CMYK SATURDAY www.thestatesman.com 10 OCTOBER 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 LALU GETS BAIL IN CHAIBASA TREASURY CASE U.S. GOVERNOR LINKS TRUMP TO KIDNAP PLOT P10 WEATHER Generally cloudy sky. One or two spells of thundershower. Temperature will be in the range of 33-26 degrees Celsius. RAINFALL: 5.4 mm RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max.95% TEMPERATURE P5 P7 PRESS TRUST OF INDIA Max: 33.9°C (+1) Min: 26.6°C (+2) SUN RISES SUN SETS 05:32 hrs 17:16 hrs MOON RISES MOON SETS 12:32 hrs 23:33 hrs Next moon quarter on 10 October THUMBNAILS The mortal remains of Union minister Ramvilas Paswan on the way to his native place in Bihar, after his demise on Thursday evening. At Janpath in New Delhi on Friday. SUBRATA DUTTA Goyal given additional charge: Railway Minister Piyush Goyal was on Friday given additional charge of the Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution ministry, a portfolio held by the late Lok Janshakti Party leader Ram Vilas Paswan. A Rashtrapati Bhavan communique on Friday said President Ram Nath Kovind, on the advice of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, directed that Goyal be assigned the ministry in addition to his existing portfolios. HAL staff held for passing secrets to Pakistan: A Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) employee has been arrested for supplying sensitive details to Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, Maharashtra police said. Police said Deepak Shirsat (41), an assistant supervisor at HAL, was “honey trapped” by a Pakistani national posing as a woman on social media. The man was supplying information about Indian fighter aircraft and their sensitive details, along with information related to HAL's unit at Ojhar near Nashik. By all indications, the deep contractions of Q1 2020-21 (AprilJune) are behind us; silver linings are visible in the flattening of the active caseload curve across the country... GDP growth may break out of contraction and turn positive by Q4 (JanuaryMarch) MUMBAI, 9 OCTOBER he Reserve Bank of India (RBI) left key interest rates unchanged on Friday but signalled more easing ahead to support an economy that it sees contracting 9.5 per cent in the current fiscal. The six-member Monetary Policy Committee, with three newly inducted external members, voted unanimously to retain the benchmark repurchase or repo rate at 4 per cent while keeping its policy stance accommodative, implying it could ease again. The central bank had slashed the repo rate by 115 basis points since late March before hitting a pause button in August. To bring down borrowing cost, RBI announced a number of unconventional steps, including doubling of the size of openmarket bond purchases to Rs 20,000 crore, offer to buy state debt, and easing a corporate cash crunch through a Rs 1 lakh crore of targeted long-term funds available on tap. Besides supporting economic activity, the measures are aimed at ensuring the government's record borrowing programme goes through smoothly. RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das said the economic growth, which slumped to a negative 23.9 per cent in the April-June quarter, will turn positive only in the final January-March quarter. “By all indications, the deep contractions of Q1 2020-21 (April-June) are behind us; T SHAKTIKANTA DAS RBI GOVERNOR silver linings are visible in the flattening of the active caseload curve across the country,” he said. Barring the risk of a second wave of infections, the economy appeared poised to begin a recovery, he said, noting food grain production was set for record highs and factories and cities were coming back to life. With macro indicators pointing to a recovery, “GDP growth may break out of contraction and turn positive by Q4 (January-March),” he said. “For the year 2020-21 as a whole, therefore, real GDP is expected to decline by 9.5 per cent, with risks tilted to the downside,” he said. After the sharp contraction in Q1 of FY21, the MPC expects growth to come in at (-)9.8 per cent in Q2, (-)5.6 per cent in Q3 and 0.5 per cent in Q4. In a video live stream, Das said RBI will “continue with the accommodative stance of monetary policy as long as necessary ~ at least during the current financial year and into the next year ~ to revive growth on a durable basis and mitigate the impact of Covid-19, while ensuring that inflation remains within the target going forward”. RBI saw inflation easing close to the targeted range of 4 per cent, plus or minus 2 pr cent, in the fourth-quarter ending March. The governor noted that the recent pick-up in inflation is due to supply disruption and higher markups during the lockdown. Going forward, as