WEDNESDAY www.thestatesman.com 16 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 DOVAL STORMS OUT OF SCO MEET OVER PAKISTAN’S FICTITIOUS MAP WEATHER Partly cloudy sky. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 38 and 25 degrees Celsius respectively. TOYOTA HALTS INDIA EXPANSION, BLAMES ‘HIGH TAXES’ P4 THE RICHEST OF THEM ALL IS MESSI NAVALNY LOOKS GAUNT IN PICTURE FROM HOSPITAL P8 P10 P12 Rajnath talks tough on China, Cong MPs storm out RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY China’s attempt to unilaterally alter status quo not at all acceptable, says defence minister Max: 90% STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE Covid battle far from over, Harsh Vardhan tells Rajya Sabha Min: 48% TEMPERATURE Max: 37.4°C (+4) SUN RISES 06:07 hrs MOON RISES 4:41 hrs Min: 26.0°C (+1) SUN SETS 18:25 hrs MOON SETS 18:01 hrs THUMBNAILS A woman dries food grain along railway tracks near slums in the Capital on Tuesday. AMARJEET SINGH Jaya lambastes social media: Samajwadi Party MP Jaya Bachchan on Tuesday lashed out at social media alleging they were maligning Bollywood and urged the government for protection. Raising the issue of public importance in Rajya Sabha, Mrs Bachchan said Bollywood was being flogged by a section of people and condemned the attempts made by some people to defame the industry. She was apparently reacting to the statement made by actorpolitician Ravi Kishan, who on Monday called Bollywood a ‘gutter’ while raising the drug addiction issue of Bollywood in Lok Sabha. P5 Growth forecast: India's coronavirus-battered economy will shrink by 9 per cent this fiscal, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) predicted on Tuesday, saying growth outlook remains highly vulnerable to either a prolonged outbreak of the pandemic or a resurgence of cases. This will be the first time in four decades that the Indian economic growth will contract. In its Asian Development Outlook 2020 Update, ADB forecasts a strong recovery for the economy in FY2021 with gross domestic product growing by 8 per cent as mobility and business activities resume more widely. P8 NEW DELHI, 15 SEPTEMBER I n his statement in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday about the ‘challenging’ situation arising out of India-China standoff in eastern Ladakh, Union Defence minister Rajnath Singh held China responsible for escalating tensions near the LAC in violation of all past agreements between India and China. Singh said Indian armed forces were well equipped with arms and munitions on the border and ready to give a befitting reply to any Chinese attempts to transgress India’s territory. “I wish to inform this august House and through it the entire nation that we are prepared for all outcomes to ensure that India’s sovereignty is maintained,” he said. The minister called upon the House to pass a unanimous resolution backing Indian armed forces and their bravery and commitment. Though opposition Congress party staged a walk out protesting the Centre’s handling of the ongoing conflict with China. Charging China with flouting the sanctity of the LAC and mentioning var- Lok Sabha passes Bill to cut salaries of MPs by 30 % ious agreements that bound both nations to maintaining peace and tranquillity on the border till the final resolution of the border dispute, Singh said China had been engaged in heavy deployment of forces and munitions near the points of conflict in eastern Ladakh . Singh accused China of illegally occupying vast stretches of Indian territories. He charged that China was not only dishonouring the customary alignment of boundary but also under the impression that the border is not defined. He also warned of the serious implication of the current stand off on bilateral relations with China. The minister paid tribute to 20 soldiers martyred in border affray with China’s PLA in Galwan Valley on 15- NEW DELHI, 15 SEPTEMBER NEW DELHI, 15 SEPTEMBER Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed a bill to reduce for one year the salaries of MPs by 30 per cent “to meet the exigencies arising out of Covid-19 pandemic”. The Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament (Amend- ment) Bill, 2020 was introduced in the Lower House on Monday. It will replace the Salary, Allowances And Pension of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020. The ordinance was cleared by the Cabinet on 6 April and promulgated the next day. manders were engaged in dealing with the situation. Singh also said Chinese forces in mid-May also made several attempts to transgress the LAC in the other sections of western sector including in “Kongka La, Gogra and North Bank of Pangong Lake. These attempts were detected early and appropriate response was given by our armed forces.” Unhappy over Singh's statement, Congress leader of House Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury