DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE TUESDAY, JANUARY 29, 2019, AHMEDABAD, LATE CITY, 22 PAGES `4.00, WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 In Raipur, Rahul’s poll promise: Vote me in, guarantee minimum income 48 SEATS IN MAHARASHTRA Polls coming, Sena signals it is ready to deal with BJP Seat-sharing pact in works, Uddhav for ‘personal bond’ with Modi Congress president Rahul Gandhi with Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel in Raipur on Monday. PTI DIPANKAR GHOSE RAIPUR, JANUARY 28 WITH LOK Sabha elections just a few months away, Congress president Rahul Gandhi Monday announced that if voted to power, his government would provide a “minimum income guarantee to every poor person” in the country. Addressing a large gathering at the Kisan Abhaar rally in Atal Nagar, Rahul Gandhi said, “It is a historic decision. No government anywhere in the world has taken such a decision. Only the Congress can do it. The Congress party has decided that immediately after winning the 2019 elections, the government will provide a guarantee for mini- mum income to every poor. This means there will be a minimum income in the bank account of every poor Indian. This means that nobody in India will stay hungry, or will be poor.” The idea of a universal basic income has been discussed in policy circles in India since former Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian highlighted it in the Economic Survey two years ago. He had undertaken an elaborate study and suggested that such a scheme — costing about 4.5-5 per cent of the GDP — can be implemented if it were to replace all existing subsidies. On Monday, much of Rahul’s speech revolved around the idea of India — one of his party, and CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Party idea radical, marks return to UPA social welfare politics MANOJ CG NEW DELHI, JANUARY 28 RAHUL GANDHI’S promise of minimum income guarantee may be radical, but the Congress party under him had taken that leap in imagining its version of a welfare state over the last six months to a year leading up to victory in the three Hindi heartland states — Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. Monday’s announcement by Rahul, coupled with the promise of a national farm loan waiver, marks a return to a more aggressive UPA politics. The UPA I and II governments had delivered path-breaking social justice schemes including MGNREGA (rural job guarantee), right to food and right to information. NREGA along with the Rs 60,000-crore loan waiver for Gamechanger, but funds a test ABHISHEK SAHA GUWAHATI, JANUARY 28 A SPECIAL CBI court on Monday convicted 14 people, including National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) founder Ranjan Daimary, in the 2008 Assam serial blasts case. Eighty-seven people were killed in the 11 serial blasts across four districts of Assam — Kamrup, Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon and Barpeta — on October 30, 2008. The case was handed over to the CBI in December 2008. Daimary, the prime accused in the case, was arrested in Bangladesh and handed over to India in 2010. He was released on bail in 2013, and is currently participating in peace talks with the government. “Two chargesheets were filed in the case — one in 2009, which named 19 accused, and another in 2010, which named three more. Seven of the accused are still absconding — it has been learnt, unofficially, that at least two of them are dead. We have produced 650 witnesses and 687 pieces of documentary evidence. The quantum of punishment will CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Filmmakers Shridhar Raghavan and Sriram Raghavan with The Indian Express Film Critic Shubhra Gupta and Deputy Editor Seema Chishti in New Delhi on Monday. Neeraj Priyadarshi Sky monopoly: Direct flights on 188 of 392 routes run by single players PRANAV MUKUL NEW DELHI, JANUARY 28 INCREASING COMPETITION, rising costs and a growing market have prompted India’s airlines to pursue a strategy of operating routes in which only one player in the fray runs direct flights — they account for nearly half of around 392 routes in India, latest data show. Data sourced from UK-based air travel intelligence firm OAG show that 188 air routes have direct flights operated by only one airline on that route, including Hyderabad-Raipur, KolkataLucknow, Amritsar-Goa, Mumbai-Kanpur, Pune-Indore and Ahmedabad-Chandigarh. Of these, 35 are operated under the UDAN scheme on which, as per the agreement with the government, carriers enjoy flying exclusivity of three years. Of the 188 routes, data show, 108 are operated by the two largest budget carriers — IndiGo (61) and SpiceJet (47). The remaining 80 are operated by GoAir, Jet Airways, Air India, Air India Express, Alliance Air, Air Deccan, TruJet and Zoom Air. The data, which is based on January 2019 figures filed by the airlines with OAG, also show that 123 of these routes do not involve any of the four metro air- ports — Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad. Ameya Joshi, a former aviation industry professional, told The Indian Express: “The logic behind operating on monopoly routes is that if you are already flying on a route with high competition and are unable to command the pricing there, you would rather move to a route where you have no competition so you can charge higher