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Thursday, June 24, 2021

Delhi Confidential: Food For Award

The pandemic and lockdown may have taken away much of its activities, but the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) is now back with projects to unleash India’s soft power.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
May 25, 2021 2:24:03 am
Vinay Sahasrabuddhe

The pandemic and lockdown may have taken away much of its activities, but the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) is now back with projects to unleash India’s soft power. ICCR president Vinay Sahasrabuddhe is all set to institute Annapurna Award — for Indian restaurants abroad that attract the highest footfall of local non-NRIs. Sahasrabuddhe seems to have been inspired by noted food historian Dr Collin Taylor Sen, who spoke at the fourth Pt Deendayal Upadhyay Memorial International Oration, which was virtually held on Monday. This was the first time culinary and cuisine traditions figured prominently on ICCR agenda. But the decision to set up an award is because restaurants have been acting as major channels of evolution of a true people-to-people relationship.

In Covid Battle

Newly elected Rajya Sabha member, CPI(M) leader John Brittas, may not have taken the oath yet but has begun his activities as an MP on a political note, taking on the Centre’s move to promote Sewa Bharati, the social wing of RSS. In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Brittas has questioned a recent directive give by the Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Science (CCRAS), asking various government agencies to enlist Sewa Bharati in distribution of Ayush 64 — which, it is claimed, helps build immunity — for patients with mild Covid-19 infection. Pointing out that Sewa Bharati is a private organisation affiliated to RSS, Brittas cautioned that any move with political interest will hurt the much-needed unity in government’s efforts during the pandemic. He argued that treating Sewa Bharati like an official organisation is improper, and that the state governments, local self-governments and official agencies are competent enough to distribute them. He asked the PM to direct the ministry to rescind its order.

All Hands On Deck

With doctors stretched for time due to the pandemic, the government this week reiterated a 50-year-old rule to tap into in-house talent. In 1964, the government had made a rule that public officials in all departments with formal degrees in medicine could practice medicine in spare time without ignoring their actual job. A lot of requests are now coming in to let such government officials practice in view of the pandemic. So the government has decided that such officials could do teleconsultaion, etc, and do not need permission of their senior officers. But it has added that it’s good if they keep their offices informed.

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