CMYK MONDAY www.thestatesman.com 23 NOVEMBER 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 IN BLISTERING RULING, JUDGE THROWS OUT TRUMP SUIT NO LEADERSHIP CRISIS IN CONGRESS: SALMAN KHURSHID P5 WEATHER Mainly clear sky. Maximum and minimum temperature most likely to be around 28 °C and 17 °C respectively. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max. 93% TEMPERATURE Min. 39% Max: 27.8°C (-1) Min: 19.5°C (+1) SUN RISES SUN SETS 05:55 hrs 16:51 hrs MOON RISES MOON SETS --:-12:54 hrs Full moon on 30 November THUMBNAILS Children fish in the Kangsabati river at Hatihalka, West Midnapore, on Sunday. AJHARUL PATHAN NGT directive on water bodies: Noting that adequate steps for protection of water bodies have not been taken, the National Green Tribunal has directed all states and Union Territories to designate a nodal agency for the exercise. The NGT said that under the oversight of chief secretaries of States/UTs, the designated nodal agency must meet not later than January 31, 2021, to take stock of the situation and plan further steps, including directions to district authorities for further action. Deep sea mission: India will soon launch an ambitious Deep Ocean Mission that envisages exploration of minerals, energy and marine diversity of the underwater world, a vast part of which still remains unexplored, a top official of the Ministry of Earth Sciences said. The ministry's secretary, M Rajeevan, said required approvals are being obtained for the “gamechanging” mission, and it is likely to be launched in the next 3-4 months. The mission is expected to cost over Rs 4,000 crore. RONALDO SCORING STREAK CONTINUES VARIABLY VOLUBLE P10 P6 P12 Covid: Centre sends high-level Cong suffering teams to Himachal, Punjab, UP from people disconnect: Azad STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 22 NOVEMBER Leader iterates need for party overhaul at all levels PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 22 NOVEMBER here is a huge disconnect between people and Congress leaders and “five-star culture” has crept into the party, Congress veteran Ghulam Nabi Azad said on Sunday as he again called for an overhaul in the organisational structure. His remarks come after the party’s debacle in the Bihar assembly elections, in which the Congress had won 19 out of the 70 seats it contested. The RJD-led ‘Mahagathbandhan’ of which the Congress was the second major partner ended up with 110 seats while the NDA retained power in a close contest, bagging 125 seats in the 243-member assembly in the recent polls. There is an urgent need to overhaul the party structure by conducting elections from block to district and state level, Azad said, adding that Congress leaders at all levels should shed fivestar culture at least during elections. Azad, who was the senior-most among the 23 letter writers demanding an organisational overhaul in the Congress, said they are raising issues as “reformists and not rebels”. “There is a huge disconnect between the people and Congress leaders at the district, block and state levels. The party's connect with the public should be a continuous process and not only during elections,” T he said. The Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, who has held several top positions in the Congress, said the party's leaders should shed “five-star culture” which he said has crept into the party. “At least during elections, they should avoid five-stars and stay in the field,” he said. Speaking for the first time after the party's poor performance in the Bihar polls, Azad also said that leaders should tour a state along with state leaders and not just stay in five-star hotels and return. “Each leader must have knowledge of each assembly constituency. Merely going from Delhi and staying in five-star hotels and returning after two to three days to Delhi is nothing but a waste of money,” he said. Holding this as one of the main reasons for the party's defeat in Bihar, the former Union minister called for elections for all positions in Congress state, district and block units. “We should have elected PCCs, DCCs and BCCs, and a programme for the party in this regard is a must,” he said. Azad said that he along with other leaders in the Congress were raising these issues in the interest of the party. “We are reformists not rebels. We are not against the leadership. Rather, we are strengthening the hands of the leadership by proposing reforms,” he said. Azad did not blame the top leadership of the party for the poll debacle, but the disconnect between leaders and people. Azad was among the 23 leaders who wrote to Congress president Sonia Gandhi in August demanding elections to key posts and comprehensive party restructuring. There have been more demands for restructuring from various quarters, including from former Union minister