YK MYK CHINA'S GROWING PRESENCE IN CENTRAL ASIA WORRY OLD ALLIES OPINION Rs. 5 RANCHI TUESDAY, 4 JANUARY, 2022 PG-12, YEAR— 11, ISSUE— 237 (RNI NO: JHAENG / 2012 / 44137) AT A GLANCE GOVT CURRENCY PSU MINTS RS 240 CRORE DIVIDEND AMID COVID-19 NEW DELHI: Businesses around the world were struggling to cope up with running losses amid the pandemic, but the government mint was able to pay Rs 240 crore dividend to the government, an official statement said on Monday. During the fiscal year 2020-21, the government mint, the Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Ltd, produced 828.8 crore bank notes, 275.7 crore circulating coins, 6,870 metric tons of security paper, and 600.42 metric tons of security inks, a Finance Ministry statement said CHHATTISGARH COURT REJECTS BAIL PLEA OF KALICHARAN RAIPUR: A sessions court in Raipur in Chhattisgarh on Monday rejected the bail plea of self-styled religious leader Kalicharan Maharaj, who was arrested in connection with his alleged derogatory remarks against Mahatma Gandhi. The court of XII Additional District and Sessions Judge Raipur Vikram Pratap Chandra rejected Kalicharan Maharaj's bail, said Public Prosecutor K K Shukla. ODISHA HIKES JUNIOR TEACHERS' SALARY BY 50PC BHUBANESWAR: The Odisha government Monday announced an increase in the salary of junior teachers, both regular and contractual, engaged in primary schools of the state by 50 per cent. A statement issued by the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) said the hike will be effective from January 1, 2022. The decision of the salary hike will benefit as many as 33,038 junior teachers, including 13,324 contractual and 19,714 regular ones. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik took this decision after increasing the grant-in-aid to employees of all aided non-government schools, colleges. CORONA METER INDIA TOTAL CASES: 34,922,882 TOTAL DEATHS: 481,893 WORLD TOTAL CASES: 290,870,517 TOTAL DEATHS: 5,462,407 MOHAMMAD HAFEEZ ENDS INTERNATIONAL CRICKET CAREER SPORTS Morning India Govt imposes fresh curbs to contain Covid-19 spread SANJAY SAHAY RANCHI: State government on Monday imposed new restrictions closing down all parks, gymnasiums, swimming pools, zoos, tourist spots, sports stadiums, schools, colleges and coaching institutions. The State Disaster Management Authority meeting chaired by Chief Minister (CM) Hemant Soren took the decisions in view of the steep rise in Covid cases in state. The order would be applicable till January 15. According to the administration schools, colleges and coaching institutions could carry out administrative works at 50 percent of their staff strength. The cinema halls, restaurants, bars and shopping malls would allow visitors at 50 percent of their capacity. All shops barring the medicine stores, restaurants and bars would close down at 8 PM. The outdoor function should not have more than 100 persons. The indoor function should have people at 50 percent of capacity or 100 persons, whichever is less. The government offices would have 50 percent of the staffs and the biometric attendance system would be suspended. During the meeting the CM instructed the officials to strengthen all essential health services in view of rising Covid cases. The Covid care hospitals facilities including oxygen beds, RESTRICTIONS ANNOUNCED TILL JANUARY 15 Passengers flout social distancing norms out side Ranchi Railway station on Monday. intensive care units beds and normal beds be improved, he said. The CM stated that rate of testing must increase at all costs. He said that all districts should be kept on the alert mode. He said the Covid norms should be followed strictly in all crowded places of the state. The CM instructed that a mechanism should be developed to avoid any chaos. He asked the officials to visit the oxygen plants in different parts of the state and ensure that there is no shortage of the gas. He said that Covid test sample backlog must not be increased adding a standard operating procedure should be prepared for collection of samples. It may be stated here that the health minister Banna Gupta also submitted important suggestions for preventing the spread of Covid. Chief Secretary Sukhdeo Singh, additional chief secretary Arun Kumar Singh, principal secretary finance Ajay Kumar Singh, secretary to the CM Vinay SIT files 5,000-page charge sheet in Lakhimpur Kheri case LAKHIMPUR KHERI: The Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the October 2021 Lakhimpur Kheri violence case, on Monday filed a nearly 5,000-page charge sheet. Ashish Mishra, the son of Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Kumar Mishra Teni, has been named as an accused in the case. Ashish Mishra, who has already been arrested, was named as the prime accused in the case, according to sources. Further, the number of accused in the case increased to 14 as another name has been added. "The name of one more person, Virendra Shukla, has been added in the charge sheet. He has been charged under Section 201 of IPC," the prosecution lawyer said. A total of eight people were killed in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence incident which took place on October 3, 2021 during a farmers' protest against the now-repealed three controversial farm laws. Among the dead were four farmers, a journalist, two BJP workers and a driver. A total of 13 persons are accused in the case, including Ashish Mishra and former Union Minister Akhilesh Das's nephew Ankit Das. All