On the lines of the Press Information Bureau at the Centre, the Public Relations Department of the Kerala government has started a fact-check section to identify “fake news and fake information on Covid pandemic”. What has triggered a row is the department’s move to expand the exercise to all news related to the state government; it now plans to set up fact-check cells in every district. The Pinarayi Vijayan-led government has come under fire over the move, with critics terming it as censorship.
The political storm over the letter to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi by 23 top party leaders caught many senior Congress leaders unawares. Some leaders from states such as Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand made frantic calls since the morning, not necessarily because they wanted to be signatories, but because they were not asked at all. One leader said, “I didn’t even know and I know so many of these people well. Does my opinion not even count?” Some leaders, however, are happy that they did not know. “It allows us to stay quiet and not take a side. Let the chips fall where they may,” a leader said.
Seeing that many of their initiatives in social welfare schemes overlap, and the complementary nature of many of their other schemes, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs and the Ministry of Rural Development have agreed upon a convergence of their schemes to “improve the economic opportunities for tribal women’’. For the synergy of these schemes, a joint communication has been signed by Secretary, Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Deepak Khandekar, and Secretary, Ministry of Rural Development, N N Sinha.