FRIDAY www.thestatesman.com 13 NOVEMBER 2020 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 12 |`5|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR TN VARSITY REMOVES ARUNDHATI BOOK AFTER ABVP PROTEST ‘CONGRESS’ POOR PERFORMANCE BEHIND BIHAR LOSS’ P4 P5 WEATHER Mainly clear sky. Mist/shallow fog in the morning. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 30 and 12 degrees Celsius respectively. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max: 98% Min: 11.6°C (-2) SUN SETS 17:29 hrs MOON SETS 16:19 hrs THUMBNAILS People shop for jewellery during the traditional SNS Dhanteras festival in Kolkata on Thursday. Actor found dead: Actor Asif Basra, a familiar face in several movies and TV shows including Jab We Met, Kai Po Che! and Paatal Lok, was found hanging in a private residential complex in Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, on Thursday, police said. He was 53. Police said he is believed to have hanged himself around 12-12.30 p.m. The news of the sudden death of the actor, which comes months after actor Sushant Singh Rajput was found hanging at his Mumbai resiP5 dence was met with shock in the industry. Varavara Rao‘s health: Bombay High Court has directed that doctors from a private hospital in Mumbai should conduct medical examination of jailed poet-activist Varavara Rao through video link, and a physical check-up if necessary. Rao, 81, an accused in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case, is lodged as an undertrial in Taloja prison in Navi Mumbai. The court was hearing a petition filed by Rao's wife seeking that he be shifted to Nanavati Hospital for better treatment, and for his release on bail. NEW DELHI, 12 NOVEMBER The Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Thursday announced the completion of enrolment of phase-3 clinical trials for potential Covid-19 vaccine Covishield in India. The ICMR and SII have collaborated for the clinical development of Covovax developed by Novavax, US and upscaled by SII, a statement said. “The partnership is a stellar example of private-public institutes collaborating to mitigate the dire consequences of the pandemic outbreak,” the ICMR said in the statement. While the ICMR has funded the clinical trial site fees, SII has funded other expenses for Covishield. At present, SII and ICMR are conducting phase 2/3 clinical trials of Covishield at 15 different centres across the country. It had completed the enrolment of all 1,600 participants on October 31. “The promising results of the trials so far gives confidence that Covishield could be a realistic solution to the deadly pandemic. Covishield is by far the most advanced vaccine in human testing in India,” the ICMR said. “Based on the phase 2/3 trial results, SII with the help of ICMR will pursue the early availability of this product for India. SII has already manufactured 40 million doses of the vaccine, under the at-risk manufacturing and stockpiling license from DCGI,” the apex health research body said. Covishield has been developed at SII Pune laboratory with a master seed from Oxford University/AstraZeneca. PTI P12 Stimulus 3.0: Govt pushes jobs and infrastructure INDO-ASIAN NEWS SERVICE TEMPERATURE ICMR, SII finalise enrolment of vaccine phase-3 clinical trials P10 India, ASEAN call for freedom of navigation in South China Sea FM announces 12 new measures to support the economy; stimulus tops `30 lakh crore Min: 44% Max: 29.2°C (+1) SUN RISES 06:43 hrs MOON RISES 05:24 hrs HAMILTON ON THRESHOLD OF HISTORY DISQUIET IN UK GOVT AS JOHNSON AIDE QUITS STIMULUS MEASURES A Economy is seeing strong recovery: FM Income tax law will be relaxed to allow primary or first sale of housing units of up to Rs 2 crore at a price that can be 20 per cent below the stamp duty circle rate. nnouncing a fresh round of stimulus package and terming it as 'Atmanirbhar Bharat 3.0', Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman unveiled a total of 12 new measures to support the economy and industry, ranging from employment generation, collateral-free credit for stressed sectors to subsidised fertiliser for farmers. Sitharaman announced the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat RozgarYojana’ to incentivise creation of new employment opportunities during the Covid-recovery phase. The employment scheme effective from October 1 will be applicable to eligible new employees joining EPFO-registered establishments and for those who exited these concerns during the period March 1September 30, 2020 and drawing monthly wages of less than Rs 15,000. Under the scheme, the central government will subsidise the Employees' Provident Fund (EPF) contributions for two years. The Centre will provide 12 per