FRIDAY 90-YRS OLD SREEDHARAN CALLS IT QUITS 17 DECEMBER, 2021 The technocrat had unsuccessfully contested the April 2021 Kerala Assembly elections as a BJP candidate from Palakkad epaper.morningstandard.in ANNOUNCEMENT A BIG SETBACK TO BJP facebook.com/TheMorningStandard twitter.com/TheMornStandard APATHY CULTURE NOT ON PRIORITY LIST More than 600 posts are lying vacant in museums across India for years A CAPITAL VIEW OF NEWS PAGE 7 NEW DELHI J8.00 PAGES 12 Parl panel widens data protection scope JPC report on data protection bill tabled; tougher norms recommended to regulate social media platforms EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi THE Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) report on the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, was tabled in Parliament on Thursday two years after it was , first introduced in the Lok Sabha. The report, tabled in the Lok Sabha by BJP member and chairperson of the panel P P Chaudhary, calls for a single regulatory body for personal and non-personal data and a statutory media regulatory authority to regulate social media content. The JPC report calls for TIE-UP AKHILESH YADAV JOINS HANDS WITH HIS UNCLE SHIVPAL tighter regulation for social media platforms by treating them as publishers who will be regulated for the content they host. It has suggested that no social media platform should be allowed to operate in India unless the parent company handling the technology sets up an office in India. Notably, the report seeks to widen the scope of the draft legislation by including non-personal data. Congress MP Jairam Ramesh tabled the bill in the Rajya Sabha. Many panel members from opposition parties have given dissent notes on Clause 35 of The announcement of the pre-poll alliance signals the end of five-year-old battle of one-upmanship in the Samajwadi Party and of the differences in the family ahead of crucial battle | P8 the proposed law, which talks about empowering the Centre and its law enforcing agencies to process data without seeking per mission from the individual. Critics say the suggested changes further undermine the objectives of the bill by placing economic and state security interests on the same footing as informational privacy . “While recommending that that service shan’t be denied to users for want of conset, the report allows for non-consensual processing of data without necessary safeguards. It weakens user rights by carving exceptions for complying with user requests by data fiduciaries,” says Internet Freedom Foundation, ), an Indian digital liberties organisation. Dissent among members over aspects of legislation The JPC was on Dec 1 given a sixth extension till the last week of the winter session to submit its report. After nearly two years of deliberations, the panel on November 22 adopted a 250-page report on the Bill even as some of the members dissented to certain aspects. According to Chaudhary the , bill has ample safeguards to protect individual privacy but the same cannot override national security When it comes . to sovereignty and integrity of the nation, the government can authorise any agency to process personal data, he said. Suggestions made by the panel are not binding. The committee has favoured a 24-month timeline for implementation of the provisions of the legislation so that the data fiduciaries and data processors have enough time to make the necessary changes to their policies, infrastructure and processes. Govt won’t blink on minister even as Oppn steps up heat EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi Bill raising marriage age of women to 21 yrs soon after Cabinet approval EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi THE Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved a proposal to increase the legal age of marriage of women in India from 18 years to 21 years, setting in motion the process to change a 43-year old norm. Sources said a bill in this regard is likely to be brought in Parliament soon. The legal age of marriage in India for women has been 18 years since 1978, while it is 21 years for men. According to the sources, the bill to amend the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, is likely to be tabled in the ongoing winter session itself. The proposed bill may also seek to make consequential changes to various personal laws relating to marriage of different communities to ensure a uniform marriage age, they said. In June 2020, the government had set up a 10-member committee, headed by politician Jaya Jaitley to examine, among other things, whether the legal age of marriage for women should be raised. Other panel members included Niti Aayog’s Dr V K Paul, secretaries of various ministries and academics Najma Akhtar, Vasudha Kamat and Dipti Shah. Its terms of reference included examining the correlation of age of marriage and motherhood with health, medical well-being and nutrition of mother and child. JAB-O-METER TAKE YOUR SHOT Dec 15 53,84,094 doses Dec 16 62,90,272 doses TOTAL: 1,35,91,01,972 Task force report last Dec The move is based on the report of a 10-member task force led by Jaya Jaitly. She said the panel had submitted its recommendations to the PMO, WCD Ministry and the NITI Aayog last December. However, women’s rights activists are wary saying the bill , could end up harming women’s cause rather than helping them. Population Foundation of India, an NGO working for women’s reproductive rights, said increasing women’s age of marriage is like “treating symptoms instead of the cause”. While concern over early marriage is a step in