Senior IPS officer Prakash Mishra has been appointed as the Director General of CRPF, the largest force deployed for anti-Maoist operations. Mishra, who presently holds the post of special secretary (internal security) was in the race for CBI chief’s post till last week. The post of CRPF DG had fallen vacant after Dilip Trivedi retired on November 30. Mishra’s name was recommended by Home Minister Rajnath Singh himself. Under Mishra, who has also served as DGP of Orissa Police, the state had spectacular operational success against the Maoists. He was shunted out of Orissa after the last general elections by the Naveen Patnaik government amid reports that he refused to go out of the way to help the party cadres. The state government since registered a vigilance case against him.
The presentation made by the Planning Commission during Prime Minister’s consultation meeting with chief ministers on replacing the Plan panel with a new body has revealed what appears to be a closely guarded fact till now. The presentation — made available to the media Sunday — states that the Union Cabinet, in a meeting on August 13 this year, had “approved the repeal of the Cabinet Resolution” dated March 15, 1950 “by which the Planning Commission was set up”. Taken two days before the Prime Minister announced his government’s plan to replace the Planning Commission with a new institution during his Independence Day speech from Red Fort, this Cabinet decision — which also authorised the PM to finalise the contours of the new institution to replace the plan panel — was curiously not made public on that day or in the days that followed.
On party line
It is not a mere coincidence that the speeches of Congress chief ministers delivered at the meeting convened by the Prime Minister on Sunday to discuss the new body to replace the Planning Commission contained many identical sentences and phrases. The party’s shadow ministry groups formed to keep track of the government’s legislations and policies was at work. In this case, one gets to hear that the group on Commerce, Finance, External Affairs and I&B, comprising Veerappa Moily, Anand Sharma and Jyotiraditya Scindia, had circulated a background note to all Congress chief ministers to help them prepare for the meeting.
United they stand
A tacit understanding between the four parties — SP, JD(U), Trinamool and CPM — set to give dissent notes on the Insurance Bill in the Rajya Sabha may create roadblocks in the passage of the Bill. While Congress’s concerns have been largely addressed in the draft cleared by the Select Committee, the dissenting parties may create a ruckus in the RS where Bills are normally not passed when there is a din. Congress, on its part, may insist on a discussion. The game plan, according to sources, is to prevent the Bill from being passed before US president Barack Obama’s visit to India in January.
In a lighter vein
The Rajya Sabha, which ran normally after almost a week, witnessed an atmosphere of bonhomie. When deputy chairman P J Kurien allowed CPI’s D Raja to speak on the withdrawal of the Coal Mines (nationalisation) Amendment Bill 2000, but refused JD(U)’s K C Tyagi permission, the latter complained: “You are allowing Raja to speak and not the praja”. At this BJP’s Tarun Vijay quipped: “He is the raja of the proletariat.” When Kurien mispronounced SP’s Munawwar Salim’s name as what sounded like Manveer, Tyagi again jumped on his feet to correct him. Salim though was unfazed and said: “Salim is a very historical name, so that is enough.”