kollam l tuesday l January 12, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l city EDITION $ Corporate America decides to pause political donations US business houses are rethinking political contributions in the wake of the Capitol siege by Trump supporters last week Goldman, JP Morgan, Citi halt contributions Goldman Sachs has announced freezing of donations through its political action committee (PAC). JPMorgan, the largest US bank by assets, will halt donations for six months, while Citigroup will put all contributions on hold for a quarter. Meanwhile, some firms like Marriott are pausing donations to Republicans who sought to overturn the election results ■ $14 bn Political action committees vs e-bonds ■ Blue Cross Blue Shield, Boston Scientific and Commerce Bancshares are taking a targeted approach to donation freezes In the US, companies contribute to political parties or candidates through PACs which make the details public. In India, companies can anonymously pay political parties through electoral bonds Estimated money spent during the 2020 u.s. presidential election 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 Centre to bear expense of vaccinating frontline group SC set to issue orders today on setting up a court-monitored committee to address the farmer agitation; raps Centre for sloppy talks, prods it to put contentious legislations on ice for now Stay on farm law implementation? K a n u S a r d a @ New Delhi E x p r e s s n ew s s e r v i c e @ New Delhi The Centre will bear the full expense of vaccinating three crore healthcare and frontline workers in the first phase. This was confirmed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his videoconference call with chief ministers on Monday . “Health workers, both government and private, will be vaccinated first. Sanitation workers, other frontline workers, defence forces, police and other paramilitary forces will also be vaccinated in the first phase,” Modi said. Thereafter, those above 50 years and younger people with serious co-morbidities will be given the vaccine against Covid-19. The PM also told the chief ministers that politicians including people’s representatives such as MPs and MLAs should not try to get the vaccine in the first phase. He also asked states to ensure that no rumours are spread against vaccination as the massive drive kicks off. During his interaction with the CMs, Modi said that apart from the two already-approved vaccines — Covishield manufactured by Pune-based Serum Institute and Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin — four others are in the pipeline. “Our experts have taken all precautions to provide the countrymen with effective vaccines,” he said. The vaccine rollout will begin on January 16 with the help of 61,000 programme managers and 2 lakh vaccinators, CMs were told. Serum gets orders for 1.1 cr Covishield The Centre on Monday ordered 1.1 crore doses of Covishield, each costing D210 (incl GST) from Serum Institute of India Farmers during their ongoing agitation over the farm reform laws, at the Singhu border in Delhi on Monday | PTI Not even one plea in SC saying laws are good, finds bench Observing that there is not a single petition before the Supreme Court saying the farm laws were beneficial, the bench told the Centre, “It will not help you to say that this was started by the last government. We are discussing constitutionality.” The Supreme Court on Monday indicated that it could stay the implementation of the three contentious farm laws as it came down heavily on the government for insisting on continuing with the laws despite the nearly twomonth-long farmers’ protest in and around Delhi’s borders. A bench headed by Chief Justice of India S A Bobde told Attorney General K K Venugopal and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that the government had failed to hold effective negotiations with the protesting farmers, and stressed the need for a courtappointed committee to break the logjam. The bench will pass its order on Tuesday . The court blamed the government for framing the laws without enough consultation. “We do not want to repeat the criticism but we do not believe your negotiations are effective. We are attempting to make the atmosphere conducive by keeping the implementation of the laws in abeyance,” the CJI observed while referring to the suicides by farmers @ New Delhi Gross bad loans of banks could swell to 13.5% of total assets under the baseline stress scenario by the end of September 2021, according to an RBI report. Gross NPA of banks was 7.5% in September 2019. However, if the macroeconomic environment worsens, bad loans could rise to 14.8% —the highest in two decades, Sense of responsibility “We don’t see why there is an insistence on implementation of the laws. It’s our intention to see if we can bring about an amicable resolution. That is why we asked why don’t you put the bills on hold. You want time for negotiation. If there is some sense of responsibility then you will not implement the laws,” the bench said When Venugopal claimed that the laws were based on the recommendations of various expert committees set up by past governments, including those of the UPA, the CJI cut him short. “It will not help to say that some oth- er government started it. We are not on the merits of the laws,” CJI Bobde said. To Venugopal’s complaint that the farmers were being stubborn on their demand to repeal the laws, the CJI said they will be heard by the proposed court-appointed committee. Referring to the bench’s suggestion to stay the legislations, Venugopal requested it not to take such a drastic decision and to wait for some more time before passing orders. But the CJI was in no mood to relent. “Sorry to say, we have to, because you, as the Union of India, did not take responsibility You were not able . to solve the problem. You should have been able to solve the strike, but you did not,” CJI Bobde said. Mehta sought to defend the government when the CJI asked him if the Centre was part of the problem or the solution. The Solicitor General said many organisations had come forward to support the laws as progressive. The bench also made it clear that the protesting farmers would have to move to another site to continue their agitation. Abhilash Tomy retires from Navy to focus on sailing E X PR E SS N E W S S E R V IC E @Kochi Flying colours All-woman crew of Air India’s first non-stop flight from San Francisco that landed in Bengaluru early on Monday morning | Ashishkrishna H P NPA situation set to worsen, warns RBI E x p r e s s n ew s s e r v i c e to say that it did not want any blood on its hands, and also voiced concern about the possibility of the protests turning violent. “Who is going to take responsibility for bloodshed if this sabrerattling