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Virender Kapoor | February 17, 2003

They are two, for them two

Be honest, how concerned are we about our population problem?

Not much. Especially if you go by what the National Commission on Population is up to -- or rather, not up to.

The NCP, constituted in May 2000 with Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee as its chairman, has not met even once in the last two years. In fact, it has met only once, on the day it came into being.

On paper, it has two objectives: ‘Population stabilisation and sustainable achievement in human development,' whatever that means.

As suspected, the commission has become another parking place for bureaucrats hunting for attractive posts. Its members-secretary Krishna Singh, an IAS officer of the Bihar cadre, often finds herself at odds with the Union ministry of health and family planning, since the work of the two inevitably overlaps.

The ministry would like the commission to work under its overall control. So far, Singh has managed to fend that proposal off.

But the mismatch between their approaches was out in the open recently when the commission plugged for a two-child norm while the ministry was more diplomatic -- its National Population Policy wants gradual reduction in population growth, but refrains from setting the two-child norm.

Little minds, little deeds

Now that Sushma Swaraj is out of the information and broadcasting ministry, Minister for Law and Justice and Industry and Commerce Arun Jaitley can have his share of publicity.

Both Doordarshan and All India Radio had blacklisted Jaitley because of Swaraj's not-so-hidden antipathy to him.

Qs for Mahajan

The usually ebullient BJP general secretary Pramod Mahajan was taken aback when he toured Himachal Pradesh to campaign for the assembly election.

Instead of questioning him about his party's prospects, reporters were more interested in knowing about the Shivani murder case and his alleged links with an industrial group, which is said to be the reason for his ouster from government.

To be fair, Mahajan got through without much loss of face.

Goel's bad luck

Vijay Goel, the BJP MP from Delhi's Chandni Chowk, hasn't yet figured out why he was removed as the minister of state in the Prime Minister's Office.

His transfer to the ministries of parliamentary affairs and labour is widely seen as a demotion. When he asked the PM the reason why, Vajpayee fobbed him off saying ups and downs in politics are to be expected and he should take it in his stride.

Now, one of Goel's friends has come up with an explanation for his fall: Vajpayee no more eats jalebis and amaritis!

Goel, it was said half jocularly, became a minister by plying Vajpayee with those delicious sweets from his constituency. Now that Vajpayee is on diet, and has lost some six kilos in as many weeks, perhaps he has no use for Goel?

Illustrations: Lynette Menezes

Capital Buzz

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Number of User Comments: 1

Sub: Gov't not responsible on population control

This is truely a disgrace. The gov't is doing nothing on population control. It is a sad thing.

Posted by Nayan P.


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