AFP CHENNAI MONDAY AUGUST 19, 2019 `5.00 PAGES 36 LATE CITY EDITION RED WEDDING IN KABUL AS SUICIDE BOMBER KILLS 63 Over 180 people were wounded after the attacker targeted a packed marriage hall in the Afghan capital late Saturday LARGELY A GATHERING OF SHIAS ISIS CLAIMS RESPONSIBILITY Mirwais, the groom, recalled greeting smiling guests in the afternoon, before seeing their bodies being carried out hours later. “I lost my brother, I lost my friends. My bride is in shock. I will never be happy again,” he told a local TV channel. The wedding was largely a gathering of Shia Muslims, AFP reported. They are often targeted in Sunni-majority Afghanistan ■ ■ The Taliban, which is currently in talks with the US over an agreement to end 18 years of fighting, condemned the attack Islamic State claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing. But the “Taliban cannot absolve itself of blame, for it provides a platform for terrorists”, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said | P11 100th INDEPENDENCE DAY TO BE MARKED BY AFGHANISTAN ON MONDAY 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 STRUCTURAL OR CYCLICAL? OR BOTH? Hooda revolts, first big test for Sonia to keep the Haryana unit intact Express takes a wide-angle view of the nature of the economic slowdown and how India reached where it has now S U N I T H A N AT T I & J O N AT H A N A N A N D A I n less than a fortnight, officials will dump crucial, but disappointing data on us. On August 30, when the Central Statistics Office reports its quarterly health check on the economy, chances are GDP growth for the June quarter will see a fresh low of 5.4-5.6 per cent from March’s 5.8 per cent, which itself was a five-year-low. And the architects of India’s ongoing boom-to-bust cycle, by majority opinion, are none other than its own government and its intellectual wrong-turns, and institutions like the RBI, and its tight monetary policy There’s also una. voidable trouble from abroad due to the deepening US-China trade war, global economic slowdown, Brexit uncertainty and brief, but consistent global oil price and currency shocks. As we course through the slump, the government hasn’t gotten around to naming the nature of the slowdown. Prime Minister Narendra Modi in recent interviews told us what was done and will be done, but not what caused it. For now, whether it’s a structural or cyclical slowdown depends on who you are talking to. Optimists and their undying country spirit see the slump as a pass-through, but ‘professional pessimists’ fear the problem is deep-rooted. Knowing the nature of the FIRST OF 3-PART SERIES Bad news piling up from across the board Auto sector struggling for over a year, with weak demand rendering at least 2.15 lakh unemployed Slump in real estate sector worsening with unsold inventory aggregating 1.28 million units across 30 cities Slowdown has now spread to steelmakers, forcing companies like Tata Steel to place all their bets on Centre’s proposed `100 lakh crore infra investments Telecom sector bad loans story waiting to be told slowdown helps deploy the right monetary or fiscal policy prescriptions. What we need is a truth-teller, but in its absence, all those with a neutral H A R P R E E T B A J W A @ Chandigarh Any talks with Pak will only be on PoK: Rajnath TWO days after saying India could take a relook at its no first use (NFU) nuclear doctrine, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh targeted Pakistan directly on Sunday saying that if at all talks are held with that nation, they will only be on Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). Addressing a rally after flagging off the 22-day long Jan Ashirwad Yatra in Kalka, Haryana, Rajnath said: “After we removed Article 370, our neighbour is knocking the doors of the international community saying Indian made a mistake. What crime have we committed? Why are we being threatened?” view sound sensible. “It’s a combination of both structural and cyclical slowdowns. For instance, there are structural factors like declining wages that’s affecting demand. There are also cyclical issues at play like the NBFC crisis that need immediate attention,” Dr Sowmya Kanti Ghosh, Chief Economic Advisor, SBI, told this paper. A synoptic view of high-frequency indicators like auto sales, exports, investments, wages and savings reveals the real magnitude of the crisis at hand, though none has a clue how it may all end. The auto sector, the first to flash danger signs, has been struggling for a year. Weak consumption and regulatory changes leading to higher costs and credit unavailability exacerbated by the NBFC crisis, left the sector in a slump last seen two decades ago. At first, automakers tried cutting production, and when it didn’t help, they started shutting plants in short spells. This has a multiplier effect. The first casualty were auto dealers. The unprofitable ones snapped out in no time, while others are barely scraping through. The severely-hit back-end comprising auto component suppliers, who besides halting production, did the only thing they could to survive — cut jobs. On last count, the sector rendered at least 2.15 lakh unemployed. If left unaddressed, this number could blow up to 