below the line

Our Bureaus | Updated on March 09, 2018 Published on September 11, 2016

Likely target Kummanam Rajasekharan is angry   -  H Vibhu

Conflicting choices

Are compulsions of governance conflicting with ideology for the BJP-led Centre? It would appear so, going by Rural Development Minister Narendra Singh Tomar thanking the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, among others, for its help to the ministry at the Swachh Bharat (Rural) Sarvekshan last week. Now, that’s a tad ironical, as the BJP’s ideological mentor, the RSSaffiliated Swadeshi Jagaran Manch has for long been seeking a ban on the foundation for pushing a “corporate agenda in the garb of philanthropy”.

Big Brother’s watching!

The Central Vigilance Commission has frowned upon the practice of government departments hiring vehicles for official use. In a circular, it noted that often the vehicles hired are private cars not registered as taxis or transport vehicles. Therefore, it has called for proper tendering. The reprimand could be a response to allegations that some officers have bought expensive cars in the names of family members or friends, and are leasing them out for official use.

Burning capital

A top private sector bank chief held a town hall meeting with young executives to discuss the bank’s new digital offering in the Unified Payment Interface world. An enthusiastic employee suggested going for an ad blitzkrieg. Pat came the CEO’s reply: My friend, we are no Alibaba or Ant Financial sitting on a huge pile of capital to burn!

A taste for bags

Officials in the commerce ministry preparing for next month’s gala BRICS event, which would include a trade fair and a meeting of trade ministers, are in a tizzy. What is worrying them is the responsibility of finding the right bags for the foreign delegates to take back home as mementoes. Will their tastes match up to global standards? That’s the question!

Hurt reactions

The national leadership of the BJP is predictably worked up over the crude bomb attack on its State office in Thiruvananthapuram. Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman accused CPI(M) ‘goons’ and said she suspected the target was Kummanam Rajasekharan, president of the State unit. Rajasekharan was enraged that the CPI(M) did not issue a comment “to this day on a dastardly attack aimed to eliminate the entire leadership” of his party, leading lights of which were present in the office until an hour before the midnight attack last week.

Observers feel the incident has helped the BJP close ranks and speak in one voice against what it sees are the authoritarian ways of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and the ‘lawless’ CPI(M) cadres. The timing is good: Kerala is hosting a three-day national council of the BJP beginning on September 22 at Kozhikode.

Desperate measures

The desperation for investments from corporates sometimes borders on the absurd. At a major event, a State minister invited to inaugurate a research centre told the top company officials on the dais that his government was willing to clear their projects the moment they were presented.

But what took everybody by surprise was the minister then saying that if they wanted to, they could start the project without waiting for clearance. Even if the offer was made in jest, it reveals how far States are willing to go to lure investments.


Change, it is said, is the only constant, especially if you work in the newspaper industry. In what is seen as another sign of change, the Newspaper Association of America — which has been around since 1887 — is changing its name to News Media Alliance, thanks largely to the online effect.

Is the Indian Newspapers’ Society, taking note of this?

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Published on September 11, 2016
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