By the way : Power to women

DO you remember the first time you purchased a condom? Or, the first time you mustered courage to ask for the first packet of sanitary napkin? Almost 99 per cent of the readers, or may be all of them, would remember the feelings of embarrassment, mixed with shyness and a bit of coyness. Cut to 2017. The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has opened three vending and three disposal machines for sanitary napkins outside three women bathrooms at its main office in the North Block. Each transaction will cost Rs 5 and the machines are equipped to accept coins of different nominations. Soon, more machines will be installed at DoPT’s other offices as part of the ongoing ‘Swachchata Hi Seva’ campaign. The six machines were inaugurated with much fanfare by two women joint secretaries in the department, K Kipgen and G Jayanthi, and attended by scores of other women bureaucrats and we hope the idea takes off. In our still-conservative society, the women are more likely to glance around, ensure that no one’s looking, and then quickly head towards the machines. Only a few are likely to approach them brazenly and confidently without a care in the world. The reason is simple: periods are believed to be ‘unclean’ and women are apprehensive and nervous to reveal it. We hope that the Swachchata Abhiyaan removes such unclean thoughts from the minds of both the men and women. More power to the women!

http://www.gfilesindia.com/by-the-way-power-to-women/

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By the way : Confused bureaucracy

IF there was one area where the bureaucracy was quite efficient, it was in appointments to senior posts, especially ministerial secretaries. Although there were intense, sometimes bloody, tussles for the actual ministries, the names of the individuals were decided much in advance. Most potential bureaucrats knew that they would become a Secretary by a particular year, and so did the DoPT. This system was disrupted a bit three years ago as another layer of control and decision-making-the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO)-was added. As the South Block decided to go through the appointments-related files, the process became more complex and layered. It had both its positives and negatives-either the secretaries were appointed much before the existing one retired or left, or much after the due date. It is, therefore, not surprising that the three central departments-administrative reforms and public grievances, corporate affairs, and justice-don’t have full-time secretaries. Naveen Verma, Secretary, development affairs, was given additional charges of administrative reforms and public grievances, and pension and pensioners’ welfare. Subhas Chandra Garg, Secretary, economic affairs, is also in-charge of corporate affairs. And, G Narayana Raju, Secretary, legislative department, was given additional charge of justice. The net effect: potential and deserving secretaries are confused. They are unsure if and when will they get the coveted post, or ride the ultimate bureaucratic horse.

http://www.gfilesindia.com/by-the-way-confused-bureaucracy/

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By the way : Tussle for power

Who runs the Home Ministry of India? The answer would be obvious, former UP Chief Minister and Home Minister Rajnath Singh administers the pivotal ministry of India. But, if insiders are to be believed, the situation states otherwise. Even the recommendations of top-ranking RSS office bearers are turned down by the PMO. Sources informed that the most important decisions, especially concerning Union Territories, are being taken by the PMO directly. The recommendations sent by the Home Ministry are either kept in abeyance, or sent with new recommendations. The paradox is that the Home Minister also keeps the new recommendations in abeyance. Hence, there is decision paralysis in the ministry. The selection of Delhi State Election Commissioner is a glaring example of the altercation between the PMO and the Home Ministry. The Home Ministry recommended three names to the PMO after consulting top-ranking RSS leaders. The PMO kept the file in abeyance for some time. The file was send back to the Home Ministry after one month with a new name to be appointed as the State Election Commissioner. The Home Ministry officials were astonished to find that their recommendation had been turned down. Now the file is hanging and no further decision has been taken as the final authority to issue the orders lies with the Home Ministry, that too with the signature of the Home Minister. Rajnath Singh, a powerful politician of the BJP, is keeping mum on the developments but RSS leaders are aghast. Wait and watch this space.

http://www.gfilesindia.com/by-the-way-tussle-for-power/

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By the way : Secret PMO language

EVERY Kingdom had its own language and style of working developed over centuries. Sometimes palace courtiers spoke in sign language and the message was passed on. This was to keep a check on intrigues. Our Prime Minister’s Office is following this century old dictum. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is not very well conversant with English language. He is fluent in Hindi but he is more comfortable in Gujarati. He first reads Gujarati newspapers in the morning. Insiders reveal that whenever any important issue is discussed, which is not supposed to be known to others in the PMO at that point of time, the top-ranking officials, who hails from the Gujarat cadre, speak in Gujarati. Modi took extra precaution when the decision of demonetisation was being taken. He and his close officials, including one important secretary of the concerning ministry, opted to talk in Gujarati. Sources disclosed that even otherwise the top-ranking Gujarati cadre officials prefer to speak in Gujarati. So, in the PMO when the officials started talking in Guajarati only, it is an indication that an important issue is being discussed and a decision is being taken on it.

http://www.gfilesindia.com/by-the-way-secret-pmo-language/

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Bric a Brac : Wooing Rajnikanth

THE BJP is determined to make inroads in Tamil Nadu after Kerala by all means. The biggest hurdle for them is to find a credible leader. The ruling AIAMDK is on the verge of the collapse. The BJP does not want the reins of the state to slip into the hands of the DMK. There are two film superstars–Rajnikanth and Kamal Hassan–who can create a political road map for the BJP. According to sources, Hassan is not enthused about having any links with the BJP. So Rajnikanth is the only hope left for the BJP. Sources disclosed that Rajnikanth has agreed to campaign for the BJP provided the Rs. 180-crore loan taken from Indian Bank by his wife to start her real estate business is taken care of. With the real estate sector in slowdown, she has suffered heavy losses. The BJP’s top leadership desires Rajnikanth to join the BJP first but the shrewd superstar cited deteriorating health concerns and excused himself. Rather than join the party, Rajnikanth is ready to campaign for the BJP if the loan issue is resolved amicably. Well, at one level, Rs. 180 crore is peanuts if the BJP flag is unfurled in Tamil Nadu.

http://www.gfilesindia.com/bric-a-brac-wooing-rajnikanth/

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