Following Ramvilas Paswan’s death, Ramdas Athawale is now the only non-BJP minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s council of ministers. The Shiromani Akali Dal had pulled out its nominee — Harsimrat Kaur — from the Cabinet last month over differences with the government on the farm Bills, now made into law. Before that, Shiv Sena had walked out of the NDA last year. Athawale is Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment. While the JD(U) is an ally and shares power with BJP in Bihar, it has no representative in the Union Cabinet. There had been buzz of a Cabinet reshuffle for some time. With Paswan’s death and exits of Kaur and the Sena’s Arvind Sawant having opened up vacancies, it is to be seen when the Prime Minister will carry out the exercise.
A New High
On the occasion of the Indian Air Force celebrating its 88th anniversary, two of its young officers achieved a new feat. Wing Commander Gajanad Yadava and Warrant Officer A K Tiwari beat IAF’s own record of highest skydiving landing, when they landed at Khardung La — at an altitude of 17,982 feet — near Leh. The capability was demonstrated in Ladakh, not far from the Line of Actual Control, where India and China are involved in a standoff. The IAF said landing at such an altitude is “extremely challenging due to low oxygen levels combined with low air density and rough and inhospitable hilly terrain”.
On Slow Lane
Postings in two critical, senior levels of Indian Railways is said to be on the slow lane. The posting of general managers of zonal railways will apparently have to wait for the notification for creation of the Indian Railway Management Service cadre, which is due. The file for this top-level posting has been in the process for a while now. The posting of a fresh batch of divisional railway managers, on the other hand, is entirely up to the brass, and officers attributed the ongoing process to bureaucratic dillydallying.
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