chennai l thursday l june 16, 2022 l `9.00 l PAGES 18 l late city EDITION fed raises interest rate by 75 BPS, biggest hike since 1994 The widely expected decision comes in the backdrop of inflation soaring to a 40-year high of 8.6% in May More rate hikes likely till inflation cools Warns of growing economic distress The latest increase has pushed the benchmark federal-funds rate to a range of 1.5-1.75%. While announcing the decision, the Federal Open Market Committee said it is “strongly committed to returning inflation to its 2% objective” and expects to continue to raise the key rate. The committee expects the Fed’s preferred inflation index to rise to 5.2% ■ ■ It also warned of a sagging global economy, cutting 2022 economic growth forecast to 1.7% from 2.8% projected earlier “Labour market remains extremely tight,” said Fed Chairman Jerome Powell. The Fed also cited the Ukraine war and China lockdown policies as sources of additional inflation pressures 10.8% U.S. wholesale inflation in may, up from 10 % in april 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 Despite edu growth, TN UPSC result worst in 10 yrs B I N I TA JAISWAL @ Chennai West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in conversation with NCP chief Sharad Pawar, as PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge and SP’s Akhilesh Yadav look on after a meeting on Presidential polls in Delhi | Shekhar Yadav For a State that boasts of a stellar gross enrolment ratio (GER) of 51.4% in higher education, which is twice the national average of 27.1%, huge investments in higher education, and a commendable show in the NIRF rankings, the drop in performance in the highlycompetitive Civil Services Exam has become a matter of concern as just 3% of candidates who made the cut this year are from Tamil Nadu. Of the 685 candidates who cleared the Civil Services Exam conducted by the Union Public Pawar, Mamata, Kharge to evolve Prez consensus Edu ministry Building skills 18 Oppn parties attend meet; Rajnath, Nadda begin consultations Rajesh Kumar Thakur @ New Delhi NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Wednesday fobbed off requests from several parties to become the joint Opposition candidate for the forthcoming Presidential polls, at a two-hour meeting called by Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee here. Mamata set the ball rolling by proposing his name and getting the concurrence of several others. But Pawar politely declined. The meeting that had representation from 18 Opposition parties urged him to reconsider his decision. But Pawar sought to put a lid on it, taking to his Twitter handle later to say: “I sincerely appreciate the leaders of opposition parties for suggesting my name as a candidate for the election of the President of India, at the meeting. However, I like to state that I have humbly declined the proposal of my candidature.” 683 unreserved train passengers deboarded in TN, fined `3.4L B Anb u s e lva n @ Chennai As many as 683 travellers, mostly migrant workers from Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, were deboarded from reserved coaches of the KSR BengaluruDanapur Sanghamitra Express at Perambur on Tuesday for travelling without valid tickets. Fines of `3.38 lakh were collected from them. When the train reached Perambur in the evening, ticket examiners accompanied by RPF personnel inspected the coaches, and deboarded unreserved travellers from reserved compartments. While passengers complain that unreserved travellers often occupy reserved coaches, railway officials say it’s practically impossible to conduct such inspections on every train. However, passengers and former rail employees say the Railways should better gauge demand for tickets to northern States from the South. In a similar incident on May 24, the Howrah-Kanyakumari Express was halted at the Chengalpattu railway station after passengers in reserved coaches pulled the emergency alarm chain, demanding that unreserved travellers be deboarded. More than 300 people were deboarded and penalised. “An unreserved coach has 120-130 seats, and long-distance trains have two or three such coaches. Yet, 700-800 unreserved tickets are issued. Demand should be monitored, and sale of unreserved tickets restricted,” says a retired travelling ticket examiner (TTE). P4 The meeting adopted a unanimous resolution to field a common Opposition candidate in the Presidential elections. It decided to tentatively meet again on June 21, informed CPI MP Binoy Viswam. Mamata, Pawar and Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge were authorised to consult other parties to evolve a consensus on the matter. With Pawar shutting the door, sources said Mamata suggested the names of National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah and retired diplomat Gopalkrishna Gandhi for con- Too premature to comment: Gandhi “It is too premature to comment,” Gopalkrishna Gandhi, said when asked about his candidature. He is the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi and was the consensus opposition pick for Vice President in 2017 sideration as alternative candidates. The suggestion was met with a stony silence, an opposition MP informed. Kharge said his party has no particular name in mind but will sit with others to play a constructive role to arrive at a consensus if Pawar continues declining the offer. Mamata said she will consult other parties that could not make it to the meeting, like AAP, SAD, AIMIM, TRS and BJD. Parallelly, BJP leader Rajnath Singh called up Opposition leaders like Kharge, Mamata and SP chief Akhilesh Yadav to build a national consensus on the