CMYK TUESDAY www.thestatesman.com 18 JANUARY 2022 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 12 |` 5.00|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR ARAB LAWMAKER SHAKES UP ISRAELI POLITICS I DIDN’T EXPECT ‘HEALING ROLE’ AS FIRST LADY P9 WEATHER Mainly clear sky with mist/fog in the morning. Temperature will be in the range of 22-12 degrees Celsius. RAINFALL: NIL RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max. 65% TEMPERATURE P10 P5 Punjab Assembly elections postponed Now, the votings will take place on 20 February and not on 14 February Min. 83% Max: 33.1 °C(+1) Min: 28.0 °C(+2) SUN RISES SUN SETS 06:18 hrs 17:15 hrs MOON RISES MOON SETS 17:34 hrs 06:36 hrs New moon on 1 February THUMBNAILS A camel contingent takes part in the rehearsal for the ‘Beating the Retreat’in New Delhi, on Monday. SNS Quakes in Assam, Manipur; no damage reported: Two earthquakes of moderate intensity jolted parts of the northeastern states of Assam and Manipur on Monday, the National Centre for Seismology (NCS) said. There was no report of loss of life and damage to property in any of the quakes that occurred within 28 minutes on IANS Monday. Three killed due to landslide in Sirmaur: Three people were killed in a landslide incident in Sirmaur district of Himachal Pradesh on Monday. According to State Emergency Operation Centre, the incident took place on a highway in Sirmour earlier today. Further details awaited. ANI CM Kejriwal launches DTC's first electric bus: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal flagged off the first DTC electric bus by doing a hawan puja on Monday. During the ceremony, Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gehlot and DTC CMD NeerANI aj Semwal were also present. STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 17 JANUARY oting in the assembly elections in Punjab will take place on 20 February and not on 14 February as was announced earlier in view of the Guru Ravidas Jayanti, the Election Commission of India (ECI) announced today. Rescheduling the dates for the electoral exercise in the state, the ECI said the notification for the elections will be issued on 25 January. The last date of nominations will be 1 February while the scrutiny will take place the next day. The date of withdrawal of nominations is 4 February and the date of polling is 20 February. Counting of votes, however, will be done as scheduled on 10 March. The commission said that after announcing the poll schedule recently, it had received several representations from the state government, political parties and other organisations drawing attention regarding movement of a large number of devotees from Punjab to Varanasi for participation in Sri Guru Ravidas Ji Jayanti celebrations, which is observed on 16 February. ''They have also brought to the notice that a large number of devotees start moving for Varanasi around a week before the day of celebration and keeping the poll day on 14 February will deprive a large number of V electors from voting,'' the ECI said, adding in view of this, they requested to shift the poll date a few days after 16 February. The commission also took inputs from the state government and the chief electoral officer of Punjab in this regard. After considering these new facts emerging out of these representations, inputs from the state government and the chief electoral officer, past precedence and all facts and circumstances in the matter, the ECI decided to reschedule the assembly polls in the state. Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi had written to the ECI asking for the poll date to be moved, as a large number of the Scheduled Caste community would go to Varanasi to observe Guru Ravidas Jayanti. The Punjab unit of the BJP too had raised the issue. EC allows those in essential services to cast vote through postal ballot ASIAN NEWS INTERNATIONAL NEW DELHI, 17 JANUARY The Election Commission of India (ECI) has issued a list of those persons working in essential services who can cast vote in upcoming assembly elections through postal ballot in five states. The ECI has allowed media persons authorised by it to exercise their franchise using the postal ballot facility for the upcoming assembly elections in Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur and Goa. The commission in a letter to Chief Electoral Office of Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur and Goa said that media persons authorized by it for poll coverage day can cast their votes through postal bal- lot facility. As for Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, the poll body has permitted persons employed in Information and Public Relation Department, Health and Family Welfare (Emergency I Ambulance Services), Post Department, Traffic Department, Railways, Electricity Department, Civil Aviation Department, Metro Rail