CMYK SATURDAY www.thestatesman.com 30 JANUARY 2021 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 12 |` 5.00|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR ‘FISCAL DEFICIT SHOULD NOT BOTHER US’ PELOSI WARNS OF ‘ENEMY’ WITHIN HOUSE P10 P7 STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE Partly cloudy sky with Fog/mist in the morning. Temperature most likely to be in the range of 26-15 degrees Celsius. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY TEMPERATURE P5 P12 GDP to grow 11 per cent in FY 2022: Economic Survey WEATHER Max. 98% ONUS ON BOWLERS, SAYS THORPE PM WELCOMES DIFFERENT VIEWS IN PARLIAMENT Min. 37% Max: 26.0°C (-1) Min: 12.7°C (-2) SUN RISES SUN SETS 06:16 hrs 17:23 hrs MOON RISES MOON SETS 17:58 hrs 06:43 hrs Next moon quarter on 04 February THUMBNAILS During the Beating Retreat ceremony at Vijay Chowk, in the Capital on Friday. SUBRATA DUTTA Mumbai local trains to restart from Monday: Local train services in Mumbai will restart for the general public from 1 February, Railway minister Piyush Goyal announced on Friday. The announcement came a few hours after the Maharashtra government proposed to resume services for all commuters. He said that for the general public, local trains will be available in three time slots: from start of the day's services to 7 am; 12 pm- 4 pm; and 9 pm to end of day. Between 7 am-12 pm and 4 pm-9 pm, those in essential services will be allowed to travel. Delhi schools, colleges to reopen: All schools for classes 9 and 11 students as well as degree and diploma institutions, including polytechnics and ITIs, in the national capital will reopen from 5 February, Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia said. The conditions would be similar to the ones announced when schools reopened for students of classes 10 and 12 on 18 January, he said, adding that students will attend classes in a staggered manner, and only with the consent of parents. Covid-19 vaccines gathers traction. While the lockdown resulted in 23.9 p.c contraction in GDP in first Quarter of 20-21, recovery was a V-shaped one as seen in just 7.5 p.c decline in the second Quarter, and the recovery across all key economic indicators since July last As anticipated, while the lockdown resulted in a 23.9 per cent contraction in GDP in first Quarter of 2020-21, the recovery was a V-shaped one as seen in just 7.5 per cent decline in the second Quarter, and the recovery across all key economic indicators since July last. As India’s mobility and pandemic trends improved concomitantly, indicators like E-way bills, rail freight, GST collections and power consumption not only reached pre-pandemic levels but also surpassed previous years’ levels, the Survey says. Sector-wise, agriculture remained the silver lining while contact-based services, manufac- turing, construction were hit hardest, and have been recovering steadily during 2020-21. Agriculture is expected to see 3.4 per cent growth in FY21. Industry and services were estimated to contract by 9.6 per cent and 8.8 per cent respectively during the year. The services sector contracted by nearly 16 per cent during the first half of 2020-21 due to the pandemicmandated lockdown. The pandemic emphasized the importance of healthcare sector and its inter-linkages with other sectors showcased how a health crisis transformed into an economic and social crisis. An increase in public healthcare DEEPAK RAZDAN Farmers, local residents come to blows after demand for vacating protest site More farmers pour into Ghazipur protest site PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 29 JANUARY People claiming to be local villagers stage a protest against the farmers at the Singhu border in the capital. SNS olice fired tear gas and resorted to baton charge on Friday to break up a clash between farmers and a large group of men claiming to be local residents who hurled stones at each other at the Singhu border, one of the main protest sites against farm laws. Delhi Police SHO (Alipur) Pradeep Paliwal was injured in the violence after a man attacked him with a sword, an official said. The official said that police detained the man who attacked the station house officer. The group claiming to be locals demanded that the farmers vacate the Singhu P 18,855 new cases: Jump due to data reconciliation SNS & PTI NEW DELHI/ KOLKATA, 29 JANUARY India has added 18,855 fresh Covid-19 cases in a span of 24 hours, a jump from the previous day’s count of 11,666, with Chhattisgarh alone adding 6,451 cases because of a data reconciliation process, the Union Health Ministry said on Friday. The country’s Covid-19 tally is now 1,07,20,048, Chhattisgarh has reported 6,451 cases, 6,479 discharges and 35 deaths. “The jump in figures, according to the State Health Department, is due to the reconciliation of district level and state level case, discharge and death figures,” the Ministry said. The number of active Covid19 cases in the country remained below two lakh for the 10th consecutive day. 5,711 active cases in WB: Bengal registered 286 fresh Covid-19 cases and 7 deaths linked to the virus, while 349 Covid patients were discharged. The ed to contract by 7.7 per cent in 2020-21, was expected to rebound with a growth of 11 per cent in 2021-22, and nominal GDP by 15.4 per cent. The rebound will be led by normalisation in economic activities as the rollout of spending from 1 per cent to 2.5-3 per cent of GDP can reduce the out-of-pocket expenditure from 65 per cent to 35 per cent of overall healthcare spending, according to the Survey. Bank credit remained subdued in FY 2020-21 amidst risk aversion and muted credit appetite. However, credit growth to agriculture and allied activities accelerated to 7.4 per cent in October 2020 from 7.1 per cent in October 2019. High food prices remained a major driver of inflation in 2020. The external sector provided an effective cushion to growth. Exports are expected to decline by 5.8 per