MOST INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE Prime Minister Narendra Modi is among Time magazine’s 100 most influential people 2020 list, released on Wednesday Kamala Harris CEO of Alphabet Inc Megan Thee Stallion: American rapper, singer and songwriter Giannis Antetokounmpo: Greek professional basketball player for the Milwaukee Bucks of the National Basketball Association Ravindra Gupta Julie K Brown: American Indian-origin investigative journalist with the biologist Miami Herald PIONEERS TITANS Sundar Pichai CEO of Alphabet Inc Dwyane Wade: American former professional basketball player MacKenzie Scott: American novelist, billionaire, and venture philanthropist Jerome Powell: Chairman of the Federal Reserve ICONS B L AC K L I V ES M AT T E R F O U N D E RS ARTISTS Lina Attalah Bilkis Shaheen Bagh protester Alicia Garza Patrisse Cullors Opal Tometi Co-founder and chief editor of Mada Masr, an independent online Egyptian newspaper Ayushmann Khurrana Bollywood actor Nancy Pelosi Speaker, House of Reps Narendra Modi Prime Minister of India Joe Biden US Presidential candidate Michael B. Jordan: American actor and producer Selena Gomez: American singer, songwriter, actress, and producer Ali Wong: Stand-up comedian, actress, and writer Donald Trump US President Angela Merkel Chancellor of Germany KOTTAYAM l THURSDAY l SEPTEMBER 24, 2020 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l CITY EDITION Xi Jinping Chinese president John Roberts US Supreme Court Chief Justice Yousef Al Otaiba UAE’s ambassador to the US TIME’S FIVE CATEGORIES: PIONEERS, ARTISTS, LEADERS, TITANS & ICONS 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 Dassault yet to fulfil Rafale offset obligations, says CAG Opposition parties mount pressure against farm Bills | P7 PM Modi meets CMs of 7 states to review Covid situation | P7 HC relief for Arun Shourie in alleged divestment scam in Rajasthan | P7 Rly MoS Suresh Angadi dies of Covid-19 New Delhi: Minister of State for Railways Suresh Angadi, 65, on Wednesday succumbed to Covid-19. He was undergoing treatment at AIIMS, Delhi after testing positive for the coronavirus on September 11 IPL MATCH TODAY vs Royal Challengers Bangalore will face Kings XI Punjab in their second match in Dubai on Thursday. Bangalore have won their opening match while Punjab lost their first in a Super Over. Opener Devdutt Padikkal will be on focus again for Virat Kohli’s men, while leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi will the one to watch out for for Punjab. ODDS: KXIP 6/5 RCB 8/11 LIVE: STAR SPORTS1/ HOTSTAR @ 7.30PM M AYA N K S I N G H @ New Delhi Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad and other Opposition leaders before addressing the media, after a meeting with President Ramnath Kovind over the recent farm sector reform bills, in New Delhi on Wednesday | PTI RS clears 15 bills in 2 days amid Oppn’s boycott Parliament’s nod for labour code revamp bills; 50 laws approved in both Houses; session over R I C H A S H A R M A @ New Delhi OVER 100 per cent productivity in a truncated monsoon session. That is a landmark the Rajya Sabha could have been proud of had the situation been normal. But the target was achieved amid the absence of the Opposition, which has been boycotting the session since Tuesday over the suspension of eight members from the House for unruly behaviour. As many as 15 weighty bills were passed between Tuesday and Wednesday in the space of nearly seven-and-a-half hours in the Upper House. In other words, one bill every 30 minutes. Legislative agenda wrapped up, both Houses were then adjourned sine die. As for the Opposition, it held a silent march on Parliament’s premises over three farm sector reform bills and later met President Ramnath Kovind to request him return the “unconstitutional” legislations. Eighteen political parties had earlier written to Kovind expressing concern over the manner in which the farm bills were passed in the House of Elders. However, in view of the Covid-19 situation, only Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad got to meet the President. In just 10 sittings, the Rajya Sabha passed as many as 25 bills. An equal number of bill were passed in the Lok Sabha. “The productivity of the House during this session has been 100.47 per cent,” Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu said in his valedictory address. Prominent among the eight bills cleared in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday were three on labour code reforms, despite floor leaders of 12 Opposition parties jointly urging Naidu not to let them pass without proper discussion. “These bills affect the livelihood of crores of workers across the country It will be a great blot on . our democracy to have these bills pass unilaterally today the Oppo,” sition wrote. Referring to it, Naidu cited precedents when business was taken up as per schedule and bills approved during boycott or walkout by some members. Naidu said had the letter suggested the postponement of the bill by stating the Opposition members would attend the House later, he would have discussed the request with the government. But there was no such assurance, so he decided to go ahead with the bills, he said. Replying to the debate on the three labour reforms bills, minister Santosh Gangwar said the labour reforms will provide a transparent system to suit the changed business environment. As for the Lok Sabha, it “registered 167 per cent productivity, spending 68 per cent of the