LAST WEEK, the grapevine was abuzz with reports of former Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi and current Election Commissioner of Nepal Ila Sharma planning to tie the knot. However, Quraishi took to Twitter on Saturday to deny the reports. He clarified that they are “indeed very good friends”, but “all else is interesting speculation”. Quraishi, in another tweet, praised Sharma for pursuing electoral reforms and gender equity in Nepal. What could probably settle the issue is Sharma quoting Quraishi’s tweet on Sunday, saying, “This should clear the air.”
Bedi vs Maneka
THE BITTER face-off between Puducherry Governor Kiran Bedi and Woman and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi has reached the PMO. The row began as Bedi was miffed at Maneka’s involvement in getting the Puducherry municipal commissioner to release a stray dog and puppy. Taking a dig at Maneka, Bedi tweeted that she hoped that one day the minister feels for the victims of dog bites too. The tweet led to the WCD minister, known for her animal rights activism, getting trolled online. Maneka, who found Bedi’s behaviour unbecoming of her post, is learnt to have reported the matter to the social media cell of the PMO.
THE HRD ministry has come up with a “point system” to grade applicants for the post of IIT director. Whereas earlier, as many as 40 candidates were shortlisted and called for interviews, only five-six candidates will be shortlisted now. The ministry hopes to save time with this exercise and limit itself to interacting with only the best candidates. This point system will be tried out for the first time for selection of IIT-Roorkee director, whose interviews are tentatively slotted for next month. Earlier, the HRD ministry interviewed over 40 shortlisted candidates for over 12 hours, before selecting a director for IIT-Delhi. Many candidates among the 40, government officials conceded, weren’t bright enough for the job.
Boost for NATGRID
AFTER THE government appointed a CEO of the National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) in July, there seems to be a renewed push to get the institution up and running. The National Institute of Smart Government has been engaged to identify candidates for NATGRID, and applications have been invited till October 18 to fill 18 roles in the counter-terror agency — ranging from ‘head enterprise architect’ and ‘project manager core application’ to ‘developer/ analyst’ and ‘project reporting incharge’. Last week, members of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs questioned home ministry officials on why projects like NATGRID and NCTC have been slow to take off. NATGRID, incidentally, was conceived after the 26/11 attacks, by former home minister P Chidambaram who now chairs the standing committee.