CHENNAI SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 06, 2020 `8.00 PAGES 24 LATE CITY EDITION ANDHRA BEST STATE TO DO BUSINESS: GOVT RANKINGS U.P. AT NUMBER 2, TELANGANA DROPS TO 3RD Andhra has topped the ease of doing business rankings 2019, prepared by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry Uttar Pradesh, which ranked 12th in 2018, has come second in the 2019 rankings, while Telangana, which was second, has slipped to the third position. Madhya Pradesh (4th), Jharkhand (5th), Chhattisgarh (6th), Himachal Pradesh (7th), Rajasthan (8th), West Bengal (9th) and Gujarat (10th) are the others states in the top 10 | P10 ■ 12th K’TAKA SLIPS TO 18TH, KERALA TO 28TH ■ ■ Karnataka dropped from 8th to 18th position. Tamil Nadu ranked 14th, slightly bettering its previous year’s rank of 15th Kerala slipped seven places to 28th while Odisha came 34th The ranking is based on implementation of the Centre’s Business Reform Action Plan 2018-19, which comprises 181 reform points RANK FOR DELHI, UP FROM 23RD IN THE PREVIOUS YEAR 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 Insurance body moves SC against private hosps for Covid ‘profiteering’ PM-KISAN SCAM Over 42,000 ineligible beneficiaries in 2 districts S U M I S U K A N YA D U T TA @ New Delhi R S I VA KU M A R @ Vellore/Tiruvannamalai THERE are over 42,000 ineligible beneficiaries of the PM Kisan scheme in Tiruvannamalai and Vellore regions, a probe has revealed. Following uproar over a possible scam, officials of the agriculture and revenue departments launched a probe. “Around 32,000 ineligible persons benefitted through the scheme in Tiruvannamalai alone,” said Collector KS Kandasamy “We have be. gun the process to retrieve the money from the accounts. So far, we have collected `2.25 crore. All cash transfers made into these accounts since April 1 have come under our scrutiny .” The Collector added that the bank officials had partially frozen these accounts, by stopping withdrawals. Meanwhile, field officers are tracking those people who have already withdrawn the amount, to persuade them to return the cash. The combined Vellore region has 10,000 ineligible beneficiaries, said a senior official. From them, `35 lakh has been recovered. TNIE had earlier reported how the scam happened – a few government officials convinced the public to apply for the scheme, though they did not qualify for it. Officials probing the scam suspect it could have happened across 13 districts. Meanwhile, a woman heading a self-help group in Tiruvannamalai has been arrested in connection with the scam by the CB-CID. The woman, identified as Jeeva (35), has been remanded in judicial custody. She is believed to have facilitated enrolment of ineligible farmers, CB-CID sources said. DEFENCE DIPLOMACY Defence Minister Rajnath Singh during a meeting with Uzbekistan’s Minister of Defence, Major General Kurbanov Bakhodir Nizamovich, in Moscow on Saturday | PTI BORDER TENSION India draws the red line, nudges China to behave Defence Minister Rajnath Singh tells his Chinese counterpart to learn to respect LAC, avoid making attempts to change status quo PLA abducted five Indians from Arunachal Pradesh: Cong MLA China’s People’s Liberation Army has abducted five people from Arunachal Pradesh, Congress MLA Ninong Ering said on Saturday. Narrating the incident on Twitter, the lawmaker claimed a similar incident had happened a few months ago. According to local media reports, the incident occurred at Nacho forest area in Upper Subansiri district. The persons - Toch Singkam, Prasat Ringling, Dongtu Ebiya, Tanu Baker and Ngaru Diri – had gone out for hunting, which is a very common practice in the area. Two others managed to escape and informed others, a local daily reported, quoting the relative of one of the abductees | P7 Indian Army rescues 3 Chinese nationals who lost their way Amid the standoff in eastern Ladakh with the PLA, the Indian Army recently came to the rescue of three stranded Chinese citizens at Sikkim border and assisted them in their safe return. “The three Chinese citizens lost their way near Sikkim at an altitude of 17,500 feet on Sept 3. The Indian troops helped them to return safely,” said the Indian Army. The Army personnel were prompt in protecting them – two men and a woman — from the vagaries of extreme altitude. “Realising danger to their lives in sub-zero temperatures, the soldiers immediately reached out with medical assistance, food and warm clothes,” said the Army 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 slicing tactics’ and told the Chinese to go back to positions before the end of April. INDIA did not blink once durTalking to TNIE on condiing the two-and-a-half-hour in- tion of anonymity, a serving tense meeting with China on Army officer said the Defence the sidelines of the Shanghai Minister’s statement has reafCooperation Organisation firmed Indian stand on the tersummit in Moscow. Defence ritorial dispute, standoff and Minister Rajnath Singh was as disengagement. “The Statedirect as possible during his in- ment is a clear-cut red line on teraction with his Chinese how much is acceptable and counterpart General what is non-negotiaWei Fenghe, stating Inble,” the officer said. dian forces are deterMeanwhile, in a premined to protect the dictable