Suresh Prabhu may not present a separate budget in Parliament again, but his job to seek Parliament’s approval on financial matters is far from over. A case of Demand for Excess Grant has come to light pertaining to financial year 2013-14 of around Rs 1,500 crore. For this, Railways had to take Parliament’s approval, which has been hanging for months. It is learnt that Prabhu has been deferring it for no particular reason. Successive financial commissioners have requested the minister, but to no avail. It seems Prabhu has finally consented to seek Parliament’s approval in the coming Winter Session.
Cooks and Cook
At the end of the lunch hosted in honour of British Prime Minister Theresa May at Hyderabad House, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked her how the food was. When May praised the food, Modi told her that while it had been prepared by a good cook, the real Cook would come with the English cricket team. His reference to England cricket team captain Alastair Cook evoked laughter around the table.
A PIL seeking directives to the government for including yoga in school curriculum prompted Chief Justice of India T S Thakur to ascertain whether lawyers arguing for yoga knew a thing or two about it. When senior lawyer M N Krishnamani stood up to argue for the PIL, the CJI asked him, “Can you do yoga in this polluted environment in Delhi?” As the lawyer replied in the affirmative, CJI Thakur wanted to know the last asana (posture) in yoga. As Krishmani struggled to reply, the CJI observed, “This shows you are not doing yoga.” But with a little help from other lawyers sitting next to him, Krishnamani finally replied that ‘shavasana’ is the final posture.
No Pak Team
The delegation from Pakistan was conspicuous by its absence as India, for the first time, hosted the seventh session of the Conference of Parties (COP7) to the World Health Organisation (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). Although a signatory to the treaty, the Pakistan delegation decided to skip the conference due to the prevailing tension with India, although some members of the Pakistani media were present. About 180 countries are participating in the deliberations.
A copy of Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s speech was kept on her table, and with Manmohan Singh and Rahul Gandhi arriving for the CWC meeting on Monday, the members were expecting Sonia Gandhi to walk in any moment. Somebody then suggested that the media be called in for the pre-announced photo opportunity. “Wait, wait,” said Rahul as he announced that the Congress president would not attend the meeting. The copy of her speech was promptly removed and Rahul adjusted his chair, dragging it towards Singh — who was to sit to Sonia’s left — to ensure there was no gap between his chair and that of Singh’s once Sonia’s chair was removed.