CMYK TUESDAY www.thestatesman.com 13 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 B’DESH APPROVES DEATH PENALTY FOR RAPE CASES HARRY OPENS UP ON EDUCATION, BEING A FATHER P10 WEATHER Partly cloudy sky. Thundershower in some areas. Temperature will be in the range of 35-27 degrees Celsius. P9 P4 SC seeks Centre’s reply on anti-farm law pleas RAINFALL: NIL RELATIVE HUMIDITY Petitions allege these laws will dismantle system ensuring fair prices for farm products Max.95% SNS & PTI TEMPERATURE Min. 48% NEW DELHI, 12 OCTOBER Max: 35.8°C (3) Min: 26.6°C (2) SUN RISES SUN SETS 05:32 hrs 17:13 hrs MOON RISES MOON SETS 00:31 hrs 14:12 hrs New moon on 17 October T THUMBNAILS Indian Youth Congress activists hold candle march protest against the death of Hathras rape victim. At the Jantar Mantar in the Capital (DETAILS ON PAGE 5) on Monday. AMARJEET SINGH Seven abducted Indians in Libya freed: The seven Indians, hailing from Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh who were kidnapped in Libya last month have been released, the Ministry of External Affairs announced on Monday. ''We are happy to inform that the seven Indian nationals who had been abducted at Asshwerif in Libya on 14 September were finally released yesterday. Our Ambassador to Tunisia Puneet Roy Kundal spoke to them over phone after they were handed over by the abductors to the company Al Shola Al Mudia,'' the MEA said. Major power failure disrupts Mumbai: A major power failure struck Mumbai around 10 a.m. on Monday, affecting normal life including thousands stranded in stalled suburban trains. Power was restored around noon in many areas in South Mumbai. “Due to Grid failure at Padgha - Kalwa there is total failure of electricity in Mumbai. The restoration work is in progress,” the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply P5 and Transport informed on Twitter. Two Stanford economists win Nobel prize for auction theory STOCKHOLM, 12 OCTOBER Two American economists won the Nobel Prize on Monday for improving the theory of how auctions work and inventing new and better auction formats that are now woven into many parts of the economy. The discoveries of Paul R. Milgrom (left) and Robert B. Wilson have benefited sellers, buyers and taxpayers around the world, the Nobel Committee said, noting that the auction formats developed by the winners have been used to sell radio frequencies, fishing quotas and airport landing slots. Both economists are based at Stanford University in California, and Milgrom said he received news of their win in a strange way. I got a knock at my door from Bob Wilson, he said. He was my Ph.D. advisor, and he lives right across the street from me. Milgrom said students and colleagues had long suggested he and Wilson might be due for the prize. “It’s really sweet actually, he said. “It’s nice to have their respect but their affection as well. The winners were announced in Stockholm by Goran Hansson, secretary-general of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, rounding off a week of Nobel Prizes. Wilson, 83, described his former student as genius behind all of this auction work, noting that they first worked together AP on auctions in the 1970s. he Supreme Court on Monday sought the Centre’s response on a batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the newly enacted three contentious farm laws. A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde, in a hearing conducted via video conferencing, issued notice to the Central government and sought its reply within four weeks. The bench expressed surprised on seeing a battery of law officers, including Attorney General K K Venugopal and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing in the matter even before the issuance of the notice. “AG, SG, ASG all appear in a matter where there is no cause of action...This in common parlance is called an ‘overkill’,” it said. Venugopal told the court that the Centre would be filing a consolidated reply to the petitions. The bench, also comprising Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, was hearing pleas filed by RJD lawmaker from Rajya Sabha, Manoj Jha and DMK Rajya Sabha MP from Tamil Nadu, Tiruchi Siva, and one by Rakesh Vaishnav of Chhattisgarh Kisan Congress. The three laws ~ Farmers’ (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, Lok Insaaf Party president Simarjit Singh Bains (C) along with other activists march towards the residence of BJP national general secretary Tarun Chugh during a protest against the agriculture reform Bills. In Amritsar on Monday. AFP 2020 and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020~ took effect from 27 September after President Ram Nath Kovind’s assent. The petitions alleged