cent of the contributions of both employers and the employee for establishments with up to 1,000 employees. In the case of establishments with over 1,000 employees, the Centre will only subsidise 12 per cent of the employees' EPF contributions. In order to provide a further boost to rural employment, the government will provide an additional outlay of Rs 10,000 crore for the The government will provide a subsidy equal to the EPF contribution that an employee and the employer have to make in establishments that hire new employees or re-hire those it fired during the pandemic. The Rs 3 lakh crore Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme, under which small businesses can get collateral-free loans, has been extended till March 31, 2021. The scheme has also been extended to 26 stressed sectors. An additional outlay of Rs 18,000 crore will be made towards the affordable urban housing programme. A Rs 900 crore grant for the Department of Biotechnology for Covid-19 vaccine research. The government will provide Rs 65,000 crore of additional subsidy on fertiliser. Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Rozgar Yojana. The government will provide Rs 65,000 crore to farmers to ensure adequate supply of fertilisers in the upcoming crop season. The government has also announced an Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS 2.0) for providing needed relief to stressed sectors by helping entities sustain employment and meet liabilities. The ECLGS scheme for MSMEs, MUDRA loan borrowers and individuals has been extended till March next year. In a bid to boost hous- ing sales, Sitharaman announced an increase in the permitted differential between the circle rate and agreement value of housing units to 20 per cent from the current mandated limit of 10 per cent till June 30. The increase in differential will be applicable in residential units of value up to Rs 2 crore. To provide ease of doing business and relief to contractors whose money otherwise remains locked up, performance security on contracts will be reduced to 3 per cent earnest money deposit (EMD) for tenders India enters technical recession: RBI NEW DELHI, 12 NOVEMBER NEW DELHI, 12 NOVEMBER MUMBAI, 12 NOVEMBER Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the Indian economy is witnessing a strong recovery after a long lockdown. While announcing more stimulus measures to boost growth, she cited data, including increase in tax collections for goods and services, rise in energy consumption and improvement in bank credit, to state that the economy was seeing “strong recovery” taking root. She said composite purchasing managers index (PMI) rose to 58.9 per cent in October versus 54.6 per cent in the previous month, registering the strongest increase in output in close to nine years. Energy consumption growth trended higher in October at 12 per cent yearon-year, while GST collections have grown 10 per cent to over Rs 1.05 PTI lakh crore. Details on Page 8 India has technically entered a recession with a likely contraction in its GDP during the JulySeptember period, according to a Reserve Bank of India (RBI) report. RBI's Economic Activity Index estimates that India's GDP growth for the second quarter of the current financial year was negative and the GDP contracted by 8.6 per cent during the quarter. “India has entered into a technical recession in the first half of 2020-21 for the first time in its history with Q2:2020-21 likely to record the second successive quarter of GDP contraction," it said. The contraction is ebbing with gradual normalisation in activities and expected to be shortlived. The report said incoming data for October 2020 has brightened the nearterm outloozk for the economy and stirred up consumer and business IANS confidence. will be replaced by bid security self-declaration. The relaxation will be available till December 31, 2021. The Centre will also make an additional outlay of Rs 18,000 crore for Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban), which is likely to help ground 12 lakh hous- STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 12 NOVEMBER es and complete 18 lakh houses, as per the Finance Minister. The government will also invest Rs 6,000 crore in the NIIF (National Infrastructure Investment Fund) debt platform, which will provide infrastructure project financing of Rs 1,10,000 crore. Amidst increasing Chinese assertiveness on maritime issues in the region, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and leaders of ten ASEAN countries today called for promoting peace, stability, safety and security in the South China Sea and freedom of navigation and overflight. They also called on all countries in the region to