The meeting between HRD Minister Smriti Irani and vice-chancellors of central universities got off to a bumpy start on Thursday when one varsity official tried taking a photograph of the minister on his mobile phone. An irked Irani objected, and asked the officer to leave the meeting. The minister was annoyed yet again when she noticed a few people nodding off during a session. In the end, during her speech, she warned V-Cs that they should do what is expected of them or else they could be on their way out, like Visva Bharati V-C Sushanta Dattagupta.
Off Target Track
Indian Railways has been struggling to meet the revenue target set by Suresh Prabhu since last Rail Budget. Despite red flags by the then Member (Traffic), Prabhu had set a target which Railways never came close to achieving, and is sure to miss by the end of this fiscal. Some general managers who had assured the ministers that such a target could be met have since retired. All eyes are on now on Prabhu — to see whether he sets unrealistic revenue targets in this Rail Budget as well. The minister, it is learnt, is unrelenting and is determined to set yet another steep target for next year to push Railways beyond its comfort zone.
New Delhi is going all out to lay the red carpet for visiting Nepal Prime Minister K P Oli, who arrives on a six-day visit on Friday. He will be accorded a rare honour: he will stay at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the first head of a state in recent years to stay there. In the past, only Bhutan’s King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani have been put up in the President’s House. The guest wing of Rashtrapati Bhavan was renovated a few years ago and has resumed hosting visiting leaders, as was the practice till a couple of decades ago.
Awaiting Unit Unity
Workers of the BJP’s Uttar Pradesh unit are keen to launch their campaign for 2017 Assembly elections without losing the momentum gained from the victory in Muzaffarnagar bypolls. The hurdle: warring leaders have apparently still not been able to reach a consensus over the state unit president. As Amit Shah is particular that unity has to be ensured before taking any step, the decision is getting delayed. Top contenders for the post are Dharampal Singh, Swatantra Deo Singh, Manoj Sinha and Dinesh Sharma.