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25.5.21 The Hindu /BS Editorials

The delay in the formation of the Ministry in Puducherry does not appear to be merely because Chief Minister N. Rangasamy was indisposed for some days. He took charge on May 7 before taking ill; he has now recovered from COVID-19, but there is no word on Cabinet expansion. The delay is a reflection of the uneasy relationship between Mr. Rangasamy’s N.R. Congress, and its ally, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has been paying special attention to the Union Territory to become a major force. On the face of it, the delay is because of the Chief Minister’s hospitalisation and his home quarantine, which was over on Sunday (May 23). But his illness did not come in the way of the Centre making three BJP members nominated legislators of the Assembly. One reason that is holding up Ministry formation is the BJP’s demand for the Deputy Chief Minister’s post and a few ministerial berths, as stated by Union Minister of State for Home Affairs G. Kishan Reddy, one of the point persons of the BJP for Puducherry. But it was evident that Mr. Rangasamy was not too enthused by the national party’s proposals. A few days before assuming office, he was on record to say that there was no precedent of Puducherry having had a Deputy Chief Minister, but would consider the matter if the Centre created such a post. However hard it may be for him, Mr. Rangasamy has to contend with the reality that the BJP’s strength in the Assembly is just one short of his party’s 10, after the nomination of the three MLAs. Lieutenant Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan, on May 21, appointed K. Lakshminarayanan as the pro-tem Speaker of the Assembly, paving the way for the early swearing-in of MLAs.

However, what bothers the people of the Union Territory — it has a population of about 12.5 lakh (2011 Census) — is that there is no full-fledged elected government in place during a raging COVID-19 pandemic. Between May 8, the day after Mr. Rangasamy became Chief Minister, and May 24, the number of active cases went up by 2,250; the total number of active cases stood at 15,835 on Monday. In this period, the toll rose by almost 50% and as on Monday, 1,382 persons have died since the outbreak of the pandemic. Puducherry does need a vibrant and imaginative Health Minister to beat the virus. This is also an opportunity for the N.R. Congress and the BJP to set aside their differences and show that they have genuine concern for the welfare of the people by forming the Council of Ministers at the earliest. This is no time for procrastination.

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1.Indisposed (Adj)-somewhat ill or prone to illness. अस्वस्थ

2.On The Face Of It (Phrase)- from only what is known at first.

3.In The Way (Phrase)-forming an obstacle or hindrance to movement or action.

4.Holding Up (Phrasal Verb)-to not do something immediately.

5.Enthused (V)-to make someone interested in something. उत्साहित

6.Paving The Way For (Idiom)-to make it easier for (something to happen or someone to do something). मार्ग प्रशस्त करना

7.Full-Fledged (Adj)-having attained complete status. संपूर्ण

8.Went Up (Phrasal Verb)-to move higher, rise, or increase.

9.Outbreak (N)-a sudden occurrence of something unwelcome, such as war or disease.

10.Procrastination (N)-the action of delaying or postponing something. विलंब, टालमटोल

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🛑The Government of India’s directive to microblogging platform Twitter that it remove the label ‘manipulated media’ from certain posts shared by functionaries of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), including Union Ministers, has no legal leg to stand on. But it reveals that the Government of India is willing to go to any lengths to empower BJP functionaries to tarnish political opponents and misinform the public. The BJP functionaries circulated on Twitter what they called a ‘toolkit’ prepared by the Congress to disparage the government. The Congress has filed a police complaint that the BJP functionaries forged a document that does not exist. It has also written to Twitter to permanently suspend the accounts of those who circulated the forged documents. There is indeed a document that the Congress prepared on the opportunity costs of the Central Vista project for its internal use. The one circulated by the BJP leaders included additional pages on COVID-19. The BJP has failed to provide the digital footprint, or the copies, of what it calls the COVID-19 toolkit. There is no evidence that the Congress has done anything in the toolkit which was supposedly prepared in May; but the toolkit proposes courses of action that have already happened in April, an analysis by fact-checking platform AltNews has revealed. Toolkits are meant to be about coordinating future actions on social media, and not cataloguing past events. When challenged on facts, a BJP propagandist revealed the identity of a woman who was involved in the Central Vista research, leading to her bullying by cyber mobs.

