As Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan hogged national limelight at the conclusion of the Narmada yatra on Monday, Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharati must have been left pondering over what could have been. Bharati herself has been planning a similar kind of yatra on the Ganga — from Gamukh in Uttarakhand to Gangasagar in West Bengal — for long now. But it has not materialised. Chouhan, on the other hand, began the 148-day Narmada yatra with less than three months of planning. He received fulsome praise from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who attended the concluding event in Amarkantak. Bharati is now left with a tough act to match.
The global Ransomware attack has sounded alarm bells in government offices in India too. On Monday, the staff from the Income Tax Department went from room to room in Nirman Bhawan to check every computer for signs of an attack. The firewall was checked, the report card of Tivoli, a central software that monitors virus attacks if any, and the status of the anti-virus in each machine, called Tedtech, was carefully checked before they were pronounced safe for use.
Burden On Track
The Finance Ministry is finally willing to discuss the possibility sharing the burden of loss incurred by the Railways due to its social service obligations. The Railways has for long complained that it suffers a loss of around Rs 35,000 crore every year in order to keep the fares affordable and demands compensation for this. The Finance Ministry had so far been reluctant to agree to this but has now agreed to discuss the issue. However, instead of relying on figures provided by the Railways, it has asked the national transporter to get an assessment done by an independent agency like the National Institute of Financial Management. For now, Rail Bhawan is learnt to be satisfied with this proposal.
Valley Plan Plateaus
Plans to hold a national conclave on Kashmir have somewhat slowed down as Congress president Sonia Gandhi is still recuperating. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was supposed to meet Sonia to take forward proposals mooted by JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav regarding a common strategy by different groups working on crisis in the Valley. However, it’s more than a week and Singh is yet to meet Sonia. Alternatively, Singh has been advised by Opposition leaders to discuss the issue with Rahul Gandhi so that a timely decision can be taken on how to go about the exercise. Proposals such as bringing together groups on Kashmir led by Singh and BJP leader Yashwant Sinha and some others have already been discussed.