CMYK TUESDAY www.thestatesman.com 01 JUNE 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 ISRAEL HEADED FOR A BREAK FROM THE BIBI-REGIME FARCICAL ELECTION P6 FOOTBALL FINDS A COACH TO MAKE A MESSIAH OF ‘KEJRIWAL PLAYING POLITICS OVER COVID-19 VACCINES’ P9 P5 Partly cloudy sky. Thundershower likely to occur. Temperature most likely to be in the range of 33- 25 degrees Celsius. Bengal chief secy resigns, appointed CM’s top adviser RAINFALL: 3.7 mm RELATIVE HUMIDITY Economy grew by 1.6 pc in 4th quarter Hours after Mamata refuses to release Alapan and shoots off angry letter to PM Modi Max. 93% P12 STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE KOLKATA, 31 MAY WEATHER TEMPERATURE Min. 79% Max: 28.1 °C (-8) Min: 25.5 °C (-2) SUN RISES SUN SETS 04:52 hrs 18:17 hrs MOON RISES MOON SETS 23:15 hrs 09:35 hrs Next moon quarter on 2 June THUMBNAILS Locals stand near the broken culvert after a heavy rainfall in the aftermath of cyclone Yaas, at Raniganj in Malda on Monday. AGENCIES West Bengal eases Covid-19 norms: CM Mamata 1 Banerjee announced some relaxations in the Covid-19 restrictions that have been imposed till 15 June. The retail shops will be allowed to remain open from 12 to 3 pm. Book shops will also be allowed to operate. The IT sector will be allowed to operate with 10 per cent staff. Construction workers will be allowed to work after being vaccinated. Kerala House passes resolution on Lakshadweep: Expressing solidarity with the people of Lakshadweep, the Kerala Legislative Assembly on Monday unanimously passed a resolution demanding the recall of island administrator Praful Khoda Patel and requesting the (P4) immediate intervention of the Centre. Decision on class 12 exam within two days: The government will take a final decision within the next two days on whether to conduct class 12 board exams amidst the ongoing pandemic, Attorney General K K Venugopal told a Supreme Court bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari on Monday. ‘Twitter has to comply with new IT rules’ NEW DELHI, 31 MAY Twitter has to comply with the new Information Technology Rules for digital media if they have not been stayed, the Delhi High Court said on Monday. Justice Rekha Palli issued notice to the Centre and social media platform Twitter seeking their stand on a plea by a lawyer, Amit Acharya, claiming non-compliance of the rules by it. While Twitter claimed before the court that it has complied with the rules and appointed a resident grievance officer, the central government disputed the claim. “They have to follow it (rules), if it has not been stayed,” the court said. PTI Details on Page 5 ours after chief minister Mamata Banerjee shot a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi refusing to release state chief secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay, the latter retired and was appointed as the chief adviser to the chief minister, thus apparently ending the ongoing Centre-state tussle over his extension. Mr Bandyopadhyay, a 1987-batch IAS officer of the West Bengal cadre, was scheduled to retire on 31 May after completion of 60 years of age. However, he was granted a three-month extension following a nod from the Centre to work on Covid management in the state. “I will not allow Alapan to leave Nabanna. We need his service for Covid pandemic. Our chief secretary retired today….. He didn’t ask for an extension, we asked for his service to the public during Covid and cyclone. It is up to Alapan to accept the extension. I could have forced him to continue as chief secretary. But when he requested me that he wanted to retire, I gave him permission. The Centre cannot force him to join without his consent,” Miss Banerjee said after the Centre issued a letter to Mr Bandopadhyay this evening asking him to report to North Block, New Delhi. Mr Bandyopadhyay will advise the chief minister H BEIJING, 31 MAY China’s ruling Communist Party will ease birth limits to allow all couples to have three children instead of two to cope with the rapid rise in the average age of its population, a state news agency said Monday. The ruling party has enforced birth limits since 1980 to restrain population growth but worries the number of working-age people is falling too fast while the share over age 65 is rising, adding to strains on the economy and society. A meeting on Monday of the party’s Politburo decided China will introduce major policies and measures to actively deal with the aging population, the Xinhua News West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee with her newly-apppointed advisor Alapan Bandyopadhyay during a meeting. In Kolkata on Monday. on policy matters or areas assigned to him from time to time and will be entitled to Rs 2.5 lakh per month along with other allowances, said