DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE TUESDAY, OCTOBER 13, 2020, NEW DELHI, LATE CITY, 18 PAGES `6.00 (`8 BIHAR & RAIPUR, `12 SRINAGAR) WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 MEASURES TO BOOST CONSUMPTION Govt targets Rs 1 lakh cr spend by March-end, announces new LTC voucher, festival advance SUNNY VERMA & AANCHAL MAGAZINE NEW DELHI, OCTOBER 12 TO STIMULATE growth in the economy, the government on Mondayannouncedatwinsetof measures to boost consumption demand and capital expenditure, which along with participation of the private sector, are estimated to result in quick spending of more than Rs 1 lakh crore by March-end. Through the Leave Travel Concession (LTC) voucher scheme, whichcan be availedby privatesectoremployeesaswell, and a festival advance for governmentemployees,theFinance Ministry has tried to advance consumption of non-essential, relatively high-value goods and services in the economy. Likein the earlierleg of itsrelief package in May, the series of announcements made by the Finance Ministry on Monday continued with the basic design of leveraging a degree of stimulus with minimal fiscal cost to the exchequer. Announcing the package, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said supply constraints in the economy had eased over recent months, but consumerdemandremainedaffected — and these measures were aimed at advancing consumer spending and capex in a “fiscally prudent way”. Capital expenditure steps are “directly linked to increase in economic output (GDP), given their high multiplier effect”, she said. Some economists argued that theamountswere too small to have any meaningful impact on economic growth, and that there was no additional spending push from the government itself. In response to a query, Department of EconomicAffairs Secretary Tarun Bajaj said these measures would not require any extra borrowing by the central government. AnadditionalRs25,000crore is being provided for capital expenditure on roads, defence infrastructure,watersupply,urban development, and domestically produced capital equipment. Thisisexpectedtocomethrough re-allocation of resources. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Bid to put money in hand, then tying it too PROJECTED CONSUMPTION/ CAPEX BOOST LTC voucher scheme Festival advance scheme 28,000 8,000 Centre and state capex Est. private sector spend P VAIDYANATHAN IYER 37,000 28,000 TOTAL NEW DELHI, OCTOBER 12 1,01,000 Figures in Rs cr Sitharaman in New Delhi on Monday. Prem Nath Pandey GST deadlock on, Centre says can enable borrowing for Option 1 states ENS ECONOMIC BUREAU NEW DELHI, OCTOBER 12 THE STANDOFF between Opposition-ruled states and the Centre over compensation shortfall in Goods and Services TaxcontinuedattheGSTCouncil meeting Monday with both sidesfailingtoarriveataconsen- sus on the borrowing options made available. TheCentrestateditsintentto facilitate borrowing under Option 1 — Rs 1.1 lakh crore through a special window facilitated by the RBI and Finance Ministry — for the 21 states that agreed to this route while the other states termed the process as illegal. Stating that borrowing by the Centre will lead to a rise in G-sec yields and borrowing costs for states and the private sector, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that borrowing falls under Article 293 of the Constitution, and it is “a state’s right to decide what they want to do”. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 JUST THREE DAYS ago, a consumer confidence survey by the Reserve Bank of India said discretionary spending was expected to remain low in the near future even though people expected an improvement not just ● in economic situation but also in employment conditions and income scenario. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s announcement on measures to boost consumer spending is clearly an acknowledgement thatpeoplegoingoutandspending is key to a faster turnaround of the economy. But then, two things stand out in the announcement: One, E EXPLAINED But experts say demand impetus will be small, need bigger stimulus CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 In pandemic, Centre waved red flag on trafficking, but key states yet to take action From UP to Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh to Jharkhand, eight states fall short in setting up anti-trafficking units BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY COVID ABUSE — 2 DIPANKAR GHOSE NEW DELHI, OCTOBER 12 THREE MONTHS ago, the Ministry of Home Affairs sent an advisorytoallstateslayingdown several markers to combat human trafficking — especially of children from families left in the lurch by the economic distress triggered by the lockdown. The key, it said, was the creation of Anti Human Trafficking Units (AHTUs) in every district on a “most urgent basis”. But official records investigatedbyTheIndianExpressshow thateightstates,including Covid hotspots UP and