While the Supreme Courts observations on the age issue of Army Chief Gen V K Singh have caused significant embarrassment to the Defence Ministry,one man who is feeling the heat more than the others,though unnoticed,is Subhash Chandra,the Joint Secretary who prepared the detailed notes on the basis of which many decisions were taken by the ministry. This 1986-batch IAS officer has come under criticism,especially on the manner in which he drafted questions seeking advice for the ministry from the Attorney General.
The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) and a host of Muslim outfits have been at loggerheads with the Human Resource Development Ministry over some of the provisions in the Right to Education Act. It seems Muslim groups now want to mend their ties with HRD Minister Kapil Sibal. The AIMPLB has invited Sibal as the chief guest for its national convention on Saturday and the subject of discussion is protection of constitutional rights. The convention,incidentally,will be inaugurated by the Vice-Chancellor of Darul Uloom Deoband,who had triggered a controversy recently by demanding that author Salman Rushdie be stopped from attending the Jaipur Literature Festival.
Its never easy to dig information out of state-owned Air India,especially when it comes to staff privileges,even for a committee formed by the Civil Aviation Ministry itself. The Justice Dharmadhikari committee,which was asked to look into rationalisation of pays and perks of the airline staff,made repeated attempts to get information on perks like free tickets on partner international airlines and other such hidden benefits but was not successful. Reminders sometimes three for a single query went without a response. Giving up,the committee finalised its report on the basis of the information that was available to it and submitted it recently.
The widespread implications of the Uttar Pradesh elections are likely to be felt in the Middle East as well. The region is one of the biggest markets of the famed Indian basmati rice. In the past few months,exports of basmati have become uncompetitive because of high minimum export price fixed by the government. Now that the government intends to bring down the fixed price to a lower level to boost exports,suddenly the UP elections have become relevant. Western UP is a large rice basket and any policy decision related to basmati could have implications for the farmers of poll-bound state. As usual the government is knocking on the doors of the Election Commission to seek permission.