CMYK TUESDAY www.thestatesman.com 30 JANUARY 2018 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 16 |` 5.00|LC* KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR NDA ALLIES RUSH TO MEET LALU IN JAIL ANOTHER OVER-STEP CLINTON MOCKS TRUMP AT GRAMMYS P10 SENSEX 36,283.25 +232.81 WEATHER Morn mist/fog, but later mainly clear sky. Max and mintemp likely to be 28 and 14 degree celsius, respectively. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max.92% TEMPERATURE Max: 27.8°C (+1) SUN RISES 06:16 hrs MOON RISES 16.11 hrs P6 NIFTY 11,130.40 +60.75 ` vs $ 63.58 -3 PAISE P3 GOLD 29,265.00 -90.00 Economy picking up nicely: Survey Min: 13.5°C (-1) SUN SETS 17:24 hrs MOON SETS 04:49 hrs Full moon on 31 January THUMBNAILS Vijay Gokhale assumes charge as foreign secretary: Seasoned diplomat Vijay Keshav Gokhale (photo above), considered an expert on China and East Asia, on Monday took charge as India's foreign secretary, a post that he is set to hold for the the next two years. A 1981-batch IFS officer, Gokhale succeeds S Jaishankar. Gokhale served as secretary (economic relations) in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) before taking up the new role. As foreign secretary, he will face multiple challenges including improving ties with countries such as Nepal, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Myanmar where China has been seeking to expand its influence. By-elections: Over 76 per cent of the elece torate in West Bengal's Uluberia Lok Sabha constituency and 75.3 per cent in the Noapara Assembly seat voted in Monday's bypolls, where the ruling TMC is locked in a high voltage battle with the BJP and the CPI-M. The polling was peaceful, an election official said. “Till the end of polling at 5 pm Uluberia Lok Sabha recorded 76.7 per cent polling whereas Noapara recorded 75.3 per cent. The polling was completely peaceful,” the senior official said. The poll figure might go up as people were still standing outside a few booths to cast their votes, officials said. A direct contest is likely between the TMC and the BJP. AAP MLAs’ case transferred to Division Bench: Delhi High Court today transferred to a division bench the pleas of the AAP MLAs seeking quashing of their disqualification from the Delhi Assembly for holding office of profit. Single judge bench of Justice Vibhu Bakhru fixed the matter before the Acting Chief Justice tomorrow, who may either set up or refer it to any existing division bench. Court also extended its January 24 order restraining the Election Commission (EC) from issuing any notification announcing by-elections to fill the vacancies of the 20 assembly seats whose legislators have been disqualified. STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 29 JANUARY fter touching a low of 5.7 per cent GDP growth, India's economy is "picking up quite nicely" , the annual Economic Survey 2017-18 tabled in Parliament on Monday said. It predicted that India would clock a growth of 6.75 per cent this fiscal and will rise to 7 to 7.5 per cent in 201819, which would be the election year for the government. Addressing the media, Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian, the author of the Survey, said India will be the world’s fastest growing major economy as it shakes off the disruptive effects of demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax (GST). The numbers projected in the Economic Survey are not very different from that estimated by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. “With world growth likely to witness moderate improvement in 2018, expectation of greater stability in GST, likely recovery in investment levels, and ongoing structural reforms, among others, should be supporting higher growth. On balance, the country’s economic performance should witness an improvement in 2018-19,” Subramanian said, though he cautioned on rising oil prices and sharp correction in elevated stock prices as factors that could feed inflation and keep interest rates elevated. With the A HIGHLIGHTS GDP to grow 7-7.5% in year -- support agriculture, privatise Air India, finish bank recapitalisation GST data shows 50% rise in number of indirect taxpayers Tax collection by states, local governments significantly lower than those in other federal countries Demonetisation has encouraged financial savings Insolvency Code being actively used to resolve NPA woes Retail inflation averaged 3.3 pc in 2017-18, lowest in last 6 fiscals India needs to address pendency, delays and backlogs in the appellate and judicial arenas Urban migration leading to feminisation of farm sector Rs 20,339cr approved for interest subvention for farmers in current fiscal FDI in services sector rises 15% in 2017-18 on reforms Fiscal federalism, accountability to help avoid low equilibrium trap India's external sector to remain strong on likely improvement in global trade Technology should be used for better enforcement of labour laws Swachh Bharat initiative improved sanitation coverage in rural areas from 39% in 2014 to 76% in January 2018 Priority to social infrastructure like education, health to promote inclusive growth Centre, states should enhance cooperation to deal with severe air pollution Suvey 2017-18 in pink colour to highlight gender issues Indian parents often continue to have children till they have desired PTI number of sons effort to recapitalise banks, popularly called the solving of twin balance sheet problem will help the economic growth, the Survey said. The government, which is about to present its last full Union Budget before the 2019 general election, has reverted to the tradition of bringing outVolumes 1 and 2 at the same time. Volume 1 of the Economic Survey contains the analytical overview and more research-cum-analytical material. Volume 2 provides the more descrip- tive review of the current fiscal year, encompassing all the major sectors of the economy. The Survey has a pink cover instead of the earlier blue. Subramanian noted that “the colour of this year's Survey cover was chosen as a symbol of support for the growing movement to end violence against women, which spans continents and addressing the deep societal meta-preference in favor of sons”. The Survey cautioned