that these laws would dismantle the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) system intended to ensure fair prices for farm products. The bench seemed disinclined to entertain pleas against the farm laws and asked lawyer M L Sharma, who had filed a separate plea, to go to high court. Referring to its earlier verdict, it said that mere passing of a legislation does not give rise to a cause of action. “When you have got a cause of action then come before us. Don’t come before us and go to a high court”. This led Sharma to withdraw his PIL and the bench proceeded to hear other pleas on the issue. WHY NADAL’S FEAT IS AMONG GREAT ACHIEVEMENTS KHUSHBOO CROSSES OVER TO BJP FROM CONGRESS Lawyer K Parmeshwar, appearing for Vaishnav, said that the laws interfered with states power and needed examination by the top court. Jha said the laws would expose marginal farmers to the exploits of big corporates. “The impugned legislations corporatise agriculture and ushers in an unregulated and exploitative regime. A farmer would not have the knowledge to negotiate the best terms with a private company. “This leads to unequal bargaining position in negotiating the farm agreement with corporates would lead to corporates monopolising the agriculture sector,” he said. The plea said the laws have been passed by Parliament “in breach of the Parliamentary Rules and convention and the impugned acts are uncon- stitutional on the ground that it is discriminatory and manifestly arbitrary and further violates the Basic Structure of the Constitution.” These laws encourage “corporatisation” of Indian agriculture which is the lifeline of the poor farmers and key to the survival of the nations agriculture sector, it said. They primarily intend to sacrifice the interest of the farmers and leave them at the mercy of the sponsors without any proper dispute resolution mechanism, it said. “The Acts provide for ‘farming agreements’ between the farmers (of whom 85% are marginal farmers owning up to 2 acres) and the Corporate entities”. It is noteworthy that the farmers by way of these legislations are pitted against the corporates with disproportionate bargaining pow- ers, its said. The price determination mechanism under new laws is only through the agreements between the corporate entities and farmers and do not stipulate that the price should not be below the minimum selling price (MSP) and does not even guarantee the price given by the APMC, it said. Instead of the ensuring MSP the laws intend , to corporatise peasant agriculture and erode the existing legal safeguards that prevent direct invasion of rural agriculture market by the monopoly corporate forces, it said. The laws enable the sponsors to deprive the market committees of their market fee on transaction within the specified Market Yards under the State Mandi Laws, the plea said. “The farmers currently have the freedom to sell their farm produce to anyone anywhere. The freedom however is not real but is bereft of any safety or guarantees, to protect them against the superior bargaining force of the buyers,” the plea said. “The Acts have been passed in blatant breach of the principles of federal structure of Constitution as ‘agriculture’ is a state subject under Entry 14 of List II which does not grant competence to the central government to legislate on the issues relating to ‘agriculture’. Only State Legislature have the competence to pass laws dealing with the subject,” it said. P12 Andhra HC orders CBI inquiry against YSRCP leaders STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE HYDERABAD, 12 OCTOBER Andhra Pradesh High Court has ordered a CBI inquiry into cases registered against YSRCP leaders for making defamatory remarks against the judiciary on social media. Earlier, in April the court had issued suo moto contempt notices to 49 people including a sitting MP Nandigam Suresh of Baptala and former MLA of the ruling party Amanchi Krishna Mohan for derogatory social media posts and television interviews after some of the court rulings went against the current state government. The order came from a division bench comprising Justice Rakesh Kumar and Justice J Uma Devi which further directed CBI to submit its report in a sealed cover within eight weeks of receiving the court’s directive. The agency was also directed to take steps to remove all such defamatory posts available on social media and block the users in accordance with law. Earlier the CID under the state police was handling the investigations. The court entrusted CBI with the task because it has wider scope of investigations. “While conducting investigation it would be necessary to examine as to whether such attacks on Judiciary were made as a result of larger