Miss Banerjee. “They have given no reason. I am shocked. They have also not replied to my letter. If a bureaucrat is insulted after he has dedicated his life to his work, what message is the government and the PM sending out? Are they bonded labourers? There are many Bengali cadre officers at the Centre. Can I recall them without consultation, Mr Prime Minister? Mr Busy Prime Minister? Mr Mann-ki-baat Prime Minister?” she further questioned. Miss Banerjee appealed to all chief ministers, chief secretaries, IAS and IPS officers, state services officers, senior leaders, NGOs and intellectuals to fight for this cause together. “If the Centre moves the court then they would not be able to justify their move as being a lawyer myself I know that this order is unconstitutional and illegal,” she said. Earlier this morning, in a five-page letter, Miss Banerjee urged the Prime Minister to reconsider the Centre’s decision to recall the chief secretary after giving him a three-month extension and said that she was shocked by the Centre’s decision, terming the order as “unilateral”, which was issued “without any prior consultation” with the state government. “I humbly request you to withdraw, recall, reconsider your decision and rescind the latest so-called order in the larger public interest. I appeal to your conscience and good sense, on the behalf of the people of West Bengal,” Miss Banerjee said in her letter to PM Modi. She also said, “The West Bengal government cannot release, and is not releasing its chief secretary Citing flaws, top court grills Centre on vaccine decisions INDO-ASIAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 31 MAY The Supreme Court on Monday shot a volley of tough questions at the Centre in connection with its Covid vaccine policy, and flagged various flaws: shortage of vaccine doses, pricing issues, registration for vaccination and lack of vaccine especially for the rural areas in the country. A bench headed by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud was informed by the Centre that it expects to vaccinate all by the end of December 2021. The bench also comprising L. Nageswara Rao and S. Ravindra Bhat cited the discrepancy in the supply of vaccine for different age groups. China allows couples to have 3rd child in major policy shift PRESS TRUST OF INDIA Mr Hari Krishna Dwivedi has been appointed as the new chief secretary of West Bengal. Agency said. Party leaders pointed out that further optimising the fertility policy, implementing the policy of one couple can have three children and supporting measures are conducive to improving China’s population structure. It gave no details on when or how the change would be carried out. China’s population of 1.4 billion was expected to peak later this decade and start to decline. Census data released 11 May suggest that is happening faster than expected, straining underfunded pension and health systems and cutting the number of future workers available to support a growing retiree group. Restrictions that limited most couples to one child were eased in 2015 to allow all to have two. VARIOUS FLAWS FLAGGED BY SUPREME COURT 1. Shortage of Covid vaccine doses 2. Pricing issues 3.Registration for vaccination 4. Lack of vaccine, especially for the rural areas 5. Discrepancy in vaccine supply for different age groups Justice Bhat queried Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, what is the rationale for dual policy? Centre is procuring certain amount and not willing to give it to states at some rate? Justice Chandrachud noted that for the population above 45 years, procurement is by Centre as of 1 May, and for below 45, 50 percent to states is by manufacturers on pro rata basis. He further queried “The price is determined by Centre. What is the basis for Centre to say that for 45 and above we will supply and procure vaccines free of charge and for below 45 states will have logistical arrangements?” The bench told the Centre’s counsel that government’s rationale was high mortality in 45+ group, but in the second wave this group is not seriously affected, instead it was 18-44 age group. The bench added, “If purpose is to procure vaccines, why should the Centre procure only for over 45?” Mr Dwivedi, a 1988 batch IAS officer, is currently posted as additional chief secretary, home and hill affairs. He also held the charge of the departments of parliamentary affairs, planning and statistics and programme monitoring. Prior to this, he served as the finance secretary for around eight years and was a member of the board of West Bengal Power Development Corporation Ltd since 2012. at this critical hour, based on our understanding that the earlier order of extension, issued after lawful consultation under applicable laws, remains operational