that persistently high oil prices remained a key risk for a country that relies on imports for much of its fuel needs. The Modi-led BJP government was lucky to have taken charge at a time when global business environment was favorable and depressed global crude oil prices placed at his disposal lakhs of crores of rupees. Subramanian admitted that the government had misread the oil price projections completely. He said, “We have misread oil prices completely. We had thought FY19; India to regain fastest growing major economy tag GDP growth to be 6.75% in FY2017-18 Policy vigilance required next fiscal if high oil prices persist or stock prices correct sharply Policy agenda for next P12 SILVER 39,550.00 -350.00 7.5 per cent growth predicted next fiscal, caution sounded on high oil prices, stock boom Min. 29% ‘A CALMER KOHLI WILL BE A BETTER LEADER’ that oil prices will not go above $55 or maximum $60 per barrel. We have proven wrong on that. We thought that shale oil will come back at about $50-55, so far it has not come back. We have discovered that the shale producers are more concerned about their profit margins than about expanding activities. A completely unforeseeable thing that has happened in Saudi Arabia is the Aramco listing is pushing oil prices higher than it is expected.” The Economic Survey also noted that though the plan has been to reduce the fiscal deficit from an estimated 3.2 per cent this year to 3.0 per cent in financial year 2018-19, a pause in the move toward a lower deficit could be merited in order to give the economy momentum. This also has a bearing on how the government finds itself in a place where it needs to revive the economy in the year leading up to a general election. Subramanian explained how demonetisation delivered a shock to the economy, reducing demand and hampering production especially in the informal sector. According to him, the shock had largely faded away by mid-2017, only for the government’s roll out of the GST to hit the economy, “affecting supply chains, especially those in which small traders (who found it difficult to comply with the paperwork demands) were suppliers of intermediates to larger manufacturing companies”. BRENT CRUDE (IN $) 69.84 -0.68 More than 36 killed as bus falls into Murs river At the site of the bus accident on Monday. SNS STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE DAULATABAD, (MURSHIDABAD)/KOLKATA, 29 JAN: At least 36 people, including women and children, were feared drowned this morning when a state bus in which they were travelling, plunged into a river here at Daulatabad area in Murshidabad district. Earlier in the day, police and local boatmen fished out four bodies and rescued eight passengers while the rest of the victims could not be traced till the bus was taken out with 36 more bodies trapped inside it. The bodies that were recovered from the bus and sent to the morgue of Murshidabad Medical College and Hospital for identification and autopsy. Police sent the rescued and admitted to Murshidabad Medical College and Hospital here. Meanwhile, Chief minister Mamata Banerjee today announced an exgratia of Rs 5 lakh for the next of kin of the deceased, who died in an accident, where a bus fell off a bridge into the Bhairab River. “I am announcing Rs 5 lakh compensation each to the family of those killed in the accident while Rs one lakh would be provided to those seriously injured and Rs 50,000 would be given to the other injured persons,” said Miss Banerjee while speaking at a programme in Netaji Indoor Stadium to distribute financial aid for constructing houses under the Bangla Awas Yojana. Expressing her grief, she said: “Incident in Murshidabad is sad. I have asked my officials to take stock of the situation.” Similar accidents have occurred in the district earlier as well, she added. The incident took place due to low visibility and people should be more cautious while driving in fog, she added. Locals claimed that around 50-60 passengers were in the bus. There was, however, no official confirmation of the number of passengers travelling in the bus. The bus went deep into the midstream and it remained unseen for several hours triggering violence between police and local residents. An angry mob attacked a police vehicle which allegedly reached the site four hours after the accident. Prez, PM for Parl nod to triple talaq Bill Kovind calls for consensus on simultaneous polls STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 29 JANUARY NEW DELHI, 29 JANUARY On the first day of the Budget Session of Parliament Monday, both President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a strong pitch for early approval of the instant triple talaq Bill ~ called the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill ~ by Parliament, making the point that there should not be politics on "crucial issues" like triple talaq for the sake of Muslim women's rights. During the Winter Session of Parliament last month, the Lok Sabha had passed the Bill which makes instant triple talaq a criminal offence and proposes a three-year jail term for a Muslim man who divorces his wife by resorting to it. The Bill, however, could not be passed in the Rajya Sabha due to standoff between ruling BJP-led government and the Congress-led Opposition over the latter's demand that it should be sent to a Select Committee for detailed examination due to various concerns regarding it. The government did not push the Bill in the Upper House as it does not enjoy majority there. In his customary address to reporters outside Parliament House before the commencement of a Parliament session, PM Modi on Monday morning raked up the triple talaq issue, telling reporters, "In the last Session it was our effort and the nation had high hopes that there won’t be any politics on crucial issues like triple talaq so that the Mus- lim women will get their rights. However, despite the orders of the Supreme Court, the triple talaq Bill could not be passed by Parliament." He went on to say : "I hope and appeal to the political parties across the country to join hands in passing the triple talaq Bill to protect the rights of Muslim women. It will indeed be the best gift in the New Year 2018 for