Maharashtra, andJ&Kareyettoputtheseunits in place. In fact, records show, UP and Maharashtraareamongsixstates inthisgroupthathavenotreached abasicnormfirstmappedoutten yearsago:setupAHTUsinatleast 50 per cent of police districts. UP had only 35 units for 75 districts, andMaharashtrajust12for36districts. And, except for J&K and Jharkhand, the others on the list EXPLAINED SETTING UP AN AHTU An Anti Human Trafficking Unit includes: POLICE: 1 Inspector, 2 Sub-Inspectors, 2 Head Constables, 2 Constables STATE GOVT: When re- quired, 1 representative each from the departments of Women and Child Development, Health and Family Welfare, and Labour and Employment, apart from a prosecution member and a counselling expert Source: Ministry of Home Affairs PAGE 1 ANCHOR BASTAR, OCTOBER 12 THEECONOMICS OF AUCTIONS PAGE 13 THE EDITORIAL PAGE THEHATHRAS ‘CONSPIRACY’ BY ALOK RAI PAGE 10 PART 3: SOURCE TO DESTINATION: WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE MANISH SAHU LUCKNOW, OCTOBER 12 THE FAMILY members of the 19year-old Dalit woman, who died afterbeingassaultedandallegedly gangraped by four upper-caste meninHathras,toldtheLucknow benchoftheAllahabadHighCourt on Monday that the district administration carried out her cremation “against their wishes”. “Her family told the court that the cremation was done by the Hathras district administration against their wishes,” said senior advocate Jaideep Narain Mathur,whowasappointedamicus curiae in the case. “In his statement, Hathras District Magistrate Praveen Kumar Laxkar told the court that they had inputs about a huge law and order problem the next morning, following which they took the decision to carry out the cremation.TheDistrictMagistrate denied having sought any direction from Lucknow or got any guidancefromLucknowinthedecisionregardingthecremation.He told the court that the decision wastaken(byofficials)locally,including him,” said Mathur. A PTI report quoted Seema Kushwaha,counselforthefamily members, as saying that they wantedthecasetobetransferred out of the state. “The family CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 JOURNALIST HELD UNDER UAPA: MOVE HC, SAYS SC PAGE 8 DEEPTIMAN TIWARY NEW DELHI, OCTOBER 12 POLLS & PANDEMIC Volunteers pack Covid-19 kits for poll officers, in Patna Monday. ANI Covid-time demand helps whittle down FCI grain stocks HARISH DAMODARAN NEW DELHI, OCTOBER 12 COVID-19 MAY have unleashed all-roundeconomicdevastation, but has also turned into an opportunityforwhittlingdownthe Food Corporation of India’s (FCI) massive grain mountain. At 68.49 million tonnes (mt), thetotalwheatandricestocksin the Central pool as on October 1 stoodwaybelowtherecord97.27 mt at the start of June. The gap between the current and yearago stocks, too, has narrowed down from over 15 mt to 1.5 mt between June 1 and October 1. Muchof thisinventorydrawdown is the result of the NarendraModigovernment’sefforts at disposing of surplus foodgrains — including by distributing these free under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY). As against an overall grain offtake of 65.91 mt from public godowns in 2018-19 and 62.19 mt in 2019-20, theModi government has made an aggregate allocation of 94.72 mt for this fiscal.Thatincludes55.24mtunder the Targeted Public Distribution System (or TDPS, which entitles beneficiaryfamiliestoamonthly CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 DECISION2020PAGE9 EXPRESS NETWORK POWER OUTAGE BRINGS MUMBAI TO A STANDSTILL PAGE 7 AMIDTALKSwiththeChineseto resolve the military standoff along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said Monday that China and Pakistan have been creating border disputes “under a mission”. Inaugurating44bridgesbuilt bytheBorderRoadsOrganisation (BRO) in seven border states and Union Territories, and signalling thestartof workontheNechiphu tunnel on the road to Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh, Singh said, “Youareawareof thesituationon our eastern and northern borders. It appears as if border disputes are being created under a Singh at the inauguration of the bridges on Monday. ANI mission, first by Pakistan and now even China.” “The two countries share 7,000 km of border with us and often in some sector or the other, there is tension. Despite such problems, the nation, under the able and visionary leadership of CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Top Bollywood producers move HC for curbs on 2 news channels Named in lawsuit, editors of Republic, Times Now hit back SOFI AHSAN NEW DELHI, OCTOBER 12 THIRTY-EIGHTLEADINGcinema associations and production houses, including Karan Johar's Dharma Productions, Ajay Devgn Films, and those owned by Salman Khan, Aamir Khan and Shah Rukh Khan, on Monday moved the Delhi High Court against Republic TV and Times Now and their senior editors, seeking “perpetual and permanent” injunction against themfrommakingorpublishing “irresponsible, derogatory and defamatoryremarks”againstthe