CMYK SATURDAY www.thestatesman.com 05 MAY 2018 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 20 |` 5.00|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR P10 SENSEX 34,915.38 -187.76 WEATHER partly cloudy sky. Rain/thundershowers with gusty winds likely. Temperature in the range 35-26 degrees Celsius RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max.87% Min. 55% Max: 34.1°C (-1) SUN RISES 05:01 hrs MOON RISES 22.41 hrs Min: 26.1°C (N) SUN SETS 18:05 hrs MOON SETS 09:02 hrs TEMPERATURE Moon phase: Third quarter on 8 May THUMBNAILS Palestinian protesters use slings to hurl stones towards Israeli forces during clashes along the border with the Gaza strip east of Khan Yunis on 4 May, on the sixth straight Friday of mass demonstrations calling for the right to return to their historic homelands. AFP Trump-Kim talks: US President Donald Trump K said on Friday that the date and venue for his landmark summit with North Korea's supreme leadr Kim Jong Un have been decided and told reporters to “stay tuned”. Trump had agreed to meet Kim Jong Un by May, the White House had announced in March, setting the stage for an unprecedented summit between the two leaders following months of tension over Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programme. Janardhan Reddy: The Supreme Court has rejected a plea filed by mining baron and BJP leader Gali Janardhana Reddy for allowing him to enter Bellary district in Karnataka to campaign for his younger brother who is contesting in the assembly elections. After spending more than three years in jail, Janardhana Reddy, who was a key accused in multi-crore illegal mining cases, was granted conditional bail in January 2015 by the SC, which had directed him not to visit mining belts like Bellary and Ananthapur and Kadapa in Andhra Pradesh. Nirbhaya case: The Supreme Court on Friday reserved its order on the plea of two of four convicts seeking a review of its 2017 verdict upholding the death penalty awarded to them in the Nirbhaya gangrape and murder case. A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra reserved the order after hearing arguments on behalf of convicts Vinay Sharma and Pawan Gupta. The SC had on 5 May 2017 upheld the verdict of Delhi High Court and the trial court awarding capital punishment to four convicts in the gangrape and murder of a 23-year-old paramedic student in December 2012 in Delhi. ‘GREATER EASE FOR BUSINESS NEEDED’ ‘CHINA CAST-IRON PROOF OF SUCCESS OF MARXISM’ MAY AVOIDS LOCAL POLLS BRUISING P10 NIFTY 10,618.25 -61.40 GUNNERS’ GAFFER LEFT HOLDING THE WOODEN SPOON P7 ` vs $ 66.87 -23.00 PAISE GOLD 29,900.00 +95.00 SILVER 39,400.00 00.00 STOCKHOLM, 4 MAY For the first time in almost 70 years there will be no Nobel Literature Prize this year, as the Swedish Academy that selects the laureate finds itself in turmoil over links to a man accused of sex crimes amid the #MeToo campaign. “We find it necessary to commit time to recovering public confidence in the Academy before the next laureate can be announced,” the Academy's interim permanent secretary Anders Olsson said in a statement Friday, adding two prizes would be announced in 2019. The body has been plunged in crisis since November, in the wake of the global #MeToo campaign, when Swedish newspaper of reference Dagens Nyheter published the testimonies of 18 women claiming to have been raped, sexually assaulted or harassed by Jean-Claude Arnault, an influential figure on the Swedish cul- BRENT CRUDE (IN $) 73.83 +0.21 GST panel clears Rural poll: HC flays SEC conduct simpler return filing process STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE KOLKATA, 4 MAY Council defers decision on levying cess on sugar STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 4 MAY he GST Council, in its 27th meeting today, approved a road map for introduction of simplified return filing under the Goods and Services Tax regime, and decided to turn the GSTN into a government-owned entity. The panel, which met via video conferencing, however, deferred a decision on levying a cess on sugar as it faced opposition from some states. Announcing the decision taken at the 27th meeting of the council, finance minister Arun Jaitley said all taxpayers, excluding a few exceptions like composition dealers, shall file one monthly GST return in place of multiple filings currently required in a month. Return filing dates shall be staggered based on the turnover of the registered person to manage the load on the IT system. Composition dealers and dealers having nil transaction shall be able to file quarterly returns. Finance secretary Hasmukh Adhia said the monthly return filing system will come into force in six months and the present system of filing of return through GSTR 3B and GSTR 1 forms would continue for not more than six months. T MADE SIMPLER All taxpayers, excluding a few exceptions like composition dealers, shall file one monthly GST return in place of multiple filings currently required in a month. The monthly return filing system will come into force in six months and the present system of filing of return through GSTR 3B and GSTR 1 forms would continue in the meantime The council also referred the issue of incentivising digital payments to a group of state finance ministers after some states wanted a negative list. The council also referred the issue of incentivising digital payments to a group of state finance ministers after some states wanted a negative list. Most member states on the panel were agreeable to the proposal of giving a concession of 2 per cent in GST rate (where the tax rate is 3 per cent or more) on business-to-consumer (B2C) supplies, for which payment is made through cheque or digital mode, subject to a ceiling of Rs 100 per transaction, so as to incentivise promotion of digital payments. But since some states wanted a small negative list, the issue will be referred to a five-member group of state finance ministers, Jaitley said. A separate group of ministers would go into the issue of levy of cess on sugar and reduction of GST on ethanol. While the cost of sugar production is over Rs 35 