Opinion

Below the line

| Updated on November 03, 2019 Published on November 03, 2019

Look who made it to the ‘gram

Move over actors, models and self-acclaimed young celebrities, at 81 this man still goes for the kill! Usually when actors join the Instagram, it is big news for their avid followers; but last week, the news of a business leader joining the social media platform got just about everyone excited.

He was none other than tycoon and the Chairman Emeritus of Tata Group, Ratan Tata, who joined Instagram on October 30. He already has over 7.6 million followers on Twitter.

“I don’t know about breaking the internet, but I am so excited to join all of you on Instagram (ratantata)! After a long absence from public life, I look forward to exchanging stories and creating something special with such a diverse community!”, he wrote on his first Instagram post. He quickly raked up over 4,90,000 followers.

Falling in one’s own trap

The WTO ruling against India’s export subsidies was expected by most keeping track of the dispute, as the country had crossed the threshold gross national income limit a long time ago. What will be interesting to see, however, is what will happen if New Delhi goes in for an appeal.

With the WTO Appellate Body set to be dysfunctional from December 10 — as the US is not allowing new judges to be elected to fill up vacancies — there is a chance that India’s appeal, if made, will not be taken up. With its appeal pending, could India be faulted if it does not implement the WTO panel’s suggestions on withdrawing some of the sops?

Interestingly, the US is the one that filed the complaint against India’s export subsidies at the WTO, and the country that could actually end up paying for not allowing the WTO’s Appellate Body to function.

Assumed linguistic hegemony

The second International Solar Alliance, held in New Delhi last week, witnessed an unexpected situation when ministerial delegations preferred to address journalists in French, not English. In the absence of a translator, France’s Minister of State for Ecological & Inclusive Transition Brune Poirson volunteered to help.

A make-shift translator of sorts was hastily arranged, and the press interaction continued with addresses from the ministers on their expectations from the ISA and the other multilateral institutions. The ISA however saw a poorer attendance than expected, with just 29 ministerial delegations present.

Yuva of the country

During an event recently centred around the youth of the country, the host by mistake introduced Minister for Women and Child Development Smriti Irani as ‘Shri’ Smriti Irani. Oops! Irani definitely won’t miss this. Before starting her speech, Irani ackowledged the gaffe saying: “It’s only a youngster who can change your gender when he calls you and gets away with it”.

FM’s quarantine

It is not only journalists, but also officials are unhappy with the post-Budget quarantine. Journalists are finding it difficult to get information from the Finance Ministry, as the quarantine is still in force. Now, with presentation of new Budget just three months away, there is no hope for it being lifted any time soon.

While the media has found ways to deal with it, now, it is the officials in the Finance Ministry who are complaining as they are not getting information and gossip from journalists.

Of course, there are always newspapers, channels andportals, but the news is limited and off-the-record conversations with officials/employees in other Ministries — or even in the North Block itself — are not being shared. The radio silence is making life dull for Finance Ministry officials. They hope things will change after the presentation of the FY21 Budget in February.

Our Delhi Bureau

Published on November 03, 2019
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