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Saturday, September 26, 2020

Daily briefing: Govt blames Covid but GST payment stalled year ago; Sonia sends a message to Congress dissenters

From the Centre facing an estimated shortfall of Rs 2.35 lakh crore for GST compensation to the Supreme Court’s decision to sub-classify the list of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, read the top stories from print edition today.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: August 28, 2020 8:34:35 am
top news briefing today, top news today, india top news, india latest news, farmers bill protests, india china border dispute, delhi journalist arrested, paytm google play store, india coronavirus latest updatesSeptember 19, 2020: A look at the top news today.

Good morning Readers,

We are covering the Supreme Court’s decision to sub-classify the list of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, Congress leader Sonia Gandhi’s snub to party dissenters in both Houses of Parliament and why the delay on GST compensation payments cannot be blamed on Covid.

The Big Story

In a move that is likely to further deepen the faultlines between the Centre and States over GST Compensation, the latter were presented with two options to make up the revenue shortfall, and both involve borrowing from the RBI. 

Like the IE top edit says, “shifting the burden on to the states is tantamount to the Centre reneging on its promise of protecting their revenues.”

And what’s more, the Centre chose to pin much of the blame for the delays on payments to the slowdown inflicted by the pandemic, but the delays preceded the Covid-19 shock by almost a year.

From The Front Page

The Supreme Court has allowed states to sub-classify the list of  SCs, STs, and SEBCs. “When the reservation creates inequalities within the reserved castes itself, it is required to be taken care of by the State,” it said. Meanwhile, in poll-bound Bihar, the JD(U) seemed enthused by the court order, while the BJP seemed more wary.

It was only days ago that Congress president Sonia Gandhi said “let’s move ahead… what has happened has happened” over a letter written by the 23 dissenters, but the matter doesn’t seem to be over just yet as they were snubbed in both Houses of Parliament.

New Delhi is considering sending External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar to Russia next month, around September 9-11, where he will have a chance to meet Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and discuss steps to resolve the border crisis, The Indian Express has learnt.

The Pandemic

On the day the country reported a record 75,000 new cases of novel coronavirus infections, the Cabinet Secretary held a review meeting with 10 states and Union territories and stressed on them to urgently reduce the high positivity rate among healthcare workers.

With nine out of a 59-member Andamanese tribe testing positive for Covid-19, including four in a remote island, authorities have now expressed the need to keep the group isolated from the settlers and subsequently minimise the dangers for the remaining tribes. 

Ten lakh masks, 10 lakh pairs of gloves, 1,300 infrared thermometer guns and 6,600 litres of hand sanitiser, among other items — all at an additional cost of almost Rs 13 crore —  will be used across 660 test sites for JEE (Main), the first national-level entrance examination since the Covid outbreak.

Beyond Covid-19

She lost her hands but not hope — 24-year-old Monika More became the first Mumbaikkar to have undergone a double hand transplant earlier this morning (if it went as per schedule) after she found her donor in a Chennai man who was declared brain dead on Thursday.

Those who made it out of Tarique Gardens in Maharashtra’s Mahad before it came crashing down on Monday say it was Naveed Duste who had raised an alarm when he saw the five-storey structure was about to give way. The electrician, who does not live in the area but happened to simply pass by then, now lies in the ICU with his leg amputated.

This editorial argues why the UK’s ‘eat out to help out’ scheme, which offers a 50% discount for diners, is worth replicating in India as the restaurant industry faces an existential crisis with no specific package announced by the government for the hospitality industry.


And finally

In 2000, at a school function in West Bengal’s Mukundapur, one of the cooking staff had handed over a copy of his self-published novel to the chief guest, Alapan Bandyopadhyay. On Wednesday, his innumerable requests for a transfer to a job that required less manual effort bore fruit, thanks to Bandyopadhyay, who is now the state’s Home Secretary.

Delhi Confidential: As US President Donald Trump’s campaign team released video with footage from the Howdy Modi and Namaste Trump events, eyebrows have been raised in Washington and Delhi on using PM Narendra Modi’s visuals during the election campaign in the US.

🎧 In today’s episode of Three Things Podcast, we discuss the importance of the NIA chargesheet in the 2019 Pulwama attack case.

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