kottayam l thursday l January 21, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 14 l city EDITION Southern states the most innovative, says Niti Aayog Niti Aayog’s India Innovation Index 2020 ranks Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Kerala the best in innovation Karnataka retains top slot, Kerala fifth Karnataka has retained its No 1 position from 2019, when the rankings were first published. Maharashtra is the only non-south Indian state in the top five, at the second spot. Tamil Nadu is No 3. Telangana has stayed in the 4th place while Kerala replaced Haryana for the 5th slot in the list of 17 major states. Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Bihar were at the bottom of the rankings ■ 36 Delhi No 1 among union territories ■ The index ranks states and Union territories based on their support to innovation. It considers human capital, investments, business & legal environment, new businesses and patent registrations Among hill states, Himachal Pradesh topped and among Union territories Delhi was the most innovative, followed by Chandigarh The Index consists of hard data (32 indicators) and 4 composite indicators 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 Govt proposes to put farm laws on hold for two years to break the ice HANDS FULL ON DAY ONE Biden is expected to sign 17 executive actions on Day One. They include: l Freezing dozens of last-minute Trump administration regulations l S ending an immigration bill to Congress that will offer citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants l E nforcing nationwide mask and social-distancing norms l C reating a Covid-19 response team that reports directly to the President l Terminating ban on arrivals from certain Muslim countries l H alting construction of border wall l Rejoining the Paris climate accord l Extending relief on student loans E xpress N ews S ervice @ New Delhi/Chandigarh Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th president of the US by Chief Justice John Roberts as his wife Jill Biden holds the Bible at the Capitol, Washington on Wednesday | AP Day of democracy, says Prez Biden; US gets 1st woman V-P E xpress N ews S E rvice Joe Biden, 78, took oath as the 46th President of the US on Wednesday around 10:15 pm IST, ending Donald Trump’s controversial rule that lasted four years. Minutes before, Indian-origin Kamala Harris, 56, was sworn in as the first woman Vice President. Biden was administered the oath of office by Chief Justice John Roberts at the West Front of the Capitol, the traditional location for presidential inaugural ceremonies, where a deadly violence took place just two weeks ago. The ceremony was held under the watch of 25,000 National Guards. “This is America’s Day This . is democracy’s day A day of his. tory and hope,” Biden said in his inaugural speech. “I will be president for all Americans. White supremacy, domestic terrorism we will defeat. I want every American to join me in this cause,” he added. Outgoing Vice President Mike Pence attended the ceremony, so did former presidents Barack Obama, George W Bush and Bill Clinton. As expected, Trump skipped the inauguration as he left the White House No Biden in Don’s farewell message Trump did not mention Biden’s name in his farewell video message. “This week we inaugurate a new administration and pray for its success in keeping America safe and prosperous,” Trump said. “We extend our best wishes. And we also want them to have luck. A very important word,” he added on the Marine One presidential helicopter along with his wife Melania, hours before Biden’s inauguration. Around 1,000 people attended the swearing-in ceremony, in- Man locks up parents in house. Dad, 80, starves to death, mom in hosp E xpress N ews S ervice @ Kottayam An 80-year-old man died of malnutrition after being locked up in a room by his son and the latter’s wife at their house in Mundakkayam in Kottayam district without medicine and food for days. His wife, who was also confined in the same room, was shifted to a hospital after she showed symptoms of mental disturbance. The incident took place at Asambani, an interior area of Mundakkayam panchayat. The deceased was identified as Podiyan, 80, of Thodiyil House. His wife Ammini, 76, has been admitted to the psychiatric ward of the Medical College Hospital, Kottayam. According to police, Podiyan and Ammini were staying with their younger son Reji and both used to be denied food, water and treatment for several days at a stretch. Though they were rushed to the General Hospital in Kanjirappally, the doctors could not save Podiyan’s life. CRUELTY THY NAME IS... 1 The incident took place at of Asambani, an interior area Mundakkayam panchayat The elderly couple’s plight came to light when ASHA and palliative care workers visited the house on Monday 2 To prevent neighbours from coming inside, a dog was tied in front of the house when son and wife went for work during daytime 3 The police said Reji and wife Jancy lived in the next room but they didn’t pay much attention to his parents. To prevent neighbours from coming inside, a dog was tied in front of the house when they went for work during daytime. Neighbours said they were unable to visit the elderly couple for fear of Reji who is an alcoholic. The couple’s elder son Raghu lives in Yendayar which is somewhat far from Asambani. Their plight came to light when ASHA and palliative care workers visited the house on ● More on P7 Monday . express read Sprinklr: Probe panel gives CM clean chit T’Puram: The Madhavan