staged a walk out in protest demanding a discussion on the issue. AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi termed Singh’s speech as "weak, inadequate" and said if allowed, he would have asked Singh about the Chinese occupation of 1,000 sq km of territory that India used to patrol. SC restrains Sudarshan TV from telecasting two episodes of Bindas Bol STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE 16 June. He said border issue was a ‘complex’ one and both countries had agreed to resolve it peacefully. He said India want the Chinese side to ‘work with us’, but also made it clear “there should also be no doubt about our determination to protect India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.” He said a similar stand was taken by his colleague and Foreign Minister S Jaishankar during the meeting with his counterpart. Singh said while India was committed to peaceful resolution of the current conflict with China but it is also ready to deal with any contingencies. The Union minister attributed the current standoff to differing perception of the entire stretch of LAC. He said India’s ground com- The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the broadcast of the subsequent five episodes of ‘UPSC Jihad’ by Sudarshan TV, stating that the intent and purpose of the programme is to vilify the Muslim community. A top court bench comprising Justices D.Y. Chandrachud, Indu Malhotra and K.M. Joseph said: "Edifice of a stable democratic society is based on coexistence of communities." The top court emphasised that any attempt to vilify a community must be viewed with disfavour, adding that India is a melting pot of civilisations, cultures and values. The bench noted that the said programme contained factually incorrect statements with regard to the upper age and the number of attempts Muslim candidates get in UPSC exams. Senior advocate Shyam Divan, appearing for the TV channel, argued that there is no change in its position from 28 August when the top court declined to impose a pre-broadcast order. Divan insisted that the show was investigative journalism raising valid issues concerning national security. The petitioners, who had moved the top court against the broadcast of the show, contended that it fell in the realm of hate speech. The bench said that pending further orders from the court, Sudarshan TV is restrained from telecasting the show. “We may appoint a committee of five distinguished citizens who can come up with certain standards for the electronic media. We don’t want any politically divisive nature and we need members who are of commendable stature,” the bench said. STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 15 SEPTEMBER Sounding a note of caution, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Tuesday told the Rajya Sabha that the battle against Covid-19 is far from over, at a time when India's total tally has neared the five millionmark. “I would urge all Members of Parliament that the coronavirus battle is still far from over. On one hand, when we are in an Unlock stage to revive the Indian economy, and have a balanced approach, it is important that sustained community support is ensured to control the spread of the virus and break its chain of transmission,” Vardhan said in the Upper House. “COVID-19 fatality and recovery rates stand at 1.67 per cent and 77.65 per cent respectively. Maximum cases and deaths have primarily been reported from Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, West Bengal, Bihar, Telangana, Odisha, Assam, Kerala, and Gujarat,” he said. He said about 40 lakh persons were under surveillance. "Extensive contact tracing of all positive cases is being undertaken regularly through disease surveillance network to break the chain of transmission," he added. Vardhan also spoke about the clinical management of coronavirus, pointing out that no specific antiviral drugs have proved effective so far while the symptomatic treatment for fever and cough, appropriate rehydration, and supplemental oxygen therapy remained the mainstay of treatment. The Minister, however, said that in India, drug hydroxychloroquine has been re-purposed for mild and moderate cases. Also, provisions for investigational therapies have been made through the use of Remdesivir, convalescent plasma, and Tocilizumab for managing severe cases under close medical supervision. India has been able to limit its cases and deaths to 3,320 cases per million and 55 deaths per million which is one of the lowest in the world, he added. On Monday, Vardhan had said that lockdown helped prevent approximately 14 lakh to 29 lakh cases and 37,000 to 78,000 deaths. These four months were utilised to create additional health infrastructure, enhance human resources, and produce within Indian critical elements such as PPE kits, N95 masks and ventilators. "A case in point is the increase in isolation beds 36.3 times and dedicating ICU beds above 24.6 times to what existed in March 2020. We are now self-sufficient and in position to even export PPEs," he had added. 