VISAKHAPATNAM l THURSDAY l AUGUST 27, 2020 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l LATE CITY EDITION CHINA SPRUCING UP MILITARY INFRA IN EASTERN SECTOR China has begun construction of huge habitat for large troop formation in the Eastern Sector, sources said on Wednesday PLA BUILDING A BRIGADE-SIZE GARRISON The Peoples Liberation Army is building a brigade size garrison at Gyantse in Tibet, which appears to be meant for the ground forces, sources said. Its construction reportedly began after January. Also, satellite images from June and July confirm that China is building and connecting roads to the border areas at multiple points in the Eastern Sector | P7 ■ 2021 STRATEGIC MISSILES ALSO DEPLOYED ■ ■ The new garrison includes six battalion headquarters and more than 600 sheds for vehicles and equipment It will be strategically positioned in Gyantse, which is not far from the Indian border states of Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim Sources say China has also moved strategic missiles to the area WHEN THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE GARRISON IS EXPECTED TO BE FINISHED 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 Stage set for stormy GST Council meet today States against the idea of market borrowing to bridge revenue deficit, want Centre to pay up compensation dues A N U R A D H A S H U K L A @ New Delhi Thursday’s GST Council meeting is likely to be stormy as many states, including BJPruled ones, are miffed at nonpayment of compensation. Most states are going through a rough patch with revenues drying up due to the pandemicinduced economic distress. The situation has been exacerbated by the non-payment of GST compensation by the Centre. When the GST was rolled out, states were promised they would be compensated for the loss of revenue arising from the implementation of the new indirect tax regime. The 101st Constitution Amendment says states will have to be compensated for five years from the day GST was implemented (July 2017) till July 2022 for any losses. Last month, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had termed the Centre’s non-pay- When the states were suffering losses in revenue due to Covid, the Centre has informed that it doesn’t have the funds to pay the GST compensation to the states. This amounts to a sovereign default —Manpreet Badal, Punjab finance min If not immediately, the Union Government, at least in terms of guarantee, will have to make up for the compensation during the year. If they assure that, then we can make our own arrangements till such time. Ultimately, the GST Council has to compensateum —Basavaraj Bommai, Karnataka home minister The refusal to compensate states for GST payments that are due is nothing short of betrayal —Sonia Gandhi, Congress president ‘THE MEETING WILL DISCUSS ALL OPTIONS’ A senior official finance ministry told The New Indian Express that “Revenue fall is a known fact. In the last meeting, the Centre had shared the revenue situation. This meeting will discuss all the options.” ment of GST compensation unconstitutional. While Kerala and West Bengal have been very vocal on the delay in GST payout, now many Congress-ruled states are also raising their voice against the Centre’s non-payment of dues. Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal said the Centre is sitting over `4,400 crore unpaid dues to the state, Thursday’s GST Council meet is expected to take up the issue of market borrowing by states. However, most states are not in favour of opting for this as they feel that is not the right way to fix revenue shortfall. They say the Centre should use the Consolidated Fund of India to pay states or allow them to levy some tax. The compensation would meet adding that there has been no compensation since April 2020. Chhattisgarh also said the state has not received even a single penny since April 2020. According to sources, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh – all BJP-ruled states – too have conveyed their displeasure over the Centre’s stand on delaying GST compensation to states. the shortfall in revenue to the states, assuming a 14% growth annually in GST revenues. However, the GST revenue growth was less than anticipated. Even three years after the GST rollout, monthly mop-up has remained under `1 lakh cr. Meanwhile, Union finance ministry sources said all solutions will be discussed at Thursday’s GST Council meeting. P8 Opposition to move SC Clear up your mess, SC tells Centre seeking postponement of JEE (Main), NEET EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi AMID rising chorus against holding JEET/NEET in the midst of a pandemic, the CMs of seven Opposition-ruled states met on Wednesday to discuss the prospects of filing a joint petition in the Supreme Court to postpone the exams. The development comes a day after the Centre decided to increase the number of examination centres for JEET and NEET to ensure social distancing. Both the exams are scheduled to be held in early September. During a virtual meeting called by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee mooted the idea of filing a joint petition before the SC seeking a review after it rejected a plea on August 17 to postpone the exams. “Let us go to the Supreme Court and talk about this matter. This is a mental agony for students and with limited trains and flight operations, I don’t know how they will commute to sit for the exams. The situation is very serious with cases rising, we have to speak up for the children,” said Banerjee. Other CMs supported Mamata’s suggestion. Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren said a delegation should also meet President Ramnath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the matter. Keeping in mind the urgency of the matter, Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh tweeted after the meeting: “I have asked Advocate General, Punjab to coordinate with his counterparts in other States and to file a review petition in Supreme Court on NEET/JEE issue. In the midst of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, it is not safe for lakhs of students to ap- ASKING the Centre not to hide behind the RBI, the Supreme Court on Wednesday directed it to clarify its stand on waiving interest on loans during the moratorium period. “It is your responsibility to take steps under the Disaster Management Act. You have enough powers to decide the issue of waiver. You cannot just depend on the RBI,” the bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan said. The court’s observation came after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta referred to the RBI’s affidavit, and said Govt to clarify stand on moratorium by Sept 1 Senior advocate Kapil Sibal told the Supreme Court the loan moratorium scheme ends on Aug 31 and should be extended. The court posted the matter to September 1, asking the Centre to come back with its stand on the issue the banking institutions are also distressed. “The problem was created by your (Centre) lockdown. This isn’t the time to take care of only the business interests. You must also consider the plight of the people,” the bench noted. Mehta said such observations could have repercussions for the government. “You must take a stand on whether interest should be charged and any interest on interest should be charged during moratorium period,” the bench noted. STATUS QUO SC REFUSES TO STAY HC ORDER ON SHIFTING CAPITAL E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Vijayawada THE Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to stay the AP High Court order to maintain status quo on shifting government offices from Amaravati till August 27. The High Court on August 4 ordered status quo on shifting the offices, while hearing a bunch of petitions seeking to declare the two Gazette notifications on the AP Decentralisation Act and AP CRDA (Repeal) Act — the two new laws of the State government to form three capitals — unconstitutional. The state government filed a Special Leave Petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court saying the High Court stayed the implementation of the Gazette notifications without valid reasons. When the SLP came up for hearing on Wednesday, a bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and M R Shah refused to interfere with the interim order passed by the AP High This has brought the Court. whole thing to a Senior Advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, standstill. There are representing the state of Andhra preparations to be Pradesh, informed the court of the dif- done.... It has never ficulty considering the old Act is no happened that the longer in operation and the new Act judiciary has decided where the cannot be implemented because the HC executive will had ordered status quo. Things have function from been brought to a standstill and there are preparations to be made, Dwivedi Rakesh Dwivedi, senior said, and argued that the judiciary has advocate representing never decided where the executive Andhra Pradesh govt would function from. Senior counsel Fali Nariman, arguing on behalf of the farmers of Amaravati, said the High Court was formed in Amaravati as per a Presidential order. As such, the state government cannot decide to set up the judicial capital at Kurnool, he said. Another senior advocate, Ranjit Kumar, also representing the farmers, told the bench the main matter is pending before a full court bench of the AP High Court, which will commence its hearing from Thursday . When the state government pleaded that the apex court direct the High Court to expedite the hearing, the Bench said it cannot fix a deadline for the High Court to complete the hearing. “But we hope it will settle the issue at the earliest,” the bench said. EXPRESS READ Can Messi leave Barca? Phase II human trial of Oxford vaccine begins Youth Congress workers protest Centre’s move to hold JEE, NEET | PARVEEN NEGI pear for these examinations.” Addressing the Chief Ministers, Sonia said the Centre is indifferent to the difficulty students will have to endure if they have to write the exams amid Covid-19 induced restrictions. She also accused the government of handling the whole issue in a careless manner. Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray cited a US report that said 97,000 children there were infected when schools reopened and expressed concern what will states do if such a situation arises here. Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot, Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Bhagel and Puducherry CM V Narayanasamy agreed that they are ready to approach the apex court on the matter. Barcelona star Lionel Messi has asked club to release him. Here’s a brief look what transpired... Pune: The Phase II clinical trial of the Oxford Covid-19 vaccine, being made by the Pune-based Serum Institute of India, began at a hospital in Pune on Wednesday. Two male volunteers were administered the vaccine at Bharti Vidyapeeth’s Medical College and Hospital. According official sources, in all, 25 candidates will given the vaccine in the next seven days | P8 AP VIRAL WATCH 81 new deaths 92,208 active cases 64,020 tests per mn 10,830 8,473 new cases new recoveries 61,838 new samples tested 11.19% recovery rate positivity rate 74.97% 0.93% mortality rate lMessi has told Barcelona through his lawyers he wants to leave despite a year remaining on his contract. This may lead to legal complications if both sides remain firm. Police fire tear gas shells on protesters outside the Secretariat at Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday | VINCENT PULICKAL S E C R E TA R I AT F I R E Kerala oppn sees plot, protests turn violent EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Thiruvananthapuram A day after a mysterious fire broke out at the Secretariat here, several political parties in Kerala took out protest marches across the state on Wednesday, alleging conspiracy behind the incident. The protests turned violent at many places as workers of the main opposition party HIGHWAY HEIST Congress and the BJP clashed with police, who resorted to the use of water cannon and tear gas to disperse protesters. While the CPM-led government maintains it was a small fire triggered by a short circuit and all important files are safe, opposition parties allege it was a deliberate attempt to destroy crucial evidence related to the gold smuggling case. lThe club buying Messi has to pay Barcelona €700 million as release fee, but the 33-year-old believes he can leave as a free agent. Few clubs can match his weekly salary of €1 million, but the names of Bayern Munich, Manchester City, PSG are doing the rounds. 2001 Year when Messi joined the club’s junior team 20 Major titles Messi won at Barcelona P11 JOB-EATING VIRUS Gang hijacks lorry, steals phones worth `6 crore Hotel worker driven to debt by lockdown EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Chittoor IN a robbery that seemed straight out of a movie, a gang chased, intercepted and hijacked a container lorry, and stole mobile phones worth `6 crore from it in Nagari late on Tuesday The vehicle was trans. porting the phones from Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu to Mumbai. “Unidentified miscreants followed the lorry, intercepted and stopped it 500-900 m after it crossed the Tamil Nadu border checkpost. They threatened and attacked the driver before pushing him out and hijacking the vehicle. The gang later shifted the mobile phones to another vehicle and left the truck near the highway Of the . 16 boxes in the lorry, they took eight, which had about 7,500 mobile phones,” said Circle Inspector Rajasekhar. Based on a complaint from the driver, the Nagari police registered a case under Sections 395, 363, 341, 342 and 323 of the IPC, and launched an investigation. The Circle Inspector examined CCTV footage from the Tiruttani toll gate. The driver told the police six or seven people attacked him, took the truck further, and pulled him out. Residents of a nearby village came to his aid, and he approached the police. A similar crime was committed in Nellore district on February 12, 2019. The police had formed 10 teams to crack the case, and arrested members of the Kanjarbhat gang, including an international smuggler. The accused persons had criminal records in Maharastra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Odisha, West Bengal and Telangana. K M A D H U S U D H A K A R @ Kurnool THE lockdown has turned life topsy-turvy for 25-year-old hotel worker Rajasekhar. He used to make a decent living with his earnings from the hotel and by driving an auto at night. But now, he’s in debt, struggling to make ends meet, and his auto has been seized by financiers. Rajasekhar used to earn `400 per day by working at a hotel in Maddur Nagar of Kurnool. After his eight-hour shift there, he would work as an auto driver. He got married in February and life was going well till the lockdown began in March. The hotel was shut and he couldn’t use his auto for two months. For almost four months, he had no income, and his debt mounted as he had to borrow money to feed his family The fi. nanciers confiscated the auto as he could not pay the monthly instalments. Unable to even support his wife, Rajasekhar sent her to her parents, and is trying to live off borrowed money . The hotel was reopened in the first week of August, but all the 20-odd employees were not called back as business was dull and only takeaway services were functional. Rajasekhar was called to work, but the conditions were stringent — `200 for 12 hours of work, and that too only for five days a week. “Since March 25, I borrowed `50,000 from relatives and friends. For more than three months, I could not earn even a single rupee, and now, I can’t clear my debt as my earnings are meagre,” he told TNIE.
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27-08-2020 of The New Indian Express-Vishakapatnam