DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE MONDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2021, NEW DELHI, LATE CITY, 16 PAGES SINCE 1932 SURGE IN COVID CASES EDUCATION MINISTRY ORDER Govt set to modify webinar checks as scientists object Centre writes to five states, Uddhav warns second wave at door AMITABH SINHA PUNE, FEBRUARY 21 THE GOVERNMENT had asked publicly funded educational institutions and universities to “seek approval” before organising online international conferences related to India’s “internal matters”. The president of the Indian Academy of Sciences had protested that the order was “too constraining”. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 MARKING A new flashpoint in the tussle between the BJP-led Centre and the TMC’s state government, with Assembly elections around the corner in West Bengal, the CBI Sunday reached the Kolkata residence of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee to CHENNAI, FEBRUARY 21 AHEAD OF a floor test in the Puducherry Assembly Monday, the Congress-led government found itself on the verge of collapse with two more MLAs submitting their resignations. This pulled own the ruling coalition’s numbers down to 12 in the 33memberHouse whichhasacurrent strength of 26. With Sunday’s resignations CM Narayanasamy tours a flooded colony Sunday. PTI of the Congress’s K LakshminarayananandrulingallyDMK’s PE-VC FUNDING BUSINESS AS USUAL PRANAV MUKUL & SANDEEP SINGH NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 21 CONTINUING TENSIONS at the borderandmeasuresadoptedby the government to check investments by Chinese firms and funds have significantly impacted the flow of investments from China into India over the past year. Data from Venture Intelligence, which looks at pri- 2019 $39.6billion $1.05billion ■ FundingfromChinaandHong Kong-basedcompanies ■ OverallFunding $36.4billion Sep’20 Sep’19 Mar’20 1,985.90 2,138 2,214 2,315 2,378 2,433 FDI FROM CHINA Cumulative FDI in USD Million; Source: DIPP BY UNNY At Abhishek Banerjee’s house on Sunday. Express BENGALASKSWHYTHETROOPSP5 K Venkatesan, a Congress leader told The Indian Express: “Even if the Speaker invokes his right to vote, there is no chance of getting majority strength.” Senior officials told The Indian Express that the government could also resign on its own or be subject to a recommendation from the Lieutenant Governor’s Office for the Centre to dissolve it. However,sourcesclosetoCM Narayanasamy said they “have CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Border tensions: funds from China down to a third of 2019 Mar’19 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 KOLKATA, FEBRUARY 21 ARUN JANARDHANAN Sep’18 INA significantmovedeepening their defence and security cooperation, India and Maldives Sunday signed a pact to “develop, support and maintain a MaldivesNationalDefenceForce Coast Guard Harbour” for maritime security in the region. The project is seen as key to India’s and Maldives’s strategic interests, particularly given Beijing's increasing footprint in the Indian Ocean Region. Announcing the pact, External AffairsMinisterSJaishankar,who isonavisittoMaldives,tweeted, "Glad to sign with Defence Minister @MariyaDidi the UTF HarbourProjectagreement.Will strengthen Maldivian Coast Guardcapabilityandfacilitateregional HADR ( Humanitarian AssistanceandDisasterRelief)efforts. Partners in development, SWEETY KUMARI Floor test in Puducherry today: Cong govt minus 2 more MLAs Mar’18 NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 21 2020 Source: Venture Intelligence vatecompanyfinancials,transactions,andtheirvaluationsinIndia, showthatprivateequityandventure capital funding from funds basedinChinaandHongKongfell sharply to $1.05 billion in 2020, compared to $3.5 billion in 2019. For context, overall private equity and venture capital (PEVC) investment in Indian companies increased to $39.6 billion in 2020 from $36.4 billion in the previous year. Foreign direct investment CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Spotlight on Hot Springs, Gogra in swap of proposals KRISHN KAUSHIK & DEEPTIMAN TIWARY NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 21 AIMING TO take the disengagement process in eastern Ladakh forward, India and China exchanged proposals on outstanding issues in the region during the 10th round of military-level talks between the two sides that started 10 am Saturday and continued past 2 am Sunday. Sources told The Indian Express that the proposals will be considered at the political level before beingtaken forward CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Signboards, slogans face BJP as it heads for west UP to woo Jats before rural polls PAGE 1 ANCHOR AMIT SHARMA & AMIL BHATNAGAR MEERUT, MUZAFFARNAGAR, FEBRUARY 21 DAYS AFTER the BKU’s Naresh Tikait suggested a social boycott of the BJP in Uttar Pradesh, an MP, MLA and several leaders of the party visited Lisad village in Shamli Sunday afternoon in the first such foray by the party into ground zero of the Jat unrest A sign outside Bardaula village in Sambhal. Express REPORTP6 CBI reaches home