N-E in disarray
With a weak Prime Minister at the helm of affairs of the country, the law and order situation in the north-eastern states has deteriorated so much that now anti-national elements are openly threatening even the senior bureaucrats. Recently, such an incident happened in the Congress-ruled Nagaland, where NSCN terrorists threatened an IAS officer Rajiv Bansal in his office. They asked him to give Rs 60 lakh or be ready to die. For Central government officers, it is a routine and normal treatment as they are ?outsiders?. With this treatment, Bansal has proceeded on leave. It is high time that the Central government woke up.
Central government has finalised a national master plan to tap the available potential for generating power from waste. For this, the states and municipal corporations have been requested to provide greater thrust to the development of these projects, which could be supported by the Ministry of Non-Conventional Energy Sources. An information package is also being prepared to provide detailed information about potential, technologies, costs and economics. The progress in energy recovery from municipal solid wastes, in particular, has been slow mainly on account of the problems of collection and segregation of wastes by the municipal corporations, high capital cost of the projects and lack of financing.
The Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has recovered Rs. 1,894.82 crore as EPF dues from the defaulting establishments during the last financial year (2004-05). Although on March 31, 2005, an amount of Rs. 2,082.91 crore is still pending which is to be recovered from the defaulting establishments.
The Central government has sanctioned an amount of Rs. 30 crore for various projects in Rajasthan including the development of National Capital Region Circuit and sound and light show at Amber fort, Jaipur. The Central Tourism Ministry has suggested the state to set up a single window clearance for tourism projects to encourage private partnership. Last year, Rajasthan registered 54.6 per cent increase in tourist arrival. Keeping this in view, the state government has chalked out a plan to refurbish the Palace on Wheels with the cost of Rs. 8 crore. Even a blue-print for International Conference Centre in state capital has been finalised with a development of five new circuits in the state.
Renuka on roller-coaster
With Central Tourism Minister Renuka Chowdhary, Tourism Ministry is always in action. First, she had differences with Secretary Uma Pillai over ITDC'sliquor supply of Johny Walker brand. After Pillai'sremoval it was the turn of Joint Secretary Rajeev Talwar to face the music from Chowdhary as he was also removed from the Chairman'spost. Then a fresh round of selection started. But all of a sudden, M.S. Manchanda was appointed Chairman. Now, the grapevine has it that Cabinet Secretary B.K. Chaturvedi has sought an explanation regarding the criteria on which Manchanda has been appointed the ITDC Chairman despite the proper selection of another incumbent for the post. The letter of Chaturvedi has created ripples in the Renuka'sMinistry.
First ADG in medical services
Central government has appointed Dr R.N. Samanatray, the first Additional Director General of Medical Services. Government has created this service incorporating the higher medical officers of central police organisations like CRPF, ITBP, BSF, CISF, SSB and Assam Rifles with creation of 35 DIGs, 11 IGs, and one ADG in medical cadre.
With Lalu making difficult days for UPA government and Congress ministers making mess in government affairs, the grapevine has it that in the next Central Ministry reshuffle Congress Party treasurer and former Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Moti Lal Vora and General Secretary and Rajya Sabha MP from Delhi Ambika Soni may be inducted into the Cabinet.
Abolition of the Eighth Schedule and at par treatment to all languages of the country are a must thing to be done. The Commissioner, Linguistic Mino-rity, has recommended these steps to Central government in his 41st report. Recently, the government laid this report in Parliament. Taking note of distinction being made between the languages in the Eighth Schedule and those outside, the 41st report says that the Schedule creates an erroneous impression that the Constitution provides certain exclusive rights to the languages included in it. ?Actually there are no such privileges. There is no bar on non-scheduled language being the official language of the state?, it says further. The report has also recommended that the Finance Commission should evolve a package of assistance to the states to enable them to develop minor and tribal languages.