DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE TUESDAY, DECEMBER 25, 2018, AHMEDABAD, LATE CITY, 20 PAGES `4.00 WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 GST Ally Shiv Sena ratchets up the rhetoric, slams BJP on Rafale, echoes Cong guard-is-thief line MANOJ MORE PANDHARPUR, DECEMBER 24 RATCHETING UP his criticism of the BJP-led government at the Centre, Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray Monday took potshots at Prime Minister Narendra Modi by borrowing, for the first time, the “chowkidar-chor-hai” phrase often invoked by the Congress. The Shiv Sena has always been a strong BJP ally though the two fought the Assembly elections separately in 2014. Addressing a rally of Shiv Sainiks in the temple town of Pandharpur, Uddhav recounted a meeting in Beed with a farmer who showed him a lime tree — normally used to keep off pests — itself getting infested. I told him, “Halli paharekarich chorya karaylaa laagale aahet. (Today, se- Uddhav Thackeray in Pandharpur, Monday. PTI curity persons have themselves become thieves),” he said. Paharekari is the Marathi word for chowkidar (in Hindi) or security person. Uddhav also targeted Modi for what he described as his ‘jumle baazi’. “The Prime Minister recently said he will help double your income by 2022. Later, after the elections he will say it was jumle baazi,” he said. He ridiculed the Prime Minister’s Mann Ki Baat programme, saying it was being manipulated to highlight the government’s welfare scheme. “This was proved by a TV channel which exposed it. The journalist was made to lose his job,” Uddhav said. While the Sena has been sulking for having handed over poor portfolios in the Union Cabinet, Uddhav has upped the ante now for a better seat-sharing formula not just for the Lok Sabha polls four months from now but also for the Assembly elections in Maharashtra due later this year. The latest jibes come just when the BJP, smarting from its electoral setbacks, has made fresh overtures to the Sena for a pre-poll alliance. In a 45-minute speech in Maharashtra’s most revered temple town, exactly one month WISHES ITS READERS A MERRY CHRISTMAS Draft ITrules to track content: Govt asks for public feedback EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, DECEMBER 24 THE UNION Ministry for Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) announced Monday that it will hold public consultations on the draft Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules 2018, which are meant to replace the rules notified in 2011. The Ministry said in a statement that the “consultation process is underway”, which started with inter-ministerial consultations, followed by discussions with major social media platforms like Facebook, Google, Twitter, Yahoo and WhatsApp, and associations representing intermediaries. It said the government “intends to consult all stakeholders” and that MeitY “has commenced public consultation” for which submissions must be sent by January 15, 2019. The Indian Express had reported Monday that the government’s proposed amendments to rules under Section 79 of the IT Act make it mandatory for online platforms to “proactively” deploy technology to enable access to content seen as “unlawful”. And that the measures proposed include breaking end-to-end encryption so that the origin ofmessages can be traced. In its statement, MeitY said “instances of misuse of social CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY Milestones unmet, Nikhil Merchant’s Swan asks Govt oil firms to ease norms AMITAV RANJAN NEW DELHI, DECEMBER 24 REJECTED ONCE and unable to meet key milestones, including financial closure, even 17 months after deadline, Swan Energy Ltd, promoted by influential Gujarat businessman Nikhil Merchant, has asked state-run oil companies to give him a fourth extension. And approve a new commissioning date of March 2020 for its proposed LNG regassification terminal at Jafrabad in Gujarat. The Rs 5117-crore plant is meant to convert liquid LNG, imported by these firms, into its gaseous form so that it can be piped to domestic end-users. At a capacity of 5 million tonnes, it will bring Swan an annual revenue of an estimated Rs 1400 crore. In a letter dated October 13, Swan’s special purpose vehicle Swan LNG Private Ltd wrote to users Indian Oil Corp, Oil & Natural Gas Corp, Bharat Petroleum and Gujarat State Petroleum Corp to consider fixing the project’s “Effective Date” as December 8, 2016 As per the agreement between Swan and these four Slams Cong legacy of 31% indirect tax, next is transfer of cement to lower slab AANCHAL MAGAZINE firms, commissioning of the plant is envisaged 33 to 39 months from the Effective Date — which means the four have to decide on their overseas LNG suppliers and tie up with their domestic natural gas buyers by March 2020. The four are yet to reply to the October letter but a similar request made by Swan on September 1 was turned down at a joint meeting of the four companies on September 21. Their argument: Effective Date should be when the project achieves financial closure and all key conditions met (see chart). Swan attributed its delay in financial closure to “recent unwanted developments i.e. banking frauds, high NPAs, weak capital levels with public sector banks”. But the four firms argued that that they would suffer either way if the commissioning was set for March 2020: they have to start using the terminal by then or pay “Use or Pay” charges. That would entail paying 75 percent of the tolling charge (Rs 57.38 per million British thermal units) even without using the terminal. Also, they would have to tie CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 PROTESTS AFTER SHARIF GETS 7 YRS Supporters of former Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif