HYDERABAD SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 20, 2020 `8.00 PAGES 24 LATE CITY EDITION 66% OF FOOD GRAINS MEANT FOR MIGRANTS NEVER DISTRIBUTED The Centre says only 34% of food grains allocated to stranded migrants could be distributed till August 31 2.67 LAKH MT OF FOOD GRAINS GIVEN AWAY STATES IDENTIFIED 2.8 CR BENEFICIARIES In May, the Centre had allocated eight lakh tonnes of food grains under the Atma Nirbhar Bharat package for migrant workers stranded due to the lockdown. However, till August 31, only about 2.67 lakh metric tonnes of grains were distributed. In the meantime, there were many reports of stranded migrant workers dying of starvation | P7 ■ ■ ■ In the absence of data on stranded migrants, the govt put the number of estimated beneficiaries at 8 cr (10% of 80 cr migrants) Later, the state governments put the number of stranded migrants who could benefit from the scheme at 2.8 crore Until August 31, grains were distributed to about 2.67 lakh people 5 kg OF FOOD GRAINS PER MIGRANT PER MONTH UNDER THE PACKAGE 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 TRS Elders to oppose ‘unjust’ Farm Bill tooth and nail V V BA L A K R I S H N A @ Hyderabad Members of various farmers’ organisations stage a protest against the Central government over agriculture-related ordinances, in Patiala on Saturday | PTI Protests mount as RS to take up Farm Bills today BJP reaches out to regional parties, Cong wants select committee to peruse Bills E X P R ESS N E WS S E RV I C E @ New Delhi THE Rajya Sabha is set to witness noisy scenes on Sunday as three contentious farm Bills will come up for discussion and voting. While the Centre is reaching out to regional parties to muster support, the Opposition wants the Bills referred to a select committee for further deliberation. The farm Bills in question are Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill; Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill; and, Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill. While the Centre hopes the Bills will sail through, it is going to be a numbers game as some regional parties have not indicated which way they will vote. Plus, around two dozen Rajya Sabha members are absent on health grounds, which will bring down the strength of the House. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has issued a whip to its MPs to be present on Sunday In . the House of 245 with two vacancies, the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has 111 while the Opposition has around 100. The Biju Janata Dal, YSR Congress, and the AIADMK have previously supported the Centre and are expected to extend support this time too but NDA ally Shiromani Akali Dal has announced it will vote against the Bills. Considering the far-reaching impact of the proposed laws on the farming community, the Opposition wants the Bills to be discussed threadbare and states’ inputs also be taken into account, as agriculture is a state subject. Congress leader K C Venugopal has submitted a notice to the Rajya Sabha secretariat to refer the Bill to the select committee. A few other MPs have also given similar notices. The Congress has appealed to other opposition parties to vote against the Bill. The party has also called a meeting of its all general secretaries, state incharges and the six-member advisory committee to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi to NUMBERS GAME A look at which way various parties are expected to vote 245 2 Total strength of RS Vacancies POLITICAL PARTIES OPPOSING THE BILLS Congress 40 Trinamool Congress 9 Telangana Rashtra Samithi 7 Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam 7 Shiv Sena 3 Rashtriya Janata Dal 5 Shiromani Akali Dal 3 Samajwadi Party 8 Aam Aadmi Party 3 Bahujan Samaj Party 4 Left parties 6 Jharkhand Mukti Morcha 1 Nationalist Congress Party 4 Total 100 PARTIES IN SUPPORT Bharatiya Janata Party 86 Biju Janata Dal 9 Yuvajana Sramika Rythu 6 Congress Party Telugu Desam Party 1 All India Anna Dravida 9 Munnetra Kazhagam Total 111 Status of some smaller parties having a dozen MPs not known 14 On leave due to ill health 8 Rajya Sabha MPs tested positive discuss the future course of action. Other opposition parties are also shaping strategy to oppose the farm Bills. While the Centre has insisted the Bills will help small and marginal farmers sell their agriculture produce at competitive price, the Opposition says the move will do away with the minimum support price (MSP) system and benefit only big corporates. Claiming the farm Bills undermine the food security system, Congress leader P Chidambaram on Saturday urged Opposition parties to collectively oppose the Bills so that they do not become law in their present form. VIRUS THREAT MAY CUT SHORT MONSOON SESSION New Delhi: As Covid-19 cases among MPs rise, official sources said the ongoing monsoon session of Parliament is likely to be curtailed and may end by the middle of next week. A final decision will soon be taken by the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs. After some MPs, including Union minister Nitin Gadkari, tested positive for Covid-19 during the session, some