per kg, the market price is around Rs 26-28 a kg, Jaitley said, adding cane growers are in deep distress and a proposal to levy a cess was made to help them. But some states opposed the proposal, contending that levying a cess is against the spirit of implementing GST that is, one tax one nation. On converting GST Network (GSTN), the IT backbone of the new indirect tax regime, into a 100 per cent government-owned company, Jaitley said it was agreed that the 51 per cent equity held by private entities should be taken over by the government and “eventually the central government will hold 50 per cent and state governments (together) will hold 50 per cent”. Tearing into the State Election Commission (SEC), the Division Bench of Justice Biswanath Somaddar and Justice Arindam Mukherjee of Calcutta High Court today asked it to act "neutrally" so that "no eyebrows are raised and accusing fingers are pointed to it." It asked the commission to consider its observations as a "wake-up call". The court, however, refused to interfere with the panchayat election schedule announced by the commission. "The commission has floundered in upholding its constitutional obligations" the court observed, referring to the conduct of the SEC regarding the pan- chayat election process. "The image of the commission was further sullied after the Single Bench set aside a notification cancelling the extension of date of filing nomination" the court said. Touching on a sore point raised by Opposition parties regarding the revised poll schedule the Division Bench observed: "The commission's decision to reduce the number of phases for panchayat elections in the state from the earlier three to one in its second notification without providing necessary clarification inevitably raised eyebrows and was avoidable." The observations came while the Division Bench was hearing an appeal by Ritju Ghosal, a PCC general secretary against a Single Bench judgment that refused to interfere in the SEC decision on the poll schedule. The panchayat elections were to be held in three phases from 1 May to 5 May, according to the initial announcement of the commission. But following a Single Bench order directing rescheduling of elections, another notification announced only May 14 for polling in the entire state. "The SEC had itself invit- ed litigations by its conduct and it should, instead, have acted in a manner that allayed apprehensions and grievances of the stakeholders,” the Division Bench observed. At the same time the court directed that its observations could not be used by any political party or an individual participating in the election campaign. Meanwhile, the hearing of the petition on the date of panchayat election was adjourned till Tuesday by the Division Bench of Chief Justice Jyotirmoy Bhattacharya and Justice Arijit Banerjee today. An appeal of CPI-M seeking filing of nomination by electronic mode is scheduled to be heard before another Division Bench of this court on Monday. UNEASY EARTH An ash plume rises above the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island. Up to 10,000 people have been asked to leave their homes on Hawaii's Big Island following the eruption of the Kilauea volcano. AFP SC, govt clash over judges’ appointment Bihar bus mystery: PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 4 MAY The ongoing turf war between the judiciary and the executive over the appointment of judges in the higher judiciary today witnessed an open showdown in the Supreme Court with the Centre taking the Collegium head on for recommending only a few names to fill up a huge number of vacancies in the high courts. The apex court also hit out at the Centre for keeping the names recommended by the Collegium pending. “Tell us, how many names (recommended by the Collegium) are pending with you,” a bench comprising Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta asked Attorney General (AG) K K Venugopal. When the AG said “I will have to find out”, the bench retorted: “When it comes to the government, you say 'we will find out'”. The strong remarks by the bench came after Venugopal said though the court was dealing with a matter relating to the vacancy of judges in the high courts of Manipur, Meghalaya and Tripura, the fact was that the Collegium has been recommending only three names for high courts where the vacancy was for 40 judges. “The Collegium will have to see the broad picture and recommend more names,” the AG said, adding, “some high courts have 40 vacancies and recommendation of the Collegium is only for three. And the government is being told that we are tardy in filing up the vacancy”. “If there is no Collegium recommendation, nothing can be done,” he said. The bench then reminded the government that they have to make the appointments. The Collegium had on April 19 recommended to the Centre for appointing of Justice M Yaqoob Mir and Justice Ramalingam Sud- hakar as the chief justices of Meghalaya High Court and Manipur High Court respectively, which have not yet been cleared. During the hearing,Venugopal said the issues related to Justice Sudhakar and JusticeYaqoob Mir would be dealt with and orders would be issued “shortly”. “What shortly? 'Shortly' could be three months,” the bench reacted. On April 17, while hearing a petition filed by a man seeking transfer of his case from Manipur High Court to Gauhati High Court, the apex court had noted that the situation in the high courts in North-East states like Manipur, Meghalaya andTripura was“critical” due to the vacancy of judges there. It had noted that Manipur High Court had only two judges against a sanctioned strength of seven, Meghalaya High Court had one judge against the sanctioned strength of four, while Tripura High Court had two judges against sanctioned strength of four. The court's remarks assume significance as the Centre, after almost three months of the Collegium's recommendation, returned for reconsideration the file of Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice K M Joseph for elevation as an SC judge. 