WEDNESDAY www.thestatesman.com 02 SEPTEMBER 2020 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 12 |` 5|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR ‘CENTRE ABDICATING RESPONSIBILITY ON GST COMPENSATION’ P4 WEATHER Generallly cloudy sky with possibility of very light rain/drizzle. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 35 and 26 degrees Celsius respectively. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max: 89% P5 P12 P10 SC grants telcos 10 years to clear AGR-related dues Pranab Mukherjee cremated with full military honours He was given a 21-gun military salute and those handling the mortal remains wore PPE kits SNS&AGENCIES NEW DELHI, 1 SEPTEMBER Min: 54% TEMPERATURE Max: 34.7°C (0) SUN RISES 06:00 hrs MOON RISES 19:07 hrs BARCA HIGH-UPS WANT HAPPY EXIT FOR MESSI TRUMP GOES MOSTLY DARK IN TV ADVERTISING FIGHT ALLIANCE A REALITY IN BIHAR: SUSHIL MODI Min: 24.8°C (-2) SUN SETS 18:41 hrs MOON SETS 06:44 hrs THUMBNAILS Auto, taxi and bus owners protest for their various demands, in the Capital on SNS Tuesday. Kafeel Khan’s detention quashed: Allahabad High Court on Tuesday quashed the detention of Dr Kafeel Khan under the National Security Act and ordered his immediate release. The bench, comprising Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Saumitra Dayal Singh, passed the order on a petition filed by Khan's mother Nuzhat Parveen. The petition alleged that Khan was granted bail in February by a competent court and he was supposed to be released on bail. However, he was not released for four days and the NSA was subsequently invoked against him. Hence, his detention was P4 illegal, the petition argued. Rajiv Kumar takes over as Election Commissioner: Ex-bureaucrat Rajiv Kumar on Tuesday assumed charge as the new Election Commissioner. He takes the place vacated by Ashok Lavasa who joins the Asian Development Bank as vice president. Kumar, a retired 1984-batch IAS officer of the Jharkhand cadre, will have a five-year tenure and retire in 2025. He will preside over the next Lok Sabha polls in 2024. F ormer President Pranab Mukherjee, who passed away here at Army's R&R Hospital during treatment on Monday at the age of 84, was cremated with full military honours on Tuesday afternoon at the Lodhi Road crematorium following a strict Covid-19 precautionary protocol. His son Abhijit Mukherjee performed the final rites accompanied by a 21-gun military salute. Only close family members were allowed to enter the crematorium unlike previous cremation ceremonies of such dignitaries, and those handling the mortal remains of Mukherjee wore PPE kits. Following Covid-19 precautionary protocol, President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi led a galaxy of top political leaders who paid floral tributes to the departed soul at his 10, Rajaji Marg residence. Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat were among those who joined the rest of the nation in bidding adieu to the 'People's President'. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, BJP President J.P. Nadda, Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, Shashi Tharoor, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, CPI General Secretary D.Raja, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, and many others paid homage to Mukherjee, who passed away on Monday evening after weeks in coma following a brain surgery. The mortal remains of the 13th President were brought to his residence from the Army Research and Referral Hospital, around 9.30 a.m.In keeping with the military tradition, the three service chiefs placed wreaths on Mukherjee's body before politicians cutting SNS&PTI NEW DELHI, 1 SEPTEMBER Army personnel pay tributes as mortal remains of former President Pranab Mukherjee are being taken to Lodhi Road crematorium from his SUBRATA DUTTA residence for the final rites, in the Capital on Tuesday. across party lines paid their floral tributes. The tricolour that was wrapped around Mukherjee's body was removed and given to his family for the last rites. A man of unparalleled experience in governance, Mukherjee had gone into septic shock because of his lung infection and was hospitalised on August 10 in a critical condition. The veteran Parliamentarian served as the Union Foreign, Defence, Commerce and Finance Minister. Born on December 11, 1935 in the small village of Mirati in Birbhum District of West Bengal, Mukherjee acquired a Master's degree in History and Political Science as well as a degree in Law from the University of Kolkata. Mukherjee then embarked on his professional life as a college teacher and journalist. Inspired by his father's contribution to the Independence movement, Mukherjee embarked upon full-fledged public life following his election to the Rajya Sabha in 1969. He