kottayam l Wednesday l January 06, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 14 l city EDITION Parliament session from January 29, budget on Feb 1 The Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs on Tuesday recommended convening of the Budget session from Jan 29 file picture Second half likely from march 8 to April 8 Opposition likely to raise farm laws The first part of the Budget session will run till February 15. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present the Budget in the Lok Sabha on February 1, as usual. The second half of the Budget session will commence after a recess and be held from March 8 till April 8. The Economic Survey will be presented in both Houses of Parliament on January 31 ■ ■ ■ The Opposition is likely to put pressure on govt over farm laws The govt had earlier decided against convening the winter session of Parliament citing the pandemic, for which it drew flak The monsoon session of Parliament, too, had been adjourned prematurely after many MPs tested positive for Covid-19 | P7 2021-22 Budget expected to have measures to revive India’s Covid-hit economy 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 Liquor to cost `45-`100 more per bottle soon The government has set an ambitious target of achieving one nation, one gas grid which will help save foreign currency worth thousands of crores of rupees. Express News Service @ T’Puram LIQUOR prices in the state will go up by `45-`100 per bottle from February 1. A director board meeting of the Kerala State Beverages Corporation (Bevco) has approved the proposal. “Liquor producing companies have been demanding a hike in prices for various brands for the past one-anda-half years as prices of raw materials have gone up by 20-30%. It is against this backdrop that the director board meeting approved the proposal for a 7% price hike for all types of liquor,” a Bevco official said. It will be the second price hike in the current financial year. The sales tax on liquor bottles was increased by 35% after Covid and subsequent lockdown caused a financial crunch for the state government. Narendra Modi Modi opens `5,750-cr GAIL pipeline project, ignites state’s hopes From pm’s speech Share of natural gas in the country’s energy basket will be raised from 6% to 15% A CNG-based transport system will be developed in the cities of both states Chemical and fertiliser plants in Kochi and Mangaluru will be able to reduce the production cost The petrochemical industry will get clean & cheap feed stock E x p r e s s N e w s S e r v i c e @ Kochi PRIME Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the `5,750-crore Kochi-Mangaluru GAIL pipeline project on Tuesday, igniting the state’s hopes of achieving sustainable development and revenue using green energy . Modi harped on “gas-based economy” and “green energy” while Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan highlighted “development”, in tune with his recent narrative keeping an eye on the assembly polls. Modi and Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan showered praises on the CM for his proactive intervention to expedite the works. Pinarayi reciprocated the gesture, drifting from the stance of the ruling CPM, which had vehemently opposed the project five years ago citing safety concerns and commercial aspects. After the inauguration through video conferencing, Modi said the share of natural gas in the country’s energy basket will be raised from 6% to 15%. He said the Kochi-Mangaluru pipeline project will have a positive impact on the economy of both Kerala and Karnataka. More on P4 Govt pressure? Minutes show expert panel’s Covaxin U-turn It wasn’t satisfied with phase 1, 2 results alone in first two meets; changed mind in the third S u m i S u k a n ya D u t ta @ New Delhi A bare reading of the minutes of the three meetings the drug regulator’s expert panel held over the past week to consider accelerated licenses to coronavirus vaccines, indicates what was suspected all along — that the committee perhaps changed its mind on Covaxin overnight due to government pressure to clear a homegrown jab. After three meetings spread over four days, the subject expert committee of the Central Drugs Standards Control Organisation on Covid-19 recommended restricted emergency use for Covishield by Serum Institute of India and Covaxin by Bharat Biotech-ICMR. The approval to Covaxin, whose phase 3 trial on about 26,000 volunteers is still underway, however, led to a massive outcry in the scientific community as its efficacy is yet to be established. The minutes of the SEC’s meetings on December 30 and January 1 show it was not satisfied with Covaxin’s phase 1 and 2 trial data alone, but changed its mind on January 2. December 30’s minutes say that “after detailed deliberation, the committee recommended that the First jab by January 13? Express News Service @ New Delhi firm should update and present immunogenicity, safety and efficacy data for fur ther consideration.” On January 1, it recommended that Bharat Biotech expedite the recruitment of volunteers and perform interim efficacy analysis for further consideration. In the same meeting, the panel recommended Covishield’s approval. However, the very next day when an unscheduled meeting was held purportedly under pressure to clear the indigenous vaccine, Bharat Biotech presented further data and notably “requested for consideration of their proposal in the wake of incidence of new mutated coronavirus infection”. Introducing the protection angle against the infectious UK virus strain perhaps gave the SEC legroom for its somersault. NIA names Swapna & Sarith in charge sheet, Sandeep is approver NIA avoids term diplomatic baggage and uses import cargo addressed to UAE diplomats 5 persons, including prime accused Sandeep Nair, were made approvers NIA adds section 20 of UAPA (being member of terrorist gang or terrorist organisation) NIA finds that prime accused K T Rameez was planning to smuggle more gold from other countries Raju and wife Anitha from Karuvatta near Alappuzha hand over their ducks to the rapid response team personnel for culling, after the Kuttanad region reported bird flu. The couple has been rearing 8,000 ducks and half of them were culled on Tuesday | Albin Mathew 20,300 3,810 ducks culled in Alappuzha on the first day Rapid response teams killed pet birds & ducks in 4 panchayats in Alappuzha birds culled in Kottayam dist H5N8 not found in birds in any new locality The team members wearing PPE kit killed the ducks and burnt them. After the burial of the remains, the department sanitised the areas — T K Santhosh Kumar, Alappuzha dist animal husbandry