Within days of telling the Parliament that a Cabinet note had been circulated to ban sale of loose cigarettes, the government has done a U-turn and said the matter is being reconsidered. The reason, it seems, is that the reply to the unstarred question on loose cigarettes caught Health minister J P Nadda unawares and when the news started playing on TV, his office went into a tizzy trying to figure out where it came from. The result is that senior officers in the ministry have now been asked to vet even replies to unstarred questions.
Matters of heart
While proposing the replacement of the Planning Commission, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Sunday once again remembered how as a chief minister, he felt the need for a better platform to articulate the states’ views. At least one of the Congress chief ministers responded tongue in cheek when the PM met them for a “retreat” after the meeting. “Aapke andar CM ka dil jawan hain. Aur hum kaamna karenge ki jab tak aapka tenure hain tab tak CM ka dil aapke andar jawaan rahe. (Your heart still beats for the states as a CM’s would. I would pray that it stays that way throughout your tenure as the PM),” Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat is learnt to have told Modi. At the same time, many Chief Ministers, including those from the Congress, appreciated the PM’s gesture of reaching out to them in an informal way and added that it will set a good precedent.
Tribute to critic
Legendary jurist V R Krishna Iyer, who passed away last week, has received a tribute from unexpected quarters. The Supreme Court judge, who once called the Indian Foreign Service “misogynist” and whose judgment ended discrimination on the basis of gender within the service, was paid a tribute by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA)on Facebook and Twitter. Justice Iyer’s 1979 verdict on a petition by Indian diplomat C B Muthamma had ended the practice of women diplomats having to seek permission from the government before getting married. It is learnt that Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh, who has been a beneficiary of the SC judgment, was keen that the MEA acknowledges the jurist’s contribution.
The cumbersome task of weeding out old case records and related work of digitisation has prompted the Supreme Court to seek assistance of its retired employees. Banking on their experience, the SC registry has invited applications from retired assistant registrars, branch officers, dealing assistants and non-clerical staff, who have not turned 65 as on December 1, to apply for short-term contractual assignment. The job will be for one year to begin with and the tenure could be extended depending upon future requirement.