Home Minister Amit Shah, who announced on Sunday that he had tested positive for Covid-19, attended a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, but the precautions taken at the meeting seem to have made isolation unnecessary for his Cabinet colleagues. Even senior ministers sitting closest to him maintained six-feet distance, and none of them had to go into quarantine. However, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad chose to be home quarantined for at least a week as he had a meeting with Shah on Saturday. Sources said there were no symptoms, but self-isolation was purely in view of the existing protocols. In the coming days, Prasad will be shifting his work to his residence.
The new British High Commissioner, Philip Barton, who came to India last month, has been appointed Permanent Under-Secretary of the new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and will be returning to London. Equivalent to India’s Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla, he will be heading the newly merged department in London — which is a combination of the Foreign Office and DFID, the British government’s development partnership arm. A career diplomat, he presented his credentials to President Ram Nath Kovind on July 8. He has a daughter named India since she was born here in the 1990s. He possibly had the shortest stint as British envoy to India.
Known to take up causes he feels strongly about, Union minister Nitin Gadkari has now trained his guns on margarine, the so-called substitute to butter. He has written to the PMO that not only is margarine not good for health, owing to the presence of trans fat, but it causes financial loss to farmers since it seeks to replace butter made from milk. Taking immediate cognizance, the PMO directed the FSSAI, which issued a clarification, directives and future course of action to control the use of margarine in edible items.
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