supply chains are restored, inflation could ease to 4.5-5.4 per cent in the second half of FY21. In a bid to provide easy liquidity conditions, RBI announced Open Market Operations (OMO) worth Rs 20,000 crore, which will be used for buying Gover- nment of India securities. OMO will also beextended to state development loans. This will ease the state's borrowing programmes amid lower collection of GST. RBI also announced on tap TLTRO (Targeted Long Term Repo Operations) with tenors of up to three years for a total amount of up to Rs 1 lakh crore at a floating rate linked to the policy repo rate. The scheme will be available up to March 31, 2021. In order to facilitate higher credit flow to the retail and SME segments, RBI decided to increase the definition of 'Regulatory Retail' threshold from Rs 5 crore to Rs 7.5 crore in respect of all fresh as well as incremental exposures. This may incentivise banks to lend to this sector more. The RBI also rationalised risk weightage on home loans. All new housing loan risk will be linked only to the loan to value ratio. The lower the ratio, the lower the risks and borrowers will get the interest rate benefits from institutions. SNS & AGENCIES NEW DELHI, 9 OCTOBER Bengal adds 3,573 new cases The number of active Covid19 cases in the country has fallen below the nine lakhmark for the first time in a month; active cases now comprise merely 12.94 per cent of the total caseload, the Union Health Ministry said on Friday. The country added another 70,496 new infections during the last 24 hours, taking the total case count past the 69 lakh mark, to 69,06,152. The death toll due to the infection surged to 1,06,490 with 964 deaths reported in the last 24 hours The health ministry noted that the declining trend of the percentage of active cases is supported by the rising percentage of recovered cases. Recoveries in India have exceeded new cases for three continuous weeks, it said. “Presently, the active cases stand at 8,93,592 and comprise merely 12.94 per cent of the total positive cases of the country, demonstrating a steady falling percentage of the total cases,” the ministry said. The country had 8.97 lakh active cases on September 9, it said. A total of 59,06,069 people have recovered from Covid-19 in the country so far and recoveries exceed active cases of infection by 50,12,477, according to the ministry. The higher number of recoveries has aided the national recovery rate to further improve to 85.52 per cent, the ministry said. A total of 78,365 patients recovered and were discharged the previous day, while 70,496 fresh infections were reported in the pre- KOLKATA 9 OCTOBER: HDIL promoters booked for loan fraud Bhima Koregaon: NIA files charge-sheet against eight; Fr Stan Swamy arrested PRESS TRUST OF INDIA PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 9 OCTOBER The CBI has booked HDIL promoters Rakesh Wadhawan and Sarang Wadhawan, along with former PMC Bank chairman Waryam Singh and other directors of the firm, in an alleged Rs 200-crore loan fraud in Yes Bank involving Mack Star company, officials said Friday. It is alleged that loans taken for Mack Star were transferred to settle HDIL liabilities to Yes Bank without intimation to its majority stakeholder and investor Ocean Deity Investment Holdings Ltd (ODIL) in a conspiracy orchestrated by the HDIL promoters, directors and auditors. Sources in the agency said the role of formerYes Bank promoter Rana Kapoor and other senior executives of the bank, not named as accused in the FIR, is likely to come under scanner in the case. After registering the case, the CBI on Friday searched the residences of Rakesh Wadhawan and his son Sarang and former PMC Bank chairman Singh in Mumbai, they said. The agency also carried out searches at nine other premises in Mumbai, including two offices of HDIL, auditor company Ashok Jayesh and residences of other HDIL Directors Lakhminder Dayal Singh, Amanpreet Singh and Senior Vice President Venkatawardhan N Iyenger, all named accused in the FIR, they said. MUMBAI, 9 OCTOBER The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Friday filed a charge-sheet against eight people, including activists Gautam Navlakha and 82year-old Father Stan Swamy, for their alleged involvement in inciting a mob to violence in Bhima Koregaon near Pune on January 1, 2018, officials said. Swamy, who said he has never been to Bhima Koregaon, was arrested from his home in Ranchi on Thursday evening and brought to Mumbai where he was produced before a court on Friday and remanded to judicial custody till October 23. He is possibly the oldest person to be charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Father Stan Swamy Gautam