adhere to international laws and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Modi also stated that he favoured strengthening physical, economic, societal, digital, financial and maritime connectivity between India and ASEAN countries to give a new definition to the strategic partnership between the two sides. “There are many similarities between our 'Indo Pacific Ocean Initiatives' and ASEAN's 'Outlook on Indo Pacific’. We believe we need a 'Cohesive and Responsive' ASEAN to achieve our objective of 'Security and Growth for all in the Region' (SAGAR),” he said. Modi noted that India and ASEAN have come closer over the years and this partnership was bound to prosper in the years to come. The Prime Minister was co-chairing the 17th ASEAN-India Summit along with his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc in the virtual format. Leaders of all ten ASEAN mem- In the summit, Prime Minister Modi announced a contribution of $1 million to COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund and stressed on leveraging strong ties between the two sides in the battle against the pandemic. ber countries participated in the summit. The summit reviewed the status of ASEAN-India strategic partnership and took stock of the progress made in key areas such as connectivity, maritime cooperation, trade and commerce, education and capacity building. The leaders also discussed ways to further strengthen ASEAN-India engagement. Covid-19, post-pandemic economic recovery and important regional and international developments were also discussed. The ASEANIndia summits provide an opportunity to the two sides to engage at the highest level. Modi had attended the 16th ASEAN-India Summit in Bangkok in November last year. Covid-19 caseload climbs to 86.8L China denies finalising border 1 SNS & PTI NEW DELHI, 12 NOVEMBER A single-day increase of 47,905 infections took the country's Covid-19 caseload to 86,83,916, whilethe number of people who have recuperated from the disease have surged to 80,66,501, according to Union Health Ministry data updated on Thursday. The coronavirusdeath toll climbed to 1,28,121with 550 new fatalities, the data updated at 8 a.m. showed. The number of active cases remained below 5 lakh for a second day. There are 4,89,294active cases of coronavirus infection in the country as on date, which comprise 5.63 per cent of the total caseload, the data stated.The total recoveries have reached 80,66,501, taking the national recovery rate to 92.89 per cent, while- disengagement plan with India Delhi’s Covid deaths spike to 104, highest in a day STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 12 NOVEMBER Delhi today recorded 104 fresh coronavirus-linked fatalities ~ reportedly its highest single-day spike so far ~which raised its Covid19 toll to 7,332, according to the Delhi government’s latest health bulletin. The city reported 7,053 fresh cases of coronavirus infection, which took its caseload to 4,67,028, the health bulletin said. These cases were detected out of 60,229 tests, with the positivity rate Covid-19 case fatality rate stands at 1.48 per cent. Seventy-eight per cent of the new coronavirus infec- being 11.71 per cent. The patients who recovered from this deadly virus infection during the past 24 hours in the national capital numbered 6,462, with their cumulative count going up to 4,16,580. T h e re we re 4 3 , 1 1 6 active cases in the city with 26,252 being under home isolation, the bulletin stated. The count of hospitalised patients was 9,811. The total number of containment zones in the national capital was 4,141 now, the bulletin added. tions reported in a span of 24 hours on Thursday are from 10 states and Union territories with Delhi continuing to STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 12 NOVEMBER 86,83,916 4,89,294 47,905 52,718 1,28,121 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. THURSDAY 12 NOV 2020 register the highest single-day cases at 8,593 followed by Kerala and Maharashtra. China today rejected reports in the Indian media that detailed arrangements for a proposed disengagement plan were being discussed and finalised by the armies of the two countries, saying the reports were not helpful for the two sides to reach their established goals. While the momentum brought by the eighth round of corps commander talks was good, the "disengagement plan" mentioned by the media was "not accurate'', China's state-run Global Times said quoting sources. Reports in leading dailies in India said China and India have "broadly agreed to pullback troops, tanks, howitzers and armoured vehicles from 'friction points' in the Pangong Tso-Chushul area in eastern Ladakh." The Chinese newspaper said some