DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE FRIDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2020, KOLKATA, LATE CITY, 16 PAGES SINCE 1932 `5.00/EX-KOLKATA `6.00 (`12 IN NORTH EAST STATES & ANDAMAN) WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SOMEBODY HAS TO SUBSIDISE: JAVADEKAR Manifesto‘PromiseNo.1’: BJPinjectsfreeCovid vaccineinBiharelections WISHES ITS READERS HAPPY DURGA PUJA THERE WILL BE NO EDITION OF THE NEWSPAPER FROM OCTOBER 24-27, 2020 Underfire,BJP’sdefence:If partiescan promisefarmloanwaiver,whynotthis Economy in mind, Govt eases curbs on visas DIPANKAR GHOSE & LIZ MATHEW PATNA, NEW DELHI, OCT 22 DEEPTIMAN TIWARY NEW DELHI, OCTOBER 22 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 THE EDITORIAL PAGE THEPOLITICAL ECONOMYOF REFORM BY PRATAP BHANU MEHTA PAGE 8 DURGA, ISOLATED Visitors outside a puja pandal in Kolkata on Thursday. The Calcutta High Court has declared all pandals ‘no-entry zones’ in view of Covid-19. Partha Paul REPORTS,PAGE3 Respect women like you respect Durga: PM unveils puja in Bengal SANTANU CHOWDHURY KOLKATA, OCTOBER 22 SHARING DURGA Puja greetings in Bengali on the occasion of the first day of the puja – Shasthi – Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday asserted that the Centre’s vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India) will grow in strength from West Bengal and said that women in the country must be given the samerespectpeoplehaveforthe Goddess. In a virtual address to the people, live-streamed in all 294 Assembly constituencies of the state, Modi made an appeal to the people to adhere to physical distancing norms and wear face masks while taking part in the festivities in an effort to keep up CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 BJP workers at a Durga Puja, which PM Modi inaugurated virtually, in Kolkata Thursday. Partha Paul RELATEDREPORT,P5 K P Sharma Oli; Samant Kumar Goel the battle against the Covid-19 pandemic. He said: “In the 21st century, ourvisionof AtmanirbharBharat – or self- reliant India – will strengthen from the land of Bengal. We have to take Bengal’s YUBARAJ GHIMIRE culture, pride, progress to newer heights.Weareensuringspeedy development for the people of Bengal through various schemes. We are doing everything to reduce problems of the CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 MAHARASHTRA WITHDRAWS ‘CONSENT’ Comes days after company got approval for Russian vaccine trials MOHAMED THAVER PRABHA RAGHAVAN NEW DELHI, OCTOBER 22 DR REDDY’s Laboratories on Thursday said it had “isolated” itsdatacentreservicesafteracyber attack. The Hyderabadheadquartered drug maker reportedthedatabreachdaysafter it received regulatory approvals to conduct human trials of a Covid-19 vaccine candidate developedbyaRussianresearchinstitute. “Inthewakeof adetectedcyber-attack, we have isolated all data centre services to take required preventive actions,” Dr Reddy's told the Bombay Stock Exchange on Thursday. “We are anticipating all servicestobeupwithin24hoursand we do not foresee any major im- PAGE 1 ANCHOR CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 MANOJ CG & RITIKA CHOPRA NEW DELHI, OCTOBER 22 DECISION 2020 B I H A R EDUCATION: UNDER MOST HEADS, A POOR REPORT CARD CHUP CHAAP BUNGLA CHHAAP PAGE 7 FULL COVERAGE, VISIT WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM THEBJP’spromisetoprovidefree Covid-19 vaccine to the people of Bihar, made in its election manifesto Thursday, triggered a political row with the RJD, Congress and other Opposition parties slamming the party, accusing it of politicising the pandemic and playing on the fears of the people. Reacting sharply to the BJP promise, the RJD said, “Corona vaccine belongs to the country. It does not belong to the BJP. The politicaluseof thevaccineshows that they have no option but to sell the fear of the disease and death. The people of Bihar have self-respect,theydonotselltheir children’s future for a few pennies,” the RJD posted on its Twitter handle. Its senior leader and Rajya Sabha MP Manoj Kumar Jha said CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 TN, MP ANNOUNCE FREE VACCINE FOR ALL Dr Reddy’s isolates data centre services after cyber attack pact on our operations due to this incident,” Mukesh Rathi, Chief Information Officer of the company, said. The attack, the exact nature of which is not yet public, has reportedly also forced the firm to temporarily shut down operations at its major manufacturing facilities across the world. Pharma experts said this is necessarytominimisetheimpactof a breach of cyber security. Besides India, Dr Reddy’s has manufacturing facilities in the United States, the United Kingom, Mexico, and China. It has research and development facilities in the US, the UK, the NetherlandsandIndia.Thecompany has 29 global offices in various continents. In response to an email sent Row in Nepal after R&AW chief meets Oli, party seeks details THE BJP promised “residents of Bihar” free vaccination against Covid-19 in its Bihar assembly election manifesto released Thursday, drawing sharp