served as Deputy Minister, Industry; Shipping and Transport, Steel and Industry and Minister of State for Finance during 1973-75. He assumed office as the Finance Minister of India for the first time in 1982 and was Leader of the House in the Rajya Sabha from 1980 to 1985. He became Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission from 1991 to 1996; concurrently Minister for Commerce from 1993 to 1995 and Minister of External Affairs from 1995 to 1996; Minister of Defence from 2004 to 2006. He again served as the Minister of External Affairs from 2006 to 2009 and Minister of Finance from 2009 to 2012. He was Leader of the House in the Lok Sabha from 2004 to 2012. Mukherjee assumed office as the 13th President of India on July 25, 2012 and served his full fiveyear term till 2017. As President, Mukherjee lent dignity to the highest office and left an imprint with his scholarly and humanitarian outlook on national and international affairs. A prolific reader, Mukherjee has authored several books on an eclectic variety of subjects including the Indian economy and nation-building. The many honours conferred upon him include the Best Parliamentarian Award in 1997, the Padma Vibhushan in 2008 and the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award, in 2019. The government has announced a seven-day State mourning from August 31 to September 6 as a mark of respect to the leader. The tricolour is flying half-mast on all buildings throughout the country. There will be no official entertainment during these seven days. SEE INSIDE PAGES The Supreme Court on Tuesday granted 10 years to telecom firms such as Vodafone Idea, Bharti Airtel and Tata Teleservices for paying the Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR)-related dues to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) with certain conditions. The apex court asked telcos to pay 10 per cent of the AGR-related dues by 31 March 2021. A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra held that the demand made by the DoT and the verdict delivered by the top court in the matter is final. The bench asked the Managing Directors (MDs) or Chief Executive Officer (CEOs) of the telcos concerned to furnish undertaking or personal guarantee within four weeks for payment of dues. Failure to pay the instalments of the dues would incur penalty, interest and contempt of court, the bench cautioned the telecom firms. The top court said that the issue of sale of the spectrum by telcos facing insolvency proceedings shall be decided by the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT). The bench delivered its verdict on the issues, including the timeline for staggered payment of AGR- related dues amounting to about Rs 1.6 lakh crore. While pronouncing the verdict, the bench said that till the last instalment is paid by the telcos, their bank guarantees furnished to the DoT would be kept alive. During an earlier hearing, the bench had also heard arguments on the point as to whether spectrum can be sold by telecom companies facing proceedings under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) and how the AGRrelated dues can be recovered from them. The top court had in October 2019 delivered a verdict on the AGR issue, primarily its definition for calculating government dues of telecom companies such as licence fee and spectrum usage charges. The DoT in March this year moved a plea seeking permission for allowing staggered payment of the dues by telcos over a period of 20 years. The bench reserved the verdict on July 20 on staggered payments, saying that it will not hear “even for a second” the arguments on reassessment or re-calculation of the AGRrelated dues. Prior to this, it had asked the telecom companies to file their books of accounts for the last ten year and give a reasonable time frame for clearing the dues. Covid-19: Tally nears 37 lakh; 1 recovery rate 76.94 per cent Moratorium on loan repayment extendable by 2 yrs: Centre, RBI to SC STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE The Centre and Reserve Bank of India on Tuesday informed the Supreme Court that the moratorium on repayment of loans is extendable by up to two years but a waiver of interest on interest during moratorium would go against the basic canons of finance, On August 6, a RBI circular had permitted lenders to allow a moratorium of up to two years. In an affidavit, the Ministry said: "The resolution plans may inter alia include rescheduling of payments, conversion of any interest accrued, or to be accrued, into another credit facility, or, granting of moratorium, based on an assessment of income streams of the borrower, subject to a maximum of two years." The affidavit was filed in NEW DELHI, 1 SEPTEMBER Of the top six worst Covid-hit