WEDNESDAY Unilever to test four-day work week from this month 02 DECEMBER, 2020 epaper.morningstandard.in The British consumer goods giant said on Tuesday it would offer shorter work week for all its 81 staff in New Zealand facebook.com/TheMorningStandard twitter.com/TheMornStandard NO COVID RESPITE FEAR OF ANOTHER SPIKE IN DELHI Experts say third wave may be on decline, but surge likely during Christmas, New Year A CAPITAL VIEW OF NEWS PAGE 4 NEW DELHI J8.00 PAGES 12 ROLLS OF UNILEVER IN OVER 1,55,000 EMPLOYEES ON THE100 COUNTRIES TRIAL STARTS SOON, WILL RUN FOR A YEAR During the test, which will roll out this month and run for a year, the employees can decide which four days they want to work each week. There will be no pay cut, even though the total working hours have been reduced. The trial is expected to help employees attain a healthy work-life balance, and enhance productivity, bringing more profits to the company Representatives of farmer unions (from L) address the media after talks with the Centre; farmers relax at the Delhi-UP border after lunch at Ghazipur; and one of the wrinkled faces of the protest | PARVEEN NEGI/PTI GOVT SOWS PANEL PLAN, FARMERS UPROOT IT Agitators reject proposal to form small delegation for talks instead of holding it with all 32 leaders; both sides refuse to budge farm laws; next round on Thursday EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi/Chandigarh THE much-anticipated talks between agitating farmers and the Centre on Tuesday over the controversial three new farm sector reform laws, ended in a stalemate with the former rejecting a proposal to set up a committee to examine the issues flagged by them. Both sides, however, agreed to meet again on Thursday . “Now is not the time for setting up committees,” representatives of farmer unions were quoted as saying. They were firm on their demand to repeal the new laws and said their protests will continue. Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar later said: “We asked the union leaders to form a smaller group and discuss the laws clause by clause. The government has no objection to any discussion. The fourth round of talks will take place on December 3.” Representatives of all 32 agitating farmer unions participated. Apart from Tomar, the government was represented by Railway Minister Piyush Goyal and Minister of State for Industries Som Prakash. According to sources, the government offered to constitute a multidisciplinary panel comprising representatives of farmer unions, agricultural experts and other government bodies to look into their demands, but the union leaders rejected it. “The Centre had no answers. They asked us to propose five names of farmer leaders for a committee that would hold talks with the government and also participate in another panel to discuss the laws. We reject- ed it outright,” Bharatiya Kisan Union (Rajewal) president Balbir Singh Rajewal said. “Minister Narendra Singh Tomar appeared helpless; we could read his body language,” said Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ugranhan) president Joginder Singh Ugranhan. Later, another round of talks was held with BKU chief Rakesh Tikait and other leaders at the agriculture ministry “We . have told them to submit their concerns in writing,” Tomar said. Earlier in the day Defence , Minister Rajnath Singh and Home Minister Amit Shah met Tomar at BJP president J P Nadda’s residence for the third time in as many days. Sources said that the government is trying to dispel the farmers’ concerns but is firm that the laws P7 will not be repealed. We suggested to them to form a small committee, but they said they all will be present in the meeting. We agreed to that —Narendra Singh Tomar, Agriculture Minister Healthy GST revenue, PMI data show recovery is on EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi Strong pick-up in export orders The Nikkei PMI report showed that new export orders increased markedly in November, with survey participants reporting strong demand from key export markets TWO sets of data released on Tuesday indicated India’s economy may be on the mend. For one, Goods and Services Tax (GST) revenue figures for November showed indirect tax collections crossed the psychological mark of `1 lakh crore for the second month in a row, at `1.04 lakh crore. While this was slightly lower than the October mop-up of `1.05 lakh crore, it was 1.4% more than the GST revenue recorded in November 2019, as festive demand drove up sales and tax collections. Festive sales also saw the Nikkei Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) at 56.3 in November, a sign that companies were hoping for continued sales in December and were buying inputs in anticipation. Though the PMI, compiled by IHS Markit, declined to 56.3 in November from October’s decadal high of 58.9, it still remained well above the 50-level s e p a r a t i n g g r ow t h f r o m contraction. Officials said that of the total GST collection, central GST was `19,189 crore, state GST `25,540 crore, IGST `51,992 crore (including `22,078 crore collected on import of goods) and while Cess stood at `8,242 crore (including `809 crore collected on