DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2021, KOLKATA, LATE CITY, 14 PAGES SINCE 1932 Economy exits recession as GDP grows 0.4% in Q3; Govt cautions pandemic risk persists AANCHAL MAGAZINE NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 26 THE INDIAN economy emerged out of technical recession in October-December 2020 and grew 0.4 per cent with improvement in manufacturing, construction and agriculture. According to the second advance estimates released by the National Statistical Office on Friday, the economy will, however, face a deeper 8 per cent contraction for the full year 2020-21,asagainsttheearlierestimate of 7.7 per cent. NSO’s second advance esti- mates are obtained by extrapolatingindicatorsliketheIndexof Industrial Production (IIP) of the firstninemonthsof thefinancial year. The estimates were likely to undergo “sharp revisions” since data collection for IIP and CPI were impacted due to restrictions imposed in March last year in view of the pandemic. In a statement, the Finance Ministry said the Q3 numbers were a reflection of the further strengthening of a V-shaped recovery, but warned that India was not yet out of the danger of the pandemic. The GDP had contracted by 23.9 per cent and 7.5 per cent in High-spend Budget willaid V-shapedrecovery Sitharaman KEYSECTORSpulled theeconomyoutof recessioninthethirdquarterof 2020-21. Forthe fullyear,GDPisstillexpectedto contract8%.WithFinanceMinisterNirmala Sitharamanbudgetingasharphikein capitalexpenditure,a V-shapedrecovery appearssustainable.This,alongwithabold privatisationandasset monetisationplan, willgenerateresourcesforpublicinfra,and pavewayforaninvestment-ledgrowth. the April-June and JulySeptember quarters, respectively,markingatechnicalrecession in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. The GDP rates for Q1 and Q2 have now been revised to (-)24.4 per cent and (-)7.3 per cent, respectively. In the third quarter, the manufacturingsectorgrew1.6percent as against a contraction of 1.5 per cent in the previous quarter, and 2.9 per cent contraction in October-December2019.Theconstruction sector also gained momentum, growing 6.2 per cent in October-December 2020, as againstacontractionof7.2percent `5.00/EX-KOLKATA `6.00 (`12 IN NORTH EAST STATES & ANDAMAN) WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM EC RELEASES POLL SCHEDULE Bengal to vote in eight phases; results May 2 CEC Sunil Arora (centre) with ECs Sushil Chandra, Rajiv Kumar on Friday. Anil Sharma CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 VOTING ON DECISION 2021 ASSAM(126SEATS) March27,April1,April6 KERALA(140) April6 IIM-C Board passes resolution against director for writing to Govt: ‘improper’ Bihar 2020 as template, polling stations, voting hours increased RITIKA CHOPRA EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE Seth (left) had said BoG chairman was infringing on her powers NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 26 IN AN unprecedented move, the Boardof Governors(BoG)atIIMCalcutta has passed a resolution against Director Anju Seth for writing directly to the government against the BoG Chairman and her alleged inability to collaborate with the faculty, among other charges. In a special meeting held on February 20, theBoG resolved to “examine” Seth’s conduct as the institute'sheadandhasempowered the Secretary “to collect all documents pertaining to the same"andpresentittotheBoard at the earliest. In all likelihood, this report will come up for discussion at the BoG's special meeting called on Saturday. A showdown this seriousbetween an IIM Director and the Board is without a precedent in IIMs, and the resolution against SethisthefirstsincethenewIIM Act came into force. It'snotclearwhethertheresolution will pave the way for an THE EXPRESS INTERVIEW COMING TOMORROW Celebrated editor MARTY BARON, who retires from The Washington Post on February 28, speaks to The Indian Express THE EDITORIAL PAGE INDIA-PAK:THE MODI DOCTRINE BY AMITABH MATTOO PAGE 6 WORLD U.S. AIRSTRIKES IN SYRIA TARGET IRAN-BACKED MILITIAS PAGE 12 PAGE 1 ANCHOR RESULTS: MAY 2 inquiry against Seth. Both the Director and Chairman, Shrikrishna Kulkarni, did not respond to questions sent by this newspaper on email Friday. Under the new IIM Act, the director cannot be removed bythe Board from office without an inquiry in which she has been informed of the charges against her and given a reasonable opportunity of being heard. One of the main flashpoints is the letter Seth wrote to Kulkarni and another she sent directly to the Ministry of Education (MoE) earlier this month. AsfirstreportedbyTheIndian ExpressonFebruary23,Sethhad, in her letter to the government, accusedtheChairmanof infringingonherexecutivepowers.She CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 26 Nodeep Kaur after being released on bail, in Karnal on Friday. Express Out on bail after HC order, Nodeep Kaur says will continue to protest SUKHBIR SIWACH & JAGPREET SINGH SANDHU CHANDIGARH, FEBRUARY 26 FORTY-FIVEDAYSafterherarrest bytheHaryanaPoliceforleading an allegedly violent protest by factoryworkers,labourrightsactivist Nodeep Kaur, 