time on the legislative business,” said Speaker Om Birla. KONKAN RAIL CORP ON BOARD DPR for Kozhikode-Wayanad road tunnel to be ready within 3 months EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @Kozhikode THE Konkan Railway Corporation Limited (KRCL) has initiated a technical study for the proposed multi-crore road tunnel connecting Kozhikode and Wayanad. Planned from Anakkampoyil in Kozhikode to Meppadi in Wayanad, the proposed road is 7.82km long, 6.9km of which will pass through the tunnel. Accompanied by Public Works Department (PWD) officials, a team of technical experts from KRCL visited the site where the tunnel would end -- Kalladi near Meppadi -on Wednesday to identify areas within the forest. The team visited the starting point, Swargamkunnu near Anakkampoyil, on Tuesday. KRCL, the special purpose ve- BMS hits out at Modi govt for passing labour bills EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi THE Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), an RSS affiliate, on Wednesday hit out at the Centre for ignoring its objections to the labour reform bills. It accused the BJP-led government of pandering to the whims of corporates while turning a blind eye to the needs of employees. “The BMS and other trade unions had given detailed objections to the previous draft of the Industrial Relations Code. None of the objections raised by the BMS and other trade unions as well as the recommendations of PSCL (Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labour) in favour of workers was considered in the revised draft,” said BMS secretary-general Vrijesh Upadhyay . He alleged the Industrial Relations Code is tilted too much in favour of employers and bureaucrats. “The last-minute mutilations will adversely affect industrial peace in the country. Some impor tant changes like that on standing orders were not even discussed in the consultation process, which is a violation of the ILO Convention 144 ratified by Indian Parliament,” he added. The BMS said the new law is a clear attempt to diminish the role of trade unions. The Sangh said the decision to allow companies with up to 300 employees to fire workers and close down units without government permission will promote “ease of closing busin e ss, n ot e ase of d o i n g business”. THE Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on Wednesday questioned India’s offset policy and came down heavily on foreign vendors for not fulfilling their offset commitments. In its report titled ‘CAG’s Performance Audit Report on Management of Defence Offset’, the national auditor pointed out that French aerospace major Dassault Aviation and European missile maker MBDA, which supplied armaments for the Rafale jets, have not yet discharged their 30% offset obligation. India received the delivery of the first batch of five Rafale fighter jets from the French manufacturer on July 29. They were formally inducted to Indian Air Force on September 10. The total worth of Rafale deal is `59,000 crore. Opposition parties had alleged irregularities in the fighter jet deal. “In many cases, it was found that the foreign vendors made various offset commitments to qualify for the main supply con- COVID CASES IN KERALA BREACH 5,000-MARK 5,376 fresh cases reported in the state on Wednesday 51,200 samples were tested 2,951 recover hicle (SPV) for the project, is expected to prepare a detailed project report (DPR) within three months. “An application has been submitted to the forest department for conducting a survey at Maripuzha, a forested area in Kozhikode. Once the exact starting and end points are decided, the survey process will begin,” said PWD Executive Engineer K Vinayaraj. Thiruvambady MLA George M Thomas said the state government has already given administrative sanction for the release of Rs 658 crore for the project which will be funded by KIIFB. The construction, expected to be completed within 34 months, will follow an engineering model that ensures protection from landslides, ● More on P 5 he said. 20 deaths, the biggest in a day, take the official death toll to 592 Gaming addiction rises among children Unsuspecting parents who leave their children unsupervised would be shocked by statistics that prove that online gaming has doubled over the past few months, largely due to children bunking virtual classes. P2 EXPRESS READ Saudi Arabia suspends flight services to and from India T’Puram: Saudi Arabia has suspended travel to and from India, Brazil and Argentina in the wake of spike in Covid cases. Any person who has been in these three countries in the past 14 days will not be allowed in, except persons with government invitations, said General Authority of Civil Aviation in the Gulf kingdom. P5 Govt orders vigilance probe into Life Mission project, Cong cries foul Local people make a wooden bridge at Maripuzha, Aanakkampoyil, in Kozhikode for the team of officials carrying out the survey on Wednesday | EXPRESS Agriculture Minister V S Sunil Kumar has been infected with Covid-19. He is the third minister after Thomas Isaac and E P Jayarajan to contract the virus T’Puram: The state government on Wednesday ordered a vigilance probe into the allegations pertaining to the irregularities in the LIFE Mission housing project at Wadakkanchery even as the Congress cried foul. The allegations of bribery and the deal with UAE-based charity organisation Red Crescent will be investigated. P4 Cabinet okays proposals to ease building restrictions T’Puram: The state Cabinet has approved