visakhapatnam l friday l november 13, 2020 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l late city EDITION Enhancing connectivity with ASEAN a priority: modi PM said strengthening all kinds of connectivity, including in social, digital and financial spheres, with Asean is a major focus for India India and Asean have similar goals Prime Minister Narenda Modi made the remarks at a virtual summit between India and the 10-nation Asean grouping. “We believe a cohesive and responsive Asean is needed for security and growth for all in the region,” Modi said. He added there are many similarities between India’s ‘Indo Pacific Oceans Initiative’ and Asean’s ‘Outlook on Indo Pacific’ ■ RCEP PM co-chairs asean-india summit ■ PM Modi, along with his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc, virtually co-chaired the 17th ASEAN-India Summit The summit is taking place amid China’s aggressive behaviour in the disputed South China Sea as well as in eastern Ladakh. Many Asean countries have territorial disputes with China | P9 Pact WILL BE SIGNED ON Sunday, WITH A CLAUSE FOR India TO JOIN later | p15 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 easing covid stress Stimulus shot for jobs, businesses, economy Nirmala Sitharaman’s third package offers job creation scheme; emergency credit line guarantee extended till March 2021 An u r a d h a S h u k l a @ New Delhi The government on Thursday sought to lift the sagging economy through an early Diwali gift in the form of Atmanirbhar Bharat 3.0. The long-awaited stimulus package unveiled by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman aims to generate employment, offer credit support to 26 stressed sectors identified by the Kamath Committee, and revive the real estate sector. Sources said the Centre’s additional spending this year will be `1.30 lakh crore as most schemes are spread over 2-5 years. The cumulative stimulus measures announced so far stand at around `30 lakh crore, or 15% of the GDP ac, cording to Sitharaman. She pegged the total allocation of the measures announced on Thursday at `2.65 lakh crore. This includes the productivity-linked incentive scheme announced on Wednesday . While the government extended the `3 lakh crore emergency credit line guarantee scheme till March 31 next year, the centrepiece of the third stimulus package was Atmanirbhar Bharat Rozgar Yojana, which aspires to generate employment. It offers a two-year subsidy to firms that hire employees epf incentive to create jobs l Scheme to generate employment during the Covid recovery phase Companies employing up to 1,000 l Centre to provide subsidy for two years in respect of new eligible employees appointed on or after October 1, 2020 Employee’s EPF contribution l Scheme to be operational till June 30, 2021 ELIGIBILITY GOVT TO PAY Employer’s EPF contribution 12% Companies employing more than 1,000 Employees’ EPF contribution 12% (of monthly pay) Total 24% of monthly wages 12% L 30 Lakh Crore Cumulative stimulus package announced since the lockdown has touched 15% of the GDP l Companies with less than 50 employees, if they add at least two new staff l Firms with more than 50 staff, if they create a minimum of five new jobs between September 30, 2020 and June 30, 2021. Under this, the government will pay both the employee’s contribution towards EPFO (12% of basic salary) and the employer’s contribution (12%) in firms with less than 1,000 staff. For larger fir ms employing over 1,000, the government will pay only the employee’s part (12%) with the companies continuing to contribute 12% as before. The subsidy will be only for employees with monthly wages up to `15,000. To avail the scheme, companies with less than 50 employees will have to hire two new staff, while firms with headcount above 50 will need to create five new jobs. The subsidy will cost the government `6,000 crore over two years. Experts say it will improve the jobs scenario. Sitharaman also allocated `10,000 crore more for the rural job scheme. Meanwhile, the struggling real estate sector has got a good reason to cheer with the FM announcing `18,000 crore extra stimulus under the PM Awas Yojana. Plus, tax rules have been eased to allow sale of housing units up to `2 crore at a price 20% below the stamp duty circle rate. Currently rules restrict , the differential at 10%, lest penalties under I-T Act will Full coverage: P10 apply . rETAIL INFLATION AT 77-MONTH HIGH IN OCT E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ New Delhi RBI had warned of ‘unrelenting pressure of inflation’ In its latest report on the state of economy, the Reserve Bank of India had flagged the unrelenting pressure of inflation as a downside risk confronting the prospects of economic recovery. “The foremost is the unrelenting pressure of inflation, with no signs of waning in spite of supply management measures...There is a grave risk of generalisation of price pressures, unanchoring of inflation expectations feeding into a loss of credibility in policy interventions and the eventual corrosion of the nascent growth impulses that are making their appearance,” RBI said India’s factory output grew for first time in seven months in September, government data showed on Thursday, raising hopes that the economy may be on the mend. But the cheer could be short-lived as another set of data showed