Coca-Cola to halve its units, cut jobs The beverage maker, reeling from the pandemic’s impact on its sales, will have only nine new divisions to manage its global business, instead of 17 divisions now. The changes will lead to workforce reduction, the firm said. CocaCola employs about 25,000 people in India, including contract workers, according to the firm’s website. KOCHI l SATURDAY l AUGUST 29, 2020 l `7.00 l PAGES 16 l LATE CITY EDITION 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 6 Oppn states States say borrowing is not a viable option approach SC over NEET, JEE ANURADHA SHUKLA @ New Delhi Cite logistic nightmare amid Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, students safety saying life must go on. The review petition by the Opposition-r uled CITING logistics challeng- states noted that the Sues due to lockdown restric- preme Court’s decision to tions, six Cabinet minis- allow the Centre to go ters of West Beng al, ahead with the national Punjab, Maharashtra, Ra- eligibility entrance tests jasthan, Chhattisgarh and fails to secure the safety, Jharkhand on Friday filed security and right to life a joint petition of students. ‘Final-year in the Supreme According to Court seeking college exams the petitioners, must be held’ postponement the SC’s advice of NEET and Upholding the UGC ‘Life must go JEE exams this on’ may have notification year. philosophical mandating The exams underpinnings, universities to are scheduled to but it cannot be conduct final-year be held next exams by September a substitute to month. valid legal rea30, SC said states West Bengal and Union territories soning and logical analysis of law minister can’t promote the various asMaloy Ghatak, students without pects involved Jharkhand fiholding exams. nance minister in the conduct Rameshwar Oraon, Ra- of NEET and JEE. jasthan health minister Dr JEE (Main) will be conRaghu Sharma, Chhattis- ducted through 660 centres, garh food minister Amar- with 9.53 lakh students setjeet Bhagat, Punjab health to appear — roughly be minister Balbir Singh Sid- 1,443 students per centre, hu, and Maharashtra edu- the states noted. cation minister Uday R Similarly, 15.97 lakh students are expected to Samant sought a view of the top court’s August 17 take the NEET at 3,843 cenorder rejecting pleas to tres — 415 students per cancel NEET-UG exams, centre. EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi THE Centre’s suggestion in the GST Council meeting on Thursday that states borrow from the Reserve Bank of India to make up for revenue shortfall will not be viable for states. This is be- cause 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. How- EXPRESS READ Popular Finance: E2k-cr fraud alleged Pathanamthitta: Konnibased non-banking finance company Popular Finance allegedly cheated depositors to the tune of around C2,000 crore. Following a nation-wide alert sounded by district police chief K G Simon, daughters of the company’s CEO Thomas Daniel were arrested from the Delhi airport on Friday morning. P4 CM’s former IT fellow quizzed Kochi: The Customs probing the gold smuggling case on Friday quizzed the chief minister’s former IT fellow Arun Balachandran. The probe had revealed Arun had arranged the flat near Secretariat where the conspiracy to smuggle in gold was hatched. P4 16 PAGES, INCLUDING 4 PAGES OF KOCHI EXPRESS Shashi Tharoor EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ T’Puram CONGRESS has been showing uncharacteristic unity in attacking the Left government over a slew of issues but MP Shashi Tharoor, who had joined other dissenters to write a letter for leadership change in AICC, has triggered a hot debate in the party’s state unit with some youth leaders interestingly rallying behind ever, as borrowing is guided by the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act, it will need some r e g u l a t o r y 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 bor rowing capacity for other purposes,” a senior finance ministry official said. States rely on three sources to finance their expenditure — own resources, transfers from the Centre, and borrowings. After GST, dependence on own resources and tax collections shank and, as a result, borrowing shot up. ‘Guest artist’ remark on Tharoor triggers hot debate in state Cong the charismatic leader. Seven-time MP Kodikkunnil Suresh, a staunch Gandhi family loyalist, called Tharoor a “guest artist” and questioned his “political maturity” while former KPCC chief K Muraleedharan took potshots at his “global citizen” tag. Youth leader K S Sabarinadhan, however, found the tag to be an asset. Tharoor was among the ‘group of 23’ that wrote to Sonia Gandhi recently, seeking urgent organisational overhaul. The state leadership, which reposed faith “Tharoor is certainly not a politician. He came to the Congress party as a guest artist and still remains so — Kodikkunnil Suresh, KPCC working president in her, has been scathing in its attack on Tharoor since then despite him holding up the white flag in a bid to buy truce. Tharoor had also earned the displeasure of the state leadership by openly supporting privatisation of the Thiruvananthapuram airport. Tharoor had sent out a conciliatory tweet late on Thursday ● More on P4 . 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 sup- posed to start training from Friday after completing the mandatory six-day quarantine, lear nt on Thursday that several members of their contingent have tested positive. It is understood that all of them were asymptomatic. LAVALIN CASE Third accused requests SC to adjourn appeal P R A M D A S @ Kochi AMID allegations of attempts to delay the hearing in the SNC Lavalin case involving Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, former KSEB chairman R Sivadasan, who is also the third accused, has approached the Supreme Court seeking to adjourn the appeal till the court resumes its normal functioning. The case was posted before a new bench headed by Justice U U Lalit through videoconferencing. It was last year listed before a bench headed by Justice N V Ramana. The new bench is considering the application filed by CBI challenging the acquittal of first accused K Mohana Chandran, the former principal secretary who later became KSEB chair man, seventh accused Pinarayi and eighth accused A Francis, then joint secretary of the electricity de● More on P4 partment. BEVQ ADDS FEATURES Consumers can choose the required Bevco outlet or bar from the options on the app. P4
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