MADURAI WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 02, 2020 `7.00 PAGES 12 LATE CITY EDITION UNILEVER TO TEST FOUR-DAY WORK WEEK FROM THIS MONTH The British consumer goods giant said on Tuesday it would offer shorter work week for all its 81 staff in New Zealand TRIAL STARTS SOON, WILL RUN FOR A YEAR OUTPUT COUNTS, NOT TIME SPENT AT WORK During the test, which will roll out this month and run for a year, the employees can decide which four days they want to work each week. There will be no pay cut, even though the total working hours have been reduced. The trial is expected to help employees attain a healthy work-life balance, and enhance productivity, bringing more profits to the company ■ ■ ■ In 2019, Microsoft had tried a four-day work week in Japan. It found employees were happier and productivity jumped by 40% Nick Bangs, MD of Unilever New Zealand, said the goal of the test is to “measure performance on output, not time” Unilever said it plans to shake up its workflow on a wider scale 1,55,000 EMPLOYEES ON THE ROLLS OF UNILEVER IN OVER 100 COUNTRIES 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 Representatives of farmer unions (from L) address the media after talks with the Centre, in New Delhi on Tuesday; farmers relax at the Delhi-UP border after lunch at Ghazipur; and one of the wrinkled faces of the protest | PTI Govt sows panel plan, farmers uproot it Agitators reject proposal to form small delegation for talks instead of holding it with all 32 leaders; both sides refuse to budge on three new farm sector laws; next round on Thursday EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi/Chandigarh THE much-anticipated talks between agitating farmers and the Centre on Tuesday over the controversial three new farm sector reform laws, ended in a stalemate with the former rejecting a proposal to set up a committee to examine the issues flagged by them. Both sides, however, agreed to meet again on Thursday . “Now is not the time for setting up committees,” representatives of farmer unions were quoted as saying. They were firm on their demand to repeal the new laws and said their protests will continue. Union Agriculture Minister No mass return of kids from care homes EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi THE Centre on Tuesday overrode a blanket order issued by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights’ (NCPCR) a few weeks ago to send all inmates of care institutions in eight states, including Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, back to their parents. It informed the Supreme Court that no inmate would be repatriated without proper scrutiny of the support system, as per the requirements under the Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, submitted before a bench headed by Justice L Nageswara Rao that as per law, a child also cannot be kept in a care home forever. But the NCPCR’s order that all children living in care homes in eight states be sent back to their families, would not be implemented. The NCPCR fiat was meant to improve the living conditions of children and was not mandatory he reasoned. , “The children must be produced before the Child Welfare Committee to explore further welfare needs. They will not be sent home without assessment. It’s not an en masse repatriation,” he said. Narendra Singh Tomar later said: “We asked the union leaders to form a smaller group and discuss the laws clause by clause. The government has no objection to any discussion. The fourth round of talks will take place on December 3.” Representatives of all 32 agitating farmer unions participated. Apart from Tomar, the government was represented by Railway Minister Piyush Goyal and Minister of State for Industries Som Prakash. According to sources, the government offered to constitute a multi-disciplinary panel comprising representatives of farmer unions, agricultural experts and other government bodies to look into their demands, but the union leaders rejected it. “The Centre had no answers. They asked us to propose five names of farmer leaders for a committee that would hold talks with the government and also participate in another panel to discuss the laws. We rejected it outright,” Bharatiya Kisan Union (Rajewal) president Balbir Singh Rajewal said. “Minister Narendra Singh Tomar appeared helpless; we could read his body language,” said Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ugranhan) president Joginder Singh Ugranhan. Later, another round of talks was held with BKU chief Rakesh Tikait and other union leaders at the agriculture ministry. “We have told them to submit their concerns in writing,” Tomar said. Earlier in the day, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Home Minister Amit Shah met Tomar at BJP president J P Nadda’s residence for the third time in as many days. @ New Delhi TWO sets of data released on Tuesday indicated India’s economy may be on the mend. For one, Goods and Services Tax (GST) revenue figures for November showed indirect tax collections crossed the psychological mark of `1 lakh crore for the second month in a row, at `1.04 lakh crore. While this was slightly lower than the October mopup of `1.05 lakh crore, it was 1.4% more than the GST revenue recorded in November 2019, as festive demand drove up sales and tax collections. Wary of drawing negative international attention, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs on Tuesday instructed the Delhi Police to handle the agitation with utmost restraint, amid inputs that more kisan unions are likely to join the protesters. The Centre was, however, quick to snub Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for his comments on the protests, saying they were ill-informed and unwarranted SARKARI CHAI? NO THANKS “During tea break, the government offered tea and snacks but we turned it down and instead invited them to our agitation spot to have food from our langar (community kitchen). We will also offer milk and jalebis,” informed farmer leaders who attended the meeting We suggested to them to form a small committee, but they said they all will be present in the meeting. We agreed to that - Narendra Singh Tomar, Union Agriculture Minister HEALTHY GST REVENUE, PMI DATA SHOW RECOVERY IS ON EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE GOVT INSTRUCTS POLICE TO SHOW UTMOST RESTRAINT Festive sales also saw the Nikkei Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) at 56.3 in November, a sign that companies were hoping for continued sales in December and were buying inputs in anticipation. Though the PMI, compiled Strong pick-up in export orders The Nikkei PMI report showed that new export orders increased markedly in November, with survey participants reporting strong demand from key export markets by IHS Markit, declined to 56.3 in November from October’s decadal high of 58.9, it still remained well above the 50-level separating growth from contraction. Officials said that of the total GST collection, central GST was `19,189 crore, state GST `25,540 crore, IGST `51,992 