SHIVAMOGGA THURSDAY FEBRUARY 1, 2018 `5.00 PAGES 18 CITY EDITION INDIA SLIPS TO 42ND PLACE ON EIU DEMOCRACY INDEX The country has moved down from 32nd place last year owing to “rise of conservative religious ideologies” among other reasons COUNTRY STILL ‘FLAWED’ DEMOCRACY NORWAY TOPS LIST, N KOREA AT BOTTOM India remains classified among ‘flawed democracies’ in the list compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). The US (ranked 21), Japan, Italy, France, Israel, Singapore, and Hong Kong are also listed in the same category. Only the top 19 countries have been classified as ‘full democracies’ ■ ■ ■ ■ Norway, Iceland and Sweden take the top three positions ‘Hybrid regimes’ include Pakistan (110th), Bangladesh (92nd), Nepal (94th) and Bhutan (99th) China (139th), and Russia (135th) are ‘authoritarian regimes’ North Korea is ranked lowest (167th), worse than Syria (166th) 4.5% OF THE WORLD’S POPULATION LIVES IN A ‘FULL DEMOCRACY’ CHENNAI ■ MADURAI ■ VIJAYAWADA ■ BENGALURU ■ KOCHI ■ HYDERABAD ■ VISAKHAPATNAM ■ COIMBATORE ■ KOZHIKODE ■ THIRUVANANTHAPURAM ■ BELAGAVI ■ BHUBANESWAR ■ SHIVAMOGGA ■ MANGALURU ■ TIRUPATI ■ TIRUCHY ■ TIRUNELVELI ■ SAMBALPUR ■ HUBBALLI ■ DHARMAPURI ■ KOTTAYAM ■ KANNUR ■ VILLUPURAM ■ KOLLAM ■ WARANGAL ■ TADEPALLIGUDEM ■ NAGAPATTINAM ■ THRISSUR What all to watch for Budget deficit: The target is 3.2% of GDP in FY2018; 3% in FY2019, ay major deviation may upset market Borrowing: Market will be closely watching gross borrowing target, expected to rise to `6.5 trillion in FY2019 Revenue: Target set as `21 trillion for FY2018. Any dip will have a negative impact Big spends: Expect more spending on rural sector, job creation, infrastructure, road, agriculture and irrigation projects Corporate tax cut: Industry wants it trimmed from the current 30%. Major dip unlikely, it could at best be capped at 28% Personal taxation: Demand to increase minimum tax slab from `2.5 lakh to `3 lakh. Some relief expected in medical reimbursement, insurance Core sector growth slows Growth of the eight core sectors slowed to 4% in December 2017 due to negative performance of various segments Guessing game Panel favours 30% hike in salaries, pensions over, time for the real thing E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Bengaluru Will Jaitley offer out-of-the-box ideas to spur growth, job creation today? A N U R A D H A S H U K L A & S U N I T H A N AT T I @ New Delhi/Mumbai ANY budget ahead of an election year is predictable. The tone remains populist, while investors and industry can look forward to loads of incentives, or at least the promise of it. But the backdrop for Union Budget 2019 is far from normal, making it Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s toughest balancing act yet. There’s rural distress, so agriculture needs immediate attention. Equally important is the need for job creation and economic growth. But private investment refuses to revive and inflation is under risk from threateningly high crude prices, which could spark interest rate hikes and drag bank credit growth. Global economic factors too are discouraging, particularly the US government’s latest tax reforms that could box our foreign capital inflows into a corner. There’s neither enough money in the treasury nor headroom for fiscal maneuvering to spur public spending. Still, Team Jaitley is expected to increase gross borrowings to `6.5 lakh crore in FY19 as against `6.05 lakh crore in FY18. Considering the increase in direct and indirect taxpayers following demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax, the government is placing its bets on higher collections. Also in lockstep will be disinvestment proceeds, which for the first time in history overshot the target and may rake in an ambitious `1 lakh crore in FY19. In line with tradition, infrastructure will likely get a booster shot, as it spurs jobs and growth, while expenditure on railways could be grand. As for India Inc, all eyes are on corporate taxes, hoping Jaitley will walk the talk on his promised capping it at 25 per cent. Such a move will erode corporate tax collections, but make India internationally competitive. To compensate for the tax loss, Jaitley may look elsewhere, like tweaking long-term capital gains tax. Prime Minister Narendra Modi a few weeks ago tried to calm down expectations saying “citizens don’t want incentives but honesty Nevertheless, Jaitley is under pressure from sev.” eral quarters, including rural voters reeling under an agrarian crisis, which contributed to BJP’s worst performance in Gujarat. Presenting the NDA government’s first budget in 2014, Jaitley projected an economic future of unprecedented rosiness. Unarguably Thursday’s Budget will be his moment in the lime, light, but is he the man who can help regain growth and create jobs? We shall know soon. Trump seeks merit-based immigration, end of lottery A G E N C I E S @ Washington US President Donald Trump on Wednesday warned that “rivals” like China and Russia were challenging America’s interests, economy and values, as he tried to sell his ‘America First’ agenda and key immigration reforms in his first State of the Union address to a deeply divided nation. In his 80-minute prime-time address, Trump laid out a four-pillar immigration plan, one of the major debates that loomed over his first year in office, and sought the backing of the Congress for a merit-based immigration system that admits skilled people, a proposal that could benefit technology professionals from countries like India. He also outlined a plan that would allow up to 1.8 million undocumented immigrants to remain in the country