friDAY Record GST mop-up in March ’21 as collections touch `1.24L-cr 02 April, 2021 The revenue crossed the `1-lakh-crore mark for the 6th straight month. This month’s tally is 27% above the March ’20 collection epaper.morningstandard.in Highest since introduction of GST facebook.com/TheMorningStandard Of the total revenue, Central GST stood at I22,973 crore, State GST was I29,329 crore, integrated GST accounted for I62,842 crore (including I31,097 crore collected on import of goods) while cess amounted to I8,757 crore twitter.com/TheMornStandard in the news t o d ay `58,852 cr INDIA FIR against Kappan The UP STF will file a charge sheet on Saturday against four alleged Popular Front of India activists, booked on sedition and other charges last year after their arrest enroute to Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras following an outrage over a rape-murder case. The charges under the stringent UAPA and the IT Act have also been filed against the four, including Keral journalist Siddique Kappan. The FIR against them claimed that they were going to Hathras with an intention “to breach the peace” as part of a “conspiracy”. Insurance scheme Rajasthan on Thursday began the registration for an insurance scheme under which each family in the state can claim up to `5 lakh every year for medical expenses. It began the registration for Chiranjeevi Health Insurance Scheme, announced by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot in the budget 2021-22. ‘Rajasthan has become the first state in the country, where each family will get health insurance of Rs 5 lakh each year. People can get registered and be assured of cashless treatment,’ Gehlot claimed in a tweet. Love jihad law After Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat became the third state to clear a Bill seeking to penalise forcible or fraudulent religious conversion by marriage. Legislative Affairs Minister Pradeepsinh Jadeja tabled the Bill in the Assembly to amend the Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act, 2003. The Bill has provision for 3 to 10 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to `5 lakh if the accused is found guilty. It will invite a jail term of five years and `2 lakh penalty on the forced conversion of women. P8 INTERNATIONAL WHO focus on China Experts examining the origins of the coronavirus first identified in China will follow up on an initial report released this week but details are still not set, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Thursday. “There will be follow-up assessments, that’s what we expect,” he told an online briefing, adding “engagements” would start as soon as possible. Data was withheld from investigators who travelled to China to research the origins of the epidemic, Tedros had said. Pak flip flops In a volte-face, Pakistan’s Cabinet on Thursday rejected the proposal of a highpowered committee to import cotton and sugar from India, with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi asserting that there can be no normalisation of ties until New Delhi reverses its decision to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. Qureshi said the issue was discussed during the Cabinet meeting chaired by PM Imran Khan. “An impression is being created that relations with India have become normal and trade has been restored...,” Qureshi said. A CAPITAL VIEW OF NEWS l New Delhi l J8.00 l PAGES 12 Sporadic incidents of violence reported elsewhere in West Bengal also; Assam witnesses high voting percentage in Phase II as well E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e Figures that matter @ Kolkata/Guwahati A high voter turnout of 80.43% and 77.21% was recorded in West Bengal and Assam, respectively on Thursday but the , highlight of the second phase of polling was the high drama in Nandigram, followed by Mamata Banerjee accusing the BJP of rigging the polls and the Election Commission of inaction. Sporadic violence was reported in other parts of Bengal, too, as voting took place in 30 assembly constituencies spread over East and West Midnapore, Bankura and South 24 Parganas districts. In Assam, polling for 39 seats across 13 districts was largely peaceful, barring one incident. Pitted against her aideturned-rival Suvendu Adhikari, the Bengal CM rushed to booth no. 7 at Boyal in Nandigram claiming she had received complaints that TMC’s polling agents were not allowed at the polling station. As she argued with senior police officers, BJP supporters assembled and raised Jai Sri Ram slogan. A group of TMC supporters, too, gathered and shouted Khela Hobe. As the two g roups clashed, hurling stones and trading abuses, Mamata called up Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar and alleged that bogus voting was taking place on a massive scale while central force remained mute spectators. The TMC chief wrote a complaint letter to the Election Commission, accusing it of inaction on 63 complaints lodged WEST BENGAL 10,620 ballot units and an equal polling in Bengal’s number 30 Assembly of control constituencies, units and including VVPATs used Nandigram in Bengal 80.43% ASSAM 77.21% in Assam’s 39 Assembly constituencies in second phase 10,819 ballot units, 10,592 control units and as many VVPATs used in Assam by her party and threatened to , move court. “The CRPF, BSF are acting under the instructions of Home Minister Amit Shah....they are only helping the BJP she told reporters out,” side a polling station in Nandigram constituency . Mamata also slammed the Election Commission for “inaction” despite her party lodging several complaints and threatened to move the law courts over it. “We have lodged 63 complaints since morning. But no action has been taken. We will move the court over it.” Despite her allegations of poll fraud, Mamata claimed victory even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi took potshots at the Trinamool Congress supremo saying “your body language is showing you have acce pted your defeat P7 in Nandigram”. Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee arrives at a polling station in Nandigram on Thursday; voters maintain social distance at a polling station in Assam’s Morigaon | pti Raja barred from campaigning for 48 hrs The Election Commission on Thursday banned DMK leader A Raja from campaigning for 48 hours after finding him guilty of violating the model code of conduct by making alleged derogatory remarks against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami. EC seeks report on violation in Nandigram The Election Commission sought report from Purba Medinipur administration in connection with the alleged violation of prohibitory orders outside a polling booth in Boyal village during a visit by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is a contestant from the prestigious seat. After SOS calls from candidates and PMO stinker, savings rate cut nixed A N U R A D H A S H U K L A @ New Delhi The finance ministry on Thursday rescinded its controversial order slashing interest rates on small savings within 12 hours of issuing it, following social media backlash, panic calls from BJP functionaries of poll-bound states, and a sharply worded directive from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). On Wednesday evening, the ministry had issued an order cutting interest rates applicable on various small savings schemes by 50-110 basis points for April-June 2021 period. The decision, announced a day before phase-2 voting in Bengal and Assam, drew widespread criticism. Sources said some BJP candidates, too, made calls to the PMO. West Bengal contributes the most to small savings, according to National Savings Institute data. Of the total gross small savings collections of `5.96 lakh crore in FY18, collections from West Bengal were `90,000 crore. Early on Thursday morn- ing, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman took upon herself to do damage control. “The interest rates of small savings schemes will continue to be the same as in the last quarter of 2020-21. Orders issued by oversight shall be withdrawn,” she tweeted. Sources said the order was supposed to be made public next week but got out early due to “bureaucratic error”. “As it was financial year-end closing (March 31), the order went public. It has been corrected now,” said an official. Vax drive on off days for more coverage The rationale behind the decision is to optimally utilise all vaccination centres for inOn a day the Covid-19 inocula- creased coverage. tion for all people above the age Cases have been growing exof 45 began, the Centre on ponentially since March, with Thursday said the shots T h u r s d ay ’s 7 2 , 3 3 0 would be given on all marking the highest days, including gazetsingle-day infection talted holidays, throughly since October. While out April at all public the first week of March and private vaccinarecorded an average of tion centres. 16,740 cases daily, the The decision seeks to numbers rose four-fold Expert arrest a steep decline group call t o 6 2 , 0 0 0 b y t h e in the number of peolast week. The fresh ple getting vaccinated It is for this reason, measure was against the backdrop that the Centre has of sharp rise in number recommended asked states to aggresof cases amid the out- by the National sively focus on vacciExpert Group break of the second nating people in the on Vaccine wave. Till Thursday, priority groups. In disover 63 million people Administration tricts reporting the have been vaccinated, and was taken fastest surge, the health translating into just 4.5 after detailed ministry has asked deliberations doses per 100 people. state governments to “The Centre has with all states ensure 100 % vaccinawritten to all states and on Wednesday, tions of everyone eligithe health UTs today and asked ble to take the shots. ministry said. them to make necesThe Union health sary arrangements to ministry said the vacprovide Covid vaccination in cination exercise as a tool to these CVCs on all days of the protect the most vulnerable month including gazetted holi- population groups in the coundays during April 2021,” said try from Covid-19 continues to the Union ministry of health be regularly reviewed and monand family welfare. itored at the highest level. E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ New Delhi 2,790 fresh cases CITY w a t c h 9 more deaths 3.57% positivity rate Urgent meet today as Delhi reports 53% spike in cases E x p r e ss N e ws Se r v i c e @ New Delhi As Covid-19 cases in the national capital saw a massive 53 per cent jump in a 24-hour span on Thursday CM Arvind Kejriwal , has called an urgent meeting on Friday with health minister Satyendar Jain and department officials. The