Kapil Sibal, in the wake of the party's electoral decline. Azad was among four letter-writers whom Sonia Gandhi included in three internal committees she set up to articulate the party's stand on economic affairs, foreign affairs and national security. The government is sending high-level central teams to Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh to support them in Covid19 response and management. The team of threemembers will visit the districts reporting high number of Covid cases and support the states’ efforts towards strengthening containment, surveillance, testing, infection prevention and control measures, and efficient clinical management of the positive cases. The Central teams shall also guide in effectively managing the challenges related to timely diagnosis and follow up. “These states have been either reporting a rise in the number of active cases i.e. those who are hospitalized 90,95,806 or are in home isolation under medical supervision, or demonstrating a rise in the daily new cases,” the health ministry said. Earlier the government sent high-level teams to Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Manipur and Chhattisgarh. Right now, India’s present active caseload has further declined to 4,40,962 and comprises 4.85 per cent of the total cases while the national Covid-19 recovery rate has improved to 93.69 per cent, with the country registering 43,493 new recoveries in a span of 24 hours tak- 4,40,962 45,209 43,493 1,33,227 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. SUNDAY 22 NOVEMBER 2020 ing the total recovered cases to 85,21,617. The ministry also said that 26 3.7 lakh covered in Delhi’s house-to-house survey PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 22 NOVEMBER For the first time, the number of RT-PCR tests in Delhi has exceeded the number of rapid antigen tests, while over 3.7 lakh people have been surveyed as part of the efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus in the national capital, the Union Home Ministry said on Sunday. Amid the spurt in coronavirus cases in Delhi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah took the lead in ramping up medical infrastructure and formulating a new strategy to combat the Covid-19 surge in the national capital. “For the first time, the number of RT-PCR tests in Delhi have exceeded the rapid antigen tests,” a spokesperson of the Home Ministry said. According to sources, the number of real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests in the city surpassed the number of rapid antigen tests on Friday. A total of 250 ventilators have been delivered to the DRDO hospital and are being installed. The house-to-house survey, as directed by Shah, has started in Delhi and till Friday, 3,70,729 people have been surveyed. AIIMS has also started the process for recruitment of additional 207 Junior Resident doctors, the spokesperson said. The actions come in the wake of 12 decisions taken at a meeting chaired by Shah on November 15 after Delhi saw fresh spike in Covid-19 cases. The spurt in cases in Delhi has been witnessed since October 28 when the daily rise breached the 5,000mark for the first time and it crossed the 8,000mark on November 11. states and UTs have less than 20,000 active cases, as on date while 7 states and UTs have active cases between 20,000 and 50,000 whereas Maharashtra and Kerala are reporting more than 50,000 caseload. Ten states and UTs contribute to 77.68 per cent of the new recovered cases. Delhi saw 6,963 persons recovering from Covid-19. Kerala and Maharashtra reported 6,719 and 4,088 new recoveries respectively. Ten states and UTs have contributed 76.81 per cent of the new cases. In the last 24 hours, 45,209 persons were found to be infected with coronavirus. India’s Covid-19 caseload mounted to 90,95,806 with 45,209 infections being reported in a day, while the death toll climbed to 1,33,227 with 501 new fatalities, the data updated at 8 a.m. showed. Bengal’s Covid case count at 4.56 lakh KOLKATA, 22 NOVEMBER West Bengal today registered 3,591 fresh Covid-19 cases and 49 deaths due to THE infection. The total Covid case count is 4,56,361 and death toll is 8,025 in the state till now, while there are 25,207 active cases. Kolkata recorded 879 cases and 15 deaths and North 24-Parganas saw 828 fresh Covid cases and 12 deaths. In the last 24 hours, 3,726 patients were discharged from hospitals taking the number of recovered patients to 4,23,129. The discharge rate is 92.72 per cent. SNS Kerala law won’t be used against freedom Massive anti-tunnelling operation on along border in J-K’s Samba of speech, impartial journalism: Vijayan PRESS TRUST OF INDIA STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, 22 NOVEMBER Amidst mounting criticism from various quarters against the Kerala Police Act