KOLLAM l friday l January 15, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l city EDITION Wounded India face mighty aussies in 4th & final Test Australia need a win to regain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, but a draw will be enough for India to retain it. Team India resembling a hospital ward Ravindra Jadeja has already been ruled out with a broken left thumb while Hanuma Vihari (hamstring injury), R Ashwin (back tweak) and Jasprit Bumrah (abdominal strain) are all doubtful starters. Without their star skipper and best batsman Virat Kohli, India have shown resolve beyond compare. But can they repeat the feat in the game starting Friday? 0 big name players need to step up ■ ■ The senior batsmen — skipper Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara and Rohit Sharma — will have to shoulder a majority of responsibility to negate the loss of their most effective bowlers. Australia have revealed that Marcus Harris will replace Will Pucovski who dislocated his shoulder in the third Test. India have played six Tests at the Gabba, but have yet to win one 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 Put off by govt’s sour note, Amjad Ali Khan drops music school project S h a i nu M o h an @T’Puram FOUR years after laying the foundation stone for the muchhyped International School of Music at the Veli Tourist Village here, sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan has decided to drop his plan. Disappointing scores of music aficionados in the state, former Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi chairman Soorya Krishnamoor thy recently signed the documents backing out from the project on behalf of the ustad, officially sealing the school’s fate. According to sources, the maestro’s decision to return the two-acre land earmarked for the project to the Tourism Department comes in the wake of a new set of terms put forward by the state government. Sources close to the chief minKrishnamoorthy who was an , ister’s office said the govern- active part of the project, said ment had proposed a huge an- the government’s lease demand nual lease amount was what primarily for the allotted put off the press land, in addition to clusive maestro. the demand to in“It is unfortunate clude government that we had to drop representatives in the insti- the project after making it thus tute’s governing body . far, but we could not agree with As far as I know, they don’t want to execute the project here. It’s an administrative matter and I’m not aware of the reason they are not pursuing the project — Kadakampally Surendran, Tourism Minister their demands. In addition to the lease amount, they also wanted four of the school’s seven governing body members to be government representatives,” he said. “Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had taken a personal interest in the project. But it seems the administrators didn’t want this to happen and so came up with new terms to dissuade the ustad,” he added. The then UDF government had earmarked the land for the project in 2016, after Khan expressed interest to set up a gurukula-model school in Kerala. The maestro wanted to leave Delhi for good and settle down in T hir uvananthapuram, Krishnamoorthy said. An official with the Tourism Department, who was also involved in the project, said the government had never officially handed over the land for the ● More on P5 project. ER: State’s growth dips to 3.46%, calamities hit productive sectors @ T’Puram KERALA economy’s growth took a sharp decline to 3.46% in 2019-20 from 6.49% in 2018-19 as last three years’ natural calamities affected the productive sectors of the state’s economy, according to the Economic Review 2020 tabled in the assembly on Thursday . Compounding the woes is the estimate by the State Planning Board that Kerala’s economy in terms of Gross State Value Added (GSVA) to shrink by 26% in the first quarter of 2020-21 due to the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the consequent lockdown. The review said Cyclone Ockhi in 2017 and severe floods resulting from extreme rain in 2018 and 2019 have started to hit the state’s economy . “The natural disasters ravaged the state economy affecting the lives and livelihoods of many and adversely affecting productive sectors of the economy,” said the review, which comes a day before the Kerala budget. While the national growth rates plummeted to 4.2% in 2019-20 from 6.1% in 2018-19, Kerala’s Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) growth exceeded national rates in 2018-19 and INSIDE grew at 6.49% decline in 201920, it pointed out. According to the quick estimates, Kerala’s GSDP at constant (2011-12) prices is `5.68 lakh crore in 2019-20 as against the provisional estimate of `5.49 lakh crore in 2018-19, showing a lower growth of 3.46%. However, at