retail inflation has climbed to a 77-month in October at 7.61%. An RBI report released on Wednesday night had said India entered a technical recession in the first half of FY21 for the first time in history. The central bank also pegged an 8.6% contraction in GDP in the September quarter. According to the official data released on Thursday, the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) was up on the back of improved mining activities, which grew at 1.4%, better demand of electricity at 4.9% and improvement in manufacturing activity, which contacted 0.6% against 7.9% dip in August 2020. Devendra Pant, chief economist at CARE Ratings, said the growth in industrial production would not have been possible without last year’s low base as IIP had contracted 4.6% in September 2019. He added whether this recovery is sustainable or not will depend on the data that comes over the next few months. In another worrying development, annual consumer price inflation in India rose to 7.61% in October, the highest since May 2014, mainly on account of high food prices. Food inflation surged to 11.07%, the highest since January Vegetables inflation . stood at 22.5%, pulses at 18.3%, meat and fish inflation was 18.7%, while that for eggs, it came in at 21.8%. Aditi Nayar, principal economist at credit ratings agency ICRA, said the possibility of a rate cut in February 2021, too, looks slim at the moment, because inflation is expected to recede below 6% only after December. Up to BJP to decide on LJP’s fate, says Nitish R a j e s h K u m a r T h a k u r @ Patna Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday casually tossed the LJP bomb onto the BJP’s lap, saying it was for them to decide on the fate of Chirag Paswan’s party whose demolito, ion job reduced the JD(U) to third position in the recent Assembly polls. Chirag had dropped out of the state NDA weeks before polling to attack Nitish’s party but chosen to stay with the central NDA, saying he wanted to strengthen Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s hands. “It is up to the BJP to look into this. We are analysing as how the votes were divided on the seats of our candidates. Both the NDA and the JD(U) Cost of Covid tests reduced to `800 and `1,000 in State E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Vijayawada In view of the increased availability of coronavirus testing kits and reduction in the cost of both RNA extraction and RT-PCR kits, the State government on Thursday reduced the cost of Covi d - 1 9 t e s t s a t p r iv a t e laboratories. Samples (including pooled ones) sent by the government will be tested at `800 each, while individuals who approach National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) approved by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) will be charged `1,000 per test. These rates include all charges (test cost, VTM, PPE), a Government Order said. In August, the government reduced the cost of testing of each governmentsent sample from `2,400 to `1,600, while the rate for public walk-in samples was reduced from `2,900 to `1,900. In all, the cost of Covid-19 confirmatory tests at private laboratories has been slashed by more than 50 per cent since private labs were allowed to conduct the tests. JD(U) president and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar being greeted by party supporters as he arrives at the party office, in Patna on Thursday | PTI are studying it,” he said. Addressing his first press meet after the polls, Nitish said the gover nment for mation process will be discussed at an NDA meet on Friday The date . of the swearing-in will be finalised in the next few days. A day after Modi’s endorsement of him continuing as the chief minister, Nitish sought to weave out of a question on whether he wanted to head the NDA government again. Claiming that he never projected himself as the chief More rains predicted, likely to play spoilsport during Diwali celebrations E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Vijayawada/Nellore Rains are set to further dampen the festive spirit ahead of Diwali, as the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted light to moderate rainfall across several parts of the State in the next two days. On Thursday, heavy rains lashed Nellore, leaving major parts of the city submerged. Under the influence of the Northeast Monsoon, which is vigorous over the coastal regions of Andhra Pradesh, light to moderate rainfall is expected at a few places across the State on Friday, and at one or two places in south coastal Andhra Pradesh and the Rayalaseema regions on Saturday, Sunday and Monday . The IMD warned of thunderstorms and lightning at isolated places in the coastal districts on Friday. On Saturday, the Rayalaseema region and isolated places in the south coastal districts are likely to witness thunderstor ms and heavy rains. The prediction for Sunday and Monday is similar. Restrictions on the sale of fireworks (other than green crackers) and restricted timings to burst them in view of the Covid-19 outbreak have already dampened the spirit of the public and traders ahead of Diwali. Since Wednesday evening, intermittent rains lashed Nellore, inundating several lowlying areas and forcing people “There is no human or crop loss in the district with the rainfall over the last 24 hours. Almost