YK MYK WEATHER TODAY MAX 32 C MIN 20 C NATIONAL PRESS DAY: FREE PRESS SOUL OF DEMOCRACY', SAYS JAVADEKAR NATION Sky will be clear. Rs. 3 KOLKATA TUESDAY, 17 NOV, 2020 PG-12, YEAR—7, ISSUE—181 (RNI NO: WBENG / 2014 / 56803) AT A GLANCE COVID: GOOD NEWS FOR PENSIONERS NEW DELHI : If you are a pensioner and worry about going out to submit proof of your living amid the raging pandemic, breath easy. The Employees' Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) has facilitated multiple options for EPS pensioners to submit their DLC or Digital Life certificate, close to their home or at their doorstep. JPP or Jeevan Pramaan Patra submitted through all these modes are equally valid. All pensioners of Employees' Pension Scheme 1995 are required to submit Jeevan Pramaan Patra (JPP) or Digital Life certificate (DLC) each year to continue drawing pension. In addition to the 135 regional offices and 117 district offices of EPFO, EPS pensioners can now submit DLC at pension disbursing bank branches and nearest post offices. DLC can also be submitted at a nationwide network of over 3.65 lakh Common Services Centers (CSC). Apart from this, EPS pensioners can also submit DLC using the UMANG app. Recently, India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) has launched the doorstep Digital Life Certificate (DLC) service for pensioners. EPS pensioners can now submit online requests for availing doorstep DLC service on payment of a nominal fee. A postman from the nearest Post Office will visit a pensioner and complete the process of generating DLC at the home of the pensioner only. LAW COMMITTEE OF GST COUNCIL'S MEET NEW DELHI : An urgent meeting of the Law Committee of the Goods and Service Tax (GST) Council has been convened on Wednesday here in New Delhi to discuss in detail the issue of fake invoices to claim input tax credit under the indirect tax regime. The meet will deliberate on ways of further tightening of the GST registration process and work out other legal measures including necessary law amendment required in GST Act to do away with the menace of fake invoicing, sources in the finance ministry said here on Monday. CORONA METER INDIA TOTAL CASES: 8,868,429 TOTAL DEATH: 130,417 WORLD TOTAL CASES: 55,014,996 TOTAL DEATH: 1,327,332 BIG B CAPTURES VARIOUS MOODS OF AARADHYA IN B'DAY WISH CINEMA & SCREEN Morning India BJP asks CM to review Chhath ban RAJ KUMAR RANCHI: The State Government's decision to ban the celebration of Chhath at public water bodies in Jharkhand this year in view of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has created a furore in the political circle. The Opposition BJP on Monday criticized the State Government's move, dubbing it as a 'Tughlaqui farman'. The ruling JMM and the Congress have also urged Chief Minister Hemant Soren to reconsider the decision. State's Chief Secretary Sukhdev Singh on Sunday late night issued Chhath guidelines announcing ban on offering arghyas (offering to Sun god) on both days of the festival on November 20 and 21 this year. The order read, "Since it will not be possible to maintain the national guideline of do gaz ki doori (two feet social distancing) while performing Chhath puja in the waters of river/pond/lakes/rivers/dams/ reservoirs/any other public water bodies, therefore it is not permitted to be held so as to minimize the chances of spread of Covid-19 infection." The directive also banned any kind of stalls to be set up near such water bodies and prohibited individuals to earmark any ghats at public water bodies, putting up lights or other special arrangements. The govern- ment has also continued its curbs on bursting of crackers in public places during the Chhath festival or conduct of any entertainment and cultural programmes on the occasion. This year, Chhath is scheduled to be held on November 20 and 21 when devotees offer arghya (prayer) to the sun God at dusk and dawn. Lakhs of devotees turn up at water bodies for a holy dip and prayers. But amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, allowing such religious congregations could well prove risky, and may aid the spread of the virus. State BJP president Deepak Prakash called for immediate reversal of the ban. "Such order hurts sentiments of majority of the devotees for whom this is their biggest annual festival. The Government must take back the order and ensure proper facilities at the ghats to maintain social distancing among other safety precautions," he said, adding that the party will launch a stir against the 'Tughlaqui' order. Several BJP leaders, including Ranchi MP Sanjay Seth, Ranchi MLA C.P.Singh, Kanke MLA Samri Lal, Hatia MLA Naveen Jaiswal and deputy mayor Sanjeev Vijayvargiya besides others supported Prakash by staging a demonstration standing in Batan Talab near Raj Bhawan. "The Government wants the performance of rit- uals of Chhath at home. How come