Indian media outlets were good at projecting India's tough stance through partially true and partially false information, with the aim of stirring up domestic nationalism. It quoted the Chinese sources as saying that India has always had "unrealistic" ideas about the Line of Actu- al Control (LAC) and disregarded history, unilaterally believing that Fingers 4 to 8 were its patrolling areas, and has sought to gain bargaining chips in talks. "This is a wrong premise for some Indian people in drafting policies," it added. Meanwhile, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava also did not confirm the disengagement plan as reported in the Indian media. He said the two sides had held the eighth round of military level talks on 6 November and the meeting was candid. “The two sides have decided to maintain contact at both the military and diplomatic level for settlement of the issue,” he added. The spokesperson said the next round of talks between the two countries would be held soon. Mandate favoured Grand Alliance, NDA won by deceit: Tejashwi STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE Nitish may take oath as CM on Monday PATNA, 12 NOVEMBER Two days after the results of the Bihar assembly elections were declared, the Election Commission has come under fire from the Opposition parties over the way votes were counted, objections raised by the opposition candidates being summarily rejected during the counting of votes and the results being held up for hours. The Opposition alleged the NDA won the elections by “deceit”, saying “the mandate favoured the Grand Alliance but EC’s result was in favour of the NDA”. These allegations were made at a joint Press conference of the Grand Alliance held PATNA, 12 NOVEMBER here today after a meeting at which RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav was elected the leader of the Grand Alliance Legislature Party. “The Election Commission’s result says our vote share was 37.2 per cent and NDA’s vote share was 37.3 per cent ~ a difference of just 0.1 percent. That means the NDA got only 12,270 votes Nitish Kumar may take oath as Bihar chief minister for a fourth successive term next week but the date has not been finalised yet, a close aide said on Thurday. However, speculation is rife in political circles that he will be sworn in on Monday, the day 'Bhaiyya Dooj' festival will be celebrated, as it is considered an auspicious day. He will visit the state party headquarters later Thursday to meet the newly elected MLAs and other JD(U) functionaries. Raj Bhavan sources said they have not received any communication about when the swearing-in ceremony will take place. Before he is sworn-in as the chief minis- ter again, Nitish Kumar has to tender his resignation to the governor. The newly elected MLAs of the NDA are yet to meet formally and elect Kumar as their leader. However, with top BJP leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, endorsing Kumar as the chief minister, there are no doubts over a fourth straight term for PTI him in the office. more than the Grand Alliance. The question now is how can they win extra 15 seats with some 12,000 extra votes?” asked Tejashwi. He also raised questions over the cancellation of a large number of postal ballots. “The Election Commission cancelled 500 to 900 postal ballots. Under whose pressure was this done?” he asked. He alleged the established rules of counting postal ballots first before the EVMS were ignored while some returning officers even tried to snatch victory certificates from the hands of the candidates. He said people's mandate which was in favour of the Grand Alliance had been “hijacked” and charged the NDA with sneaking into power through the back door. He said Nitish Kumar might grab the chair but the Grand Alliance is in people’s hearts. “We have not lost elections but we were defeated under a conspiracy. We will fight this tooth and nail,” Tejashwi said adding, “The mandate favoured Grand Alliance but Election Commission’s result was in favour of the NDA. This has not happened for the first time. In 2015 too, the mandate was given to the Grand Alliance but the BJP came to power through the back door”. “It was a mandate for change. The NDA won by money, muscle power and deceit,” Tejashwi said. The RJD with 75 seats has emerged as the single largest party in the Bihar assembly while the BJP stands second with 74 seats. The JD-U led by Nitish Kumar, on the other hand, finished a distant third by winning just 43 seats. The single largest party in the House will sit in the Opposition for the second time in a row whereas the third-placed party will have its chief minister.
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