BHUBANESWAR l tuesday l november 24, 2020 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l JEYPORE EDITION Congress veteran Tarun Gogoi passes away at 84 The three-time chief minister of Assam was undergoing treatment for post-Covid complications in Guwahati Tarun Gogoi April 1, 1936 November 23, 2020 ‘no problem’ was his favourite one-liner Brought ulfa to the talks table Gogoi, who saw himself among a tough breed of politicians who do not dither while making decisions, often told his team members that his guiding mantra in all that he did was: “no problem”. Explaining it in his memoir Turnaround, the Congress stalwart said if one “approaches the P7 negative in a positive manner, things automatically fall into place” ■ ■ As Assam’s chief minister for 15 years from 2001, Gogoi is widely credited for pulling the state from the edge of bankruptcy and putting it on the path of development The six-time MP will also be remembered for bringing various militant outfits, including the ULFA, to the negotiation table PM calls gogoi a popular leader and a veteran administrator 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 Rajan roasts corporate bank idea Tigress Sundari Rewilding Former RBI boss, ex-deputy guv Viral Acharya appalled at plan to let borrowers become lenders E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ New Delhi Former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Raghuram Rajan on Monday ripped apart the banking regulator’s latest proposal to allow large business houses to float banks, saying chances of misuse is very high because of ‘self-lending opportunities’. “Industrial houses need financing, and they can get it easily, with no questions asked, if they have an in-house bank. The history of such connected lending is invariably disastrous — how can the bank make good loans when it is owned by the borrower?” he asked in a note written jointly with RBI’s former deputy gover- put on ice Kerala U-turn on police law after uproar E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ T’Puram UNDER fire from various corners including national-level leaders and Left sympathisers, the CPMled Kerala government on Monday said it would not enforce the controversial provisions in the Kerala Police Act amendment ordinance, signed by Governor Arif Mohammad Khan on Saturday . Section 118 (A), which has been incorporated in the Kerala Police Act, mandates jail term for offensive social media posts. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said any further action would be taken only after discussing it in the Assembly and collecting feedback from the public. “Apprehensions were aired by those who support the LDF and defend democracy. Hence, the state government will not go ahead with implementing the amendment,” said Pinarayi. The announcement came after CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury publicly said the amendment should be reviewed. Having put the amendment on hold, the government will now have to officially withdraw it. Sources said it may either bring in another ordinance or request the governor to withdraw the same as per Article 213 (2)(b). Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting is expected to take a call on the next course of action. nor Viral Acharya. The note, titled ‘Do we really need Indian corporations in banking’ and published on LinkedIn, warned that such a move will “further exacerbate the concentration of economic (and political) power in certain business houses”. RBI has till now been opposed to letting business houses run banks given India’s history of the 1950s and 1960s when a number of banks run by big industrial houses went under after a spate of connected loans were doled out. A major private-sector lender ICICI Bank is facing probe over loans given out to connected parties. RBI recently ordered the merger of the struggling private In what is being read as an attempt to steamroll infrastructure project clearances, the Union environment ministry has decided to dilute assessment procedures to study possible environmental damages and their social impact. Projects seeking environment clearances come to ministry’s expert appraisal committees (EAC), where they take humongous time for final approval — from 83220 days in 2015-16 to 176336 days in 2019-2020. To resolve this bottleneck, “all projects, placed in the agenda, should be considered by the EAC notwithstanding the non-attendance of the Project Proponent or his consultant in the EAC meeting to make a presentation,” said an Office Memorandum issued by the ministry last week. All EAC meetings shall be held at least twice a month to cut down Viral Acharya Why now? Have we learnt something that allows us to override all the prior cautions on allowing industrial houses into banking? sector lender Lakshmi Vilas Bank with DBS Bank. Rajan and Acharya said the latest proposal by RBI gives undue advantage to large business hous- India’s best shot at covid vaccine has 70% efficacy Maha firewall for passengers from four states E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ New Delhi Of all the big Covid vaccine efficacy reports, the one India was keen to hear about has just arrived. Swedish-British biotech firm AstraZeneca on Monday announced that Covishield, its vaccine candidate developed along with the University of Oxford, showed an average efficacy of 70% in two study segments in early phase 3 of testing. Though the performance percentage is lower than that of its three competitors — US pharma majors