SATURDAY COCA-COLA TO HALVE ITS OPERATING UNITS, CUT JOBS 29 AUGUST, 2020 The beverage maker, reeling from the pandemic’s impact on its sales, on Friday put out plans to restructure its workforce morningstandard.in ‘VOLUNTARY SEPARATION’ FOR 4K WORKERS facebook.com/TheMorningStandard twitter.com/TheMornStandard instagram.com/themorningstandard KASHMIR FOUR MILITANTS SHOT DEAD Another caught alive after encounter in Shopian PAGE 8 A CAPITAL VIEW OF NEWS NEW DELHI J8.00 $550mn PAGES 12 IS HOW MUCH THE COMPANY EXPECTS TO INCUR IN SEVERANCE EXPENSES The company will have nine new divisions to manage its global business, instead of 17 divisions now. The changes will lead to workforce reduction, the firm said, adding it’ll offer “voluntary separation” packages to about 4,000 employees, including in the US. Final-year college exams must be held, says SC EX P R ESS N EWS S E RV I C E @ New Delhi An Indian Youth Congress worker being detained in New Delhi on Friday during a protest against holding of JEE and NEET in September | SHEKHAR YADAV Six Oppn states move SC over NEET, JEE dates Oppose exams due to logistics issues, concern over safety of candidates E X P R ESS N E WS S E R V I C E @ New Delhi CITING logistics challenges due to lockdown restrictions, six Cabinet ministers of West Bengal, Punjab, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand on Friday filed a joint petition in the Supreme Court seeking postponement of NEET and JEE exams this year. The exams are scheduled to be held next month. West Bengal law minister Maloy Ghatak, Jharkhand finance minister Rameshwar Oraon, Rajasthan health minister Dr Raghu Sharma, Chhattisgarh food minister Amarjeet Bhagat, Punjab health minister Balbir Singh Sidhu, and Maharashtra education minister Uday R Samant sought review of the top court’s August 17 order rejecting pleas to cancel NEET-UG exams, saying life must go on. The review petition by the Opposition-ruled states noted that the Supreme Court’s decision to allow the Centre to go ahead with the exams fails to secure the students’ safety and their ‘right to life’. According to the petitioners, the apex court’s advice that ‘Life must go on’ may have philosophical underpinnings, but it EXPRESS READ HC dismisses Choksi’s plea on documentary Fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi’s plea to pre-screen a Netflix documentary was rejected by the Delhi High Court. Choksi had contended that the documentary would severely impact his reputation as well as create a perception of guilt. The documentary is due for release on Sept 2. P5 CBI grills Rhea in Sushant case The CBI questioned actor Rhea Chakraborty for the first time on Friday since it took over the investigation into the case relating to the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput. The late actor’s flatmate Siddharth Pithani and manager Samuel Miranda were also questioned by the federal agency. P7 cannot be a substitute to valid legal reasoning and logical analysis of the various aspects involved in the conduct of NEET and JEE. JEE (Main) will be conducted through 660 centres, with 9.53 lakh students set to appear— roughly 1,443 students per centre. Similarly 15.97 lakh students , Mamata Banerjee steps up rhetoric Kolkata: West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee on Friday vowed to give a “taste of freedom” to the entire country by defeating the saffron party’s “political epidemic” in the 2021 Assembly polls are set to take NEET at 3,843 centres—415 students per centre. “Such large movement of people will defeat the twin solutions we have of combating the Covid-19 i.e. social distancing and avoidance of large public gatherings,” the plea noted. It termed the Centre’s decision “unreasonable, arbitrary and a capricious exercise P7 of power.” UPHOLDING the University Grants Commission (UGC) notification mandating universities to conduct final-year exams by September 30, the Supreme Court on Friday said states and UTs can’t promote students without holding exams. A bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and M R Shah said finalyear exams must be held, and that internal assessments will THE Punjab Assembly on Friday unanimously passed a resolution tabled by CM Amarinder Singh against the Centre’s farm ordinances and the proposed electricity bill in the absence of the opposition SAD. However, both the BJP MLAs were present. The resolution said the ordinances were against the rights of the farmers and the federal structure. The resolution rejected the account health concerns of the students. “Both, the earlier guidelines as well as revised guidelines have taken due notice of the prevailing situation of COVID-19 and it cannot be said that the expert body is unaware of Pandemic spread throughout the country The criticism of . guidelines that they are unreasonable does not inspire any confidence.” On August 18, the court had Hands tied, states unable to tick borrowing option given by Centre A N U R A D H A S H U K L A @ New Delhi THE Centre’s suggestion in the GST Council meeting on Thursday that states borrow from the Reserve Bank of India to make up for revenue shortfall will not be viable for states. This is because most states are already reeling under high debt as well as fiscal deficit. Under existing rules, states can’t borrow more than 3.5% of their