VILLUPURAM FRIDAY JULY 24, 2020 `7.00 PAGES 12 CITY EDITION 22% SCHOOL BUILDINGS IN INDIA OLD OR DILAPIDATED Many of India’s schools lack basic amenities, finds an audit by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights TOILETS WITHOUT RUNNING WATER The report, based on a two-year-long survey of 26,071 schools across 12 states in north, west, east and north-eastern India, noted that 24 per cent schools lack water supply in toilets, meaning students have to carry water from outside, posing a safety risk. Also, more than half of the schools (51%) don’t have special toilets catering to the differently-abled 54% MAJOR SAFETY LAPSES ■ ■ ■ There’s no zebra crossing outside 99% of the schools surveyed Another worrying finding is that about 22% of them have highvoltage wires/transformers within or adjacent to their premises There were some positive findings as well. For instance, most schools now have separate toilets for boys and girls SCHOOLS NOT PROVIDING MID-DAY MEALS AS PER THE STIPULATED MENU 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 Production-linked incentives on the drawing board for 5 more industries E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi IN a bid to boost local manufacturing and attract new investments to labour-intensive productive sectors to lift the coronavirusstricken economy the Centre is working on , a plan to offer production-linked incentives for four or five sectors, Economic Affairs Secretary Tarun Bajaj said on Thursday . This will be in addition to similar concessions already announced for certain sectors in the recent past. Without naming which sectors will be given the incentives, Bajaj said “the industrial segments that will be chosen will be a mix of sunrise sectors, export-oriented sectors and sectors that are facing serious challenges due to the economic disruption”. He was speaking at a virtual conference organised by industry chamber Ficci. Earlier this month, the government had announced productionlinked incentives for large-scale electronic goods manufacturers to reduce dependence on imports from China. Incentives have also been announced for pharmaceutical companies for production of bulk drugs and on medical devices. Tarun Bajaj Bajaj added the government will expand the scope of the MSME credit support scheme to benefit more people who are facing liquidity crisis due to protracted lockdowns and restrictions due to Covid-19 Terming the economic growth in June and July “more promising than thought”, he said the central government is expecting India to make a quick ‘V’ shaped economic recovery from the sharp fall in GDP growth caused by economic disruptions in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic. “The 14 to 15 parameters we are tracking are showing promising results,” Bajaj said. However, the projections could go wrong if Covid-19 hits the country very hard, “which is highly unlikely”, he added. He also conceded the government may not meet the Budget targets for 2020-21 due to the Covid-19 crisis but claimed the contraction in economic growth may not be as severe as being pointed out by some experts. ‘No plan to print money as of now’ The Economic Affairs Secretary also said that monetisation of debt is not on the government’s agenda at the moment, noting that there are some positive signs on the revenue collection front. Monetisation of debt means the central bank will print currency for the government to take care of any emergency spending and to bridge its fiscal deficit Dissent cannot be shut down, says SC Allows Rajasthan High Court to rule on the challenge to disqualification notices by Congress rebel MLAs K A N U S A R D A @ New Delhi THE Supreme Court on Thursday observed that the voice of dissent cannot be suppressed, else democracy will shut down, while refusing to restrain the Rajasthan High Court from delivering its verdict on a petition by rebel Congress MLAs challenging the disqualification proceedings initiated against them by state Assembly Speaker C P Joshi. A three-judge bench comprising justices Arun Mishra, B R Gavai and Krsihna Murari was hearing the Speaker’s petition’s questioning the July 21 Rajasthan High Court order directing him to extend the time given to the rebel lawmakers to reply to the disqualification notices. Interestingly, the same bench will hear a 2009 contempt petition against senior advocate Prashant Bhushan on Friday . Representing Joshi, senior advocate Kapil Sibal said the HC cannot give such a direction in view of the 1992 Constitution Bench judgment that courts cannot interdict the Speaker from proceeding before a final decision is taken. “The question is can voices of dissent be shut down like this? Can a person elected by the people not express his dissent? Voice of dissent cannot be suppressed. Then democracy will shut,” remarked Justice Mishra, adding the court will hear the matter at length on Monday . During the hearing, Sibal said: “Proceedings under the 10th Schedule are proceedings before the Legislature and cannot be interfered with... There are allegations against the MLAs. They have given statements to the media. Why are they not replying to the disqualification notices?” To the bench’s poser on whether a whip can be issued outside the House, Sibal said it was not a whip but a notice issued by the chief whip for a Congress LegP7 islature Party meeting. CM