CMYK FRIDAY www.thestatesman.com 05 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 ‘WILL NEVER ALLOW EXTREMISM TO RAISE HEAD AGAIN’ ROUHANI CLAIMS BIG WIN IN SANCTIONS CASE P10 WEATHER Mainly clear sky. Maximum and minimum temperature most likely to be around 27 °C and 14 °C respectively. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max. 95% Min. 37% TEMPERATURE Max: 27.4°C (N) SUN RISES 06:14 hrs MOON RISES _--:-New moon on 12 Min: 12.7°C (-3) SUN SETS 17:27 hrs MOON SETS 10:48 hrs February P9 Indian Air Force’s aerobatic team Suryakiran performs during AERO INDIA 2021 at Yelahanka Air Base, in Bengaluru on Thursday. IANS RS bypolls in Gujarat, Assam on 1 March: The Rajya Sabha bypolls to three seats in Gujarat and Assam, including the one which fell vacant due to the death of senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel, will be held on 1 March, the Election Commission said on Thursday. Two Rajya Sabha seats in Gujarat fell vacant late last year, following the deaths of Ahmed Patel and Abhay Bhardwaj (BJP). One Rajya Sabha seat in Assam fell vacant after lone Bodo People's Front MP Biswajit Daimary resigned from the upper house in November last year. His term was to end in April, 2026. Govt blocked 296 mobile apps since 2014: As many as 296 mobile apps have been blocked by the government since 2014 in the interest of the country's sovereignty, security, and public order, Union minister Sanjay Dhotre told Rajya Sabha.He also said the Ministry of Home Affairs -- the requesting agency for blocking of these apps under section 69A of IT Act -- had received “several reports about misuse of some Chinese mobile apps available on Android and iOS”. GORAKHPUR (UP), 4 FEBRUARY Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said the previous governments drafted the Union Budgets with an eye on their vote banks and made them just a medium for making promises they could not fulfil. For decades in our country, the meaning of the Budget was restricted to what announcements were made in whose name. The Budget was turned into an account of the vote bank, Modi said. The Prime Minister was launching a year-long commemoration of the centenary of Chauri Chaura incident, an outbreak of violence that forced Mahatma Gandhi to call off his non-cooperation move- Bengal govt permits 100 p.c. staff strength in several depts KOLKATA, 4 FEBRUARY With the Covid-19 pandemic on a steady decline, several departments of the West Bengal government have decided to allow all its employees to attend office, an official said on Thursday. To combat the Covid-19 contagion, the state government had issued guidelines in June last that instead of attending office for five days a week, employees would have to attend office at least thrice a week and the workplace would function with a staff strength of 70 per cent. Employees staying in containment zones were asked PTI to work from home. Details on Page 3 P12 STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 4 FEBRUARY Third national serosurvey shows many still vulnerable PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 4 FEBRUARY ver 21 per cent of the population, aged 10 years and above, showed evidence of past exposure to Covid-19 in the ICMR’s latest national serosurvey, the government said on Thursday, noting that a large proportion of people are still vulnerable to the infection. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) third national serosurvey was conducted between 17 December last year and 8 January. Presenting the findings of the survey, ICMR Director General Dr Balram Bhargava said 21.4 per cent of the 28,589 people, aged 18 years and above, surveyed during the period showed evidence of past exposure to the coronavirus infection. While 25.3 per cent of children aged 10 to 17 years from the same number of surveyed population have had the disease, he said. Urban slums (31.7 per cent) and urban non-slums (26.2 per cent) had a higher SARS-CoV-2 prevalence than that in rural areas (19.1 per cent), Bhargava said, adding that 23.4 per cent of individuals above 60 years of age had suffered from Covid-19. Blood samples of 7,171 healthcare workers were also collected during the same period and the seroprevalence was found to be 25.7 per cent, the ICMR SURVEY REPORT The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) third national serosurvey showed 21.4 per cent of the 28,589 people, aged 18 years and above had past exposure to the coronavirus infection. 