city registered 2,790 cases, an addition of nearly a thousand cases within a day and the highest single-day spike this year. Active cases are also again above the 10,000-mark. Nine new deaths were reported, taking the toll to 11,036. The positivity rate mounted to 3.57 per cent. Delhi had reported 1,819 cases on Wednesday with a pos- itivity rate of 2.71 per cent. Worried over the surge, CM Kejriwal will on Friday deliberate on a plan to fight the pandemic, including issues like containment zones, vaccination drive and maintaining availability of hospital beds. The health departmental officials have been instructed to prepare and present an action plan to tackle the pandemic. As per the state government, the department has increased its vigilance and taken steps to combat the pandemic, which includes increasing the beds in 33 private hospitals. DMs have been asked to trace at least 30 contacts of those who have tested positive P4 and isolate them. Dadasaheb Phalke Award 2019 for superstar Rajini ACTOR Rajinikanth will be awarded the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke award for 2019, as announced by Union I&B Minister Prakash Javadekar on Thursday . “A jury consisting of Asha Bhonsle, Mohanlal, Biswajit Chatter jee, Shankar Mahadevan and Subhash Ghai unanimously decided to nominate Rajinikanth for the award, and we’ve accepted it. For the last 50-odd years, he has been Steady increase in GST collections over past six months could be a marker of rapid economic recovery post pandemic. Closer monitoring against fake-billing, deep data analytics using data from multiple sources and effective tax administration have also contributed | P10 Nandigram drama overshadows Bengal’s big turnout charisma, talent, effort E XPR E SS N E WS S E RVIC E @ Chennai Revenue of Centre & states for CGST; the earning is I60,559 crore for SGST Marker of post covid recovery? the uncrowned king of cinema. Through his charisma, talent, and efforts, he has made a place for himself in the hearts of people,” Javadekar tweeted. The actor now joins an illustrious list of film personalities to have been conferred this award, including his mentor K Balachander, Sivaji Ganesan, Satyajit Ray, Amitabh Bachchan, Akkineni Nageswara Rao, Raj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar, Gulzar, Lata Mangeshkar, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, and K Vishwanath. Dedicates award to those who are part of journey The superstar thanked PM Modi and the jury among others for conferring upon me the prestigious award. “I sincerely dedicate it to all those who have been part of my journey,” he tweeted after the government made the announcement. He is set to become the fourth star from South Indian cinema after Akkineni Nageswara Rao, Sivaji Ganesan, and Rajkumar to be awarded the Dadasaheb Phalke. Having begun his career with a cameo in K Balachander’s Apoorva Raagangal (1975), Rajinikanth went on to act in over 160 films across Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Hindi, Bengali, Malayalam, and English languages. Tasting success as a stylish antagonist in many films like Aadu Puli Aatam, 16 Vayathinile, and Moondru Mudichu, he made the transition to ‘hero’ roles with Bairavi (1978), which was also the first film to give him the ‘Superstar’ sobriquet that would later become so iconic. Uttarakhand has made it mandatory for people from states with high caseload to carry negative Covid-19 reports for visiting the Mahakumbh | DIPR Mahakumbh begins amid Covid-19 shadow sure that those visiting for the Mahakumbh are carrying a Amid a raging second Covid-19 negative RT-PCR test report. It wave across the country, the is mandatory for people from month-long Mahakumbh be- states with high caseload to gan in Haridwar on Thursday carry a negative Covid-19 rewith a number of report. Noting that orstrictions in place. ganising of the event Official Uttarakhand CM was a “gargantuan manhandled Tirath Singh Rawat logistical problem”, said all preparations Seers on Thursday the Uttarakhand evening allegedly had been done to High Court had dimake the Mahakum- beat up an official rected the state govin-charge of bh grand as well as ernment to increase Mahakumbh over safe for pilgrims and daily testing to at that a whopping `700 lousy arrangements. least 50,000 persons. crore had been spent Sources said senior With the pandemofficials including towards ensuring ic cloud over the reliinspector general the same. gious congregation The Mela area has Sanjay Gunjyal and somewhat hampera hospital with 159 others took stock of ing preparations, the the situation. beds and requisite Centre on Thursday medical staff while allocated an addi38 temporary hospitals, 200 tional `325 crore for the event doctors and 1,500 paramedical to fill the gaps in arrangestaff have also been deployed, ments. More than 12,000 police said officials. personnel and 400 central forcChecking on the state bor- es personnel been deployed to ders has been intensified to en- maintain law and order. V i nee t U padh yay @ Dehradun off Ipl Hazlewood says he won’t play in T20 extravaganza Australian fast bowler latest in growing list of foreign players to say no to IPL due to stresses and strains of spending weeks away from family in bio-secured bubble created for players| P11
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