During the discussion on the restructuring plan for Air India at the Cabinet meeting on Thursday,Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh was asked why was there a need to pump in public money in the state carrier when the government was getting ready to allow foreign direct investment in airline companies. The reply of the minister was disarmingly candid. He said the money being infused into Air India would barely save it from bankruptcy. It would at best bring the airline to a position where it can attract some FDI,he said.
At a time when swine flu is spreading in many parts of the country,many of the top officers in the Health Ministry are out of the country,participating in the SAARC meeting of health ministers and secretaries. Health Secretary P K Pradhan,Director General Health Services Dr Jagdish Prasad,joint secretary in charge of public health Dr R S Shukla and additional DDG (emergency medical response) Dr P Ravindran are currently in Maldives. That left Additional Secretary Keshav Desiraju to represent the ministry during a review of the swine flu situation by a Committee of Secretaries on Thursday.
THE new office of the Ministry of External Affairs on Janpath,the Jawaharlal Nehru Bhawan,may be a snazzy building but mid- and junior-level officers are deprived of television sets. So far,only the joint secretary-level officers and above have television connection,and that too is caught up between cable or digital boxes. This,at a time,when the Indian foreign affairs establishment is supposed to be aware of global happenings and the officials are expected to advise the government on its global role.
PAT ON THE BACK
AT a time when the CAG is finding fault with all and sundry,getting his endorsement is no mean achievement. At least that is what CBI officers feel. The CBI had invited CAG Vinod Rai to deliver a lecture on Probity in Governance and Public Life at its headquarters. Before his lecture,Rai was effusive in his praise of the CBI,saying it had done commendable work in fighting corruption,and complimented the agency for taking action on instances of corruption brought out by CAG reports. Not surprisingly,many CBI officers,who are often accused of carrying out politically-motivated investigations,had a spring in their steps after the event.
RAILWAY Minister Mukul Roy is understood to be unhappy with the lack of focus on Bengals projects in the Rail Budget. In his recent trip to Delhi,he reportedly told officials that he wanted the Bengal projects to be expedited and the Budget papers to spell out a plan on that. Railway Board officials are on the lookout for ideas to generate around Rs 5,000 cr which is the shortfall in projected earnings the fare rollback has caused.