DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 2019, NEW DELHI, LATE CITY, 24 PAGES `6.00 (`8 PATNA & RAIPUR, `12 SRINAGAR) WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 FIRST MONETARY POLICY REVIEW UNDER NEW GOVERNOR RBI cuts rate, signals further softening to focus on growth Repo rate cut by 25 basis points; home, personal loans likely to come down GEORGE MATHEW MUMBAI, FEBRUARY 7 THE EDITORIAL PAGE THEPOLITICSOF ANTI-CORRUPTION BY PRATAP BHANU MEHTA PAGE 12 Kartarpur: Pak team to visit on March 13 SHUBHAJIT ROY NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 7 IN THE first set of bilateral meetings on activating the Kartarpur corridor, a Pakistani delegation will visit India on March 13 to discuss the modalities for the cross-border pilgrimage. Pakistan has also proposed a reciprocal visit by an Indian delegation 15 days later to “finalise the draft agreement”. The meetings will be held to facilitate the travel of Sikh pilgrims to Darbar Sahib Kartarpur Gurudwara in Narowal, nearly 4 km from the Gurdaspur border. “Inaspiritof constructiveengagement #Pakistan has proposed to India that the Pakistan delegation may visit #India on 13 March followed by the return visit of the Indian delegation to Pakistan on 28 March to finalise the draft agreement for the #kartarpur corridor,” Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mohammad Faisal posted on Twitter. Ministry of External Affairs official spokesperson Raveesh Kumar posted on Twitter: “We welcome the visit of #Pakistan team to discuss and finalise modalities for facilitating visit of pilgrims through #Kartarpur SahibCorridoron13March2019 to India. Follow up meeting can be held in Pakistan, as required.” India has also asked Pakistan CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY HAIL, NOIDA A hailstorm struck various parts of Noida, Thursday. PTI REPORT, PAGE 4 ‘BC FOR BEFORE CONG, AD FOR AFTER DYNASTY’ PM tears into Congress, warns against mahamilavat ki sarkar You came on false promises, not stopped lying: Kharge DEEPTIMAN TIWARY Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Lok Sabha, Thursday. PTI LIZ MATHEW NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 7 SHARPLY DRAWING the battlelines for the Lok Sabha elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi slammed the Congress party, framing his government’s 55 months against its 55 years in power, and warned against a “mahamilavat” (highly adulterated) government if his party wasn’t voted back. Speaking Thursday in what could be his last speech in the 16th Lok Sabha, Modi accused theCongressof bullyingthejudiciary, compromising with the CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 DECISION 2019 A daily Explainer on THE QUESTIONS THAT MATTER Can Cong assembly poll showing translate to Lok Sabha? PAGE11 RELATED REPORT PAGE 7 ASTHEamendedtripletalaqBill, which mandates imprisonment for violators, remains stuck in Rajya Sabha, senior Congress leaderandMahilaCongresschief Sushmita Dev Thursday said the party, if voted to power, would scrapthelawwhichcriminalises the instant divorce practice. PAGE 1 ANCHOR Rahul Gandhi at the Congress minority unit meeting. PTI CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 RELATED REPORTS PAGE 8 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 FULL COVERAGE PAGE 15 Act against IPS officers at Mamata rally, Centre tells West Bengal RAHUL TRIPATHI NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 7 INWHATcouldintensifythefaceoff betweentheCentreandChief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the Union Home Ministry Thursday asked the West Bengal Chief Secretary to take action against five IPS officers, who shared the stage with Banerjee during her sit-in protest against the CBI. Home Ministry sources said that it is also considering punitive action, including stripping meritorious awards or barring them from central deputation, against the police officers. Themovecomestwodaysafter Banerjee ended her threeday dharna in Kolkata against therecentattemptof CBIofficials to raid Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar’s residence in connection with a chit fund case probe. She ended the protest after the Supreme Court directed Kumar to appear before the CBI in Shillong, the Meghalaya capital, and ordered no coercive steps, including his arrest, will take place during the course of the probe. Writing to the Bengal Chief CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das