25.3 per cent of children aged 10 to 17 years have had the disease. director general said. The survey was conducted in the same 700 villages or wards in 70 districts in 21 states selected during the first and second rounds of the national serosurvey. On the coronavirus situation in the country, the Health Ministry said India’s Covid-19 cumulative positivity rate is 5.42 per cent and declining. The weekly positivity rate (last week) was recorded at 1.82 per cent. It said that 47 districts have not reported any new case of Covid-19 and 251 districts have not registered any new deaths in the last three weeks. India records 12,899 new Covid cases: With 12,899 people testing positive for coronavirus infection in a day, India’s Covid19 tally of cases rose to 1,07,90,183, while the recoveries surged to 1,04,80,455, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Thursday. The death toll increased to 1,54,703 with 107 new fatalities, the data updated Previous govts drafted Budget with eye on vote bank, says PM PRESS TRUST OF INDIA P8 21% population Delhi Police file FIR over protest ‘toolkit’ tweeted by Thunberg exposed to Covid: Survey O THUMBNAILS PANT IS A MATCH WINNER, SAYS KOHLI ‘NEXT LIST OF COS. FOR DISINVESTMENT SOON’ ment against the British. Paying tributes to the 19 people who were sent to the gallows for burning down a police station and killing 23 policemen, Modi said the Chauri Chaura martyrs had not got the place in history that they deserved. He released a postage stamp to mark the beginning of the centenary year of the incident. In an address delivered through video conference, Modi hailed India’s power of unity and said this will help the country become a world power. The Prime Minister listed features in his government’s recent Budget that he said will help farmers. But he stopped short of mentioning the continuing protest over the agri-marketing laws enacted in September. “A lot of initiatives have also been taken to empower farmers. Over 1,000 markets were connected with farmers so that they can sell their crops anywhere. Over Rs 40,000 crore for rural infrastructure will help farmers,” he said. He said the government is also focusing on creating healthcare facilities in rural areas so that people do not have to go to cities for better treatment. Modi said even household make their budgets on the basis on their current needs and future responsibilities. But our earlier governments made Budgets a medium for promises that they could not fulfil. 23.4 per cent of individuals above 60 years had suffered from Covid-19. Urban slums (31.7 per cent) and urban non-slums (26.2 per cent) had a higher SARS-CoV-2 prevalence than that in rural areas (19.1 per cent). 1,07,90,183 1,55,025 Delhi Police have lodged an FIR in connection with a ‘toolkit’ posted online containing information on how to back the farmers protests. While no names have been mentioned in the FIR, a Delhi police officer said there were indications that the document was created by a pro-Khalistan group. The ‘toolkit’ has been doing the rounds on social media and the document was tweeted by, among others, Swedish teen climate change activist Greta Thunberg. Thunberg later reposted an updated version of the ‘toolkit’. In the document, various urgent actions, including creating a Twitter storm and protesting outside Indian embassies, were listed as steps to be taken to support the farmers’ protest. The ‘toolkit’ has been doing the rounds on social media and the document was allegedly tweeted by, among others, Swedish teen climate change activist Greta Thunberg. In the document, various urgent actions, including creating a Twitter storm and protesting outside Indian embassies, were listed as steps to be taken to support the farmers’ protest Praveer Ranjan, Special Commissioner of Police, Delhi Police, on Thursday said, “We haven’t named anybody in the FIR, it’s only against the creators of the toolkit which is a matter of investigation and Delhi Police will be investigating that case.” “Preliminary enquiry has revealed that the toolkit in question appears to have been created by a proKhalistani Organisation ‘Poetic Justice Founda- 12,899 US encourages ‘dialogue’ 17,824 PRESS TRUST OF INDIA 1,54,703 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. THURSDAY 04 FEBRUARY 2021 at 8 am showed. The total Covid-19 active caesS remained below 2 lakh. Bengal: Bengal today registered 206 fresh Covid19 cases and 4 deaths linked to the infection. The state’s total Covid case count has reached 5,70,787 while there are 5,097 active cases. WASHINGTON, 4 FEBRUARY Recognising that peaceful protests are a hallmark of a thriving democracy, the US has said that it encourages dialogue between the protesting farmers and the Indian government to resolve their differences. The State Department, responding to a question on the ongoing farmers’ protests in India, said on Wednesday that the US encourages that any differences between the parties be resolved through dialogue. Indicating that the new Biden administration is supportive of the Indian government’s move to reform the agricultural sector that attracts private investment and greater market access to farmers, a State Department spokesperson said: “In general, the United States welcomes steps that would improve the efficiency of India’s markets and attract greater private sector investment”. “We recognise that peaceful protests are a NEW DELHI, 4 FEBRUARY The Chinese military’s attempts to unilaterally alter the status quo along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh have seriously disturbed peace and tranquillity in the region, the government said in Rajya Sabha on Thursday. Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan said the attempts have been responded to “appropriately” by the Indian armed forces and it has been made clear to the Chinese side that such unilateral attempts are “unacceptable”. In a written response to a question on the over- all boundary issue with China, the minister said the two sides have agreed to seek a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution through dialogue and negotiations. “However, since April/May 2020 the Chinese side undertook several attempts to unilaterally alter the status quo along the LAC in western sector.These attempts have been responded to appropriately by our armed forces,” he said. “It has also been made clear to the Chinese side that such unilateral attempts are unacceptable. These actions have seriously disturbed the peace and tranquillity along the LAC in the western sector,” he said. hallmark of any thriving democracy and note that the Indian Supreme Court has stated the same,” the spokesperson said. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in New Delhi issued a statement on Wednesday to highlight that the Parliament of India had passed “reformist legislation” for the agricultural sector, which “a very small section of farmers” have some reservations about and therefore the laws have been kept on hold while talks are held. Opp corners govt on handling farm protests PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 4 FEBRUARY Opposition parties on Thursday launched a vociferous attack on the Centre over its handling of the farmers’ agitation, calling its dialogues with the protesters “monologues”, even as the ruling BJP defended the new laws, asserting that its government is committed to the welfare of peasants and increase their incomes. Attacking the government during the debate on the Motion of Thanks to the President’s Address in the Rajya Sabha, Opposition parties said trenches have been dug, barbed wires put up and spikes installed at the sites of farmers’ protests, whereas bridges should have been built to win them over. Attacking the government during the debate on the Motion of Thanks to the President’s Address in the Rajya Sabha, Opposition parties said trenches were dug, barbed wires and spikes installed at protest sites, when bridges should have been built to win them over. In the Lok Sabha, proceedings were disrupted for the third consecutive day as protests by slogan-shouting Opposition members demanding a separate discussion on the three contentious farm laws created an uproar, leading to repeated adjournments of the House. Congress MP Deepinder Singh Hooda said in the Rajya Sabha that the government has no right to question the patriotism of farmers as they are the ones who have made the country self-sufficient in food. “You talk about making (the country) self sufficient. Let me warn you that a selfobsessed government cannot make Aatmanirbhar Bharat (self-sufficient India),” he said. Manoj Kumar Jha of the RJD said the government has lost the patience to hear and any criticism is painted as anti-national. Contesting the government’s claim of having 11 rounds of dialogue with agitating farmers, he said its ministers “believe in monologue and not dialogue”. Former Prime Minister and JD(S) leader H D Deve Gowda said miscreants and anti-social elements were behind the events on Republic Day and all political parties have condemned their actions and agree that they need to be punished. Oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan said the government is committed to farmers welfare and will help increase their incomes. He said it will provide Rs 1 lakh crore additional income to farmers that will be generated by converting waste into energy. He attacked the Congress for not bringing a law on MSP of crops despite being in power for long. BJP member Jyotiraditya Scindia also attacked his former party Congress for changing its stand on the three laws. Chinese actions disrupted peace along LAC: MoS PRESS TRUST OF INDIA tion’,” the police officer said. He said considering the unfolding of events in the past few days, including the violence on January 26, it has revealed “copycat execution” of the action plan mentioned in the 'toolkit' which was also aimed at waging “a social, cultural and economic war against the Government of India.” The FIR filed by the Special cell of Delhi Police booked unknown people Over the last several months, we have been engaged with the Chinese side through diplomatic and military channels to ensure complete disengagement from all