THIRUVANANTHAPURAM l saturday l December 05, 2020 l `7.00 l PAGES 16 l late city EDITION Covid-19 vaccination drive after scientists’ nod: PM Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday that experts believe the coronavirus vaccine will be ready in a few weeks Healthcare workers to be given priority Pandemic a security challenge: Azad In his remarks at a virtual all-party meeting, Modi said healthcare workers involved in treating Covid-19 patients, frontline workers including police personnel and municipal staff, and old people suffering from serious conditions would be inoculated on priority. On vaccine price, the PM said public health will be accorded top priority and states will be fully involved ■ ■ Covid-like pandemics can pose a threat to the country’s internal security and policy makers should address this challenge, senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said This is the second all-party meeting by the Centre to discuss the Covid-19 situation since the outbreak of the pandemic | P7 8 vaccines At various stages of trial & their PRODUCTION assured in India: PM 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 Quizzing: ED asks Raveendran to appear on Dec 10 Pinarayi Left front’s leader, his energy its driving force: CPM E XPR E SS N E WS S E RVIC E @Kochi Farmers during their protest against the new farm laws at Ghazipur on the Delhi-UP border on Friday | Parveen negi Farmers intensify stir, announce Bharat Bandh Demand assurance on repealing three laws and guarantees on MSP Ha r p r ee t B a j w a @ Chandigarh Farmer unions on Friday intensified their agitation by announcing a Bharat Bandh on Tuesday (December 8) if the Centre fails to agree to repeal three contentious farm sector reform laws that were rammed through by Parliament. Rejecting the government’s offer to suitably amend the laws to address their concerns during Thursday’s talks, the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha’s meeting at the Singhu border unanimously decided to explore other means as well to bring the Centre to its knees, including laying siege to toll plazas across the country to stop them from charging toll tax from commuters and choking all entry points to Delhi. Though a timeline for the new agitation programme is yet to be firmed up, the earlier decision on burning effigies of the Modi government and corporate leaders on Saturday will happen as scheduled. Also, the award wapsi that began on Thursday with Badal Farmers’ bandh may not impact Kerala The nationwide shutdown won’t reflect in Kerala as the first phase of local body elections is scheduled for the day. Senior leaders of the Karshaka Samyuktha Samithi, which has been leading the farmers’ agitation in the state, will take a final call on Saturday | P4 Senior returning his Padma Vibhushan, would intensify on Monday they decided. In all, 51 , union leaders participated. All 32 protesting farmer unions had a joint session before the marathon meeting of the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha. Though farmers will participate in the next round of talks with the Centre on Saturday a , categorical assurance on repealing the three laws and constitutional guarantees on the minimum support price (MSP) regime alone will take the process forward, they said. Bharatiya Kisan Union, Punjab (Lakhowal Group) general secretary Harvinder Singh Lakhowal said, “Now that farmers from across the country are with us, dharnas will be held in Karnataka, Maharashtra and elsewhere. It’s no longer an agitation restricted to Punjab farmers. We have told the government to call a special session of Parliament to repeal the three farm laws.’’ Bharatiya Kisan Union general secretary Yudhvir said, “Farmers are upset across the country We have told our state . leaders to get the farmers ready for a long battle as the government wants to test our patience.’’ Political support for the protest snowballed on Friday with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav announcing a series of agitations in solidarity Mamata spoke to . various groups of agitating farmers and announced street protests from next week in Bengal to amplify the call against the new farm laws. Saffron dims pink glow in RBI holds key rates, projects Greater Hyderabad polls Monetary policy revival by Q3 E x p r e s s ne w s s e r v i c e @ New Delhi With inflation remaining stubbor nly high, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Friday chose the predictable option of leaving interest rates unchanged for the third time in a row, but maintained its accommodative stance and improved growth forecast. The banking regulator’s six-member Monetary Policy Committee decided to keep the benchmark repo rate — at which RBI lends to commercial banks — at 4%. The reverse repo rate — at which banks lend to the central bank — was kept unchanged at 3.35%. The MPC also decided to continue with the accommodative stance “as long as necessary” — not just in the current financial year but also in the next year too. Talking to reporters after the MPC meeting on Friday RBI Gover, nor Shaktikanta Das said inflation continues to be a sticky issue, hinting at similar monetary policy action in the next MPC meeting. Factoring in the nascent signs of economic revival, Das said RBI now expects GDP to contract only 7.5% in FY21, as against its previous projection of 9.5% slippage. It also expects the economy to clock positive growth of 0.1% in the third quarter and 0.7% in Q4. “Data available for Q3 FY21 confirms the economy is recuperating faster than anticipated,” said Das. P10 E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Hyderabad In a major setback for the ruling TRS in the keenly contested Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) polls, the BJP has emerged as the second largest party winning 12 times , seats it had won in 2016. The BJP’s stellar performance came close on the heels of TRS suffering a drubbing in its hands in the by-election to the rural assembly constituency of Dubbaka in erstwhile Medak district a few weeks ago. The GHMC results signify two aspects — the political space hitherto occupied by the Congress or the TDP is going the BJP’s way and the victories in Dubbaka and Hyderabad for BJP may see more leaders from other parties beginning to look at the saffron party with renewed interest. It is a shocker for the ruling TRS to lose one third of the seats it had won in 2016. However, with 31 ex-officio members in its kitty the Mayor and , Deputy Mayor posts are likely MVA wins 4 of 5 Council seats, BJP loses Nagpur Mumbai: The Shiv Sena-NCPCongress coalition in Maharashtra won four of the five Legislative Council seats. In a major setback, the BJP also lost its bastion Nagpur in the biennial