www.thestatesman.com THURSDAY FIND US ONLINE 14 FEBRUARY 2019 Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 16+4 |` 5|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR P7 P6 WEATHER Generally cloudy sky. Hailstorm likely at isolated pockets. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 19 and 14 degrees Celsius respectively. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max.98% TEMPERATURE Max: 25.3°C (+2) SUN RISES 07:00 hrs MOON RISES 12:48 hrs THUMBNAILS An injured student is taken to SMHS Hospital in Srinagar on Wednesday, following an explosion at a school in Kakapora area of South Kashmir's Pulwama district. Several students were injured in the blast at the school, local (P5) media reported. AFP Lohani reappointed Air India CMD: Former Railway Board chairman Ashwani Lohani was on Wednesday appointed chairman and managing director (CMD) of Air India, according to a government order. This will be Lohani's second tenure as Air India chief. His first tenure in Air India was from August 2015 to August 2017, during which he helped pilot the organisation to a financial operating profit. Filipino scribe arrested: Maria Ressa, a highprofile Philippines journalist and vocal critic of President Rodrigo Duterte, was arrested on Wednesday in connection with "cyber libel" charges against her news website Rappler. Rappler said the charges were over an article it published in 2012. Ressa was indicted in relation to that case last week which was slammed by Amnesty International as "yet another absurd legal attack" that amounted P13 to "harassment". Iran assets: The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ruled that Iran can proceed with a bid to recover billions of dollars in frozen assets the United States says must go to victims of attacks blamed on Teheran. Judges of the court rejected US claims that the case should be thrown out because Iran had “unclean hands” due to alleged links to terrorism, and that the tribunal did not have jurisdiction. The court will hold further hearings to decide whether Iran can get back $2 billion frozen by the US Supreme Court in 2016. Koregaon-Bhima case: The Supreme Court on B Wednesday set aside the Bombay High Court order quashing the 90-day extension granted to the Maharashtra police for filing the charge sheet in the Koregaon-Bhima violence case and held that the accused were not entitled to the “benefit of default bail”. The apex court, however, clarified that since the charge sheet was filed, the accused might now seek regular bail from the trial court. P6 P15 P12 CAG report tabled in Parliament, Rahul Gandhi rejects it as 'not worth the paper it’s printed on', Jaitley claims vindication NEW DELHI, 13 FEBRUARY Min: 11.4°C (+1) SUN SETS 18:10 hrs MOON SETS 02:46 hrs CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: PSG STUN MAN UTD ‘NDA’s Rafale deal 2.86 pc cheaper’ STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE Min. 47% US WARNS AGAINST BUYING VENEZUELAN OIL MODI’S STRONG PITCH FOR MAJORITY GOVT ‘CONSTITUTIONAL BODIES NOT ABLE TO WORK HONESTLY’ CAG REPORT: KEY POINTS A mid a raging political firestorm over the Rafale fighter aircraft deal, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report said that the deal signed by the Narendra Modi government in 2016 to procure 36 Rafale jets from France's Dassault was 2.86 per cent cheaper than the Rafale deal negotiated during the previous Congress-led UPA regime in 2007. The CAG report on the Rafale deal was tabled in Parliament today, the last day of the 16th Lok Sabha's last session. Without disclosing pricing details in absolute terms, the CAG reportedly said the new Rafale deal was 6.54 per cent expensive in terms of engineering support package and performancebased logistics for the Indian Air Force, while the training costs have got 2.68 per cent expensive than the 2007 terms. The CAG flagged the drawbacks of settling for a "Letter of Comfort" rather than a sovereign guarantee by the French government and said Dassault benefited due to absence of such guarantees. It noted that the deal which was being negotiated in 2007 included a 15 per cent bank guarantee against advance payments. The 2016 deal for 36 Rafale jets through the InterGovernment Agreement signed with the French government is 2.86% cheaper than the UPA deal. There were savings of 17 per cent in India Specific Enhancements (ISEs) in the present deal. However, four ISEs were not required. The CAG flagged the drawbacks of settling for a Letter of Comfort rather than a sovereign guarantee by the French government. Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman had earlier said the deal struck by the Modi government was 9 per cent cheaper than the one negotiated by the previous Manmohan Singh government. The CAG report, however, was silent on the issue of Rafale deal-related offset partners ~ which has been a key point on which the Congress has been attacking the Modi government, alleging Rs 30,000 crore corruption involving Anil Ambani, whose Reliance Defence got one of its offset contracts. On India-specific enhancements, the CAG report said the BJP-led NDA government's deal was 17.08 per cent cheaper than the one negotiated by the UPA government in 2007, while the weapons package offered in the new deal was 1.05 per cent cheaper. For the overall Rafale deal, the CAG said it was 2.86 per cent cheaper than the one negotiated by the UPA government. The principal Opposition Congress dismissed the CAG report as a “Chowkidar Auditor General” report and “half-baked”, alleging that its claim that the Modi government's Rafale deal was 2.86 per cent cheaper than the UPA-era offer was "eyewash" and "manufactured". Congress president Rahul Gandhi has been on the offensive against the Modi government over the Rafale deal for months, calling PM Modi "chowkidar (watchman)" while alleging corruption in the deal. Gandhi said the CAG report did not mention the dissent note submitted by three defence ministry officials and domain experts who were part of the sevenmember Indian Negotiating Team (INT) with the French side before the deal was finally signed in September 2016. The Congress president said the CAG report was "not worth the paper it is written on". Both the BJP-led government and Ambani's company have been rejecting the Congress’ allegations on the Rafale matter. Soon after the CAG report was tabled in Parliament today, senior Union minister Arun Jaitley said the "lies" of the Congress and other Opposition parties on the Rafale issue was "exposed" as the CAG report outlined that as against the 2007 terms the 2016 deal was "lower" in terms of price and "faster" in terms of delivery while ensuring "better maintenance and lower escalation". PM's defence on pricing of Rafale deal demolished: Rahul PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 13 FEBRUARY Stepping up his attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the Rafale issue, Congress president Rahul Gandhi onWednesday cited a media report to claim that the PM's argument of better pricing and faster delivery of the jets to defend the deal has been“demolished”. His attack came after a report in The Hindu which claimed that the Rafale deal was not on”better terms” than the UPA-era offer. “The PM defended his personal RAFALE bypass deal on 2 counts: 1. Better Price 2. Faster Delivery. Both have been demolished by the revelations in the Hindu today,” he tweeted. The government has in the past rejected all such allegations and claims against the deal. Three senior Defence Ministry officials who were the domain experts on the seven-member Indian Negotiating Team (INT) came to a“well-substantiated and clear conclusion” that the Narendra Modi government's new Rafale deal for 36 flyaway aircraft was not on “better terms” than the offer made by Dassault Aviation during the procurement process for 126 aircraft under the United Progressive Alliance government, the report in the daily said. Raising slogans such as “chowkidar chor hai”, Congress lawmakers, including Rahul Gandhi, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and former prime minister Manmohan Singh, protested near the Gandhi statue in Parliament complex over the Rafale deal. Citing the report, Congress' chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said the “theft has been caught”. Surjewala highlighted four points citing the report ~ price of 36 Rafale jets was 55 per cent higher than the Opp leaders gun for Modi at Delhi show of unity PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 13 FEBRUARY Opposition leaders gathered on Wednesday for the third time in less than a month in a show of unity and mounted a blistering attack against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP , saying the two should be ousted in the coming elections as they are a threat to democracy and constitutional values. In fiery speeches at a mega rally,West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said the situation in the country is“more dangerous” than in an Emergency while her Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal said people should not repeat the mistake of making a “class 12 pass out” as prime minister and should back an “educated” leader. Besides Banerjee and Kejriwal, Andhra Pradesh chief minister andTDP chief Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal with West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and other Opposition leaders during an AAP-organised Opposition parties' protest rally at Jantar RITIK JAIN Mantar. In the Capital on Wednesday. Chandrababu Naidu, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah, SharadYadav of the Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD), NCP's Sharad Pawar, DMK's Kanimozhi, ex-Arunachal chief minister Gegong Apang, CPI-M general secretary SitaramYechury, CPI leader D Raja and Samajawadi Party leader Ram Gopal Yadav spoke at the rally at Jantar Mantar. Banerjee called on the opposition parties to fight unitedly