Of films & foreign lands

Delhi Confidential

Apart from other things, Spanish King Juan Carlos I talked films with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the banquet hosted by President Pranab Mukherjee in the honour of the visiting royal last week. And not surprisingly, the film Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, which has almost entirely been shot in Spain, came up for mention. The king praised the film and asked the PM whether he had watched it. Singh replied in the negative. The king then told the PM that because of the film, the number of Indians coming to Spain had increased substantially. Curiously, among the songs that the Rashtrapati Bhavan chose to play in the background at the function was Chal ud jaa re panchchi ki ab ye desh hua begaana.

New life for proposal

Less than a month back, when then minister of state for defence Pallam Raju had called on then HRD Minister Kapil Sibal with a proposal to mainstream NCC into the education system, the proposal was put on a file and given regular treatment like hundreds of other suggestions that are considered. No one thought that Raju would end up taking over the ministry soon. Now that Raju has replaced Sibal, ministry officials will surely fast-track this one proposal before any other.

Experiments in Science

There have been only three Cabinet reshuffle exercises in UPA II, but the two closely related ministries of Science & Technology and Earth Sciences have had six different ministers. Throughout this government, the ministries, generally headed by the same minister, have become parking places for those who have either been stripped of other important charges but need to be accommodated still, or have been given as additional charges to ministers with more 'important' portfolios. In the past three years, the ministries have been headed by Prithviraj Chavan, Kapil Sibal, Pawan Bansal, Vilasrao Deshmukh, and Vyalar Ravi. Now they have been given to S Jaipal Reddy. No wonder that, in terms of major initiatives, these two ministries have very little to show for.

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