The Congress will kick-start its year-long celebrations to mark the 125th birth anniversary of B R Ambedkar in Madhya Pradesh’s Mhow Tuesday. But Sonia Gandhi, the party chief and chairperson of the panel set up by the party to commemorate the birth anniversary, will be missing. Instead, vice-president Rahul Gandhi will inaugurate the celebrations. Most of the party’s top leadership, including Ahmed Patel, P Chidambaram, Mallikarjun Kharge, Sushil Kumar Shinde and almost all general secretaries, are expected to attend the event.
Despite the controversy over its move to amend the Land Acquisition Act, 2013 — criticised by farmer groups and the Opposition — the NDA government has included “land bill amendment to benefit farmers” as one of its positive initiatives in its one-year achievements booklet. The booklet claims the amendment enabled enhanced compensation for land, and helped “develop rural infrastructure” and “create jobs”.
The MEA has taken a step to keep a record of foreign trips made by ministers. The ministry accords clearance to public servants before their applications to travel are considered by respective authorities. For union ministers, PMO’s consent is taken after MEA clearance. Since last week, the MEA has started writing in political clearance letters that the ministry should be informed whether the cleared trip was actually made or not.
The reason why the NDA government has not been able to finalise the new National Human Rights Commission chairperson is that, except for one, no former Chief Justice of India wants the coveted job. Only a retired CJI can be appointed NHRC chairperson. But when the Home Ministry approached four former CJIs to seek their consent to be considered for the job — a high-level committee comprising the PM, Home Minister, Leaders of the Opposition in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, LS Speaker and Deputy Chairman of RS finalises the name — only one, Kerala Governor Justice P Sathasivam, showed interest. However, while he is keen to get the job, the MHA has received some complaints against him, which are being looked into. A final decision would be taken only once this process is over.