states, Delhi, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh have peaked out while new cases in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh are not yet seeing a downward curve. According to a Covid tracker report by JM Financial, of the top 6 worst-hit states, Delhi, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh have peaked out based on a 7-day moving average. The top 20 districts constitute 39 per cent of total cases led by Delhi. The others are Pune, Mumbai, Chennai, Thane, Bengaluru Urban, East Godavari, Hyderabad, Kurnool, Hyderabad, Anantapur, Kolkata, Nashik, Visakhapat- nam, West Godavari, Chittoor, Guntur, North-24 Paraganas, Ahmedabad, Raigad, SPS Nellore. India’s Covid-19 tally is though the third-largest in the world, India's recovery rate has been steady and the death rate is moderating. India's deaths-to-positives ratio has moderated to 1.79 per cent versus 1.86 per cent last week. The daily recoveries-to-new cases ratio for India averaged 88 per cent in line with last week, the Ministry of Health data showed. As per the tracker, the daily growth in cases is now lower than testing per million. The deaths per test for India remain below most nations while the daily growth in testing per million (at 2.4 per cent) is now above daily case growth (at 2.2 per cent). 36,91,166 7,85,996 69,921 65,081 65,288 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. TUESDAY 01 SEPTEMBER 2020 STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 1 SEPTEMBER JEE Mains held amid stringent precautions PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 1 SEPTEMBER The Joint Entrance Exam (JEE)Mains for admission to engineering colleges began on Tuesday amid stringent precautions and social distancing measures in view of COVID19 pandemic. Staggered entry and exit for candidates, sanitisers at the gate, distribution of masks and maintaining social distancing as candidates queued up, were among the scenes witnessed at the exam centres across the country. The exam which has been postponed twice in view of COVID-19 pandemic is scheduled from September 1 to 6. “Hand sanitisers are being made available at the entrance of the examination centre and inside the exam hall at all times. The usual process of checking the admit cards of candidates has been replaced with barcode readers, which have been made available to the examination centre authorities,” said an official of the National Testing Agency (NTA). “While all the candidates are asked to go to the exam centres with masks and sanitisers, once they enter the centre, they have to use the masks provided by the examination authority. Each candidate will be offered a 3-ply mask at the time of entry and expected to wear the same during the examination in order to avoid any form of unfair means at the time of examination,” the official added. The first shift of the exam began at 9.30 am while the sec- ond shift will begin from 2.30 pm. “Before the start of each exam shift and after the last shift ends, all seats will be thoroughly sanitised and the work stations and keyboards will be disinfected,” the NTA official said. Over 9 lakh candidates have registered for the JEEMains exam for admission to engineering courses in IITs, NITs and Centrally Funded Technical Institutions (CFTIs). Increasing the number of examination centres, alternate seating plans, fewer candidates per room and staggered entry and exit are among the steps the National Testing Agency has taken for safely conducting the crucial exam. While the governments of Odisha, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh have assured students that they will provide transportation to candidates, a group of IIT alumni and students have also launched a portal to provide transport facilities to exam centres for the candidates in need. There has been a growing chorus for postponing JEEMains and medical entrance exam NEET amid the rising number of COVID-19 cases. The Supreme Court had earlier dismissed a plea seeking postponement of the two exams amid a spurt in the number of COVID-19 cases, saying a “precious year” of students cannot be wasted and life has to go on. Based on the results of the JEE-Mains Paper 1 and Paper 2, the top 2.45 lakh candidates will be eligible to appear for the JEE-Advanced exam. response to a bunch of petitions demanding waiver of interest, or waiver of interest on interest on the deferred EMIs during the moratorium period. The affidavit stated that the moratorium period, if granted, shall come into force immediately upon implementation of the resolution plan. Appearing for the RBI and the central government, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta contended before a bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan that the Centre is in the process of identifying the