CMYK WEDNESDAY www.thestatesman.com 02 DECEMBER 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 CURBING DISSENT BIDEN, GUTERRES DISCUSS GLOBAL ISSUES P10 WEATHER Mainly clear sky. Maximum and minimum temperature most likely to be around 29 °C and 16 °C respectively. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max. 96 % TEMPERATURE P6 P5 Farmers snub Centre’s offer P12 UNITED WE STAND Govt proposes panel with farmer reps, experts Min. 38 % Max: 28.9 °C (0) Min: 15.4 °C (-1) SUN RISES SUN SETS 06:00 hrs 16:51 hrs MOON RISES MOON SETS 17:39 hrs 06:35 hrs Next moon quarter on 8 December THUMBNAILS Indian Navy test-fires anti-ship version of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile from the Andman and Nicobar Islands territory on Tuesday. IANS EC proposes extending postal ballot facility: The Election Commission has proposed to the government to extend the Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System facility, so far available to service voters, to eligible overseas Indian voters. The Commission is technically and administratively ready to extend this facility in general elections to legislative assemblies of Assam, West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, the poll panel said. GST revenues cross trillion mark: GST collections posted growth for the third month in a row in November over the previous year collections, in signs that the economy continues to reflate after a strict lockdown. The collections were higher than Rs 1.03 lakh crore recorded in November 2019 but were Rs 192 crore lower than October 2020 collections. Collections of tax on the sale of goods and rendering of services came in at Rs 1,04,963 crore P8 in November, the finance ministry said. SNS & PTI NEW DELHI, 1 DECEMBER he government on Tuesday offered to set up a committee to look into issues raised by farmers protesting against new farm laws, but it was rejected by representatives of 35 agitating organisations during their marathon meeting with three union ministers that ended without any resolution. The meeting remained inconclusive and the government has called for another round of discussions on Thursday, December 3, union leaders said. Sources said the farmer representatives were unanimous in seeking repeal of the three laws that they have been terming as being against the interest of the farm community. The protesting farmers have expressed apprehension that the Centre's farm laws would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates. The government has maintained that the new laws will bring farmers better opportunities and usher in new technologies in agriculture. At the nearly three-hourlong meeting at Vigyan Bhawan here, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar was accompanied by Railways and Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal and Minister of State for Commerce Som Parkash, also an T STALEMATE CONTINUES The farmer representatives were unanimous in seeking repeal of the three laws that they have been terming as being against the interest of the farm community The government has called for another round of discussions on 3 December as the meeting remained inconclusive MP from Punjab. After the meeting, Bharat Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan) President Joginder Singh Ugrahan said it remained inconclusive and the government has called for another meeting on December 3. “We are ready for a discussion to resolve their issues. Let's see,” Tomar had told reporters before start of the meeting. He further said the government will arrive at a solution after hearing the representatives of the farmer organisations. “The farmer's organisations rejected the government's proposal to form a five-member committee to look into the issues related to the new farm laws,” Roopsingh Sanha, member of Bharat Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan), said. It is one of the largest blocks of farmers who have been protesting against the new laws. The government side was, however, firm in its stand that a high-level committee must be formed to look into the issues and wanted the farmer representatives to further consider the proposal. Sources said the minis- Despite stutter, Oxford vaccine trials go on PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 1 DECEMBER The initial findings into an 'adverse event' allegedly suffered by an Oxford Covid-19 vaccine trial participant in Chennai did not necessitate halting of the trials, the Centre said on Tuesday. It is the role of drug regulator to ascertain or refute if any causal link between the event and the intervention, it said. On allegation of the 'adverse event' in a Serum Institute of India trial, the government said it will not affect vaccine timelines in anyway. A 40-year-old man who was a volunteer in the third phase of the “Covidshield” vaccine trial in Chennai has alleged serious side effects, including a virtual neurological breakdown WARNER'S TEST BERTH IS NOW UP FOR GRABS URMILA JOINS SHIV SENA, ATTACKS KANGANA and impairment of cognitive functions. He has sought Rs 5 crore compensation in a legal notice to Serum Institute and others, besides seeking a halt to the trial. However, the SII on Sunday rejected the charges as “malicious and misconceived” and said it will seek damages in excess of Rs 100 crore. ICMR Director General Balram Bhargava said adverse events occur with drugs or vaccines or any other health intervention. “If any adverse event warrants hospitalisation then it is called a serious adverse event. It is the role of the drug regulator, after collating all the data, to ascertain or refute whether there is a causal link between the event and intervention. “That causal link whether it has to be ascertained or refuted has to be done by the DCGI and all the papers in connection to