WEDNESDAY W.H.O. WARNS OF 7 LAKH COVID DEATHS IN EUROPE BY SPRING 24 The World Health Organization’s Europe office said its projections showed the 53-country region could top 2 mn Covid deaths in total NOVEMBER, 2021 ‘VULNERABLE GROUPS NEED BOOSTER DOSE’ epaper.morningstandard.in facebook.com/TheMorningStandard WHO Europe, based in Copenhagen, also cited the growing evidence of a decline in protection against infection through vaccines. It said a ‘booster dose’ should be given as a priority to the most vulnerable populations. This, however, is at variance with the Geneva-based parent organisation’s position that boosters must be put off to free up jabs for poorer nations twitter.com/TheMornStandard FARM LAWS RELEASE REPORT: SC PANEL MEMBER Farmer leader Anil Ghanwat bats for farm reforms despite the laws being repealed PAGE 7 A CAPITAL VIEW OF NEWS NEW DELHI J8.00 PAGES 12 CUMULATIVE COVID DEATHS REPORTED IN THE REGION; 4,200 FATALITIES PER DAY DELTA VARIANT A BIG RISK TO THE REGION Three factors driving the increase are the highly transmissible delta variant of the virus, an easing of restrictive measures like requirements for mask-wearing and physical distancing in places, and large swaths of the European population that remain unvaccinated, WHO Europe said | P12 26 new legislative proposals and 3 old ones lined up for the upcoming winter session of Lok Sabha Bill to amend ST list in UP before polls M A N I S H A N A N D @ New Delhi THE BJP’s social engineering for the upcoming Uttar Pradesh elections appears to be taking shape, with the government listing a legislative proposal to amend the list of Scheduled Tribes (STs) for the poll-bound state in the upcoming winter session of Parliament. A similar bill to amend the list of STs in Tripura, where the BJP is facing heat from the Trinamool Congress, is part of the proposed legislative business. In all, 26 new bills and three others that had already been introduced, have been lined up for the forthcoming session. These include The Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill and The National AntiDoping Bill. The bulletin released by the Lok Sabha on Tuesday also listed a bill to repeal the three contentious farm laws that were enacted by Parliament last year. While Parliament had earlier this year amended the list of SCs in Tamil Nadu following a recommendation from the state government, a senior minister in the UP Cabinet said the state administration hasn’t yet forwarded any such proposal. He, however, added that Parliament on its own can amend the list of STs in the state to address long pending demands of certain communities. As for Tamil Nadu, Parliament had classified certain castes in the SC category ahead of the Assembly elections in the state. While Sonabhadra and its adjoining districts of UP have tribal concentrations, there has been a growing demand for the inclusion of fisherfolk in the state in the list of STs. The fishermen community is electorally influential. “The Constitution (Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2021” seeks to amend the list of STs pertaining to UP A parallel one for Tripu. ra has been listed in the agenda of the official business for introduction, consideration and passing in the Lok Sabha. The BJP’s poll mantra in UP incidentally for the , , 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha elections and the 2017 Assembly polls had been the consolidation of the nonYadav other backward classes (OBCs), with focus on the most and extremely backward castes, which were previously supporting the BSP . With the rival Samajwadi Party making attempts to stitch a larger pre-poll alliance with smaller parties that have distinct caste identities, the BJP is trying hard to play catch-up, knowing full well that multiple caste groups in UP have the numbers to change the electoral outcome. The winter session of Parliament is scheduled to start on November 29 and conclude on December 23. Legal axe to fall on most private cryptocurrencies could be offered before preventing the trading, mining and isTHE Centre plans to bring a suing of cryptos so that existbill in the forthcoming winter i n g i nve s t o r s h ave t h e session of Parliament to pro- opportunity to exit after dehibit all private cryptocurren- claring their investment for cies in the country but with the purpose of taxation. certain exceptions. The Centre had planned to According to the Parliamen- introduce the Cryptocurrency tary bulletin deand Regulation of tailing the legislaOfficial Digital Indian Maritime tive business for Cur rency Bill, Fisheries Bill the Lok Sabha, 2021 in Parliathe Cryptocurrenment in the past An Indian Maritime cy and Regulation two sessions, but Fisheries Bill, which of Official Digital dropped it due to proposes sustainable Cur rency Bill, strong opposition development of 2021 seeks to “crefrom the RBI, infisheries in India’s ate a facilitative vestigative agenexclusive economic framework for cies and the VHP, zones and creation of the ofwhich sought a responsible ficial digital curcomplete ban on harnessing of rency to be issued cryptos alleging fisheries in high seas by the Reserve such digital monhas also been listed Bank of India”. ey is used to fund While the bill terrorism etc. seeks to prohibit all private Currently there is no regula, cryptocurrencies in the coun- tion or ban on the use of cryptotry “it allows for certain excep- currencies in India. Earlier , tions to promote the underly- this month, PM Narendra Modi ing