conspiracy or not. If it is noticed that it was due to the result of larger conspiracy, the CBI is required to take appropriate action against such culprits irrespective of the post and position,” the court further observed in its order. The court’s directive came just a couple of days after chief minister YS Jagan Mohan While conducting investigation it would be necessary to examine as to whether such attacks on Judiciary were made as a result of larger conspiracy or not. If it is noticed that it was due to the result of larger conspiracy, the CBI is required to take appropriate action against such culprits irrespective of the post and position ANDHRA PRADESH HIGH COURT Reddy wrote to Chief Justice of India SA Bobde complaining against the sitting judge of Supreme Court Justice NV Ramana, accusing the latter of proximity with former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu. He alleged that the sitting judge was influencing the sittings of the High Court including the roster of a few judges and said there was a nexus between Justice Ramana and some judges of High Court. He cited a few cases in which according to him the court’s orders favoured the TDP He sought the interven. tion of the Chief Justice to maintain neutrality of the judiciary. The next hearing on the intimidating attack on Judiciary will be held on 14 December. Bollyproducers move HC India’s Covid-19 caseload crosses 71-lakh-mark against Republic, Times Now SNS & PTI PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 12 OCTOBER Leading Bollywood producers on Monday approached the Delhi High Court seeking to restrain Republic TV and Times Now from making or publishing allegedly irresponsible, derogatory and defamatory remarks' against film industry and conducting media trials against its members on various issues. The lawsuit by four Bollywood industry associations and thirty four leading producers have also sought to restrain them from interfering with the right to privacy of persons associated with the industry. It has sought direction to Republic TV, its editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami and reporter Pradeep Bhandari, Times Now, its editor-in-chief Rahul Shivshankar and group editor Navika Kumar, and unknown defendants as well as social media platforms to refrain from making or publishing allegedly irresponsible, derogatory and defamatory remarks against Bollywood. The suit filed through DSK Legal firm said, This comes in the wake of these channels using highly derogatory words and expressions for Bollywood such as ‘dirt’, ‘filth’, ‘scum’, ‘druggies’ and expressions such as it is Bollywood where the dirt needs to be cleaned', all the perfumes of Arabia cannot take away the stench and the stink of this filth and scum of the underbelly of Bollywood’, This is the dirtiest industry in the country’, and cocaine and LSD drenched Bollywood'. NEW DELHI/KOLKATA, 12 OCTOBER India’s Covid-19 tally went past 71 lakh with 66,732 fresh cases, while the number of people who have recuperated crossed61 lakh, pushing the recovery rate to 86.36 per cent, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Monday. The country’s Covid-19 caseload stands at 71,20,538. The death toll climbed to 1,09,150with the virus claiming 816 lives in a day, the data updated at 8 am showed. For the fourth day in a row, the number of active Covid19 cases remained below 9 lakh. There are 8,61,853 active cases of coronavirus infection in the country which account for 12.10 per cent of the total caseload, the A health worker collects swab sample from a resident during a Covid-19 screening in Dharavi slums, on Monday. AFP data showed. The case fatality rate due to the coronavirus infection has dropped to 1.53 per cent. India’s Covid-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7, 30 lakh on 23 August and 40 lakh on 5 September. It went past 50 lakh on 16 September , 60 lakh on 28 September and crossed 70 lakh on 11 October. According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), a total of 8,78,72,093 samples had been tested up to October 11. Of these, 9,94,851 samples were tested on Sunday. The health ministry stressed that more than 70 per cent of the deaths occurred due to comorbidities. Bengal adds 3.5K cases in 24 hours: West Bengal today registered 3,583 single-day Covid cases and 60 deaths due to infection. The total Covid case count is 2,98,389 and death toll is 5,682 in the state till now while there are 30,604 active cases. North 24 Parganas recorded 759 fresh Covid cases and 16 deaths and Kolkata recorded 717 cases and 19 deaths. In the last 24 hours, 3,155 patients were discharged from hospitals taking the number of recovered patients to 2,62,103. A total of 40,056 people