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  1. State Information Commission accused of lenience towards staff for delaying petitions The information commission was set up to ensure transparency in decision-making by government bodies, but the tables seemed to have turned on the panel itself. Recently, it has come to light that information was sought from the commission, but was denied and the commission's own staffer was fined for the lapse. In a first-of-its-kind case, a Public Information Officer (PIO) of the commission was fined Rs. 2,000 for denial of information pertaining to the SIC.Read more at; They talk transparency, but cover themselves - Bangalore Mirror
  2. In a first-of-its-kind case, a Public Information Officer (PIO) of the Karnataka State Information Commission was fined Rs. 2,000 for denial of information pertaining to the SIC. Read more at: They talk transparency, but cover themselves - Bangalore Mirror
  3. The public authority should not ignore the fact that it is a wing of government entrusted with duty of giving information, says the writer Madabhushi Sridhar. How can anybody describe spending around Rs 30,000 to collect Rs 10 fee to furnish information? It is abuse of RTI by authorities. So far, we saw abuse by applicants, which generally result in wastage of time. But abuse by authorities will drain the public exchequer. This is the pathetic story of a public authority which did not care the losses but refused to give information. Reckless misuse of appeal power is against values of transparency. Read more at: Misuse of RTI is against values of transparency
  4. CHENNAI: Upset over the lack of transparency in the selection of information commissioners, RTI activists have submitted their candidacy for the post of commissioners to the Tamil Nadu personnel and administrative reforms (P&AR) department, which is the nodal agency for the RTI Act. Read more at: Seeking transparency, activists apply for top posts in RTI panel - The Times of India
  5. Reported by Timesofindia.indiatimes.com on Jan 1, 2015 SC collegium out, panel to pick judges gets President's nod - The Times of India The Supreme Court collegium system of appointing judges for the apex court and high courts gets a burial with President Pranab Mukherjee giving assent to the judicial appointments commission bill on Wednesday. The Bill has already been ratified by at least 17 states and many more are in the process of doing it, said a senior law ministry official. It is mandatory for a constitutional amendment bill after it is passed by both the Houses of Parliament to be ratified by at least half of the states. This brings to an end a system which the apex court had, through a judgment in 1993, decided to appoint judges to put an end to the earlier practice of the government appointing judges. The process of replacing the collegium with a judicial commission was first initiated during the first NDA government when it had brought a Bill in 2003 but this was never taken up by Parliament for consideration. But after the Narendra Modi took over, Ravi Shankar Prasad, who was the law minister in the first NDA government, initiated the NJAC bill to replace the collegium and finally pursued political parties to evolve a consensus. The government will shortly notify the new Constitutional amendment replacing the SC collegium with the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC). After the notification, the process of setting up of the NJAC will begin as provided under an enabling legislation which has also been passed by Parliament along with the Constitution amendment bill. The enabling NJAC bill provides for a six-member commission headed by the chief justice of India and comprising two senior SC judges as its members besides two eminent persons and the law minister. The two eminent persons in the commission will be appointed by a panel comprising the CJI, the Prime Minister and the leader of the largest opposition party in Lok Sabha. The NJAC also has provision for a veto where it provides that no name opposed by two or more of the six-member body can go through. The two eminent persons will have a tenure of three years and one of them would be from one of the following categories: Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, women or the minority community. After the NJAC is set up, a name recommended for appointment as judge to the SC or HCs can be returned by the President for reconsideration. Though an initial recommendation to the President for appointment can be made by 5-1 majority, this would not suffice to re-recommend the same name. If a name is returned for reconsideration, the committee can reiterate the name only if there is unanimity among the members after reconsideration.
