CMYK FRIDAY www.thestatesman.com 16 JULY 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 ‘FORMULA SOON FOR AMARINDER, SIDHU TO WORK TOGETHER’ FINANCIAL INCLUSION WILL BE PRIORITY: RBI GOVERNOR P8 WEATHER Generally cloudy sky with few spells of thundershower. Temperature will be in the range of 34-28 degrees Celsius. RAINFALL: NIL RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max. 92% TEMPERATURE Min. 62% Max: 34.3 °C(2) Min: 27.3 °C(+1) SUN RISES SUN SETS 05:01 hrs 18:24 hrs MOON RISES MOON SETS 09:39 hrs 22:20 hrs Next moon quarter on 17 July THUMBNAILS Health officials are escorted by Army jawans for door-to-door vaccination against Covid-19, in villages near the LoC in Jammu. AGENCIES Heavy Europe floods: More than 30 people have died and dozens of people were missing Thursday in Germany and neighbouring Belgium after heavy flooding turned streams and streets into raging torrents, sweeping away cars and causing buildings to collapse. (P10) Mamata to visit Delhi during Monsoon session: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is set to visit Delhi in July during the monsoon session of the Parliament. Miss Banerjee said she is planning to meet President Kovind and PM Modi if she gets an appointment. "I didn't go to Delhi after the elections. The Parliament session will start. Covid-19 cases have come down. So I will go to Delhi and meet some friends,” she added. She is likely to arrive in Delhi on 25 July, sources said Farmers assemble for march to Delhi: Haryana put up road barricades at its border with Punjab as farmers in the adjoining state massed with their tractor-trailers to stop farmers' march to Delhi and protest against the Centre's new farm laws. (P5) NEW DELHI, 15 JULY The ministry of civil aviation has prepared a draft of rules for unmanned aircraft systems. The proposed policy is all set to relax the earlier UAS Rules 2021 as it requires fewer approvals and forms. “No security clearance required before any registration or license issuance. No pilot license required for micro drone (for non commercial use). Coverage of drones increased from 300 kg to 500 kg. Fee reduced to nominal levels,” tweeted union civil aviation minister, Jyotiraditya Scindia. The decision to change the drone policy has been taken following a reported high-level inter-ministerial Mehul Choksi lands in Antigua after getting bail NEW DELHI, 15 JULY Diamantaire Mehul Choksi has landed in Antigua and Barbuda, where he has been staying since 2018 after leaving India, after 51 days of custody in neighbouring Dominica for illegal entry which his lawyers claim was a kidnapping plan, local media reported. Choksi, 62, was given bail by Dominica High Court to travel back to Antigua for seeking medical help from a neurologist based there. After depositing bail money of EC Dollars 10,000, Choksi flew back to Antigua. While seeking bail, Choksi had attached his medical reports, including CT scan, which showed “mildly worsening PTI hematoma”. P5 P10 P12 Why is British-era Analyse infra needs under Emergency Covid Response Pkg: Centre to states sedition law still used, SC asks govt PRESS TRUST OF INDIA The Union health ministry reviewed preparations under the recently approved Rs 23,123 crore “India Covid-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Package (ECRP): Phase II” with health secretaries and senior officials of all states/ Union Territories. NEW DELHI, 15 JULY Top court raises concern over misuse of Section 124A PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 15 JULY oncerned over enormous misuse of the colonial era penal law on sedition, the Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Centre why it was not repealing the provision used by the British to silence people like Gandhi to suppress freedom movement. Agreeing to examine the pleas filed by Editors Guild of India and a former major general, challenging the constitutionality of section 124A (sedition) in the IPC, a bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana said its main concern was the “misuse of law” and issued the notice to the Centre. The non-bailable provision makes any speech or expression that brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards the Government established by law in India a criminal offence punishable with a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. Mr Attorney (General), we want to ask some questions. This is the colonial era law and the same law was used by the British to suppress freedom movement. It was used by British to silence Mahatma Gandhi, Gokhale and others. “Is it still necessary to keep this in statute even after 75 years of independence? asked the bench which also comprised Justices A S C Aviation ministry proposes simpler drone rules STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE PANT TESTS POSITIVE CUBAN PREZ ADMITS GOVT HAS SOME BLAME FOR PROTESTS meeting chaired by the Prime