FRIDAY 01 SEPTEMBER 2023 www.thestatesman.com twitter.com/thestatesman facebook.com/thestatesman INDIA’S NATIONAL NEWSPAPER SINCE 1818 Pages 12 |` 5.00|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR THE BURDEN OF BEING CHINA UNDER XI YS SHARMILA EYES KEY POST IN CONG, 15 ASSEMBLY TICKETS P7 P4 SENSEX 64,831.41255.84 WEATHER Partly cloudy sky. Rain/Thundershower likely to occur in some areas. Maximum and minimum temperatures likely to be around 34 °C and 27 °C respectively. RAINFALL: 62.0 mm RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max. 100 % TEMPERATURE NIFTY 19,253.8093.65 Max: 34.8 °C (+2) Min: 29.6 °C (+3) SUN RISES SUN SETS 05:20 hrs 17:56 hrs MOON RISES MOON SETS 18:23 hrs 05:16 hrs New Moon on 15 September THUMBNAILS Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets Indian chess prodigy and FIDE World Cup 2023 runner-up Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa, at his residence, in New Delhi on Thursday. ANI Centre approves Mamata’s overseas tour next month to seek investments for Bengal: The Central government has approved the proposed overseas tour of Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee next month to scout investments for the state, sources from the state government said. The chief minister is supposed to leave for Dubai on 12 September. P12 P5 ` vs $ 82.7916 PAISE GOLD 60,160160 SILVER 77,600 BRENT CRUDE (IN $) 85.340.59 Govt tells SC: Ready for Parliament to have Spl Session from 18 Sept J&K polls at any time Govt counsel says that the process of updating voters' list in J&K is underway Min. 62 % ‘VIRAT IS A WORLD-CLASS PLAYER’ ‘A TIME WHEN INDIA IS MATTERING MORE AND MORE TO THE WORLD’ STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 31 AUGUST he Central government on Thursday told the Supreme Court that it is ready for holding elections in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir at any time and that the decision depended on Election Commission of India, and the State Election Commission. The government, however, said that it cannot give an exact time frame for restoration of statehood to the Union Territory. Telling the five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud that the “Central government is ready for elections any time now,” Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said that the process of updating voters' list in Jammu and Kashmir is underway and it will take a month or so to complete. Reiterating the position that was stated before the Constitution Bench on Tuesday – 29 August – that the Union Territory status of J&K is a temporary feature and Statehood will be restored to it, the central government, however, today T Senior Advocate Harish Salve (inset) speaks in the presence of the five-judge Constitution bench headed by CJI Justice DY Chandrachud during a hearing challenging the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution of India. In New Delhi. ANI said that it is unable to give a specific time-frame for restoring Statehood to Jammu and Kashmir. The Centre today said this in response to a query by the top court on 29 August. The Constitution Bench in the last hearing of the matter on 29 August, had sought the “roadmap and the time-frame” within which J&K will be restored its Statehood which was taken away with the abrogation of Article 370 and the bifurcation of the erstwhile State into two Union Territories – Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh. Stating that for the first time, three-tier Panchayat Raj system is being introduced in the State, Mr Mehta told the Constitution Bench also comprising Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Justice Sanjiv Khanna, Justice B.R. Gavai, and Justice Surya Kant, that the election to the legislature in the J&K is likely to be held after panchayat and the municipal bodies elections. He said: “Till date, updating of voters list was going on, which is substantially over. Some part is remaining, that the Election Commission is doing.” Dwelling further on the course being followed for restoring Statehood to the Union Territory of J&K, Mr Mehta said that steps are being taken by the Central government for the Statehood of Jammu and Kashmir and these steps can be taken only if it is a Union Territory. Stating the various steps that have been taken by the Central government for the J&K to become a full-fledged State, Mr Mehta said that the terrorist instances have reduced by 45.2 per cent compared to 2018 and infiltration has been reduced by 90 per cent. Law and order issues like stone pelting etc. reduced by 97 per cent. Casualties amongst security personnel has come down by 65 per cent. STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 31 AUGUST The government has decided to call a Special Session of Parliament from 18 to 22 September, which will five sittings. There is no official word on the agenda for the Special Session, which has set political circles and social media abuzz with speculation. The information was given by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi in a tweet. “Special Session of Parliament (13th Session of 17th Lok Sabha and 261st Session of Rajya Sabha) is being called from 18th to 22nd September having 5 sittings. Amid Amrit Kaal looking forward to having fruitful discussions and debate in Parliament,” he posted on microblogging site X (formerly Twitter). He attached a picture of the old Parliament building and the new building, which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 