  6. PESHAWAR: Irregularities in testing for fresh recruits at the Right to Information (RTI) Commission are likely to undermine transparency and accountability, thus leaving the entire process in question, insiders told The Express Tribune on Tuesday. The commission advertised seven jobs vacancies in March. “There were vacancies for candidates between BPS-11 to BPS-17,” an official privy to the matter said. “The deadline for receiving all applications was March 16.”Read more at; RTI?s transparency questioned : Hiring irregularities leave candidates in quandary - The Express Tribune
  7. The Modi government has decided to accept five recommendations made by a panel of two former chief information commissioners AN Tiwari and MM Ansari on the steps to be taken to raise the transparency bar. The panel not only advocated a better compliance of proactive disclosures but also indicated that many employees were not really convinced about the virtues of transparency and needed lessons to change their approach. In a directive to all departments last month, the department of personnel and training director Sandeep Jain said the government had decided to accept the recommendation. Read more at: http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/govt-to-raise-transparency-bar-accepts-panel-s-suggestions/article1-1366226.aspx
  8. [h=2]Vested with arduous task of taking away significant part of people’s earnings, I-T department must be open and clear[/h]There is a need to reassure the taxpayer that his money is well spent. All this can be done only if taxation is administered in a transparent way. The refusal last week by a high court to give out the details of income-tax returns of Ajit Pawar is a case in point. A crusader activist, Shailesh Gandhi, had asked for the details of former Maharashtra deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar’s income-tax return. The high court refused. The refusal was on the ground that the petitioner could not prove that the petition was in public interest. “I had felt that the Girish Ramchandra Deshpande judgment by the Supreme Court had constricted RTI by expanding the scope of Section 8(1) (J) far beyond law and, hence, tried to get the I-T returns of Ajit Pawar through RTI,” Shailesh Gandhi told media. The following is the gist of the Supreme Court order in the case of Girish Ramchandra Deshpande. Read more at: Transparency in taxation cardinal to democracy | mydigitalfc.com
  9. Reported by Abc.net.au on 9th June 2015 Right to Information changes will improve transparency, Tasmanian Premier says - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) New procedures for releasing public documents in Tasmania will make the Government more transparent and accountable, Premier Will Hodgman says. Under the changes to Right to Information (RTI) laws, the results of requests will be published online within 48 hours of them being released. Mr Hodgman is calling the changes the biggest reform to the Tasmanian laws, bringing the state into line with Queensland and the Federal Government. He said the policy would create a more transparent and accountable Government. "I've asked, in fact directed, all agencies to publish RTI requests online within 48 hours," Mr Hodgman told a budget estimates committee. "Of course the overwhelming number of RTI requests are made by MPs, people in the media, so we consider it appropriate for that information to be available to all Tasmanians. "What this will now allow is for anyone who wants to see, to see what that information contains in its entirety, including the questions asked, the material that's able to be released. "It will stop opposition parties from misrepresenting information ... because it will be there clearly for members of the public to see." Labor and the Greens have criticised what they claim is secrecy surrounding the release of documents under RTI laws. Greens question political role in redacted documents Greens MP Cassy O'Connor showed the hearing a heavily redacted document to argue the Government's approach to releasing documents was secretive. "I don't know if you've seen what's coming back to requests for information but there's a lot of black," she said. "I reckon the toners in government departments are probably sort of gagging on toner." She asked the Premier what sort of political filters would be applied to the laws. "What's really going to change? Because I've been in Parliament for seven years now and I have never known as restrictive and political approach to Right to Information requests," she said. "What's been happening here is it's much more tightly controlled and I have not yet got an RTI request, except from Tasmania Police, that has been more of less released in full." Mr Hodgman said the procedures under his Government were exactly the same as when Ms O'Connor was a minister in the former Labor-Greens Government. He said there was an established process under law that RTI officers had to fulfil. "It is exactly the same and the same people handling the request," he said "It is unfortunate and unreasonable to suggest that they might compromise their legal and professional integrity." The secretary of the Department of Premier and Cabinet, Greg Johannes, told the hearing the only time a political office saw an RTI was to note the request when it came in and to note when the information was going out. He said political offices had no influence on the contents of the information. "They do not have the capacity to direct what the RTI will include," Mr Johannes said.
