TIRUPATI l FRIDAY l AUGUST 28, 2020 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l LATE CITY EDITION GOVT TO BAN IMPORT OF MORE DEFENCE ITEMS, SAYS MODI The Prime Minister said on Thursday the Centre will further restrict import of defence items to boost domestic industry ‘SELF RELIANCE WILL BOOST INDIA’S STANDING’ Addressing the defence industry outreach seminar, Narendra Modi said, attaining self-reliance in defence will help India become a net security provider in the Indian Ocean and make it a defence supplier for many friendly countries. He said ‘Atmnirbhar Bharat’ is not an inward looking idea. Rather, its aim is to enable India work towards attaining world peace ■ Modi `20,000 CR TO BE INVESTED OVER 5 YEARS ■ Modi said India is working on developing new technologies, and the private sector companies will be given a big role to play He said work on building defence corridors is on at a rapid pace in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, and an investment of `20,000 crore would be made on them over the next five years | P7 ALLEGED THAT PREVIOUS GOVTS IGNORED INDIA’S DEFENCE INDUSTRY 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 COMPENSATE US IN TRUE FEDERAL SPIRIT, AP TELLS CENTRE There is a shortfall in revenue as we are facing an Act of God, which might even result in a contraction of the economy Nirmala Sitharaman, Union finance minister Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman chairing the 41st GST Council meeting via video-conferencing, in New Delhi on Thursday | PTI AP Finance Minister Buggana Rajendranath asked the Central govt to compensate the state for the revenue loss in the true federal spirit. At the GST Council meet, he said the Centre made a commitment to compensate for the revenue loss that states incur in introducing GST. The Centre has to fulfil its commitment, he asserted. When the Centre proposed two options for borrowing to meet the shortfall in GST revenues, the state wanted the Centre to take responsibility to ensure it gets the borrowings or loans proposed. Raising the issue of state govts having more commitment towards public expenditure as they implement more welfare schemes, Rajendranath said AP has been at the forefront of extending welfare schemes to the poor, which are crucial for the rural economy. Officials said AP is due to get about `4,500 crore as GST compensation for this financial year ‘THE ONLY QUESTION IS WHO WILL BORROW’ Assam’s Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said, “The meeting was for compensation to states. There was no other agenda. The question is, who will borrow — the Centre or states?” STATES STARE AT L2.35 LAKH CR GST REVENUE BLACKHOLE Centre gives two options for States to meet revenue shortfall, offers to arrange borrowing from RBI at ‘reasonable rates’; FM terms economic distress ‘Act of God’ A N U R A D H A S H U K L A @ New Delhi FACING heat from States over non-payment of GST compensation, the Centre on Thursday said Union government is also affected by the shortfall in GST collections. AT the GST Council meeting, the Centre told states that the coronavirus-induced lockdown has severely impacted mop-up, leaving a gap of `2.35 lakh crore for the Centre to compensate states this year. “As per the Centre’s calculation, the compensation requirement by states in the current fiscal would be `3 lakh crore, of which `65,000 crore is expected to be met from the cess levied in the GST regime. Hence, the total shortfall is estimated at `2.35 lakh crore,”said Finance Secretary Ajay Bhushan. Calling the pandemic an Act of God, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the Centre has less headroom to meet the gap. The Union government can also not dip into the Consolidated Fund of India to pay off states, she said referring to the Attorney General’s advice. “The A-G’s clear opinion was that the compensation gap cannot be met from the Consolidat- ed Fund of India. He suggested the compensation cess levy can be extended beyond five years to meet the shortfall.” Briefing reporters, the finance minister said two options were suggested in the meeting. The first option is a special window for the states, in consultation with the RBI, to borrow `97,000 crore at a reasonable interest rate. The amount can be repaid by 2022 from the cess collection. The second one is to borrow the entire `2.35 lakh crore shortfall under the special window. The finance minister disclosed that states have asked for a detailed draft of the two options and sought a week’s time to study both options and come back to meet again. Sitharaman said the options are only for this year. The situation will be reviewed in April next year to decide the future course of action. Meanwhile, experts warn the revenue shortfall will be steeper than the government’s estimate. According to Jayanta Roy group , head, corporate sector ratings at ICRA, SGST collections are likely to fall 21% to `4,01,100 crore in FY21 from `5,05,800 crore in FY20, which will push compensation amount above `2.35 lakh crore. “With the aggregate protected revenues of the states being estimated by ICRA at `7,650 billion (`7,65,000 cr) for FY21, the GST compensation requirement appears set to more than double to `3,639 billion (`3,63,900 cr) for the current fiscal from `1,653 billion in FY20,” he said. TA M I L N A D U K A R N ATA K A ANDHRA PRADESH TELANGANA KERALA U T TA R A K H A N D JHARKHAND RAJASTHAN WEST BENGAL Tamil Nadu Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar, who represented the State in the GST Council meeting on Thursday, urged the Centre to disburse `12,258.94 crore