SATURDAY www.thestatesman.com 13 FEBRUARY 2021 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 12 |` 5|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR TMC AND BJP ARE EVIL FORCES: ADHIR NAVALNY ROW: RUSSIA SAYS READY FOR SPLIT WITH EU P7 P11 MORI GONE BUT GENDER ISSUES REMAIN KOHLI’S INDIA SEEK REDEMPTION P12 P12 Partly cloudy sky. Dense fog in the morning. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 27 and 10 degrees Celsius respectively. ‘India hasn’t conceded FM defends Budget, any territory to China’ rejects Opposition’s RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY MoD refutes Rahul Gandhi’s claims of India ceding areas at Pangong to China Max: 100% STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE WEATHER Min: 51% TEMPERATURE Max: 27.4°C (+4) SUN RISES 07:00 hrs MOON RISES 8:44 hrs STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 12 FEBRUARY NEW DELHI, 12 FEBRUARY Min:10.2°C (0) SUN SETS 18:10 hrs MOON SETS 19:42 hrs THUMBNAILS Schools reopen in Bengal for class 9 to 12 in line with Covid-19 safety rules. At Jogesh SNS Chandra Girls’ School, Howrah on Friday. Kharge to be Leader of Opposition in RS: Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge will be the leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, succeeding Ghulam Nabi Azad whose tenure comes to an end on Monday. Congress president Sonia Gandhi has written to Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu for appointing Kharge to the post as Azad is retiring. Kharge, a Dalit leader from Karnataka, was the leader of Congress in Lok Sabha from 2014 to 2019. 6.1 magnitude quake jolts north India: A high intensity earthquake of magnitude 6.1 hit Delhi NCR and several other parts of north India on Friday night, causing people to rush out of their homes. According to the National Centre for Sesimology, the epicentre of the quake was Amritsar. The earthquake occurred at a depth of 10 km at 10.34 pm, it added. However, there were no immediate reports of any loss of life or damage to property. Tremors were also felt in Pakistan, Afghanistan and parts of Central Asia. R eacting sharply to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's claim that India has surrendered its land to China in eastern Ladakh, the government today asserted that the country has not conceded any territory to the neighbouring country as a result of the agreement on disengagement at the North and South Banks of the Pangong Tso Lake. In a statement, the Defence Ministry refuted as ''categorically false'' Gandhi's claim that Indian territory was up to Finger 4. ''The territory of India is as depicted by the map of India and includes more than 43,000 sq km currently under illegal occupation of China since 1962. Even the Line of Actual Control (LAC), as per the Indian perception, is at Finger 8, not at Finger 4. That is why India has persistently maintained the right to patrol up to Finger 8, including in the current understanding with China,'' it added. At a press conference earlier, Mr Gandhi had accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of “ceding” Indian territory to China, saying why Indian troops are moving back from Indian territory of Finger 4 to Finger 3. The mountain spurs in the region are referred to as Fingers. Gandhi questioned why the prime minister did not make a statement on the LAC situation, and said Singh “sheepishly” made a statement on the issue in both charge it’s for the rich Finger-4 is our territory, that is where our post used to be. So, now we have moved from Finger-4 to finger-3. Why has Prime Minister Modi given up Indian Territory to the Chinese? Rather than conceding any land, India has enforced observance and respect for LAC and prevented any unilateral change in the status quo. DEFENCE MINISTRY RAHUL GANDHI Houses of Parliament. “Why has he asked the Defence Minister to make the statement, the Prime Minister should say~ I have given Indian land to China, this is the truth,” he alleged. He said it has emerged that Indian troops are now going to be stationed at Finger 3 at Pangong Tso lake. “Finger-4 is our territory, that is where our post used to be. So, now we have moved from finger-4 to finger-3. Why has the Prime Minister Modi given up Indian Territory to the Chinese? This is the question that needs to be answered by him and by the Defence Minister,” Gandhi said. The ministry said permanent posts of both sides at the north bank of Pangong Tso were long-standing and well-established. On the Indian side, it was Dhan Singh Thapa Post near Finger 3 and on the Chinese side, east of Finger 8. The current agreement provided for cessation of forward deployment