Twitter has not complied with the Centre’s directive, and at least six handles of BJP functionaries now have posts with the tag ‘manipulated media’. The reasoning behind the directive, in the absence of any legal provision to cite, by the Government of India is baffling. It has argued that the labelling was a “prejudged, prejudiced and a deliberate attempt to colour the investigation by local law enforcement agency”. By this metric, a private company must allow what it has determined as problematic content, until a state agency concurs. Twitter has a publicised policy that it may label tweets that include media that have been deceptively altered or fabricated. It could use its own mechanism or use third party services to make that determination. Twitter is a private entity whose relationship with users is guided by its terms of services. The IT Act that empowers the government to regulate content does not give it the power to order the removal of a label. Additionally, the government move raises serious concerns regarding arbitrary censorship and transparency. The Centre’s desperation to control any discussion on its failures, and shift the focus on to the Opposition is leading to such situations that embarrass a democracy. Rather than intimidate a private company, the BJP and the Centre should discipline its functionaries into more civility and truthfulness in their engagement with critics.

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1.No Legal Leg To Stand On (Idiom)-to have no evidence, support, or justification for one's argument or actions.

2.Tarnish (V)-to damage someone's reputation. बदनाम करना

3.Disparage (V)-to criticize severely. निन्दा करना

4.Forged (V)-to make an illegal copy of something in order to deceive. जाली

5.Baffling (Adj)-impossible to understand; perplexing.

6.Prejudiced (Adj)-showing an unreasonable dislike for something or someone.

7.Deliberate (Adj)-(often of something bad) intentional or planned. जानबूझकर

8.Fabricated (V)-to invent or produce something false in order to deceive someone. झूठी कहानी बनाना

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🛑BS

No evidence to say third Covid wave will impact kids more: Randeep Guleria

Ruchika Chitravanshi | 25/05/2021 | 6 hours ago


There is no indication that the third wave would impact kids more, said Randeep Guleria, Director of All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi, on Monday, stressing that the data of both the waves has shown little impact of the virus on children and those who were affected did not have severe infection.


“Those who have supported this theory say that because children have been protected so far, they could have more infections proportionally in the next wave. There is no evidence yet to support this argument,” Guleria said.


He also said that the virus enters the human body through ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) receptors and kids have less of these than adults.


“We should work so that there is no other wave. If we take the learnings of the past then we can avoid any future waves. Viral infections come in waves. We have to minimise them and ensure they don’t come,” Guleria said.


The AIIMS chief also said that as the number of recovered patients rises, clinics have to be developed to deal with the treatment of symptoms which persist beyond the disease. He said there was now a better understanding of post-Covid acute syndrome which can continue 8 to 12 weeks and long Covid which can occur if symptoms continue beyond 12 weeks.


While the pandemic had not impacted the younger age group, Guleria said there had been a lot of collateral damage. “Everyone knows someone who has suffered from Covid or has lost someone. This is not the pandemic of the younger age group but there has been a lot of collateral damage among them — from education, smartphone addiction, interrupted opportunities, stress and mental issues, gender gaps and nutritional issues,” he said.


Some of the common post-Covid issues among those recovered include breathlessness, coughing, anxiety, chronic fatigue syndrome, bodyache, headache and would require symptomatic treatment. “Some of these are due to the inflammatory response of the body,” Guleria said.


Brain fog is another complaint being reported in many recovered patients which affects a person’s concentration and can induce insomnia and depression. “Rehabi­litation is necessary for these cases. Medical community has to develop multidisciplinary post-Covid clinics,” Guleria added.

🛑India attracts record FDI of $81 bn in FY21; Gujarat remains top recipient

Shreya Nandi | 25/05/2021 | 6 hours ago


Foreign direct equity investments (FDI) inflows grew by 19 per cent year-on-year (YoY) in financial year 2020-21 (FY21) to a record $59.64 billion, according to data released by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) on Monday.


Despite the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic in FY21, India attracted the highest ever total FDI inflow, which includes equity capital of unincorporated bodies, reinvested earnings, and other capital. Total FDI stood at $81.72 billion, up 10 per cent YoY. In FY20, India attracted gross inflows of $74.39 billion.


“Measures taken by the government on the fronts of FDI policy reforms, investment facilitation and ease of doing business have resulted in increased inflows. The trends are an endorsement of India’s status as a preferred investment destination amongst global investors,” an official statement said.


According to the data shared by the government, Singapore remained the largest source of FDI for the third consecutive year, with a share of 29 per cent. It was followed by the US with 23 per cent share, and Mauritius with 9 per cent.


“Out of top 10 countries, Saudi Arabia is the top investor in terms of percentage increase during FY21. It invested $2.8 billion in comparison to US$ 89.93 million reported in the previous financial year,” the statement said, adding that there was a 227 per cent and 44 per cent increase recorded in FDI equity inflow from the USA and the UK, respectively.


