CMYK MONDAY www.thestatesman.com 25 FEBRUARY 2019 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 16 |` 5.00|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR KEJRIWAL TO SIT ON INDEFINITE FAST OVER STATEHOOD DEMAND P2 P10 WEATHER Generally cloudy sky with a few spells of rain. Temperature will be in the range of 29 and 21 degrees Celsius RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max. 78% Min. 28% Max: 32.3°C (+2) SUN RISES 06:01 hrs MOON RISES 23.31 hrs Min: 21.2°C (+3) SUN SETS 17:38 hrs MOON SETS 10:31 hrs TEMPERATURE Next moon quarter on 4 March THUMBNAILS Shooting star: Sixteen-year-old Saurabh Chaudhary beat the men standing in his way to claim gold with a new record in the ISSF World Cup, securing India's third Olympic quota, but there was disappointment for Manu Bhaker. Unfazed by a field comprising seasoned campaigners, Chaudhary smashed the men's 10m air pistol world record in his maiden senior World Cup appearance, at the season-opening International Shooting Sport Federation event. Qualification topper Manu, however, finished fifth in the women's 25m pistol event. Arunachal firing: Two agitators were killed and another injured in alleged police firing as protests over recommendations of granting permanent resident certificates to six communities escalated on Sunday in Arunachal Pradesh. Police opened fire when protesters tried to attack the private residence of Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Pema Khandu at ESS sector in Itanagar in the afternoon, in which two men, aged between 20 and 24 years, were killed. Earlier, protesters had set ablaze P4 the home of deputy CM Chowna Mein. India lose first T20: A profligate Umesh Yadav undid all the good work done by Jasprit Bumrah as Australia edged out India by three wickets in a last-ball thriller in the first T20 International in Visakhapatnam Sunday. With 14 required off the last over, Umesh was hit for a boundary each by Jhye Richardson and Pat Cummins as they reached the target of 127 off the last delivery of the match. This was after Jasprit Bumrah (3/16 in 4 overs) bowled an incredible 19th over to bring India back in P12 the match. P9 PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 24 FEBRUARY Not a poll gimmick, says PM; slams Opposition parties PRESS TRUST OF INDIA GORAKHPUR, 24 FEBRUARY rime Minister Narendra Modi Sunday launched the ambitious Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) scheme transferring the first instalment of Rs 2,000 each to over one crore farmers, as he slammed the opposition alleging they “remember farmers once in 10 years ~ just before elections”. Initiating the electronic transfer of Rs 2,000 each, he said the first instalment of money under the scheme has been deposited in accounts of 1.01 crore farmers and those who have been left out will get it soon. “The first instalment of money under the scheme has been deposited in the bank accounts of the farmers directly...those who have been left out will get it soon,” Modi told the gathering at the Fertiliser Corporation of India ground here. The PM also interacted with a select group of farmers, representing different states, through video-conferencing and took a swipe at his political rivals. “They remember farmers once in 10 years ~ just before elections. They get fever of loan waiver and distribute it as 'revari” (dole) to garner votes....they did not know that Modi will expose them this time,” he said. The Prime Minister started his speech by chanting P Prime Minister Narendra Modi takes a holy dip at Sangam, the confluence of the rivers Ganges and Yamuna and mythical Saraswati, on Sunday. AFP 'Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan' and said that for his government, the Rs 75,000-crore scheme is not an election promise. He said he talked about it in Parliament only after making budgetary allocations for it. “Loan waivers would have been easy and convenient for us too. We could also have distributed 'revari' for political and election benefits, but we can't commit such a sin. Loan waiver benefits only a select few,” he said. Taking a jibe at opposition parties, he said that previous governments made schemes for farmers “only on paper”. “Our opponents have become dispirited because after PM Kisan Samman Nidhi, farmers will support Modi. We make even the impossible possible,” he said. “The Congress, the 'mahamilavat' (highly adulterated)...SP BSP they are all , , the same,” he said. “The state governments that are doing politics and not sending the list of farmers will face the curse of farmers,” he stressed. Targeting the Congress governments on the issue of loan waiver, Modi said, “They gave loan waiver of Rs 52,000 crore in 10 years and we are giving Rs 75,000 crore to farmers every year.” He also accused the Congress-led UPA government of not working on MSP and sitting on the related file since 2007 which forced farmers to take loans. Modi urged the farmers to beware of any trap and rumours stressing “this is your money and it will not be taken back”. “The previous governments did not have the intention to help the farmers so they could not take the right decisions... and so in 2014 you gave the BJP an opportunity to change this situation.” To boost demand in the real estate sector, the GST Council on Sunday slashed tax rates for under-construction flats to 5 per cent andaffordable homes to 1 per cent, effective April 1. Currently, the goods and services tax (GST) is levied at 12 per cent with input tax credit (ITC) on payments made for under-construction property or readyto-move-in flats where completion certificate is not issued at the time of sale. For affordable housing units, the existing tax rate is 8 per cent. With regard to lotteries, the GST Council deferred a decision with Jaitley saying that the Group of Ministers (GoM) will meet again to discuss the proposal. Curren- The council has expanded the definition of affordable housing for the purpose