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Found 6 results

  1. NAGPUR: The otherwise neglected working plan wing of the forest department is again in the news for all the wrong reasons. This time a senior IFS officer has put his former boss in a spot by seeking information under the RTI Act about irregularities in procurement of geomedia software, high configuration workstation and satellite imageries worth lakhs of rupees.Read at: IFS officer?s RTI query puts former boss in a spot - The Times of India
  2. Uttar Pradesh is the worst affected with 3,422 deaths in six years, followed by Assam (1,320), Bihar (1,072), West Bengal (736) and Tamil Nadu (120). These figures came in response to an RTI query from Delhi University law student and Muzaffarpur (worst AES-affected Bihar district) resident Abhishek Ranjan. Read at: 6,867 AES deaths in six years, govt puts in place plan in 60 districts | The Indian Express
  3. Chhattisgarh is introducing the Right to Information Act (RTI) in school curriculum in a move aimed at making its people more aware of their rights at an early age and growing a culture of transparency in the young state. The State Council for Educational Research and Training has decided to included an extensive chapter on the RTI Act in its proposed books for class VIII in the upcoming academic session in what may be the first such attempt in the country. SCERT director Nand Kumar told The Indian Express that it is an attempt to make education more relevant and practical for school students. "Our decision to introduce a chapter on RTI aims at providing the power of knowledge to our students," he said. Kumar is also the secretary of an agency for the implementation of the RTI Act in Chhattisgarh. "The chapter is being introduced in the syllabus on an experimental basis but we aim to make it a permanent part of curriculum for students of social studies in all senior classes," Kumar said. The chapter, titled Suchna Ka Adhikar, in the social science book for class VIII explains through examples how it can be used to protect a person's rights. It also details how a person can approach a government department for certain information, how and what amount of fees need to be paid and what the grievance redressal mechanism is, if the person is dissatisfied with the information provided by the authorities. A case study in the chapter depicts how a group of daily-wage labourers, in a backward Chhattisgarh village, were being paid lower than mandated wages. A labourer's niece comes to know of the Act and files a petition under it, and secures the correct wage for the workers. Chhattisgarh puts a chapter on RTI Act in school books
  4. NEW DELHI, DECEMBER 15 The Central Information Commission’s decision to declare power companies to be “public authorities” and therefore within the purview of the Right to Information Act appears to have set the discoms against the DERC. The discoms say they would rather provide information through the DERC and not be brought under the RTI while the DERC says the discoms are “taking recourse to technicalities to get away from the RTI”. As per the CIC order, the power companies are required to appoint Public Information Officers (PIOs) by February 1. They are also required to inform the public by putting up the details of the RTI infrastructure on their websites. For now though, the discoms are “studying the CIC order” and are in no hurry to implement it. A DERC member, who did not wish to be quoted, says they have always said that the discoms should, in “the spirit of the RTI Act appoint PIOs” since they provide a “public service". The CIC does not want to continue to receive RTI applications seeking information from the discoms while the DERC says that it is “not willing to act as an information box” as it is a regulatory body and not an information provider. “The consumer should be approaching the discoms directly and not through us,” it says. BSES says the discoms are “studying the order and deliberating whether to challenge it in Delhi High Court”. They are opposing the order on several grounds, one of which being that it requires new staff to be appointed, “virtually creating another bureaucratic structure”. The discoms are ready to continue to provide information to the DERC if asked but want to stay out of the RTI’s loop. They maintain that all the information is available on their website anyway. In a recent case the CIC, while deciding an appeal in a power-related issue, iterated its earlier order that the discoms are public authorities as they were “created by a government notification and its finances are directly or indirectly received from the Delhi Government”. CIC Wajahat Habibullah says: “Even as we have maintained that the discoms are public authorities the DERC is also liable to provide information if it is sought from the public.” RTI ruling puts discoms, DERC at loggerheads
