THURSDAY www.thestatesman.com 25 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 RBI VOICES CONCERNS ABOUT CRYPTOCURRENCY DIALOGUE CAN RESOLVE KASHMIR ISSUE: IMRAN P4 WEATHER Mainly clear sky. Mist/shallow fog in the morning. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 33 and 12 degrees Celsius respectively. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max: 100% Min: 38% TEMPERATURE Max: 32.5°C (+7) SUN RISES 06:49 hrs MOON RISES 16:16 hrs Min: 12.7°C (1) SUN SETS 18:18 hrs MOON SETS 06:17 hrs THUMBNAILS GIROUD STRIKES TO CLINCH IT FOR CHELSEA OLI IN NO MOOD TO RESIGN, PREPARED TO FACE PARLIAMENT P8 P9 P12 Vaccination for seniors from 1 March People above 60, or 45 plus with comorbidities, to get vaccines free at govt centres Centre sends high-level teams to 10 states STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 24 FEBRUARY T he Centre on Wednesday announced the start of the third phase of vaccination against the Covid-19 pandemic from March 1, even as India's cumulative vaccination coverage has crossed 1.14 crore recipients. Union minister Prakash Javadekar said people above 60 and those above 45 years of age with comorbidities will be vaccinated free of cost at government hospitals. The minister, however, said that private centres will charge for the vaccination and the rate will be decided in the next three or four days as talks with vaccine manufacturers and private hospitals is going on. He made the announcement after the Union Cabinet, in a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, decided to launch the third phase of the world's largest vaccination drive, which began in India on January 16. “People above 60 years of age, that may not be less than 10 crore people in the country, and those above 45 years of age with comorbidities will be vaccinated at 10,000 government and over 20,000 private vaccination centres from March 1,” Mr Javadekar said. Mr Javadekar asserted that the vaccination in India has been successful, “faultless with hardly any complaints”. The 2nd dose of Covid19 vaccination started on February 13 for those beneficiaries who have completed 28 days after receipt of the 1st dose. Vaccination of frontline workers (FLWs) started on February 2. The country reported 13,742 new cases in the last 24 hours on Wednesday with the overall tally mounting to 1,10,30,176 as per the health ministry's latest data. With 104 deaths due to the disease, the overall toll has touched 1,56,567. India's active cases stood at 1,46,907, with the country also reporting 14,037 recoveries during the same period. The Centre, meanwhile, has deputed multi-disciplinary teams to ten states and Union territories witnessing a surge in Covid19 cases, including Maharashtra, Kerala, Gujarat, Punjab, Karnataka and Jammu and Kashmir, as well as West Bengal, to support them in effectively tackling the pandemic, according to the Union health ministry. The ministry said 86.15 per cent of the new cases Govt has no business to be in business: PM Tiger Woods was seriously injured after crashing his SUV on sweeping, downhill road in the Los Angels suburbs on Tuesday. Doctors tried to stabilise ‘significant’ injuries to his right leg. Woods' foundation said in a statement he was awake, responsive and recovering in the (P12) hospital. AGENCIES Marginal hike in rail fares: The Railways has effected a marginal hike in fares for passenger and other short distance trains. The public transporter has effected the hike to discourage people from avoidable travels and those which are not most necessary. In a press release, the Railways confirmed the news reports about higher price being charged from those travelling in passenger trains over small distances. According to Railways, these trains constitute only three percent of the total trains. LITERARY The Literary page, featuring reviews and books, will appear on alternate Thursdays, beginning today. The Law page, too, will now appear on alternate Thursdays. PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 24 FEBRUARY Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday made his strongest pitch for privatisation of non-strategic PSUs, saying the government has no business to be in business and sustaining loss-making units on taxpayers’ money drains resources that could otherwise have been spent on public welfare schemes. He said about 100 underutilised or unutilised assets with public sector units (PSUs), such as those in the oil and gas and power sectors, will be monetised, creating Rs 2.5 lakh crore of investment opportunities. “It is government's duty to support enterprises and PRIVATISATION PITCH It is government's practices, top-quality duty to support enter- managers, changes in prises and businessmanagement and modes. But it is not ernisation essential that it The government should own and has to focus on develrun enterprises opment and the pubThe private seclic sector and whentor brings in ever it investengages in ment, business, global it leads to best losses businesses. But it is not essential that it should own and run enterprises,” the Prime Minister said at a webinar on the privatisation approach in the Budget for 2021-22. The private sector brings in investment, global best practices, top-quality man- agers, changes in management and modernisation, he said, adding the money generated from the stake sales will be routed to public welfare schemes. Modi said his government is committed to privatising all PSUs barring four strategic sectors ~ ‘Pangong disengagement a win-win situation’ PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 24 FEBRUARY The disengagement of armies of India and China from north and south banks of Pangong Tso is a “very good end result” and a win-win situation for both the sides, Army Chief Gen M M Naravane said on Wednesday, stressing that there are strategies in place to address other pending issues in eastern Ladakh. He said there were no signs of an “overt collusion” between China and Pakistan during the Ladakh standoff but India also caters to a long term strategy for not a