pending GST compensation. Jayakumar also asked the Centre to release the pending IGST dues of `4,073 cr | P4 Karnataka Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai, who represented the State in the GST Council, said the State had achieved 71.61% GST collections despite the pandemic and urged the Council to pay compensation of `13,764 crore for the past four months Andhra Pradesh Finance Minister Buggana Rajendranath said States have more commitments towards public expenditure and asked the Centre to fulfil its commitment made during the introduction of GST of compensating the revenue loss to States Telangana Finance Minister T Harish Rao demanded the Centre release GST compensation dues of `5,420 cr and IGST dues of `2,700 cr to Telangana immediately. The state’s contribution to GST Cess was `18,082 cr. The State has received `3,223 crore as GST compensation Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac said the bifurcation of compensation amount as ‘normal’ and ‘due to Covid-19’ is not lawful. He said the Centre should borrow the entire sum and distribute among states, as it can easily mobilise funds at a lesser interest rate than states Uttarakhand state agriculture minister Subodh Uniyal said in the GST Council that the state awaits `2,000 crore as GST compensation. “We are ready to comply with the Centre’s directions and there is no issue of increasing the GST compensation years from five to 10 years,” he added Jharkhand Finance Minister Rameshwar Oroan said the State’s financial condition is really bad. Oraon suggested the Centre get loan from RBI and make the funds available to the states, so that the repayment of loans will be done by the Centre without putting any burden on States Rajasthan Electricity and PHED Minister B D Kalla demanded immediate release of GST dues of `6,990 crore to the State. “The economy is crippled due to the protracted lockdown. Our revenues will take a long time to recover. We demand immediate release of our share,” he said West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra said the Centre must pay the compensation from different cesses that it collects. Mitra said, “In case of a shortfall, it is the responsibility of the Centre to explore resources for compensating the states,” he added New record 33.10 lakh INDIA REGISTERED A RECORD 75,760 Total confirmed cases 7.25 lakh NEW COVID-19 CASES IN THE 24 HOURS TILL THURSDAY MORNING Active cases 60,442 Deaths 1,023 25,23,771 deaths during the period recoveries TIME TAKEN TO ADD EACH ONE LAKH CASES Date Cases Days 2 Aug 17,50,723 2 3 Aug 18,03,695 1 5 Aug 19,08,254 2 7 Aug 20,27,074 2 9 Aug 21,53,010 2 10 Aug 22,15,074 1 12 Aug 23,29,638 2 14 Aug 24,61,190 2 15 Aug 25,26,192 1 17 Aug 26,47,663 2 18 Aug 27,02,742 1 20 Aug 28,36,925 2 21 Aug 29,05,823 1 23 Aug 30,44,940 2 24 Aug 31,06,348 1 26 Aug 32,34,474 2 27 Aug 33,10,234 1 Supreme Court rules states can make quota within quota for SC/ST K A N U S A R D A @ New Delhi THE Supreme Court on Thursday disagreed with a 2004 verdict of its Constitution Bench and held that held that states can make further reservations for subcastes within the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. A five-judge bench, headed by Justice Arun Mishra, noted that the state legislatures as well as the Parliament have the power to grant reservations in education and employment. “Once the State has the power to give reservations, it can also make sub classification to extend benefit to those sub castes not receiving the benefit,” said Justice Mishra, reading out the operative part of the judgment. The 2004 judgment held that it is unconstitutional for state governments to provide a further sub-categorisation of Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled EXPRESS READ Collective leadership? Cong forms panel for LS, RS New Delhi/Lucknow: Days after a letter written by senior Congress leaders to Sonia Gandhi seeking changes in the party’s functioning, the party has constituted a ten-member group consisting of MPs from both the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha for coordination in the two Houses | P7 AP VIRAL WATCH 92 10,621 8,528 new new deaths recoveries 61,300 65,168 11.30% positivity rate EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Vijayawada THE Andhra Pradesh High Court on Thursday extended till September 21 the status quo on shifting government offices from Amaravati and the two new laws — AP Decentralisation Act and APCRDA (Repeal) Act — that enable the establishment of three capitals for the state. A division bench of Chief Justice J K Maheshwari, Justice A V Sesha Sai and Justice M Satyanarayana Murthy posted the matter to September 21 for further hearing. When the bench heard the 75odd petitions filed by farmers, associations and people’s representatives, senior Supreme Court advocate Nitish Gupta, arguing on behalf of farmer E Rambabu, told the court that REDUCED RATES Covid test at pvt labs to cost `1,600 or `1,900 DESPERATE FOR WORK Farmers pushed to NREGS by lockdown new cases new samples tested Tribes (ST). The bench ruled that allotting a specific percentage of the reserved seats to a particular subcaste will not violate Article 341(2), 342, and 342A of the Constitution as no enlisted caste is denied the benefit of reservation. Under Article 341 (2), only the Parliament may include or exclude any castes or tribes from the list of SC/STs. The court was ruling on Punjab’s gover nment’s appeal against a 2010 judgment by the Punjab and Haryana High Court that struck down Section 4(5) of the Punjab Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes Act, 2006 as unconstitutional. Section 4(5) of the Act provided for ‘first preference’ to certain castes for Scheduled Caste reservations in public services. In its ruling, the High Court had cited the 2004 judgment of the Supreme Court. Govt offices can’t leave Amaravati till Sept 21: HC tests per million 75.11% recovery rate 0.92% mortality rate R A M E S H B A B U G @ Srikakulam FIFTY-YEAR-OLD Bodda Narayana Murthy a horticulture farm, er from Pedda Kojjiriya village of Kanchili mandal in Uddanam, has been working as a daily wage worker under the NREGS since the lockdown was enforced. His son, Kalidasu, who had migrated to Hyderabad, returned home as he lost his job due to the lockdown. With no alternative, Murthy took up NREGS work as he had to support the entire family “I now earn nearly `1,400 eve. ry week. Previously, I had employees working in my coconut orchard, and used to pay them daily Though my situation wors. ened since Cyclone Titlli, the worst came in the form of the lockdown,” he told TNIE. “We used to sell coconut, mango and guava on Sundays and Tuesdays, but the government shut the weekly market by enforcing the lockdown,” Murthy added, and said 90 per cent of farmers in the village have turned daily wage labourers to make ends meet. “Of the 200 small and marginal farmers of Pedda Kojjiriya, 180 became daily wage labourers under the NREGS. Each ear ns `1,400-1,500 per week. Before the lockdown, hardly 70 small and marginal farmers from the village used to work under the scheme,” he said. Peddakojjiriya village NREGS field assistant Raju corroborated these figures. ‘Building Vizag guest house violates order’ Senior advocate Nitish Gupta said the govt is violating the court’s order to maintain status quo by constructing a guest house in Vizag on 30 acres, with 5 acres allotted for the Raj Bhavan though the HC ordered status quo, the government is constructing a guest house in Visakhapatnam on 30 acres, of EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Vijayawada THE state gover nment on Thursday slashed the prices for testing samples for coronavirus in private labs. Now, `1,600 will be charged, instead of `2,400, for each sample sent by the government to private labs. People who directly approach private labs recognised by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) will have to spend which five acres have been allotted for the Raj Bhavan. This is part of the plan to shift capital to Visakhapatnam, Gupta said, and asserted that laying the foundation stone for the guest house when status quo was ordered amounts to violation of the order. Advocate General S Sriram, however, said the government is building the guest house for VVIPs as there are no proper guest houses for them. Sriram added that they received a copy of the contempt of court petition only on Wednesday night and were not given time to go t h ro u g h t h e p e t i t i o n e r ’s objections. Responding to this, the bench asked the government to file a counter petition by September 11 on why it is constructing the guest house in Visakhapatnam. The petitioners may file affida- vits with their objections by September 17, it added. Meanwhile, the government filed a memo before the court saying the counter it filed would be applicable to the bunch of petitions filed in the matter. The bench asked the government to file an additional affidavit, if it wants to file any details other than what it had already filed in the counter. Senior Supreme Court advocate Sekhar Naphade, arguing on behalf of the state government, said fresh petitions were deliberately being filed frequently to delay the hearings. The bench, however, said filing a writ is a right given by the Constitution and no one can object to it. It said the court would finish hearing the petitions filed and pronounce its orders. `1,900 per sample, against the old rate of `2,900. A Government Order to this effect was issued by Special Chief Secretary (Health) Dr KS Jawahar Reddy. The rates were reduced due to increased availability of kits, reduction in cost of RNA extraction and RT-PCR kits, and competition between firms manufacturing testing kits. Private labs must pass on the benefits as the high cost of testing has been an obstacle to the public, the order said. As for pool sample testing, if any pool (each has five samples) is found to be positive, the same batch will be tested individually, and payment will be made treating them as individual samples, apart from payment for the pooled samples. CONTINUED ON P4 STUDENTS WANT JEE (MAIN) AND NEET TO BE HELD AT ANY COST: CENTRAL GOVT EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi MAKING it clear yet again that the Centre won’t put off holding the JEE (Main), NEET exams, the Union e ducation minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank on Thursday said most students want the exams to be held “at any cost”. “Parents and students through email and social media have said the exams should be conducted in September,” he said in a video message. His comments came a day after CMs of seven states decided to ap p ro a ch t h e S u preme Court seeking a postponement of the exams in light of the mounting Covid-19 cases. “The National Testing Agency informed me that over 7 lakh candidates have downloaded JEE (Main) admit cards while over 10 lakh aspirants downloaded NEET admit cards. This shows students want the exams to be held at any cost,” the minister said. Pokhriyal’s commenta were made after higher education secretary Amit Khare held a meeting with the officials in the PMO.
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