Wednesday, August 30, 2006

DOPT action to destoy usefullness of Section 8(3) of the RTI Act

DOPT action to destoy usefullness of Section 8(3) of the RTI Act. I had requested certain information from Central Vigilance Commission. Commission claim exemption under Section 8(1) of the Right to information Act, 2005.

Then I had requested from them the date of information, and when the period of 20 years are over, so that I can get the information as per Section 8(3) of the Right to information Act, 2005.

Central Vigilance Commission informed me that information will be destroyed by then and as per DOPT, there is no need to keep the information to give it after 20 years. DOPT reference 399/22/2005-AVD. III dated 032/8.02.2006 to Central Vigilance Commission.

This in contrary to the Right to information Act, 2005.

With regards.
rakesh

BPCL pulled up for not adhering to RTI Act

The Right to Information Act is potent enough to get you information that dates back even to the 1950s. The Central Information Commission (CIC) pulled up the Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) for rejecting the request of a person under the RTI Act to disclose certain documents, which is as old as 1958.

CIC said, as per the Act, public authorities were obligated to provide information relating to any occurrence, event or matter that occured 20 years before the date of request. It directed BPCL to furnish the information sought by the appellant Tarlochan Singh Sethi. Sethi, a BPCL dealer had sought information from BPCL about alloting petrol pumps in 1958. He asked for documents given by the allottees, as well as those regarding reconstitution of licences and details of correspondence with Canara Bank about the account of his firm.

Complete Article

Monday, August 28, 2006

Govt bids to blunt CIC sting

In its latest bid to keep file notings beyond the reach of citizens, government has come up with a legal argument that will have repercussions beyond the Right to Information Act, 2005.

About 10 months after the law came into force, department of personnel and training (DoPT) said last week for the first time that appeals being filed before Central Information Commission cannot be heard by separate benches.

Quoting the opinion of additional solicitor-general Gopal Subramanium, DoPT denied that there was any provision in RTI Act enabling the head of CIC, Wajahat Habibullah, to constitute separate benches. Regardless of administrative efficiency, DoPT said every appeal will have to be "necessarily heard by all the members" of CIC.

Complete Article

Saturday, August 26, 2006

RTI workshop in Orissa

An interactive workshop on the Right to Information Act 2005, was held today on the premises of the Zilla Parishad Bhawan, Malkangiri.

State information commissioner, Prof Radha Mohan was the chief guest, while the workshop was presided over by district collector, Mr Manish Kumar Burma (IAS), additional district magistrate, Mr BB Mohanty (OAS (I)) and SP, Mr Yatindra Koyal (IPS), who shared their discussion based on various provisions of the RTI Act 2005. Besides, other officers and journalists had participated.

Mr Burma spoke about the implementation of RTI Act. He instructed the government officers and other agencies to provide information to the citizens on demand. He said the provisions of the RTI Act has given the citizens the opportunity to have their access to official information. Prof. Radha Mohan explained the provisions of the Act in details. He intimated that meeting on RTI Act would be held in 34 municipalities and 66 notified area councils during the month of November 2006. The campaign would be held in the headquarters of as many as 6234 gram panchayats. He also answered different questions of the officials and journalists.

Complete Article

RTI Effect: Power of threat of RTI in Goa!

I find the RTI Act is working, but in a cock-eyed sort of way. In two cases, at the Law Secretary's office, as well as in Town Planning, I went with my RTI application for status of my application sent in September 2005, and to TCP for information to queries sent in half a dozen times with no response forthcoming. Immediately on producing the letter, I was shown to a seat and immediately my query/information was looked into and the explanation given. At the Law Secretary's office my file was immediately fished out and I discovered it was being held by them for about 8 months for want of some clarifications from me of which I had no idea as I was not informed of the additional requirements. Neither of these Departments accepted my RTI letter, but my work was done although it was delayed 8 months. I don't really know if I did the right thing in not submitting it anyway. I did try, but the same question of accepting the Rs.10/- payment came up,saying they had no account head or whatever.

Charlotte

Friday, August 25, 2006

RTI Effect: A RTI believer from Goa

Thought I'd share a small success story of my test RTI application in the Collector's office...

I put in a RTI application on the 11th August in the Collector's office asking for information related to my application for a refund for unused stamp paper. Specifically, I asked (1) where my file was each day since the 19th May when I submitted my application for a refund and the action taken on it since then; (2) when I would get my refund.

I had been to the office many, many times and each time the person-in-charge gave me the impression that the approval was imminent. Finally, fed up with the delay, I filed a RTI application with the PIO, Mr. Anthony D'Souza (office no. 12) and received a receipt from Mr. Monserrat. I had to insist that the receipt indicate that
it was "processing fee under RTI" and not "Adj fee" which was written before that.