response, Beicountry’s sovereignty jing blamed New Delhi and territorial for the LAC flare-up. integrity . “The relations beDrawing attention to tween the two counthe fact that Indian tries have been severetroops have always tak- ‘SITUATION ly af fected by the en a responsible apb o rd e r i s s u e. T h e IS VERY proach towards border cause and truth of the NASTY’ management, Singh current tension are US President said China’s aggressive very clear, and the reb e h av i o u r a n d at - Donald Trump sponsibility lies entirehas said the tempts to unilaterally ly with India,” said alter the status quo situation along Wei Fenghe. were in violation of the the India-China A former diplomat, border has been who did not wish to be bilateral agreements. According to experts, ‘very nasty’ and named, said it was imRajnath Singh’s is a that he would portant that India statlove to get strong message to Chied its position. “We involved and na not to escalate mathave seen statements ters any further as In- help. “We stand from many quarters. dia has the capability ready to help. If The latest statement we can do to protect its interests shows that India is not anything, we and will not hesitate to going to listen to Chiwould love to hit back if its national na. We will put our foot get involved,” interests are hurt. down and stand up to he said Indian forces’ strong them,” he said. response to the PLA’s According to B R aggression has rattled the Chi- Deepak, Sinologist and Chairnese leadership, says Lt Gen V person of Centre for Chinese K Chaturvedi (Retd). “The Chi- and South Asian Studies at nese never expected such re- JNU, India’s statement after the sponse from the Indian mili- meeting points to the fact that tary which not only has dug in India will not tolerate any uni, its heels along the Line of Ac- lateral change to the status quo. tual Control (LAC) but is also After Friday’s meeting, Indistrengthening its positions.” an and Chinese defence minisHe added India has success- ters agreed to continue discusfully blocked China’s ‘salami sions on the border issue. P7 Discourage imports, Gadkari tells auto industry A R S H A D K H A N @ New Delhi EIGHTY MORE SPECIAL TRAINS FROM SEPTEMBER 12 They will be in addition to the 230 trains already in operation. Reservations will start on September 10. Railways will run more trains as per demand, Railway Board Chairman V K Yadav said UNION minister Nitin Gadkari on Saturday asked the automobile and components industry to stop depending on imports and start using local substitutes. “I request you, don’t encourage imports,” he said at an event organised by the Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India. However, automobile sector players feel it is easier said than done. “Can we de-link from imports completely? Neither we can nor we should,” said Pawan Goenka, MD, Mahindra & Mahindra, who spoke at the same event. The two statements come in the backdrop of rising tension between India and China and a record fall in demand for automobile products owing to the economic distress induced by the pandemic. India’s automobile industry imports a large chunk of its component requirements from overseas with over 25%, valued at $4.2 billion, coming from China. Experts say any attempt at blocking Chinese items would hamper the supply chain. “We will have to continue importing to get things that some other countries can do better than us. We should avoid knee-jerk reaction or ask for bans of imports or any such acts” Goenka said. Explaining the rationale be- MANY AUTO FIRMS MOVING FACILITIES OUT OF CHINA TO COVER GEOPOLITICAL RISKS: SIAM Many companies in China are relocating their plants to other countries to cover geopolitical risks, said Kenichi Ayukawa, the newly elected president of the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers. Ayukawa, who heads Maruti Suzuki in India, said the Indian automobile and auto components sectors must bring those investments to India hind his call to cut down on imports, Gadkari said the domestic components sector has the potential to develop and export its products to the whole world. He also highlighted the fact that the Centre has taken several steps to encourage Indian companies to export more, and that the components sector has an opportunity to take advantage of those measures. “Within five years, we can make India the number one automobile manufacturing hub in the world,” he said. Meanwhile, Tata Motors MD Guenter Butschek said regional lockdowns and a shortage of skilled manpower are the new challenges facing the automotive industry . THE alleged profiteering by private hospitals in India through the treatment of Covid-19 patients has forced the statutory body of insurance companies to seek the Supreme Court’s intervention. In an affidavit filed before the apex court a few days ago, the General Insurance Council (GIC) alleged that private hospitals are overcharging insured patients, even in cases where there are no complications or pre-existing illnesses. The GIC said its members have received more than 1 lakh Covid-related insurance claims so far. It warned that reckless profiteering by private hospitals, if left unchecked, will lead to insurance premiums shooting up in the near future. While there have been many complaints of private