and valid.” The Centre, in a surprise move, had on 28 May night sought Mr Bandyopadhyay’s services and asked the state government to immediately release the top bureaucrat. She also mentioned in her letter that the “allIndia services and the laws, including the rules framed for it, have federal cooperation as the cornerstone of its legal archi- Mr Bhagwati Prasad Gopalika is the new home secretary. Mr Gopalika (1989 batch) is currently animal resources development secretary with additional charge of personnel & administrative reforms department. He has served in a host of departments namely municipal affairs, transport, sports and forest tecture”. Banerjee said the all-India services have aimed to “protect and give greater cohesion to the federal foundations” of the Constitution. The Centre, it is understood, will initiate disciplinary action against Bandyopadhyay for failing to report to the department of personnel, public grievances and pensions (DoPT) in New Delhi as ordered, people familiar with the development said. The Central government transferred Mr Bandopadhyay to DoPT on Friday, ordering the top civil servant to report by 10 am on Monday, after a row broke out over West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee skipping a meeting convened by the PM during his visit to the state to review the impact of Cyclone Yaas. STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 31 MAY India’s economy grew by 1.6 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2020-21, restricting the full-year contraction to 7.3 per cent, according to data released by the National Statistical Office today. As per the study, the fourth quarter growth was better than the 0.5 per cent expansion in the previous OctoberDecember quarter of 202021. The gross domestic product (GDP) had expanded by 3 per cent in the corresponding January-March period of 2019-20. In 2020-21, the Indian economy contracted by 7.3 per cent against 4 per cent expansion in 2019-20, showing the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The NSO had projected a GDP contraction of 7.7 per cent in 2020-21 in its first advance estimates of national accounts released in January this year. The NSO, in its second revised estimates, had projected a contraction of 8 per cent for 2020-21. Lowest daily Covid cases in 50 days STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 31 MAY India recorded less than 2 lakh Covid-19 cases third day in a row, with 1,52,734 new infections reported in the last 24 hours, while 3,128 more succumbed to the pandemic, the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry said on Monday. This is the lowest new infection reported since 9 April, when India recorded 1,45,384 cases while on 10 April, India witnessed 1,52,879 fresh cases. Most Metro cities are still fighting huge waves, though Mumbai and Delhi have arrested the surge. Delhi on Sunday reported 946 cases, Mumbai 1,066, Bengaluru was the worst affected with 4,734 cases, followed by Chennai 2,689. While lockdown measures NEW DELHI, 31 MAY The Supreme Court on Monday said it will examine the interpretation of sedition law, particularly in the light of media rights and free speech, as it gave protection to Telugu news channels ~ TV5 and ABN Andhrajyothi~ from any coercive action in a case lodged against them under the colonial era provision. The two channels were booked by Andhra Pradesh police for alleged sedition in showing ‘offensive’ speeches of YSR Congress rebel MP K Raghu Rama Krishna Raju. A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, L N Rao and S Ravindra Bhat said, We are of the view that provisions of 124A (sedition) and 153 (promoting enmity between classes) of the IPC require interpretation, particularly on the WHAT IS SEDITION? Two Telugu news channels~TV5 and ABN Andhrajyothi~ were booked by Andhra Pradesh police for alleged sedition in showing ‘offensive’ speeches of YSR Congress rebel MP K Raghu Rama Krishna Raju. The top court restrained the Andhra Pradesh police from taking any coercive action against the channels and their employees or staffers in connection with the FIR We are of the view that provisions of 124A (sedition) and 153 (promoting enmity between classes) of the IPC require interpretation, particularly on the issue of the rights of press and free speech SUPREME COURT BENCH issue of the rights of press and free speech. It restrained the Andhra Pradesh police from taking any coercive action against the channels and their employees or staffers in connection with the FIR. The bench also sought the response of the state government within four weeks on the pleas of the channels which are charged for various offences including the harsh penal offence of sedition. Both the media houses have recently moved the top