25022018-TTC-01.qxd 2/25/2018 1:30 AM Page 1 123 established in 1881 vol. 138 no. 55 late city | sunday, february 25, 2018 chandigarh | gurugram | jalandhar | bathinda | jammu | srinagar | www.tribuneindia.com | 44 pages | ~5.00 | regd. no. chd/0006/2018-2020 /thetribunechd /thetribunechd NCERT syllabus to be halved: Javadekar Cool show New Education Policy by end of March Snowflakes make for a pretty picture in Manali on Saturday afternoon as one of Himachal Pradesh’s premier tourist towns received a fresh spell of snow. The lower parts of the region were lashed by rain. Amid clashes, Ludhiana MC polls see 59% turnout Ludhiana: Violence and complaints of booth capturing were the highlights of the polling for 95 wards of the local municipal corporation held on Saturday. Candidates of SAD-BJP and AAP accused the ruling party of capturing booths and misusing government machinery. Two persons were injured in a clash between SAD and Congress workers in BRS Nagar. PAGE 2 India win T20 series Cape Town: Suresh Raina scored a quick-fire 43 and grabbed the key wicket of David Miller as India defeated hosts South Africa by seven runs to claim a 2-1 victory in their Twenty20 International series at Newlands on Saturday. Sent in to bat, India, without injured captain Virat Kohli, posted 172 for seven in their 20 overs before restricting South Africa to 165 for six. PAGE 20 After a sudden rise in temperature over the past few days, several towns in Punjab and Haryana received rainfall. Ambala received 0.2 mm rain, and Amritsar and Ludhiana 0.6 mm each. TRIBUNE PHOTO: MC THAKUR CBI quizzes top PNB management No privatisation ED attaches Nirav Modi’s 21 immovable properties worth ~523 crore New Delhi, February 24 The CBI today questioned Punjab National Bank Managing Director-cum-CEO Sunil Mehta and Executive Director KV Brahmaji Rao in connection with the Rs 11,300crore bank fraud case, while the ED went on with the seizure of fraud accused diamantaire Nirav Modi’s assets. Both bank officials were called at the CBI’s Mumbai branch and were questioned for over eight hours. Mehta and Rao were questioned for the first time ever since the CBI filed the first FIR against Nirav, wife Ami, brother Nishal, uncle Mehul Choksi and his firms Diamond R US, Solar Exports and Stellar Diamond. Nirav, his family and Choksi left the country in early January. The FIR mentions a fraud of around Rs 6,400 crore. The CBI also filed the second FIR in the case on February 15 for Rs 4,886.72- BANKS TOLD TO LINK CBS WITH SWIFT SYSTEM ■ The Reserve Bank has set an April 30 deadline for all banks to link the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) with their core banking solution (CBS) ■ Asked about the April 30 deadline, Indian Banks Association (IBA) chairperson Usha Ananthasubramanian said, “Correct. That could be a deadline, but it is an outer limit. Today, the urgency is such that everyone wants this (linkage of SWIFT to CBS) project to be on fast-track.” PASSPORTS OF NIRAV, CHOKSI REVOKED ■ The passports of diamantaire Nirav Modi and Gitanjali Gems owner Mehul Choksi have been revoked, according to sources in the External Affairs Ministry ■ On the advice of ED, the MEA had suspended validity of their passports with immediate effect for four weeks on February 16 ■ Despite being given a week to respond as to why passports should not be impounded or revoked, they have not responded, so their passports have been revoked. PTI crore fraud against the Gitanjali group headed by Choksi. Letters of Undertaking and Foreign Letters of Credit were used to raise and rollover the amount over several years before the fraud came to light. Meanwhile, the Enforce- ment Directorate (ED), which is also probing the financial angle in the case, said it had attached Nirav Modi’s 21 immovable properties worth Rs 523.72 crore. The assets include a farm house in Alibaug (Rs 42.7 crore) near Mumbai seashore, a solar power plant spread over 53 acres in Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar (Rs 70 crore) and another 135 acres in Ahmednagar (Rs 2.2 crore), along with other residential and office properties worth Rs 408.82 crore in Mumbai and Pune. The ED on Friday said it had frozen Nirav’s bank account and shares worth Rs 43 crore. It had earlier seized bank deposits, shares and luxury cars worth over Rs 100 crore belonging to the businessman and his group. The agency has also frozen mutual funds and shares worth Rs 7.8 crore of Nirav Modi and Rs 86.72 crore belonging to his uncle Choksi. The ED action comes in the wake of its ongoing probe — along with the CBI — against the two and many others, including directors of their companies and bank officials, into the alleged bank fraud. — Agencies Gayatri Mantra must in Haryana schools Chandigarh, February 24 Henceforth, Gayatri Mantra will be part of the morning prayers in Haryana government schools. Describing the mantra as “a gift by our saints and sages to the world”, Education