the right direction, factors like deep-rooted gender inequality, regressive norms and financial insecurity contribute to early and forced marriages, it said. Pointing out that nearly 50-60 per cent marriages in India take place before the age of 21 years, Amita Pitre of Oxfam India said raising the age will criminalise all such marriages taking place in future. NATIONWIDE DEC 15 DEC 16 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths 6.984 7,974 8,168 7,948 247 343 DELHI Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths DEC 15 DEC 16 57 36 00 85 38 00 WITH pandemonium prevailing in Parliament for the second successive day amid vociferous demands to sack junior home minister Ajay Mishra, what could ironically save his chair for now is the refusal of the government to be seen bowing to Opposition pressure. Mishra’s son Ashish is the prime accused in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence, which a Special Investigation Team said was pre-planned. While the prospects of the remaining days of the winter session remain gloomy amid the Opposition upping the ante over the issue, the BJP is digging in its heels, saying the prime minister “cannot be dictated to drop a minister”. The party would wait for the court’s verdict as the matter is sub judice, sources said. “Dropping a minister for the alleged involvement of his son in a crime will set a wrong precedent,” a BJP functionary said. In the Lok Sabha, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi sought to raise the matter during Ques- Opposition MPs in Lok Sabha troop into the well of the House on Thursday | PTI tion Hour. “The minister is a criminal as he is involved in the Lakhimpur Kheri incident in which farmers were mowed to death. He should be removed from the ministry forthwith,” Rahul demanded amid interruptions by Speaker Om Birla. While there is speculation on the BJP being wary of antagonising the Brahmin community in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh if Mishra is dropped, party leaders rejected the contention. “His following isn’t beyond his LS seat. There’re a number of Brahmin leaders in the Yogi Cabinet. It’s an overstatement to say that the BJP wants to protect him because of his caste,” said a senior BJP functionary . Another leader stated that the Parliament disruptions have well been anticipated by the government on account of the assembly elections coming up in the five states. “The Opposition parties predictably wanted to set the narratives for the polls, and the winter session presented an opportunity . The gover nment is unperturbed with the prospects of the washout of the remaining days of the session and for urgent legislation the Ordinance route is available,” he said. P7 Sreedharan’s decision is a big setback to the BJP, which had projected him to broaden its base in Kerala by reaching out to neutral voters and bringing more professionals to its fold. It was BJP’s national leadership that took the initiative to bring Sreedharan to the party, much to the chagrin of state leaders C S Channi in Ludhiana on Thursday PUNJAB farmer unions will likely meet Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi on December 20 and discuss the question of a complete debt waiver projected at `1.25 lakh crore. Some unions are annoyed over frequent postponements of such a meeting. The farmers met on Thursday but could not firm up their stance on meeting the CM. They have called for another meeting on December 18. Sources said leaders of the ‘I FELT SAD WHEN I LOST ELECTION’ E Sreedharan, fondly called the Metro Man for spearheading the Delhi Metro project, said he will continue to serve society. “I am 90 years now. When I say I am quitting active politics, it doesn’t mean I am leaving politics,” he said, adding that he felt sad when he lost the election. “But, I am not sad now because nothing can be done with one legislator,” he added ‘METRO MAN’ RETIRES FROM ACTIVE POLITICS EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE ambil in the Kerala assembly election in May by a narrow margin of 3,859 votes. ‘METRO MAN’ and BJP’s He also said he would not candidate for Palakkad con- stay away from involving stituency in the last Kerala himself with development a s s e m b l y e l e c t i o n s , and social works. “I was nevE Sreedharan on Thursday er a politician. I contested in announced he was quitting the election as a bureaucrat. active politics for good. I’m not disappointed with Talking about his political the election defeat and have career to reporters at Pon- learnt many things from it. I nani in Malappuram dis- can serve the people in other trict, Sreedharan, who ways. I have three trusts and joined the BJP in I have work in that February ahead of to be done,” Sreedthe assembly polls, haran added. said he would conThe technocrat, tinue to serve the who is credited I was never a politician and do nation in other with the successways and continue not wish to. I am 90 ful execution of now and hence do with the saffron the Delhi Metro, not want to be in p a r t y, b u t n o t which became a politics. I need not t h ro u g h a c t ive template for other be a politician to politics. serve people which I major cities in the “I was never a country building am doing through politician and do a metro network, three trust not wish to. I am 90 suggested that the E Sreedharan years old now. I am Kerala BJP unit in the advanced has to bring changstage as far as my age is con- es in its programmes and he sidered,” he said. has written to the party’s “When I say I am quitting state leadership in this conactive