February 1 this year is a Saturday, so there is slight confusion among MPs about whether the Union Budget will be presented that day, as Parliament usually does not function on weekends. But it appears there is no confusion in the mind of the government, as the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs is learnt to have recommended holding the Budget Session in two phases from January 31, with the Budget to be presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on February 1. The session is likely to wind up on April 3, with a gap between the two phases.
The officers’ association of the Railways — called FROA — has finally broken its silence on the ongoing controversy of cadre merger, which has left civil servants fuming. In a letter to Railway Board Chairman, the FROA, while welcoming reform, has said that the move has created apprehension and insecurity among officers. It has also urged the Board chairman to take the views of associations of respective services before deciding any move that might affect the career prospects of officers. So far, close to 1,000 emails have been received by the establishment from officers apprehensive of the move.
Waiting for green shoots in the economy, officials are not leaving any stone unturned in making a green view of the venue of the Prime Minister’s meeting with economists on Wednesday. Roads leading to the meeting venue — NITI Aayog Bhawan — have been cleaned and decorated with plants. Outside the entrance of the building, many flowering plants have been placed on the pavements of Parliament Street. Matching the colour of the plants, green covers also have been put up around the boundary wall of the building. Some people, it is learnt, find it unusual, as white covers are normally draped over the iron fencing of the boundary wall during such meetings.