  10. It is a sad commentary on the state of affairs that a committee appointed by the Central Information Commission had to ask the Union government to be proactive in disclosing information about the foreign visits of its ministers. What forced it to give the advice was the reluctance shown by the ministers to give such information. They could not be blamed when the prime minister himself refused to share information about his visits to 18 countries in less than one year. The CIC wants the ministers to disclose all the Information as a matter of routine. Read more at: Transparency Must to End Corruption in Government - The New Indian Express
  11. debaprasad92

    Transparency in Municipality

    Kindly suggest some basic questions by which citizen can know How local Municipality working. Transparency in Municipality, Profit or loss of Municipality, budget received, etc.
  12. Another top appointment pending is of the Chief Information Commissioner, after Rajiv Mathur completed his tenure on August 22. Appointment of information commissioners at the CIC is on hold, too. Estimates suggest around 40,000 cases are pending before the Central Information Commission. In fact, recently the National Campaign for People’s Right to Information led a protest march to Parliament on the issue that there was no oversight on authorities such as the prime minister’s office and cabinet secretariat among others. The Right to Information Act provides for a CIC and a maximum of 10 information commissioners. Read more at: INFORMATION DISSEMINATION: High on social media, but low on transparency | Business Standard News
  13. JAMMU, May 21: Over six years after the enactment of Right to Information Act by the State Legislature, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court has framed the rules to enforce transparency law in effective manner and ensure that applications of the information seekers don’t remain un-disposed for quite long time and issue of multiple applications is redressed. The J&K Right to Information Act was enacted by the State Legislature in the year 2009 and it received the nod of Governor on March 20, 2009. The objective behind enactment of this legislation was to set out the regime of Right to Information for the people of the State to secure access to information and to promote transparency and accountability in the working of every public authority. Read at: Over 6 yrs after RTI Act enactment, HC frames rules to enforce transparency law
  14. Ten years after the Right to Information Act was passed by the Rajya Sabha on May 12, 2005, its implementation remains inefficient and transparency and accountability seem to be under threat in India. Experts cite poor record-keeping practices within the bureaucracy, lack of infrastructure and staff for running Information Commissions, and dilution of supplementary laws such as the one for whistleblower protection as reasons for this. Madabhushi Sridhar, Information Commissioner at the Central Information Commission, says: “In my office, my secretary doubles up as the stenographer, registrar, deputy registrar and personal assistant who must also respond to letters my office receives. Compare this with the kind of staff support courts receive. With such poor staffing how can we be expected to discharge our responsibilities efficiently?” Read at: 10 years after RTI, transparency under cloud - The Hindu
  15. Enactment of J&K Right to Information Act 2009 (JK RTI Act 2009) was indeed an achievement for National Conference led Government (2008-2014). With the passage of time, when the corruption cases got exposed, and penalty proceedings were initiated against the erring Government officers, the same Government which had enacted this progressive law in state, repealed its rules which were framed in the year 2010. The repealing of J&K RTI Rules 2010 by previous Government severely affected the autonomy of the State Information Commission (SIC). When Omar Abdullah’s Government repealed RTI Rules 2010 vide SRO No: 279 dated: 30.8.2012, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which was the main opposition party then, had criticized that ugly move and for many months party leaders continued to issue statements for the restoration of the 2010 rules. Difference between 2010 & 2012 RTI Rules: The RTI rules of 2010 contained considerable amount of detail but under J&K RTI Rules 2012 there is no guidance on how different matters - like functioning of State Information Commission (SIC) Secretariat, procedure to be adopted in case of non-compliance of SIC’s orders and other vital matters- will be handled. Read more at: Empowering Institutions of Transparency
  16. Sonia Gandhi spoke about Right to Information Act in the Lok Sabha. She said that PM Narendra Modi had made many promises to the people on transperancy and good governance. But in a 'blatant U-turn', his government, through absence of CIC has made sure that highest offices aren't accountable under RTI Act. "Information delayed is information denied. This is simply not acceptable.Read more at; Parliament Live | GST will make India a single market: Arun Jaitley | Latest News & Updates at Daily News & Analysis
  17. India ranks 37th among 102 countries on the Open Government Index 2015, which ranks countries on how transparent their governments are and the ease with which citizens can hold their government accountable. Read more at: India 37th among 102 countries on transparency list; US ranked 11th - The Times of India
  18. Mar 27 2015 : The Times of India (Ahmedabad) India ranks 37th among 102 in govt transparency index Mumbai: TIMES NEWS NETWORK   India ranks 37 out of 102 countries on the Open Government Index 2015, which ranks countries on how transparent their governments are and the ease with which citizens can hold their government accountable. The report, released on Thursday by Washingtonbased World Justice Project, is a perception survey on a random sample in three cities in each country , and has also interviewed experts in the field of transparency . Those that topped the list were high income countries such as Sweden, New Zealand, Norway , Denmark and Netherlands. “Richer countries rank higher as they have more resources and more people connected to the internet. But on removing high-income countries from the list, the correlation between a country's per capita gross domestic product and its rank on the Open Government Index disappears,“ says Juan Carlos Botero, one of the authors of the report, told TOI.
