Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) : 2020-09-19

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hindustant­imes.com CHANDIGARH METRO f t i l September 19, Saturday, 2020 @hindustant­imes @httweets @hindustant­imes @hindustant­imes VOL. X NO. 224 PRICE ₹5.00 28 PAGES. AREA SPECIFIC PAGES EXTRA. n n n Protective shield to farmers, PM Modi backs farm bills Afspa exceeded in J&K killings: Army Disciplina­ry action initiated against the officials who killed 3 locals in Shopian “People who ruled this country for decades and were in power… such people are trying to mislead farmers. They are telling lies to farmers,” Modi said. “Disinforma­tion is also being spread that wheat and rice, etc, will not be procured by the government from farmers. This is an absolute lie, completely wrong and an attempt to cheat farmers,” the Prime Minister said. Modi said the government is committed to give farmers “appropriat­e prices” through the support-price mechanism. “I want to give farmers a message. Don’t fall for lies.” The main opposition Congress and a clutch of smaller parties are opposed to the reforms. A key opposition to the bills on Thursday came from the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) ally, the Shiromani Akali Dal, whose minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal resigned from the Union Cabinet, exposing a crucial rift between the two parties over efforts to unshackle the farm sector. India’s agricultur­al trade still requires licenced traders who must operate out of notified markets allotted to them. The bills aim to sidestep this system, called agricultur­al produce market committees (APMC), free up market restrictio­ns, enable farmers and agribusine­sses to engage more confidentl­y under a new contract farming law and help to create modern supply chains. Critics argue the new system will lack adequate oversight in its current form. Zia Haq zia.haq@htlive.com “These legislatio­ns have rid our farmers of many shackles and brought them freedom... People who ruled this country for decades and were in power…such people are trying to mislead farmers. They are telling lies to farmers.” Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday took on critics of his government’s farm-liberalisa­tion plan, a day after the Lower House passed two of the three farm bills, accusing detractors of spreading “misinforma­tion and lies”, while reassuring farmers the reforms were in their best interests. Modi called the reforms a “protective shield” around farmers, which would bring “more options and opportunit­ies”. His comments, made in a video address dedicating a railway bridge in Bihar and also on microblogg­ing site Twitter, came after Lok Sabha passed by a majority voice vote the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitati­on) Bill, 2020, and The Farmers (Empowermen­t and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020. On Tuesday, the Lower House passed a third legislatio­n, the Essential Commoditie­s (Amendment) Bill 2020. Modi addressed concerns about prices and the country’s procuremen­t system, under which the government buys farm produce at federally-fixed minimum support prices (MSP) from farmers. There’s disinforma­tion that the government would withdraw benefits of support prices, he said. The Prime Minister said the country’s procuremen­t system will continue to run as usual. NEW DELHI: ON MARKETS ON MSPS Mir Ehsan Creating two market spaces, markets run by agricultur­al produce market committees as well as new free trading markets, is disastrous The reforms will weaken the support price (MSP) mechanism and the procuremen­t system letters@hindustant­imes.com The govt will continue giving appropriat­e prices to farmers through the MSP mechanism The army on Friday said that powers vested under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (Afspa) were violated in the July killing of three people, believed to be terrorists, in Shopian in the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir, and that the three were actually locals from Rajouri in the same UT, although their involvemen­t in terror activities is still being investigat­ed. The families of the three had blamed army for killing them in a fake encounter. Army spokespers­on Rajesh Kalia said in a statement that the inquiry ordered by army authoritie­s into the operation at Amshipora in Shopian on July 18 has concluded. “The inquiry has brought out certain prima facie evidence indicating that during the operation, powers vested under the AFSPA 1990 were exceeded and the Do’s and Don’ts of Chief of Army Staff (COAS) as approved by the Hon’ble Supreme Court have been contravene­d. Consequent­ly, the competent disciplina­ry authority has directed initiation of disciplina­ry proceeding­s under the Army Act against those found prima-facie answerable,” the spokespers­on added. He said the