What’s on the cards After revoking of Article 370 and 35A, the exclusive rights of the permanent residents of J&K to buy and sell land were abolished KOCHI l FRIDAY l DECEMBER 06, 2019 l `7.00 l PAGES 20 l LATE CITY EDITION 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 RBI pauses, takes a grim view of economy Slashes GDP growth forecast for FY20 to 5% from the earlier projection of 7.4% but keeps repo rate unchanged S U N I T H A N AT T I @ Hyderabad THE Reserve Bank of India on Thursday confirmed our worst fears that the country’s economy is withering on the vine, as it revised FY20 GDP growth rate forecast to 5% — a sharp 240 bps lower than February’s 7.4%. However, instead of proceeding with protocol, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das preferred a ‘temporary pause’ on rate cuts to nip rising inflation in the bud. Retail inflation firmed up to 4.6% in October and, hence, RBI concluded that repo rate of 5.15% is just what is needed. From unequivocally championing the need to support growth, Das’ action, or rather inaction, on Thursday frowned markets with benchmark indices closing in the red. None had expected RBI’s savage call to sit out in the ongoing monetary easing cycle. It’s evident the economy needs urgent help, yet Das refrained from easing up, perhaps proving a point that demand isn’t a function of interest rates alone. They improve sentiments alright, but since the 135 bps reduction proved futile even on a fragile economy like ours, RBI instead passed the baton to fiscal policy to bail out the nation from the brink. Thursday’s status quo may or may not turn out to be Das’ bespoke move, but right now the decision to not summon additional monetary policy levers seems like an outcome borne out of indirection. For, RBI appears clueless on where growth, inflation and interest rates are headed. Hence, the Monetary Policy Committee chose the dominant safe system approach to carefully monitor incoming data before its next strike. So, Das needs only one thing between now and February: clarity Clarity on inflation, particu. larly by when food prices will regain obedience, on interest rate transmission, and on the impact of fiscal reforms. GST collections are disappointing and RBI admitted that a similar scenario in direct taxes and customs duty collections cannot be ruled out. “It’s likely that the government may initiate some more counter-cyclical fiscal measures to arrest the slowdown. The forthcoming Union Budget will provide greater clarity Das reasoned. ,” So, will RBI be overtly worried with a potential breach in fiscal deficit target should government open up the money spigot to re- SABARIMALA WOMEN’S ENTRY CJI says Sept judgment not last word; apex court to hear Bindu plea again E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi CHIEF Justice of India S A Bobde remarked on Thursday that the September 2018 judgment of the Supreme Court permitting women to enter Sabarimala temple is not the last word on the issue. He was hearing a plea by activist Bindu Ammini. Bindu had approached the court seeking to issue a direction to the state government to ensure the September 2018 judgment is implemented and women are ensured safe passage to the temple. During a brief hearing, senior counsel Indira Jaising, appearing for Bindu, mentioned the matter before CJI for early listing since the temple will soon be closed to pilgrims for this season and said Bindu was attacked using a chemical substance at the city police commissioner’s office in Kochi. Jaising also pointed out the Supreme Court did not stay the September 2018 judgment. On this, Bobde remarked the judgment of 2018 is not the last word on the issue since a larger bench will hear the review petitions in the matter. He, however, agreed to hear Bindu’s petition next week along with a similar petition filed by another woman from the state, Rehna Fathima. On September 28 last year, the Supreme Court had struck down a law barring entry of women in the age group of 10-50 years into the hill shrine. Considering the review pleas, a five-judge Constitution bench, on November 14 transferred the larger issue of religious practices related to women to a seven-judge bench. P6 SHORT TAKES Bindu had approached the court seeking direction to be issued to the government to ensure safe passage for young women into Sabarimala temple. 1 The Supreme Court had on November 14 said the entry of women into places of worship is not limited to Sabarimala alone 2 It said similar issues, like the entry of Muslim women into mosques, entry of Parsi women who married nonParsis into the tower of silence have to be considered 3 vive growth? Das gave away little, insisting a synchronised monetary and fiscal policy is needed to hold the economy together. According to the central bank, green shoots were visible from the capex cycle, but the MPC wants to rule out that the noticeable shift in fixed assets isn’t a false dawn. “While these developments are still tentative, they would need to be carefully monitored with incoming data to look out for a durable revival in the capex cycle,” Das said. Meanwhile, RBI has to deal with its own dysfunction of rate transmission by nudging banks to lower lending rates. “More than flare in inflation, lack of transmission of rate cut seems to have been the bigger reason for the rate pause,” said Sujan Hajra, chief economist & executive director, Anand Rathi. EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi TWO men under trial for raping a 23-year-old girl last year teamed up with three others while out of jail on bail and set her ablaze on Thursday morning. The incident happened in the Unnao district of Uttar Pradesh. The woman, who is now battling for life after suffering 90 per cent burn, was en-route to a court to attend proceedings in the rape case when she was accosted by the men. Her statement to the police says, soon after she left home, the five men stopped her. They then doused her with petrol and set her on fire. Two of the men were already under trial on charges of abducting and raping her in Dece mber 2018. With her body on fire, she cried for help and ran for a kilometre until passersby noticed her plight and informed the police. She is currently undergoing treatment in the burn unit of the Lucknow Civil Hospital. Doctors say she is in a critical condition. EXPRESS READ Filmmaker Shrikumar Menon arrested, released on bail Thrissur: Filmmaker V A Shrikumar Menon was arrested on Thursday in connection with a complaint filed by actor Manju Warrier. The