  19. Subhash Chandra Agrawal is a long-time Right To Information activist, having filed over 6,000 RTI applications, including several about the Padma awards. Last year, he had questioned the ministry of home affairs about the Padma Shri conferred on actor Saif Ali Khan when he had several criminal cases pending against him. Agrawal tells Indulekha Aravind that Saina Nehwal's recent self-lobbying for the Padma Bhushan award was undignified and she could have made her views known in a different manner. Excerpts: What is your opinion about Saina Nehwal resorting to social media at not being nominated for the Padma Bhushan? Read more: The Padma awards panel does not keep minutes. Where's the transparency: Subhash Chandra Agrawal | Business Standard News
  20. Jammu and Kashmir and Manipur are among six states which do not have dedicated websites for their Human Rights Commissions (HRCs) and most of the other states have inadequate compliance of suo-motu disclosures mandated under RTI Act, a report released by an NGO has claimed. Read more at: States Human Rights Commissions lack in transparency: NGO | Business Standard News
  21. IMG is hosting a Regional Workshop in December at Kochi, Kerala in association with Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), and Government of India. As part of the Workshop papers are invited on the following themes: Read details at: Regional Workshop on “RTI – Improving Transparency and Accountability in Government” | Knowledge Steez
  22. With over 1.98 lakh RTI petitions remain pending in state commissions in last seven year, activists have stressed on the need to make the process to seek information under the Act easy and use it as a tool to bring transparency in development process. Read more:Make RTI process easy, a tool to bring transparency: Activists - The Economic Times
  23. For a government that won office on the plank of fighting corruption and promising ‘‘achhe din’’ to citizens disgruntled by poor service delivery, one would have thought putting in place an effective anti-corruption and grievance redressal framework would be a top priority. However, after 100 days of being in power, the Modi sarkar’s report card on transparency and accountability disappoints. Read more: Poor marks for transparency | The Indian Express
  24. From an email received from Mr Venkatesh Nayak: Dear all, I have pulled out specific references to transparency and accountability from the address of the Hon'ble President of India to the joint session of Parliament, delivered Monday- 09 June, 2014 (complete text is in the attachment). I have also added some related issues mentioned in the address that may be of interest to readers. My comments are given in brackets. The purpose of circulating this extract is to enable readers to debate the expressed priorities of the Government in an informed manner and measure the performance of the Central Government over time. Transparency and Accountability: Paras 26 and 34: Government will create a policy environment that will be predictable, transparent and fair. Clear and transparent policies on allocation of critical natural resources such as coal, mineral and spectrum will be formulated. (In its manifesto the BJP had excluded foreign direct investment (FDI) from the multi-brand retail sector. There is no mention of this issue in para #26 where allowing FDI in sectors that create jobs and assets is mentioned.) Para 33: Environment and forest clearance systems will be made more predictable, transparent and time-bound. (In at least two places in its manifetso, the BJP had emphasised that efforts would be made for harnessing science and technology for the sustainable use of natural resources. It promised to focus on "spelling out in black and white how much would be utilised and at what time and pace; phasing utilisation strategically to ensure sustainability and determining how allocation of responsibility will be allocated and at what cost". There is no mention of these promises in the address. Looks like environmental clearances will be expedited and clearances issued will be placed in the public domain within specific time limits. Will this speed also ensure adequate protection and conservation of the environment remains to be seen.) Para 22: Government will make Digital India as the backbone of the Government's working. (Looks like Bangladesh's programme of Digital Bangladesh may have influenced this idea.) The National e-Governance plan will be expanded to cover all offices form the top to the bottom. Social media will be used as a tool for participative governance- engaging