VIJAYAWADA l SUNDAY l SEPTEMBER 20, 2020 l `8.00 l PAGES 24 l 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 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 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 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 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 discuss the future course of action. While the Centre has insisted the bills will help small farmers sell their produce at competitive price, the Opposition says the move will do away with the MSP system and benefit only big corporates. 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 WITH THIS ISSUE INDIA’S MOST POWERFUL STAR PLUS 12 PAGES 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 hire-and-fire policy. Earlier, only companies with less than 100 employees were allowed to do retrench workers without gover nment 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 committee. The Opposition slammed the gover nment 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 Tharoor 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. 3 HELD IN KERALA, 6 IN BENGAL Pak-sponsored Al-Qaeda module busted in 2 states E X P R ESS N E WS S E RV I C E @ New Delhi/Kolkata/Kochi 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. In co-ordination with the local police forces, NIA carried out simultaneous early-morning raids in West Bengal’s Murshidabad district and Kerala’s Ernakulam district. Six Govt cancels NDB tenders for road works EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Vijayawada STRESSING that the State government should not only be transparent, but also appear to be transparent, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy directed that tenders called for taking up the first phase of New Development Bank (NDB) funded road development works be cancelled. The Roads and Buildings Department had invited tenders for road works worth `3,000 crore in 13 districts of the State. However, only 25 bids were filed by 14 companies to execute 13 works. Briefing the media here on Saturday Principal Secretary , (R&B) MT Krishna Babu said the due process to call for tenders was followed as per norms while taking up externally-aided projects. “For transparency, the tenders were posted on Government of India’s e-tender platform also. However, there was poor re s p o n s e f ro m b i d d e r s. Though the technical scrutiny might eliminate unqualified bidders, the Chief Minister made it clear that the tender process should be transpar- ent. A section of the media is deliberately carrying misleading reports to raise doubts among people, though the tender process is clean. The CM said there must be no scope for doubts. Hence, he instructed us to cancel the present tenders and go for fresh tenders to ensure transparency,” Krishna Babu said, adding that new tenders will be invit- ‘NO DIFFICULTY IN FILING e-TENDERS’ Refuting the allegations that contractors faced difficulties in filing tenders for NDB works, Principal Secretary (R&B) MT Krishna Babu said all the 25 firms had filed e-tenders.“It is an e-tender. Anyone can participate in it. Is there any evidence that contractors were prevented from filing tenders?” he questioned ed within a week. “We will analyse the reasons for the not so encouraging response to the tenders,’’ he said. The R&B will reach out to the contractors and ensure that all the eligible participate in the fresh tenders. If more contractors participate in the tenders, it will save money for the State exchequer and work quality will also be ensured,’’ he said, adding that all the norms of bidding for World Bank project works are followed in the process. “The WB bidding lays a condition if a `100 crore work is taken up. The contractor should show at least `100 crore turnover in two years of the past five years. This is to ensure that the contractor does not look for release of bills periodically from the government and delay the works,” he said. P4 suspects were nabbed from West Bengal and the other three from Kerala. Those arrested in Kerala had migrated there from Bengal. 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 ammunitions to carry out the attacks, an NIA official said. The sleuths recovered sharp weapons, country-made pistols and explosives. P5 TDP MLA backs Jagan EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Visakhapatnam/Vijayawada IN what could be seen as a major jolt to Telugu Desam in Vis a k h a p a t n a m C i t y, Vi sakhapatnam South MLA Vasupalli Ganesh Kumar, along with his two sons, called on Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy at the latter’s camp office at Tadepalli on Saturday and extended his support to the YSRC government. His sons Saket and Surya joined the YSRC. Ganesh Kumar of TDP was elected to the Assembly from Visakhapatnam South segment in 2014 and 2019 polls. TDP Visakhapatnam rural p r e s i d e n t P a n c h a k a rl a Ramesh Babu quit the party and joined YSRC recently P4 . COVID-19 AP stands 5th in country with 50.3 lakh tests IPL 13 BACK IN YEL-LOVE AGAIN Ambati Rayudu top-scored with 71 as Chennai Super Kings defeated Mumbai Indians by 5 wickets in the IPL opener at Abu Dhabi on Saturday P11 EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Vijayawada ANDHRA Pradesh has stood fifth in the country by conducting over 50 lakh Covid-19 tests after Uttar Pradesh (82 lakh), Tamil Nadu (63 lakh), Maharashtra (56 lakh) and Bihar (53 lakh). AP’s positivity rate of 12.27 per cent is the third highest in the country after Maharashtra and Chandigarh. According to the media bulletin released by the State Command Control Room, 74,595 samples were tested in the 24 hours ending 9 am on Saturday, and out of which 8,218 tested positive. The new cases took the State’s Covid count to 6.17 lakh, the second highest in the country , with Maharashtra topping the list. Major spike in corona cases continued in the twin Godavari districts. Another 1,395 people tested positive in East Godavari, while 1,071 new cases emerged in West Godavari, followed by 736 in Chittoor. Kurnool saw the lowest number of 319 new cases in the State. The recoveries stood on the higher side as 10,820 more patients were discharged from hospitals, which took the total recoveries past the 5.3-lakh mark, leaving over 81,000 active cases. East Godavari recorded the highest recoveries as well as active cases with a total of 72,474 people discharged from hospitals, while 12,292 are still undergoing treatment. Of the total 58 deaths, nine persons fell prey to Covid in Chittoor, followed by seven in Krishna, five each in Anantapur, Guntur, Kadapa and West Godavari, four each in Nellore, Prakasam and Visakhapatnam, three each in East Godavari, Kurnool and Srikakulam and one in Vizianagaram. The State’s Covid toll stood at 5,302. 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 fun- damentally different nature of judicial appointments in the United States 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 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 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 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 even 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 (another affectionate moniker inspired by the late rapper, Notorious B.I.G.), give us an insight into a life that stands out for its decency, integrity, and ultimately, fearCONTINUED ON P9 lessness.
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