distressed sectors to decide what kind of relief could be provided, as per the impact of the hit they have taken. The ministry said with the August 6 RBI circulars, banks were fully empowered to resolve Covid-related stress and customise relief to individual Delhi sees highest Covid spike in about 2 months STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 1 SEPTEMBER Delhi today recorded 2,312 new Covid-19 cases ~ its highest single-day Covid spike in nearly two months ~ which took the city's coronavirus tally to 1,77,060. Eighteen fatalities due to coronavirus have been recorded today that pushed Delhi's Covid toll to 4,462. The city has seen a fresh surge in daily Covid cases in recent days. Delhi's new round of serosurvey began today covering all 272 municipal wards. (SEE P2) borrowers through grant of various concessions in terms of: "(i) alteration in the rate of interest and haircut on amount payable as interest; (ii) extension of the residual tenor of the loan, with or without moratorium, by up to two years; (iii) waiving penal interest and charges; (iv) rescheduling repayment; (v) converting accumulated interest into a fresh loan with a deferred payment schedule; and (vi) sanction of additional loan." The Ministry said the RBI circulars take care of the MSME sector, personal loans and corporate loans, keeping in mind the overall financial stability of the economy, economic stability of the banking sector and interest of the depositors in mind. "It is respectfully submitted that considering the fact that the time limit for con- tinuance of the present economic issues is uncertain, as a policy it is undesirable to give any 'one-size fit all' solutions," said the affidavit. The ministry insisted that in any banking sector when financial assistance is rendered by way of loans, a balance has to be maintained with the interest of crores of depositors, most of whom are merely depositors and surviving on the interest they receive on their deposits. "On an approximate basis, there are over 197 crore deposit accounts in the country in commercial banks alone, in which depositors have deposited their money and are earning interest," added the ministry. Elaborating on the extendable moratorium, the ministry said this extended moratorium becomes part of an individualised solution for a bor- rower and is made available along with other interventions. "Thus, a borrower, who is fearful of being in default as on 1st September and becoming an NPA soon thereafter, could continue to avail moratorium as a part of the resolution plan implemented in terms of the above circular," said the ministry. Mehta clarified that the moratorium is capable of being extended by two years as per the circular. He also informed the top court that the Centre has filed its reply on the powers under Disaster Management Act, and urged the court to allow Centre, RBI, bankers associations to sit together. The bench replied that it has been hearing about this meeting since past three hearings on the matter. Mehta submitted that they will identify the class of borrowers. Facebook staff abusing PM: Prasad writes to Zuckerberg SNS& AGENCIES NEW DELHI, 1 SEPTEMBER In the middle of a huge controversy over reports alleging a Facebook executive was biased towards members of the ruling BJP the government , has written to Mark Zuckerberg alleging quite the opposite. Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, in a strongly worded letter to the Facebook founder, alleged that employees of the social media giant "are on record abusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi and senior cabinet ministers" while still working in Facebook India and managing important positions. However, he said, there were attempts through "selective leaks" to portray a different reality. The "interference in India's political process through gossip, whispers and innuendo is condemnable. This collusion of Facebook with the international media is giving a free run to malevolent vested interests to cast aspersions on the democratic process of our great democracy," he wrote. The IT minister wrote he had been told that in the run- up to the 2019 election, "there was a concerted effort by the Facebook India management to not just delete pages or substantially reduce their reach but also offer no recourse or right of appeal to affected people who are supportive of the right-of-centre ideology". Mr Prasad wrote citing "credible media reports" that the Facebook India team, right from the managing director to other senior officials, "is dominated by people who belong to a particular political belief". He added that "people from this political predisposition have been overwhelmingly defeated in successive free and fair elections."
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