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  1. [h=1]CIC Pulls up Child Rights Protection Body for Refusing to Reveal Basic Information[/h] [h=3]The Central Information Commission said the questions raised before the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights were in “public interest”.[/h] The Central Information Commission (CIC) has called into question the conduct of the chief public information officer (CPIO) and of a consultant and an adviser at the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), for denying information to an appellant, Ajit Kumar Singh, about the the number of complaints received by the panel, the decisions in the cases where the accused were found guilty and the relief that was granted to them. While the NCPCR’s mandate is to ensure that all laws, policies, programmes and administrative mechanisms are in consonance with the child rights perspective as enshrined in the constitution of India and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the denial of information by the commission has raised doubts about the transparency of the organisation. Read More: CIC Pulls up Child Rights Protection Body for Refusing to Reveal Basic Information - The Wire
  2. As reported at sify.com on 28 May 2009 New Delhi: Disabled rights groups have approached the IT ministry with a list of 50 government websites like that of the Indian Railways, Central Information Commission and Income Tax Department which they want to be made disabled friendly. 'We have identified 50 organisations and departments in the government. We have sent a proposal to the IT ministry to make sites of these WCAG (web content accessibility guidelines) 2.0 compliant, thereby making them disabled friendly. The ministry has shown a very positive outlook on this,' Javed Abidi, convener of the Disabled Rights Group, told IANS. According to Abidi, such a move would simplify the Internet interface for people with disability by making the websites compatible with the special software they use to access websites. 'With an aim to enable disabled people to be a part of e-governance, we came to a consensus on the list after discussions with various disability groups across the country. Simple things like booking a rail ticket will be possible for people with visual impairment once the site carries out technical changes,' he said. Abidi, who is also director of the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP) - an umbrella organisation of various NGOs and civil society organisations working on disability issues - said that 99.99 percent of the estimated 5,000 websites and web portals hosted by the government of India listed by the National Information Centre (NIC) can't be accessed by people with disability. At the e-governance conference in Goa Feb 12, it was announced that all government websites would be made WCAG 2.0 compliant. These government websites would now enable web access to a wider range of people with disabilities, including blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, learning disabilities, cognitive limitations, limited movement, speech disabilities and photosensitivity. The challenge, Abidi said, was to make existing sites WCAG 2.0 compliant and sensitise concerned government departments. 'While the IT ministry initiated immediate action and made India's largest sites - india.gov.in and bharat.gov.in - accessible to the disabled, the social justice and empowerment ministry continues to drag its feet. It is ironic that it is this ministry that is supposedly nodal for various issues concerning disabled people,' he said. Abidi added the website of the National Institute for the Visually Handicapped (NIVH) was not accessible to visually impaired people. 'Similarly, the CCPD (Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities) website is still not accessible to people with disabilities. And they are supposedly the watchdogs for any Disability Act violations that may occur,' he said. Source:50 government websites to be made disabled friendly
  3. Madhu Chettiappa

    appealing in RTI act in karnataka

    i am not satisfied with the answer given by PIO and it is incomplet for my RTI question ,pls suggest me how to appeal in rti act and how much fee i have to pay inkarnataka:confused:
  4. One company AP Global India Multi Trade Ltd. promised to give high return under 1) Fixed Deposit Scheme and 2) Monthly Plan. 1) Fixed Deposit Scheme:- One year term. Amount Rs. 3 Lacs deposited. And return amount will be Rs. 3.30 Lacs after one year. 2) Monthly Plan: - One year recurring scheme. Amount Rs. 2000 x 2 per month deposited. Return amount Rs.28600.00 But after completion of term period company are not will to give return amount even principal amout also. AP Global India Multi Trade Ltd. is registered under ROC. I have question that is there any option through ROC I can get return amount using RTI act. Please help me so that I can get my promised return amount. Thanks
  5. Dear Sir, My friend's son had appeared for Nattional Trade Certificate exam at ncvt approved insititute on July 2009. His original certificate is yet to be issued. His Employer insists on original certificate issued by the DGET / NCVT. Institute staff keeps giving reasons for the delay. Almost two years since clearing the exam, no certificate was issued to him that which is accepeted by Chief personnel officer, ICF. I request your guidance on whom to approach for the information under RTI. Thanks & Regards Vinil
  6. nav_deep

    BC reservation guidelines

    I want to know what is eligiblity to get a BC (backward class) certificate in Punjab? means is there a concept of creamy layer for reservation in Punjab govt. jobs, as followed by centre government?? Where should i file an RTI for this purpose?
  7. Pl. intimate the name, designation and complete address of the P.I.O. of the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum No.X Qutub Institutional Area, New Delhi-110016
  8. rkatluri