at the national level to oust the BJP-led NDA from power. “Any fight with the Congress will remain in the state (West Bengal). At the national level, we will fight together, this I am saying from the heart... For the greater interest of the country, I am ready to sacrifice my life, my party,” she said, adding democracy in the country has become 'Namocracy'. TheTMC leader urged the opposition parties to play to their strengths and not cut into each others' votes. She also asked them to ensure they get all the seats in the states they are strong in. “I went to a Gandhi statue and and thought that Modi has to be removed”, she said,“People who have blood on their hands are ruling the country.” “It is the prime minister's last day as elected leader in Parliament today,” she said after the Lok Sabha adjourned sine die. “Everyone is afraid of Gabbar Singh. There are two of them ~ (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi and (BJP chief Amit) Shah,” she claimed. Banerjee also raised slogans ~ 'Modi Hatao, Loktantra Bachao. Modi Hatao, Desh Bachao'. The mega rally ~ “TanashahiHatao,LoktantraBachao Satygraha” ~ was convened by the Aam Aadmi Party, with Kejirwal, its chief, alleging Modi was trying to “tear apart the Constitution” and “destroy democracy”. “Last time you made a class 12 pass Prime Minister of the country. Do not commit the mistake this time and find someone who is educated....,” Kejriwal said, referring to questions raised on Modi's educational qualifications. Disgruntled BJP lawmaker Shatrughan Sinha too later joined the leaders and trained his guns at his own party's government. The rally was organised nearly three weeks after Banerjee hosted Opposition leaders in Kolkata in a similar show of strength on 19 January. On Monday, Naidu's day-long fast for special status to Andhra Pradesh became a rallying point for opposition leaders. Citizenship, triple talaq Bills set to die natural deaths PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 13 FEBRUARY The contentious Citizenship (amendment) Bill and the one on banning talaq-e-Biddat are set to lapse on 3 June, when the term of the present Lok Sabha ends, as they could not be passed in the Rajya Sabha which adjourned sine die on Wednesday. The Budget session was the last Parliament session of the present government. The 17th Lok Sabha has to be constituted before 3 June. The Lok Sabha polls are due this summer. Bills introduced in the Rajya Sabha and pending there do not lapse with the dissolution of the Lok Sabha. Bills passed by the Lok Sabha and pending in the Rajya Sabha lapse. The opposition had been opposing provisions of the two bills in Rajya Sabha where the government lacks numbers. The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 provides for Mulayam wishes PM Modi an encore STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam SinghYadav, whose party headed by his son Akhilesh Yadav is locked in a pre-poll political battle with BJP , onWednesday surprised all in the Lok Sabha for his abundant praise of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, expressing the hope that Modi along with all the sitting members would be reelected in the coming Lok Sabha elections. Though it was a statement made as part of his valedictory address, Mulayam Singh's praise of Modi was received with thumping of desks by the treasury benches. “I wish all MPs get elected again and come back to the Lok Sabha,” Mulayam Singh said while showering praise on the PM for doing works for his constituncy. "Pradhan mantri ko badhaai dena chahta hun ki pradhan mantri ne sabko saath lekar chalne ki koshish ki hai. Main kehna chahta hun ki saare sadaysa phir se jeet kar aayen, aur aap (PM) dobara pradhan mantri banein (I want to congratulate the PM for trying to take everybody along. I want to say that let all the MPs get re-elected. And you (Modi) become PM again.” The Prime Minister later returned the good wishes of the SP leader when he said he had already been blessed to come back to power and hoped to continue to work to abolish the archaic laws. He said he had already abolished 1400 such legislations during his tenure. according Indian citizenship to Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan after seven years of residence in India instead of 12 years, which is the norm currently, even if they do not possess any document. The legislation was passed by the Lok Sabha during theWinter Session on January 8 and has been awaiting the Rajya Sabha's nod. There has been strong oppo- NEW DELHI, 13 FEBRUARY sition to the bill in Assam and other North-eastern states. Student organisations, political parties and socio-cultural bodies have been protesting on the grounds that it seeks to grant nationality to non-Muslims who have come into India up to 31 December 2014, thereby increasing the deadline from 1971 as per the Assam Accord. Also, according to the Assam Accord, all illegal immigrants who have come after 1971, irrespective of their religion, have to be deported and this bill violates that. Two BJP chief ministers of the North-east ~ Arunachal Pradesh's Pema Khandu and Manipur's N Biren Singh ~ have also voiced their opposition to the contentious Bill. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that the bill is an “atonement of the wrong that was done during India's Partition. India will safeguard all who had been victims of the Partition”. The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) bill which makes the practice of instant triple talaq (talaq-eBiddat) a penal offence, is being opposed by opposition parties which claim that jail term for the husband for divorcing his wife is legally untenable. The government has promulgated the ordinance on triple talaq twice. Under the MuslimWomen (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Ordinance, 2019, divorcing through instant triple talaq will be illegal, void and would attract a jail term of three years for the husband A Bill to convert the earlier ordinance, issued in September, 2018, was cleared by the Lok Sabha in December and was pending in the Rajya Sabha. Since the Bill could not get parliamentary approval, a fresh ordinance was issued. Seeking to allay fears that the proposed law could be misused, the government has included certain safeguards in it such as adding a provision of bail for the accused before trial. These amendments were cleared by the Cabinet on 29 August 2018.While the ordinance makes it a“non-bailable” offence, an accused can approach a magistrate even before trial to seek bail. Parliament passes Budget Parliament onWednesday approved the Modi government's sixth and final Budget that gave Income Tax rebate to those earning up to Rs 5 lakh, an annual cash dole of Rs 6,000 to small farmers and pension for unorganised sector workers. While the Lok Sabha has passed the Appropriation Bills that gave Government authorisation of spending certain sums till the next government presents the full Budget for 2019-20, and the Finance Bill after full debate, the Rajya Sabha passed them without discussion on Wednesday, the last day of the session. UPA-era offer, loss incurred by not taking 25 per cent discount for Rafale as offered by Eurofighter, bank and sovereign guarantee waived, and no aircraft for 10 years with escalation cost to be paid. The Congress' attack came a day after Rahul Gandhi accused the prime minister of“treason” and violating the Official Secrets Act by acting as Anil Ambani's “middleman” in the Rafale jet contract, citing an email to claim the businessman was aware of the deal days before India and France finalised it. The BJP and Reliance Defence had rejected the charge, saying the email purportedly by an Airbus executive referred to a helicopter deal and not Rafale. Opp to work together to defeat BJP, say leaders NEW DELHI, 13 FEBRUARY Top opposition leaders held a meeting Wednesday, during which Congress president Rahul Gandhi and AAP's Arvind Kejriwal were seen together for the first time, and decided to work together with a common minimum programme to fight against the BJP-led NDA in the Lok Sabha polls. Gandhi told reporters after the meeting, hosted by NCP president Sharad Pawar at his residence, that opposition leaders agreed to have a common minimum programme. “We will work together to defeat the BJP he said. Delhi Chief ,” Minister Kejriwal termed the talks constructive and said the opposition will work together. The meeting indicates that the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party, who have been bitter rivals since the regional party came to power in Delhi in 2015, may forge a tie-up. Trinamul Congress president and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee called the meeting “fruitful” and asserted that “we will do pre-poll alliance”. Telugu Desam Party head and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu said there is a democratic compulsion to save India while Farooq Abdullah of the National Conferences termed the meeting “good”. Meanwhile, the NCP and the Congress finalised the seat-sharing agreement for their alliance in Maharashtra after Sharad Pawar and Rahul Gandhi met here. NCP leaders Praful Patel and Supriya Sule as well as Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and K C Venugopal were also present during the hour-long meeting. PTI
The Statesman is one of India's oldest English newspapers. It was founded in Kolkata in 1875 and is directly descended from The Friend of India (founded 1818). The Englishman (founded 1821) was merged with The Statesman in 1934. The Delhi edition of The Statesman began publication in 1931. The Statesman Weekly is a compendium of news and views from the Kolkata and Delhi editions. Printed on airmail paper, it is popular with readers outside India. The Statesman (average weekday circulation approximately 180,000) is a leading English newspaper in West Bengal. The Sunday Statesman has a circulation of 230,000.
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