YK MYK WEATHER TODAY MAX 29 C MIN 25 C SC MUST CHALK OUT ITS PATH OF SOCIAL JUSTICE, DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS OPINION Sky will be partly cloudy. Rs. 3 KOLKATA THURSDAY, 22 OCT, 2020 PG-12, YEAR—7, ISSUE—160 (RNI NO: WBENG / 2014 / 56803) SANJAY DEFEATS CANCER, ISSUES STATEMENT WITH HEALTH UPDATE SCREEN & CINEMA Morning India FESTIVE CHEERS BONUS FOR 30 LAKH GOVT EMPLOYEES NEW DELHI: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved bonus through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) for 30 lakh non-gazetted employees of the central government. “Two important decisions were taken today in the union cabinet meeting. Firstly, the union cabinet approved productivity linked bonus and non-productivity linked bonus for 2019-2020. More than 30 lakh non-gazetted employees of the central government will be benefited by the bonus announcement and total financial implication will be Rs 3,737 crores,” Union Minister Prakash Javadekar informed reporters after the cabinet meeting. “The bonus will be given in a single instalment, through Direct Benefit Transfer, before Vijayadashami,” he added. Javadekar further informed that the AT A GLANCE RAJNATH: BJP-JD(U) ALLIANCE A HIT PAIR LIKE SACHIN AND SEHWAG BHAGALPUR: Senior BJP leader and defence minister Rajnath Singh said here on Wednesday that the BJP and JD (U) duo were a superhit pair like the opening partnership of former batsmen Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag. “People can talk about development being less or more but nobody can point a finger at Chief Minister Nitish Kumar as far as corruption is concerned. Till today, there is no taint on Nitish Kumar.” Addressing an election meeting in Bhagalpur, the defence minister said that a comparison can be made between 15 years of the RJD reign and the NDA regime. FAROOQ APPEARS BEFORE ED IN JKCA MONEY LAUNDERING CASE AGAIN SRINAGAR: Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate for the second time in three days on Wednesday in connection with a multicrore scam in the JK Cricket Association, with his National Conference terming the summons “yet another attempt to browbeat” the opposition. PG 7 CORONA METER INDIA TOTAL CASES: 7,652,780 TOTAL DEATH: 115,969 WORLD TOTAL CASES: 41,142,664 TOTAL DEATH: 1,131,210 SBI OFFERS ADDITIONAL CONCESSIONS ON HOME LOANS NEW DELHI: Lending major State Bank of India (SBI) on Wednesday announced concession in home loan rates by as much as 25 basis points. Accordingly, an interest concession of 25 bps will be provided for buying homes of above Rs 75 lakh, based on ‘CIBIL score and through YONO’ (app). In an extension of its festive offers announced recently, the SBI has offered a credit score based concessions of up to 20bps from 10 bps earlier, for a home loan of above Rs 30 lakh to Rs 2 crore across India. “The same concession would also be applicable for home loan customers for a loan amount of up to Rs 3 crore in eight metro cities,” the lender said in a statement. A man covering the face of Goddess Durga’s idol with a face-mask to create awareness regarding covid-19 during the Durga Puja festival, in Kolkata on Tuesday. ANI Covid norms’ violation worries Guv Dr. Nitin Madan Kulkarni, secretary, department of health called on Governor Droupadi Murmu at Raj Bhawan on Wednesday. cabinet also decided to approve the adaptation of the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act, 1989. “Union Cabinet approved adaptation of the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act, 1989. This move will help establish all the three tiers of grass-root level democracy like in other parts of the country,” he said. ( Sub-inspector of Kolkata police succumbed to Covid-19 KOLKATA: Sub-inspector Haradhan Das of Kolkata Police posted at Survey Park Police Station on Wednesday succumbed to the COVID-19 taking the total number of policemen killed by the disease to over 23, a health department official said. The COVID-19 continued surging in West Bengal as on Wednesday there was a highest single-day spike of 4,069 new infections which pushed the tally in the state to 3,33,126, the health department bulletin said. The city accounted for the maximum of 879 new infections while neighbouring North 24 Parganas registered 872 fresh cases while Howrah (268), South 24 Parganas (245), Paschim Medinipur (225) and Hooghly (223), it said. The toll mounted to 6,244 with 64 more people succumbing to the disease, it said. The discharge rate was recorded at 87.45 per cent after 3,596 recover- ies have been reported from different hospitals here, the bulletin added. So far, 2,91,303 recoveries have been recorded in West Bengal. There were 19 fatalities each from the city and North 24 Parganas while in South 24 Parganas (7) deaths were registered, it said. There were three deaths each reported in Hooghly and Howrah while two each from Purba Medinipur, Paschim Medinipur, Nadia and Jalpaiguri, it said. One death each was