with his team in Mumbai, Thursday. Prashant Nadkar Meanwhile, a costly short-term borrowing: Dip into small savings SUNNY VERMA NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 7 AN INCREASED reliance on the National Small Savings Fund (NSSF) and issue of recapitalisation bonds has helped the government to improve its fiscal affairs but its headline deficit number does not fully reflect the underlying pressures from a delayed fiscal consolidation plan. The Centre is on course to raise Rs 2.35 lakh crore through these two means: an estimated Rs 1.25 lakh crore from the NSSF and Rs 1,10,500 crore via recapitalisation bonds. The NSSF share in financing of fiscal deficit is projected to rise to 18.5 per cent in 2019-20, up from 12 per cent in 2018-19, according to last week’s Budget documents. The NSSF collects funds through small savings schemes, such as Post Office Savings Account, National Savings Time Deposits, National Savings Recurring Deposits, National Savings Monthly Income Scheme. It is a costlier form of borrowing for the government as compared to market loans. The reliance on the NSSF enabled the government to reduce its market borrowings. And, the funds raised by way of recapitalisation bonds, mainly to boost public sector banks and EXIM Bank,helpeditfinancerecordequity infusion in state-owned banks without jeopardising the overallfiscalmath.Onthebooks, thegovernmentneedstoaccount foronlytheinterestpaymentson recapitalisation bonds. However, it has missed its deficit reduction target for the second year in a row, with projections at Aministimulus aheadofpolls THE CUT is in sync with the Union Budget which put more money in the hands of the middle class and also gave a fillip, specifically to the real estate sector. Lower rates will spur spending and push consumption demand, the traditional growth driver in the country. Clearly, flagging growth is a concern before elections. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 In first operation after polls, 10 Naxals killed in Chhattisgarh DIPANKAR GHOSE RAIPUR, FEBRUARY 7 IN THE first major operation after the new Congress government assumed power in Chhattisgarh, ten Maoists were killed and at least eleven weapons recovered after an encounterinBijapurdistrict.Senior police officials said the alleged Maoistsareyettobeidentifiedas the firefight took place deep inside the forests of Abhujhmaad, and that police teams were still returning to the camp. State DGP D M Awasthi said that “two to three days ago”, the state intelligence unit had re- ARRESTS, CIVILIAN DEATHS UP Exchangeoffire AllegedMaoistskilled Maoistssurrendered Maoistsarrested Weaponsrecovered IEDsrecovered Civilianskilled Policepersonnelkilled IEDblasts 2016 211 135 1,214 978 311 292 60 40 67 2017 198 77 366 1,027 222 262 58 59 68 2018 166 124 465 1,145 285 275 89 52 77 Total 575 336 2,045 3,150 818 829 207 151 212 Source: Chhattisgarh Police ceived inputs of the presence of a Maoist training camp in Abhujhmaad, around 30 km from the town of Bhairamgarh. He said that according to inputs, the training module was being led by Divisional Commander CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 On Income Tax radar: Former MP Jay Panda’s Bahamas transactions These are two decades old, met regulatory norms: Panda JAY MAZOOMDAAR NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 7 THE INCOME Tax department has received a complaint alleging money laundering and tax evasionbyformerBijuJanataDal MP and Odisha industrialist Baijayant Jay Panda, his wife and associates. The complaint received in January claimed that Panda, his wife Jagi Mangat Panda and “their close associate” Manjula DeviShroff “committedoffences under the Prevention of Money LaunderingAct,theBlackMoney Act, the Income-Tax Act etc by using shell companies” to bring in at least Rs 17.72 crore “without any known source from out- side India” and then transfer the “shares obtained in lieu of these foreign investments to entities held by Panda and his wife at negligible price.” When contacted, Baijayant Panda and Manjula Devi Shroff denied any wrongdoing. In an email, Panda said, “The transactions you refer to include those CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 What’s a working day? BCCI clueless, pays out lakhs SHAMIK CHAKRABARTY & DEVENDRA PANDEY KOLKATA, MUMBAI, FEBRUARY 7 PAGE 14 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 WiththeBillstuckinParliament, the government last month promulgated an ordinance