of availing GST benefits to those flats costing up to Rs 45 lakh and measuring 60 sq metre carpet area in metros and 90 sq metre carpet area in non-metros. tly, state-run lotteries attract 12 per cent GST, while stateauthorised ones carry 28 per cent tax. Briefing reporters after the 33rd meeting of the GST Council, Jaitley said consumers felt that the benefits of ITC were not being passed on to them by buil- ders, and hence a GoM was set up to suggest changes in taxation on real estate. The minister said that currently GST is levied at 12 per cent on normal residential houses and 8 per cent on affordable homes after considering one-third abatement on account of land cost. “The council has decided that after removal of ITC, the rates will be 5 per cent for normal housing properties and 1 per cent for affordable housing,” he said. To ensure that the real estate sector does not go back to cash on account of removal of ITC, Jaitley said the builders will have to purchase a “very high percentage” (which will be decided by a committee) of their inputs from GST registered dealers. The reduction in rates will give a boost to housing for all and fulfil aspirations of the neo-middle class, he said. The council also expanded the definition of affordable housing for the purpose of availing GST benefits to those flats costing up to Rs 45 lakh and measuring 60 sq metre carpet area in metros (Delhi-NCR, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai-MMR and Kolkata) and 90 sq metre carpet area in non-metros. For GST applicability on affordable housing, currently there is no valuation threshold and the calculation of carpet area varies from project to project. With regard to those properties where construction work has already begun, Jaitley said a committee of officers will draft the transition rules and frame guidelines. MAJESTIC SOLITUDE A view of the National War Memorial in New Delhi. It will be inaugurated by PM Modi on Monday. SUBRATA DUTTA India creating war frenzy: Pak foreign minister Cop, soldier, three ISLAMABAD, 24 FEBRUARY Pakistan wants peace, but India is creating a “war frenzy”, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi claimed on Sunday, amidst simmering tensions between the two countries following the Pulwama terror attack that killed 40 CRPF soldiers. Addressing the media following a consultative meeting of the government in the wake of the Pulwama attack in Kashmir, Qureshi also said that Pakistan was trying to defuse tensions and has written to the UN, seeking the world body's intervention. Forty Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were killed on Feb- ruary 14 in Jammu and Kashmir when a suicide bomber of Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) rammed an explosive-laden vehicle into their bus in Pulwama district, sparking outrage in the country. After the attack, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said security forces were given a free hand to avenge the act. “Pakistan wants peace and I want to give clear message that India is creating war frenzy but if it thinks that it can bring Pakistan under pressure or browbeat us, then it should get rid of this notion because this nation is united like a fist,” Qureshi said. “Don't even think of looking at Pakistan with an evil eye,” he warned as he asked New Delhi to “change its attitude towards” Islamabad. Stating that India has issued a circular to cancel leaves of nurses, doctors and paramedics in Jammu and Kashmir, he asked, ”What impression does it want to give?” Qureshi also recalled that former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti has said that “you can press the people but not their ideas”. He asked Indian politicians to counsel the BJPled government in New Delhi to follow restraint. Qureshi, who met former foreign secretaries and envoys on Sunday, said the consultations were held to get their input to tackle emerging developments in the wake of the Pulwama attack. India launched a diplomatic offensive against Islamabad after the Pulwama attack and highlighted Pakistan's role in using terrorism as an instrument of state policy. Give peace a chance, says Imran: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday asked his Indian counterpart to “give peace a chance” and assured him that he “stands by” his words and will “immediately act” if New Delhi provides Islamabad with “actionable intelligence” on the Pulwama attack. Khan's remarks came a day after Modi, in a rally in Rajasthan, said, “There is consensus in the entire world against terrorism. We are moving ahead with strength to punish the perpetrators of terrorism...The scores will be settled this time, settled for good.” A statement released by the Pakistan Prime Minister's Office said, “PM Imran Khan stand by his words that if India gives us actionable intelligence, we will immediately act.” PM Modi should “give peace a chance”, Khan said in the statement. Pope vows 'all-out battle' against Church sexual abuse AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE VATICAN CITY, 24 FEBRUARY Pope Francis on Sunday vowed to tackle every single case of sexual abuse by priests in the Roman Catholic Church, comparing paedophilia to “human sacrifice” in a speech that left victims cold. His public address to top bishops at the end of a landmark summit in the Vatican promised an “all-out battle” against abusive priests, but blamed the devil and insisted the Church was not the only place children were assaulted. “If in the Church there should emerge even a single case of abuse - which already in itself represents an atrocity - that case will be faced with the utmost seriousness”, Francis promised. “I am reminded of the P12 GST slashed on affordable housing Modi launches `75k cr farmer support scheme PRESS TRUST OF INDIA Bangladesh plane hijack bid: Bangladesh commandos on Sunday killed an armed man, who allegedly made a bid to hijack a Dubaibound flight of the state-run Biman Airlines