CMYK THURSDAY www.thestatesman.com 02 AUGUST 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 37,521.62 -84.96 ‘DIPLOMATIC MATURITY ENDED DOKLAM DISPUTE’ SHAHBAZ SHARIF SUMMONED BY PAK ANTI-GRAFT BODY JOHNSON EMERGES AS FAVOURITE TO SUCCEED MAY P9 NIFTY 11,346.20 -10.30 FALLIBLE SERENA SLUMPS TO SHOCKING DEFEAT P3 ` vs $ 68.43 +11 PAISE GOLD 28,630.00 +10.00 P11 SILVER 38,100.00 -50.00 BRENT CRUDE (IN $) 72.87 -1.34 Act II: Policy makers and protagonists A farce in three acts A STATESMAN SPECIAL REPORT It is now well known that the presentation made by the Reliance Foundation’s Jio Institute was led by Mr Mukesh Ambani and his Adviser, Mr Vinay Sheel Oberoi, an IAS officer of the 1979 batch who had retired in 2017 as Secretary in the Ministry of Human Resource Development, the wing of government under which the University Grants Commission operates and the one that appointed the Empowered Experts Committee which selected the Institutions of Eminence. According to reports, the presentation was ambiguous enough to raise questions on how the Empowered Experts Committee could possibly have reached the conclusion it did about Jio Institute’s suitability for inclu- sion. Jio’s presentation, according to Republic TV’s website, www.republicworld.com, was made up of in all of five brief slides that made the following claims: Promoters’ commitment of Rs 9,500 crore towards capital expenditure, gap funding and scholarships; Plan to recruit faculty from top 500 global institutions Merit-based admissions Fully residential, self-contained and inclusive campus Interdisciplinary research and world-class research infrastructure Multidisciplinary from the start There are several aspects to this presentation that raise eyebrows. First, how appropriate was it for Mr Vinay Sheel Oberoi to be a part of this exercise on behalf of WEATHER Generally cloudy sky with spells of rain/thundershower. Max-min temp likely to be 31-25 degree celsius, respectively. RAINFALL: 29.0 mm RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max.97% Min. 90% Max: 27.3°C (-5) SUN RISES 05:09 hrs MOON RISES 21.54 hrs Min: 24.6°C (-2) SUN SETS 18:17 hrs MOON SETS 09:32 hrs TEMPERATURE Third quarter of moon on 7 August THUMBNAILS A portion of an old building collapsed at Entally area in Kolkata on Wednesday. Mexico plane crash injures 97: An Aeromexico flight crashed on takeoff during a heavy hail storm in northern Mexico, engulfing the plane in flames and injuring 97 people. The Embraer 190 plane, operating between Durango and Mexico City and crashed around 3:00 pm local time (20:00 GMT), was carrying “88 adults, nine minors, two infants, two pilots and two flight attendants,” an official said. Police allow Shah’s Kolkata rally: Kolkata Police has cleared the decks for the BJP meeting to be addressed by the party national president Amit Shah on 11 August at Mayo Road. A senior officer at the city police headquarters at Lalbazar said that a delegation of the BJP had come to Lalbazar on Tuesday. They had been given the option of five places and they had selected Mayo Road. Manufacturing sector activity eases: The country's manufacturing sector activity moderated in July amid softer increase in output, new orders and employment, says a monthly survey. The Nikkei India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) stood at 52.3 in July, down from 53.1 in June. This is the 12th consecutive month that the manufacturing PMI remained above the 50-point mark. P8 KM Birla, Deveshwar non-official directors of o AIr India: Industrialists Kumar Mangalam Birla and Y C Deveshwar were on Wednesday appointed as non-official independent directors in Air India, an official order said. It is perhaps for the first time that industrialists have been named on the board of a PSU. Birla heads the USD 44.3 billion Aditya Birla Group Deveshwar is the chairman of ITC. Reliance? While the HRD Ministry claimed in a statement to a contemporary newspaper on 11 July that there was no impropriety or conflict of interest as Mr Oberoi was not involved in the framing of the regulation or implementation of the scheme, it may have been economical with the truth. Mr Oberoi was appointed Secretary, Higher Education, in the HRD ministry in June 2015. He retired in February 2017. The Institutions of Eminence scheme was announced by the Government in the Union Budget of 2016. It would have thus been very difficult for Mr Oberoi not to have been involved with the scheme. But the proof of his direct involvement is available from the executive summary of the University Grants Commission’s annual report for NRC protests disrupt RS proceedings again 2016-17, which states on page 5, “The Commission approved (i) UGC (Declaration of Government Educational Institutions as Institutions of Eminence) Guidelines, 2017 and (ii) UGC (Institutions of Eminence Deemed to be Universities) Regulations, 2017.” The same report on its first page gives the composition of UGC in 2016-17 and lists Mr Oberoi as a Member up to February 2017 in his capacity as Secretary, Ministry of HRD. Mr Oberoi’s involvement with Government and the HRD ministry did not end with his retirement. In April 2018, he was appointed by the HRD ministry as Chairman of a seven-member high-power committee to examine the system of Class X and XII examinations conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education. In February 2018, Mr Oberoi was appointed Chairman of the