External tech

Giving a warm send-off to Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai,External Affairs Ministry officials Monday got him to launch the ministry’s mobile app in a luxury hotel

Published: July 30, 2013 1:36:50 am

External tech

Giving a warm send-off to Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai,External Affairs Ministry officials Monday got him to launch the ministry’s mobile app in a luxury hotel. Launching it,Mathai said their generation was always asked to work discreetly and anonymously. A young 2008-batch Indian Foreign Service officer was asked to explain the various features of the mobile app. While the launch was interrupted twice by power cuts and failed Wi-Fi,the smartphone app — which works on Android and Apple products — promises to be a one-stop shop for all passport,visa and foreign policy queries. There is an interesting feature in the mobile app that would give an opportunity to citizens to ask questions to the External Affairs Minister who will answer a couple of selected queries every month. And also,there is a quiz section for enthusiasts,which has e-vouchers for books as prizes.

Renovation Rumbles

While the last Cabinet reshuffle had already resulted in the renovation of many offices at Shastri Bhawan,there is renewed activity in the Ministry of Culture with new Secretary Ravindra Singh’s office undergoing a major renovation. The exercise has caused discomfort to many others. For instance,those housed on the floor right below the Secretary’s office under renovation have had to move out due to big holes in the roof. Another official who has to join as new Additional Secretary is without an office as Singh occupies the Additional Secretary’s office which he held until recently.

Modified Meet

As if taking a lesson from the controversy over the absence of Narendra Modi’s pictures from the launch of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s Jan Ashirwaad Yatra,BJP’s women’s wing chief Saroj Pandey ensured Modi’s pictures among the galaxy of top leaders on the large hoarding on the dais of Mahila Karyakarta Sangam at Talkatora Stadium in the Capital Monday. While top BJP leaders — Rajnath Singh,Sushma Swaraj,Arun Jaitley,and Nitin Gadkari — focused on the UPA’s misgovernance,Narendra Modi,for once,failed to draw the frenzied response that he usually does from party workers.

BJP women workers sitting in the column assigned for Gujarat raised slogans for Modi as prime ministerial candidate when party president Rajnath arrived,but their party colleagues from other states did not join their chorus.

Bollywood Roots

It is surely not the first time that one hears about Bollywood legends from foreign dignitaries. During his meeting with Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari on Monday,Minister of Culture of the Republic of Senegal,Abdoul Aziz Mbaye,talked at length about the popularity of Bollywood films in his country. People in his country,he said,have grown up listening to Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammed Rafi. The two countries negotiated co-production agreements for promoting shooting in each other’s countries.

Soft Pedal

As the buzz in the corridors of the Women and Child Development Ministry revolved around the reasons for a senior official’s act of slashing her wrist after a meeting with WCD Secretary Nita Chowdhury last week,Krishna Tirath Monday sought to give her a clean chit. Even as the WCD Minister said that she had asked Chowdhury to be more careful in dealing with colleagues in future,she maintained that wrist-slashing was just an “accident” and there was no need to set up an inquiry.

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