Missed call?

The debate over India’s mobile phone manufacturing prowess has taken a dramatic turn with political heavyweights trading barbs. Rahul Gandhi’s critique of India’s reliance on Chinese-made phones met with a sharp rejoinder from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, touting India’s manufacturing and export strides.

Amidst this, the ‘screwdriver’ critique emerges, suggesting that despite branding as ‘Made in India’, the essence of manufacturing — innovation and creation of core components — remains distant. The IT Minister’s press conference on Saturday to announce the 27 approved Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme 2.0 for IT hardware only stoked the embers, with observers questioning the need for incentives if the manufacturing of electronics and mobile phones is indeed flourishing.

More celebrations likely

It seems like a show of one-upmanship among the ministries to take Swachh Bharat, the pet project of the Prime Minister, to the global platform. The Quality Council of India, an autonomous body set up by the Commerce and Industry Ministry, will be observing November 19 as ‘World Toilet Day’. The ongoing journey of India becoming open defecation-free will take centre-stage. With elections round the corner, more such celebrations may come our way.

Keeping secrets

Politicians are not good at keeping secrets or they let them out by design to embarrass their opponents. Prime Minister Narendra Modi did that recently. Addressing a political meeting, he said Telangana Chief Minister and Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) President K Chandrashekar Rao sought his blessings for his son, whom he wanted to anoint as his successor. Modi also said that KCR expressed willingness to join the NDA. This revelation triggered a political row in the State, putting KCR in a spot. In an interview to a national magazine, KCR blamed the Prime Minister for making a private talk public. “It was a private talk. And how can he make public what transpired in a private talk,” he said in the interview.

Ayyan app

To assist Sabarimala pilgrims, the Kerala Forest Department has come out with an app for their safe journey to Sannidhanam. Developed by Periyar Tiger Reserve (west division), Ayyan app offers information in five languages — Malayalam, Tamil, Kannada, Telugu and Hindi — on various services available to devotees visiting the hill-shrine. The app will work both offline and online as there will be disruptions on internet service or phone signals in many places. Alerts will also be issued to pilgrims based on their selected routes.

The app can be installed from Google Play store or can be downloaded by scanning the QR code at the gates of the forest trekking route.