After a burst of activity on the issue, the proposal to amend the new Land Acquisition Act seems to have been put in cold storage for now. It is learnt that there are differences within the NDA government on how much to tweak the Act, or whether to tweak it at all. In fact, the recently appointed Rural Development Minister Birender Singh is learnt to be uncomfortable with diluting the Act too much, unlike his predecessor Nitin Gadkari. In an internal meeting recently, Singh even told ministry officials that farmers’ interests will not be compromised and there was no need to get cowed down by corporate lobbies.
Thrown off track
The onset of fog in north India, which affects hundreds of trains every year, is viewed as an opportunity by many. A foreign company recently pitched its technology to the Railways during a presentation made to Suresh Prabhu. The company claimed ions in the air could be charged to create heat that lifts fog. It also said the technology is widely used in other countries. Officials were said to be impressed, but then came the catch. Turns out it would cost around 5 million USD per kilometre to install the technology for the Railways. Officials merely rolled their eyes and said thank you very much!
With the government failing to appoint a new CEO for the National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) despite shortlisting the name of an academician, the additional charge of the body has been given to additional secretary (LWE) Rajiv Gauba. Sources said though the name of former IIT director S G Dhande had been cleared by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, the file — like several others for appointments to top posts — is still pending with the PMO.
Raring to go
The buzz in the Congress is that a couple of former Congress MPs from Delhi, who lost the Lok Sabha elections, are now lobbying to secure Assembly tickets. However, some of them, including Kapil Sibal and Ajay Maken, are not keen to contest. The Congress generally does not give Assembly tickets to those who have lost the Lok Sabha elections. While the party finished third in the last Assembly elections, the interest shown by its former MPs may signal some hope this time around.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Mann ki Baat programme threw light on a little known fact about All India Radio presenters. The AIR broadcasts the programme in regional languages through Doordarshan and AIR’s local radio stations at 8 pm on Sundays. Turns out that some AIR presenters, who narrate Mann ki Baat in regional languages, mimic Modi and imitate his style and voice as well. Modi, in fact, praised the AIR artists for their innovative approach. “I have observed that some of the presenters in regional languages even sound like me,” Modi said.