Batting against tobacco
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Celebrity endorsements for causes seem to be the new buzzword in social sector ministries. After pitching Aamir Khan and Vidya Balan in the malnutrition and sanitation campaigns respectively, it is now former cricket captain Rahul Dravid's turn. The health ministry announced on Thursday that Dravid will be the ambassador for the National Tobacco Control campaign.
Diplomatic niceties don't seem to be a consideration when it comes to the privileges of the Indian bureaucracy. The premier Sanskriti School, meant primarily for children of bureaucrats, is located across the road from the Bangladesh High Commission. During the week, for at least a couple of hours in the morning and afternoon, the road is chock-a-block with traffic. So much so that the Bangladesh High Commissioner does not venture outside for lunch. The Bangladesh High Commission's repeated pleas to the Indian authorities to ensure smooth passage for its staff and visitors have fallen on deaf ears. The High Commission has taken up the issue with everyone in the government, even the National Security Advisor. Incidentally, the Cabinet Secretary's wife is the ex-officio chairperson of the school.
PC vs Ananth
Senior BJP leader Ananth Kumar seemed visibly happy at getting an opportunity to target Finance Minister P Chidambaram during discussions on the Supplementary Demands for Grants in the Lok Sabha on Thursday, as he sought to interrupt the minister's reply. A smiling Chidambaram ended his speech saying, "There is no reason why he (Ananth Kumar) should be agitated or aggrieved. We are very fond of him. In fact, the treasury benches are extremely fond of him... he has done more for our victory in Karnataka than anyone else." Ananth Kumar is reported to have played a key role in B S Yeddyurappa's exit from the BJP. Chidambaram's comment left the entire House, including many from the Opposition benches, in splits. Kumar was left speechless.