Minister Ram Bilas Sharma today said a decision to this effect was taken during his meeting with senior Education Department officials and a notification would be issued in a day or two. However, a senior department functionary said he was not aware of any such meeting. The Opposition parties and the academia see this as yet another step towards saffronisation of education. Former minister and Congress leader Aftab Ahmed called it a BJP tactic to divert people’s attention from the real issues. “The government should rather focus on core issues of governance — education, health and agriculture — and leave religious matters to the people,” he said. Vehemently opposing the move, Dr Mahabir Jaglan of New Delhi, February 24 In a bid to provide relief to school students, the NCERT syllabus will be reduced by half from the 2019 academic session, HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar has said. He said the school syllabus was more than that of BA and BCom courses, and it needed to be reduced by half so that students get time for other activities for their all-round development. “At the stage of development of cognitive skills, students need to be given full freedom. I have asked NCERT to reduce the syllabus by half and it will be effective from the 2019 academic session,” he told Rajya Sabha TV in an interview. Elaborating on the reforms in school education under consideration, the minister said examinations and detentions would be introduced. He said a Bill in this regard would be considered in Parliament in the next part of the Budget Session. “Without examination, New Delhi, February 24 Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today ruled out privatisation of public sector banks as a response to the Rs 11,400-crore fraud hitting Punjab National Bank, saying the move may not be politically acceptable. At an event here, he said a lot of people have started talking of privatisation in the aftermath of the PNB fraud. “This involves a large political consensus. Also, that involves an amendment to the law (Banking Regulation Act). My impression is that Indian political opinion may not find favour with this idea itself. It’s a very challenging decision,” he said. On Friday, FICCI president Rashesh Shah said he had asked the FM to begin the process of bank privatisation in a phased manner, leaving just two-three What’s wrong in disproving Darwin theory: IISER test ‘IT’S GIFT TO WORLD’ Gayatri Mantra is a gift by our saints and sages to the world... it will be part of the morning prayers. ❝ Ram Bilas Sharma, EDUCATION MINISTER Kurukshetra University said the compulsory recitation of Gayatri Mantra by schoolchildren was against the “culture, ethos and the country’s Constitution that guarantees secularism”. “Ever since the Khattar-led BJP government came to power in Haryana, its obsession with ‘Gau, Gita and Sarasvati’ has been all too obvious,” he added. In 2015, too, when the BJP government had decided to introduce shlokas from the Bhagavad Gita in the school curriculum, there was a hue and cry and the move was put on hold till June 2016. — TNS of banks: Jaitley Passers-by gather around the Bolero that was involved in the tragic road accident on Saturday. PTI 9 schoolkids crushed to death in Bihar Jitendra K Shrivastava Tribune News Service Patna, February 24 Nine schoolchildren were killed and more than 20 injured when they were mowed down by a speeding Bolero while they were on their way home after school. The accident occurred near Jhapaha in Muzaffarpur district when the children were crossing NH-77. The victims were students of Dharampur Government Middle School, located along the national highway. The injured were taken to SKMC Hospital, Muzaffarpur. Four of them are said to be critical. Expressing grief, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar ordered a probe and announced Rs 4 lakh for the next of kin of each of the deceased. “The government will bear the medical expenses of the injured,” he said. “A truck hit a woman. The driver panicked and fled, abandoning his vehicle. In the meantime, the speeding Bolero coming from Sitamarhi swerved so as not to hit the stationary truck, but rammed into the schoolchildren crossing the road,” an eyewitness said. Even as the police launched a hunt for the Bolero driver, a controversy erupted after locals claimed that the vehicle belonged to a leader of the state’s ruling BJP and that he was in the car when the accident occurred. The vehicle (BR-06-PA-7084) allegedly bore a BJP flag. Pune, February 24 What is “wrong” with Union Minister Satyapal Singh’s criticism of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, students of the city-based Indian Institute of Science Education and Research were asked in a recent exam. The institute, an autonomous body set up by the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development, said the question was not meant for “opening debate” on the minister’s statement, but to