Yoga guru Ramdev’s Patanjali Research Foundation found a prominent place on the dais at the North East Development Summit that was inaugurated by President Ram Nath Kovind in Imphal on Tuesday. Co-founder and managing director Acharya Balkrishna shared the dais with the President, Union ministers, Niti Aayog vice-chairman, Manipur Governor Najma Heptulla and CMs from four northeastern states. Balkrishna addressed the gathering to impress upon them the investments being made by Patanjali in the region and its research that included plant surveys, seed banks and identifying cow breeds in the region, before indicating his plans to extend the foundation’s reach to Manipur from Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
The question of whether unmarried MPs can take people other than spouses or relatives when going on study tours for standing committees may need to be settled soon. A debate seems to have begun among members of the standing committee on transport, tourism and culture after two unmarried members’ request — to be accompanied by people who are not part of their family — was turned down by the competent authority on the ground that only family members are allowed. This, despite the go-ahead of the standing committee chairman. Members are now planning to take up the matter formally with Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu on the ground that this amounts to discrimination against single people.
Taking A Swipe
While addressing a civil society meet in Mumbai this week, MoS, Housing and Urban Affairs, Hardeep Singh Puri took a swipe at UN Special Rapporteur Léo Heller, whose recent report was highly critical of the government’s implementation of Swachh Bharat Mission. Puri recalled how he too had a long association with the UN, presiding over UN Security Council Committees, having represented India as Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN both in Geneva and New York. He went on to say that despite admiring the institution greatly, he was appalled by Heller’s statements and that the “lack of professionalism displayed by the Special Rapporteur is, in my view, a fit case for reviewing the appointment”, a call that is for the High Commissioner for Human Rights to take, he added.