Minister. Stakeholders can give their suggestions by 5 August. These rules will not apply to drones used by naval, military or air force and drone weighing more than 500 kg. Once the new rules are notified, the government will publish on the ministry’s Digital Sky platform an airspace map for drone operations, segregated into red, yellow and green zones. “No permission required upto 400 feet in green zone and upto 200 feet for 8-12 km from the airport perimeter. No pilot license required for micro drones, nano drone and R&D organisations. No curbs on drone operations by foreign-owned companies,” the ministry said. ‘STALE LAW’ The apex court agreed to examine the pleas filed by Editors Guild of India and a former Indian Army major general, challenging the constitutionality of section 124A in the IPC “Mr Attorney General, this is the colonial era law and the same law was used by the British to suppress freedom movement. It was used by British to silence Mahatma Gandhi, Gokhale and others. Is it still necessary to keep this in statute even after 75 years of SUPREME COURT independence?” Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy. Observing that the provision on sedition has been put to enormous misuse, it also referred to alarming misuse of Section 66 A of the Information Technology Act even after the top court set it aside long back and observed: It can be compared to a carpenter, asked to cut a wood, cut the entire forest. A factionist can invoke these types of provisions to implicate the other group of people, the CJI said, adding that if a particular party or people do not want to hear a voice, they will use this law to implicate others. The bench wondered at the continuance of the sedition law in statute book for last 75 years and said: Why the government is not taking a decision. Your government has been getting rid of stale laws.” The bench said that it was not blaming any state or government, but unfortu- nately, the executing agency misuses these laws and there is no accountability. The bench said that if a police officer in a remote village wanted to fix a person then he can easily do so by using such provisions. Moreover, said the bench, there was very low percentage of convictions in sedition cases and these are the issues which are needed to be decided. The CJI, on being told that another bench headed by Justice U U Lalit has been hearing a similar plea which has been fixed for further consideration on27 July, said he would take a call on posting of the matters and notify the date of hearing. Attorney General K K Venugopal, who was asked to assist the bench in dealing with the case, defended the provision and said it be allowed to remain in the statute book and the court may lay down guidelines to curb the misuse. The Centre on Thursday asked states and union territories to conduct a quick gap analysis for various infrastructure components under the Emergency Covid-19 Response Package and stressed on effective advance preparations for efficient clinical management of the infection. The Union health ministry reviewed preparations under the recently approved Rs 23,123 crore “India Covid-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Package (ECRP): Phase II” with health secretaries and senior officials of all states and UTs through a video conference. The Cabinet approved the new scheme for financial year 2021-22 on 8 July. This package aims to accelerate health system preparedness for immediate responsiveness for early prevention, detection and management with a sharp focus on health infrastructure development, including paediatric care and with measurable outcomes. During the review meeting, states and UTs were guided on policies and guidelines from the Union health ministry on different aspects of Covid management, which would help them in strengthening their healthcare infrastructure to streamline Covid-19 response. 41K new cases, 581 deaths STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 15 JULY India reported 41,806 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, along with 581 deaths due to the coronavirus, as active cases jumped by 2,095 over the previous day's figures, according to the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry. The country has 4,32,041 active cases and has witnessed a total of 4,11,989 deaths so far, while confirmed cases stood at 3,09,87,880. Among the states, Kerala reported 15,637 new cases and 127 deaths, with Maharashtra reporting 8,602 new cases and 170 deaths. According to the health ministry, the country-wide daily testing positivity rate was recorded at 2.15 per cent. The weekly positivity rate stands at 2.21 per cent. The Ministry said that a total of 39,13,40,491 people have been vaccinated so far in the country, including 34,97,058 who were administered vaccines in the last 24 hours. Bengal numbers: West Bengal today registered 891 fresh Covid cases and 12 deaths. Kolkata