Corporation of Uttar Pradesh, Doordarshan, All India Radio, and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited to cast their vote via postal ballot. Elections in Goa and Uttarakhand will be held on February 14 and in Manipur from February 27 to March 3. Elections in Punjab will be held on February 20. Covid vax for children in 12-14 age group soon STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 17 JANUARY The government is likely to begin vaccination of children in the 12-14 age group, against COVID-19 soon after the 15-18 population gets fully vaccinated, said Dr N K Arora, chairman of the COVID-19 working group of NTAGI, here on Monday. Of the estimated 7.4 crore children in the 15-18 age bracket, over 3.45 crore have received their first dose of Covaxin so far and their second dose is due in 28 days, he said. "Adolescents in this age group have been actively participating in the inoculation process, and going by this pace of vaccination, the rest of the beneficiaries in the 15-18 age group are likely to be covered with the first dose by Januaryend and subsequently their second dose is expected to be done by February-end," said the Chairman of the Covid working group of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI). Once the 15-18 age group is covered, the government is likely to take a policy decision for initiating the vaccination drive for the 12-14 age group in March, he said. Immunising adolescents is important as they are quite mobile. There is an estimated 7.5 crore "eligible" population in the 12-14 age group, he said. Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, which is being given to the country’s adolescents (15-17 group) has the Centre’s Emergency Use Approval for children India sees slight dip in Covid cases 3,73,80,253 INDO-ASIAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 17 JANUARY Yemen's Houthi rebel group claimed responsibility for a "qualitative military operation" that struck areas deep inside the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in which three people were feared killed including two Indians. Another person who died in the attack may be a Pakistani. "An important statement will be announced in the upcoming hours to reveal details on the strategic operation deep inside the UAE," said the group's spokesman Yahya Saree in a brief press statement. The Houthis' claim just after three petroleum tankers exploded in a fire near the storage facilities of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) in the UAE captial's Musaffah industrial district, the official WAM news agency reported, citing an announcement of the Abu Dhabi police. A minor fire also broke out in the new construction area of Abu Dhabi International Airport, according to the WAM. Initial investigations show the fires and explosion were STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 17 JANUARY India on Monday logged a decline in fresh Covid cases at 2,58,089 in the last 24 hours and also 385 deaths In the same time span, said the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. With the addition of 385 new deaths, the total death toll due to the coronavirus has climbed to 4,86,451.Meanwhile, the active caseload has gone up to 16,56,341 which constitutes UNION HEALTH MINISTRY 4.43 per cent of the country's FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. MONDAY 17 JANUARY 2022 total positive cases. The Omicron infection tally in the 2-17 group. The vaccine has also risen to 8,209 across has been found safe and effec- the country, an increase of 6.02 tive in children’s trials in the 2- per cent from the past day. 17 age bracket. 16,56,341 2,58,089 1,51,740 4,86,451 2 Indians feared killed in drone attack in UAE, Houthi rebels claim responsibility possibly caused by unidentified drones in the area, WAM said. The UAE is an active member of the Saudi-led coalition which has been fighting a large-scale war against the Houthi rebel militia in various areas of Yemen. The Saudi-led coalition intervened in the Yemeni conflict in 2015 to support the Yemeni internationally recognized government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi after the Iran-backed Houthi militia forced him out of the capital Sanaa. The Houthi militia has recently intensified crossborder drone and missile attacks against different Saudi cities. In February 2021, the Houthi militia launched a major offensive against the government army to capture the oil-rich province of Marib in central Yemen. DJOKOVIC’S FRENCH OPEN PARTICIPATION UNCERTAIN CONG USED CHANNI TO WOO SC VOTES The recovery of 1,51,740 patients in the last 24 hours has increased the cumulative tally of recoveries to 3,52,37,461. Consequently, India's recovery rate stands at 94.27 per cent. Also in the same period, a total of 13,13,444 tests were conducted across the country. India