23, was released from Karnal Jail on Friday evening after the Punjab and Haryana High Court granted her bail earlier in the day. Kaur, whose arrest had captured international attention, waswelcomedoutsidejailbyher familymembersandsupporters led by Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee president Manjinder Singh Sirsa. Speaking to reporters, Kaur claimedshehadnotviolatedany lawandwouldcontinuetopeacefullyprotestfortherightsoffarmers, labourers and women. “Ihavecomeoutof jailthanks tothepeopleIhadbeenassisting and fighting for. Had I done somethingwrong,peoplewould not have spoken for me. I would like to wholeheartedly thank all those from around the world whospokeupforme,”Kaursaid. She also expressed her resolvetogoto"gobacktoSinghu" to lend her support to protesting farmers. Earlier, while granting Kaur bail, Justice Avneesh Jhingan of THE ELECTION Commission announced Friday the poll schedule for four states and one Union Territory, in which West Bengal will vote in eight phases, Assam in three, and Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Puducherry together on the same day. Voting will be spread over a month between March 27 and April 29, and the results for all CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 MORE REPORTS PAGES 3, 4 PUDUCHERRY(30) April6 TAMILNADU(234) April6 WESTBENGAL(294) March27,April1,April6, April10,April17,April22, April26,April29 In high-stakes Bengal battle, it’s Modi pull vs Mamata pushback RAVISH TIWARI & DIPANKAR GHOSE NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 26 BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY EVEN AS the Election Commission announced dates for Assembly elections to four states and the Union Territory of Puducherry on Friday, it's West Bengal, with its poll dates stretching for well over a month, that promises to be the most high-profile of them all. ThestakesarehighinBengal: this is an election that will be fought primarily between CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Beating model code: Mamata hikes wages EXPRESSNEWSSERVICE KOLKATA,CHENNAI,GUWAHATI, T’PURAM,FEBRUARY26 SCRAMBLINGTObeattheModel Code of Conduct that set in the moment the poll schedule was announced Friday, West Bengal hiked the daily wage rate for labourers while the Tamil Nadu AssemblypassedaBilltoreserve 10.5% of the special quota for the Vanniyar community in educational institutions and in appointments to state services. Taking to Twitter ahead of CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 In Wang-Jaishankar Ground Zero: Protest lines hard …And Centre still sees it talk: a new hotline, and deep, state fingers crossed... as Punjab problem, eye two paths to peace on poll-bound states ONE MONTH AFTER JANUARY 26 RITU SARIN CHANDIGARH, NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 26 “JAD MODI Maan Jayein” (whenever Prime Minister Modi relents),” this is the refrain at Singhu one month since the Red FortviolenceonJanuary26when protesting farmers are asked howlongtheirblockadewilllast. Mention the offer of keeping the contentious farm laws on hold for 18 months or two years and there are angry responses. “Itisrepealornothing,”saidVeer Bhan, a farmer from Panipat. “We will not compromise.” Another farm leader from Jalandhar, Amrik Singh, is busy countingthecollectionsatadesk with a register, a receipt book and a black bag. Rs 49,000 has come in until this afternoon. Besides a per-acre “agitation fund” pouring in, those living abroad route funds to him Both sides wait for other to blink; BJP says in Haryana, west UP, party politics RAVISH TIWARI NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 26 Farmers at the protest site in Singhu on Friday. ANI throughtheir relatives. Thedaily collection at Singhu these days: an estimated Rs 2-4 lakh. The resonance is heard in Chandigarh, in the banners calling for repeal of the farm laws tiedconspicuously on bungalow gates; children in playgrounds wearing “I love Kheti” or “I love Kisan” badges — sold in Singhu in heaps for Rs 10 each. It was acknowledging this sentiment that Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh underlined how despite “provocations,” like mini-dharnas at over 100placesinthestateandblockades on railway tracks, the state governmentdidn’tclamp down. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 ONEMONTHsinceasectionofthe farmers’protestsveeredoffcourse andturnedviolentatRedFort,the stand-off between farmers and thegovernmenthasturnedintoa battle of attrition with each side hoping the other will wear down andconcede—evenwithouttalking to each other. The Government is of the view that it has lobbed the ball in the farmers’ court after its 18month hold offer on January 20 and farmers believe the onus is on the establishment tostepforward and secure a resolution. “The agitation has lost its edge, it doesn’t have popular support among masses outside Punjab. It will resolve itself with time,” said a senior BJP leader who was part of the meeting of office-bearers addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last weekend. At the meeting, a source said, the leadership’s message was