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  1. MUMBAI: Maharashtra's chief information commissioner Ratnakar Gaikwad has slammed the state government for withholding information on Public Private Partnerships (PPP). This, despite a central government circular directing the state government's chief secretary to publish certain information about PPPs directly on its website. Gaikwad has also ordered the additional chief secretary of the public works department and managing director, MSRDC, to ensure all information on PPP projects in the state, particularly regarding toll contracts, is put out on their websites by August 24. Read more at: Public-pvt partnership info must be put online? - The Times of India
  2. CHANDIGARH: Not moved by the plea of a sarpanch in Jind district that he failed to supply information under the RTI Act as he did not understand the application written in English, the Haryana State Information Commission on Wednesday slapped a fine of Rs 10,000 on him. State information commissioner Hemant Atri also imposed a penalty of Rs 5,000 on the village secretary Banwari Lal, a government official, who had also taken the same plea that he could not understand the application.Read more at; Sarpanch pays for not understanding English, fined Rs 10K by info panel - The Times of India
  3. BHUBANESWAR: For the first time since the Odisha Information Commission was formed in October 2005, the state government has invited applications for the post of the chief information commissioner (CIC), ending the decade-long tradition of appointing retired bereaucrats to the post. Read at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhubaneswar/With-ad-for-CIC-government-ends-babudom-in-Odisha-info-panel/articleshow/47578726.cms
  4. Going by the advice of the Union Ministry of Law, the Centre has included Leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge in the three-member committee to select the Chief Information Commissioner (CIC). Read more: Kharge to become Part of CIC Selection Committee - The New Indian Express
  5. The Common Law Admission Test-2015 (CLAT-15) merit list for both undergraduate (UG) and postgraduate (PG) programmes were revised after a panel of experts re-evaluated the response sheets in the wake of emergence of “incorrect” answers to a few questions. The CLAT-15 Committee, after being bombarded by RTI applications, has decided to provide individual question papers along with the response sheets to all candidates who appeared for the test. Read at: Panel revises CLAT rank list for UG, PG
  6. The government, however, seems to be in no urgency despite a Supreme Court order in February this year asking it to expedite appointments. According to a RTI response, the women and child development (WCD) ministry invited applications after the term of chairperson Kushal Singh expired in October 2014. About 1364 people applied for the post of member while 169 applied for the position of the chairperson. Sources said the ministry had at least twice sent a list of shortlisted candidates which was rejected by the PMO. Read more at: 7 months on, child rights panel exists only on paper - The Times of India
  7. CHENNAI: With J Jayalalithaa's return as chief minister on Saturday, RTI activists are keeping their fingers crossed. The government is yet to start the selection process for the new commissioners including the State Chief Information Commissioner (SCIC). The post of SCIC has been lying vacant ever since K S Sripathi's term ended in April. Read at; http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/CM-in-place-what-about-info-panel-head/articleshow/47401690.cms
  8. NEW DELHI: Children of past and present members of Parliament and state legislators should not be eligible for OBC reservations, the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) has recommended. The OBC panel has argued that election to "high offices" like Parliament and state legislatures shows that the said individuals have achieved "social elevation" and "should logically come within the category of creamy layer". Read more at; MPs, MLAs fall in OBC ?creamy layer?, panel says - The Times of India
  9. After a series of safety concerns over the Mumbai Metro, there's more worry for Mumbaikars as Reliance Infrastructure-led Mumbai Metro One Private Ltd (MMOPL) is unwilling to share public documents or basic details not only with the citizens but also with Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), the government agency partner. Read at: dna exclusive: Metro operator won't reply to RTIs; even MMRDA can't get info | Latest News & Updates at Daily News & Analysis
  10. When it comes to selection of state information commissioners (SICs), the state government seems to have a strong predilection for former bureaucrats. Right to information (RTI) documents accessed by The Indian Express show that although the state government had received applications from former judges, software professionals and others from varied fields for the post, none of them was selected for the position of SIC. Several social activists have questioned the alleged and ironic “lack of transparency” in selecting the SIC, a post that is supposed to encourage transparency.Read at: Professors, educationist lose info panel race to ex-bureaucrats | The Indian Express
  11. Read at: Apache Tomcat/8.0.3 - Error report Three days after Comptroller and Audit General (CAG) Shashi Kant Sharma directed social audits on NGOs and panchayat bodies directly funded by the government, state information commission has ordered all state government-funded NGOs to come under the ambit of RTI Act. The order also hauls up principal secretary, general administration department (GAD) K Suresh, for failing to implement provisions of RTI Act.
