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Off the record

The week gone by was the most tense in recent times for the External Affairs Ministry. Some official calculations stated that India could get 165 out of 192 votes in the elections to the non-permanent seat in the UN.

india Updated: Oct 18, 2010 23:32 IST

Quite a seat feat
The week gone by was the most tense in recent times for the External Affairs Ministry. Some official calculations stated that India could get 165 out of 192 votes in the elections to the non-permanent seat in the UN.

Weeks before voting, the external affairs minister had said he would personally talk to as many foreign ministers as possible, mindful of the defeat suffered in 1994. Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi expressed support in no uncertain terms to Krishna. The Pakistan foreign minister was also positive.

After the UNSC elections in New York where India won 187 votes, the Chinese delegation was the first to congratulate India, followed by Pakistan.

A level playing field
Many players at the reception that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh gave for Indian medal winners in the CWG were diffident given the language barriers.

The Prime Minister's wife Gursharan Kaur sensed that the players — many who have come rural or small town backgrounds — were not comfortable in English or Hindi.

Kaur made special efforts to talk to the small town and rural stars and spent most her time with them rather than with the global stars.

Lost in the post
The HRD ministry has for several months wondered why one of the key invitees to the IIT Council — the highest decision-making body of the Institutes — chaired by Kapil Sibal never turned up for meetings.

The invitee was Professor Sabyasachi Bhattacharya — who was Director of Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) till recently. It was only recently, while preparing invitations for a Council meet, that the ministry realised why.

It has been sending the invite for the TIFR Director to the Indian Council for Historical Research (ICHR) Chairman — also called Sabyasachi Bhattacharya.

The ICHR Chairman, presumably — and legitimately — foxed at why he was invited to an IIT meeting, has studiously stayed away.

A first resort now
Resorts in Haryana's industrial town of Manesar are fast turning into attractions for central government ministries that want a break from the mundane Vigyan Bhavan or India Habitat Centre halls for key brainstorming meetings.

The health ministry recently drove down top bureaucrats and medical education experts to one such 'retreat' — as the meeting was called — to discuss reforms. But the trend may well have been set by the HRD ministry, which, earlier this year, held a similar "retreat" with Directors of the IITs in Manesar.

Could this be a new trend after medical tourism — bureaucratic tourism?