two, but a two-and-half front war. With the half front, he was referring to the internal security. He said right from the beginning of the standoff, all sides on the Indian side worked together. Be it at the political level, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar spoke to their Chinese counterparts, he said. “We were all in it together. We had our plan chalked out which we had discussed on what should be the way forward. Whatever has panned out, has happened as a result of that. What we have achieved so far is very good,” Naravane said at a webinar organised by Vivekanada International Foundation. The advice which was given by National Security Adviser also came in extremely handy and his insight into strategic level affairs definitely helped us chalking out the response, the Army chief said. “As a result of this whole approach, this disengagement has taken place. I think it is a very good end result. It is a win-win situation. For any agreement to last, both sides should feel that they have achieved something. I think a good outcome that has resulted out of the 10 rounds of talks which have taken place so far,” he said. Last week, armies of the two countries concluded withdrawal of troops and weapons from north and south banks of Pangong Tso in the highaltitude region. Naravane said there are some issues which remain in the area of Depsang, in the area of eastern Ladakh and in other areas along northern border. “...But we have our strategies in place for that. Do we have anything to negotiate in future? Yes, definitely we have. But I would not, of course, for obvious reasons, what those strategies would be to further and progress our negotiations and come out with a favourable outcome.” atomic energy, space and defence; transport and telecommunications; power, petroleum, coal and other minerals; and banking, insurance and financial services ~ where the government will retain a bare minimum presence. “The government has no business to be in the business,” he said. “Modernise and monetise is the motto we will follow.” Modi also said to speed up the disinvestment process, an empowered group of secretaries has been set up to settle investor issues. The government has to focus on development and the public sector and whenever it engages in business, it leads to losses, he said, adding several loss- making PSUs are supported by taxpayers' money which otherwise should have gone into welfare schemes. As much as Rs 1.75 lakh crore is being targeted from the sale of government stake in firms such as India's second-biggest oil firm BPCL, national carrier Air India, largest shipping line Shipping Corporation of India Ltd, helicopter services company Pawan Hans, IDBI Bank and Container Corporation of India in the next fiscal year beginning April 1. This, along with an initial public offering of Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) and sale of two public sector banks and one general insurance company, will be the largest disinvestment drive ever. recorded in the past 24 hours are from six states. Covid-19 cases rose sharply in Maharashtra with the state reporting 8,807 new infections on Wednesday, the state health department said. The western state had reported 6,218 new Covid19 cases on Tuesday. 'Delhi may ask trav ellers from 5 states for -ve report': Amid a Covid spike in some states, the Delhi government may ask travellers from five states, including Maharashtra, Kerala and Punjab, to show negative Covid test report before entering the national capital. Officals reportedly said an order will be issued soon, which will be effective till 15 March. (P2) NEW DELHI, 24 FEBRUARY In a setback to over 10,000 UPSC civil service aspirants, the Supreme Court Wednesday dismissed a plea seeking an extra attempt for those who exhausted their last chance in the 2020 preliminary exam amid the Covid-19 pandemic or have got age barred from appearing in future tests. A bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar, Indu Malhotra and Ajay Rastogi dismissed the petition filed by the aspirants and clarified that its decision would not restrict the Centre in exercising its discretion in future to deal with the difficulties as projected to the court. Consequently, the petition fails and is accordingly dismissed, the bench said. The top court said that it is not exercising its plenary powers under Article 142 of the Constitution as it would set down a precedent and also have cascading effect on examinations held in other streams during the pandemic. Justice Rastogi, who penned down a 40-page verdict on behalf of the bench, however rejected the Centre's submission that what is being claimed and prayed for by the petitioners under the guise of Covid-19 pandemic is nothing but a lame excuse in taking additional attempt to participate in the Civil Service Examination 2021. The top court said merely because as a matter of policy, if the Centre has granted relaxation in STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 24 FEBRUARY Puducherry today moved closer to imposition of the President’s Rule after the Union Cabinet approved the recommendation of the Union Territory’s Lt. Governor for suspension of the Assembly following the collapse of the Narayansamy government. Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said the Cabinet meet presided over by Prime Minister Narendra Modi accepted the recommendation of Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan, who was acting in her capacity as the UT’s Lt Governor. Javadekar said chief the past for the reason that there was a change in the exam pattern/syllabus then “no assistance can be claimed by the petitioners in seeking mandamus to the 1st respondent (Centre) to come out with a policy granting relaxation to the participants who had availed a final and last attempt or have crossed the upper age by appearing in the Examination 2020 as a matter of right”. The Centre and the UPSC submitted that not only the petitioners or intervenors before this Court, but there are large number of candidates who had appeared in the various examinations last year during the pandemic and everyone must have faced some constraints in one way or the other. Motera cricket stadium gets Modi tag, Sardar Patel ‘upgraded’ STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE AHMEDABAD, 24 FEBRUARY Cricket administrators in Gujarat sprang a surprise today, renaming the world’s largest cricket stadium as Narendra Modi Stadium. India’s Iron Man Sardar Patel, whose name had glorified this stadium till date, was ‘upgraded’ to grace the proposed sports enclave whose foundation stone too was laid today. President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated the 1.32 lakh capacity cricket stadium and performed the ‘Bhoomi Pujan’ for the adjoining Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Sports Enclave spread over 215 acres on the western bank of Sabarmati river here. Union home minister Amit Shah dropped broad hints that with the completion of the sports enclave India would be capable of bidding for any international event like Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and Olympics with a notice of six months. The Sardar Patel Sports Enclave next to the Narendra Modi Stadium, along with another 18-acre sports complex coming up in Naranpura area of Ahmedabad, would fulfill the Olympics criterion of having all games facilities within 50 kilometres, Mr Shah said about India’s future plan to host international events. Brainchild of then chief minister Narendra Modi in his capacity as president of Gujarat Cricket Association (GCA), the erstwhile Sardar Patel Stadium was the venue on this very day last year of the ‘Namaste Trump’ event when the Indian Prime Minister had publicly wished a re-election for US president Donald Trump. Beautiful how the truth reveals itself. Narendra Modi stadium Adani end Reliance end. With Jay Shah presiding CONGRESS LEADER RAHUL GANDHI Due to the media hype created by the ‘Namaste Trump’ event, the cricket authorities here had to clarify that it was not the official inauguration of the world’s largest cricket stadium. Speaking on the occasion, President Kovind said that the LED floodlighting in the stadium would be energy saving and narrated an incident about how a poor boy good at cycling had excelled in the sport with some support and encouragement. Attributing Mr Modi’s vision for dreaming big to the success of the world’s biggest cricket stadium, Union home minister Amit Shah said that Ahmedabad would one day be known as ‘Sports city of India’. He assured the gathered audience on behalf of Mr Modi that India would be ‘Atmanirbhar’ in sports too. Mr Shah said that Mr Modi as chief minister had lamented Gujarat’s low representation in sports and army recruitment. He announced that Gujarat’s quota in army recruitment no longer remains unfilled. He also recalled that it was here that India’s cricketing legends like Kapil Dev, Sachin Tendulkar and others had created many records of their careers. Union minister of state for youth affairs and sports Kiren Rijiju said that Gujarat now features among the top five states in many sporting events, a direct result of encouragement given under Modi’s tenure here. In New Delhi, as social media was flooded with remarks including by some 1,46,907 13,742 14,037 1,56,567 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. WEDNESDAY 24 FEB 2021 Cabinet OKs President’s Rule in Puducherry Setback to civil service aspirants, SC dismisses plea for extra chance PRESS TRUST OF INDIA 1,10,30,176 INVOKED HIS ‘HUM DO HUMARE DO’ JIBE, CLAIMING THAT THE TRUTH WAS OUT WITH THE STADIUM HAVING THE PM’S NAME, TWO ENDS BEING NAMED AFTER CORPORATE HOUSES AND AMIT SHAH'S SON BEING INVOLVED IN CRICKET ADMINISTRATION. leaders of the Congress and other opposition parties who alleged that the renaming exercise amounted to an “insult” to Sardar Patel, Union ministers clarified that only the Motera stadium has been renamed and the complex continues to be named after Vallabhbhai Patel. minister Narayansamy had resigned after some MLAs of his party left. As nobody claimed to form the government, the Lt Governor recommended “suspension” of the Assembly under Article 239 read with Section 51 of UT Act. The approval will be sent to President Ram Nath Kovind. After his approval, the Assembly will stand dissolved, and the UT is expected to be placed under President’s Rule. As elections were due in the UT, the imposition of the Model Code of Conduct could also follow soon, Mr Javadekar said. Mr Narayansamy resigned on Monday ahead of the confidence vote. Student set on fire after failed gang rape attempt SHAHJAHANPUR/LUCKNOW, 24 FEBRUARY A college student who was found lying without clothes and severely burnt along a national highway in Uttar Pradesh's Shahjahanpur district has claimed she was set on fire after a failed attempt to gang-rape her, police said on Wednesday. According to Superintendent of Police S Anand, the girl told investigators that three people tried to rape her in a field near Rai Kheda village on Monday and when they did not succeed, they poured kerosene and set her on fire. The police officer, however, added that she frequently changed her statements and also said that she was not aware of how she reached the hospital from the third floor of her college building. The BA second-year student was admitted to a hospital in the district and later referred to Lucknow. Dr SC Saundriyal, director of Syama Prasad Mookerjee Civil Hospital, Lucknow, where the girl is undergoing treatment for 72 per cent burns, said, “Her condition is stable right now.” Earlier, reports said she suffered 60 per cent burns. In CCTV footage, the girl, a student of a college run by a trust of former union minister Swami Chinmayanand, was seen coming down alone from the third floor, the police said. Over a dozen students of the college, including her friends, have been questioned. The girl had called a person of her village on mobile phone on the day of the incident and he has also been questioned, the SP said. PTI
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