DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE `6.00 (`8 BIHAR & RAIPUR, `12 SRINAGAR) WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 STANDOFF OVER THREE FARM LAWS United over protests, Opp lends weight to farmers’ call for Bharat Bandh tomorrow Protests can spread, warns Pawar; Akalis get support of Shiv Sena Joint statement by Cong, NCP, RJD, Left, SP; AAP, TMC, TRS pledge support too MANOJ C G NEW DELHI, DECEMBER 6 AS MANY as 15 parties opposed to the BJP, many running state governments,extended support Sunday to the December 8 Bharat Bandh call given by protesting farmer groups. This coalition is being seen as a renewed attempt by the beleaguered political opposition to push the NDA to concede on the three farm laws it had passed in September ignoring calls for more discussion and scrutiny. The support the farmers’ agitation and the Bandh call have elicited is similar to the broad Oppositionunitywhichemerged in 2015 against amendments to the Land Acquisition Act. Last year, several Chief Ministers and parties had announced their opposition to the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and a proposed nationwide National Register of Citizens last year but could not force the EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE MUMBAI, DECEMBER 6 A game of cricket on the deserted National Highway-9 connecting Delhi to Ghaziabad as farmers continue their protest at the border of the national capital on Sunday. Prem Nath Pandey BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Short of repeal, Govt is open to options and ready for long haul KRISHN KAUSHIK, LIZ MATHEW & HARKISHAN SHARMA THE EDITORIAL PAGE A DEMOCRACY TUTORIAL NEW DELHI, DECEMBER 6 THERE IS “no question of repealing”thethreelawsagainstwhich farmers are protesting but “all other options” are open as the government discusses the range of issues flagged by farmer lead- Government needs to do more hard work to get reforms through PAGE 8 RITIKA CHOPRA NEW DELHI, DECEMBER 6 THEGOVERNMENT’Sattemptto give itself the power to initiate an inquiry against an IIM Board goes against Prime Minister NarendraModi’spublicstandon the autonomy of educational institutions, and challenges the wisdom of the new National EducationPolicy(NEP),directors of several of India’s showpiece management institutes told The Indian Express. The institute heads, who spokeonconditionofanonymity, pointed out that concerns over the one-year MBA degree were notseriousenoughtomeritare- PAGE 1 ANCHOR CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 provisions of the laws, give a written assurance on MSP and procurement, but farmer representatives insisted on a repeal of all three laws. Giving in to this will underline a lack of political will and could “permanently damage” prospects of bringing in muchneededagriculturereforms,said a senior leader. Given this, one CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 101 PSUs give `155 crore from their staff salaries to PM fund Heads of IIMs push back against bid to control, say govt plan against PM view sponse of this kind from the Ministry of Education (MoE). The IIM directors were reacting to a report in The Sunday Express (December 6) that the MoE was exploring options that could, in effect, erode the autonomy of the institutes. The MoE recently shared a draft executive order with the Law Ministry that proposes to empowerthegovernmenttoinitiateaninquiryagainsttheBoard of Governors (BoG) of an institute if it is found to be acting, according to the government, in contravention of the IIM Act, 2017. The proposal comes amid anongoingstandoff betweenthe IIMs and the government over ers, a top government official told The Indian Express. The top government official saidthat“theresolutioncanonly be found through discussions” andadded thatif thefarmersare willingtocontinuetheirprotests for long, the government is “also prepared”. He was speaking a day after the government told farmers it was willing to amend certain A DELEGATIONof the Shiromani Akali Dal, the BJP’s ally in Punjab that quit the alliance protesting the farm Bills, met Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray Sunday to secure Shiv Sena’s support for theongoingfarmers’ agitation. Themeetingtookplaceatthe CM’sofficialbungalowVarshain Mumbai.TheAkaliteamwasled by its vice president and MP, Prem Singh Chandumajra. "Uddhav Thackeray has assured us that