  12. "The Commission is surprised to know that the government is keeping such kind of vital issues pending, especially when it is concerned with mentally retarded persons, who require constant guardianship," Information Commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu said in his order. Read at: No panel to decide guardianship of mentally challenged: CIC | Business Standard News
  13. For a reality check, TOI correspondent used the privilege of being a woman and sought an early hearing on November 21, 2014, on an appeal filed under section 18 © of RTI Act, 2005, with chief information commissioner. The request pertained to an inquiry on pending RTI queries on funds spend by general administration department (GAD) on RTI awareness in the state. TOI is yet to receive an early hearing. Read more at: RTI queries by women to info panel hit a wall - The Times of India
  14. BHOPAL: State Information Commission has slapped a penalty on an officer for withholding RTI information. Chief information commissioner KD Khan imposed Rs 25,000 penalty on deputy secretary of urban administration development department for not giving RTI information within 30 days. Read at: State info panel imposes Rs 25K penalty on dy secy - The Times of India
  15. As per attached letter from DoPT, the Government is seriously considering introduction of Postal Stamp (or RTI Stamp) as payment for RTI application fees. postal stamp as RTI fees- 6-1-2015.pdf
  16. [h=1]Law panel to Modi Govt: Bribery for 'good intention' should not be considered a crime[/h] New Delhi, Feb 17: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, throughout his electioneering, sought votes to curb widespread corruption and bribery in the government offices, but if reports are to be believed then Law Commission has come up with a recommendation that might promote bribery. Bribery to be legalised in India? As per reports, suggesting amendments in the Prevention of Corruption Amendment Bill, 2013, the Law Commission wants to decriminalisation of bribery 'if taken for a right cause'. That means, the law panel has suggested the government to not to penalise a government employee if he is caught seeking bribe for a good cause. For this, the panel has come up with a justification that Indian employees do not seek bribe only for their personal interests, infact bribe here is taken to get some of the work done on time. If this recommendation is accepted then only those public servants would be punished who misused their office by taking bribe. It must be noted that taking money or favours to get the work done is legal in several countries, there it is termed as 'facilitation fee'. A person is free to pay some extra money to get his/her work done quickly. With India bidding big ticket investments, the Law Commission, last week, recommended mandatory norms by government for commercial organisations to prevent bribery. Recommending amendments to the bill, the law panel proposed introducing a "statutory obligation" on the government to publish guidance about the procedures that commercial organisations can take to put in place "adequate systems" to prevent bribery to public servants. It said in Section 9, a new sub-clause can be added to make it clear that "the central government shall prescribe and publish guidelines about the adequate procedures, which can be put in place by commercial organisations to prevent persons associated with them from bribing any person, being or expecting to be, a public servant". It said the guidelines shall be prescribed and published by the Centre "after following a consultation process in which the views of all the interested stakeholders are obtained". Section 10 of the bill pending in the Rajya Sabha extends the liability of the commercial organisation to every person who is in charge of and is responsible to the organisation for the conduct of its business through a deeming provision. The panel in its latest report submitted to the Law Ministry has also recommended amending Section 10. The revised Section 10 now states that if an offence by a commercial organisation is proved to have been committed with the consent or connivance of any director, manager, secretary or other officer of the commercial organisation, then such person shall be guilty of the offence and will be liable to be proceeded against and punishable with imprisonment which shall not be less than three years but which may extend to seven years. OneIndia News (With inputs from PTI) Read More: Law panel to Modi Govt: Bribery for good intention should not be considered a crime - Oneindia
  17. All the cooperative banks in Haryana would henceforth be considered to be public authority and thus come under the ambit of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the Haryana State Information Commission has held. Read more at: Co-op banks come under RTI Act ambit, says info panel
  18. GURGAON: The state information commission has issued a bailable warrant against a superintending engineer of the Haryana irrigation department for repeatedly failing to appear before it and not responding to an RTI plea seeking the layout plan of the Jharsa embankment near Rajiv Chowk. R C Singhal, who was the special public information officer (SPIO) in Gurgaon in the department of irrigation and is now posted in Faridabad, has now been directed to appear before the commission personally in the next hearing on February 16. The engineer had allegedly ignored the commission's notice sent eight months ago. Read at:Info panel issues bailable warrant against engineer - The Times of India