current prices, the state’s economy is estimated to grow at 8.15% in the financial year ended March 31, 2020. “At current prices, the GSDP is estimated at `8.54 lakh crore (quick estimate) in 2019-20 as against the provisional estimate of `7.90 lakh crore in 201819, showing a growth rate of 8.15%,” the review said. In terms of GSVA, the quick estimate at constant (2011-12) prices is `5.01 lakh crore in 2019-20 as against the provisional estimate of `4.89 lakh crore in 2018-19. The growth rate of GSVA is only 2.58% in 2019-20 compared to 6.2% in 2018-19. “However, it may be noted that the average rate of growth for the years 2016-17 to 2019-20 (5.4%) was higher than the average rate of growth for the previous four years, 2012-13 to 2015-16 (4.8%),” the review said. Adding to the economic woes of low growth rates are the ris● More on P4 ing prices. UNEMPLOYMENT RATE DECLINES | p2 Google cracks down on loan apps in India PTI @New Delhi TECH giant Google on Thursday said it has reviewed hundreds of personal loan apps in India that were flagged by users and government agencies, and those found to be violating its user safety policies were immediately removed from its Play Store. Google has asked the developers of the remaining identified apps to demonstrate that they comply with applicable local laws and regulations, failing which those apps will also be removed. “Providing a safe and secure experience across Google’s products is our top priority. ... We’re always working to improve our practices to enhance user safety,” Google said in a blogpost. However, it did not disclose the names of the apps removed. Apps that fail to comply with applicable local laws and regulations will be removed without further notice, it added. GSDP growth exceeds nat’l rates in 2018-19 how the state economy fared GROWTH TABLE GSDP growth E XPR E SS N E WS S E RVIC E Ockhi in 2017 & 2018-19 floods affected state 2018-19 ‘ER recognised govt’s measures’ T’Puram: Finance Minister Thomas Isaac said the Economic Review 2020 recognised the government’s various welfare measures. “The 100-day programmes announced by the CM were an exit strategy to survive the lockdown effect,” he said. 2019-20 2018-19 2019-20 6.49% 3.46% 6.2% 2.58% GSVA Economy to shrink by 26%, according to planning board Economy in terms of GSVA to shrink by 26% in first quarter of 2020-21 Inflation as measured by Consumer Price Index numbers, hovered around 6% to 7% in 2020 Nearly 25k cr lost by tourism sector in the nine months of 2020 IT penetration: Kerala second Kerala’s internet penetration rate is the second highest in the country (54%), with Delhi NCR (69%) topping the list, as per the Internet and Mobile Association of India report ‘India Internet 2019’. The report also noted that Kerala, TN and Delhi have the highest proportion of female internet users. Life expectancy set to increase | p2 Auto segment sees drop in sales | p2 WhAT people expect from budget | p2 EXPRESS READ Farmers’ stir: Mann recuses from SC panel Rahul watches jallikattu in Madurai ‘African nat’l involved in Wagamon rave party’ Chandigarh: Bhartiya Kisan Union national president Bhupinder Singh Mann on Thursday said he is recusing himself from the four-member committee appointed by the Supreme Court to resolve the deadlock between farmers and the Centre over the new agri-marketing laws. Madurai: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday watched the bull-taming sport jallikattu here, noting the animals were not getting injured as was being made out and said his visit was a message to the Centre that wants to “suppress” the Tamil culture. The BJP ridiculed Gandhi for his ‘hypocrisy’. Kochi: The Crime Branch probing the Vagamon drug party case informed the Kerala High Court on Thursday that an African national was involved in the case and he has been arraigned as an accused. The probe team is trying to find out the sources of the contraband used in the DJ party. SWAMY SARANAM Devotees worship Makarajyothi at Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa temple on Thursday. Due to Covid restrictions, only 5,000 pilgrims were allowed to proceed to Sannidhanam on the day | Shaji Vettipuram PM Modi to launch vaccination drive at 10.30am tomorrow E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ New Delhi Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch the muchawaited Covid-19 vaccination programme at 3,006 designated centres across states at 10.30 am on Saturday . “This will be the world’s largest immunisation exercise. A total of 3,006 session sites across all states and Union Territories will be virtually connected during the launch,” a government statement on Thursday said. The Centre also released a rulebook for the vaccine rollout to all the states and UTs, listing the dos and don’ts which say minors (under-18), pregnant women and