the Shiv Sena will supportalltheprogrammespursued in the interest of farmers. TheMaharashtra CMalso promised to come to Delhi and attend a coordination committee two weeks later to draw up a future plan,” said Chandumajra. Akali Dal veteran Parkash Singh Badal will lead the coordination committee. Ahead of its meeting, SAD leaders were meeting several regional political parties across states to seek their support. High on their agenda is a meeting with NCP president Sharad Pawar, too. Indeed,beforetheSena-Akali meeting, NCP veteran and formerAgricultureMinisterSharad Pawar, accompanied by Deputy SHYAMLAL YADAV NEW DELHI, DECEMBER 6 ‘India is not Singapore. Policies must reflect our realities, with farmers at centre. No govt has done it’ HANNAN MOLLAH GENERAL SECRETARY, ALL INDIA KISAN SABHA PAGE 12 APARTFROMoverRs2,400crore inCorporateSocialResponsibility (CSR) funds, over 100 PSUs from acrosssectorshavetogethercontributednearlyRs155crorefrom staff salaries to the Prime Minister’sCitizenAssistanceand Relief in Emergency Situations (PMCARES)fund,RTIrecordsaccessed by The Indian Express show. Oil giant ONGC, which gave Rs 29.06 crore to the fund from staff salaries,tops thelistof PSUs that responded to RTI queries from The Indian Express. But the contributions also include Rs11.43crorefromsalariesatthe YOUR RIGHT TO KNOW E AN XPRESS RTI APPLICATION TOPCONTRIBUTORS PSU Amount Amount in ` crore Source: RTI ONGC IOC BSNL BHEL NTPC HAL HPCL NLCIndiaLtd BEL BPCL 29.06 23.99 11.43 8.72 7.58 6.62 6.31 5.36 5.25 4.27 ailingBSNL,whichwasunableto chip in from its CSR funds. Overall, the RTI responses show, 24 PSUs gave Rs 1 crore or more to the fund from staff salaries. The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO),whichmanagesthefund, had declined to furnish details of the contributions received. “PM CARES Fund is not a public authorityundertheambitofSection 2(h) of the RTI Act. However, relevant information in respect of PM CARES Fund may be seen on the website pmcares.gov.in,” it said in an RTI response. The fund was set up on March 28 this year following the Covidoutbreakandhadacorpus of Rs 3,076.62 crore by March 31 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 FIRST INDIAN CANDIDATE TO DO SO After Pfizer, Pune lab seeks nod for emergency use of its Oxford vaccine PAYAL BANERJEE NEW DELHI, DECEMBER 6 THE SERUM Institute of India on Sunday applied to the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI)foremergencyuseauthorisation for its Oxford Covid-19 vaccine in the country, official sources said. Thevaccine,developedbySII with Oxford and AstraZeneca, is the first candidate that’s being tested in India to seek emergency approval. This comes a day after the Indian arm of US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer sought a similar approval from India's drug regulatortouseitsCovid-19vaccine candidate in India. Citing the SII application, official sources said the firm has statedthatdatafromfourclinical studies, two in the UK and one each in Brazil and India, shows that Covishield is highly efficacious against symptomatic and most importantly against severe COVID-19 infections. The results are in line with findingsfromtrialsof otheranticoronavirus vaccines, the firm is learnt to have said while citing the huge disease burden to say Covishield is well placed to alleviate Covid-19 mortality and morbidity. "Intermsof safety,Covishield was well tolerated with respect to solicited adverse events and During a Punjab Public Service Commission exam in Patiala on Sunday. Harmeet Sodhi was not associated with an increased number of severe adverse events and deaths. Therefore, Covishield is safe and well-toleratedandcanbeusedeffectivelyforpreventionof Covid19 in the targeted population. Thus, the benefit to risk ratio stronglysupportsthewidespread use of Covishield," a source said quoting the application. ENS adds: The Indian Express has learnt that DGCI has placed Pfizer's application for emergency use approval before a committeeof experts,whichwill examine the data of its clinical trial conducted abroad. Top government sources underlined that the regulatory process of emergency authorisationapprovalsforvaccinecandidates being tested in India, CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 CITES ‘ROVING ENQUIRY’ BY CBI Roshni land scam: After waving ‘tainted list,’ J&K seeks HC review ARUN SHARMA JAMMU, DECEMBER 