reactions from Opposition parties, most of which said it was “appalling”thatavaccinetofightthe pandemicwasmadebeingapoll agenda. Defending its announcement,theBJPsaidit’sapledgeon a public health issue. Releasing the party manifesto in Patna, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said: “After crossing all the stages, there are at least threevaccinesthathavereached thelaststage,andareonthecusp of production. Afterthis,if scientific people say this vaccine is fine, production can take place. Our production capacity, because of the government’s intervention, is very large.” “So when the clearance comes from scientists, our vaccine production will be at such a level that what we are promising, everyone in Bihar will get a BY UNNY Took step to ensure CBI is not used for political purpose: Home Minister MUMBAI, OCTOBER 22 A DAY after Maharashtra withdrew “general consent” given to the CBI to probe cases in the state, Home Minister Anil Deshmukh Thursday described the agency as “professional” but said “there is a doubt in the minds of many that it may be used for political purposes”. Deshmukh reiterated that the state withdrew consent to ensure that “the agency is not used for political purposes in Maharashtra”, adding that the CBI had earlier been referred to as a “caged parrot” by the Supreme Court. “We all know that in the past CBI has done enquiries without taking approval from the Maharashtra government...even now, there is a TRP case that is being investigated by Mumbai Police...a similar case has been registered in UP, and it is possi- Anil Deshmukh at a press conference in Mumbai on Thursday. Ganesh Shirsekar bleduetopoliticalpressuresthat the CBI could take up this case as well,” Deshmukh told reporters. The Home Minister was referring to the ongoing investigation by Mumbai Police, which has alleged that three channels, including Republic TV, were prima facie involved in manipulating TRPs. On Tuesday, the CBI took over a case registered by UP Police against “unknown” channels and persons over alleged fudging of TRPs. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 KATHMANDU, OCTOBER 22 NEPAL’S EMBATTLED Prime Minister, K P Sharma Oli, came under fresh attack Thursday, includingfromthreeformerPrime Ministersandhisownpartyleaders, for meeting Indian R&AW chief Samant Kumar Goel without keeping them in the loop. Calling it “improper” and “objectionable”, former Prime Ministers Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda,whoisalsoexecutive chairman of the ruling Nepal Communist Party, Jhalanath Khanal and Madhav Kumar Nepal, former Deputy Prime Ministers Bhim Bahadur Rawal and Narayan Kaji Shrestha held separate group meetings, and sometooktosocialmediatocriticise Oli. They asked him to provide details of the meeting with theR&AWchief thatlastedmore than two hours, almost till midnight Wednesday. Goel and team had flown toKathmanduonaspecialflight. They were said to have also met Leader of Opposition CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 WORLD TRUMP,BIDEN IN FINAL DEBATE,WITH MUTEBUTTON PAGE 14 To buy or not to buy: Why this comes as a surprise to states KAUNAIN SHERIFF M NEW DELHI, OCTOBER 22 THEBJP announcement promising free Covid-19 vaccination for all in Bihar as part of its election manifesto has taken several states by surprise. Especially, since until now the vaccine conversation between the Centre and the states was around identifying who E should receive it on a priority basis. So the announcement of a free vaccine as an election promise singling out one state adds a political twist to a subject – Covidmanagement–thathasso far been largely framed by cooperative rather than competitive federalism. States are trying to figure out EXPLAINED TAKINGAsignificantsteptoease visa curbs put in place to contain the Covid outbreak, the Government Thursday said that allforeigners,exceptthoseinthe tourist category, will be allowed to enter the country. The decision to open up will also cover all Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) and Overseas Citizens of India (OCI), it said. Since March, only certain categories of OCI card holders and foreignerswere allowedto enter the country. A senior official told The Indian Express that the latest move is aimed at fully opening the economy “eventually” so that international trade and commerce can be resumed “on a full scale”. “The Government has been gradually liberalising visas for foreigners and OCI card holders throughout the pandemic period. It is in keeping with the intent to fully open the economy BUSINESS AS USUAL Opp parties slam politics over pandemic, EC unlikely to object whattheimplications are. Many see this as the first indication that the Centre will procure the vaccine-● or vaccines -- at rates it negotiates and states may then be asked to purchase their own stocks. This is reinforced by the fact that the National Expert Group CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Kashmir parties to give alliance formal shape, Farooq may be head NAVEED IQBAL SRINAGAR, OCTOBER 22 LEADERS OF the seven-party