lactating mothers should not be given the shots. Healthcare workers in both Fears about vaccination baseless, says Min Shailaja Asserting that the fears and concerns surrounding the Covid vaccine were baseless, Health Minister K K Shailaja said only the vaccine could rein in the pandemic and the state would aim to provide vaccines for all. She was speaking at a panel discussion organised by the health ministry to dispel concerns regarding the Covid vaccine on Thursday. P4 Pawar key: NCP to leave Left front if rift widens A R U N M @ Kochi Come January 23, and NCP supremo Sharad Pawar will reveal whether the party remains with the LDF or joins the UDF, ending weeks-long speculation of his party leaving the Left front in Kerala . Pawar, who met NCP leaders from Kerala in Mumbai on Thursday, is learnt to have told them there was no point in continuing in the front without having any say in its decisions. He was also of the opinion the party should not give up any of the four assembly seats it had contested in the last elections. Pressure tactics? NCP chief Sharad Pawar will declare the party’s stand in Kochi on January 23. There is also a view that the NCP could be employing pressure tactics to retain all four seats in the LDF. The factional feud between Transport Minister A K Saseendran and party state chief T P Peethambaran, supported by MLA Mani C Kappan, has gone on for a while now. The rift in the NCP emerged after the CPM indicated that the Pala assem- bly seat, now represented by Kappan, will be allocated to the Kerala Congress (M) under Jose K Mani. Though the expected arrival of Pawar in Kochi on January 23 is considered as the central leadership’s bid to avoid an im- government and private sectors, including anganwadi workers, will receive the vaccine during the first phase. As per the details shared, at every centre, 100 healthcare workers have been registered for inoculation on the first day However, . the government fears that the actual count of people who take the jab may be far lower, owing to “vaccine hesitation”. “Over 3 lakh people are being sent messages to receive their vaccines on Day 1 at the designated centres. But it won’t be surprising if lesser than expected number of beneficiaries turn up,” said a senior official. “This will be just the beginning of the vaccination in India and it’s likely that many will want to see others take the vaccines first before they take the jabs.” minent split in the state unit, a section of leaders feel that a final decision on continuing in the LDF will be taken as Pawar will announce the party’s political stand after his arrival. However, there is also a view that the NCP could be employing pressure tactics to retain all four seats while continuing to be part of the LDF. The NCP chief will attend the state executive committee meeting. “After the meeting, Sharad Pawar will announce the political decision taken by the party ,” Peethambaran told TNIE over phone from Mumbai, after his meeting with Pawar. ● More on P4 Insurrection US House impeaches Prez Trump E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e JUST eight days before he is slated to leave office, Donald Trump earned the dubious distinction of becoming the first American president to be impeached twice, with 10 of his fellow Republicans joining the Democrats in the House of Representatives to charge him with “incitement of insurrection” for his role in provoking his supporters to storm the US Capitol on January 6. Trump will now face a trial in the Senate where, if convicted, he could be barred from holding office ever again. The Democrats will need 17 Republican votes in the 100-member Senate as a two-thirds majority is required in the Upper House of the US Congress to convict and impeach the president. Trump will not have to quit the White House before his term ends as the Senate is adjourned till January 19, a day before Joe Biden takes oath as the 46th President of the United States. Customs to quiz Speaker after budget session E XPR E SS N E WS S E RVIC E @Kochi The customs is set to question Speaker P Sreer amakrishnan in the case relating to the smuggling of US dollars by a former UAE Consulate employee after the budget session of the Kerala assembly The central . agency has received a favourable legal opinion to proceed with the interrogation, sources told TNIE. The customs had approached the additional solicitor general (ASG) to know whether it will face any legal hurdle in quizzing the Speaker as part of the probe, sources said. “ASG’s office has clarified that there is no legal hurdle in asking the Speaker to appear for interrogation in a case registered under the Customs Act. Once Sreeramakrishnan’s convenience is ascertained to appear for questioning, we will issue a notice,” an official said.
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