govt debt chennai l thursday l august 11, 2022 l `9.00 l PAGES 12 l vellore EDITION CAG FLAGS CONCERNs OVER THE cENTRE’S DEBT SUSTAINABILITY The Centre’s debt sustainability indicator was negative in FY20 as opposed to FY16-FY19, CAG said in its latest report Cost of interest payment on the rise Cut burden, spend less on debt service Debt sustainability is the government’s ability to maintain a constant debt-to-GDP ratio over a period of time. The Centre’s debt was 52.30% of the GDP in FY20 against 49.33% in FY19. The CAG noted that in these two years, debt growth rate outgrew the nominal GDP growth rate. Also, the interest paid on debt has been consistently increasing over the years ■ ■ In FY16, the interest paid was at `4,57,270 crore which shot up to `6,55,371 crore in FY20 owing to ballooning debt CAG recommended that the Centre reduce its debt so that lesser funds are spent on interest payemnts and more of its non-debt receipts are available to meet expenditure priorities | P10 `155.33 lakh cr The Centre’s debt is projected to hit 60.2% of the gdp in Fy23 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 Tejashwi Yadav takes oath as deputy CM of the seven-party Mahagathbandhan govt; BJP stays away from the ceremony Nitish fires first 2024 shot after his eighth oath as CM not rule out the possibility of Nitish emerging as the Opposition’s PM candidate for 2024. Within the JD (U), its parliamentary board chairman Upendra Kushwaha said, “Nitish Kumar has all the qualifications to become the PM. We are not staking any claim but he possess all qualities for the post.” JD(U)’s national chief Rajiv Ranjan Singh echoed him. “It is too early to say anything as Nitish dumped the NDA to form a government with the seven-party Mahagathbandhan (Grand Alliance) just a day ago. But it is also true that he can be a PM candidate if the Congress takes the lead,” remarked an analyst on the condition of anonymity . The mood was upbeat in the Grand Alliance during the swear- R a m a s h a n k a r @ Patna Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar with his deputy Tejashwi Prasad Yadav after their swearing-in ceremony at Raj Bhavan in Patna on Wednesday | PTI Jobs to youth in a month: Tejashwi Tejashwi touched Nitish’s feet after taking oath of office as the deputy CM. He later said the aspirations of the youth would be fulfilled as the govt would initiate the process of providing them jobs within a month flight tickets Govt lifts price caps on air fare from August 31 A RSHA D KHAN @ New Delhi IN a move that could possibly bring down air fares, the Union civil aviation ministry on Wednesday decided to remove the fare caps on domestic airlines with effect from August 31. “The decision has been taken after careful analysis of daily demand and prices of air turbine fuel. Stabilisation has set in and the sector is poised for growth,” said Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia. The government had imposed lower and upper limits on domestic airfares in May 2020, according to which airlines can’t charge a passenger less than `2,900 (excluding GST) and more than `8,800 for domestic flights of less than 40 minutes. While upper caps were to protect passengers from being fleeced by greedy airlines, the lower limits were meant to protect the financially weaker carriers. The government’s decision could bring relief to flyers hit by high ticket prices, in the event of a price war now that the price restrictions have been lifted. However, it also means that if demand for a route is high, they will have to pay a premium. “Airlines will be able to offer lower pricing on routes where flight loads are lower. But flight routes covering metros like Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, etc could witness a surge in pricing,” said Indiver Rastogi, president & group head (global business travel) at Thomas Cook (India) & SOTC. Keep watching what happens, says CM Nitish Kumar did not see any big problems in running the new Grand Alliance govt to complete the 2020 mandate. “Dekhte jayiye aage hota hai kya” (Keep watching what happens in future), was his cryptic one-liner Toll-free number, spl cops to tackle Tn’s drug menace E x pre ss Ne ws Ser v i c e @ Chennai Taking a holistic approach to tackle the issue of drugs sale and addiction, a high-level consultative meeting chaired by Chief Minister MK Stalin on Wednesday decided to implement a series of measures, involving multiple departments, across the State. This includes the launching of a toll-free number to which people can pass on tip-offs, creation of a post of deputy superintendent of police in every district exclusively for surveillance of drug sales and smuggling, and setting up of more check booths in districts sharing borders with other States. The health department, school education department, higher education department express read Four-year-old girl dies in leopard attack in Nilgiris Coimbatore: A four-year-old girl, daughter of migrant workers from Assam, died after she was attacked by a leopard inside a