elections to the upper house | P8 Party position TRS 55 (-44*) MIM 44 (0*) BJP 48 (+44*) Cong 2 (0*) Results declared: 149 (one result withheld) Total Divisions: 150 *Figures in brackets are gain/loss from 2016 polls to go to the TRS. If it still falls short, AIMIM might chip in with the requisite numbers. TRS working president K T Rama Rao said: “The results have not come the way we expected. We had expected 20-25 seats more.” THE Enforcement Directorate (ED), probing the money laundering angle in the sensational gold smuggling case, on Friday served a notice on C M Raveendran, additional private secretary to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, asking him to appear for interrogation at the central probe agency’s Kochi office on December 10. This is for the third time that the agency is summoning Raveendran, who is considered a close aide of the chief minister. He had avoided interrogation the first time stating that he had contracted Covid-19, and the second time with the claim that he was undergoing postCovid treatment in a hospital. As Raveendran was discharged from the hospital last week, the ED expects him to appear for quizzing this time. “The notice was issued directly to him. He is yet to respond, but we expect him to appear. We want to discuss with him the statements made by some important witnesses and accused persons in the case,” an ED official said. Interestingly, the date on which Raveendran has been asked to appear at the ED office coincides with the second phase of the local body elections, held in three phases on December 8, 10 ● More on P4 and 14. express read Cyclone Burevi weakens, set to give Kerala a miss T’Puram: Cyclone Burevi is set to give Kerala a miss. The Met Department said on Friday that the cyclone, which turned into a deep depression over the Gulf of Mannar coast and remained stationary mostly on Friday, is likely to weaken into a depression in the next 12 hours. After that, it will move west-southwards towards south Kerala and weaken into a low-pressure during the subsequent 24 hours. P5 Walayar mother writes to CM pleading CBI probe Palakkad: The mother of the two minor Dalit girls who were found hanging in their one-room hut at Walayar after being sexually assaulted, has written to the CM demanding a CBI inquiry. She said it pained her to hear that SIT head and then DYSP M J Sojan, who tried to sabotage the case, was recommended for IPS. P5 BJP dissidents approach nat’l president Nadda T’Puram: Dissident BJP leaders in the state are understood to have petitioned party’s national president J P Nadda against the repeated postponement of the state core group meeting. The party’s topmost decision-making body in the state has not been convened even once after the dissidence broke out. P5 16 pages, including 4 pages of THIRUVANANTHAPURAM Express $1 mn award Global teacher with a golden heart E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ New Delhi For a primary school teacher in rural Maharashtra, it was a million dollar moment as he was named winner of the 2020 Global Teacher Prize that had more than 12,000 contenders from over 140 nations. That Ranjitsinh Disale has a heart of gold became evident from the fact that he resolved to share a whopping 50% of the prize money with nine other fellow finalists. Hailing from Paritewadi village in Solapur district, Disale, 32, won Ranjitsinh Disale the $1 million prize for his efforts to promote girls’ education and help trigger a quick-response coded textbook revolution in the country . A video clip of the ceremony cap, turing the moment Disale was named the winner and his beaming parents, trended on Twitter. Disale’s interventions since 2009 helped kids access books in local languages. He embeded textbooks with unique QR codes to give students access to audio poems, stories and assignments. Teachers, he said, are the real changemakers. “They always believe in giving and sharing, which is why I will share 50% , of the prize money among my fellow finalists.” Well said. the chief minister campaigning for them, as they feel it may lead WITH the first phase of the cru- to their defeat. That’s why you cial local body elections just don’t see any posters of him,” three days away, the CPM has he said. rallied strongly behind Chief The CPM leadership disMinister Pinarayi Vijayan say- missed the charges. ing he is the leader of the Left “It was collectively decided Democratic Front. that the CM need not go for Opposition UDF and BJP physical campaigning, instead have questioned the physical lead it through social media. He absence of Pinarayi — is actively leading the who has been using the Left campaign,” CPM virtual platforms — at state secretary incampaigning, alleging charge A VijayaraghaThe CM’s photo or that he has been relucvan told TNIE. He said his physical tant due to the allega- presence is not the Pinarayi will inaugutions — mainly about rate the LDF’s web ralmost important the gold smuggling ly at 6pm on Saturday. aspect in this case — related to his election. As far as It is expected to draw 50 the Left is office. But the CPM lakh people. concerned, his countered it by saying “At the rally, to be energy is the “it’s not his presence held virtually in view biggest driving but energy that acts as of the Covid restricforce for the Left the Left front’s driving tions, the CM will force”. speak about the Left M Govindan, CPM UDF convenor M M central comm member government’s achieveHassan had triggered ments and the Left the debate on CM’s online cam- stance on various issues in the paigning when he said “the CM current political scenario,” said and other CPM leaders were Vijayaraghavan. afraid to meet the people.” ConPolitburo member M A Baby gress MP K Sudhakaran echoed too said Pinarayi has been firmthe view. ly leading the Left front’s elecBJP state chief K Surendran tion campaign. “The decision went a step further and alleged that the CM should not go for the Left candidates were reluc- physical campaigning was taktant to have Pinarayi campaign en by the party keeping the Covfor them. id situation in mind,” Baby said “Candidates are not keen on in the state capital. ● More on P4 E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ T’Puram Oppn’s criticism Congress leaders M M Hassan and K Sudhakaran said Pinarayi Vijayan was afraid to meet people while BJP state chief K Surendran alleged the LDF candidates were reluctant to have the CM campaign for them. It was collectively decided that the CM need not go for physical campaigning, instead lead it through social media. He is actively leading the Left campaign A Vijayaraghavan, CPM state secretary in-charge
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05-12-2020 of The New Indian Express-Thiruvananthapuram