tirupati l saturday l October 24, 2020 l `7.00 l PAGES 14 l anantapur EDITION Trump raises a stink about India’s ‘filthy’ air quality “Look at China, how filthy it is. Look at Russia. Look at India. The air is filthy,” US Prez Donald Trump said referring to air pollution ‘US was treated unfairly in climate deal’ Trump said the US pulled out of the 2015 Paris climate deal because it was treated unfairly despite its commitment to spend trillions of dollars, while countries like India got way with poor performance in tackling global warming. According to the Global Carbon Projection, India is the fourth highest emitter of carbon dioxide, while the US is the second largest | P9, 11 729 Civility returns to presidential debate ■ The top four carbon dioxide emitters in the world are China (27%), the US (15)), the European Union (10%) and India (7%) ■ Unlike the first one, the second and final debate between Trump and Joe Biden on Thursday night was more civilised as the two leaders spoke about substantive issues without interruption Air Quality index in Delhi’s anand vihar slipped to ‘hazardous’ category Friday 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 Finance Ministry puts spoke in State’s Polavaram wheel E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Vijayawada The approval of the Revised Cost Estimates (RCE) of the Polavaram Irrigation Project has returned to square one with the Union Finance Ministry saying only `7,053.74 crore (at the 2013-14 price level) remains to be reimbursed, as against the `47,724.74 crore (2017-18 price level) cleared by the Union Ministry of Jal Shakti (MoJS) and expected by the State. As the Finance Ministry asked for confirmation to construe the 2013-14 price level (PL) as the base for the RCE, the ball is back in the court of the Jal Shakti Ministry, which has asked the Polavaram Project Authority (PPA) for a decision. After the Jal Shakti Ministry, which had forwarded the RCE for `47, 724.74 crore (at 2017-18 PL) to the Finance Ministry sent a proposal to release , `2,234.288 crore towards reimbursement of the expenditure made by the State, the Finance Ministry responded noting that the cost of irrigation component of the national project, as of April 1, 2014 (at 2013-14 PL) was only `20,398.61 crore. “The revised cost committee of the MoJS... has appraised the cost of the irrigation com- ponent only of PIP as on April 1, 2014 (at 2013-14 PL) at `20,398.61 crore and the same has the approval of the Minster for Jal Shakti. It has also been confirmed by MoJS that an amount of `4,730 crore has already been incurred on irrigation component of PIP as on April 1, 2014 (at 2013-14 PL). Therefore, the balance as on April 1, 2014 (2013-14 PL) was `15,667.90 crore and the same was to be reimbursed by the government of India,” the Finance Ministry said in its communication. As `8,614.16 crore has already been reimbursed in the last six years since April 1, 2014, the day Polavaram had become a national project, a balance of `7,053.74 crore remains to be reimbursed towards the irrigation component of the project, the Finance Ministry noted. As the ministry also permitted NABARD to raise `2,234.288 crore towards the latest reimbursement, the State will stand to get only `4,819.452 crore, according to the Finance Ministry The tech. nical advisory committee of MoJS, in Feb 2019, approved the RCE of `55,548 crore (at 2017-18 PL). In March this year, the revised cost committee of the MoJS cleared the RCE for `47, 724.74 crore (at 2017-18 PL). Covid impact India’s GDP recovery years away, says RBI dy guv Patra E x p r e s s ne w s s e r v i c e @ New Delhi Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Bihar CM Nitish Kumar at Sasaram, Bihar; (Right) Cong leader Rahul Gandhi with RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav at Nawada on Friday | pti Bihar battleground heats up with back-to-back rallies by Modi and Rahul; prime minister criticises RJD, seeks repeat mandate for Nitish for restoring the rule of law in the state Reject those who nurtured goons, says Modi, raps obstructionist Oppn R a je s h K u m a r T h a k u r @ Patna Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday tore into the Opposition Grand Alliance spearheaded by the RJD in a series of election rallies, urging voters to reject those “who fed the goons and developed their own family”. He also took a swipe at the Congress for its belligerence on the new farm reform laws. “For them, the interest of middlemen is above the farmers’ welfare. They side with those who conspire against the country the PM said, adding ,” the NDA government will never go back on its decision to withdraw special powers to J&K under Article 370. “Bihar deserves development but who will ensure it — he who developed his own family or he who forgot his own family in the service of the people? Bihar deserves better law and order, but who will ensure it — he who fed the goons or he who made the law to chase down the goons and criminals?” Modi asked in his trademark style, targeting the 15-year RJD rule while defending ally Nitish Kumar of the JD(U). He also paid rich tributes to LJP leader Ram Vilas Paswan who passed away recently, but avoided criticising his party, which recently broke away from the NDA in the state. Turning to the