villupuram l wednesday l january 26, 2022 l `9.00 l PAGES 12 l city EDITION No Supreme court relief for ngos that lost fcra licence The SC on Tuesday turned down a plea seeking quashing of the Centre’s refusal to renew the FCRA licences of 5,789 NGOs PETITIONER WANTED EXTENSION OF permits Approach govt authorities, says SC FCRA registration is mandatory for entities in India for receiving foreign funding. The plea was filed by US-based ‘Global Peace Initiative’. Its counsel advocate Sanjay Hegde told a three-judge bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar that they were seeking a direction from the court to extend the FCRA licences of NGOs if they applied within the next two weeks ■ ■ However, the bench refused any interim relief and directed the petitioner to approach relevant government authorities Appearing for the Centre, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said the licences of 11,594 NGOs, which had sought renewal within a cut-off date, had been renewed | P7 16,880 Number OF ACTIVE FCRA licences issued in the country as on January 25 CHENNAI ■ MADURAI ■ VIJAYAWADA ■ BENGALURU ■ KOCHI ■ HYDERABAD ■ VISAKHAPATNAM ■ COIMBATORE ■ KOZHIKODE ■ THIRUVANANTHAPURAM ■ BELAGAVI ■ BHUBANESWAR ■ SHIVAMOgGA ■ MANGALURU ■ TIRUPATI ■ TIRUCHY ■ TIRUNELVELI ■ SAMBALPUR ■ HUBBALLI ■ DHARMAPURI ■ KOTTAYAM ■ KANNUR ■ VILLUPURAM ■ KOLLAM ■ TADEPALLIGUDEM ■ NAGAPATTINAM ■ THRISSUR ■ KALABURAGI CM to PM: Stop Lanka from auctioning boats Padma Vibhushan Gen Bipin Rawat IMF cuts India’S FY22 growth forecast to 9% The International Monetary Fund has cut India’s economic growth forecast for the current financial year from 9.5% projected earlier, citing lingering impact of Covid on business activity | P10 NATIONWIDE Jan 24 Jan 25 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths 3,06,064 2,55,874 2,43,495 2,67,753 439 614 tamil nadu Jan 24 Jan 25 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths 30,215 30,055 24,639 25,221 46 48 Jab-o-meter Take your shot January 24 49,52,290 doses January 24 51,64,473 doses Total doses 1,63,49,62,688 RPN Singh’s turn to bolt from Cong E x p r ess N e w s S e r vice @ New Delhi The haemorrhage in the Congress continued with another dynast and former Union minister R P N Singh (57) joining the BJP on on Tuesday That it . happened a day after his name figured on the list of Congress star campaigners for the first phase of elections in Uttar Pradesh, indicated the party high command was possibly clueless about his bolting. Singh hails from Padrauna in UP and is the son of late Congress leader C P N Singh. He was considered close to former party chief Rahul Gandhi. “I spent 32 years in one party. But that party has not remained the same as it was before,” Singh said. He joins a long list of Congress deserters like Jitin Prasada, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Sushmita Dev. “RPN Singh left just before the elections, after he was listed as a star campaigner in UP. This was not a coincidence. It was planned... But the question for us in INC is, why did we let it happen this way?” Salman Soz, another dynast, tweeted. Kalyan Singh Biggest Padmas to Kalyan Singh, Gen Bipin Rawat Padma Bhushan Ghulam Nabi Azad CPM’s Buddha rejects his Padma Bhushan S ana S h aki l @ New Delhi In what appeared to be an attempt to strike the right notes in the poll-bound states of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, the Centre on Tuesday awarded Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian award in India, posthumously to former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh and General Bipin Rawat, who hailed from Uttarakhand and was India’s first Chief of Defence Staff. Gen Rawat died in a helicopter crash in December last year. Two senior leaders of the opposition — Ghulam Nabi Azad (Congress) and Buddhdeb Bhattacharjee (CPM) — were on the list of Padma awardees announced by the Centre on the eve of the 73rd Republic Day Both were honoured with . the Padma Bhushan, but Bhattacharjee later said he would reject it. “I don’t know anything about the Padma Bhushan award, nobody told me about it. If I have been awarded the Padma Bhushan, I would reject it,” he said. Azad, one of the members of the G23, the Congress rebel group, was given an emotional farewell by Prime Minister Narendra Modi when his tenure ended in Rajya Sabha in February last year. Azad has been vocal on calling for sweeping organisational changes and a permanent accountable leadership in the Congress. Vaccine makers featured prominently among the list. Cyrus Poonawalla, founder of Pune-based Serum Institute of India and Covaxin maker Bharat Biotech’s chairman Krishna Ella and his co-founder wife Suchitra Ella were awarded Padma Bhushan. Indian-origin Silicon Valley titans Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, classical vocalists Dr Parbha Atre and Rashid Khan and former Comptroller and Auditor General of India Rajiv Mehrishi, too, were awarded Padma Bhushan. Among sports persons, paralympic gold medallist Devendra Jhajharia was conferred Padma Bhushan. Para javelin thrower Sumit Antil, para shooter Avani Lekhara, para badminton player Pramod Bhagat and Olympic gold medallist Neeraj Chopra were named for Padma Shri. Famous singer Sonu Nigam and Jamia Millia Islamia’s first woman Vice-Chancellor Najma Akhtar, too, were on that list. Of the 128 Padma awards, four were Padma Vibhushan, 17 Padma Bhushan and 107 Padma Shris. Full list: P7 Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee N Chandrasekaran Krishna Ella Satya Narayana Nadella Sundararajan Pichai Cyrus Poonawalla islations in other states. The High Court verdicts in 2017 and 2020 had At the national level, the CPM is vocif- suggested that Lok Ayukta Act be erous about the need for a strong anti- amended as per the Lokpal Bill.” corruption body but in Kerala, its own The move to clip the wings of the