recorded 76 cases and 2 death while North 24 Parganas recorded 92 cases and 1 death in the last 24 hours. The total Covid case count is 15,15,599 and death toll is 17,970 in 3,09,87,880 KOLKATA, 15 JULY A committee of the National Human Rights Commission set up by Calcutta High Court has recommended a CBI investigation into cases of post-poll violence in Bengal like murder and rape and trial of such cases outside the state in its final report submitted to the court. Other cases of post-poll violence should to be dealt with by a court-monitored Special Investigation Team, the committee recommended in its 50-page report. In a severe indictment of the Mamata Banerjee government in the state, the NHRC panel said that the situation in the state is a manifestation of “Law of Ruler”, instead of “Rule of Law”, and The NHRC committee recommended CBI investigation into cases of post-poll violence in Bengal like murder and rape and trial of such cases outside the state In a severe indictment of the Mamata Banerjee government in the state, the NHRC panel said that the situation in the state is a manifestation of “Law of Ruler”, instead of “Rule of Law”, and highlighted “appalling apathy” of the government towards the plight of victims highlighted “appalling apathy” of the government towards the plight of victims. A livid Miss Banerjee hit back, accusing the NHRC of pursuing the BJP’s “political vendetta” and claiming the report was “leaked”. Drawing attention to the state of affairs it had come across in large swathes of the state, the NHRC panel stated, “It is indeed ironical that, in the land of Rabindra Nath Tagore, ‘Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high; where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls’; thousands of its citizens have been subjected to murder, rape, displacement and intimidation, etc. in the last couple of months.” “This was retributive violence by supporters of the ruling party against supporters of the main Opposition party,” the panel said, and charged that the bureaucratic edifice in the state was complicit in various degrees, with little effort on the part of State machinery to prevent, or control or rectify the violence. To expedite the trial of the cases, the report recommended appointment of special public prosecutors as well as setting up fast track courts. “Most of the violent incidents included murder, rape, molestation, assault, vandalism, looting, dispossession, arson, extortion, threat and intimidation. Pertinently, they were neither sporadic nor random; instead, they targeted specific persons (those associated with the main opposition party),” the report said. “There have been several sexual offences but victims are scared to speak out. Loss of faith in state administration among victims is very evident,” the report noted. Beijing once again shrugs off responsibility for military stand-off at Eastern Ladakh STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 15 JULY 4,32,041 41,806 39,130 4,11,989 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. THURSDAY 15 JULY 2021 the state till now while there are 13,637 active cases. NHRC panel indicts Mamata govt over post-poll violence STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE The states and UTs were requested to send their expenditure proposals at the earliest to enable expeditious approval and sanctioning from the Union government, the health ministry said. They were advised to conduct a quick gap analysis for various infrastructure components under the second phase of the Emergency Covid-19 Response Package (ECRP). The focus on the need for ramping up test, track, treat and isolate strategy, requirement for scaling up testing capacity, additional beds, including for paediatric care and ensuring availability of critical drugs, testing kits and PPEs, enhancing oxygen availability. A large number of houses, shops and vehicles, etc, of workers of the main opposition party were vandalised and looted and water and electricity connections severed, resulting in disruption of life and livelihood of these families. Many displaced persons have not yet been able to return to their homes and resume their normal life, it said. Miss Banerjee, crying foul, said the NHRC team did not consult the state government or take into account its views. “The BJP is now using impartial agencies to settle political scores and malign our state. The NHRC should have respected the court. Instead of leaking the findings to the media, it should have first submitted the same to the court,” she told a Press conference. Beijing has once again rejected India’s contention that the Chinese side was to blame for the ongoing military stand-off at Eastern Ladakh, including the Galwan Valley clash. “The rights and wrongs of what happened in the ChinaIndia border area last year are very clear and the responsibility does not lie with the Chinese