Nambiar Committee, which probed the Sprinklr deal, has found former IT secretary M Sivasankar had signed the deal unilaterally by keeping even the chief minister in the dark. The report has given clean chit to the CM. P4 Out-of-the-box ideas Farmer unions to internally discuss offer before the next round of talks tomorrow CM: Won’t back airport devpt if given to Adani T’Puram: A day after the AAI signed a deal to hand over the T’Puram airport’s operations to the Adani group, CM Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday said the state government will not support the development of the airport if it was given to the entity. P2 cluding Supreme Court justices and members of Congress, who were limited to just one guest each due to the pandemic. PM Narendra Modi was among the first to congratulate Biden. “My warmest congratulations to @JoeBiden on his assumption of office as President of the United States. I look forward to working with him to strengthen India-US strategic partnership,” Modi tweeted According to experts, the broad trajectory of the strategic and defence cooperation between India and the US will expand under Biden’s presidency . The US is expected to continue its tough stance on China. Before leaving the White House, Trump boasted he had “an amazing four years” and that it would not be a “long goodbye”, hinting at his plan to contest in the next presidential election. Some US media outlets reported that Trump might start a new political outfit tentatively named the Patriot P11 Party . The tenth round of talks with the protesting far mers on Wednesday opened a window of opportunity to break the deadlock on the contentious farm laws with the Centre proposing to constitute a new committee as also keeping the laws on hold for two years or more and the farmers agreeing to consider them. The two sides will meet again on Friday, when the farmers are expected to spell out their stand on the suggestions after holding consultations among themselves on Thursday . The fact that the government came out with new proposals and the farmers agreed to examine them are being seen as signs of accommodation from both sides. Until Wednesday, the government’s consistent stand was that it was ready to amend the laws while the farmers remained firm in their repeal-or-nothing demand. Sources said the Centre, during the meeting, urged the To seek repeal of the laws, farmers are free to go to the SC For anything short of repeal, a new committee comprising members from both sides can be formed to thrash out the differences, clause by clause Issue of legal sanctity to MSP can also be discussed Union minister Tomar briefing the media after the meeting | Parveen Negi Govt to file fresh affidavit in SC on extending the duration of putting the laws in abeyance preme Court on putting off the laws for an extended period to dispel any doubts in their minds. He also stressed that a consensus should be reached between the two sides before the meeting ends as it was the occasion of Guru Gobind Singh’s Parkash Parv. “There is some positive response from the government and a new offer was on the table. The unions accepted it and a final decision will be taken by the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha,” Hannan Mollah of the All India Kisan Sabha said. On the Centre’s demand to call off the tractor rally farm, er unions refused to do so till an agreement is arrived at on repealing the farm laws. The Centre, according to sources, asked the farmers to approach the Supreme Court if it wanted a repeal. NIA probe and arrests of persons supporting the protests were also discussed. Farmer leaders said that the Centre assured that people associated with the movement will not be harassed and intimP9 idated by the agency . SANJU TO CAPTAIN RAJASTHAN ROYALS It is that time of the year when IPL franchises release players ahead of auction for the next season. As many as 57 players were not retained RR AFTER KERALA CSK RETAIN RAINA With Rajasthan Royals releasing Australian batsman Steve Smith back into auction pool, Sanju Samson has been named the new captain. The 26-yearold is the first player from the state to captain an IPL side. He led Kerala in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. ultimate strike Guj to rename dragon fruit as ‘Kamalam’ farmers to consider its proposal for an hour separately The . two sides broke off into different rooms following which the farmer unions agreed to consider the offer. However, they insisted that their demand of repealing the laws still stands. Krantikari Kisan Union president Darshan Pal said, “Just because we have decided to discuss this new proposal of the government and decided to hold a string of meetings tomorrow between ourselves does not mean that we have backtracked from our demand of a repeal of the three laws.” The opportunity to end the impasse comes days ahead of the crucial budget session of Parliament beginning on January 29. With the Opposition gathering ammunition to attack the government on the farm laws, the Centre appears to keen to resolve the stand-off before the session. According to sources, Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar told the farmers that the Centre was even ready to file an affidavit in the Su- Three contentious new farm sector laws to be put on ice for two years or more The three-time champs, who are looking to rebuild, released Kedar Jadhav, Piyush Chawla and Murali Vijay among others. However, the Chennaites have decided to keep Suresh Raina, Dwayne Bravo and Imran Tahir for one