CMYK SATURDAY www.thestatesman.com 19 SEPTEMBER 2020 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 12 |` 5.00|LC* KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR BIDEN BLASTS TRUMPS CRIMINAL VIRUS RESPONSE P10 WEATHER Generally cloudy sky. One or two spells of thundershower. Temperature will be in the range of 36-28 degrees Celsius. TRUMP CALLS MODI GREAT LEADER AND LOYAL FRIEND DEMOCRACY IS IN PERIL P7 P5 PM defends farm reform Bills, chides Opp for lying RAINFALL: NIL RELATIVE HUMIDITY Modi allays farmers fears saying MSP, govt procurement of produce will continue Max.92% PRESS TRUST OF INDIA TEMPERATURE Min. 55% Max: 35.7°C (3) Min: 28.3°C (2) SUN RISES SUN SETS 05:24 hrs 17:37 hrs MOON RISES MOON SETS 06:03 hrs 18:33 hrs Moon first quarter on 24 September THUMBNAILS Protesters beat an effigy of Laurent Sourisseau, cartoonist and owner of French mag Charlie Hebdo, against the reprinting of a cartoon of the Prophet. In Ahmedabad on Friday. � AFP Dubai suspends AI Express flights till 2 Oct: The Dubai Civil Aviation Authority has suspended Air India Express flights till 2 October for bringing passengers with Covid-positive certificates twice during the last couple of weeks, senior government officials said on Friday. A passenger, who had a Covid-positive certificate dated 2 September, travelled on Air India Express' Jaipur-Dubai flight on 4 September, said one of the government officials. Fashion designer Sharbari Dutta passes away: Eminent fashion designer Sharbari Dutta was found dead under mysterious circumstances at her Kolkata residence, prompting the police to register a case of unnatural death and initiate a probe on Friday. Ms Dutta, 63, was found dead in the bathroom of her residence in south Kolkata on Thursday midnight, a senior police officer said. Her only son Amalin Dutta, also a fashion designer, said their family physician had confirmed she died of massive cardiac arrest. P3 I Govts approval required for FDI in defence sector STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 18 SEPTEMBER The government has permitted foreign direct investment (FDI) up to 74 per cent under the automatic route in the defence sector subject to scrutiny on grounds of national security. “...the government reserves the right to review any FDI in the defence sector that affects or may affect national security,” said a notice issued by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) late last night. The government’s approval would be required for in-take of foreign capital beyond 74 per cent with a stipulation that the foreign capital “is likely to result in access to modern technology or for other reasons to be recorded”, the note added. The decision would take effect from the date of FEMA (Foreign Exchange Management Act) notification, it said. The decision is apparently aimed at checking investments from Chinese companies involved in defence manufacturing. In May, the government had allowed foreign firms to directly invest up to 74 per cent ownership in the defence sector from an earlier cap of 49 per cent, in a bid to speed up investments in the manufacturing of military hardware and armaments. India is one of the largest importers of armaments in the world. The Modi government is laying emphasis on “Make in India” in the defence sector too but at the same time giving the go-ahead to critical imports in view of current border tensions. NEW DELHI, 18 SEPTEMBER This misinformation is now being spread that the government will not give MSP benefits to farmers. Manufactured claims are being made that the government will no longer purchase wheat, rice and other grains. In the 21st century, these Bills are the need of the country. The new Bills will unshackle farmers by allowing them to sell their produce anywhere at a better price government will no longer purchase wheat, rice and other grains. This is a blatant lie aimed at deceiving farmers,” Modi said. In the 21st century, these Bills are the need of the country, he said, adding that farmers will no longer remain in shackles and sell his produce wherever they want. Launching a blistering attack on the Congress without naming the party, Modi said those who ruled the country for decades are “deceiving and misleading” farmers by “lying” to them on the provisions of these Bills, which seek to replace the ordinances brought in by the Centre. Those who are opposing the changes in the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) Act had made similar promises in their manifesto, he said in a reference to the Congress and added that when the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government has done it, then these people are opposing it. “These people forget as to how much aware the country’s farmers are. Farmers can see that some