DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2020, NEW DELHI, LATE CITY, 16 PAGES `6.00 (`8 PATNA & RAIPUR, `12 SRINAGAR) WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 CONSTRUCTION DOWN 50.3%, TRANSPORT 47% AGRICULTURE OUTLIER, POSITIVE GROWTH AT 3.4% EXOGENOUS SHOCK: CEA; INFORMAL SECTOR HIT MOST Minus 23.9 per cent Army vehicles moving along the Manali-Leh highway, in Kullu Monday. ANI Pangong south bank new flashpoint: India says took measures to thwart China Indian troops have moved to occupy heights, foil bid to change status quo; Brigade Commander-level meeting on SUSHANT SINGH, KRISHN KAUSHIK & NIRUPAMA SUBRAMANIAN NEW DELHI, MUMBAI, AUG 31 TENSIONSSOAREDinLadakhafter the Indian Army announced Mondaythatithadtaken“measures to strengthen our positions and thwart Chinese intentions” to change the status quo on the south bank of Pangong Tso. Thisisthelatestfrictionpoint between the two armies ever since the standoff began early May. Until now, troops were facing off on the north bank of Pangong Tso where the Chinese have not disengaged after coming in 8 km west of Finger 8 which India says marks the LAC. In a statement on the south bank incident, the Army said: “On the Night of 29/30 August 2020, PLA troops violated the INSIDE LAC: MILITARY MOVES RAISE FEARS OF ESCALATION MINISTERS OF QUAD GROUPING TO MEET IN NEW DELHI PAGE 7 previous consensus arrived at during military and diplomatic engagements during the ongoing standoff in Eastern Ladakh and carried out provocative military movements to change the status quo.” “Indian troops pre-empted this PLA activity on theSouthern Bank of Pangong Tso Lake, undertook measures to strengthen our positions and thwart Chinese intentions to unilater- Bhushan fined ` 1, says case a moment for free speech ally change facts on ground. The Indian Army is committed to maintainingpeace and tranquillity through dialogue, but is also equallydeterminedtoprotectits territorial integrity. A Brigade Commander level Flag Meeting is in progress at Chushul to resolve the issues,” the Indian Army said. The meeting, sources said, was “stormy” though both commanders agreed to continue the talks on Tuesday. The talks were held after a flurry of calls on the militaryhotlinebetweenthetwo sides on Sunday, sources said. Sources said there was “no contact, no scuffle, and no engagement” between troops on the two sides. Details of what exactly transpired are sketchy, but sources said Indian troops had moved in tooccupydominatingheightson CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Sister wrote to Sushant on anxiety drugs 6 days before death DEEPTIMAN TIWARY NEW DELHI, AUGUST 31 Prashant Bhushan after the SC verdict Monday. PTI ANANTHAKRISHNAN G & APURVA VISHWANATH NEW DELHI, AUGUST 31 THESUPREMECourtonMonday imposed a token fine of Re 1 on advocate Prashant Bhushan, whom it had last week held guilty of criminal contempt over two tweets. TheBenchledbyJusticeArun Mishra, and also comprising Justices B R Gavai and Krishna Murari, said it could have imposedaharsherpunishment,but it was “showing magnanimity”. The Bench, which had held Bhushan guilty on August 14, asked him to deposit the fine with theSupreme Court registry by September 15, “failing which THE WORLD BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY he shall undergo a simple imprisonment for a period of three months and... be debarred from CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 PAGE 1 ANCHOR NEW DELHI, AUGUST 31 TRUMP SEIZES ON PROTESTS AS DEMS BLAME HIM FOR TENSIONS PAGE 13 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 ENS ECONOMIC BUREAU NEW DELHI, AUGUST 31 ALREADY in a slowdown before the Covid pandemic, India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth contracted 23.9 per cent in the April-June quarter. This alsomarkeditsentryintoarecessionary phase this year, data released by the National Statistical Office (NSO) Monday showed. Construction,manufacturing and trade, hotels and transport were the worst-hit sectors, recording contractions of 50.3 per cent, 39.3 per cent and 47.0 per cent, respectively. This re- QUARTERLY ESTIMATES OF GVA INDUSTRY CHANGE OVER PREVIOUS YEAR April-June April-June 2019-20 2020-21 Agriculture, forestry & fishing 3.0% 3.4% Manufacturing 3.0% -39.3% Construction 5.2% -50.3% Trade, hotels, transport, communication & services related to broadcasting 3.5% -47.0% Public administration, defence & other services 7.7% -10.3% Gross Value Added (GVA) 4.8% -22.8% Gross Domestic Product (GDP) 5.2% -23.9% *at Basic Prices in Q1 (April-June) of 2020-21 (at 2011-12 Prices) flects the unprecedented suspension of economic activity in the first quarter of this fiscal due to the pandemic and the series of lockdowns that are only now beginning to unwind. The April-June quarterly CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 ECONOMY GST: MORE STATES REJECT BORROWING PROPOSAL PAGE 15 A chapter ends: Pranabda, gentleman for all seasons COOMI KAPOOR NEW DELHI, AUGUST 31 FORMERPRESIDENTandBharat RatnaPranabMukherjeepassed away Monday at the Army ResearchandReferralHospitalin New Delhi where he had undergone surgery earlier this month. He was 84. Probably