CMYK MONDAY www.thestatesman.com 01 FEBRUARY 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 P10 Mainly clear sky. Fog / Mist in the morning. Temperature most likely to be in the range of 23-11 degrees Celsius. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY TEMPERATURE P9 INDIA FAVOURITES AGAINST ENGLAND, SAYS CHAPPELL P10 P12 Economic vaccine expected from FM WEATHER Max. 96% TRUMP PARTS WAYS WITH IMPEACHMENT LAWYERS PEARL CASE: PAK GOVT TO JOIN ACQUITTAL REVIEW PROCESS THOUSANDS HELD IN PRO-NAVALNY PROTESTS Min. 46% Max: 22.7°C (-5) Min: 12.1°C (-4) SUN RISES SUN SETS 06:16 hrs 17:25 hrs MOON RISES MOON SETS 20:00 hrs 08:11 hrs Next moon quarter on 04 February THUMBNAILS VK Sasikala, former aide of AIADMK leader J Jayalalithaa, after she was discharged from Victoria Hospital, in Bengaluru on Sunday. Sasikala was discharged from the hospital after recovering from Covid-19, days after she was set free by prison officials on completion of her 4-year jail term in a corruption case. Her release comes ahead of the assembly elections in Tamil Nadu and the course of action taken by her would be keenly watched. P4 Nirmala Sitharaman to present Union budget today; expected to provide relief to pandemic-hit common man, boost recovery PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 31 JANUARY inance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday will deliver her promised budget ‘like no other’ that is expected to provide relief to the pandemic-hit common man as well as focus further on driving the economic recovery through higher spending on healthcare, infrastructure and defence amidst rising tensions with neighbours. As India emerges from the Covid-19 crisis, the ninth budget under the Modi government, including an interim one, is widely expected to focus on boosting spending on job creation and rural development, generous allocations for development schemes, putting more money in the hands of the average taxpayer and easing rules to attract foreign investments. Sitharaman, who had in her first budget in 2019 replaced the leather briefcase that had been for decades used for carrying budget documents with a traditional red cloth 'bahi- F khata', had earlier this month stated that the budget for the fiscal year beginning April will be “like never before”. The budget, economists and experts say, will be the starting point for picking up the pieces after the economic destruction caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. And it must go beyond being just a 'bahi khata' or a ledger of accounts, as well as canning old schemes in a new bottle. It has to be a vision statement, a roadmap to get the world's fastestgrowing major economy back on track. There is a larger consensus among economists that the annual GDP for FY21 will decline by 7-8 per cent, one of the weakest performances among the developing nations. The pandemic struck at a time when the economy was already caught in the grip of a growth slowdown. GDP growth touched an 11-year low of 4 per cent in 2019-20. A steadily declining investment rate has been a major factor in causing deceleration prior to the coronavirus crisis. And the lockdown imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus in March last year brought economic activities to a grinding halt, causing a sharp contraction in the GDP in two successive quarters of FY21, pushing the economy into a recessionary phase. In response, the government announced a number of policy measures under Farmers for ‘respectful solution’, say they won’t succumb to pressure PRESS TRUST OF INDIA UK Hong Kong visa: A new visa route that offers Hong Kong residents the option to apply to come to the UK and become citizens through a fast-track system officially opened on Sunday. Around 300,000 Hong Kong nationals are expected to apply for the visa, which is open to holders of the British National (Overseas) passport and their immediate dependents and was announced last year in retaliation of China's new National Security Law. The UK maintains the new law is a clear breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration under which Hong Kong had been handed over to the ChiP9 nese authorities over 23 years ago. Ganguly discharged: Indian cricket board chief Sourav Ganguly was discharged from hospital on Sunday morning, three days after he underwent a fresh round of angioplasty to clear clogged coronary arteries, officials said. The 48-year-old was hospitalised on Wednesday for the second time in a month due to his cardiac condition. On Thursday, two more stents were implanted during the surgery conducted by a team of doctors. Doctors said Ganguly had an uneventful recovery. NEW DELHI, 31 JANUARY A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi said his government was just a “phone call away” for talks with the farmers agitating against the farm laws, union leaders on Sunday said a “respectful solution” should be found but they will not agree to anything “under pressure”. Farmer leaders Rakesh and Naresh Tikait demanded that the government release arrested protesters to create a conducive environment for talks. As hundreds of farmers continued to converge at Ghazipur on the DelhiUttar Pradesh border, the ripples spread deeper in western UP where a mahapanchyat was held in Baghpat in support of the stir, the third in as many days in the key region. Delhi's Singhu border also saw more farmers from Punjab and Haryana joining the protest, with thousands reaching the site on Saturday evening. Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal met Rakesh Tikait, joining several other leaders from the opposition parties who have visited the protest 100 per cent occupancy in theatres from 1 Feb STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 31 JANUARY After some ten-odd months of hiatus since cinema halls and multiplexes stopped film screenings, information and broadcasting minister Prakash Javadekar, today announced that they can operate with full capacity. Javadekar also released the standard operating procedures (SOPs) that the cinema halls and multiplexes will have to follow in view of the Covid. Releasing the SOPs in the afternoon today, Javadekar tweeted, “Today, issued the revised SOP for the film exhibition, 100% occupancy will be allowed in theatres from 1st February, but all guidelines will have to be followed.” Javadekar reiterated that that sanitisation and Covid protocols will have to be adhered to, but people can buy food from the stalls inside the theatres. He added that the restrictions put in place due to Covid are on the verge of ending. The announcement comes against the backdrop of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India permitting the opening of cine- SHOWTIME ONCE MORE Hundred per cent occu- pancy in cinema halls and multiplexes has been allowed, but the I&B ministry said relevant Covid guidelines would have to be followed. Aatmanirbhar Bharat package 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 to support the economy. The package was a combination of grant, equity and liquidity measures by the central government, state governments and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). While the headline stimulus was pegged at close to Rs 21 lakh crore, the actual fiscal impact of the eco- Adequate physical dis- ma halls and theatres. Precautionary measures will have to be taken in the containment zones. At the onset, the SOP states that no exhibition of films shall be allowed in containment zones and that states may consider using additional measures as per their field assessment. The SOP states that hundred per cent seating capacity is allowed inside cinema halls. One of the measures to avoid crowding is of allowing sufficient time interval between successive screenings tancing, mandatory face masks and sanitisation of auditorium after every screening are among the SOPs issued by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. Digital booking of tickets and staggered show timings will be encouraged. on a single screen as well as on various screens in a multiplex. “Staggered show timings shall be followed for multiple screens to avoid crowding,” states the SOP. Usage of contactless digital transactions for payments for tickets, food, and beverages has been encouraged. Further, in order to avoid crowding, cinema halls and multiplexes will have ensure sufficient number of box office counters and advance booking shall be allowed to avoid crowding at the sale counters. site to extend their support. The farmers will honour the dignity of the prime minister, but are also committed to protecting their self-respect, the Tikait brothers who are leading the agitation asserted, even as they warned that the farm laws issue could cost the BJP dear electorally. They said they were open to talks with the government to find a “middle path”. Prime Minister Modi had on Saturday said his government's offer on agri laws made to protesting farmers “still stands” and the Centre was just a “phone call away” for talks, days after violence broke out in parts of the national capital on Republic Day. During their January 26 parade, scores of protesters had stormed the Red Fort, with some of them hoisting religious flags on its ramparts. Delhi Police registered nearly 40 cases and made over 80 arrests in connection with the violence and vandalism. The government should release our men and prepare an environment conducive for talks. A respectful solution should be reached. We will never agree to anything under pressure, Rakesh Tikait said. Covid-19 active cases drop to 1.68 lakh SNS & PTI NEW DELHI/KOLKATA, 31 JANUARY India is at the fifth position globally in terms of the number of Covid-19 vaccine doses administered within the country, whilethe number of active cases have dropped to 1.68 lakh comprising just1.57 per centof the total cases, the Union health ministry said on Sunday. As of January 29, the country ranked fifth worldwide in term of vaccine doses administered, the ministry said. Elaborating on the active cases, the ministry said that 31 states and UTs have less than 5000 active cases. Andaman and Nicobar Islands reported 4 active cases followed by Daman andDiu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli with 6 active cases. It said 79.69 per cent of the total Covid-19 active cases are constituted in 5 statesand UTs. “Two states alone, Kerala and Maharashtra cumulatively account for a bulk (69.41 per cent) of India's total active cases,” the ministry noted. A total of 13,052 new daily cases have been recorded in a span of 24 hours whereas 13,965 patients have recovered during the same period. The death toll has increased to1,54,274 with 127 new fatalities, the data updated at 8 am showed. The country’s total Covid tally tally CMYK 1,07,46,183 1,68,784 13,052 nomic packages works out to be about Rs 3.5 lakh crore (1.8 per cent of GDP). Also, since the last budget, the size of the economy has reduced from Rs 2.24 lakh crore nominal GDP considered in the FY21 budget to Rs 1.94 lakh crore. There has been lower-thanbudgeted revenue growth and higher expenditure to offset the adverse impact of the pandemic. Among the mostwatched figures in the budget would be the expenditure on vaccination in FY22 which could be shared amongst the central government, state governments and households. India has started the largest vaccination programme in the world from January 16 and is using two vaccines ~ Covishield and Covaxin. Also, to be watched is the revenue that the government is projecting to receive from the privatisation of companies such as Bharat Petroleum (BPCL), Air India and Shipping Corporation of India (SCI). Market borrowings are expected to remain elevated and external deficit financing would increase. Higher capital expenditure outlay for National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) programme that has an aggregate investment target of Rs 111 lakh crore over the period 2020-25 and making recently introduced Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme more attractive to lure foreign manufacturers to boost domestic manufacturing are top expectations from the budget. Acuit Ratings & Research Limited said there are two primary