people do not like the opportunities being provided to them. They can see who are standing with the middlemen who pocket a big part of their earnings,” the Prime Minister said. These reforms will act as a “protection shield” for farmers from these middlemen between farmers and consumers, he added. “These reforms will provide our foodproviders (farmers) many more options to sell their produce. These legislations A major part of the Lok Sabha proceedings on Friday was disrupted as the ruling BJP and Congress members fought over Central minister Anurag Thakur’s remarks against the “Gandhi family,” leading to repeated adjournments of the House. With the Opposition insisting that nothing less than an apology from the minister could satisfy them, the matter dragged on till the evening when the minister relented and apologised and the normal proceedings of the Lok Sabha could begin again. The pandemonium began during the introduction of the Taxation and Other Laws (Relaxation and Amendment of Certain Provisions) Bill, 2020. Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that her colleague, Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur would speak on the PMCARES fund. The Oppohave rid our farmers of many shackles and brought them freedom,” Modi said. He noted that everyone but farmers were allowed so far to sell their products anywhere they wanted and asserted that they can do so now across the country at a better price once. The Lok Sabha NEW DELHI, 18 SEPTEMBER Google on Friday restored the Paytm app on its Play store after removing it for a few hours for violating its policy on sports betting activities. The app was back on the Google Play store on Friday evening after the Softbankbacked Paytm removed the ‘cashback’ feature from a recently-launched game on the application. “Update: And we're back!,” Paytm said in a tweet. On Friday morning, Google removed the Paytm app~ which facilitates use of wallet and payments bank services ~ from the Play store. However, users who had already downloaded the app could continue using the ser- SNS & PTI NEW DELHI/KOLKATA, 18 SEPTEMBER India’s Covid-19 tally raced past 52 lakh with 96,424 people testing positive in a day, while the number of people who have recuperated from the disease rose to 41,12,551 on Friday, according to Union Health Ministry data. The country’s recovery rate stands at 78.86 per cent. The total coronavirus cases mounted to 52,14,677, while the death toll climbed to 84,372 with the virus claiming 1,174 lives in a span of 24 hours, the data updated at 8 a.m. showed. A PTI-compiled tally of numbers reported by individual states put the total number of cases as of 9 p.m. Friday at 52,93,459, the total number of recov- US bans WeChat, TikTok citing national security: The US will ban the use of WeChat on Sunday to safeguard the national security of the United States. The Chinese app TikTok will also be banned by 12 November, but Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Friday on CNBC that access to that app may be possible if certain safeguards are in place. At the President’s direction, we have taken significant action to combat China’s malicious collection of American citizens’ personal data, while promoting our national values, democratic rules-based norms, and aggressive enforcement of U.S. laws and regulations,” Ross said. The government previously said that using the app to communicate won’t be a banned transaction, although messaging on the app could be directly or indirectly impaired by the ban. vices. “The app was blocked for violation of Play policies ~ a clarification of our policy was released earlier today ahead of the IPL tournament,” Google said in an e-mailed response, adding that only Shopian encounter: Army indicts troops, orders action sition parties raised concern over the PM-CARES fund. Thakur responding to the protests hit back, accusing the Congress party of misusing the PM Relief Fund. The Congress members took strong exception to Thakur’s remarks and staged a walk out in protest. Meanwhile, the Speaker cautioned the members against standing up in contravention to the Parliament’s Covid protocol. With no signs of any end to the bedlam in the House, Speaker Om Birla adjourned the House for half an hour till 4.20 pm. When the House reassembled, the Opposition resorted to sloganeering and reiterated its demand for apology from Thakur for his remarks against the Gandhi family. The Opposition carried on with their protests. When the Lok Sabha resumed at 6 p.m, the speaker then told MoS Anurag Thakur to apologise. Thakur later SNS apologised. on Thursday passed the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, which seek to promote barrier-free inter-state and intra-state trade in agricultural