log on to thegoan.net Facebook.com/thegoaneveryday @thegoaneveryday SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 18, 2021 8 pages The Goan (Playstore) PRICE ` 6 PANAJI MARGAO GOA VOLUME VII, NO. 91 Frequent droughts threaten dried fruits and vegetables 6 GOA Girish blamed for mass defection of Cong MLAs into saffron party 2 Instagram.com/thegoaneveryday RNI: GOAENG/2015/65729 3 GOA No chance of changing CM ahead of polls: BJP SPORTS FC Goa thrash Jamshedpur 5-0 to top Durand Cup group 8 GST Council keeps petrol, diesel out of GST purview EXTENDS GST RATE CUTS ON COVID-RELATED MEDICINES TILL DEC 31 KEY HIGHLIGHTS AGENCIES NEW DELHI The all-powerful GST Council on Friday decided to continue keeping petrol and diesel out of the GST purview as subsuming the current excise duty and VAT into one national rate would impact revenues. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said, I make it absolutely clear that this came on Friday meeting’s agenda purely because of the Kerala High Court order where it suggested the matter to be placed before GST Council. GST Council members made it clear they do not want petroleum products to be included under GST, she added. “It was decided, we will report to Kerala HC that the matter has been discussed and Council felt it was not the time to bring petroleum products under GST,” she said. Also, the GST Council has IN SHORT >> Covid takes one more life PANAJI: Goa recorded one Covid death, taking the toll to 3290. There were 108 new cases out of the 5139 samples tested. A total of 75 patients recovered, and the recovery rate was 97.71 per cent. The active covid count is 731. Thirteen patients were discharged from the hospital and 11 new admitted. Another hurdle for Goan bakers PANAJI: Goa’s traditional bakers, who recently hiked the price of pao, face yet another hurdle. All bakeries and more urgently those operating in densely populated cities and towns will have to soon switch to electric ovens from their traditional woodfired ones. >> See pg 3 New Taliban govt not inclusive: PM NEW DELHI: At the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit on Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the new Taliban government in Afghanistan was not inclusive, adding that the change in regime in Afghanistan happened without negotiation. Gallbladder gangrene in 5 Covid-recovered NEW DELHI: Five patients at Delhi’s Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, who recently got recovered from Covid-19, have developed gallbladder gangrene, leaving medical experts alarmed. India no longer on UK’s red list NEW DELHI: The UK govt on Friday announced a major relaxation of international travel rules from October 4 for vaccinated people coming in and out of England, with long-haul routes between India and the UK set to benefit. WEATHER >> Max: 31.5 C Min: 25 C Humidity: 89 % RAINFALL: 118.42 IN TIDES Low: High: 2:38 9:45 15:31 21:21 Tax rates on medicines used in cancer treatment cut from 12 pc to 5 pc GST rate on biodiesel for blending with diesel cut from 12 pc to 5 pc extended the GST rate cuts on Covid essential items till 31 December. However, the latest extension only includes medicines and not other medical equipment, the Finance Minister said. “The rate cuts on these were earlier applicable till September 30. This is being extended keeping in mind the continuing demand for these medicines,” Sitharaman said while addressing the media after the 45th GST Council Meeting held in Lucknow. Tax rates on medicines used GST Council agrees to correct inverted duty structure on footwear and textiles from Jan 1, 2022 GoMs on rate rationalisation issue and e-way bills issues formed in cancer treatment have also been cut from 12 percent to 5 percent, she added. This was the first in-person meeting of the all-powerful federal body in nearly two years. The last in-person GST Council meeting was held in December 2019 in New Delhi. Since then five more meetings have been convened via video conference. At its June 12 meeting, the GST Council had slashed the GST rates on a number of >Continued on P5 ONLINE FOOD DELIVERY FIRMS SWIGGY, ZOMATO TO PAY GST NEW DELHI: Online food delivery firms Swiggy and Zomato will now be liable to pay good and services tax to the government following a decision taken at the GST Council meet on Friday. “Yes there was detailed discussion... the place where food is delivered is going to be the point where tax will be collected. They will pay the GST on it,” said Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of Finance said while briefing the media. “There is no new tax,” she added. The government had been working on a proposal to ask food delivery apps to collect and deposit GST with the government, instead of what is currently done by the restaurants. Currently, online bills generated by food aggregators already have a tax component in them. However, according to people privy to the practices of these firms, this taxed amount is paid back to the restaurant partners who are then expected to pay this amount to the government. Swiggy and Zomato did not immediately comment. However an industry executive requesting anonymity said that the companies now will just need to come up with a mechanism wherein instead of transferring the tax collected from the customers, they will have to pay it to the government. State to kick-start doorstep governance on Sunday: CM THE GOAN I NETWORK MAPUSA The government has decided to take governance to the doorstep in an attempt to reach out to people and resolve their problems in the State. Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Friday informed that the government will kick start the initiative to take government services to people’s doorsteps on September 19 from Tivim constituency in Bardez and conduct such programmes in different talukas. “It’s an attempt by the government to bring the administration to your doorsteps. I appeal to every Goan to take advantage of the opportunity and attend the programme and resolve their problems on the spot,” Sawant said. He said officials from various government departments will be present at the programme and address issues of the people. According to the CM, many times people face problems in government offices as their work does not get resolved at the desired pace. “To solve these problems the entire administration will ELECTION PITCH THE GOAN I NETWORK of the programme. Officers from various government departments will be available at the spot and attend to the people. Issues ranging from residence certificate to income certificate, ration card, election card, Griha Adhar, DDSSY, social welfare schemes will be tackled. PANAJI In a surprise development, the Pramod Sawant-led government has opted to hold a two-day session of the Goa legislative assembly on October 18 and 19 even as the assembly’s term nears its end and the State’s political ecosystem is gradually slipping into electioneering mode. Summons for the two-day session of the Goa Legislative Assembly on October 18 and 19 were issued by the Governor P S Sreedharan Pillai on Friday. It could be the last session of the current assembly as it would fulfill the constitutional requirement of the gap between this session and the first one of the House constituted following the 2022 elections cannot go beyond six months. Sources in the government said, apart from the routine and mandatory business, the government may seek to transact business which will help it stymie the political backlash of the controversial Bhumiputra Adhikarini Bill >Continued on P5 >Continued on P5 Officers from various government departments will be available at the spot and attend to the people Issues ranging from residence certificate to income certificate, ration card, election card, Griha Adhar, DDSSY, social welfare schemes will be tackled Besides, issues of electricity and water connection, toilets, mutation and partition, agriculture kissan card and kissan credit card issue, welfare scheme issues will also be attended to Many times people face problems in government offices as their work does not get resolved at the desired pace. To solve these problems the entire administration will be available at one spot where people can come and get their issues resolved,” —Pramod Sawant, Chief Minister be available at one spot where people can come and get their issues resolved,” he said. The programme will be held at the Sriram Vidhyamandir, Colvale, in Tivim constituency on September 19 from 10 am to 5 pm. People who wish to attend the programme have to register their names on the previous day, besides filling the registration forms on the day Guv summons Assembly on October 18-19 Children wear mask of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to celebrate his birthday at a ‘pandal’ in Surat on Friday. PTI A NEW MILESTONE India crosses 2 crore doses in a day on PM’s birthday AGENCIES NEW DELHI India crossed two crore Covid vaccinations in a day for the first time on Friday as the government raced to deliver a record on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s birthday. The government had set out with a target of 2.5 crore vaccinations. China inoculated the most number of people in a day 2.47 crore - in June. The one crore-mark was crossed by the afternoon, after which ministers and BJP leaders put out tweets urging more to get their shots. “On PM @Narendra Modi Ji’s birthday, till 1:30 pm, the country has crossed the mark of 1 crore vaccines, the fastest so far, and we are continuously moving forward. I believe that today we will all make a new record of vaccination and give it as a gift to the prime minister,” Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya tweeted with the hashtags “VaccineSeva” and “HappyBdayModiji”. Mandaviya was seen in a video celebrating with health workers and distributing sweets. The government’s tracker showed around 800 vaccinations per second, or around 48,000 in a minute, National Health Authority chief RS Sharma said. “Our top priority is to give Modi to have ‘Vaccination Dialogue’ with Goan Covid warriors, beneficiaries today PANAJI: Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi will interact with Goan Covid Warriors and Beneficiaries in a virtual ‘Vaccination Dialogue’ at 10.30 am today (Friday). He will discuss Goa’s milestone achievement of 100 per cent first dose vaccination and thank the healthcare workers for their immense dedication and contribution. Chief Minister Pramod Sawant will give the opening remarks for the dialogue and PM will further hold direct interactions with the doctors, healthcare workers and Covid Warriors. ONE CRORE DOSES OF CADILA COVID VAX LIKELY IN OCT NEW DELHI: Pharmaceutical company Cadila Healthcare will supply 10 million coronavirus vaccine doses in October, according to government sources. Zydus Cadila’s needle-free coronavirus vaccine -- ZyCoV-D -- is likely to be available by early October. 100 per cent first doses of the vaccine in poll-bound states,” said government sources, referring to state elections next year. The vaccination campaign is at the core of the BJP’s three-week celebrations to mark the Prime Minister’s 71st birthday. To achieve its target, the BJP had prepped health vol- unteers “to ensure that the maximum number of people get their COVID-19 vaccines on the day”. In recent days, India has reported more than one crore Covid shots in a day more than once. Senior BJP leaders say the party wants to see the day “recorded in history” as one that saw a record number of Covid vaccines given. Before today, the country crossed one crore vaccinations in a day on September 6, August 31 and August 27. It took 85 days to touch the 10-crore vaccination mark, 45 more days to cross the 20-crore mark and 29 more days to reach the 30-crore mark, according to the health ministry. Nationwide