the 13 accused, including drivers of the three SUVs and associates of Mishra and Das, are under arrest and are currently lodged in the Lakhimpur Kheri jail. While the Allahabad High Court is yet to take a call on the bail application of Ashish Mishra, the bail pleas of the other accused are pending before a local court in Lakhimpur Kheri. The SIT had recently requested a local court to add two charges in the case, attempt to murder and voluntarily causing grievous hurt, against Ashish Mishra and the 12 other accused. The court had admitted the SIT's plea and ordered the addition of the charges, including under sections of the Arms Act. The SIT had said in a report submitted to the court that the four farmers and the journalist were killed in the violence as part of a "preplanned conspiracy". The SIT wrote in the report that the deaths "did not happen due to negligence or callousness" and that that accused persons' actions were "deliberate with an intention to kill". Chaubey, agriculture secretary Abu Bakr Sidiqui and other officials were present in the meeting. After the meeting Banna Gupta said that government may hold emergency meeting before January 15 if the situation demands. He said that in a discussion with the Union health minister on Sunday he has requested the centre to fix a uniform tariff for treatment of Covid in government and the private hospitals. He said the demand for setting up genome sequencing Hemant Sutradhar machine in Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences was also raised in the meeting. Gupta added he has also requested the centre to ensure that results of samples sent for genome sequencing are provided as soon as possible. He said a demand for raising the honorarium of the sahiyas from current Rs 2000 per month to Rs 7000 per month has also been made. He said the centre has agreed to his proposal for linking the Covid treatment with Ayushman Bharat scheme. Maha sees fresh spurt in Covid, Omicron cases MUMBAI: Maharashtra on Monday notched a sharp increase in Covid-19 cases and of its variant Omicron with Mumbai continuing to bear the maximum caseload, health officials said. For the sixth consecutive day, the state reported a massive spike in Covid-19 infections and suspect cases whose samples have been sent for genome sequencing. The state Covid-19 count shot up again from 11,877 on Sunday to 12,160 now, and fatalities also increased from nine a day earlier to 11, while the mortality rate remained steady at 2.01 per cent. After recording 50 Omicron infections on Sunday, the state logged 68 more cases of the variant, taking up the state tally from 510 to 578, with Mumbai again getting the highest fresh cases. Of the Omicron cases, 40 are from Mumbai, 17 from Pune, four each in Raigad and Nagpur, and one each from Thane, Kolhapur, and Satara. Intensive surveillance of passengers arriving at the three international airports Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur - is currently underway since December 1. A total of 32,705 travellers have landed here from the "high risk" countries of which 302 have tested positive and 188 from other countries, with all their reports sent for genomic sequencing to confirm if they are afflicted by Omicron. Besides, another 2,375 samples from field surveys conducted since November 1 have been sent for genomic sequencing with the results of 166 awaited, the officials said. Omicron has spread extensively spanning several districts in the state, with a whopping 578 cases recorded so far. Mumbai accounts for the maximum 368 cases, followed by 125 in Pune, 33 in Thane, 12 in Raigad, 10 in Nagpur, seven in Satara, five in Osmanabad, four in Palghar, three in Nanded. India’s unemployment rose to 7.91 pc in Dec, says CMIE SWAMY MOVES HC SEEKING QUASHING OF AI DISINVESTMENT PROCESS NEW DELHI: Subramanian Swamy, Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament from Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) moved the Delhi High Court seeking to quash the Air India Disinvestment process. Swamy also sought direction to set aside and revoke any decision or grant of any further approvals/ permissions/permits, etc. by the Respondent authorities with respect to the present Air India Disinvestment process. The Division Bench of Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh to hear the matter on Tuesday. The petitioner Subramanian Swamy through Advocate Satya Sabarwal also sought direction to the CBI. NEW DELHI: Unemployment rate in India rose to 7.91 per cent in December 2021 from 7 per cent in the previous month, according to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) data released on Monday. This is the highest level of unemployment rate in India in four months. The last time when the unemployment rate was higher than this was in August 2021 when the jobless rate stood at 8.3 per cent. Unemployment rose in both urban as well as rural areas. However, urban unemployment remained at much higher level than the rural areas. Unemployment in urban areas rose to 9.3 per cent in December from 8.21 per cent in November 2021. Rural unemployment rate rose to 7.28 per cent in December from 6.44 per cent in the previous month. India's manufacturing industry continued to grow in December 2021, albeit at a slower pace sequentially. Meanwhile, the headline seasonally-adjusted IHS Markit India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) came in at 55.5 (index reading). The PMI ranges between 0 and 100, with a