The composition of the five member cabinet that took oath in Madhya Pradesh on Tuesday took many by surprise as it apparently did not have anyone from Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s camp. Although Chouhan was keen on some of his leaders close to him, rebellion from the local unit has forced him to keep aside his choices. Sources said that it was the organisation that took the call that it was the efforts of the BJP as a party that brought back Chouhan to the top seat. The new cabinet may not have left anyone happy, but the balancing act by the organisation has not left much room for anyone to complain either, said party leaders. Efficiency and caste-regional balancing was the focus while choosing the ministers, they added. The main argument was that it is an emergency cabinet and there could be a grand expansion once normalcy is restored.
Time to meet
Anand Sharma, senior Congress leader and chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee of Home, has written to Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu seeking permission to convene a meeting of the panel through video-conferencing on April 28. Sharma’s decision to convene a meeting comes at a time when the central government’s decision to send teams for on-the-spot of assessment of lockdown situation in some states has rankled Opposition parties. The committee, it is learnt, has asked the Home Ministry to furnish complete details regarding the lockdown, the roadmap for lifting the shutdown, the issue of migrant labourers and arrangements like shelters for them. Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla has already allowed holding a meeting of the Parliamentary Committee of Information and Technology via video-conference.
The Department of Health Research has written to the HRD Ministry seeking names of IIM students who can help manage the inventory of testing kits and their dispatch from designated depots. ICMR has identified 16 depots in 16 states for stocking and dispatch of COVID-19 test kits. PGI in Chandigarh, NIV in Pune, Guwahati Medical College, National Research Institute for Reproductive Health in Mumbai and Rajendra Memorial Research Institute of Medical Sciences in Patna are among them. Although the 16 depots have manpower, the Department of Health Research isn’t sure if they have the expertise to manage inventories and distribution process and hence has sought names of IIM students who can volunteer help.
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