GDP. The Union finance ministry has given the option to state governments to borrow as much as `2.35 lakh crore from RBI. However, as borrowing is guided by the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act, it will need some regulatory changes. “There is restriction on the amount they can borrow, which is set at 3% of their GDP and then it was extended to 3.5% during the pandemic. Now, the additional debt will be added to their limit, which will restrict their borrowing capacity for other purposes,” a senior finance ministry official said. States rely on three sources to finance expenditure — own resources, transfers from the Centre, and borrowings. After GST, dependence on resources and tax collections shank and, as a result, borrowing shot up. In the current financial year, the gross borrowings of the Centre and states increased to `21.6 lakh crore, while net borrowings stood at `18.9 lakh crore. As of July this year, the combined market borrowings of the Centre and states were almost 77% more than the corresponding period a year ago. Revenue shortfall, no trans- fer from the Centre and inability to borrow will force states to cut their planned expenditure, say experts. According to Soumya Kanti Ghosh, group chief economic adviser at State Bank of India, states have certain limitations on borrowing. Citing Article 293 (3) of the Constitution, he said a state can’t raise borrowings without the Centre’s consent if it has any loan outstanding which is repayable to the Government of India. Also, unlike the Centre, states cannot directly borrow from external sources. “The Centre plays the role of an intermediary in the transfer of exter nal bor rowings to states,” Ghosh added. It is better if the Centre monetises the debt and gives to states. RBI will be also comfortable dealing with the Centre rather than deal with close to 30 sub-national entities Soumya Kanti Ghosh, group chief economic adviser, SBI SCHEME The IDs can be created by providing basic information that includes full name, year of birth, gender and either a mobile number or an Aadhaar number | P7 OVER 55K I-CARDS ISSUED FOR DIGITAL HEALTH MISSION Negligence driving up Covid cases in Delhi S O M R I TA G H O S H @ New Delhi THE surge in Covid-19 cases in Delhi in the past few days could be because of people’s negligence and carelessness to follow social distancing norms and wearing of masks, according to experts. “And with the opening of metro services, the cases are likely to go up more. Because the air circulation system of metros are different from that of airplanes. A passenger travelling for a long distance inside the closed compartments with no mask remains at high risk of getting infected. The impact of metro service will be visible within a week,” said Naval Kishore, professor of medicine at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences. Keeping in view the rising cases, the state government A health worker collects swab samples for Covid test on Friday | PARVEEN NEGI plans to increase testing to nearly 40,000, which is currently about 20,000 a day . On August 4, active cases in the city had gone down below 10,000. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had then claimed it to be a success in Punjab rejects Centre’s farm ordinances H A R P R E E T B A J W A @ Chandigarh not suffice for conferring degrees. The bench made it clear that states cannot promote students without holding exams. However, states have the power to postpone exams in view of the pandemic. They can consult the UGC to fix a fresh date for their state, the SC said. The bench refused to accept contention of the petitioners that the UGC did not take in farmers’ produce trade and commerce ordinance, farmers’ agreement on price assurance and farm services ordinance, essential commodities (amendment) ordinance and the Electricity Amendment Bill 2020. The resolution termed these ordinances as anti-farmer and against the MSP regime. Amarinder said the House was seriously concerned about the apprehensions caused by the three ordinances to the people particularly the marginal farmers and landless workers. These ordinances were not only against the agriculture marketing system established in the state, but were also against the Constitution. He referred to List II of the Constitution that places agriculture to the subject of the states. “Therefore, these ordinances are a direct encroachment on the functions of the states and against the spirit of cooperative federalism.” CONTINUED ON P8 combating the pandemic as active cases had reduced to four digit figures. But, active cases are rising once again and is currently at 13,550. For the past four consecutive days, new cases have been high. As per the state govern- ment’s daily health bulletin, 1,808 fresh cases were detected on Friday. Owing to this rise, the occupancy of beds in hospitals has also gone up. “In the last 4-5 days there have been relatively more new admissions compared to the end of last month or the beginning of this month. But most of those who are getting admitted are in a stable position. There hasn’t been much rise in the number of patients on ventilators or needing oxygen,” said B L Sherwal, director, Rajiv Gandhi Super Specialty Hospital. Currently there are 4,892 pa, tients admitted in hospitals, including the ones on ventilator and