crore (including `22,078 crore collected on import of goods) and while Cess stood at `8,242 crore (including `809 crore collected on import of goods). The government has settled `22,293 crore to CGST and `16,286 crore to SGST from IGST as regular settleCONTINUED ON: P10 ment. PUSHBACK AGAINST NEERA TANDEN The Indian-American’s nomination as Director for Office of Management and Budget has run into trouble over her ‘insulting’ comments on Trump | P9 FACE IT! Police imposing fine on a man for not wearing proper face mask during an enforcement drive in Bengaluru on Tuesday | AFP New Delhi: Amid concerns over China building a hydropower project on the Brahmaputra river in Tibet, India too plans to construct a reservoir in Arunachal Pradesh to offset its impact, T S Mehra, Commissioner (Brahmaputra & Barak), in the Jal Shakti ministry said. A multipurpose 10,000 MW hydropower project will be built | P12 EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Chennai IN a welcome move, Anna University has written to the principals of all affiliated institutions and colleges, directing them not to confiscate the original certificates of the faculty. “Only copies of the original Why put up signages outside Covid patients’ homes, asks SC New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday questioned the practice of pasting posters outside the homes of Covdi-19 patients, saying the people affected are treated as “untouchables”. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said the Centre has not prescribed this and states might be doing it on their own to prevent virus spread EPS chairs review meeting ahead of Burevi’s expected arrival @ Chennai/ T’Puram THE turbulent Bay in the east is set to unleash another cyclone on Tamil Nadu even as the official machinery is gearing up to mitigate its fury Early . on Tuesday, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami chaired a review meeting to as- sess the preparedness of the authorities. He ordered deployment of special teams to areas likely to be affected by the predicted cyclone, which is currently a deep depression hovering over southwest Bay of Bengal — about 460 km eastsoutheast of Trincomalee (Sri Lanka) and 860 km east-southeast of Kanniyakumari. Expected to make a landfall between Kanniyakumari and Pamban by Thursday the deep , depression is likely to transform into cyclone Burevi by Tuesday night. Palaniswami said that nine NDRF teams have been deployed to Madurai, Kanniyakumari, Thoothukudi, and Tirunelveli districts. The focus is on reducing the extent of damage while ensuring uninterrupted telecom services. “Officials have been directed to evacuate people living in low-lying areas. Basic necessities would be arranged at such centres, which would THE Centre on Tuesday said it never spoke about vaccinating the entire country against Covid19, adding there may not even be the need to vaccinate everyone. On the allegation of the ‘adverse event’ reported in the human trial of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, being produced by the Serum Institute of India, the government said it will not affect vaccine timelines. At the health ministry briefing, ICMR Director General Balram Bhargava said the purpose of the Covid vaccine drive would be to break the chain of viral transmission. “If we are able to vaccinate a critical mass of people and break the chain of transmission, then we may not have to vaccinate the entire population,” Bhargava explained. Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said there was never a talk about inoculating the whole population with Covid-19 vaccine. “I just want to make this clear that the government has never spoken about vaccinating the entire country It’s important that we dis. cuss such scientific issues, based on factual information only and then analyse it,” Bhushan said. The ICMR chief reiterated the importance of masks in fighting the pandemic. He said, “The role of masks is also important and that will continue even after vaccination. Because we are starting with a small group of population at a time, masks will continue to be used to help in breaking the chain of viral transmission.” Original certificates of faculty cannot be confiscated, AU tells affiliated colleges CYCLONE PREPAREDNESS EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi CONTINUED ON: P7 EXPRESS READ India to build reservoir in Arunachal to ward off China threat Never said everyone will be administered the Covid shot: Centre also provide hand sanitiser and ensure physical distancing,” he said. Dams are under continuous monitoring while authorities were working overtime to offset the impact on fishermen. “Those in the sea have been directed to return ashore,” he said, adding over 1,000 workers have been roped in to address power issues. certificates have to be maintained in the college,” the varsity said in a letter on Saturday . The direction is an offshoot of the recent communication from the Higher Education Department that stated that a faculty in a private institution had alleged harassment in this re- gard. He had subsequently killed himself. The department further said, even as the case was legally closed by the police, “they (college management) may duly be warned by the authorities and if necessary some , strict disciplinary or penal actions may be initiated against them.” PMK takes to the streets seeking Vanniyar quota B A N B U S E LV A N , S A H AYA N O V I N S T O N L O B O @ Chennai ALL hell broke loose in Chennai and the suburbs on Tuesday when the PMK launched a State-wide protest, demanding 20 per cent reservation for the Vanniyar community in education and jobs. Over 3,000 cadre were detained and another 300 arrested in the city for damaging public property during the protest, which threw rail and road traffic out of gear. The PMK campaign for reservation has been gathering momentum for some time now, with the party founder, S Ramadoss, having warned of “in- tense” protests across the State from December. He had discussed about the reservation demand during the party’s general body meeting last week. Later in the day, a team of PMK leaders and cadre, led by MP Anbumani Ramadoss, met Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and submitted a petition, seeking the sub-quota. Speaking to reporters, Anbumani said, “Reservation should be given to every community as per their population, to ensure social justice. The Vanniyars in TN is almost 25 per cent, but we demand only 20 per cent quota. This is needed to ensure social MORE ON: P4 justice for all.” TN FORMS PANEL TO CONDUCT CASTE-CENSUS CM Palaniswami on Tuesday announced the formation of a commission to conduct a caste-wise enumeration to ensure social justice and protect the 69 per cent reservation in the State. He said, “Various parties and organisations have time and again demanded a caste-wise census.” A separate commission will be established to examine the mechanisms for collecting statistics, and submit a report, he added | P4
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