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A major success: RTI Amendment differed by Government #SaveRTI

Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, Jitendra Singh was scheduled to introduce the Bill in the Rajya Sabha in the post-lunch session on Thursday. Though he was present in the House, the government decided not to introduce it as the Congress and other Opposition parties were against the amendments being moved on the grounds that these would dilute the 2005 Act.

Sources said the government suggested that the Opposition allow the Bill to be introduced and then sent to a Select Committee of the Upper House. But since the Opposition did not relent, the government deferred the introduction till the time a consensus on the fate of the Bill could be reached.
The amendment Bill seeks to change the clause dealing with the term of the Chief Information Commissioner and the Information Commissioners and the State CICs and state ICs. As of now, they get a term of five years from the date they assume office. The Bill states this would be changed to a "term as may be prescribed by the Central government”. This would give the Centre the discretion to terminate the service of the CIC, ICs and the state CICs and ICs in case they do not conform to the will of the government.
The Bill also states that the salaries and allowances of the CIC, ICs, state CIC and state ICs shall be such as may be prescribed by the Central government. Though the amendment also maintains that salaries and allowances and other conditions of service of these officials shall not be varied to their disadvantage after their appointment, the government can reduce it for future appointees.
As of now, the CIC and ICs get the salary equal to that of the Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioner respectively. In the states, the state CIC gets the salary of the Election Commissioner and the state ICs get the salary of the Chief Secretary.
The Opposition does not agree with the NDA government’s view that the salary of the CIC and information commissioners should be reduced as this is equal to that of a judge of the Supreme Court.

RTI brought number plate on the car of the President of India instead of State Emblem- HC

New Delhi: Delhi High Court has ruled that vehicles of India’s top constitutional authorities like the President, the Vice President, Governors and Lieutenant Governors will have to be registered with the authority. According to the ruling, all vehicles need to clearly display the registration numbers. A petition, filed by an NGO Nyayabhoomi, claimed that the practice of displaying the state emblem, instead of the registration numbers, make the dignitaries become easy targets for terrorists and anyone with malicious intent.

In December last year, the Delhi High Court had asked the Centre and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in the national capital to place before it the rules regarding display of just the State Emblem of India on the cars of the constitutional authorities and dignitaries, such as the President, instead of their registration numbers, PTI had reported.
The petitioner also sought direction to the Delhi government and Delhi Police to seize the cars used by the Rashtrapati Bhawan, Vice President, Raj Niwas and Protocol division of the Ministry of External Affairs for not being registered under the Motor Vehicles Act, PTI reported.
After the petition was filed, a bench of acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar had directed both the governments to check the position and inform it about the same.
The plea was based on an RTI response by the Ministry of External Affairs which stated that none of its 14 cars maintained were registered.
Last year, the Rashtrapati Bhawan had refused to provide the registration numbers of all the presidential vehicles on the ground that disclosure of such information would endanger the security of the state and life of the President.

90 Surat buildings falling in flight path- RTI

Information sought under the Right to Information (RTI) Act from the AAI has revealed that there are 90 buildings in about 18 residential projects — identified as obstacles — in the path of aircrafts landing at Surat airport from Vesu end. According to minutes of meeting (MoM) between the AAI and the civic body in March this year, it was decided to carry out building-wise survey of all the 90 buildings to ensure the accuracy of obstacle height.

According to the reply from the AAI under RTI, the Surat airport director will submit all the details to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) about the violation as per Rule 5 of the Aircraft (demolition of obstructions caused by buildings and trees etc.) Rule, 1994. The final order by DGCA directing the owners to demolish the buildings as per Rule 6 of the Aircraft (demolition of obstructions caused by buildings and trees, etc) Rule, 1994 will be announced by the end of this year.
An officer at Surat airport asking anonymity said, “Due to the building height obstructing the funnel of the runway, the DGCA has displaced 615 metre of the runway. Out of 2,905 metre, we have only 2,250 metre runway for use. If the building heights are trimmed, then the entire full length runway would be used by aircrafts and the future development of runway expansion at 3,810 metre will be taken up on priority basis.”

Finally Andhra Pradesh gets 3 new Information Commissioners

VIJAYAWADA: The names of retired IPS officer BV Ramana Kumar, retired IFS officer M Ravi Kumar and advocate Katta Janardhana Rao were cleared for appointment as RTI commissioners.
The selection committee consisting of CM N Chandrababu Naidu and Finance Minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu went through the applications submitted by several aspirants on Thursday before finalising the three names. Sources said that though leader of opposition YS Jagan Mohan Reddy is also a member of the selection committee, the government was forced to complete the process without him as he skipped all the three meetings citing his preoccupation with padayatra. The names will be referred to the Governor for his approval.

It is learnt the government will issue notification for appointment of RTI Chief Commissioner post soon and will complete the process at the earliest as there is a case pending in the High Court for completion of the exercise.
With the HC taking a serious view of the delay in appointment of RTI Commissioners by the state government, the committee cleared the names of three persons for RTI Commissioners.
BV Ramana Kumar one among the selected, was known for cracking the sensational Gold Dollar scam in the world renowned TTD. He also worked as the chief vigilance and security officer of TTD besides working as SP of various districts, DIG (CID and Krunool range) and Joint Commissioner of Police Vijayawada.

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