SATURDAY www.thestatesman.com 09 OCTOBER 2021 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 12 |`5|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR P4 WEATHER Mainly clear sky. Mist in the moning. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 36 and 23 degrees Celsius respectively. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max: 90% Min: 41% TEMPERATURE Max: 35.7°C (+2) SUN RISES 06:19 hrs MOON RISES 10:22 hrs Min: 23.4°C (+3) SUN SETS 17:58 hrs MOON SETS 17:58 hrs THUMBNAILS IAF helicopters perform an air display during 89th foundation day of the force, at Hindan Airbase, in Ghaziabad on Friday. SUBRATA DUTTA Scindia announces new helicopter policy: Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia on Friday announced a new helicopter policy under which dedicated hubs and corridors would be established and landing charges and parking deposits abolished to boost commercial operations and a dedicated acceleration cell that will look at the helicopter industry's issues. India Japan Navies conduct maritime drill: The navies of India and Japan have concluded a 3day bilateral maritime exercise in the Arabian Sea. A Navy contingent under the command of Rear Admiral Ajay Kochhar participated in the exercise with indigenous guided missile destroyer INS Kochi and guided missile frigate INS Teg. Court denies bail to Aryan Khan: A metropolitan magistrate's court in Mumbai rejected bail applications of Aryan Khan, the son of actor Shah Rukh Khan, and two others in a case pertaining to an alleged seizure of narcotic drugs from a cruise ship off the Mumbai coast. ‘FARMERS ARE USING GANDHIAN TOOLS’ LAKHIMPUR KHERI VIOLENCE: SIDHU BEGINS HUNGER STRIKE IS YEDIYURAPPA BEING TARGETED? P3 ‘PCB CAN COLLAPSE IF INDIA WANTS’ P7 P12 Tatas retake Air India with `18,000 crore winning bid RBI keeps interest rates unchanged PRESS TRUST OF INDIA MUMBAI, 8 OCTOBER The bid includes 100 per cent of government stake in the debt-ridden national carrier STATESMAN NEWS been planning to disinvest TATAS BACK IN AIR INDIA COCKPIT: SERVICE the beleaguered airlines for “WELCOME BACK, AIR INDIA”: RATAN TATA NEW DELHI, 8 OCTOBER the past two decades. In CHRONOLOGY: PATH TO PRIVATISATION T ata Sons today finally won the bid to acquire staterun Air India, offering Rs 18,000 crore for acquiring 100 per cent shareholding in the debtridden national carrier, the government said today. The bid of Rs. 18,000 crore includes 100 per cent of the government stake in the state-owned national airline, Air India’s 100 per cent shareholding in AI Express Ltd and 50 per cent in Air India SATS Airport Services Private Ltd. The deal is a homecoming for Air India, which was founded by JRD Tata in 1932 and was nationalised two decades later. As per the deal, Tata Sons will take over Rs. 15,300 crore of debt and the rest of the amount will be paid in cash. The final transaction is expected to be completed by December this year. However, the transaction does not include noncore assets including land and buildings, valued at Rs 14,718 crore, which are to be transferred to the government’s Air India Asset Holding Limited (AIAHL). “An SPV of Tata Sons the holding company of the conglomerate~has eme- 1932 Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata founded the airline and named it Tata Airlines The aviation divi- Sons 1946 sion of Tataas Air was listed 1948 India Air India International was launched with flights to Europe. Air India was nationalised and for the 1953 next over four decades, it controlling the majority of the domestic airspace rged as successful bidder. It beats a consortium led by SpiceJet promoter Ajay Singh to bag Air India,” said Tuhin Kanta Pandey, secretary to the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management. The Tatas beat the Rs 15,100-crore offer by a consortium led by SpiceJet promoter Ajay Singh and the reserve price of Rs 12,906 crore set by the government for the sale of its 100 per cent stake in the loss-making carrier. Pandey said the group of ministers, called the The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs gave inprinciple approval to the consideration for strategic disinvestment of Air India and its five subsidiaries 2017 UPA years The UPA goverment did not pursue any privatisation agenda government 2000 NDA to sell a minortried -01 ity stake in Air India 1994 Opening up of the aviation sector to -95 private players Air India Specific Alternative Mechanism (AISAM), headed by Home Minister Amit Shah and included Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal and Civil Aviation Minster Jyotiraditya Scindia, had approved the winning bid on 4 October. The airline was founded by Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata in 1932. In 1953, Air India was nationalised and for the next four decades it controlled the majority of the domestic airspace. The airline, also Government invites EoI March