FRIDAY 25 DECEMBER, 2020 BCCI TO COMPENSATE ICC FOR T20 WORLD CUP TAXES If government doesn’t grant exemption, world body to be paid by Indian board for event in India in Oct-Nov 2021 The Morning Standard wishes its readers a TWO MORE TEAMS IN IPL, TALK ON MORE VENUES A CAPITAL VIEW OF NEWS NEW DELHI J8.00 The BCCI AGM approved the inclusion of two new IPL teams, which will take the total to 10, from the 2022 edition. There is a proposal to stage IPL matches in more cities. At present, cities the franchises represent host matches. The Covid situation will be considered before involving more venues | P11 PAGES 12 GOVT SAYS ASSURANCES ALREADY GIVEN ON ALL ISSUES, ADDS MSP SYSTEM GUARANTEE WILL BE IN WRITING Nothing new in fresh govt letter, say farmer unions EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi/Chandigarh A day after the protesting farmers ruled out any further talks until the government “draws up a new agenda”, the Centre on Thursday wrote to them again, reiterating it was open to negotiation and requested the farmers to suggest a date and time of their choice for the next meeting. In the letter, joint secretary in the Union agriculture ministry Vivek Agarwal stated the government is ready to discuss all existing issues with an “open mind”. “It is important for the government to have talks with all farmers unions of the country. The government has been talking with unions under the Sanyukt Morcha with an open mind and also desires to talk with you in the future as per your convince,’’ stated the two-page letter. The unions, however, termed the letter a “delaying tactic”. Bharatiya Kisan Union, Punjab (Lakowal) General Secretary Harinder Singh Lakowal said the unions will soon hold a meeting to discuss and prepare a reply . “In today’s letter again, the government is beating around the bush. Prime Minister Narendra Modi should call the protesting farmers with a concrete proposal but he is trying to find and talk to a select few farmers at Kutch in Gujarat,” Lakowal said. In its latest letter, which is in response to the farmers’ reply on Wednesday seeking “a concrete proposal” from the government, the Centre highlighted that it has already given written assurances on all issues raised by the unions in past meetings. It reiterated that the three new farm laws have nothing to do with the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for procurement, but assured the farmers that the government will continue to procure crops on MSP. As things stand now, the agitating farmers are unwilling to stand down from their core demand for a complete withdrawal of the contentious farm laws and a legal guarantee from the govP7 ernment on MSP. Rahul Gandhi with party leaders at the AICC headquarters in Delhi before leaving for Rashtrapati Bhavan on Thursday | SHEKHAR YADAV No democracy in India, claims Rahul 10 unions boycott meet on framing labour code rules E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi CONGRESS leader Rahul Gandhi Thursday attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying there is no democracy in the country and those speaking against the PM are labelled as terrorists. A Congress delegation including Rahul, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad and Leader of Congress in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury met President Ram Nath Kovind and submitted two crore signatures of in support of the agitating farmers along with a memorandum seeking the repeal the three farm sector laws. “There is no democracy Any... one trying to take power from him will be dubbed as terrorist and anti-national, be it farmers, labourers or Mohan Bhagwat (RSS chief). He will make sure the wealth of people is transferred to crony capitalists. He will call people anti-nationals, terrorists to transfer the wealth of these people to three-four crony capitalists close to them,” Rahul alleged afAnyone trying to take power from him (PM) will be dubbed as terrorist and antinational, be it farmers, labourers or Mohan Bhagwat — Rahul Gandhi, Congress leader ter meeting Kovind. “The government said that these laws are in favour of the farmers but the country is seeing that it is the farmers who are against these legislations. The farmers are in pain and also dying. The prime minister will have to listen to them. The way the agri laws were passed in the Monsoon session of Parliament in September, without any discussion and consultation, they need to be withdrawn,” Rahul said. Several Congress leaders, including Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, were detained as they were stopped from staging a protest march to Rashtrapti Bhavan. NEW AGE TRAVEL PM to flag off country’s first driverless train on Dec 28 G AYAT H R I M A N I @ New Delhi THE Delhi Metro has come up with the first fully automated ‘driverless train’ that will be flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi via video-conferencing on Monday. The service will be operated on the 37 kmlong Magenta Line connecting Janakpuri West to Botanical Garden. The PM will also launch a fully operational National Common Mobility Card (NCMC) for travel on the 23-km-long Airport Express Line from New Delhi to Dwarka Sector 21. According to an official of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, the driverless train will have six-car trains. “It will have higher acceleration, resulting in 10% increase in schedule speed and higher regeneration, leading to 20% lower energy consumption. The body of the car will be wider compared to the earlier design,” said the DMRC official. The new-age metro train will maximise the passenger carrying space. “Around 40 more passengers can be accommodated as the driver’s cabin would be removed,” said the official. Each coach can accommodate maximum 380 passengers, which translates to 2,280 passengers on every train. “From starting, stopping, acceleration and braking to operation of doors and handling of emergencies, everything will be fully automated without any onboard staff,” the official added. For a comfortable ride, the train is equipped with WiFi charging point, USB port facility and lumbar support/backrest near the wheel chair area. A digital route map with 37inch programmable LCD screens with videos, graphics, animations, real-time video streaming and improved air circulation have also been arranged for an improved ride experience. CONTINUED ON P4 PRAYER ON LIPS A family offers prayers after lighting candles on the eve of Christmas at the Sacred Heart Cathedral in New Delhi on Thursday | SHEKHAR YADAV WELCOME RELIEF Struggling UK gets its X’mas gift in last-gasp post-Brexit trade deal EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE AFTER months of acrimonious talks, the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU) finally reached a postBrexit trade agreement on Thursday — just in time to avert New