DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA ● REG.NO. MCS/067/2018 - 20 RNI REGN. NO. 1543/57 JOURNALISM OF COURAGE THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 2021, MUMBAI, LATE CITY, 16 PAGES `5.00, WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 PLI SCHEME FOR AUTO, DRONE SECTOR; REFORMS FOR TELECOM Major relief for telecom sector, Govt gives 4-year moratorium on AGR dues BJP battling infighting, new Gujarat Cabinet waits another day PARIMAL DABHI & GOPAL KATESHIYA GANDHINAGAR, RAJKOT, SEPTEMBER 15 THE SWEARING-IN of the new Bhupendra Patel-led government that was scheduled for Wednesday afternoon was put off to Thursday, reportedly after several ministers of the outgoing government protested on being informed that they would not find a berth in the new Cabinet. BJP state unit president C R Paatil had told The Indian Express on Wednesday morning that the swearing-in of the new Council of Ministers “is almost final between 2 pm and < 4 pm”. This,afterthepartygaveindicationsonTuesdaythatThursday would be the date for the oathtaking.Byafternoon,postershad comeupattheRajBhavanvenue, bearingWednesday’sdateforthe ceremony. However, until Wednesday afternoon, neither the General Administration Department (GAD) nor the Roads and Buildings Department that wouldhavehandledthelogistics of such an event had any official intimation about the advancing of the date, sources in the two departments claimed. By 3.30 pm, when The Indian Express team visited Raj Bhavan, supporters of Limbdi MLA Kiritsinh Rana had reached from Surendranagar on hearing CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 IN ITS detailed order confirming anticipatorybailto two students booked for a slogan raised during the LGBTQ Solidarity Gathering at Azad Maidan last year, a sessions court has said that the police had provided no evidence on their alleged role in theoffencesforwhichtheywere booked, including sedition. The court also said that rejecting the application would “drag them in another difficulty by spoiling their career”. The court had last week allowed the anticipatory bail pleas of two students who had been granted interim protection from arrest last year. The Azad Maidan police had filedacomplaintagainstthetwo aswellasa22-year-oldtransperson, claiming that a slogan in support of JNU student Sharjeel BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY BID TO BOOST PRODUCTION ■ Shifting between prepaid, post-paid to not require fresh KYC PAGE 13 year moratorium on payment of all dues arising due to the Supreme Court’s September 1, 2020, judgment on adjusted gross revenue (AGR). AUTO ■ Rs 26,058 cr PLI scheme ■ Scheme to incentivise high-value advanced automotive technology vehicles and products CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 NEW DELHI, SEPTEMBER 15 THE RELIEF package for the telecom sector, while offering the prospect of an annual cash flow breather of an estimated Rs 45,000 crore to the fund-starved industry, falls short of addressing the significant smudges of redalreadyonthebalance sheets of a majority of the players. The measures, all of them prospective in nature, also potentially miss out on fostering a more sustainable tariff regime E CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 VISHWAS WAGHMODE MUMBAI, SEPTEMBER 15 MONTHS AFTER the Supreme Court scrapped OBC quotas in local bodies, the Maharashtra cabinet on Wednesday gave the go-ahead for promulgation of an ordinance to provide for OBC quota apart from reservations for Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) within the 50 per cent ceiling in local bodies. Thecabinettookthedecision about making amendments in the law for OBC reservation in rural local bodies such as Zilla Parishad, Panchayat Samiti and Gram Panchayat. Aseniorcabinetministersaid that the decision about making a similar provision for urban localbodiessuchasmunicipalcorporations and municipal councilswillcomein thenext cabinet meeting. The Indian Express was the first report onAugust 27 thatthe government had devised this reservation formula to accommodate the OBC community, and was planning to build consensus among all political parties,includingtheoppositionBJP. State Election Commission (SEC) sources said that the ordinance will not be applicable to theongoingby-electionsforOBC seatsvacatedaspertheSupreme Court order in six Zilla Parishads of Dhule, Nandurbar, Akola, Washim, Nagpur and Palghar and Panchayat Samitis in their jurisdiction. "The decision will be applicable to all the future local bodies polls," said a senior official from the SEC on condition of anonymity. As per a statement from the chief minister secretariat, the amendments will be made in the Maharashtra Zilla Parishad and Panchayat Samiti Act and in the Maharashtra Village Panchayats Act with a provision that "the OBCs will get maximum27percentreservationbut thetotalreservationof SC,STand OBC will not exceed 50 per cent reservation ceiling". The ordinance will be promulgated by the Rural Development Department, it said. Speaking to the media after the cabinet meeting, NCP minister Chhagan Bhujbal said that by-elections were announced recently in some districts as per CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Tatas, SpiceJet chief in race as Air India divestment enters final stage PRANAV MUKUL NEW DELHI, SEPTEMBER 15 ICE, ICE BABIES Humboldt penguins Donald, Daisy