  5. Kolkata, September 20 Top bureaucrats of Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s Government have been sent running for cover by a simple query put up in a right to information (RTI) application. How did the Government appoint three retired chief secretaries to posts not permitted by Article 319 of the Constitution? The chief minister, the leader of the Opposition and the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly are members of the panel that cleared the appointments. On May 16, one Amitabha Chowdhury of a non-governmental organisation filed an RTI with this question: How did the Government appoint Rathin Sengupta, N Krishnamurthy and Sourin Roy to the Human Rights Commission after they had retired from the Public Service Commission (PSC)? Sengupta, Krishnamurthy and Roy were successive chief secretaries when Jyoti Basu was the chief minister. Each had been appointed chairman of the PSC after retirement, and then as salaried member of the Human Rights Commission. Amitabha Chowdhury has also asked for the file notings. The state public information officer (SPIO) of the Home (political) department has failed to come up with a reply in the mandatory 30 days. Top bureaucrats of Home and Law departments are also desperately looking for an answer. Article 319, “on prohibition as to the holding of offices by members of Commission on ceasing to be such members”, says that the chairman of a state PSC shall be eligible for appointment as chairman or member of the Union PSC, “but not for any other employment either under the Government of India or under the Government of a State”. When Ananda Ghosh, the SPIO and joint secretary of the Home (political) department under the chief minister received the application, he realised the implications and rushed to Home Secretary Prasad Ranjan Roy, and suggested they get a legal opinion from the Law department. The law department sat on the matter.When the RTI petitioner did not get a reply, he complained to state Chief Information Commissioner (SCIO) Arun Bhattacharya in the first week of September. On the September 12, Arun Bhattacharya wrote to the SPIO seeking a reply within 15 days. On Thursday, Ananda Ghosh, by now promoted to deputy secretary and holding the post of appellate authority, met the home secretary again and impressed upon him the need for a speedy reply. SCIO Bhattacharya has told the petitioner that he will arrange for an open hearing if he does not get a reply within 15 days. The file notings are also important because appointments to the rights body are made by a panel whose members are the Chief Minister, the leader of the Opposition and the Speaker, among others. Ananda Ghosh is in a fix. “It is very difficult for me to get information on a matter handled by a panel whose members are such important people,” Ghosh told The Indian Express. “The question is complicated and the Government will have to think carefully before it replies,” Ghosh said. Ghosh admitted any further delay will be unlawful,” he said. The petitioner, Chowdhury, says he knows the Government has done something unconstitutional. “But I still want to see the file notings,” he said. “Whoever gave the order for their appointment will be implicated.” Krishnamurthy, when contacted in Mumbai, said: “The law has many interpretations. I cannot comment whether it was unconstitutional or not,” he said. “It is best to take legal advice.” Speaker Hashim Abdul Halim, one of the members of the appointing panel, told The Indian Express that he will not be able to comment off-hand. What Constitution? Govt puts retired bureaucrats in top posts
  6. MUMBAI: The Right to Information (RTI) Act—perhaps one of the best tools in the hands of the common man—has become a pain to senior officers in the government. If they fail to respond to requests for information under the Act, they are compelled to pay a fine of Rs 25,000. To get around the problem, the income-tax (I-T) department has started re-designating junior officers to perform the role. Until now, only the chief public information officer (CPIO) could respond to any request for information. In a recent circular, however, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), has said that junior officers at the level of assessing officers be assigned additional responsibilities as CPIOs. In the earlier dispensation, CPIOs had to be at least at the level of a commissioner, if not a chief commissioner. "It's clearly a retrograde move. Senior officials should stay in-charge of passing information under an important Act like the RTI," said Narayan Varma, a leading chartered accountant and an active member of the RTI cell run by the Bombay Chartered Accountants Society. Shailesh Gandhi, an RTI activist, agrees. "By re-designating juniors as CPIOs, the tax department is just passing the buck which in the long run will prove very expensive." RTI experts say senior officials should continue to play a key role especially in departments like I-T that deal with sensitive information. I-T dept puts RTI tasks in juniors' hands-India Business-Business-The Times of India
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