from investors for buy2018 ing 76 per cent stake in Air India, remaining 26 per cent to be with the government Government sweetens October deal; gives flexibility to 2020 investors to decide on the amount of Air India debt they want to absorb Tata Group, Spicejet Promoter Ajay Singh 2021 put in financial bids. September Government announces October Tata group 2021 makes winning bid of Rs 18,000 crore for Air India known as Maharaja, started facing problems when the government opened the aviation sector to private players in 1994-95. The private airlines offered cheaper ticket price, and Air India gradually started losing market share. The last nail in the coffin was in 2007-08 when it was merged with Indian Airlines. “The total debt of Air India as of 31 August 2021 is Rs 61,562 crores. Every day, the airline runs a loss of Rs. 20 crore,” said Tuhin Kant. The government has The Reserve Bank of India expectedly kept interest rates unchanged at a record low on Friday but signalled the start of tapering pandemic-era stimulus measures on economic recovery taking roots. The six-member Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) kept the key lending rate or the repo rate unchanged at 4 per cent while the reverse repo rate or the borrowing rate was maintained at 3.35 per cent. It voted 5-1 to retain the accommodative stance, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das said in an online broadcast. He indicated the central bank’s willingness to make “gradual” adjustments to the excess liquidity in the monetary system which currently stands at over Rs 9 lakh crore. Importantly, the GSAP programme to purchase government securities from the market has been stopped for now to ensure that there is no further infusion of liquidity, he said and stressed that the step is not a reversal of its accommodative policy stance. RBI will be ready to resume bond purchases if needed, he added. The RBI had bought Rs 2.2 lakh crore worth bonds through Government Securities Acquisition Programme or GSAP in the previous two quarters. While it maintained GDP growth projection at 9.5 per March 2018, the government invited expressions of interest (EoI) from investors for buying 76 per cent stake in Air India, with the remaining 26 per cent to be retained by the government. The buyer was required to take Rs 33,392 crore or close to 70 per cent of the beleaguered carrier’s debt on its books. However, no bids were received for Air India. In January 2020, the government invited EoI for Air India’s privatisation. The successful bidder will have control of 4,400 domestic and 1,800 international landing and parking slots at domestic airports, as well as 900 slots at airports overseas. The government’s decision to accept Tata Sons’ bid for the beleaguered Airline was welcomed by Ratan Tata. “Air India, under the leadership of Mr J R D Tata had at one time gained the reputation of being one of the most prestigious airlines in the world,” said Tata. “Mr J R D Tata would have been overjoyed if he was in our midst today,” he added. Civil Aviation Secretary Rajiv Bansal said Tatas will retain all employees of Air India for one year and can offerVRS in the second year. India, Chinese troops faced off Lakhimpur: Fresh summons issued to MoS’s son Action taken not satisfactory: SC in Arunachal last week: Sources PRESS TRUST OF INDIA LAKHIMPUR (UP), 8 OCTOBER MI, RCB record wins: In a feast for cricket fans, Mumbai Indians posted and successfully defended a mammoth 235 in their IPL match against Sunrisers Hyderabad while Royal Challengers Bangalore chased down a 165 run target to (Earlier reports on Pg 12) beat Delhi Capitals. Chief Economic Advisor KV Subramanian resigns STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 8 OCTOBER Chief Economic Advisor to the Government of India, KV Subramanian today resigned from his position. While informing his decision over a tweet, Subramanian said he would be returning to academia following the completion of his three-year tenure. “I have decided to return back to academia following the completion of my 3-year fulfilling tenure. Serving The Nation has been an absolute privilege and I have wonderful support and encouragement. My statement: @PMOIndia @narendramodi @FinMinIndia @nsitharamanoffc @PIB_India,” reads the tweet. He succeeded Arvind Subramanian who decided to quit for a return to academia in 2018. “I have received tremendous encouragement and support from within the Government and have been fortunate to enjoy a warm relationship with senior functionaries,” wrote KV Subramanian in his tweet. Uphaar: Court convicts Sushil and Gopal Ansal STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 8 OCTOBER Indian and Chinese troops were involved in a brief face-off near Yangtse in the Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh last week, sources in the defence establishment confirmed today. The matter was resolved