oxygen while 6,850 are in home isolation. As per the health department, the recovery rate of Delhi is currently at 89.41 per cent. We don’t find any unreasonableness or arbitrariness in the revised UGC guidelines which require all universities/ colleges to conduct at least the final-year exam Supreme Court reserved its order on the students’ plea against the UGC decision to make the final-year exams compulsory This plea is . against the UGC’s decision asking institutes to conduct final- year exams by September 30. The petitioners have demanded that final-year students should also be evaluated using alternative methods as conducting exam is not feasible amid the pandemic and floods across the country . The UGC had said that its directive asking universities and colleges to conduct exams by September 30, is not a diktat but states cannot take decision to confer degrees without holding the tests. CIRCUMSPECT SC REFUSES TO BAN SUDARASHAN TV SHOW FOR NOW EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi provisions of the criminal law intended to ensure social A private TV channel’s con- harmony and the peaceful cot rove r s i a l s h ow, wh i ch existence of all communiclaimed a ‘big expose on con- ties,” the bench said, while spiracy to infiltrate Muslims hearing the petition filed by in government service’, on s e n i o r a dvo c a t e F i r o z Friday came under judicial Iqbal Khan. scrutiny before the Supreme The top court noted togethC o u r t a n d t h e D e l h i er with free speech, there are High Court. other constitutional values While the top court refused which need to be balanced to impose pre-broadcast ban and preserved including the on Sudarshan TV from airing fundamental right to equali‘Bindas Bol’ proty and fair treatgramme, the HC, in ment for every segan interim order, ment of citizens, as stayed the telecast it issued notice reof the episode — turnable on SeptemPrima facie, the ‘UPSC Jihad’ — ber 15. petition raises which was sched- significant issues Some former and bearing on the uled to be telecast at present students of protection of 8 pm on Friday . Jamia Millia Islamconstitutional A Supreme Court ia had approached rights. ... The court bench comprising will need to foster the high court statJustices D Y Chaning that the show is a considered drachud and K M Josought to defame, atdebate on the seph said it has to be tack and incite hasetting up of standards of circumspect in imtred against the varself-regulation posing a prior resity, its alumni and straint on publicathe Muslim commuSupreme Court tion or the airing of nity at large. views. A single-judg e “At this stage, we have de- bench of the HC Justice sisted from imposing a pre- Navin Chawla issued a rebroadcast interlocutory in- straint order against the junction on the basis of an broadcast and also issued nounverified transcript of a for- tice to the Centre, UPSC, Suty-nine second clip. The court darshan TV and Suresh has to be circumspect in im- Chavhanke. posing a prior restraint on The editor had uploaded a publication or the airing of trailer for the show on his views… We note that under Twitter handle on August 25, statutory provisions, compe- alleging a conspiracy in the tent authorities are vested “overwhelming” number of with powers to ensure com- Muslim students clearing the pliance with law, including UPSC examinations. D E L H I C O V I D STATUS OF CASES Today 1446 20 -1808 Recovered Death Active cases Total +ve cases Cumulative 151473 4839 13550 169412 Total beds Occupied Vacant 14138 10143 594 3904 728 260 (COVID-19) TESTING STATUS 6,920 16,013 RTPCR/CBNAAT/ TrueNat tests conducted (COVID-19) PATIENT MANAGEMENT Hospital Covid care centre Covid health centre W A T C H 10234 5280* 334 HOME ISOLATION : 6850 *4135 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 28 Rapid antigen test conducted in city 15,26,655 80,350 Total tests done so far Tests per million Containment zones as on date: 763 Calls received in control room: 119 Total number of calls dispatched to ambulances: 1127 Total number of calls refused: Nil SCARY START India player among 10 positives in CSK V E N K ATA K R I S H N A B @ Chennai IN a major setback, multiple members of Chennai Super Kings, including an India player, tested positive for Covid-19 in Dubai late on Thursday . While no official numbers have been released, sources said there could be at least 10 infections. All of them have been put under 14-day quarantine. This is expected to have an impact on the scheduling of the tournament set to begin from September 19. Chennai, incidentally, were supposed to play the IPL opener against Mumbai Indians, but that will not be possible because of the quarantine. Chennai, who were supposed to start training from Friday after completing the mandatory six-day quarantine, learnt on Thursday that several members of their contingent have tested positive. It is understood that all of them were asymptomatic and had tested negative in the three tests conducted in Chennai before they left for Dubai. Even upon arrival on August 21, the two tests conducted by the BCCI were negative. And only the test on Thursday – third in six days – returned positive. Though there were apprehensions on the future of the event, officials claim the situP11 ation is under control.
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