Navlakha Act (UAPA), officials said. NIA officials said investigations established Swamy was actively involved in the activities of the CPI (Maoist). Barring one person ~ Milind Teltumde, who is absconding ~ all other named in the charge-sheet for allegedly conspiring against the government are in judicial custody. NIA spokesperson and De- puty Inspector General of Police in the agency, Sonia Narang, said the charge-sheet was submitted before a designated court here. Besides Navlakha and Swamy, the others named in the charge-sheet are Delhi University associate professor Hany Babu, Goa Institute of Management professor Anand Teltumbde, and Jyoti Jagtap, Sagar Gorkhe and Ramesh Gaichor, activists of the Bhima Koregaon Shaurya Din Prerna Abhiyaan group. They were arrested during the course of the investigation into the violence on January 1, 2018 in which one person was killed and several injured after clashes at the 200th anniversary celebrations of the Battle of Koregaon near Pune. Navlakha and Teltumbde had surrendered before the NIA in April this year. The NIA charge-sheet against the eight does not mention human rights activist Sudha Bharadwaj, who has been in jail since 2018. She was arrested by Pune Police in the case along with Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira in August 2018. WFP wins Nobel Peace Prize as world hunger surges ASSOCIATED PRESS ROME, 9 OCTOBER The United Nations' World Food Programme won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for its efforts to fight hunger in regions of conflict and hardship around the globe. From air-dropping food in South Sudan to creating an emergency delivery service to keep aid flowing despite coronavirus travel restrictions, the Rome-based organisation has long specialised in getting assistance to some of the world's most dangerous and precarious places. It provided assistance to almost 100 million people in 88 countries last year. “With this year's award, the (committee) wishes to turn the eyes of the world to the millions of people who suf- P12 India’s active Covid-19 RBI sees 9.5 pc GDP contraction in FY21 cases fall below 9 lakh Central bank holds benchmark interest rates, signals more easing ahead Min. 60% MESSI PIVOTAL FIGURE IN EASY GAME ‘TARGET CHINA BEYOND THE BORDER’ In this file photo taken on February 06, 2020, a World Food Programme (WFP) aircraft makes a drop of food aid near a village in Ayod county, South Sudan. AFP fer from or face the threat of hunger,” said Berit Reiss-Andersen, the chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, an- nouncing the award in Oslo. TheWorld Food Programme plays a key role in multilateral cooperation on making food security an instrument of peace. The head of the organisation said his entire team deserved the award. “I know I'm not deserving of an award like this, but all the men and women around the world in the World Food Programme and our partners who put their lives on the line every day,” David Beasley told The Associated Press by phone from Niger. Beasley said he found out about the award from a WFP media officer who had just been informed by the AP . The organisation has long been headed by an American, and US President Donald Trump nominated the former Republican governor of South Carolina for the post in 2017. The Nobel Committee said that the problem of hunger has again become more acute in recent years, not least because of the coronavirus pandemic that has added to the hardship already faced by millions of people around the world. In 2019, 135 million people suffered from acute hunger, the highest number in many years, it said. Most of the increase was caused by war and armed conflict. The coronavirus pandemic has contributed to a strong upsurge in the number of victims of hunger in the world. In total, WFP estimates that 690 million people suffer some form of hunger in the world today. The Nobel Committee called on governments to ensure that WFP and other aid organisations receive the financial support necessary to feed millions in countries such as Yemen, Congo, Nigeria, South Sudan and Burkina Faso. A logistics juggernaut, WFP this year created a global em- CMYK ergency delivery service for humanitarian aid. Officials said the unprecedented effort involved nearly 130 countries and was key in ensuring that aid for the pandemic kept flowing in addition to assistance for other crises, like the drugs and vaccines needed to combat other diseases. There was no shortage of causes or candidates on this year's list, with 211 individuals and 107 organisations nominated ahead of the 1 February deadline. The award comes with a gold medal and a 10-milion krona ($1.1 million) cash prize that is dwarfed by the