evidence collected showed that the three unidentifi­ed men killed in SRINAGAR: ON MIDDLEMEN In interlocke­d markets, farmers depend on middlemen for loans; reforms ignore these realities Farmers will sell where they want and they’ll sell where there’s better profit margins Middlemen stand between farmers and consumers, take big chunk of farmers’ incomes. The reforms will keep them out of the process ON BARGAINING POWER ON VULNERABLE FARMERS –NARENDRA MODI, The unequal bargaining power will leave farmers vulnerable to exploitati­on Reforms will hurt the vulnerable farmers Army jawans near the encounter site in Shopian on July 18. ANI Prime Minister Amshipora are actually Imtiyaz Ahmed, Abrar Ahmed and Mohd Ibrar, from Rajouri. “Their DNA report is awaited. Their involvemen­t with terrorism or related activities is under investigat­ion by the police. Army is committed to ethical conduct of operations,” the spokesman said. Following the inquiry report, former J&K DGP Shesh Paul Vaid tweeted, “Killing innocent youth and show them as terrorists is most heinous crime and those involved should be charged for murder.” Last week, the families of the three wrote to Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, seeking his interventi­on after the DNA reports were delayed. The three men, related to each other, were gunned down in an encounter on July 18. DNA samples from their families were sent to the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) Srinagar, and the FSL at Chandigarh. People familiar with the matter said the government has received the FSL report from the Srinagar lab, but its contents had not been made public. “Our children left for Shopian on July 16, in search of work. After a couple of days, we lost contact with the children. So, we decided to lodge a missing complaint,” the letter from the families said, adding that on August 10, they came to know that all three men were killed in an encounter. People who say this had promised the same reforms, but those were never implemente­d Those misleading farmers don’t know how aware farmers are in the country Couldn’t convince govt: Harsimrat issues. “I could not make my Cabinet colleagues understand that my apprehensi­ons related to the farm bills were different from those in other parts of the country...also, I think I was probably the lone voice who came from a 100% agrarian state,” she said, adding that the “officers who made the ordinances were unable to see Punjab differentl­y from rest of the country”. When asked what her resignatio­n meant for the party, which is a component of the Bjp-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, Badal said, “These are matters concerning the party highups and the core committee.” Gurpreet Singh Nibber letters@hindustant­imes.com Shiromani Akali Dal’s (SAD) leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal, who resigned from the Narendra Modi Cabinet on Thursday in protest against three farm bills, said on Friday she quit as the Union minister after failing to “convince” the government about farmers’ CHANDIGARH: →P4 Govt, Oppn spar over PM CARES Media freedom important but can’t be at cost of human dignity, says SC { NIRMALA SITHARAMAN } FINANCE MINISTER raised by the other members, whatever I said was aimed to run the House effectivel­y, if anyone’s sentiments got hurt, I personally apologise for it,” Birla said. Following the direction, Thakur expressed regret over his remarks. “I had no intent to hurt the sentiments of anybody. If anyone is hurt, then I regret it,” Thakur said. Some other remarks made by the minister about the current Congress leadership were expunged, and are therefore not being included in this report. During the introducti­on of the Taxation and Other Laws (Relaxation and Amendment of Certain Provisions) Bill in the Lower House quickly turned into a debate about the PM CARES Fund on Friday, as Congress floor leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and former ministers Shashi Tharoor and Manish Tewari criticised the charitable trust while opposing the bill. The bill seeks to provide the same tax treatment to the PM CARES Fund — created for emergencie­s and disasters such as Covid-19 — as is available to the Prime Minister National Relief Fund (PMNRF). Adhir said when Nirmala Sitharaman started speaking, we heard her patiently. “We didn’t say anything unparliame­ntary. We didn’t even referred to the prime minister. How could he (Thakur) take these names?” HT Correspond­ent A DISCUSSION ON A TAXATION BILL IN THE LOWER HOUSE QUICKLY TURNED INTO A DEBATE ABOUT THE PM CARES FUND P fully conscious of the dangers of restrictin­g media freedom after the excesses of the Emergency in 1975. But free speech rights and media freedom cannot be used to the detriment of human dignity, the court added. The court was responding to the defence put up by Sudarshan News, which claimed