BENGALURU SUNDAY MAY 24, 2020 `8.00 PAGES 24 LATE CITY EDITION SILICON VALLEY MAY MOVE TO PERMANENT WFH MODEL Facebook, Twitter and Google among firms considering a permanent work from home model amid the locdowm WHY THIS MAKES SENSE FOR COMPANIES WILL IT HAMPER CREATIVITY? Once the tech titans adopt the model, analysts predict other, smaller, companies to follow suit. Apart from saving money on building giant office spaces, companies can adjust the salaries of employees depending on the area where they live. In other words, workers who live in more affordable cities may not be able to keep their fat Silicon Valley paychecks ■ While WFH is the buzzword right now, implementing it could take time. Facebook aims to adopt it over the next 10 years ■ Meanwhile, Google CEO Sundar Pichai expressed caution, saying full-time WFH may affect brainstorming—the creative process. “I expect us to need physical spaces,” he said in a recent interview 40% OF FACEBOOK EMPLOYEES ARE INTERESTED IN WFH 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 In dire need, MGNREGS workers ‘pledge’ ATM cards for quick cash A N U S H A R A V I @ Bengaluru THE Union Government, as part of its economic stimulus package in the backdrop of Covid-19, increased allocation under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) by Rs 40,000 crore. While this may seem like a huge fillip to boost the rural economy, the money doesn’t always reach the workers. Ever since the lockdown, demand for work has spiked in rural areas. In 24 hours between May 21 and May 22, employment of 7,92,822 person days were generated in Karnataka. Since April 1, the state has generated 1.179 crore person days under MGNREGS with 10,934 persons and job cards being added under the scheme, covering a total of 4,342 households across the state. If pledging gold as collateral to raise funds for emergencies has been the last resort of the poor during a financial crisis, bank ATM cards are doubling as the new gold for workers under MGNREGS. Cash-strapped and rendered penniless, the rural poor are depositing their bank debit cards — linked to bank accounts in which wages under MGNREGS are credited — with their ‘mobilisers’ in lieu of advance cash. Wages under MGNREGS take anywhere between 15 and 20 days to be deposited in the workers’ account. For dailywage workers, the wait is impractical and excruciating. The solution? Pledging their cards Temperature 42 1,959 rises in Ladakh with India and China in face-off K ’ TA K A C O V I D B AT T L E Total deaths 608 Recoveries so far D EM A N D FOR JO BS Employment under MGNREGA between May 21 and May 22 for spot cash with people who bring them to work — in most cases panchayat members — who, in turn, give them heavily discounted wages for the day and withdraw the full wages 7,92,822 Person days: Employment generated in 24 hours EXPRESS EXCLUSIVE — PART 1 10,934 Persons added in 24 hours 4,342 Households added in 24 hrs 10,085 Total workers added in 24 hrs 1.179CR Person days: Employment generated in Karnataka since April 1 from the workers’ bank accounts when it is credited. “The rural poor have no money and have no option. Handing over their cards to panchayat members or Panchayat Development Officers means they have no control over the wages credited into their accounts. Since they need the money immediately they accept anything , that the ‘feudal lords’ offer. In many cases, a worker barely gets Rs 100 for a day’s work instead of his entitled wages of Rs 275,” pointed out Maruthi Manpade, president, Karnataka Prantha Raitha Sangha. In the non-agriculture season, farmers as well as agricultural labourers opt for employment un- der the scheme. Officials in the Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Department are aware of such practices, but surprisingly no complaints are raised about it. “There is a grievances redressal mechanism in place, but only complaints of delayed payments or work not starting are lodged. It is almost like the workers, though not happy are , okay with the arrangement,” said a senior officer in charge P5 of MGNREGS. WHO CAN PULL THE CHAIN OF A TIDAL WAVE? Total positive cases 216 Positive cases on Saturday EXPRESS READ Karnataka shut today, essentials won’t be hit Bengaluru: There will be complete lockdown across the state on Sunday. In Bengaluru, the lockdown, which started at 7 pm on Saturday, will be eased at 7 am on Monday. Essential services will, however, be P3 available. H-1B law for priority to US-educated youths Washington: A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced a legislation in the US Congress proposing major reforms in skilled non-immigrant visa programmes by giving priority to US-educated foreign professionals for H-1B work visas. P9 SUNDAY STORY THEY STRUGGLE TO WEAVE THE FABRIC OF THEIR LIVES P2 Indian Army rushes additional troops after China moves 5,000 PLA soldiers along LAC M AYA N K S I N G H @ New Delhi in the contested Doklam area. At present, in Easter n IN a proportionate response to Ladakh, PLA troops are spread Chinese mobilisation of troops out on the stretch right from in Eastern Ladakh, the Indian Galwan to Demchok. The Army has rushed additional 145-km-long Pangong Tso Lake troops to the area. lies near Galwan from where “The Indian Army has mobi- the stand-off