CMYK TUESDAY www.thestatesman.com 03 AUGUST 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 NITISH JOINS OPP DEMAND FOR PROBE INTO PEGASUS ROW BIRLA OFFERS TO HANDOVER VODA STAKE TO GOVT P8 WEATHER Generally cloudy sky with few spells of thundershower. Temperature will be in the range of 33-28 degrees Celsius. RAINFALL: NIL RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max. 92% P5 HASSAN WINS 1,500 HEAT DESPITE FALL P4 Women’s hockey team makes semis P12 Parliament adjourned amid Opp protests over Pegasus Rahul invites Opp leaders for breakfast Eves script history with maiden journey to last four in Olympic Min. 66% TEMPERATURE Max: 33.1 °C(+1) SUN RISES 05:09 hrs MOON RISES --:-- hrs New moon on 08 NEW, YOUNG FACES LIKELY IN BOMMAI’S CABINET SC orders inclusion of para shooter Min: 28.4 °C(+2) SUN SETS 18:17 hrs MOON SETS 13:15 hrs August THUMBNAILS Indian players celebrate their victory against Australia during women’s field hockey quarterfinal match at the 2020 Summer Olympics, in Tokyo on Monday. IANS PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 2 AUGUST West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee holds a football during the inauguration of programme ‘Khela Hobe’ at Netaji Indoor Stadium in Kolkata on Monday. IANS (See P3) Abhishek Banerjee visits Tripura: Trinamul Congress all-India general secretary Abhishek Banerjee on Monday during his visit to tripura, lashed out at the BJP-led Biplab Deb's government, saying, “I'm challenging Biplab Deb that in 2023, people of Tripura will replace this fascist autocrat government and elect Trinamul Congress' government with a human face.” (P3) Jaishankar to attend Iran's prez swearing-in: i External affairs minister S Jaishankar is expected to represent India at the inauguration of Iran's president-elect Ebrahim Raisi on 5 August, reflecting the convergence between the two countries on key issues such as Afghanistan. E BJP delegation meets PM over N-E tension: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been apprised on the burning Assam-Mizoram border disputes by a delegation of BJP Parliamentarians from north-eastern states on Monday with the appeal to resolve it permanently. (P5) dream moment, said the country’s sports fraternity in unison as it celebrated the resurgence of Indian hockey at the Olympics after the women’s team advanced to its first ever semifinal at the Games in Tokyo on Monday. A day after the Indian men’s team entered the Olympic semifinals following a 49-year gap, the world no. 9 women’s side also produced a phenomenally gritty performance against the world no 2 Australia in an intense quarterfinals here. It triggered an outpouring of emotions as people from all walks of life, including former and current sportspersons and politicians, congratulated the team. Describing it as “a A dream moment”, former India hockey captain Viren Rasquinha said: “Impressed with the way the Indians defended post the goal. They didn’t just defend the lead, they almost attacked the lead. They were not afraid to go up and press the Australians. “One biggest improvement in the team is the sheer physical presence, the fitness, endurance levels. In today’s modern format unless the fitness level isn’t at the highest, it is hard to survive.” Drag-flicker Gurjit Kaur rose to the occasion and converted India’s lone penalty corner in the 22nd minute to surprise the Australians. “To score a goal against one of the best teams in hockey is amazing. She hasn’t been in best form, it took a bit of luck, as it took two deflection but who cares, what matters it was a goal for India,” Rasquinha said. India will next take on Argentina in the semifinals on Wednesday. Congratulating the team, Sports minister Anurag Thakur tweeted: “Splendid Performance!!! Women’s Hockey #TeamIndia is scripting history with every move at #Tokyo2020 !We’re into the semi-finals of the Olympics for the 1st time beating Australia.” Wishes also came in former sports minister Kiren Rijiju. “India’s dream is coming to reality! OurWomen’s Hockey Team has defeated Australia! India's Men's and Women's teams have reached semi-finals at #Tokyo2020 Olympics! I have no words to express my excitement and happiness!,” he tweeted. The country's lone individual Olympic gold medallist shooter Abhinav Bindra too sent his best wishes. The Supreme Court on Monday ordered Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) to immediately include the name of five-time Paralympian shooter Naresh Kumar Sharma as an additional participant for the upcoming Tokyo games. In an urgent hearing, a bench comprising justices A M Khanwilkar, B R Gavai and Krishna Murari directed the PCI to sent the Arjuna awardee shooter to take part in the sporting event. Tokyo Paralympics is starting from 24 August and the shooter was aggrieved due to