While many of the newly elected MPs, mostly from the BJP, took oath in Sanskrit, Trinamool MP Uma Soren from Jhargram constituency took her oath in the old Santhali language of Alchiki, a first in the history of Parliament. For the TMC, the identity politics surrounding local languages and communities has been a main focus.
Party supremo Mamata Banerjee has even asked her departments to translate labour laws of tea gardens and other areas into Alchiki so that tribals working in them can understand them better. The TMC’s Sudip Bandyopadhyay took oath in Hindi because, as some TMC members said, his constituency is dominated by Hindi-speaking traders community in north Kolkata.
In keeping with the new trend of Twiplomacy, the South Block adapted and created a new position as deputy secretary (digital diplomacy). Dr Sumit Seth, who is MD (forensic medicine) and now a 2005 batch IFS officer, has taken charge of the newly created position, where he manages the social media accounts and websites of the Ministry of External Affairs. What is interesting is that the former doctor, who used to conduct autopsy at Delhi’s RML Hospital, came up with the innovative idea of having his nameplate outside his office reading ‘deputy secretary #digitaldiplomacy’. This has attracted lot of attention as hashtag has entered the official lexicon for the first time.
Change of address
The Environment Ministry’s long pending shift to their new and green building at Jor Bagh is finally happening. Near 40 per cent of the staff at Paryavaran Bhawan at CGO complex has shifted to the Indira Paryavaran Bhawan at Jor Bagh. The green ministry’s new office is an eight- storey building that will generate its own electricity through solar power. Environment Minister Prakash Javdekar Friday presided over a Leadership and Motivation conclave at the new office with Shiv Khera addressing the officials of the ministry.
The Election code of conduct had come in the way of MPs seeking to use their special dispensation to facilitate admissions in Kendriya Vidyalayas. With new Lok Sabha in place, one of the first things that was on the agenda Friday in Parliament was ‘issuing coupons for admission in KVs under special dispensation scheme for MPs’. MPs were informed that each of them can refer six cases for admission in KVs per year. Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan even set up a counter in Parliament for issuing coupons. The counter will operate till Parliament is in session.