Lo and behold, 10 days later on the 21st August I received a letter indicating that my refund had been approved.

I am a believer!

Anibel Ferus-Comelo

Law Minister writes to UPSC on complaints of'irregularities

With many civil services aspirants alleging irregularities in UPSC exams, Minister of State for Law K Venkatapathy today wrote to the Commission's Chairman to look into the matter and help candidates whose career prospects are at stake.

Forwarding a joint representation submitted by a group of youngsters to the UPSC, Venkatapathy told the body's chairman Gurbachan Jagat that a number of candidates have sought information under the Right to Information Act and "the reply is not forthcoming".

"Since the matter involves the career prospects of the aspiring candidates, an early action to resolve the issue is requested," the Minister said in his letter.

Complete Article

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Govt plans to backstab the nation!

Based on the experience of working of the RTI Act, 2005, government proposes to make certain "clarificatory" and other changes in it, the Rajya Sabha was informed today.

In a written reply, Minister of State for Personnel Suresh Pachouri said information as to whether similar amendments has been made in their acts by other countries, is not readily available.

Replying to another question, he said the Information Commissioner, Central Information Commission, has directed the department of personnel and training to remove the instructions relating to non-disclosure of file notings from its website.

According to legal opinion made available to the government, Pachouri said the order of the Central Information Commission is void.

He said the CIC directive came following an appeal filed by Pyarelal Verma against the Ministry of Railways (Railway board).

Complete Article

Judiciary seeks cover from RTI

In its first annual return in May on implementation of the RTI Act, the apex court has recommended three far-reaching amendments: Adding to the existing list of 10 categories of information exempted from disclosure by section 8 of the RTI Act, SC suggested a clause that provides a similar cover of secrecy to any information which, in the opinion of the Chief Justice of India or his nominee, may "adversely affect or interferes or tends to interfere" with the independence of judiciary or administration of justice.

SC also recommended that the administrative order in which the CJI or his nominee expresses such an opinion should be beyond challenge.

"No appeal or any other proceedings shall lie against the order" of the CJI or his nominee on whether certain information was exempted from disclosure under the RTI Act.

Complete Article

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Showcause notices under RTI act issued to 100 officials

Showcause notices have been issued to 100 Tamil Nadu government officials of various departments for failing to provide information to the public within the stipulated time under the Right to Information Act, Tamil Nadu`s Chief Information Commissioner S Ramakrishnan said.

Since the commission was set up a year ago, 2385 petitions have been received from the public and action has been taken on 2160 and 100 officials have been asked to showcause why action cannot be taken against them for not giving information within 30 days, Ramakrishnan told reporters here on Tuesday.

Action was pending with regard to 223 petition and 132 were referred back to the petitioners, he said adding that 812 petitions have been diverted to the Central Information Commission, as they did not come under the state commission.

Complete Article

HC stays order on Godhra letters

Delhi High Court on Tuesday stayed the Central Information Commission (CIC) order directing production of correspondence between then President K R Narayanan and former Prime Minister A B Vajpayee pertaining to the post-Godhra communal riots in Gujarat.

Justice Anil Kumar stayed the August 8 order till January 11, 2007 on an application moved by the Union Government challenging the order passed by the CIC which directed the Ministry of Personnel and Public Grievances to produce the letters between Narayanan and Vajpayee.

Quoting Article 74 and 78 of the Constitution, the Union Government submitted that any advice tendered by the Union Council of Minsters or correspondence exchanged between the President and the Prime Minister enjoyed immunity from public scrutiny.

Complete Article

AIR directed to show files to petitioner

The Central Information Commission has directed All India Radio to show relevant file notings to a petitioner who had sought inspection of files relating to transfer of Indian Broadcasting Programme Service officials between 2001 and 2005.

Observing that the two authorities had failed to discharge their statutory obligations under the Act, the Commission directed the CPIO to show cause why penalties under Section 20 of the Act should not be imposed on him for negligence of his duties under the Act.

The compliance report must reach the Commission within 21 days of the order, the Commission's order said.

Complete Article

Monday, August 21, 2006

Information chief roots for RTI

Habibullah made his displeasure over the proposed amendments clear. "When the announcement to amend first came, I wrote to the governmentsaying we had been taken by surprise," said Habibullah. "Later, we contested the PMO's statement that file notings were never part of the original act, pointing to over 20 orders passed by the Central Information Commission since January giving citizens access to notings," he added.

Complete Article

Haryana Govt allows payment via Indian Postal Order

It is good news that Haryana Govt. has amended Fee rules vide notification dt. 25th July 2006. As per amedment now fee under RTI can bedeposited through Indian Postal Order or Bank Draft also along with cash or treasury challan.

Rajeev Godara

Goa SIC starts a blogger!