reading of above 50 indicating an overall increase compared to the previous month. In November 2021, the headline seasonally-adjusted index had risen to 57.6, and the latest quarterly reading was at 56.3. The PMI report said that amid reports of strong demand conditions, fruitful marketing, and new client wins, manufacturers observed a further increase in new orders during December. The upturn was sharp, despite being the slowest since September, the report said. RBI allows offline digital payments MUMBAI: To push digital transactions in rural and semi-urban areas, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Monday issued a framework allowing offline payments up to Rs 200 per transaction, subject to an overall limit of Rs 2,000. An offline digital payment means a transaction that does not require internet or telecom connectivity. Under the offline mode, payments can be carried out face-to-face (proximity mode) using any channel or instrument like cards, wallets, and mobile devices. These transactions will not require an additional factor of authentication (AFA), the Reserve Bank of India said, adding that since the transactions are offline, alerts (by way of SMS and/or e-mail) will be received by the customer after a time lag. "Transactions are sub- ject to a limit of Rs 200 per transaction and an overall limit of Rs 2,000 for all transactions until the balance in the account is replenished. Balance replenishment can only occur in an online mode," said the Framework for Facilitating Small Value Digital Payments in Offline Mode. The framework incorporates the feedback received from the pilot experiments on offline transactions conducted in different parts of the country during the period from September 2020 to June 2021, it said. "Offline transactions are expected to give a push to digital transactions in areas with poor or weak internet or telecom connectivity, particularly in semi-urban and rural areas. The new framework is applicable with immediate effect," the RBI said. How India is vaccinating teenagers amid Omicron spread SKM TO MEET ON JAN 15, TIKAIT SAYS ITS TIME GOVT ACTS ON MSP NEW DELHI: Amid rising Omicron cases, the Centre on Monday rolled out Covid vaccination for children aged 15-18. Over 4.5 lakh teenagers have, received their first jab against the infectious disease so far. Last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced that Covid-19 vaccination for children between 15-18 years of age will be rolled out from January 3. According to official estimates, there are approximately 10 crore children in this age group. On January 1, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya had requested people to register eligible children in their families. Taking to Twitter, he said: "On the occasion of New Year, registra- NEW DELHI: Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait, who was one of the main faces of the farmers movement, said that the issue of Minimum Support Price (MSP) is pending for a long time, and it is time that the government takes early decision on it. In an exclusive chat with IANS, Tikait said that a meeting of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) will be held on January 15 in which further strategy on MSP will be decided. He said all political parties are hungry for votes and they don't care about the welfare of farmers. Questioning the overnment's intention, he said that it has not taken any steps to resolve the issue of MSP, nor has there been any discussion with farm leaders on the issue. Also, cases registered against the farmers have not yet been withdrawn, while the farmers who died during the agitation have also not been compensated. Stressing that farmers' agitation has been unprecedented and is being discussed everywhere, he said farmers will take out tractor rallies in their own villages and will hoist the flag on the tractor. A student takes a group selfie as she stands in a queue to get vaccinated in Patna on Monday. ANI tion is being started on the CoWIN portal for immunisation of children against Covid-19 in the age group of 15 to 18 years from today. I request the family members to register the eligible children for vacci- nation." Over 8,00,000 children have already registered for their dose in the past few days. According to the guidelines, children can self-register online through an existing account on CoWIN or can also register by creating a new account through a unique mobile number or using their parent's accounts. Children can also get registered onsite by verifier or vaccinator; and they can walk in to take their shots. Out of the 10 crore children eligible for the Covid vaccination, over 4.5 lakh teenagers have already received their first shots. The vaccine used for inoculating children is Bharat Biotech's Covaxin, according to a set of new guidelines issued by the Union health ministry. On December 24, the Drugs Controller General of India (DGCI), granted emergency use authorisation to the indigenously-developed Covaxin for children above 12 years of age. Most of the schools and other educational institutions are being used as inoculation centres as well. To avoid mixing-up of Covid vaccines for children and adults during administration, Mandaviya has also advised states and Union territories to make separate Covid vaccination centres (CVCs), separate session sites, separate queue (if adult vaccination is going on at the same centre) and separate immunisation team (if at same session site) for adults and children.