has so far conducted over 70.37 crore cumulative tests. Meanwhile, the weekly positivity rate has climbed to 14.41 per cent amid sudden spike in the cases. The daily positivity rate rose to 19.65 per cent, up from 16.28 per cent the previous day. India's Covid inoculation coverage has reached 157.20 crore as of Monday morning. P12 Best time to invest in India: PM Modi SNS&AGENCIES NEW DELHI, 17 JANUARY This is the best time to invest in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a special address to world leaders, while detailing various steps the country has taken to make it the "most attractive" investment destination in the world. The PM said Indian youth have an entrepreneurial spirit and an eagerness to innovate and adopt new technology. "Indian youth are ready to take your businesses & ideas to new heights. With our global skills, India has registered more than 60,000 startups in 2021," he said while speaking at the World Economic Forum's (WEF) five-day online 'Davos Agenda' summit. "India offers a 'bouquet of hope' to the world. It includes our trust in democracy; it includes our tech- nology, our temperament and talent," he said. The Prime Minister highlighted India's innovations in technology and digital infrastructure, rapid adaptation of technologies like the Unified Payments Interface, technological solutions like Arogya Setu and CoWin, and tax reforms to strengthen 'ease of doing business' in the country. "We also focused on reforms in the right direction. Global economic experts have praised India's decisions and I'm certain that we will fulfill the world's aspirations from India," he said. PM Modi spoke of a Kathak maestro Birju Maharaj passes away; PM, Prez pay tributes STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 17 JANUARY Kathak maestro and a legend, Pandit Birju Maharaj, 83, passed away at his home late Sunday night. Popularly known as Maharaj Ji, he was reportedly playing with his grandchildren at home when his health suddenly deteriorated. He was soon rushed to the hospital where he died of a heart attack. Apart from being a Padham Vibhushan recipient, Maharaj Ji also won the National Award for choreographing ‘Unnai Kaanadhu Naan’ in the Kamal Haasan multi-lingual megahit ‘Vishwaroopam’ and the Filmfare Awards for the Bajirao Mastani number ‘Mohe Rang Do Laal’. The legendary dancer inspired the entire nation with his Lucknow KalkaBindadin Gharana. Reportedly, the Kathak exponent had been suffering from a kidney ailment and was under treatment for the past month. Another early tribute came from Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, who tweeted: “Pandit Birju ji Maharaj was a doyen of India’s art and culture. He popularised the Lucknow Gharana of Kathak dance form around the world. … His passing away is a monumental loss to the world of performing arts.” Besides, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also expressed his deep sense of grief over the passing away of a legendary Kathak dancer. In a tweet, the Prime Minister termed the passing away of the renowned Kathak dancers 'an irreparable loss to the entire art world '. The Prime Minister said he was very pained to learn about the death of Pandit Birju Maharaj who gave the Indian form of dance (Kathak) a special identity at the global stage. "My sympathies are with his near and dear ones and admirers in this hour of grief. Om Shanti," the Prime Minister tweeted. President Ramnath Kovind tweeted, “The demise of legendary Pandit Birju Maharaj marks the end of an era. It leaves a deep void in the Indian music and cultural space. He became an icon, making unparalleled contribution to popularise Kathak globally. Condolences to his family and admirers.” Birju Maharaj's mastery of the dance form had also won him the coveted Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, Sangam Kala Award, Andra Ratna, Soviet Land Nehru Award, and Rajiv Gandhi Sadbhavana Award. He had also opened up his own Kathak academy, named 'Kalashram School of Dance & Music', based in New Delhi. long-term, sustainable vision of the future of economic growth. "Today India is making policies, taking decisions regarding the present as well as the goals of the next 25 years. In this period, India has set the goals of high growth, a saturation of welfare, and wellness," he said. The five day long virtual event will be held from 17 to 21 January 2022. Besides Modi, it will also be addressed by Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio, European Commission President Ursua von der Leyen, Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison, President of Indonesia Joko Widodo, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Chinese President Xi Jinping, among others. Top industry leaders, international organizations and civil society will also take part in the event. Bengal govt eases