ASHWIN PRASATH CHENNAI FRIDAY OCTOBER 16, 2020 `7.00 PAGES 12 VELLORE EDITION SIGNS OF INDIA’S VIRUS CURVE FLATTENING AS NEW CASES FALL A sharp decline in the number of fresh Covid-19 cases since mid-September indicates India has crossed the virus peak ACTIVE CASE COUNT DOWN, RECOVERIES UP BUT, THE HORROR MAY NOT BE OVER YET While 92,839 fresh coronavirus cases were recorded every day on an average between September 9 and 15, this has come down to 70,114 new cases per day between October 7 and 13, according to official data. Total active virus cases, too, after reaching a peak of 10.17 lakh on September 18, declined and stood at 8.12 lakh on Thursday morning ■ ■ There has also been a fall in the number of Covid-19 deaths. If on September 29 India registered a record 1,179 deaths in a day, this number has stayed below 800 over the last three days Experts, however, cautioned that number of cases and deaths may rise again, as a possible second wave of infections kicks in 72.8 days TIME FOR COVID-19 CASES TO DOUBLE IN INDIA NOW. IT WAS 25 DAYS IN MID-AUG 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 Climbdown? Centre to borrow for states’ gap A N U R A D H A S H U K L A @ New Delhi THE Centre on Thursday said it will “borrow” up to `1.1 lakh crore in tranches under a special window to bridge states’ GST revenue shortfall. According to a finance ministry statement, the money “will be passed on to states as a back-toback loan in lieu of GST compensation cess releases”. This means, the while the Centre will arrange the money it will , reflect in states’ books. Reacting to the development, Telangana Finance Minister T Harish Rao said, “It is not acceptable to us. The loan amount will be shown in the capital receipts of state governments. So, the burden will be on States.” However, Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac’s office welcomed the development saying the Centre has taken responsibility for the shortfall at least partially. “This climbdown is to be attributed to the stiff opposition by states including Kerala against the two options put forward by the Centre,” said an officer. Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram, too, welcomed it, saying, “If the Centre has decided to borrow the `1.1 lakh crore and extend it to the states as back-to-back loans, I welcome the change of position.” Talking to TNIE, Department of Economic Affairs Secretary Tarun Bajaj sought to downplay the notion that the government has climbed down. “There is no change in the government’s stance. The Centre will borrow from RBI and the amount will be passed on to States as ‘back-to-back loan. This will have no impact on the fiscal deficit of the Central government,” he told TNIE. Clarifying the rationale, another officer explained, “When states borrow directly from RBI, interest rates will depend on states’ ratings. When the Centre borrows and passes on to states, it will ensure the rate of interest is similar for all states.” Divakar Vijayasarathy, founder and managing partner at DVS Advisors LLP, said, “The Centre has stuck to its ground and borrowing in its name only for operational convenience and it should not be construed as the Centre yielding to the request of States.” Twenty-one states have so far chosen the Centre’s special window to borrow money to meet the revenue shortfall. Oppn biggies form Peoples Alliance in J&K To unitedly begin fight for restoring special powers the state had before August 5, 2019 NC chief Farooq Abdullah along with his son Omar and PDP head Mehbooba Mufti during a meeting on the Gupkar Declaration, in Srinagar on Thursday | PTI INDIA, CHINA IN CONFIDENTIAL TALKS TO RESOLVE STAND-OFF P U S H K A R B A N A K A R @ New Delhi EXTERNAL Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Thursday said India and China are engaged in confidential talks to resolve the ongoing border tensions. “Discussions are on. Disengagement is a work in progress. What is going on is something confidential between us and the Chinese, There is not very much that I am in a position to say in public. I certainly do not want to prejudge it,” he said, addressing the Bloomberg India Economic Forum. The minister noted that there has been an unprecedented troop build-up along the LAC. “Can a rising China and rising India find equilibrium? What you see at the border is an expression of that challenge,” he said. CONTINUED ON: P7 F AYA Z W A N I @ Srinagar SOME indications of the revival of political activity in J&K emerged on Thursday as major mainstream Opposition parties like the Mehbooba Mufti-led Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Farooq Abdullah’s National Conference and four others formalised their consolidation by forging a Peoples Alliance to demand restoration of the state’s special status. Fresh from her release from detention after 14 months, Mufti added heft to the meeting convened at Abdullah’s residence on the Gupkar Declaration, which had on August 4, 2019 vowed to safeguard J&K’s spe- cial status — a day before Article 370 was hollowed out. “We have now named it the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration. Ours is a constitutional battle,” Abdullah said, adding the alliance would strive for restoration of the constitutional position of J&K as it existed before August 5 last year. A meeting to evolve an action plan will be held in a few days. “We will struggle for restoration of the rights that were snatched last year from Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh,” said Abdullah, who was the first mainstream leader and former chief minister to be booked under the stringent Public Safety Act after his de- tention on August 5. For her part, Mufti said: “Gupkar Declaration is an amalgamation of NC, PDP PC, , CPI(M), ANC & JKPM jointly striving to restore the rights & dignity of people of J&K The greatest disservice would be reducing it to PDP/NC or two political families.” Thursday’s meeting was also attended by former chief minister Omar Abdullah, Peoples Conference chairman Sajad Gani Lone, J&K Peoples Movement leader Javaid Mustafa Mir and CPI(M) leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami. J&K Congress president Ghulam Ahmed Mir did not attend due to ill health. EXPRESS READ PM condoles death of Palaniswami’s mother NEET results expected to be released today Rajinikanth relents, pays property tax Chennai: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday condoled the death of Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami’s mother Thavusayammal. In a letter, Modi said, “Words can’t describe the void caused in your life. Though she is not physically present anymore, she will continue to live through values she instilled in you.” Chennai: Results of NEET is likely be announced on Friday. It can be checked on nta.ac.in, ntaneet. nic.in. The number of applicants in the State has come down from 1,34,714 in 2019 to 1,17,990 this academic year. While the results were expected on Monday, it was postponed as the NTA was directed to conduct a re-exam on Wednesday following the Supreme Court’s order. The result for both exams will be declared together. Chennai: Settling the property tax row, actor Rajinikanth on Thursday paid the tax, amounting to `6.56 lakh, for his wedding hall. The actor also tweeted, acknowledging his mistake — “We should have appealed to the Corporation regarding the tax demand for Raghavendra marriage hall. We could have avoided the mistake.”
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