    Consumer Forum

    Dear Members, Having not received the information with in 30 days of my RTI application, I have filed a case for deficiency in service in District Consumer forum -1, Hyderabad. However, they are not admitting my case saying that there is already a provision in the RTI Act for appeal. May I request your help to cite any recent judgements of National forum / state forums in support of my case. Thanks & regards, ARK
  9. As reported by Vimal Kumar at indiancooperative.com on 20 February 2011 Country’s courts have become store house of many itigation cases where Cooperatives argue that they can not be covered under the act. Several cooperatives, including the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd (Nafed), Krishak Bharati Cooperative Ltd (Kribhco) and National Cooperative Consumers’ Federation of India Ltd (NCCF), maintain the RTI Act is in contravention of cooperative principles. RTI cases involving, Kribhco, Nafed and NCCF are set to be heard on 17 March in the Delhi high court. According to cooperative sources government equity in grassroots agriculture cooperatives is 4.39%, and is less than 10% in the entire sector and thus they should be free of RTI prying eyes.
  10. As reported at sify.com on 15 December 2010 New Delhi, Dec 15 (IANS) As many as 1,200 schools in the national capital, including some top privately run institutions, are flouting fire safety norms, a right to information (RTI) query has revealed. While many government schools do not have basic fire-fighting equipment, many private schools have not bothered to get their facilities certified from the fire department. Delhi Fire Service (DFS), in reply to an RTI application filed by activist Manish Bhatnagar, said as many as 1,200 schools in Delhi are functioning without a no objection certificate (NOC) from it. These schools include well known ones like Delhi Public School, Vasant Kunj; Amity International School, Malviya Nagar; and Springdales School, Dhaula Kuan, the RTI reply said. Government institutions like Rajkiya Pratibha Vikas Vidyalaya, Mandawali; Government Boys Senior Secondary School, Sultanpuri; and Sarovadaya Kanya Vidyalaya, Madanpur Khadar are yet to get fire safety clearance certificates, the DFS said. Deputy Chief Fire Officer A.K. Sharma told IANS: 'Schools are bound to follow the fire safety norms prescribed by the directorate of education (DoE). If DoE tells us to verify if any school is flouting these rules, then only can we start a scrutiny.' 'We grant an NOC to a school only if it follows fire safety norms. If that's not the case, we don't give it an NOC,' he said. He said most schools seemed more interested in admitting a large number of children instead of providing them a safe environment. According to fire brigade sources, many schools in the capital start operation with a 'temporary' NOC on the understanding that they will install the necessary equipment within one year. 'Shockingly, many educational institutes never come back to the fire department for getting a permanent NOC,' said a DFS official, pleading anonymity. Delhi Education Minister Arvinder Singh Lovely refused to comment on the issue. When IANS contacted some of the schools identified by the DFS as alleged violators of fire safety rules, many refused to comment. The chairperson of a popular public school in Vasant Kunj, on condition of anonymity, said: 'We have been running the school for years and we have no problem; then where is the question of NOC for fire?' According to DFS sources, many school buildings lack basic facilities like ventilation, fire extinguishers and proper exit points to be used during an emergency. According to the Supreme Court, buildings for schools should be constructed only by a government certified engineer or by the government works department. The apex court's order followed a 2004 blaze that killed 93 children in a school in the Kumbakonam area of Tamil Nadu's Thanjavur district.
  11. I suggest to collect total number of decisions delivered in 2007-08 [01-04-2007 to 31-03-2008] and total expenditure incurred in the same period by CIC/SICs. This will give per decision cost to the public. Since it would not be possible to single-handedly collect these details through RTI for at least 20 SICs, I invite other members from different states to cooperate with me. I would be drafting RTI query which may be included in RTI appln form if any prescribed by concerned state. The data will reveal interesting facts and will be released to press and posted to state/central govts for corrective steps. Pl comment.
  12. sracenta