were tested for Covid in a single-day, registering a positivity rate of 7.99 per cent. While the discharge rate is 87.84 per cent, the rate of occupancy in Covid beds is 35.82 per cent. Currently, 2,418 people are in government quarantine 71,20,538 8,61,853 66,732 71,559 1,09,150 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. MONDAY 12 OCTOBER 2020 centres, 88,061 are in home quarantine. Govt announces cash-for-LTC, festival advance to boost demand STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 12 OCTOBER Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman today announced various steps including a payment of cash in lieu of LTC (Leave Travel Concession) and Rs 10,000 festival advance to government employees to stimulate consumer demand during the festival season. In a Press conference, the minister also announced additional capital spending and Rs 12,000 crore, 50-year interest-free loan to states to boost the economy that was affected due to the pandemic. “The government will give its employees income-taxexempt cash vouchers in lieu of their entitled travel allowances this year,” said the minister. As per the LTC Cash Voucher scheme, the minister informed that government employees can opt to receive cash amount to leave encashment plus three times the ticket fare, to buy items which attract a GST of 12 per cent or more. However, she also mentioned that the cash will have to spend on buying goods that attract 12 per cent or more GST. “The Central government employees get LTC in a block of 4 years (one to anywhere in India and one hometown; or two for the home town). Air or rail fare, as per scale/entitlement, is reimbursed and in addition, leave encashment of 10 days (pay plus DA) is paid,” she said. FESTIVAL BONANZA In a Press conference, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman also announced additional capital spending and Rs 12,000 crore, 50-year interest-free loan to states to boost the economy that was affected due to the pandemic As per the LTC Cash Voucher scheme, the minister informed that government employees can opt to receive cash amount to leave encashment plus three times the ticket fare, to buy items which attract a GST of 12 per cent or more. “Due to Covid-19, employees are not in a position to avail LTC. In lieu of one LTC, a cash payment will be made~ full payment on leave encashment and payment of a fare in 3 flatrate slabs depending on the class of entitlement,” said Sitharaman. An employee opting for this scheme, will be required to buy goods/services worth 3-times the fare and 1-time the leave encashment before 31 March, 2021. Central public sector enterprises and banks will also follow the cue and give cash in place of leave travel con- CMYK cession (LTC). “If Central government employees opt for it, this will cost around Rs 5,675 crore. The employees of PSBs and PSUs allowed to avail this facility, and for PSBs and PSUs the cost will be Rs 1,900 crores. The demand infusion in the economy by Central government and PSUs will be approx Rs 19,000 crore,” said Nirmala Sitharaman. The government also announced to give one-time Rs 10,000 salary loan to all its officers and employees as a festival advance. It will be an interest free loan and employees will have to avail it by 31 March. The amount is supposed to be recovered in maximum 10 installments. Employees will get pre-loaded Rupay card of the advance value. The government will bear bank charges in this regard. “The festival advance along with other similar advances were abolished on the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission. The outgo under the head is expected to be Rs 4,000 crore, if 50 per cent adoption by states is taken into account, another Rs 4,000 crore festival advances would be disbursed,” she said. With these two measures, Sitharaman claims to create a consumer demand of about Rs 28,000 crore. The government in May announced a Rs 20 lakh crore “Aatmanirbhar Bharat” stimulus, is pushing ahead with a full opening to try to boost the economy ahead of the usually high-spending festival season. A tough lockdown imposed to stem the spread of coronavirus had resulted in the economy contracting by a record 23.9 per cent during April-June. Explaining further, the minister said that the measures by the government to stimulate demand must not burden the common citizen with future inflation and must not put government debt on an unsustainable path. Also, a special Rs 12,000 crore interest-free, 50-year loan will be given to states for capital expenditure. Of this, Rs 1,600 crore will be for the North-Eastern states and Rs 900 crore for Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh.
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