Home Minister Rajnath Singh is unlikely to accompany Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his proposed visit to Chhattisgarh later this week. Modi, who will be on his maiden visit to Maoist-affected Dantewada, a first by any PM in the country on a day long visit on May 9, will be accompanied by Chief Minister Raman Singh. The home minister’s calendar has some other engagement on that day and he is scheduled to be in Varanasi. Senior MHA officials said they were not sure if any last-minute changes would be made in Singh’s appointment schedule.
The world may have celebrated World Press Day on Sunday. But the RSS wants Indian media to celebrate it on May 6, because it is the birthday of Narada, “the first reporter of the universe”. According to an article in the latest issue of its mouthpiece Organiser, Ramayana was written because of Narada and he was “present at every critical juncture of the story line”. The article has urged journalists to make him a model instead of indulging in “cut and paste” or “shoot and scoot” or “stoop to rate”. The journal wants media to emulate Narada as he stands out as a “beacon of light” to the media fraternity as it passes through a turbulent time, it says.
After All India Bar Association, it is the turn of People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) to come out to oppose the proposed appointment of former Chief Justice of India and current Kerala Governor P Sathasivam as chairperson of National Human Rights Commission. The PUCL has sent letters to President Pranab Mukherjee, asking him not to accept any recommendation by the NDA government to appoint Justice Sathasivam to the post. By accepting the post of Governor, Justice Sathasivam, the letter says, accepted a position “in which the incumbent is liable to be hired and fired by the Executive”, which affects the independence of the office.
At Minister’s Doorstep
Information & Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley had an interesting group of visitors at his North Block office last week. Led by poet-lyricist and Rajya Sabha MP Javed Akhtar, the group which had actor Aamir Khan, noted director Rajkumar Hirani and filmmaker Mukesh Bhatt called on the minister and discussed the problems faced by film producers because of varying rates of tax imposed on films by different state governments. With Aamir taking the lead, the delegation apparently told Jaitley that taxation on films in some states was as high as 31 per cent and that a couple of states even imposed octroi despite it having been abolished in most parts of the country. The point that was further underlined was that it is the producer who ends up bearing the entire burden of these taxes. Jaitley is learnt to have told the group that once the Goods and Services Tax comes into effect there will be uniform taxation across the country and their woes will be taken care of.
Rajan Katoch, a 1979-batch IAS officer of the Madhya Pradesh cadre, is set to get a two-month extension as the Director of the Enforcement Directorate, following a three-month extension at the post in January. Katoch is handling additional charge as chief of the ED, as he is also the Secretary of the Heavy Industries Ministry. Earlier, G C Murmu, a 1985-batch IAS officer of the Gujarat cadre who served as principal secretary to Narendra Modi when the latter was Chief Minister of Gujarat, was tipped to be the next ED Director.