Below the line: Marathon consultations

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Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal’s decision to consult industry representatives on the ongoing negotiations between sixteen countries for the proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) turned out to be a bigger hit than he may have expected. The back-to-back industry consultations apparently saw as many as 250 representatives from across sectors visit Udyog Bhawan to voice their views. The Minister was understandably exhausted at the end of it. One can only hope that there is enough time for so much information to be processed so that the country could take a balanced stand when the Trade Ministers meet in Beijing next week.

The newly appointed Power Secretary, Subhash Chandra Garg, may have been putting on a brave face, and his first few words during a press interaction seemed to confirm that. Till recently the Finance and Economic Affairs Secretary, Garg was about to say that he was happy that he has now been appointed the Power Secretary. But his lips spelled out ‘Finance’ instead of ‘Power’ in the very first sentence, inviting sniggers from journalists.

Coders who developed the software program for registering frequent fliers on the Club Vistara site attracted a lot of attention from Tweeple last week; and of course for the wrong reasons. Much to the embarrassment of the airline authorities, the title “Professor” in its drop-down refused to recognise ‘Female’ gender as pointed out by a professor from a university in Delhi.

Among those who responded to her tweet, which was liked and re-tweeted hundreds of times, was Sanjiv Kapoor, Chief Strategy and Commercial Officer of the airline, jointly owned by the Tatas and Singapore Airlines. In his reply, Kapoor said “he was mortified to see this…will have it fixed”. True to his words, the Air Vistara honcho returned to Twitter a couple of hours later to announce that “the embarrassing glitch” has been fixed.

In court hearings, the voice of the lawyer is no doubt most important. But, in the recent hearing in an appellate tribunal when the lawyer representing a real estate company kept putting across his points after every few minutes, the Chairperson of NCLAT, SJ Mukhopadhaya — also heading the two-judge Bench — asked the lawyer, “Where you there in the last hearing too?”, and the lawyer said “Yes”. To which Mukhopadhaya replied, “Okay, but your voice was not heard last time.”

Some food companies offer free toys or gifts with their products to make them attractive for kids. Observing that non-food items are often packed with food items, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India in a circular said this could become a safety hazard for children.

In the circular, the FSSAI said there is need to discourage food businesses from providing toys or gift items inside food packages and they should be packed separately.

A nickel-and-dime BJP politician in Kerala who was looking for two minutes of fame by attacking master film-maker Adoor Gopalakrishnan in his Facebook post didn’t expect the auteur to hit back quickly.

The Kerala BJP leader, B Gopalakrishnan, asked the film-maker to go to the moon if he can’t tolerate ‘Jai Shriram’ chants. His provocation being Adoor, along with 48 other eminent citizens, was signatory to a letter sent to the Prime Minister about ‘Jai Shriram’ becoming a war cry of those attacking minorities and Dalits. Adoor got back to him, asking to arrange for a ticket to the moon as he was willing to go. Adoor also asked the BJP leader whether he was being sent to the moon because it’s houseful in Pakistan.

Our Delhi Bureau

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