    criminal records

    Sir, currently i am developing web application which keep track of resourses for transport companies, in my system i want to implement criminal verification, in which i can aware my client companies that employee which working with you had any minor or major criminal record. so can i get help from any organization which will tell me wheather particular person carries any criminal record or not
  13. ‘NCW, PMO misled by Noida police’ Noida, December 27 Questioning the action taken by the Noida police to prevent the Nithari killings, the victims’ kin and activists working with them have alleged that officers of the Noida police misled the National Commission for Women and, subsequently, the Prime Minister’s Office was misled too. Commodore Lokesh Batra, an RTI and social activist who is planning to organise a meet at Jantar Mantar on December 29, said today, “We need to let the world know how officials from our governance system, who could have saved many lives if they had gone about their duties properly, have all gone scot-free.” In explanations given to the National Commission for Women (NCW) through an action taken report on six girls missing from Nithari village in 2005, the Noida police mentioned that teams were sent to various places like Muzaffarnagar, Faridabad and Gurgaon, among other cities in the state and elsewhere in the country. Police records, according to information received in a letter under a RTI application on January 4 earlier this year, say that no officer has ever claimed reimbursements after such visits. “It is amazing how officers of the (Noida) police kept paying for all the tours from their own pockets. They were either too concerned or no such search attempts were ever made,” Batra said. In a letter dated January 10, 2007, written by Inspector General of Meerut Zone Jagmohan Yadav to the Additional Director General of Police (Human Rights), Lucknow it is mentioned that a letter sent by a committee of the NCW looking into the case of the six missing girls on September 9, 2005 was never received at the office of the then Noida Senior Superintendent of Police Piyush Mordia. Interestingly, in a letter sent to the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Meerut Zone, dated December 12, 2005 Piyush Mordia himself mentions attaching a copy of the action taken report on a request sent through a letter dated September 9, 2005 along with the original letter. “Clearly, high ranking officers were trying to save each other when questioned by the NCW and even resorted to blatant lying and denial in the effort to do so,” Batra said. After the NCW committee reported that six girls were missing, DIG Meerut disputed their claim, saying the number of missing girls was five. Jhabbu Lal, who registered his case in 2005, said, “All six families had appeared before the NCW and submitted their complaints with copies of the FIRs.” In a letter sent to the Noida SSP by the then Additional SP Saumitra Yadav, dated September 9, 2005 Jhabbu Lal’s complaint that, “We suspect that the person responsible for children going missing is from the Nithari village”, was quoted. “If action had been taken instead of suppressing figures and cases, so many people might not have lost their children,” Batra said. While Payal (whose murder case is presently with the Special CBI court in Ghaziabad) had been missing since May 7, 2006 and even an FIR was not registered, in a letter written to the PMO in September 2006, Shailendra Pratap Singh, the then DIG Meerut Zone, said the Noida Police was taking all necessary actions. “Had the necessary action actually been taken, the reality would have been different today,” Batra said. According to information provided by the Noida Police in a reply to a RTI application on February 19 earlier this year, there was no chowki in-charge at the Nithari police post for three months, from February 20 to May 23 in 2005, around the time when the first missing case, of Rimpa haldhar, was reported, on February 10. Once again, an FIR was not registered. Also, on an average, no officer stayed there for more than two to three months. Batra said, “I have filed several applications under the RTI Act and this information proves the negligence of officers and lays open their attempt at cover-up after that.” ‘NCW, PMO misled by Noida police’