opposition parties conveyed that conducting the full 18-day session could be a risky affair. The government is seriously considering their suggestion, sources said TRS MPs will vote against the Farm Bill, 2020 in Rajya Sabha, when it is introduced in the Upper House on Sunday . The Bill will be unjust to far mers, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao said on Saturday and directed the MPs to vote against it. The pink party has six members in Rajya Sabha. Saying that the Bill will benefit corporate businessmen, Rao wants TRS Parliamentary Party leader K Keshava Rao to oppose it tooth and nail. Though it states that farmers can sell their produce anywhere, the provision will ben- The Farm Bill is a sugar-coated pill and we have to oppose it... The Bill will help corporate eagles to widen their presence across the country and open the doors to private traders K Chandrasekhar Rao, Chief Minister efit traders only, the Chief Minister said. He wondered how farmers would send their produce to other places as the transportation cost is likely to pinch their pockets. The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) supremo further said that the Bill will help the “corporate eagles” to widen their presence across the country and open the doors to private traders. “The Farm Bill is a sugar-coated pill and we have to oppose it,” Rao told the MPs. The Centre had recently reduced the import duty on maize from 50 per cent to 15 per cent and decided to import huge quantities. “It has already imported 75 lakh tonnes of maize. What will happen to our farmers?” he asked the Central government. Since the Farm Bill will incur major losses to the agriculture sector and is against the interests of farmers, it should be opposed in Rajya Sabha, the Chief Minister instructed the TRS MPs. Does Centre want to turn ryots into beggars, ask MPs Meanwhile, speaking to reporters in Delhi on Saturday, Keshava Rao and Lok Sabha floor leader Nama Nageswara R a o wo n d e r e d why t h e Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government was being so vindictive and targeting farmers. “Does the Central government want to turn farmers into beg- gars or daily labourers?” they asked. They said three farm-related Bills were adopted in Lok Sabha as the BJP had full strength in the House. “But, we will oppose the Bills in Rajya Sabha. We have also protested against these in Lok Sabha,” Nama said. Even Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal resigned as Union Minister in protest of the Bills, the MPs pointed out. Keshava Rao said if the Bills are adopted, the farmers will not get the minimum support price (MSP) for their produce. “We will vote against the Bill,” he said. 3 HELD IN KERALA, 6 IN BENGAL COVID VACCINE FROM Pak-sponsored Al-Qaeda ANY COUNTRY WILL WORK IN INDIA: CCMB module busted in 2 states D O N I TA J OS E @ Hyderabad AS the world races to discover a vaccine against Covid-19, a piece of good news that has emerged from Hyderabadbased Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) is that a vaccine developed in any part of the world can prove equally useful in India. The reason behind this is that the strain of the novel Coronavirus widely prevalent in India is the same as the one in most parts of the world — i.e., it belongs to the A2a clade — CCMB researchers have found. The researchers report that the localised mutant strain of the virus discovered in India in the initial months of the pandemic, the A3i clade, is becoming less and less prevalent — from 40 per cent a few months ago to 18 per cent now. It is mostly limited to Delhi. This is expected to decrease further. The analysis was published in the Open Forum For Infectious Diseases (OFID) by Oxford Academic under the title — ‘A distinct phylogenetic cluster of Indian SARSCoV-2 isolates’. As the virus strain in India belongs to the globally prevalent A2a clade, which is known for high infectivity but not severity or death, it is being looked at as good news because world over vaccine development is happening to counter this particular strain of the virus. This means that if any country successfully comes out with a vaccine, it will be of use in India as well. CONTINUED ON P4 Centre pats TS for low mortality rate E N S @ Hyderabad THE Centre on Saturday complimented the Telangana government for managing the Covid-19 pandemic efficiently and maintaining a low fatality rate as compared to the national average. Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal and Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba held a video conference with Chief Secretaries of 12 States and enquired about the steps taken to contain the virus. CONTINUED ON P4 E X P R ESS N E WS S E RV I C E @ New Delhi/Kolkata/Kochi Plan of attack THE National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Saturday busted a Pakistan-sponsored Al-Qaeda module and arrested nine suspected terrorists from West Bengal and Kerala. A preliminary probe found that the suspects, radicalised by agents based in Pakistan through social media, were preparing to carry out attacks targeting vital installations in multiple locations, including the national capital. Acting on a tip-off from the central intelligence agencies, the NIA carried out simultaneous early-morning raids in West Bengal’s Murshidabad district and Kerala’s Ernakulam district. Six suspects were nabbed from West Bengal and the other three from Kerala. Those arrested in Kerala had migrated there from Bengal. A preliminary probe found that the suspects, radicalised by Pak agents, were preparing to carry out attacks targeting vital installations in India Hire-and-fire norms for cos with less than 300 workers E X P R ESS N E WS S E RV I C E @ New Delhi THE Centre on Saturday introduced three legislative proposals of the labour ministry in the Lok Sabha, allowing companies with up to 300 workers to adopt the controversial hireand-fire policy . Earlier, only companies with less than 100 employees were allowed to do retrench workers without government permission. The proposed changes are aimed at giving flexibility to state governments to frame industry-friendly labour laws. The three legislative proposals are the Occupational Safety Health and Working Condi, tions Code, 2020; the Code of Social Security 2020; and, , the Industrial Relations Code. The Code on Wages Bill was passed last year. Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar withdrew similar bills which were introduced last year, which were referred to the Parliamentary standing comm i t t e e. T h e O p p o s i t i o n slammed the government for trying to make radical changes in labour laws without holding consultations with stakeholders. Cong ress MP Manish Tewari said the mandatory pre-legislative consultation hasn’t been held for the three bills. He also stressed that there are definition nightmares in the bills. RSP MP N K Premchandran said the bills are extensive, and the copies of the bills should have been provided to the MPs two days in advance. Congress MP Shashi Tha- roor said the bills fail to address the interests of the interstate workers. He singled out provisions to allow the states and the Centre to lower the threshold for lay off and retrenchments. He also noted that the bills are discriminatory for there’s no mention of , women’s welfare. However, Gangwar said the government has accommodated 74% of the recommendations of the Parliamentary standing committee, adding that 29 labour laws have been simplified into four labour codes. NIA’s Kochi unit was monitoring them for a week. The six men arrested from Murshidabad district are Najmus Sakib, Abu Sufiyan, Mainul Mondal, Leu Yean Ahmed, Al Mamun Kamal and Atitur Rehman. The three others rounded up from Kerala are Murshid Hasan, Iyakub Biswas and Mosaraf Hossen. The men were in the final stages of procuring arms and ammunition to carry out the attacks, an NIA official said. The sleuths recovered sharp weapons, countrymade pistols and explosives. P5 2,123 NEW COVID-19 CASES, NINE MORE DEATHS ACROSS TELANGANA PAGE 4 WITH THIS ISSUE INDIA’S MOST POWERFUL STAR PLUS 12 PAGES INTERNATIONAL CULTURAL ICON The judge who let her judgments do the talking JUSTICE RUMA PAL & DHVANI MEHTA IN India, we are not used to public outpourings of grief at the demise of judges. The passing of a judge is marked by respectful tributes, usually from the bar and bench, editorials celebrating the judge’s career, and perhaps a memorial lecture that attempts to preserve their legacy We might wonder, . then, at the overwhelming sadness with which the news of US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death at the age of 87 has been met. This is partially explained by the fundamentally different nature of judicial appointments in the US and the intensely political role in which judges are cast. Justice Ginsburg believed her very life to be a bulwark against the liberty-eroding machine of the Trump administration. Days before her death, she told her granddaughter that it was her fervent wish not to be replaced until a new President was installed. Apart from this, however, what is also being mourned is the loss of a feminist icon, an exemplary judge who demonstrated the power of incremental legal change, and one of the last bastions of collegiality in a hyper-polarised age. These are lessons that have resonance across the world today. She continues to be a wise teacher even in death, as her remarkable life gives us the opportunity to reflect on effective ways of protecting human rights. In her later years, Justice Ginsburg became something R U T H BA D E R G I N S B U R G MARCH 15, 1933 - SEPTEMBER 18, 2020 People gather at the Supreme Court in Washington after news broke that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died of metastatic pancreatic cancer | AP of an international cultural icon — the Internet abounds with RBG memes and Tumblrs, children want to dress up like her on Halloween, and she has inspired an action figure (Wrath Hover Ginsbot) on The Cartoon Network. As they describe the phenomenon that is Justice Ginsburg, writers Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik, in their book, The Notorious RBG, give us an insight into a life that stands out for its fearCONTINUED ON P9 lessness.
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