10 lakh. CONTINUED ON: P6 Rajnath noted that the world’s most powerful country the US, had snubbed Paki, stan and asked it to hold a bilateral dialogue with India. “Talks with Pakistan will only be held if it stops exporting terror,’’ Rajnath added. The defence minister’s statements come in the backdrop of Pakistan trying to drum up global support over Kashmir after India removed the special status the state enjoyed under Article 370 and its Prime Minister Imran Khan’s continuing rants on Twitter and elsewhere. Islamabad’s attempt to internationalise the issue by taking it to the UNSC failed miserably last Friday, with only long-time ally China P9 explicitly backing it. HARPREET BAJWA AND RICHA S H A R M A @ Chandigarh/New Delhi HANGING ON Vehicles suspended precariously on a mountainside in Shimla on Sunday due to landslides following record monsoon rain in the Himachal capital | PTI 22 people were killed and 12 others hurt in rain-related incidents in Himachal Pradesh on Sunday. Three died in Punjab due to rains Three people were killed and around 22 went missing as cloudbursts wreaked havoc in Uttarakhand on Sunday | P7 Van falls into well near Tiruchy, 8 die E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Tiruchy AT least eight people, including three children, died after a mini load van carrying 17 people fell into an 80-feet-well in Erakudi near Thuraiyur on Sunday afternoon. Nine others, rescued with injuries, are recovering in hospitals. The passengers were on their way to SN Puthur for a feast at the Angayi Amman temple. Fire services personnel say the driver lost control after the front tyre on the left burst, near Erakudi. The vehicle then crashed into a metal fence and fell into the well. The public informed the fire services department, which conducted rescue operations that lasted over three hours. Victims were lifted out of the well, which had knee-deep water, using ropes and cranes. Of the 17 passengers, 12 were from Perur village and 5 from neighbouring Katapali village. The vehicle driver Ilayaraja survived the accident. Collector S Sivarasu and police superintenP5 dent Ziaul Haque visited the spot. WITH THIS ISSUE THE ESSENTIAL CAMPUS DIGEST YOUR LIFE COACH 36 PAGES, INCLUDING 16 OF edex, 4 OF CITY EXPRESS CM to seek special courts to deal with sexual assaults E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Salem THE state government will send a recommendation to the Chief Justice of India to set up special courts to hear sexual assault cases, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami said on Sunday after , inaugurating the judicial magistrate court at Edappadi in Salem district. Vijaya K Tahilramani, the chief justice of the Madras High Court presided over the event. The court in Edappadi will also cover Poolampatti and Konganapuram police stations apart from its namesake. “A total of 908 cases have been transferred to Edappadi from the Sankagiri Munisf and Judicial Courts. This will help the aggrieved get speedy justice,” said the Chief Minister. “In the past eight years, the State government has sanctioned `1,000 CM Edappadi K Palaniswami and CJ Vijaya K Tahilramani at the event | EXPRESS crore to construct court buildings, judges quarters and for maintenance. Between 2011 and 2019, the government has given consent to set up 456 courts. In 2018 alone, the government has set up 33 new courts, including special courts.” Justice Vijaya called upon bar associations across the State to come forward to serve the general public, and assured speedy disposP4 al of cases. SULKING two-time former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Sunday raised the banner of revolt within the Congress by launching a broadside against the state unit, making it Sonia Gandhi’s first big test to keep the party intact after taking over as its interim president recently . Hooda though stopped short of resigning from the party He . hailed the Centre’s move to nullify Article 370 in J&K, claimed the Congress had lost its way and formed a 25-member committee to decide his future course of action. As many as 12 of the party’s 15 MLAs in Haryana are part of the panel, indicating Hooda’s clout. Also, over 60 former MPs and MLAs attended the rally which is bad news for the , Congress as Assembly elections are hardly a month away . There is a strong buzz that Hooda may quit the Congress soon and float his own party . In Delhi, the revolt was seen as a pressure tactic to force So- nia to sack state party chief Ashok Tanwar, who is close to Rahul Gandhi. According to party sources, Sonia is expected to take a call on the constitution of committees for Assembly elections in Haryana after August 20. At the rally, Hooda declared himself the chief ministerial candidate and even talked about a manifesto with sops for various sections of the society . “I support the Centre’s decision to abrogate Article 370. When the government does something right I support them. Many of my colleagues opposed this decision on Article 370, but my party has lost its way It’s not the same Con. gress that it used to be. When it comes to patriotism and self respect I will not compromise P9 with anyone,’’ he said.
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