  14. As reported at http://www.dnaindia.com on January 28, 2010 New Delhi: Narmada Bachao Andolan activist Medha Patkar's plea in the Supreme Court for transfer of a criminal defamation case outside Gujarat has been opposed by the complainant on the grounds that she allegedly suppressed various material facts and documents. The application filed by complainant VK Saxena, president of Ahmedabad-based NGO National Council for Civil Liberties (NCCL), who has opposed her plea for transfer of the case to Delhi, sought the permission of the court to place evidence on record to substantiate his allegations. He has sought to produce documents to prove that the main purpose of shifting the case to Delhi was to linger the proceedings on one or the other "false grounds" as has been done by her in other cases which were transfered from Gujarat. The NBA leader has sought transfer of the case filed by Saxena in a Gujarat in 2006 for her allegedly defamatory remarks during a TV debate pertaining to Sardar Sarovar Project. In the application, while opposing Patkar's plea, he gave reference of another defamation case which was transferred to Delhi on her plea by the Supreme Court in which she sought exemption from personal appearance by allegedly placing false medical certificate from a hospital in Nandurbar, Gujarat. The NCCL president submitted that the information gathered by his NGO under the RTI Act from the Nandurbar Police clearly stated that when she sought exemption from appearance in the Patiala house court in New Delhi on March 3, 2009 on medical grounds, she had taken out procession on the NBA's demand to the office of the collector. Saxena had filed the complaint against Patkar on June 29, 2006 before metropolitan magistrate Gheekanta, Ahmedabad, accusing her of making a false statement that he received civil contracts related to the SSP in the name of NCCL. The NBA activist has told the Supreme Court that she was seeking transfer of a criminal defamation case against her outside Gujarat as there was a threat to her life in the state from the members of the NGO. Patkar, a Magsaysay award winner, has sought transfer of the case to Delhi, contending that the apex court had earlier shifted proceedings of another defamation case filed in Ahmedabad against her by Saxena. The case is pending before a metropolitan magistrate's court here. She has alleged that Saxena's complaint was politically motivated as he was antagonistic to her ideology and her work. She claimed that he was instrumental in publishing many defamatory advertisements against her and NBA in various dailies for which she filed a defamation case in Delhi. The activist submitted that instead of her, it was Saxena who had made several defamatory allegations against her and the NBA in the television programme in which both had participated over telephone. Patkar and Saxena are locked in five criminal cases against each other. The NBA activist has registered three cases against Saxena. Source: Application filed to oppose Medha Patkar's plea in Supreme Court - dnaindia.com
  15. As reported at timesofindia.indiatimes.com on May 6, 2010 NEW DELHI: Entrance examinations for B Ed in several other states face judicial intervention due to chaotic and arbitrary norms. After reports of violation of NCTE norms appeared in TOI, complaints of several such violations have poured in from students and teachers across the country. Maharashtra, where the common entrance test for B Ed is to be held on May 13 has fixed minimum eligibility at 45% like UP, in clear violation of the NCTE norm of 50%. The Indira Gandhi Open University has gone a step further and done away with any minimum marks for eligibility although the NCTE norms clearly state that for distance learning, minimum eligibility has to be 55%. In Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Delhi commerce graduates have been prohibited from joining B Ed programmes although NCTE norms allow all graduates to do so. In Rajasthan, lecturers in teachers education colleges have been denied UGC pay scales although the NCTE norms state that this will be the case. Responding to an RTI application filed by Jitendra Sharma, a lecturer in Jodhpur, the secretary of education in Rajasthan said that pay scales of teachers would be fixed by managements of colleges. The whole teachers education process has also come under judicial intervention several times in recent years as the scramble for expansion has become more disorganized. In 2005, the Rajasthan HC castigated the state government for not allowing commerce graduates entry into B Ed. In Kolkata, courses started in violation of NCTE norms were derecognised. Earlier, Allahabad HC had ordered that NCTE had no jurisdiction over primary school teachers qualification conditions, causing Centre to bring in an amendment to the act in March this year. Source: BEd exams: Every state following own norms - India - The Times of India
  16. gnitabhi

