Helping handhttps://indianexpress.com/article/news-archive/web/helping-hand-7/

Helping hand

Better late than never. The Home Ministry is overhauling its communication machinery these days. After naming one of the joint secretaries as its official spokesperson

Better late than never. The Home Ministry is overhauling its communication machinery these days. After naming one of the joint secretaries as its official spokesperson,the ministry is now learnt to have assigned another joint secretary to advise and assist the gaffe-prone Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on his public statements. Shinde has made a series of embarrassing errors recently while speaking in Parliament and outside. Iqbal Singh Chahal,who has just joined the ministry,is likely to be entrusted to draft Shinde’s public remarks and speeches. Shinde has also got a new private secretary,Surender Bagde. He will replace Lokesh Chandra,who has been promoted as joint secretary in the Steel Ministry.

Television’s Loss

IT is not often that lightweight MPs are called for television debates. Radhey Mohan Singh of the Samajwadi Party,therefore,was excited about the invitation to appear on Lok Sabha television on Monday. However,just half-an-hour before his programme was to go on air,Singh was seen rushing to the LSTV studios to inform them about his inability to keep his appointment. It so happened that Lok Sabha was witnessing protests by Samajwadi Party MPs over Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma’s reported remarks against Mulayam Singh Yadav. Singh was in no position to skip that,and for good reason. Mulayam had overlooked him in the first list of candidates announced by the party for the next year’s general elections. It was only after much persuasion that he was given a ticket. Singh clearly did not want to jeopardise his chances for just one television appearance.

Missed Opportunity

LONG before he became President of Egypt,Mohamed Morsi had expressed his desire to visit India,while interacting with India’s then external affairs minister S M Krishna. Indian diplomats never took the request seriously,though some efforts were made to bring Morsi to New Delhi for some lecture or seminar. The visit did not materialise. India’s foreign office is now left to rue the missed opportunity. After becoming President,Morsi made his first foreign visit to China before travelling to Iran for the NAM summit. Now that he is coming to India,he is preceding that with a one-day visit to Pakistan.

Film Fare

WHEN the jury of the National Film Awards met Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari on Monday,they stressed the need for promoting the documentary film circuit as well. Tewari is learnt to have agreed and suggested that the Mahadev Auditorium,which screens selected feature films once in a while,could serve as a good location for this purpose. Tewari was of the opinion that Mahadev Auditorium could be developed into the Delhi equivalent of Prithvi Theatre in Mumbai. Incidentally,Tewari broke from tradition and met the jury only after they had announced the film awards at their annual press conference. In earlier years,the jury used to first hand over the list of winners to the minister before making the public announcement.

Role reversal

THE Congress party’s impressive showing in the recent civic body polls in Karnataka seems to have put paid to the chances of former external affairs minister S M Krishna getting rehabilitated in his home state. Krishna has been sulking ever since his exit from the union Cabinet. In fact,he did not even attend the party’s “chintan shivir” in Jaipur earlier this year,preferring to travel abroad instead. Congress president Sonia Gandhi had offered him the consolation prize,making him a permanent invitee to the Congress Working Committee. But that had not satisfied the former minister,who was more interested in a major role in his home state. But with the recent results,such an option is likely to be ruled out,because the party is said to be reluctant to make any changes in the state unit ahead of the Assembly elections,which is scheduled to be announced later this week.