FRIDAY A diplomatic talk on India-China border disputes was held on Thursday as military-level engagements have hit a wall 21 BOTH COUNTRIES HAD CANDID TALKS ON THE LAC SITUATION: MEA AUGUST, 2020 morningstandard.in facebook.com/TheMorningStandard twitter.com/TheMornStandard instagram.com/themorningstandard AMARINDER SINGH ‘RAHUL SHOULD LEAD CONGRESS’ The Gandhi scion is very competent: Punjab CM PAGE 7 A CAPITAL VIEW OF NEWS l NEW DELHI l J8.00 l PAGES 12 WMCC Jobless indl workers to get half of 3 months’ pay @ New Delhi @ New Delhi The Reserve Bank of India’s six-member Monetary Policy Committee, which met for the last time in its fouryear tenure earlier this month, found the spike in consumer inflation so alarming that it chose to delay taking more steps to address the “deepest contraction in history P10 .” ROADS? NAY, WATERWAYS A man wades through a waterlogged street near Saket metro station in New Delhi on Thursday; people try to pull out a car stuck in Gurugram | SHEKHAR YADAV & PTI Bhushan gets 3 days to apologise for his tweets But the activist-lawyer refuses to change his statement on judiciary, quotes Mahatma Gandhi to say he won’t seek mercy of apex court K A N U S A R D A @ New Delhi My tweets were out of a bona fide attempt to discharge my duty as a citizen. I would have been failing in my duty if I did not speak up at this juncture of history. I submit to any penalty which the court may inflict. It would be contemptuous on my part to offer apology I do not ask for mercy. I do not appeal for magnanimity. I am here to cheerfully submit to any punishment that court may impose Prashant Bhushan THE Supreme Court on Thursd ay g ave l aw ye r- a c t iv i s t Prashant Bhushan three days to reconsider his stand that he won’t apologise for his defamat o r y t we e t s a g a i n s t t h e judiciary . A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra observed the tone, tenor and content of Bhushan’s ‘defiant statement’ makes the matter even worse. It asked Attorney General K K Venugopal to go through Bhushan’s affidavit in justification of his tweets, and see if his reply is a defence or an aggravation of contempt. However, Bhushan told the court he won’t change his statement. Quoting Mahatma Gandhi, he said he will not seek mercy to escape punishment for doing what he believed was right. Bhushan told the court, “I am pained not because I can be punished but because I’ve been misunderstood. I believe open criticism is necessary to safeguard the constitutional order. My tweets were a small attempt to discharge what I consider my highest duty .” Dushyant Dave, appearing for Bhushan, urged the court to defer the hearing on sentence as he sought to file a review petition. The bench said if any punishment is given for contempt, it will be inflicted only after the review petition is decided. When senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, also appearing for Bhushan, said his client has filed several cases in public in- terest, the bench retorted, “You may do a hundred good things but that doesn’t give you the licence to do ten crimes.” The court added, “It is after all about if a person wants to purge the contempt. There is no person on earth who can’t commit a mistake.” Justice Mishra remarked, “There is a Lakshman rekha for everything. Why should you cross the rekha? I haven’t convicted anyone of contempt in 24 years as a judge. This is my first such order.” The Supreme Court had on August 14 held Bhushan guilty of criminal contempt for tweeting two derogatory comments against the judiciary . P7 DON’T PUNISH HIM: AG URGES APEX COURT Attorney General K K Venugopal urged the Supreme Court not to punish Bhushan in the contempt case, saying that the senior advocate has already been convicted Nod to serve liquor cheers restaurants, clubs PA R V E Z S U LTA N @ New Delhi HOTELS, restaurants and clubs in the national capital can serve liquor but bars will remain shut as per the unlock guidelines for the Covid-19 pandemic issued by the Central government. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who also holds the charge of the finance department, directed the excise commissioner on Thursday to grant “necessary permission” for serving liquor in the restaurants and hotels “considering the revenue implications.” “Several state governments, including Assam, Punjab, Rajasthan etc, have permitted serving of liquor by licence Control (LAC) in the Western Sector. The two sides were in agreement that resTHE 18th meeting of the toration of peace and tranWorking Mechanism for quillity in the border areas Consultation and Coordina- would be essential for the tion on India-China Border overall development of biAffairs (WMCC) was held on lateral relations,” MEA Thursday where the two spokesperson Anurag Srivsides agreed to resolve out- astava said. standing issues in an expediIndia and China are intious manner. volved in a standoff along The Indian delethe LAC in eastern gation was led by Ladakh. Relations