FRIDAY www.thestatesman.com 28 AUGUST 2020 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 12 |` 5|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR ‘AATMANIRBHAR BHARAT TO BOOST GLOBAL STANDING’ ‘BIDEN, A TROJAN HORSE FOR RADICAL LEFT’ ‘CONG REVIVAL NEEDED FOR STRONG OPPN’ P4 WEATHER Generally cloudy sky with moderate rain/thundershowers towards afternoon/evening. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 33 and 25 degrees Celsius respectively. P5 DJOKOVIC ADVANCES, MEDVEDEV OUSTED P10 States stare at over `2L cr GST shortfall RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY 75K new Covid cases push tally past 33 lakh Centre gives two options to borrow via RBI; states get 7 days to decide Max: 85% P12 STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE Min: 57% Max: 35.6°C (+2) SUN RISES 05:58 hrs MOON RISES 15:30 hrs 33,10,234 NEW DELHI, 27 AUGUST TEMPERATURE Min: 26.2°C (0) SUN SETS 18:47 hrs MOON SETS 01:59 hrs THUMBNAILS During the lockdown in Kolkata to control the SNS spread of Covid cases. On Thursday. TikTok CEO resigns amidst US pressure: TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer resigned on Thursday amidst US pressure for its Chinese owner to sell the popular video app, which the US says is a security risk. His resignation comes after US President Trump ordered a ban on TikTok, unless parent company Bytedance sells its US operations to an P10 American company within 3 months. Anushka -Virat expecting first child: Actor V Anushka Sharma on Thursday announced that she is expecting her first child with cricketer husband Virat Kohli. The couple, who tied the knot in 2017, tweeted the news, alongside their picture, showing Anushka’s baby bump. “And then, we were three! Arriving January 2021,” the actor tweeted. NZ mosque shooter gets life term: 29-year-old Brenton Harrison Tarrant, who slaughtered 51 worshippers at two New Zealand mosques was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, the first time the maximum availP9 able sentence has been imposed. W ith Covid-19 disruptions making it impossible for the Central government to meet its obligation to provide compensation under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) law to states this year, the Centre proposed two options to the states to cover their compensation gap and meet their expenditure requirements. While addressing the media after chairing the 41st GST Council meeting, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the first option is to provide a special borrowing window to states, in consultation with the RBI, to provide Rs 97,000 crore at a “reasonable” interest rate. The money, the minister said, can then be repaid after 5 years from collection of cess. “The Centre will give a further relaxation of 0.5 per cent in states’ borrowing limit under the FRBM Act as the second leg of the first option. This will allow states to borrow more unconditionally to cover their compensation shortfall. States can choose to borrow more, beyond the expected compensation itself, since that is the injury caused by the pandemic," said the finance minister. The second option the government proposed is to meet the entire GST compensation gap this year itself through borrowings after consulting the RBI. 7,25,991 75,760 56,013 Union minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharaman chairs the 41st GST Council meeting via video conferencing, in New Delhi on Thursday. NEW DELHI, 27 AUGUST Expressing disagreement with its 2004 Constitution Bench verdict which ruled against giving preferential treatment to certain sub-castes within the Scheduled Castes, the Supreme Court on Thursday said this judgment needs to be revisited. A five-judge bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra and comprising Justices Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, M.R. Shah and Aniruddha Bose, said it is essential to reconsider the 2004 verdict in the E.V. Chinnaiah case and this matter should be placed before Chief Justice S A Bobde for appropriate direction. The court said states should SC refuses to allow Muharram processions be allowed to provide preferential treatment to the poorest of the poor among SCs and STs and advocated that an authoritative pronouncement was needed with respect to the effect of Constitutional provisions and whether sub-classification is permissible only with respect to the socially and educationally backward classes and not with respect to SCs and STs. The bench said it seems the 2004 verdict in the E.V. Chinnaiah case was not correctly decided, therefore it requires a reconsideration. The 2004 verdict in the E.V. Chinnaiah case was also decided by a five-judge bench. As a result, the matter would now have to go to a larger bench. This will be placed This year we are facing an extraordinary situation... we are facing an act of God which might even result in a contraction of the economy, to what per cent I am not getting into that NIRMALA SITHARAMAN UNION FINANCE MINISTER “We very clearly said in both the options... that we shall facilitate talking to the Reserve Bank and getting it at a G-Sec proportionate number of years linked rate for all the states so that each state does not have to go running for the loan and face different situations and in the process the bond yields (turn) higher. “So we said we will facilitate it, but the borrowing can be done in the name of the states and all states roughly can get the same rate of interest,” said Sitharaman. The states have been given seven days’ time to come back with their views on the options listed by the before the Chief Justice to refer it to a bench of seven judges or more. The current case came up before the Supreme Court after the Punjab and Haryana High Court struck down a state law, which empowered the government to sub-classify SC/STs for grant of quotas. The state government appealed against the 2010 verdict. The high court had struck down Section 4 (5) of the Punjab Scheduled Caste and Backward Classes (Reservation in Services) Act, 2006 and termed it unconstitutional. This Act gave first preference to Mazbhi Sikhs and Balmikis castes for SC quota in public services. Centre, so that a mechanism could be put in place as an exception this year to meet the fund needs of the states. “As soon