meets Governor Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Thursday said the state Assembly session will be called soon and his government will prove its majority. He later called on the Governor STATE CONTINUES TO ATTRACT INVESTMENTS, 16 PACTS INKED C S H I VA KU M A R A N D T M U R U G A N A N D A M @ Chennai Adani Enterprises representatives exchanging MoU for setting up a data centre, in the presence of Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami in Chennai on Thursday We will set up a plant to manufacture high-speed assembly switches for which have received orders from global tier-I companies - Super Auto Forge managing director 6,472 more infected in TN; over 60K tested S I N D U J A J A N E @ Chennai IN a new high, the State recorded 6,472 new Covid-19 positive cases on Thursday, while a whopping 60,375 tests were also conducted on the day . As many as 88 people succumbed to the infection on Thursday taking the State’s toll , to 3,232. Eleven of the 88 victims did n o t h ave a ny c o - m o r b i d conditions. Meanwhile, as many as 84 people, including security personnel and fire service staff who are working in Raj Bhavan tested positive for the infection on Thursday . Following this, as a precautionary measure entire Raj Bhavan premises has been dis- infected and sanitized by Corporation Health authorities. While Chennai district alone recorded 1,336 cases and 11 deaths, its neighbouring districts Chengalpattu, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur recorded 375, 330, and 416 cases respectively . STATE TOLL TODAY 3,232 88 Health Department data from March till July 21, shared exclusively with Express, has revealed that Chengalpattu district has the highest positivity rate - 19.83 per cent - in the P4 State. EXPRESS READ Election Commission defers bypolls to two TN constituencies Pak has blocked all legal remedy to Jadhav: Govt Women get permanent commission in Army Chennai: The Election Commission of India on Thursday deferred bypolls that were to be held by September 7 to several Lok Sabha segments and Assembly constituencies across India, in view of pandemic crisis. In Tamil Nadu, bypolls to Tiruvotriyur and Gudiyatham Assembly constituencies, which were earlier scheduled for August 26 and 27, have been deferred. New Delhi: India on Thursday said Pakistan has once again blocked all legal remedies to Kulbhushan Jadhav. “The whole exercise of not providing unimpeded consular access exposes the farcical nature of Pakistan’s approach,” the Ministry of External Affairs said New Delhi: The Army on Thursday said the government issued an order for the grant of permanent commission for women officers in the force. The order paved the way for empowering of women officers to shoulder “larger roles” in the force GIVING further boost to the State’s economy, 16 Memoranda of Understanding were signed on Thursday in the presence of Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami for new projects with a cumulative investment of `5,137 crore. The company units coming up in Chennai, Chengalpattu, Kancheepuram, Dindigul, Coimbatore and Tirunelveli districts are expected to generate jobs for 6,555 people. Six of the 16 MoU were exchanged in person, and the rem a i n i n g t h ro u g h o n l i n e means. The Adani Enterprises Limited would set up a data centre at a cost of `2,300 crore at SIPCOT Siruseri IT Park in Chengalpattu district, while Super Auto Forge has proposed to establish a project for manufacturing cold and warm forged steel and aluminium parts as well as high speed assembly switches in SIPCOT Vallam Vadagal, Kancheepuram District, at a cost of `500 crore. Greenfield project While Adani Enterprises officials could not be reached, the MD of Super Auto Forge told Express that the investment project would include a new greenfield project as well as expansion of the existing project PANEL ADVICE No semester exams in TN, except finals SUSHMITHA RAMAKRISHNAN @ Chennai The April-May 2020 semester examinations for college students, except for those in final year, have been cancelled in view of the pandemic crisis, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami announced on Thursday . The government had constituted a high-level 11-member committee to decide on the exams’ conduct, as per University Grants Commission (UGC) and All India C o u n c i l fo r Te ch n i c a l Education (AICTE) recommendations. Final year students of arts and science, engineering or Master of Computer Application courses must, however, appear for the AprilMay semester exams. Details on the exam schedule will be announced later. It is expected that colleges may be asked to evaluate students’ performance based on previous internal assessments; and the final year students may have to take the exams online. However, a final decision on the same is P2 yet to be taken. One dies as car runs over 2 girls while reversing E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Vellore IN a freak accident, two little girls were run over by a car, killing one and grievously injuring the other, outside their house at Municipal Colony in Kagithapattarai on Wednesday. The accident took place when the car driver reversed the vehicle, without noticing Sara (4 1/2) and Keerthana (6) playing behind the vehicle. The car ran over Sara’s head and Keerthana’s leg, police sources said. On hearing