Peace must Joint Secretary soured after a vioat border (East Asia) Naveen lent face-off beThe two sides Srivastava while tween Indian and agreed that the Chinese side Chinese troops on restoration of was led by Wu JiJune 15 leading to peace and anghao, Director the death of 20 General of the tranquility in the jawans. While Beiborder areas boundary and ocejing claims that anic department would be essential disengagement is for the overall of the Ministry of complete in most development of Foreign Affairs. areas, New Delhi “The two sides bilateral relations maintains that it is had a candid and an ongoing and in-depth exchange of views complex process. on the existing situation in Srivastava said that the the India-China border are- two sides further acknowlas. They reaffirmed that in edged the need to maintain accordance with the agree- c l o s e c o m m u n i c a t i o n ments reached between the through both the diplomatic two Foreign Ministers and and military channels so as the two Special Representa- to ensure complete disentives, the two sides will con- gagement. In this regard, tinue to sincerely work to- they also agreed to continue wards c o m p l e t e their ongoing engagements disengagement of the troops including through the meetalong the Line of Actual ings of the WMCC. EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE Inflation worry behind no rate cut: MPC In the 18th meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC), India and China agreed to continue to work towards a complete disengagement of troops along the LAC. The two sides agreed to maintain close communication through diplomatic and military channels to ensure that the goal is met INDIA, CHINA TO WORK ON FULL DISENGAGEMENT RELIEF IN a move that will benefit at least 40 lakh jobless industrial workers, the Centre on Thursday decided to give 50% of their three months’ salary as unemployment benefit. This will be applicable to those who lost their jobs after March 31 as well as those who might lose their jobs before December 31. Industrial workers whose monthly salary does not exceed `21,000 fall under the ambit of the scheme. To avail the benefit, workers have to show their Aadhaar number as proof. The proposal was approved at a meeting of the Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) Board held on Thursday headed by , Labour minister Santosh Gangwar. “It has been decided to relax the existing conditions and the amount of relief for workers who have lost employment during the Covid-19 pandemic period. The enhanced relief under the relaxed conditions will be payable during the period of 24.03.2020 to 31st December 2020,” a statement from the ESIC said. Review of these conditions will be done after December 31, depending on the need and demand for such relaxed condition, the ESIC said. IS A CONSULTATION MECHANISM FOR MANAGEMENT OF INDIA-CHINA BORDER TO MAINTAIN COMMUNICATION holders under the excise rules at the table in restaurants and clubs and in hotel rooms. Considering the revenue implications, the excise department to issue necessary permission for service of liquor in the restau- The government had allowed restaurants to open from June 8 but serving liquor was prohibited. “Under the unlock guidelines, the Delhi government has allowed operation of res- DELHI NOT ALONE TO DO SO Rajasthan, Punjab and Assam are among states which have permitted service of liquor by licence holders under excise rules at the table in restaurants rants and clubs by licensees at the table and in the hotel rooms,” the order said. The direction comes a day after the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) allowed the reopening of hotels. taurants subject to social distancing norms. In the DDMA meeting held on August 19, 2020, the government has also allowed opening of hotels. Bars will remain closed under the provisions of unlock guide- lines of the Ministry of Home Affairs,” the order said. Restaurant owners have been seeking permission for serving liquor to recover their losses. The National Restaurant Association of India had also written to the excise department for the same recently . Responding to the development, Zorawar Kalra, CEO and MD of Massive Restaurants, said it was a welcome move but he said he was still awaiting the final go-ahead in writing from the authorities. “This will help the industry that has been very badly affected. Sales currently remain at a paltry 10-15 % of pre-Covid levels. Only 18% of the restaurants have actually opened up. This move will ena- ble more and more restaurants to take the plunge and open, which will subsequently lead to a significant increase in employment. Also with the inclusion of liquor, we expect dinner revenue to greatly enhance,” Kalra added. Sujith Herbert, general manager of Hilton Garden Inn at Saket, said he was happy to receive the recent government instruction on reopening of hotels and restaurants. “With this we are all set to welcome our valued guests