hospitals overcharging Covid-19 patients, this is the first time an insurance body has expressed concerns. “It is respectfully submitted that in order to bring confidence and to have clarity on the billing structure, there is a need for proper monitoring of the treatment costs by the private hospitals and take suitable action against the violators,” the affidavit said. The plea cites cases of hospitals overcharging insured patients. One of the cases mentioned in the affidavit is that of a Chennai hospital, which billed `14 lakh for the Covid treatment, including 35-day hospitalisation, of an insured person. When objected by the insurance company, the final cost, was brought down to less than `4.5 lakh. The GIC also alleged that private hospitals are charging higher than normal rates for consumables like PPE kits. DESPITE repeated assurances by leaders in both parties that all is well, the war of words has resumed between the ruling AIADMK and its ally BJP after a brief ceasefire. Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar sent out a sharp statement on Saturday, warning the ruling party’s allies to adhere to the alliance dharma. “Who is he to command us?” asked the minister when reacting to a statement made by BJP State president L Murugan, who had said that, “Ministers must not make comments that would affect the ruling party’s ties with the BJP.” Jayakumar added that his party had been adhering to the alliance dharma. “We never deviated from the dharma, not even slightly The . views being expressed by allies must be healthy When one side . keeps heaping criticisms, how can the other side remain mute spectators? We are being forced to express our views to counter those criticisms,” said the minister. “Our late leaders MGR and Amma have taught us that we should never deliberately drag others into a confrontation. But when others do that, we should give it back.” The minister’s statements are part of a series of salvos being fired from both sides. The friction became apparent after New pecking order USA 64.16 lakh India 41.09 lakh Brazil 40.93 lakh 89,237 New Covid-19 cases were added on Saturday. This is more than the total Covid-19 cases reported in mainland China since the outbreak in December 2019 1,038 more deaths were reported on Saturday, according to Worldometer US continues to be worst-hit country in the world with a total virus load of 64.16 lakh cases and 1.92 lakh deaths INDIA New Delhi: The Indian Council of Medical Research on Friday released a revised Covid19 testing protocol, permitting testing on demand for the first time. It recommended that rapid antigen tests be done on all people living in containment zones | P7 8.61 ACTIVE CASES LAKH 31.77 RECOVERED KERALA MAY TEST EVERYONE IN CONTAINMENT ZONES LAKH T’Puram: Kerala may soon test every person living in its containment zones as Covid-19 cases in the state continue to rise. At present, testing of entire population is limited to high-risk areas. On Saturday, the state reported 2,655 new Covid-19 cases | P5 70,673 DEATHS Source: Worldometer Rules relaxed, a tad more in TN Even as the State continues to clock near 6,000 cases everyday, the State government had announced relaxations that kicked in earlier this month. Here’s how your city is going to open up this Monday BACK TO ‘NORMALCY’ Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami will hold discussions with the health experts committee on September 8 at the Secretariat, and is likely to discuss the additional precautionary measures to be taken, post resumption of bus and train services The government on Saturday issued an official notification permitting restaurants to function from 6 am to 8 pm with air conditioning facility; take away (parcel food) will be permitted till 9 pm Madras High Court has instructed advocates to wear plain white shirts along with a plain neckband during physical court hearings Suburban train services likely to resume on Monday Govt clarified that it has not yet taken a decision on reopening of schools UNDER THE LENS FRESH CASES DEATHS ACTIVE CASES TALLY 5,870 61 51,583 4,57,697 BUFFET EXPRESS VOICES W I T THE NEW SUNDAY I S I S S U E H TH MAGA ZINE PUSHPESH PANT RAMANIAM S VAIDHYASUB SATHYA SARAN RAVI SHANKAR SHINIE ANTONY VASUDEV SADHGURU JAGGI SEPTEMBER ‘Respect coalition dharma’: Ceasefire ends as allies resume war of words @ Chennai India has overtaken Brazil to become the world’s second-worst in Covid-19 cases | P7 ON-DEMAND VIRUS TESTING UNDER NEW ICMR GUIDELINES RIFT WIDENS EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE India 2nd most Covid-affected country now VP Duraisamy a vice-president , of the saffron party’s State unit, made a statement that BJP would lead the alliance in the State. A response to that claim came from the top – when Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami made it clear that only his party would lead the alliance for Assembly polls. The tussle resurfaced over Vinayaka Chaturthi celebrations, as the BJP insisted on carrying out processions when the government banned it keeping Covid in mind. The icing on the cake was a remark by minister Sellur K Raju last week: “BJP may be ‘Raja’ in Delhi, but here they are just a kid” – a statement that was refuted by Raja. 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