    Regarding Bond

    Sir, I was working in a CMM 3 Level Software company and I signed a bond with them. The bond conditions are that :- The company will provide me a Training whose cost is 5 Lakhs and in the respect of that money I have to signed a bond of Rs. 75,000. Also they take a cheque of Rs.75000 in respect of that. I have to work for them 2 years minimum. After I joined they don't provide me any sort of Training and as I start work immediately as I have more than 2 Years of Exp. But they use some advanced softwares and I was not trained on them. They also take from 1 cheque of Rs.100 to check my account. But they transfer me immediately to some another place and due to that i was unable to pay 100 in my account as it was salary account. Because i was unable to pay money and they submit the cheque that I was unable to pay and cheque got bounced. They make a bug in the performance sheet. So I told them to that you send me another place and i don't know the banks branch there and no body in my place also know. That's y i am unable to pay the money. After that I give another cheque of SBI then the cheque again got bounce and when my project manager know that cheque got bounce and I did any mistake in my work because i was not aware of working there and tools they used my Team Leader told me that you never used these softwares I feel you work in a small company previously. Then my project manager tolds me as he is very near to my Director that I have that much power that I make your life Hell. So my working got ruined after that statement because i feel that i signed a bond so that they can do any thing with me. So I leave that company in probation period as they don't provide me any training in that time. After that I they send me notices and I search job but I don't get the job so i show them i got freightened from them and want to rejoin them and join them and after that I was found that his behave was totally changed to me and he work in very good manner and if i work some sort of thing then he over reacts in very gud manner. It makes me very uncomfortable with them and again I was not feeling good with them. As this time i was manage to get job and also get selected in a bank. But My bond also says that i cannot joined there competitor. I am unable to spend money on lawyer due to my financial conditions as my mother and dadi are the pateint of brain hamarage. They send me notices to case on me that I theft there data from there office because with bond they I signed with them that if my performance is not good that they can sue me my false notions like this. That i theft there data. As i signed that because i feel that the big company have good environment. But that is not there also there is no good enviroments also people missbehave with others. Please send me answer and points on my problem. Thanks & Regards Abhishek Mital
  17. As reported by PTI in business-standard.com on 10 February 2010: NCDEX doesn't come under RTI: CIC NCDEX doesn't come under RTI: CIC National Commodity and Derivative Exchange Limited, which trades in agricultural commodity futures, does not come under the ambit of RTI Act and is not liable to provide any information under it, the Central Information Commission has held. The Commission said NCDEX does not receive any direct or indirect funding by government, one of the mandatory requirements to bring an organisation under the transparency law. "Despite the fact that 46 per cent of the equity capital of NCDEX is held by public sector undertakings, NCDEX cannot be said to be 'public authority' as there is no direct or indirect funding by an "appropriate Government". "We, therefore, hold that NCDEX is not a public authority and is, therefore, not liable to provide any information...Under the RTI Act," Information Commissioner M L Sharma held in a recent order. The case pertains to Jodhpur-based RTI applicant Indubala Agrawal who sought details of some records from the exchange, which in turn rejected the request, saying it was not a public authority as per the RTI Act. Anil Agrawal, who was representing Indubala during the hearing, pleaded before the Commission that the exchange has been "notified" vide notification under the Forward Contracts (Regulation Act), 1952. Agarwal said since NCDEX has been created by a government notification, it fulfils one of the mandatory criteria for bringing an organisation under the Act hence it should provide all the information to him. NCDEX, which commenced future trading in agriculture commodities from December 2003, was 'recognised' by Government of India on the recommendation of Future Markets Commission. He said equity participation by public sector companies amounts to indirect government financing as its money is channelised through these companies. Even if it is held that equity participation of PSUs is only 46 per cent, this may be reasonably be interpreted to mean "substantial financing" as mentioned in the RTI Act. The CIC did not consider the argument that the exchange is created by a government notification and drew parallels with the case of Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services Ltd (IL&FS), which was earlier exempted from disclosure under the RTI Act by it.
  18. As reported by Ch. narendra at mynews.in on 12 January 2010 Raaj Mangal Prasad, a Delhi-based child rights activist of Pratidhi, an NGO, found through a series of Right to Information applications that the PMO appointed in 2007 two clearly unqualified people as members, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), a statutory body. Appointed a member of NCPCR as an expert in disability, Sandhya Bajaj, had no desired qualification except being a lawyer and a Congress worker from Haryana. Deepa Dixit, the other member, who was supposedly an expert in child-related laws, was actually a corporate lawyer with expertise in mergers and acquisitions. Another RTI application by Prasad found that acting on the recommendation of the Union ministry of women and child development, PMO hastily approved the appointment of four more persons as members of NCPCR before the elections for 15th Lok Sabha. The four appointments were sought to be pushed in a non-transparent manner, without any clarity on how the candidates were selected. The decision eventually ran up against the election code of conduct and has since remained unimplemented. However, another appointment was carried through in spite of the election code of conduct -- Omita Paul’s dubious appointment as Central Information Commissioner. It is clearly documented how her lightning-fast selection and appointment happened side-by-side with the elections. Documents dug out from DOPT (Ministry of Personnel & Grievances) by Mumbai activist Girish Mittal show various instances of abuse of trust and unconstitutional behaviour. A N Tiwari and Satyananda Mishra -- both DoPT Secretaries – were asked by PMO to forward a panel of names to the PM’s selecting committee for CentralInformation Commissioners. So, acting in pure self-interest, they put their own names on a tiny short list, ruthlessly disregarding the applications of many other qualified contenders. These acts were then concealed by PMO and DoPT officials who hid these papers from RTI applicants. Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah defended such concealment of documents with strange reasoning and self-contradictory statements. The contradictions are now out in the open. Thanks to Girish Mittal, there is a wealth of documentary evidence. The selecting committee consisting of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, former Leader of Opposition L K Advani and former Home Minister Shivraj Patil, smiled upon these malpractices. Mr Tiwari and Mr Mishra were made Information Commissioners. According to government sources, DoPT Secretary Shantanu Consul, who turns 60 on 5th October 2010, will be the next to perform this great deed – this act of treason, of placing self-interest above national interest. MrConsul is thought likely to become the Chief Information Commissioner this month. If he does not, then he is almost certain to become an Information Commissioner in October after superannuation. Are such arbitrary and unlawful selections to Information Commissions and other national commissions happening because of absence of norms? Until now, large numbers of us activists believed that this was the case. But no, these things are done in spite of clear norms and procedures for search and selection of candidates. Read these two well-known DoPT circulars: 1. Search Committees guidelines 1994: http://www.box. net/shared/ jtbzsfhji3 2. Search Committee guidelines ‘07: http://www.box. net/shared/ v46ppyhhn9 DoPT has laid out these guidelines for other Central Government departments. So, Nav Nirman questioned that why can’t it practice what it preaches? Stating that DoPT is virtually an extension of PMO, it asked what use is such closeness to the power-seat of India if you can’t bend and break the rules to suit your own sweet will? Source:Shantanu Consul to be next Chief Information Commissioner through breach of explicit guidelines
  19. Atul Patankar

