Below the line

Our Delhi Bureau | Updated on March 09, 2018 Published on February 19, 2017

Pushing for swachhata And not just on the face of it   -  RV Moorthy

In women the EC trusts

Not in the mood to receive any complaints on its functioning, the Election Commission decided to send all-women teams of poll observers to Goa. Reason: Goa offers too many distractions for men – casinos, beaches and bars. Of course, it’s not spelt out. It appears there were complaints that male poll observers tended to frequent spots far from their designated duty areas. Therefore, the EC’s decision. Practical, alright!

GST with a dash of R&R

It seemed like the ideal mix of work and pleasure. The decision to hold the GST Council meeting over the weekend at Udaipur evinced interesting responses from most quarters. While some State ministers were busy with their respective budgets and hard-pressed for time, some seemed pleased with the venue, given its sufficiently relaxing and touristy flavour. But, the most concerned were industry players and taxation experts who were worried about how to track the meeting from Delhi.

It’s controversial, too

The issue of taxation powers of States in territorial waters within 12 nautical miles that supposedly came up for discussion at the Udaipur meeting led to some differences, and the chairman of the council has agreed to refer it to a law committee for examination. The issue of cross empowerment to State officers under the IGST Act, and the proposal to exclude State authorities to adjudicate cases if any issue relates to import or export of goods or services were also contested.

What’s that stink?

There was such a brouhaha over the use of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s picture in advertisements put out by private sector players to promote their digital services. However, what seems to have gone unnoticed is the use of the PM’s picture (promoting Swachh Bharat) at the new public convenience structures coming up in the capital. (There is one that has cropped up at Rafi Marg outside the RBI). Now, the question being asked is, is this in good taste? Or will someone raise a stink?

Active midnight duty

If banking industry insiders are to be believed, the series of notifications elevating general managers to executive directors came on Thursday/Friday night. The department of financial services, it is learnt, summoned its staff from their homes late at night to report for work and do the needful. This, in a government department? Unbelievable! That’s some commitment for you. Or is this the DFS gearing up for the next edition of ‘Gyan Sangam’ and the Government’s way of avoiding the embarrassment of tardiness in making top-level appointments?

Mining for ideas

Piyush Goyal is known for throwing up ideas. At a recent conference for next-generation transformation in Delhi, the Mines Minister said, “With the world’s earth and marine resources being exploited and running out, the world will look at going into the universe for asteroid mining between Mars and Jupiter.” While the idea is not new, according to Goyal and research papers on the internet, it is a bolt from the sky for a country struggling to improve the production of existing mineral resources from land. Spaced out!

Certainly not trash

When Modi proposes every minister in his government disposes. Hence the cleanliness drive is being adopted by each ministry in its own way. I&B Minister M Venkaiah Naidu recently announced that his ministry has earned nearly ₹15 lakh by selling junk or trash. Naidu, who is also in charge of urban development, believes that everything begins from home. Reportedly his ministry has freed 60,000 square feet of space in Shastri Bhavan, which houses several key ministries and the Press Information Bureau.

Published on February 19, 2017
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