VOL. 32 NO. 34| MUMBAI, PUNE, INDORE, BHOPAL SUNDAY| DECEMBER 27, 2020| 13 PAGES Oxford Covid-19 vaccine may be first to get nod NEW DELHI: With preparations underway for a possible vaccinerollout by January, the Indian drug regulator is looking at the UK, which sources say may give its nod to the Oxford COVID-19 vax next week. (Report on Pg 5) Coronavirus Cases 80,306,622 Bumrah and Ashwin on song as they out Australia FARMERS, GOVT TO TALK ON TUESDAY Deaths 1,759,690 Source - Worldometer Angry farmers accuse Modi-govt of hiding important facts n Rajasthan ally RLP ditches BJP for peasants n Farmers and Govt meeting on Dec 29 PEASANT DEMANDS The farmers have limited the negotiations to five issues in a draft sent to the government: • Repeal farm laws • Guarantee MSP on all crops and not on limited number of food grains covered by the government • Compulsory government procurement if the prices go below the MSP • Amendment in Electricity Bill for cheaper power for farming • No fines on farmers for stubble burning damaging air quality under the CAQM Farmers protest against the new farm bills at Ghazipur border in New Delhi on Saturday FROM OUR BUREAU New Delhi / Mumbai Hinting at a small breakthrough, agitating farmers at Delhi borders on Saturday suggested resumption of the talks with the Government on Tuesday December 29. Their agenda , has been drawn up by the Samyukt Kisan Morcha heading some 40 farmer unions involved in the protests that completed 30 days with no solution emerging in the past five rounds of the negotiations. Leaders of all unions involved in the protests decided unanimously in a meeting called by the Morcha that they want to end the deadlock Fast News Salman tells fans to stay home on B-day MUMBAI: Superstar Salman Khan has made an appeal to his fans not to gather outside his residence, Galaxy Apartments in Bandra (West) on his birthday on Sunday, December 27. The actor will be celebrating his 55th birthday on Sunday. Every year, hundreds of fans gather outside the actor’s Bandra home to greet him and wish him on his special day. But this year, things are going to be a bit different because if the Coronavirus pandemic. The actor informed his fans and followers with a banner outside his house that he is not in his apartment. Trump refuses to sign Covid aid Bill WASHINGTON: Millions of Americans saw their jobless benefits expire on Saturday after US President Donald Trump refused to sign into law a $2.3 trillion pandemic aid and spending package, protesting that it did not do enough to help everyday people. Trump stunned Republicans and Democrats alike when he said this week he was unhappy with the massive bill, which provides $892 billion in badly needed coronavirus relief, including extending special unemployment benefits expiring on December 26, and $1.4 trillion for normal government spending. – Reuters CBSE exam dates on December 31 NEW DELHI: The dates for the 2021 CBSE board examinations will be declared on December 31. Union education minister Ramesh Pokhriyal made this announcement on Saturday through social media. He said, “I will announce the date when the exams will commence for students appearing for CBSE board exams in 2021, at 6 pm on December 31.” created by the BJP government's stubborn attitude. The meeting was called to chalk out their future course of action. They limited the negotiations to just five issues in a draft sent to the government. These are: Repeal laws, guarantee MSP on all crops and not on limited number of food grains covered by the government, compulsory government procurement if the prices go below the MSP amendment , in Electricity Bill for cheaper power for farming, and no fines on farmers for stubble burning damaging air quality under the CAQM (commission for air quality management) set up by the Centre last month. Photo PTI The farmers, however, do not appear to relent as several batches of them headed by Delhi borders, carrying ration and other essential items to sustain the struggle for any number of days. Meanwhile, hundreds thronged to Shahid Bhgat Singh Park at ITO here and carried out a km-long candle march up the Rajghat on Saturday evening. A group of farmers from Maharashtra on Saturday joined protesters at one of the borders of Delhi. On Monday thousands of , farmers from Maharashtra had left for Delhi from Nashik in vehicles to join the ongoing agitation seeking the repeal of the legislation. “We re- ceived a rousing welcome at a New Delhi border. Farmers sitting on protests here welcomed us and thanked us for joining them,” said Ajit Navle, All India Kisan Sabha secretary Maharashtra. The Unions , made it clear that repeal of the three contentious farm laws, making the Minimum Support Price (MSP) a legal guarantee and amendments in the electricity bill to ensure power at cheaper rates for farming. In a letter drafted in the meeting, the unions accused the government of misleading the people by hiding facts and asserting that "we have been always consistent in our demand for repeal of the three laws and it is the government which has tried to present as if we wanted amendments." CONTD. ON P6 Unmasked men help clean-up marshals surpass fine figures Clean-up marshals of A and C wards cross daily fine collection targets PRATIP ACHARYA Mumbai As part