Below the line

| Updated on January 24, 2021

Hello voter!

Since 2011, the National Voters’ Day has been celebrated on January 25 across the country to mark the foundation day of the Election Commission of India. And keeping with the changing times, this year, the ECI will launch online digital radio service which will stream voter awareness programmes that can be accessed through a link on the ECI website.

Called ‘Hello Voters’, the programming style will be like those on popular FM radio services. It will provide information and education on electoral processes through song, drama, discussions, spots, stories of elections, etc., in Hindi, English and regional languages from all over the country.

Tracking unspent CSR funds

Fly-by-night companies and NGOs will no longer find it easy to escape from their CSR obligations. With the latest CSR rule changes, all the unspent CSR funds have to be transferred at the end of a financial year to a dedicated account. After putting such funds in the account, the company concerned will have three financial years to utilise the funds, failing which they will have to be transferred to an account that will be set up by the Centre. The intent of this move is to improve supervision, but its success hinges on execution.

Biden ‘more a Pepsi kind of guy’

After taking charge as US President, Joe Biden removed the red button installed on the desk of the Oval Office by his predecessor Donald Trump. What was this red button? It reportedly ensured Trump was served Diet Coke on a silver platter on demand. As netizens reacted to this viral tweet by journalist Tom Newton Dunn, Coca-Cola’s arch-rival PepsiCo joined in the banter with a tongue-in-cheek tweet that said maybe he (Biden) is “more of a Pepsi kind of guy”.

VW CEO’s Twitter debut

Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess made his Twitter debut with a bang this week. He minced no words to announce the company’s strategy to go after Tesla’s market share: “Hello @Twitter! I’m here to make an impact with @VWGroup, especially on political issues. And, of course, to get some of your market shares, @elonmusk – after all, our ID.3 and e-tron have won the first markets in Europe. Looking forward to productive discussions! (sic).”

Musk is an avid Twitter user with over 42 million followers and has leveraged the platform not only to gauge consumer feedback, talk about the company’s products but also recruit people in recent times. It remains to be seen whether Musk will take the bait and respond to Diess with a jibe.

The Kolar farming model

Karnataka Agriculture Minister, BC Patil, wants farmers in the State to follow the ‘Kolar agriculture model’ before they think of Israel. At a recent meeting with farmers at Karkala in Udupi district, he said farmers in Kolar (an arid region) should follow integrated farming practices and get maximum yield from the available land and water.

Farmer suicides in Kolar, he said, are also less than in Mandya district though the latter has better irrigation facilities. Farmers in Mandya rely on only two crops — paddy and sugarcane — while those in Kolar grow multiple crops and fruits with the little water available. This has been possible because of the integrated farming practices followed by the Kolar farmers. “Learn from Kolar farmers before learning from Israeli farmers,” Patil added.

Nothing usual about it

The ongoing Kerala Assembly session, the last of the ruling Left Democratic Front government led by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, has been unprecedented in the manner in which it has gone about transacting its business. First, Finance Minister Thomas Isaac made the longest-on-record Budget presentation.

Second, it witnessed a debate on a resolution, moved by the Opposition though eventually voted out, expressing no-confidence in Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan. And, third, it saw pitched battle between the Treasury and the Opposition benches over ‘bringing the office of the CAG to account for meddling’ in the internal affairs of the State government.

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Published on January 24, 2021
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