SOME OF THE INDICATORS USED FOR GDP ESTIMATES THE PM INDIA NEVER HAD Former President Pranab Mukherjee loses battle for life at Delhi’s Army hospital; was seen as the encyclopaedia of contemporary Indian history; was accorded the Bharat Ratna in 2018 S A N T W A N A B H AT TA C H A R YA ‘political’ president. But he surprised even veteran analysts by being a textbook President. Never overstepping the boundaries of constitutional proprieties and his own inclusive, democratic moorings. Unlike a Zail Singh or K R Narayanan, Mukherjee did not see Rashtrapati Bhawan as an oppositional space to government. That’s why he could straddle the transition from UPA to NDA, from Manmohan Singh to Narendra Modi, without a glitch. No surprise he was accorded the highest civilian award of P He has left an indelible mark on the development trajectory of our nation. A scholar par excellence, a towering statesman, he was admired across the political spectrum and by all sections of society TAPAS RANJAN RANAB Mukherjee was the prime minister that India never had. Instead, he became President—the 13th in India’s line, bringing a rare political gravitas to that role. But it was the other office, that of the highest executive, that destiny seemed to have held out for him more than once—and ultimately denied. Not because he lacked stature, statesmanship or political heft. If there was one thing he lacked, it was the direct connect of the mass leader, but then he was almost the perfect embodiment of the other kind of politician—the savant, policy maven and parliamentarian in whom the spirit of institutions seemed to find their fullest expression. Often fondly called the encyclopaedia of contemporary Indian history, current affairs and constitutional norms, Mukherjee, who died after a chest infection and long related illnesses at Delhi’s Army Referral Hospital on Monday, indeed leaves a void in Indian polity never to be filled. A , man who could be the accessible Pranabda to all and sundry, and still inspire awe and respect—the eminence grise who could admonish anyone and everyone, whenever he thought it fit. When he took oath as President in July 2012—a long way from his humble village in Birbhum, West Bengal, where he walked miles PRANAB MUKHERJEE through rice fields to reach his school—he was expected to be a the land, the much coveted Bharat Ratna in 2018. However, nor was it the case that he had retreated into a grand mansion of silence. If he chose to intervene, it was not by returning legislation passed by Parliament, like some of his predecessors. Having been on the other side, he knew the sanctity of that space. Instead, he used his constitutionally mandated speeches as President to point to aberrations —thus becoming a vital stabilising figure at a very transitional time. Narendra Modi, Prime Minister ● 11 DECEMBER 1935 Pubs, bars to open today with riders B A L A C H A U H A N @Bengaluru PUBS and bars in the State will be allowed to serve alcohol in their premises for their dine-in customers from September 1 on condition that at no time they would have more than 50 per cent of occupancy The watering holes . have also been instructed to strictly follow the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) guidelines and standard operating procedures (SOPs) for Covid19. The Government Order (GO) issued on Monday cleared the decks for the re-opening of pubs, bars and resto-bars, which were closed since March 24, when the first lockdown was announced as an extreme measure of precaution to contain the spread of the highly OPENING UP Metro services in a phased manner from Sept 7 Religious, social, political gatherings, with a cap of 100 people, from Sept 21 Unrestricted inter-state travel infectious virus. While there is enough emphasis on safety, there is no restriction on business timings. “They are allowed to function as per their licence condition,” said a senior State Excise officer. Excise Commissioner, M Lokesh had presented the proposal on re-opening of pubs and bars last weekend to the government; soon after the MHA Unlock 4.0 P5 guidelines were issued. PLA BID TO CHANGE LAC STATUS QUO FOILED AGAIN M AYA N K S I N G H A N D P U S H K A R B A N A K A R @ New Delhi A fresh confrontation is brewing in Eastern Ladakh with the Indian Army thwarting China’s attempted ingress at a new point to change status quo on the intervening night of August 29 and 30. Army spokesperson Col Aman Anand said the Chinese Army “carried out provocative military movements to change the status quo”. “PLA troops violated previous consensus arrived at during military and diplomatic engagements,” he added. A senior Army officer said, “We were alert to such a step by the Chinese Army as even after a huge mobilsation of troops and equipment they have not been able to make much shift in the LAC.” ● 31 AUGUST 2020 In that sense, much like A B Vajpayee, Mukherjee was a child, a byproduct of parliamentary democracy He truly believed in the . power of debate. He was, indeed, very pained and disturbed in his last years about the decline in parliamentary functioning, its image, centrality and prestige. A quintessential Congress politician, Mukherjee was neither above contradiction nor a stranger to the little intrigues of Delhi politics. He, after all, was witness to several transitions, the Emergency, two assassinations, liberalisation, et al. Though it was the Congress and a reluctant Sonia who let him make an honourable transition to presidentship, he nurtured the hurt of having been passed up for the PM’s job. Once, after Indira Gandhi, when her son Rajiv succeeded her, and not Mukherjee, then the seniormost Cabinet minister. Later, twice, as Sonia chose Manmohan Singh over him in 2004, and did not deem it fit to even make him Home Minister, and when she continued with Singh despite UPA’s dwindling reputation. He had to nearly engineer an escape to Rashtrapati Bhavan lest he be stuck in a party with a generation closer to his daughter Sharmistha’s age group, some of whom had neither the savvy nor the humbleness to learn the ropes. No one, however, understood his mind as much as