of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC)’s ongoing crackdown on those found without a mask on in public places, its clean-up marshals deployed in the A ward (Cuffe Parade, Marine Lines, Churchgate, Colaba) and C ward (Kalbadevi, Mumbadevi, Bhuleshwar) have overachieved by surpassing targets set for them on the num- ber of such offenders to be fined per day BMC officials . attributed this to the large crowds that head to the Marine Drive promenade each day BMC officials said. , These two wards fall under Zone 1 of the civic body and marshals in each BMC ward are being set daily targets on the number of violators to be fined. The targets set for the marshals depend on the area, population and floating population size in each ward. CONTD. ON P6 ED summons Khadse in Pune land deal case So far into the land deal, is in “Bhosarifour inquirieswhichdone. my wife’s name, has been Former BJP leader Eknath Khadse to appear before ED on Dec 30 SANJAY JOG & PRATIK SALUNKE Mumbai Former BJP leader Eknath Khadse, who recently joined NCP broke his silence on Sat, urday and disclosed that he had received summons from the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to appear before it in Mumbai on December 30. Khadse, who has been nominated by NCP to the legislative council from the Governor’s quota, said the ED summons is in connection with the purchase of a three-acre plot on his wife’s Now, ED’s is the fifth such probe. Whenever ED will call me, I will remain present. I will cooperate.’’ EKNATH KHADSE, name in Bhosari near Pune. In June 2016, Khadse, who was considered the number 2 in the Devendra Fadnavis Cabinet, had resigned from his ministerial berth in the wake of charges of corruption and misuse of power. A senior ED officer on Sat- FORMER BJP LEADER, NOW IN NCP urday confirmed the issuance of summons to Khadse. The ED’s probe is based on an FIR filed by the state Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) in April 2017 against Khadse, his wife Mandakini, son-in-law Girish Choudhary and others. CONTD. ON P6 Quality at Value Rajini fans relieved after Thalaivar becomes stable Docs say megastar’s BP under control; decision on discharge tomo FPJ BUREAU Mumbai/ Hyderabad control than on Friday and he is progressing well. His blood pressure medications were Fans across the world skipped a being titrated carefully and he would heartbeat when superstar Rajinikanth continue to be under close monitoring, it was rushed to the hospital on Friday for said. He has been advised complete rest treating blood pressure fluctuation. How- in view of his labile blood pressure and ever, Apollo Hospitals on Saturday said visitors were not being allowed to meet that the actor’s condition is him, it said. “stable” and a decision on Rajinikanth was on Fridischarging him would day admitted to Apollo be taken tomorrow. Hospitals here for seThe hospital, provere blood pressure viding an update fluctuation. He on the 70-year has been in the old actor's Telangana capihealth, said retal since Desults of some cember 13 to of the investishoot for gations carTamil film, ried out today Annaatthe, a showed nothSun Pictures ing alarming, production. He similar to those isolated himcompleted beself after four of fore. “Rathe crew memjinikanth is stabers tested ble,” the brief bulCOVID-19 positive letin said, adding a days ago. few more reports were The superstar, awaited. “Based on the rehowever, tested negative. (PTI & IANS) ports of remaining investiga“Though he did not have any tions and his blood pressure status symptoms of Covid-19, his blood overnight a call will be taken tomorrow pressure showed severe fluctuations and morning on his discharge,” the hospital needed further evaluation for which he said. has been admitted to the hospital,” said Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K an earlier statement by the hospital. Palaniswami spoke to the actor over Telangana Governor Tamilisai phone and enquired about his health, an Soundararajan, TDP supremo N Chanofficial release in Chennai said, adding drababu Naidu and actor-politician Kahe prayed for the star's speedy recovery . mal Haasan wished the actor a speedy reEarlier in the day, the hospital said the covery The actor is set to launch his own . actor's blood pressure was still on the political party next month ahead of the higher side though it was under better 2021 Tamil Nadu Assembly elections. First UP, now MP government passes Anti-conversion bill FPJ BUREAU / Indore: The Madhya Pradesh Cabinet passed by a voice vote a bill aimed at curbing forced religious conversions. The Madhya Pradesh cabinet on Saturday approved the controversial Religious Freedom Bill 2020, which provides for prison term of up to 10 years and fine of Rs 1 lakh for conversion through marriage or by any other fraudulent means, state Home Minister Narottam Mishra said. He claimed that once enforced, this will be the most stringent law in the country against religious conversion carried out by fraudulent means, allurement or threat. IMD warns of cold wave in the North, says avoid drinking FPJ BUREAU & PTI New Delhi: It is going to get very cold in north India, and drinking alcohol at home or year-end parties won't be a good idea, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD). In its latest