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  1. In response to a query filed under Right to Information (RTI) filed by a non-governmental organisation (NGO) Watchdog Foundation, in the Kamala Mills fire case, the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) have stated, no permission was obtained from them to operate in the premises. “We have received information under RTI Act, from MPCB which has stated the officials had not issued Consent to Establish and Consent to Operate to Kamala Mills. This fact has been entirely omitted in the report probing the fire incident at Kamala Mills, given by the Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta,” said Godfrey Pimenta, trustee of Watchdog Foundation. Read more at: https://freepressjournal.in/mumbai/mumbai-kamala-mills-operated-without-mpcb-consent/1222271
  2. The AAP government has spent an average of Rs 70.5 crore annually in the past three years on advertisements -- four times more than the previous government's expenditure on print, electronic and outdoor advertising, according to an RTI reply. In the first year after assuming office in February 2015, the current government spent Rs 59.9 crore on advertisements, Rs 66.3 crore the next year and Rs 85.3 crore up to December 31, 2017, the Directorate of Information and Publicity (DIP) said in reply to an RTI application by IANS. The average annual expenditure of the AAP government on advertisements from April 2015 to December 2017 was Rs 70.5 crore. The Congress' average was Rs 17.4 crore in the last five years of its rule (2008-2013). Read more at: https://www.moneylife.in/article/aaps-media-spend-is-four-times-that-of-previous-government-rti-reply/53088.html
  3. As many as 5,177 life insurance claims for Rs 30,000-life cover provided under the Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojna (PMJDY) were received since the scheme’s inception, a query under the Right to Information has revealed. As of January 12, 2018, there are 30.93 crore Jan-Dhan accounts, according to the reply by the Financial Services Department of the Ministry of Finance to an RTI query by Neemuch-based activist Chandrashekhar Gaud. “All eligible PMJDY a/c holders who have their accounts during the period from 15-8-2014 to 31-1-2015 are covered under the life insurance cover of Rs 30,000. “As of 12-1-2018, 4,543 claims have been paid under PMJDY for life cover of Rs 30,000 and the claim amount paid is Rs 13.62 crore,” the reply added. Read more at: https://www.india.com/news/agencies/over-5000-life-insurance-claims-under-pmjdy-so-far-rti-reply-2894960/ Note: Open the link in a new browser tab and change https to http
  4. In May last year amid worsening relations with Pakistan, the External Affairs Ministry announced a new policy whereby it would grant Pakistani citizens seeking medical visas to get treated in India only if they have a recommending letter by Pakistan Foreign Minister Adviser Sartaj Aziz. A RTI query filed by Anil Galgali has however put question marks on whether Pakistan or even India is following this policy. Indian High Commission in Islamabad infomed that ‘the disclosure of this affection would prejudicially affect relations with a foreign state ie Pakistan. This information was being denied to Anil Galgali under Section 8 of the RTI act. Read more at: Mumbai: RTI activist Anil Galgali denied information on medical visas to Pakistan natives | Free Press Journal
  5. A resident of Langkyrding-Nongmynsong, under Pynthorumkhrah constituency, Teiborlang Warjri through an RTI sought information from the office of the C & RD Mylliem Block on the distribution of benefits under various schemes and beneficiaries for the year 2008-2017, i.e. 9 years. In a media press issued here, Warjri stated that as per the RTI revelation, AL Hek, the former MLA of Pynthorumkhrah, had bought CGI sheets (tin) 6700 bundles at the rate of Rs 4000, Rs 4779, Rs 5000 per bundle. The total amount comes to Rs 3, 12, 67, 400. It also revealed that Hek purchased sports materials, trophies etc., which came to a total of Rs 69, 00, 000 and distributed to the clubs and different groups. Read more at: RTI reveals distribution of benefits of govt schemes in Pynthorumkhrah LAC – The Shillong Times
  6. As per the data collected from the Union Ministry of Health by RTI activist Chetan Kothari, of these 199 failed cases, 5 were reported from urban areas and 194 from rural areas. They included 155 cases handled by public hospitals and 44 by private hospitals. The maximum failed cases were reported from Rajasthan. The break up is : Assam-1 (rural), Chhattisgarh-1 (rural), Gujarat-1(rural), Haryana-2(rural), Karnataka-1 (rural), Karnataka-3 (rural), Madhya Pradesh-7 (rural), Maharashtra-2 (urban), 26 (rural), Odisha-1(urban), 1 (rural), Punjab-1 (rural), Rajasthan-127 (rural) (83 public hospitals, 44 private hospitals), Tamil Nadu-16 (rural), Telangana-1 (urban), Uttar Pradesh-5 (rural), West Bengal-1 (urban) and 2-(rural). In the meanwhile in all over 15,000 cases of failed male sterilisation were reported in the country since 2009. The break up is: Year 2017 (199), 2016 (200), 2015 (203), 2014 (611 ), 2013 (1163 ), 2012 (1550 ), 2011 (964 ), 2010 (792 ), 2009(1530 ), 2008 (8317 ).Total-15529. The maximum were reported from Odisha -7821, followed by Karnataka- 887, Bihar-665 and Andhra Pradesh-551. Read more at: 15,000 cases of failed male sterilisation across the country since 2009, reveals RTI reply