to the new normal world of elevated hospitality. We have been waiting for this instruction since long and will be happy to create a memorable yet safe experience for all our guests.” D E L H I C O V I D STATUS OF CASES Recovered Death Active cases Total +ve cases Today Cumulative 1059 141826 22 4257 -- 11271 1215 157354 (COVID-19) PATIENT MANAGEMENT Total beds Occupied Vacant Hospital 14122 3582 10540 Covid care centre 10143 593 5804* Covid health centre 594 174 420 HOME ISOLATION : 5707 *3746 beds of CCC are occupied by persons under quarantine including travellers who came by Vande Bharat Mission and bubble flights Source: Delhi health bulletin | Data for Aug 20 PAK’S NOTORIOUS BAT PLANS TO ATTACK ARMY POSTS IN J&K W A T C H (COVID-19) TESTING STATUS 6,010 10,994 RTPCR/CBNAAT/ TrueNat tests conducted Rapid antigen test conducted in city 13,75,193 72,378 Total tests done so far Tests per million n Containment zones as on date: 587 n Calls received in control room: 122 n Total number of calls dispatched to ambulances: 1067 n Total number of calls refused: Nil Intelligence agencies also says 12 Lashkar terrorists are trying enter India in two groups. Pakistan is making desperate attempts to push terrorists before onset of winter, they warn | P8 Over 29% people in Delhi have antibodies against Covid, reveals second sero survey S O M R I TA G H O S H @ New Delhi OVER 29% people were found to have antibodies against Covid-19 infection in the national capital in the latest seroprevalence survey, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain said on Thursday He said that 15,000 representative samples were tak. en in the August 1-7 survey from 11 districts, and the next exercise will begin from September 1. “In the previous survey it , was found that over 22 per cent people had developed anti-bodies. Now, the August survey shows it is 29.1 per cent,’meaning they had got infected and recovered.” This means out of 2 crore population of Delhi, nearly 59 lakh have recovered. P4 Amid Covid spiral, Punjab extends weekend lockdown and night curfew H A R P R E E T B A J W A @ Chandigarh A spike in corona cases has prompted Punjab to reboot its measures which include extension of weekend lockdown with daily night curfew from 7 pm to 5 am in all the cities and towns of the state from Friday . All gatherings, except weddings and funerals, were banned till August 31. All government and private offices will work at half their capacity till the end of this month. In the five worst-affected dis- tricts of Amritsar, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Patiala and SAS Nagar (Mohali), restrictions on vehicular capacity have been imposed again, with buses and other public transport allowed with half the capacity and private four-wheelers barred from carrying more than three passengers per vehicle. The deputy commissioners of these districts have been directed to allow only 50 per cent of the non-essential shops to open to check crowding. These five districts currently account for 80 percent of the active case load in the state. Calling for “war-like preparedness” to deal with the massive Covid spike, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh asked top officials in a videoconference to review the situation across the state, which has also reported an increase in the number of deaths due to the deadly infection. As many as 920 people have succumbed to the disease in the state. The CM directed the officials to restrict public visitors in government offices and encourage online grievance redress system, which, he said has been strengthened by the state government. He directed DGP Dinkar Gupta to strictly enforce compliance to check avoidable crowding in public places. He also asked the DGP to crack the whip on all political protests and gatherings. “Enough is enough,” said Amarinder, adding that we need to be tough without affecting economic activity . The CM ordered increasing the testing to 30,000 a day, with at least 10 persons in the immediate circle of every positive patient being tested. FACE MASKS TO BE PART OF GOVT SCHOOL UNIFORMS IN PUNJAB Face masks will be a part of the uniform for Punjab government schoolchildren from Class I to VIII whenever the schools reopen. The school education department has said it would provide two masks for each student along with the school uniform.Sources said the education department has asked district education officers, block education officers and schools in-charges to ensure supply of the face masks with the uniforms. “In view of the pandemic, it is advised that whatever cloth is left out after the stitched uniforms are supplied should be used for the face masks,’’ read an order. “It should be ensured that children avoid coming to the schools to give their measurements for uniforms; this can be done by their parents.” A budget of `77.45 crore has been set aside for providing uniforms to 12.90 lakh students.
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