Covid restrictions KOLKATA, 17 SEPTEMBER Providing further Covid related relaxations in West Bengal, the state government today allowed gyms, jatras and outdoor film shootings with a few restrictions. A notification in this regard was issued by state chief secretary HK Dwivedi this evening. Gyms have been allowed to remain open with 50 per cent of the capacity at a time upto 9 pm provided staff and users are fully vaccinated or are RTPCR negative. Next, jatra have been allowed in a very restricted manner upto 9 pm with 50 per cent of the capacity in an outdoor venue and in case of an indoor venue with a maximum of 200 people or 50 per cent of the capacity, whichever is lower. Finally, state government has permitted outdoor shooting for films and TV programmes provided physical distancing and Covid protocols are followed. "Wearing of masks, maintenance of physical distancing and health & hygiene protocol must be followed at all times," read the notification.Parlours, which were initially shut, have already been allowed to operate with 50 per cent capacity but gyms remained closed. Bengal cases: With a single day dip in around 5,500 Covid cases, West Bengal today registered 9,385 fresh cases and 33 deaths. In Kolkata, 1,879 cases and 7 deaths were recorded while North 24 Parganas recorded 1,863 cases and 11 SNS deaths. 'Can't leave it to states': SC favours national level builder-buyer agreement INDO-ASIAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 17 JANUARY The Supreme Court on Monday told the Centre that it does not favour individual state governments to have a builder-buyer agreement, and rather prefers a national-level model agreement, to deter builders from fleecing unwitting home buyers. A bench of Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and Surya Kant said if the Central government can engage with the central advisory council (CAC) under Real Estate Regulation and Development Act (RERA) to create a national model on builder-buyer agreement, then it would act as a deterrent for builder from fleecing unwitting home buyers. Emphasising that this is an important issue, Justice Chandrachud told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre: Consider it in broader public interest... we want a central national model for states to implement." Senior advocate Menaka Guruswamy, representing petitioner Ashwini Upadhyay, submitted Sections 41 and 42 of RERA, provides enough room for Central government, however the Union, it has filed a reply that they don't have a role. She added that under Section 41 and 42, a central advisory committee is set up and the Centre works along with it to implement rules, however the Centre has said the agreement is in the domain CMYK of the state governments. Justice Chandrachud observed that this agreement cannot be left to the individual state governments and pointed out that the court had struck down West Bengal's law on regulating the real estate sector - where it had said it was unconstitutional as the state's statute encroached upon RERA. He further emphasised that some essential terms should be there, over which there should not be any nego- tiation - which is essential to protect the interest of home buyers. The top court scheduled the matter for further hearing after two weeks and asked Mehta to urge the Centre to consider a uniform builderbuyer agreement at the central level. In November last year, the Centre told the Supreme Court that a robust regulatory mechanism and draft 'agreement for sale' already exists under provisions of the Real Estate (Regulation & Development) Act, to balance the rights and interest of home buyers and promoters in an accountable and transparent manner. The Centre's response came on a plea, filed by advocate Upadhyay, seeking direction to it to frame a "model builder agreement" and agentbuyer agreement in the real estate sector to infuse transparency and fairness, restraining builders and agents from indulging into unfair and restrictive trade practices. The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affair, in an affidavit, said: "It is submitted that the prayer against answering respondent is infructuous, as there is a robust regulatory mechanism and draft 'agreement for sale' has already been prescribed under the provisions of RERA which seeks to balance the rights and interest of home buyers and promoters in an accountable and transparent manner." Upadhyay's plea claimed that the root cause of hardships caused to the petitioner is the agreement of sale and construction, which is manifestly one-sided and does not place the home buyer on an equal platform as a promoter. The plea said that neither did the Centre enforce the 'model builder buyer agreement' in the spirit of RERA nor did the state governments take action against promoters.
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