    Little right to information

    Editorial at hindustantimes.com on October 23, 2009 Indian officialdom’s ability to keep things to itself could put the redoubtable Gestapo to shame if it had been around. So, it should not surprise us too much that a study by the National Right to Information Awards Secretariat has found that a person has only a 39 per cent chance of getting information sought under the much-hyped Right to Information (RTI) Act. Among the reasons often cited for not giving out information are inadequate staff, low budgets and poor infrastructure. And the fact that over 60 per cent of public information officers have had no training in RTI. Granted that all these are valid. But a more inherent problem is that of a mai-baap sarkar’s unwillingness to give away even the most irrelevant piece of information to the people. The officers who do not provide information, even though constitutionally bound to, are rarely penalised. The RTI was meant to sweep the cobwebs away from India’s notoriously opaque structures of governance. But the custodians of information are not about to give up without a fight. In a country known for its chronic corruption, it is necessary that the government and its various arms are seen to function in an open manner. True, information that could have implications on national security cannot be bandied about freely. But, surely on issues like postings and transfers, utilisation of public money and the track record of those in power, the public has a right to know. Hiding perfectly legitimate, even harmless, information from people erodes the credibility of the government and suggests that it has something to hide. The argument that the RTI will be misused to pursue frivolous queries or conduct personal vendettas is baseless. These can be screened and dismissed by competent officials. Mechanisms like RTI could be immensely beneficial in the case of land records, it could be a vital tool for those who do not have the ‘right’ connections to gain information. But, so far, our officials seem wary of telling people what time of day it is if they can help it. At a time when good governance has come to dominate our political discourse, we cannot continue with this outdated opacity. It goes against the very grain of democracy to restrict information from people it is meant to empower. The government must realise that it will eventually have no option but to keep people in the know of things. Source: Little right to information- Hindustan Times
  20. As reported in thehindu.com on 24 October 2009: The Hindu : National : Government campaign on RTI not enough: Habibullah Government campaign on RTI not enough: Habibullah PUNE: Outgoing Chief Information Commissioner of India Wajahat Habibullah said here on Friday that the State governments had not done enough to spread awareness of the Right to Information Act (RTI). Speaking at the fourth anniversary celebrations of the Act organised by the Public Concern for Governance Trust here, Mr. Habibullah, who recently resigned to become RTI watchdog in Jammu and Kashmir, said: “Under Section 25 of the Act, it is the responsibility of the government to make sure that people know about the Act. Though the Doordarshan and the All India Radio have timely programmes about the RTI, the government is yet to start a huge campaign to create awareness.” Citing a study done by Shekhar Singh of the National Campaign for People’s Right to Information, Mr. Habibullah said, only 30 per cent of Indians knew about the Act. The percentage dipped in rural areas to 10. He observed that these people knew about the Act by word of mouth or through the radio but not because of any efforts taken by the government. Similarly, the awareness in urban areas was thanks to the media and non-governmental organisations. Mr. Habibullah said that the RTI could hold up a mirror to people’s needs. “If a particular department receives a huge number of queries,” he said, “the government will know that the department is inefficient and people want a change in its working.” “Conducting elections is not enough for a democracy. Some sections of society, like Naxals, do not think they are stakeholders yet. Whether the RTI is able to make people feel like stakeholders in governance is its ultimate test.” Mr. Habibullah said that government departments had the responsibility to put up information related to them outside their offices under section 4 of the Act. In addition, they also ought to computerise records and make them freely available on websites. As this had not been done yet, a majority of the queries received under the RTI so far related to trivial information. This built undue pressure on the RTI machinery. State information commissioner Vijay Kuwalekar (Pune division) said, 90 per cent of the queries were of a personal nature. “Some applicants even attach 500 typed pages with their applications,” he said. “Like in Karnataka, applications should be made in less than 150 words.” The RTI activists pointed out other flaws in the machinery like non-updation of the State Information Commission website in over three years and non-payment of penalties by public information officers.
  21. As reported at timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 11 September 2009 LUCKNOW: `Information is power' and that could be the reason why government departments are giving a cold shoulder to the RTI Act. "When a common man comes asking for information, the officials feel that they are losing their power," said Aruna Roy, a social activist. Roy was in the city to share her experiences on how she with a group of activists waged a `peaceful' war demanding the RTI Act. "We have got the Act in place after about a decade of efforts and that is the success story," she said adding that getting it implemented in letter and spirit will be another success. "Though it will again require a consistent effort," she added. She was speaking on the second day of the two-day convention on the RTI Act, and the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act organised by the National Alliance of People's Organisation and National Campaign for People's Right to Information, on Thursday. The event had about 400 people hailing from across India. Roy stressed on the need for RTI activists and people who have been using the Act to not be disappointed and brave the discouraging response from public authorities. Source: 'Consistent effort required for RTI Act to be effective' - Lucknow - City - NEWS - The Times of India
  22. Atul Patankar

