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Supreme Court’s Big Move On Stubble Burning, Declines Centre’s Request

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Supreme Court

The Supreme Court today appointed retired judge Justice Madan B Lokur to monitor stubble burning in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh amid rising pollution in Delhi and its surrounding areas.

“We are only concerned about the citizens of Delhi-NCR being able to breathe in fresh clean air,” the top court said. The Supreme Court also declined to accept the centre’s request to reconsider the appointment of the one-man committee of Justice (retd) Lokur. The next hearing on the case has been scheduled on October 26.

The bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde directed the court-appointed Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) and chief secretaries of Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh to assist the Lokur panel during physical surveillance of fields where stubble is burnt.

“The concerned state governments will provide secretarial, security and financial facilities to this committee. The National Cadet Corps (NCC), National Service Scheme and Bharat Scouts will also be deployed for assisting the panel. The committee will submit its report to the Supreme Court in 15 days,” the bench, which also comprised Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, said.

The centre had objected to the appointment of the committee saying the concerned states have already been heard. “EPCA has been entrusted with the responsibility in this matter. Amicus Curiae has already been appointed,” Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the court. His objections, however, were turned down by the bench.

Minutes after the top court order, Central Pollution Control Board chairman Shiv Das Meena said that strict action will be taken against violators. “Every year, the problem of pollution in Delhi remains big in winter. We are working to reduce pollution. We are strictly adhering to the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) rules. Action being taken against violators. 50 teams have been sent for on field inspection,” Mr Meena said.

The national capital has seen a spike in air pollution after stubble burning incidents from these three states that border Delhi; the share of stubble burning in Delhi’s PM2.5 concentration was six per cent on Thursday, according to a central government agency. The Punjab government said that they are not the cause of pollution in Delhi.

India

Don’t want food from Badal’s supporter: Farmers tells Sirsa at Tikri

As the situation tensed up a bit, Shiromani Akali Dal’s (SAD) leader Sirsa beat a hasty retreat. The protesters soon calmed down and got busy with their other activities.

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Farmers Delegation

New Delhi: SAD’s Delhi leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa on Saturday faced embarrassing situation when he went to offer ‘langar’ or community kitchen food to farmers rallying at Tikri on the Delhi-Haryana border, as protesters dubbed him a ‘chamcha’ or obsequious supporter of former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

As soon as Sirsa, Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) President, moved towards the protesting farmers, they protested his presence and climbed on the concrete block and police barricades to raise slogans against him as he stood there with folded hands.

“Badal de chamcheyan da langar nahi chahida (we don’t want to eat langar handed over by Badal’s obsequious follower),” the farmers shouted amid sloganeering against the Centre’s farm policies.

As the situation tensed up a bit, Shiromani Akali Dal’s (SAD) leader Sirsa beat a hasty retreat. The protesters soon calmed down and got busy with their other activities.

On Saturday, a day after their stand-off with security forces over entry into Delhi, farmers from Punjab and Haryana continued to rally and shout slogans at the Tikri interstate border entry/exit point, without any interference from the policemen who preferred to look on.

Various farmer leaders addressed the protesters even as the situation was more relaxed compared with what was witnessed on Friday, as policemen armed with a water cannon and tear-gas shells remained stationed in vicinity.

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Manufacturing GVA growth in Q2 ‘surprising’: SBI Report

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Manufacturing

New Delhi, Nov 28 : The manufacturing sector played a major role in narrowing down the India’s GDP contraction in Q2 of FY21. An SBI Ecowrap report, however, dubbed the growth in manufacturing GVA as “astonishing” as the IIP manufacturing for the same period declined by 6.7 per cent.

India’s GDP in the July-September period contracted 7.5 per cent, compared with 23.9 per cent in the preceding quarter.

The GVA in Q2 2020-21 from the manufacturing sector grew 0.6 per cent, as compared with a degrowth of 0.6 per cent in the corresponding quarter of the previous fiscal.

The report by Soumya Kanti Ghosh, Group Chief Economic Adviser, State Bank of India, said: “Though the whole press release is full of surprising numbers, the most astonishing number is the positive growth in manufacturing in Q2.”

He noted that despite being the worst affected sector in Q1 (due to lockdown), it is quite puzzling how manufacturing turned itself around.

The IIP manufacturing and manufacturing GVA growth are highly correlated (almost more than 0.90) and this correlation collapsed in Q2 when IIP manufacturing declined by 6.7 per cent (average of July/August/September) while manufacturing GVA grew by 0.6 per cent.

He said that one possible reason for this could be stellar corporate GVA numbers in Q2 on the back of massive purge in costs.

Further, he said that small companies, with turnover of up to Rs 500 crore, are more aggressive in cutting cost, displaying reduction in employee cost by 10-12 per cent.

“This could turn a potential headwind in future in terms of a drag on consumption. Additionally, there is evidence of inventory build-up that could act as a drag on future manufacturing growth,” said the report.

“Interestingly, government consumption expenditure has also nosedived in Q2, that is difficult to explain, as such expenditures are typically pro cyclical.”

During the July-September period, agriculture sector continued to perform well with its growth pegged at 3.4 per cent. Services remained in the negative territory, although the decline was contained as trade, hotels, transport, communication and services related to broadcasting showed recovery.

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Cities

We’ve resources to undertake coronavirus vaccination within 3-4 weeks: Delhi govt

Health and Family Welfare Minister Satyendar Jain made this announcement in at a press conference called to update Delhi’s daily health bulletin.

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Vaccine Covid

The Delhi government on Saturday said it has infrastructure to undertake coronavirus vaccination among all city residents within three-four weeks, adding that it was only waiting for the vaccine to be made available.

Health and Family Welfare Minister Satyendar Jain made this announcement in at a press conference called to update Delhi’s daily health bulletin. He gave the updates on Covid-19, decreasing positivity rate, availability of beds, and preparations for vaccination.

He said that the government had enough resources like Mohalla Clinics, polyclinics, dispensaries and hospitals to administer coronavirus vaccine across Delhi. Jain asserted that there will be no issues about the optimal storage of the vaccine as well.

“We are only waiting for the vaccine to be made available. Delhi has the infrastructure to roll it out and make it accessible to all city residents within 3-4 weeks. Delhi is equipped with the latest infrastructure to facilitate the rollout of the vaccine to Delhi’s population.

“For application, there are Mohalla Clinics, hospitals etc. It depends on how soon we get it from the central government. As far as storage is concerned, all amenities have been taken care of,” Jain said.

The Delhi government’s response comes amid Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Saturday visit to Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Pune where vaccine development process is going on.

Modi had recently held discussions with states and union territories on vaccine distribution once it is formulated.

Pointing out that there were 5,482 new cases in Delhi on Friday, the Minister said that the positivity rate had however come down to 8.51 per cent from 15.26 per cent. It has become less than half since November 7, 2020.

The Minister said that more than 50 per cent beds for coronavirus patients are available in Delhi hospitals at present. “Total bed available is more than 9,500. The occupancy rate is therefore steadily decreasing. In terms of ICU beds, more than 1,200 are available.”

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