as an arrangement is agreed upon by the GST Council, the Centre will clear the pending bimonthly compensation. The compensation amount due for April-July period stands at Rs 1.50 lakh crore. This year we are facing an extraordinary situation... we are facing an act of God which might even result in a contraction of the economy, to what per cent I am not getting into that. Therefore, we said that portion (of compensation) which strictly is hardwired in the (GST) Act, we will arrange, give it to you...,” said Sitharaman. As per the Finance Ministry, the GST compensation gap in FY21 is expected to be a staggering Rs 2.35 lakh crore. This is as the Centre expects to collect a mere Rs 65,000 crore from GST cess due to Covidimpacted, subdued economic activity. Finance Secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey shared that the current year has seen a slowing down of the economy due to Covid19 which has led to low GST collections. Recently, nonNDA-ruled states had asked for compensation of the GST revenue shortfall. Citing a legal opinion from the Attorney General, Pandey is of the view that compensation needs to be paid to states for five years, but this gap has to be met from the levy of cess. “Compensation cannot be paid from Consolidated Fund of India,” said Pandey. India on Thursday witnessed the worst-ever single day spike of 75,760 Covid-19 cases, the highest that has been recorded by any country in a day, pushing the national tally to 33,10,234, while the death toll breached the 60,000 mark with 1,017 more fatalities in the last 24 hours. Of the total 33,10,234 cases, 7,25,991 are active cases; 25,23,771 people have recovered from the contagion while a total of 60,472 have died due to the pandemic, the data from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) said. With 56,013 recoveries in a day, the recovery rate stood at 76.24 per cent while the fatality rate was 1.83 per cent. India’s Covid-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on 7 August and went past 30 lakh on 23 August. Maharashtra continued to be the worst-hit with a total of 7,18,711 cases and 23,089 deaths. Tamil Nadu is at the second spot with 3,97,261 cases and 6,839 deaths. Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, West Bengal, and Bihar follow. According to the fresh data from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), a total of 9,24,988 samples were tested in the last 24 hours with the total number of samples tested so far reaching 3,85,76,510. Five more volunteers were inoculated with the Oxford Covid-19 vaccine candidate in Pune district on Thursday as part of the phase II clinical trial launched in search for an antidote against the coronavirus infection that is showing no signs of abating in the country. On the global front, India remains the third worst-hit nation by the coronavirus, while the US Entire CWC should be elected: Ghulam Azad SNS & AGENCIES NEW DELHI, 27 AUGUST Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, who was among the 23 leaders who sent a letter to party president Sonia Gandhi calling for sweeping changes in the party, on Thursday iterated that the entire Congress Working Committee should be elected. “Anyone who has a genuine interest in the internal working dynamics of Congress would welcome our proposal to have every state and district president as being elected,” Azad, the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha said. “The intention is to make Congress active and strong. But those who simply got ‘appointment cards’ continue to oppose our proposal. What’s the harm in having elected CWC members who will have stable tenures in the party,” he said. Defending the demand for organisational elections in the letter, he said an appointed president right now “may not even have one per cent support”. “An election has the benefit that when you fight elections, at least your party is 51 per cent behind you. Right now, the person who becomes president might not even have one per cent support. If CWC members are elected then they cannot be removed. So what is the problem,” Ghulam Nabi Azad is reported to have said. “Those office-bearers or state unit presidents or block district presidents who attack our proposal know that they will be nowhere when elections happen. Whoever is genuinely invested in the Congress will welcome the letter," the Rajya Sabha member said. The letter written to interim party chief Sonia Gandhi by 23 Congress leaders including MPs and former ministers called for sweeping reforms, fair internal elections, collective decision-making and a “full-time, visible leadership”. Monday’s stormy CWC meeting, where the letter’s authors came under severe attack, reaffirmed Sonia Gandhi as interim party chief at the meeting, leaving the question of choosing her successor for later. Sibal's appeal: Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal on Thursday said the party needs to target the ruling BJP with “surgical strikes” rather than targeting its own, after a resolution was passed by a district unit in Uttar Pradesh for disciplinary action against Jitin Prasada, a leader from the state, for being part of the ‘group of 23’ who had sought urgent organisational reforms. An audio clip also went viral on social media platforms with claims of it purportedly containing the voice of the District Congress Committee head of Lakhimpur Kheri suggesting that the resolution was passed following directives of AICC (All India Congress Committee) Secretary Dheeraj Gurjar. However, Gurjar rejected the charge in a statement, saying he got to know about the resolution only after it was passed. Delay in JEE, NEET will lead to ‘zero year’: IIT heads PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 27 AUGUST NEW DELHI, 27 AUGUST The Supreme Court on Thursday declined permission for carrying out Muharram procession across the country and asked Lucknow-based petitioner to move before the Allahabad High Court with his plea. The apex court said how can it pass a general order for the whole country. A bench comprising Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian said it would lead to chaos and targeting of a particular community. If we allow this there will be chaos. Particular community will be targeted for spreading Covid. We don’t