CMYK WEDNESDAY 01 MARCH 2023 Pages 12 |` 5.00|LC www.thestatesman.com KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR INDIA WINS GSMA GOVERNMENT LEADERSHIP AWARD 2023 TRUMPING HALEY P6 WEATHER Mainly clear sky. Maximum and minimum temperatures likely to be around 32 °C and 23 °C respectively. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max. 96 % Max:31.9°C (+1) SUN RISES 05:60 hrs MOON RISES 11:33 hrs Min:23.7 °C (+4) SUN SETS 17:40 hrs MOON SETS 00:42 hrs Full Moon on 07 March THUMBNAILS An artiste performs Cham dance during the Stok Guru Tsechu Festival, at Stok Monastery, in Leh on Tuesday. ANI Death penalty for 7 in Bhopal-Ujjain passenger U train blast case: A special NIA court in Lucknow on Tuesday sentenced 7 convicts to capital punishment and one to life imprisonment for carrying out a blast in a Bhopal-Ujjain passenger train on 7 March 2017. The convicts, said to owe allegiance to the banned organisation ISIS ~ Mohammad Faisal, Gaus Mohammad Khan, Mohd. Azhar, Atif Muzaffar, Mohd. Danish, Syed Mir Hussain and Asif Iqbal alias Rocky ~ were sentenced to death while Mohd. Atif alias Atif Irani has been sentenced to life imprisonment. The NIA Special Court announced the quantum of punishment of the culprits late Tuesday. Two terrorists, soldier killed in Pulwama encounter P8 P4 ‘We empower people through technology’ People see govt as catalyst for new opportunities, not obstacle: PM Modi Min. 30 % TEMPERATURE STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 28 FEBRUARY rime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said the government has employed technology to empower citizens under several national schemes and it was time to simplify and expand it to enhance ease of living for people. Mr Modi was addressing a post-Budget webinar on “East of Living using Technology,” the fifth in a series of 12 webinars to seek ideas and suggestions for effective implementation of initiatives announced in the Union Budget for 2023-24. The Prime Minister said this is a technology-driven century. The country has talented youth and the required manpower. Rural India’s capability in technology adoption has been established. The Budget has proposed technology expansion, but with a human touch. Stakeholders should study and make use of the Budget provisions to empower the common man with simplified technology, he said. Private parties should come forward to join national efforts in a “jan bhagidari” spirit, the PM said. Mr Modi said the Gov- P ernment's intervention in people's lives had declined in the past some years. Citizens now saw the government as a catalyst for new opportunities, and neither waited for government largesse nor felt stressed due to Government pressures or conditionalities. Living was easier for the deprived and the poor now, he said. Technology made One Nation One Ration card possible and crores of people got rations in a transparent manner, he said. The facility proved a boon for the migrant labourers. Jan Dhan bank accounts, Aadhaar and mobile phones made possible direct transfer of money to the poor. Aarogya Setu and Cowin App particularly helped Chinese FM to visit India for G20 meet STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE SRINAGAR, 28 FEBRUARY NEW DELHI, 28 FEBRUARY Two terrorists and a soldier were killed on Tuesday in an encounter in South Kashmir's Pulwama district that has now ended, officials said. Of the two terrorists, Aqib Mustaq Bhat was responsible for the murder of Sanjay Sharma, a Kashmiri Hindu who was killed in the district on Sunday. Police said Bhat had initially worked for the Hizbul Mujahideen group, but he was presently associated with The Resistance Front militant group.“Incriminating materials including arms and ammunition were recovered. A search is going on,” police said. The identities of the second terrorist and the soldier were not immediately known.The encounter in the Padgampura erupted after a joint team of police and security forces received a tip-off about the presence of terrorists in the area.After the security forces cordoned off the area, the terrorists tarted firing drawing retaliaSNS & AGENCIES tion. Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang will visit New Delhi for the G20 foreign ministers' meeting to be held on 1-2 March. “At the invitation of External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar of the Group of 20 President India, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang will attend the G20 foreign ministers' meeting in New Delhi on Mar 2,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning was quoted as saying by the local media. During his visit to New Delhi, Mr Qin is also expected to have a bilateral meeting with Mr Jaishankar. The Indian side is likely to reiterate India's position that relations between the two countries can never become normal until the ongoing stand-off at the border in eastern Ladakh is amicably resolved.Mr Qin took over as China's Foreign Minister towards the end of December last year, replacing Wang Yi, who is now a member of the all-powerful Politburo of the Communist Party of China and plays a bigger role in the country's foreign policy. The Chinese spokesperson said Beijing was willing to work with all parties to promote the G20 meeting, to send a positive signal on practicing multilateralism, maintaining food and energy security and strengthening development cooperation.