Raksha Mantri’s Advisory Committee on Ministry of Defence Capital Projects to review ongoing capital acquisition projects of over Rs 5 billion. With the matter having been handled thus, it is little surprise that those who are meant to be impressed by the Institutions of Eminence Scheme are less than sanguine about its prospects. The Times Higher Education’sWorld University Rankings are considered one of three top global university indexes, the other two are by Quacquarelli Symonds and by the Shanghai Jiao Tao University respectively. In a scathing report published on 31 May, Times Higher Education said, “But since the initial announcement, things have not progressed quite as planned. TURN TO PAGE 5 Mamata warns NRC row will destroy ties with Bangladesh TMC members force adjournment of House on the issue for the day SNS & PTI NEW DELHI, 1 AUGUST The issue of Assam's National Register of Citizens (NRC) today rocked the Rajya Sabha, amid vociferous protests by TMC members, as the House failed to complete a discussion on the issue and a reply on it by Home Minister Rajnath Singh. Trinamool Congress members forced an adjournment of the Rajya Sabha for the day just after 2 PM, amid strong protests by them over the issue. The House had witnessed an adjournment in the morning too. Soon after listed papers were laid after the House assembled in the morning, Congress members created an uproar insisting on removal from the records certain remarks made by BJP chief Amit Shah during the debate on the NRC yesterday. Senior Congress MP Anand Sharma raised a point of order and insisted on removal of Shah's comments. Several other Congress members were also on their feet to support Sharma. Leader of Opposition and senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad too said that the record of proceedings of the House must be looked into. Sharma said Shah, during his speech on the NRC debate, had termed all prime ministers in office after late Rajiv Gandhi as “bujhdil' (coward). In an apparent jibe on the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party, he said one of the Prime Ministers, Atal Bihari Vajpayee belonged to the BJP. Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu assured Sharma that he would go through the records and asked Shah to resume his statement, which he had not been able to complete yesterday as the House was adjourned midway due to uproar. As Shah rose to continue his statement, there were protests from Congress and some other opposition MPs too joined them. Naidu said it seemed some members were “not interested” in the discussion and warned Sharma that he would be named. He also advised members to maintain decorum and cooperate for orderly function of the House. The Congress MP said he would go out of the House. To this, Naidu said, “You go”. However, Sharma stood up only to resume his seat. As some opposition members were still on their feet, Naidu adjourned the House till noon. The House reassmbled at noon and took up the Question Hour, which went on virtually without any hitch till the lunch break. When the House reconvened at 2 PM after the lunch break, Sukhendu Shekhar Roy of the Trinamool Congress stood up and raised a point of order as BJP President Amit Shah was asked to conclude his speech. Naidu responded to the point of order, saying he has allowed Shah to complete his speech. Roy said “if any member who is so called upon does not speak, he shall not be entitled except with the permission of the Chair. Here, in this case, one honourable member has already spoken. How can he speak twice? There is no provision in the rules.” Soon thereafter, Trinamool Congress members stormed the Well of the House raising slogans, with Naidu asking them to go back to their seats, saying he has allowed Shah to conclude his speech. However, the BJP chief was unable to speak amidst the slogan shouting and disruption. Naidu then said that the conduct of the protestors was unbecoming of Parliamentarians. “There seems to be a system, that you spoke, you had your say, it has gone on record, now you come and disrupt the House. So you don't want to hear the reply,” Naidu said, asking Shah again to speak. But the BJP leader said if his speaking caused “so much fear, he can let go of the opportunity” to enable Naidu to run the House. “I know why they (opposition) do not want me to speak,” requesting Naidu to ask the Home Minister to make a statement. Then Naidu asked the Home Minister to reply to the debate. However, the TMC members who were shouting slogans from the Well remained unrelenting. Fourteen kids and 13 women were injured when a gas balloon exploded inside a CRPF centre in Durgapur West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at her party office, at Parliament House in the Capital on Wednesday. STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 1 AUGUST Keeping her guns trained on the BJP dispensation over the controversial exclusion of 40 lakh residents of Assam from its draft National Register of Citizens (NRC), the Trinamul supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today continued to fire salvos at the saffron party over its alleged divisive plan, warning that such an NRC would “destroy” India's relationship with Bangladesh. Banerjee also reportedly said she was not vying to be the Prime Minister and that the first priority of a combined Opposition would be to defeat the BJP which, she added, was “scared