bhubaneswar l tuesday l january 12, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l late 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 Political action committees vs e-bonds 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 ■ ■ 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 $14 bn 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 NPA situation set to worsen, warns RBI E x p r ess n e w s se r v i c e @ 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 a twodecade high of 14.8%, warned Reserve Bank of India’s Financial Stability Report (FSR), released on Monday . 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 , report 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 surf ace 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, urging banks to assess their respective stress situations and follow it up with measures to raise capital proactively . RBI’s stress test projections have come with several caveats. “...Considering the uncertainty regarding the unfolding economic outlook, and the extent to which regulatory dispensation under restructuring is utilised, the projected ratios are susceptible to change in a nonlinear fashion,” it said. 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 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 two-monthlong 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 far mers, and stressed the need for a court-appointed committee to break the logjam. The bench will pass its order on Tuesday . The court blamed the govern- Farmers during their ongoing agitation over the farm reform laws, at the Singhu border in Delhi on Monday | PTI ment 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 kee ping the implementation of the laws in abeyance,” the CJI observed while referring to the suicides by farm- ers 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 conflagration?” the bench questioned. 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 other 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 Centre to bear expense of vaccinating frontline group E x p r ess n e w s se r v i c e @ New Delhi Govt orders 5.1 cr doses 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 The Centre has ordered 4 cr doses of Covaxin from Bharat Biotech, costing `300 each, and 1.1 cr doses of Covishield, costing `210 each, from SII, sources said Odisha ready for vaccination: naveen Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday said around 162 vaccination sites have been identified and necessary infrastructure created across districts for this purpose | P2 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, 2 lakh vaccinators and 3.7 lakh other vaccination team members, the CMs were informed. The priority of vaccination has been decided as per advice of experts and the scientific community after consultation with the states, the PM said. The vaccination for Covid-19 has been going on in about 50 countries since the past 3-4 weeks, and till now, only about 2.5 crore people have received vaccination, he said. On the other hand, India has set an ambitious target of vaccinating 30 crore people in the next few months, he added. block-buster test Draw of inspiration: Battered Vihari-Ashwin defy pain, odds in Sydney S w a r o o p S w a m i n at h a n @ Chennai 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 recounted 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 fielders for over 40 Hanuma Vihari and R Ashwin hug after the match in Sydney on Monday | AFP 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 . 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 agiP7 tation. 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.”
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