Sonia, who once famously said she couldn’t think of a CWC meeting without “Pranabda”. SESSION NORMS Covid negative certificate must for legislators A S H W I N I M S R I PA D @Bengaluru WITH just a few weeks to go for the Karnataka legislature session, both Assembly and Council secretariats may insist on legislators and officials attending the session to carry Covid-negative certificates before entering the Houses. The State government has decided to hold the session from September 21 for ten days at the Vidhana Soudha. Secretariat officials have already begun preparations and are taking several precautionary measures, including putting up fibre sheets between two seats to avoid crossinfection among members. Also, sanitiser bottles will be placed at each table. To avoid crowding at Vidhana Soudha, the public will not be allowed to witness the session this time, P5 sources said. EXPRESS READ States can decide on quota for docs serving in remote areas The Supreme Court on Monday held that states are empowered to make special provisions for granting quota in admissions in PG courses to government doctors serving in remote areas. SC asks Mallya to appear before it on Oct 5 in contempt case The SC on Monday directed businessman Vijay Mallya to appear before it on October 5 while dismissing his plea seeking review of the 2017 verdict which held him guilty of contempt. BALANCING ACT Tough SC language but token fine for Bhushan K A N U S A R D A @ New Delhi THE Supreme Court on Monday imposed a token fine of `1 on senior advocate Prashant Bhushan after his conviction for contempt of court for his two tweets criticising the present Chief Justice of India and his predecessors and said it was not afraid of either sentencing or de- barring him from practice. Hours later, Bhushan said he will respectfully pay the penalty while reserving the right to seek review of the conviction and sentencing. A three-judge bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said, “We are not afraid of sentencing the contemnor either with imprisonment or from debarring him from the practice. His conduct reflects adamance and ego, and no remorse is shown for the harm done to the institution to which he belongs.” Bhushan was directed to pay the token penalty by September 15, failing which he will have to undergo simple imprisonment of three months and will be disbarred from practicing before the apex court for three years. -100 Crude oil 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 -56.8 -80 Coal MANGALURU TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 01, 2020 `7.00 PAGES 12 CITY EDITION -84.8 -15.8 5.6 -43.3 -22.4 -40.7 Metallic minerals -38.3 -60 9.6 17.9 2.4 Electricity -40 -9.5 7.3 3 Manufacturing -6.8 Steel -20 1 11.9 Mining -15 0 10.4 Bank credits -6.5 5 Bank deposits 2.6 Cement 20 FY21 Q1 Commercial vehicles FY20 Q1 Sharpest-ever first quarter shrink in GDP S U N I T H A N AT T I revisions to toss shocking de-growth grenades later. Policy watcher Proof Anil NDIA’S first quarter GDP shrunk to a Sood offers some proof. Take inventory , level unknown in our economic his- which should have seen depletion betory At 23.9%, it’s the sharpest con- cause production was shut for two . traction since 1996 when we began bean- months. Instead, it recorded a quarterly counting quarterly data. Assuming a increase similar to last year at about 5-6% trendline growth, the effective out- `60,000 crore. Ditto consumption spendput loss is upwards `10 lakh crore. That’s ing, which Sood thinks could be sharper the national output lost, perhaps, forev- than what’s captured in Monday’s provier, as Covid-19 cut the economy fiercer sional estimates. than a Samurai blade. Moreover, given the unglamIn absolute numbers, real orous state of the July core Third-worst GDP punched in at `26.9 lakh sector data, chances are we figures in the crore, down from `35 lakh are already in a recession world so far crore last year. Worryingly, though the official word will India’s figures are nominal GDP -- widely used in be out only in November. In the third-worst govermment estimates -- connearly seven decades, we’ve among 50-plus tracted 20.6% or from `44.8 seen only four years of negacountries that lakh crore to `35.6 lakh crore. tive growth, but economic punhave released Just as misfortune conspires dits are entering heavy discustheir GDP numbers with bad luck during crises, sions not about recession so far. Analysts several key metrics pounded (which they seem certain of), found the impact each other into the ground but when the worst will be beof the lockdown leaving Asia’s third-largest hind us, so recovery can way higher than economy in a quicksand with begin. anticipated both demand and supply side Chief economic adviser K V contraction serving as witnesses. Subramanian concluded that India was On the supply side, all but agriculture experiencing a V-shaped recovery with saw de-growth with some like construc- high frequency indicators like rail freight tion, manufacturing and services con- and power consumption showing promtracting indecently at 40-50%. Demand ise. But even with some improvements in side too mirrored this with investments next three quarters, several believe, FY21 shrinking 47%, while consumer spend- growth FY21 could be beyond -5%. ing contracting 26%. Like in the past, The choice for the government will be government expenditure saved the day whether consumption or investment with 16.4% growth, still it’s an impolite side needs to be pushed. Given the limincrease given the pandemic and the sov- ited fiscal space and the need to stimuereign’s role of riding to everyone’s res- late growth, economists believe a decue. That said, excluding government mand or consumption-led recovery is spending, GDP would have contracted crucial for the economy, but that reeven worse by 30%. quires government measure to arrest But economists believe the latest data job losses and increase disposable inFULL COVERAGE: P10 betrays the inferno inside as they expect comes. I
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01 September 2020 of The New Indian Express-Mangaluru