CHENNAI THURSDAY JANUARY 03, 2019 `5.00 PAGES 28 LATE CITY EDITION ADVANTAGE INDIA IF U.S. LIFTS COUNTRY CAP ON GREEN CARDS Ending the country quota for Green Cards would allow India and China to dominate the path to American citizenship, says a report INDIAN-AMERICANS NOW SUFFER MOST CLEARING BACKLOG TO TAKE YEARS The current discrimination in the US labour market will end if the country quota is scrapped, according to the latest Congressional report. Indian-Americans, most of whom work in the US on H-1B visas, are the worst sufferers of the current immigration system, which imposes a 7% per-country quota on allotment of Green Cards ■ ■ Indian and Chinese nationals would dominate the flow of new Green Cards if the cap is removed, since it would take many years to clear the accumulated queue of prospective immigrants Due to the cap, the current wait period for most Indians to get a Green Card is nine-and-a-half years, the report said 3,06,601 INDIANS WAITING IN LINE FOR GREEN CARDS, AS OF APRIL 2018 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 ■ KALABURAGI Sparks fly in Lok Sabha as Rahul, Jaitley spar over Rafale JPC push NE monsoon over, pleasant weather to continue | P5 Bypolls: Stalin’s candidature gains momentum | P5 SC to hear PIL on Meghalaya miners’ rescue | P9 No change in VHP stance on Ayodhya | P11 41% births at pvt hospitals are C-sections | P11 JD(S) THREATENS TO GO IT ALONE Warning seen as Deve Gowda’s pressure tactic to get a bigger share in the Lok Sabha seat cake in Karnataka P8 Govt rejects oppn demand, says SC even looked into the pricing aspect, found deal clean Police remove protesting BJP workers; (R) Two women sneaking into the temple | SHAJI VETTIPURAM Kerala on the boil as 2 young women enter the Sabarimala EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE Protests across state Widespread incidents of violence were reported from across the state, including Palakkad, Thrissur, Tiruvalla and Kasargod, in addition to different parts of the capital district. A suicide attempt was also reported @ T’Puram A day after it organised a massive ‘Women’s Wall’ in support of young women entering the Sabarimala temple, the Ke r a l a g o ve r n m e n t o n Wednesday may have settled the issue once and for all. Bindu and Kanakadurga, the two women below the proscribed age, managed to enter the temple on Wednesday. Hours after the Women’s Wall was dismantled, around 3.45 am, the women had the state police escort them from the Sabarimala base camp at Nilakkal to the sanctum sanctorum of the shrine. They returned before the sun rose. The deed was done. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan confirmed to the world the women were allowed entry in line with the Supreme Court verdict. The state stood divided even as the thantri took a call to shut down the temple over violation of customs. By 11.30 am, the purification rituals were over and the temple was reopened to the devotees. Across the state, all pandemonium broke loose as the devotees could not believe their darkest fear had come true. Anguish gave way to anger and the state capital became the centre of a pitched battle. The Secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram came under partial siege. It did not take long for the violence to spread to other parts of the state. Long before the hartal call was given, many parts of the state started going into the rigours normally associated P8 with one. Modi to contest from Puri too? B I J O Y P R A D H A N @ Bhubaneswar A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi parried questions over contesting the 2019 general elections from Puri, the state BJP continued to stick its neck out, asserting there was every possibility of him entering the fray from the holy town. While the state BJP unit has already made a formal request to the Central leadership for fielding Modi from Puri, party legislator Pradip Purohit on Wednesday claimed there was a 90% chance of the PM favourably considering the request. Purohit’s claim gained currency with the BJP’s Puri district president Pravanjan Mohapatra revealing that the Central office of the party was taking daily feedback on the political situation in the district. Puri is a high value seat not just because of its religious symbolism but also in view of the BJP’s Look East policy. If File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Puri | PTI Modi does pick Puri along with Varanasi, his presence would turbocharge the party in Orissa where it is expecting a rich haul in the general elections. DOOR STAYS SHUT Govt says no to Sterlite, goes to Supreme Court S V K R I S H N A C H A I TA N YA @Chennai IT was a double whammy for Vedanta’s Sterlite Copper on Wednesday. The State government filed an appeal in the Supreme Court challenging the National Green Tribunal (NGT) judgment allowing reopening of the smelter unit in Thoothukudi, while the State pollution control board rejected the company’s application seeking a renewal of the ‘Consent to Operate’ (CTO). In its verdict last month, NGT directed the TNPCB to issue a fresh order of renewal of consent and authorisation to handle hazardous substances within three weeks. Besides, it directed the government to restore electricity for operations. The three-week deadline was set to end on January 5. TNPCB Chairman Shambu Kallolikar told Express that Sterlite’s CTO application was rejected as the government has filed an appeal before the Supreme Court. “The government was waiting for the apex court