THURSDAY 25 Nov 29: All educational institutes to resume physical classes; all govt offices to reopen NOVEMBER, 2021 epaper.morningstandard.in facebook.com/TheMorningStandard twitter.com/TheMornStandard ON DECEMBER 4 Dec 3: Ban on entry of trucks to continue till this date Delhi govt has announced easing of restrictions imposed in view of the alarming pollution levels Delhi AQI on Wednesday was ‘very poor’ Nov 27: CNG and electric trucks will be allowed to enter Delhi Workshop for ministry staffers on wider use of social media platforms BREATHING EASY AIM TO MAXIMISE DIGITAL OUTREACH PAGE 7 A CAPITAL VIEW OF NEWS NEW DELHI J8.00 PAGES 12 Poll season boost for free foodgrain scheme Union Cabinet decision to benefit 80 crore ration card holders, cost whopping `53,344 crore to the exchequer M A N I S H A N A N D @ New Delhi STAYING the course to give the BJP a poll booster ahead of the Assembly elections in five states, the Union Cabinet on Wednesday gave its nod to extend the PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana — wherein 5 kg of foodgrains per person is given each month — till March 2022. The Cabinet also approved the legislative proposal to repeal the three contentious farm laws enacted by Parliament last year, to give effect to the Prime Minister’s recent announcement, which was also aimed at mitigating the potential elec- toral damage to the BJP in pollbound states. PM Garib Kalyan Yojana, announced after the imposition of nationwide lockdown last year, will cost the exchequer a whopping `2.60 lakh crore, with its fifth phase from December 2021 to March 2022 alone costing `53,344 crore. The BJP-led government at the Centre had started giving poll cushion to the party after the outcome of the largest byelections in which the saffron outfit saw reversals in Himachal Pradesh, West Bengal, and Rajasthan with Madhya Pradesh the sole exception. The decision to reduce excise duty on petrol and diesel was the first major step, followed up with PM Narendra Modi announcing the repeal of three contentious farm laws. The legislative proposals to amend the list of the STs for Uttar Pradesh and Tripura are also on the cards. PM Garib Kalyan Yojana claims to cover 80 crore people in its ambit and is running uninterrupted since April 2020, with the first four phases witnessing allocation of 600 lakh tonnes of foodgrains to the states and Union Territories. CABINET CLEARS BILL TO REPEAL FARM LAWS Briefing reporters about the Cabinet decisions in New Delhi on Wednesday, Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Anurag Thakur said the formalities to give effect to repealing the three contentious farm laws have been completed and the repeal bill will be brought before both the Houses of Parliament at the earliest. The winter session of Parliament will commence on Monday The Central government is currently on an infrastructure inauguration and foundationlaying spree in UP with the PM , slated to lay the foundation of the Jewar international airport in the state on Thursday. He had unveiled the Purvanchal Expressway recently . Four out of five states heading for the Assembly elections during February-March 2022 are currently ruled by the BJP , with the Congress being the main rival of the saffron outfit in Uttarakhand, Goa, Manipur and Punjab. The crucial state of Uttar Pradesh is bracing for a multi-cornered contest. GRIM FIGURES OF ANAEMIC INDIA EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi WEST Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi but skipped meeting Congress president Sonia Gandhi, triggering speculation about her future political moves. “Why should we meet Sonia every time? It is not constitutionally mandated,” the Trinamool supremo quipped when asked about not calling on the Congress chief. Talking to reporters, Mamata said she invited Modi to inaugurate the Bengal Global Summit (BGS) in Kolkata in April next year and that the PM accepted the invite, adding that political differences should not impact Centre-state ties. During the meeting with the PM, she raised the issues of BSF’s territorial jurisdiction, central debts to states, political violence in Tripura, and the crisis faced by jute industry in West Bengal. “I have requested the Prime Minister to inaugurate BGS. We are not sure how many countries will participate given the Covid situation, but if the Centre and state work together it will send a strong message and show the right direction to industry she added. ,” She also demanded the BSF’s territorial jurisdiction be withdrawn. “Protecting the federal structure of our country should be of prime importance. We deeply respect all institutions and Central agencies. In the coming days, we look forward to better cooperation between the States and Centre in order to protect the interests of our people,” she said. Notably, Mamata did not meet any opposition party leaders, not even Sonia, during her visit to the national capital, saying they are all “busy with Punjab elections”. Earlier in the day, she met BJP MP Subramanian Swamy , fuelling speculation that he might join the TMC. Both the leaders rejected the notion. 