Gujarat was the top recipient of FDI among states, with 37 per cent share of total FDI equity inflows, followed by Maharashtra and Karnataka with 27 per cent and 13 per cent, respectively.


Gujarat attracted the lion’s share of inbound FDI under the computer software and hardware sector at 78 per cent. This was followed by Karnataka and Delhi at 9 per cent and 5 per cent, respectively.


“Majority of the equity inflow of Gujarat has been reported in the sectors ‘Computer Software & Hardware’ (94 per cent) and Construction (Infrastructure) Activities (2 per cent) during the FY21,” the statement said.


Computer software and hardware emerged as the top sector in FY21 with around 44 per cent of the total FDI equity inflow, followed by construction and infrastructure-related activities at 13 per cent, and services sector’s with 8 per cent.

🛑DHFL resolution: Lenders move NCLAT against Kapil Wadhawan's offer

Subrata Panda | 24/05/2021 | 7 hours ago


Reserve Bank of India (RBI)-appointed administrator and the lenders to Dewan Housing Finance (DHFL) have moved National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) against the order of the Mumbai Bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) that directed the committee of creditors (CoC) to examine the offer of the erstwhile promoter on merit, said sources.


The Piramal Group, whose resolution plan was approved by the lenders, RBI, and Competition Commission of India (CCI), is also likely to file an appeal against the NCLT order in the NCLAT, a source said. However, the group will file an appeal independently. The matter is expected to come up for hearing this week.


“Lenders are not happy with the NCLT order and never anticipated that such an order could be passed. This order will open a Pandora’s box because other promoters will start quoting this case and derail the resolution process. Hence, we appealed against the order. This will unnecessarily delay the process,” said a banker aware of the development.


The lenders, through their petition, have asked NCLAT to set aside the order of the NLCT, which directs the administrator to place the offer of the erstwhile promoter before CoC for consideration because it’s outside the jurisdiction of NCLT and contrary to the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC). Also, they are asking the NCLAT to direct NCLT to approve the resolution plan they have approved, which has been reserved for orders by the bankruptcy tribunal, said a source aware of the development.


There is a process under the IBC, which allows a former promoter to put forward an offer and that does not include the promoter writing letters saying consider the plan. Also, financial service providers are in a slightly different IBC regime, because the RBI has filed the insolvency application. So, under 12A of IBC, even if there was to be a settlement in this case, the withdrawal of application has to be done by the applicant, in this case, the RBI. The committee of creditors cannot do it. Also, it requires a high threshold of approvals from the CoC. So, the ex-promoter is coming in at the last moment to scuttle the process.





This comes after the NCLT said the second proposal of erstwhile promoter Kapil Wadhawan deserves to be examined on merits and put to vote by the CoC.


The order asked the administrator of DHFL to present the offer of the erstwhile promoter before the CoC within days and had scheduled the next hearing for May 31.


The lenders were mulling their options since the order came in last week. Appealing against the order in the appellate tribunal was one of the options they were exploring. This is because the CoC had already voted in favour of a resolution plan.


Bankers were apprehensive of considering the settlement offer of the promoter because the account was already declared as “fraud” by them.


According to the lenders, they had considered the proposal of the erstwhile promoter, but rejected it based on their commercial wisdom. Wadhawan is still languishing in jail on money laundering charges.


In its written order, the tribunal said, “...the adjudicating authority is of the considered view that the second proposal deserves to be examined on merits and put for deciding, voting of the members of CoC. If the same is commercially found not favourable with the CoC members, then the proposal can be rejected.”


In the order, the tribunal said the settlement proposal of Wadhawan at Rs 91,158 crore is much higher than the offer of the next highest bidder, Piramal Group, which offered Rs 37,250 crore. “Since this settlement proposal is substantially higher / more than one-and-a-half-times the value of the highest bidder, the same needs due consideration/reconsideration by the administrator or CoC,” the order said.


The tribunal also observed that with the settlement proposal, thousands of small investors and fixed deposit holders would be paid fully, thereby thousands of small investors would get 100 per cent of their principal sum outstanding.


DHFL became the first financial services company to be referred to the NCLT by the RBI in November 2019 after it defaulted on its payments and lenders failed to find a resolution under the June 7 circular of the RBI. Creditors of DHFL have claimed dues to the tune of Rs 87,000 crore. The liquidity crisis, after the collapse of IL&FS in 2018, led to DHFL’s downfall. Prior to that, it was one of the largest mortgage lenders in the country.



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