Indian-American policy expert Neera Tanden is now White House staff secretary

News Network
October 23, 2021

Washington, Oct 23: Indian-American policy expert Neera Tanden, a close confidant of US President Joe Biden, has been named White House staff secretary, eight months after Republican lawmakers scuttled her nomination to another key post.

Tanden, 51, a senior adviser to President Biden was named White House staff secretary on a morning staff call on Friday, the CNN reported.

The White House staff secretary is a behind-the-scenes but critical role in the West Wing, responsible for managing paper flow to the President from other areas of the administration and federal government. The person filling the job has been viewed as one of the most powerful in the building, it said.

In addition to her new duties, Tanden will keep her senior adviser title "and will continue to provide leadership on particular projects and initiatives," Politico reported, quoting a White House official.

She will report to White House chief of staff Ron Klain, it said.

The appointment does not require Senate confirmation.

"The Staff Secretary role is the central nervous system of the White House and moves the decision-making process and manages a wide variety of issues for the President," the White House official said.

Tanden has "over two decades of experience in policy and management which are critical elements of the role. Her experience across domestic, economic and national security policy will be a key asset in this new role," the official said.

Tanden's appointment as White House staff secretary came eight months after she withdrew her nomination as Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget due to stiff opposition from Republican senators.

In March, she faced a tough time for the confirmation of her nomination as Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) over her past social media outbursts against several lawmakers, including those from her own Democratic Party.

While accepting Tanden's request to withdraw her name from nomination in March, President Biden had said, "I have the utmost respect for her record of accomplishment, her experience and her counsel, and I look forward to having her serve in a role in my Administration. She will bring valuable perspective and insight to our work."

White House announced in May that Tanden had been appointed as a senior adviser to Biden.

Tanden previously served as a senior adviser for health reforms at the US Department of Health and Human Services. She worked with Congress and stakeholders on particular provisions of former President Barack Obama's signature legislative achievement, the Affordable Care Act.

Before that, Tanden was the director of domestic policy for the Obama-Biden presidential campaign, where she managed all domestic policy proposals.

Tanden also served as policy director for Hillary Clinton's first presidential campaign.

Before the 2008 presidential campaign, Tanden served as legislative director in Clinton's office, and deputy campaign manager and issues director for Clinton's 2000 Senate campaign.

She began her career as an associate director for domestic policy in former President Bill Clinton's White House, and senior policy adviser to the First Lady.

Tanden holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a law degree from the Yale Law School. 

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News Network
December 1,2021

Bengaluru, Dec 1: Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai today said that he would seek the Union Government's opinion and the status of scientific progress made in the issue of administering the booster dose of anti-Covid vaccine to health and frontline workers as experts in the State have expressed a favourable opinion in this regard.

"I am going to Delhi on December 2 (Thursday), and I will meet Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya. I will seek the Centre's views and recommendation about giving the booster dose to health and frontline workers, and scientific progress related to it. Experts here have opined that it is good to administer the booster dose to at least health workers, who were administered the second dose of the vaccine several months ago," he said.

To prevent the spread of Covid infection, instructions are given to keep strict vigil on international travellers arriving in the State and also those who come from other states especially Kerala. Based on the experience of the last year, strict measures including mandatory testing for international and inter-state arrivals have to be taken at the initial stage itself, he noted.

Reiterating that lockdown would not be imposed, Bommai stated that vaccination drives would be intensified, and there is no plan to link the vaccination with facilities offered by the government. Decision about the new year celebrations is not yet taken, and people need not panic unnecessarily, he said.

Commenting on the possibility of Omicron variant entering the State, he said, a sample is sent to National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) for testing, as experts noted that it is of a different strain. 

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News Network
November 26,2021

Bengaluru, Nov 26: The loud sound heard in several parts of Bengaluru on Friday at noon was not due to vibrations caused by an earthquake or tremor, Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Cell said. 

Mmany Bengalureans took to social media to share that they heard a loud ‘boom’ sound. “Just now heard a loud explosion sound in Bengaluru, then doors and windows vibrated. I felt this in Rajarajeshwari Nagara. #Bengaluru #Bangalore #SonicBoom? Others felt too??” a social media users asked. 

“Loud sound heard again in various parts of Bengaluru along with rattling of windows. What happened this time ? Sonic boom ? Earthquake ? Quarry blast ?” tweeted a journalist.

Reports of sound associated with mild vibrations by the local residents was received from Hemmigepura, Kengeri, Gnanabharathi, Rajarajeswari Nagar and Kaggalipura, Bengaluru today, dated 26.11.2021 between 11.50 am – 12.15 pm, a statement issued by KSNDMC Director said.

"The data was analysed from our Seismic Observatories for any seismic signatures/possible earthquake signals during the said time period. The seismographs shows no signatures of local tremor/earthquake,” the natural disaster monitor added. 

Bengalureans took to social media to report a loud sound with some speculating that it is a sonic boom. 

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News Network
November 19,2021

New Delhi, Nov 19: After withdrawing the contentious land ordinances in 2015, this is the second time that the Prime Minister Narendra Mod led union government has had to blink on the farmers' issue ahead of the state polls. In 2015, it was months before the Bihar polls and this time, it was just a few months before polls in half a dozen states.

The move comes just a couple of months before the elections in states including Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, which were the epicentres of farmers' agitation. The BJP has been getting feedback from the ground that the ongoing farmers agitation could harm BJP's election prospects, particularly in Western Uttar Pradesh where the agitation had united the jats against the government and in Punjab where BJP ally Shiromani Akali Dal broke its ties with the saffron party in protest against the farm laws.

What remains to be seen is whether the BJP tries to get its oldest ally back to the NDA fold besides forging a closer tie with Captain Amarinder Singh's new party.

In UP, the Samajwadi Party, the BJP's main rival, had allied with Jayant Chautala-led Rashtriya Lok Dal in Western UP, which appeared to pose a big challenge to the BJP after the farmers agitation. In his speech before announcing the decision to withdraw the farm billls, PM Modi reached out to the marginal farmers, who he said account for 80 per cent of the community. 

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