MONDAY VOLUNTARY AADHAAR A BOON FOR PENSIONERS 22 Authentication norms relaxed after pensioners complained of unreadable fingerprints and nonavailability of Aadhaar cards MARCH, 2021 epaper.morningstandard.in facebook.com/TheMorningStandard twitter.com/TheMornStandard DESERTION SISIR ADHIKARI JOINS BJP FOLD SANDES APP TO BE MADE PUBLIC SOON TMC chief blames self for trusting Adhikari family, calls herself ‘big donkey’ A CAPITAL VIEW OF NEWS NEW DELHI J8.00 PAGES 12 BJP offers slew of freebies to woo women Sops for farmers, fisherfolk in West Bengal manifesto; CAA right up on agenda; probe on political killings promised E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Kolkata Big focus on girls, women THE BJP on Sunday sought to woo women voters in a big way , by promising 33% reservation in state government jobs, free travel in state-run public transport network and free education from kindergarten right up to the post graduate level. The promises were part of its 62-page manifesto released by Union home minister Amit Shah here. The document also prioritised the implementation of the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act, saying it would be taken up at the first state cabinet meet after coming to power. It also promised to give Hindu refugees a financial grant of `10,000 per year for the 33% reservation for women in govt jobs in the state T O D AY INDIA Ceasefire effective The ceasefire agreement between India and Pakistan is showing results as per latest statistics which show that this month (March) has not witnessed even a single incident of cross-firing so far along the International Border as well as the LoC. This year, a total of 66 cross border firing incidents have taken place but all such incidents took place in the first two months — 44 in January and 22 in February, according to sources in security establishment. Curfew in MP village A curfew has been imposed in the Murwas police station limits of Vidisha district in MP over communal tension. A group of Bajrang Dal and VHP leaders visited the Murwas village on Sunday, reportedly to meet the members of Valmiki community, whose prominent member and village sarpanch’s husband Santram Valmiki was mowed down by a tractor on March 18 allegedly by the family of one Faqeer Ahmad. The incident was the fallout of a land dispute. All five accused in have already been arrested. Night curfew in Raj Amid a surge in coronavirus cases, the Rajasthan government has decided to impose night curfew in eight cities from Monday and also made it mandatory for people visiting the state to carry a Covid-19 negative test report. Officials said the night curfew will be imposed in Ajmer, Bhilwara, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Kota, Udaipur, Sagwada (Dungarpur) and Kushalgarh (Banswara) from 11 pm to 5 am, they said.The decisions were taken during a review meeting chaired by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot. INTERNATIONAL ‘No threat to Modi’ Bangladesh has ruled out any security threat to PM Narendra Modi’s two-day visit to the country later this week and said “few” left wing and hardline Islamist groups are against his trip but there is “nothing to worry” about them.Prime Minister Modi will visit Bangladesh from March 26 to 27 to attend the celebrations of the golden jubilee of the country’s independence and the birth centenary of its founder ‘Bangabandhu’ Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. This would be his first trip to a foreign country since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. Govt has also made Aadhaar optional for users of the National Informatics Centredeveloped instant messaging app Sandes ■ Developed under Government Instant Messaging System project, Sandes is used by public depts for internal communications ■ The app will soon be made available for the general public, too ■ PAGE 7 IN THE NEWS DEPARTMENTS, INCLUDING NITI AAYOG, INDIAN ARMY, USE SANDES APP Free KG to PG education for all girls and free travel for them in public transport `22,000 to be offered in four instalments at different points during a girl’s schooling `2 lakh grant for unmarried girls who have completed their Class 12 Other key promises CAA will be implemented in the first Cabinet if voted to power One job per family Amit Shah releasing the BJP manifesto in Kolkata on Sunday | BIBHASH LODH 7th pay commission for state govt employees next five years. “It is not just a manifesto but a resolution letter for Bengal. It emphasises on women’s safety , infrastructure development, better healthcare services and setting up industries in the state. The core idea is to build a Sonar Bangla,” said Shah. The manifesto promises to give `18,000 to each of 78 lakh farmers in Bengal in one go under the Centre’s PM Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme. “The Bengal government deprived the farmers from getting annual grant of `6,000 for the past three years. After coming to power in Bengal, we will transfer the due amount of `18,000 in one go. Besides, the annual financial assistance will be in- creased to `10,000 from `6,000. Landless farmers will also be given `4,000 annual assistance,’’ said Shah. Eying fishermen, who form a considerable chunk of electorate in East Midnapore, South 24 Parganas and North 24 Parganas districts, the manifesto promised a scheme to give `6,000 per year to each fisher family. Shah also announced that if the party wrests power, three AIIMS will be set up in north