reported from Birbhum, Malda, Uttar Dinajpur, Darjeeling and Coochbehar, the bulletin said. Out of the 64 deaths, 53 were due to the comorbidities where COVID19 was incidental. Accordingly, the number of active cases rose to 35,579. Since Tuesday, 43,592 samples have been tested in West Bengal taking the total number of such tests to 41,22,243, it added. SANJAY SAHAY RANCHI: Governor Droupadi Murmu on Wednesday expressed concern over the rampant violation of the Covid preventive norms, including wearing of masks and social distancing by a large number of people in the state. In a meeting held with Health Secretary Nitin Madan Kulkarni, the Governor said that a significant section of people now In a meeting held feels that Covid threat with Health is over though thouSecretary Nitin sands are getting Madan Kulkarni, infected every day. the Governor said The Governor also that a significant reviewed the Covid sitsection of people uation of the state in now feels that the meeting. She said Covid threat is that people must over though understand that prethousands are ventive measures are getting infected the only remedy to the every day. disease until the vaccine comes. While discussing the death of Dr Vijay Krishna Srivastava under mysterious circumstances, the Governor said non-payment of timely salary is not justified. She opined the death of a doctor due to economic hardship at a time when the entire country is supporting and encouraging them as Covid warriors was a sensitive issue. She said that the government must be sensitive towards the issue. Meanwhile, Jharkhand’s director general of police MV Rao also met the Governor on the occasion of Police Commemoration Day. The Law and order situation of the state was also discussed in the meeting. RF Constable wounded in road accident KOLKATA: There was a road accident at Alipore at about 11.20 am. Sajal Burman, 46 years resident of Sonarpur, Constable of RF was on a motorcycle. He was hit by a private car from the back. Sajal Burman was taken to SSKM hospital and discharged after necessary treatment. On the other hand, number of arrest for deliberate violation of Safety Restrictions since 21.10.2020: Total arrest– 22, people booked for not using face mask – 197, people booked for spitting in public place/road- 10 Army chief Gen. Manoj Mukund Naravane ‘Integrated theatre commands next step in defence reforms’ NEW DELHI: The next logical step in the process of defence reforms in India is the formation of Integrated Theatre Commands to synergise the capabilities and combat potential of the three armed services during war and peace, Indian Army chief, Gen. Manoj Mukund Naravane said on Wednesday. He, however, said that this process will be “deliberate, thoughtful and well considered” and its fruition will take a “number of years.” The army chief was speaking during his visit to the College of Defence Management (CDM) and the Bison Division at Secunderabad. At the CDM, Gen. Naravane, interacting with the officers of the prestigious Higher Defence Management Course, spoke about the current security scenario and focused on the geo-strategic implications on capability development and force utilisation of the Indian Army in pursuit of national interests. During his address to the student officers and faculty of the CDM, he spoke on a number of issues concerning integration, theaterisation and modernisation of the armed forces in general, and the Indian Army in particular. On the government’s decision to appoint a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) and create the Department of Military Affairs, he said that it was “a momentous one” and that the services needed to “demonstrate great wisdom and statesmanship in enabling the CDS, a longstanding demand of the armed forces”. The army chief also told the officers that there was a need for everyone to work in a spirit of togetherness and trust with the national security interests being paramount. However, adding a note of caution, he said that there might be a requirement for “mid course corrections.” Police Vs Army: Political crisis deepens after high-profile ‘kidnapping’ in Pak KARACHI: A serious controversy has broken out in Pakistan after an Inspector General of Police (IGP) was allegedly forced into ordering the arrest of Captain (retd) Safdar Awan, the husband of Maryam Nawaz Sharif, for chanting slogans at the tomb of the countrys founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah in Karachi. Rumours are spreading like wildfire in the country that IGP Mushtaq Mahar was allegedly abducted from his home by intelligence agency officials and was forced into ordering the arrest of Safdar Awan. The incident has sparked anger among the police ranks as Sindh Police have announced protests while about a dozen officers, including the IGP, have rendered their leave requests for a month. After the sudden leave requests from senior police officers from across the Sindh province, Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah reassured the government’s support to the Sindh Police at every stage. Shah assured the provincial police’s top brass that the government would not let the force be demoralised under any con- dition. “Sindh Police should continue their work in an independent and impartial manner. The government is taking steps to further strengthen the professionalism of the police,” the Chief Minister said. Meanwhile, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the Chairman of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), has slammed the military establishment and the intelligence agencies for humiliating the police by forcing them to order the arrest of Safdar Awan, the son-in-law of exiled former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Bilawal Bhutto had earlier demanded to have the identities of the people who surrounded Sindh IGP Mahar’s house at 4 a.m., shortly before the arrest of Safdar Awan. Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa also took notice of the incident and ordered an immediate inquiry into the matter. Bajwa also spoke to PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto and assured him of action against the culprits after the internal inquiry comes to a conclusion. On the other hand, the meeting between Sindh CM Syed Murad Ali Shah and the Sindh Police yielded results as IGP Mahar deferred his own leave application and ordered his officers to set aside theirs for at least 10 days, pending conclusion on the inquiry into the arrest. MORE ON WORLD PG Few takers for wedding invitation cards in corona times CUSTOMERS ARE FEW AND FAR BETWEEN AND MOST SHOPKEEPERS CAN’T HELP BUT GAZE AT THEIR SHOPS’ DOORS NEW DELHI: ‘The Big Fat Indian Weddings’ in India have lost much of the pomp and pageantry usually associated with them in the past, as a fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, the festivities associated with the ostentatious weddings -- that brought immense joy and celebrations in the families -- have gone for a toss and turned these social occasions into a tame affair. Gone are the days -- at least for several more months -- when hundreds of guests thronged weddings. Now restrictions on gatherings, including weddings, in a bid to stem the spread of coronavirus has led to thin attendance at the celebratory events. And one thing indicating this downturn in celebrations is the drastic dip in demand for invitation cards. A visit to Chandni Chowk -one of the biggest markets that caters to the need of those looking to shop for invitation cards for weddings -- is enough to tell one about the downturn in demand after the pandemic. Customers for wedding invitation cards are few and far between and most shopkeepers can’t help but gaze at their shops’ doors while looking for the elusive customers. “Our businesses remained shut for months but have since resumed. But there isn’t any increase in demand as many restrictions on social gatherings like weddings are still in force,” Krishna Murari Gupta, President of Delhi Wedding Cards Association, told IANS. “Many people have postponed weddings in their families while other have turned them into closed family affairs with very limited number of attendees, directly affecting not only our wedding cards business but also other businesses connected to weddings,” he said, adding that virtual market too had greatly impacted their business as people were now shifting to e-cards and WhatsApp invitations. Vijay Kumar, who is into wedding cards business for over 30 years, said: “My business was shut for over seven months. However, after we resumed it, there has been no improvement in the dull sale. Before the pan- demic, if a customer normally ordered for over 200-300 cards, now the demand is limited to only 30-40 cards.” “WhatsApp has also gravely affected our sales -- people now make WhatsApp e-cards and sent these to family members and others. Another category of customers get very few wedding invitation cards printed, click their pictures and share them online with scores of relatives and friends they intend to invite, which is hugely affecting our business,” Kumar added. A wholesaler, Ashwani Mehta, told IANS that though the wedding season was on there was no spike in his business due to restrictions imposed by the government. “This has not only affected our wedding cards business but all activities connected to weddings, like catering or putting up of tents or ‘pandals’ and flower decorations,” Mehta remarked, adding that the wedding industry business had dipped by around 70-80 per cent. Meanwhile, India has sustained its trend of maintaining the active cases below the 7.5 lakh mark for the second successive day on Wednesday, according to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. In the last 24 hours, the country has registered 61,775 recoveries whereas the new confirmed cases are only 54,044. This is when 10,83,608 tests have been conducted in the last 24 hours.