a poor staying in a small house can do so? In that case I want government to dig ditches in front of each house, " Seth said standing in the pond. Others echoed the same. Meanwhile, Hindu organisations alleged that the Soren government was maintaining double standards on Coronavirus. They have thrown open challenges saying that devotees would definitely offer prayer to the Sun god near the water bodies during the Chaath Puja even if they have to receive police batons. "The State government has started hitting people's belief by issuing such diktat," they said. Meanwhile, the JMM too has written to the Chief Minister to reconsider the guidelines. Party general secretary Vinod Pandey through a letter urged for reconsideration of guidelines. PM urges spiritual leaders to go vocal for local NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday urged all spiritual leaders to promote "AtmaNirbharta" (self-reliance) by going vocal for local. Speaking after unveiling the 'Statue of Peace' to mark the 151st birth anniversary celebrations of Jainacharya Shree Vijay Vallabh Surishwer Ji Maharaj, via video conferencing, the Prime Minister said that as happened during the freedom struggle, all the spiritual leaders should amplify the message of "AtmaNirbharta" and preach about the benefits of 'vocal for local'. Mentioning two 'Vallabhs', Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and the Jainacharya Shree Vijay Vallabh Surishwer Ji Maharaj, the Prime Minister said that he feels blessed by the fact that after dedicating the world's tallest statue of Sardar Patel- 'Statue of Unity', he is getting the opportunity to unveil the 'Statue of Peace' of the Jainacharya Shri Vijay Vallabh. "Reiterating his stress on 'vocal for local', PM Modi requested that as happened during the freedom struggle, all the spiritual leaders should amplify the message of "AtmaNirbharta" and preach about the benefits of 'vocal for local'," according to a release by the Prime Minister's Office (PMO). The Prime Minister said India has always shown the path of peace, non-violence and friendship to the world. Today the world is looking towards India for similar guidance. "If you look at the history of India, whenever the need arose, some saintly figure emerged to guide the society, Acharya Vijay Vallabh was one such saint," he said. Mentioning the educational institutions established by the Jainacharya, the Prime Minister praised his efforts to make the country "AtmaNirbhar" in the field of education as he established many institutes imbued with Indian values in states like Punjab, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. He said these institutions have given so many industrialists, judges, doctors and engineers who have given yeoman service to the nation. The Prime Minister underscored the debt that the country owes to the efforts of these institutions in the field of women's education. "These institutions kept the flame of female education alive in those difficult times. The Jainacharya established many institutions for girl children and brought women to the mainstream. The life of Acharya Vijay Vallabh ji was full of kindness, compassion and love for every living being. With his blessings, Bird Hospital and many gaushalas are running in the country today. These are not ordinary institutions. These are the embodiment of the spirit of India and the hallmarks of India and Indian values," he said. The statue unveiled in the honour of the Jainacharya has been named as 'Statue of Peace'. The 151-inch tall statue has been made from Ashtadhatu i.e. 8 metals, with Copper being the major constituent, and is installed at Vijay Vallabh Sadhana Kendra, Jetpura, in Pali, Rajasthan. JD(U) president Nitish Kumar takes oath as the Chief Minister of Bihar for the seventh time- his fourth consecutive term during the swearing-in ceremony, at Raj Bhavan in Patna on Monday. (ANI Photo) 'We will work together', says Nitish after taking oath as Bihar CM PATNA: Janata Dal (United) president Nitish Kumar was on Monday sworn in as Chief Minister of Bihar for the fourth straight term at a ceremony here in which saw attendance by Union Home minister Amit Shah and BJP chief Jagat Prakash Nadda. BJP leaders Tarkishore Prasad and Renu Devi were also sworn in as Deputy Chief Ministers of Bihar, replacing Sushil Kumar Modi who had been Nitish Kumar's deputy for 15 years. Governor Phagu Chauhan administered the oath of office to Kumar, along with a 14-member council of ministers at Raj Bhavan here. The main opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) boycotted the swearing-in ceremony stating the mandate was against the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). After taking oath, the chief minister said, "Based on the public's decision, NDA has once again formed the government in the state. We will work together and serve the people". On