government wants the LokayLok Ayukta started soon after ukta’s powers curtailed. A an adverse verdict that forced Under fire draft ordinance to amend the former minister K T Jaleel to There are two Kerala Lok Ayukta Act 1999 is resign from the first Pinarayi crucial cases currenly under the consideraVijayan cabinet in April last against state tion of the governor. year, with the then AG C P govt in the Lok Justifying the move, CPM Sudhakara Prasad recomAyukta — state secretary Kodiyeri mending the Act be diluted. diversion of Balakrishnan claimed that The process gathered mounlike in other states, the Act money from CM’s mentum after the cabinet relief fund and in Kerala gives sweeping powmeeting on January 19 decidputting pressure ed to amend Clause 14 in such ers to the Lokayukta to even on governor to dismiss the government. “If a way that a hearing on Lok Lok Ayukta decides so; it can reappoint Kannur Ayukta’s verdict needs to be University VC abolish an entire government. organised by a ‘competent auAlso, there is no appeal provithority’. If it is a verdict sion against the verdict,” he said. against a minister, then the CM should Law Minister P Rajeeve said the convene the hearing and if it is against amendments are in line with the provi- the CM, the governor will convene it. sions of the Constitution. “The law in In effect, the judgments of Lok Ayukta Kerala is in variance with similar leg- will be of recommendatory nature. E X P R E SS N E WS S E R V I C E @ T’Puram TN gets own drone manufacturing company Chief Minister MK Stalin on Tuesday launched Tamil Nadu Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Corporation (UAVC) that was set up at a cost of `10 crore. The objectives of the UAVC include designing, manufacturing, and trading of all types of drones and allied systems, including multi-mission airborne drones, unmanned aerial systems, and aerial surveillance for search and rescue operations. Congratulating the faculty and students of the Centre for Aerospace Research (CAR) on the Madras Institute of Technology campus of Anna University, Stalin said the centre has been producing drones with financial assistance from the State govern- Various drones seen in flight at the event in Chennai on Tuesday | Ashwin Prasath ment. “Initially, they were used by the State police department and later by the Disaster Management Department for conducting surveys in mines and for aerial photography. Chief Minister MK Stalin on Tuesday urged the Union government to prevail upon the Sri Lankan government to stop the auctioning of boats seized by it and the attacks on Tamil Nadu fishermen. In separate letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Stalin raised the proposed auction of 105 fishing boats seized from TN fishermen by the Lankan government and the January 23 attack on the State’s fishers by Lankan nationals respectively . “I strongly urge the Government of India to register its disapproval in the strongest possible terms to prevail upon the Sri Lankan Government to recall the process for auctioning the Tamil Nadu fishing boats between February 7 and 11 on which they do not have any legal rights,” the CM said in his letter to Modi. Stating that the timing of the development is unfortunate as the Indo-Sri Lankan Joint Working Group on Fisheries is to meet soon, Stalin said, “The auction has created alarm and distrust among TN fishermen as they have come forward with an accommodative frame of mind to find an amicable solution for this long-pending issue.” The State government had agreed to send a technical team to finalise the process and modalities for the disposal of 125 unsalvageable TN fishing boats berthed at various Sri Lanka harbours, the CM said. MORE ON: P4 Sri Lankan court releases 56 TN fishermen Kerala bid to pull out Lok Ayukta’s teeth E X P R E SS N E WS S E R V I C E @ Chennai E X P R E SS N E WS S E R V I C E @ Chennai The need for drones is rising. Such inventions have set an example for technical innovation in TN. Universities should emerge as research centres instead of remaining as degreegiving institutions,” the CM said. Stating that Tamil Nadu has an efficient youth force, Stalin said, “Research and inventions should increase in TN and we have to infuse modern studies and courses on foreign countries in State colleges and universities, he said. Stalin also inaugurated a 1MW-capacity solar power plant, installed at a cost of `7.25 crore, on the Madurai Kamaraj University (MKU) campus through videoconference. The CM said other universities should emulate MKU in tapping solar power. As many as 56 fishermen, who were arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy in December, were released by a Jaffna court on Tuesday. Forty three fishermen from Rameswaram and 13 from Pudukkottai were arrested on December 18 and December 20 respectively for crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line | P4 express read HC refuses to stay urban local body polls Chennai: The Madras High Court on Tuesday refused to pass orders to defer the urban civic body elections in Tamil Nadu as the Supreme Court already passed an order on this. After hearing the arguments on petitions seeking to postpone the urban civic body polls due to the rise in Covid-19 cases, the court declined to issue a favourable order. The bench said it cannot pass orders against the Supreme Court’s order which stipulated a time period by January 27 | P4 Online college exams via WhatsApp, email Chennai: The Higher Education department issued guidelines on Tuesday to universities and colleges in TN to make arrangements for online semester examinations. The exams will be conducted via Whatsapp and email. They are to be conducted between February 1 and February 20. Colleges are also directed to make internet facilities available to students who do not have access to it | P2
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