officer Farmers gear up for R-Day showdown, to hold rehearsal H a r p r e e t B a j w a @ Chandigarh A day after the seventh round of talks between the Centre and farmer union leaders over the three contentious farm laws ended in a deadlock, the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha on Tuesday said it would take out a tractor rally on January 7, day before the next meeting. The tractor march would he held on eastern and western expressways around Delhi, said Yogendra Yadav, a member of the coordination com- mittee of the morcha, an umbrella body of over 40 farm unions. “It will be a rehearsal for our tractor march on January 26,” Yadav said. “Farmers from Kundli, Ghazipur and Rewasan will climb atop both expressways from their respective sides. After meeting at midway point, they will return to their respective positions. We will approach from Kundli and Tikri borders on the eastern side, will march from Rewasan and Ghazipur,” Yadav added. straight talk Even primary objectives of DeMo never met: Pranab EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi THE intent of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s demonetisation was good but its primary objectives were not met even after years of its implementation, according to for mer president Pranab Mukherjee. The PM did not give him the heads-up and he came to know about the note ban through TV like the rest of the country, revealed Mukherjee, who passed away on August 31, 2020. New Delhi: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday cancelled his proposed visit to India citing the raging coronavirus crisis at home, aggravated by an infectious strain of the virus. He was scheduled to be the chief guest at the Republic Day Parade here on January 26 | P7 Dissenting verdict K a n u S a r d a @ New Delhi Farmers feel heat CHARGE SHEET HIGHLIGHTS Boris Johnson cancels R-Day visit Project to develop Central Vista gets 2:1 SC green light EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Kochi The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Tuesday named persons in a charge sheet filed before the Special Court for NIA Cases here in the case related to the smuggling of gold using diplomatic baggage. NIA has turned five accused persons as approvers, including prime accused Sandeep Nair who was arrested from Bengaluru on July 11 last year. According to sources, the charge sheet was filed as Wednesday marks 180 days since the arrest of Swapna Suresh. “With the charge sheet filed, they can’t avail of the provision for statutory bail. Of the 21 persons arrested in the case, 20 have been named as accused. Sandeep has been made an approver as he has given a voluntary statement under section 164 of CrPC. His statement is vital and he is a crucial witness,” said a source. NIA has charged the accused under sections 16, 17, 18 and 20 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. “We have added section 20 meant for a member of a terrorist gang or terrorist group in the charge sheet. This was done as the act of the accused person was intended to destabilise the economic security of the nation, which is a terrorist act. Earlier, the FIR was registered under sections 16, 17 and 18 of UAPA,” said the source. ● More on P4 The Union health ministry on Tuesday said the government is prepared to roll out vaccines against Covid-19 within 10 days of granting emergency use authorisation. Since regulatory approval came on January 3, the first jabs could be administered by January 13. “The government is ready to introduce Covid-19 vaccine within 10 days from date of emergency use authorisation,” said Rajesh Bhushan, health secretary . Describing the vaccine delivery management plan using the specially designed CoWin platform, he said healthcare and frontline workers need not register themselves on it as beneficiaries, as their data has been pre-populated on the portal. “There are four primary vaccine stores called GMSD in Kar nal, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata and 37 vaccine stores. They store vaccines in bulk and distribute them further,” he said. Automated session allocation, SMS in 12 languages, 24x7 helpline, chat box with pattern recognition to help navigate the portal, digital locker for integrated data retrieval and storing vaccine data are some of the salient features of CoWIN. The fourth volume of his autobiography The Presidential Years: 2012-2017 was released on Tuesday by p u b l i s h e r Ru p a Publications. “It is difficult to assess the exact impact of demonetisation, close to four years after it was implemented. But perhaps one thing can be stated without fear of contradiction: the multiple objectives of the decision of demoneti- sation... to bring back black money, paralyse the operation of the black economy and facilitate a cashless society, etc, have not been met,” he wrote. Terming the decision was in line with Modi’s style of making dramatic announcements, Mukherjee said the criticism that followed was only natural. “Demonetisation could not have been done with prior consultation because the suddenness and surprise, necessary for such announcements, would have been lost after such a process, ” he wrote. Mukherjee also noted that in the early 1970s, he had proposed demonetisation after the successful implementation of the Voluntary Disclosure of Income and Wealth Ordinance, 1975 but the then PM Indira Gandhi turned it down. “Indira Gandhi did not accept my suggestion,” he added. A Supreme Court bench on Tuesday greenlighted the mega Central Vista project by 2:1 majority, saying there were no infirmities in clearances granted to it. Justice A M Khanwilkar, writing for himself and Justice Dinesh Maheswari, however, said authorities executing the project will have to get clearance from the Heritage Conservation Committee, rejecting the Centre’s stand that the approval was to be taken subsequently . The two judges found the process to change the land use at the project site legal and valid. They also found all notifications issued for the project as also the approval granted by the environmental committee valid. Justice Sanjiv Khanna Adequate notice not given to stakeholders of the development plan Tender notices do not suggest the project envisaged extensive change, though it was for complete redevelopment of Central Vista
Express Network Private Limited publishes thirty three E-paper editions of The New Indian Express newspaper , thirty two E-paper editions of Dinamani, one E-paper edition of The Morning Standard, one E-paper edition of Malayalam Vaarika magazine and one E-paper edition of the Indulge - The Morning Standard, Kolkatta.