Muslim women." President Kovind also highlighted the triple talaq bill in the beginning of his maiden address to the joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament. "For decades, the dignity of Muslim women has remained captive to political cost-benefit. Now the nation has an opportunity to emancipate them from this situation," President Kovind said. "My government has tabled a Bill on triple talaq in Parliament. I hope that Parliament will soon pass it into a law. The law on triple talaq, once enacted, will also enable Muslim sisters and daughters to live a life of selfrespect with courage," he said. Meanwhile, stressing on the significance of the Budget Sesion, PM Modi told reporters : "Entire global community is very optimistic about the Indian economy. It comes at a time when the world is looking at us, be it the global credit rating agencies,World Bank, IMF which , have been very positive in their opinion about the growth of India and the road ahead." He said the upcoming Budget would "provide a new energy to the fast growing economy of the country". President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday said a “sustained debate” was required on holding “simultaneous elections” to Lok Sabha and State Assemblies, and all political parties need to arrive at a consensus on the issue. Addressing a Joint Sitting of Parliament at the beginning of its Budget Session, the President touched on the subject of frequent poll, and said such elections not only impose a burden on human resources but also impede the development process due to promulgation of model SNS code of conduct. Fetish for male child widens gender gap Border row with India should be STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 29 JANUARY For the first time ever, the Economic Survey 2017-18 highlighted that the Indian desire to have a male child has created an estimated 21 million unwanted girls. The Economic Survey released on Monday pointed out that most parents continued to have children until they get the desired number of sons. The Survey gave details of various scenarios leading to skewed sex ratios and also gave a comparison on sex ratio by birth between India and Indonesia. The Survey highlighted that Indian parents still prefer having a son over a daughter. The Survey included a chapter dedicated to Gender Issues "Gender and Son Meta-Preference: Is Development Itself an Antidote?" also began with #MeToo inscribed on top of the page. “This ‘meta-preference’ leads naturally to the notional category of 'unwanted' girls with reduced access to resources. Another phenomenon of son meta preference, which involves parents adopting fertility 'stopping rules' ~ having children until the desired number of sons are born,” the report said. In some sense, once born, the lives of women are improving but society still appears to want fewer of them to be born. India has some distance to traverse because development has not proved to be an antidote,” said Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian at a media interaction after the Survey was tabled in Parliament on Monday. The Survey noted that the government’s Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao and Sukanya Samrid- hi Yojana schemes and mandatory maternity leave rules are all steps in the right direction to recognising the long-run objective of elevating the role and status of women. Son preference is giving rise to skewed sex ratios at birth and beyond, leading to an estimate of 63 million "missing" women, it said in the report. In a first, the government has used a pink cover for the Economic Survey 2018, stressing on its “commitment to women's empowerment”. The findings come at a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his ‘Mann ki Baat’ programme on Sunday, spoke at length about women's empowerment and how they are moving ahead in all fields. Modi CMYK mentioned the achievements of Flying Officers Bhavna Kanth, Mohana Singh and Avani Chaturvedi, who became the first women to be commissioned as fighter pilots. The Survey noted that the North-Eastern states have been consistently outperforming others on the development parameters related to women, while hinterland states are lagging behind. However, surprisingly, some southern states such as Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu fare worse than expected given their level of development, it said. The percentage of women who did not experience physical or emotional violence also increased from 63 per cent to 71 per cent, whereas the median age at first childbirth also increased by 1.3 years over ten years. resolved in a calm way: China PRESS TRUST OF INDIA BEIJING, 29 JANUARY Defending its military infrastructure build up in Dokalam, China today claimed that the area falls within its sovereignty and said Sino-India differences over the border should be resolved in a “calm way” through the existing mechanisms. Commenting on Indian envoy to China Gautam Bambawale's interview to state-run Chinese daily 'The Global Times' where he said the status quo should not be changed along the sensitive areas of the 3,488-km border, China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said that differences can be addressed through existing mechanisms. “I believe that you are blowing it (Dokalam standoff) out of proportion. I believe that in the postDokalam period, India and China need to be talking to each other and conversing with each other much more than in the past” at different levels including at the leadership level, Bambawale had told the daily. India and China ended the 73-day standoff on August 28 last year at Dokalam area after the People's Liberation Army (PLA) stopped building a strategic road close to India's narrow Chicken's Neck area connecting the northeastern states. “Indeed, we have noted that the ambassador talked about it while addressing the issue,” Hua said when asked about Indian envoys remarks. “The two sides should look at border issues in a calm way and resolve relevant issues through the existing border related mechanisms so that we can create conditions and enabling environment to properly solve our differences,” she said.
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