side,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar during their bilateral meeting in Dushanbe on Wednesday on the margins of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) ministerial meeting. In a statement on the meeting, the Chinese Foreign Ministry today said Wang told the Indian minister that China was ready to find a solution acceptable to both sides on the issue that needed emergency response through negotiation and consultation. He noted that after the Jaishankar-Wang meeting in Moscow in September last year, the frontier troops of both countries had disengaged in the Galwan Valley and the Pangong Lake areas, and the overall situation in the border area was de-escalated. Wang, however, complained that China-India relations still stayed at a low level, which was not in the interest of either side. The nature of China-India relations was how two adjacent developing countries look at each other, co-exist in harmony. China’s strategic assessment of ChinaIndia relations has not changed, he said. ‘Unprecedented’: PM Modi heaps praises on IOC: Participants to wear masks at Yogi govt for tackling second Covid-19 wave all times, no group photo on podium PRESS TRUST OF INDIA PTI & SNS VARANASI (UP), 15 JULY Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday praised the Uttar Pradesh government for its handling of the Covid crisis and said the way it had controlled the second wave of the infection was “unprecedented”. The Prime Minister, who arrived at his parliamentary constituency in the morning, also appreciated the Yogi Adiyanath-led government for working with a development oriented approach rather than one based on corruption and nepotism, and bringing in rule of law in the state. Describing the efforts of the government in combating Covid-19 as “commendable”, PM Modi with UP CM Yogi Adityanath in Varanasi the Prime Minister said Uttar Pradesh’s population is more than a dozen big countries but the way it has controlled the second wave of coronavirus and stopped its spread is unprecedented”. The people of Uttar Pradesh, the Prime Minister said, had seen an era when there were problems in tackling diseases such as encephalitis. “And this (Covid) is the biggest problem the world is facing in 100 years. It is the biggest pandemic, and hence efforts made by Uttar Pradesh to tackle the corona are commendable.” Mamata slams PM's ‘biased' statments:Criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi for lauding Uttar Pradesh over good Covid management and governance, chief minister Mamata Banerjee today said the state was “beyond the rule of law” and everything was considered to be correct there as it was “their baby”. “There is no rule of law in Uttar Pradesh and even the PM knows it very well. No agencies have been sent to the state though incidents of Unnao to Hathras occurred there. Even journalists are not spared in that state,” said chief minister anerjee at a press conference in Nabanna. Hitting out at the UP government over Covid management, Miss Banerjee asked the state to provide the death records as several bodies have floated to the state downstream river Ganga from UP. “Has the UP government asked to provide the record of the Covid deaths? Bodies from UP floated downstream through Bihar to Bengal and many were recovered by us. As UP is their baby everything is correct there. PM’s statements are politically biased,” she said. CMYK IOC president Thomas Bach had said athletes will have to put their medals around their necks themselves to protect against spreading the virus. TOKYO, 15 JULY Athletes, presenters and volunteers will not pose for group photographs and wear masks on the podium during Tokyo Olympics medal ceremonies, the International Olympic committee said on Thursday, announcing a series of health-safety measures keeping in mind the Covid19 pandemic. That athletes and presenters would be required to wear masks was made clear in the guidelines in June. According to the new guidelines, additional podium modules will be placed between gold and silver medallists and gold and bronze medallists to allow for social distancing. “All the presenters will be vaccinated, and there will be only one IOC member and one International Federation representative at each event.” “A series of changes have been approved in order to respect the Tokyo 2020 health measures, with the aim of making the experience safe for everyone involved while also preserving the essence of this unique moment, when Olympians savour and cele- brate the pinnacle of their sports career,” IOC said. The IOC said that the athletes, medal presenters and volunteers “will be clearly and thoroughly briefed before the ceremonies on the guidelines they will need to follow.” IOC president Thomas Bach had on Wednesday said athletes will have to put their medals around their necks themselves to protect against spreading the virus.
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