Pfizer and Moderna, and Russia’s Sputnik V claimed 90+% efficacy — the Oxford vaccine scores over the rest for India as it can be stored at a comfortable 2-80C; the Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) is already manufacturing it; proced around `200 per dose to the government, it’s cost effective; and it is possibly the first Covid-19 vaccine India can lay its hands on. Of the 11,636 volunteers in Astra’s initial test, 131 developed coronavirus, but did not need hospitalisation. “This vaccine’s efficacy and safety confirm that it will be highly effective against Covid-19 and will have an immediate impact on this public health emergency,” said Pascal Soriot, CEO of the company . The first dosing regimen given to 2,741 volunteers showed 90% efficacy when administered as a half dose, followed by a full dose at least one month apart. The second dosing regimen giv- Easing norms to expedite green nod to infra projects R i c h a S h a r m a @ New Delhi Raghuram Rajan es that already have the initial capital that has to be put up. “Moreover, highly indebted and politically connected business houses will have the greatest incentive and ability to push for (banking) licences. That will increase the importance of money power yet more in our politics, and make us more likely to succumb to authoritarian cronyism,” they warned. The duo’s caution came on a day when S&P Global Ratings also ter med RBI’s proposal “fraught with risk”. Non-performing assets within the corporate sector stood at a high 13% as of March this year, S&P said in its report. the period of Environmental Clearance (EC) approval, it added. All fresh EC proposals submitted 10 days before an EAC meet shall be taken up at its meeting. Any queries or issues the division may have should be raised during the EAC meeting itself, it said. “Member Secretary ought to ensure that the relevant queries of the division are also pointed out at the time of EAC meetings itself so as to avoid occasion for such queries before and after the examination by EAC,” it added. However, Kanchi Kohli, Legal Research Director, CPR-Namati Environment Justice Program, said the directive visualises environmental appraisals to straightjacketed, linear and bureaucratic processes. “It is pushing the EACs to take hasty decisions that are eventually not in favour of business or the environment,” she said. S u d h i r S u r ya w a n s h i @ Mumbai Oxford shot rate for govt around `200 While the cost of the Oxford vaccine is expected to be about `220 per dose under the government’s national immunisation programme, its market price could be higher, Serum Institute of India chief Adar Poonawala has already indicated en to 8,895 individuals showed 62% efficacy when given as two full doses at least one month apart. Both regimens put together showed an average efficacy of 70%. SII CEO Adar Poonawala had already said the company will seek emergency use authorisation from the Central Drugs Standards Control Organisation in India as soon as the initial data from the trial is out. For India, the company has pledged 35 million doses per month. Overall, the Oxford vaccine is being tested in about 60,000 volunteers across multiple countries including the US, Japan, Russia, South Africa, Kenya and India. With a fresh wave of Covid building on the horizon, Maharashtra sought to raise its firewall, mandating travellers from the most-affected states of Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Goa to show a Covid-19 negative certificate on arrival by rail, road and air from Wednesday . As per a Standard Operating Procedure issued by the state government, all travelers must undergo an RT-PCR test within 72 hours of the scheduled ar rival time in Maharashtra. “The passengers not having the negative test report will have to under take a Covid-19 test at their own cost. The airport authority will arrange the testing centres and charge the passengers directly stated the notification. ,” Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar warned people not to ignore pandemic guidelines. “The Covid-19 cases have been increasing every day. People need to take prevention measures. This is a very deadly and unpredictable virus. The danger is not over yet,” he said. ESMA Act amended: Punishment for inciting strike E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Bhubaneswar Satkosia no good, send Sundari to Kanha: MP High Court B K R o u t @ Angul/Bhubaneswar Once wild and carefree, Sundari spent an agonizing two years of captivity in an enclosure at Satkosia Tiger Reserve, which she was supposed to make her new home, far away from Madhya Pradesh. However, the tigress would soon return where she belonged after Madhya Pradesh High Court directed that the big cat be withdrawn from Satkosia and shifted to Kanha Tiger Reserve. Disposing of a writ petition on rewilding of Sundari, the Jabalpur bench of Madhya Pradesh HC comprising acting Chief Justice Sanjay Yadav and Justice Vijay Kumar In the interest of tiger conservation, Shukla upheld the order of Nation- T-2 shall be al Tiger Conservation Authority withdrawn and (NTCA) to shift the animal from its brought to enclosure at Raigoda in Satkosia to Ghorela with Ghorela centre inside Kanha TR in immediate effect for rewilding and MP. Taking note of NTCA’s assess- subsequent ment report on the tiger re-intro- release to suitable habitat duction programme at Satkosia, the Madhya Pradesh HC ruled that Madhya Pradesh the tigress (identified as T-2) can- High Court not be allowed to be