LATE CITY, 20 PAGES, AHMEDABAD, `4.00 ● THURSDAY, JUNE 28, 2018 ● WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM TheIndian EXPRESS DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA 3 JOURNALISM OF COURAGE ‘UNIFORM RATE FOR CESS’ GUJARAT GOVT SEEKS ISRAEL’S HELP FOR SETTING UP DESALINATION PLANTS ● 1 held for lynching of woman beggar PAGE 5 To simplify GST, 28 per cent tax slab has to go: Chief Economic Advisor Says stigmatised capitalism blocking reforms, makes decisions involving private sector difficult ENS ECONOMIC BUREAU Govt seeks to overhaul UGC, take over its funding role EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, JUNE 27 THE HRD Ministry has proposed to restructure the University Grants Commission (UGC) by repealing its Act of 1956 and replacing it with a new law that downsizes the higher education regulator’s scope, including stripping it of its funding role. The draft Act proposes to rechristen UGC as the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI). The regulator, in its new avatar, will only focus on setting, maintaining and improving academic standards in universities. The ministry will take over its grant-giving function. The government made the draft law public on Wednesday and has sought feedback till July 7. “Just like how the ministry funds all technical institutes like the IITs, NITs and IISERs and the AICTE focuses on maintaining standards, the government can easily take over funding of central universities. We want to downsize the regulator’s role. There won’t be any interference in the management issues of educational institutions,” said a ministry official, who did not want to be identified. HECI will be tasked with the mandate of improving academic standards with specific focus on CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY NEW DELHI, JUNE 27 OUTGOING CHIEF Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian Wednesday said that removing the highest 28 per cent slab and a uniform rate of cess should be the first step for further simplification of the Goods and Services Tax (GST). “I think the 28 per cent rate has to go. The cesses may have to remain, but there should be just one rate on cesses... Today, we have GST rates of zero, 3 per cent (for gold), 5 per cent, 12 per cent, 18 per cent and 28 per cent. We Arvind Subramanian at the Idea Exchange on Wednesday. Abinav Saha need to rationalise but I think at the first instance the 28 per cent should go,” Subramanian said at the Idea Exchange programme of The Indian Express. Asked if cesses should be removed, he said, “I am saying that in an ideal system the 28 per cent rate has to go. The cesses may have to be there because we are going to have higher rates for some products but there shouldn’t be multiple rates even here. In my report, we had called for one 18 per cent rate and then 40 per cent rate. Cesses are a different way of implementing the 40 per cent rate.” Citing “personal reasons” Subramanian last week had said that he would be leaving the Finance Ministry soon though he had not yet finalised the date of his last day in office. His announcement came eleven CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 New roads, better security, organised traffic: What is new to this yatra Surgical strikes video out, shows terror casualties, damage to bunkers EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, JUNE 27 FOR THE first time since India announced that it had conducted surgical strikes against terror launch pads in Pakistanoccupied Kashmir (PoK) in September 2016, video clips of these operations were broadcast on several television news channels on Wednesday night. These clips showed some terrorists being killed, besides destruction of bunkers and other military constructions. TV channels claimed these videos, which they had accessed from official sources, were taken by Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and Thermal Imaging (TI) cameras used by the Army to monitor the operation. “The videos are real. I can confirm that,” Lt General D S Hooda (retd), former Northern Army Commander who was directly in-charge of the surgical strikes told The Indian Express. 