  7. NUJS Kolkata students have filed Right to Information (RTI) requests for the report of the law school's 16-years-overdue review, as the administration has not made the report public even two months after it was submitted to the Chief Justice of India (CJI). The RTI asks for a copy of the report, the date on which the review commission had submitted it to the CJI and a copy of all the communication the commission has made regarding the report to any public office since after the report was submitted to the CJI. Read more at: NUJS students RTI admin’s alleged burial of first-ever university review report, receive no response - Legally India - News for Lawyers
  8. Ajay Jangid, RTI activist from the city had dug up data and examined each transaction for over a period of six months that helped him expose theft of biometric data by unscrupulous people for pilfering subsidized food grains distributed under National Food Security Act (NFSA) to the needy. Police investigations have so far revealed that the data of all biometric ration cards in the districts of south Gujarat were stolen and sold to racketeers by them. Read more at: Biometric data theft was exposed by RTI activist | Surat News - Times of India
  9. Less than 30 per cent of the much-hyped Nirbhaya Fund, that now has run up to Rs3,100 crore, has been utilised so far in the last five years despite tall claims by the government on women’s safety and welfare in the country, an RTI reply has revealed. The government, in the Union Budget that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented February 1, proposed to pump in another Rs500 crore into the non-lapsable corpus fund that was launched in the aftermath of nationwide outrage over the brutal rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman — given the moniker Nirbhaya, or fearless, by the media — in the capital December 16, 2012. In response to an RTI query, the Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) said till date only Rs825 crore has been utilised from the Nirbhaya Fund out of the Rs2,711 crore that accumulated in 2017-18. Till January 2018, 21 proposals have been appraised by the WCD Ministry, of which 17 have been implemented. The RTI query revealed that only Rs50 crore has been utilised by the Railway Ministry, which was given Rs500 crore from the fund for its proposal — Integrated Emergency Response Management System (IERMS). Read more at: Under 30pc Nirbhaya Fund used: RTI reply | Orissa Post | Latest Orissa News
  10. More than a year later, the full effect of the November 2016 note ban imposed by the Narendra Modi government remains a mystery. For the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) still hasn’t finished counting the returned currency notes. “Specific bank notes are being processed for their arithmetical accuracy and genuineness and the reconciliation for the same is ongoing. This information can, therefore, be shared on completion of the process and reconciliation,” India’s central bank said in response to a query by the Press Trust of India under the right to information (RTI) Act. Read more at: 15 months after demonetisation, the Reserve Bank of India is still counting the banned notes — Quartz
  11. In what could be termed a setback to the state government, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has revealed that the state government appointed DGP Loknath Behera as Vigilance Director without seeking permission from the ministry. It has further come out that an officer continuing to hold two cadre posts - state police chief and Vigilance Director - is in violation of norms. Meanwhile, the Chief Minister's Office has maintained that it's the prerogative of the state government to appoint an officer to a post. In reply to a Right to Information query from activist D B Binu, the MHA revealed the state appointed Behera as Vigilance Director without seeking permission. "As per Rule 11 of All India Service Rules, the post should not fall vacant because an officer goes on leave and the additional charge should not go beyond six months," Binu said. Read more at: https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/kerala/2018/feb/11/behera-appointed-vigilance-chief-without-mha-sanction-1771485.html Note: Open the link in a new browser tab and change https to http
  12. Activists have alleged that metro work is going on in full swing at the Aarey Milk Colony in the absence of the requisite permissions for extracting and using groundwater. According to Vanashakti, an NGO working on environmental issues that sought information from the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) regarding the extraction of groundwater under the Right to Information Act, the metro rail authority responded, saying that no such application was made. Moreover, a cement-mixing plant has also been established in the metro carshed area. The NGO has further alleged that, based on satellite images, it has been revealed that a massive amount of levelling work has been carried out at the cost of greenery at the Aarey Milk Colony without the requisite permissions. Read more at: https://www.asianage.com/metros/mumbai/110218/mmrc-in-groundwater-row.html Note: Open the link in a new browser row and change https to http
