THURSDAY Tata Sons, the holding company of Tata Group, on Wednesday submitted a financial bid to acquire the loss-making carrier | P10 16 TATAS BID TO RE-ACQUIRE AIR INDIA 68 YEARS AFTER LOSING IT SEPTEMBER, 2021 epaper.morningstandard.in facebook.com/TheMorningStandard twitter.com/TheMornStandard SPICEJET ALSO IN THE RACE, SAY REPORTS If Tata Sons’ bid is successful, it will mark the return of Air India to Tatas. The Group founded A-I as Tata Airlines in October 1932 but lost it after the govt nationalised the airline in 1953. SpiceJet chairman has also bid for the airline in personal capacity, reports said WOMEN LAG BEHIND GENDER GAP IN VAX COVERAGE About 47.5 % women have received the Covid shots as against over 52.5 % men PAGE 7 A CAPITAL VIEW OF NEWS NEW DELHI J8.00 PAGES 12 Stress-buster reforms for telecom sector 100% FDI through automatic route; 4-year moratorium on all government dues; non-telecom revenues out of AGR J O N AT H A N A N A N DA @ Chennai THE Centre on Wednesday opened up the telecom sector to 100% foreign direct investment through the automatic route and announced a slew of measures to lift the distressed industry. These include a four-year moratorium on government dues such as adjusted gross revenue (AGR) and spectrum payments, besides rationaisation of spectrum charges. The government also tweaked the definition of AGR to confine it to telecom revenues, seeking to ease the `1.52 lakh crore burden on telcos caused SURVEY I-T sleuths search actor Sonu Sood’s properties E X P R E SS N E WS S E R V I C E @ Mumbai THE income tax department on Wednesday searched the Mumbai properties of film actor Sonu Sood, who has earned wide acclaim for his charity work during the pandemic. According to officials, the recent deal between Sood’s company and a Lucknow-based real estate firm is under the scanner and there was a mismatch in the account book. Therefore, a ‘survey operation’ was initiated on Wednesday they added. , The 48-year-old Bollywood actor is known for his humanitarian efforts. He had organised special flights and buses for migrants stranded during the lockdown. He also arranged oxygen supply for Covid patients during the second wave. Recently, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal declared him the brand ambassador for his gover nment’s mentorship programme for school students. The move created a buzz that Sood may join politics, though he denied this. Reacting sharply to the survey, the Aam Aadmi Party alleged political vendetta behind it. “An I-T raid on a man as upright as Sonu Sood, somebody who has been called a messiah by lakhs of people, somebody who helped the downtrodden. If a man like him can be politically targeted in a well thought out witch-hunt shows that the current regime is insensitive and politically insecure,” said AAP leader Raghav Chaddha. Kejriwal tweeted that truth will prevail in the end. “Sonu Sood has the blessings of lakhs of families, whom he had helped during their difficult times,” he tweeted. Atishi tweeted, “Was it a crime for @ SonuSood to help migrants during the lockdown?” by a 2019 Supreme Court order that held that the existing definition of AGR included nontelecom revenues. The moratorium on AGR dues provides an annual cash flow breather of around `14,000 crore for the industry, while the break on spectrum dues gives another `32,000 crore of annual cash flow relief, according to rating agency ICRA. Companies opting for moratorium need to pay interest on the amount and such firms will have the option to pay this interest by way of equity. Guidelines for the same will be finalised by the finance ministry . `26,058 crore incentive scheme for auto sector The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the Production Linked Incentive scheme for the auto sector to promote advance automotive technologies, including clean energy vehicles, with incentives worth `26,058 crore over a five-year period | P10 The relief on AGR and statutory dues will have a big impact on freeing up the telecom industry’s cash flow. Upcoming AGR due payments had placed serious financial constraints on Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea, which were struggling to arrange large-scale capital expenditure required for network upgradation and expansion. AGR dues of cash-strapped Vodafone Idea amounted to `58,000 crore and for Airtel, it CRIMES AGAINST SCs & STs INCREASED IN 2020: NCRB SA N A S H A K I L @ New Delhi CRIME against Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) saw an increase of 9.4 per cent and 9.3 per cent, respectively, in 2020 compared to the previous year, reveals the latest report of National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), released on Wednesday. However, crime against other vulnerable groups such as senior citizens, children, women and foreigners registered a dip. Of the 28 states and nine Union Territories, 17 registered an increase in cases of atrocities against SCs. They were Assam, Bihar, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Chandigarh, Puducherry and J&K. Assam, Chhattisg arh, Jharkhand, MP, Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Telangana and Uttarakhand recorded more cases of atrocities against STs last year compared to 2019. 