“The G20 should focus on prominent challenges in the global economy. China stands ready to work with all parties to ensure the G20 foreign ministers' meeting sends a positive signal on multilateralism," she added. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to address the foreign ministers of the member countries of the G20. The meeting will take place days after a meeting of finance chiefs of the bloc in Bengaluru. The New Delhi meeting will be attended by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, among other top foreign ministers. OF FIFA’S GREAT POWER WITHOUT AN IOTA OF GLORY LIFE MISSION CASE: CHAOS IN KERALA ASSEMBLY during the Covid-19 pandemic. Railway reservations were no longer a headache for the common man and common service centres (CSEs) were linking poorest of the poor with welfare schemes, the Prime Minister said. It was now easier for citizens to communicate with the Government and the facility was best utilised for faceless interaction with the income-tax department. The income tax department example could be followed in other departments and to make their services of global standards, he said. The Prime Minister said Mission Karmyogi was launched to make government employees more citizen-centric. Training pro- grammes for the employees should be constantly updated with modifications based on feedback from the citizens, he said. The government is investing heavily to ensure benefit of technology reached everyone, he said. Digital infrastructure was being raised so that everyone benefited from the digital revolution. The GeM portal was giving opportunity to street vendors and small shopkeepers to participate in government procurement. Similarly, eNAM is allowing farmers to get linked with buyers at different places and get better returns. Referring to 5G and Artificial Intelligence and their impact on industry, medicine, education and agriculture, the Prime Minister said it was time to earmark some goals. It should be decided where and in which sectors, technology can be deployed for the welfare of the common citizens.“Can we identify 10 such problems of the society which can be solved by AI,” he said. Giving examples of the use of technology in the government, the Prime Minister touched upon Digilocker services for entities where companies and organisations can store their documents and share them with government agencies. P12 GDP growth slides to 4.4 pc in Dec quarter of 2022-23 SNS & AGENCIES NEW DELHI, 28 FEBRUARY India's economic growth fell, for the second consecutive quarter, to 4.4 per cent in OctoberDecember period of the current financial year, owing to weak demand and high inflation, as per data released by the Statistics and Programme Implementation Ministry on Tuesday. The GDP growth was 6.3 per cent in the Septemberquarter of 2022-23. The second quarter growth itself was almost half of the 13.2 per cent growth seen in the April-June quarter of the current fiscal. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had suggested a growth rate of 4.4 per cent for the last quarter of 202223; however that projection was based on the annual GDP projection of 6.8 per cent by the central bank. The first advance estimate of the GDP released , last month, had suggested a 7 per cent growth for 2022-23. According to the second advance estimate released on Tuesday, the 7 per cent growth for the current fiscal has been retained. The manufacturing segment declined by 1.1 per cent year-on-year in the quarter, a second straight contraction, showing subdued consumer demand. “Real GDP or GDP at Constant (2011-12) Prices Real GDP or GDP at Constant (2011-12) Prices in the year 2022-23 is estimated at Rs. 159.71 lakh crore, as against the First Revised Estimates of GDP for the year 2021-22 of Rs.149.26 lakh crore. The growth in real GDP during 2022-23 is estimated at 7.0 per cent as compared to 9.1 per cent in 2021-22 - NATIONAL STATISTICAL OFFICE in the year 2022-23 is estimated at Rs. 159.71 lakh crore, as against the First Revised Estimates of GDP for the year 2021-22 of Rs.149.26 lakh crore. The growth in real GDP during 2022-23 is estimated at 7.0 per cent as compared to 9.1 per cent in 2021-22,” the NSO said. The NSO (National Statistical Office) also revised upward the economic growth for 2021-22 to 9.1 per cent from 8.7 per cent estimated earlier. Fiscal deficit rises to Rs 11.91 lakh crore: According to data released by the Controller General of Accounts on Tuesday, the fiscal deficit for the first 10 months of the current fiscal rose to Rs 11.91 lakh crore, which was 67.8 per cent of the whole year target for 2022-23. The fiscal deficit for the corresponding period of last year was 58.9 per cent of the previous fiscal's tar- No relief to Sisodia, draws blank in top court STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 28 FEBRUARY In a setback to Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, the Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to