Below the line: Side-stepping Yama Kandam

Our Bureaus | Updated on February 07, 2021


The Union Budget day — February 1 — happened to be a very auspicious day, according to the Tamil calendar. But its presentation, as tradition demanded, was at 11 a.m. which came during the inauspicious Yama kandam (10.30 a.m. to 12 noon).

However, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman found a way out of this problem. She left the Finance Ministry at an auspicious time (at 9.15 a.m.) — just after Rahu Kaalam (between 7.30 a.m. and 9 a.m.) — and entered the Parliament at 10 a.m. — well ahead of Yama Kandam. The Budget may have been presented during the inauspicious period but since the Finance Minister entered the Parliament before it she escaped its ill-effects!

After Swiggy now Zomato

As a part of Prime Minister Street Vendor’s AtmaNibhar Nidhi (PM SVANidhi) Scheme, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has entered into an MoU with Zomato to onboard street food vendors on its food-tech platform.

The Covid pandemic has restricted consumers from stepping out and forced them to follow physical distancing norms. In this scenario it is important to connect street food vendors with technology enabled platforms to help them grow their business, thus helping them gain financially, the Ministry said. In October 2020, the MoHUA entered into a MoU with Swiggy and now it has joined hands with Zomato to empower street food vendors.

Under the MoU, initially the Ministry and Zomato will run a pilot programme by on-boarding 300 vendors across six cities — Bhopal, Ludhiana, Nagpur, Patna, Raipur and Vadodara. The street vendors will be helped with PAN and FSSAI registration, training on technology/partner app usage, menu digitisation and pricing, hygiene and packaging best practices. Once the pilot is completed successfully it will be expanded across the country in phases.

Budget and senior citizens

The Budget provision for senior citizens above the age of 75 years that they need not file Income Tax returns provided they have pension and interest income has become a butt of jokes and a matter of discussion, and among people. The provision has also become a cartoonist’s delight. A cartoon in one of the newspapers shows a grandson greeting his grandpa on sick bed about the budgetary provision!

Didi, dissidents and media

The West Bengal Chief Minister has now found two new enemies in the State. No it is not her political opponents, the BJP or the CPI (M). This time, her bigger worries are dissidents and the media.

As dissenting voices within her party grows, Mamta Banerjee is increasingly losing her cool over people raising their voices or submitting a memorandum at her meetings and rallies. She has been calling them “people planted by the BJP to disrupt her meetings”.

As for the media, according to her, “all media barons and media houses are pro-BJP”. Not to forget, the red carpet she herself has been rolling out for select reporters and regional media house personnel in the State.

Wheel of fortune

The wheel of fortune seemed to have turned many times over for M Sivasankar, former Principal Secretary to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. Accused in the infamous dollar smuggling case, he walked out of the District Jail at Kakkanad in Ernakulam on Thursday after being incarcerated for 98 days.

While granting bail, the judge of the Economic Offences Court, Ernakulam, noted that Sivasankar had ‘sufficient knowledge with regard to smuggling of foreign currencies perpetrated with the help of prime accused’ in the case. But, considering the nature of alleged minimal complicity of the petitioner and stage of the investigation, the judge felt that his further detention was no longer essential for the conduct of future investigation.


Published on February 07, 2021

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