2018 Nobel Lit Prize put off after #MeToo turmoil AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE P11 ture scene. Arnault, the French husband of Academy member and poet Katarina Frostenson, has denied the allegations. The revelations have sowed deep discord among the Academy's 18 members about how to handle the matter, and in recent weeks, six of them have chosen to resign, including permanent secretary Sara Danius. “The active members of the Swedish Academy are of course fully aware that the present crisis of confidence places high demands on a long-term and robust work for change,” Olsson said. Seen as bearers of high culture, the Academy, founded in 1786, is traditionally known for its integrity and discretion, with its meetings and decisions shrouded in secrecy. But the row has turned into a titillating public spectacle, with Academy members dealing ugly blows to each other in the media. The Swedish Academy in Stockholm. AFP FILE The last time the institution delayed a prize announcement was in 1949. William Faulkner received the prize a year later, the same year Bertrand Russell was honoured. It has also reserved the prize on six other occasions: in 1915, 1919, 1925, 1926, 1927 and 1936, and four of those times the prize was delayed then awarded at the same time as the following year's prize, the Academy said. Several Academy members had recently suggested the 2018 prize could be postponed because of the turmoil, which has dragged the Academy's reputation ~ and that of the Nobel Literature Prize ~ through the mud. Literature experts in Sweden lamented the announcement, but agreed with the decision. “I think it's wise, this is the best decision they could make. They'll have a chance to restore (the Academy) this year and fill the empty seats, and come back with a strong Academy that can award the prize,” Dagens Nyheter's literature critic Maria Schottenius told AFP . Technically, Academy members have been appointed for life and have not been able to resign, though they could leave their chairs “empty” by not participating in meetings and decisions. However, the Academy is currently down to 10 active members while its statutes stipulate that 12 are needed to elect new members. In order to ensure the venerable body's survival, the Academy's patron, Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf, announced Wednesday he had changed the statutes, making it possible for members to resign and be replaced. After the women spoke out in the media, the Academy cut all ties with Arnault's cultural centre Forum in Stockholm, CMYK which it had subsidised for years and which was a key meeting point for the country's cultural elite. The centre, owned by Arnault and Frostenson, showcased exhibitions, readings and performances by both the cultural elite and hopefuls, including Nobel literature laureates. It is now closed. A report commissioned by the Academy revealed conflicts of interest and the fact that Academy members leaked Nobel winners' names. But the Academy could not agree on what measures to take, with one camp defending Frostenson and the Academy's old guard, while the other camp supported Danius, who wanted to carry out reforms. Prosecutors announced in mid-March that they had dropped parts of their investigation against Arnault ~ concerning allegations of rape and assault between 2013 and 2015 ~ due to lack of evidence. The rest of the investigation is still ongoing. State govt now says no one died STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE PATNA, 4 MAY Yesterday’s bus fire incident in Bihar’s East Champaran district has now turned out to be a major mystery. A day after confirming the death of 27 passengers in the incident, the state government has made a complete U-turn, saying no one died in the incident. The government claims no bodies or even their charred remains have been found in the bus, even as the vehicle was reduced to ashes, such was the intensity of the fire. East Champaran District Magistrate Raman Kumar said that no one died in the accident and that a total of 13 passengers, who had boarded the bus at its starting point of Muzaffarpur, were undergoing treatment for injuries. Secretary, state disaster management department, Pratyay Amrit, also said no one was killed in the mishap. “The information of deaths was wrong.Yes, I said 27 people have died, it was based on information from local sources but I also said that only final report will be considered,” Bihar disaster management minister Dinesh Chandra Yadav told reporters today. “There was booking for 13 people. Eight were taken to the hospital by authorities, there was no sign of remaining five, no remains were found. They might have left the spot on their own,” the minister claimed. However, he has no answer as to how the passengers could have survived such a deadly accident where the bus fell into a 20feet deep ditch and instantly went up in flames. What further raises doubts about the government’s claim, witnesses say, is that the bus was fully enclosed, since it was fitted with air-conditioner. Yet another thing which raises doubts is the number of passengers. Yesterday the minister had said the bus had 32 passengers but today he said there were only 13 passengers on board. Also, he was unable to give details as to what happened to the two drivers, a conductor and a cleaner who was also travelling on the bus. DM Raman Kumar, on the other hand, said: “Bus driver Vijendra Kumar and helper Ratan are missing. But detailed investigations have been conducted by forensic experts and personnel of the disaster management department at the site of the mishap and it is unlikely that either of them has died.” The bus, coming from Muzaffapur town, was heading to Delhi when it skidded off the road, fell into a ditch and caught fire. The U-turn comes after top politicians in the country ~ from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on downwards ~ had expressed their condolences over the “death” of passengers. The stream of condolences followed the confirmation of the deaths of 27 passengers by none other than disaster management minister Yadav himself.
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