people directly in policy-making and the administration. (There is no mention of complying with the policy of pre-legislative consultation instituted by the UPA Government earlier this year.) Para 21: Rules under the Lokpal Act will be framed in conformity with its provisions. A system will be put in place for transparent and timebound delivery of services. Governance processes will be revisited to make them citizen-friendly, corruption free and accountable. Government records will be digitised for improving accessibility. (There is no mention of operationalising the Whistleblowers Protection Act which the BJP approved on the last day of the last session of the Rajya Sabha in February this year. Encouraging whistleblowers is an important part of the strategy to combat corruption. There is no mention of pushing through several Bills aimed at curbing corruption that are pending in Parliament or which lapsed with the dissolution of the 15th Lok Sabha.) Para 39: A policy of zero tolerance 'terrorism', 'extremism', 'riots' and 'crime' will be pursued. A national action plan will be chalked out in consultation with the States to curb communal violence and tackle the challenges posed by left-wing extremism. Police infrastructure and security forces will be modernised by equipping them with the latest technology. (IN this address there is no mention of the manifesto promises of community policing, talks with insurgent groups within the constitutional framework and the modernisation of prisons across the country.) Para 24: The number of lower courts and judges will be doubled through a mission mode project. Alternative dispute resolution mechanisms will be emphasised. (The BJP had promised that it would set up a National Judicial Appointments Commission for making appointments to the higher judiciary. This Bill was pending in the 15th Lok Sabha. There is no mention of this promise in the address to Parliament.) Some other issues of interest: Para 8: Reform of the public distribution system (PDS) using best practice form the States. Paras 9 and 32: Providing urban amenities in rural areas (the Rurban idea, whatever that means in the Indian context, because the term refers to settlements that are on the outskirts of an urban environment in other countries. In India thousand of villages may be scores of kilometers away from the nearest urban environment). 100 new cities with world class amenities will be built. Para 10: Adoption of National Land Use Policy for scientific identification and use of non-cultivable land for developmental purposes. Para 12: New Education Policy will be developed to nurture youth with the 'right kind of education', skill set and opportunity. (The National Skill Development Mission may be complemented or supplanted with the National Multi-Skill Mission.) Paras 14-15: National Health Mission and Swach Bharat Mission will be launched. [it is not clear what will happen to the existing health missions and the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan (Total Sanitation Campaign).] Paras 16-17: Van Bandhu Kalyan Yojana will be launched for the Schedule Tribes and tribal hamlets will be connected with electricity and roads. National Madrasa Modernization Programme will be launched. Para 19: Commitment to 33% reservation for women in Parliament and zero tolerance policy against violence against women. Para 30: A fast track, predictable and investment-friendly mechanism will be put in place for public private partnership projects. Para 31: The international civil nuclear agreements will be operationalised and nuclear projects will be developed for civilian purposes. (In its 2014 election manifesto the BJP had promised that it would follow an independent nuclear programme for civilian and military purposes without being encumbered by foreign influences and pressures. There is no mention in the address about investing in the indigenous Thorium Technology Programme referred to in the manifesto.) Para 40: Private sector participation will be encouraged in the design and production of defence equipment. Para 44: SAARC will be revitalised. Kindly circulate this email widely. Venkatesh Nayak Pres-16thLS-jtsession-speech-Jun14.pdf
  25. The DoPT has engaged the central information commission to prepare the legal framework to measure the extent to which ministries and various public authorities are disclosing information proactively and maintaining transparency in their decision-making process. Read more at: Transparency at ministries to be put through expert checks - The Economic Times
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