the five parameters have been submitted to him accordingly for review,” he said. It is done purely on a scientific basis and the assessment is done with very objectively-based criteria and initial causality assessment findings did not necessitate stoppage of these trials, he added. Responding to a question at a press conference, Union Health Ministry Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said, “The adverse event will not affect timelines in any manner whatsoever”. Bhushan said he does not want to comment on specifics of the case but it is seen that most of the discourse on adverse events in media suffers from inadequate information and facts. “Whenever a clinical trial starts the subjects are required to sign a prior informed consent form. This is a global practice which happens across countries,” he said. “Secondly, these trials of vaccines or medicines they are multi site and multi centric they are conducted in multiple hospitals and multiple states. And at each site there is an institutional ethics committee which is independent of the vaccine manufacturer or the government,” Bhushan said. ters were of the view that it was difficult to reach a decision while interacting with such large groups and therefore they suggested meeting with a smaller group, but the farmer leaders were firm that they would meet collectively. Union leaders said they feared the government might be trying to break their unity and the momentum of their protest. Heavy security arrangements were in place around the meeting venue. Hours before the meeting, Union ministers Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah, Tomar and Goyal, along with BJP chief J P Nadda, had held marathon discussions over the farmers' protest against the Centre's new agriculture reform laws. Peaceful sit-ins by farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, continued at the Singhu and Tikri borders with no untoward incident reported after Friday's violence, while the numbers of protesters swelled at the Ghazipur border on Monday. The opposition parties too stepped up the pressure, asking the Centre to “respect the democratic struggle” of the farmers. Representatives of over 30 farmer organisations prior to talks with the government, at Vigyan Bhawan, in the Capital on Tuesday. SNS Trudeau’s remarks unwarranted: India STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE I would be remiss if I didn’t start by recognising the news coming out of India about the protest by farmers. The situation is concerning and we’re all very worried about family and friends NEW DELHI, 1 DECEMBER India today took strong exceptions to the remarks made by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over the ongoing farmers' protests in the country against the new farm laws. “We have seen some ill-informed comments by Canadian leaders relating to farmers in India. Such comments are unwarranted, especially when pertaining to the internal affairs of a democratic country. It is also best that diplomatic conversations are not misrepresented for political purposes,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said. Trudeau joined other Canadian leaders, partic- JUSTIN TRUDEAU CANADIAN PM ularly those belonging to the Sikh community, to express concern over the farmers' protests, stating these concerns had also been conveyed to the Indian government. He made the remarks while participating in a Facebookinteraction organised by Canadian MP Bardish Chagger to mark the 551st birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev. He was joined by Canadian ministers Navdeep Bains, Harjit Sajjan and members of the Sikh community. “I would be remiss if I didn’t start by recognising the news coming out of India about the protest by farmers. The situation is concerning and we’re all very worried about family and friends," Trudeau said. “I know that’s a reality for many of you. Let me remind you, Canada will always be there to defend PM to discuss Covid situation with Opp Active cases in India shrink SC rejects Chanda to 4.60% of total cases Kochhar’s NEW DELHI, 1 DECEMBER SNS & PTI NEW DELHI, 1 DECEMBER Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to meet Opposition party leaders on 4 December to discuss the situation arising out of the pandemic, steps being taken to deal with the virus and status of vaccine trials among other things. The meeting comes amid preparations to ensure smooth roll-out of Covid vaccine once it is made available to authorities by pharma firms. The opposition is likely to grill the PM over handling of the pandemic and some leaders may press upon Modi to discuss the issue of providing vaccines to people free of cost and hold a meeting to this effect with the chief ministers. SNS Active cases of Covid-19 in India have remained below the 5-lakh mark, with its share further shrinking to 4.60 per cent of the total coronavirus infections reported so far, according to the Union Health Ministry. The daily new recoveries exceeding new cases has led to a total net reduction of the active caseload to 4,35,603. A net decline of 11,349 cases has been recorded in the total active cases in a span of 24 hours, the ministry said on Tuesday. A totalof 31,118 new infectionswere added to the national tally in aday. While some states like Kerala, Delhi, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh have witnessed a decline in the active caseload in a span of 24 hours, others such as Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Assam and Goa have reported an addition to their caseload. In contrast to 31,118 new reported cases, 41,985 cases have recovered in a span of 24 hours.The total recovered cases stand at 88,89,585which translates to a recovery rate of93.94 per cent. “The gap between recoveries and active cases continues to grow and