by both sides and continued deployment at these permanent posts. The statement said rather than conceding any land, India has enforced observance and respect for LAC and prevented any unilateral change in the status quo. The ministry said the factual position on the agreement has already been clearly communicated by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in his statements in both Houses of Parliament yesterday. However, there were still some misinformed and misleading comments being amplified in the media and on social media regarding the disengagement under way at Pangong Tso. The statement said the effective safeguarding of India’s national interest and territory in the Eastern Ladakh sector has taken place because the government has reposed full faith in the capabilities of the armed forces. “Those who doubt the achievements made possible by the sacrifices of our military personnel are actually disrespecting them,” it added. Last year, the Chinese military built several bunkers and other structures in the areas between Finger 4 and 8 and had blocked all Indian patrols beyond Finger 4, triggering strong reaction from the Indian Army. In the nine rounds of military talks, India specifically insisted on withdrawal of Chinese troops from Finger 4 to Finger 8 on the North bank of Pangong Lake. Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman today strongly rejected the Opposition’s charge that the 2021-22 Budget was for the rich, asserting that it aimed for “Atmanirbhar Bharat” (self-reliant India), and provided stimulus for infrastructure, while continuing with reforms. Replying to the Rajya Sabha debate on the Budget, she said in spite of whatever the Government did to help the poor and the needy, it had become a habit for some in the Opposition to constantly allege and create a “false narrative” that the “Government works only for the cronies.” Economies suffered all over the world because of the pandemic, the finance minister said. The Budget had provided greater allocations for health and defence, and the MGNREGA had been taken out of the mess it was during the UPA tenure, and provided much more funds during the Covid period, she said. Taking on former finance minister P Chidambaram for his charge that “numbers” in the Budget were suspect, Sitharaman said it was during the UPA government’s tenure that Budget documents had “numbers” which were suspect and fudged. She gave capex figures from the 2007-08 Budget, and said that public sector units In spite of whatever the government did to help the poor, it had become a habit for some in the Opposition to constantly allege and create a false narrative that the government works only for the cronies. NIRMALA SITHARAMAN FINANCE MINISTER were given special bonds in place of subsidy. She said it was true that the word Defence was not mentioned in her speech but the Budget Appendix would show there were increased allocations for Defence pensions and capital expenditure. For the core Departments of Health, Ayush and Health Research, the allocations were substantially higher, she said. The Kisan Samman Nidhi amount was smaller by Rs 10,000 crores because West Bengal had failed to join the scheme and give the list of its 69 lakh farmers, she said. More than 2.11 lakh km of roads were built under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana. “Whose lifeline are these roads, are these roads for the rich?” she asked. Nine crore fellowships were provided to students. Under the e-NAM portal, 1.69 crore farmers registered themselves. During 2016-2020, as many as 3.6 lakh crore transactions were done under UPI. Are these transactions done by the rich, she asked. Did they help some “damaads” Debris blocks Rishiganga river, forms new lake in flood-hit area India’s active tally falls to 1.36 lakh; only one state reports over 1,000 cases RAJU GUSAIN SNS & PTI DEHRADUN, 12 FEBRUARY A new glacial lake has formed in the upstream of the Rishiganga river in the flash-flood affected area in district Chamoli in Uttarakhand. According to the Central Water Commission, the lake is 350 metres in length, with a height of 60 Mts and slope of 10 degrees. Debris flowing from the landslide triggered by a snow avalanche has blocked the river to form the lake. The development has forced the Chamoli administration to take fresh precautions. A team of scientists and experts of DRDO's Defence Geo-Informatics Research Establishment (DGRE) will be touring the lake site on Saturday to take stock of the situation. A team of State Disaster Relief Force and National Disaster Relief Force has also been dispatched for the site. The temporary lake, if breached, can cause