filmindustryandthosepartof it. The civil suit, filed via DSK Legal, is against Republic TV, its Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami and Consulting Editor Pradeep Bhandari; and, Times Now, its Editor-in-Chief Rahul Shivshankar, and Times Network Group Editor, Navika Kumar. Socialmediaplatformshavealso beenaddedaspartiestothecase. The petitioners have sought thecourt’sinterventiontoensure CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 To save their trees, Bastar’s tribals stand up to tradition GARGI VERMA SIMPLY PUT CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Cremation against our wishes, Hathras victim’s family to HC Pak, China are creating border disputes under a mission: Rajnath AN EXPRESS INVESTIGATION —UP,Maharashtra,Chhattisgarh, Haryana,Uttarakhand,Mizoram and Nagaland — have not set up a single unit since March, when the lockdown was imposed. This inaction by the states is glaring as cases of child trafficking have surged over this period. On Monday, The Indian Express reported that officials manning Childline’s 1098, the national helplinefordistresscalls,tracked 1.92 lakh interventions by rescuers and law agencies between March and August. In those six months, the helpline logged 27 lakh distress calls. The Home Ministry’s letter, signedbyDeputySecretaryArun Sobti and dated July 6, warned: “Traffickersoftenexploitthevulnerabilities of people by making false promises of a new job, better income, better living conditions and support to their families, etc. While such promises of perpetratorsappearlegitimateto people, unfortunately it makes manymen,womenandchildren easy prey for exploitation.” It also indicated to DGPs and Chief Secretaries that lack of funds can no longer be used as an excuse. Family members of the Hathras victim arrive at the High Court, in Lucknow on Monday. Vishal Srivastav LESS THAN 4 km from the roadside memorial to the victims of the 2013 Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh’s Jhiram Ghati lies a giant sal, its full 150 feet sprawled on the forest floor. Off the road that winds through the jungle,severalsmallandbigtrees bear signs of recent hacking. On October 5, at least 108 trees in thisforestwerefelledtobuildthe chariot that is traditionally used duringtheDussehrafestivitiesin Bastar, local people said. Trees in the area around Jhiram Ghati were cut for this year’s celebrations because the village custodians of another patch of forest some 5 km away as the crow flies, which has supplied the chariot’s timber for the past 20 years, decided to no longer allow the practice. On September 1, the gram sabha of Kakalgud resolved they would not give any more trees from the forest around their village. “The 1,000-odd acres of jungle around our village is called Gadiya Malaang. The name was given by our forefathers because it was full of sal trees,” said Rambati, a former sarpanch of Kakalgud — “gadh (home or bastion in the local language) tha unka”. For years, trees from the forest were cut for the Dussehra chariot of Jagdalpur, Rambati said. Another villager, Ramuram (30), said, “We applied for community forest rights in 2017, but we never heard back from the government. But we do know that we cantake decisionsabout ourpartof theforest.Wewillnot let any trees be cut.” Sadhu (28) said the villagers hadsubmitted a letter to the collector of the district. They had tried “everything”, he said, but allthey got fromgovernment officials was talk about “right and wrong,traditionanddisrespect”. Bhagwan, one of the village Residents of Kakalgud in Bastar have resolved not to let any of the trees around their village be cut. Gargi Verma elders locally referred to as ‘siyaan’, described how the treefelling tradition came to be. “The royal house (of Bastar) assigned each village specific tasks for Dussehra. For the cutting of trees, seven villages were identified, from where people would gather at Gadiya Malaang, and thetreeswouldbecut.Thetradition continued even after the royals were no longer there, as a form of respect to the king.” However,“respectshouldnot become acausefor destruction”, Bhagwan said. “The village has unanimouslydecidedtonotgive the trees. We are not disrespecting tradition, and are still giving rope, which too was assigned to us long ago.” Inthefaceof thevillagers’decision, the Dussehra committee of Bastar decided to respect the boundariesof thevillage,andcut trees from a different part of the forest — around Jhiram Ghati. There, villagers of Kakalgud pointed to at least 10 smaller, leaner trunks of sal lying abandoned by the road. “The smaller treetrunksarenotevencounted, so many of them are used as just levers (to pull down and roll bigger trees),” Sadhu said. Thehuge150-footsalwasnot taken away apparently because the trunk’s core was found to be hollow. But Kakalgud’s villagers CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
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