TIRUPATI l SATURDAY l AUGUST 29, 2020 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l LATE CITY EDITION COCA-COLA TO HALVE ITS OPERATING UNITS, CUT JOBS The beverage maker, reeling from the pandemic’s impact on its sales, on Friday put out plans to restructure its workforce ‘VOLUNTARY SEPARATION’ FOR 4K WORKERS IMPACT ON INDIAN WORKFORCE UNCLEAR The company will have nine new divisions to manage its global business, instead of 17 divisions now. The changes will lead to workforce reduction, the firm said, adding it’ll offer “voluntary separation” packages to about 4,000 employees, including in the US. It will also implement “involuntary separations”, but hasn’t specified how many workers will be impacted ■ ■ In the April-June quarter, the company had recorded its steepest quarterly revenue decline in over 25 years due to the lockdowns Coca-Cola employs about 25,000 people in India, including contract workers, according to the firm’s website. It’s not clear if the restructuring will lead to job losses in the country $550 mn IS HOW MUCH THE COMPANY EXPECTS TO INCUR IN SEVERANCE EXPENSES 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 States say borrowing is not a financially viable option ANURADHA SHUKLA @ New Delhi An Indian Youth Congress worker being detained in New Delhi amid a protest against JEE and NEET on Friday | SHEKHAR YADAV 6 Oppn states approach SC over NEET, JEE THE Centre’s suggestion in the GST Council meeting on Thursday that states borrow from the Res e r ve B a n k o f India to make up for revenue shortfall will not be viable for states. This is because most states are already reeling under high debt as well as fiscal deficit. Under existing rules, states can’t borrow more than 3.5% of their GDP. The Union finance ministry has given the option to state governments to borrow as much as `2.35 lakh crore from RBI. However, as borrowing is guided by the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act, it will need some regulatory changes. “There is restriction on the amount they can borrow, which is set at 3% of their GDP and then it was extended to 3.5% during the pandemic. Now, the additional debt will be added to their limit, which will restrict their borrowing capacity for other purposes,” a senior finance ministry official said. States rely on three sources to finance their expenditure — own resourc- es, transfers from the Centre, and borrowings. After GST, dependence on own resources and tax collections shank and, as a result, borrowing shot up. In the current financial year, the gross borrowings of the Centre and states increased to `21.6 lakh crore, while net bor rowings stood at `18.9 lakh crore. It is better if the Centre monetises the debt and gives to states. RBI will be also comfortable dealing with the Centre rather than deal with close to 30 sub-national entities -Soumya Kanti Ghosh, group chief economic adviser, SBI @ New Delhi CITING logistics challenges due to lockdown restrictions, six Cabinet ministers of West Bengal, Punjab, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand on Friday filed a joint petition in the Supreme Court seeking postponement of NEET and JEE exams this year. The exams are scheduled to be held next month. West Bengal law minister Maloy Ghatak, Jharkhand finance minister Rameshwar Oraon, Rajasthan health minister Dr Raghu Sharma, Chhattisgarh food minister Amarjeet Bhagat, Punjab health minister Balbir Singh Sidhu, and Maharashtra education minister Uday R Samant sought review of the top court’s August 17 order rejecting pleas to cancel NEET-UG exams, saying life must go on. The review petition by the Opposition-ruled states noted that the Supreme Court’s decision to allow the Centre to go ahead with the national eligibility entrance tests fails to secure the safety securi, ty and right to life of students. According to the peti- EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Vijayawada THE state government on F riday requested the Andhra Pradesh High Court to take serious note of Public Interest Litigations (PILs) based on rumours and hearsay . Arguing before the High Court during the hearing on a PIL that accused the government of diverting endowments funds to the Amma Vodi scheme, Advocate General S Sriram said all talk on the street cannot be c o nve r t e d i n t o PILs, and such petitions must not be entertained. A PIL filed by Chinta Umamaheswara Reddy, from Vijayawada, accused the state government of dive r t i n g e n d o w m e n t s funds from the Brahmin Welfare Corporation to the Amma Vodi scheme, and the PIL came up for hearing before a division bench comprising Chief Justice JK Maheshwari and Justice K Lalitha. The Advocate General opposed the matter saying the Brahmin Welfare Cor- tioners, the SC’s advice ‘Life must go on’ may have philosophical underpinnings, but it cannot be a substitute to valid legal reasoning and logical analysis of the various aspects involved in the conduct of NEET and JEE. JEE (Main) will be conducted through 660 centres, with 9.53 lakh students set to appear—roughly be 1,443 students per centre, the states noted. Mamata Banerjee steps up rhetoric Kolkata: West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee said, “Bengal will give people a taste of freedom and liberate people of India from the BJP’s clutches by defeating them in 2021 polls. I am ready to sacrifice my life for this” Similarly, 15.97 lakh students are expected to take the NEET at 3,843 centres—415 students per centre. “Such large movement of people will will totally defeat the twin solutions we have of combating the Covid-19 i.e. social distancing and avoidance of large public gatherings,” the plea stated. CM lays foundation stone for YSR-Vedadri lift irrigation proj, says it will be ready by