    RTI amendment this session?

    As reported by Rashme Sehgal at The Asian Age on 30 July, 2009 July 29: The UPA government is planning to bring in a proposed controversial amendment to the Right to Information Act in the current session of Parliament. The proposed amendment is aimed at deleting "file notings" which many in the government believe were never part of the RTI Act as passed by Parliament. The ministry of personnel is reported to have readied the amendment and a stronger UPA government is confident it will be able to get it passed. Senior sources in the law ministry point out that details of the amendment have not reached them. But activists monitoring the RTI assert that past precedent has shown that the government often prefers to hold "informal consultations" around a controversial draft and then introduce it quietly in Parliament. Minister of state for personnel and public grievances Prithviraj Chavan’s recent statement in Parliament last week that the government does indeed plan to amend the act has further confirmed the misgivings of different civil society organisations. Mr Chavan had said in a written reply, "It is proposed to review the number of organisations in the second schedule to the RTI Act 2005 and make rules for more disclosures of information by public authorities." Shekhar Singh of the National Campaign for People’s Right to Information, who is closely associated with bringing out an independent report monitoring the functioning of RTI along with the Tata Institute of Social Sciences and the Centre for Studies of Developing Societies, believes the pressure to amend the act has come from both MPs and bureaucrats. He believes several parliamentarians had during a parliamentary committee meeting expressed dissatisfaction at the functioning of the act. "While speaking before a parliamentary committee, many MPs claimed they were upset at their inability to access information pertaining to the functioning of state legislatures. Nor, under the act, can Member of Parliament access information pertaining to an individual officer," Mr Singh pointed out. The bureaucracy has also expressed dissatisfaction on some key aspects of the act. Their point of view was reinforced by the recent findings of the Administrative Reforms Commission report which has complained against increasing numbers of applications being of a "vexatious" and "frivolous" nature. Mr Singh refutes that the large number of applications have overstretched the public information officers (PIOs). "The deluge of RTIs is restricted to only a few ministries. On an average, 70 per cent of the 72 PIOs that have been appointed have received only 10 applications in their concerned department," he said. "Rather than sit down and analyse what are the bottlenecks in each department and ironing those out, a blanket ban on file notings will not resolve the issue," Mr Shekhar Singh added. A similar exercise was proposed in 2006 but was kept in abeyance when Congress president Sonia Gandhi is believed to have advised the government that there should be wider consultations among the stakeholders to allow the controversy over the file noting provisions to be sorted out. Sources in the ministry of personnel however maintain that neither the group of ministers nor the parliamentary standing committee had intended to include the words "file notings" in the definition of "information" given in Section 2(f). Central Information Commissioner O.P. Kejriwal says, "Information minus the notings amounts to taking the life out of the RTI Act." Source: The Asian Age - Enjoy the difference
  23. As reported by Seema Chishti in indianexpress.com on 22 April 2008: IndianExpress.com :: Testing RTI: Govt vs activists, Pricewaterhouse vs Google Testing RTI: Govt vs activists, Pricewaterhouse vs Google Govt asks PwC to study efficacy of RTI, wary activists launch own study backed by grant from Google Foundation NEW DELHI, APRIL 21: The Department of Personnel and Training has decided to get international accounting firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers to study the efficacy of the Right to Information (RTI) Act as it marks its third year on October 13. The RTI Act has been showcased by the UPA Government as one of its key achievements. Suspicious that this study could end up helping babus instead of citizens, leading RTI activists, including Aruna Roy and her Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) and Shekhar Singh and his National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI) have launched their own alternative study. They have formed RAAG (RTI Accountability and Assessment Group) which will examine what they call “the RTI regime.” Significantly, Google Foundation has stepped in to make this study possible by offering $250,000 as an initial grant. RTI activists, using foreign funds themselves, say they are not worried about money from a foreign source, but are annoyed at the way, a “foreign organization” (Pricewaterhouse) with “little or no expertise in the manner in which RTI works in India” is being asked to assess the efficacy of RTI. Said Roy, formerly a member of the Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council and among the earliest campaigners for a Right to Information law: “The process itself adopted by the government to select such an agency for such a key audit, and the record so far of the DoPT makes us wary of the study. There is little point in just opposing it all, so we are doing our own study. All the material we collect in order to draw our conclusions will be available publicly, and then let us have a debate.” Activists say they are worried the government, under pressure from bureaucrats, might use this study to cut back or restrain certain freedoms available under RTI. Says Shekhar Singh: “The government is only looking at the problems it faces because of the RTI making the bureaucracy answerable, and how they may have to amend the Act to ensure that applications are not too long, not vexatious or filed for frivolous purposes. How we look at RTI is completely different.” The survey being planned by these groups will also involve the Centre for Studies of Developing Societies (CSDS which also does election surveys) and the Tata Institute for Social Service (TISS). RAAG also hopes to get assistance from the Nehru Memorial. Last week, DoPT hosted a seminar where Pricewaterhouse Coopers presented its Project Progress Report to members of the Central Information Commission and representatives from the State Information Commissions of Assam, Andhra Pradesh, UP, Maharashtra and Orissa, and some Public Information Officers from these states. Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah said he was consulted by Pricewaterhouse Coopers when it was finalising the project report. He says: “Their earlier proposal did have some weak points. It was too urban-centric, for instance. I have asked them to take into account the RTI’s immense impact on rural India.” Asked about the parallel study, he said: “Activists are welcome to do their own study...Why are they angry with DoPT for getting active? Earlier, it was just the CIC and the activists, with the DoPT taking a passive role, at least now they are active and are taking interest in the functioning of the Act.”
  24. As reported at Indopia.in: Indian entertainment, news,cricket news ,election result news, business news, classifieds, yellow pages, white pages, neighborhood, multi-media, movies, games, shopping on July 16,2009 New Delhi, Jul 16 (PTI) Even after six decades of its establishment, the controlling authority for the Municipal Corporation of Delhi is unknown even to the mandarins of the department, an RTI reply has revealed. Replying to an applicant Harender Singh, who asked a question to the civic body"Is MCD under NCT of Delhi or under Central Government?", the MCD Central Public Information Officer said,"MCD was established by an Act of legislature of Parliament on April 7, 1958. We don't have any clear notification." Unsatisfied by the reply, Singh, a resident of Uttam Nagar, made first appeal which was rejected by the appellate authority. The authority also said there was no ambiguity about the subject."The PIO is required to supply the material (information) in the form as held by the public authority and is not required to do research on behalf of the citizen (RTI applicant) to deduce anything from the material and supply it to him,"the authority said. Source: National : RTI application reflects lack of clarity in MCD governance : 624653
  25. Atul Patankar