  19. The MP State Information Commission has taken a very stern view of the failure of the food and drugs administration (FDA) officials to provide information related to adulterated food under the right to information (RTI) Act and issued show-cause notices to three officers. During a hearing on Wednesday, information commissioner Atmadeep directed that show-cause notices should be issued to the chief medical and health officer (CMHO) of Bhind district Rakesh Sharma (who is also ex-officio deputy director, FDA) and food security officers of Ashu Kushwaha of Sagar and Shivraj Pawak of Hoshangabad. Read at: MP: Info panel issues notices to 3 food and drugs administration officials
  20. [h=1]Information Commission panel sends wishlist to CM Devendra Fadnavis for better service[/h] In its bid to serve the citizens better, the State Information Commission (SIC) has sent a slew of demand to the Devendra Fadnavis government. The demands come in the backdrop of the meeting the CM had with four information commissioners – Ratnakar Gaikwad, A K Jain, T Thekkekakra and D B Deshpande – on January 16. Among the demands are request for a legal cell and inspection cell at the commission. In its letter, the SIC states that the legal cell will come handy while handling complicated cases. "A number of times there are high court orders that are conflicting. In such cases, we need some guidance and having some legal experts could help," said Ratnakar Gaikwad who wrote the letter. The other demands include filling up vacant posts, particularly that of the information commissioner of the Amravati bench. The bench as of now has close to 6,000 appeals pending. It also raised questions of "skeletal" staff strength in each of the benches. Inspection wing at each commission to check compliance of the panel's orders is also desired. The letter further talks of information officers (PIOs) not being fined. Training of PIOs and first appellate authority and disadvantaged persons is recommended to raise awareness of the RTI Act. The letter also suggests the government consider having the implementation of the Public Records Act and Services Act under one department. Bhaskar Prabhu of the Mahiti Adhikar Manch backed the demands. "If there is a legal cell, commission will be better informed. Contentions should be in front of the commissioner before hearing. In many cases, the complainant is not called, so compliance ends up becoming a one-sided affair. A number of times inquiries are not conducted properly which make orders of the commission redundant." Prabhu said as far as compliance is concerned, a network of citizens' groups can be of great help. Read More: Maharashtra: Information Commission panel sends wishlist to CM Devendra Fadnavis for better service | Latest News & Updates at Daily News & Analysis
  21. Maharashtra government mulls over handing RTS implementation to info panel Implementation of the much talked about Right to Services (RTS) Act that chief minister Devendra Fadnavis announced on Day 1 in office is likely to be the responsibility of the state information commission. A draft of the Act is said to be ready and will be put up online soon. Implementation of the much talked about Right to Services (RTS) Act that chief minister Devendra Fadnavis announced on Day 1 in office is likely to be the responsibility of the state information commission. A draft of the Act is said to be ready and will be put up online soon. The idea of it being with the commission was communicated by none other than Fadnavis in a meeting he had with information commissioners on January 16. In the meeting, the commissioners had sought various measures to strengthen the functioning of the commission. "His response to our demands was positive and said the government too was keen on strengthening the commission because it was looking to give the implementation of theRTS Act to the commission instead of instituting another authority. He said soon a meeting will be held to work on the modalities," said Ratnakar Gaikwad, state chief information commissioner. While Fadnavis was not available for comment, a senior officer present in the meeting gave some reasons. "Most people are filing RTI for information because they need redressal and delivery of services. Information as such does not give them food to eat or home to live. In some cases it does help but in most services are not given to them. That's why we are looking to give the implementation of the RTS to the commission because a lot of it pertains to information and services," said the senior officer. However, the decision (of handing over RTS implementation to the commission) which the government is contemplating lacks sufficient details on how the state will make it possible. "Except for Mumbai, the waiting period for second appeals is over a year. I am not sure that by giving the RTS to the commission it will work effectively. RTI may get worse and this too may become problematic. It may not be a bad idea to have secretaries of each department as second appellate authority of sorts for RTS with time limit fixed on hearing of such appeals," said Shailesh Gandhi, former central information commissioner who has been pushing for an effective implementation of RTS. Read More: Maharashtra government mulls over handing RTS implementation to info panel | Latest News & Updates at Daily News & Analysis