while funding a border wall with Mexico, ending the visa lottery system and reforming family immigration rules. Those who meet education and work requirements, and show good moral character, will be able to become full citizens of the US Donald Trump, US President THE Sixth State Pay Commission on Wednesday submitted its first report to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, recommending a 30 per cent hike in basic salary, and also in pensions. The Commission has recommended a downward revision in house rent allowance (HRA) to 24%, 16% and 8% depending on the classification of cities, instead of the existing 30%, 20% and 10%. But the HRA component increases by 40% by virtue of upward revision of salaries. The Commission has also recommended a hike in pension for those aged above 80 — 20% for those aged 8085 years; 30% for 85-90 years; 40% for 90-95 years; and 50% for 95-100 years old. For the first time in 35 years, a blue moon synced with a supermoon and a total lunar eclipse on Wednesday. A combination of pictures show the different phases of the Moon — blood moon (a moment during an eclipse when the moon appears red), during the eclipse, and supermoon after the eclipse as seen from Lalbagh | PUSHKAR V Many head home early, traffic thins out as beliefs eclipse scientific temper EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Bengaluru WEDNESDAY’S Lunar eclipse, and superstitions and beliefs associated with it, kept several people within their homes or leaving work early for home in Bengaluru and several other parts of the state. The effects of the eclipse were noticeable in Bengaluru with traffic jams around 4.30 pm-5.30 pm due to the homebound rush and even Metro ridership going up sharply for an hour, and then dipping when the eclipse was in full effect. For those believers who couldn’t make it back home from work places or wherever outside, it meant foregoing their evening snack or dinner. The belief is that food cooked during an eclipse or before it cannot be consumed as it is bad for mind and body . However, in a break from tradition, a group of rationalists, under the aegis of Bengaluru People’s Solidarity Concern, gathered on the steps of Town Hall during the eclipse and consumed food and encouraged others to do the same, to dispel myths about eclipses New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed that no single judge bench be constituted to hear and decide matters in the National Green Tribunal (NGT). A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra is hearing a petition filed by the NGT challenging the constitutional validity of the National Green Tribunal (Practices and Procedures) Amendment Rules, 2017 that allows even a single member bench to perform judicial functions. A girder of an under-construction flyover collapsed on a vehicle in Srinagar after a 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck Afghanistan and shook several parts of north India on Wednesday | PTI Kasganj violence: Main accused held Lucknow: Kasganj police arrested one of the main accused, Salim Javed named in the killing of Chandan Gupta, 23, during the communal flare up in the district on Republic Day. Kasganj clashes, erupted during a ‘Tiranga Yatra’ in Kotwali police area last Friday, had left Chandan dead and scores injured. PAY SCALE REVISION Minimum pay: `17,000 plus allowances Maximum pay: `1,50,600 plus allowances PENSION REVISION Minimum: `8,500 plus DA Maximum: `75,300 plus dearness allowance Family pension: Upper limit `45,180 per month with DA Additional expense to exchequer: `10,508 crore/year (To be paid from April 1, 2018, with retrospective effect from July 1, 2017.) E N S @ Bengaluru No single judge bench can hear cases at National Green Tribunal, rules SC Shillong: The BJP and the Congress tore into each other after the Meghalaya unit of the BJP, in an apparent bid to get even with Rahul Gandhi over his “suit-boot” jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, claimed the Congress chief wore a jacket worth `63,000 to a concert in Shillong. Rahul said, “The fact of the matter is that he (Modi) is still a suit-boot person.” leges and universities. The recommendations, however, do not cover revision of pay of All India Services and judicial officers who are drawing National Judicial Pay Commission pay scales, and teaching staff drawing from UGC/AICTE pay scales. The Commission stated that minimum pay will be `17,000 and maximum pay will be `1,50,600 and allowances; while minimum pension will be `8,500 and maximum will be `73,000 per month besides dearness allowance. Family pension will have an upper limit of `45,180 per month with dearness allowances. House rent allowance is recommended to be revised to 24%, 16% and 8% of the revised basic pay replacing the existing , 30%, 20 % and 10%, respectively P8 . Patil: TN CM welcome, but no Cauvery water to give EXPRESS READ BJP, Cong tear into each other over Rahul’s jacket The pension hike will be 100% for those above 100. If implemented, the Commission has recommended that wages be revised from April 1, 2018, with retrospective effect from July 1, 2017. The additional expenditure due to revision of pay, allowances and pensions is estimated at `10,508 crore per year. CM Siddaramaiah said the report will be placed before the next cabinet meeting for approval. With elections fast approaching, the cabinet is expected to approve the recommendations with minor changes. The Commission said there are 5.2 lakh state government employees, 5.73 lakh pensioners and family pensioners along with 73,000 employees working in aided institutions, local bodies and