no Indian politician canmatchMukherjee’senviable recordasalong-distancerunner. He had a ringside view of Indian politics for some five decades, though in his four-part memoir, he hid more secrets than he revealed of his eventful life. He was the Congress party’s ManforAllSeasons,whoseservices were often required for crisis management because of his intimateknowledgeof bothgovernment and the party. Mukherjee’s career started as a junior minister in the Indira Gandhigovernmentinthe1970s andendedwhenhedemittedoffice as President of India in 2017. PRANAB MUKHERJEE 1935-2020 NEW DELHI, AUGUST 31 IN THE run-up to the Lok Sabha elections in January 2019, BJP flaggedtoFacebookIndiaa listof 44 pages opposed to the party, claiming they were “in violation of expected standards” and carried posts “not in line with facts.’ As of Monday, 14 are no longer on the platform. Pages flagged by the BJP that are on the platform include the official account of the Bhim Army, satire site “We Hate BJP”, unofficial Congress-supporting pages, and a page called “The CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 THE EDITORIAL PAGE HE WAS AMAN OF GOVERNMENT BY NEERJA CHOWDHURY PAGE 8 MUKHERJEE, THE FOREIGN MINISTER PAGE 6 Before 2019 polls, BJP flagged 44 ‘rival’ pages, 14 now off Facebook KARISHMA MEHROTRA Inthedecadesinbetween,he held almost every important ministerial portfolio at some point. A five-time member of Rajya Sabha and twice of Lok Sabha, Mukherjee was the unchallenged authority on parliamentary procedure and laws. But the one post which eluded him was that of Prime Minister, a position he believed was his due. But twice his ambitions were thwarted, just when he assumed the post was within grasp. In 1984 when Indira Truth of Gujarat” sharing mostly Alt News fact checks. Of the pages taken down are sites in support of journalists Ravish Kumar and Vinod Dua. In November last year, the BJP also asked Facebook India to re-instate 17 deleted pages and “monetise” two right-leaning news websites — The Chaupal and OpIndia. Monetising refers to letting the pages receive ad revenue for their content. The 17 pages are all back on the platform. Facebook told BJP IT Cell head Amit Malviya that the pages were taken down “erroneously”. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 LAC chill, GDP fall, Covid surge: storm hits heated markets SANDEEP SINGH & GEORGE MATHEW NEW DELHI, AUGUST 31 Afterbreachingthe40,000mark for the first time in six months, the benchmark Sensex Monday crashed 1,382 points from the day’s high to close at 38,628.29 as a fresh India-China flare-up was reported in Ladakh and worries grew over the contraction in India’s first quarter GDP. Implementation of new margin norms from September 1 got added to this mix and led to a sharp sell-off . The Sensex fell 839 points or 2.13 per cent over Friday’s closing and Nifty at NSE fell 260 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Correction and caution AS OF Friday, Sensex had regained almost 85% of its losses between Jan 17 (when it touched 41,945) and March 23 (when it fell to 25,981). The markets may see more correction in the short term on account of GDP and LAC concerns and experts advise caution. Extent of damage clearer, stage set for second stimulus AANCHAL MAGAZINE NEW DELHI, AUGUST 31 WITH THE FIRST official estimates of GDP data for April-June revealing the extent of damage the pandemic and the lockdown have inflicted on the economy, policy experts working closely with the government suggest it is time the finance ministry quickly announced a second round of fiscal stimulus targeted at the poor. The urgency also stems from the RBI’s assessment that initial greenshoots visible in May-June had reversed in July and August, and that it will take some for the economy to mend and regain momentum. After announcing the Rs 20 lakhcroreAtmaNirbharpackage inMay,FinanceMinistryofficials had said they still did not have enoughclarityonthestateof the economy. Bulk of the package had then comprised monetary stimulus through liquidity measures, with just about 1 per cent of GDP actual cash outgo by the Centre. “We have to keep the gunpowderdryandbeprepared forthefuture,”afinanceministry official had said then. In fact, in an interview to The Indian Express two days after announcing the fifth and final tranche of the AtmaNirbhar package, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said, “I havetobeready(goingahead)… because no one knows how this is going to turn out, how this is going to end, how this is going to withdraw. So obviously I have to be ready, I can’t finish my story with these announcements.” Economists said the AprilJune contraction was actually worse than 23.9 per cent, with theimpactof theinformalsector CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 On? Off? On: JEE from today, a scramble to reach centres GARGI VERMA RAIPUR, AUGUST 31 STUDENTSACROSSChhattisgarh were on Monday scrambling to get to centres for IIT-JEE Main, to be held between Tuesday and September 6, with transport preparations made by the state government at the last minute, due to the uncertainty over whether the exam would be held, catching many