Of the 10 ministers waiting for their coveted Type-VIII Lutyens’ bungalows after they were inducted in the reshuffled Cabinet, Minister of State for Finance Arjun Ram Meghwal has turned out to be the lucky one. While all others are staring at a long wait ahead, with the previous occupants yet to vacate the bungalows, Meghwal last week managed to get possession of his official residence. The Urban Development Ministry handed over 5-A Kamraj Marg to the minister soon after Justice V Eswaraiah, former chairperson of the OBC Commission, vacated it.
Loo Locator App
More than a year after Punjab-based IAS officer Vipul Ujwal gave the Ministry of Urban Development the idea of a Swachh Bharat toilet locator app, minister Venkaiah Naidu is set to launch a Google toilet locator on Thursday. While data on location of 2 lakh toilets has been gathered so far through the app, for now the ministry has decided not to launch the app. Instead it will integrate data on all public toilets — even those in private buildings — with Google maps. When launched, the app will have additional features such as cleanliness ratings, whether the toilet is of western or Indian style, or if it is free or paid. For now, the Google toilet locator will have details on just the location of all toilets in NCR-Delhi and Madhya Pradesh, to be followed by other states soon.
Tough On Digital
BJP leaders had to face a not-so-pleased audience on Wednesday when they went to explain the benefits of digital economy at the India Islamic Centre. Although the Niti Aayog representative tried to tell the people there the advantages of e-wallets, the audience was not very convinced. Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi then suggested that the training could be interactive to make it more interesting. However, the BJP leaders had to face hostile questions from the audience, including one person asking how will the economy, facing a slowdown after demonetisation, improve within a month. Some participants also wondered why the ruing party and the government always talk about Paytm, a private company, instead of the SBI’s Buddy app when referring to e-wallets.
Speeding Up Files
The Health Ministry is undergoing a silent overhaul to ensure files move through fewer levels in a bid to expedite work. The level of clearance of many items have been changed from that of the secretary to additional secretary, or even joint secretary-levels. For communication with states, it has now been mandated that a letter from the secretary would go only after at least two letters have been sent at the level of the additional secretary concerned. Matters of policy and financial decisions, though, will still have to be cleared at the level of the secretary or the minister.
Health Minister J P Nadda’s former associate Arun Anand has got a new job. He has taken charge of the RSS-affiliated Indraprasth Vishwa Samvad Kendra, which spreads news related to the Sangh. Anand has also written a book, Know About RSS, which Nadda had released last year.