At the launch conference of MTNLs VoIP service to provide international calls at Re 1 per minute to anywhere in the world, the telecom majors chief RSP Sinha got the novel idea of holding a live demonstration of the service. So, he placed a call to somebody in the US, whose identity was not disclosed, and started chatting. Good morning, said an affable Sinha. Since it was about 4 am in the US, his interlocutor could not have disputed that (the morning part), but no reply was heard. More calls were placed to more countries. The same story: Sinhas voice, interspersed with silence. The phone was not in speaker mode. Sensing a sceptical audience, he asked some scribes to step up and have a go themselves. Come and try yourself... dont worry, the speakerphones not on, so nobody will be able to listen to your conversation, he told a lady reporter.
Government policies are acquiring a jack-in-the-box qualityopen the lid, and out they spring. It helps, of course, that some ministers have the privilege of thinking them up at the spur of the moment, if only to impress the media. In the railways, for example, its hard to match the grandiosity of Lalu Prasad, who has things to say about everything from neon lights to tea cups. This makes terrific copy for newspapers, but it also means that those who populate the corridors of Rail Bhawan have to stay ever alert. You never know when quick documents have to be drafted.