at Byculla Zoo in Mumbai. Amidst row over a Rs 15.26 cr tender by BMC for their upkeep, Mayor Kishori Pednekar said the zoo had seen birth of two chicks, rise in ticket sales due to the birds. Pradip Das REPORTONP4 Imam – who was then arrested by Delhi Police on charges of sedition–wasraisedatthegathering. The complaint referred to a video clip where the slogan wasallegedlyheardbeingraised. “...Even the clip, which had allegedly become viral on Twitter as alleged in the FIR, is not produced before the court to know the real circumstances of thetransaction.Therefore, in my opinion, the prosecution has utterly failed to point out the role attributed to the present accused...,” the court said. The two former students of Tata Institute of Social Sciences were bookedoncharges,including 124A (sedition) and 153A (promoting enmity between groups)of theIndianPenalCode. The court said that it had examinedtheapplicabilityof these sections.“Thesamenowhereindicates the active role of the present accused to contribute to CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 NEET skewed results in favour of English-medium, well-off, urban, CBSE kids, TN panel finds RITIKA CHOPRA NEW DELHI, SEPTEMBER 15 THE PROPORTION of students from rural areas, economically weaker backgrounds, Tamilmedium schools, and state board affiliated schools in Tamil Nadu’s medical colleges has decreased significantly after the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) was introduced in 2017-18, according to data crunched by a government-appointed committee. The panel’s findings formed the basis of the Tamil Nadu government’s move to scrap NEET for admission to MBBS programmes in the state. The nine-member panel, tasked by the state government to assess the impact of NEET on medical admissions, found that the proportion of rural students fell from an average of 61.45% (pre-NEET) to 50.81% THECHANGE PRE-NEET (2016-17) TO POST-NEET (2020-21) CBSE students: 0.97% to 38.84% State board students: 98.23% to 59.41% English-medium: 85.12% to 98.01% Tamil-medium: 14.88% to 1.99% Parents earning less than Rs 2.5 lakh p.a: 47.42% to 41.05% Parents earning above Rs 2.5 lakh p.a: 52.11% to 58.95% (post-NEET). Candidatesfromgovernment schools, who were under-represented even before NEET’s introduction, fell further behind (see chartonPage2).Onaverage,government school students made up 1.12% of the first-year MBBS batch in Tamil Nadu pre-NEET. Thefiguredroppedto0.16%postNEET (unreserved seats). Last year,thestategovernmentintroduced a 7.5% horizontal reservationforstate-runschoolstudents. Accordingtothecommittee’s report, the share of Englishmedium school students in medical colleges has increased from 85.12% to 98.01% since NEET. On the other hand, Tamilmedium school students now make up just 1.99%, down from 14.88% four years ago. The proportion of students with an annual family income of less than Rs 2.5 lakh dropped from47.42%in2016-17to41.05% in 2020-21. On the other hand, those whose annual family income was more than Rs 2.5 lakh increased from 52.11% to 58.95% in this period. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 AIR INDIA’S disinvestment process has moved into the final stages, with Tata Sons and SpiceJet promoter Ajay Singh havingsubmittedtheirfinalbids to acquire 100% stake in the national airline. The stake sale includes Air India’s 100% shareholding in AI Express Ltd and 50% in Air India SATSAirportServicesPrivateLtd. “FinancialbidsforAirIndiadisinvestment received by Transaction Adviser. Process nowmovestoconcludingstage,” Secretary, Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM), Tuhin Kanta Pandey said in a tweet. Over Rs 60,000 cr debt, last try to sell AI in 2017 failed The government had in Januarylastyearinvitedsubmission of expressions of interest (EoIs) for full stake in Air India, and made certain changes to the bidconditionsovertime, including allowing interested parties to bid at an enterprise value of theairline, combiningthevalues PUNJAB, HARYANA JUST 7% OF TOTAL Police tie tractor sales to farm protest: Spurt began much earlier HARIKISHAN SHARMA & HARISH DAMODARAN NEW DELHI, SEPTEMBER 15 A SEEMINGLY unusual jump in tractor sales in Punjab and Haryana during November 2020-January 2021 has been cited by the Delhi Police as proof of a “well-orchestrated conspiracy” behind the protests against the Centre’s three farm laws. The Delhi Police has pointed out that tractor sales growth, year-on-year, in Punjab were 43.53 per cent in November, 94.30 per cent in December and 85.13 per cent in January, while in Haryana, the growth figures stoodat 31.81 per cent,50.32 per centand48percentforthesame months. ButdatafromtheTractorand Mechanisation Association (TMA), whose figures the Delhi Policehascited,alsoshowasimilar high year-on-year sales growth trend across India — at 51.25 per cent in November, 43.09 per cent in December and 46.75 per cent in January. What is more, the spurt in salesstartedinMay2020(before the farm protests took off) and continuedrighttillAprilthisyear (well past the peak of the protests in November to February). CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 of both debt and equity. But, soon after the government openedinvitedbids,theCovid19 crisishadhitandtheprocesshad got delayed. In April this year, the Centre had finalised the qualified interested bidders and asked themto submit a final bid. A