MOST INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE Prime Minister Narendra Modi is among Time magazine’s 100 most influential people 2020 list, released on Wednesday Kamala Harris CEO of Alphabet Inc SAMBALPUR l THURSDAY l SEPTEMBER 24, 2020 l `7.00 l PAGES 16 l CITY EDITION Megan Thee Stallion: American rapper, singer and songwriter Giannis Antetokounmpo: Greek professional basketball player for the Milwaukee Bucks of the National Basketball Association Ravindra Gupta Julie K Brown: American Indian-origin investigative journalist with the biologist Miami Herald PIONEERS TITANS Sundar Pichai CEO of Alphabet Inc Dwyane Wade: American former professional basketball player MacKenzie Scott: American novelist, billionaire, and venture philanthropist Jerome Powell: Chairman of the Federal Reserve ICONS B L AC K L I V ES M AT T E R F O U N D E RS ARTISTS Lina Attalah Bilkis Shaheen Bagh protester Alicia Garza Patrisse Cullors Opal Tometi Co-founder and chief editor of Mada Masr, an independent online Egyptian newspaper Ayushmann Khurrana Bollywood actor Michael B. Jordan: American actor and producer Selena Gomez: American singer, songwriter, actress, and producer Ali Wong: Stand-up comedian, actress, and writer Xi Jinping Chinese president Donald Trump US President Angela Merkel Chancellor of Germany Nancy Pelosi Speaker, House of Reps Narendra Modi Prime Minister of India Joe Biden US Presidential candidate John Roberts US Supreme Court Chief Justice Yousef Al Otaiba UAE’s ambassador to the US TIME’S FIVE CATEGORIES: PIONEERS, ARTISTS, LEADERS, TITANS & ICONS 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 Dassault yet to fulfil Rafale offset obligations, says CAG Opposition parties mount pressure against farm Bills | P9 PM Modi meets CMs of 7 states to review Covid situation | P9 HC relief for Arun Shourie in alleged divestment scam in Rajasthan | P9 Rly MoS Suresh Angadi dies of Covid-19 New Delhi: Minister of State for Railways Suresh Angadi, 65, on Wednesday succumbed to Covid-19. He was undergoing treatment at AIIMS, Delhi after testing positive for the coronavirus on September 11 IPL MATCH TODAY vs Royal Challengers Bangalore will face Kings XI Punjab in their second match in Dubai on Thursday. Bangalore have won their opening match while Punjab lost their first in a Super Over. Opener Devdutt Padikkal will be on focus again for Virat Kohli’s men, while leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi will the one to watch out for for Punjab. ODDS: KXIP 6/5 RCB 8/11 LIVE: STAR SPORTS1/ HOTSTAR @ 7.30PM M AYA N K S I N G H @ New Delhi Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad and other Opposition leaders before addressing the media, after a meeting with President Ramnath Kovind over the recent farm sector reform bills, in New Delhi on Wednesday | PTI RS clears 15 Bills in 2 days amidst Oppn’s boycott Parliament’s nod to labour code revamp Bills; 50 laws approved in both Houses; session over R I C H A S H A R M A @ New Delhi OVER 100 per cent productivity in a truncated monsoon session. That is a landmark the Rajya Sabha could have been proud of had the situation been normal. But the target was achieved amid the absence of the Opposition, which has been boycotting the session since Tuesday over the suspension of eight members from the House for unruly behaviour. As many as 15 weighty Bills were passed between Tuesday and Wednesday in the space of nearly seven-and-a-half hours in the Upper House. In other words, one bill every 30 minutes. Legislative agenda wrapped up, both Houses were then adjourned sine die. As for the Opposition, it held a silent march on Parliament’s premises over three farm sector reform bills and later met President Ramnath Kovind to request him return the “unconstitutional” legislations. Eighteen political parties had earlier written to Kovind expressing concern over the manner in which the farm bills were passed in the House of Elders. However, in view of the Covid-19 situation, only Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad got to meet the President. In just 10 sittings, the Rajya Sabha passed as many as 25 Bills. An equal number of Bill were passed in the Lok Sabha. “The productivity of the House POLITICAL NEXUS Deepika gets NCB’s call; Bihar top cop takes VRS E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Mumbai THE politics surrounding the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput got curiouser on Wednesday as the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) summoned a few Bollywood A-listers, including Deepika Padukone, for questioning and Bihar Director General of Police Gupteshwar Pandey sought voluntarily retirement amid speculation on a JD(U) ticket for the forthcoming elections. Pandey had stoutly defended the Nitish government’s demand for a thorough probe into the death of Bihar-born Rajput and the role of girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty in it. The NCB probe into the Bollywood-drug nexus is a fallout of Rajput’s death. It has asked Padukone to appear before it on Friday and Sara Ali Khan and Shraddha Ka, poor on Saturday Rakul Preet Singh, Rajput’s talent man. ager Shruti Modi and designer Simone Khambata have been directed to appear before the NCB on Thursday P10 . the announcement FACTIONALISM Even before intense factionalismof bypoll date, IN BALASORE has come to the fore