FRIDAY The US has proposed to introduce a wage-level-based selection process for H-1B visas 30 OCTOBER, 2020 US plans to scrap lottery system to select H-1B visas epaper.morningstandard.in facebook.com/TheMorningStandard twitter.com/TheMornStandard Will incentivise employers to pay more EXIGENCY DARK DAYS AHEAD FOR PUNJAB ■ Rail roko hits electricity production as 2 out of 3 power plants run out of coal ■ A CAPITAL VIEW OF NEWS PAGE 8 PTI NEW DELHI J8.00 SHARE OF STUBBLE BURNING IN DELHI’S PM2.5 CONCENTRATION Thursday Wednesday Tuesday Monday Sunday Saturday 36 18 23 16 19 All figures in % 9 Accumulation of locally generated pollutants and increased external intrusion due to north-north westerly boundary level winds from regions where stubble is burnt were the major factors for the increase in PM2.5 levels Source: SAFAR, Ministry of Earth Sciences CENTRE BRINGS NEW LAW ON AIR POLLUTION SC TOUGH ON STUBBLE BURNING Five-year jail now Nobody should fall for polluting air sick, SC to Centre R I C H A S H A R M A @ New Delhi THE Centre has promulgated an ordinance that puts in place a commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and provides for up to five years’ jail term and up to `1 crore fine for violators. The ordinance, signed by the President on Wednesday, will be enforced in the states of Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi and the National Capital Region. The Commission will replace the 22-year-old Supreme Court monitored Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority for NCR. Headquartered in Delhi, it will have over 20 members and will be headed by a chairperson not below the level of secretary appointed by the Centre. The new body will draw its power from the Environment Protection Act, 1986, and the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1988. It shall have the power to lay down pa- rameters of air quality param, eters of discharge of environmental pollutants, to inspect premises violating the law, ordering closure of non-abiding industries/plants etc. It can restrict any industry operations , or processes or class of industries that may have implications on air quality in the region. The ordinance said the orders of the Commission shall prevail in case there is a conflict between the central pollution control board and the state pollution control boards. It may take up matter suo motu or on the basis of complaints and any appeal against any of its direction can only be filed with the National Green Tribunal. There will be three sub-committees — monitoring and identification, safeguarding and environment and research and development — having representatives from all the states concerned. P5 K A N U S A R D A @ New Delhi THE Supreme Court on Thursday deferred hearing on a PIL over stubble burning in the neighbouring states of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh till November 6 after the Centre informed a bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde that that it has already promulgated an ordinance to curb air pollution in Delhi and NCR. “We would like to look at the ordinance before passing any order. Even the petitioners would like to see,” said the bench. “Nobody should fall sick because of this pollution and if anybody falls sick, we will make you responsible,” the bench told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who informed the bench about the Centre’s move to bring in an ordinance. On October 16, the court had appointed a one-man committee headed by Justice (retd) Madan B. Lokur to take steps for prevention of stubble burning in the three states, but stayed its operation days later after the Centre assured that it’s coming up with a law. Opposing the stay on the Lokur panel, senior advocate Vikas Singh, who appeared for the petitioners — a Class XII student and a law student — said the law would be of no use and the air quality would further deteriorate in a week as he stressed on the urgent need to stop stubble burning. The top court, however, told him “this is not an adversarial litigation”. “Some experts have informed us informally that it is not only stubble burning that creates pollution,” CJI Bobde said, and added in a lighter vein that it’s time to take out the bicycles. “We would like you to stop using your beautiful cars, which you won’t. We should all go about on bikes — not motorbikes but bicycles.” PAGES 12 If finalised, the new selection process will incentivise employers to offer higher wages. Department of Homeland Security says this is a better way to allocate H-1Bs when demand exceeds supply The proposals have been published in the Federal Register, but their implementation may hinge on outcome of the US polls | P7 MUKESH RANJAN & RAJESH KUMAR THAKU R @ Muzaffarpur/Patna Tejashwi asks why Modi quiet on jobs, corruption AT a highway crossing in Jarang Baluaha village of Muzaffarpur, a group of men playing cards under a tree are discussing the ongoing Bihar elections. As the debate touches on the subject of the Rashtriya Janata