funding that WFP requires for its work. So far in 2020, the organisation has received almost $6.4 billion in cash or goods, with more than a third, over $2.7 billion, coming from the United States. West Bengal today recorded 3,573 fresh Covid cases and 62 deaths due to the infection. Till now, 2,87,603 people have been detected Covid positive, 5,501 died and 2,52,806 recovered, of which 3,069 patients were discharged from hospitals in the last 24 hours, taking the discharge rate to 87.90 per cent. Currently, there are 29,296 active Covid cases in the state. Samvious 24 hours, according to official data updated at 8 a.m. “New recoveries in India have exceeded the new cases of Covid-19 for three continuous weeks. The new cases during these three weeks have displayed a steady trend of decline,” the ministry underlined. The ministry said 78 per cent of the 70,496 new cases registered the previous day were reported from 10 states and UTs ~ Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Delhi. Maharashtra continues to report a very high number of new cases with more than 13,000 cases, followed by Karnataka with more than 10,000 cases, it said. Also, 964 case fatalities were reported the previous day. Of these, nearly 82 per cent are concentrated in 10 states and UTs ~ Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, ples of 42,532 people were tested for the virus today. The positivity rate is 7.97 per cent. Kolkata registered 772 cases and 13 deaths and neighbouring district of North 24 Parganas recorded 751 cases and 13 deaths in the last 24 hours. The Covid bed occupancy rate is 37.59 per cent while 2,421 people are in government quarantine centres, 82,401 in home quarantine and 1,376 in safe homes. SNS Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Kerala, it added. More than 37 per cent of the new fatalities were reported from Maharashtra (358 deaths), according to the ministry. 69,06,151 8,93,592 70,496 78,365 1,06,490 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. FRIDAY 9 OCTOBER 2020 Coronavirus did not start in Wuhan, it was only reported there first: China PRESS TRUST OF INDIA BEIJING, 9 OCTOBER China on Friday claimed that the coronavirus broke out in various parts of the world last year but it was the only one to have reported and acted first, refuting the widely-held view that the deadly contagion originated in Wuhan before turning out to be a pandemic. China, besides denying US allegations that Covid-19 emerged from a bio-lab in Wuhan, also rejected that it emanated from a wet market in the central Chinese city from bats or pangolins before infecting humans. Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a media briefing that “the coronavirus is a new kind of virus as more and more facts emerge as reports reveal, we all know that the epidemic broke out in various places in the world at the end of last year, while China was the first to report the outbreak, identified the pathogen and shared the genome sequence with the world.” Hua's comments came in response to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's allegations of a cover-up by the ruling Communist Party of China. The statement also came as the World Health Organisation (WHO) is gearing up to probe the origin of the coronavirus. According to Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, the contagion has infected over 36 million people and killed more than 1 million across the world. We all know that the epidemic broke out in various places in the world at the end of last year, while China was the first to report the outbreak, identified the pathogen and shared the genome sequence with the world HUA CHUNYING CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESPERSON The US is the worst affected country with over 7.6 million cases and more than 2,12,000 deaths. China has reported 90,736 cases and 4,739 deaths due to Covid-19. The WHO has given to Beijing a list of global experts to be sent to China to probe the origin of the coronavirus, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Postreported on Thursday. The WHO is awaiting its approval. In August, a two-member team from theWHO, which visited China, completed the groundwork for the probe into the animal source and reservoirs of the Covid-19 which first emerged inWuhan in December last year. Hua, while refuting Pompeo's charge of a cover-up, said that Chinese scientists first identified the person-to-person transmission due to coronavirus on January 19. After thorough research and investigation, China closed Wuhan city to the outside world and placed rigorous measures in isolatingWuhan city and Hubei province, she said.
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