Presidential elections. He also spoke to JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar. Sources said Opposition leaders sought to know the NDA nominee for the high post. BJP chief J P Nadda, too worked the phones, to reach out to leaders of parties like the BJD, YSR Cong, JD(U), RJD, TRS, DMK and others with whom he is has good rapport. Swapna suresh drags Pinarayi family into the muck An affidavit submitted by her to a special court in Kochi on Wednesday alleges Kerala chief minister requested Sharjah ruler in 2017 to help his daughter Veena Vijayan set up an IT hub there | p7 5G auctions begin on July 26; pvt networks get level-playing field auction will be held for spectrum in various Low (600 MHz, Decks were cleared on Wednes- 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, day for 5G spectrum auctions to 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz), provide services to the public Mid (3300 MHz) and High (26 and enterprises both, with the GHz) frequency bands. Cabinet approving a proposal The Cabinet decided to allow by the Department of Telsetting up and developecommunications for its ment of private 5G caprollout. A total of tive networks as it will 72,097.85 MHz of specspur a new wave of intrum with 20-year vanovations in Industry lidity will be up for 4.0 applications such as grabs when the aucmachine to machine tions begin on July 26. `4.31L crore communications, InThe Cabinet ignored ternet of Things, Artivalue at the demand of telecom reserve price ficial Intellig ence operators to reduce across automotive, the base price of spec- The airwaves, at healthcare, agricultrum and not allow the reserve prices ture, energy and other private enterprises to recommended by sectors. the telecom have their own 5G netPrivate enterprises regulator, are work. Analysts believe hailed the government valued around it will enhance the decision to allow them debt of telcos. Telecom `4.31 lakh crore to have their own capoperators had asked tive network. for a 90% cut in the reserve The Broadband India Forum, price and also urged the minis- which has members like CIStry not to provide direct 5G net- CO, Amazon, Microsoft and Inwork to private enterprises as tel, said it would lead to better it will impact their business. efficiency, productivity and The Telecom Regulatory Au- output for the enterprises, acthority of India had suggested celerate digitisation, boost caabout 39% cut in floor price, pabilities, propel indigenous which was seen as deeply dis- manufacturing and eventually appointing by the industry . garner greater economic gains According to the DoT, the for the country . R a k e s h K u m a r @ New Delhi unveils degree programme for Agniveers E x p r e ss N e ws S e r v i c e @ New Delhi A day after the Centre unveiled Agnipath scheme, a radical recruitment plan for armed forces, the Union education ministry on Wednesday announced it will launch a special three-year skill-based bachelor’s degree programme for those recruited under the scheme. The aim is to increase career options for Agniveers, as the recruits are to be known, and prepare them for civil jobs post their tenure in the armed forces. According to the ministry, the degree programme will be designed and offered by IGNOU (Indira Gandhi National Open University). Both technical and non-technical skill training will amount to 50% of the credits required for a graduate degree. The remaining 50% will come from a basket of courses, covering subjects like languages, Economics, History, Political Science, Public Administration, Sociology, Mathematics, Education, Commerce, etc. The IGNOU programme will be aligned with the UGC norms and National Credit Framework/National Skill Qualification Framework. The programme will have multiple exit points – an undergraduate certificate on completion of the first-year courses, an undergraduate diploma on completion of the first and second-year courses, and a degree on completion of all the courses within a three-year time frame. P9 NATIONWIDE June 14 June 15 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths 6,594 4,035 6 8,822 5,718 15 tamil nadu June 14 June 15 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths 332 153 0 476 169 1 Jab-o-meter Take your shot June 14 11,64,764 doses June 15 13,17,558 doses Total doses 1,95,65,13,732 Service Commission for the year 2021, only 27 candidates are from Tamil Nadu. The percentage of qualifiers has dropped to 3 from 5 last year. This is the State’s worst performance in the last 10 years. Though there are no State-wise official figures, data compiled by former IAS officers and coaching centres show a steady decline in the performance in the combined examination for all-India services such as IAS and IPS, and several other Central services. In 2014, of the 1,126 candidates who cleared the exam, 119 or 11% were from Tamil Nadu. In 2017, at least 7% of the successful candidates were from Tamil Nadu. In 2019, the ratio dropped ‘Lure of government jobs declining’ More private jobs now offer attractive pay packages, better lifestyles, and even foreign trips, said a former IAS officer, explaining that this has reduced the craze for government jobs, including in the civil services to 6.69%, and in 2020 it hit 5%. Incidentally, Tamil Nadu’s higher education institutions have been consistently scoring well in the NIRF (National Institutional Ranking Framework) rankings over the same period. Better job opportunities in the private sector, lack of availability of adequate study materials in Tamil, lack of proficiency in English language, and long years of preparation needed to crack the exam are some of the reasons