Below the line

| Updated on February 21, 2021 Published on February 21, 2021

A case of ‘appointment paralysis’?

It is almost five months since the Banks Board Bureau (BBB) recommended 13 candidates for being appointed as Executive Directors in various Public Sector Banks (PSBs). However, there is still no sign of their appointments. With the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman having sounded the privatisation bugle in her recent Budget, there is now apprehension in banking circles that this “appointments paralysis” situation will persist.

Banking industry observers contend that it does not make any sense to hold up the process of filling vacancies just because any of the two banks (whose names are unknown) may get privatised.

‘BJP leaders, not welcome’

Inviting BJP leaders for weddings and other family functions may prove costly for farmers in western Uttar Pradesh. Farmers’ leader and Bharatiya Kisan Union National President, Naresh Tikait has barred farmers brothers from inviting BJP leaders to family functions and warned that anyone found doing so will have to feed at least 100 people next day as penance.

Mail menace

Getting representations is nothing new for a Central Ministry or Department. As soon as the government listed a Bill to ban private crypto currencies, the Ministry of Finance was flooded with e-mails pleading not to ban such a virtual currency. The Minister’s office suddenly finds workload doubling as there are emails not only from Ministers, but from MPs as well. An aide in the Minister’s office said that a website has been developed, where one just has to mention the name of his/her Member of Parliament and the message will be sent to that MP.

To waive or not to waive

US President Joe Biden is under pressure from liberal supporters such as Representative from Illinois Jan Schakowsky to agree to India and South Africa’s proposal at the WTO for a temporary waiver of intellectual property rights to ensure adequate supply of affordable Covid-19 vaccines and medicines.

The Trump government had vehemently opposed the proposal to protect the rights of patent holders such as Pfizer. With the pandemic continuing to wreak havoc in the US and many Democratic party members in support of the waiver, Biden may look at the proposal favourably.

But with the pharma lobby putting pressure and the EU and Australia, too, opposing the India-South Africa proposal, its fate continues to hang in balance at the WTO but maybe a bit less precariously.

Age no bar?

'Metro man' E Sreedharan has been the most notable catch yet for the BJP in poll-headed Kerala. The 88-ear-old technocrat dismissed criticism that his advanced age would be a constraint. Better late than never, says he, while dismissing “overly patronising” comments from critics who sought to draw an unflattering parallel with the “fate” of 92-year-old O Rajagopal, the BJP’s first ever member in the outgoing Assembly. The grapevine has it that Rajagopal is unlikely to be fielded this time.

Lost in translation

Communication is a big challenge for national leaders visiting Tamil Nadu. Usually a local leader acts as translator and often, much of what the leader wants to convey is lost in translation. Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanaswamy tried to take advantage of Rahul Gandhi's lack of Tamil knowledge. During a town hall meeting, an old woman, pointing to the Chief Minister, complained (in Tamil) to Rahul Gandhi “Did he even visit us once during cyclone?” When the Congress leader turned to Narayanaswamy, he nonchalantly translated in English that “sir, during Nivar cyclone, I came and visited their area and gave relief to them. That is what she is saying.” Narayanaswamy forgot that every phone in the crowd is a camera and social media is unforgiving when it comes to exposing such actions.

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Published on February 21, 2021
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