VILLUPURAM SATURDAY AUGUST 29, 2020 `7.00 PAGES 12 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 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 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. Cite logistics nightmare amid lockdown restrictions, students safety EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ 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- 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. Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami interacting with farmers at Adhanur in Tiruvarur district on Friday | EXPRESS AIADMK will lead the alliance in all polls: CM EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Thanjavur/Tiruvarur Mamata Banerjee steps up rhetoric PUTTING to rest all speculation over electoral alliance for the 2021 Assembly polls, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami has categorically said that the AIADMK, which led the alliances during the earlier polls, will continue to lead the tie-ups in all ensuing elections. He was responding to reporters on Friday after reviewing developmental works and Covid-control measures in Thanjavur district. However, replying to a similar question raised by reporters in Tiruvarur earlier in the day, Palaniswami, who is also joint coordinator of the AIADMK, had said that a question on who would lead the alliance did not arise now. “The elections are far off. No party has decided on alliances, be it AIADMK or DMK. So, the question is irrelevant,” he had said. When reporters in Thanjavur drew his attention to BJP leaders saying that the 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. ‘FINAL-YEAR COLLEGE EXAMS MUST BE HELD’ 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. EXPRESS READ Usha Padhee IAS appointed D-G of BCAS New Delhi: Usha Padhee, joint secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, has been given additional charge as director-general, Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS). She is the first woman to be appointed to the post. BCAS is security regulator for civil aviation industry in India Covid pneumonia takes away life of Covid numbers Kanniyakumari MP Vasanthakumar 5,996 102 FRESH CASES EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Chennai EVEN as Tamil Nadu reported 5,996 fresh Covid cases and 102 deaths on Friday, yet another political leader in the State lost his life to the virus. Congress MP from Kanniyakumari and businessman H Vasanthakumar (70), who was admitted to a private hospital in Chennai on August 10 after testing positive for the virus, passed away on Friday . A statement from RK Venkatasalam, Director Medical Services, Apollo Hospitals, said Va s a n t h a k u m a r was being treated at the critical care unit for severe Covid pneumonia by a team of doctors. national party would lead the alliance in coming Assembly elections and the DMDK saying that it would go it alone, Palaniswami said ever since the AIADMK was formed, the party had been leading electoral alliances, including the last Parliamentary polls. This arrangement would continue in all the future elections too. On depleting water storage in Mettur reservoir and the need for getting water from Karnataka to save the samba crop, Palaniswami said, “The Supreme Court had clearly said about the quantum of water to be released and Tamil Nadu has been raising the issue at the monthly meeting of Cauvery Water Management Authority and the Cauvery Water Regulatory Committee. We were getting the water by demanding it from Karnataka.” Palaniswami replied in the negative to another question on the possibility of reducing fuel prices by cutting the tax levied by the State government. P3 “Despite all active medical measures, his condition deteriorated due to Covid complications and he passed away. We join Mr Vasanthakumar’s family members in mour ning him,” the statement said. The Statewide tally stood at 4,09,238 and toll, at 7,050. Chennai alone reported 1,296 cases, while Chengalpattu 296, Kancheepuram 194 and Tiruvallur 298. P4 DEATHS TN govt has said that e-pass will be provided to all business travellers from hospitality, legal, IT and ITES who are visiting the State for a period of 72 hours and will be exempted from quarantine. Cop-turned-politician K Annamalai, who recently joined the BJP, was booked by the police for unlawful assembly and violation of Epidemic Diseases Act. SCARY START India player among 10 positives in CSK V E N K ATA K R I S H N A B @ Chennai IN a major setback, multiple members of Chennai Super Kings, including an India player, tested positive for Covid-19 in Dubai late on Thursday Though . officially, there are no figures, but if sources in the team are to be believed the number could be 10 at least. All of them are in 14-day quarantine. This is expected to have an impact on the scheduling of the tournament supposed to begin from September 19. Chennai, incidentally, were supposed to play the IPL opener against Mumbai Indians, but that won’t be possible as of now because of the quarantine. Chennai, who were supposed to start training from Friday after completing the mandatory six-day quarantine, learnt on Thursday that several members of their contingent have tested positive. It is understood that all of them were asymptomatic and had tested negative in the three tests conducted in Chennai before they boarded the flight to Dubai. Even upon arrival on August 21, the two tests conducted by the BCCI were negative. And only the test on Thursday – third in six days – showed they were positive. Though there were apprehensions on the future of the event, officials assured the situation is under control.
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