Tej Pratap, the elder son of Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad, is working hard on an image makeover. During a visit to his Assembly constituency Mahua in Vaishali district earlier this week, he pedalled purposefully on a cycle rickshaw, visited Mahadalit homes, ate sattu sitting on the floor of a local’s home, took a bath after drawing water from a hand pump, tried out a fodder cutter machine, and topped it up by speaking to a government officer while putting his mobile phone on the speaker mode so that everyone gathered around him could hear the entire conversation. “One can get the feel of Laluji by seeing me,” he said to his audience just in case they didn’t get the drift.
Exchange rate maze
The duty-free shop at the Delhi airport (arrival area) has switched its prices from dollars to rupees, but (naturally) accepts payment only in dollars or other foreign currency. While this makes price comparison with duty free shops elsewhere difficult, there are unexplained issues about the exchange rate. Recently, a customer found that the conversion rate used for his purchase was about Rs 77 to the dollar, when the official rate is about Rs 68.
The first question that arises is whether such a large variation from the official exchange rate is allowed. More importantly, the higher rate for the dollar gives the customer a benefit on the rupee price. He pays only $10 for a product priced at Rs 770. At the official exchange rate, he would have to pay more. So why would the duty-free shop give customers an unsought bargain? Unless the trick is in the rate used to calculate the rupee price. In any case, why not keep things simple and just go back to dollar prices?
The Congress in Mumbai has begun a campaign to count the potholes in the city. Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam said his party colleagues would send pictures of potholes to Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. This was in response to the claims of State Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis who had, on Tuesday, said that the number of potholes on the city’s roads had reduced considerably over the past four years. He had also announced that the Mumbai civic body would collaborate with the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-B) to further reduce potholes.