DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 2019, AHMEDABAD, LATE CITY, 20 PAGES `4.00, WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 FIRST MONETARY POLICY REVIEW UNDER NEW GOVERNOR RBI cuts rate, signals further softening to focus on growth BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY MUMBAI, FEBRUARY 7 RAHUL TRIPATHI NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 7 IN WHAT could intensify the faceoff between the Centre and Chief 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. The move comes two days after Banerjee ended her threeday dharna in Kolkata against the recent attempt of CBI officials 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 Secretary, Malay Kumar De, the Home Ministry sought action against DGP Virendra Kumar, who was earlier in charge of Banerjee’s security, Vineet Goyal, CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 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, helped it finance record equity infusion in state-owned banks without jeopardising the overall fiscal math. On the books, the government needs to account for only the interest payments on recapitalisation bonds. However, it has missed its deficit reduction target for the second year in a row, with projections at 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. GUJARAT ARRESTS, CIVILIAN DEATHS UP 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 encounter in Bijapur district. Senior police officials said the alleged Maoists are yet to be identified as the firefight took place deep A mini stimulus ahead of polls CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 In first operation after polls, 10 Naxals killed in Chhattisgarh DIPANKAR GHOSE Exchange of fire Alleged Maoists killed Maoists surrendered Maoists arrested Weapons recovered IEDs recovered Civilians killed Police personnel killed IED blasts 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 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 ASHA PATEL MEETS DEPUTY CM: ‘READY TO JOIN BJP’ CWC MEETING LIKELY TO BE HELD IN VALSAD PAGE 3 Will scrap triple talaq law if voted to On Income Tax radar: power, says Mahila Congress chief Former MP Jay Panda’s Bahamas transactions MANOJ C G NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 7 AS THEamended triple talaq Bill, which mandates imprisonment for violators, remains stuck in Rajya Sabha, senior Congress leader and Mahila Congress chief Sushmita Dev Thursday said the party, if voted to power, would scrap the law which criminalises the instant divorce practice. With the Bill stuck in Parliament, the government last month promulgated an ordinance banning the practice. Sources in the Congress said Dev has already told the Rahul Gandhi at the Congress minority unit meeting. PTI Congress manifesto committee that the party should promise repeal of the triple talaq law and revisit all other laws which crim- inalise issues in the civil jurisdiction. Dev is Lok Sabha MP from Silchar, which has a sizeable Muslim population, in Assam. Addressing a convention organised by the AICC minority department in New Delhi, Dev prefaced her remarks saying she comes from Silchar, the population of which consist of 30 to 35 per cent people from the minority community. “You are seeing the situation in Assam. The politics of division is playing out there. This government has brought such a law in the name of giving citizenship which has created a climate of CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 JAY MAZOOMDAAR NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 7 THE INCOME Tax department has received a complaint alleging money laundering and tax evasion by former Biju Janata Dal 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 Devi Shroff “committed offences under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, the Black Money Act, the Income-Tax Act etc by using shell companies” to bring in at least Rs 17.72 crore “without any known source from outside 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 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 What’s a working day? BCCI clueless, pays out lakhs PAGE 1 ANCHOR SHAMIK CHAKRABARTY & DEVENDRA PANDEY KOLKATA, MUMBAI, FEBRUARY 7 FOR 48 “working days” across five 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 SHUBHAJIT ROY NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 7 GEORGE MATHEW Act against IPS officers at Mamata rally, Centre tells West Bengal Kartarpur: Pak team to visit on March 13 LIZ MATHEW NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 7 Repo rate cut by 25 basis points; home, personal loans likely to come down THE RESERVE Bank of India (RBI) surprised the markets Thursday by reducing its key policy rate — the repo rate — by 25 basis points from 6.50 per cent to 6.25 per cent in the first monetary policy review after new Governor Shaktikanta Das took charge, signalling its intention to focus on growth given the benign outlook 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 rates unchanged but could move 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 Debabrata Patra and Shaktikanta Das voted in favour while Chetan Ghate and RBI Deputy Governor Viral V Acharya voted to keep the policy rate unchanged. PM tears into Cong, warns against mahamilavat ki sarkar CoA members Vinod Rai and Diana Edulji. File 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 for the administrators appointed by courts to implement the Justice R M Lodha recommendations 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 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 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 the Congress of bullying the judiciary, compromising with the national interest and humiliating the Army. He also presented a report card of his government trying to rebut the criticism on his government on job creation and measures for farmers. Replying to the debate on the motion of thanks to President’s address in Lok Sabha, the Prime Minister turned to the BC, AD nomenclature to take a swipe at the Congress and the Gandhi family: “BC stands for Before Congress, AD for After Dynasty.” “I am making a serious charge against the Congress,” he said in his 100-minute-long speech. “Congress party does not want the Indian Air Force to be strong. Why do you want the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Lok Sabha, Thursday. PTI Rafale deal to be cancelled? Who is going to benefit out of it? For which company you are playing this? You played this kind of game with the Army? Why?,” he said. Congress president Rahul Gandhi his target, he went on: “History is witness to the (fact) that Congress and its power hungry allies have never done anything without middlemen? I used to wonder how can he (Rahul Gandhi) say lies with such confidence over Rafale? When I started looking into the details, I realised that in the last 55 years, in the saga of powerhungry rule, no deal was done without middlemen.” To the charge that he and his Government are undermining CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 You came on false promises, not stopped lying: Kharge DEEPTIMAN TIWARY NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 7 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 DECISION 2019 A daily Explainer on THE QUESTIONS THAT MATTER Can Cong assembly poll showing translate to Lok Sabha? PAGE 6 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. “In a spirit of constructive engagement #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 Sahib Corridor on 13 March 2019 to India. Follow up meeting can be held in Pakistan, as required.” India has also asked Pakistan to hold “technical level discussions between engineers on both sides without waiting for discussion on the modalities”. “We hope Pakistan would positively respond & confirm coordinates of crossing point as well,” Kumar posted. The latest move comes almost two weeks after New Delhi proposed two sets of dates — in February and March — for the Pakistan delegation’s visit. THE EDITORIAL PAGE THE POLITICS OF ANTI-CORRUPTION his “hatred”, was not ready to recognise the Congress CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 BY PRATAP BHANU MEHTA PAGE 8
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