SAMBALPUR l wednesday l October 28, 2020 l `7.00 l PAGES 14 l CITY EDITION Kerala first state to fix floor price for vegetables Sixteen vegetables will have floor price that would be 20% above their production cost, with effect from November 1 No pain for farmers Even IF market CRASHES Price to be revised on a regular basis Even if the market price went below this, the produce would be procured at the floor price from farmers, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Tuesday. The vegetables would be graded as per the quality and the floor price fixed accordingly, he said. “Farmers across the country are not satisfied... but for the last four-and-half years, we have supported them,” he added The 16 vegetables include potato, tomato, beans, tapioca, lady’s finger, bitter gourd, carrot, beetroot, banana among others ■ Farmers with a maximum of 15 acres of vegetable cultivation per season will be eligible for the scheme. The state government will revise the floor price on a regular basis, the chief minister said ■ 15L tonnes Kerala’s ANNUAL vegetable production, ACCORDING TO STATE GOVT 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 Five accords, including the BECA, at 2+2 dialogue indicate US solidarity against Chinese aggression Sharp message to Beijing from India-US pacts P u s h k a r B a n a k a r & M aya n k Si n g h @ New Delhi India and the US on Tuesday signed five pacts, including the long-negotiated Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) on geospatial data during the 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue at a time when New Delhi and Beijing are engaged in a stand-off along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh. BECA will give India access to accurate US satellite data, which will help in navigation and pinpoint accuracy for weapons. “We are happy that we’ve completed the BECA, which will open new avenues in the information sharing. We are eager to discuss further issues with US,” Singh said after the meeting. Experts say BECA will usher in a new era in ties, especially in defence cooperation. “IndiaUS are looking at geo-spatial intelligence and greater cooperation in all fields. Further, a P u s h k a r B a n a k a r @ New Delhi Defence Minister Rajnath Singh addresses the media after the India-US 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue, as External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar (R), US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (2L) and US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper (L) look on, at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Tuesday | PTI fair amount of congruence has been achieved in terms of the idea of an inclusive Indo-Pacific. The wider Indo-Pacific sweep includes freedom of navigation, use of global commons and the sea lanes of communication,” Major General (Retd) S B Asthana said. Kriti Upadhyaya of the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies said that signing of BECA in the backdrop of the India-China tensions definitely sends a message to China that the US stands by India in improving its defences against China. Discussions in the meeting involving US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Secretary of Defence Mark Esper, External Affairs Minister S Jaishnakar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh focused around a plethora of regional and global issues, including coronavirus, trade, free and fair Indo-Pacific and enhancing bilateral ties. Earlier in the day, Pompeo Floodgates now opened for anyone to buy land in Jammu & Kashmir S a n a S h a k i l a n d F aya z W a n i Agriculture land @ New Delhi/Srinagar in a move that can have long-term political and economic implications for the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, the Centre on Tuesday notified several laws, including major amendments to the Jammu and Kashmir Land Revenue Act to allow any Indian citizen to buy land in the Union Territory . Agricultural land will be an exception to the law as it can only be transferred or sold to an agriculturist in J&K. However, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs can authorise an agriculturist to ‘alienate’ the land to a nona g riculturist for sale, gift or exchange. The new amendment implies domi- Agricultural land will be reserved for farmers and it can only be sold another agriculturist. However, the land can be transferred for nonagriculture purposes with the Centre’s permission ciles of J&K would now effectively get protection only in government jobs. The Union government had earlier hinted that some protection on landrights on the lines of Himachal Pradesh will be granted to domiciles of J&K. Before the reading down of Article 370 and Article 35-A last year, non-residents could not buy any immovable property in Jammu and Kashmir. But the new order titled the ‘Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Adaptation of Central Laws) Third Order, 2020’ changed this status. The order issued by the Union home ministry evoked sharp reactions from J&K political parties, ranging from ‘unacceptable’ to ‘betrayal’. Several regional parties, under the umbrella of People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration, vowed to fight “on all fronts” against it. The MHA has also amended the domicile law declaring the “spouse of a domicile shall also be deemed to be a domicile”. This earlier pertained to children of central government officials posted in J&K for 10 years who