cited by experts and candidates for the drop in performance. Continued on: P3 police enter Cong HQ, beat up cadre? Cops deny Express News Service @ New Delhi The Congress headquarters here witnessed high drama on Wednesday as the party continued its protest over the questioning of its leader Rahul Gandhi by the Enforcement Directorate in the National Herald case for the third consecutive day . Party leaders alleged that Delhi Police personnel forcibly entered its headquarters at Akbar Road and thrashed them, posting a video of the incident on Twitter to substantiate their claims. However, the police denied their allegations. “In an act of absolute goondaism perpetuated by the Delhi Police at the instance of the Modi government, the police today forcibly entered the national headquarters of the Congress here and beat up party workers and leaders. This is patently criminal trespass,” Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said. Other senior leaders alleged that security personnel misbehaved with women parliamentarians and treated them like ‘criminals’. Jothimani Sennimalai, Tamil Nadu MP, released a video in which she appealed Congress workers protest Enforcement Directorate’s summoning of Rahul Gandhi, outside the party headquarters in Delhi on Wednesday | Shekhar Yadav We tried to close the gate of AICC office to prevent a procession from being taken out... but police had not tried to enter the premises of the AICC and they had no reason to enter - Senior police officer to the Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla to initiate action against the security personnel who mistreated women MPs. “We were brutally beaten up and assaulted on Tuesday and today as well. Our clothes were torn and shoes were removed. They are taking us to an unknown location. We needed water but the police didn’t allow us to purchase water. The security personnel bundled 7-8 women in the bus and treated them like criminals,” she alleged. Detained party leaders and functionaries such as Sachin Pilot, Amrita Dhawan, Ajay Yadav, Vivek Bansal, Lalji Desai and Srinivas B V were taken to different police stations in Alipur, Narela, Vasant Kunj, Najafgarh, and Burari. The Congress demanded that an FIR for criminal trespass be filed, erring police personnel suspended and disciplinary action initiated against them. However, the police rejected the charges. “The allegations are totally false and we strongly denied them,” a senior police officer said. P9 express read Double-vaxxed healthy teen dies of Covid in TN I-T dept searches MGM properties in TN, K’taka After 104 hrs, C’garh boy pulled out of borewell Chennai: Tamil Nadu on Tuesday recorded a Covid-19 death after three months, with an 18-year-old passing away at the Government Thanjavur Medical College Hospital. She had no comorbidities and had been vaccinated with two doses of Covishield. Her samples have been sent for whole genome sequencing. Meanwhile, the number of new Covid-19 cases in the State has crossed 400 | P2 Chennai/Villupuram: The Income Tax (I-T) department on Wednesday conducted searches at 40 locations connected to MGM Group in Chennai, Tirunelveli and Karnataka for suspected tax evasion. In April, the Enforcement Directorate attached assets worth `216 crore connected to MGM Group’s Chennai-based company Southern Agrifurane Industries Pvt Ltd (SAIPL) and MGM Anand | P4 Raipur: After being trapped deep inside a borewell for about five days, a differently-abled boy was pulled out alive on Tuesday night. It took a marathon rescue operation lasting 104 hours and involving some 500 personnel to pull out the 11-year-old, who was stuck 60-feet below the surface. The child was given fluids and fruits with the help of a rope and oxygen was pumped into the borewell through a pipe Hemp cultivation to be legal in State? Talks under way SV K R ISH N A CHAI TA N YA @ Chennai With demand for hemp — a strain of the cannabis sativa plant — and its value-added products growing, the Tamil Nadu government is actively considering allowing cultivation of hemp for industrial and medical purposes. Recently the , State Planning Commission held a discussion on ‘promoting hemp crops in Tamil Nadu’ and asked the Tamil Nadu Agriculture University to submit a feasibility report. In a letter dated May 31, TS Rajsekar, member secretary of the State Planning Commission, wrote to the agricultural production commissioner and secretary of the agriculture and farmers’ welfare depart- Hemp being grown in Uttarakhand, where cultivation is legal | Special arrangement ment to identify the feasibility of hemp cultivation in Tamil Nadu’s agroclimatic conditions, especially with reference to fallow land utilisation. Hemp and marijuana (ganja) are part of the cannabis species and look identical, but have unique properties that distinguish their use. Hemp is nonpsychoactive with less tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), ranging between 0.3% and 1%. It has varied industrial economic ap- plications that would help farmers. Marijuana contains 5-35% THC, and is predominantly used to manufacture banned narcotic drugs. But both species are viewed with the same ‘suspicious’ lens and regulated under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (NDPS Act) although hemp has overwhelming benefits. Vasudha Chakravarthi, an independent cannabis researcher from the Nilgiris, who approached the State Planning Commission and made a presentation for licensed cultivation of hemp in Tamil Nadu, told TNIE: “Hemp is a fastgrowing and low-maintenance crop, making it eco-friendly .” Continued on: P7
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