People’s Alliance for the Gupkar Declaration in Jammu and Kashmir are working to give the group a formal structure ahead of their“constitutionalbattle”for restoring to people “the rights they had before 5th of August 2019”. The alliance will likely have an executive council consisting of the chairperson, a vice-chairperson, general secretaries, a chief coordinator, a chief spokesperson, spokespersons from individual parties, and an office-bearer from each party. Several sources told The Indian Express that there is Mehbooba Mufti, Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah at the all-party meeting on October 15. ANI file broad consensus that National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah, the most senior leader in Jammu and Kashmir, should head the alliance structure, and People's Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti and People's Conference leader Sajad Lone should have important roles. NC vice-president Omar Abdullah will likely be part of the core group of the alliance. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Pandemic, distress, a broken phone: How a Goa family lost their son SMITA NAIR SATTARI (GOA), OCTOBER 22 AT PAL village in Goa’s Sattari taluka,afamilyisdistraught.The pandemic and its aftereffects — reduced earnings, an uncertain future — had already put them through great hardship. A broken mobile phone was seemingly the last straw. On October 15, their 16-year-old son was found hanging in the house. The father, who drives a private bus, says his son, a Class 10 student of a government school inthevillage,usedasmartphone to attend his online classes. On October 11, the phone screen broke, butthe boykeptitto himself, telling his mother only a couple of days later. “We had been struggling for monthssoeveryonewasinabad mood. When he told his mother aboutthephone,shesaidit can't be repaired immediately, and he threw a tantrum. When I came back from work, he got into an argument with me and I held him by his collar. He stopped me saying, ‘I have only one nice shirt’. He removed his shirt, put itonahangerandtoldmeIcould beat him. By then, I just couldn’t,” says the father. "IthentoldhimIonlyhaveRs 500 with me and need it to buy rice. I asked him to wait for four days for me to arrange the Rs 2,000 he needed to repair the screen,” he adds. Since the pandemic began, money has been tight — the father used to earn up to Rs 700 a day, but the lockdown had left him with no income for four months. Since July, he is back at work,butonly earnsRs500,that too on good days. The mother, a beneficiary of theGrihaAadharScheme,awelfare scheme for homemakers, said she hadn't received any money since the lockdown, except for a one-time payment of The teenager’s notebook; he was a Class 10 student. Express Rs 1,500 during Ganesh Chaturthi. The grandmother, a beneficiary of the Dayanand Social Security Scheme for widows, too hadn't got any money for months. A government officer confirmed the payment has been stalledduetothestate’sdepleted coffers. On Tuesday, however, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant tweeted that "despite financial constraints", the government has decided to release Rs 45.29 crore to over 1.7 lakh beneficiaries of both the schemes. North Goa SP Utkrisht Prasoon said, “The suicide is related toa mobile phone thatwas not repaired. The boy was 16 years old. We first determined the cause of death -- asphyxia caused due to hanging. We are also inquiring with his school teachers and others to ensure the circumstances. Statements of parents have already been taken.” The school headmaster confirmed to The Indian Express that classes were being held online. His class teacher is still in shock. Of his 59 students, more than half attend classes on their phones -- and the 16-year-old was one of them. “He was a friendly child... completed his homework and was responding to online lessons. He even got good marks in a test we conducted recently," he says. Students were allowed to visit school if they had doubts to clear or needed help with worksheetsgivenduringonlinehours. The boy, the teacher said, had visited school to pick a book the week he died. "He would come to school if he had doubts to clear, but he never told us about his mobile phone. If we had known, we would have told him it was ok," the teacher says. Back at the 16-year-old's home, the father says that despite their hardships, he never cut corners when it came to his children's education. "But we hardly have any income now... the expenses have only increased after the lockdown. Still, wehavebeentryingourbestbecause education is very important. My younger son hasn’t attendedanyclassessinceweonly had one phone betweenthetwo boys and their classes clashed.” He now worries for his other two children — an 18-year-old daughter and a 12-year-old son. The daughter had enrolled for a nursing course before the lockdown. “Her total course fee is Rs 5 lakh, of which the Education CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Kolkata
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