impactbased advisory the IMD said , "severe" cold wave is expected over Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and northern Rajasthan from December 28 and there is increased likelihood of various illnesses like flu, running nose or nosebleed which usually set in or get aggravated due to prolonged MELBOURNE: Siraj passes the test of character on dream debut after personal loss; as 11 wickets perish on Day-One of Boxing Day Test. Ajinkya Rahane shot out Australia for a sub-par 195 to dominate the opening day of the second Test here on Saturday. (Report on Pg 14) exposure to cold. “Don't drink alcohol. It reduces your body temperature,” the advisory read. “Get indoors. Eat vitamin-C-rich fruits and moisturize your skin regularly to counter the effects of severe cold,” it said. Kuldeep Srivastava, the head of the regional forecasting centre of the IMD, said the mercury will increase slightly on Sunday and Monday under the influence of a fresh Western Disturbance affecting the upper reaches of the Himalayas, but the relief will be shortlived. The Western Disturbance will lead to "scattered " snowfall in J&K. MVA, Maratha groups engage in a verbal duel Maratha Quota Row SANJAY JOG Mumbai The Maha Vikas Aghadi government and various proMaratha reservation organisations including Maratha Kranti Morcha (MKM) on Saturday were engaged in a verbal duel on the politically sensitive quota issue. MKM and other organisations took an aggressive posture and claimed that the MVA government by providing Economically Weaker Section (EWS) quota benefits in education and government jobs has murdered the reservation under the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes Act, 2018. They have expressed strong opposition against the state government’s move and warned a fresh bout of agitation. However, Public Work Minister Ashok Chavan, who heads the cabinet subcommittee on Maratha quota, shot back saying that there was no confusion between SEBC and EBC quota benefits offered to the Maratha community Chavan said . India to become world's 5th largest economy in 2025 MONEY MATTERS: The Centre for Economics and Business Research forecasts that the Indian economy will expand by 9% in 2021 THE GREAT CASH RACE FPJ BUREAU & PTI Mumbai India, which appears to have been pushed back to being the world’s sixth biggest economy in 2020, will again overtake the UK to become the fifth largest in 2025. India will race to the third spot by 2030, a think tank said on Saturday . India had overtaken the UK in 2019 to become the fifth largest economy in the world but has been relegated to 6th spot in 2020. “India has been knocked off course somewhat through the impact of the pandemic. As a result, after overtaking the UK in 2019, n n n PTI the UK overtakes India again in this year’s forecasts and stays ahead till “2024 before India takes over again,” the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) said in an annual report published on Saturday .” China will overtake the US in 2028 to become the world’s biggest economy India will become the world’s third largest economy by 2030 India will overtake the UK in 2025, Germany in 2027 and Japan in 2030 The UK appears to have overtaken India again during 2020 as a result of the weakness of the rupee, it said. The CEBR forecasts that the Indian economy will expand by 9 per cent in 2021 and by 7 per cent in 2022. “Growth will naturally slow as India becomes more economically developed, with the annual GDP growth expected to sink to 5.8 per cent in 2035.” “This growth trajectory will see India become the world’s third largest economy by 2030, overtaking the UK in 2025, Germany in 2027 and Japan in 2030,” it said. The UK-based think tank forecast that China will in 2028 overtake the US to become the world’s biggest economy Japan would re. main the world’s third-biggest economy in , dollar terms, until the early 2030s when it would be overtaken by India, pushing Germany down from fourth to fifth. that quota under EBC is optional and reiterated that the state government is fighting a legal battle for the restoration of 12% quota in education and 13% in government jobs under SEBC category . Chavan blamed few organisations and opposition for creating a confusion among the Maratha community with certain purpose. “I don't think there is any confusion anywhere. There is a deliberate effort to create a confusion on SEBC and EWS quota," he alleged. “Eligible candidates who are in SEBC and whose appointments were stalled have requested the government to make their appointments,” Chavan said. “Positive steps have been taken in which there will be no contempt of court. The government has cleared EWS for 2145 candidates. The EWS quota is under the Central Act. Therefore, the students who are selected and fall in the EWS criteria can avail the benefits. It is optional,” Chavan said. CONTD. ON P6 PM Modi lambasts Rahul Gandhi for ‘democracy lesson’ FPJ BUREAU / New Delhi Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday indirectly targeted the Congress. He said: “Some people in Delhi teach me lessons on democracy These are the people . whose government did not allow the panchayat polls in Puducherry despite SC order.” Rahul Gandhi had slammed the BJP government for having a 'fictional democracy' in the country .