following a meeting between local commanders of the two countries as per established protocols, sources added. The incident occurred at a time when the two sides have been busy discussing the date for the next round of talks between their military commanders to discuss disengagement in remaining areas in Eastern Ladakh where a stand-off between the two armies has been going on since April-May last year. It is learnt that the face-off in the Tawang sector took place after a Chinese patrol tried to enter Indian territory. The troops of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) were forced back. Sources said the incident apparently STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE CLASH The minor face-off in the Tawang sector took place after a Chinese patrol tried to enter Indian territory. The troops of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) were forced back The matter was resolved following a meeting between local commanders of the two countries as per established protocols was the result of “differences in perception of the LAC” between the countries since the IndiaChina border has not been formally demarcated. Sources said, “Physical engagement can last for a few hours prior to disengaging as per mutual understanding. However, there has been no damage to defences.” India has been insisting that pending a final settlement of the boundary dispute, China should work with New Delhi for maintaining peace and tranquility along the LAC. At a media briefing here yesterday, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said it was China’s provocative behaviour and its unilateral attempts to alter status quo in contravention of all bilateral agreements that resulted in serious disturbance of peace and tranquility along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh. The Indian armed forces had to make appropriate counter deployments in Eastern Ladakh areas to ensure that India’s security interests were fully protected, he said. The spokesperson said External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had also clearly told his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Tajikistan last month that China had violated the bilateral agreements, resulting in the ongoing tensions in the border areas. The Uttar Pradesh Police issued a fresh notice to Union minister Ajay Mishra’s son Ashish Mishra asking him to appear before it by 11 am on Saturday in connection with the violence that killed eight people, including four farmers, after he missed his 10 am deadline on Friday. Hours later, the minister told reporters his son was not well and that "he will appear before the police tomorrow and give his statement and evidence as he is innocent". NEW DELHI, 8 OCTOBER The Supreme Court on Friday pulled up the Uttar Pradesh government for not arresting the accused against whom FIR has been lodged in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case, saying it was not satisfied with the steps taken by the state government and expected a responsible government, system and police. A bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana said: “We are not satisfied with the action taken by the state”. “What is the message that you are sending? Even in normal circumstances.Will the police not go immediately and arrest the accused. Things have not proceeded the way they should have. It appears to be only words and not actions," Chief Justice NV Ramana said. The latest notice, pasted outside Ajay Mishra’s house Friday afternoon, warned that legal action will be initiated against Ashish Mishra if he fails to Covid: Daily cases, active count decline STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 8 OCTOBER India reported 21,257 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, just five per cent lower than yesterday’s figure when the country reported 22,431 cases, and the active caseload the lowest since March 2020.at 2,40,221 also marked a decline. With 21,257 people testing positive for Covid in a day, India’s total tally of cases rose to 3,39,15,569, while the number of active cases declined to 2,40,221, the lowest in 205 days, according to data updated by the Union Health Ministry on Friday. The daily rise in Coronavirus infections has been below 30,000 for 14 straight days, it said. Delhi cases: The number of fresh Covid-19 cases in the national capital on Friday fell to 39 from 44 yesterday following 67,206 tests conducted for the (SEE P2) purpose. ASSOCIATED PRESS MANILA, 8 OCTOBER Journalists Maria Ressa of the Philippines and Dmitry Muratov of Russia won the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for their fight for freedom of expression in countries where reporters have faced persistent attacks, harassment and even murder. “Free, independent and fact-based journalism serves to protect against abuse of power, lies and war propaganda,” said Berit