presently stands at 84,53,982,” the ministry said. The total coronavirus cases mounted to 94,62,809, while the death toll climbed to 1,37,621with 482 new fatalities. appeal NEW DELHI, 1 DECEMBER 94,62,809 4,35,603 31,118 41,985 1,37,621 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. TUESDAY 01 DEC 2020 Hyderabad civic polls: Low turnout after blistering campaign ANINDITA CHOWDHURY HYDERABAD, 1 DECEMBER After a blistering campaign lasting less than two weeks Hyderabad civic poll turned out to be a dampener, recording the lowest ever turn out as urban voters chose to stay away from polling booths amidst the pandemic. By 5 p.m. the polling percentage was only 35.8 per cent and with only an hour of polling left it is unlikely to cross even 50 per cent. The last hour of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) was reserved mostly for COVID-19 patients by the state election commission. The campaign narrative based on national issues for a municipal poll evidently failed to impress the electorate and with a large number of IT professionals and other migrants leaving the city for their native places due to work from home policy, the voter turnout was embarrassingly low. However, suburban areas like LB Nagar, Uppal and Amberpet which are under Opposition MPs saw comparatively higher polling percentage. These were also among the worst flood-hit and likely to witness some anti-incumbency voting while Ramachandrapuram and Patancheru in adjoining Sangareddy district which registered highest polling percentage of more than 55 and 53 per cent respectively, might see a sway towards the ruling party. Langar Houz in old city area recorded one of the lowest polling percentage, just over 6 per cent. While the pandemic kept away a large section of senior citizens and middle class voters voting was done through ballot boxes which might have led to apprehension, though the commission had arranged for sanitisers spots and ensured social distancing. Voting took place in 149 of the 150 words after a repoll was ordered at old Malakpet. Instead of ears of corn and sickle, the symbol of CPI candidate the ballot paper carried the symbol of hammer, sickle and star belonging to CPI-M. Repoll will be held on 3 December and the returning officer has been removed. the right of peaceful protest. We believe in the importance of dialogue and that’s why we’ve reached out through multiple means directly to the Indian authorities to highlight our concerns," he said, adding it was important to remember Guru Nanak’s teachings of compassion, equality and selfless service, which were central to both Sikhism and Canadian values. Others from Canada to have expressed concern over the farmers’ protests include politicians from the Conservative Party, the Liberal Party and the New Democratic Party (NDP). India-Canada ties have gone through a rough patch in the past too due to the Trudeau government’s perceived support to the 'Khalistan' movement. Superstar Chiranjeevi, actor Nagarjuna after casting votes in Hyderabad polls on Tuesday. IANS The state election commission had roped in celebrities to appeal to voters to come and out and although actors like Chiranjeevi and Vijay Devarakonda came out CMYK to cast their vote, the public chose to stay away. Even TRS working president KT Rama Rao had left recorded messages urging them to come out to vote. Mr Rao was one of the early voters along with his wife and so was AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi who chose to ride his bike to the polling booth at Shastripuram. Incidentally, roadshows by both Union home minister Amit Shah and TRS working president KT Rama Rao had drawn huge crowds but it is evident from the low turnout that majority of the crowds had been organised, mostly from the districts. In fact, the apathy and indifference of the urban voters can be gauged from the fact before the elec- tion commission had intervened the Mee Seva Kendras which deliver citizen centric services of the government had seen huge crowds as people thronged the centres to register their names and bank account details to claim the flood relief of Rs 10,000. BJP blamed the TRS government and SEC for the low turnout. Union minister G Kishen Reddy alleged that after the Dubbaka defeat TRS was apprehensive about GHMC poll results and hence advanced the election dates and people hesitated to vote due to apprehensions of second wave of Covid-19. Moreover, chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao harped on communal riots creating a fear psychosis. The Supreme Court Tuesday rejected Chanda Kochhar's appeal against the Bombay High Court order which had dismissed her plea against her termination as the managing director and CEO of ICICI Bank, saying the issue falls within the realm of a private bank and employee. Sorry, we are not inclined to interfere with the high court order, a bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul said, adding, This fall within the realm of private bank and employee. The top court was hearing Kochhar's appeal against the March 5 order of the high court which had dismissed her plea against termination as managing director and CEO of ICICI Bank, while noting that the dispute arises from a contract of personal service. The high court had accepted the bank's contention that Kochhar's plea was not maintainable as the dispute was contractual and concerns a private body. During the arguments before the apex court, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Kochhar, said the high court had dismissed her plea on the grounds of maintainability. I (Kochhar) was the MD of ICICI bank but bank recalled my earlier resignation and converted it into termination, he said, adding, This was wrong as it was against the PTI norms.
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