arrest was recorded after questioning him for three hours. He was later released on bail. Manju had lodged a complaint with the state police chief and CM saying Menon had threatened to harm her and had possession of her letter pad. P6 Modi and Shah promise CBI probe into Fathima’s death New Delhi/Kollam: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah have assured a group of MPs and the family that the CBI will investigate the recent suicide of Fathima Latheef, a student at the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras, according to her twin sister Aysha Latheef. P5 Tired of taxing wait, state plans to approach SC E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ T’Puram 20 PAGES, INCLUDING 4 PAGES OF KOCHI EXPRESS Safa Febin, a Class XII student of Karuvarakundu GHSS in Wandoor, is overcome by emotion as Rahul Gandhi congratulates her after she translated his speech into Malayalam flawlessly | EXPRESS Rahul: Each case against me like medal on soldier’s chest E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Malappuram CONGRESS leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said he would not be cowed down by the string of cases being registered against him across the country by the BJP as he considered them as “medals”. “There are 15 to 16 cases against me. When you look at a soldier, he’ll have lots of medals on his chest. Every single case is a medal for me. I’m standing for the ideologies I believe in. And every time they file a case against me, I’ll speak louder about love and brotherhood,” Rahul said while addressing a convention of the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) at Vanyambalam in Malappuram. l Economic activity has weakened further and the output gap remains negative, RBI notes l Inflation is rising in the near-term, but it is likely to moderate below target by Q2 of 2020-21 l There is monetary policy space for future action, but status quo is the best policy for now INFLATION l Retail inflation projection raised to 5.1-4.7% for the 2nd half of 2019-20 and 4.0-3.8% for 1st half of 2020-21 l Real GDP growth revised downwards to 4.9-5.5% in the second half and 5.9-6.3% for the first half of 2020-21 Unnao rape victim set on fire, critical GST DUES THE state government is planning to approach the Supreme Court against the delay on the part of the Centre in releasing the GST compensation dues, Finance Minister Thomas Isaac has said. He said the state’s fiscal position would further worsen if the Centre refuses to disburse the due amount. “Till December, the Centre owes `3,200 crore to the state as compensation. The state has huge financial expenses to meet this month. Various projects will have to be stopped if the compensation amount is delayed fur ther,” Isaac told reporters. He said the finance minister had cold-shouldered the state’s demand for immediate disbursement. “The Union minister had said the GST council would meet to discuss the issue. But we cannot wait for more. The state will approach the apex court against the delay. We have already sought legal advice in this re● More on P6 gard,” he said. CAUTIUS OPTIMISM Rahul said he did not believe in an India of hatred, no matter how many times BJP tries to convince him. “Our country’s strength is love among its people. And then there is respect for women, people of all religions, communities and different ideas,” Rahul said, adding he was fighting the BJP ideologically . Rahul told the UDF workers: “As I stand for ideologies, they lodge cases against me and put a medal on my chest. It’s a medal for you as well. I’ll never forget you for standing with me,” he added. Referring to the devastating floods, Rahul said he could notice the positive nature of people in the state during that time. P6 ‘Jungleraj in UP’ The incident has brought the spotlight back on UP’s Yogi Adityanath government. “The incident is the result of prevailing ‘jungleraj’ in UP,” the Congress party tweeted on Thursday. The AICC general Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also slammed the Yogi Adityanath government’s record on law and order. While diluting Article 370 of the Constitution in August, the government promised to let people from the rest of India buy land and settle in J&K It appears that the government, is now bowing to strong demands from the Valley, is contemplating steps to protect land ownership rights of the Kashmiris Given the economic backwardness of J&K residents and the unemployment level in the UT, calls to protect the special rights of the residents GOVT TO RESTORE J&K RESIDENTS’ DOMICILE RIGHTS? EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi GIVEN the rising concerns in Jammu & Kashmir about government jobs and land ownership rights being taken away by ‘outsiders’ following abrogation of Article 35A and provisions of Article 370, the Centre might restore the special benefits enjoyed by residents of J&K. Confirming the development, a senior BJP leader from J&K said residents of the newly carved out Union territory are likely to get exclusive domicile status to protect employment and land ownership rights. There has been a growing demand both in the Jammu and the Kashmir Valley that given the economic backwardness and the huge unemployment in J&K, domicile rights of the residents must be protected. The sentiment in the Jammu region has largely been that outsiders may want to reside in Jammu instead of the Valley because of security concerns there. Sources said the concession is likely to be an- nounced soon and work is underway to formulate new rules regarding domicile rights of J&K residents. After revoking Article 370 and 35A, both the separate flag and the Constitution of J&K, in addition to the exclusive rights of permanent residents of J&K to buy/ sell land were abolished. In a recent conversation with this newspaper, PDP patron Muzaffar Beg favoured provisions along the lines of Article 371, which provides protection to residents in hill states such as Uttarakhand and Himachal. The concessions will be along the lines of special privileges given to the people of Nagaland under Article 371A of the Constitution, sources said. Article 371A was enacted in the Constitution to preserve Naga identity and culture. It guarantees special privileges to the Nagas in jobs and land rights. Former J&K deputy CM Kavinder Gupta of the BJP said his party had conveyed the fears of the J&K residents to the party’s central leadership, which promised to consider the same.
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