Opposition, the PM said it was “opposed to development and national interest”. Alluding to the Congress for its strident stand against the new farm laws, Modi said whenever middlemen are targeted for providing direct benefits to farmers, some people in the opposition start fanning propaganda on the MSP (Minimum Support Price) and other national issues. “When Rafale fighter jets were purchased, they spoke the language of middlemen and brokers. Whenever intermediaries and brokers get hit, these people get furious.” Accusing the former UPA government of being vindictive against Nitish Kumar, he said that despite persistent demands for assistance by the CM, the then government had ignored the state. “When the NDA government was formed, Bihar under Nitish Kumar started getting its due,” he said, praising Nitish for various development works. He also saluted the Galwan martyrs of the Bihar Regiment. Rahul bid to pin PM down on migrants, China ingress E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Patna Kicking off his party’s poll campaign in Bihar on Friday, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi tried to pin down Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the emotive issues of migrants and the Chinese ingress into Ladakh, since many soldiers hailing from the state had laid down their lives in the Galwan valley violence in June. “You (migrants) covered hundreds of kilometers on foot hungry and thirsty, but Modi did not arrange transport. He left you to your fate,” Rahul said in back-to-back rallies with RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav in Nawada and Bhagalpur districts. “A government for such migrants and labourers must be installed.” Rahul also accused Modi of insulting the Army by denying that the PLA had infiltrated into eastern Ladakh. “Our 20 soldiers were martyred and they took our 1,200 sq km area. When China intruded, why did our PM insult Indian Army’s heroes by lying that no one had come inside India?” Rahul questioned. “Merely bowing one’s head before martyred jawans of the Bihar Regiment would not do. When you will get the land occupied by the PLA vacated,” he asked. In his address, an optimestic Tejashwi said: “On November 9, Lalu ji will be released from jail. On November 10, Nitish Kumar’s farewell is fixed.” express read 503 country rifles seized by police in Chittoor district Religious fervour Sarvabhoopala Vahana Seva at the Kalyanotsava Mandapam inside the temple of Lord Venkateswara in Tirumala on Friday | Express TDP accuses government of changing stance and giving ‘illogical’ reasons Speaking to TNIE, TDP State president Kinjarapu Atchannaidu said that when the SEC had decided to postpone the polls to avoid the spread of Covid-19 in the initial stage, the government made a hue and cry and even levelled charges on the lines of caste against the SEC. But now, the YSRC government is giving illogical reasons to stall the polls, he said Pak remains in FATF ‘grey’ list as it fails to take action Chittoor: A week-long special drive against country rifles in Chittoor, Palamaner, Madanapalle and Puttur sub-divisions yielded 503 such weapons after villagers of the forest fringe areas bordering Tamil Nadu and Karnataka voluntarily surrendered them, the Chittoor police said | P2 New Delhi: Pakistan will remain in FATF’s ‘grey’ list till Feb 2021 as it has failed to fulfil six key obligations of the global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog that include failure to take action against two of India’s most wanted terrorists ‘ Maulana Masood Azhar and Hafiz Saeed | P9 Govt not keen on local body polls for now E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Vijayawada The State government has no intention of going ahead with the local body elections for now, as there is a possibility of a second wave of Covid-19 in the coming months, Industries and Commerce Minister Mekapati Goutham Reddy said on Friday . “We have to be careful as there are chances of a revival of Covid-19 in November and December,” he told mediapersons during a brief interaction, and added that a pandemic usually comes and goes thrice. The impact of the coronavirus is low at present but there are possibilities of the number of cases increasing after the festive season, he warned. “So, a decision will have to be taken after analysing the situation in November and December,” the minister added. When asked about the upcoming Assembly elections in Bihar, he said conducting elections to State bodies is mandatory. As per the Constitution, elections to the State Assemblies should be held within the stipulated time, or President’s rule will be imposed. “But we have some leverage with regard to local body elections,” he added. Continued on P4 Making the coast count 2 projects to check viability of tidal energy plants in AP J aya n t h P @ Vijayawada The Energy department has decided to test the waters to identify the wave (tidal) energy potential in Andhra Pradesh, which has a 974 km coastline, the second-longest in the country . Two projects have been proposed to see if wave energy can be harnessed to find a viable source of clean, renewable power. While one energy plant is expected to come up near Visakhapatnam, the officials concerned are yet to identify a location for the second. “We are