politics, it doesn’t nection. Urging the state mean I am leaving politics. BJP leadership to bring When I lost the election, I changes in its policies, he felt sad. But, now I am not opined that the party can do sad because nothing can be a lot of things before the done with one legislator,” next elections. Sreedharan said, indirectly Kerala BJP chief K Surenreferring to BJP’s failure to dran told the media that win even a single seat in the even though Sreedharan had Kerala assembly . lost the elections, the party Sreedharan was defeated will continue to seek his adby the Congress’s Shafi Par- vice on many matters. @ Malappuram EXPRESS READ NIA charge sheet in Shaurya Chakra awardee killing New Delhi: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Thursday chargesheeted three Khalistan Liberation Force terrorists for their alleged involvement in the killing of Shaurya Chakra awarded Balwinder Singh Sandhu in Punjab’s Taran Taran. A supplementary charge sheet was filed in a special court in Mohali against Navpreet Singh alias Nav, Harbhinder Singh and Gurwinder Singh, a senior NIA official said. Balwinder Singh was shot dead in 2010. Singh, who won Shaurya Chakra, for fighting terrorism in Punjab, used to run a school from his residence in Bhikhiwind district of Tarn Taran. The three chargesheeted on Thursday had provided logistics help to the shooters. Sarpanch’s post auctioned in MP village for `44L E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Bhopal BOW TO GLORIOUS VICTORY Prime Minister Narendra Modi pays tribute to martyrs on the occasion of Vijay Diwas at National War Memorial in New Delhi on Thursday | PTI Punjab farmers set to meet Channi on Dec 20 over total loan waiver H A R P R E E T B A J W A @ Chandigarh THE MARGIN BY WHICH SREEDHARAN LOST IN THE KERALA ASSEMBLY POLLS Punjab chapter of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) had called for a meeting on Thursday at Ludhiana. They discussed whether farmer leaders should join politics or which political parties they should extend their support. However, they could not reach a conclusion. “Today’s meeting failed to take any decision because representatives of all 32 unions were not present as messages could not be sent in time to all. The union will send a message to all farmer unions of the state in an attempt to seek unanimity on the question of farmer leaders’ participation in politics,” said a farmer leader on the condition of anonymity . “The only matter that the leaders discussed today was that farmer leaders should show unity and avoid issuing statements against each other,’’ the farmer leader said. Earlier, senior farmer leaders Balbir Singh Rajewal, president of Bharatiya Kisan Union (Rajewal), had said that the unions would not be attending the meeting called by Channi on December 20. “We have received a letter from the Chief Minister’s Office informing us of the meeting on December 17. However, the meeting has now been fixed for December 20. All the farmers’ unions were ready for the meeting with the CM,” said Rajewal. The government is reportedly delaying the matter and waiting for the code of conduct to be in force in the poll-bound state. “The Congress government is wasting our time, which is why we have decided not to attend the meeting,’’ said Rajewal. Ghazipur road reopens Delhi’s Ghazipur border was partially reopened on Thursday after remaining closed for over a year due to the farmers’ stir. Police said one of the carriageways has been reopened and those coming from Vaishali, Ghaziabad can enter the capital. A village in Madhya Pradesh has reportedly auctioned the post of its gram sarpanch (village head) for `44 lakh. Elders of Bhatauli village in Ashok Nagar district believe the ‘auction’ will ensure peace among contenders for the post, nor would there be illegal distribution of liquor or money to win votes for panchayat polls due early next year. The open auction/bidding took place recently at the main temple of the village. The bid opened with a minimum of `21 lakh and went up to `43 lakh. The highest bidder, Saubhag Yadav, got the sarpanch’s post after he bid for `44 lakh.The villagers garlanded Yadav and resolved that he is their new village sarpanch and that no one except him would file the nomination for sarpanch’s post to ensure his election without opposition. The villagers, however, attached a condition: if Yadav fails to deposit `44 lakh, then the second highest bidder will be the candidate to file the nomination. Yadav, who was declared village sarpanch after the auction process, said, “The entire amount will be deposited in the temple and used for the village’s development. I have taken a pledge to work for the village and there is no better place than a temple for taking such a vow,” Yadav said. The local administration has made it clear that such a process isn’t valid and cannot be recognised. “ Anyone can contest the sarpanch poll and can file the nomination form. Those with valid forms after scrutiny will be eligible to contest. The highest bidder in the reported auction at the temple is also eligible to contest the poll, provided his form is found valid,” said a local officer. The State Election Commission will hold the panchayat polls in three phases in January-February next year.
Express Network Private Limited publishes thirty three E-paper editions of The New Indian Express newspaper , thirty two E-paper editions of Dinamani, one E-paper edition of The Morning Standard, one E-paper edition of Malayalam Vaarika magazine and one E-paper edition of the Indulge - The Morning Standard, Kolkatta.