ReissAndersen, chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, explaining why the prize went Free, independent and factbased journalism serves to protect against abuse of power, lies and war propaganda BERIT REISS-ANDERSEN A CHAIR OF THE NORWEGIAN NOBEL COMMITTEE to two journalists. “Without freedom of expression and freedom of the press, it will be difficult to successfully promote fraternity between nations, disarma- ment and a better world order to succeed in our time," she said. The Nobel committee noted that Ressa (photo,above) in 2012 co-founded Rappler, a news website that has focused critical attention on President Rodrigo Duterte’s “controversial, murderous anti-drug campaign” in the Philippines. She and Rappler “have also documented how social media is being used to spread fake news, harass opponents and manipulate public discourse.” Muratov (photo,far left) was one of the founders in 1993 of the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, which the Nobel committee called “the most independent newspaper in Russia today, with a fundamentally critical attitude towards power.” “The newspaper’s fact- based journalism and professional integrity have made it an important source of information on censurable aspects of Russian society rarely mentioned by other media,” it added. Ressa, the first Filipino to win the peace prize and the first woman to be honored this year with an award by the Nobel committee, was convicted last year of libel and sentenced to jail in a decision seen as a major blow to press global freedom. She said she hopes the award will bolster investigative journalism “that will hold power to account.” “This relentless campaign of appear before the investigators on Saturday. Deputy Inspector General (Headquarters) Upendra Agarwal who is heading the team probing Sunday’s incident waited for him at the police lines but he didn't show up, after which the fresh notice was issued. As Ashish Mishra did not show up, reports emerged that he may have fled to Nepal. Asked about it, Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav on Friday said, “If this is true, the Centre should intervene and get the accused arrested from Nepal.” At least 100 dead, wounded in Afghan blast 3,39,15,569 2,40,221 21,257 24,963 4,50,127 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. FRIDAY 08 OCTOBER 2021 Journalists Ressa and Muratov awarded Nobel Peace Prize NEW DELHI, 8 OCTOBER A Delhi court on Friday convicted real estate barons Sushil and Gopal Ansal for tampering with evidence in the 1997 case of Uphaar Cinema fire which claimed 59 lives. Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Pankaj Sharma also held a former court staff and two other people, P P Batra and Anoop Singh, guilty in the case. The court will hear arguments on quantum of sentence on Monday. The convicts may face a maximum term of life PTI imprisonment. cent for the current fiscal ending March 2022, the central bank cut the forecast for the headline inflation to 5.3 per cent from 5.7 per cent based on the current moderation in the liquidity trajectory. “Aggregate demand is improving but slack still remains,” Das said. “Output is still below pre-pandemic level and the recovery remains uneven and dependent upon continued policy support.” The existing 14-day VRRR auction will be stepped up with the auction amount set to increase by Rs 1-2 lakh crore over the next 2 months, reaching up to Rs 6 lakh crore by December. Further, RBI may consider the introduction of a 28day VRRR, if necessary, to further calibrate the liquidity levels. harassment and intimidation against me and my fellow journalists in the Philippines is a stark example of a global trend that journalists and freedom of the press facing increasingly adverse conditions,” she said. Muratov said he would use his win to help independent journalists who have faced growing pressure from the authorities. “We will use it to shore up Russian journalism that has faced repressions,” he said. “We will try to help the people who have been designated as agents, have faced persecution and have been forced out of the country.” KABUL, 8 OCTOBER A blast went off on Friday at a mosque packed with Shiite Muslim worshippers in northern Afghanistan, killing or wounding at least 100 people, a Taliban police official said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast, which took place in Kunduz province but militants from the Islamic State group have a long history of attacking Afghanistan’s Shiite minority. Dost Mohammad Obaida, the deputy police chief for Kunduz province, said that the “majority of them have been killed,” in reference to the victims. He said the attack may have been carried out by a suicide bomber who had mingled among the worshipers inside the mosque. “I assure our Shiite brothers that the Taliban are prepared to ensure their safety,” AP Obaida said. (Details on Pg 10)
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