in the BJD’s district unit where a party BJD AHEAD OF Balasoreconference scheduled on workers’ be BYPOLL Wednesday had toP3 cancelled at the last moment | during this session has been 100.47 per cent,” Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu said in his valedictory address. Prominent among the eight Bills cleared in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday were three on labour code reforms, despite floor leaders of 12 Opposition parties jointly urging Naidu not to let them pass without proper discussion. “These Bills affect the livelihood of crores of workers across the country It will be a great blot . on our democracy to have these bills pass unilaterally today the ,” Opposition wrote. Referring to it, Naidu cited precedents when business was taken up as per schedule and Bills approved during boycott or walkout by some members. Naidu said had the letter suggested the postponement of the Bill by stating the Opposition members would attend the House later, he would have discussed the request with the government. But there was no such assurance, so he decided to go ahead with the bills, he said. Replying to the debate on the three labour reforms bills, minister Santosh Gangwar said the labour reforms will provide a transparent system to suit the changed business environment. As for the Lok Sabha, it “registered 167 per cent productivity, spending 68 per cent of the time on the legislative business,” said Speaker Om Birla. BMS hits out at Modi govt for passing labour bills EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi THE Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), an RSS affiliate, on Wednesday hit out at the Centre for ignoring its objections to the labour reform bills. It accused the BJP-led government of pandering to the whims of corporates while turning a blind eye to the needs of employees. “The BMS and other trade unions had given detailed objections to the previous draft of the Industrial Relations Code. None of the objections raised by the BMS and other trade unions as well as the recommendations of PSCL (Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labour) in favour of workers was considered in the revised draft,” said BMS secretary-general Vrijesh Upadhyay . He alleged the Industrial Relations Code is tilted too much in favour of employers and bureaucrats. “The last-minute mutilations will adversely affect industrial peace in the country. Some impor tant changes like that on standing orders were not even discussed in the consultation process, which is a violation of the ILO Convention 144 ratified by Indian Parliament,” he added. The BMS said the new law is a clear attempt to diminish the role of trade unions. The Sangh said the decision to allow companies with up to 300 employees to fire workers and close down units without government permission will promote “ease of closing busin e ss, n ot e ase of d o i n g business”. THE Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on Wednesday questioned India’s offset policy and came down heavily on foreign vendors for not fulfilling their offset commitments. In its report titled ‘CAG’s Performance Audit Report on Management of Defence Offset’, the national auditor pointed out that French aerospace major Dassault Aviation and European missile maker MBDA, which supplied armaments for the Rafale jets, have not yet discharged their 30% offset obligation. India received the delivery of the first batch of five Rafale fighter jets from the French manufacturer on July 29. They were formally inducted to Indian Air Force on September 10. The total worth of Rafale deal is `59,000 crore. Opposition parties had alleged irregularities in the fighter jet deal. “In many cases, it was found that the foreign vendors made various offset commitments to qualify for the main supply con- Policy review call In view of the fact that the offset policy has not yielded the desired results, the CAG suggested the government review the policy tract but later, were not earnest about fulfilling these commitments,” the financial watchdog said in its report. Giving example of the Dassault Aviation, the CAG said, “In the offset 4 contract relating to 36 Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft, the vendors Dassault Aviation and MBDA initially proposed (September 2015) to discharge 30% of their offset obligation by offering high technology to DRDO.” But they have not confirmed the technology transfer till date, it observed. DRDO wanted to obtain technical assistance for the indigenous development of engine (Kaveri) for the Light Combat Aircraft Tejas. Till date, the vendor has not confirmed the transfer of this technology, it said. As per the deal, the company has to invest 50% of the worth of the deal back in India as offset obligations. The investment amounted to around `30,000 crore for which a numbers of Indian firms, including Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence, were chosen. This became a major controversy since the company was totally new in this sector. India adopted the offset policy for defence capital purchases in 2005, according to which all capital purchases above `300 crore through imports will have the foreign vendor invest at least 30% of the value of the purchase in India. OERC hikes retail power tariff by 20 paise per unit EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Bhubaneswar