BHUBANESWAR l THURSDAY l AUGUST 27, 2020 l `7.00 l PAGES 14 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 | P9 ■ 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 Clear the mess you created, SC tells Centre A N U R A D H A S H U K L A @ New Delhi E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ 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, Opposition to move SC seeking postponement of JEE (Main), NEET 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 Beng al 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- 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. Can Messi leave Barca? Barcelona star Lionel Messi has asked club to release him. Here’s a brief look what transpired... The club buying Messi has to pay Barcelona €700 million 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 said its restructuring project still revolves around the player. “We want to rebuild for the future together with the best player in history,” Ramon Planes, the club’s technical director, said on Wednesday. “We are not contemplating any departure on a contractual level because we want him to stay. We have to show a huge respect for Messi because he is the best player in the world.” 2001 Year when Messi joined the club’s junior team 20 Major titles Messi won at Barcelona P13 @ Bhubaneswar AT least four persons died even as six northern and coastal districts are staring at floods after heavy rains left Budhabalanga, Baitarani and Jalaka r ive r s i n t h e s p a t e o n Wednesday . The fatalities related to heavy rainfall and deluge-like situations came in from Mayurbhanj and Keonjhar districts. The office of Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) Pradeep Kumar Jena said both Jalaka and Baitarani rivers are flowing above danger level at Mathani in Balasore and Anandapur in Keonjhar districts respectively. With more rains forecast, Budhabalanga river is also expected to breach the danger mark. Administrations of Mayurbhanj and Balasore - likely to be impacted by a swelling Budhabalanga - have been asked to stay in readiness. With Baita- A child, fully protected against rain and coronavirus, in Bhubaneswar on Wednesday | BISWANATH SWAIN Govt to make stand on moratorium clear by Sep 1 New Delhi: Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for one of the petitioners, told SC the loan moratorium scheme is ending on August 31 and it should be extended. “I am only saying that till these pleas are decided, the extension should not end,” Sibal said. SC posted the matter for September 1, asking the Centre to come back with its stand on the issue rani going past the red mark, Keonjhar, Jajpur, Bhadrak and Kendrapara districts have been put on alert. SRC office said, Jalaka was flowing at 6.68 metre at Mathani against the danger level of 5.50 metre. Water level of Baitarani was at 40.27 metre at Anandpur against the red mark of 38.36 metre, whereas at Akhuapada, it was flowing at 20.2 metre, above the danger level of 17.83 metre. “Jalaka is not a worry but Baitarani and B u d h a b a l a n g a a r e. Since the catchment areas of the rivers have been experiencing heavy rainfall, the water level is expected to rise. We are keeping a close watch,” said SRC office sources. Chief Secretary Asit Kumar Tripathy held a meeting via video conferencing with Jena and Collectors of Keonjhar, Jajpur, Bhadrak, Kendrapara, Mayurbhanj, Balasore, Boudh and Sonepur districts. The Collectors have been asked to remain alert and evacuate the people from the low lying areas if need arises. The Water Resources department has already deputed engineers to guard and repair the embankments in case the flood waters enter through the cracks. Meanwhile, the India Meteorological Department has put out a red alert for heavy rains across northern and coastal pockets for the next 24 hours. The State has been receiving continuous showers under impact of a wellmarked low pressure area. According to the weather office, Marshaghai (Kendrapara) and Tensa (Sundargarh) received the highest 230 mm rainfall, followed by 210 mm at Boudh and Baripada and 200 mm at Champua (Keonjhar) and Kujang and Raghunathpur (Jagatsinghpur) between Tuesday and Wednesday morning. P7 FLOOD ALERT State receives 71.88 mm rain in 24 hrs Baitarani, Jalaka flowing above danger level Budhabalanga likely to breach danger mark Keonjhar, Mayurbhanj, Balasore, Jajpur, Bhadrak, Kendrapara on high alert Jalaka and Baitarani rivers are flowing above danger level at Mathani in Balasore and Anandapur in Keonjhar districts respectively. With more rains forecast, Budhabalanga river is also expected to breach the danger mark SRC Office EXPRESS READ Two shot dead amid US anti-racism protests Kenosha: Two people were shot dead on Tuesday night in Kenosha, US, reportedly by armed militia members, as protests over shooting of a black man by a white police officer raged. Video posted online shows a white man with a semi-automatic rifle in middle of a street as some police officers follow him | P11 Phase II human trial of Oxford vaccine begins Pune: The Phase II clinical trial of the Oxford Covid-19 vaccine, manufactured by Serum Institute of India, began at a medical college and hospital in Pune on Wednesday. Two male volunteers were administered the vaccine at Bharti Vidyapeeth’s Medical College and Hospital | P10 Odisha’s highest spike of 3,371 cases in a day Bhubaneswar: N a massive surge in Covid-19 cases, Odisha reported its highest spike of 3371 new infections and 13 deaths in last 24 hours taking the tally to 87,602 and death toll to 494. While for the first time, the daily count crossed 3,000 mark, the State set new records in terms of fatalities and recoveries | P2 Schools, colleges to remain closed till Durga Puja EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Bhubaneswar GEARED UP 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. P10 FOUR DIE AS SIX DISTRICTS STARE AT FLOODS IN ODISHA EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE Messi 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. 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, Paris Saint-Germain are doing the rounds. Youth Congress workers protest Centre’s move to hold JEE, NEET | PARVEEN NEGI 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 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 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 some repercussions for the government, which has been issuing all necessary directions under the Disaster Management Act. “Then you must take a stand. Whether interest should be charged and any interest on interest should be charged during moratorium period,” the bench noted. WITH Covid-19 pandemic showing no sign of decline, the State Government on Wednesday decided to keep all educational institutions including schools and colleges closed till Durga Puja vacation. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik made this announcement during a review of the Covid situation in the State at a virtual meeting with party legislators and senior officials. The Chief Minister said the decision was taken keeping the safety and interests of students and parents in mind. Educational institutions are closed since third week of the March. Emphasising on the revival of rural economy, the Chief Minister asked departments concerned to facilitate disbursal of more loans in rural areas with special focus on agriculture and allied sectors, MSME, and self help groups (SHGs) having maximum potential to generate employment. For revival of rural economy, the CM on Tuesday had approved a special assistance package of `200 crore special package to help develop livelihood activities of rural poor, very poor and the migrants. With gradual resumption of economic activities, migrant workers who have returned to the State need special attention. Pressing for creation of employment opportunity for them, the Chief Minister directed departments to extend all possible institutional support for cred- it linkage to start micro economic activities. He further directed to conduct skill mapping of the migrants and provide requisite training under Nirman Shramik Yojana for engagement in construction activities. He also asked departments to promote livelihood activities like backyard poultry goatery fisher, , ies gaining currency, and expand the activities in rural areas. With demand for mask increasing and mask-making proving a good income generating activity, he advised legislators to assist SHGs by procuring masks from their local area development fund for distribution. Describing complacency as an enemy during the pandemic, the CM advised everyone to adopt maximum precautions. He expressed satisfaction over ramping up of testing and decline of positivity as well as fatality rates. He also directed Covid observers to ensure strict adherence to area-specific strategies in hotspot districts to fight the pandemic. He asked officials to provide compensation as per the guidelines to the kin of COVID-19 warriors, who have fallen victim to the virus in the lone of their duty, by Friday . Agriculture Minister Arun Sahoo, Government Chief Whip Pramila Mallick, BJD MLAs Debi Prasad Mishra and Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak, Chief Secretary Asit Tripathy , DGP Abhay, 5T Secretary VK Pandian and other officials were present in the review meeting.
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