non-teaching staff of col- and their effects on human beings. Several astronomy and space enthusiasts were baffled by the people’s behaviour during the lunar eclipse, which otherwise is more noticeable during a solar eclipse. “People behaved as if it was a solar eclipse -- not willing to watch the moon during the eclipse and staying indoors, and choosing not to consume anything, fearing its ill-effects,” said Shankar M Rao, a bank employee who is passionate about astronomy and celestial events. Amateur astronomers felt it was the triple effect of Super Moon, Blood Moon and Blue Moon that probably impacted the believers more. The eclipse, which lasted between 5.18 pm and 8.42 pm, was watched by lakhs of people around the city in Many believe the eclipse is exploited by black magic experts. Even temples are closed. The house and particularly the kitchen must be purified after an eclipse, and some even take bath before and after the eclipse Subamma, an amateur astrologist awe. Yet, for many others, it was a day of prayers, purification and dominated by superstitions. Several women rushing home early from offices were seen carrying ‘darbe’ (a special type of grass used in Hindu rituals for purification) to ward off the “evil effects” of the eclipse. Some beliefs associated with a lunar eclipse are simple. There is no eating food or cooking during the eclipse. Those whose sun signs are affected by the lunar eclipse, must remain indoors and should not look at the eclipse. For others, it means throwing out any food that was cooked before the eclipse. “It is said that the food gets spoilt during an eclipse and is not fit for eating afterwards. We made sure we did not cook dinner early on Wednesday and will cook only once the eclipse is over,” said Dhanalakshmi, a resident of Ulsoor. For the devout, the eclipse was a sign to conduct pujas. Many others chose to stay away from their favourite restaurants or pubs as they did not want to be served food cooked before the eclipse commenced. AFTER Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami sought an appointment to meet his Karnataka counterpart Siddaramaiah, state Water Resources Minister M B Patil said the Tamil Nadu CM is welcome to visit the state for talks, but added that Karnataka cannot not release Cauvery water. “Karnataka is not in the position to release water to Tamil Nadu and the situation in the state will be explained to them,” he said. The Tamil Nadu government, which says it has not been able to release water to the farmers in the Cauvery delta region, has demanded immediate release of 15 tmcft of water from Karnataka. Palaniswami has written to Siddaramaiah seeking an appointment for a meeting to discuss the release of Cauvery water. Karnataka Chief Minister’s office (CMO) has not yet responded to his request as Siddaramaiah is busy with preparations for the state budget to be presented on February 16. Officials in the CMO said the meeting may take place after February 16. Karnataka has been maintaining that reservoirs in the state do not have sufficient water. The state, according sources in Water Resources Department, has released 113 tmcft of water this year, which is more than what it was expected to release as per the distress formula. SMUGGLING CASE After 5 decades, law catches up with accused in rice smuggling case V I N C E N T D ’ S O U Z A @ Mangaluru A man who was on the run for the last 50 years after he was granted bail in a rice smuggling case, was finally caught by the long arm of the law, on Tuesday Raghav, who is now . 74 years old, was resting in his twostoreyed house at Pilikun on Amey Road in Kasargod, Kerala, when two police officials from Puttur town came knocking at his door. Posing as Kerala cops, Head Constable Parameshwar and constable Harish first took him to the Kasargod police station stating that he is wanted in a road accident case. There, he was told that he is wanted by the Karnataka police in an LPC (Long Pending Case) that dates back to 1967. The old man did not have any qualms in owning up to the crime. Police Sub-inspector Ajay Kumar said, “Three people, including Ra- ghav, were arrested in 1967 for ille- have paid much to this case earlier as gally transporting rice meant for the accused was from Kerala and distribution under the public distri- also because the offence was not of bution system (PDS) from serious nature. Recently, Karnataka to Kerala in a they had started revisiting unsolved old cases and that’s truck. The truck driver Rawhen they started investigaghav, the owner and cleaner were booked under Essentions on this case. Interesttial Commodities Act. Withingly police did not have any , in a few days, Raghav was picture of Raghav. Sub-inspector Ajay Kureleased on bail. But he did mar said that after inquiries not turn up at court despite Raghav several warrants. Meanover four-five days, they while, among the other two were able to zero in on Raaccused, one died and the case on ghav. “We enquired about him with a another was cleared. Puttur cops number of people in the SC/ST Colmade several visits to his house in ony at the village mentioned in his Chen Kadu near Madhur in Kasar- address stating that he was a truck god but could not find him. Recently , driver then. We also mentioned they got the information about his about his father. Finally one person , whereabouts and were finally able to gave us the contact number of Ranab him.” ghav’s nephew’s. When we contacted Additional Superintendent of Po- the nephew, he gave us Raghav’s curlice V J Sajith said the police may not rent address,” he said. P8
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