CHENNAI THURSDAY MARCH 12, 2020 `5.00 PAGES 28 LATE CITY EDITION MINIMUM BALANCE HASSLE ENDS IN SBI S/B ACCOUNTS The country’s largest lender has also waived SMS charges, which will bring significant relief to all SBI customers MIDDLE CLASS, POOR TO BENEFIT, SAYS FM INTEREST RATE CUT TO FLAT 3% At present, SBI customers need to maintain average monthly balance of `3,000, `2,000 and `1,000 in metro, semi-urban and rural areas, respectively and non-maintenance will attract a penalty of `5-15 plus taxes. SBI’s decision will help the middle class and the poor and improve ease of living, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman tweeted | P17 ■ ■ SBI rationalised savings bank interest to a flat 3%. It also announced a cut in its marginal cost of fund-based lending rate by up to 15 bps. This will make home and auto loans cheaper Currently, 3.25% interest is offered for deposits up to `1 lakh in SB accounts and 3% for deposits above `1 lakh `31 lakh cr SBI’S DEPOSIT BASE ACROSS ITS 21,959 BRANCHES AS ON DECEMBER 31, 2019 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 Scindia joins BJP, DOOR SHUT ON ALL VISA HOLDERS Speaker buys time ... but diplomats, those with employment visas to get entry into India; WHO calls coronavirus a pandemic E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi Congress pulls out all the stops to save govt, wields the disqualification stick; Jyotiraditya gets RS ticket keep the matter open. “After that I’ll call for the facts/evidences before VETERAN Congress leader Jyotira- taking a decision merits,” Prajapati ditya Scindia’s exit from the party on told the media. The sub-text: paradHoli day and the rebellion he stoked ing the rebels before the Speaker in in Madhya Pradesh might have ap- Bhopal would take them out of their peared clinical, but the end game is comfort zone in Bengaluru and give nowhere in sight, as Assembly Speak- Congress managers a final shot at er Narmada Prasad Prajaworking on them. pati is playing for time to Parallelly, the Congress give Chief Minister Kamal wielded the stick against Nath the opportunity to the rebel ministers, filing battle defection and protect disqualification petitions his government. against each of them with Scindia on Tuesday forthe Speaker. It was meant to mally joined the BJP and be a warning for the rest of was promptly rewarded the dissidents to fall in line. Hits out at with a Rajya Sabha ticket. Also, Congress president Congress Monday’s resignation of Sonia Gandhi incentivised Scindia says the 20 of his loyalist lawmakparty veteran D K ShivakuCongress is not ers, including six minismar by appointing him as acknowledging ters, and two other MLAs, the Karnataka unit presinew thoughts, reduced the Cong ress dent. His hands on experistrength in the House to 92 new ideology and ence in dealing with dissias compared to the BJP’s new leadership. He dents will now be under 107. Nath has already herd- also hailed Prime scrutiny as he tries to reach , ed his party’s MLAs to a Minister Narendra out to the rebels holed up in Jaipur resort and is using Modi’s leadership Bengaluru. his legendary skills at perFor the record, the Consuasion to wean away the rebels. gress said Nath will prove his majorActing in tandem with Nath, the ity on the floor of the House. But if Speaker cited the rule book to assert he does not have the numbers, Nath that legislators intending to vacate could recommend the dissolution of their Assembly seats must submit the House and seek mid-term polls. their resignation letters to him in The missing player in the drama, person. He did not specify a deadline Governor Lalji Tandon, is expected to do so, as it suits the Congress to back in the city by Wednesday . A N U R A A G S I N G H @ Bhopal ON a day the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus outbreak as a pandemic, India on Wednesday took the unprecedented action of suspending most categories of visas till April 15. Visa-free travel for Overseas Citizenship of India card holders, too, has been cancelled. “All existing visas, except diplomatic, official, UN/International Organizations, employment, project visas, stand suspended till 15th April 2020. This will come into effect from 1200 GMT on 13th March 2020 at the port of departure,” the government advisory said. Five new cases of the infection were reported in India, including three in Maharashtra. WHO’s decision came as the number of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus shot past 120,000 across 114 countries. In WHO’s lexicon, a pandemic is “the worldwide spread of a new disease”. A group of ministers led by Union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan decided that all incoming travellers, SHAH CALLS DELHI RIOTS A PRE-PLANNED PLOT Union Home Minister Amit Shah told the Lok Sabha that over 300 people from Utter Pradesh were involved in stoking violence in northeast Delhi | P9 No new hydrocarbon wells, assures CM S V K R I S H N A C H A I TA N YA @ Chennai C H I E F M i n i s t e r E d ap p a d i K Palaniswami has categorically said that no new hydrocarbon projects will