Sushil Modi not returning as his deputy, Kumar told ANI, "It is the PM congratulates Nitish NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday congratulated Janata Dal (United) president Nitish Kumar for taking oath as the Chief Minister of Bihar for the fourth straight term and said the NDA family will work together for the progress of Bihar. He assured all possible support from the Centre for the welfare of Bihar. "Congratulations to @NitishKumar Ji on taking oath as Bihar's CM. I also congratulate all those who took oath as Ministers in the Bihar Government. The NDA family will work together for the progress of Bihar. I assure all possible support from the Centre for the welfare of Bihar," the Prime Minister said in a tweet. decision of the BJP to not field Sushil Modi as the Deputy Chief Minister. They should be asked about this." Five ministers from JDU were among those who took the oath. They included Vijay Kumar Choudhary, Vijendra Prasad Yadav, Ashok Choudhary, Mewa Lal Choudhary and Sheela Kumari. Those from the BJP included Mangal Pandey, Amrendra Pratap Singh, RamPrit Paswan and Ram Surat Rai and Jibesh Kumar took oath as ministers. Santosh Kumar Suman, son of Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) chief Jitan Ram Manjhi and Mukesh Sahni the founder of Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP) also took oaths as Cabinet Minister of Bihar. BJP's Jeevesh Mishra who was also appointed a cabinet minister took oath in Maithili. BJP's Bihar incharge Devendra Fadnavis also participated in the event. Notably, it is the seventh time that Nitish Kumar is being sworn in as Chief Minister of Bihar. Moderna announces 94 pc effectiveness in Covid vaccine NIKHILA NATARAJAN NEW YORK : For the second time in the span of 10 days after the US elections, there's a Covid-19 gamechanger on the horizon with US pharma giant Moderna announcing on Monday that its vaccine has shown 94.5 per cent efficacy in preliminary data from the company's ongoing study. Moderna's vaccine candidate, created in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health, has 30,000 volunteers in its fold. The population received either the real vaccine or a dummy shot. The independent monitoring board which reports on safety data found that among 95 infections recorded, 90 came from the placebo group and only five from the vaccine group, "resulting in a point estimate of vaccine efficacy of 94.5 per cent". Another bright spot: All 11 "severe cases" occurred in the placebo group and none in the mRNA-1273 vaccinated group. Pfizer and BioNTech announced 90 per cent efficacy exactly a week ago. Taken together these two vaccines are firmly on course to seek emergency use authorisation from the US Food and Drug Administration if results hold out in final study results due soon. Both Moderna and India's first vaccine candidate, Covaxin's Phase-3 trials begin Hyderabad : Vaccine maker Bharat Biotech on Monday announced that it has commenced Phase-3 trials of Covaxin, India's first indigenous vaccine for Covid-19. The Phase-3 trials, which involve 26,000 volunteers across India, are being conducted in partnership with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). This is India's first Phase-3 efficacy study for a Covid-19 vaccine, and the largest Phase-3 efficacy trial ever conducted in India, the Hyderabad-based company said. Trial volunteers will receive two intramuscular injections approximately 28 days apart. Participants will be randomly assigned to receive Covaxin or a placebo. The trial is double blinded, such that the investigators, the participants and the company will not be aware of who is assigned to which group. The trials are being conducted at 22 institutes in India including the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), the Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital (both New Delhi), the Aligarh Muslim University, the Grant. Pfizer-BioNTech use the 'mRNA' technology which means the vaccine is not embedded with the virus itself and therefore no risk of catching Covid-19 from the shot itself. The vaccine is infused with a piece of genetic code that trains our immune system to recognize the spike protein on the surface of the virus - a lethal signature of the coronavirus. Both Pfizer and Moderna are based on a two-shot model, and both vaccines require a phenomenal ramp up of extreme sub-zero cold chain storage. Moderna is planning for about 20 million doses in the US by end December while Pfizer expects to have about 50 million doses ready before the new year comes around. Pfizer's final results are due third week of November - around the time of the Thanksgiving holiday. Covid cases crossed 11 million in the US by November 15, with the latest 1 million coming in a week. The country's death toll is the world's highest - more than 246,000 at last count. Roughly 20 