Year chaos for crossborder traders and eventually bringing a sense of certainty to businesses. The pact also averts the much-feared “no-deal” scenario that would have sparked economic turmoil and disruption to the flow of goods and medicines. The deal, which will complete Britain’s separation from the EU, will now go to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen for approval. The breakthrough came four-and-a-half years after the UK voted to leave the EU. The agreement was delayed because deliberations had been stuck for months after the two sides were unable to reach consensus on certain areas. Gradually, talks whittled down differences between the two sides to three key issues — fair-competition rules, mechanisms for resolving future disputes and fishing rights. The rights of EU boats to trawl in British waters was the last obstacle to be resolved, according to reprots. However, some aspects of the future relationship between the 27-nation bloc and its former member remain unresolved. Now, the deal needs to go through a series of legal hoops. EU leaders, the European parliament, and the UK government will need to approve the deal. The legal text of the agreement will need to be translated, reviewed and approved by all 27 EU member states. Britain withdrew from the EU on January 31, and the transition period expires on December 31. TESTING STATUS 47,889 RTPCR/CBNAAT/ TrueNat tests conducted DELHI COVID WATCH STATUS OF CASES Today Cumulative RECOVERED 1,120 6,02,388 DEATH 37 10,384 ACTIVE CASES -7,909 TOTAL +VE CASES 1,063 6,20,681 Rapid antigen test PATIENT MANAGEMENT Total beds Occupied Vacant HOSPITAL 18,779 2,813 15,966 CARE CENTRE 7,792 76 7,448* HEALTH CENTRE 562 19 543 81,22,974 *268 beds of CCC are occupied by persons under quarantine including travellers who came by Vande Bharat Mission and Bubble flights 42,031 Total tests done so far 4,27,524 Tests per million 4,790 HOME ISOLATION 5,152 TOTAL NUMBER OF CONTAINMENT ZONES AS ON DATE 1,426 TOTAL NUMBER OF CALLS DISPATCHED TO AMBULANCES Source: Delhi health bulletin | December 24 E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi SEVERAL trade and labour unions on Thursday boycotted a virtual meeting called by the Centre for tripartite consultation to frame rules for four labour codes, saying physical presence of all stakeholders is necessary for such an exercise. They also sought separate meetings to discuss each code threadbare. “This exercise is being under taken only to meet the criticism that this Government at centre is violating tripartite consultations, as on the one hand they cancel the winter session of the parliament, while on the other, throwing all precautions of distancing during the Covid pandemic, for the election camBMS against 50% paign and political rallies etc,” they said in a joint statement. allowances cap As for the RSS affiliate “The wage definition Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh limiting allowances to 50 (BMS), it participated in the per cent of total salary meeting and demanded that should not be frozen.... the new wage definition limitGroup 4 Security case (of ing allowances at 50% of the SC) previously has total salary should not be fromandated 100 per cent zen. While the Mazdoor Sangh allowances to be part of cited the Supreme Court’s versalary,” the BMS said dict in a Vivekananda Vidyalaya case last year to buttress its point, the fact remains that the 50% cap would increase social security deductions like provident fund. The BMS also demanded the scrapping of the maximum daily work hour limit set at 12 in the code, called spread over, saying most countries in the world do not have such a provision. Instead, overtime with double wages should be provided, it said. Also, for calculating minimum wages, the average family size should be taken as six members, it recommended. The framing of rules for the four labour codes — The Code on Wages, The Industrial Relations Code, The Social Security Code and The Occupational Safety Health , and Working Conditions Code — is currently underway . Draft copies of the rules have been in public domain since November for offering suggestions. EXPRESS READ Shopian encounter’s summary of evidence Srinagar: The Army said it has completed the summary of evidence in the July 18 Shopian encounter in which three labourers from Rajouri were killed. “It is being examined by authorities in consultation with legal advisors for proceeding further. The Army is committed to ethical conduct of operations,” defence spokesman Col Rajesh Kalia said. P7 Nepal developments internal matter: MEA New Delhi: India on Thursday described Nepal PM KP Sharma Oli’s sudden decision to dissolve Parliament and call for fresh elections as the country’s “internal matter”. “As a neighbour and well-wisher, India will continue to support Nepal and its people in moving forward on the path of peace, prosperity and development,” the MEA said in a guarded reaction. Police raid Delhi riot victims lawyer’s office E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi THE Special Cell of Delhi Police on Thursday raided the office of advocate Mehmood Pracha, who is representing multiple accused in north-east Delhi riots cases which claimed at least 53 lives. He was also handling several cases related to the Citizenship Amendment Act. The raid, which started at 12.30 pm and continued till late evening, was carried out in connection with a case of forgery and criminal conspiracy registered against Pracha on court order in August. The search warrant authorised the police to search for “in- criminating documents” and meta-data of outbox of email account which was used to send the incriminating documents. “During the course of investigation, search warrants to look for electronic and other evidence from the premises of two members of the Bar were obtained from the court and the same are being executed in a professional manner at one location in Nizamuddin and another at Yamuna Vihar,” said a senior police officer. According to sources, the police seized laptops, computer and other electronic devices from Pracha’s office. In a video doing the rounds on social media, the advocate is heard asking the Special Cell team not to seize the computer saying it was in violation of the order. The sources said while filing a bail petition, Pracha had allegedly submitted an affidavit in court that was notarised by a lawyer who had died three years ago. The police claimed the signatures on the affidavit were forged. The lawyer is also accused of tutoring riot some of the riot victims to give false statements. Calls made to Pracha for his reaction remained unanswered. UGLY AAP LEADER’S OFFICE NOW VANDALISED Raghav Chadha claims BJP workers carried out the attack for supporting the farmers protest, opposition says AAP staged it PAGE 5
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