DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE MONDAY, JULY 12, 2021, NEW DELHI, LATE CITY, 16 PAGES THELOSS OF LEARNING BY TANYA AGGARWAL & SIMRAN KHARA PAGE 8 Amit Mitra, Bengal finance minister since 2011, likely to step down SANTANU CHOWDHURY KOLKATA, JULY 11 SENIOR TRINAMOOL leader Amit Mitra is likely to step down as West Bengal Finance Minister due to ill-health, sources in the party said. Though Mitra, 74, did not contest the recently held Assembly elections, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee handed the Finance portfolio to Mitra, who has held the post since 2011, when the TMC first came to power in Bengal. Since he is not an MLA, Mitra can remain in his post for a maximum of six months Didn’t fight unless he conrecent tests—andwins elections — a byelection. A senior Trinamool leader said on condition of anonymity, “Amit Mitra will complete six months as state finance minister in the third Mamata Banerjee cabinet on November 4. As he is a non-MLA minister,hewillhavetoleavethe post after six months or seek election through bypolls. However, he has informed the party that he does not want to continue as state minister post November 4 due to ill-health.” The Indian Express tried to contact Mitra but he was not available for comment. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 JAISHANKAR, PAK COUNTERPART IN DUSHANBE THIS WEEK Taliban at Kandahar gates, India pulls out nationals from consulate in city Mazar consulate could be next, diplomats still in Kabul SHUBHAJIT ROY NEW DELHI, JULY 11 WITHTALIBANforceshavingadvanced to within a few kilometres of Kandahar, India has evacuated Indian staff and personnel from its consulate in the southern Afghanistan city. New Delhi is watching the situation in Mazar-e-Sharif in the north of the country, where it has a consulate. “The security situation is grim in the north as well, so we are closelymonitoringthe situa- tion there,” a source told The IndianExpress.If thesituationdeteriorates, Mazar-e-Sharif could be the next place from where Indian officials and staffers will be evacuated. As of Sunday, there were no Indian diplomats or other staffers at the Indian consulates inKandahar,Herat,andJalalabad — there were only about 15-20 Afghan staffers at each of these locations. The Indian embassy in Kabul though, was still functioning with Indian diplomats and Afghan staffers. About 50 Indian diplomats and staffers were evacuated from Kandahar on Saturday, sources said. Aspecialaircraftof theIndian Air Force was sent on Saturday to bring back the Indian diplomats, officials, and other staff members including a group of Indo-Tibetan Border Police personnel, the sources said. Theevacuationhasbeencarried out in view of the “intense fightingnear Kandaharcity”,the government said. “India is closely monitoring CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 AVANEESH MISHRA LUCKNOW, JULY 11 At the site of a clash between Afghan forces and the Taliban near Kunduz in Afghanistan. Grab from video obtained by Reuters GOVT & POLITICS STAN SWAMY’S DEATH IN CUSTODY CAN’T BE JUSTIFIED: SANJAY RAUT PAGE 10 MANOJCG&GARGIVERMA NEW DELHI, RAIPUR, JULY 11 Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson celebrates with Sirisha Bandla and other crew members at Spaceport America near Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, Sunday, after their 15-minute space flight aboard VSS Unity. AP Sirisha Bandla goes to Samir Banerjee is Jr space: ‘Always wanted Wimbledon champ: to explore sky, stars’ ‘Felt my roots today’ SREENIVAS JANYALA HYDERABAD JULY 11 AMARTYA SEN, ECONOMIST & NOBEL LAUREATE PAGE 12 THE WORLD HEAT WAVE BLANKETS U.S. WEST AS FIRES RAGE IN SEVERAL STATES PAGE 13 PAGE 1 ANCHOR THE UTTAR Pradesh governmentannouncedonSundaythat “attempts would be made to ensure there is a population balance among various communities” in the state. Extensive campaigns would be run in communities, groups, and geographical areas where fertility rates were higher, the government's new Population Policy 2021-30 said. “Yeh prayas bhi kiya jayega ki vibhinn samudayon ke madhya jansankhya ka santulan bana rahe. Jin samudayon, samvargon, evambhaugolikkshetromeinprajanan dar adhik hai, usme jagrukta ke vyapak karyakram chalaye jayenge,” says the policy document. The policy, which was released by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, aims to bring down thegrossfertility rateinthestate from 2.7 at present to 2.1 by BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY KEY TARGETS ■ Population control ■ Ending curable maternal mortality ■ Ending curable infant mortality ■ Better reproductive health info, facilities ■ Care of elders CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 On Chhattisgarh CM’s chair, Baghel says rotation only for coalition govts INDIAN AMERICANS FLY HIGH ‘Public discussion could have saved poor from suffering in pandemic. India needed more democracy than was allowed...’ UP population plan for ‘balance’ among communities, lower fertility rate a focus WHEN BUSINESS magnate Richard Branson fulfilled his old dream of flying to space on Sunday, among the five people who accompanied him on the “magical” trip was a 33-year-old woman with roots in Andhra Pradesh’s Guntur. SirishaBandla,vicepresident of government affairs and research operations at Branson’s VirginGalactic,becamethethird woman of Indian origin — after NASA astronauts Kalpana Chawla and Sunita Williams — to fly to space. “From a very young age she had this ambition to explore the sky, the moon, and the stars. Sirishahadsethereyesonspace, and I am not at all surprised that she is all set to realise her dream,” Sirisha’s grandfather Dr Bandla Nagaiah told The Indian Express before the flight commenced on Sunday. “After hearing the news that she was part of the team to go into space, I called her. She was driving but still answered the call. When I congratulated her, she said yes, finally it is happening, and said ‘thank you, thata (grandfather)’,’’ Dr Nagaiah said. Branson, Sirisha, and four others — pilots David Mackay and Michael Masucci, Virgin Galactic’s chief astronaut instructor Beth Moses, and lead operations engineer Colin Bennett — travelled to the edge of space before returning to earth aboard the Galactic Unity 22 spacecraft. “She visited Guntur last November, and as usual she was full of energy and bubbling with ideas. She did not talk about goingtospacewhenshevisitedlast time but she did mention that she was doing very significant work. She is very decisive and has very good leadership qualities,” Nagaiah, who retired as an agriculture scientist from Acharya N G Ranga Agricultural University, said. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 RELATED REPORT PAGE 13 THECONGRESSHighCommand is yet to take a call on a change of guard in Chhattisgarh but Chief MinisterBhupeshBaghelSunday signalled his position on the issuebysayingthatanyagreement to rotate chief ministers is a feature of coalition governments whilehispartyhasathree-fourth majority in Chhattisgarh. Speaking to reporters after meeting AICC leaders in Delhi, includingPriyankaGandhiVadra at the residence of Congress MP IAS officer held for forging court order acquitting him in assault case SHAHID JUDGE IRAM SIDDIQUE THE CALL came just as the ball bounced. It was out. At once, he dropped his racquet and raised hishandstohishead,abemused smile on his face. Then, looking up towards his uncle in the players’ box, the 17-year-old started shouting in disbelief but the words were drowned out by the packed crowd inside Court 1. Samir Banerjee had just become the new Junior Boys Wimbledon champion. “I was saying ‘are you kidding me’. I said it three or four times. I just couldn’t believe it. I was in shock,andthenthatshockturned into happiness, and then I got excited.Itjustmademeveryhappy,” he told The Indian Express. Banerjee is an American player of Indian origin — his father is from Assam and mother from Andhra Pradesh — and has captured the attention of fans from two nations. But if he wasn’t too conscious of his roots before, he “definitely felt it today,” AN IAS officer in Madhya Pradesh hasbeenarrested for allegedly forging two orders of a local court acquitting him in a case of assault filed by a woman five years ago. The officer, Santosh Verma, was promoted to the IAS soon after he produced the purported courtorders,andiscurrentlyadditionalcommissionerintheUrban AdministrationandDevelopment Department in Bhopal. The alleged fraud came to lightafterpoliceinIndoreopened an investigation after Judicial Magistrate First Class Vijendra Singh Rawat filed a complaint at the MG Road police station on June27,statingthatsomeunidentified people had made fraudulent documents of his court. A case was registered under IPC Sections 420 (forgery), 467 (forgery of valuable security), 471 (using forged documents as genuine) and 120B (criminal conspiracy). MUMBAI, JULY 11 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 BHOPAL, JULY 11 Samir Banerjee with his Wimbledon trophy SPORT DJOKOVIC CREATES HISTORY, WINS 6TH WIMBLEDON TITLE ARGENTINA BEAT BRAZIL 1-0 IN COPA AMERICA FINALS PAGES 16 & 15 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Baghel met Priyanka Gandhi on Sunday president Sonia Gandhi, Baghel also said that it is up to the High Command to take decisions on appointment and removal of chief ministers. Meanwhile, sources close to Chhattisgarh Health Minister T S Singh Deo, who was in the race for the Chief Minister’s post in 2018 and is the contender again now,saidtheyare“hopeful”ofhis chances since the party leadershiphasnotyetmadeupitsmind. According