be permitted in the Cauvery delta region which has been notified as Protected Special Agriculture Zone (PSAZ). He was replying to DMK MLAs in the Assembly on Wednesday The State government will also . be scrapping some of the old projects that are yet to obtain either Petroleum Exploration Licence (PEL) or Petroleum Mining Lease (PML). Official records accessed by Express reveal that over 350 hydrocarbon well proposals as old as 2016 will be affected. As on December 19, 2019, drilling of wells in seven blocks in Madanam field, Pandanallur field, Karaikal and Neduvasal by ONGC, Vedanta and GEM Laboratories Private Limited are pending for PEL and PML as the Technical Expert Committee advised against oil and gas exploration owing to local agitation. Top official in the Industries Department told Express that even the old proposals where drilling operations have not been carried out as yet will be considered new proposals and are prohibited. “For L Murugan is BJP’s new captain in TN E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Chennai AFTER a gap of around seven months, the Tamil Nadu unit of the BJP has a new chief. BJP national president JP Nadda appointed L Murugan, vicechairman of National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC), to the post with immediate effect. The post had been vacant since September 1 last year after Tamilisai Soundararajan was appointed as Governor of Telangana. Murugan is the second leader from the Dalit community to take up this appointment. SP Kirubanithi held the post 20 years ago. A tough task lies ahead of MuL Murugan rugan as the State faces its Assembly elections next year. Significantly Murugan’s , appointment has belied all expectations from various quarters. More than 10 names, mostly of senior functionaries from different districts, were doing the rounds. Murugan, quite young, has to take along almost a host of senior leaders ahead of the elections. His predecessor headed the party during the crucial period of massive membership drive and succeeded in forming booth committees for a large chunk of the P6 grassroots-level party units. EXPRESS READ HC tells Pondy govt, L-G to work in unison Chennai: The Madras High Court on Wednesday set aside a single judge order restraining Puducherry L-G Kiran Bedi from interfering in the day-to-day affairs of the government. The court ruled that the government headed by CM and the L-G shall work in unison. instance, Vedanta was awarded two blocks, wherein it proposed to drill 274 wells investing a whopping `13,538 crore. The government has not granted any permission for it and no work has commenced. But most of the block area falls in the notified delta region. So, the company cannot undertake any drilling as per the PSAZ notification,” the official said. The other issue raised in the Assembly was CAA. Responding to DMK chief MK Stalin during zero hour, Revenue Minister RB Udhayakumar said, “The State government will not adopt a resolution against CAA as it will be tantamount to P4 cheating the public.” CONFIRMED CASES 1,25,081 4,590 67,050 TOTAL DEATHS RECOVERED CASES including Indian nationals, arriving from or having visited China, Italy, Iran, Republic of Korea, France, Spain and Germany after February 15 shall be quarantined for a minimum period of 14 days. “Indian nationals are strongly advised to avoid all non-essential travel abroad. On their return, they can be subjected to quarantine for a minimum of 14 days,” the ministry said. The government also issued orders to prohibit entry of any international cruise ship, crew or passeng er with a travel history to coronavirus-hit countries post February 1, 2020 to its major ports till March 31. International cruise ships NO FOREIGNERS IN IPL TILL APRIL 15? The IPL scheduled from March 29 may not have foreign players till April 15 due to the new visa curbs. Players and support staff for IPL come under business visa (B Sports), which is barred. Besides, the sports ministry advised Himachal Pradesh to avoid public gathering during the India-SA ODI on Thursday | P18 will be allowed only at ports having thermal screening facilities for passengers and crew members. Meanwhile, Maharashtra reported three more confirmed cases, taking its total to 11. However, the Union health ministry’s website recorded only two cases in the state. Also, two employees of Dell and Mindtree reportedly tested positive, but there was no word on their respective locations. In J&K, all primary schools and aganwadi centres in Jammu and cinema halls across the region will remain shut till March 31. The last time WHO declared a pandemic was in 2009 during the H1N1 outbreak, which infected a quarter of the world’s population. SARS was not considered a pandemic, despite affecting people in 26 countries; neither was MERS. In Tamil Nadu, the second confirmatory test result of a 45-year-old man from Kancheepuram also returned negative on Wednesday . Dr K Koladaswamy, Director of Public Health, confirmed that the man is stable and does not require P8, 9, 15 home quarantine.
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