gather around his vehicle in Islamabad, Pakistan. Sharif was sentenced to seven years in jail in a corruption case. Reuters REPORT, P19 Will hold firms liable if staff offer namaz in public: Noida police SANDEEP SINGH & ANIL SASI NOIDA, DECEMBER 24 IN A move that has sparked concern in Noida’s industrial hub, the Uttar Pradesh Police has ordered offices and establishments to direct their Muslim employees to stop offering Friday prayers in open areas such as parks. According to a notice issued last week by police stations in Noida, including at the Sector 58 industrial hub, companies will be held liable if any of their employees were found violating the Baghel has told officials to start the paperwork RAIPUR, DECEMBER 24 AFTER FARM loan waiver, the newly elected Congress government in Chhattisgarh has announced that it plans to begin the process of returning land acquired from tribal farmers in Bastar for a Tata Steel project which did not materialise. Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel is learnt to have instructed officials to begin the modalities of the process and submit an action plan before the next Cabinet meeting, which is PAGE 1 ANCHOR likely to be held after the swearing-in of additional ministers on Tuesday. In its poll manifesto, the Congress had promised that in case of projects which fail to take off within five years of land acquisition, the land would be returned to their owners. Party president Rahul Gandhi had re- directive. It is learnt that companies in the area have sought a meeting with senior Noida police officers to seek clarification on the matter, particularly on the clause that threatens to hold them liable for violations of the order by employees. Executives of some of the companies who have been served the notices said there is widespread concern among units in sectors other than where the notices have already been served. It has also triggered worries that the ambit of the directive could be widened to include other areas in the National Capital Region township. The Noida Police has defended the move citing concerns that communal harmony could be disturbed, especially in the run-up to the upcoming elections. Sector 58 is predominantly an IT and services hub. “Yes, we have sent notices to many companies in our area as we received several complaints regarding a large number of people offering Namaz in the afternoon especially on Fridays. Since most people offering prayers are employees in companies nearby, A SINGLE standard rate at a midpoint of the two standard rates of 12 per cent and 18 per cent and a complete rationalisation of the topmost 28 per cent slab such that it will include only luxury and sin goods will define the future roadmap for Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said Monday. A single rate will, however, take “some reasonable time” when tax revenue rises “significantly”, but the country should “eventually have a GST which will have only slabs of zero, 5 per cent and standard rate with luxury and sin goods as an exception”, he said. The Finance Minister also CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Will simplify complex GST structure INDIA’S GST is among the most complex, with the second highest number of tax rates among a sample of 115 countries that have this indirect tax system. As many as 49 countries have a single GST slab, 28 have two slabs and just five countries use four or more non-zero slabs. Though this rationalisation, a single standard rate, will entail revenue losses, it will help in simplifying procedure, a key industry demand. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Three killed as bus runs over Relief for Gujarat’s former IPS officer passengers on depot platform after CAT allows his plea for promotion EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE SATISH JHA SURAT, DECEMBER 24 AHMEDABAD, DECEMBER 24 THREE PEOPLE were killed after a state transport bus climbed on the platform of a bus depot and ran over the waiting passengers in Navsari town on Monday evening. The driver fled the spot, police said. An FIR of reckless driving has been lodged against him. According to the police, several passengers were waiting at Navsari ST depot when the bus, GJ-18Y-6575, entered the depot. Instead of stopping the bus near the platform, the driver drove the bus on it. Four people suf- Chhattisgarh to return Bastar land acquired for Tata Steel to farmers DIPANKAR GHOSE Single rate will take ‘some reasonable time’ NEW DELHI, DECEMBER 24 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 LNG PLANT IN GUJARAT TheIndianEXPRESS FM: Looking at single standard rate between 12 and 18% iterated this promise to farmers in the affected region in the runup to the assembly elections. In 2005, the then BJP government had signed a memorandum of understanding with Tata Steel for a Rs 19,500 crore integrated steel plant in Lohandiguda area of Bastar district. The acquisition of land — which belonged to tribals — began in 2008, and the government acquired 1,764 hectares from the 10 villages of Lohandiguda, Chindgaon, Kumhali, Beliyapal, Bandaji, Dabpal, Badeparoda, Belar, A videograb of the incident in Navsari town fered severe injuries, of whom three succumbed on the spot. The deceased were identified as Varshaben Rajjubhai Halpati (35), a resident of Khadsupa village in Navsari district, Bhadra CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 THE EDITORIAL PAGE THE AHMEDABAD bench of Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has allowed an application moved by former IPS officer Rahul Sharma seeking promotion to the post of Inspector General of Police (IGP) with consequential benefits. The 1992-batch IPS officer took voluntary retirement in February 2015 after a relentless row for nearly a decade with the Gujarat government, led until May 2016 by then CM Narenda Modi. Sharma has alleged that he NEW DELHI, DECEMBER 24 BY CHRISTOPHE JAFFRELOT PAGE 8 EXPRESS NETWORK RESCUE OPS HALTED AS PUMPS PROVE INEFFECTIVE PAGE 17 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 was sidelined following his damning deposition before the Nanavati Commission, which probed the 2002 post-Godhra riots. When contacted on Monday, the retired officer said his application for promotion has been allowed but he does not have details, as the copy of the order is yet to be made available. A government lawyer said the CAT order has some ambiguity and he is waiting for a copy. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Rajiv Gandhi mention omitted from Delhi Assembly records SOURAV ROY BARMAN THE CASE FOR COALITIONS Rahul Sharma Sharma had moved the Tribunal in 2016, seeking promotion on various grounds, through advocate Prithu Parimal. He argued that in accordance with promotion guidelines, an IPS officer is eligible for promotion from the rank of Deputy Inspector General (DIG) to IGP after 18 years of service. It was submitted that Sharma had completed the required number of years on January 1, 2010. The state government held a departmental promotion committee (DPC) on May 27, 2011 for promotion of officers from DIG to the rank of IGP. But the DPC did not include THREE DAYS after passing a resolution demanding that former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s Bharat Ratna be withdrawn, the Delhi Assembly Monday issued the bulletin of the proceedings, omitting the contentious paragraph. On the last day of a two-day special session on December 21, the House passed a resolution on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots which included a line on Rajiv Gandhi plunging the AAP into crisis. Then, two AAP MLAs were issued showcause notices and the party maintained that the “original” resolution had no mention of Rajiv and that MLA Somnath Bharti had slipped in a line before passing a handwritten note to Jarnail Singh, who introduced the resolution. The Indian Express has learnt that Speaker Ram Niwas Goel invoked Rule 291 and Rule 293 of the Legislative Assembly of National Capital Territory of Delhi Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business to omit the paragraph that mentioned Rajiv. Sources said that under normal circumstances, the bulletin would have been issued on December 21, when the resolution was passed. According to sources in AAP and Congress, the two parties are in talks for stitch a coalition for the 2019 polls and the resolution had left the Arvind Kejriwal-led party redfaced, leaving it scrambling for damage control. According to Goel, he did not have to invoke any rules as “there was no confusion and no need to bring about any change in the bulletin”. “The bulletin was not issued CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 AN EXPRESS INVESTIGATION - PART II Navodaya Suicides: Overworked Teachers, No Counsellors RITIKA CHOPRA NEW DELHI, DECEMBER 24 THERE ARE no trained counsellors on campus, and it’s largely left to “overburdened” teachers to look after the welfare of students. And yet, it’s the teachers and staff who have ended up facing the flak for the 49 student suicides reported over the last five years from Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas (JNVs). An investigation by The Indian Express has revealed that YOUR RIGHT TO KNOW E AN XPRESS RTI APPLICATION in at least 32 of the 49 suicides reported from 2013 to 2017, disciplinary action — censure, increment cut, suspension and transfer — was initiated against either the school principal or teachers or both. Of the 32 cases in which dis- ciplinary action was taken, only 10 could be directly attributed to the actions of employees who were punished, according to data obtained by The Indian Express under the RTI Act and verified separately with vidyalayas from where the suicides were reported. The Indian Express reported Monday that the reasons behind the suicides in JNVs range from family problems, unrequited love, depression, homesickness, academic pressure, humiliation by teachers and fights between INTERVIEW ‘WE HAVE PROPOSED FULL-TIME COUNSELLORS’ PAGE 17 friends. However, the onus of spotting behavioural changes, suicidal tendencies and depression in a student is on the school principal and the House Master (HM) at these institutions run by the Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti (NVS), an autonomous body under the HRD Ministry tasked with running all 635 JNVs. Such an approach fixes the blame and not the problem, say JNV principals, who spoke to The Indian Express on the condition of anonymity. “The Samiti’s instinctive reaction to a suicide is to act against the House Master and principal, even if they are not responsible for it. Principals are already under a lot of pressure to deliver good board results and teachers are overburdened with non-academic work. To expect us to also know what’s going on in every child’s mind is unreasonable,” said the principal of a JNV in north India that witnessed a suicide in 2017. An HM is a school teacher tasked with leading a ‘House’ that consists of a group of students. There are usually eight Houses for boys and two for girls in a JNV. The HM is suppose to be “a parent, guide, philosopher and friend” to each member of the House. According to an 11-page circular issued by the Samiti in 2016 — when suicide figures hit double digits (12) for the first time — the HM and AHM (Assistant House Master) are supposed to interact with students regularly to assess their CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
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