his nonPTI selection. Rio bronze medallist wrestler Sakshi Malik tweeted: “THESE GIRLS HAVE DONE IT! THEY HAVE DONE THE UNTHINKABLE! The #IND women’s #hockey team are into the SEMIFINALS after beating #AUS 1-0.” Multiple-time world champion cueist Pankaj Advani also wished the Rani Rampal-led side. “Chak De India! Indian hockey has been been super impressive at the #OlympicGames Imagine if both men and women came back with Gold medals First place medalFirst place medal #Cheer4India.” More reports on P12 NEW DELHI, 2 AUGUST SNS & PTI NEW DELHI, 2 AUGUST Proceedings of Lok Sabha were disrupted for the 10th straight working day on Monday with a relentless opposition raising slogans on the Pegasus spying row and the farmers’ issue and amid the din, the House passed a bill that allows the government to pare its stake in stateowned insurers. Since the Monsoon session of Parliament commenced on 19 July, Opposition members have been storming the Well of the House raising slogans mainly on the Pegasus spying row and the farmers’ issue. Speaker Om Birla also expressed his anguish at repeated disruptions, saying crores of rupees have been wasted. He said members should provide directions to the society but instead they were holding placards and raising slogans. Monday was the tenth straight working day when the proceedings were marred by opposition uproar. Before Ram Devi, who was in the Chair, adjourned the proceedings till Tuesday morning, the House passed the General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Amendment Bill with voice-vote. The General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Amendment Bill, 2021 is The House passed the General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Amendment Bill with voice-vote before Ram Devi, who was in the Chair, adjourned the proceedings till Tuesday Moving the Bill for consideration and passage, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that she wanted to respond to the concerns raised by the opposition members but could not do so as the House was not in order. Amidst the ongoing stalemate in Parliament, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has invited leaders of Opposition parties to a breakfast meeting at the Constitution Club on Tuesday to chalk out a joint strategy on the Pegasus snooping issue. Sources said the meeting is being held to forge unity among the opposition ranks on the issue. All opposition MPs and floor leaders of various parties have been invited for the meeting. The opposition has been demanding a discussion in Parliament on the Pegasus row and its leaders have been giving adjournment PTI notices everyday. aimed at generating required resources from the Indian markets so that public sector general insurers can design innovative products. When the House reassembled at 3.30 p.m, the Opposition members continued their protest as Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said she wanted to respond to the concerns raised by the Leader of the Congress party, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury. Moving the Bill for consideration and passage, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that she wanted to respond to the concerns raised by the Opposition members but could not do so as the House was not in order. As the din continued, the minister sought passage of the Bill, and the House approved it by a voice vote. The proceedings of the House were first adjourned till noon, then till 2 p.m and again till 3.30 p.m. as an unrelenting Opposition refused to end its protests. Rajya Sabha proceedings were adjourned for the day as Opposition MPs continued their protest over the Pegasus and other matters. When Rajya Sabha reassembled at 3.36 p.m., the government moved two Bills for consideration, but Opposition members, some of them carrying placards, kept raising slogans in the Well of the House. Bhubaneswar Kalita, who was in the Chair, tried to pacify the protesting members, but in vain. As sloganeering continued, he adjourned the proceedings for the day. Ladakh standoff: India, China hold 40,134 new cases, 424 deaths in 24 hours ‘constructive’ 12th round of talks Covaxin effective against Delta Plus variant STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 2 AUGUST India and China today declared they had a “constructive’’ twelfth round of military talks on the ongoing stand-off at Eastern Ladakh at which they agreed to continue their respective efforts in ensuring stability along the LAC in the Western Sector and jointly maintain peace and tranquility. In a joint Press release on the talks between the military commanders of the two countries held at the ChushulMoldo border on Saturday, the two countries confirmed that they had a candid and indepth exchange of views on disengagement at other friction points in the