President Ram Nath Kovind (pictured) has decided to defer the purchase of a limousine, which was to be used for ceremonial occasions. He has decided to forgo 30 per cent of his salary for a year. He had contributed his March salary to the PM-Cares Fund. Kovind has instructed the Rashtrapati Bhavan to support the “self-reliant India movement” and curb expenditure. The Rashtrapati Bhavan will not make fresh capital investment during the current fiscal year. Only ongoing work will be completed. Repair and maintenance will be minimised. Office consumables will be reduced. The president’s travel will be cut down. He will use technology to reach out to people. There will be fewer guests at ceremonial banquets, fewer flowers and other items for decoration, and a whittled-down food menu. The Rashtrapati Bhavan estimates saving up to 20 per cent with these steps in the current financial year.
Just a loyalist
Congress defectors and other Jyotiraditya Scindia loyalists in Madhya Pradesh are facing new challenges. The party they moved to — the Bharatiya Janata Party, or the BJP — is training them in RSS-BJP ideology, but some of them appear unsure of their place in the new scheme of things or are simply acting coy. One former Congress spokesperson is one such person. A few weeks into his new party, when a journalist asked him how he wanted to be identified in a news item he was filing for his newspaper, the ex-Congressman hesitantly said, “Don’t describe me as a BJP leader ... just say Scindia loyalist.”
After the lockdown was enforced, many innocuous acts like stepping out to buy medicine or milk or even an evening stroll became transgressions of the law. As a result, many FIRs were registered in Delhi (as well as other parts of the country) under Section 188 (Disobedience to Order Duly Promulgated by Public Servant) of the Indian Penal Code. While the number of such FIRs now runs into thousands, Delhi Police are in no mood to ignore/drop them. According to police sources, each case would be taken to its “logical conclusion” and “charge sheets” and other reports would be filed. The brass believes that if any benefit of the doubt has to be given to these “accidental violators”, it would have to come from the courts.