YK MYK WEATHER TODAY MAX 23 C MIN 7 C UNION GOVT TO REVAMP FEDERAL ANTI-DRUG AGENCY NATION Sky will be clear. M-E NATIONS TIGHTEN CURBS DUE TO NEW COVID-19 STRAIN WORLD Morning India Rs. 3 KOLKATA SUNDAY, 27 DEC, 2020 PG-12, YEAR— 7, ISSUE—220 (RNI NO: WBENG / 2014 / 56803) Farmer unions to hold talks with govt on Dec 29 NEW DELHI: The farmer unions protesting against the three farm laws on Saturday proposed holding the next round of talks with the government on December 29. Making the announcement at the joint press conference at Singhu border here, Swaraj India president Yogendra Yadav said the government has asked for talks with farmer unions. "We are making this proposal on the behalf of Sanyukt Kisan Morcha after talking to all organisations that talks between representatives of farmers and the central government should be held on AT A GLANCE SHOPIAN 'FAKE' ENCOUNTER: CAPTAIN AMONG 3 NAMED IN CHARGESHEET SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) police on Saturday produced a chargesheet in a court against three people including an Army Captain for their involvement in an alleged "fake" encounter in Shopian district in which three civilians were killed. Police said the chargesheet was produced in the court of the principal district and sessions judge of Shopian. "The three accused in this case are Captain Bhupinder of 62 Rashtriya Rifles, Bilal Ahmad, resident of Pulwama and Tabish Ahmad, resident of Shopian," said Wajahat Hussain, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Hussain has been heading the Special Investigation Team (SIT), constituted to probe the case. The Army on Thursday issued a statement saying that the process of summary evidence had been completed in the Amshipora (Shopian) encounter of July 18. PG 5 CORONA METER INDIA TOTAL CASES: 1,01,72,777 TOTAL DEATH: 147,415 WORLD TOTAL CASES: 80,306,622 TOTAL DEATH: 1,759,690 BJP ALLY RLP PARTY PULLS OUT OF NDA OVER FARM LAWS JAIPUR: After the Shiromani Akali Dal, another NDA ally, Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP), on Saturday made an official announcement to break its ties with the National Democratic Alliance, as its demand to withdraw the contentious farm laws remained unfulfilled. Hanuman Beniwal, RLP convenor and MP from Nagaur in Rajasthan, announced the decision to sever ties with the NDA at the Shahjahanpur-Kheda border in Alwar district in the presence of thousands of farmers. Addressing the farmers, he said that RLP's alliance with the BJP has ended on Saturday. Earlier on December 19, Beniwal had resigned from three Parliamentary committees in support of the farmers' movement. December 29 at 11 am," he said. "The first two points in our agenda for talks are- modalities to repeal the three farm laws, and mechanism and procedure to bring a law for providing a legal guarantee on MSP," Yadav added. He said there was "letter diplomacy" and the central government has written to them to hold talks. "Letter diplomacy is going on. We reply to the letters sent by the central government in about two days and the government replies to our letter within hours. Within a few hours of our last letter, Joint Secretary of Agriculture Ministry wrote to us and proposed talks. So, we have decided to go for talks," he said. Joint Secretary in Agriculture Ministry Vivek Agarwal had written a letter to farmer unions on December 24 urging them to decide the date and time for the next round of talks. He had said in the letter that the government is committed to "reach logical solutions" on issues raised by farmer unions and has an "open mind". The Prime Minister, who addressed an event on Friday to release next instalment under PMKISAN scheme, had said that the central government is ready for discussions to address apprehensions concerning the farm laws at any time. The farmer unions had on December 23 rejected the government proposal for talks, urging it not to repeat the "meaningless amendments" which have been rejected before and to come up with a concrete proposal in writing. The agitation by farmers on the borders of the national capital entered its 31st day on Saturday. Delhi Police Commissioner SN Shrivastava visited Singhu border (Delhi-Haryana border) where farmers are protesting against the Centre's farm laws. The farmers are protesting against Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020. They are demanding the repeal of the three laws. The farmer unions have held five rounds of talks with the government and attended a meeting called by Union Home Minister Amit Shah. China to send senior leader to Nepal amid political chaos KATHMANDU: Amid political chaos in Nepal, China is sending a vice-minister of the Chinese Communist Party to Kathmandu to "assess the ground situation". The Kathmandu Post quoted two Nepal Communist Party (NCP) leaders confirming that Guo Yezhou, vice-minister of the International Department of the Communist Party of China, is arriving in Kathmandu on Sunday for a four-day visit. During the visit, Guo will meet the senior