28 May. The Monsoon Session of Parliament, which concluded on 11 August, was held in the old Parliament building. The announcement of the Special Session came as a surprise in political circles at a time when parties are gearing up for Assembly polls to be held in five states later this year. These states are Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Telangana and Mizoram. The Monsoon session was a stormy one, although it saw the passage of a large number of significant Bills. The Opposition and the government continued to clash throughout the session. There was no immediate information on the agenda for the Special Session. It will, however, be significant as it comes after the historic success of India’s Chandrayaan-3Mission, which culminated in a soft-landing on a region close to Moon’s South Pole on 23 August. India’s scientific achievement was hailed universally, includ- ing by Opposition parties. The special session will also follow the G-20 Summit being held under India’s Presidency from 8-10 September. A large number of international leaders is likely to attend the Summit and discuss significant issues affecting humanity. The call for the special session has been criticised by several Opposition leaders, with the Shiv Sena (UBT) pointing out that the dates clash with “India's most important festival of Ganesh Chaturthi”. Congress spokesperson Jairam Ramesh called the Special Session “managing the news cycle, Modi style” and flagged the mega opposition meet in Mumbai that started today, and the fresh allegations raised regarding stock manipulation by the Adani group of companies. India sees 7.8 pc GDP growth in Q1FY2023-24 INDIA leaders in Maha to cement unity, unveil logo STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 31 AUGUST India’s GDP rose by 7.8 per cent in the first quarter of 2023-24, a four-quarter high, official data released on Thursday showed. The country is on a steady growth path, as in Q4FY23, GDP growth stood at 6.1 per cent, compared to 4.4 per cent growth rate witnessed in Q3 of the same fiscal. On an annualised basis, the GDP growth in the first quarter of the current financial year was slower than the corresponding three months in the last financial year (202223), which stood at 13.1 per cent. However, the higher growth in Q12022-23 was due to base effect, following a sharp pick-up as the economy recovered from the Covidinduced recesion. As per the data released by the ministry of statistics and programme implementation, real GDP in Q1 2023-24 is estimated to attain a level of Rs 40.37 lakh crore, as against Rs 37.44 lakh crore in Q1 2022- 23. Nominal GDP is estimated at Rs 70.67 lakh crore, as against Rs 65.42 lakh crore in Q1 2022-23, showing a growth of 8 per cent as compared to 27.7 per cent. With this, India maintains its position as the fastest-expanding major economy. It is to be noted that China's GDP growth stands at 6.3 per cent for the AprilJune quarter. The agricultural sector witnessed a growth of 3.5 per cent, marking an improvement from the 2.4 per cent recorded in the same period of the fiscal year 2022-23. The pace of growth in the manufacturing sector eased to 4.7 per cent during the initial quarter of the current fiscal year, a decline from the 6.1 per cent seen in the corresponding period of the previous year.It is to be noted that RBI in its MPC meeting in August had anticipated a growth rate of 6.5 per cent for the entire fiscal year. The IMF also has adjusted its outlook for India's GDP growth in 2023, upgrading it to 6.1 per cent. STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 31 AUGUST Real GDP in Q1 2023-24 is estimated to attain a level of Rs 40.37 lakh crore, as against Rs 37.44 lakh crore in Q1 2022-23. Nominal GDP is estimated at Rs 70.67 lakh crore, as against Rs 65.42 lakh crore in Q1 2022-23 Leaders of Opposition bloc INDIA reached Mumbai on Thursday to cement their understanding for a strategy against the Narendra Modi government in the 2024 general elections and convey their unity of purpose despite regional differences. West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav are among the top leaders attending the alliance meeting, along with Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge and senior Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. Although the INDIA leaders will hold their formal discussions on Friday, top leaders of the bloc held parleys in an informal setting on Thursday evening to chart out a concrete roadmap and evolve a structure for cooperation among the alliance partners. Ahead of dinner hosted by former Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, the INDIA bloc leaders met informally and are understood to have deliberated on fixing the agenda of the formal meeting on Friday when key decisions about the alliance's future strategy would be taken. The third meeting of the INDIA leaders, after their initial gatherings at Patna and Bengaluru, is expected to unveil the logo of the alliance. A difficult issue before the alliance is to work out a seatsharing formula. Congress party General Secretary K C Venugopal said the third conclave of the Opposition bloc, Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA), had begun with informal discussions in the evening to chalk out the agenda of the meeting on Friday. Among the stalwarts attending the Mumbai meeting is Nationalist Congress President (NCP) president Sharad Pawar who expressed confidence the 26-party alliance will be able to present an alternative to the BJP- led NDA alliance. Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) MP Anil Desai said two more Maharashtra-based regional parties were joining the Opposition bloc. He said "Two more regional parties in Maharashtra will join INDIA, taking the total number of parties in the alliance from 26 to 28." Ahead of the third meeting of the INDIA bloc, Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) national president Jayant Chaudhary said like-minded opposition parties will work together to take the country forward. Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) President Mehbooba Mufti, who also arrived in Mumbai on Thursday for the two-day huddle, said, "Judega Bharat, Jeetega INDIA (Bharat will unite, INDIA will win)," flashing a victory sign as she left the airport. The first meeting of the alliance was held in Patna in June while the second meeting was held in the Congressruled state of Karnataka in mid-July. Jaya Verma Sinha becomes first female Illegal trade threatens extinction of Red Sand Boa in India chairman, CEO of Indian Railways DEVANSH DAS NEW DELHI, 31 AUGUST SNS & AGENCIES NEW DELHI, 31 AUGUST In a historic move, the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has granted approval for the appointment of Jaya Verma Sinha, a seasoned member of the Indian Railway Management Services (IRMS), as the new Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Railway Board. This appointment signifies a pivotal juncture in the 166year history of the Indian Railways, as Jaya Verma Sinha takes on the mantle of CEO, becoming the first woman to hold this esteemed position. Sinha joined the Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS) in 1988. She is currently serving as a Member, of Opera- tions and Business Development, Railway Board, Ministry of Railways. Sinha is responsible for the overall transportation of freight and passenger services on Indian Railways. Prior to the current assignment, she was an Additional Member, of the Traffic Transportation, Railway Board. In the last 2 years, Indian Railways has registered an all- time high growth of over 20 per cent in the freight segment and has broken the mark of 1.5 billion tonnes annually in freight. In her career of over 35 years in Indian Railways, she has worked on diverse verticals spanning operations, commercial, IT and vigilance. She was also the first woman to be appointed as the Principal Chief Operations Manager of South Eastern Railway. She has also been Principal Chief Commercial Manager of Northern Railway and Divisional Railway Manager of Sealdah Division. She had worked as the Railway Advisor in the High Commission of India in Dhaka, Bangladesh during which the famous Maitri Express from Kolkata to Dhaka was inaugurated. Illegal trade in the Red Sand Boa Snake (Eryx Johnii) has put it on the verge of becoming extinct in India. According to a report on the illegal trade of Red Sand Boa snake released by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), 172 incidents of seizure of this reptile were reported in media from January 2016 to December 2021. The Red Sand Boa is listed as near-threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The report says: “Red Sand Boas have reportedly declined by as much as 80 per cent in some areas, with the species being one of the most traded reptiles in India.” Maharashtra tops in this illegal trade with a record of 59 cases of Red Sand Boa 172 illegal trading incidents of the red sand boa snake in five years; Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh top in WCS report trafficking, numbers are high in urban areas such as the districts of Pune (11), Thane (9), Raigad (7), and Mumbai Suburban (5). The second highest incidence of illegal trading in CMYK the species was in Uttar Pradesh with 33 incidents of illegal trading of red sand boa; districts Bahraich (8) and Lakhimpur-Kheri (7) near the international border with Nepal reporting the highest number of trafficking incidents as per the report. “It’s not traded for venom as the snake is non-venomous, it’s a victim of black magic or occult rituals which makes it an ideal target for trafficking. Wildlife SOS has been working to reform communities of saperas with alternative livelihood.” says Wasim Akram Deputy Director of Special Projects, Wildlife SOS. “Red Sand Boa mostly feeds on mammals like rats, mice, and other small rodents, so poaching of this species will impact overall ecological balance and will disturb the delicate structure of various ecosystems,” says Kartick Satyanarayan, CO-founder and CEO, Wildlife SOS. “People forget that the snake is protected under Schedule IV of India’s Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972, mak- ing any sale or possession of sand boas punishable.” says Mr Satyanarayan. India is home to three species of Boas ~ the common Sand Boa (Eryx conicus), the endemic Whitaker’s Boa (Eryx whitakeri), and the Red Sand Boa (Eryx johnii). Of these three species, the Red Sand Boa, also commonly known as the Brown Sand Boa or Indian Sand Boa, is the most encountered boa species in illegal trade in India, as per reports. The entire Boidae family, previously protected under Schedule IV of the Wildlife Protection Act (1972) of India, is now protected under Schedule II under recent amendments to the act. This prohibits the capture, hunting, possession, and sale of all endemic species of this family across India.
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