entertain his plea challenging his arrest by the CBI on Sunday (February 26) in an alleged liquor policy scam of Delhi government, asking him to explore other legal remedies, including approaching Delhi High Court for bail. At the outset of the hearing today evening, Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud, heading a Bench also comprising Justice P S Narasimha, making clear their reluctance to hear the matter, said that arrest by the investigating agency or similar instances cannot be a basis for knocking the doors of the top court invoking Article 32 of the Constitution. Article 32 confers the right to directly approach the Supreme Court for the protection of fundamental rights. The top court was reluctant to hear Mr Sisodia’s plea when senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for him, initially mentioned it for an urgent hearing today Jailed ministers Sisodia, Jain resign from Kejriwal govt STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia who was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Sunday in the excise policy scam case, and his Cabinet colleague Satyendar Jain, who has been languishing in jail for last 9 months in a money laundering case, on Tuesday resigned from Arvind Kejriwal government. The resignation of the two ministers came shortly after the Supreme Court declined to entertain a plea by Sisodia challenging his arrest. Mr Kejriwal has accepted the resignations of the two ministers which brings down the strength of his ministry to five, including himself. The four ministers now in the cabinet are Gopal Rai, Kailash Gahlot, Raaj Kumar Anand and Imran Hussain. Mr Sisodia, who was arrested on Sunday and sent to CBI custody till 4 March. (See Pg5) morning. The court had said that there were other alternative remedies available to Mr Sisodia against his arrest by the CBI. While refusing to grant any relief to Mr Sisodia least it becomes a precedent for other similarly placed people to knock on the doors of the top court, the Bench appeared unimpressed when Singhvi said that the most of the work of Delhi government will come to a standstill since Sisodia NEW DELHI, 28 FEBRUARY holds 18 portfolios as a minister.CJI Chandrachud pointed out that the Court interfered last week in Pawan Khera's case as there was a prayer to consolidate FIRs filed in multiple states. On Monday, a Delhi Court had remanded Mr Sisodia to CBI's custody till 4 March. Special CBI court judge M.K. Nagpal had allowed the CBI's request after Mr Sisodia was arrested on Sunday after an interrogation session that lasted for more than eight hours. As Mr Singhvi referred to the cases of Arnab Goswami and Vinod Dua to say that Article 32 can be invoked for bail in exceptional circumstances. CJI Chandrachud replied that Goswami's case had come after it had gone before the High Court and that of Vinod Dua related to FIRs against a journalist making critical reports, while Mr Sisodia's case is one under the Prevention of Corruption Act.Mr Singhvi argued that remand is not at all warranted as the offence is punishable with less than seven years and there is no flight risk as he has complied with all summons. get. The government had made an upward revision in the fiscal deficit target for 2022-23 in the Union Budget to Rs 17.55 lakh crore from Rs 16.61 lakh crore. The total revenue receipts for April-January period of 2022-23 were Rs 19.76 lakh crore, which is 81.3 per cent of the revised 2022-23 budget estimate of Rs 24.32 lakh crore. During the corresponding period of last year, the total receipts were 88.5 per cent of the budget estimate. The net tax revenue, for the 10-month period ending January 2023, was Rs 16.89 lakh crore, which is 80.9 per cent of the entire fiscal's target. During the year-ago period, the net tax revenue collected was 87.7 per cent of the annual target. The total expenditure in 2022-23 till January was Rs 31.67 lakh crore, which is 75.7 per cent of the 2022-23 target. VP cautions on Soros agenda & BBC film CHENNAI, 28 FEBRUARY Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar urged Indians to be cautious of billionaire investor George Soros' agenda and BBC documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and asked them to be on guard from those "who are playing politics another way around." Addressing the inauguration of the Center for Innovation Facility at IIT Madras, Dhankhar said that the Supreme Court of India had given its judgement on PM Modi and his role in the 2002 Gujarat riots but “in the name of expression, can you run down the Supreme Court and the two decades of a thorough investigation.” “I would therefore appeal to you if you have to take this country to 2047, vindicate the trust of the Founding Fathers, Please be on guard. Those who play politics, the other way around. They need to be combated and neutralized, and they must face your rational salvos,” Vice President added. (See Pg5) Punjab Governor yields, calls Budget session on 3 March EAM: India-EU FTA will be a STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 28 FEBRUARY In the tussle between Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit