Wary of a backlash, the Centre is treading cautiously in the case of 27 artists and 55 journalists who have overstayed their three-year term in government-allotted accommodation in Delhi, although the Cabinet committee led by Home Minister Rajnath Singh has decided against regularising their stay. While most are housed in Asiad Village, a few, such as kathak dancer Birju Maharaj, santoor maestro Bhajan Sopori and kuchipudi dancer Raja Reddy, have had Lutyens’ Delhi addresses for anywhere between 10 and 40 years. Although rules do not provide for it, the tenure is usually extended. But the Urban Development Ministry has decided against evicting them for now. The ministries of Culture and I&B, too, are lying low on the committee’s directive for revising eligibility rules for allotments to artists and journalists, respectively.
Medium For Message
A three-day event, “It’s time to spread the tales of Deendayal Upadhyay”, is being organised in Delhi from February 9 as part of his birth centenary celebrations. As part of the programme, BJP leader and former Deputy Speaker of Delhi Assembly, Alok Kumar, will recite “Deendayal Katha”. Invitations have been sent to almost all Union Ministers; the organisers, Deendayal Research Institute, expect at least half of them to attend it.
The government’s celebration of MGNREGA last week turned into a problem for Rural Development Minister Birendra Singh and Press Information Bureau (PIB). Turns out the media release issued by PIB on February 2 stated that the government celebrated 10 years of successful implementation of MGNREGA. This gave the impression that the NDA was acknowledging it was a success under UPA. This apparently didn’t go down well with Singh and the PMO, and an explanation was sought. It emerged that an officer from Singh’s own ministry had drafted the release. The officer has been pulled up for it.
The Defence ministry is undergoing a major revamp in electronic communication. All officials using private domains for email addresses have now been told to use existing email IDs on the gov.in domain. Those who do not have these IDs have been told to create one at the earliest for future communication. While insiders cite cyber security as the reason for this, many say email communication relating to Annual Confidential Reports, too, will be carried out through government domain IDs to compel officials to switch IDs.
No News On News
The issue of allowing private FM radio stations to broadcast news again came up for discussions between the I&B ministry and various stakeholders at a recent meeting. Representatives of operators such as Entertainment Network India Limited — a subsidiary of Times Infotainment Media — and DB Corp suggested they should be allowed to create and broadcast news. While there has been considerable resistance within the government on this, some operators argued against restriction since monitoring of FM content is now possible from a single point through the internet. Representatives from the Association of Radio Operators for India suggested that to begin with, FM radio operators may be allowed to collect news from ANI, PTI and AIR.