DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE SATURDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2018, AHMEDABAD, LATE CITY, 24 PAGES `5.00, WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 AGRARIAN CRISIS REACHES DELHI At farmers’ protest, Opp targets PM, seeks answers on loan waiver, jobs Coming together, Congress, AAP, TMC and CPM find common ground, Lok Sabha election pitch BUSINESS AS USUAL Starting today on the Body & Mind page, IMAGINE, a fortnightly column by noted child therapist and author SHELJA SEN on parenting in the present age, with a focus on building emotionally safe and inclusive spaces at home. Sen is co-founder of Children First, a child and adolescent mental health institute. PAGE 15 THE EDITORIAL PAGE NEW CHANCE FOR CLIMATE ACTION BY LAVANYA RAJAMANI PAGE 12 GUJARAT BAVALIYA FILES NOMINATION FOR JASDAN BYPOLL P 3 BY UNNY AT THE SUMMIT Prime Minister Modi with President Trump at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Friday. From PM’s Instagram PAGE 17 Farmers from across the country protest at Parliament Street in New Delhi on Friday. Praveen Khanna MANOJ CG & SOMYA LAKHANI NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 30 DEMANDING HIGHER prices and waiver of farm loans, thousands of farmers brought the growing agrarian crisis and rising rural unemployment to the Capital Friday where Opposition parties found common ground to rally against the BJP-led government ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. From the Congress to the AAP and the CPM to the Trinamool Congress, ideological and political rivals across the country took to the stage at the Kisan Mukti March at Parliament Street. They attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for failing to “fulfil his promises” including jobs for youth and called for the ouster of the BJP from power. Addressing the gathering, Congress president Rahul Gandhi said farmers are fighting for their right — loans waiver and the right price for their produce — and not asking for a “free gift” or “Anil Ambani’s aircraft” from Modi. Speaking in one voice, Gandhi, Sharad Yadav, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, CPM’s Sitaram Yechury, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Trinamool Congress’s Dinesh Trivedi, CPI’s S Sudhakar Reddy and National Conference’s Farooq Abdullah called the BJP-led government “anti-farmer”. Opposition leaders also extended support to two Bills — drafted by the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKCC) and tabled by MPs Raju Shetti and K K Ragesh as private member Bills in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha respectively. There was no talk about alliance arithmetic but the message was clear: cooperation E EXPLAINED BODY & MIND ● Farm crisis matters in poll year, December 11 could shape course WITH AGRARIAN distress a common refrain in states going to polls, the gathering of Opposition leaders at a protest march by farmers in the Capital returns the issue to the front-burner ahead of the 2019 elections. Farmer concerns always provide a non-polarising platform for Opposition parties to come together, this time helped by attempts to amend the land acquisition law and weather-induced farm losses early in the tenure of the BJP-led government. The government has been battling Opposition charges of being “procorporate” and “anti-farmer”. The December 11 verdict on the assembly polls could influence the course this issue takes. MANY DEMANDS, ONE VOICE AT MARCH MODI GOVT WITH FARMERS ON EVERY ISSUE: BJP PAGE 11 Where Cong sets no Bikaner land case: poll agenda, counts ED asks Vadra to on disenchantment appear next week Shah raises it at poll rally, asks Rahul with Vasundhara to respond; Vadra says BJP desperate VANDITA MISHRA JAIPUR, NOVEMBER 30 UNDER A programme called the ‘Labharthi Jan Samvad’, the BJP government in Rajasthan is reaching out to, and mobilising for the election, those who have benefited from its programmes and schemes. By all accounts, however, the BJP’s real labharthi, or beneficiary, could be its main political opponent, the Congress. In a way, this is not surprising. Though Rajasthan has a third force, and this time that space is populated with more players than before, it is effectively a bipolar state which has not re-elected an incumbent in the last 25 years. That is, disenchantment with the BJP inevitably equals support for the Congress. Yet, travelling in Rajasthan ahead of polls, the extent to which the Congress is the receptacle — not agent — of the momentum for change in this election, is still striking. Across the DECISION 2018 RAJASTHAN DECEMBER 7 six districts The Indian Express travelled to — Jaipur, Sikar, Jhunjhunu, Nagaur, Jodhpur and Udaipur — there was visible voter anger and discontent with the BJP government, but support for the Congress was only by implication, and on the rebound. This is not just because the Modi wave had reduced Congress presence in the legislative assembly to only 21 MLAs in 2013. The Congress doesn’t even seem to be trying to set the agenda on the ground. Its leaders’ best argument: BJP governments, in Rajasthan