PLUS 12 PAGES MAGAZINE VILLUPURAM SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 08, 2019 `5.00 PAGES 26 CITY EDITION ‘MY GOALS ARE NOT UNREALISTIC’ FINDING HIS ROOTS ONE STITCH AT A TIME Ahead of her upcoming release Dream Girl, actor Nushrat Bharucha talks about carving out her own path in Bollywood. She also comments on her personal life and her search for a dream boy Artist Abhishek Singh presents the heroic story of trees through his mural Vrikshadootam at a Gond exhibition on conservation From drought-ravaged regions of Kutch and poverty stricken Central India to a quaint Himalayan village, embroidery pioneers are breathing life into a lost art THE UNFIT INDIAN COVER STORY Indians are unfit. Full stop. Now that the Fit India Movement has been kicked off by the prime minister, urgent action is needed at both government and private sector levels to make citizens healthy and productive EXCLUSIVE VOICES T J S George Nambi Narayanan ■ Shankkar Aiyar ■ ■ 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 Most Kashmiris support Article 370, says Doval We came very close but we need to cover more ground in the times to come. Learning from today will make us stronger and better. The nation is proud of our space programme and scientists. The best is yet to come. There are new frontiers to discover and new places to go — PM Narendra Modi MODI STEPS IN TO LIFT THE MOOD PM spends time with ISRO scientists, revives their spirits, tells them the country is proud of the space programme and the best is yet come P E A R L M A R I A D ’ S O U Z A @ Bengaluru AFTER a lull through the early hours of Saturday at the ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC), following lander Vikram going incommunicado with the ground station, the dawn brought some positivity into the Mission Operations Complex. Prime Minister Narendra Modi spent time with the crestfallen scientists, offering words of encouragement and reviving spirits. Modi hugged a teary K Sivan, ISRO chairman, comforting him. In fact, soon after communication was lost with Vikram, Modi had addressed a few senior scientists, and reassured Sivan of his support. “You are very courageous. I am with you. This is not a small achievement. The country is proud of you,” he had said, patting Sivan on the back. The PM’s interaction put the scientists in the control room at ease. Here, about 500 scientists had worked through many sleepless nights for the success of Chandrayaan, and waited with bated breath as the countdown for Vikram’s touchdown began. They cheered as he recounted the achievements of the organisation and said, “We are full of confidence that when it comes to our space programmes... we will rise to the occasion and scale newer heights. To the scientists, I want to say India is with you.” There was thunderous applause as he also saluted the families of the scientists who have been quietly supporting them. The PM was earlier scheduled to meet the scientists and possibly address the media in case the mission was successful. However, after lander Vikram lost connectivity with the ground station during the final phases of softlanding, the mood in the control room grew tense and sombre. “Your eyes said a lot. I could read the sadness on your faces,” said Modi, trying to boost the morale of the scientists. “I have lived those moments with you when the communication went out and all were shaken... Even after that, some showed signs of optimism because the efforts that went into it. That is because of the utmost care that each one has put into the mission,” he added. He urged the scientists to cover more ground in future, and patted their backs for the MOM mission, launch of 100 satellites simultaneously, and considered Chandrayaan-2 just a blip, compared to ISRO’s success stories. As of Saturday officials are yet , to declare the status of the lander Vikram and rover Pragyan, which is located within Vikram. P6,8,9 There is no need to term the mission a failure. We have achieved everything other than the soft landing. The orbiter is still there In these difficult times, CNES and France stand with ISRO and India. Space is very difficult. India is a great space power. The journey continues We should not be too discouraged. India was trying to do something very, very difficult. This would be very helpful for follow on missions Nambi Narayanan, former ISRO scientist Jean-Yves Le Gall, president of CNES, French space agency Jerry Linenger, former NASA astronaut We are proud of India and its scientists today. Knowing Prime Minister Narendra Modi, I have no doubt he and his ISRO team will make it happen one day Lotay Tshering, Bhutan PM E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi PM Narendra Modi consoles ISRO Chairman K Sivan as the latter got emotional WILL FUTURE MISSIONS BE HIT? Experts say that ISRO’s manned Gaganyaan mission may get a bit affected along with plans to land on other planetary bodies. But orbiter missions such as Aditya (to sun) won’t be hit 40% OF MISSIONS TO MOON HAVE FAILED The success rate of global lunar missions has been around 40% over the last six decades, according to America’s NASA. In fact, the US tasted success in its lunar missions only on the 12th attempt LONGER LIFE FOR ORBITER, SAYS ISRO “The precise launch & mission management” has ensured a long life of almost 7 years instead of the planned 1 year” for the orbiter, ISRO has said. Many new technologies such as Vikram’s variable thrust propulsion were successful, its statement added TESTS NOT ELABORATE? What happened to silent Vikram S V K R I S H N A C H A I TA N YA @ Chennai VIKRAM, the Chandrayaan-2 mission lander, tumbled and crashed on the lunar surface, which resulted in the snapping of communication links with the orbiter, confirmed ISRO sources to TNIE even as the space agency said through Saturday that it was analysing the data. Sources said Vikram’s antennas have a beam width of 180°, which means they can stay connected with the orbiter only if the antennas angular maneuver is within 180°. “If the lander starts to tumble and when antennas face the lunar surface, the communication link is lost. It’s like losing your DTH connection when the antenna on your terrace is pushed by a bird or wind. Here the situation is far more grave as Vikram was tumbling. The rotation was so high that Vikram along with Pragyan rover crashed,” said an ISRO scientist, who was inside the Mission Control Room, on condition of anonymity . To a query on why Vikram tumbled, sources said there could be multiple reasons, including design failure. They even said the lander was not put through elaborate tests. “The tests were conducted using a crane manually, instead of testing it in a free-fall condition with a balloon in autonomous mode. Only the last 60 m descent was tested. A spare lander should have been used to drop it from an aircraft and see if all the parameters were met. This would have given a more realistic picture,” sources said. Soft landing was always a challenge. However, the 1,471-kg Vikram completed its rough braking phase as envisaged bringing smiles, but little after the commencement of the fine braking phase and just before the hover phase was set to begin, Vikram was seen drifting away from the designated descent trajectory on the telemetry screen. EASING of restrictions from all parts of Jammu & Kashmir will depend on how Pakistan behaves as they are hell bent on creating trouble in J&K, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval said on Saturday Doval as. serted that restrictions in Kashmir are aimed at preventing Pakistan from creating more mischief through proxies and terrorists. “We will not allow people to become victims of Pakistan’s machinations and its bullets sent across the border. We will do everything in power to protect the people,” he said. He noted restrictions have been eased progressively and only 10 of the , 199 police districts in Kashmir, Jammu and Laddakh still have prohibitory orders. Land-line phones have ‘TERRORISTS been restored fully in all three areas. ON THE Doval justified the restrictions im- PROWL’ posed on mobile phone and Internet Doval said some services, saying they can easily be 230 terrorists used by Pakistan and terrorists for were recorded in subversive activities, but the denial PoK, some of of these services should not prevent whom have people from going about their lives. sneaked across “Even before Internet came into the border to our lives, people were going about create trouble, their lives doing business,” he said, which includes while acknowledging that people are intimidating unhappy with these restrictions. traders and The NSA said that he is “fully con- local populace vinced” that a majority of Kashmiris to prevent them support the abrogation of Article 370 from going as it was not a special status but a spe- about their cial discrimination. “With its abroga- business tion we have brought Kashmiris on par with Indians,” Doval said during an interaction with journalists. On the alleged human rights abuses by the Army, Doval said only the local police and paramilitary forces are deployed to maintain law and order. So, there is no question of atrocities by the Army he clarified. , India slams Pak over its refusal to allow Kovind to use airspace E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi AFTER Pakistan on Saturday refused India’s request to allow President Ram Nath Kovind to use its airspace, New Delhi criticised Islamabad and said it should recognise the futility of such unilateral actions. The President is set to embark on a visit to Iceland, Switzerland and Slovenia from Monday. “We regret the decision of the government of Pakistan to deny overflight clearance for the VVIP special flight which is otherwise granted routinely by any normal country MEA ,” spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said. Some Pakistani ministers have asked their government to stop flights from India from using their airspace after the Article 370 decision, but there is no blanket ban till now. EXPRESS READ Flood alert issued in delta districts as Mettur Dam filled to full capacity Sitharaman sets up task force to identify infra projects for `100 lakh crore investment Tiruchy: With the Mettur Dam brimming with water, all excessive inflow hereafter is expected to be released directly into the Cauvery. The PWD has issued flood alert for districts in the region. As the inflow to Mettur is likely to be increased further, concerns are being raised over the Mukkombu barrage, which got damaged the previous year. Officials claimed the coffer dam built there recently is strong enough to handle the situation. Meanwhile, Tiruchy Collector has issued a flood warning, and those living along the banks of Cauvery and Kollidam have been asked to move to safer places | P5 Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and team visited the waste water treatment plant located in Anaheim, Los Angeles, on Friday New Delhi: The government on Saturday said it has constituted a high-level task force to identify infrastructure projects for `100 lakh crore investment by 2024-25. The task force, constituted