  13. Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions Jitendra Singh has admitted in the Rajya Sabha that the Government of India has “no mechanism” to monitor compliance with its own transparency directive, requiring each ministry and department to submit monthly report to the Cabinet Secretariat on proactive disclosures to be made under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005. Singh said this in reply to an unstarred query regarding the April 2016 Central Information Commission (CIC) directive to the Cabinet Secretariat to upload monthly reports of work done by all Ministries and Departments on their respective websites. Two months later, the Cabinet Secretariat issued a circular to all Central Ministries and Departments requiring them to upload the monthly reports. Meanwhile, the Delhi-based advocacy group Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), which works on RTI issues, has said that its “quick website check” of 52 Central Ministries and as many Departments reveals that only 13% of the Ministries and 5.7% of 52 Departments are compliant with the transparency directive by publishing monthly reports up to December 2017. If the Ministries and Departments that have their own websites are counted, the compliance rate for Ministries goes up to 14.89% and 6.5%, respectively, says CHRI’s Venkatesh Nayak in a report based on the quick check. Read more at: COUNTERVIEW: Modi govt's 13% ministries, 6% departments comply by Cabinet Secretariat's RTI transparency directive: Report
  14. BPCL Territory Manager Rajesh Kumar, while providing information under Right to Information Act, 2005, stated that the sale price included delivery charges. “Rs 21.5 is being taken as delivery charges and it is already included in the sale price. However, if one takes refill delivery from godown, he or she can get the rebate of the same on the sale price,” the reply states. The RTI query was filed by one Jagjit Singh, a resident of Sultanwind road. Read more at: https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/amritsar/lpg-price-includes-delivery-charges-bpcl/541588.html Note: Open the link in a new browser tab and change https to http
  15. In an evidence of politicians inviting greater public scrutiny now than ever before, two applications under the Right to Information Act have surfaced regarding some miscellaneous expenditure by the chief ministers of Delhi and Uttarakhand. Filed by RTI activists, the applications sought to know the expenditure incurred by the CMs on refreshment served at their offices and official residences. In the case of Delhi, expenditure on medical reimbursement and petrol/maintenance of the official vehicle was also sought. The Delhi government has informed RTI activist Rohit Chaudhary that office of the Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, spent a total of Rs 1.03 crore on refreshment across a period of 34 months. The time-line stretches from 14 February, 2015 – when Kejriwal assumed office – to December 2017. In Uttarakhand, office of CM Trivendra Rawat has spent a total of Rs 68,59,865 on refreshments ever since Rawat assumed office on 18 March 2017. Thats an average of Rs 6.23 lakhs a month. Read more at: https://www.catchnews.com/politics-news/rti-throws-light-on-spending-by-delhi-uttarakhand-cms-98643.html Note: Open the ink in a new browser tab and change https to http
  16. Exposing Government’s claim that no RTI application was pending for want of reply with any department in the State, the National Conference member Sajjad Ahmed Kichloo challenged the response and produced the papers in the House alleging that for the last one year a Govt department was avoiding reply to an RTI activist and same was the position in several other departments. The issue was raised by NC Member during Question Hour in the upper House today and minister Incharge R&B, Naeem Akhtar was responding on behalf of Minister Incharge GAD (Chief Minister). The Member alleged that Government was not giving correct reply. The fact is that he has documentary evidence of one such case to which information has been denied by a department for the last about one year. The activist has moved to certain quarters but concerned officers are avoiding reply. Kichloo said it is mandatory to provide information under the Act within 30 days but it is not happening and there is no proper check on the officers/ departments. He also produced the papers before the Chairman Legislative Council, Haji Anayat Ali for taking cognizance of the matter. Read more at: https://www.dailyexcelsior.com/no-rti-application-pending-with-govt-deptts-naeem/ Note: Open the link in a new browser tab and change https to http