private tea estate at Arakadu in Nilgiris district on Wednesday afternoon | P5 No Central govt nod, UT adjourns Budget session Puducherry: The Budget session of the Puducherry government was adjourned sine die by Speaker R Selvam on Wednesday as the Union government is yet to approve the Union Territory’s draft budget | P4 Woman travelling in cab gang-raped in TN, 6 held E x pre ss Ne ws Ser v i c e @ Chennai THE Chennai city police on Wednesday arrested six men for allegedly kidnapping and raping a 40-year-old woman at knife point in an abandoned area near the Chennai Bypass Road. The incident, which happened on Saturday, came to light after the woman lodged a complaint at an all women police station attached to the Avadi city police on Tuesday . According to the police, the victim was returning home after attending a temple festival on Saturday when the incident happened. A senior police of- Shortly after taking oath as Bihar chief minister for the eighth time, Nitish Kumar on Wednesday fired his first salvo at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying, “The one who came to power in 2014 should worry about 2024 — whether or not they will be in power after that.” He added that he would work for Opposition unity to defeat the ruling NDA at the Centre, giving credence to speculation that he could later shift to national politics, vacating his chair for RJD’s Tejashwi Prasad Yadav when the time came. For the record though, he claimed he was not a claimant to the post of PM and also did not harbour any such ambition. Sharad Yadav, former JD(U) head who is now with the RJD, did ficer said, “She sent her children along with her husband and took a cab home. The driver was her family friend. When the vehicle entered an arterial road off the Tambaram-Maduravoyal bypass, a man waylaid it.” Five others joined the man and attacked the cab driver. The gang then drove the car to a distance, threw the driver out, and threatened to murder the woman if she screamed for help, the officer said, and added: “They took her to a secluded spot nearby and snatched 13 sovereigns of gold from her. The men then took turns and raped the woman.” P5 and social welfare department will be engaged in the implementation of the measures, a welcome change from them being just tasks of the police. Addressing district collectors and district superintendents of police in the meeting held at Kalaivanar Arangam, Stalin said: “It is concerning to see the day-by-day rise in the number of people who are getting addicted to drugs. Though the previous government neglected the issue, the State is now giving a special focus to it.” Stating that drug addiction was not an individual’s problem, but a social problem, the CM appealed to schools, colleges, parents, NGOs, and traders to join hands in the fight against it. ing-in ceremony RJD workers dis. tributed sweets outside Raj Bhavan till the event was on. Wide smiles plastered on the faces of RJD, JD(U), Congress, Left parties and HAM laeader said it all. There was no BJP representation at the ceremony, which its leader Sushil Kumar Modi attributed to not getting a formal invite. Sushil Modi later created a flutter by claiming Nitish wanted the Vice President’s post, adding he was ready to let the BJP head the NDA government in Bihar as quid pro quo. But when the BJP turned it down, he walked out of the NDA, alleged Sushil Modi. But Rajiv Ranjan Singh dismissed the claim, poking Sushil Modi instead, recalling how the BJP ‘punished’ him for his proximity with Nitish. BJP’s nupur gets Supreme Court relief The SC ordered the clubbing of all FIRs lodged against suspended BJP leader Nupur Sharma and transferring them to Delhi Police for probe in a hate speech case | P7 ‘Change in approach laudable’ Dr P Poorna Chandrika, Director, IMH, welcomed the change in approach and said it would help in interdepartmental coordination SC grants bail to Varavara Rao on medical grounds E x pre s s Ne w s Ser v i c e @New Delhi The Supreme Court on Wednesday granted bail to poet and activist P Varavara Rao, an accused in the Bhima Koregaon case, on medical grounds. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) opposed Rao’s plea claiming that he is involved in “serious anti-national activities”. Varavara Rao But a bench headed by Justice U U Lalit noted that the condition of Rao, who is at present out on interim medical bail, has not improved to such an extent that the bail can be withdrawn. It also observed that Rao is 82 and has spent around two-and-a-half-years in custody It rejected the NIA’s argument that Rao is not an “or. dinary criminal” and in certain cases, age cannot be a factor if the offences are serious and affect the nation. Bhavani water to be released The Tamil Nadu government has decided release water from Lower Bhavani dam into Lower Bhavani Project (LBP) canal from August 12. Meanwhile, the flood warning issued to public continues in the banks of rivers in the region due to the increasing inflow of water into Mettur and Lower Bhavani dams. The water