more season. It’s an absolute honour to have been announced as the captain of Rajasthan Royals. It’s a team that is so close to my heart, which I’ve been lucky enough to play for over the years, and I’m excited about the challenge that lies ahead of me as the leader of the team — Sanju Samson AUSSIES FEEL THE HEAT Day after suffering defeat to India, some of Australian cricketers were let go. Among those who are back in the auction pool include Steve Smith (RR), Glenn Maxwell (KXIP), Aaron Finch (RCB), Alex Carey (DC), Billy Stanlake (SRH), Nathan Coulter Nile, James Pattinson (MI) and Chris Green (KKR E xpress N ews S E rvice @ Mumbai While the Centre is presumably dealing with the Chinese aggression on the border head on, Gujarat is trying to teach China a lesson in its own humble way . The BJP-led state government plans to rename dragon fruit, which is largely grown in Kutch, Navsari and some other parts of Saurashtra, to ‘Kamalam’. On Thursday Chief Min, ister Vijay Rupani said the state government has applied for a patent to change the nomenclature of dragon fruit. “The name dragon fruit is not proper, and due to its name one thinks of China. So we have given it the name Kamalam.” The decision, however, has not gone down well w i t h eve r y b o dy. N C P spokesperson Mahesh Tapase alleged the name was changed for political reasons. “Tomorrow BJP will not hesitate to change the country’s name,” he said. However, Rupani rubbished the allegation saying there is nothing political about it. “Farmers say it looks like lotus and that is the reason we named it Kamalam,” he said. The fruit is known for its nutritional value and it also helps in increasing the hemoglobin. Rupani said it is the most expensive fruits available in the market at this time. Customs harassed protocol officer: CM. Agency ready to play quizzing video E xpress N ews S ervice @ T’Puram/Kochi KERALA has written to the Centre demanding that agencies like customs cannot harass state government officials and lower their morale, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan informed the assembly on Wednesday. Customs refuted the allegation and said it has videographed the interrogation. Replying to a calling-attention motion by the CPM’s V Joy, Pinarayi said the chief secretary has written to the Union finance secretary in the wake of the harassment meted out to Assistant Protocol Officer M S Harikrishnan by customs during questioning earlier this month. Pinarayi said the chief secretary has demanded an impartial and time-bound probe into the incident. He also urged the Centre to ensure such incidents do not r e c u r, a d d e d t h e c h i e f minister. Harikrishnan reached the Customs Preventive Office in Kochi after receiving a summons. On his return, he gave a detailed account of the harassment he had to face to the chief secretary . Pinarayi said Harikrishnan had disclosed he was asked to give statements in a particular manner and was threatened when he refused to give in to their demand. He said the government took serious issue with such incidents that would lower the morale of its offic● More on P4 ers. Court dismisses pleas against Aadhaar verdict E xpress N ews S ervice @ New Delhi The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed by 4:1 petitions seeking review of its verdict upholding the validity of the Aadhaar law. “In our opinion, no case for review of judgment and order dated 26.09.2018 is made out,” a five-judge Bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar said. “We hasten to add that change in the law or subsequent decision/judgment of a coordinate or larger Bench by itself cannot be regarded as a ground for review,” the court noted. Justice D Y Chandrachud allowed the petitions. He cited that another Constitution bench while hearing a case relating to the validity of Finance Act, 2017 had held that the Aadhaar judgment did not correctly lay down the law regarding what constitutes a ‘Money Bill’ under Article 11. 11.08% KERALA’S TEST POSITIVITY RATE 6,815 tested positive for Covid-19 on Wednesday while 7,364 recovered | P2 UNNIKRISHNAN NAMPOOTHIRI 1923-2021 Actor, pious Brahmin, equally pious Communist EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @Kannur/Kochi Unnikrishnan Nampoothiri, 98, the beloved ‘grandfather’ of Malayalam cinema, passed away at Payyannur on Wednesday Nampoothiri, whom direc. tor Jayaraj referred to as “a pious Brahmin and an equally pious Communist”, breathed his last at 6.15pm at the Payyannur Cooperative Hospital. Belonging to the Vadhyar Il- lom of Pullur, he was suffering from post-Covid health issues and was admitted to the hospital after his health deteriorated on Wednesday morning. Earlier, he was under treatment for pneumonia at a private hospital in Payyannur, and later at a Kannur hospital for a week. During hospitalisation, he tested Covid positive. After beating the virus and testing negative, he was discharged last week. Nampoothiri forayed into the world of movies at the age of 74 through Jayaraj’s critically acclaimed ‘Desadanam’ in 1996, with the role of a grandfather making him popular. He went on to act in around 25 more films, including Kalyanaraman, Chandramukhi, Madhuranombarakkattu and Pammal K Sambandham. Nampoothiri won hearts through his affable way of acting and his prudent behaviour. He is the father-in-law of lyricist Kaithapram Damodaran Nampoothiri. CM Pinarayi Vijayan said the veteran actor’s death is a great loss for the world of art. ● More on P7
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