technology of held a meeting on cryptocurcryptocurrency and its uses”. rencies with senior officials, Notably, the bill does not use dropping hints that strong regthe word ‘ban’. According to ulatory steps would be taken to sources, a 3-6 month exit period deal with the issue. A N U R A D H A S H U K L A @ New Delhi MAHA VIR COL BABU B Santoshi and Manjula, the wife and mother of Galwan hero Colo nel B Santosh Babu (R), receive his posthumous Maha Vir Chakra, the second highest wartime gallantry award, from President Ram Nath Kovind in Delhi on Tuesday | PTI | P7 India, US to open up strategic reserves to bring down oil price E X P R E SS N E WS S E R V I C E @ New Delhi Didi draws Cong rebels; to meet PM today R I C H A S H A R M A @ New Delhi JAB-O-METER TAKE YOUR SHOT Nov 22 63,98,165 doses Nov 23 68,35,617 doses TOTAL DOSES 1,18,35,73,646 NATIONWIDE NOV 22 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths DELHI Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths 8,488 12,510 249 NOV 22 26 38 00 NOV 23 7,579 12,202 236 NOV 23 27 28 00 WEST Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee made some minor acquisitions during her latest trip to Delhi, inducting disgruntled elements from the Congress to expand the national footprint of her Trinamool Congress ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Sources said her party is in touch with leaders from across the Opposition spectrum, including members of the grand old party’s G23, which had raised a banner of revolt earlier this year over lack of reforms in the Congress. Some of them are expected to switch to the Trinamool in the coming months as it has made its national ambition clear. To help realise the national ambition, election strategist Prashant Kishor has been working with the party on a longterm basis. Mamata with Ashok Tanwar | PARVEEN NEGI “It is part of the party’s national expansion plan. It was felt that we need to have a national presence if Mamata is to challenge Modi in the 2024 elections,” said a senior Trinamool leader. Mamata is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday and discuss a slew of issues, including the controversial expansion of BSF’s jurisdic- Vasundhara Raje’s Mewar yatra sets BJP abuzz, ex-CM claims no political motive R A J E S H A S N A N I @ Jaipur WHILE the tussle in the Congress appears to have calmed down, the religious tour of former chief minister Vasundhara Raje in Mewar has raised political temperatures in the BJP in Rajasthan. The former chief minister began her yatra from Sanwaliya Ji Temple in Chittorgarh on Tuesday She will cover six districts till . November 25 during which she will visit Tripura Sundari Temple in Banswara, Shrinath Ji Temple in Nathdwara and the Eklingji and Charbhuja temples in Udaipur. She will also address meetings at different places. She will also pay homage to party leaders who passed away due to Covid-19 and pray for the state’s prosperity in various temples. “From the very beginning, I believe in ‘dharm-neeti’ instead of ‘rajneeti’,” Raje said. “My aim is not political but I only want to meet all those who are a part of our family and give strength to those families who have lost their loved ones due to Covid. And I want to go to all these temples which have always helped us in order to thank them as Covid threat is now being removed tion and allocation of central funds for Bengal. With her party MPs meeting home minister Amit Shah on Monday complaining about attacks on its cadre in Tripura, she could flag it, too, during her one-on-one with Modi. The CM is also expected to meet some Opposition leaders to discuss strategy for the winter session of Parliament and the formation of a united front against the BJP, though there is no word yet about interacting with Congress chief Sonia Gandhi. The Congress is cut up over Mamata providing sanctuary to its rebels. Those who joined the Trinamool include Congress leader Kirti Azad, former Haryana Congress chief Ashok Tanwar and expelled JD(U) MP Pavan Verma. She also met lyricist Javed Akhtar, her second such meeting with him in as many trips to Delhi. IN a coordinated move led by the US, India will release about 5 million barrels of crude oil from its emergency stockpile to bring down the oil prices in the global market. According to sources, the stocks will be released over the next 7-10 days. “We are working on releasing stocks from our strategic reserves in coordination with other nations,” said an official in the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas. A White House release earlier in the day said the US would release 50 million barrels of oil from its strategic reserve to bring down energy costs, in coordination with India, China, Japan, South Korea and the UK. The US Department of Energy will release the reserve in two ways — 32 million barrels in the next few months and 18 This is the first barrels as part of a sale of oil that time that India, Congress had previously authorised, which has 38 mn barrels of crude the White House said. Oil prices registered an all-time oil in underground high in 2021, and according to US in- caverns, is vestment bank Goldman Sachs, it releasing its may hit $90 per barrel by the end of reserve stocks this year. India is the world’s thirdlargest oil consumer and importing nation. It has a store of 5.33 million tonnes or about 38 million barrels of crude oil in underground caverns at three locations on the east and west coasts. It includes 1.33 million tonnes of storage at Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, 1.5 million tonnes at Mangaluru and 2.5 million tonnes at Padur (both in Karnataka). The stock, as per reports, will be sold to refineries of Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd, which are connected by pipeline to the strategic reserves. 