9.4% 2019 2020 Rise in crimes against SCs 45,961 50,291 Crime rate against SCs: MP 60.8, Rajasthan 57.4, Bihar 44.5, UP 30.7 (crime per lakh of SC population) 9.3% 2019 2020 Rise in crimes against STs 7,570 8,272 Crime rate: Kerala 26.8, Rajasthan 20.3, Telangana 17.4, MP 15. (crime per lakh ST population) P7 MP had the highest crime rate (crimes committed against per lakh population) of 60.8 against SCs, followed by Rajasthan (57.4), Bihar (44.5) and Uttar Pradesh (30.7). Kerala (26.8), Rajasthan (20.3), Telangana (17.4) and Madhya Pradesh (15.7) recorded the highest rate of crime against STs. In terms of absolute numbers, UP reported highest number of atrocities (12,714) against SCs while MPs saw maximum cases of crimes (2,401) against tribals. Delhi sees 25% less crime against women Delhi saw almost 24.65 per cent less crime against woman in 2020 as compared to 2019, the NCRB data showed. In 2020, 10,093 cases were reported against 13,395 in 2019. Delhi reported 997 cases of rape in 2020, the highest among the UTs. Last year, the city reported 1,840 cases of assault on women with intent to outrage their modesty and 2,938 cases of kidnapping and abduction of women. The capital registered 2,557 cases of cruelty by husband or his relatives and 110 cases of dowry deaths. Overall, 3,71,503 cases of crime against women were reported across India in 2020, down from 4,05,326 in 2019. India was under lockdown during which public movement was limited. Crimes against women, children and senior citizens, theft, burglary, robbery have therefore declined —NCRB report BACK ON CAMPUS Colleges reported thin attendance as Delhi University reopened for final-year students for practicals | PARVEEN NEGI MOST INFLUENTIAL Modi, Mamata, Poonawalla in TIME-100 list E X P R E SS N E WS S E R V I C E WEST Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee made her debut on the list of 100 most influential people put out by TIME magazine this year. Prime Minister Narendra Modi continued to stay on the list. The surprise element was Taliban’s negotiator with the US and Afghanistan’s new deputy prime minister Abdul Ghani Baradar, who was injured in a brawl with the Haqqani group in Kabul last week over the spoils of power. The other Indian to figure on the list is vaccine czar Adar Poonawalla, who heads the Se- rum Institute of India. The list also includes US President Joe Biden, his predecessor Donald Trump, Vice President Kamala Harris and Chinese President Xi Jinping, among others. In its 74 years as an independent nation, India has two pivotal leaders, Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi. “Modi is the third, dominating the country’s politics like no one since them,” says the TIME’s profile of the PM. It alleges that Modi has “pushed the country away “toward Hindu nationalism”. Banerjee’s profile describes her as a “face of fierceness in Indian politics”. “If any coalition of forces were to come together to counter Modi nationally, Mamata is almost certain to be the pivot,” it says. Poonawalla’s profile says the e pandemic is not over yet and he “could still help end it”. was `43,000 crore. Reliance Jio only had to pay `190 crore as AGR dues by virtue of being a late entrant to the market. Among the other reforms announced by Union telecom minister Ashwini Vaishnaw are an 80% reduction in bank guarantees against licence fees. From now on, there will be no need to produce multiple bank guarantees to secure licences, he said. Interest rates and penalties on delayed statutory payments have also been cut, while the tenure of spectrum licences for future auctions has been raised from 20 to 30 years. With the enhanced FDI limit, the Centre expects to attract fresh investment in the sector. JAB-O-METER TAKE YOUR SHOT September 14 54,72,356 doses September 15 57,10,380 doses TOTAL DOSES 75,10,41,391 NATIONWIDE SEP 14 SEP 15 Fresh cases 25,404 27,176 Recoveries 32,127 38,012 Deaths 339 284 DELHI Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths SEP 14 35 15 00 SEP 15 57 53 00 CABINET TO CLEAR THE WINNING BID The bid offering the highest price above the reserve price would be accepted. The winning bid will be examined by the transaction advisor before the recommendation is sent to the Cabinet. Govt plans to sell 100% of its stake in AI, including AI’s 100% stake in AI Express Ltd and 50% in Air India SATS Airport Services Cherry-picking names for tribunals angers SC K A N U S A R D A @ New Delhi 11 for judicial and 10 for technical. Of the judicial members, T H E S u p r e m e C o u r t o n they selected four and picked Wednesday came down heavily up three others from the waiton the Centre for cherry-pick- list. Same with technical meming names recommended by the bers. We travelled across the Search and Selection Commit- country for this... But it seems tees (SCSCs) for filling up tribu- to be a waste of time,” the CJI nal vacancies, adding it will rued. hold its hand for now on haulVenugopal defended the goving the government up for ernment, citing a provision uncontempt. der the new Act. Justice ChanWhile the Centre drachud reminded claimed it had notified him that he was rely84 appointments in ing on a provision three different tribustruck down by the SC nals — National Comin July. When Justice pany Law Tribunal Rao emphasised the (NCLT), Armed Forcgovernment couldn’t es Tribunal (AFT) and have picked up people Income Tax Appellate Time sought from the list prepared Tribunal (ITAT) — on for later-day vacan“What is the September 12, a species, the A-G said the sanctity of the cial bench led by Chief government was well process if govt Justice of India N V within its rights to do has the