further damage in the valley, said authorities. Air surveys of the lake have been conducted and high resolution photographs taken. There are plans to use drones and the expertise of Terminal Ballistics Research Laboratory Drones (Chandigarh) will be used. Meanwhile, rescue teams battled on for a sixth day to get to some 25-35 people trapped in a sludge-choked tunnel at the Tapovan hydel project site. According to authorities, the rescue teams have successfully punctured the safety tunnel. RP Ahirwar, General Manager of NTPC said: “This has released the pressure and now we will attempt pumping by widening the hole.” NEW DELHI, 12 FEBRUARY India’s tally of active Covid19 cases has fallen to 1.35 lakh, making up only 1.25 per cent of the total infections, while the distribution of new cases in a span of 24 hours shows only one state ~ Kerala ~ reporting over 1,000 cases, the Union Health Ministry said on Friday. The distribution of daily deaths among states and union territories also reflects a significant decline with 18 states and UTs not reporting any new deaths in a span of 24 hours. Thirteen states and UTs have reported between 1-5 new deaths, the Ministry noted. “The distribution of new cases in India in the last 24 hours shows a positive picture with only one state reporting over 1,000 cases while the rest of the states and UTs reporting less than 1,000 new cases,” it said. While 13 states and union territories that have not reported any new cases in a span of 24 hours, a total of 13 states and UTs have reported between 1-5 new deaths, the ministry said. It said while 9,309 new confirmed cases were recorded in a span of 24 hours in the country, 15,858 new recoveries were registered in the same period. This is the third time this month the figure has fallen below 10,000. A total of 87 case fatalities have been reported in a span of 24 hours, the seventh time daily fatalities were recorded below 100 in February. The national recovery rate (97.32 per cent) continues to be one of the highest globally. The total recovered cases have surged to 1,05,89,230. Till 8 a.m on February 12, over 75 lakh (75,05,010) beneficiaries have received vaccination under the countrywide Covid-19 vaccination exercise. Most ~ 79.87 per cent ~ of the new cases are from six states. Delhi adds 141 cases, 3 deaths: Delhi today recorded 141 fresh Covid cases and 3 deaths, even as its positivity rate stood at 0.22 per cent, according to the Delhi government’s latest health bul(SEE P 2) letin. NEW DELHI, 12 FEBRUARY The Supreme Court on Friday sought responses from the Centre and Twitter India on a plea seeking a mechanism for regulating content and advertisements spreading hatred through fake news and instigative messages via bogus accounts. A bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde and justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian issued notice to the Centre and Twitter Communication India Pvt Ltd on the plea filed by one Vinit Goenka, which said there are hundreds of fake Twitter handles and bogus Facebook accounts in the name of eminent people and high dignitaries. Advocate Ashwini Dubey, appearing for Goen- ka, said directions are needed for establishing a mechanism to regulate hateful content on the social networking site. The bench said that it is issuing notice in the matter and tagging the plea with other pending matters. The plea filed through Dubey said, These fake Twitter handles and Facebook accounts use real photo of constitutional authorities and eminent citizens. Therefore, common man relies upon the messages published from these Twitter handles and Facebook accounts. The PIL said that fake news is the root cause of many riots, including the one in Delhi earlier this year, and bogus accounts are used to promote casteism and communalism which endangers fraternity and unity of the A Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde issued notice to the Centre and Twitter India on the plea filed by one Vinit Goenka, which said there are hundreds of fake Twitter handles and bogus Facebook accounts in the name of eminent people and high dignitaries country. It is submitted that presently total number of Twitter handles in India is around 35 million and total number of Facebook accounts is 350 million and experts says that around 10 per cent Twitter handles (3.5 million) and 10 per cent Facebook accounts (35 million) are duplicate/bogus/fake, the plea said. Political parties use fake social media accounts for self-promotion and image building and to tarnish the image of opponents and contesting candidates, especially during the elections, the plea submitted. The plea has also sought