Dal’s rule of Lalu Yadav-Rabri Devi, when criminals ruled the roost, Amar Chand Ver ma, 32, tur ns agitated. “Let Nitish Kumar keep on shouting Lalu jungle raj, but the people will vote for the candidate of their choice. It is not going to influence the voters,” he said. His views are echoed by Shubham Thakur, 21, a graduate in Patna. “What is the point in recalling the Lalu-Rabri rule? We want jobs, whoever will perform on this front will get our vote, irrespective of caste and creed,” he said. Lal Bachchan Paswan, 30, of Kamtaul village agreed with them. “Most of the people who witnessed that regime have died. Those who are still alive Responding to PM Modi describing him as ‘yuvraj of jungle raj,’ RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav on Thursday accused the PM of skipping “real issues” such as corruption, unemployment and the migrant crisis. People don’t get their work done without bribing, he said. P8 TESTING STATUS 17,029 RTPCR/CBNAAT/ TrueNat tests conducted 45,76,724 Total tests done so far 2,40,880 Tests per million DELHI COVID WATCH Lalu’s name is conspicuously missing from RJD’s hoardings | RANJIT K DEY Let Nitish Kumar keep on shouting Lalu jungle raj, but the people will vote for the candidate of their choice. It is not going to influence the voters — Amar Chand Verma, 32-year-old voter have no say in the decisionmaking of their family members,” Paswan said. But Lata Sinha, 54, a college teacher in Patna whose doctorhusband was kidnapped for ransom in 2004, violently disag rees. “Those who BIHAR have seen those days 2020 will never forget them. We will not vote for that party at any cost,” she said. Sinha is supported by Kaushal Kumar Singh, 55, of Vaishali. “In those days we didn’t have the courage to go out in the evenings or buy a new car. Either you would get STATUS OF CASES Today Cumulative RECOVERED 4,138 3,38,378 DEATH 27 6,423 ACTIVE CASES -30,952 TOTAL +VE CASES 5,739 3,75,753 PATIENT MANAGEMENT Total beds Occupied Vacant HOSPITAL 15,749 5,854 9,895 CARE CENTRE 7,887 953 6478* HEALTH CENTRE 527 337 190 18,069 HOME ISOLATION *456 beds of CCC are occupied by persons under quarantine including travellers who came by Vande Bharat Mission and Bubble flights Source: Delhi health bulletin | October 29 In a sensational admission in the National Assembly, Pakistan minister Fawad Chaudhry claimed, “Humne Hindustan ko ghus ke maarase.” | P7 scheme for all now EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi IN a bid to boost consumption, the Centre on Thursday extended the I-T exemption available under the LTC cash voucher scheme to employees of state governments, stateowned enterprises and the private sector as well. “The payment of cash allowance, subject to a maximum of `36,000 per person as Deemed LTC fare per person (Round Trip) to non-Central Government employees, shall be allowed income-tax exemption,” a finance ministry statement read. To avail the scheme, one has to spend three times the value of the deemed LTC fare on How it works If the deemed LTC fare is `80,000, then one has to spend `2.4 lakh on specified goods / services to avail the tax benefit under the scheme goods or services carrying a GST rate of 12% or more and obtain a voucher indicating the GST number and the amount paid. The payment must be done digitally between October 12, 2020 and March 31, 2021. Those who have exercised the option to pay income tax under concessional tax regime under Section 115BAC of the Income-tax Act, 1961 will not be entitled for this exemption. Western UP mahapanchayat seeks justice for murdered Haryana girl N A M I TA B A J PA I @ Lucknow THE killing of a young college girl in an alleged ‘love jihad’ case in Ballabhgarh of Haryana found its echo at Raghunathpur village in Hapur dist r i c t o f we s t e r n U P o n Wednesday The VHP, Bajrang . Dal, and Karni Sena held a ‘mahapanchayat’ demanding death for the killers. The girl was shot dead on Monday by a stalker, who was once her friend, after he failed to abduct her. The crime was recorded in a CCTV camera. Hundreds of people from 60 villages with a sizeable Rajput population attended the panchayat to seek adequate com- ‘Fast-track court to hear murder case’ Trial in the Ballabhgarh murder case will be held in a fast-track court, Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij said, adding challan in the case will be issued soon. pensation for the victim’s family and a fast-track court to try the accused. A Hapur police officer said around 300 people participated in the three-hour meeting of the panchayat. He said the panchayat organisers handed over a memorandum to acting SDMe Pankaj Saxena. Police force was deployed around the venue of the gathering. Sources said the leaders of the rightwing groups said they would launch a movement if justice was denied to the woman’s family which is originally , from Raghunathpur. The 19-year-old girl was murdered after she refused to get into the car with the accused who had been stalking her. Both the accused Tauseef