last Ramana and comprisso. He cited the The word?” the bench ing justices D Y ChanTribunal Reforms Act, asked. The A-G drachud and L N Rao 2021, to assert the Censaid, “Please took a swipe at it. tre’s dominance over have it after a The SCSC recomsuch appointments. week. We’ll mended 11 judicial Venugopal said, “It reconsider nonmembers and 10 techwas held in the UPSC acceptance list.” nical members for case that Centre can NCLT. But the appointdecide not to accept. ment letters suggest some We have acted as per the judgmembers were cherry-picked. ment. We have gone to wait list “We cannot ignore selected can- after exhausting the main list. didates and go to waitlist. What Thus, no recommendations are type of selection and appoint- pending for 6 tribunals.” ment is this,” the CJI asked. But the judges called the enITAT appointments, too, were tire selection procedure a waste on similar lines, the SC said. of time, adding a lot of effort is “As part of SCSC for NCLT, I put in to finalise the selections interviewed 534 candidates for that are made on the basis of judicial post and 400-odd for inputs provided by the governCONTINUED ON P8 technical. Out of that we chose ment itself. Fairs allowed but DDMA mum on Ramlila; junior schools to remain closed ple whose livelihood depends on this industry,” said Brijesh FAIRS and exhibitions will be Goyal, president of Chambers allowed in the city from Thurs- of Trade and Industry . day as the Delhi Disaster ManThe relaxation permitted by agement Authority (DDMA) the DDMA will be in effect from further relaxed the Covid-19 re- September 16 to 30, after which strictions in view of the low it will be reviewed. Measures to number of fresh daily cases. be adopted by the venue proIn an order issued vider include separate on Wednesday, the entry and exit, disinDDMA said banquet fecting halls before halls will be allowed to handing over to event hold exhibitions and organisers, setting up fairs, with strict Covid permanent isolation protocols to be encentres and a wellforced by the organisplanned garbage disers. Schools will, how- Status quo for posal. Fair organisers ever, remain closed for other activities will have to stagger students up to Class 8. the operational hours Various other The DDMA order was of the exhibition, regactivities silent on Ramlila, ularly play recorded prohibited or which is set to start messages on precauallowed by the from October 6, al- DDMA will remain tionary measures and though several organencouraging the use so till the ising committees had intervening night of technology to minirecently petitioned of September 30 mise human interface. different authorities They will also have to and October 1, for permission to hold do risk assessment the order said. the events. prior to the event. Trade representatives, who The order also reiterated that had earlier raised the matter classes/institutes/libraries cawith minister of industries tering to students belonging to Satyendar Jain, welcomed the the ninth grade and above decision to allow exhibitions. would be allowed to open with “We had raised this demand in 50 per cent capacity Most par. our meeting with cabinet min- ents have welcomed the deciister Satyendar Jain. It will sion not to open schools for P4 bring relief to about 40,000 peo- lower classes. E X P R E SS N E WS S E R V I C E @ New Delhi EXPRESS READ TMC Rajya Sabha MP Arpita Ghosh resigns New Delhi: Trinamool Congress MP Arpita Ghosh has resigned from the Rajya Sabha. Her resignation has been accepted by ChairmanVenkaiah Naidu, a notification from the RS Secretariat said on Wednesday. Ghosh said she now wants to work for the party organisation. India looking at creating rocket force, says CDS New Delhi: India is looking at “creating a rocket force”, CDS Gen Bipin Rawat said on Wednesday. He underlined the need for extensive use of niche technology to combat national security challenges, including possible aggression by China. He described Pakistan as a “proxy” of China. GAMBLE FRESH FACES LIKELY IN GUJARAT CABINET Swearing-in of new ministers of Bhupendra Patel-led govt was delayed by a day; it will now take place on Thursday afternoon | P8 India calls out Pak, OIC K-anard at UNHRC EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE INDIA on Wednesday gave the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) a piece of its mind for raising Kashmir at the UN Human Rights Commission, calling it out for allowing itself to be held hostage by Pakistan. Exercising its rights to respond to comments made by Pakistan and the OIC at the ongoing session of the council, India said Pakistan has been globally recognised as a country supporting, training, financing and arming terrorists as a matter of state policy . The stinging response came from Pawan Badhe, first secretary in India’s permanent mission in Geneva. “India, as not only the world’s largest democracy but a robustly functional and vibrant one, does not need lessons from a failed state like Pakistan which is the epicentre of terrorism and worst abuser of human rights,” he said. Pakistan, he added, has failed to protect the rights of its minorities and has been engaged in their systematic persecution. Turning his attention to the OIC, Badhe said it has no locus to speak on Kashmir. It has “helplessly allowed itself to be held hostage by Pakistan” and it’s for OIC members to decide if it’s in their interest.
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