With the nameplate and two bulbs at the entry of his residence — 30, Lodhi Estate — getting stolen, NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Arvind Panagariya is learnt to have expressed the need for police security. After some advice from other commission members and the Union Home Ministry, it was finally suggested that he may hire private security guards. Accordingly, the NITI Aayog recently issued an advertisement for hiring private security guards at Panagariya’s residence.
A fund-starved Tamil Nadu Congress has come up with an idea to raise money to meet campaign expenses ahead of the Assembly elections. It is learnt that state Congress chief E V K S Elangovan has told the high command that the party should charge a nominal amount from ticket aspirants. His idea is that an amount of, say, Rs 5,000 could be charged for general seats and Rs 2,500 for reserved seats. With two or three aspirants usually coming forward for each seat, the party can raise some funds to meet campaign expenses this way, he is learnt to have proposed.
Dal Not Dull
Anticipating that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would have questions on pulses, especially in wake of dal shortage becoming an election issue in Bihar, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh had prepared a presentation on steps taken by his ministry to address the issue. The problem: his presentation had details of the government’s plans to promote cultivation of three drought-resistant new varieties of khesari dal, a banned variety. Singh was advised to remove the lines since the ban has not been lifted yet. At the meeting, Modi, aware of Singh’s public statement on khesari dal, said: “What happened to khesari dal? You have not mentioned about it.” Sensing that the PM was pulling his leg, Singh said the process of lifting the ban would take some more time.
The Lok Sabha Secretariat gives its officials Rs 1,800 for getting their winter uniform (suits) stitched, and Rs 600 for the summer uniform (safari suits). But a Lok Sabha official submitted, in April last year, a bill of Rs 19,000 as the cost of stitching three suits (one summer uniform and two winter suits). As per prescribed norms, he was reimbursed Rs 4,200 but with the official not exactly happy, and the case not “settled”, the whole bill was finally reimbursed as a “special case”.