and nervous” to face the 2019 Lok Sabha elections due to the Opposition's unity. "The NRC will destroy relationship between India and Bangladesh. Out of 40 lakh people whose names are not in the list of NRC, only 1 per cent could be illegal infiltrators. But the BJP is trying to show that all those not included (in NRC) are infiltrators,” Banerjee told reporters, pointing out that India enjoys excellent relations with Bangladesh. “Bangladesh is not a terrorist country. After Independence, many people from Pakistan came to Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab. From Bangladesh too, people came to Tripura, West Bengal, Bihar and many other states. They are not infiltrators or terrorists. Is it a crime that Bangladesh and we ( West Bengal) share the same mother tongue? They (the BJPled Centre) think, anybody who speaks Bangla is a Bangladeshi,” the Bengal CM said. RBI hikes repo rate by 25 bps; home and car loans to be costlier STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE MUMBAI, 1 AUGUST In line with equity and financial markets expectations, the Reserve Bank of India's six-member monetary policy committee or MPC today increased its policy repurchasing or repo rate (at which it lends short term loans to commercial banks) by 25 basis points or 0.25 per cent from 6.25 per cent to 6.50 per cent. This is the second successive rate hike by the central bank in as many policy pronouncements. The Governor Mr Urjit Patel justified the increase in policy rate citing upside risk to consumer price index linked or CPI inflation on account of recent announcement by the government to increase minimum support prices or MSP for a range of foodgrain produces and continuing volatility in the global crude oil prices. The Governor said despite global growth being on track and increasing along with economic activity, threat of trade war looms and raises the spectre of uncertainty. However, MPC while maintaining "neutral" policy stance also played down -- or took a more pragmatic view --- of likely upside risk to CPI-inflation. The MPC, the Governor said, based on its assessment of the current scenario and how the MSP hike plays out in coming months has projected CPI at 4.6 per cent for Q2 (JulySeptember) and 4.8 per cent for the second half of FY 2018-19. This may increase to 5 per cent in Q1 (April-June) of 2019-20 with the risk evenly balanced. CMYK 27 injured as gas balloon cylinder explodes Second increase in policy rate will make consumer buying of new vehicles, homes as well as appliances costlier. The bankers are likely to pass on the burden of cost of funds to borrowers. Banks, anaysts say, are already struggling to increase or boost credit take off to make their loans look more credible but the 0.25 per cent increase in repo rate will just make their task more daunting. They expect banks to announce a hike in interest rates on loans in coming week or so. The central bank has maintained the GDP growth for current fiscal at 7.4 per cent. For H1 ranging between 7.5 per cent and 7.6 per cent and 7.1 per cent to 7.4 per cent in H2. In Q1 2019-20 the GDP projection is 7.5 per cent satisfied with the economic growth, the Governor explained "Various indicators suggest the economic activity has continued to be strong. Progress of the monsoon so far and the sharper than usual increase in MSP of kharif are expected to boost rural demand by raising farmers' income. Robust corporate earnings, especially in FMCG, reflects buoyant rural demand. Investment activity remains firm despite tightening of financing conditions." These factors led the MPC to maintain "neutral" stance with a slight change in inflation projections. Deputy governor Mr Viral Acharya observed that the impact of MSP on inflation is a "challenging task" unless the measure taken by the government plays out over a period of time. However, analysts say the CPI inflation projections suggest the RBI does not expect a significant impact of MSPs as that is likely to be offset by other positive growth macros. Such increase, Mr Acharya said, operates via multiple channels. DURGAPUR , 1 AUGUST Twenty-seven people, including 14 children and 13 women, were today injured when a gas balloon cylinder exploded inside the CRPF Group Centre in Amarabati campus in Durgapur this afternoon. All of them were admitted to IQ City Super Speciality hospital where the condition of three women was stated to be serious. Sources said the incident occurred when the CRPF’s raising day programme was being held. Around 4 p.m. a hydrogen gas loaded cylinder, which had been brought from outside for filling balloons, suddenly exploded and school children along with their family members, mostly women, standing nearby were injured. They were rushed to the hospital. Three women, who had facial injuries were seen bleeding profusely. They were under trauma. The deputy medical superintendent of the hospital Dr Manish Kumar said 10 of the injured had fractures and were undergoing treatment while the condition of 14 others, including three women, was serious. Three of them were given first-aid. Deputy commissioner of police (east) of Asansol Durgapur police commissionerate Abhisekh Modi, the DCP (east) of Asansol Durgapur Police Commissionerate (ADCP) rushed to the hospital where CRPF jawans have been posted. DIG of CRPF S.Raveendran was said to be monitoring the situation. sns
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