want that. We as a court cannot risk the health of all people, the bench (SEE P 5) said. SNS & PTI STATESMAN NEW SERVICE NEW DELHI, 27 AUGUST SC for relook at 2004 verdict on quota sub-classification STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE 60,472 PIB Further delay in conducting medical and engineering entrance exams NEET and JEE will lead to a ‘zero academic year’ and any quick alternative to the crucial exams will dilute the quality of education and have cascading effects, according to the Directors of several Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs). Amidst the chorus for postponement of the two exams in view of the rising Covid-19 cases, the IIT directors appealed to students to trust the institutions conducting the exam. “The pandemic has already disrupted the academic plans of many students and institutions and we don't see the virus going away anytime soon. We should not let this be a zero academic year as it might have consequences on the bright future of several students,” Ajit K Chaturvedi, Director, IIT Roorkee, said. He also said students and their parents need to have faith in the system. “The decision to conduct these exams has been taken after considering every aspect of the current situation. The government has been ensuring that all necessary arrangements are made to safeguard the health and safety of the students. Delaying the exams would have a cascading effect so we should come together in understanding its importance and support the system in conducting it seamlessly,” he added. According to Virendra Tewari, Director, IIT Kharag- pur, “The exams have a global reputation for seeking excellence and are considered one of the toughest and prestigious examinations in the world. A quick alternative to these tests will certainly not be as gratifying as competing for this examination by all fair means”. He said an alternative could be misused as a precedent to dilute the entire admission process to the IIT system which may prove to be harmful for the quality of undergraduate education at the IITs. “I urge the aspirants to take it up as a challenge and show their mettle and sincerity to the world,” he said. Sarit Kumar Das, Director, IIT Ropar, who is also a member of the Joint Admission Board (JAB) of IITs, said the decision to conduct the exams in September has not been taken overnight but after due consideration. “We have been discussing and looking at the possibilities of conducting the exam for quite some time. We have looked at the infrastructure, the safety of the students, how we can maintain the distancing and other norms and make it as safe as possible not only by discussing (amongst) ourselves but also with health experts and most importantly the conductors of the examination,” he said. While the NEET is scheduled to be held on 13 September , engineering entrance exam JEE Main has been planned from 1-6 September. Around 9.53 lakh candidates have registered for JEE-Mains and 15.97 lakh students have registered for NEET. Students want JEE, NEET exams to be conducted, says Pokhriyal NEW DELHI, 27 AUGUST Over 17 lakh candidates have already downloaded their admit cards for JEE and NEET, and this shows that the students want the exams to be conducted at any cost, Union Education minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ said on Thursday. The minister’s comments come against the backdrop of a growing chorus for postponement of the medical and engineering entrance exams in view of spike in Covid-19 cases. “National Testing Agency (NTA) officials told me that over 7 lakh candidates have downloaded JEE-Main admit cards while over 10 lakh aspirants have downloaded NEET admit cards. This shows that students want the exams be held at any cost,” Pokhriyal said. “We have received mails from students and parents who are in favour of holding exams as they have been preparing for the exams from at least two three years,” he added. These exams have already been deferred twice in the wake of the coronPTI avirus pandemic. UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. THURSDAY 27 AUGUST 2020 and Brazil lead with a total of 58,21,602 and 37,17,156 cases, respectively. The total number of cases across the globe has reached 2,41,76,836 while the total fatalities have reached 8,25,696. MHA denies allegation: The Union Home Ministry on Thursday has denied the allegation that it is putting pressure on the Delhi government not to increase Covid-19 tests to 40,000 in the national capital. “The allegation raised in the letter of the Health minister of Delhi Govt dated 27 August, 2020, which is addressed to the Union Home Secretary, to the effect that Ministry of Home Affairs is putting pressure on Delhi Govt officers not to increase testing in Delhi is false and baseless,” a spokesperson of the Ministry of Home Affairs tweeted. Delhi sees highest August spike of 1,840 virus cases STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 27 AUGUST Delhi reported 1,840 fresh coronavirus (Covid-19) cases today ~ its highest single-day spike in August so far ~ even as the city recorded 22 fresh fatalities due to Covid. This is the third successive single-day spike in coronavirus cases in the city this month. The Covid death toll in the national capital rose to 4,369 now, according to the Delhi government's latest health bulletin. Yesterday, 17 Covid deaths were recorded and the daily count of Corona cases was 1,693 ~ the previous highest single-day rise this month. The upswing in Delhi's single-day Covid case count continued today due to which its caseload mounted to 1,67,604, the health bulletin said. The number of coronavirus tests conducted in the city today was 21,061, including RTPCR/CBNAAT/TrueNat tests and rapid antigen tests. The cumulative number of recovered Covid patients in the national capital increased to 1,50,027, including 1,130 new cases discharged today. The recovery rate came down to 89.51 per cent from yesterday's 89.82 per cent. The city had 13,208 active cases and those hospitalised numbered 4,772 now. The count of Covid patients undergoing treatment on home isolation was 6,596. According to the health bulletin, the total number of containment zones jumped to 734 from 716 yesterday. SEE PAGE 2
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.