million people could be vaccinated against coronavirus in December, the chief of the Donald Trump administration's vaccine coordination programme has indicated. Anywhere from 25 to 30 million people could be vaccinated each month. BPCL privatisation makes progress NEW DELHI : The muchanticipated privatisation process of the Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) completed its first phase on Monday with several suitors submitting Expressions of Interest (EoI) for the state-run oil major. The transaction will move to the second stage after scrutiny by the transaction adviser, said a tweet from the Twitter handle of the Secretary of the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM). "For strategic disinvestment of BPCL, multiple expressions of interest have been received by the Transaction Advisor. The Transaction will move to the second stage after scrutiny by TA," it said. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also said that the BPCL disinvestment process is making progress. "Strategic disinvestment of BPCL progresses: Now moves to the second stage after multiple expressions of interest have been received," she said in a tweet. The deadline for submitting the Expressions of Interest (EoI) for privatisation of BPCL closed on Monday and there has so far been a buzz of mixed interest amongst the bidders. There is buzz in the market that global majors BP, Total and Saudi Aramco are unlikely to put in a bid while there is talk that ADNOC and Reliance Industries may be interested. The EoIs came on Monday after four extensions of the deadline for submission of bids. The Centre has put its entre 52.98 per cent stake in the BPCL on the block. The Indian government proposes to disinvest its entire shareholding in BPCL comprising 1,14,91,83,592 equity shares held through the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, which constitutes 52.98 per cent of BPCL's equity share capital, along with the transfer of management control to the strategic buyer (except BPCL's equity shareholding of 61.65 per cent in (NRL) and management control thereon). The shareholding of the BPCL in the NRL will be transferred to a Central Public Sector Enterprise operating in the oil and gas sector under the Ministry and accordingly, is not a part of the proposed transaction. The government's stake in BPCL is worth around Rs 47,000 crore at BPCL's current share price. According to an earlier research note by Emkay Global, according to DIPAM's response to PIM queries, interested parties may include global players with limited knowledge on Indian corporate/PSU/accounting/ta keover rules as well as parties seeking higher level of clarifications. The report had said RIL can be a serious contender being mostly net debt free now and possibly include BP also as a partner. Other players are Aramco, ADNOC, Rosneft and ExxonMobil, as per the reports. With the RIL deal not progressing, Aramco may now look at BPCL aggressively. "The progress on BPCL's sale is positive for OMCs in terms of deepening deregulation and profitability outlook. Given the tight fiscal situation, disinvestment would be of utmost importance to the government this year," the report said. Ex-CS PP Sharma passes away MI NEWS SERVICE RANCHI: Former Chief Secretary (CS) of Jharkhand PP Sharma passed away during the course of treatment in a hospital in Delhi on Monday. Several political leaders, including Chief Minister (CM) Hemant Soren, have condoled his demise. He is survived by his wife Aneeta Sharma and a daughter. Sharma, an IAS officer of the 1971 batch, had taken over as Chief Secretary in December 2004, and continued till January 2006. He returned to the post in August 2007 when Madhu Koda was Jharkhand CM. He had also held top posts in various departments of the government. He had also served on the board of various committees appointed by Govt of India, Bihar, Jharkhand, and other institutions like RBI and NABARD and was also on deputation to World Bank for training at Economic Development Institute Washington, USA. Sharma was born in Pune and received education in Doon school. He graduated from St Stephen's College and then studied at Delhi School of Economics. After joining the service he also completed graduation in law. In his message, CM Hemant Soren said he was saddened by the demise of Sharma was born in Pune and received education in Doon school. He graduated from St Stephen's College and then studied at Delhi School of Economics. the former top bureaucrat. He prayed to God to provide strength to family members to bear with the situation. Union Minister Arjun Munda prayed that the former CS's soul rests in peace. Minister Mithilesh Thakur also condoled the demise of the former CS. MLA Kunal Sarangi said that it was a personal loss for him. He said that Sharma used to inspire and guide him through difficult times in public life.