leaders of both the factions of the NCP, according to sources. Sources in both the factions of the NCP confirmed that Guo, along with his fourmember team, will land in Kathmandu on Sunday morning. Bishnu Rijal, Deputy Head of Department of Foreign Affairs of the NCP (Dahal-Nepal faction), while confirming that the Chinese side communicated about Guo's visit to Kathmandu, denied divulging details "at this point of time". Nepal President Bidya Devi Bhandari had dissolved the Lower House on Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli's recommendation. The move has invited 12 petitions in the country's apex court, claiming it to be "unconstitutional", including one by former prime minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal who filed the plea on Tuesday. After dissolving the Parliament, Oli also proposed elections on April 30 and May 10, 2021, nearly two years ahead of the schedule. Seven cabinet ministers SANJAY SAHAY CHINA BACKING AWAY FROM FUNDING BRI DUE TO PAKISTAN'S RISING DEBT ISLAMABAD: Beijing is backing away from Pakistan's USD 60 billion commitment to the global Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Asia Times reported. "The CPEC's future is not only clouded by China's apparent new, more conservative lending policy but also Pakistan's overborrowing, which is fast driving the country toward a debt crisis. Pakistan's debt to GDP ratio is now at a high 107% of GDP," FM Shakil said in his article. Pakistan has slipped into a debt trap due to the government's failure to bring reforms and weak fiscal management. Recent media reports, citing data compiled by Boston University researchers in the United States, noted that overall lending by the statebacked China Development Bank. MORE INSIDE had submitted their resignations after the Parliament dissolution was ratified by the President. Oli has been facing pressure from the rival factions of the NCP, led by former prime minister Dahal and Madhav Nepal. CM gets Harvard invite to speak on tribal affairs LEAP OF JOY India's Mohammed Siraj celebrates the dismissal during the second test match of the series between India and Australia at Melbourne Cricket Ground in Melbourne on Saturday. ANI PM launches PMJAY SEHAT scheme for J-K residents JAMMU: Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY) SEHAT scheme for the residents of Jammu and Kashmir, via video conferencing on Saturday and interacted with the beneficiaries of Centre's Ayushman Bharat Yojana. Interacting with Ramesh Lal, a cancer patient from Jammu, Prime Minister Modi said "Ayushman Bharat has made your life 'ayushman'. I urge you to tell everyone you meet about this scheme and its benefits." "Today is a historic day for Jammu and Kashmir. From today all the people of Jammu and Kashmir are going to get the benefits of Ayushman Yojana. Health Scheme- This in itself is a big step. And I am very happy to see Jammu and Kashmir taking these steps for the development of its people," said PM Modi during his address. Right now about 6 lakh families of the state were getting the benefit of Ayushman Bharat Scheme. After the health plan, all 21 lakh families will get the same benefit, the Prime Minister said. "There will be another benefit of this scheme which needs to be mentioned again and again. Your treatment will not be limited to government and private hospitals in Jammu and Kashmir only. Rather, thousands of hospitals are connected under this scheme in the country, you will also get this facility," he added. PM Modi further congratulated the people of Jammu and Kashmir for strengthening the democracy. "The election of the District Development Council has written a new chapter. In every phase of the elections, I was watching, despite such cold conditions and COVID-19, youth, elderly, women were reaching the booths," he added. "On the face of every voter in Jammu and Kashmir, I saw an expectation for development. In the eyes of every voter in Jammu and Kashmir, I saw the belief of a better future, leaving behind the past," said PM Modi. About 18 lakh cylinders were refilled here in Jammu and Kashmir during the pandemic. More than 10 lakh toilets were built in Jammu and Kashmir under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. RANCHI: Harvard University has invited Chief Minister Hemant Soren to deliver a lecture on Adivasi rights, development, welfare policies, and welfare works carried out by his government in the Covid pandemic. The CM would speak at the 18th annual India Conference to be held by the university. The information to this effect was provided by the Information and Public Relation Department on Saturday. It added that the CM has accepted the invitation for the programme to be held from February 19 to 21 in 2021. The CM's speech is on THE INFORMATION February 20. TO THIS EFFECT WAS Notably, the letPROVIDED BY THE ter states, "Your INFORMATION AND works have been of PUBLIC RELATION keen interest for all DEPARTMENT ON of us as you merged SATURDAY. IT the tribals with ADDED THAT THE development agenCM