he concluded.
AMID COVID PANDEMIC, PMGKY REDUCES WORRIES OF THE POOR: PM MODI
Gandhinagar: Annotsav Day was celebrated on Tuesday on the occasion of the completion of five years of the Rupani government, as part of which a state-level program was organized in Dahod district in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a virtual dialogue with the beneficiaries of the grain welfare scheme. He asked whether the beneficiaries of Dahod and Rajkot have any problem in taking up the scheme or not. Modi said in a dialogue with the beneficiaries that the poor would get free foodgrains till Diwali. Modi praised the performance of the Gujarat government.
Prime Minister’s Poor Welfare Food Scheme is being praised all over the world. More than Rs 2 crore is being spent by the government under this scheme. The aim is that not a single person in India goes to bed hungry. Under this scheme, ration cardholders are being given double the amount of foodgrains than before. The plan is to run till Diwali.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday addressed the beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana and said this scheme has reduced the worries of the poor and increased their confidence. Three and a half crore beneficiaries in Gujarat are getting the benefit of free foodgrains. “I commend the Gujarat government for this. Preference is given to workers from other parts of the country. Workers have benefited from this scheme. Gujarat is the first to offer the benefit of One Nation One Ration Card,” said the Prime Minister.
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