Petroleum Minister M Veerappa Moilys threat-from-the-oil-import-lobby remarks had sparked off a controversy last June forcing him to resort to the usual I-was-misquoted clarification. It turns out that he was referring to Director General of Hydrocarbons-headed management committee whose members included director and joint secretary level officials. The committee had cleared 203 gas and petroleum exploration proposals in the past five years but they had remained pending because the members had refrained from putting their signatures on decisions. Over a period of time,members also kept on changing due to retirement and transfers. While Moily used carrot-and-stick policy to bring them back to their old workplace and append their signatures on the decisions they had taken as management committee members,their explanation for not doing that earlier had prompted the minister to make that controversial remark.
VEIL OF SECRECY
The secrecy maintained by Rahul Gandhis close aides about his activities and programmes is landing senior party functionaries in embarrassing situations. Ask the Congress Communications Department chairman Ajay Maken. While details of the Congress vice-presidents interaction with a group of corporate bigwigs on Saturday had hit the headlines,Maken was forced to skirt queries about it with sheepish smiles for several days. Even after the said meeting was over last Saturday,Maken continued to deny it for hours. Maken is,of course,not the only one to be kept at arms length by Rahuls office. AICC functionaries common complaint is that while they receive Sonia Gandhis reply within a day or two after they write to her,the vice-presidents office does not bother to even send an acknowledgement note. While office-bearers are told by her office if she is abroad,the question about Rahuls whereabouts is not even entertained. Party functionaries have been left guessing whether Rahul himself wants this veil of secrecy or it is a reflection of insecurity among those surrounding him.
When it comes to e-governance,Opposition-ruled states seem to be more attuned to it. Or,so it seemed last Friday when the DoPT was releasing short films on e-governance here. Schemes in non-UPA ruled states comprised bulk of these films: Karnatakas online commercial tax scheme e-sugam,UPs maternal and child health scheme Arogyam,Orissas treasury management software and Tamil Nadus health systems management,among others. Two notable schemes of Congress-ruled states were Delhis service level agreement monitoring mechanism and Maharashtras crop surveillance project.
An ex-servicemen association has petitioned the government on the appointment of Officer on Special Duty (OSD) in the department of ex-servicemen welfare. The association claims that the official,who retired at joint secretary level in 2011,has been illegally re-employed to fight court cases involving pension and disability pension against soldiers. The association has said in a letter marked to the PM that ironically,the salary of the officer who has been employed to fight court cases against disabled soldiers is being paid out of the Armed Forces Flag Day fund that is meant for welfare of widows and martyrs and disabled soldiers.
Pictures that defined 2014: Modi's Varanasi visit, Sant Rampal's arrest