area. “The two sides noted that this round of meeting was constructive, which further NEW DELHI, 2 AUGUST The two sides noted that this round of meeting was constructive, which further enhanced mutual understanding. They agreed to resolve the remaining issues in an expeditious manner JOINT PRESS RELEASE enhanced mutual understanding. They agreed to resolve the remaining issues in an expeditious manner in accordance with the existing agreements and maintain the momentum of dialogue and negotiations,” the joint press release said. The talks were led by Lt Gen P G K Menon on the Indian side and South Xinjiang Military District chief Maj Gen Liu Lin on the Chinese side. Senior diplomats from the two sides were also present. This round of meeting was held following the meeting between the foreign ministers of the two countries on 14 July in Dushanbe on the margins of the SCO foreign ministers’ meet. Top diplomats of the two countries had met on 25 June under the framework of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC) on India-China border affairs. The talks focused on disengagement of troops at Depsang Plains, Hot Springs and Gogra Heights. The two countries have so far completed disengagement at Pangong Tso Lake. Despite the confrontation in Ladakh, the two sides yesterday established a hotline between their commanders at Kongra La in North Sikkim and Khamba Dzong in Tibet Autonomous Region. India on Monday reported 40,134 more Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours with 424 deaths, the Health Ministry data showed. However, the country has registered marginal decline in fresh Covid cases than on Sunday, when 41,831 fresh cases of Covid-19 were reported. With 424 more Covid fatalities, India’s cumulative death toll now stands at 4,24,773, the data revealed. India’s active caseload has crossed the four lakh mark and stands at 4,13,718 and the recovery rate currently stands at 97.35 per cent, however, the active cases constitute 1.31 per cent of the total cases. The weekly positivity rate remains below 5 per cent and is currently at 2.30 per cent. The daily positivity rate continues to remain below 5 per Bharat Biotech’s Covid-19 vaccine Covaxin (BBV152) is effective against Delta Plus (AY.1) variant of the coronavirus, according to a study published in bioRxiv by the Indian Council of Medical and Research (ICMR). The study is a pre-print and has not been peer-reviewed. Covaxin, a whole-virion inactivated SARS-CoV-2 vaccine used for mass immunisation in the country, showed a 65.2 per cent protection against the Delta variant in a double-blind, randomised, multicentre, phase 3 clinical trial. Subsequently, Delta has further mutated to Delta AY.1, AY.2, and AY.3. Of these, AY.1 variant was first detected in India in April and subsequently from 20 other countries as well, the study said. cent for 55 continuous days and currently stands at 2.81 per cent. The government has advised the states to restrict the gatherings in the districts reporting over 10 per cent positivity rate. Schools for all classes reopened in Punjab on Monday, with physical classes resuming after a gap of a few months for preprimary levels. According to the government data, a total SC notice to states, HCs for continued use of Sec 66A PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 2 AUGUST The Supreme Court on Monday issued notices to all states, Union Territories and high courts on an NGO’s plea that people are still being booked under Section 66A of the Information Technology Act that was scrapped by an apex court verdict in 2015. A bench of Justices R F Nariman and B R Gavai said that since police is a state subject, it will be better that all states and UTs are made party to the case and “we can pass a comprehensive order so that the matter is settled for once and for all”. The bench ordered, “As this matter pertains to police and judiciary, in the fitness of things, we issue notice to all On 5 July, the top court had said it was “amazing” and “shocking” that people were still being booked under Section 66A of the Information Technology Act that was scrapped by an apex court verdict in 2015. Under the scrapped section, a person posting offensive messages could be imprisoned for up to three years and also fined. states, Union Territories and registrar general of all High Courts”. It said all should respond to the notices within four weeks and directed that details of pleading be also sent with notices to all the parties. During the hearing, senior advocate Sanjay Parikh, appearing for the NGO, Peoples Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), said that there are two aspects in this matter, one is police and the other is judiciary where such cases are still being tried. The bench said it can take care of the judiciary and will issue notice to all