inoculations started in January, with healthcare and frontline workers the first to get the shots. The drive was extended to all adults from May. Political fever in Goa set to rise THE GOAN I NETWORK PANAJI Political fever is expected to rise over the next few days as union ministers as well as senior leaders from the BJP and Congress will be visiting the State. On Saturday, Congress election observer to Goa P Chidam- baram and the party’s Goa incharge Gundu Rao will arrive in the State as part of a threeday visit. Later on September 20, BJP’s Goa Incharge Devendra Fadnavis will be in the State, while two union ministers, Kishan Reddy and Darshana Jardosh, will also visit Goa. Chidambaram will convene meetings with Congress leaders of Cumbharjua and Santa Cruz constituencies in North Goa as well as Quepem and Vasco constituencies in South Goa. The Congress camp got a boost when Chidambaram was appointed as the election observer for the party in the State. >Continued on P5 Taximen to protest Almost 90 per cent Mumbaikars have antibodies from October 2 AGENCIES THE GOAN I NETWORK PANAJI Taxi operators in the State have decided to stage a protest march across the State from October 2 to draw attention to the issue of digital meters. “Initially, we will start the Padayatra from Panaji to Patradevi and then we will decide about South Goa,” said a spokesperson for the All Goa Taxi Owners Association Sudip Tamhankar at a news conference in Panaji. “Despite opposition from taxi operators, the State government is forcing taxi operators to fix taxi meters, thereby burdening the state exchequer to the tune of Rs 34 crore. Our demand is that the government should offer an app- based system to taxi operators rather than forcibly putting a costly digital meter system,” he added. According to Tamhankar, the protest rally start from Panaji and it will cover several places, before culminating in Patradevi. DIGITAL METERS “The protest march will continue for many days and a public meeting will be convened at every taxi stand in the area,” he said. Recently, giving huge relief to aggrieved taxi operators, the government had decided to provide digital taxi meters free of cost and made driving badge and 15-year domicile mandatory for all taxi drivers. MUMBAI early 90 per cent of residents of Maharashtra’s capital city Mumbai are estimated to have Covid-19 antibodies, as per the fifth sero survey conducted by the civic body. Data released by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Friday revealed that more females have antibodies (88.29%) as compared to their male counterparts (85.07%). The fifth blood serum survey, conducted between August and early September, included 8,674 adults out of which almost 65% of the subjects were vaccinated. The result showed that sero-prevalence was significantly higher in individuals who were either fully or at least partially N vaccinated against Covid, as compared to unvaccinated people. “As the sero-prevalance amongst those who are vaccinated is much higher than the unvaccinated counterparts, it is essential to strengthen the ongoing Covid-19 vaccination program,” the report mentioned. India’s crowded financial hub Mumbai won plaudits this year for tackling the second wave of the pandemic better than any other metropolis in the country. The report finding comes at a time when concerns around the emergence of a third wave remain. No Delta plus variant of Covid-19, considered highly contagious, was found among 376 samples tested in the second round of genome sequencing in Mumbai, reported news SERO-SURVEY agency PTI on Thursday. Additional municipal commissioner (western suburbs) Suresh Kakani said the samples were examined at a genome sequencing facility inaugurated in the city last month. In a statement issued by the BMC, Kakani said: “The genome sequencing facility at civic-run Kasturba Hospital has tested 376 samples so far (in second round). Not a single sample was found with the Delta plus variant of Covid-19.” “However, 304 samples had the Delta variant, while two samples had 19A lineage and four 20A lineage. The other 66 samples have prevalence of earlier strain of COVID-19. The Delta plus variant, which is known for its higher transmissibility, was not found in these samples,” he said. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, the city’s civic body, has warned people that estimated sero-prevalence levels do not necessarily indicate high protection levels. Scientists continue to emphasise the use of face masks and hand sanitisers when in public, as well as maintaining social distance, particularly with the holiday season around the corner. Experts and city officials are concerned the forthcoming festival season - which includes Diwali next month - could trigger another wave of cases, something the city’s already-creaking medical infrastructure might not be able to handle. Maharashtra on Thursday reported 3,595 new infections and 45 fatalities, taking its infection tally to 65,11,525 and death toll to 1,38,322, a health department official said. As many as 3,240 patients were discharged from hospitals, taking the count of recovered cases to 63,20,310. There are 49,342 active cases in the state. There are 2,89,425 people in home quarantine and 1,908 in institutional quarantine. Maharashtra’s Covid-19 recovery rate stands at 97.06%, while the fatality rate is 2.12%. Mumbai reported 446 new cases and two deaths, taking the total of infections in the city to 7,36,728.
The new Goa, with a broader profile of people from different parts of India and the world, needs not just a strong local paper but a complete paper. The Goan on Saturday will connect to and be a viable and comprehensive read for locals, other Indians in Goa, NRI and foreigners. It will also be a bridge for Goans in other parts of India all over the world to their home land. The Goan is published by Goa's most reputed industrial houses.