objectives before the government at this stage ~ reignite the growth engine in the economy while committing itself to a medium-term fiscal consolidation path. India Ratings and Research said the government finances need to be steered in a way that puts the economy back on tracks. Projecting a Rs 60,000 crore revenue shortfall in the fiscal year ending March 31, it estimated the fiscal deficit at over 7 per cent in the current fiscal as against budget target of 3.5 per cent. For the next, it put the fiscal deficit at 6.2 per cent. Nation saddened at insult to Tricolour: Modi PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 31 JANUARY Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday that the country was saddened by the “insult” to the Tricolour on Republic Day, referring to the religious flag incident at Red Fort during the farmers' tractor parade. In his monthly 'Mann ki Baat' broadcast, Modi maintained that his government is committed to “modernising” farming and has been taking many steps. “The efforts of the government will also continue in future,” he said, amid intense protests by a section of farmers from states like Punjab, Haryana and UP near the Delhi border against three farm reform legislations enacted by his government. Farmer unions have demanded that these laws by repealed. While recounting a number of developments in January this year, including India's remarkable come-from-behind series win over Australia in the recent Test series, Modi made a brief reference to the farmers' tractor rally on Republic Day which witnessed incidents of violence. “Amidst all this, the country was saddened by the insult to the Tricolour on January 26 in Delhi. We have to infuse times to come with new hope and novelty. Last year, we displayed exemplary patience and courage. This year too, we have to work hard to attain our resolves. We have to take our country forward at a faster pace,” he said. Referring to India's corona vaccination exercise underway, the prime minister said the country has not only rolled out the world's largest vaccination drive but is also vaccinating its citizens at the fastest rate. The budget will have to address a number of issues ~ health infrastructure, reviving demand, banking sector reforms, fiscal consolidation and implementation of 15th Finance Commission report, said Brickwork Ratings. Amidst a plethora of market expectations around the budget, key areas where the central government is anticipated to focus its attention on are the establishment of a bad bank to clean up bank balance sheets, presenting finer contours of the PLI scheme for boosting manufacturing for the 10 sectors announced earlier and resources likely to be made available. The budget will come as an economic vaccine for the pandemic-battered economy and steer India with the much-needed stimulus to boost demand, consumer confidence and at the same time boost the purchasing power of the people, the Indian Chamber of Commerce said, adding incentives to industries like textiles, apparel, leather, food processing, construction and retail are expected. Scribe’s arrest sparks political row NEW DELHI, 31 JANUARY The Congress on Sunday slammed the BJP-led Centre over the arrest of a freelance journalist from the Singhu border with party leader Rahul Gandhi saying those who fear truth arrest honest scribes. Mandeep Punia was arrested from the Singhu border on Sunday for allegedly misbehaving with the police personnel on duty at the farmers' protest site there, officials said. A case was registered against him and he has been arrested, a senior police officer said, a day after the scribe was detained. Reacting to the development, former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi tweeted in Hindi,“Those who fear truth arrest honest journalists.” He also tagged a video purportedly showing Punia being held by police at the Singhu border. The central committee of the CPI-M also condemned the action of police against journalists across the country and said that they have been “targeted” because of their “truthful” reporting of events related to the farm laws. PTI Details on Page 5 Tejas Mark II to roll out next year: HAL chief PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 31 JANUARY 13,965 1,54,275 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 08.00 A.M. SUNDAY, 31 JANUARY 2021 has climbed to1,07,46,183. Till January 29, a total of 37.44 lakh (37,44,334) beneficiaries have received the vaccination under the countrywide Covid-19 vaccination exercise. Bengal cases:West Bengal today registered 229 fresh Covid-19 cases and 9 deaths linked to the infection. The state’s total Covid case count is 5,69,998 with the death toll at 10,173 while there are 5,553 active cases. A more potent version of the indigenous Tejas multirole combat jet featuring a much powerful engine, greater load-carrying capability and next-generation electronic warfare system is expected to be rolled out next year and its first high-speed trials will start in 2023, according to Chairman and Managing Director of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd R Madhavan. He said the structural package and related work on the Tejas Mark II, which will have an array of superior avionics, was progressing well, and the production of the high-performance jet is likely to start around 2025. Madhavan said the upgraded version will have a bigger fuselage, longer range, better maintainability, greater load-carrying capability, much stronger engine power and superior net-centric warfare systems. With an increase in range and payload capability, Madhavan said the new variant will be much superior to the Tejas MarkIA, 73 of which are being procured by the Indian Air Force from the HAL under a Rs 48,000-crore deal that was approved by the government on January 13. “Tejas Mark II is likely to roll out by August-September of 2022. After that, the first flight will take some time. The first high-speed trial of the jet will start in 2023 and we expect the production to start somewhere around 2025,” Madhavan said.
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