by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, will be headed by the economic affairs secretary and will also have the NITI Aayog CEO. The task force will draw up a ‘National Infrastructure Pipeline’ and will submit its report on the projects for 2019-20 by October 31 and on the indicative pipeline for 2021-25 by the end of December. This would include greenfield and brownfield projects costing above `100 crore. A.P. NATIVE 5-year-old is first case of diphtheria death in city EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Chennai A five-year-old boy from neighbouring Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh, who was diagnosed with diphtheria, died at the Institute of Child Health (ICH), Egmore on Thursday, said K Kolandasamy, Director of Public Health. “The boy was brought with severe symptoms of diphtheria and was put on ventilator immediately. However, he failed to respond to treatment and succumbed to the disease,” said a senior doctor from ICH adding that three more children are undergoing treatment for the disease at ICH. He said after investigations, family and people who were in close contact with the boy were vaccinated. Common symptoms of diphtheria include severe shortness of breath, sore throat, fever, swollen l y m p h nodes and weakness. Another 21-year-old woman with severe throat infection died at Rajiv Gandhi Gover nment Hospital on Thursday. Kolandasamy said she tested negative for diphtheria and that she died of chronic liver diseases. With diphtheria cases being reported across the State, Directorate of Public Health has warned private schools, which do not cooperate in the immunisation drive, that their sanitation licence may be cancelled. “Diphtheria vaccine will give immunity only for five years. If children aged five years are vaccinated, they will have immunity only for five years and should be given the vaccine again in their 10th year,” an official source said. “The parents think, since the children are given the vaccine at 10, 14 and 16 months of age, it is not necessary to give boosters again.” She came in with severe symptoms of diphtheria and was put on ventilator immediately. However, she failed to respond to treatment and succumbed to the disease Senior doctor at ICH BIG BANK THEORY Why public sector banks will continue to bleed the exchequer even after mega merger S U N I T H A N AT T I @ Hyderabad SOON after announcing the historic bank mergers last month, the government handed a `60,000 cr bill to taxpayers. That’s the sum state-run lenders (and IDBI Bank) are charging us this quarter to make up for their collective inability to shore up equity capital. This fiscal act is boringly called bank recapitalisation. Ideally the hodgepodge of 10 , public sector banks (PSBs) into four should reduce the burden of socialising future losses, but Finance Minister Nir mala Sitharaman promised to rescue lenders anytime with more free money. For taxpayers, there’s no such luck as similar such bills need to picked up later. By merging the banks, the government wants us to believe that the souped-up banks will lead us to the $5-trillion economy, but here’s the thing: the move, experts warn, is wrong at every turn. “Asset quality and profitability will remain broadly unchanged after consolidation. PSBs already score poorly on these two factors, and there’s no reason to assume that the merged entities will make significant improvements in these metrics,” said Srikanth Vadlamani, Vice President and Senior Credit Of ficer at Moody’s. Vikas Jain, Senior Research Analyst at Reliance Securities, believes it’ll take long time for better economics of scale to materialise and that integration won’t be without initial profitability pain. That stands true for multiple reasons. For one, compulsive mergers are guaranteed disappointments. We’ve Oriental Bank of Commerce-Global Trust Bank and Punjab National Bank-New Bank of India alliances as living proof. Two, integration takes time, during which period credit growth declines. The merger of SBI associate banks with the parent bank and the Bank of Baroda-VijayaDena Bank merger are recent test cases. “Consolidation would limit downsides to stressed PSB balance sheets and not lead to any meaningful upside for credit growth in near-term. For any long-ter m uptick in credit growth, we will need to wait for emerging synergies on costs, processes, geographical presence and customers. As of now, we believe synergies could take 3-5 years to realise against 2-3 years for private players, typically said Avneesh Sukh,” ija of BNP Paribas. Three, committee after committee suggested two things: Closure of weaker banks, and privatisation. If the Narasimhan committee in 1998 proposed three to four large banks with minions, besides suggesting shutting down of weaklings instead of merging them with strong banks, the P J Nayak committee in 2014 recommended outright privatisation. Such a move eliminates public sector banks’ addiction to government handouts every time they mess up. This dependency on taxpayer funds, in everyday personal finance jargon, is like you blowing up earnings on fancy cars, and expensive Micheline-star lunches only to approach your obliging father to cover your bills out of the family piggy bank. Because PSBs have an implicit sovereign guarantee ensuring safety of deposits, perpetual capital infusion is stripping our coffers bare. Since 2015, we have pumped `3 lakh crore in PSBs, which gave dismal returns. Will mergers end the constant flow of funds to banks? There are no easy answers. CONTINUED ON: P11
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