that it had through its programme only intended to highlight the alleged dubious sources of foreign funding received by an organisati­on, Zakat Foundation, which supports and provides coaching for civil service aspirants. “We know what happened during Emergency (when media was censored by the ruling dispensati­on). So we have to ensure there is free flow of informatio­n. But we have to also ensure human dignity is protected and human dignity should be balanced with free speech,” justice Chandrachu­d remarked. Experts said that a verdict in the case, which has taken a larger dimension over the course of its hearings and sparked a debate on media freedom, could have larger implicatio­ns on TV journalism. “It is a loud clarion call to the media to engage in responsibl­e journalism. The court has exercised maximum restraint and has expressed disinclina­tion against prior restraint,” said SS lawyer MF Philip. letters@hindustant­imes.com Murali Krishnan Not thinking of increasing taxes to make up for loss in revenues letters@hindustant­imes.com Questions raised by opposition parties on the alleged lack of transparen­cy in the PM CARES Fund, and a comment by minister of state for finance Anurag Thakur about the alleged lapses in the paperwork of the PM National Relief Fund created by then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru in 1948, led to the first major disruption of Parliament’s pandemic-hit monsoon session, leading to at least four back-to-back adjournmen­ts on Friday. Amid protests and heated exchanges between members NEW DELHI: The existing mechanism governing self-regulation of media is ineffectiv­e and needs to be strengthen­ed so that media freedom is not used to the detriment of human dignity, the Supreme Court observed on Friday, taking exception to the contents of a television programme, aired by Sudarshan NEW DELHI: from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the opposition Congress, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla held meetings with both sides to come out with a compromise formula. “It is my responsibi­lity to protect all the members, I would request Mr Anurag Thakur to say a few words on the objections Bindas Bol, News. A three-judge bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachu­d said that the court will not stand in the way of media discussing dubious funding of NGOS or issues concerning national security, and it is A Moderna, Pfizer reveal trial secrets in pushback against vaccine rush it can to ensure a vaccine works and won’t cause harm, said chief executive officer Stephane Bancel, according to Bloomberg. Pfizer soon followed Moderna, publishing its trial design in the form of a 137-page document that details under what circumstan­ces the trial could generate early efficacy results. Under the Moderna plan, a data monitoring board will take a preliminar­y look at the efficacy results after 53 participan­ts have contracted the coronaviru­s, and again after 106 cases are reached. The final analysis will occur after 151 cases, according to slides from investor meeting. According to a slide being presented at the meeting, Moderna’s trial is only likely to generate clear positive results at the first analysis if it turns out to be very highly effective, reducing Covid-19 cases by 74% or more. If the vaccine turns out to be a more modest 60% effective, the trial might have to proceed to the final efficacy readout in order to generate clear results, according to Moderna’s 135-page trial protocol. Moderna’s plan is more conservati­ve than the 32-case benchmark being used by Pfizer Inc for its first preliminar­y analysis of the Covid-19 vaccine it’s developing with Germany’s Biontech. Agencies letters@hindustant­imes.com Moderna and Pfizer, who are developing and testing two of the leading Sars-cov-2 vaccines, disclosed detailed informatio­n about their late-stage clinical trials and how they plan to gauge their shots’ safety and effectiven­ess, throwing open informatio­n that is usually kept a secret. The moves by first Moderna Inc late on Thursday and then later from Pfizer Inc and its partner Biontech SE, follow increasing worry that the effort to develop a Covid-19 vaccine is becoming politicise­d, and that an inoculatio­n could be rushed to market before it is proven safe and effective, news agency Bloomberg reported. Astrazenec­a, which is developing a candidate in partnershi­p with Oxford university, said it too would share its plans. The Oxford-astrazenec­a candidate is largely seen as the experiment­al vaccine being tested in the largest number of people. Moderna released its plan ahead of an early Thursday morning investor meeting. The Cambridge, Massachuse­ttsbased biotechnol­ogy company decided to share its full trial design to create public confidence that it’s doing everything NEW DELHI:

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