Bengal, Junglemahal and Sunderabans. Shah announced a special investigation team will be set up to probe all political killings, adding victim families will get `25 lakh relief irrespective of political allegiance. Call on Deshmukh today, says Pawar E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Mumbai A day after shunted out Mumbai police commissioner Parambir Singh outed home minister Anil Deshmukh’s extortion racket, an embarrassed NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Sunday admitted that the charges were very serious and required an in-depth probe. With Deshmukh’s political future hanging by a thread, Pawar said the call will be taken by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray by Monday . Pawar also tried to limit damage since Deshmukh belongs to his party, by suggesting that a probe into the charges be conducted by a celebrated police officer like Julio Ribeiro. But Ribeiro lobbed the ball back in Pawar’s court, saying at 92 he was in no position to initiate a probe and in any case it was the NCP founder who was the best person to clear the mess. “The probe must be done by Sharad Pawar himself. He is the head of the party. They themselves know everything and they should take action. They will have to do it now because people are fed up with all this,” said Ribeiro, who has served as the Mumbai Police commissioner and the DGP of Punjab and Gujarat. Saturday’s letter bomb by Singh had accused Anil Deshmukh of directing controversial assistant police inspector Sachin Waze, who is at present in NIA’s custody, to run an extortion racket to raise `100 FOOT-IN-MOUTH ‘Reproduced only 2, blame self for less ration: Rawat V I N E E T U PA D H YAY @ Dehradun T S Rawat Ripped jeans Last week, the Uttarakhand CM had criticised women wearing ripped jeans, wondering what values they would impart to their children. A huge backlash followed, forcing him to apologise for his remarks. NEW Uttarakhand Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat’s foot-in-the-mouth moments continued to grow as he berated on Sunday “jealous” people with planned families for taking home lesser free ration. “Now brother, who is to blame for this? He produced 20 (children) and you produced only two. So he gets a quintal of ration. When there was time you produced only two and not 20. Now why this jealousy?” the chief minister reasoned while dwelling on the ration scheme in his speech in Nainital to mark the World Forestry Day . Rawat said the government provided 5 kg of high quality rice per person and those with 20 in the family took home 100 kg during the pandemic. Rawat also erroneously blamed the US instead of the UK for 200 years of rule in India. “America, which enslaved us for 200 years and ruled the whole world, it is struggling at present to manage Covid,” was his second nugget. By his count, the Covid mortality figure in the US currently stands at 50 lakh, while the actual toll is 5.4 lakh. crore every month. Trying to deflect criticism from Thackeray and Deshmukh, Pawar sought to blame Waze’s controversial reinstatement on Singh. “It was Singh who assigned sensitive cases to Waze. After Mansukh Hiren’s wife alleged Waze was involved in her husband’s death, we de- cided to investigate it thoroughly he claimed. ,” It was only after Singh was transferred that he made the allegations, said Pawar. He conceded that Singh had briefed him earlier on Deshmukh, but said the CoP had not mentioned the sum collected or handed over to the minister or his staff. Even as Pawar said the decision on Deshmukh would be taken today, NCP state chief and senior minister in the Thackeray government Jayant Patil said there was no need to divert attention from the main incident of Antilia bomb scare and Mansukh Hiren death and asserted that “the question of Deshmukh resigning does not P7 arise”. NOBLE AADHAAR NOT MUST FOR LIFE CERTIFICATE EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi IN a huge relief to elderly pensioners, the central government has declared that Aadhaar is no longer mandatory for getting digital life cer tificate or Jeevan Pramaan, which is required to collect pensions. “Aadhaar authentication in Jeevan Pramaan is on a voluntary basis and user organisations shall provide alternate means of submission of life certificate. NIC shall comply with provisions of Aadhaar Act 2016, Aadhaar Regulation 2016 and the O.Ms (official memorandum), circulars and guidelines issued by UIDAI from time to time,” a notification by the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) dated March 18 said. Aadhaar authentication has also been made voluntary for biometrics attendance systems used in government offices through another notification. Digital life certificate for pensioners was introduced to address the woes that pensioners faced as they were required to be present before pension disbursing agency or had the life certificate issued by authority where they served earlier and delivered that to the disbursing agency . The digital life certificate helped pensioners from physically travelling to the respective organisation. However, many pensioners complained about problems in getting pension due nonavailability of Aadhaar cards or their fingerprints becoming unreadable. While some government organisations provided an alternate way of issuing pension in 2018, the notification to make Aadhaar voluntary for the digital life certificate has been issued now. Simultaneously, MeitY has made Aadhaar optional