40 L kept under surveillance as part Covid tally nears 50L mark; toll past 80K of Covid contact-tracing: Centre Delhi records 4,263 new cases, 36 deaths STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE SNS STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 15 SEPTEMBER NEW DELHI, 15 SEPTEMBER Around 40 lakh people have been kept under surveillance as part of the contact-tracing efforts in the country, Union minister Ashwini Choubey told the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday. The Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) is conducting contact tracing through community surveillance. “As on 10 September, a total of about 40 lakh persons have been kept under surveillance. There are 1,697 laboratories conducting Covid19 testing,” he said. The MoS for health said there were 15,290 Covid-treatment facilities with 13,14,171 dedicated isolation beds till 10 September. There are also 2,31,269 oxygen-supported isolation beds and 62,694 ICU beds (including 32,241 ventilator beds). States are being supported in terms of supply of logistics, Choubey said. So far, 1.39-crore PPE kits, 3.42-crore N-95 masks, 10.84crore hydroxychloroquine tablets, 29,779 ventilators and 1,02,400 oxygen cylinders have been supplied to state and central government hospitals till 10 September, he said. More than 30 vaccine candidates have been supported and they are in different stages of development. Three candidates are in advanced stage of Phase I, II and III trials, and more than four are in advanced pre-clinical development stage. A national expert group on vaccine administration for Covid-19 has been constituted on 7 August under the NITI Aayog. Thirteen clinical trials of repurposed drugs have been undertaken to build a portfolio of therapeutic options for coronavirus patients, he said. “The government of India has taken a series of actions to prevent, control and mitigate the impact of Covid-19. India followed a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach,” Choubey said. The Prime Minister, a highlevel group of ministers (GoM), cabinet secretary, committee of secretaries and Health Ministry officials continue to monitor the public health response to Covid in the country, he said. Screening was done at 12 major and 65 minor ports and land border crossings, informed Choubey. India’s Covid-19 caseload sprinted past 49 lakh with 83,809 people testing positive in a day, while 38,59,399 people have recuperated so far taking the national recovery rate to 78.28 per cent on Tuesday,according to the Union Health Ministry data. Total cases mounted to 49,30,236, while the death toll climbed to 80,776 with 1,054 people succumbing to the disease in a span of 24 hours, data updated at 8 am showed. The Covid-19 case fatality rate due to the virus was recorded at 1.64 per cent. There are 9,90,061active cases of Covid in the country which comprises 20.08 per cent of the total caseload, the data stated. India’s Covid tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on 7 August; 30 lakh on 23 August and hit 40 lakh on 5 September. According to the ICMR, a cumulative total of 5,83,12,273 samples have been tested up to 14 September with 10,72,845 samples being tested on Monday. India is at the top in terms of the number of recovered cases followed by Brazil and the US, according to theJohns Hopkins University. India is the second-worst hit nation in terms of Covid19 cases after the US, while it is third in terms of fatalities globally after the US and Brazil, according to the JHU data. Of the 1,054 new deaths, 363 are from Maharashtra, 119 from Karnataka, 68 from Punjab, 62 from Uttar Pradesh, 60 from Andhra Pradesh, 58 from West Bengal, 53 from Tamil Nadu, 29 fromMadhya Pradesh, 25 from Haryana, 18 from Chhattisgarh, 17 each from Gujarat and Jammu and Kashmir, 15 each from Kerala and Uttarakhand and 14 each from Rajasthan and Goa. Thirteen fatalities have been reported from Assam, 11 from Odisha, 10 from Telangana, nine each from Bihar and Puducherry, seven from Tripura, six from Jharkhand, five each from Chandigarh andHimachal Pradesh, two from Sikkim while Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Ladakhhave registered one fatality each. A total of 80,776 deaths have been reported so far in the country includes 29,894 from Maharashtra followed by 8,434 from Tamil Nadu. The health ministry stressed that more than 70 per cent of the deaths occurred due to comorbidities. “Our figures are being reconciled with the Indian Council of Medical Research,” the ministry said on its website. NEW DELHI, 15 SEPTEMBER 49,30,236 9,90,061 83,809 79,292 80,776 