Airlines can now operate at 70% of pre-Covid capacity Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Wednesday that the Centre has raised the cap on the number of domestic flights Indian airlines can operate to 70 per cent of their pre-Covid levels. Currently, the limit is 60 per cent KOllam l Thursday l november 12, 2020 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l city EDITION 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 Poll outcome shows development will be the only basis for politics in the 21st century, says PM; agrees women are BJP’s silent voters, adding they turned out in large numbers; puts West Bengal govt on notice over political killings Approval of Covid policy, says Modi M A NI S H A N A N D @ New Delhi Stating that Bihar will march on the development path under the leadership of Nitish Kumar, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said the NDA’s electoral victory across the country was an endorsement of the measures taken by the government to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. While the world paused in the face of the pandemic, India continued to take “historic decisions” to reform agriculture, education, land titles and others, Modi said. A day after the Bihar verdict, the BJP headquarters turned saffron, with party workers celebrating the victory. BJP chief J P Nadda set the tone of the celebrations, saying the verdict is an endorsement of the Covid-19 management under the PM’s leadership. “The battle that India waged against the Covid-19 pandemic has no parallel, as the principal priority has been to save the Covid patients can vote from 5pm to 6pm E x p r e ss N e w s S e r v i c e lives of the people. It was also ensured that while free ration was made available to the people, the immediate requirement of employment was also addressed,” Modi said. He was referring to the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package in which 5 kg ration and `50,000 crore worth of works of various ministries were executed in a few states that were at the receiving end of the migrant exodus, including Bihar. Modi said the verdict is another indication of the “new mood” in the country, adding, “people reward those who work for development with honesty and in the interests of the BIHAR 2020 nation.” He also lavished praise on Nadda for leading the BJP to victory in the polls. Referring to the BJP’s silent voter base, the PM said women trust the party because of their priorities for “safety and respect”. “Women are the biggest silent voters. They have shown their might in Bihar, with a large turnout,” he added. Who are these silent voters? They are our mothers and sisters for whom the party is working relentlessly - Narendra Modi, Prime Minister Nitish thanks modi for bihar victory E x p r e ss N e w s S e r v i c e Patna: Bihar CM Nitish Kumar on Wednesday “saluted” people for giving majority to the NDA in Bihar and thanked PM Narendra Modi for his support. “I salute people for the majority they have given to the NDA. I thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his support,” Kumar tweeted. the U n i o n C ab i n e t o n Wednesday approved a Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme worth `1.46 lakh crore for 10 sectors to boost domestic manufacturing, create jobs and reduce dependence on imports. The scheme will be offered to white goods manufacturing, pharma, auto, telecom, textile, food products, solar photovoltic and cell battery among others, with a , total outlay of `1,45,980 crore spread over five years. Of the total outlay the larg, est pie — `57,042 crore — goes to auto and auto components, followed by advance chemistry cell (ACC) battery (`18,100 crore), drug makers (15,000 crore), telecom products (`12,195 crore), food products `(10,900 crore) and textile manufacturers (10,683 crore). Announcing the scheme, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said it will help attract more investments into these sectors, promote job creation and will help in building a self-reliant India. Wednesday’s announcement is in continuation of the gover nment’s earlier PLI scheme for electronics and for active pharma ingredients with an outlay of `50,000 crore spread over five years, which takes the total outlay for such incentives to nearly `2 lakh crore over a five-year period. TMC unease as owaisi to contest wb polls Prime Minister Narendra Modi flashes the victory sign at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi on Wednesday. BJP national president J P Nadda is also seen | Parveen Negi Kolkata: With Asaduddin Owaisi’s All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ulMuslimeen announcing its decision to contest the 2021 assembly polls in West Bengal, the ruling TMC in the state on Wednesday called it a “communal force which acts as BJP’s B team”. Axe Chirag from central NDA: JD(U) R a j e s h K u mar T h a k u r @ Patna A day after winning a fresh mandate to rule Bihar, NDA leaders on Wednesday started putting their heads together to form the new government led by Nitish Kumar, though his JD(U) will be the junior partner with 43 seats as against the BJP’s 74. While the BJP is understandably keen on government formation, the JD(U) doesn’t quite share the enthusiasm, amid indications the new ministry could be sworn in only after Diwali (Nov 14) or even after the Chhath festival (Nov 19-20). For, the JD(U) first wants the BJP to send a clear no-nonsense message by ejecting the Chirag Paswan-led Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) from the central NDA before government formation, it is reliably learnt. It was the LJP that deliberately damaged the JD(U)’s chances across the state and hurt the BJP to a lesser extent in some seats, indirectly benefiting the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD). The LJP had dropped out of the state NDA barely weeks before polling. For the record though, JD(U)’s senior spokesperson Dr Ajay Alok denied setting terms on purging the central NDA of the LJP. He, however, said the new gover nment is likely to be formed after Diwali. Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the NDA will stick to its pre-poll announcement of Nitish Kumar staying as chief minister. Sivasankar got `1 cr as kickback from LIFE Mission project: ED @ T’Puram T o b y A n t o n y @ Kochi THE voters who test positive for Covid three days prior to the polling day and those who are asked to go into quarantine during this period will be allowed to cast their votes during the last hour -- from 5pm to 6pm. Though Covid patients and those in quarantine are allowed to postal-vote, the deadline to apply for it ends three days before the date of polling. The cabinet took the decision specifically for those who test Covid positive and go into quarantine after the deadline. The cabinet decided to recommend to Governor Arif Mohammed Khan that relevant sections of the Kerala Panchayat Raj and the Kerala Municipality Acts be amended to help such voters cast votes. THE chief minister’s office and his former principal secretary M Sivasankar found themselves further on the back foot after the Enforcement Directorate, which is probing the money trail in the gold smuggling case, revealed that the bureaucrat received `1 crore as a kickback from the LIFE Mission housing project. The central agency has stated so in a report filed before the Special Court for Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) cases while opposing Sivasankar’s bail plea. ED, citing gold smuggling key accused Swapna Suresh’s statement, claimed that the `1 crore handed over by UAE Consulate finance department head Khalid Al Shoukry to Swapna after receiving commission from LIFE Mis- sion project builder Unitac was a kickback for Sivasankar. Swapna had told the ED that Sivasankar was the beneficiary of the kickbacks she received. “In fact, an amount of `1 crore (approx) which was given by Khalid to Swapna was a kickback meant for Sivasankar. This amount was subsequently seized by the NIA from the lockers belonging to Swapna including the one opened on the directions of Sivasankar from which NIA seized `64 lakh,” the report stated. The ED is suspicious of all construction work carried out by LIFE Mission after the revelation that Sivasankar had leaked project details even before their tenders were opened. There could be possible kickbacks from certain private parties in these projects, the report ● More on P4 said. ‘Sivasankar, team knew of gold smuggling’ Bineesh remanded in 14-day judicial custody ED TO probe Believers church activities Kochi: Suspended IAS officer M Sivasankar and his team at the chief minister’s office (CMO) knew of the smuggling of gold and other electronic goods through the UAE consulate in T’Puram, the ED told the special court for Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) cases on Wednesday. P4 Kochi: A Bengaluru court remanded Bineesh Kodiyeri, who has been arrested on money-laundering charges, in 14-day judicial custody on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the ED identified two more men, including Bineesh’s driver Ani Kuttan, as alleged accomplices in the crime. P5 Kochi: The ED may soon launch a detailed probe into the activities of the Believers Eastern Church of selfstyled evangelist K P Yohannan, after the Income Tax department unearthed huge unaccounted money transactions carried out by different trusts under the Church. P4 ELECTION 2020 Kerala Lines drawn, parties gear up | P2 M Sivasankar being taken to the economic offence court in Kochi on Wednesday | A Sanesh In fact, an amount of L1 crore (approx) which was given by Khalid to Swapna was a kickback meant for Sivasankar. This amount was subsequently seized by the NIA from the lockers belonging to Swapna ED report Regulation Now, online news portals under I&B ministry’s ambit R i t w i k a M i tra @ New Delhi Why online content needs to be regulated The print media is regulated by the Press Council of India and the News Broadcasters Association represents television channels. But till now, there were no rules to regulate content on OTT platforms. `1.46 lakh cr production linked incentive scheme for 10 crucial sectors The Central gover nment has brought online news portals such as The Wire and over-the-top (OTT) platforms like Netflix under the ambit of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB). According to a notification issued by the Cabinet Secretariat late on Tuesday night and signed by President Ram Nath Kovind, films and audio-visual programmes made available by online content providers, as well as news and current affairs on online platforms would come under the MIB’s purview. The order also covers news on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. The decision has evoked sharp reactions from the digital media industry. “This move is a step towards censorship of online news platforms. The government is doing this because some online news portals criticise government policies,” said Poonam Agarwal, editor, investigations, The Quint. Siddharth Varadarajan, founding editor of The Wire, said, “The underlying impulse of involving the I&B ministry is to introduce special rules to hinder digital media, which has so far bucked the trend in print and TV spaces of giving the gover nment a free ride.” Press Council of India chairperson Justice C K Prasad said, “We are of the view the content should be looked after by a statutory independent body .” Dushyantt Kohli, chief operating officer of Khabri, a digital audio platform, said he was hopeful the growth of the industry would be supported and not impeded. Cyber law expert Pavan Duggal said, “The government must lean in the direction of enabling regulation and ensure such regulations do not tantamount to arbitrary misuse of powers. The golden balance is what the government needs to search for and attain, while moving ahead in this regard.” @ New Delhi India Inc has welcomed the move and said its timely espe, cially when the economy is limping back to normal from the aftershocks of Covid. “The new PLI policy is transformational and will facilitate India becoming a global manufacturing hub. It identifies the right sectors Boost for social infra The Cabinet also decided to extend the viability gap funding scheme to social infrastructure sectors. The scheme is currently available only for projects concerning economic infrastructure. and products across core industries, labour-intensive manufacturing, export-oriented sectors and advanced technology products,” said Uday Kotak, president, Confederation of Indian Industry . With economy headed towards a sharp contraction this fiscal, the governmental indicated the manufacturing and infrastructure sector will remain the focus area to kickstart economy . SC criticises HC, grants Arnab bail Apex court said If the courts do not interfere today, we are travelling the path of destruction, undeniably. The high courts should exercise jurisdiction to uphold personal liberty. E x p r e ss N e w s S e r v i c e @ New Delhi Observing that personal liberty is becoming a casualty in the country, the Supreme Court on Wednesday granted bail to Republic TV Editor-inChief Arnab Goswami in a suicide abetment case. A vacation bench of justices D Y Chandrachud and Indira Banerjee issued the order on Goswami’s petition challenging the Bombay High Court’s decision on November 9 to deny interim bail. The court directed the accused not to tamper with evidence or influence witnesses.
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