Below the line

| Updated on June 15, 2020 Published on June 15, 2020

Economy in safe hands: FM

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman took a dig at historian Ramachandra Guha on Thursday stating that taking cognisance of thoughts in the national discourse and doing her job responsibly are not mutually exclusive.

“The economy is very much in safe hands; worry not, Mr Guha. Taking cognisance of thoughts in current national discourse + responsibly doing my job aren’t mutually exclusive. Either way, an interest in history is a plus. Surely an intellectual such as yourself should know that,” she tweeted.

Earlier in the day, Guha’s tweet quoting British writer Philip Spratt’s commentary on Gujarat being economically strong but “culturally backward” in 1939, sparked controversy. Many on Twitter responded to his tweet.

Guha responded to her with another tweet stating, “I thought it was only the Gujarat CM, but now it seems even the FM is obsessing about a humdrum historian’s tweets. The economy is surely in safe hands.”

In solidarity

Hundreds of thousands of scientists and research scholars stayed away from labs and classrooms across the US and Europe on June 10 expressing solidarity with people from other walks of life protesting against racism in the wake of the killing of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police department.

Taking part in the #ShutdownSTEM #strike4BlackLives campaign, one of the most eminent scientific journals in the world, Nature, delayed publication of its research journal by a day and avowed to fight for eradicating racism in academia and STEM (science, technology engineering and mathematics).

Angewandte Chemie, a journal of the German Chemical Society that is ranked top among chemistry journals, on the other hand carried an essay on June 4 which argued that ‘diversity is harmful’. The essay, now deleted, not only cost two of its top editors their jobs, 16 of its 44 International Advisory Board members — including three Nobel laureates — resigned from the board.

Mysterious Setu functions

The Aarogya Setu app continues to evoke concerns regarding its utility and actual purpose. With Covid-19 cases rising across the country, some users of the app tried checking if the cases reported in their vicinity are even being reflected on the app.

To the dismay of one such user, the app continued to show that there were no nearby cases despite one such active case being reported in the vicinity.

But another phone with the same app said that there were Covid cases nearby.

Hate mail

The Corporate Affairs Ministry (MCA) may have taken proactive steps in making life simpler for corporates to cope with compliance for rights issues, AGMs, EGMs, etc., during these Covid times. But shareholders do not seem to be happy that the MCA has given the green signal for companies to hold only virtual AGMs.

The Ministry had got several “hate mails” over their move to allow virtual only AGMs.

The reasons are not far to seek: Not only are the shareholders going to miss the opportunity to ask some pointed questions to the senior management, but also they will not get the freebies that come with attending physical AGMs.

Courting controversy?

You must give it to Punjab National Bank (PNB) top brass to have good taste when it comes to cars. PNB’s move to reportedly buy three Audi cars worth ₹1.34 crore during the current Covid times to ferry its top management came in for some discussion in banking circles this past week.

With a large bank like PNB having a Managing Director and four executive directors, the privilege of using an Audi it seems will only be for the Managing Director and two senior most EDs.

It now transpires the other two EDs will not enjoy this privilege.

Our Delhi Bureau

Published on June 15, 2020
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