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MORE THAN 20 Indian diplomats, appointed on ambassadorial positions for the first time, had a meeting with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday, as part of their government briefings. It is not usual for Indian envoys to meet top government functionaries in a group, as they usually call on individually. While there is no official word on the discussions, those attending the meeting said that the government’s initiatives, including the demonetisation campaign and Make-in-India, were among the topics discussed. The participating diplomats have been posted to countries in Latin America, Europe and Africa.
HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar has been holding meetings with his officers over the past one week to brainstorm on how educational institutions can be encouraged to operate in cashless mode. On Monday, during one such meeting, Javadekar asked the bureaucrats to go a step further and ask all educational institutions to adopt villages and send their students to educate people on digital transactions through, say, mobile banking and e-wallets. The idea was met with mixed reactions from officers, but the minister, it is learnt, is convinced.
RAILWAY BOARD is going to get a new Member, Rolling Stock, in December. The appointment of Ravinder Gupta comes in the wake of the Pokhrayan accident that killed 152 people, raising suspicions over the quality of the ICF coaches. Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu is learnt to have told Gupta that his first priority should be to complete the replacement of ICF coaches with either LHB coaches or ensure fitting of ICF coaches with safer anti-climbing features within two years. In the ongoing accident probe, it has been found that vital portions of the damaged coaches completely corroded although they were overhauled a few months ago.