KOCHI l friday l november 13, 2020 l `7.00 l PAGES 16 l LATE city EDITION Enhancing connectivity with ASEAN a priority: modi 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’ PM said strengthening all kinds of connectivity, including in social, digital and financial spheres, with Asean is a major focus for India ■ 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 | P7 Pact WILL BE SIGNED ON Sunday, WITH A CLAUSE FOR India TO JOIN later 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 eas i n g c o v i d s t ress Stimulus shot for jobs, businesses, economy Nirmala Sitharaman’s third package offers job creation scheme; emergency credit line guarantee extended till March 2021 A n 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 fewer 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 Ne w s Se r v i ce @ 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 Ra j e s h K u m a r T h ak 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) EXPRESS READ HC won’t quash FIR in Fashion Gold scam Kochi: The High Court on Thursday dismissed the petition filed by IUML leader and Manjeshwar MLA M C Kamaruddin seeking to quash the FIR against him. The court said complaints called for a detailed investigation. P5 Self-testing tool for Covid developed T’Puram: The Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (RGCB) has developed a self-testing tool for Covid-19, a first of its kind in the country. The Covid Anosmia Checker is a strip-based screening tool. P4 Notice to Twitter for showing Leh in J&K New Delhi: The Centre has issued a notice to Twitter for showing Leh as part of J&K instead of Ladakh. The notice directed Twitter to explain within five days why legal action should not be initiated against it. 16 pages, including 4 pages of KOCHI Express Supporters greet JD(U) president and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar 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 After hours of fierce arguments, Sivasankar sent to judicial custody T o b y A n t o n y @Kochi AFTER four-hour-long submissions and arguments, the Special Court for Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) cases remanded former principal secretary to chief minister M Sivasankar to 14-day judicial custody on Thursday . He was lodged in a cell along w i t h t wo o t h e r r e m a n d prisoners at Kakkanad Borstal School, where juvenile prisoners were lodged earlier and which is now used as a Covid First-Line Treatment Centre for persons remanded in cases reported in Kochi city . The court reserved its order on the bail petition till Tuesday . The long submissions and arguments were between Additional Solicitor General S V Raju, who appeared for the Enforcement Directorate via videoconferencing from New Delhi and senior advocate B Raman Pillai, who appeared for Sivasankar. The suspended IAS officer The ED’s aim is the CM’s Office. On each page of Sivasankar’s statement, there are at least two queries about the CM. The ED’s claim that the money found in Swapna’s locker is contrary to the NIA’s stand B Raman Pillai, Sivasankar’s advocate ED officers take former principal secy M Sivasankar to Borstal School in Kakkanad on Thursday | A Sanesh was produced before the court around 11am on expiry of his 15-day custody with ED. During his argument, Raman Pillai claimed that ED was relying on a very recent statement given by accused Swapna Suresh when questioned at the jail that the money seized from her locker was a kickback meant for Sivasankar in LIFE Mission project. Factions promised to not escalate issue, says Govt The state government told HC that heads of Orthodox and Jacobite Churches have assured it that they would not precipitate the issue and insist on the implementation of the court order to take over the Kothamangalam church. But, Orthodox faction refuted it. P5 There are 3 types of videos. The first introduces the candidates, the second attacks opponents while the third is kept for use after the results — Subair Pandallur Subair Pandallur explaining a song to a singer at his studio | Express Parody videos contain the video of the candidates, accompanied by parody songs of hit numbers that glorify them as the best choice for voters S V Raju, Additional Solicitor General He claimed that Swapna’s statement was recorded by ED on eight occasions before questioning her at the jail and she had maintained during those sessions that Sivasankar had no role in the case. Hence, her previous statements should also be considered. ASG Raju submitted that Sivasankar was the kingpin of the gold smuggling. ● More on P4 The state health department has come out with a set of instructions to prevent candidates in fray for the upcoming local body elections from becoming Covid-19 superspreaders. The guidelines were issued after candidates were found flouting Covid protocol like shaking hands with voters and not wearing facemasks while seeking votes. Guidelines Race to the finish With the ban on flex boards, political parties are now chasing experienced graffiti artists ahead of the local body elections. Rajeev, who had been out of work for the past seven months due to the pandemic, is now working round the clock. His assistant flashes a torch as he completes the writing on a wall at night at Ottur panchayat in Thiruvananthapuram | B P Deepu V i s h n u p r a s a d K P @Malappuram Every election, political parties and candidates use parodies of famous songs during campaigns to woo voters. This year, the Covid 19 restrictions on door-to-door campaigning have prompted the candidates and parties to opt for ‘parody videos’ to promote themselves on social media. According to expert parody video makers, parodies of Moha Mundiri Vaadiya Ravu Number of people in the door-todoor campaigning must be limited to five persons, including the candidate Campaigners should not enter the house and maintain a 2m distance from voters Candidates and prospective voters must wear facemasks properly This election season, parody videos to spice up battle cry What is it? If Swapna is the face, Sivasankar is the mask behind gold smuggling. He is the mastermind behind gold smuggling. He knew about gold smuggling. Swapna was just his benami Health dept issues Covid norms for polls up the ante Church 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 song from the Mammoottystarrer Madhuraraja and Mullapoo Cholayil Mooli Parakkunna from this year’s Love FM, are poised to be huge hits during the local body election campaigning. Besides film songs, candidates are also going for short campaign videos featuring parodies of famous folk songs like Tharaka Pennale, and mappila songs like Madana Poovadiyil Myladum Penninte. Subair Pandallur, a studio owner in Malappuram, has so far created over 100 such videos for candidates contesting in the local body elections from Thiruvananthapuram, Kasaragod and the districts in between. Of the 100 songs, 20 were made for Congress candidates,15 for CPM and the rest for Muslim League candidates. Subair is currently working on 40 video songs and expects to get more orders before campaigning ends. Shaking of hands is barred Distribution of notices and pamphlets must be reduced & maximise the use of social media Candidates and campaigning team shouldn’t mingle closely with vulnerable groups Those with fever, cough and throat pain shouldn’t engage in campaigning Candidates who test positive for Covid should immediately go into quarantine ELECTION 2020 Kerala Women losing right to vote post marriage | P2
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