of Mamata’s nephew to quiz wife in coal case CHAIRMAN, FIFTEENTH FINANCE COMMISSION SHUBHAJIT ROY NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 21 A demonstration against Centre’s farm laws in Barnala, Punjab, Sunday. Reuters ‘No devious centralisation. Revenue deficit grants go to states, they don’t have ideological hue of any party’ NK SINGH ‘Security allies’ Delhi, Male in pact for harbour KAUNAIN SHERIFF M PROTESTS FIELD DAY Education Ministry on January 15, asked all government Mar’17 1,635.70 Sep’17 1,738.90 PAGE 12 Govt worried about Punjab deaths, J&K; lockdown back in parts of Maharashtra, CM says may impose for entire state Gag ondiscussing ‘internal matters’ $3.5billion DAYS AFTER two science academies, representing over 1,500 topscientistsandacademics,expressed concern at a recent ordermandatingpriorapprovalfor holding online seminars and conferences, the government on Sunday said it will “modify” the order “soon”. Principal Scientific Advisor K VijayRaghavan and Science and Technology Secretary Ashutosh Sharma told The Indian Express thatthematterwasunderactive considerationof thegovernment. “This has been taken note of a couple of weeks ago. There is no intent to curb academic and research interactions at all. Modifications that both clarify and make enabling changes will be coming out very soon,” VijayRaghavan said. The order, issued by the `6.00 (`8 BIHAR & RAIPUR, `12 SRINAGAR) WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM over the farm laws in western Uttar Pradesh. However, anger with the BJP overthelawswaspalpable,asits Muzaffarnagar MP and Union Minister of State Sanjeev Balyan and Buldana MLA Umesh Malik, among others, were met with slogans of “Balyan Murdabad” and “Kisan Ekta Zindabad” in village Baiswal. The BJP attempt to retain its Jat base comes ahead of the zila panchayat elections. “BJPbacked candidates had won 25 of the 26 zila panchayats in west UP last time and the Jat community has a sizeable presence in at least18,”pointedoutaseniorBJP functionary. Lisad, where the BJP leaders headed on Sunday, is the native village of khap panchayat leader Baba Harikishan, who enjoys a huge following in the region. Harikrishansaidtherewasnogoing back for the community. “We clearlytoldBalyanandBhupendra Chaudhary (UP Panchayati Raj Minister)thattheCentremustrepeal the farm laws. We also informed them that sugarcane growers hadn’t been paid their dues even for the last season.” Denying that there was a CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 question his wife over alleged “bank transactions” in connection with a coal pilferage case. The move marks the first time that a central agency has sought to question a close familymemberof theChief Minister. However, with Abhishek’s wife Rujira unavailable, the threemember CBI team left within 15 minutes after serving a notice to question her under Section 160 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 GOVT & POLITICS BJP MEET PASSES RESOLUTION PRAISING PMON COVID, FARM LAWS PAGE 5 FROM MONITORING mutant strains to increasing the proportion of RT-PCR tests, the Centre has written to the five states reportingasurgeincasestoimplement a multi-pronged strategy to curb the spread of Covid-19. Topgovernmentsourcestold The Indian Express that the Centre would be rushing mobile RT-PCRtestingfacilitiestoKerala, in view of the rise in cases in the state. The other states to whom the Centre has written are Maharashtra, Punjab, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. Sources said Jammu & Kashmir has also emerged as a cause for concern, and the authorities might be writing to the Union territory. Warningthat“asecondwave is knocking on the door”, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray held a webcast Sunday telling people to observeprecautionsorbereadyfor another lockdown starting March 1. Referring to the rise in cases in the state, including Mumbai and Pune, Thackeray said, “The second wave has not yet come but it is knocking on our door. We will get to know in CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Discharged after testing negative for Covid, CM Vijay Rupani votes in Rajkot for Gujarat corporation polls Sunday. Express Next: 60-plus first, free shots not for all KAUNAIN SHERIFF M NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 21 THE NEXT phase of vaccination against Covid-19 — of about 27 crore beneficiaries of ages 50 years and older — will have two groups: those who will get the vaccine for free, and those who will have to pay, The Indian Express has learnt. The vaccination of this group will begin early next month — and those above the age of 60 will be prioritised. The government has also decidedthatinthesecondphaseof inoculation, beneficiaries can choosetogettheirshotsinastate different from the one to which they belong according to the electoralroll,seniorofficialssaid. “There will be two pre-defined groups (in the next phase of theexercise).Thegovernment will define which group will get the doses (of vaccine) for free. Beneficiarieswillknowwhether 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.