DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE THURSDAY, JANUARY 21, 2021, NEW DELHI, LATE CITY, 18 PAGES `6.00 (`8 BIHAR & RAIPUR, `12 SRINAGAR) WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 We must end this uncivil war...we must reject the culture in which facts themselves are manipulated and even manufactured I’m here today because of the women who came before me. And to the woman most responsible for my presence here today — my mother... — JOSEPH R BIDEN Jr, PRESIDENT, U.S., IN HIS INAUGURAL SPEECH — KAMALA HARRIS , VICE PRESIDENT, U.S., BEFORE THE INAUGURATION America Afresh NEXT MEETING WITH FARMERS TOMORROW Centre blinks: Let us keep laws on hold for 18 months, form joint panel We expect to move towards a solution, says Minister Tomar HARIKISHAN SHARMA & LIZ MATHEW NEW DELHI, JANUARY 20 Joseph R Biden Jr. being sworn in as the 46th President of the US and Kamala Harris as Vice President, at the Capitol in Washington Wednesday. AP/PTI Biden-Harris in charge: ‘We will lead not by example of our power but power of example’ PETER BAKER, MAGGIE ASTOR & THOMAS KAPLAN WASHINGTON DC, JANUARY 20 JOSEPHROBINETTEBidenJr.was sworninasthe46thPresidentof theUnitedStatesonWednesday, takingofficeatamomentof profound economic, health and political crises with a promise to seek unity after a tumultuous four years that tore at the fabric of American society. With hishandon a five-inchthick Bible that has been in his family for 128 years, Biden recited the 35-word oath of office swearing to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution” in a ceremony administered by Chief Justice John G Roberts Jr., completing the process at 11.49 am, 11 minutes before the authority of the presidency formally changed hands. The ritual transfer of power came shortly after Kamala Devi Harris was sworn in as Vice President by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, her hand on a Bible that once belonged to Thurgood Marshall,thecivilrightsiconand Supreme Court justice. Harris’s ascension made her the highest-ranking woman in the history of the United States and the first Black American and first person of South Asian descentto holdthenation’s second highest office. “This is America’s day,” Biden said as he began his Inaugural Address.“Thisisdemocracy’sday.” CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY As DC turns page on Trump, Delhi works on reopening chapter SHUBHAJIT ROY NEW DELHI, JANUARY 20 THE WORLD TRUMP PARDONS OVER 140 PEOPLE, INCLUDING FORMER STRATEGIST BANNON PAGE 12 PROMISING TO “repair our alliances and engage with the worldonceagain,” JosephBiden, sworninasthe46thPresidentof the United States Wednesday, signalled he was turning a troubled page on the Trump era. FortheestablishmentinNew Delhi, along with Indian Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu — who was attending the inaugural — the task is cut out. Sandhu’s predecessors in Washington, External Affairs ministerSJaishankarandForeign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla, all are banking on their significant experience of dealing with Washington DC’s Beltway politics–anditskeyinterlocutors. Sandhu has had two earlier stints —responsible for liaison with the US Congress from 1997 to 2000 as First Secretary (Political); Deputy Chief of Mission from July 2013 to January 2017. Officials said that Sandhu’s experience during the Clinton and Obama administrations will help him navigate the new administration, mostly staffed by Obama-Biden administration veterans. Biden’s incoming team is familiar, too, to many here: Secretary of State Antony Blinken was Biden’s aide in the US Senate 20 years ago and then Deputy Secretary of State in Obamaadministration;NSAJake Sullivan was part of then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s team; CIA Director William J Burns was Deputy Secretary of State in Obama CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 SC rules out review of Two snipped scenes in Tandav mark govt’s entry into OTT space Aadhaar order, with one KRISHN KAUSHIK, OMKAR GOKHALE & SAGAR RAJPUT NEW DELHI, MUMBAI, JANUARY 20 ONTUESDAY,Tandavbecamethe first web series streaming on a majorOTTplatformtoedititscontentafterdirectinterventionfrom the government. Two scenes regarding which complaints had been made and were mentioned in an FIR filed in Lucknow have now been edited out. It was also the first such intervention by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry since OTT platforms and news on digital platforms came under its purview on November 11, 2020. Before that, no ministry had direct oversight over them. TheI&BMinistrysummoned Amazon Prime and the show’s UP Police in Mumbai, show’s makers get pre-arrest bail makers for an explanation even before the first FIR was filed againstit,inLucknowonSunday night. Since then, several other FIRs have been filed against Tandav, in UP, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. The complainants include BJP MLA (GhatkoparWest,Mumbai)Ram Kadam. Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said formal action would be taken in accordance with the law. On Wednesday, the Bombay High Court granted three-week transit pre-arrest bail to Tandav directorAliAbbasZafar,producer HimanshuKrishnaMehra,writer Gaurav Solanki and Amazon Prime content head Aparna Purohit,asapoliceteamreached fromUttarPradeshforaprobein connection with the Lucknow FIR filed against the four. The four said they feared arrest,andsubmittedthatthecontent in question has been removed and they did not want to stir any further controversy. While several OTT shows have been accused of offending religious sensibilities or maligning political personalities earlier aswell,thecomplainantshadeither gone to court or filed an FIR before the government’s stand was sought. Amazon Prime, Netflix and Hotstar, three of the largest OTT CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 