all tanks and canals are full, and people in low-lying areas have to be alert. We had already alerted the Irrigation, Revenue and police staff to work together to shift people from low-lying regions to shelter homes,” Nellore Collector KVN Chakradhar Babu said. The situation in Prakasam district was similar, with Ongole, Kothapatnam, Kandukur, Tangutur and a few other mandals receiving heavy rainfall. Several low-lying areas were inundated till Thursday evening Bujabuja Nellore, on the outskirts of Nellore city, submerged on Thursday I Express express read Govt gives `25L ex gratia Chiranjeevi tests negative, to kin of Nandyal victims initial result deemed faulty Kurnool: The State govt on Thursday handed over an ex gratia of `25 lakh to Mabunnee Sha, mother-in-law of auto driver Abdul Salaam, who committed suicide along with three of his family members after alleging they were harassed by the Nandyal police. The govt promised to support the family | P4 Hyderabad: Almost three days after the news of Chiranjeevi testing positive for Covid-19 surfaced, the actor-politician on Thursday tweeted that the previous result was a false positive and he was indeed not infected. The actor took to Twitter to explain how a CT scan showed no traces of infection or damage to his lungs | P5 Constable jumps into well to save 70-year-old woman in Krishna district @ Vijayawada The daring act of a police constable, who jumped into a well without a second thought, saved the life of an elderly woman in Gudur village of Krishna district late on Wednesday . Around 11.50 pm, constables A Siva Kumar and Shyam, who were on their regular night beat, received an alert via Dial 100 about a 70-year-old woman who had fallen into a well. The well was at her house near the local Telephone Exchange office about a kilometre away Lo. cals had gathered there but couldn’t do much to help, considering the darkness and depth of the well. The constables reached within minutes, and found the elderly woman, B Savitri, about to drown. As there was no ladder or rope around, Siva Kumar jumped in. “My only thought at that moment was to save her. I balanced the woman on my lap to to wade through knee-deep water. Rainwater entered colonies in the outskirts, such as Chandrababu Nagar, Kothur, Sramik Nagar, Ramakotaiah Nagar, YSR Nagar, Bujabuja Nellore and Sundaraiah Colony, and two railway underbridges in the city were submerged. The Magunta Layout and Atmakur Bus Stand underbridges were also filled with water. “The situation in our colony is the same every November as there is no proper drainage system,” said Vankaradari Srinivasulu, a resident of Sundaraiah Colony Officials and workers . of the Nellore Municipal Corporation are focusing on fieldlevel sanitation and clearing clogged drains and canals. Continued on P5 Almost all tanks and canals in Nellore full Midnight rescue Sistla Dakshina Murthy minister, Nitish said: “It is up to the NDA to decide. We will abide by its decision.” Rebutting RJD leader Tejashawi Yadav’s allegation that the mandate was snatched away by the NDA through manipulation, Nitish said it was the NDA that got the mandate. Seeking to bring closure to the debate on his recent oneliner that this election was his last, he said: “I will continue serving the people as long as they would want.” Nitish said he will resign after the NDA legislative party meeting to pave the way for the installation of the next government. “The tenure of this government is till Nov 29. In the next few days, every thing will be cleared and completed.” P8 keep her from drowning,” Siva Kumar told The New Indian Express on Thursday . The locals and his colleague Shyam took about 10 minutes to find a rope to pull them out, and eventually brought them out to safety . The locals called the nearby government hospital to send medical staff to attend to the Police constable A Siva Kumar rescues an elderly woman who fell into a well at Guduru in Krishna district on Thursday I Express woman, but were reportedly told that the hospital staff cannot come to the spot. Siva Kumar immediately called a Registered Medical Practitioner (RMP) in the locality, who soon reached and provided medical aid to the woman and Siva Kumar, who sustained minor injuries. Savitri’s condition is said to be stable. The efforts of the two constables were appreciated by the locals and senior police officials. Telangana HC directs State to ban firecrackers E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Hyderabad The Telangana High Court on Thursday directed the State government to immediately ban the sale and use of firecrackers during the Diwali season. The court also directed the government to clamp down and shut shops selling firecrackers. A bench comprisi n g C h i e f Ju s t i c e Ra ghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice B Vijaysen Reddy further directed the State to make an appeal to the public through print and electronic media, asking them to refrain from bursting firecrackers in order to prevent any further deterioration in air quality . “The nation and State are struggling with Covid-19... It is the bounden duty of the State to ensure the lives of the people are protected and promoted in a meaningful way,” the HC said.
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13-11-2020 of The New Indian Express-Vishakapatnam