unawares. JEE(Main)isthefirstnationallevel entrance test to be held amidst the pandemic. Around 8.58 lakh students are set to appear for it at 660 centres across India over six days, in 12 shifts. In Chhattisgarh, more than RinuJhadi,sisterPriya,on waytoRaipurfromBijapur,a distanceof 450km,invehicle arrangedbygovt. Express 13,500studentsareregisteredto take the exam, at three centres. To many, this means travel upwardsof 400kmand16hoursto get to the centres, as well as arrangements to be made for lodging, both difficult due to the Covid restrictions. The Supreme Court had earlierrejectedpleasto not holdthe exam,andstateshadbeenasked to make arrangements for students to get to centres. A review petition filed by several opposition parties before the Supreme Court to put off the exam is pending and has not been listed for hearing as yet. While district administrationsinChhattisgarhannounced on Sunday arrangements it had made for students, with several alsoorganisingfoodandlodging, many aspirants, especially those CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Up ahead, more outside air flow, a warmer Delhi Metro SOURAV ROY BARMAN HISTORIC DIRECT FLIGHT BETWEEN ISRAEL AND U.A.E. LANDS IN ABU DHABI SIX DAYS before actor Sushant Singh Rajput's alleged suicide at his Mumbai home, he and his sister Priyanka had exchanged messages about anxiety and the latter had recommended him some medicines, investigations by the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate have found. Priyanka, who is a Supreme Court lawyer,also got a prescription arranged from Delhi when the actor pointed out that such medicinescouldnotbeobtained without a doctor’s advice. The prescription, dated June 8, was given by cardiologist Dr Tarun Kumar of Ram ManoharLohia Hospital in Delhi and bears his signature and stamp. Rajput is known to have been in Mumbai on June 8, which also happens to be the date when fellow actor Rhea Chakraborty,facinganabetment of suicide case in his death, moved out of Rajput’s home. Rajput’s family has maintained that they had no knowledge of him suffering from any mental illness, and has accused Chakraborty of administering him an overdose of medicines. GDP shrinks: slowdown plus Covid plus effect of lockdown ASITpreparestobeginoperations fromSeptember7,oneof thekey measures Delhi Metro is looking at is managing air circulation, to allowmorefreshairfromoutside andtodisperseanysuspendedviral particles. This will raise temperatures further from what’s to now be maintained inside coaches as a precaution against the coronavirus — in the range of 24-30 degrees Celsius. The Indian Express spoke to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation’s (DMRC) technical team and independent experts to figure out what India’s largest subway system is doing to emerge from Covid. A senior DMRC official said theairinsidethecoachesisamixture of 70-73% recycled air and 27-30% fresh air, pulled in from outside,atanygivenpoint.Theratioiscomparabletotheairinside subway coaches in New York. When the trains are running with commuters, the air inside the coaches constantly get pulledinbytheHVAC(heat,ventilation, air-conditioning), is cooled, filtered, and then re- leased back. Outside air sucked in by the system is also released simultaneously into the coaches after passing through the same cooling and filtration units. Consequently,airinsideDelhi Metrocoachesisfullyreplacedby outside air every 2 minutes and 33 seconds. The same process takes 3 minutes and 20 seconds in New York City subway, which since May 6 has shut down its services daily between 1 am and 5amfordisinfectiondrives—the first time in its history. Infusionof freshairatafaster rate is among the key measures that public transporters like the A trial run on the Red Line through Ghaziabad on Monday. Metro sevices will resume on September 7. Praveen Khanna DMRC can take to reassure commuters, Columbia University ProfessorFayeMcneill,anexpert in atmospheric chemistry and aerosol, told The Indian Express. “Ventilation systems should be set to bring in maximum freshair.Whererecirculationoccurs, a high-grade air filter capable of capturing small particles should be used,” Mcneill said. The US subway systems, for example, use filters of standard MERV 13 or better, MERV standing for minimum efficiency reporting value, with a higher score meaning higher ability to block particulate matter. Metro officials said they are planning to open fresh air dampers, which are essentially inlets to let air into the coaches, by up to 50 to 60 per cent more than usual. As a result, the interiors of the coaches will have temperaturesbetween24-30degrees Celsiusandmayfeelwarmerthan usual, an official said. About the HVAC units, Metro officialssaidthesehadtwotypes of filters—freshairfiltersandreturn air filters, both made up of wire mesh and fibre to trap particles.“Thecleaningfrequencyof HVAC filters will be doubled. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
Indian Express Limited is an Indian news media publishing company. It publishes several widely circulated dailies, including The Indian Express and The Financial Express in English, the Loksatta in Marathi and the Jansatta in Hindi.