  17. Noida authority comes with a response that no elected representatives (MLA/MP) nor a nominated member of the society (RWAs/residents) is allowed to sit in any board / internal meetings of the authority as there's no provision for the same in authority board. The authority's response came in reply to an RTI (a copy of which is with TOI) filed by advocate Ranjan Tomar, a local citizen asking whether public representative or nominated member can participate in authority meeting held to decide policies for the city. Tomar filed the said RTI (number 21219) on Dec 28, 2017 to which authority replied on Jan 29, 2018 and received by Tomar on Thursday (Feb 8). "The authority's response to my RTI (number 21219) clearly states that Noida citizens, be it elected representatives (MP/MLAs) nor a nominated member of the society (RWAs/residents), have any right to sit in meetings of Noida Authority wherein the future of Noida is discussed," said Tomar who adds that there are 81 villages in and around Noida, apart from its many residential sectors. "How can there be no public representatives, legislators, MPs' participation in authority board meeting?" questions Tomar. Read more at: RTI: RTI reply states no pubic representation in authority board | Noida News - Times of India
  18. While reports of corruption in the biggest government run medical facility Maharaja Yashwantrao Hospital (MYH) are coming to fore every day, the MYH, as well as MGM Medical College administration, refrained from sharing information to even Right to Information query about the funds and expenditure in ‘Kayakalp’ scheme of the hospital. Moreover, the college administration has even defied the orders of the director of medical education department, which had directed the dean to provide information to the RTI applicant within a month, as it’s been more than eight months since the order was issued but it is yet to share the information with the applicant. Read more at: Indore: Amid reports of corruption, MYH denies info to RTI query | Free Press Journal
  19. Even if it seems superfluous, Right to Information (RTI) activist Sanjay Shirodkar, every now and then, checks if a public authority is disseminating information, particularly under the Section 4 proactive disclosures. His time-tested barometer is to file an RTI application and seek correspondence sent and received by the head of the public authority during a specific period. That his strategy has worked manifests through the fact that offices of several cabinet ministers in Maharashtra; heads of public authorities like Public Works Dept (PWD), cultural affairs and state transport have promptly obliged. However, his latest venture in putting up such a query under RTI to the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation (NHIDCL) seems to have drawn a blank. NHIDCL, which was created by the Central Government, by taking away 2,000kms of road length from the overburdened Border Road Organisation (BRO), has denied him information. This is worth noting, as the NHIDCL has been entrusted with work estimated at over Rs25,000 crore, and perhaps much more, of public money, which it is channelising for making highways and other strategic roads in the North-Eastern states. Most of these highways are near international boundaries. Shirodkar sought information by asking for emails and letters received by the managing director of NHDCL on 4 December 2017, in order to know the latest road proposals, decisions and ongoing discussions on road construction there. This information, says Shirodkar, comes under Section 4, but he was compelled to use Section 6, as the website of NHIDCL does not disclose all that the public has the right to know. On 13 December, he received reply from the public information officer (PIO) stating that the “information sought is fudicious (no such word or spelling exists in the dictionary) in nature hence denied under Section 8(e).” Read more at: Roads are for people but National Highways & Infra Development Corp, a public authority, denies information under RTI
  20. Transmission of HIV through infected needles doesn't seem to be restricted to villages in Uttar Pradesh alone. Patients in Maharashtra too have, over the years, claimed to have contracted HIV through infected needles or syringes. An RTI response from National Aids Control Society (NACO) showed that over 500 people in the state have got HIV through infected needles. Between 2012-13 and 2016-17, 512 disclosed at Integrated Centres for Testing and Counselling (ICTCs) that exposure to infected needle was responsible for the infection, said RTI activist Chetan Kothari. Numbers suggest an average 70-200 people get HIV through infected needles every year. In 2017-18, 69 people, including 29 women, contracted the infection. Read more at: Over 500 patients in state contracted HIV via infected needles in 5 yrs: RTI | Mumbai News - Times of India
