KOttayam l Wednesday l December 02, 2020 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l 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 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 ■ 1,55,000 Output counts, not time spent at work ■ ■ 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 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 Periya: SC rejects state’s plea, upholds CBI probe long road to justice Sept 30 HC single bench quashed the chargesheet and transferred the case to the CBI Feb 17, 2019 Kripesh & Sarath Lal were hacked to death near Periya Crime Branch probed the case and charged 14 CPM workers and leaders, but it named the prime suspects as prosecution witnesses Oct 31 State appealed against the order before the division bench Nov 16 Div bench refused to stay the single-bench order Aug 25, 2020 HC upheld the CBI investigation Sept 25 SC refused to stay the high court order after the state approached it Dec 1 The apex court ordered a CBI probe into the case E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @Kasaragod IN a major setback for the LDF government, the brutal murder of Youth Cong ress workers Kripesh and Sarath Lal P K in Periya will be investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), as ruled by the Supreme Court. The state government had been stonewalling the CBI investigation by not handing over the case diary and other related documents to the central agency, despite orders from the single bench and division bench of the Kerala High Court. Dismissing the state government’s appeal challenging the HC order, the apex court on Tuesday asked it to immediately hand over the case diary to the CBI. The central agency had told the Supreme Court that it could not make much progress in the case because it did not have access to the case diary . Kripesh, 19, and Sarath Lal, 24, were hacked to death at Kalliyot near Periya on February 17, 2019, allegedly by CPM workers and leaders. The Crime Branch of the Kerala Police investigated the case and charged 14 CPM workers and leaders for the double murder, but it named the prime suspects as prosecution witnesses. On September 30, 2019, the HC s i n g l e b e n ch q u a s h e d t h e chargesheet and transferred the case to the CBI. However, the government refused to hand over the case diary to the CBI, and after a month on October 31, appealed against the order before the division bench. After completing the hearing on November 16, 2019, the division bench refused to stay the single bench order. It then sat on the case for nine months and gave its judgment upholding the CBI investigation on August 25, 2020. The state government then moved the apex court, which took up the case on September 25, but refused to stay the high court or● More on P4 der. Govt sows panel plan, farmers uproot it CPM pulls up Isaac over KSFE raid remarks E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ T’Puram 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 at Ghazipur; and one of the wrinkled faces of the protest | PTI 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 E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ 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 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 ex- perts 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. govt instructs police to show utmost restraint 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 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 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 Never said everyone will Speaker approves vigilance probe be administered Covid against Chennithala and K M Shaji vaccine, says Central govt E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @T’Puram E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ New Delhi 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 p o p u l a t i o n , ” B h a r g av a explained. 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 discuss 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.” Continued ON: P7 SPEAKER P Sreeramakrishnan on Tuesday gave permission to the state government to launch a vigilance probe against Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala in the backdrop of the recent allegations surrounding the bar bribery case. The inquiry is likely to begin from Wednesday. The Speaker also gave his nod to proceed with the investigation against IUML leader K M Shaji, MLA, in connection with the illegal wealth acquisition case registered against him. The jolt for the Congress comes over a week after hotelier Biju Ramesh raised the allegation that Chennithala had accepted a bribe of `1 crore from the Kerala Bar Hotel Association (KBHA), during the Chandy government’s tenure, to roll back a proposed A DAY after Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan dismissed conspiracy theories within the Left camp regarding the raid on the KSFE branches, the CPM endorsed his views and, more noticeably, chose to reject Finance Minister Thomas Isaac’s stance on the issue. The party state secretariat, in an apparent warning, told Isaac and senior leader Anathalavattom Anandan for making public remarks against the raid, something the central leadership too was unhappy with, given the local body elections are round the corner. The CPM’s secretariat meeting on Tuesday backed party strongman Pinarayi’s version that “the raids were routine inspections”. “A few responses about the vigilance inspection have led to misinterpretation and negative campaigning. These remarks were made against the attempts to defame KSFE. Such open remarks should have been avoided,” said the statement, without naming Isaac, who is a central committee member. Isaac explained his stance at the meeting and said he should have been in● More on P4 formed about the raids. Actor assault case: State moves apex court JOSE SPARED IUML leader K M Shaji to be investigated in disproportionate assets case bar licence fee hike. Sleuths will soon record statements of Chennithala and former UDF ministers V S Sivakumar and K Babu, sources said. As Chennithala was the KPCC president and not a minister then, the state government’s legal counsel had suggested that the Governor’s approval was not required to initiate a vigilance ● More on P4 probe against him. Despite allegations, probe against KC(M)’s Jose K Mani unlikely Statements of Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala (then KPCC chief) and former UDF ministers V S Sivakumar and K Babu likely to be recorded soon Healthy gst revenue, pmi data show recovery on E x p r e s s ne w s s e r v i c e @ 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 mop-up 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. 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 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 s e p a r a t i n g g r ow t h f r o m 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 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 settlement. continued on: p10 Row brings out new axis in CPM T’Puram: Despite its best efforts to sweep its differences under the carpet, the KSFE row seems to have exposed the presence of a new axis within the CPM. P4 If Thomas Isaac has an iota of selfrespect left in him, he should quit immediately. The party too has abandoned him. Ramesh Chennithala, Opposition leader Government has approached the SC with an appeal against the Kerala HC order dismissing a plea seeking a change of the trial judge hearing the case | P5 No return of kids from care homes: Centre E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ 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.
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