started. Pangong lised Reserve Force to match up Tso is a glacial lake lying at a the Chinese deployments,” said height of about 14,000 ft and is a source aware of the develop- straddled between India and ment, adding that the Army China. Pangong Tso’s 45-km has factored in any future in- stretch is under Indian control. crease of troops in the area. On May 5, the northern flank The decision to move addi- of the lake became the flashtional troops forward was tak- point for the stand-off when en after the Chinese Indian troops stopped People’s Liberation the Chinese troops Army brought in a reginear Finger 5. The finment, commanded by a ger area consists of a Senior Colonel, having It looks like the s e r i e s o f d i s p u t e d Chinese are a strength of around mountainous spurs 5,000 soldiers. A Chi- prepared for the along the lake. long haul similar nese Senior Colonel to the Doklam The scenario turned rank is equated with a ugly last week when stand-off Brigadier of the Indian PLA men reportedly atSenior officer Army . tacked Indian soldiers The decision also with rods, stones and comes in the wake of Indian punches, leading to retaliation Army Chief General M M Nar- from the Indian side. avane’s visit to Ladakh on “India overlooked the heightFriday . ened activity of PLA in the China has also moved its Bor- Eastern Sector of the LAC. The der Defence Regiment close to Chinese had been focusing on the borders. In response, India this sector for the past two has moved the Indo-Tibetan years,” said a strategic analyst Border Force ahead on the In- who tracks China closely . dian side of Line of Actual According to data shared Control (LAC). with Parliament in November In June 2017, Indian Army 2 0 1 9 , t h e r e w e r e 2 7 3 and PLA had a 73-day-long transgressions in 2016, 426 in stand-off when the Chinese 2017 and 326 in 2018 with a large tried to change the status quo number of them happening in the area by building a road in Ladakh. WHY MSMEs FIND CENTRE’S S3 L CR CREDIT LINE HARD TO COME BY S U N I T H A N AT T I , J AYA N TA R O Y C H O W D H A R Y, B I S M A H M A L I K & B I N I TA J A I S W A L TEN days after the Centre’s `3 lakh crore revival package, MSMEs continue to live in a finance-friendless world. Until last week, it was only a matter of time before rescue arrived. When it finally did come, the wait is again getting longer, both due to departmental delays and bankers’ reluctance. Unlike big businesses who hit headlines arm twisting governments for handouts citing job losses and systemic failures, this is a segment that strives to pay the piper. For them, the fear of a default cuts like a knife as it snaps AMIT BANDRE @ Hyderabad / New Delhi / Bengaluru / Chennai whatever negligible institutional credit line they have for good. This story is about our capital-starved MSMEs, who sometimes are loved by the government, but mostly unloved by the banking system. Or so it appears. Often, successive governments are seen cherishing MSMEs, perhaps because they make for a fantastic metric. They are humongous in size, 6.3 crore and counting, are among the biggest employers engaging 11 crore, add 30 per cent to nominal GDP, 45 per cent to manufacturing output and 48 per cent to merchandise exports. Yet, MSMEs are currently living on the breadline with banks literally folding the tent on borrowers, whose payments are behind schedule as unpaid dues pile up and economic activity ran aground due to the lockdown. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman may have announced relief measures amid drumbeats, but her package, apparently hasn’t reached bank branches yet. CONTINUED ON: P5 Thousands of migrant workers from various states thronged Palace Grounds in Bengaluru on Saturday to register themselves to go back home a day after the Karnataka government announced that it would bear the journey costs of those travelling on Shramik Special trains. The migrants, lugging their baggage, waited in the mid-day heat with no food, water, or any guarantee that they would go home. In the melee, social distancing norms were thrown to the winds | PANDARINATH B | FULL REPORT: P3 Centre hopes to restart int’l flights before Aug E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi CIVIL Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Saturday said the government will try to restart a “good percentage” of international flights before August. “I can’t put a date on it. But if somebody asks can it be done by August or September? My response is why not earlier, depending on the situation,” the minister said, adding, “I am fully hopeful that before August or September, we will try to start a good percentage of international civil aviation operations.” The minister clarified that domestic passengers who don’t have Covid-19 symptoms and have a green status on Aarogya Setu app need not be quarantined on reaching their destinations. 2,600 MORE TRAINS OVER NEXT 10 DAYS The Indian Railways will operate 2,600 more Shramik Special trains in the next 10 days to take more than 36 lakh stranded Indians to their homes, Railway Board chairman YK Yadav said on Saturday. The Railways has already operated about 2,600 special trains since May 1. P7 WITH THIS ISSUE P L U S 1 2 PA G E S
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