1st EVER EXPRESS READ Devastating third wave of Covid unlikely in India, says AIIMS head New Delhi: A third Covid wave of a magnitude comparable to the first two is unlikely to hit India, AIIMS director Dr Randeep Guleria said underlining that absence of surge in cases at the moment suggests that there is no need for a booster dose for now. ‘‘With time, the pandemic will take an endemic form. We’ll have cases but the severity will be highly reduced,” he said. Reliance Jio loses 1.9 crore subscribers in September New Delhi: Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea lost 1.9 crore and 10.77 lakh subscribers in September, respectively, while Bharti Airtel added 2.74 lakh users, according to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India. “Total wireless subscribers decreased from 1,186.72 million at the end of August to 1,166.02 million at end of September,” it added | P10 HC RULING ‘Oral sex with minor not a major offence’ E X P R E SS N E WS S E R V I C E @ Lucknow OBSERVING that ‘oral sex’ with a minor does not come under the ‘aggravated sexual assault’ category in the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, the Allahabad High Court reduced the jail term of a man convicted of sexually assaulting a 10-year-old boy from 10 years to seven years. A single-judge bench of Justice Anil Kumar pronounced the judgment on November 20 while hearing the convict Sonu Kushwaha’s plea challenging a special sessions court order sentencing him to ten years’ imprisonment. In 2018, it was alleged by a resident of UP’s Jhansi district that his 10-year-old son was taken to a place of worship by Kushwaha and forced to have “oral sex” in lieu of `20. The special sessions court in Jhansi convicted Kushwaha under IPC Sections 377 (unnatural offences) and 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation), along with section 6 of the POCSO Act, 2012. However, the HC held that the convict could not be charged under section 6 of POCSO Act as the oral sex does not fall in the category of aggravated sexual assault or sexual assault. “It comes into the category of penetrative sexual assault which is punishable under section 4 of POCSO Act and not Section 6 of the same law,” the court said. CULTURE TRIP Rlys to start theme-based Bharat Gaurav trains RAJESH KUMAR THAKUR Vasundhara Raje at the temple of Sanwaliya Seth near Udaipur | EXPRESS from our lives.” Though Raje claimed that the tour was apolitical, it has set off a buzz that she is trying to once again reassert herself ahead of the 2023 assembly elections. Raje’s yatra comes after the BJP’s crushing defeat in the bypolls in two seats in Mewar, with party’s candidates coming at number three and four positions. Interestingly, Mewar, one of the most politically crucial regions of the state, is the stronghold of her main rival in the party and the leader of opposition, Gulabchand Kataria. According to sources, Kataria has not even been informed about Raje’s tour. Raje loyalists from across the state have become active again in this important division. Leaders supported by the former CM like Rajpal Singh Shekhawat, Pratap Singh Singhvi, Prahlad Gunjal, B S Rajawat and Ashok Parnami are all seen as active in the yatra. Political experts believe Raje aims to show her penetration in her rival’s bastion which is set to intensify the fight for supremacy in the party . @ New Delhi THE Indian Railways is in the process of finalising theme-based tourist circuit trains through private and state-owned service providers in a move to display the country’s rich cultural heritage. To promote the first-of-itskind theme-based trains, the railways has dedicated more than 3,000 AC and non-AC coaches of various categories to run around 190 tourist circuit trains to various cultural and heritage sites. The first Bharat Gaurav train may begin by January, railway sources said. As many as 15 private and gover nmentowned service providers have shown interest in Bharat Gaurav trains. “After freight and passenger segments, the railways is now tapping the tourism segment. We have arranged 3,033 AC and non-AC coaches of various classes to the compositions of 190 theme-based tourist circuit trains,” said Railway Minister Ashwini Va i s h n a w o n Tuesday . He said service providers would decide the fares, but the railways will keep a close watch to ensure these are not too high. Vaishnaw said it was the idea ‘Gurukripa’ on the cards The IRCTC is already running the Ramayana train circuit. Plans are underway to start the gurdwara train circuit connecting prominent gurdwaras across India. These trains will be called Gurukripa. of PM Narendra Modi to run such theme-based tourist circuit trains to translate the people’s eagerness to see the cultural heritages and historical places in one go without any hindrance. The service providers would be free to decide the themes and beautify the interiors and exteriors of coaches to create a memorable experience. “The Bharat Gaurav trains will have a composition of 14 to 16 coaches, including 2 SLR, offering all amenities and high-class hospitality to the passengers,” said the minister.
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