and his friend Rehan were arrested on Tuesday from Mewat. Sources said Tauseef told the police that he killed the victim as she was planning to get married to someone else, rejecting his offer of “friendship” and conversion to Islam. French President Emmanuel Macron (second left) and Nice mayor Christian Estrosi (third left) meet police officers after a knife attack at Notre Dame church in Nice, southern France, on Thursday | AP Three stabbed to death in church attack, France on maximum alert NICE, FRANCE: An attacker armed with a knife killed three people inside a church on Thursday in the souther n French city of Nice, prompting the government to raise its security alert status to the maximum level hours before a nat i o n w i d e c o r o n av i r u s lockdown. It was the third attack in two months in France that authorities have attributed to Muslim extremists, including the beheading of a teacher. It comes during a growing furor over caricatures of the Prophet that were republished in recent months by the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo — renewing vociferous debate in France and the Muslim world over the depictions that Muslims consider offensive but are protected by French free speech laws. Other confrontations and attacks were reported on Thurs- H-1B visas are issued each year, in addition to renewing lapsed ones In battle of narratives, a generational divide in Bihar BRAZEN LTC cash voucher PAK MINISTER BRAGS ON PULWAMA TERROR ATTACK 85,000 day in the southern French city of Avignon and in the Saudi city of Jeddah, but it was not immediately clear if they were linked to the attack in Nice. French President Emmanuel Macron said he would immediately increase the number of soldiers deployed to protect schools and religious sites from around 3,000 currently to 7,000, and France’s anti-terrorism prosecutor opened an investigation. French churches have been ferociously attacked by extremists in recent years, and Thursday’s killings come ahead of the Roman Catholic All Saints’ holiday. The assailant was wounded by police and hospi- talized after the killings at the Notre Dame Basilica, less than a kilometer from the site in 2016 where another attacker plowed a truck into a Bastille Day crowd, killing dozens of people. Thursday’s attacker was believed to be acting alone, and police are not searching for other assailants, said two police officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to be publicly named. “He cried ‘ llah Akbar!’ over A and over, even after he was injured,” said Christian Estrosi, the mayor of the Mediterranean city who confirmed a woman and a man died inside the church. AP | P9 If we are attacked once again it is for the values which are ours: freedom, for the possibility on our soil to believe freely and not to give in to any spirit of terror. Emmanuel Macron, French President mugged or your car would be lifted,” he said. As campaigning for the three-phase elections peaks, a competing narrative is being built by the BJP-JD(U) combine on the one hand and the RJD on the other. The BJP-JD(U) has repeatedly targeted the RJD and its leader Tejashwi Yadav, warning voters of the RJD misrule. Campaigning in Muzaffarpur on Wednesday Modi described , the 15-year RJD rule as the age of “darkness” and called Tejashwi the “jungle raj ka yuvraj (prince of jungle raj).” CONTINUED ON P8 Lashkar front kills three BJP workers in south Kashmir F AYA Z W A N I @ Srinagar THREE BJP workers, including a Yuva Morcha general secretary, were shot dead by militants at Qazigund in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district on Thursday evening. The Resistance Front (TRF), believed to be a shadow group of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, has claimed responsibility for the killings.’ Police said militants fired at Fida Hussain Itoo (BJP Yuva Morcha general secretary Kulgam), Umar Hajjam and Haroon Rashid from a close range. The three were shifted to nearby hospital, where doctors declared them brought dead. Police, CRPF and army personnel rushed to the area and launched a search operation to track down the militants involved in the attack. The operation was going on when the report last came in late evening. BJP spokesman Manzoor Bhat said the assassinations shows the frustration of militants. “The BJP is gaining popularity in Kashmir and militants are frustrated by it,” he said. Fida had recently become the father of a girl. “We strongly condemn the killing of party workers,” he said, adding that the BJP workers and leaders won’t be cowed down by such attacks. Bhat also urged the central government to provide security to all grassroot level workers of the party in the Valley. Militants have since June stepped up attacks on BJP workers and leaders in the Union Territory . STUDY POLIO VACCINE HELPING KIDS Genomic evidence suggests the oral vaccine might be protecting young Indians from Covid-19 through a process called cross-protection PAGE 7
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