12 Congress MLAs in Meghalaya set to switch over to Trinamool Guwahati: Twelve Congress MLAs in Meghalaya are likely to defect to the Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Thursday. Unconfirmed reports suggested they have already joined TMC. The MLAs, led by former Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, were said to have approached Speaker Metbah Lyngdoh. Calls made to some of them, including Sangma, went unattended. Congress has 17 MLAs in the state and the defection of 12 will have nothing to do with the anti-defection law. However, this will deal Congress a body blow. The party is battling infighting. The state will go to elections in February, 2023. Trouble started brewing ever since Shillong MP Vincent H Pala took over as the party’s Meghalaya unit chief. Sangma, who is the Leader of Opposition and Congress Legislature Party leader, felt threatened by Pala’s appointment since he was sole contender for the CM post from Congress. Children aged 6-59 months who are anaemic (<11.0 g/dl)22 Non-pregnant women aged 15-49 years who are anaemic (<12.0 g/dl)22 Pregnant women aged 15-49 years who are anaemic (<11.0 g/dl)22 EXPRESS READ Four get 10 years for funding terror activities Raipur: A court in Chhattisgarh’s Raipur on Wednesday sentenced four persons, including a couple linked to banned groups SIMI and Indian Mujahideen, to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment for channeling funds for terror activities. The four are Dheeraj Sao (21), Pappu Mandal, Jubair Hussain (42) and his wife Ayesha Bano (39), according to police. JAB-O-METER TAKE YOUR SHOT Nov 23 68,35,617 doses Nov 24 79,65,803 doses TOTAL DOSES 119,27,78,005 Covaxin showed 50% efficacy in 2nd wave A Lancet study among 2,714 hospital workers at AIIMS in Delhi showed that Covaxin is only 50% effective against symptomatic Covid-19, down from 77.8% efficacy shown in interim result of Phase 3 trial NATIONWIDE NOV 23 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths NOV 24 7,579 9,283 12,202 10,949 236 437 Women aged 15-49 years who are anaemic22 All women aged 15-19 years who are anaemic22 Men aged 1549 years who are anaemic (<13.0 g/ dl)22 33.9 31.1 29.2 25.0 20.4 27.4 25.0 22.7 ALL FIGURES IN % Mamata Banerjee with Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Wednesday | PTI Changing optics as Didi meets Modi in Delhi but gives Sonia a miss URBAN RURAL TOTAL (NFHS 5 : 2019-21) (NFHS 4 :2015-16) 56.5 60.2 59.1 54.1 53.8 58.5 57.0 53.1 45.7 54.3 52.2 50.4 54.1 58.7 57.2 53.2 64.2 68.3 67.1 58.6 Findings of National Family Health Survey based on study in 14 states and UTs Men aged 1519 years who are anaemic (<13.0 g/ dl)22 TRANSPORT FACILITIES Delhi govt to start a shuttle bus service from the Delhi Secretariat to ITO and Indraprastha metro stations for its employees THERE is trouble in store for commuters, especially government staff working at Central Secretariat, Krishi Bhawan, Udhyog Bhawan, Rail Bhawan and other nearby offices located on Rafi Marg. Those who travel by bus to reach these offices will be affected for three weeks starting November 29 when the winter session of Parliament starts. Delhi Traffic Police and the Parliament Secretariat have decided to close the route from Sunheri Masjid to Rafi Marg, Sansad Marg and Imtiaz Khan Marg for buses to f acilitate movement of parliamentarians. Sources said these changes are made for security purposes and to avoid untoward incidents, considering that Samyukta Kisan Morcha is planning a protest march to Parliament on November. Farmer leaders will have a meeting with all union leaders regarding the march on November 27. To make sure that no ministers or MPs are stuck in traffic jams or face inconvenience while reaching Parliament during the winter session, Delhi Traffic Police has also decided to make Rafi Marg two way for ease of movement of the parliamentarians. At present, this stretch is one way. No public bus, auto-rickshaw, private vehicle or common public will be V AT S A L A S H R A N G I @ New Delhi ALL schools, colleges and other educational institutions in the national capital, shut on account of alarming pollution levels, are set to reopen on November 29. All government offices will also reopen the same day Delhi’s . environment minister Gopal Rai said the restrictions had been eased in view of the improvement in air quality . The ban on entry of trucks carrying non-essential commodities will, however, continue till December 3 while CNG and electric-run trucks will be allowed in the city from November 27 onwards. Also, while government employees will return to office, the minister urged them to use public transport and the CNG special bus service being run by the government. The announcements came at press conference after a review meeting on pollution even as the city’s air quality , after improving to ‘poor’ for 24 hours, plunged to the higher end of ‘very poor’. “For the last three days, there has been an improvement in Delhi’s pollution levels. If we look at the aver- INCONVENIENCE FORMULA Routes that will be closed for buses: Sunheri Masjid to Rafi Marg, Sansad Marg and Imtiaz Khan Marg Diversion for buses plying on these routes: Buses going towards Akbar Road, Janpath, Connaught Circle and Kendriya Terminal will go towards Baba Khadak Singh Marg and Pandit Pant Marg Will be made two-way road --- Rail Bhawan-Sansad Marg-Rafi Marg --- solely to facilitate movement of MP, ministers to and from Parliament; will not be open to public Imtiaz Khan Marg 300 No of buses on this stretch 1.50 L Approx bus users to be affected 35 buses Rafi Marg & Sansad Marg With change in route numbers Parliament Rail Bhawan Krishi Bhawan Central Secretariat Sunheri Masjid Rafi Marg: Length 0.51km; currently singleway: Rafi Marg-Sansad Marg-Rail Bhawan Buses started from/ terminating at Krish Bhawan will have to start from/terminate at National Museum Udyog Bhawan BUS ROUTE NUMBERS 610, 610 B, 630, 680, 89, 540, 970, 970A, 970C, 604, 620, 632, 781, 720, 783, 47A, 410, 980, 166, 181, 181A19, 400, 433, 460, 490, 500, 520, 270, 310, 391, 740, 740A, 740B, 740 Ext and 770A allowed to use the opposite carriageway on Rafi Marg created for the MPs and ministers. Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Ajay Pal Singh said, “Presently Rafi Marg is a , single way and traffic from Rafi Marg comes towards Rail Bha- Gopal Rai, Environment Minister SCHOOLS AND OFFICES TO OPEN ON NOV 29 Bus routes diverted for movement of MPs, trouble in store for govt staffers G AYAT H R I M A N I @ New Delhi We hired private CNG buses recently. We have decided to use them to ferry employees from colonies such as Gulabi Bagh and Nimri Colony. A majority of government employees live in these areas wan via Sansad Marg. Now, as the Parliament session is coming, we have decided to make it a two-way road allowing traffic from Rail Bhawan to Sansad Marg on Rafi Marg to facilitate VIP movement. CONTINUED ON PAGE 4 age AQI pre-Diwali, Delhi has reached those levels again. Pollution levels had been steadily rising after Diwali. Considering that, multiple restrictions were put in place…Today, we held a review meeting with all top officials during which the decisions regarding reopening were taken,” said Rai. Restrictions had come into place on November 17 following directives issued by the Commission for Air Quality Management. The gover nment had also banned construction and demolition activities till November 21. This curb was lifted on Sunday . With the workfrom-home directive lifted from Monday, special bus services will be provided to areas like Nimri Colony Gulabi Bagh and Ti, marpur, where a majority of Delhi government employees reside. “Private CNG buses hired by the government will be used for this purpose. We have decided to start shuttle bus services from the Delhi Secretariat to the ITO and Indraprastha metro stations,” Rai said, adding that the facilities are being provided to encourage use of public transport. BJP screening panel for ticket allocation in Uttarakhand E X P R E SS N E WS S E R V I C E @ Dehradun THE BJP will form a ‘screening committee’ this week to finalise ticket distribution for assembly elections in Uttarakhand. According to party insiders, at least two dozen new faces are likely to be fielded. “The party leadership is facing pressure to increase ticket representation for women as well as youth. However, experienced senior leaders whose electoral victory is certain sorted will be trusted with the ticket again,” said a party leader. BJP central leaders, including election in-charge for Uttarakhand Pralhad Joshi, national general secretary Dushyant Gautam and others are in Dehradun for past two days to meet state leaders, including Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami and state party president Madan Kaushik. The Uttarakhand unit of the saffron party has already hired a private agency to conduct a ‘confidential survey’ to get ground report of all 70 Assesmbly constituencies. The results will be used in determining ticket distribution. The first and second phases of the survey have already been completed while the third and final phase, which started on October 25, is ongoing. PANIC SELL-OFF Crypto recovers after crash as clarity on wriggle-room emerges D I PA K M O N D A L @ New Delhi MORE clarity emerged on the proposed cryptocurrency bill to be tabled in Parliament as various government and industry sources claimed that the government may not go for a blanket ban, and instead may allow some digital currencies with proper regulations. With experts doubting the possibility of a blanket ban, cryptocurrenciers in India recovered sharply after witness- ing a 25% drop on Monday night and early morning trade on Tuesday. Most cryptocurrencies were trading 8-10% lower than their 24-hour peak. Bit- coin, which had touched a low of `33.21 lakh during the past 24 hours, recovered the losses and traded above `41 lakh at the time of filing this report. Only one or two cryptos will survive, says Rajan Former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan on Wednesday said most of the cryptocurrencies will perish and only one or two out of the 6,000-odd cryptocurrencies will survive. “If things have value only because they will be pricier down the line, that’s a bubble,” he said in an interview to a channel. “Cryptos may pose the same problem as unregulated chit funds, which take money from people and go bust, a lot of people holding crypto assets are going to be aggrieved,” he added. It was still trading 10% lower than the 24-hour high of `46.51 lakh. The idea that cryptocurrencies would be banned by the gover nment stemmed from the agenda of the bill listed for the winter session of Parliament. But many industry players and government officials told this newspaper that the bill has been reintroduced (after the government failed to table it in the monsoon session) with an unchanged agenda, and that the bill has undergone several changes ever since. A senior finance ministry official said the government has been planning to come out with specific rules for taxing gains from cryptocurrencies, and if it had to ban them, there was no need for such an exercise. Ashish Singhal, founder and CEO of CoinSwitch Kuber, a crypto exchange, says: “Our discussions over the last few weeks indicate there is broad agreement on ensuring customers are protected, financial system stability is reinforced and India is able to take advantage of the crypto technology revolution.” Exchanges have asked the investors to not panic and take hasty decisions. CoinDCX told its investors that that it’s “positive” that smart and sensible regulations will follow. J&K SEES ENCOUNTER, THREE KILLED Protest erupts in Srinagar streets as witness says those shot down by police were not carrying arms PAGE 8
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