to reopen after vacation. We reject the NGT verdict, which fails to consider the data and evidence furnished by TNPCB,” he said. “Hence, Sterlite’s request for renewal of CTO and reopening of the premises cannot be considered,” he said, adding that the same was intimated to the Associate Vice President of Vedanta Limited. In its petition, a copy of which is available with Express, the State government has condemned the NGT order. “Scientific material on air and water pollution has not been P7 considered,” it noted. While party president Amit Shah has said the next golden period of the BJP would emerge from the East, Modi’s increased focus on Odisha is apparent from his frequent visits to the state. He was in Odisha twice in the last three months and is set to address two rallies at Mayurbhanj and Balangir this month. Odisha is important for the BJP as it reached the saturation point in the North, West and the Hindi heartland states in 2014. In contrast, the party won just one out of 21 Lok Sabha seats in Odisha and two out of 42 in West Bengal in 2014. Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan had said the Nabakalebara (new shape) of the party would begin from Puri, dropping enough hints about possible candidature of Modi from there. He, however, parried direct questions saying such matters are decided by the BJP Parliamentary Board. RBI forms expert panel for MSMEs EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Mumbai A day after it offered a onetime debt restr ucturing scheme for MSMEs, the Reserve Bank of India on Wednesday set up an expert committee under former Sebi chairman U K Sinha to identify the ‘structural problems’ affecting the growth of the small scale sector. The eight-member committee will examine the factors impacting credit flow to MSMEs and suggest long-term solutions for the economic sustainability of the sector. “The expert committee will submit its report by the end of June 2019,” RBI said. RBI governor Shaktikanta Das tweeted that he would meet representatives from the MSME and NBFC sectors next FULL REPORT: P17 week. EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi AFTER Congress president Rahul Gandhi launched a blistering attack on the Narendra Modi government over alleged irregularities in the Rafale deal, Union Minister Arun Jaitely rejected demands for constitution of a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC), saying the one on Bofors headed by Shankaranand had committed a Parliamentary fraud by concluding that there had not been kickbacks. “The issues being raised on Rafale don’t concern policymaking or administrative decisions. They concern investigation. Supreme Court has gone through all details of procedures adopted, and even looked into the pricing details to satisfy their conscience. The apex court has ruled that there’s no case for any probe in the matter,” Jaitely asserted, while taking part in the discussion on Rafale in the Lok Sabha. Earlier, Rahul sought to play The apex court has ruled that there’s no case for any probe in the (Rafale) matter Arun Jaitley, Union minister a purported tape having conversations of Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar. Jaitely objected, telling Speaker Sumitra Mahajan that the tape wasn’t authenticated. The Congress president stuck to the stated lines on Rafale allegations — as to why the government cut down on aircraft to be purchased from 126 to 36; agreed to buy the fighter jet for `1,600 crore apiece when the UPA had been negotiating at `526 crore; why a private entity which lacks expertise was favoured as an AUDIO CLIP ADDS TO DRAMA Sparks flew between the Congress and the Centre on Wednesday, as Rahul Gandhi sought to play a purported audio clip of a Goa minister bragging that Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar has the entire Rafale file “lying in his bedroom”. Arun Jaitley challenged Rahul to authenticate the tape before playing it in Parliament. While Rahul refused to certify it in the House, hours later, he told reporters outside Parliament that it indeed was authentic. Jaitley, however, claimed the tape was “false and fabricated” Narendra Modi can’t hide, though he can run from a parliament debate Rahul Gandhi, Congress chief offset partner in place of public-sector unit Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). A combative Jaitely charged that the Congress leadership with a track record of corruption in Bofors, National Herald, and AgustaWestland is inventing and manufacturing scams that don’t exist. The minister quoted a dialogue from a James Bond movie, saying, “If it happens once, it is happenstance; it happens twice it’s coincidence, and if thrice, then it’s a conspiracy ,” to hit out at Rahul, whom he alleged was indulging in Kindergarten math in arriving at the price of the fighter jet. Later, Trinamool Congress MP Saugata Roy claimed Jaitely’s memory was failing him, and said the original James Bond dialogue was: “Thrice is an enemy action”. NDA ally Shiv Sena struck a discordant note and sided with the Opposition ranks, while Biju Janata Dal (BJD) supported a JPC to probe the alleged irregularities. Rahul stuck to his guns, challenging PM Modi for a one-on-one debate over the Rafale deal, while accusing him of having indulged in corruption in the defence purchase. “I would very much like to debate with the PM one-on-one on Rafale but the PM does not have the guts to face you (media), while I do”, he said. “Narendra Modi can’t hide, though he can run