SAMBALPUR l wednesday l december 02, 2020 l `7.00 l PAGES 14 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 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 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 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. Vigilance unearths `5.29 cr more, taking total to nearly `15 cr @ Berhampur/Bhubaneswar The Special Investigation Team (SIT) of State Vigilance has found evidence of another `5.29 crore cash deposited in the accounts of Akash Kumar Pathak, the son of senior IFS officer Abhay Kant Pathak. Online transfer and cheque clearances amounting to `5.29 crore were detected during verification, which has raised the total deposits in Akash’s accounts to `14.77 crore. The bank accounts are in Bhubaneswar and Pune. For someone who dealt with so much cash and spent on a lavish lifestyle, Akash’s income tax returns have not been found yet, much to the surprise of Vigilance. “He has not been able to produce any IT returns,” official sources said. The anti-corruption bureau sources said that so far, all verifications indicate that cash was being generated in Bhu- baneswar which is why the bookings and payments for travels, hotels and other spending were made from agencies b a s e d o u t o f t h e S t at e Capital. “Since Tata Motors has clarified that he was not their employee, where was all this money coming from? The alleged fake recruitment could not have fetched so much funds. We are probing deeper,” the sources added. The Vigilance is now set to examine all the postings of father Abhay Kant. His personal files from all field postings, Forest and Environment department as well as PCCF Office have been collected. Relevant CCTV footages were also seized from the residence and the apartments searched earlier. Pathak senior was posted at Rajgangpur, Sambalpur, Bolangir, Angul, Boudh, Koraput, Berhampur in different periods of his career. A team also went to Sub Registrar office for verification of land records of the kin of Pathak. Under amendments to Prevention of Cor ruption Act in 2018, property in the name of relatives can be made out as an offence. The officers of State Forensic Science Laboratory, Bhubaneswar have also started forensic examination of the seized cell phones, laptops and other seized devices. The Vigilance has handed over all evidences related to cheating and impersonation Since Tata Motors has clarified that he was not their employee, where was all this money coming from? The alleged fake recruitment could not have fetched so much funds Vigilance sources ag ainst Akash to Crime Branch while focusing its probe under disproportionate assets case. Meanwhile, a five-member Crime Branch team, headed by a DSP reached Berhampur to investigate into the alleged job fraud by Akash. It went to Forest department offices as well as banks. Yesterday a two , member team had interacted with senior officials and interrogated youths of Chhatrapur area. Meanwhile, supporters of Gopalpur MLA Pradeep Panigrahy, who is under scanner too, described the action as unwarranted and caused by differences in BJD. However, Panigrahy’s lifestyle, when people of Ganjam district were living in the grip of Covid-19, has dried up public sympathy though they alleged that , police were acting in a vindictive manner. Grassroots leaders of BJD in Ganjam district, reportedly neglected by Panigrahy are also happy , . BJD ups the ante on expelled MLA E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @Bhubaneswar The Chief Minister consciously used the word anti-people as it is very insensitive and inhumane display of power and arrogance Pratap Deb, BJD spokesperson Gopalpur MLA Pradeep Panigrahy’s challenge to BJD to spell out his ‘anti-people activities’ that formed the basis of his expulsion was met with a strong counter by the ruling party which detailed how the former minister went hopping from one city to another and was busy in merry-making along with his family and would-be son-in-law Akash Pathak by splurging when the State was fighting the Covid-19 pandemic. Panigrahy was expelled from BJD for his involvement in huge corruption which in- 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 More cash in Akash’s coffers E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e govt instructs police to show utmost restraint cludes cheating people by assuring them jobs, BJD spokesp er so n Pr at ap D e b to l d mediapersons. “The Chief Minister would not have initiated action if he did not have facts against Panigrahy These . are anti-people activities,” he said. “The Chief Minister consciously used the word antipeople as it is very insensitive and inhumane display of power and arrogance,” he said. Stating that Panigrahy was flying in charter planes when common people were fighting for lives, Deb said, the former minister stayed in five-star hotels in Mumbai and New Delhi when people were not getting food due to Covid-19 pandemic. When it was life and death situation for common man in Ganjam, his activities were not only insensitive but also showed lack of commitment as a people’s representative, he said. Deb alleged that Panigrahy along with Pathak family travelled in charter flights and stayed in Hotel Taj in Mumbai in August when Ganjam was battling the pandemic peak. In Mumbai, along with Pathak family Panigrahy spent about , ` 84 lakh at Hotel Taj, he said and added, they spent lakhs in Taj Palace Hotel in New Delhi continued on: P7 too. No mass return of kids from care homes 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. 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. express read India conducts 4th BrahMos test in eight days, scripts missile history Bhubaneswar: Indian armed forces have scripted history by successfully conducting four tests of the supersonic cruise missile BrahMos in eight days. The latest trial conducted by the Navy from a guided stealth destroyer hit the target ship in the Bay of Bengal with pin-point accuracy on Tuesday. This was fourth test in eight days and seventh mission this year | P5 Healthy gst revenue, pmi data show recovery is 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 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 Strong pick-up collections. Festive sales also saw the in export orders Nikkei Purchasing Managers’ The Nikkei PMI report Index (PMI) at 56.3 in Novemshowed that new ber, a sign that companies export orders increased were hoping for continued markedly in November, sales in December and were with survey b u y i n g inputs in participants reporting anticipation. strong demand from Though the PMI, compiled 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: p12 ment. State buys 85 % more paddy this season AMID alleged irregularities in the distribution of tokens to farmers, the State government has procured over 2.38 lakh tonnes of paddy from 11 districts by end of November, which is 85 per cent (pc) more than the corresponding period last year | P3 Never said everyone will be administered the Covid shot: Centre 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 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 discuss such scien. tific 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: P9
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