cent and imports by 11.3 per cent in the second half. India is expected to have a Current Account Surplus of 2 per cent of GDP in FY21, a historic high after 17 years. India’s forex reserves are at an all-time high of US$ 586.1 billion as on 8 January, 2021, covering about 18 months worth of imports. India must continue to focus on economic growth to lift the poor out of poverty, the Survey said. More on Page 8 Clashes erupt at Singhu, Kovind defends new farm laws, slams R-Day violence police lob tear gas shells NEW DELHI, 29 JANUARY China derecognises UK Overseas passport: China said on Friday it will no longer recognise the British National Overseas passport as a valid travel document or form of identification amidst a bitter feud with London over a plan to allow millions of Hong Kong residents a route to residency and eventual citizenship. The announcement throws up new uncertainty around the plan just hours after UK said it would begin taking applications for what are P11 called BNO visas beginning late Sunday. India’s real GDP, estimat- The Economic Survey 20202021, presented to Parliament by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman today said India’s real GDP, estimated to contract by 7.7 per cent in 2020-21, was expected to rebound with a growth of 11 per cent in 2021-22, and nominal GDP by 15.4 per cent. The rebound will be led by continued normalisation in economic activities as the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines gathers traction, the Survey said. The GDP growth rate projections for the next financial year are the highest since Independence. Sitharaman said the fundamentals of the economy remain strong. GDP growth will recover from the temporary shock caused by the pandemic, she said. The V-shaped economic recovery was supported by the initiation of a mega vaccination drive with hopes of a robust recovery in the services sector and prospects for robust growth in consumption and investment, the Survey said. SNS & PTI Ganguly expected to be discharged soon: BCCI president Sourav Ganguly is likely to be discharged within a couple of days from a private hospital along EM Bypass where he had undergone an angioplasty operation on Thursday. Dr Aftab Khan, one of a team of doctors that performed the surgery which involved implanting two stents in the former Indian captain's blocked coronary arteries, said, “He is stable and likeP3 ly to be discharged Saturday or Sunday.” ECONOMIC RECOVERY NEW DELHI, 29 JANUARY 1,07,20,048 1,71,686 18,855 20,746 1,54,010 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. FRIDAY 29 JANUARY 2021 state now has 5,711 active cases, while the total Covid-19 count is 5,69,459 and 10,155 people have died of the disease. border, one of the main protest sites around the capital, alleging that they had “insulted” the national flag during their tractor parade on Republic Day. Armed with sticks, the group of locals reached the site and asked the farmers to leave while raising slogans against them. Both sides also pelted stones at each other. The protesters at the Singhu border, much of which is barred for entry from outside, came out in numbers to resist the locals. However, they were stopped by farmer union volunteers which helped the situation from turning ugly. Farmer leaders, meanwhile, said that the protesting farmers will observe 'Sadbhavna Diwas' on Crowds swelled at the Ghazipur border on Friday as around 1,000 farmers from western Uttar Pradesh joined the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) members who have stayed put on the Delhi-Meerut Expressway to demand repeal of agri laws, while several farmers from Haryana decided to move towards Delhi to join the stir. Notwithstanding the Ghaziabad administration’s ultimatum to the protesters to vacate the UP Gate protest site, more farmers from western Uttar Pradesh districts such as Meerut, Baghpat, Bijnor, Muzaffarnagar, Moradabad and Bulandshahr reached the UP Gate early morning to join the stir following an emotional appeal Mahatma Gandhi's death anniversary on January 30 and hold a day-long fast, by BKU leader Rakesh Tikait. Flanked by supporters, Tikait remained at the centrestage of the protest site on the Delhi-Meerut Expressway, which has been barricaded from both sides, prohibiting regular traffic movement. However, extra security forces deployed at the protest site have been sent back. Amit Shah postpones Bengal visit:Union home minister Amit Shah has put off his scheduled visit to West Bengal tomorrow, amidst the countinuing farmer protests at Delhi’s borders. asserting that their agitation will gain strength with more farmers joining them. President Ram Nath Kovind today told a joint sitting of Parliament that the Government respected the holding of peaceful agitations, but the acts dishonouring the National Flag at Red Fort during the farmers’ agitation and the disrespect shown to the Republic Day were “unfortunate.” Delivering his customary address at the start of the Budget Session, the President said: “While the Constitution gives us the right to freedom of expression, it is also expected that we abide by the laws and rules with equal sincerity.” Addressing the MPs’ gathering, boycotted by the entire Opposition on the farmers’ demands, Kovind sought to assure the nation on the three contentious farm laws against which the farmers were agitating, and said the rights and facilities available before the enactment of the three new laws were “not affected in any way.” “Rather, through these agricultural reforms, the Government has provided new facilities to the farmers and has empowered them,” he said. He said the benefits of these Irreverence essential comic tool: Kamra PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 29 JANUARY Stand-up comedian Kunal Kamra defended in the Supreme Court on Friday his alleged scandalous tweets against the judiciary saying if the court believes he has crossed the line and wants to shut