are also eligible as domiciles. Continued on: P9 One account for One Allahabad HC scheme, Govt to depts to monitor partment is mopping up resources to meet commitments made in the anWITH the Comptroller and Auditor nual budget 2020-21. General (CAG) raising concern over In its State Finances audit report huge unspent balance lying in nu- for the year ended March 2019, the merous personal deposit acCAG pointed out an unspent counts (PDA) in the banks, balance of `17,503.50 crore in the State Finance depart831 PDAs as on March 31, ment has asked major spend2019. While on March 31, ing departments to imple2017, the state had reported ment a ‘one scheme one an unspent balance of `1,104 account’ policy . crore lying in 827 PDAs, the “The practice of operatidle funds in bank accounts ing multiple bank accounts recorded a high jump to against one scheme and de`13,509.35 crore as on March There should be positing funds of multiple 31, 2018. only one bank schemes in one account The departments have account against a should be discontinued imnow been advised to review particular scheme. mediately for proper monithe unspent amount held in The practice of toring of scheme funds. operating multiple bank accounts of drawing There should be only one and disbursing officers bank accounts bank account against a par- against one scheme (DDOs) and implementing and depositing ticular scheme,” the Fiagencies operating under funds of multiple nance department said in a them and refund the same schemes in one letter. to the consolidated fund of account should be Faced with deficit revethe state government by end discontinued nue due to Covid-19 panof October. immediately for demic situation, the departThe DDOs concer ned proper monitoring ment further said, “Steps should furnish certificates of scheme funds need to be taken to implethat they have refunded all Finance Department ment ‘one scheme, one acunspent balances to the count’ policy by closing state exchequer under apmultiple accounts operated against propriate heads of account along one scheme.” with the salary bills of their estabIn the process of preparing supple- lishment pertaining to the month of Continued on: P7 mentary provision, the Finance de- October 2020. E x p r e s s New s Se r v i c e @ Bhubaneswar ` Rajnath raps reckless China aggression Hathras probe E x p r e s s n ew s s e r v i c e @ New Delhi The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the Allahabad High Court to monitor the CBI probe into the alleged Hathras gangrape and murder case. A bench headed by Chief Justice of India S A Bobde asked the CBI to submit its status report to the high court, which shall look into all the aspects of the case, including providing security to the victim’s family . The court, while hearing a batch of petitions seeking an independent probe into the case, said the plea to transfer the case out of Uttar Pradesh has been left open. The petitions sought an independent probe and for the case to be transferred out of Uttar Pradesh, preferably to Delhi. The petitioners argued a fair trial was not possible in UP . Another prayer was made to ensure adequate witness protection for the victim’s family . Solicitor General Tushar Mehta also told the apex court that a threefold protection mechanism was in place for the family and Continued on: P7 witnesses. and Esper paid tributes at the National War Memorial and had a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval. “Warm conversation today with Indian Prime Minister @narendramodi. Our close relationship, which is rooted in our vibrant democratic traditions and fostered by the free and open exchange between our peoples, is beneficial for the world,” Pompeo later Continued on: P9 tweeted. Healthy competition is happening among all the states. Everybody is monitoring everybody’s performance Nirmala Sitharaman Commerce Minister While US belligerence against China was on expected lines, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s sharp rebuke of the neighbour for its “reckless aggression on our northern borders”, in his opening address at 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue on Tuesday, became one of the day’s talking points. “Excellencies, in the area of defense we are challenged by reckless aggression on our northern borders,” a State Department release after the dialogue quoted Singh as saying. However, a statement issued by the Ministry of Defence made no such mention. Predictably, visiting US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was more upfront while slamming China. “We paid our respect to the soldiers who laid down their lives in the Galwan Valley recently. The US will stand with India in its efforts to defend its sovereignty and its liberty Our ... nations are committed to working together into expanding our partnerships across many fronts,” Pompeo said after the talks. India and China have been involved in a stand-off along the LAC with tensions peaking after 20 Indian soldiers were killed by Chinese troops in Galwan Valley on June 15. Pompeo said a robust discussion has been set off about the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) due to the pandemic ‘that came from Wuhan’. “Our leaders and citizens see with increasing clarity that the CCP is no friend to democracy the rule of law, trans, parency nor freedom of navigation, the foundation of a free and open and prosperous Indo-Pacific,” he said. Continued on: P9
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