the kids scream, people living nearby rushed them to Christian Medical College Hospital. Police told Express that Sara died at the hospital without responding to treatment, while Keerthana sustained grievous injuries. The Vellore North Police conducted an inquiry and arrested the car driver, Esaaku (37), a resident of Municipal Street in Kagithapattarai. Preliminary investigation revealed that he did not have a driving licence. The police seized the multiutility vehicle and registered a case under various Sections for negligence and rash driving, including Section 304A of the Indian Penal Code. IN SEARCH OF HIGHER GROUND Residents of Bihar’s Mithan Sarai village leave a flood-hit area on Thursday. Amid continuing rains, the flood situation in the state has worsened. More than 7.65 lakh people are affected | PTI AIADMK sees red as saffron shawl found on MGR statue in Pondy D E B J A N I D U T TA @ Puducherry ‘Confession’ TENSE moments were witnessed at Villianur on Thursday when an orange shawl was found on the statue of former TN chief minister MG Ramachandran on Puducherry Villupuram Highway . AIADMK cadre informed the party legislators attending the Assembly session. Even as AIADMK legislature party leader A Anbazhagan and MLA Vaiyapuri Manikandan rushed to the spot, party func- Police are quizzing a mentally challenged woman, who claims that it was she who had put the shawl on the statue. She said that her husband had got the shawl from Sabarimala and she had put it around the statue to honour MGR tionaries gathered in large numbers. The irate MLAs and cadre staged a dharna seeking immediate action against the miscreants. Superintendent of Police Ranganathan pacified them. TN Deputy Chief Minister and AIADMK coordinator O Paneerselvam condemned the incident. “I request the Puducherry government to take stern action against those insulting statues of leaders,” he tweeted. STUDENT ACTIVISM MADE IN KARUR U-turn after bizarre step to stop spamming TN ‘Chillbro’ is the local answer to TikTok R I C H A S H A R M A @ New Delhi SPAMMING can be irritating irrespective of how good the cause may be. But if it’s not done for unethical purposes, invoking a draconian antiterror law to put the spammers out of business would be monstrous, as has happened with the Friday for Future India (FFI), the Indian chapter of a global climate movement by students led by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg. The activists were booked under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) for sending thousands of emails to Union environment minister Prakash Javadekar criticising a draft Environment Impact Assessment 2020 notification. site depicts objectionable contents On July 8, the Delhi Police Special and unlawful activities or terrorist Cell sent a notice to Endurance Do- acts, which are dangerous for the mains Technology LLP, an internet peace, tranquillity and sovereignty service provider hosting of India. The publication FFI’s domain, asking it to and transmission of such block the group’s website objectionable contents is a for their “unlawful activicognizable and punishable ties may disturb peace, sovcriminal offence under Secereignty of India”. The site tion 18 of the Unlawful Acwas taken down two days tivities Prevention Act.” later. But after the action “Govt muzzles young ensnowballed into a big convironmental voices,” the Greta Thunberg troversy, the police on FFI tweeted. “We don’t have Thursday claimed they have since any hatred or work against any parremedied the error by withdrawing ticular leaders or the government. UAPA charges and serving a new no- We are just concerned for our detetice under the IT Act. riorating environment,” said 8-yearThe earlier notice said: “The web- old activist Licypriya Kangujam. A R A V I N D R A J @ Karur THE face-off with China came down hard on social media stars when TikTok was banned. Opening the cyberspace once again to such people, a group of youth have unveiled an alternative for the popular video sharing app. They have also come up with a substitute for Facebook. The brainchild of Abhishek and his friends -- Chillbro and Dostuda. com -- are the latest offerings from Leadup India Technologies. An engineering dropout, Abhishek said he learnt to develop apps through online courses. He and his friends - Pradeep, Praveen, Siddharth, Dinesh, Bharathi, Rishi, Abishek and Pradeep Sasi, Nilani, Periyasamy and Vishali - are focussed on developing more utility apps in future. Abhishek told Express, “We have been developing apps for the past few years. My friend Pradeep and I founded this company and collaborated with other friends to create websites, apps and other technological services. Even before the government banned TikTok, we were working on ‘Chillbro’. We launched it in April. The initial response was not that great. Ever since the Chinese apps were banned, ‘Chillbro’ gained good traction.” He said that as of now, Chillbro has been downloaded over 10,000 times. “We are updating the app every 10 days based on user feedback. Also, we are currently developing an app similar to Facebook called Dostuda.com, but with more advanced features,” Abhishek said. The iOS versions of ‘Chillbro’ and ‘Dostuda.com’ app will be unveiled in August, Abhishek said, adding that they are looking for investors.
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