draft proposals to allow taller buildings and unlock more land for larger buildings. For this, Kerala Municipality Building Rules and Kerala Panchayat Building Rules of 2019 could be amended. If these become a law, it would pave way for construction hitherto barred due to road width curbs. P4 Policy review call In view of the fact that the offset policy has not yielded the desired results, the CAG suggested the government review the policy tract but later, were not earnest about fulfilling these commitments,” the financial watchdog said in its report. Giving example of the Dassault Aviation, the CAG said, “In the offset 4 contract relating to 36 Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft, the vendors Dassault Aviation and MBDA initially proposed (September 2015) to discharge 30% of their offset obligation by offering high technology to DRDO.” But they have not confirmed the technology transfer till date, it observed. DRDO wanted to obtain technical assistance for the indigenous development of engine (Kaveri) for the Light Combat Aircraft Tejas. Till date, the vendor has not confirmed the transfer of this technology, it said. As per the deal, the company has to invest 50% of the worth of the deal back in India as offset obligations. The investment amounted to around `30,000 crore for which a numbers of Indian firms, including Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence, were chosen. This became a major controversy since the company was totally new in this sector. India adopted the offset policy for defence capital purchases in 2005, according to which all capital purchases above `300 crore through imports will have the foreign vendor invest at least 30% of the value of the purchase in India. Accept, encourage home treatment: CM to people ment,” Pinarayi told mediapersons. The state reported 5,376 new CHIEF Minister Pinarayi Vi- cases on Wednesday taking the , jayan has urged people to en- number of active cases to courage home-based treatment 42,786. for Covid-19 as fresh cases in Stressing that unwanted fear the state crossed the 5,000-mark was stopping most patients for the first time and the daily from opting for home treatdeath count ment, the CM added Govt to project touched 20, the that, like in quaranKasaragod model tine, all one needs highest so far. The recent uptick to do is to listen to T’Puram: The health of cases has trigthe advice of health department is gered concerns that workers. projecting the the health system “If the patients Kasaragod model might g et overfollow the advice of while encouraging whelmed if every health officials home treatment. As infected person from time to time, per a brief report avails hospital care. prepared in this regard, then there is noth“Home-based ing to worry about. the department m a n a g e m e n t o f pointed out the model Also, if a patient Covid patients is alchooses homeset by Kasaragod is lowed in the state. worth emulating at the based treatment, it But it has been notwill reduce his/her state-level. P2 ed that despite adestress and anxieties quate facilities in their houses, about Covid to a great extent. many people demand hospital Another advantage is that it care. Sometimes the pressure will ensure that those who reexerted by one’s family mem- ally need hospital care will get bers or even neighbours could it. They include those with Covbe the reason. At a time when id-related complications and cases are spiralling, it’s better those suffering from other ailto choose home-based manage- ments,” the CM said. ● More on P4 EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ T’Puram Man spends 525 days in prisons for no crime, rights panel intervenes EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @Alappuzha April 17, 2019 Joshy was arrested in connection with the arson at the LDF election booth committee office Sept 17, 2020 The Alappuzha Judicial Magistrate Court acquitted him Joshy’s advocate blames lapses from the part of probe officials THE Kerala State Human Rights Commission has ordered the Prisons Department to release an Alappuzha man who has been languishing in jails without committing any crime for 525 days. Joshy, 58, of Kandathil house at Mannanchery, was arrested in connection with the arson at the LDF election booth committee office on April 17, 2019, during the campaigning period for the last Lok Sabha elections. He was arrested the same day . The Alappuzha Judicial Magistrate Court acquitted him of the charge on September 17. Though the court had emailed the order to release him immediately to the superintendent of the Poojappura Central Jail, where he is now lodged, the jail authorities did not free him. It is learnt that the authorities were waiting for the hard copy of the court order. Taking cognisance of the delay, commission member P Mohanadas on Wednesday asked the DGP of Prisons to submit a report explaining the reasons for the delay in releasing him from the jail despite the court’s order. The commission also asked the Alappuzha District Police Chief and the investigation officer in the case to submit reports stating the circumstances in which Joshy had been jailed for so many days without committing any crime. The police arrested Joshy after the fire in the LDF Mannanchery East booth committee office. The prosecution failed to prove it. His financially poor family could not get him released on bail and no political party came forward to support him either, officials said.
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