amendment ordinance promulgated by the LDF government in Kerala, state chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Sunday said that the amendment to the Kerala Police Act will not be used against freedom of speech or impartial media activity in any way. In a statement, chief minister Vijayan said that the new amendment to Kerala Police Act will in no way be used against free speech or impartial journalism and apprehensions to the contrary are unfounded. “The state government was repeatedly receiving com- plaints against the wide misuse of social media, especially by certain online channels. Even prominent public and cultural figures had made such complaints,” the CM said. “They have brought to the notice of the government instances where inhuman and vile cyber-attacks were carried out by some in the guise of journalism and how it even harmed the family lives of many. It has often turned into targeted attacks using untruths and even sleazy content. Many families are bearing the consequences of such attacks," he added. Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan has signed an ordinance amending the Kerala Police Act purportedly to give the police more teeth to prosecute persons who engage in cyber-attacks against women and children The ordinance introduces a new section, 118A in the Kerala Police Act, which proposes three years of imprisonment and a fine of Rs.10,000 for those convicted of producing, publishing or disseminating derogatory content through any means of communication to intimidate, insult or defame any person through social media. Coming out against the new amendment, Opposi- tion leader Ramesh Chennithala said that the ordinance blatantly violated fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution. He said that the government's intention is to silence those who oppose the CPI-M and LDF government on social media and the media which writes about corruption in the government. "The Supreme Court had repealed section 66-A of the IT Act and Section 118 (d) of the Kerala Police Act on the grounds that these were against freedom of expression. CPI M was one of the first political parties to welcome this decision then. But now, Pinarayi Vijayan, who is a CPI-M PolitBuro member, has introduced an act which is far worse," Chennithala said here BJP state president K Surendran said that the amendment is an attempt to curb the freedom of expression of the people. "When the Supreme Court took a stand against such a law in 2015, Vijayan praised it and made it a political campaign. The same Vijayan is trying to control social media and mainstream media by bringing this draconian act," he said. It has been alleged that new 118A in the Kerala Police Act is Section 66A of the IT Act in new bottle. Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) said the ordinance was an attempt to muzzle the media and categorise as a legal violation any news report that could be unfavourable to the ruling dispensation. "The amendment doesn't specifically mention cyber bullying but 'mass media'. This means all media fall under this purview," said KUWJ president KP Reji. JAMMU, 22 NOVEMBER A 150-metre long underground tunnel suspected to be used by terrorists for infiltration was detected by the BSF at the International Border in Jammu and Kashmir's Samba sector on Sunday, DGP Dilbag Singh said. Singh, who along with Border Security Force (BSF) Inspector General, Jammu frontier, N S Jamwal, and Inspector General of Police, Jammu range, Mukesh Singh inspected the scene, said the tunnel was unearthed following investigation into the recent encounter near Nagrota on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway. A massive operation is underway near the International border in Samba sector to unearth an under- ground tunnel which was suspected to have been used by four Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorists to sneak into the country from Pakistan, said officials on Sunday. All the four terrorists were killed in a gunfight when a Kashmir-bound truck, in which they were travelling, was stopped for checking at Ban toll plaza on Jammu-Srinagar national highway on Thursday. A huge quantity of arms and ammunition including 11 AK assault rifles, three pistols, 29 grenades and six UBGL grenades were recovered from the possession of the slain terrorists, who, according to police, had come to execute a big plan to disrupt the District Development Council polls, slated to be held in eight phases beginning November 28. Based on the material recovered from the slain terrorists, it was suspected that the terrorists infiltrated into this side from Pakistan through an underground tunnel in Samba district, the officials said. They said a massive anti-tunnelling operation is being carried out by the BSF since Friday. The Army and police have