dissent: on money Bill EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, JANUARY 20 THE SUPREME Court has dismissed petitions seeking a review of its 2018 judgment upholding the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar Act, with Justice D Y Chandrachud dissenting saying the Court should wait till a larger Bench decides the question of certification of a Bill as money Bill before deciding the review petitions. The Aadhaar Bill had been certified by the government as a money Bill, enabling it to get it cleared without getting the assent of a majority in the Rajya Sabha. A five-judge Bench headed by then Chief Justice Dipak Misra had upheld the Aadhaar Act in a 4:1 ruling on September 26, 2018. The January 11 order was given by a five-judge Bench, comprising apart from Justice Chandrachud, Justices A M Khanwilkar, Ashok Bhushan, Abdul Nazeer and B R Gavai. The majority judgment said, “We have perused the review petitions as well as the grounds in support thereof. In our opinion, no case for review of judgment and order dated 26.09.2018 is made out. We hasten to add that change in the law or subsequent decision/judgment of a coordinateorlargerBenchbyitself cannot be regarded as a ground for review. The review petitions are accordingly dismissed." In his dissenting judgment, Justice Chandrachud said two of the “critical questions” dealt CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 In heated West Bengal battle, a new boiling point: shrine head will announce political front today PAGE 1 ANCHOR RAVIK BHATTACHARYA FURFURA SHARIF (HOOGHLY), JANUARY 20 A HOUSE located in Taltolla in Furfura Sharif (Hooghly district), withplacardshangingononeside over a protest against the new farm laws, the Hathras gangrape andtherecentattackonaconvoy of Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, has emerged as oneof thetheatresinthepolitical change sweeping West Bengal. Pirzada Siddiqui at home in Furfura Sharif. Ravik Bhattacharya The house belongs to Pirzada Abbas Siddiqui, the 34-year-old head of the second-most promi- nent Sufi mazar or shrine in the country after Ajmer Sharif in Rajasthan,whoissettomakeafor- mal announcement on Thursday announcingapoliticalfronttocontest the state Assembly elections forthefirsttime.“Wewillhavean alliance of 10 parties, and we will contest 60 to 80 seats where we have a good chance of winning," SiddiquitellsTheIndianExpresson theeveof hisentryintopolitics. His coalition may include AsaduddinOwaisi,whoseAIMIM is planning a poll debut in West Bengal and who acknowledged Siddiqui’sleadershipatameeting withhimonJanuary3.Oneofthe candidates will be Siddiqui’s 26year-oldbrotherPirzadaNaushad, who holds a B.Ed and a Master’s degree in History. Popularlyknownas‘Bhaijaan’, Siddiquithesedaysistouringdifferentdistrictsofthestate,projecting himself as a voice of the Muslims,tribalsandDalits,andattackingtheTrinamool,accusingit ofhelpingtheriseoftheBJPinthe state.Heisexpectedtotakeaway abigchunkoftheBengaliMuslim vote in the state, which has so far beenwiththeTrinamoolinSouth Bengal and with the Congress in North — queering the pitch further for the ruling Trinamool as it fights the BJP in a fierce and increasingly polarised campaign Siddiqui adds, “Years of Congress rule, then that of the CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 IN A significant initiative to end farmer protests over the new agriculture laws, which moved from Punjab to the gates of Delhi last November, the Centre Wednesday offered to keep the laws in abeyance for 18 months. With farmer unions refusing to appear before a Supreme Court-appointed committee of experts, the Centre, during talks with the unions, offered to form ajointcommitteeof government andfarmerrepresentativestoaddressgrievances.Itproposedthat the laws be kept in abeyance for ayear-and-a-half ortillsuchtime that the proposed committee submits a report. Thetwosidesagreedtomeet again on Friday. Union Agriculture Minister Narendra CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Farmer leaders after talks on Wednesday. Prem Nath Pandey First time, farmers don’t reject offer: Will discuss RAAKHI JAGGA, AMIL BHATNAGAR & HARIKISHAN SHARMA LUDHIANA, NEW DELHI, JANUARY 20 FOR THE first time since they brought their protest against the new agriculture laws from Punjab to the borders of Delhi, leaders of farmer unions, while not giving up their demand for repeal of the laws, did not reject Banks red-flag: Loans to street vendors in pandemic turning NPAs SANDEEP SINGH & SUNNY VERMA NEW DELHI, JANUARY 20 AFTER BEING nudged by municipalitiestostepuploandisbursements under the PM Street Vendor’s AtmaNirbhar Nidhi (PM SVANidhi) programme, banks are writing back to report that many of these collateralfree loans are turning into nonperforming assets (NPAs). Some banks are asking local authorities — who pushed for these loans — to help recover them. LaunchedinJunetohelpvendorsamidthepandemic,thePM SVANidhi scheme is a microcreditfacilitythatprovidesstreet vendors a collateral-free loan of Rs 10,000 at concessional rates of an estimated 7.25%. Ontimelyorearlyrepayment of theloan,aninterestsubsidyat 7% per annum is credited to the CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 the Centre’s offer to keep the laws in abeyance for 18 months. They agreed to discuss the offer Thursday and return to the talks table Friday. Kulwant Singh Sandhu, general secretary of Jamhoori Kisan Sabha who participated in the CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 5TH FARMER SUICIDE AT PROTEST SITE PAGE 4 Distressfor smallbusiness THE DEFAULT shows that even as liquidity of large and medium corporates improves, those at the bottom of the pyramid continue to face deep distress.That’s why despite an interest subsidy of 7%, several vendors are struggling to repay their monthly dues.
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