court seeking quashing of an FIR registered against it in a sedition case in Andhra Pradesh, with one house claiming the attempt is to create a chilling effect for news channels in the state so that they are wary of hosting any content which is critical of the government. CMYK Central Vista gets HC nod; petitioner fined 2,80,47,534 A woman being taken to hospital after her condition deteriorated following inoculation. In Faridabad on Monday. are set to ease in the national capital, Tamil Nadu is micro-managing at every level to break the chain while Bihar extended lockdown till 8 June. Fatalities have also remained below 4,000 for four consecutive days. West Bengal today registered 10,137 fresh Covid cases and 131 deaths. Kolkata recorded 1,324 cases and 28 deaths in the last 24 hours. The total Covid case count is 20,26,092 1,52,734 2,38,022 3,29,100 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. MONDAY 31 MAY 2021 13,76,377 and toll is 15,541 in the state till now while there are 87,048 active cases. SC to examine sedition law; stays steps against news channels SNS & PTI “The real GDP at Constant (2011-12) Prices in the year 2020-21 is now estimated to attain a level of ? 135.13 lakh crore, as against the First Revised Estimate of GDP for the year 2019-20 of ? 145.69 lakh crore, released on 29th January 2021. The growth in GDP during 202021 is estimated at -7.3 percent as compared to 4.0 percent in 2019-20,” reads the data released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation. As per the study, the GDP at current prices in the year 2020-21 is estimated to attain a level of Rs 197.46 lakh crore, as against the first revised estimates of Rs 203.51 lakh crore in 2019-20, showing a change of -3.0 percent as compared to 7.8 percent in 2019-20. The fiscal deficit of the country is at 9.3 per cent of GDP in 2020-21, down from revised estimate of 9.5 per cent. GDP at Constant (201112) Prices in Q4 of 2020-21 is estimated at Rs. 38.96 lakh crore, as against Rs. 38.33 lakh crore in Q4 of 2019-20, showing a growth of 1.6 percent. Shreya Broadcasting Pvt Ltd, which owns TV5 news channel with bureaus in Hyderabad, Vishakapatnam and Vijayawada, has alleged in its petition that the state intends to silence its critiques and the media by filing a vague FIR and abusing the process of law. The FIR against the TV channel has connection with the sedition case lodged against Raju, who has already been arrested by the Andhra Pradesh police. The channels have claimed that the FIR has been lodged against it for airing programmes involving Raju who has been critical of the state government led by his own party. The channels have sought the apex court’s direction to restrain the authorities in Andhra Pradesh from taking any coercive action against the management and employees of the news channel in pursuance of the case lodged against them. The Crime Investigation Department (CID), which has arrested Raju in the case, has also named two media houses and others as accused. In its plea filed in the apex court through advocate Vipin Nair, Shreya Broadcasting Pvt Ltd has said that freedom of speech of media is of great importance and the FIR clearly intends to breach the same by chilling the media houses into submission. On 14 May, Raju, was arrested weeks after he asked a CBI special court to cancel the bail of Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy, in a disproportionate assets case. On 21 May, the top court granted bail, citing a possibility that he was “ill-treated in custody.” NEW DELHI, 31 MAY Describing the Central Vista project as “vital and essential”, the Delhi High Court on Monday allowed construction work on the project to continue and imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh on the petitioners for their “motivated” plea. The court said the legality of the project was already upheld by the Supreme Court. It added that even the Delhi Disaster Management Authority allowed it to continue, workers were already present at the site and, therefore, “we see no reason to stop the work”. A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh dismissed the plea seeking to halt the project during the coronavirus pandemic, saying the petition was “motivated” and “not a genuine PIL”. It imposed a cost of Rs 1 lakh on the petitioners. The court said under the contract awarded to the Shapoorji Pallonji Group, work had to be completed by November 2021 and, therefore, it should to be allowed to continue. The plea for halting the work was moved by Anya Malhotra, a translator, and Sohail Hashmi, a historian and documentary filmmaker. The two had contended in their PIL the project was not an essential activity and can be put on hold for time being.PTI
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