and in Delhi, have failed to deliver. In Jaipur, Rajiv Arora, vicepresident of the state Congress, CONTINUED ON PAGE 8 EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 30 OFFICIALS OF the Enforcement Directorate (ED) Friday said Robert Vadra, brother-in-law of Congress president Rahul Gandhi, has been summoned by the agency for questioning in connection with the Bikaner land deal case. Vadra has been asked to appear in person before the ED in the first week of December. “He had earlier been summoned on November 20. But he did not appear in person and sent his legal representative with documents. We have told him we want to examine him personally and so he must appear in person,” an ED official said. On Friday, The Indian Express reported that the ED, which is investigating a web of controversial land transactions in Bikaner involving Vadra’s companies, has asked the Income Tax Settlement Govt agencies accelerating their activities: Vadra Commission for details on its proceedings in the case related to Bhushan Power and Steel Limited (BPSL) which gave a loan to a company that bought land owned by Vadra’s firm at seven times its acquisition cost. Two months ago, the then ED Director, Karnal Singh, wrote to the Settlement Commission asking for details of the file that contains deliberations on the BPSL case and the order that was reserved. He also asked for details of the reconstituted bench that CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 AN ICIJ-EXPRESS INVESTIGATION Pharma majors gave freebies to doctors, claimed tax benefits too PAGE 1 ANCHOR JAY MAZOOMDAAR & KAUNAIN SHERIFF M NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 30 DEEP INSIDE THE big unregulated medical bazaar, it’s not just about how pharma giants slip in incentives for doctors to promote their products. It’s also about how they exploit cracks in India’s tax mechanism to claim benefits from it. Records accessed by The Indian Express show that several pharmaceutical and medical devices manufacturers have claimed tax benefits on crores of rupees spent in buying gifts, sponsoring seminars and organising foreign trips for doctors. And over the last decade, global giants Abbott, Medtronic and Johnson & Johnson were among several companies red-flagged by authorities for allegedly parking such expenses under accounting heads such as “invention”, “advertisement”, “publicity”, “propaganda” and “customer relationship”, to claim benefits under Section 37(1) — ‘Where is the violation of any law/regulation?’ asks a Mumbai ITAT order on an appeal by Solvay Pharma (Abbott India Ltd) in January 2018 tax deduction for expenditure on business or profession — of the Income Tax Act. Records show that in the absence of an effective regulatory code, the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) ruled in favour of the companies in most of these cases while questioning the applicability of a 2012 tax circular that sought to disallow rebates on expenses incurred for providing “freebies” to doctors. In 2009, the then Medical Council of India (MCI) amended the Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 based on issues. “There are two issues before India today — one, the future of India’s farmers and second, the issue ofjobs for our youth. The fight is for the future of India’s farmers and youth. In the last four-andhalfyears, Narendra Modi and the BJP waived loans of the 15 richest Indians to the tune of Rs 3.5 lakh crore. And they want to further waive loans to the tune of Rs 12.5 lakh crore, which Modi and Arun Jaitley call non-performing assets. We are only demanding justice. If Rs 3.5 lakh crore of 15 people can be waived, the loans of crores of farmers should be waived,” said Gandhi. He said the Prime Minister had spoken of ensuring the right price for farm produce and promised bonus payments and increasing the Minimum Support Price (MSP) but “what CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 US won’t be ‘partner country’ for next edition of Vibrant Gujarat Summit EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE AHMEDABAD, NOVEMBER 30 AFTER BEING a “partner country” for two consecutive editions of Vibrant Gujarat Summit, the United States has refused to be a partner country for the upcoming edition of the biennial summit, scheduled to be held from January 18 to 20, next year. Confirming the development, an official from the Industries and Mines Department said that the United States had dropped out as a “partner country” for it wanted to restrict itself to events associated directly with the Government of India. The summit is scheduled to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 18. “The United States is, however, participating in the country seminars organised at the Vibrant Summit,” the state government official said. Business advocacy organisations from the United States like USIBC (US-India Business Council) and US-India Strategic and Partners Forum (USISPF) will be partner organisation and will be attending the upcoming edition of the summit. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
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