kept in a small enclosure for a longer time. “In the interest of tiger conservation, T-2 shall be withdrawn and brought to Ghorela with immediate effect for rewilding and subsequent release to suitable habitat,” the ruling said. The HC also directed that tiger translocation programme at Satkosia remain suspended till ground situation in the field improved as per NTCA protocol and subsequent feasibility study. The court also rejected the appeal for a judicial enquiry into the decision to translocate the tigress, stating, the same has been addressed by NTCA. Disposing of the petition, the HC observed that the answers on rewilding of the tigress have been answered by NTCA. The petition was filed by Red Lynx Confederation, a non profit registered with Delhi. With this, Sundari’s journey in Odisha may well have come to an end. As part of India’s first tiger reintroduction programme, she was translocated from Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve in MP and released into Continued on:P5 Satkosia on August 18, 2018. The State Assembly on Monday passed the Odisha Essential Services (Maintenance) Act Amendment Bill, 2020, amidst strong protest from Opposition members. As per the amended law, any person found instigating and funding strikes will be punished with imprisonment for a ter m which may extend to one year or a fine up to `5,000 or both. The new provisions of ESMA empower the government to prohibit strikes in essential services like fire services, excise, forest, prison, reforms, electronics and others. The amendment in ESMA became necessary to protect the interests of the citizens and not to deprive them from getting essential services, said Minister of State for Home Dibyashankar Mishra. Dubbing the Bill draconian, Leader of Opposition Pradipta Naik said it is intended to muzzle the voices of people. Senior Congress MLA Tara Prasad Bahinipati said this is an attempt to choke the voice of the people by the BJD government which has miserably failed on all fronts. This Bill is anti-democratic and antipeople, he said. The Assembly also passed the Odisha Lokayukta (Amendment) Bill, 2020 and Odisha Local Fund Audit (Amendment) Bill, 2020. express read Antony Blinken set to be Secretary of State Cong snaps ties with Gupkar alliance Washington: US President-elect Joe Biden will name his trusted foreign policy advisor Antony Blinken, who had served as deputy secretary of state under Barack Obama, as his top diplomat on Tuesday. Analysts say, Blinken, a defender of multilateralism, will help calm America’s strained ties with allies. Biden is also expected to name his former aide Jake Sullivan as the national security advisor. Sullivan advised Biden on domestic policy as V-P | P9 Srinagar: After facing severe criticism from the BJP for being a part of the “Gupkar Gang”, the J&K Congress has snapped its ties with the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) and ended the seat-sharing agreement for the upcoming District Development Council (DDC) polls with the seven parties’ alliance. J&K Congress vice-president Ghulam Nabi Monga confirmed this newspaper that his party has severed the seat-sharing agreement with the PAGD | P8 SC pulls up Delhi, Gujarat for poor Covid management New Delhi:The SC on Monday pulled up Delhi and Gujarat governments over poor handling of the Covid-19 pandemic and also sought reports from them | P7 First Lady no more, bereaved Governor puts duty first E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Bhubaneswar Sushila Devi, wife of Odisha Governor Prof Ganeshi Lal, passed away at a private hospital here on Sunday night. She was 73. The Governor’s office broke the news early in the day “With profound . grief and heavy heart, we inform that the First Lady of the State Smt Sushila Devi passed away yesterday night. Let us pray for the departed holy soul. Om Shanti!,” the Raj Bhavan informed on Twitter. The Governor, however, did not let the irreparable personal loss and mourning come in way of his duty as he cleared the selection of Vice Chan- cellors to various State universities on the day . “Duty First!! Even amidst an irreparable loss of the First Lady, Hon’ble Governor ensures that the new VCs of 6 universities are appointed today, so that they get at least 7 days to join their new assignment as the tenure of the present VCs comes to an end on 30th Nov,2020,” tweeted the Governor’s office after the appointments were declared. Sushila Devi was undergoing treatment at SUM Ultimate Medicare after testing positive for Covid-19 on November 1. She was suffering from postCovid complications. Sushila Devi and Prof Lal have four daughters and three sons. A native of Hissar in Haryana, the First Lady of the State was born on December 6, 1946. She was constant companion in various activities of the Governor. Religious in nature, she was passionate towards socio-cultural activities. Meanwhile, condolences poured in after her death. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik expressed profound grief and described her as a very warm and pious person. He conveyed his deep sympathies to the Governor and other members of the family . Andhra Pradesh Governor Biswa Bhusan Harichandan conveyed his deep condolences. He described her as a very warm and kind person who actively participated in several programmes for the welfare of the poor and needy Union Steel and PNG Min. ister Dharmendra Pradhan also expressed his shock and deep grief. Continued on:P5
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