THIRUVANANTHAPURAM l SATURDAY l AUGUST 29, 2020 l `7.00 l PAGES 16 l LATE CITY EDITION COCA-COLA TO HALVE ITS OPERATING UNITS, CUT JOBS ‘VOLUNTARY SEPARATION’ FOR 4K WORKERS 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 The beverage maker, reeling from the pandemic’s impact on its sales, on Friday put out plans to restructure its workforce ■ $550 mn IMPACT ON INDIAN WORKFORCE UNCLEAR ■ 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 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 Hands tied, states unable to tick borrowing 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 Reserve Bank of 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 exist- ing rules, states can’t borrow more than 3.5% of their GDP. The Union finance ministry has given the option to state gover nments 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 resources, transfers from the Centre, and borrowings. After GST, dependence on own resources and tax collections shank and, as a result, borrowing shot up. 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 logistic 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- E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ T’Puram 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 on Friday vowed to give a “taste of freedom” to the entire country by defeating the saffron party’s “political epidemic” in the 2021 Assembly polls 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. GREEN SHOOTS Pushparajan, 70, and his son Shan from Kaakkamoola in Thiruvananthapuram, busy harvesting cucumber on Friday. The price of the vegetable has gone up from C6 to C30 per kg, courtesy some brisk Onam sales following relaxations in restrictions | VINCENT PULICKAL Lavalin case: KSEB ex-chief wants 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 Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, former KSEB chair man R Sivadasan, who is also the third accused in the case, on Friday approached the Supreme Court seeking to adjourn the appeal till the court resumes its nor mal functioning. The case was posted before a new bench headed by Justice U U Lalit through videoconferenc- ing. 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 for mer principal secretary to the gove r n m e n t wh o later became KSEB chairman, seventh accused Pinarayi and eighth accused A Francis, then joint secretary of the electricity department. The High Court had found that the three persons had no direct role in the preparing of the con- DAILY COUNT CROSSES 2.5K-MARK IN KERALA 2,543 test positive on Friday 2,097 recover While Covid-19 rages on, the reporting of a majority of communicable diseases has seen a decline between January and August this year. P2 Government employees and people’s representatives returning after official visits to other states will be exempted from quarantine if they clear a self “coffee smell” test. P2 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. 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. ‘Guest artist’ remark on Tharoor triggers debate in state Cong Cite logistic nightmare amid Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, students safety EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE In the current financial year, the gross borrowings of the Centre and states increased to `21.6 lakh crore, while net borrowings stood at `18.9 lakh crore. As of July this year, the combined market borrowings of the Centre and 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. sultancy/supply contracts. They did not have any involvement in the modernisation and renovation of Pallivasal, Sengulam and Panniar (PSP) hydroelectric projects either. The HC had directed Sivadasan and two other accused persons to face the trial. On Friday, Sivadasan sent a letter to Registry — which was accessed by TNIE — through his advocate P V Saravana Raja citing that “neither the consent has been taken nor any kind of intimation extended before mentioning of matter for urgent listing. EXPRESS READ Popular Finance: E2k-cr fraud alleged Pathanamthitta: Konnibased non-banking finance company Popular Finance allegedly cheated depositors to the tune of C2,000 crore. The daughters of the company’s MD were arrested on Friday. P4 CM’s former IT fellow quizzed Kochi: The Customs probing gold smuggling case on Friday quizzed the CM’s former IT fellow Arun Balachandran. It was revealed that Arun had arranged the flat near Secretariat where conspiracy to smuggle in gold was hatched. P4 16 PAGES, INCLUDING 4 PAGES OF THIRUVANANTHAPURAM EXPRESS 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 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 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 . “I’ve been silent for four days on recent events in @INCIndia because once the Congress President says the issue is behind us, it is the duty of all of us to work together constructively in the interests of the Party,” he tweeted. But Kodikkunnil, the Congress chief whip in Lok Sabha, was not ready to relent. “Tharoor is certainly not a politician. He came to the Congress as a guest artist and still remains so,” said Kodikkunnil, who is also a KPCC working president. He added that Tharoor may be a ‘global citizen,’ but that does not mean he should not take any decision or say anything according to his will. More on P4 I’ve been silent for four days on recent events in @ INCIndia because once the Congress President says the issue is behind us, it is the duty of all of us to work together constructively in the interests of the Party Shashi Tharoor, MP Tharoor is certainly not a politician. He came to the Congress as a guest artist and still remains so. Tharoor may be a ‘global citizen,’ but that does not mean he should not take any decision or say anything according to his will Kodikkunnil Suresh, KPCC working president
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29-08-2020 of The New Indian Express-Thiruvananthapuram