  22. [h=1]Pollution control panel clueless about illegal water packaging units in Delhi[/h] There are nearly 64 water packaging units operating in Delhi, many of them allegedly extracting groundwater, even as the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) has no statistics of such units. The list of water packaging units across India with BIS licence in 2014 shows 64 such units in Delhi. However, an RTI response from DPCC revealed that the Committee does not have the data on such units even as it goes on to claim in another response that it is the agency that acts against units operating without consent under the Air and the Water Act. Environmental activist Vikrant Tongad had filed an RTI application with the DPCC seeking information on the total number of water packaging units in Delhi and how many of them were using groundwater. He had also sought information on units operating without proper consent under the environmental laws. The DPCC then replied that the data is not available. Not satisfied with the reply, Mr. Tongad checked the BIS website which clearly showed 64 such units in Delhi. Thereafter, he wrote to the Lieutenant-Governor complaining about how the DPCC did not have any data on the matter. He also sought inquiry against various small mineral water supplying agencies and packaged water units running without consent and extracting groundwater even as many areas in Delhi have been notified as over-exploited. “The DPCC’s attitude is extremely disappointing. Its officials should be acted against,” Mr. Tongad had said in the complaint. After the complaint, the DPCC supplied information about five water packaging units against which it has acted on public complaints for operating in non-conforming areas, while citing a Supreme Court order. It is to be noted that the units under DPCC’s scanner hold a BIS licence, said Mr. Tongad. “It is shocking to learn that DPCC does not have any data or statistics on such water packaging units. Who knows they are extracting groundwater or using tankers. And how is DPCC expected to act against any unit flouting the norms when it does not have the relevant data,” he added. “The irony is that the DPCC, on the one hand says it does not have statistics on the total number of water packaging units in the city. On the other hand it claims authority for acting against units operating without consent. Is it relying on public complaints?” said Mr. Tongad. DPCC could not be reached for comments. Read More: Pollution control panel clueless about illegal water packaging units in Delhi - The Hindu
  23. Govt staff leave info personal, can’t be disclosed: Punjab panel The Punjab State Information Commission has rejected a plea seeking details on ex-India leave of more than 30 days by government employees during the past 10 years of service. The rationale is that such leave, as per norms, constituted a personal matter and had no bearing on the state exchequer. The Right to Information (RTI) applicant from Sangrur, Prem Kumar Rattan — who had sought the employees’ applications for leave, the sanction, and copies of their passports and visa — also faces legal action as the commission has asked the senior superintendent of police (SSP) of Sangrur to register a case against him for furnishing a false undertaking after he had been refused information of the same nature earlier by the SIC. Information commissioner Surinder Awasthi pointed out that the applicant was aware of the case having been disposed of earlier by him, and had thus requested that the case now not be assigned to him this time. The latest decision refers to a 2012 judgment of the Supreme Court, which says that salary details, including deductions, copies of memos, show-cause notices, inquiry proceedings and income tax returns, fall in the category of personal information, because disclosure of these would amount to invasion of privacy. “The information sought qualifies to be far more personal than those mentioned in the case decided by the Supreme Court,” says Awasthi’s decision, reiterating that the public information officer (PIO) concerned was not expected to provide information exempted under section 8(1) of the RTI Act. While it must be mentioned here that the state vigilance bureau is investigating alleged misuse of ex-India leave by government employees, the SIC order says that if information related to ex-India leave were to be furnished, someone could even ask for leave availed within India, and the period thereof could be reduced or increased in the RTI pleas; resulting in no end to such requests and little time for the government departments to perform their core duties. Explaining its express rationale, the judgment says the employees had taken leave for personal visits and there was no resultant burden on the state exchequer. The availing of leave, whichever kind, due to an employee is governed by service rules which fall under the expression “personal information”, disclosure of which has no relationship with public activity or public interest, it says. The RTI Act, the apex court verdict says, should not be allowed to be misused or abused, nor be converted into a tool of oppression or intimidation of honest officers. Read More: Govt staff leave info personal, can’t be disclosed: Punjab panel
  24. During the course of their meetings across the country, the TSR Subramanian headed high-level committee (HLC) - constituted to submit a report on recommending amendments to key environmental laws - copped a lot of flak for not engaging enough with environmental and citizen groups. Now it has come to light that neither the HLC nor the ministry of environment, forests and climate change (MoEF&CC) maintained any minutes of the meetings they held within themselves or for those held with government officials, citizen groups and industry bodies. The information came in response to a Right to Information (RTI) application with the union ministry of environment, forests and climate change (MoEF&CC). The application filed by Legal Initiative for Forest and Environment (LIFE) had sought information on the total number of meetings held by the HLC, their locations and minutes of the meetings. Read at: MoEF has no minutes of 30 panel meetings | Latest News & Updates at Daily News & Analysis
  25. Dear All, We are a CA firm, and we wish to be on panel of auditors for co-operative societies. Anyone can help us with the proper address of registrar of societies mumbai where we can file our empanelment. Any info on Procedure and time taken will be a bonus. Thanks.
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