test the “logical thinking of students”. “The HRD minister of state recently claimed that the Darwinian theory of evolution is wrong because ‘nobody, including our ancestors, in writing or orally, has said they saw an ape turning into a man’. What is wrong with this argument?” read the question. Incidentally, the question was accompanied by a note: “This question is NOT asking why biologists believe evolution to be correct. It is asking why the quoted argument cannot be correct...” — PTI Today’s issue consists of 44 pages, including eight-page Spectrum, eight-page Chandigarh Tribune and six-page Life+Style. there is no competition and no target. There must be an element of competition for better outcomes,” he said. If a student fails in March, he would get another chance in May. If a student flunks both times, then only he/she would be detained, he added. Javadekar also expressed concern over the poor quality of teachers, which, he said, was resulting in poor learning outcomes. “The basic task of teachers is to assess the strengths and weaknesses of students and mentor them accordingly,” he added. He said that under the Right to Education Act, 20 lakh teachers were to be trained by 2015, but only five lakh could be covered. Over 14 lakh teachers were undergoing a skill upgradation programme. It should lead to better results, he added. Regarding the New Education Policy, Javadekar said a report would be submitted by the end of next month and unveiled soon thereafter. — PTI THE TRIBUNE IMPACT CM seeks report on FIR against shelling victims Dinesh Manhotra Tribune News Services SLAMS REGULATORS It is worrisome that not a single red flag was raised when the (PNB) fraud was perpetuated. Also worrisome is the top managements that were indifferent to what was going on or were unaware of what was going on ❝ Arun Jaitley, FM lenders in the public sector. Industry body Assocham has also urged the government to reduce its stake in public sector banks to less than 50 per cent so that they can work with the sense of accountability. — PTI Jammu, February 23 Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has asked Jammu Inspector General of Police SD Singh Jamwal to probe why victims of Pakistani shelling had been booked under sedition charges. The IGP when contacted, , said the SSP Samba, would , investigate. PDP lawmaker Surinder Choudhary, who met the CM this afternoon, said she had taken serious note of the matter. The police had turned a DDR (daily diary report) into an FIR and slapped sedition charges against unidentified persons for their outburst against the BJP leadership for “abandoning” border residents at the cremation of a border village resident killed in shelling — reported by The Tribune. GST e-way bill to be in place from April 1 New Delhi, February 24 The Group of Ministers under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council has recommended that the e-way bill be made mandatory from April 1 for inter-state movement of goods. The GoM of state finance ministers headed by Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi has recommended that the e-way bill system be introduced in a phased manner starting with inter-state movement of goods. The recommendation will have to be ratified by the GST Council at its meeting on March 10. E-way bill allows movement of goods by transporters with an electronic bill. While the inter-state movement of goods would start first, Modi said the requirement for intra-state movement of goods of more than Rs 50,000 value would be introduced in phases after assessing response for the inter-state movement. The e-way bill mechanism was implemented from Feb- Sushil Modi ruary 1, but the system crashed and its implementation was deferred. Modi said the IT system for handling the volume of transactions was being enhanced before the introduction. It is estimated that around 26 lakh to 50 lakh e-way bills will be generated every day. The system was being upgraded to handle 75 lakh e-way bills every day, he added. The meeting did not arrive at a decision on simplification of GST returns. Modi said there were different opinions on the modalities although there was an agreement that there should be simplification of forms and processes. — TNS
The Tribune, now published from Chandigarh, started publication on February 2, 1881, in Lahore (now in Pakistan). It was started by Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia, a public-spirited philanthropist, and is run by a trust comprising four eminent persons as trustees.
The Tribune, the largest selling daily in North India, publishes news and views without any bias or prejudice of any kind. Restraint and moderation, rather than agitational language and partisanship, are the hallmarks of the paper. It is an independent newspaper in the real sense of the term.
The English edition apart, the 133-year-old Tribune has two sister publications, Punjabi Tribune (in Punjabi) and Dainik Tribune (in Hindi).