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. TUESDAY 15 SEPTEMBER 2020 Delhi today recorded 4,263 fresh Covid-19 cases, which took the cumulative total of the city's Covid caseload to 2,25,796, according to the Delhi government's latest health bulletin. The national capital today also reported a record 62,669 tests being conducted for detection of coronavirus cases, which was its highest number of such tests so far. Thirty-six fatalities due to the coronavirus infection were recorded that pushed Delhi's Covid death toll to 4,806. The recovered Covid patients discharged from various hospitals during the past 24 hours were 3,081, which took the total of such patients to 1,91,203.The city's Covid recovery rate, however, further dipped (SEE P2) to 84.67 per cent. Parliament passes Bill to give statutory status to aviation regulators STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 15 SEPTEMBER Parliament on Tuesday passed a bill that seeks to improve India’s aviation safety ratings and provide statutory status to regulatory institutions, including the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri today said the government will not compromise on air safety and asserted that India’s air safety record had improved tremendously after the Modi government took over. The Aircraft (Amendment) Bill, 2020, which provides for statutory backing to the DGCA, the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) and the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB), was passed by a voice vote in Rajya Sabha. The bill that was passed in Lok Sabha on 17 March which amends the Aircraft Act, 1934 also entails to increase the fine for violations from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 1 crore. The last revision was made in 2007 from Rs 1,000-2000 to Rs 10 lakh. Puri said the Lifeline Udan service carried 1,000 tonnes of essential medical supplies within the country, brought 1,500 tonnes from abroad, and transported 30 tonnes to other countries. It was wrong to suggest that the airline charged exorbitant fares. In fact, other airlines charged several times more than Air India, he said. The amendments were necessary as tremendous growth in civil aviation has thrown many challenges such as saturated airport capacity, lack of trained manpower, limited manpower capabilities, he said, adding these are happy challenges. Puri said the bill seeks to insert a new definition for three regulatory bodies DGCA, BCAS and AAIB. The proposed amend- ments follow the 2012 and the 2015 audit by the International Civil Aviation Organisation that had indicated the need to give statutory recog- nition to these agencies, he said. No change has been proposed in terms of imprisonment that is at two years in most cases, he said. DGCA, BCAS and AAIB were constituted under executive powers of the government. Referring to members’ fears over the sale of Air India, he said, the choice was between privatization and closure, as the airline had a debt of Rs 16,000 crores. The Government was confident that the airline would be handed over to a new owner in a running condition so that the airline and its flag keep flying, he said. Replying to remarks made by Congress’ K C Venugopal, the Minister said he was worried about privatization of six airports but forgot that two of India’s largest airports Mumbai and Delhi were privatized during the Congress-led regime in 2006. Since the privatisation of Mumbai and Delhi airports, the Airports Authority of India has received Rs 29,000 crore which has been utilised to develop airport infrastructure in the country elsewhere. The vast earning was also the reason Budget for the Civil Aviation sector had declined. Puri said Mumbai and Delhi handled 33 per cent of Indian passenger traffic and earnings, while the six airports awarded in 2018 accounted for just nine per cent Indian passenger traffic. On the other hand, entities from all over the world participated in the bidding for six airports in 2018, he said. He said the government in the last three years has recruited 1,000 air traffic controllers as against requirement of 3,500 such officials. Citing examples of the upcoming Jewar airport in Uttar Pradesh, he said a new entity came out as winner as the entire process has been opened up. On the Vande Bharat Mission, Puri said close to 16 lakh citizens who were stranded abroad, were flown back to India in the largest, most comprehensive evacuation, repatriation in the history. G VL Narasimha Rao of BJP said the real crony capitalism was seen during the UPA regime-the way 2G and coal licences were given. Trinamul Congress’ Dinesh Trivedi said while it was a wonderful job done to bring Indians from abroad, migrant workers were not properly treated. RJD’s Manoj Kumar Jha said there was a massive cut in AI employees’ salaries.
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