from a parliament debate,” Rahul said, adding that he was not against Rafale jets, but the purchase in which corruption took place. P11 SHOURIE MOVES APEX COURT, SEEKS REVIEW Seeking a review of the Rafale judgement by the Supreme Court, former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie, along with advocate Prashant Bhushan, on Wednesday filed a plea demanding hearing of the PIL in the open court which had alleged irregularities in the procurement of 36 Rafale jets from France. On December 14, the apex court dismissed all PILs against the deal between India and France for procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets `2,000 CR SPLURGE `1,000 PONGAL GIFT FOR ALL RATION CARD HOLDERS GUV SPEECH: KEY TAKEAWAYS CRACKDOWN 24 AIADMK MPs on the wrong side of the LS stick EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi Comprehensive restructuring of transport corporations with help from German agency KfW Aging fleet of buses will be replaced with BS-VI compliant vehicles and electric buses A proposal to extend the Tamil Nadu Housing & Habitat Development Project to transform slums beyond Chennai, Thiruvallur & Kancheepuram to rest of the State; assistance sought from Asian Development Bank Financial support for NGOs opening schools in interior tribal areas to increase literacy rates To promote Tamil language and culture, a conference of International Tamil Organisations will be held once in two years through World Tamil Sangam, Madurai Thrust for manufacturing of new-gen electric vehicles Tender process for Athikadavu-Avinashi Scheme to be implemented at a cost of A1,652 crore has already commenced Governor Banwarilal Purohit delivering his customary address on the first day of the Assembly session this year, on Wednesday in Chennai | D SAMPATHKUMAR raw rice, sugar, raisins, cashew nut, cardamom and sugarcane, ALL ration card-holders in the is being given to mitigate the State would get `1,000 from the distress caused by Cyclone government as Pongal gift, Gaja in the delta region and Governor Banwarilal Purohit widespread drought in northannounced during his custom- ern districts. In his address, ary address on the first day of Governor Purohit also touched the Assembly in 2019 on upon other topics. SignificantWednesday even as the Opposi- ly, he mentioned the delay in , tion parties, led by DMK presi- release of funds to the State dent MK Stalin, staged from Centre, includa walkout. The Pongal ing IGST dues of over gift for 2.01 crore fam`5,000 crore for 2017ily card holders in the 18. He urged the CenState, except in Tiru- I urge the Central tre to release funds as varur where the modthe delay was “adgovernment to el code of conduct is versely affecting” the settle the (GST) in force, will cost the State. dues at the government a whopearliest and In other news, he ensure prompt ping `2,010 crore. This announced that the release of such monetary assistance State would shortly indues in future is in addition to the troduce environmentgift hamper scheme friendly electric buses TN Governor that was announced in metro cities such as Banwarilal Purohit earlier at a cost of Chennai, Madurai `300 crore. and Coimbature. The Chief Minister Edappadi K government is also gearing up Palaniswami will launch the to notify the Chennai Unified monetary assistance scheme Metropolitan Transport Au“very soon”. This is, perhaps, thority on January 16, followthe first time that the State gov- ing which integration of variernment is giving such a lump- ous public transport systems sum as Pongal gift. In the past, will become possible. It will the government had given `100 also introduce new policies per family apart from gift ham- for start-ups and for the aero, pers in 2013, 2014 and 2016. space and defence industrial P4 The gift hamper, containing sectors. T M U R U G A N A N D H A M @ Chennai CRACKING down on unruly behaviour in the Lok Sabha, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan on Wednesday suspended 24 AIADMK MPs for five days. The decision came after the MPs stayed put in the Well of the House throughout the day demanding that , the Centre scrap construction of a dam on the Cauvery . As they held placards and stood in the Well, Congress MPs too indulged in unruly behaviour during the discussions on the Rafale deal. Later, speaking to reporters, Deputy Speaker and AIADMK leader M Thambi Durai said he found no fault with the Speaker’s actions since the MPs broke the rules and trooped into the Well. He, however, added that AIADMK MPs are dutybound to raise issues concerning their state. The MPs even stood on empty treasury benches, attempting to face the camera of Lok Sabha TV The Speak. er had repeatedly warned the MPs to return to their respective benches. Meanwhile in the Rajya Sabha, Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu ordered members of the AIADMK and DMK to leave the House for the day as they continued to protest in the Well over the Cauvery issue. The House also had to be adjourned twice in the afternoon.
Express Publications (Madurai) Limited publishes the prestigious English language newspaper The New Indian Express from 21 centres in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Orissa.
Express Publications (Madurai) Ltd. also publishes the Tamil daily Dinamani, Cinema Express (Tamil) and Malayalam Vaarika (Malayalam). Through a sister company, Kannada Prabha Publications Ltd., it publishes the Kannada daily Kannada Prabha.
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