friction points and full restoration of peace and tranquillity in the IndiaChina border areas V MURALEEDHARAN MINISTER OF STATE FOR EXTERNAL AFFAIRS The government often refers to eastern Ladakh as western sector. The minister also said that India’s engagement with China is “complex”. “In the last few years, the two sides have agreed to manage their differences and not allow differences on any issue to become disputes,” he said. In addition, he said, the two sides also agree that the future direction of ties should be built upon mutual respect for each other’s developmental aspirations bearing in mind the importance of respecting each other’s sensitivities, concerns and aspirations. On the eastern Ladakh CMYK standoff, he said: “Over the last several months, we have been engaged with the Chinese side through diplomatic and military channels to ensure complete disengagement from all friction points and full restoration of peace and tranquillity in the IndiaChina border areas.” Muraleedharan also referred to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on 10 September in Moscow and said they agreed that the current situation in the border areas is not in the interest of either side. “They agreed therefore that the border troops of both sides should continue their dialogue, quickly disengage, maintain proper distance and ease tensions,” he said. He said both sides held six meetings of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on border affairs and nine meetings of senior commanders. under IPC section, 124A (sedition), 153 A (Promoting enmity between different groups) and 120 B (criminal conspiracy). Taking to Twitter again on Thursday, Greta Thunberg said, “I still #StandWithFarmers and support their peaceful protest. No amount of hate, threats or violations of human rights will ever change that. #FarmersProtest”. Earlier this week, Thunberg as well as other global celebrities such as singer Rihanna, took to Twitter to lend support to the farmers in India who are protesting against the three new farm laws. Delhi police are closely monitoring social media in connection with the farmers’ agitation. Delhi police have identified 300 social media handles that are promoting social enmity and malicious content in the name of farmers protest, Mr Ranjan said. Govt justifies suspension of Internet access at protest sites NEW DELHI, 4 FEBRUARY The government today justified the suspension of Internet at certain places close to the borders of Delhi in view of the ongoing farmers’ protests, saying the step had been taken to prevent further violence. “The temporary measures with regard to internet access in certain parts of the NCR region were undertaken to prevent further violence,” Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said in response to questions being raised by international personalities on the suspension of Internet at some of the sites where farmers have been protesting against farm laws. He said the government has also taken note of US State Department’s comments on the farmers protests, including its observation that unhindered access to information, including the Internet, was fundamental to freedom and expression and was the hallmark of a thriving democracy. “It is important to see such comments in the context in which they were made and in their entirety. As you can see, the US State Department has acknowledged steps being taken by India towards agricultural reforms,” he said. He said any protests must be seen in context of India’s democratic ethos, and ongoing efforts of the government and the farmer groups to SNS resolve the impasse. India takes up ‘map distortion’ with WHO PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 4 FEBRUARY The government on Thursday said the issue of “wrong depiction” of India’s map on the website of the World Health Organisation (WHO) was raised strongly with the global body following which it put a disclaimer on the portal. Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan provided the information in Rajya Sabha in response to a question on whether the map on the website depicted the union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh in a totally different colour. “The issue of wrong depiction of the map of India on the WHO website has been raised strongly with WHO including at the highest level,” he said in his written reply. “In response, the WHO has informed the Permanent Mission of India in Geneva that they have put a disclaimer on the portal,” he added. Muraleedharan said the government of India’s position on the right depiction of its boundaries has been “unambiguously reiterated”. The disclaimer, mentioned by the minister, said presentation of the “materials” do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of WHO concerning the legal status of any country, territory or area or of its authorities.
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