Power consumers in the State will have to pay higher power tariff of 20 paise per unit for the next six months of the current fiscal with effect from October 1, 2020. The Odisha Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC) on Wednesday revised the bulk supply power tariff for Gridco by six per cent with consequential effect on the retail supply tariff (RST). The average rise in RST for 2020-21 will be 3.90 per cent (annually) over 2019-20. Retail consumers except Kutir Jyoti (BPL consumers) and agricultural consumers will thus pay 20 paise more per unit in energy charge. The average cost of supply for Discoms has increased from 499.71 paise/unit in 2019-20 to 524.62 paise/unit for 2020-21. The Commission has fixed 270 paise/unit up to 50 units, 450 paise/unit for consumption above 50 units and up to 200 units, 550 paise/unit above 200 units and up to 400 units and 590 paise/unit above 400 units in the domestic category . The two per cent rebate over and above normal rebate will be allowed on the bill to the LT domestic and single phase general purpose category of consumers who pay through digital means. This rebate will be applicable on the current month bill if paid in full, the order said. The rural LT domestic consumers will get 5 paise per unit rebate in addition to existing prompt payment rebate if they pay the bill in time. The regulator revisited the tariff order issued on April 22 following an application by Gridco, the bulk power supplier, requesting for revision in the annual revenue requirement and bulk supply price (BSP) in view of the huge gap between revenue requirement and income. The Commission had approved net ARR of `8,274.98 crore with an average BSP of 271.09 P/U against Gridco’s proposal of `11,243.72 crore (BSP rate of 398.89P/U). The gap in the ARR has been allowed by the Commission to provide relief to the consumers considering Covid-19 situation. The regulator had assured to revisit the order if the situation improves during the current financial year. “Even after revision, the gap in the ARR of Gridco remained at `341.15 crore against `660.15 crore allowed earlier for this year,” the OERC order said. The average BSP is revised to 287.70 paise per unit for the next six months as against 271 paise per unit. The average power purchase cost will be 278.57 paise per unit for FY 2020-21 as against 259.88 in FY 2019-20. The Commission had not allowed power tariff hike consecutively for three years since 2018-19. CENTRE ASKS STATE TO STOP THAKURANI MINE OPERATIONS BY SARADA EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Bhubaneswar THE Centre has asked the State Government to stop mining operation at the Thakurani iron ore block in Keonjhar district by Sarada Mines Private Limited (SMPL) and initiate action against the lease-holder for violation of Environment Protection Act, 1986. Writing to the Forest and Environment department, the MoEF&CC advised not to give consent to operate the mines till the project is granted environmental clearance by the State Pollution Control Board. The Ministry has further directed to take action under sections 15/19 of the EPA, 1986 against SMPL for carrying out mining operation without environment clearance (EC) and production of minerals in excess of the EC capacity. “In cases of violation, action will be taken against the project proponent by the respective State or State Pollution Control Board under the provisions of section 19 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 and further, no consent to operate or occupancy certificate will be issued till the project is granted the environmental clearance,” the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) of the Ministry noted in its May 29 meeting. The EAC is of the view that mining operation by Sarada Mines is case of violation and it s h o u l d n o t b e a l l owe d t o operate. The Supreme Court had in January given a relief to SMPL by a l l ow i n g i t t o r e s u m e mining operations at Thakurani ironore mines provided it paid around `933 crore towards environmental compensation to the State Government and gave an undertaking to comply with all the rules, regulations and other mandatory provisions for carrying out mining operations. The matter was examined by the MoEF&CC after receiving complaints from different quarters and representation made by lease holder. The Ministry referred the matter to Ministry of Law which said that the EC granted to Sarada Mines in 2008 had lost validity in 2013-14. “Resumption of mining operation is contrary to the law and direction of the Supreme Court on January 15, 2020,” the L aw M i n i s t r y s a i d a s k i n g MoEF&CC to take appropriate action. The Thakurani mines of SMPL was a supplier of iron ore to Naveen Jindal-led Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) plant. The Centre’s order for closure of Thakurani Mines will seriously impact JSPL and could further aggravate the shortage of ore that secondary suppliers have been complaining about. HC SAYS NO TO TERMINATION OF PREGNANCY OF RAPE SURVIVOR THE Orissa High Court on Wednesday directed the State Chief Secretary to ensure effective implementation of a slew of directions including constitution and establishment of medical boards under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, in all districts P3
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