10 THE EDITORIAL PAGE Amarnath cave NEW DELHI, JUNE 27 EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE THE WHITE super deluxe Jammu and Kashmir Road Transport Corporation bus does not amount to much. The fans inside the bus do not work and most of the seats do not recline. This matters little to Gurmeet Singh (34), who has ferried pilgrims from Jammu’s Bhagwati Nagar base camp to Pahalgam for the past fourteen years. All he is focussed on is getting the security clearance certificate and the green radio frequency (RFID) tag. He haggles with a sub-inspector, is briefly checked by the J&K Police and finally gets the clearance. Now, he waits for the pilgrims and hopes it does not rain. “I will be driving every day for the next NEW DELHI, JUNE 27 TRACKING THE YATRA ● PAHALGAM EXPRESS NETWORK ● SHUJAAT BUKHARI’S KILLERS IDENTIFIED: J&K POLICE, P 8 two months. I have a family to support and the Amarnath Yatra is the most important work I get in the entire year,” says Gurmeet. END OF THE LINE South Korea team huddle as Germany’s Toni Kroos leaves the field after the match, in Kazan on Wednesday. Germany crashed out of the World Cup after South Korea won 2-0. Reuters P 18 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Swara Bhasker guest at Adda today The feed of these videos was reportedly being broadcast live during the surgical strikes to the operations room of his headquarters in Udhampur. “When the surgical strikes happened, my view was that the videos should have been released as proof. It is good that they have come out now,” Lt General Hooda added. On the intervening night of September 28-29, 2016, the Army had carried out surgical strikes on seven terror launch CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Blame it on the liberals BY PRATAP BHANU MEHTA Aircel-Maxis: SC says govt can probe ED officer, no clean chit Security personnel stand guard as the Amarnath Yatra begins, in Banihal on Wednesday. Praveen Khanna ANAND MOHAN J A clip of the September 2016 strikes in PoK THE SUPREME Court on Wednesday said the government was free to look into allegations against Enforcement Directorate (ED) officer Rajeshwar Singh, who is investigating the Aircel-Maxis case, after the Centre submitted a secret report against him in court. On November 1, 2017, the court had restrained the government from acting against Singh. While the ED sought to defend Singh, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy used the issue to target Finance Secretary Hasmukh Adhia, linking it to the Nirav Modi case. Disposing of a clutch of peti- tions — filed by Delhi resident Rajneesh Kapur accusing Singh of amassing disproportionate assets, by Singh seeking contempt action for alleged delay in the Aircel-Maxis probe, and an application by Swamy seeking to implead in the case — the court said: “We direct that the government is free to look into the materials against respondent number 3 (Rajeshwar Singh) and the same can be looked into.” The court observed that no officer should be under a “cloud”. “You (Singh) are simply an officer. You can’t be given a blanket clean chit. Everybody is accountable. You must be accountable for any action. We need to ensure that you are accountable. We don’t want to CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE US puts off 2+2 dialogue with To improve learning, writing ability of India: ‘unavoidable reasons’ students, Gujarat to launch campaign NEW DELHI, JUNE 27 EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, JUNE 27 IN AN industry where fitting in is the expected way to succeed, actor Swara Bhasker has made sure she stands out. Be it the choice of her roles or the fact that she voices her opinion on all matters political and social, Bhasker has broken the glass ceiling in Bollywood in many ways. She was first noticed in the mainstream Tanu Weds Manu (2009), where she played the assertive friend to Kangana Ranaut, and has since gone on to make every role her own. The Delhiborn actor has made sure that her presence on the screen has regis- tered, no matter how small the role. In her decade-long career, Bhasker has successfully balanced the two distinct worlds of commercial and independent cinema. While her films Tanu Weds Manu, Tanu Weds Manu 2, Raanjhaana and Prem Ratan Dhan Payo made her a dependable staple in the Bollywood mainstream, films like Listen Amaya, CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 RITU SHARMA AHMEDABAD, JUNE 27 WITH POOR learning outcomes of students in government schools, as reflected in the recent Gunotsav results and the findings of the National Achievement Survey (NAS), the Education Department of Gujarat government has decided to launch a two-month-long campaign, beginning July 15, with an aim to improve the students’ ability to read, write and perform simple calculations. At the end of the campaign, the government said, teachers who will fail to perform The Indian Express report of May 7, 2018 on the state of education in Gujarat will be “penalised”. The decision was taken on Wednesday at a meeting ofall district education officers (DEOs) and district primary education officers (DPEOs), chaired by Education Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama in Gandhinagar. With the focus of the campaign being “weak” students, all DEOs and DPEOs have been directed to identify and prepare a list of all such students from across the state. These students will be taught after school hours. Besides telling the teachers to put in additional hours after the school, the government CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 ● PAGE ONE ANCHOR 12 WORLD Actor Swara Bhasker LESS THAN a fortnight before the first ‘2+2 dialogue’, the US conveyed to India Wednesday that it has postponed the dialogue due to “unavoidable reasons”. The dialogue was announced last August after a telephone call between Prime Minister Modi and President Donald Trump, which focussed on “strengthening strategic, security and defence cooperation”. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman were slated to visit Washington for first ‘2+2 dialogue’ on July 6 with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defence James Mattis. The meeting was earlier scheduled for April this year but was put off after Trump fired then secretary of state Rex Tillerson. Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar Wednesday announced that US Secretary of State spoke to Swaraj today “to express his regret and deep disappointment at the US having to postpone the 2+2 Dialogue for unavoidable reasons.” According to Kumar, Pompeo sought Swaraj’s “understanding” FOR ON-TRACK PERFORMANCE, RLYS PUSHES BACK ARRIVAL TIME RE-UNITE IMMIGRANT FAMILIES IN 30 DAYS: U.S. JUDGE Run-time of many trains extended by half-an-hour to an hour AVISHEK G DASTIDAR NEW DELHI, JUNE 27 PAKISTAN NSA QUITS AMID REPORTS OF DIFFERENCES WITH CARETAKER PM THIS SUMMER, the Indian Railways has seen one of its worst performances in years with regard to punctuality of trains. On Wednesday, for instance, the national transporter reported 70 per cent on-time performance. In the past few months, this figure has even dipped to 60 per cent, which means that 40 per cent of the trains were delayed. Facing criticism over the de- lays, the Indian Railways seems to have found a way out — by changing the run-time of trains in its timetable to incorporate the delay, officially. The Chennai-based Southern Railway has extended the runtime of as many as 90 trains, changing it by 30 minutes to an hour. Similarly, the Delhi-based Northern Railway proposes to officially delay the arrival times of about 95 trains from various parts of the country, again by half-an-hour to an hour. While Southern Railway has already implemented the move and sought post-facto approval from the Ministry of Railways, Northern Railway has sought the Railway Board’s permission before implementing the change. In both the cases, the “superfast” trains which are affected will retain their tag, although the extended time affects their average speed on paper. In the case of Southern Railway, the changes have reduced the average speed, on paper, by around a couple of kilometers per hour, as per documents reviewed by The Indian Express. Punctuality dipped to 60 per cent in last few months “We have done this because many trains were getting delayed due to ongoing engineering work on tracks. By extending the official run-time in the timetable, people will not be inconvenienced. If the timetable shows a train is to reach at 8 (am/ pm), and it regularly reaches at 9 (am/ pm), there’s no point. So it’s better to show the official arrival time like that,” said R K Kulshreshta, General Manager, Southern Railway. “For us, safety is priority number 1 and punctuality is number 2.” The ministry has sought an explanation from the zones, and asked them to draw up a de- tailed plan to explain how they aim to implement it. The concern is that such largescale extension of run-times should not adversely affect the line capacity of the already choked network, and adversely affect “paths” meant for other trains. A senior Northern Railway official told The Indian Express that the move is meant to rationalise the run-time of trains which were traditionally kept on “very tight schedule”, affecting train maintenance. “This has to be viewed in the context of the larger picture, wherein we are delaying some trains and speeding up many other trains with the view to ultimately increase capacity of the network,” he said. Over the last few months, many popular trains, mostly in the North to East sector, have been reporting around 30-hour delays. Largescale track maintenance and repair work has been cited as one of the reasons. Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has been regularly reviewing the performance of each zone, and has been putting pressure on zonal general managers to maintain punctuality without compromising safety-related work. He has also directed zones to speed up maintenance work.
Indian Express Limited is an Indian news media publishing company. It publishes several widely circulated dailies, including The Indian Express and The Financial Express in English, the Loksatta in Marathi and the Jansatta in Hindi.