produce. STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE JAMMU, 18 SEPTEMBER The Army has found that its troops “exceeded” their powers during an encounter in north Kashmir’s Shopian district in which three men were killed in July this year and has initiated disciplinary proceedings. On 18 July, the Army claimed to have killed three militants in an operation in Amshipura village in Shopian district. But local residents and the families of three men hailing from Rajouri who went missing around the same time alleged that they had been killed in a staged encounter. The families identified the dead men as three cousins working as labourers who went missing on 17 July from a rented accommodation in Chowgam village in Shopian district. With the incident triggering a major outcry, the Army initiated an inquiry. Colonel Rajesh Kalia, spokesman of the Army, said on Friday that “the evidence collected by the inquiry has prima-facie indicated that the three unidentified terrorists killed in Operation Amshipora were Imtiyaz Ahmed, Abrar Ahmed and Mohd Ibrar, who hailed from Rajouri. Their DNA report is awaited. Their involvement with terrorism or Covid: Indias tally passes 52L; recovery rate 78.86 p.c. Health workers in a mobile Covid-19 testing van take swab samples from residents. In the Capital on Friday. � DEEPAK eries at 41,94,127 and the death toll at 85,520. The Covid-19 case fatality rate due to the coronavirus infection has further dropped to 1.62 per cent. There are 10,17,754 active cases of Covid-19 in the country which comprises 19.52 per cent of the total caseload, the Ministry’s data showed. The health ministry also noted that the top five states with a high number of active Covid-19 cases~Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh ~ are also the ones that are reporting a high level of recoveries. Google removes Paytm from playstore, then restores it PRESS TRUST OF INDIA P12 LS adjourned over Thakurs remarks against the Gandhis NEW DELHI, 18 SEPTEMBER n a forceful defence of the farm sector reform Bills, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday asserted that they have brought “freedom” to farmers and given them a “protection shield”, as he accused the Opposition of standing with middlemen and “misleading” peasants by “lying” to them. With Opposition parties dubbing the three Bills, passed by the Lok Sabha and now to be tabled in the Rajya Sabha, as “anti-farmers” and the BJP ally Shiromani Akali Dal quitting his government to protest them, Modi refuted their criticism, describing these proposed laws as “historic” and stating that they will unshackle farmers by allowing them to sell their produce anywhere at a better price. Speaking at the virtual launch of several rail projects in Bihar, Modi chose to speak at length on these Bills, which have sparked protests by farmers in states like Punjab and Haryana, and sought to assuage concerns of the farming community by assuring them that the government procurement of their produce will continue and so will the minimum support price (MSP). “This misinformation is now being spread that the government will not give MSP benefits to farmers. Manufactured claims are being made that the AN EVENING SHOW ON SATURDAY the app availability on Play store was impacted. Google, in a blog post earlier on Friday, had said it does not allow apps facilitating sports betting and will remove such apps from the Play store. These policies are in place to protect users from potential harm, it added. “We don’t allow online casinos or support any unregulated gambling apps that facilitate sports betting. This includes if an app leads consumers to an external website that allows them to participate in paid tournaments to win real money or cash prizes, it is a violation of our policies,” the blog post said. Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma said the company has already removed the scratch cards which offered the cashbacks, complying with Google’s concerns. Stating that Google was not allowing it to acquire new customers by blocking Paytm’s promotion, Sharma said India needs support for further growing the startup ecosystem. “(Platforms like Google) are dominating platforms and with power comes responsibility. I believe that they should be responsible for this country’s growth and startup ecosystem...India’s ecosystem needs support, not stifling of innovation,” he told news channel CNBC-TV18. A Paytm spokesperson said the company had recently launched the ‘Paytm Cricket League’ on its consumer app for users to engage in their passion of cricket and get cashbacks. “The game allows users to get player stickers after each transaction, collect them and get Paytm Cashback. Cashback is legal in India and we strictly follow all rules and laws of the land. CMYK Again 3K jump