    1st RTI audit a partial success

    As reported by Rashme Sehgal at The Asian Age on 17 June 2009 June 16: The first nationwide audit of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, undertaken by Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) and the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), estimates that over four lakh RTI applications have been filed from villages across the country. This will put paid to the much-repeated criticism that the RTI Act had an urban-centric bias. These institutions, working along with a group of RTI campaigners under the banner of the RTI Accountability and Assessment Group (RAAG), fanned out across 240 villages spread over 10 states including Meghalaya, Delhi, West Bengal, Orissa, Karnataka, Rajasthan, UP, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. "A minimum of six RTIs were filed from each of these villages that the RAAG team visited. But since these applications are made at the block, panchayat and district levels and often get resolved there, they do not reach the level of the state information commissioners and therefore remain discounted by the department of personnel and training (DoPT), the nodal organisation of the RTI Act," said Shekhar Singh of the National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI). The RAAG volunteers spoke to over 30,000 people in the course of group discussions apart from conducting 18,000 one-to-one interviews in order to get a feedback on this act. Over 1,000 civil servants were interviewed, including 10 senior level secretaries, of the Central government to get their assessment on what they felt were its plus and minus points. It was found that only six per cent of applications were from government servants putting paid to the myth that the act was being used by bureaucrats to find out about their service conditions. "The RAAG team also filed 600 RTIs in order to understand how the act was working," Mr Singh pointed out. The conclusions arrived at were that bureaucrats did fork out the information in 55 per cent of the cases, though not within the stipulated time frame. This is contrary to the government assessment which is claiming a success rate of 70 per cent he said. The applications reflect the population break up in the country. source: The Asian Age - Enjoy the difference
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