goes on and results in c o n fl a g r at i o n ? ” t h e b e n ch questioned. Reserve Bank of India’s Financial Stability Report, released on Monday warned. , The last time banks piled up NPAs was in 1996-97 at 15.7%. The stress test projections are close to what RBI had estimated in the last FSR in July. It had then said bad loan ratios might rise to 12.5% of total advances by March 2021 under the baseline stress scenario and to 14.7% under the very severely stressed scenario. Notably, the RBI re- port also cautioned the stress in the banking system is hidden for now, due to the regulatory forbearances such as loan moratorium, the standstill on asset classification and Covid-led restructuring allowed, and may surface eventually “The data on . fresh loan impairments reported by banks may not be reflective of the true underlying state of banks’ portfolios. This can underestimate the impact of stress tests,” the report said. In a surprise decision, celebrity sailor Commander Abhilash Tomy on Monday announced his decision to retire from the Indian Navy after serving the force for 20 years and six months. He said he is taking premature retirement to prepare for the roundthe-world sailing race, Golden Globe, in 2022. “Added a final suffix with the noon gun today . Retired. Much gratitude to everyone who voyaged along,” tweeted the 41-year-old who was hailed for his bravery after surviving a near-fatal injury when his yacht was damaged in a storm during the Golden Globe Race in 2018 off Western Australia. Tomy is the first Indian and the second Asian to sail solo, nonstop, around the earth. “I have re- CHINA moves Troops deployed deep inside LAC tired to prepare for the 2022 Golden Globe Race,” Tomy told TNIE over the phone. He would continue to be based in Goa, he said. Belonging to Changanassery in Kerala, Tomy is yet to decide on any other career plan for the moment. “Right now, my focus is to train and prepare well for the Golden Globe race,” he said. Asked if he has received offers for a new career plan, Tomy said he made his retirement announcement only on Monday, and offers, if any, may come later. So what was the reaction of his bosses at the Indian Navy? He said the Navy is “sad” that a person with such a vast experience is leaving the force. During the 2018 Golden Globe Race, Tomy’s boat was damaged 82 days into the race when he was in third position. Around 10,000 People’s Liberation Army personnel deployed deep inside the LAC on their side were recently moved further away from border. There was no change in troop deployment on Ladakh border Govt offers sops, CINEMA halls to reopen Tomorrow E x p r e s s New s Se r v i c e @Kochi/T’Puram Finally, the wait is over. The cinema halls in Kerala, which have been remaining shut since March 10 last year following the pandemic outbreak, will reopen on Wednesday The theatre own. ers’ move to reopen cinemas comes in the wake of the state government announcing various sops and relaxations to the industry on Monday . Tamil superstar Vijay’s much-awaited ‘Master’ will be the first movie to hit the screens and the bookings are expected to begin on Tuesday . The decision to reopen the theatres was taken at an emergency meeting of representatives of various film bodies in Kochi on Monday evening. Earlier in the day the state government decided , to waive entertainment tax to be paid by theatre owners from January to March this year and also provide other exemptions. The fixed electricity charge for 10 months when theatres had remained closed has been slashed by 50 per cent. The remaining amount can be paid in instalments. ● More on P5 EXPRESS READ Actor abduction: Trial to resume on Jan 21 Kochi: After nearly a three-month halt, the trial in actor abduction case of 2017, in which actor Dileep is an accused, will resume on January 21. The Additional Special Sessions Court on Monday fixed the schedule of the trial in which 116 witnesses will be examined from January 21 to March 17. P4 BJP flag found tied to Gandhiji bust Palakkad: A BJP flag was found tied to the bust of Mahatma Gandhi inside the Palakkad municipality on Monday which led to protests from Opposition parties. The BJP blamed miscreants and political opponents for the incident. P4 Govt to hand over Walayar case to CBI T’Puram: The state government has decided to hand over the reprobe into the Walayar case to CBI as demanded by the parents of the two Dalit girls who were found dead under mysterious circumstances after being raped in 2017. P4 b l o c k - b u s t er t es t Draw of inspiration: Battered Vihari-Ashwin defy pain, odds in Sydney Sw a r o o p Sw a m i n at h a n @ Chennai Shripad Naik injured Ayush minister Shripad Naik was injured and his wife and personal assistant killed when their car overturned at Ankola in Karnataka on Monday night IT was a day for new heroes. It was a day for unfairly maligned cricketers to remind India of the talent they possess. It was a day for putting bodies on the line to save careers. Weeks after being bundled out for their lowest score ever, they married heart, fight and spirit to outlast the Australian bowlers in a display of guts that will be re- Hanuma Vihari and R Ashwin hug after the match in Sydney on Monday | AFP counted in history books that will chronicle the triumphs of Indian cricket. That too by a bunch that included players who wouldn’t have figured in the XI if everyone was fit. The scoreboard will say Hanuma Vihari remained unbeaten on 23. It will say R Ashwin made an undefeated 39. What it won’t say is they battled their body, the Aussie bowlers and cheap shots from close-in field- ers for over 40 overs to steer India to a draw when that possibility seemingly did not exist after they lost captain Ajinkya Rahane in the second over of the day. While Rishabh Pant and Cheteshwar Pujara played their part, the unbroken sixthwicket stand between Ashwin and Vihari made the difference. They shut out the pain and repelled everything. On Twitter, Ashwin’s wife, Prithi, posted “he could not stand up straight when he woke up this morning”. So he opted to keep stretching in the dressing room, shadow practicing while Pujara and Pant shared a 148-run partnership. By the time he joined Vihari, the latter was limping. Retiring was not an option. So they started to block. They took blows, they flinched, they popped a pill, they opted for extra protective gear when the easier way out was to walk away. Their vigil lasted more than 40 overs. They spoke in Tamil, as the countdown began. Vihari acknowledged how Ashwin kept guiding him during his innings llike an ‘elder brother’. Such was the emotion that “We did not even celebrate towards the end because we did not know what to make out of it,” Ashwin revealed on bcci.tv.
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