carrying 148 passengers. The flight, en route Dubai from Dhaka, landed at the Shah Amanat International Airport in Chattogram following the hijack bid. According to the army, the suspect, a Bangladeshi national identified as Mahadi, refused to surrender when asked to and died of gunshot wounds as the commanP9 dos raided the plane. ‘OSTRACISE PAKISTAN FROM GLOBAL CRICKET’ KIM HEADS TO VIETNAM AHEAD OF TRUMP SUMMIT VENEZUELA’S GUAIDO RAMPS UP PRESSURE cruel religious practice, once widespread in certain cultures, of sacrificing human beings - frequently children - in pagan rites,” he said. The sexual abuse of minors was “a widespread phenomenon in all cultures and societies,” Francis said, and he slammed those priests who prey on children as “tools of Satan”. “I make a heartfelt appeal for an all-out battle against the abuse of minors both sexually and in other areas... for we are dealing with abominable crimes that must be erased from the face of the earth,” he said. Children must be “protected from ravenous wolves”, he said, adding: “We stand face to face with the mystery of evil”. The scandals have hit countries around the world, with lives devastated from Australia to Chile, Germany and the US. The Argentine had opened the four-day meeting by calling for “concrete measures” against child sex abuse and handing 114 senior bishops a roadmap to shape the debate on tackling paedophile priests. The 82-year-old had warned victims to lower their expectations, saying much of the work would be done post-summit. Swiss victim Jean-Marie Furbringer said: “Honestly it's a pastoral 'blabla', saying it's the fault of the devil”. “It talks about the devil, it talks about evil... There is no talk about permanently excluding child rapists and abusers who are employees of the Church,” said Britain's Peter Saunders, a victim who resigned from a Vatican advisory commission on combating abuse. “From a child protection point of view it's been a waste of time. From keeping the world's eyes on this institution and its failure to protect children, it's been a great success,” he said. The meeting has been marked by soul-seeking and self-recrimination by the Church, and horror stories from abuse victims. In his lengthy speech, Francis said the Church would draw inspiration from the “best practices” in the Seven Strategies for Ending Violence against Children, measures developed under the guidance of the World Health Organisation (WHO). CMYK He said the Church “in developing her legislation” will focus on eight aspects: “the protection of children”, “impeccable seriousness”, “genuine purification”, “formation”, “strengthening and reviewing guidelines by Episcopal Conferences” and “accompaniment of those who have been abused”. Those gathered at the Vatican heard testimonies from victims, one of whom was forced to have three abortions after being abused for years by a priest who beat her, while another said he had been molested more than 100 times. “The echo of the silent cry of the little ones who, instead of finding in them fathers and spiritual guides encountered tormentors, will shake hearts dulled by hypocrisy and by power,” Francis said. JeM terrorists killed in Kulgam encounter STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE JAMMU, 24 FEBRUARY A deputy superintendent of police (DSP) of Jammu and Kashmir police and an Army NCO were killed and a major and a jawan injured on Sunday in an encounter in Turigam village of Kulgam in south Kashmir. Three terrorists of the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) outfit were also killed in the encounter; their identities were yet to be established. Two to three terrorists were reportedly holed up in a residential building in the village. The DSP has been identified as Aman Thakur. He was leading the team of the Special Operation Group (SOG) of the J&K Police when he was hit in the head. He was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was declared brought dead, said reports. Army havaldar Sombir, injured during the encounter, succumbed in the military hospital, reports said. The other injured Army personnel have been rushed to the military hospital at Srinagar. Following credible input, the security forces had, earlier in the day, launched a cordon-and-search operation in the village. The encounter broke out when the search parties of the 34 Rashtriya Rifles (RR), CRPF and SOG got near the house where the terrorists were hiding. Clashes broke out in the area as a large number of stone pelters and miscreants gathered there to enable the terrorists escape the cordon. Police burst teargas shells to chase away the miscreants. State DGP Dilbag Singh and J&K Police personnel paid Life paralysed in Valley JAMMU, 24 FEBRUARY Amidst curfew in five police station areas of downtown Srinagar and deployment of security forces, normal life remained paralysed in the Kashmir valley on Sunday. The Hurriyat leadership had called a shutdown ahead of hearing on the controversial Article 35A in the Supreme Court and arrest of some separatists and fundamentalist elements. Business establishments remained shut and vehicular traffic mostly remained off the road. Security forces have been deployed in strength. Authorities in Srinagar had imposed curfew within Khanyar, Rainawari, Nowhatta, Safakadal and MR Gunj police station areas of Srinagar as a precautionary measure. Mobile internet services were slowed down to 2G conSNS nectivity. rich tributes to the martyred DSP Thakur. A police spokesman said that Thakur was a 2011 batch KPS officer who was leading the operation against the terrorists from the front. He had been heading the counter terrorism wing of police in the Kulgam district from the last 18 months and had played a key role in elimination of many dreaded terrorists. He belonged to Gogla village in Doda district of Jammu and is survived by his parents, wife and a six year old son.
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