that the farm agitation, three months on after the sit-in began on the capital’s outskirts, was steered by “anti-BJP elements” andthepartyneedsto“wean”the farmersaway.Inaclearindication that repeal was off the table, the resolutionpassedbythepartyendorsed the three farm laws. Reinforcing this message is CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 SHUBHAJIT ROY NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 26 A DAY after External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar spoke to Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi for 75 minutes, New Delhi and Beijing announcedthatbothhaveagreed toestablishahotline—“fortimely communicationandexchangeof views”, according to China. But separate readouts of the phone call released by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and China's Foreign MinistryFridayunderscoredkey differencesinemphasisandtone on the path ahead. The statement from the MEA outlined an incremental approach and made it clear that disengagement, followed by deescalation, will lead to peace along the Line of Actual Control S Jaishankar; Wang Yi (LAC), and eventually normalisation of ties. ButthestatementfromChina underlinedthattheboundarysituation should not be placed at the front and centre of the relationship,butinsteadata“proper place” in overall ties — the indication was the two sides should returntobusinessasusualwhile the issue is dealt with. Recalling their Moscow meeting of September 2020, wherehehadexpressedconcern CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Hardik slams Gujarat Cong: ‘They may be wanting to pull me down’ LEENA MISRA & PARIMAL DABHI MORBI (GUJARAT), FEB 26 IN THE nearly two years since HardikPateljoinedtheCongress, the Lok Sabha elections and bypolls to eight Assembly seats have gone by with Gujarat now in the middle of state-wide local body polls. But the youth leader, who rattled the BJP government with the Patidar quota agitation in 2015, feels his party is not using him enough. Its leaders “might be wanting to pull me down”, he says. SpeakingtoTheIndianExpress during a campaign stop at Ravapur in Morbi, Hardik says the Congress's state leadership did not organise a single public meeting for him ahead of the local body elections. Over the last tendays,hesays,hehasattended 27 public rallies, all on his own. And, he is sure that if the late Ahmed Patel were alive, the veteran would not have let the BJP gain219seatsuncontestedsofar. “In 2015, the entire results in Gujarat, be it of the taluka, district or nagarpalika, mahanagarpalika, was only because of the(quota)agitationandthatthe party (Congress) will have to accept...Itellthepartyleaderstime and again that you need to understand the people who have comefromtheagitationbecause we are touring. Even today, my tours are constantly on. Not a single one of my tours has been decided by the PCC (Pradesh Congress Committee). Still, I am on my toes because I want to strengthen the party, whether someone else does or not. They (Congress leaders) might be wanting to pull me down, push me and bring me down. Let them, I will stand up again. Because, during the agitation, the BJP would bring me down andIwouldriseup,”saysHardik, who will complete two years in Congress leader Hardik Patel at a kisan mahapanchayat in Morbi, Gujarat, on Thursday. Express the Congress on March 12. “Many times I tell the party that when I joined the Congress, I thought Congress would utilise me. Even there, I feel that my Pradesh high command, the state party in-charge has failed. Organise my meetings, I am ready to do 25 meetings a day. You tell me from today you have to do a 500 km padayatra, assign me something, I tell the party again and again, give me some work,” he says. On February 21, elections to sixmunicipalcorporationswere held, all of which were won by the BJP with Congress not winning a single seat in Surat where theAamAadmiParty(AAP)won 27. On February 28, elections to 31districtpanchayats,231taluka panchayats and 81 municipalities are scheduled to be held. If the state Congress had involved him more, says Hardik, it could have prevented the blank in Surat. According to him, the partyleadershipaskedhimtogo to the city for a rally a day before the last day of campaigning on February 19, but he declined as hehadtours“plannedsevendays in advance”. On February 19, the Congresscalledoff itsonlymajor rallytobeledbystatepartychief Amit Chavda and AICC guardian leaders Biswaranjan Mohanty andRajeevSatav,ostensiblyafter threats of disruption by Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), an organisation Hardik founded andcontinuestobeamemberof. “Had they told me in the beginning that you have to do 25 rallies in Surat, this would not have been the result. The Congress party will have to do atma manthan (introspection) and openly speak up about wheretheyfailedorwereweak... The 6.5 crore people of Gujarat don’t accept BJP, whether anyone believes or not. But the public wants that if Congress fights, they will vote for it,” he says. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Kolkata
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