fares.” He said there were three primary factors behind airlines launching routes where there is no competition. “If there’s a onestop route between two airports that has been operated for years, BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY GUJARAT GOVT LINES UP 70,000 PVT JOBS IN POLL YEAR FOR STUDENTS PAGE 4 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Miffed Kumaraswamy MoS Hegde on Karnataka threatens to quit, Cong Cong chief, wife: Guy who says ‘full faith’ in him ran behind a Muslim lady EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE BENGALURU, JANUARY 28 RAHUL GANDHI’S minimum income guarantee promise ahead of elections is a powerful idea. It has not been undertaken in a sustained manner anywhere in the world. With this announcement, he has taken the first mover advantage. The idea of universal basic income itself is untested, but the biggest challenge will be to raise the money required. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 2008 Assam blasts: NDFB chief among 14 convicted IN CONVERSATION EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE BENGALURU, JANUARY 28 KARNATAKA CHIEF Minister H D Kumaraswamy threatened to resign on Monday, after a Congress MLA — in the first direct attack by the coalition partner — criticised his governance. Seeking to control the damage, the Congress ordered its state unit to issue a showcause notice to the MLA. Congress general secretary K C Venugopal, who is in charge of party affairs in the state, said the party high command has “full faith” in Kumaraswamy and ‘It will be a problem for Congress, not for me’ the state government. On Sunday, Congress MLA S T Somashekhar, a loyalist of former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, said: “The coalition government has completed eight months but has not released funds for the development of Bangalore. As Chief CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 If you love your kids, vote AAP, not Modi: Kejriwal to parents SUKRITA BARUAH NEW DELHI, JANUARY 28 ADDRESSING SCHOOL students and parents in Delhi Monday, which was also live-streamed to at least 700 city schools, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal appealed for votes in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections and asked parents to choose between “deshbhakti” and “Modibhakti”. “If you ask people who they’ll PAGE 1 ANCHOR Kejriwal in New Delhi on Monday. Amit Mehra vote for, they say Modiji. If you ask them why, they say because they love Modiji. Now decide whether you love your children or whether you love Modiji. If you love your children, vote for those who are working for your children. And if you don’t love your children, vote for Modiji... Modi has not built a single school for you. You can either do deshbhakti or Modibhakti. It’s not possible to do both,” said Kejriwal. Echoing his remarks, Deputy CM Manish Sisodia said: “Someone told me that they will vote for Modi in the CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 UNION MINISTER of State for Skill Development Ananth Kumar Hegde, who had urged Hindu youths to target those from other communities who elope with Hindu girls, clashed with Karnataka Congress chief Dinesh Gundu Rao on social media Monday over the latter’s marriage to a Muslim. Responding to Rao, who questioned his credentials as a minister and MP after he called to remove the hand that “has touched a Hindu girl”, Hegde posted on his Twitter handle: “I THE EDITORIAL PAGE Hegde targeted Gundu Rao on social media shall definitely answer this guy @dineshgrao’s queries, before which could he please reveal himself as to who he is along with his achievements? I only know him as a guy who ran behind a Muslim lady.” CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 BY C RAJA MOHAN PAGE 10 GOVT & POLITICS SIDDARAMAIAH AT THE CENTRE OF A DUPATTA ROW PAGE 8 NEW DELHI, PUNE, MUMBAI, JANUARY 28 AFTER YEARS of bitterness, starting with the last Assembly polls in Maharashtra that they fought separately in October 2014, the BJP and the Shiv Sena appear to be moving closer to each other with just a few months to go for the Lok Sabha elections. In Delhi, sources said the BJP has offered the Sena half of the 48 Lok Sabha seats from Maharasthra — in 2014, the BJP had contested from 26 and the Sena 22. In Mumbai, Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray chaired a meeting of his party’s MPs where he is said to have expressed the wish that he wanted a “personal bond with Narendrabhai (Narendra Modi)”. Speaking to The Indian Express, Sena leader Sanjay Raut said any deal had to be based on the principle that the BJP is the “big brother in Delhi (Lok Sabha) and the Sena is the big brother in Uddhav Thackeray with Devendra Fadnavis. File DECISION 2019 THE QUESTIONS THAT MATTER Beginning today, a daily Explainer on the elections PAGE 14 Maharashtra”. “We are not bothered about what you (BJP) do in Delhi, but you have to acknowledge our CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 BJP eyes 3 state polls with Lok Sabha 2019 LIZ MATHEW NEW DELHI, JANUARY 28 IN A bid to maximise its electoral gains, the BJP’s national leadership is likely to opt for Assembly polls in Maharashtra, Haryana and Jharkhand along with the Lok Sabha polls this year, party sources told The Indian Express. The top leadership’s assessment — that simultaneous polls