HAS ACCEPTED da." THE INVITATION The letter has FOR THE PROalso appreciated the GRAMME TO BE CM for improved HELD FROM handling of the FEBRUARY 19 TO 21 Covid pandemic in IN 2021. the state. The letter further stated that the India conference is the largest conference in North America focussing on India and one of the world's leading forums for dialogue, debates, and networking around the issues pertaining to contemporary India. The conference attracts around 1000 people from academia, industry, business leaders, and policymakers. It provides reach to five million people through the social media. The JMM leader Vinod Pandey has welcomed the development. MORE ON PG 3 WHAT NOW FOR BRITISH ECONOMY WITH UK-EU TRADE DEAL REACHED? PAGE 8 ISRO developing green propulsion systems for Gaganyaan rocket I ndian space agency the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is developing a green propulsions system for its rocket carrying humans or Gaganyaan mission, said a top official here on Saturday. Delivering the 16th Convocation Address at the SRM Institute of Science and Technology, K.Sivan, Secretary, Department of Space and Chairman, ISRO said, the space agency is developing green propulsion for its human spaceflight mission. "In future, all the propulsive stages may adopt green propulsion," Sivan said. He said as India continues to focus on economic growth, it needs to ensure that environmental damage is limited by adopting green technologies. "ISRO has done the technology transfer of its space grade lithium-ion batteries to industry. This technology is useful for mass adoption of electrical vehicles without remaining perpetually dependent on foreign sources," Sivan said. Sivan suggested to the fresh graduates that they take calculated risks and innovate. "When you take calculated risks, you safeguard yourself from absolute failure. You may fail, but each failure will provide a valuable lesson. I can say with great confidence that India's space programme has been built on spectacular failures. Each failure has resulted in improvements in our system," Sivan said. The other important aspect is innovation and how it is implemented. "Innovation comes with a high risk of failure. You may be called crazy, and the initial outcomes of innovation could be imperfect. I need not tell you, how many times Edison failed to invent the light bulb. You all must realise that if you are not failing then you are not trying hard," Sivan told the fresh graduates. Sivan asked the students to shoot for the sky. "Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars. Spread joy. Chase your wildest dreams," Sivan said. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will set up its Regional Academic Centre for Space (RAC-S) at IIT-BHU here. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been signed virtually between IIT-BHU and ISRO which will pave the way for advanced research in the future technology of the Indian space programme. IIT-BHU director Prof P.K. Jain said that the RAC-S will act as a major facilitator for promoting space technology activities in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh. IIT-BHU will act as a catalyst for capacity building, awareness creation and research and development activities of ISRO, and the activities of RAC-S shall be directed to maximise the utilisation of research potential, infrastructure, expertise available at ISRO and IIT-BHU. Jain further said IIT-BHU will be the leader and project monitor DELIVERING THE 16TH CONVOCATION ADDRESS AT THE SRM INSTITUTE OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, K.SIVAN, SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF SPACE AND CHAIRMAN, ISRO SAID, THE SPACE AGENCY IS DEVELOPING GREEN PROPULSION FOR ITS HUMAN SPACEFLIGHT MISSION. HE SAID AS INDIA CONTINUES TO FOCUS ON ECONOMIC GROWTH, IT NEEDS TO ENSURE THAT ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE IS LIMITED BY ADOPTING GREEN TECHNOLOGIES. of RAC-S in which institutes of excellence in the field of science and technology in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh will be roped in to participate in various research and development activities. With the help of the RAC-S, IIT-BHU will leverage research in space science and space technology, space application, agriculture, telecommunications, meteorology, and water resources to design developmental models for effective natural resource management. He reiterated that such an initiative will greatly benefit the Purvanchal and central regions of the country. The Centre will facilitate short and long-term projects to propel the culture of research and development. Short-term projects for B. Tech and M. Tech students from the institute and associate institutes will also be included in this sequence. Long term research and development projects, leading to the Ph.D. programme, will also be offered. Capacity building programmes like conferences, exhibitions and short courses will also be organised to strengthen the knowledge base in the field.