in Bengal virus cases: West Bengal recorded 3,192 fresh Covid-19 cases and 59 deaths in the last 24 hours, taking the total case count to 2,18,772 and death toll to 4,242 today. Till now, a total of 1,90,021 Covid patients have recovered in the state; 2,960 people were discharged from hospitals in a single day, taking the discharge rate to 86.86 per cent with currently 24,509 active cases. Kolkata recorded 493 fresh cases and 14 deaths. North 24-Parganas recorded 502 cases and seven deaths. Howrah recorded 171 cases and 10 deaths and South 24 Parganas 222 cases and six deaths. Samples of 45,229 people were tested in a single day. The containment zones in Kolkata 52,14,677 10,17,754 96,424 87,472 84,372 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 08.00 A.M. FRIDAY 18 SEPT 2020 have increased from 1 to 3 in the last three days. Sudarshanrow: Can media be allowed to target whole set of communities, asks SC PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 18 SEPTEMBER The Supreme Court on Friday questioned Sudarshan TV over its Bindas Bol programme, whose promo had claimed that the channel would show the ‘big expose on conspiracy to infiltrate Muslims in government service’, and asked whether media can be allowed to target whole set of communities. The apex court, while hearing a plea which has raised grievance over the programme, said the channel is entitled to break the story but it cannot brand the entire community and alienate them. Whenever you show them joining civil services, you show ISIS. You want to say that Muslims joining civil services is a part of a deep-rooted conspiracy. Can the media be allowed to target whole set of communities, a bench headed by Justice D Y Chandrachud asked. Painting all candidates as carrying out an agenda shows the kind of hatred, said the bench, also comprising Justices Indu Malhotra and K M Joseph. On 15 September, the top court had restrained the channel from telecasting the episodes of Bindas Bol programme till further orders. related activities is under investigation by the police”. Colonel Kalia stated: “The inquiry ordered by the Army authorities into Op Amshipora has been concluded. The inquiry has brought out certain prima facie evidence indicating that during the operation, powers vested under the AFSPA 1990 were exceeded and the Do’s and Don’ts of Chief of Army Staff (COAS) as approved by the Hon’ble Supreme Court have been contravened. Consequently, the competent disciplinary authority has directed to initiate disciplinary proceedings under the Army Act against those found primafacie answerable.” Relatives of the killed persons had called it a “fake encounter” in which the Army, CRPF and the Jammu & Kashmir Police were involved. The relatives of Ibrar had spoken to him on phone at 7.30 shortly before the encounter began. The police have registered a separate case into the incident and have collected the DNA samples of the killed persons. Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah called for firm action against those found guilty. He tweeted; “The process must remain transparent & the guilty must face the full weight of the law”. (Representational image) Parl passes Bill for reduction of MPs, ministers salaries for 1 yr NEW DELHI, 18 SEPTEMBER The Parliament on Friday passed a Bill to reduce for one year the salaries of MPs by 30 per cent “to meet the exigencies arising out of the Covid-19 pandemic”. The Bill was passed in Rajya Sabha with a voice vote. The Lok Sabha had passed the Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Bill, 2020 Bill earlier this week. It will replace the Salary, Allowances And Pension of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020, that was cleared by the Cabinet on 6 April and promulgated the next day. The Upper House also passed the Salaries and Allowances of Ministers (Amendment) Bill, 2020, which proposes to reduce the salaries and allowances of ministers by 30 per cent for a year. During the combined discussions on the two Bills, the Opposition, joined in by political parties which normally support the Treasury Benches, attacked the Government for depriving MPs of their Rs 5 crore yearly MPLADS fund for two years, without their consent. Even members of the Biju Janata Dal, AIADMK and YSRCP who normally support the Government, criticised the MPLADS’ suspension. Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said none had any objection to the reduction in the salaries of the MPs, although 70 per cent or more MPs lived their lives solely depending on their salaries. However, the suspension of the MPLADS funds deprived them of opportunity to help people in their constituencies in building of roads or buying SNS ambulances. Details on Page 5
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