Our Bureaus | Updated on January 16, 2018 Published on October 23, 2016

Separately, together: Froman and Sitharaman

Until a few days back, GST Network (GSTN) , which provides the IT backbone for GST, was all for innovation in payment methods. It championed the use of debit and credit cards. The tax authority too mooted the same. However, ever since the data breach that compromised the 3.2 million debit cards, matters have changed. GSTN CEO Prakash Kumar now says they would have to “think twice” before allowing cards for GST payments. Besides, both the cards he carries are issued by banks in the limelight for the data security breach.

Diff’rent tracks

Normally, after a high-level meeting there is a joint conference of delegation leaders. So when the US trade representative Michael Froman and MoS Nirmala Sitharaman had a Trade Policy Forum meeting, people were surprised when they addressed the media separately. Sitharaman tried to brush it off by saying Froman had wanted to join her but the time clashed with his address at the University of Chicago Centre in New Delhi. Isn’t there something called time coordination?

No phones

At long last, the Government has banned use of mobile phones during cabinet meetings.Henceforth, they will not be permitted inside meeting venues of the Cabinet or Cabinet committees. Britain banned them in 2010; France too.

Mann ki Baat

How does Narendra Modi destress? TV? Music? Well, only he can answer this question. But, one thing’s sure, he knows that the recall value of radio is far better than TV. A senior secretary says: “In my most recent meeting with the PM, he said that during the Gujarat campaign, he used to watch ad spots for entertainment…nothing stays in your head…(whereas) there is nothing to beat radio, it has 99 per cent penetration,” the secretary said.

Modi wants ministries and departments to use radio to promote major programmes of the Government.

Tech breaks

Suresh Narayanan, the CMD of Nestle India, was discussing the Maggi crisis with members of the Madras Management Association. The problem started when he was showing a video of an old Maggie advertisement: the laptop started hanging. Apologising for the interruption, he switched to a second laptop. Same problem. Another apology and another laptop. Nearly 15 minutes of his one-hour talk were lost. “Man proposes, God disposes. However, today, it was man proposes technology disposes. We witnessed live crisis management today,” said Narayanan while the audience clapped.

Spice wars

The war of words or rather the war over condiments between two giant e-commerce players isn't over yet. While one flaunted the fact that it sold everything from asafoetida to churan and wasn’t ashamed about it, its cross-country rival responded claiming it doesn’t sell anything priced below ₹300.

In the second round of shadow-boxing, the one that sold more claimed it was more Indian than a domestic competitor. The rival came back saying it would rather leave such items to neighbourhood kirana stores as they are better at that job. Spicy stuff, alright!

Mutual admiration society

Indian politicians are taking a cue from western counterparts and giving a peek into their personal lives to fans and followers on social media. It was interesting to see one such tweet of Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, minister of state for information and broadcasting and Kiren Rijiju, minister of state for home affairs, bonding at the gym. Rijiju tweeted about working out at the gym with Olympics silver medalist Rathore, and posted pics of themselves. Rathore in turn complimented Rijiju on his fitness and energy levels, while adding that he the scored top grade and distinction in geography.

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Published on October 23, 2016
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