Tata Sons spokesperson and a source close to Singh confirmed their participation in the disinvestment process. Singh is bidding in his individual capacity. Officials in the Civil Aviation Ministry said that in an ideal situation the transfer of shares was to happen by December, but it is likely to happen by the end of current fiscal. Notably, the government’s 2017attemptatsellingtheairline CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Tribunal posts: Govt claims right to reject, SC flays ‘cherry-picking’ EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, SEPTEMBER 15 EXPRESSINGDISPLEASUREatthe unfilled vacancies in various tribunals, the Supreme Court on Wednesdaytookexceptiontothe Centre’s stand that it “has the power not to accept the recommendationsmade”bytheSearchcum-SelectionCommittee(SCSC), comprising judges of the top court, for appointments. The court also expressed displeasure at the manner in which appointments were made, saying that “there cannot be any cherry-picking” of names. “We are in a democratic country, following the rule of law. It is under the Constitution that we are working. You cannot CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Sansad TV gets in Opp’s Tharoor, Chaturvedi, to talk all but politics KRISHN KAUSHIK NEW DELHI, SEPTEMBER 15 PAGE 4 Union ministers Vaishnaw, Thakur brief the press. PTI ■ Scrapping of Spectrum Usage Charge for airwaves acquired in future auctions PRANAV MUKUL, SUNNY VERMA & SANDEEP SINGH which, according to industry players, could have come as a shot in the arm for players in the capital-intensive sector and other stakeholders, such as banks that have an exposure exceeding Rs 1 lakh crore to telecom companies. Amongthemeasures,theannouncement of a moratorium up to four years on dues arising out of the Supreme Court judgment on annual ● gross revenue (AGR), and on due payments of spectrumpurchasedinpastauctions, is seen as positive in stemmingthebleedintheshortterm. CHARGESHEET FILED AGAINST KUNDRA, 3 OTHERS PAGE 4 PAGE 1 ANCHOR I-T VISITS PREMISES OF SONU SOOD ■ 100% FDI through automatic route Measure will give relief for now to telcos, but may not stop balance sheet bleed THE CITY No evidence on students’ alleged role in offences, including sedition: court MUMBAI, SEPTEMBER 15 ■ 4-year break from paying statutory dues NEW DELHI, SEPTEMBER 15 ANTICIPATORY BAIL GRANTED SADAF MODAK TELECOM ■ Non-telecom revenues out of definition of AGR AASHISH ARYAN & KARUNJIT SINGH THEUNIONCabinetWednesday approved reform proposals for thetelecomsector,entailingnine structural and procedural measures that aim at alleviating sectoral stress by addressing nearterm liquidity concerns. It also cleared a production linkedincentive(PLI)schemefor automobile, auto component and drone manufacturers to boost domestic production. Among the steps approved for the telecom sector, the one that is likely to provide immediate relief to debt-laden companies such as Vodafone Idea is the decision to provide a four- A HELPLINE EXPLAINED Will help address liquidity concerns: Vaishnaw; telcos welcome measures Maharashtra govt to issue ordinance for OBC quota in local body polls WHAT DO politicians talk about when they get together? Not necessarilypolitics,itseems.The Congress’s Shashi Tharoor and Shiv Sena’s Priyanka Chaturvedi will put that to test as hosts of chat shows on the newly launched Sansad TV. While Tharoor has been asked to host To The Point, a series of interviews with eminent personalities, Chaturvedi will interview women parliamentarians in her show Meri Kahaani. However, both shows will steer clear of politics. At least for now. The channel, set up by merging Lok Sabha TV and Rajya Sabha TV, was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Wednesday. The channel is set to feature a series of shows hosted by sitting and PM Modi, Speaker Birla at Sansad TV launch Wednesday. PTI former MPs, beginning with Thaoor and Chaturvedi, both Opposition members, one from Lok Sabha and the other from Rajya Sabha. Former MP and veteran CongressleaderKaranSinghwill lead a series on religion called Ekam Sat (Truth is One). The starting line-up also features at least two senior government officials. While Amitabh Kant, CEO of the government’s public policy think-tank NITI Aayog will talk about "India’s growth story" on the show ‘Transforming India’, Sanjeev Sanyal, the government’s Principal Economic Advisor, will host ‘Economic Sutra’, which will "explain government policies and economic strategies, their underlying philosophy, and projects undertakenoverthelastfewyears",accordingtotweetsbySansadTV’s official handle. Officials said that when the House is in session, there will be two platforms of Sansad TV, one to broadcast live proceedings from Lok Sabha and the other from Rajya Sabha. However, when Parliament is not in ses- sion, oneof the platforms will be kept dormant while the other will feature news, panel discussions and other shows. A senior official from one of the secretariats said Sansad TV has been created as a bilingual channel with programming in Hindi and English. Senior officials aware of the programming plans of the new channel said more sitting MPs willbecalledtodoshows.“There are a couple of shows which have been designed specifically with members of Parliament as CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
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