6 DAYS AFTER MAKING public names of prominent politicians of Opposition parties occupying state land, the Jammu and Kashmirgovernmenthassought a review of the J&K High Court’s October 9 judgment which ab initiodeclaredtheJ&KStateLand (Vesting of Ownership to Occupants) Act, 2001 — also called the Roshni Act — null and void. In its judgment, the High Court had ordered a CBI probe and also asked the government to ensure annulment of mutation of property under the Act, and work out modalities to evict encroachers from state land and retrieve it within six months. The review petition dated December 4, filed by Nazir CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 E E X P L A I NE D MONDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2020, NEW DELHI, LATE CITY, 16 PAGES Landless vs ● ‘wealthy’ THE annulment of the Roshni Act by the High Court put the spotlight on prominent politicians who benefited from its provisions. But there were thousands of common people who too could transfer land ownership under the same Act. The political fallout has been double-edged; while it attempted to vilify mainstream politicians, it also affected landless cultivators and individuals. Now, the J&K government wants to distinguish between the two classes. PDP youth leader in jail, his family hits campaign trail in Pulwama NAVEED IQBAL NAIRA (PULWAMA), DECEMBER 6 GHULAM AHMAD Para is campaigning in an election for the first time. Over the last week, he has been trudging through villages in Pulwama, knocking on doors and seeking votes — not for himself, but for his son. The 62-year-old is the father of Waheed-ur-Rehman Para, who is the youth wing president of the PDP, candidate from Pulwama-1 for the J&K District Development Council (DDC) polls,andcurrently in custody of the National Investigation Agency (NIA). “The vote this time isn’t just for a DDC seat, it is also to secure his release,” says Para’s younger brother Nadeem. The constituency votes Monday in the fourth of the eight-phase polls, and Nadeem is part of a core group of friends and family that has hit the campaign trail. Para, 32, was arrested on November 25, five days after he filed his nomination, in connection with a terror case against suspended J&K police officer DevinderSingh.Accordingtothe NIA, Para was allegedly in touch withoneof theaccused.ThePDP, led by former chief minister MehboobaMufti,hasdeniedthe charges. InPara’sconstituency,meanwhile, there is no party flag or bannerannouncinghiscandidature for the mainstream front, PAGD — just posters on walls with a message from him, urging people to be witnesses to his innocence by voting for him. This is the first time that Para is contesting, although he was part of the PDP’s campaign in south Kashmir across at least three elections through a politi- Members of Waheed-ur-Rehman Para’s campaign team at his house in Naira, Pulwama. Shuaib Masoodi cal career marked by a swift rise fray, including BJP’s Sajad Raina, after joining the party in 2013. ApniParty’sGhulamHassanMir “Waheed is so well regarded and four Independents. inthisareathatwhether Raina, 36, is among or not we campaign, thekeycontestants,havpeople will come out ing been elected unopand support him,” says posedassarpanchinthe Mohammad Amin, 57, a 2018panchayatpolls.He close associate. Amin is is also vice-chairman of partof acampaignteam Development DECISION the Blockand says he is poringovervoterrecords Council 2020 at Para’s house in Naira “fighting for vikas (deJ&K village, a day after velopment)”. DISTRICT MehboobaMuftivisited LOCALPOLLS Apart from the in a show of support. door-to-door camThe constituency has about paign, Para’s team charts out in14 villages and over 25,000 vot- dividual outreach, posters in ers, with six candidates in the EnglishandUrduwithmessages from the candidate, a social media campaign and an audio clip urging people to vote “if they wish to change their future”. Tasked with making calls to prospective voters, Nadeem, who is a businessman, says that inhisbrother’sabsence,“it isdifficult to start each day of the campaign”. “I make hundreds of calls. Severalvoters are stillupset over the PDP’s alliance with the BJP (after the 2014 Assembly elections). But they are ready to vote becausethistime,theirvoteisan expression of anger against the CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
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