level at Lower Bhavani is currently at 102 feet Continued on: P5 Digital lending now Parents rescued from bonded labour, four on RBI’s leash to Irular youth chase dreams in city college protect borrowers Su ba s h i n i Vi jaya k u m a r @ Chennai U m a K a n n a n @ Bengaluru TAKING a grim view of the rising number of frauds reported on loan apps, exorbitant interest rates and unethical recovery practices, the Reserve Bank of India on Wednesday issued guidelines to tighten the rules of lending in the digital space. The central bank said loan disbursals as well as repayments can only executed via the bank accounts of borrowers and regulated entities (banks and NBFCs). There should not be any pass-through or pool account of the lending service providers, the regulator clarified. Under the new set of regulations, fees paid to lending apps should be borne by the regulated entities and not the borrower. The central bank also prohibited any automatic increase in credit limit without explicit consent of the borrower. Issuing a detailed set of guidelines for digital lending, the RBI flagged the concerns related to unbridled engagement of third parties, mis-selling, breach of data privacy among others. , “RBI is not trying to stifle fintech innovation. However, certain guardrails are needed to protect consumer interest. In the past, unchecked innovation has led to disastrous results like fake apps. The onus of compliance is on regulated entities as always,” said Kunal Varma, Co-Founder and CEO, Freo, a consumer credit-led neobank. The digital lending market is estimated to grow to $515 billion in book size by 2030. covid ca se s NATIONWIDE aug 9 aug 10 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths 12,751 16,047 16,412 19,539 42 54 tamil nadu aug 9 aug 10 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths 941 1,438 0 927 1,252 0 Irulars live not far away from accessing schools or colleges. What the government should provide the Irulars is a constant handholding with the help of institutions and NGOs. We can mainstream them Prabhu Shankar, Karur Collector, who who initiated the smart Irular colony project in 2016 when he was sub-collector of Cheyyar We give importance to merit but don’t rely on it entirely. We use our discretion to provide opportunities to all communities. Opportunities are provided to PVTG and firstgeneration graduates to make education inclusive. Paul Wilson, Principal of M Madras Christian College In a big leap of faith for a community that has remained on the margins for thousands of years, four Irular tribal students — including three girls who are daughters of rescued bonded labourers — have joined undergraduate courses at Madras Christian College in Chennai this year. The community, traditionally involved in snake and rat catching and honey collection, is one of the six particularly vulnerable tribal groups (PVTG) in Tamil Nadu and is among the most backward in education and employment. Nandhini, Ramya, and Priya are 17 years old; Rajkumar is 21. Nandhini’s father died when she was young and her mother Vijaya worked as a bonded labourer at a brick kiln in Tiruvallur until she was rescued in 2014. “I used to live in hostels till my mother and I shifted to the Irular smart colony in Tiruvannamalai three years ago. Though she was rescued from bonded labour in 2014, it took a long time for her to mingle with us again,” said Nandhini, who joined BA Tamil this year. Ramya too has joined BA Tamil. Rajkumar is enrolled in BA History and Priya has chosen BA Social Work. While Nandhini and Priya want to become police offic- ers, Rajkumar aspires to be an IAS officer. “Becoming an IAS officer is an uphill task for tribal people like us. But I want to aim high and achieve it,” Rajkumar said. R a mya ’s m o t h e r, wh o worked as a bonded labourer at a rice mill in Andhra Pradesh, was rescued in 2012. Priya’s mom and dad were also rescued from a rice mill in Tiruvallur in 2010. ‘Planning to set up tribal study centre’ Madras Christian College Principal Paul Wilson said the college was also planning to set up a tribal study centre and provide tribal specific pedagogy and curriculum to pull them into science courses as well Nandhini and Rajkumar are from the smart colony for Irular tribals located at Meesanallur village in Thellar panchayat in Tiruvannamalai district. They will be the first graduates from the 143 families settled in the colony . “The city college has been involved in various social works including freedom training for rescued bonded labourers. One of the important components of rehabilitating bonded labourers is to make sure that their children get education. Due to constant migration, many of their children struggle to complete even school education,” said Solomon, lead of the community relations team of the International Justice Mission which worked with the Tiruvannamalai district administration in the project. The Irular students at Madras Christian College in Chennai | Ashwin Prasath
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