When John Kerry addressed an audience at the India Habitat Centre on Sunday evening,the Capitals strategic affairs community was found missing. So much so that the Stein auditorium was quite empty half-hour before the speech was supposed to start. Panicky American embassy officials started moving backbenchers to the front,and started filling the empty seats with students from some private and public educational institutions. There was not a single Cabinet minister or top political leader in the front rows,as is usually the case. And after the front rows were filled with students,think-tanks and former diplomats,Afghan ambassador to India Shaida M Abdali walked in. The Americans got him seated in the second-last row of the Stein auditorium.
Though only for a week,H R Singh will get to enjoy the office of the Additional Director General (ADG) in CRPF,and will have the satisfaction of having retired from that rank. Singh,a CRPF cadre officer,is only the fifth man from within the ranks to reach the level of ADG,a post that generally goes only to the IPS officers. He is beneficiary of a recent reform in the promotion of non-IPS officers in the central paramilitary forces like CRPF and BSF,through which one third of the ADG-level positions have been reserved for the cadre officers.
A SPATE of resignations,including that of the chairperson and the member-secretary,in the 10 months since the constitution of the high-level committee on status of women has now forced the Ministry of Women and Child Development to reconstitute the committee almost entirely. Only two members from the original committee have been retained while WCD Secretary Neeta Chaudhry has been designated as member-secretary of the new committee. Though officials cite logistical difficulties as the primary reason for the disintegration of the original committee Justice Ruma Pal,the earlier chairperson,is based in Kolkata the lack of clarity regarding resources available to the committee and reimbursements the members were entitled to is said to have been the real spoiler.
CUTTING THE FLAB
MINISTERS have recently been told to restrict the size of their personal staff to within their respective entitlements. Appointment of any additional officer must be compensated with the surrender of one or a combination of existing posts in the ministers office. For this,the government has circulated the various combination of posts that must be released for every officer appointed in addition to the sanctioned strength. An OSD in the pay scale of Rs 37,000-Rs 67,000,for example,can come at the cost of two posts of additional private secretaries,or four junior ranking staff like PAs,clerks and peons. The circular,however,advises the ministries that as far as possible lower level posts must not be surrendered to make the saving for creation of additional posts. The government is hoping that this will help in curbing the growing demand for OSDs.
PHOTOS: Amitabh Bachchan, Dhanush, Akshara Haasan take 'Shamitabh' to London