in these states could be their best bet — has been conveyed to the party’s state leaders, sources said. While the BJP leadership in Maharashtra and Jharkhand are keen to complete their terms, a section of leaders in Haryana believe that going with the Lok Sabha polls would give them the advantage, sources said. Assembly polls in Maharashtra and Haryana are due in October, while the term of the Jharkhand Assembly ends in December. A final decision will be taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah, sources said. In Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena wants the BJP to opt for simultaneous polls although Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is keen to complete his term. “The Sena has conveyed that it is ready to fight both Assembly and Lok Sabha elections in alliance if they are held together,” said a party leader. Although BJP president Amit Shah has indicated that the party should be prepared to go alone in Maharashtra, it does not want to break its alliance with the Sena. The BJP-Shiv Sena alliance won 41 of the 48 seats in the last Lok Sabha elections but fought the Assembly polls held five months later separately. The BJP CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 IL&FS Rail used shell firms for bogus invoices worth crores: I-T KHUSHBOO NARAYAN DELHI MUST BRACE FOR CHANGE IN KABUL EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE MUMBAI, JANUARY 28 AN ONGOING Income Tax investigation into IL&FS Rail Ltd, a subsidiary of IL&FS Transportation Networks Ltd, has alleged that the firm used accommodation entries from “shell companies” to show expenses running into crores of rupees for “nonexistent” infrastructure work. The I-T department has allegedly identified multiple con- tracts that IL&FS Rail awarded to shell companies, procuring fake invoices for “non-existent” work to lower its profits. The official spokesperson of IL&FS Group declined to comment on the case. According to the tax department, in 2013-14 for instance, IL&FS Rail received “bogus invoices” of over Rs 20.18 crore from Kolkata-based Silverpoint Infratech Ltd, a firm allegedly “involved in facilitating accommodation entries to beneficiar- ies in the garb of bogus work contract expenses/ unsecured loan entry/ share capital” for a commission of 0.50 per cent. The IT probe has found that while Silverpoint had “an income of Rs 251 crore, it did not have the business premises to carry out its operations”. The tax investigation has found that Silverpoint did not have adequate infrastructure or manpower to complete any contractual work. In fact, the CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 First captive elephant survey is in: 2,454 is official count KAUNAIN SHERIFF M NEW DELHI, JANUARY 28 KERALA AND Assam account for over half the 2,454 elephants in captivity across the country; of these, one-third are in private custody without any ownership certificate mandated by law; zoos, circuses and temples account for 207 elephants in captivity. This is according to the first survey of elephants in captivity, that is part of an affidavit the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has submitted to the Supreme Court. The affidavit comes in the wake of rising elephant deaths and humanelephant conflicts, particularly in Kerala and Assam. The Court had directed the MoEF to identify elephants in captivity and whether their owners have an ownership certificate, while hearing a writ petition filed by Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre. The bench of Justices A K Sikri and S Abdul Nazeer has now directed the Chief Wildlife Wardens of states to “ascertain the age of all the captive elephants” and will hear the matter on February 12. According to the affidavit, there are 2,454 elephants in captivity, of which 560 are in possession with forest departments and 1,687 with private individuals. However, 664 of the total captive elephants in the country are without ownership certificate while there are 85 in zoos, 26 in circuses and 96 in temples. The MoEF told the apex court that 58 per cent of all captive elephants is concentrated in two states: 905 in Assam and 518 in Kerala. The affidavit also points out 1,687 elephants are in private possession: Govt to SC. File discrepancies in the data of captive elephants submitted by Bihar which states that it has 66. But the MoEF affidavit states that as on December 21, 2018, there are “59 elephants in custody of private person as against 73 in 2016 compilation”. “Out ofthe 59 privately owned captive elephants, 50 elephants verified in these survey are from the previously compiled list of 75 elephants and 9 elephants are different from previous record. Status of 19 elephants are not known and 4 elephants have reportedly died,” said the MoEF. “...Bihar further stated that in a number ofcases the verification or collection of relevant information has not been completed due to absence ofowner/custodian or other reasons.” In November, the Court had pulled up the Animal Welfare Board ofIndia (AWBI) for not having data on the number of elephants held captive. “Your (AWBI) submission is that if something is happening in front of your eyes, you will say that I will not take any action as it is for the states to see. You do not even have the data on elephants,” the SC had said.
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