PLANNING Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia has responded to a Delhi Confidential item published on Wednesday: The Delhi Confidential section of 4th July reports that as a result of RTI queries on the expenses incurred on my official foreign travel,my office has instructed the RTI cell to show me the details of information being released before it is given out. The fact is I had instructed some months ago that any information relating to individuals should also be shown to them. For myself I have instructed that all information about myself given in response to RTI queries will also be put out as a Press Note and posted on our website. I am a strong supporter of the RTI but I believe the purpose of the RTI is to increase transparency. This is best done by making information released also publicly available to all,and not only to the individual seeking information,to be used,at times selectively,in so called exposé. The truth will make us free only if it is known fully to all,not selectively to those asking questions.
EVEN as they await police permission for holding their fast in Jantar Mantar,Team Anna has decided to dedicate 17 days more than in any other state for a yatra in Delhi. Arvind Kejriwal,Kiran Bedi and Kumar Vishwas will tour various parts of Delhi and NCR from July 6-22 to garner support for their indefinite fast from July 25. The prolonged schedule may not be commensurate with the size of Delhi but as the experience in Mumbai last December showed,when it comes to the anti-corruption movement,Delhi has the most probably the only receptive ears.
BY THE BOOK
AFTER being nominated the presidential candidate of the UPA,senior leader Pranab Mukherjee has given up all official posts and facilities that he availed as a senior minister of the government. He has already hit the presidential election campaign trail in commercial flights as well as an aircraft that has been chartered by the Congress party for him. He has,however,retained his official vehicle (from the Defence Ministry pool),which he has had with him since the time he headed the Defence Ministry. The Election Commission granted Mukherjee permission to continue using the reinforced bulletproof Ambassador,for security reasons.
AT the first meeting of the Cabinet after the resignation of presidential candidate Pranab Mukherjee,many were keen to see who occupies the chair vacated by the Congress stalwart in a bid to know the new pecking order within the Cabinet. There were no surprises though. It was Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar who sat besides the Prime Minister,where Mukherjee once used to sit. However,it might take another Cabinet meeting to decide whether Pawar indeed is the new No. 2 in the government now. This is because Defence Minister A K Antony was unable to attend this meeting.
WEDNESDAY happened to be the last day of tenure of many Additional Solicitor Generals who are representing the Centre in various high courts. The government till now has neither extended their tenure or appointed replacements for them. Though the grapevine has it that most of them will be given another three-year terms,the file regarding their reappointment is said to be awaiting the final approval. With many of them having to appear in the courts on Thursday,they were hoping for a late night order from the government. Otherwise,there is the possibility of the courts refusing to accept them as governments law officers.