in talks with an Israelbased company, Eco Wave Power, to set up wave energy plants on an experimental basis. The firm has already established 20-30 MW plants in Portugal, Spain and other countries. We proposed that a 100 KW plant be established to see if it is feasible as we have a long coastline. If it is viable, it could become a new source of clean energy for us to become a more power-surplus State and export it for the government to earn revenue,” New and Renewable Energy Development Corporation of Andhra Pradesh (NREDCAP) Ltd vice-chairman and MD S Ramana Reddy explained. The plants will draw energy from waves by converting the rising and falling tides into clean energy . “BHEL, with funding from the Department of Science and Technology has come forward to set up , the plant near Visakhapatnam. There will be solar, hydel, wind, and wave energy plants of 1 MW each. The location hasn’t been identified yet. It will most likely be near the sea in an area where the tribal population is high,” Ramana Reddy revealed. The energy generated will be used for water purification in tribal areas, and desalination, among other purposContinued on P4 es, he added. Won’t raise Tricolour till Article 370 is restored, says Mehbooba Mufti Srinagar: In a sign of defiance against the revocation of Article 370 by the Centre last year, PDP chief and former CM Mehbooba Mufti on Friday said her party would not be raising the Tricolour till J&K’s flag and Constitution is restored. She also said she would not be contesting polls without J&K state’s flag and constitution | P10 Coronavirus’ impact on the economy is unlike any other and it could take years to regain the lost output, RBI Deputy Governor Michael Patra has warned. “If the projections hold, the level of GDP would have fallen approximately 6% below its pre-Covid level by the end of 2020-21 and it may take years to regain this lost output,” Batra said at the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting earlier this month, whose minutes were released on Friday . “There is also an anecdotal sense that the economy’s potential output has fallen, and the post-Covid growth trajectory will look very different from what has been recorded so far,” Patra added. Advocating structural reforms, the deputy governor pointed out that both monetary and fiscal policy in India face tightening constraints. “For fiscal policy, it is the collapse of tax revenue — by 32% in the first quarter; consequently, the Centre’s revenue deficit during April-August is 121.9% of budget estimates. For monetary policy, it is the persistence of headline inflation above 6% for the third month in succession. Structural reforms to unlock growth impulses are needed, but may lack social traction in an atmosphere of depressed growth and employment, and high uncertainty he noted. ,” India’s economy is estimated to have contracted 23.9% in the April- June quarter while RBI projections peg the full-year contraction at 9.5%. FIR Registered against Republic TV staff Four journalists of the news channel were booked on Friday for allegedly defaming the Mumbai police and trying to cause “disaffection” among members of the police force | P10 Amazon skips jpc meeting, draws members’ wrath E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ New Delhi Facebook faces tough questions JPC members grilled Facebook representatives, including Facebook’s policy head Ankhi Das, about data protection and data portability. Parliamentarians said while there were millions of users of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp in India, the personal data of users was being stored outside the country SOCIAL media giant Facebook’s representatives were on Friday questioned for two hours, while e-commerce major Amazon chose not to appear before a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) that is looking into the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 saying its ‘subject matter experts’ were all abroad. Facebook’s representatives were asked about portability of data, advertisement revenue generated from India and the corporate tax the company pays in India, while Amazon received a stern warning from the joint parliamentary committee for skipping the meeting. Amazon said it has utmost respect for the JPC and expressed regret that its executives were unable to travel to India due to the coronavirus pandemic. Sources privy to the meeting said the JPC members were unanimous in considering action against Amazon. Some parliamentarians said the Union government should intervene in the matter while others suggested to move a privilege motion against Amazon. The panel’s chairperson Meenakshi Lekhi said JPC members have demanded strict action against the US firm because if one company had refused before the parliamentary committee and it was possible that in future more companies and individuals too could just skip meetings or refuse to appear before a parliamentary committee. Sources said members of the JPC were also dissatisfied with Facebook’s “vague” replies about the advertisement revenue, its alleged electoral bias and the corporate tax being paid in the country. The social media platform was asked to give a more specific detailed written reply within two weeks.
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