directions to make a law as per which an action can be initiated against Twitter and their representatives in India for willfully abetting and promoting anti India tweets and penalize them. The petition further said that a representation to the authority concerned to act in accordance with the law of the country against social media giant Twitter was filed but no action has been taken so far by authorities concerned.. It also pointed out that the Ministry of Home Affairs has banned Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) under the Unlawful Activities and Prevention Act on 10 July, 2019, yet it continues to have an active presence on Twitter and allegedly espouses hatred, terrorism and sedition, criminal acts. The logic and algorithms that Twitter uses should be shared and vetted by Indian government authorities or competent authority for screening anti-India tweets, the plea said. 1,35,926 9,309 15,858 1,55,447 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 08.00 A.M. FRIDAY, 12 FEBRUARY 2021 Nadu firecracker factory STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE CHENNAI, 12 FEBRUARY Thirteen people died and over 20 seriously injured in an explosion at a firecracker unit in Achankulam village near Sattur inVirudunagar district on Friday afternoon. Of the 13, nine bodies were recovered in a charred condition from the spot and two people died at the Sattur Government Hospital. According to police, it was difficult to identify the bodies since they are totally charred. An officer of the Tamil Nadu Fire and Rescue services department said equipment from three fire stations were deployed to bring the blaze under control. It took over three hours to put out Dinesh Trivedi resigns from Rajya Sabha 1,08,80,603 Centre,Twitter served SC notice on content regulation 13 dead in blast at Tamil PRESS TRUST OF INDIA (sons in law), she asked, in an apparent reference to Priyanka Gandhi’s husband, Robert Vadra. She said that during the pandemic a Rs 3 lakh crore credit guarantee scheme was announced for MSMEs and 91 lakh borrowers were sanctioned Rs 2.43 lakh crore and Rs 1.78 lakh crore was disbursed already. Giving data how the Modi government’s policies had benefited the poor and the underprivileged, she said the Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana had provided 1.67 crore houses to the poor. More than 2.67 crore houses were electrified under the Saubhagya scheme. The Government had placed orders worth Rs 8.22 lakh crore on the E-market, which were supplied by the MSMEs only. The PM Fasal Bima Yojana had benefited nine crore farmers, Rs 27,000 crore loans were given under MUDRA, most of the beneficiaries of these schemes were poor. The PM Kisan Samman Nidhi had benefited 11 crore small and medium farmers with Rs 6,000 for each farmer yearly. the fire. The blaze started on Friday afternoon at the Mariyammal firework unit. The police are still investigating the cause of the incident and are on the lookout for the owner of the factory. “Around 50 labourers had been working in the unit when the accident took place,” said District Fire Officer Ganesan. District collector R Kannan visited the spot to oversee the rescue operation. The police have registered a case and preliminary investigations are on. Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the deaths in the incident and announced compensation of Rs 2 lakh each to the kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 to each of those seriously injured. KOLKATA, 12 FEBRUARY In an unexpected move, Trinamul Congress Rajya Sabha MP Dinesh Trivedi today declared that he would step down as a Member of Parliament as he was feeling suffocated. Mr Trivedi, who is representing West Bengal in the Rajya Sabha for the third time and was a former railway minister, announced his resignation in the house during a debate on the Union Budget, saying he cannot speak about the violence in his state. He handed over his resignation to chairman M Venkaiah Naidu and it has been accepted. “I was feeling suffocated as I was sitting idle here and people are suffering in West Bengal. So I decided to tender my resignation,” he was quoted as saying in the Upper House. “If you sit here quietly and cannot do anything, then it is better that you resign from here and go to the land of Bengal and be with people,” he said. Mr Saugata Roy, Dum Dum MP told The Statesman, “It is , unexpected that Mr Trivedi would resign at this juncture when we have Assembly polls. He lost Lok Sabha election in Barrackpore in 2019 to Arjun Singh but Mamata Banerjee made him Rajya Sabha MP SNS .” Details on Page 4
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