Feb Vijayawada: Observing that his govt was working to complete the construction of ‘YSR-Vedadri lift irrigation system’ by February, 2021, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy laid the foundation stone for the project via remote link on Friday. He blamed the previous govt for delaying the project | P4 E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi UPHOLDING the University Grants Commission notification mandating universities to conduct finalyear exams by September 30, the Supreme Court on Friday said states and Union territories can’t promote students without holding exams. A bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and M R Shah said final-year exams must be held, and that internal assessments will not suffice for conferring degrees. However, states have the power to postpone exams in view of the pandemic. They can consult the UGC to fix a fresh date for their state, the SC said. Atchannaidu gets conditional bail, court tells him to cooperate with investigation Vijayawada: The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Friday sanctioned conditional bail to Kinjarapu Atchannaidu, TDP deputy floor leader in the State Legislative Assembly, who was arrested in ESI scam. The court told the former minister to cooperate with the ACB investigation | P4 TTD brahmotsavams from Sept 19, but without devotees or processions @ Tirumala THE Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) Board of Trustees met in Tirumala on Friday and decided to perform the annual brahmotsavams of Lord Venkateswara from September 19 to 27 at Tirumala in ‘Ekantham’ without the participation of devotees. TTD chairman YV Subba Reddy said there was no other option due to the Covid-19 outbreak. “There won’t be any processions in Mada streets. All rituals will be performed in the temple by priests as per tradition. Devotees won’t be allowed,” he explained. poration was not a part of the endowments department. The endowments commissioner is the HOD of the said corporation and it is just under admini s t r at ive c o n t ro l , h e asserted. Sriram further pointed out that the GO issued for budgetary grant was not filed with the PIL and the petitioner, being a lawyer, did not show any basis for the plea that endowments funds were diverted to the Amma Vodi scheme. He said the terms of the GO did not speak of any diversion. The court expressed displeasure with the petitioner, and said it did not find anything wrong with the government’s action. The petitioner’s counsel, Ravi Prasad, wanted the court to issue notices to the government, but the court sought evidence for the allegations. When the court wanted to dismiss the PIL, Ravi Prasad sought adjour nment saying he would submit evidence. T he hearing was adjourned to September 11. EXPRESS READ ‘FINAL-YEAR COLLEGE EXAMS MUST BE HELD’ EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE borrowing. Citing Article 293 (3) of the Indian Constitution, he said a state can’t raise borrowings without the Centre’s consent if it has any loan outstanding which is repayable to the Government of India. Also, unlike the Centre, states cannot directly borrow from external sources. “The Centre plays the role of an intermediary in the transfer of external borrowings to states,” Ghosh added. Don’t entertain PILs based on rumours: AG Cite logistics nightmare amid lockdown restrictions, students safety EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE As of July this year, the combined market borrowings of the Centre and states were almost 77% more than the corresponding period a year ago. Revenue shortfall, no transfer from the Centre and inability to borrow will force states to cut their planned expenditure, say experts. According to Soumya Kanti Ghosh, group chief economic adviser at State Bank of India, states have certain limitations on This year, due to Adhika Masam, brahmotsavams will be performed twice — Salakatla brahmotsavams in September and Navaratri brahmotsavams in October. Pointing this out, the TTD chairman said that if the situation improves, a decision might be taken to let devotees participate in the Navaratri brahmotsavams in OctoCONTINUED ON P4 ber. HIGHEST IN STATE Plasma therapy helps 73 beat virus in Nellore 10 CSK MEMBERS TEST POSITIVE FOR COVID An India player is among those who are infected. The team has been quarantined for 14 days, and the IPL schedule could be affected as CSK were to play the first game D S U R E N D R A K U M A R @ Nellore AS many as 73 Covid-19 patients who were critical underwent plasma therapy and recovered in Nellore district since August 5. This is the highest number of such recoveries among districts in AP. The district administration collected contact details of people who recovered from Covid-19, went to their houses and urged them to donate plasma. It collected 125 units of plasma since August 5. Collector KVN Chakradhar Babu had told medical teams to motivate people who recovered to donate their plasma. The Indian Red Cross Society gave its equipment for plasma collection to Covid hospitals. Plasma therapy was administered to 82 critical patients in Covid hospitals in the district, and nine of them did not show any improvement. Medical teams and ground-level volunteers continue to collect contact details of people who recover, and visit them to motivate them to donate plasma. Highlighting the value of plasma therapy, GGH superintendent Dr Sudhakar Reddy spoke about a 55-year-old woman with diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney-related issues, besides Covid-19. She was in a critical condition, but recovered and was discharged after being administered plasma therapy, the superintendent CONTINUED ON P3 said.
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