import of goods). The government has settled `22,293 crore to CGST and `16,286 crore to SGST from IGST as regular settlement. CONTINUED ON P10 Govt rebuffs top child rights body, says no mass return of kids from care homes E X P R E SS N E WS S E R V I C E @ New Delhi THE Centre on Tuesday overrode a blanket order issued by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights’ (NCPCR) a few weeks ago to send all inmates of care institutions in eight states, including Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, back to their parents. It informed the Supreme Court that no inmate would be repatriated without proper scrutiny of the support system, as per the requirements under the Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, submitted before a bench headed by Justice L Nageswara Rao that as per law, a child also cannot be kept in a care home forever. But the NCPCR’s order that all children living in care homes in eight states be sent back to their families, would not be implemented. The NCPCR fiat was meant to improve the living conditions of children and was not mandatory he reasoned. , “The children must be produced before the Child Welfare Committee to explore further welfare needs. They will not be sent home without assessment. It’s not an en masse repatriation,” he said. GOVT INSTRUCTS POLICE TO SHOW UTMOST RESTRAINT Wary of drawing negative international attention, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs on Tuesday instructed the Delhi Police to handle the agitation with utmost restraint, amid inputs that more kisan unions are likely to join the protesters. The Centre was, however, quick to snub Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for his comments on the protests, saying they were ill-informed and unwarranted SARKARI CHAI? NO THANKS, SAY FARMERS “During the tea break, the government offered tea and snacks but we turned it down and instead invited them to our agitation spot to have food from our langar (community kitchen). We will also offer milk and jalebis,” informed one of the farmer leaders who attended the meeting with the ministers PARATHA, PICKLE, FRUITS AND MORE – FROM FARMERS TO STREET KIDS G AYAT H R I M A N I @ New Delhi “I had mooli, aloo and gobhi paratha with achar (pickle) and tea for breakfast; dal, kadhi, chapati and rice for lunch; pakoras in the evening and roti-sabzi for dinner,” says Sahil who stays near Singhu Border at Shriram Colony . The 10-year-old Class V student says he never had a full meal like this before. “My parents work as labourers. But due to lockdown, they lost their jobs. Having meals thrice a day is like dream for us. Even in school, I never took lunch. Mere pas to lunch box bhi nahi hai and daily kabhi doodh bhi nahi milta (I don’t even have a lunch box and I don’t get to have milk daily),” he says. INOCULATION Never said all will get Covid shot: Centre E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi THE Centre on Tuesday said it never spoke about vaccinating the entire country against Covid-19, adding there may not even be the need to vaccinate everyone. On the allegation of the ‘adverse event’ reported in the human trial of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, being produced by the Serum Institute of India, the government said it will not affect vaccine timelines. At the health ministry briefing, ICMR Director General Balram Bhargava said the purpose of the vaccine drive would be to break the chain of viral transmission. “If we are able to vaccinate a critical mass of people and break the chain of transmission, then we may not have to vaccinate the entire population,” Bhargava explained. Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said there was never a talk about inoculating the whole population with Covid-19 vaccine. “The government has never spoken about vaccinating the entire country It’s important that we dis. cuss such scientific issues, based on factual information only Bhushan said. ,” The ICMR chief reiterated the importance of masks and said, “Because we are starting with a small group of population at a time, masks will continue to be used to help in breaking the chain of CONTINUED ON P7 viral transmission.” WATER WAR RESERVOIR TO COUNTER CHINA With China building a hydropower project on the Brahmaputra river in Tibet, India plans to construct a reservoir in Arunachal Pradesh to offset its impact | P12 The children are all smiles after receiving food from the farmers | EXPRESS The farmers’ protest is proving godsend for the homeless and children living in areas located around the Singhu border. The kids wandering around the protest site are mostly from financially poor backgrounds. Some of them are rag pickers. Himanshi, a Class-III student of an MCD school, says she never had such an amaz- ing and bellyful of food. “They give us food, bananas, oranges, bottled water and sweets like jalebi and motichoor ladoo. In my house, we get to eat chapati and aloo or dal-chawal. Sweets are like a once-a-year add-on. But, here ‘farmer uncles’ give us unlimited paneer-pakoras. They say eat well and study well.” CONTINUED ON P5
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