for users of instant messaging solution, Sandes app, developed by the National Informatics Centre. “Aadhaar Authentication in Sandes is on a voluntary basis and user organisations shall provide alter nate means of verification. NIC shall comply with provisions of Aadhaar Act 2016, Aadhaar Regulation 2016 and the O.Ms, circulars and guidelines issued by UIDAI from time to time,” a separate notification said. The government has plans to make available Sandes for the general public also. VIRUS LOAD RISING On a day India registered its highest single-day tally this year, the Centre said six states are the worst-hit. A look 43,846 highest single-dayyear spike in India this cases reported from Maharashtra Kerala Punjab Karnataka Gujarat MP MARKING ONE YEAR TO JANATA CURFEW 197 deaths reported in 24 hrs 823 NEW CASES IN DELHI They gave blood, sweat, tears to help marginalised during lockdown | P5 86.8% deaths from the above six states Total tally pushed to 6,47,984 while 6.32 lakh patients have recovered from the infection 27,126 new cases in Maharashtra, followed by Punjab (2,578) 1,15,99,130 NATIONWIDE TALLY 38 succumb in Punjab 92 casualties in Maharashtra Sunday's daily-case count is the highest in nearly three months; doctors and authorities blame complacency for the rise | P4 Univ admits to lapses, ‘chapter closed’ for Mehta EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi DAYS after the resignation of political commentator Pratap Bhanu Mehta and economist Arvind Subramanian from Ashoka University the institu, tion admitted to lapses in its processes on Sunday Its chan. cellor said the university remained committed to academic freedom and its board head promised an open line of communication. As for Mehta, he wrote to the the students urging them to not press for his return, point- ing out that the circumstances that led to his resignation will not change in the foreseeable future. Mehta recently stepped down as professor saying the founders made it clear that his association with the institution was a ‘political liability’. Subramanian resigned two days later. “We acknowledge that there have been some lapses in institutional processes which we will work to rectify in consultation with all stakeholders. This will reaffirm our commitment to academic autonomy and freedom which have always been at the core of the Ashoka University ideals,” the institution said in a statement that was jointly issued by the No interference in academic freedom: Chancellor In his separate letter, chancellor Rudrangshu Mukherjee wrote, “the founders have never interfered with academic freedom: faculty members have been left free to construct their own courses, follow their own methods of teaching and own methods of assessment.” chancellor, vice chancellor and the chairman of Board of Trustees, along with Mehta and Subramanian. “Ashoka has been privileged to have been led, guided and counselled by Pratap first as vice chancellor and then as senior faculty. Subramanian brought eminence, stature, fresh ideas and energy to the university and his exit leaves a void that will be hard to fill,” the statement issued by the institution said. Mehta had stepped down as a vice chancellor two years back. CONTINUED ON P7 HOLI AT HOME MP district to launch campaign to stop residents from visiting Maha E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Bhopal WITH the Covid-19 cases on an upward spiral again, fears of the situation worsening due to the coming Holi festivities are giving nightmares to the authorities in various states. Aiming to check further spread of infection during the festival of colours, the Burhanpur district administration in Madhya Pradesh is set to launch a campaign, ‘Majha Parivar-Majhi Holi’ to discourage residents from travelling to adjoining Maharashtra for celebrating the festival of colours with relatives there. “The Burhanpur district is bordered by Maharashtra’s three Covid-19 sensitive districts — Jalgaon, Buldhana and Amravati. The population in our district has close relations with these bordering districts owing to which they travel to their relatives place in Maharashtra on Holi. Though movement of buses to and from Maharashtra has been banned for now, people in our district even use two-wheelers to travel to close relatives in Maharashtra for Holi, which has to be discouraged this time, keeping in mind the grim situation in those districts,” Burhanpur district collector Praveen Singh said. “We’ll launch the Majha Parivar Majhi Holi/Majha KutumbMajhi Holi campaign on March 23- 24, during which we’ll motivate residents of Burhanpur to celebrate Holi with their family at home only Singh said. ,” Posters will be put across Burhanpur and social media too will be proactively used to promote the campaign. Special pledges will also be administered in villages to discourage villagers from traveling to Maharashtra on Holi. Mask reminder: MP to play siren on March 23 MP will play siren twice on March 23 reminding people to take a vow to wear mask and follow social distancing. CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan will complete the first year of his fourth chief ministerial tenure on that day. “Siren will be played across the state at 11 am and 7 pm on March 23. I appeal to everyone to take a vow to wear mask and follow social distancing,” Chouhan said. He also appealed to the people to stick to their families and stay at home only during Holi.
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