the high courts, and listed the matter for further hearing after four weeks. At the outset, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, said he received the PUCL rejoinder to the government's affi- davit on Sunday only and he would like to go through it. On 5 July, the top court had said it was “amazing” and “shocking” that people were still being booked under Section 66A of the Information Technology Act that was scrapped by an apex court verdict in 2015. Under the scrapped section, a person posting offensive messages could be imprisoned for up to three years and also fined. The top court had issued notice to the Centre on PUCL’s application and told the NGO’s counsel, “Don’t you think this is amazing and shocking? Shreya Singhal judgement is of 2015. It’s really shocking. What is going on is terrible.” The NGO claimed that despite express directions of the court in 2019 that all state governments should sensitise police personnel about the March 24, 2015 judgement, thousands of cases have been registered under the section. Attorney General K K Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, had earlier said that on perusal of the IT Act it can be seen that section 66A features in it, but in the footnote it is written that the provision has been scrapped. The NGO sought direction to the Centre to collect all data/ information regarding FIRs/ investigations where Section 66A has been invoked as well as pendency of cases in the courts throughout the country where proceedings under the provision are continuing in violation of the 2015 judgment. CMYK of 36,946 patients were discharged from hospitals in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of cured to 3,08,57,467 to date as the virus continues to infect less than one lakh people for the last 54 days. In a tweet, Health Ministry on Sunday said that India had achieved landmark in vaccination drive against the Covid pandemic and has successfully jabbed over 47 crore 3,16,95,958 4,13,718 40,134 36,946 4,24,773 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. MONDAY 02 AUGUST 2021 people across the country. Bengal:West Bengal today registered 575 fresh Covid cases and 12 deaths. Kolkata recorded 61 cases and 1 death. The total Covid case count in the state is 15,29,295. PM Modi launches digital payment solution e-RUPI PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 2 AUGUST Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday launched e-RUPI, a person and purpose specific digital payment solution that is aimed at improving transparency and targeted delivery of benefits. Over the years, several programmes have been launched to ensure that the benefits reach its intended beneficiaries in a leakproof manner, with limited touch points between the government and the beneficiary. The concept of electronic voucher takes forward this vision of good governance. To begin with e-RUPI facility is available for health services Rainfall in Aug, Sept likely on higher side of normal: IMD To begin with, e-RUPI facility is available for health services and will be expanded to other segments and will be expanded to other segments. “Today the country is giving a new dimension to digital governance. eRUPI voucher is going to play a huge role in making digital transactions, and DBT more effective. This will help everyone in targeted, transparent and leakage free delivery,” the Prime Minister said while launching e-RUPI. e-RUPI is a cashless and contactless instrument for digital payment, an official statement said. During the rain in New Delhi on Monday. IANS NEW DELHI, 2 AUGUST Rainfall during August and September, the second half of the four-month rainfall season, is likely to be on the higher side of normal, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Monday. In another forecast for August, IMD Director General Mrutunjay Mohapatra said monsoon is also likely to be normal in the month. West Madhya Pradesh and adjoining Rajasthan, some parts of interior Maharashtra, Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, some parts of Punjab and Himachal Pradesh are likely to receive below normal rainfall in August, Mohapatra said. Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Rayalaseema region of Andhra Pradesh, Konkan and Goa, central Maharashtra, south Gujarat, northeastern states, Bihar are likely to receive abovenormal rainfall during the month, he added. “The 2021 August to September rainfall averaged over the country as a whole is most likely to be normal (95 to 105 per cent of Long Period Average or LPA) with a tendency to be on the positive side of the normal,” Mohapatra said at an online briefing. The LPA of the August to September period rainfall over the country as a whole for the years 1961-2010 is 428.3 mm. PTI
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