also joined the operation, which is still underway, the officials said. With over 1 million followers, RBI Fight climate change in holistic way: PM Twitter handle creates world record STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE PRESS TRUST OF INDIA MUMBAI, 22 NOVEMBER In a first among central banks, the Reserve Bank of India has become the first monetary authority in the world to have more than 1 million followers on its official Twitter handle. Despite much less monetary firepower, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has beaten the world's most powerful central banks ~ the US Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank ~ on Twitter by a wide margin, emerging as the most popular central bank on the microblogging site with over 1 million followers. As of Sunday, the RBI han- NEW DELHI, 22 NOVEMBER dle is followed by as many as 10,00,513 people around the world. The achievement is impressive as the 85-year-old Reserve Bank was also a latecomer to the world of Twitter as it created the account only in January 2012. According to the latest information available on the RBI's Twitter handle '@RBI', the number of followers has increased from 9.66 lakh on September 27, 2020 to over 10 lakh as of Sunday. “RBI Twitter account reaches 1 million followers today. A new milestone. Congratulations to all my colleagues in RBI,” Governor Shaktikanta Das Tweet- ed on Sunday. At the second slot is the much lesser known central bank of Mexico (Banco de Mexico) with 7.74 lakh followers, followed by Bank of Indonesia (7.57 lakh). The US Federal Reserve, the world's most powerful central bank, has only 6.77 lakh followers, placing it at a distant fourth slot. With 5.91 lakh followers the Frankfurt-headquartered European Central Bank, the second most powerful monetary authority in the world, comes fifth. At the sixth rank is the Central Bank of Brazil with 3.82 lakh followers and the Bank of England is at a distant seventh with 3.17 lakh followers. Prime Minister Narendra Modi today impressed upon influential global leaders the need to fight climate change even as they focused on saving their people and economies from the effects of Covid-19. “Climate change must be fought not in silos but in an integrated, comprehensive and holistic way. Inspired by our traditional ethos of living in harmony with the environment, and the commitment of my government, India has adopted low-carbon and climate-resilient development practices,'' he said addressing the G-20 Summit while it was discussing the critical topic of “Safeguarding the Planet - The Circular Carbon Economy Approach”. Modi told the summit leaders that India was not only meeting its 'Paris Agreement' targets, but also exceeding them. India has taken concrete action in many areas. “We have made LED lights popular. This saves 38 million tons of Carbon Dioxide emissions CMYK per year. Smoke free kitchens have been provided to over 80 million households through our Ujjwala Scheme. This is among the largest clean energy drives globally.” He said efforts were being made in India to eliminate single-use plastics; the forest cover was expanding; the lion and tiger population was increasing; the country aimed to restore 26 million hectares of degraded land by 2030; and, it was also encouraging a circular economy. “India is making next-generation infrastructure such as metro networks, waterways and more. In addition to convenience and efficiency, they will also contribute to a cleaner environment. We will meet our goal of 175 Giga Watts of renewable energy well before the target of 2022. Now, we are taking a big step ahead by seeking to achieve 450 Giga Watts by 2030,'' the Prime Minister added. He said the International Solar Alliance was among the fastest growing international organisations, with 88 signatories.With plans to mobilise billions of dollars, train thousands of stake-holders, and promote research and development in renewable energy, the ISA would contribute to reducing carbon foot-print. He said 18 countries, including nine from amongst the G20, and four international organisations have already joined the coalition. Modi said this was the best time for further increasing research and innovation in new and sustainable technologies. ''We should do so with a spirit of cooperation and collaboration. The entire world can progress faster if there is greater support of technology and finance to the developing world.'' He said that for humanity to prosper, every single individual must prosper. Rather than seeing labour as a factor of production alone, the focus must be on the human dignity of every worker. Such an approach would be the best guarantee for safeguarding the planet. The two-day summit was hosted by Saudi Arabia as the chairman.
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