  21. The Bombay High court on Thursday, directed Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA), to take steps for preventing probable loss due to developers, who are redeveloping cess buildings, but not handing over a part of the building back to MHADA. The government agency claimed that it has not suffered any such loss and all precautions are being taken. The HC also asked Right to Information (RTI) activist Kamlakar Shenoy, who had filed the public interest litigation (PIL) to appear before the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) for deposition. The RTI activist has pointed out that developers redeveloping cess buildings under the development control rules (DCR) were bound to surrender part of the redeveloped property, in set percentage to MHADA before obtaining Occupation Certificate (OC) from the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corp (BMC). However, they were not handing over the required portion back to the authority all across Mumbai, especially in south Mumbai. Read more at: RTI activist alleges fraud in MHADA redevelopment, HC asks him to depose before ACB
  22. ACTIVISTS COME TOGETHER TO FIGHT OBSTRUCTIONS TO RTI QUERIES BY BMC More than 40 RTI activists came together at Moneylife Foundation office at Shivaji Park on Wednesday and chalked out a strategy to counter BMC Commissioner Ajoy Mehta’s controversial remarks dubbing RTI activists as blackmailers and extortionists, and blacklisting of NGO Praja Foundation for any RTI information regarding the corporation. After a two-hour discussion, the group decided to collectively write to Mehta, and meet him personally to protest against his remarks as well as BMC’s move to declare Praja Foundation as persona non grata. During the meeting, they will demand that the Mehta issue a circular to all BMC departments to not use the words blackmailers and extortionists and treat them with respect. The meeting also endorsed former Chief Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi’s demand that the BMC publish all RTI queries and their replies on its website to prevent any information being misused by vested interests. “This can be done under Section 4 of the RTI Act. This will also make the public information officers more accountable as they know that their responses will be in public domain and help further strengthen the RTI Act,” Gandhi said. Read more at: Activists come together to fight obstructions to RTI queries by BMC - Mumbai Mirror
  23. As many as 433 newborns died in 16 'Special Neighbourhood Care Units' (SNCUs) in Delhi due to various diseases in the first six months of 2017, an RTI query has revealed. Replying to the RTI query filed by activist Yusuf Naki, the health department said 116 newborns died due to pneumonia and meningitis, 109 infants died due to respiratory diseases, 105 newborns died due to lack of oxygen, 55 died because of meconium aspiration syndrome, 86 infants died due to premature births, 36 newborns died due to birth defects and 22 infants died because of other causes. Besides, the reason behind the death of two newborns is still not known. Read more at: newborn deaths: Over 400 newborns died in 16 SNCUs due to various diseases in Delhi in 2017: RTI | Delhi News - Times of India
  24. The Law Ministry has said it has no record spelling out the legal action which can be taken against those forcing a citizen to chant "Bharat mata ki jai". The case pertains to one RTI applicant Mohammed Irfan Quadri who had sought to know from the ministry whether there is any legal obligation of a citizen to chant "Bharat mata ki jai" and whether a citizen can take legal action against those forcing him to chant this slogan among others. "The respondent (Law Ministry) referred to the CPIO's reply dated April 19, 2016 and stated that they have informed the appellant that 'information sought by him construes neither any material information defined under Section 2(f) of the RTI Act, 2005 nor part of any record as defined under clause (i) of Section 2 of the RTI Act," Chief Information Commissioner R K Mathur said. Read more at: https://www.news18.com/news/india/no-law-to-act-against-those-forcing-others-to-chant-bharat-mata-ki-jai-govt-1653987.html Note: Open the link in a new browser tab and change https to http
  25. The finance ministry has told the Central Information Commission (CIC) that it does not have information about the loans given to industrialist Vijay Mallya, prompting the transparency panel to remark that the response was "vague and not sustainable as per law". Chief Information Commissioner R K Mathur, while hearing the matter of one Rajiv Kumar Khare, told the finance ministry official that the Right to Information (RTI) application filed by the applicant should be transferred to the proper public authority. The finance ministry official may have claimed that the ministry does not have information on the loans sanctioned by different banks to Mallya or the details of the guarantee given by Mallya against those loans, but the ministry had responded to questions in this regard in Parliament in the past. Read more at: Don't have records of Vijay Mallya's loans: Finance ministry to CIC- The New Indian Express Note: Open the link in a new browser tab and change https to http
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