banning the practice. Sources in the Congress said Dev has already told the Congress manifesto committee that the party should promise NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 7 TALIBAN PEACE TALKS END WITH HOPE THAT US EXITS IS WILL LOSE ALL TERRITORY IN A WEEK: TRUMP ACCUSING PRIME Minister Narendra Modi of weakening democratic institutions and using the President’s address to score political points and exaggerate the government’s performance, Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge Thursday said “you came to power by making false promises and have still not stopped lying and misleading people”. Participating in a discussion on the motion of thanks to the President’s address, Kharge called the PM arrogant who, in his “hatred”, was not ready to recognise the Congress contribution to the progress of the country since Independence. Kharge quoted Basavanna, Will scrap triple talaq law if voted to power, says Mahila Congress chief MANOJ C G WORLD NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 7 THERESERVEBankof India(RBI) surprised the markets Thursday by reducing its key policy rate — thereporate—by25basispoints from 6.50 per cent to 6.25 per cent in the first monetary policy review after new Governor ShaktikantaDastookcharge,signalling its intention to focus on growthgiventhebenignoutlook on inflation. The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), headed by the Governor, also decided to shift the monetary policy stance from ‘calibrated tightening’ to ‘neutral’, indicating that there could be further softening of rates. It was widely expected ahead of Thursday’s meeting that the MPC may leave interest ratesunchangedbutcouldmove to a ‘neutral’ policy stance. The decision to change the monetary policy stance was unanimous. But on lowering the repo rate — the rate at which the central bank lends to banks — MPC members Ravindra H Dholakia, Pami Dua, Michael DebabrataPatraandShaktikanta DasvotedinfavourwhileChetan Ghate and RBI Deputy Governor ViralVAcharyavotedtokeepthe policy rate unchanged. FOR48“workingdays”acrossfive months, two cricket administrators in Mumbai were paid a total of Rs 1.18 crore. At least on one of those days, records show, the work was watching an IPL game. For 30 “working days”, two administrators in Hyderabad received a total of Rs 75 lakh. For them, a working day was when they officially met to discuss the cricket association’s affairs. So what really is a working day? It’s a question that has led to a bizarre situation in cricket, with different scales of payment fortheadministratorsappointed by courts to implement the JusticeRMLodharecommendations at the BCCI and its units in Mumbai, Hyderabad, J&K and Delhi. It has also resulted in the BCCI’s Committee of Administrators (CoA) — former cricketer Diana Edulji and bureaucrat Vinod Rai — not getting paid from the time the Supreme Court handed them the reins of Indian cricket two years ago. In contrast, former judges in charge of other BCCI units have been remunerated based on different interpretations of a “working day”. For instance, the attendance sheet of the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) administrators — Justice (retd) Hemant Gokhale and Justice (retd) V M Kanade — shows this entry for a working day: “supervising the IPL Match at Wankhede Stadium”. When contacted, MCA joint CoA members Vinod Rai and Diana Edulji. File secretary Unmesh Khanvilkar said: “As per Hon’ble High Court order, the Mumbai Cricket Association has paid the two administrators. The court had kept Rs 1 lakh per working day and the MCA made the payment to the administrators as soon as their term got over.” In Hyderabad, the administrators — Justice (retd) Anil Dave and Justice (retd) G V Seethapathy—havebeenchargingonlyforthedaysthetwohave held meetings. Spread over two stints,theyhavebeenatthehelm in Hyderabad for close to 11 months and held 30 meetings. “Since one of the judges (Justice Dave) was from outstation, he got paid Rs 1.5 lakh for a meeting. Theotherjudge,whois a local resident, got Rs 1 lakh. Between the two, the total was Rs 75 lakh,” said a BCCI official. In March 2017, the CoA, then comprising four members, had unanimously decided that they would charge Rs 1 lakh per meeting. The CoA then became atwo-membercommittee,after Ramachandra Guha and Vikram Limaye quit, and subsequently CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
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