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Friday, July 03, 2020

Delhi Confidential: Long Detour

Rajnath Singh, who is on the first international visit by a minister in Covid-19 times, took an Indian Air Force aircraft to reach Moscow.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: June 24, 2020 1:40:41 am
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh

The disruption in international flights due to the pandemic forced Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to make an additional stop on the way to Russia on Monday. Singh, who is on the first international visit by a minister in Covid-19 times, took an Indian Air Force aircraft to reach Moscow. As the plane avoided Pakistani airspace, the aircraft — with a smaller fuel tank than regular commercial planes — required a refuel and made a pitstop in Iran, making the journey longer. Singh is in Russia to attend the 75th Victory Day celebrations, which had been postponed from May 9 because of the pandemic.

Tense Moments

Amid the tense political situation in Manipur, the central BJP leadership has indicated that the N Biren Singh-led government will be salvaged without sacrificing the Chief Minister. When three BJP MLAs resigned last week, and four ministers of BJP ally NPP withdrew support before the Rajya Sabha poll, both the Congress and BJP engaged in hectic lobbying. Former CM Okram Ibobi Singh demanded a floor test. The BJP sent its troubleshooter Himanta Biswa Sarma, with Meghalaya CM Conrad Sangma in tow, to assuage disgruntled MLAs. Sarma has been flying from Guwahati to Imphal to remedy the situation. Congress sources, meanwhile, say they are confident of support, despite the CBI move against Ibobi Singh.

Heritage Push

The government’s focus on ancient Indian knowledge is well known. The first review of NCERT textbooks that was undertaken resulted in the addition of paragraphs on ancient Indian philosophy, ayurveda, yoga, teachings of Upanishads and scientific achievements of ancient India in areas like astronomy and metallurgy. The draft New Education Policy also stresses the importance of teaching students about ancient India’s knowledge systems. The HRD Ministry is now going the extra mile to establish an exclusive research division for Indian Knowledge Systems (IKS), which will be tasked with spreading the country’s heritage and traditions. Last week, the ministry advertised three contractual posts for this division, calling applications for the same.

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