down his internet indefinitely, then he too will write Happy Independence Day post cards every 15 August, just like my Kashmiri friends. He said irreverence and hyperbole are essential tools for the comedic enterprise and a comic raises questions on issues of public interest in his own unique way. We would be reduced to a country of incarcerated artists and flourishing lapdogs if powerful people and institutions continue to show an inability to tolerate rebuke or criticism, he said. Kamra, who filed his reply affidavit in a plea seeking contempt action against him for the alleged scandalous tweets said, I may disagree On 18 December last year, the the top court issued showcause notice to Kamra for his alleged scandalous tweets. Attorney General K K Venugopal had granted consent for initiation of criminal contempt proceedings against Kamra, saying the comedian's tweets were in “bad taste” ON DEFENCE OF HIS TWEETS: Should powerful people and institutions continue to show an inability to tolerate rebuke or criticism, we would be reduced to a country of incarcerated artists and flourishing lapdogs - KUNAL KAMRA with many decisions by many courts in many matters, but I promise this bench that I will respect any decision that comes my way with a broad smile. I will not vilify this bench or the Supreme Court in this matter specifically because that would actually be contempt of court. Should powerful people and institutions continue to show an inability to tolerate CMYK rebuke or criticism, we would be reduced to a country of incarcerated artists and flourishing lapdogs, he said. The comedian said he believes that there is growing culture in intolerance in this country, where taking offence is seen as a fundamental right and has been elevated to the status of a much loved national indoor sport. We are witnessing an assault on the free- Through these agricultural reforms, the Government has provided new facilities to the farmers and has empowered them. The benefits of these three important farm reforms, have started reaching more than 10 crore small farmers instantly. NEW DELHI, 29 JANUARY Everyone is doing it, says SC: Criticism of courts is growing and everybody is doing it, the Supreme Court said on Friday while giving three weeks to comic artist Rachita Taneja to file her reply on a plea seeking contempt action for her allegedly objectionable tweets against the judiciary. A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan was told by advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing forTaneja, that criticism of court can never PTI be contempt. dom of speech and expression, with comedians like Munawar Farooqi being jailed for jokes and school students being interrogated for sedition. At such a time, I hope that this court will demonstrate that freedom of speech and expression is cardinal constitutional value, and recognise that the possibility of being offended is a necessary incident to the exercise of this right, he said. PRESIDENT RAM NATH KOVIND “three important farm reforms, have started reaching more than 10 crore small farmers instantly.” The President said “My Government holds in high esteem the values of democracy and sanctity of the Constitution. It is continuously making efforts to dispel the misunderstanding created in the context of these laws.” Presently, the Apex Court had stayed the implementation of these laws. “My Government respects the decision of the Apex Court and shall abide by it,” he said. Kovind maintained the laws, the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, were approved by Parliament “after extensive consultation.” Appreciating the advantages that these reforms would bring to the small farmers, several political parties too had, from time to time, expressed their support, he said. “The discussions over these farm reforms in every part of the country for over two decades and the demand for these reforms at different fora were also reflected during the deliberations in the House,” the President said. In the agricultural sector, he said, the need of the hour was “to focus our attention on the small and marginal farmers who own only one to two hectares of land. More than 80 per cent of the farmers in the country numbering over 10 crore fall under this category.” Continued on Page 5 Minor IED blast outside Israeli embassy in Delhi PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 29 JANUARY A minor IED blast took place outside the Israeli Embassy in the heart of Lutyens’ Delhi on Friday evening, police said. No one was injured. Some cars were damaged in the blast that took place near the pavement outside the embassy on APJ Abdul Kalam Road, a very high-security zone in the national capital. Delhi Police Additional PRO Anil Mittal said that initial impressions suggest that it could be a mischievous attempt to create a sensation. “A very low intensity improvised device went off 5.05 p.m. No injury to any person was reported, nor was there any damage to property except the glass panes of three vehicles parked nearby,” Mittal said. The bomb disposal squad of the Delhi Police carried our searches to find out if there were more explosives in the area. Forensic experts are also examining the blast site and CCTV footage is being scanned, an official said. The fire department received a call about the blast at 5.11 p.m., as the Beating Retreat ceremony was going on at Rajpath a few kilometres away. There is a heavy deployment of police personnel and APJ Abdul Kalam Road road has been cordoned off. Reacting to the blast, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said any attempt to disturb peace should be firmly dealt with. “Concerned by the news of a blast near Israeli Embassy in Delhi. Agencies are determining the nature and cause of the blast. Thankfully, no loss of life reported yet. Any attempt to disturb the peace of Delhi shud be firmly dealt with,” he tweeted.
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