to the sources, the then Congress president Rahul GandhihadsignalledthatBaghel and Singh Deo, who was also in Delhi, would equally share the five-year tenure, with Baghel having the first go. However, Baghel, who completed twoand-a-half years in office last month, has repeatedly denied any such agreement. WhencontactedbyTheIndian Express, Singh Deo echoed the Chief Minister’s remarks on CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Over 330 Covid deaths in Central police forces, 40% in second wave MAHENDER SINGH MANRAL NEW DELHI, JULY 11 MORE THAN 84,000 Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) personnel have tested positive for Covid-19sofar,and331havesuccumbed to the virus, data from the Union Home Ministry show. More than 35 per cent of infections and almost 40 per cent of deaths occurred in the period beginningfromthethirdweekof March,whenthesecondwaveof the pandemic started to pick up. Thelargestnumbersof infections and deaths have been seen intheCentralReservePoliceForce (CRPF), the largest of the CAPFs. Of the total 84,045 CAPF personnel infected with the virus from the beginning of the epidemicearlylastyeartoJuly6this year, 24,840 belonged to the CRPF. The CRPF has lost 125 of its personnel to Covid-19. The Border Security Force (BSF) reported 22,978 cases and 90 deaths during the same period, and the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) reported 19,676 cases and 76 deaths, ac- E E X P L A I NE D THE EDITORIAL PAGE `6.00 (`8 BIHAR & RAIPUR, `12 SRINAGAR) WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 Why forces are ● vulnerable Approximately 9 lakh CAPF personnel are deployed across the length and breadth of the country. The fact that they stay in barracks, with shared living and meal areas, makes them especially vulnerable. An officer said that training centres too are vulnerable because “the entire batch stays, eats, and does all its work together”. The armed forces too have seen almost 45,000 cases and around 120 deaths from Covid. cording to Home Ministry data. Inroughlyayearfromthetime the epidemic hit India in 2020 to March 23 this year, 53,343 CAPF personneltestedpositive,and203 passed away, a senior official told The Indian Express. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Rs 6 cr or Rs 25 lakh for Olympics gold? Home state key to cash prize NITIN SHARMA CHANDIGARH, JULY 11 AMONG THE best in the world, wrestlerBajrangPuniaandarcher AtanuDasaretwoofthebrightest medal prospects for India at the TokyoOlympicsstartinglaterthis month. And yet, if Bajrang clinches a gold, he will pocket Rs 6 crore as cash award from his statewhileDaswillhavetobesatisfied with just Rs 25 lakh. Reason: The monetary value of an Olympics medal in India depends on where the medallist hails from. Haryana, Bajrang’s home state,hasannouncedcashawards for medallists ranging from Rs 6 crore (gold) to Rs 2.5 crore (bronze)whileDas’sWestBengal will award amounts from Rs 25 lakhtoRs10lakh.UP,Odishaand the Chandigarh administration, too,areofferingRs6croreforgold followed by Karnataka and Gujarat with Rs 5 crore. Thestateawardsareseparate from the Rs 75 lakh (gold), Rs 50 lakh (silver) and Rs 30 lakh (bronze) that the Central Government offers to Olympics GOING FOR GOLD Cash award announced by states for gold medal (not including `75 lakh from Centre) `6 CR: Haryana, UP, Odisha, Chandigarh `5 CR: Karnataka, Gujarat `3 CR: Delhi, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu `1.5 CR: Uttarakhand `1.2 CR: Manipur `1 CR: Maharashtra, Kerala, Goa `2.25 CR: Punjab Tokyo-bound Olympians with former Sports minister Kiren Rijiju at the launch of the official jersey. Express `75 LAKH: Meghalaya `50 LAKH: Jammu & `2 CR: HP, Jharkhand, Telangana `25 LAKH: West Bengal Kashmir medallists. Speaking to The Indian Express, Manoj Tiwary, former cricketer and West Bengal’s new Minister of State for Affairs of Sports and Youth, said: “As per the 2018 order of the West Bengal government, for the OlympicGames,prizemoneyfor a gold medallist is Rs 25 lakh. For a silver medallist, prize money announcedwasRs15lakh,while a bronze medallist gets Rs 10 lakh. From West Bengal, three sportspersons are going to the Olympics this year, and we will do what needs to be done for their encouragement.” Former Olympian and Haryana’s Sports Minister Sandeep Singh says the state wantstoshowitssupporttoathletes. “We want to convey to the playersthattheHaryanagovernment is with them in their journeytotheOlympicsandamedal. We are glad that other states are matching or following our cash award policy...whatever is happening, is happening for the good of the players,” Singh said. Two-time Asian Games gold medallist and former athlete CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
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