and state chief minister Bhagwant Mann on the convening of the State legislative Assembly’s Budget session as recommended by the Council of Ministers, the Governor Purohit (photo) has yielded and called the session this Friday (3 March). Although a Bench of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice P S Narasimha was informed in the course of an urgent hearing today evening that the Governor has summoned the sitting of the State assembly on 3 March as recommended by the Council of Ministers, the court in a series of observations took a dim view of the way both the Governor and the Chief Minister ~ both holding constitutional offices ~ had conducted themselves. Taking exception to both the Governor and the Chief Minister disregarding the obligations that the Constitution imposes on both of them, Chief Justice Chandrachud in his detailed order passed today said both were expected to act with “sobriety” and “maturity” instead of stooping to the “bottom”. Reminding both the Governor and the Chief Minister that there has to be a level in in their discourse, the court said that when the Council of Ministers by a decision has recommended to the Governor to convene the Budget session of the State assembly, then he has no other option but summon the session of the State assembly. The court said that there was no scope for the Gover- The Court in a series of observations took a dim view of the way both the Governor and the Chief Minister ~ both holding constitutional offices ~ had conducted themselves nor seeking “legal opinion” on the recommendation of the Council of Ministers to convene the session of the assembly.The court said that if one constitutional authority (read Chief Minister) is not discharging the duties mandated under the Constitution, it was not open to the other con- stitutional functionary (Governor) not to act as mandated under the Constitution. Taking strong exception] n to the tone and tenor of the communication by the Chief Minister Mann to Governor Purohit, the court said that the Constitution mandates the Chief Minister to furnish all the information sought by the Governor in running the affairs of the State. In the morning, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi in a mentioning sought an urgent hearing on the the refusal of the Governor to summon the Budget session. The issue, however, became moot as Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the court that the Governor has agreed to call the session on 3 March. Mr Singhvi contended that the Governor said since the Chief Minister made some statements in unconnected matters, he would seek legal advice on the convening of the session.The top court then scheduled the matter for hearing at 3.50 p.m. on Tuesday. Last week, Governor Banwarilal Purohit said that he will decide on allowing the proposed Budget session of the state slated on 3 March only after seeking legal advice on the "derogatory and patently unconstitutional tweets and letter" written by Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann. The council of ministers had recommended that the Budget session be held from 3 to 24 March 2023, and a letter seeking the Governor's approval was sent to him.In his reaction, Mr Purohit reproduced the tweets and letter sent by the Chief Minister on 13 and 14 February, in response to his earlier letter. CMYK game-changer for bilateral ties STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 28 FEBRUARY Underlining that the India-EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA) would be a game-changer for the bilateral relationship, external affairs minister S Jaishankar today said New Delhi looked forward to a mutually beneficial, mutually advantageous conclusion to the negotiation process on the pact within a reasonably short planned timeline. “Europe and India can strengthen each other’s strategic autonomy by reducing dependencies; cooperating on critical technologies; and ensuring supply-chain restructuring. The India-EU FTA is, therefore, our very important goal,” he said, address- ing the inaugural session of the CII India-Europe Business and Sustainability Conclave here.He noted that India and the EU believe in a multi-polar global order, share a commitment to promoting effective multilateralism and were increasingly considerate of each other’s geopolitical, economic, strategic and security concerns. The EU, he pointed out, was one of India’s largest and most important trade partners. “Our bilateral trade was in excess of $115 billion in the FY 2021-22, which is the highest ever,” he added. India’s new approach to trade agreements addressed issues of non-tariff and behindthe-border barriers, quality standards and related benchmarks. With like-minded partners, India has actually demonstrated in recent years a fasttrack change in its FTA negotiation processes. FTAs- with the UAE and Australia- were actually concluded in a record time, Mr Jaishankar said. He noted that India’s large and growing middle-class population made it a preferred investment destination as well as a lucrative market for India's trade partners.
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