To learn more about RTI in Goa and Goa's Chief Information Commissioner Mr A. Venkataratnam, please visit http://goarti.blogspot.com

[source: email from Mr Venkataratnam on the GoaRTI yahoogroup]

RTI Effect: RTI gets Bapuram his gas cylinder

Bapuram Bodo of Shimoluguri , Darrang district, Assam came to know that Assam Government is distributing gas cylinder free of cost to the poor people. The boy who informed him said that Rs. 500/ should be paid to get the gas cylinder. Bapuram denied this offer. After a few days some people of Shimoluguri got new gas cylinders free of cost. Though Bapuram was poorest among them, he did not get any. In the mean time he came to know about Right to Information Act 2005 from SATRA, a local NGO. He immediately filed a RTI application asking the list of beneficiaries under the said scheme. To his utter surprise he discovered that his name at the top of the list as a beneficiary. There were 17 beneficiaries but only 10 have been allotted the gas cylinder. Empowered with this information, Bapuram complained to the DC of Darrang district. The result was immediate. All the 17 beneficiaries immediately got the gas cylinder and the concerned officer has been suspended. Now Bapuram has become a household name in the locality.

This incident took place in the month of June 2006.

North East Network
J.N Borooah Lane, Jorpukhuri
Guwahati, Assam, PIN 781001, India
Telephone:(91-361) 2603833, Telefax:(91-361) 2631582
Website:www.northeastnetwork.org

Saturday, August 19, 2006

RTI: Food Dept told to pay compensation

It's about time government officials brush up their PR skills - at least that's what the Central Information Commission (CIC) thinks so.

The apex body under the Right To Information (RTI) Act has backed a woman made to wait for over three hours at the Delhi Food and Civil Supplies Department offices for information about her pending application for kerosene oil, before being told that the official concerned was on leave.

An aggrieved Dasharathi, a resident of Panchsheel Park, had then complained to the CIC on March 16, this year saying that both her time and Rs 100 in travel costs were wasted solely due to the callous manner of the officials. "Misbehaviour with applicants approaching public authorities under the RTI is not acceptable.

In this case, the Department will invite Dasharathi to identify the members of its staff who refused to provide her the information," Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah observed. The CIC further said that the public authority will pay Rs 100 as damages to the complainant.

Dasharathi had approached the office of Nand Lal, Assistant Commissioner (South), Food and Civil Supplies Department, to enquire about the rationing of kerosene oil in her name. She was told to wait by the staffers as Lal was not in his cabin at the time. Three hours later, on enquiring again, she was unceremoniously told to come another day as he was on leave.

Complete Article

Govt withdraws RTI act amendments

Under immense pressure from around the country, the Government has agreed to withdraw the amendments to the Right to Information Act. Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Suresh Pachauri said that following a decision taken by PM Manmohan Singh, the amendment bill was not likely to be introduced in the current session of Parliament, which concludes on August 25.

He said that there have been considerable apprehensions about the proposed changes and clarifications in the RTI Act. Congress President Sonia Gandhi and the PM have received several representations in this regard, and it has been decided that the issue should be first discussed with all stakeholders, he said.

"We have discussed the RTI issue in detail with the Prime Minister, and he did not feel it right to introduce the bill in this session of the Parliament. We will discuss with more people," said Prithviraj Chavan, Union Minister of State in the PMO.

This means that the government has also decided to drop file notings exemption, and that file notings can be accessed.

Complete Article

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Kill amendment to RTI Act, Bhatia writes to PM

Even as social crusader Anna Hazare’s hunger strike to protest against he proposed amendment to the Right to Information Act 2005 entered the third day on Friday, retired IAS officer Arun Bhatia has sent a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh urging him to ‘ill the proposed amendment’.

Taking strong objection to the amendment to exclude the file notings form the purview of the act, Bhatia said if file noting were revealed, it will strengthen honest officials and give them ground for resisting pressures. “Exposure will give them freedom, yet you say Sir, that secrecy will protect them.,” he wrote, adding that the officials were always under pressure from politicians, vested interests and seniors. As a senior bureaucrat Singh would know that file notings were the heart of a file and summarise the issue to facilitate understanding and decision making, Bhatia wrote.

“What the babu/official writes in the noting and what he excludes makes all the difference. To improve integrity in notings it is essential to make them transparent,” Bhatia write, adding that decisions can be clan if the process of reaching them was clean.

When ‘who wrote what’ became public, it would introduce some accountability in a corrupt system the letter said. “The notings will speak louder than spineless commissions of inquiry. Just disclose the notes.”

Though the government was ready to give us transparency in development an social issues, who would definite these, he asked. “What about the men who manage and implement development? Would the transfer of a chief executive officer of a zilla Parishad be a development issue? Would the mysterious administrative grounds for transferring official remain a secret,” he wondered.

On governance we were far behind the western democracies which empowered citizens through the right to information a decade and a half ago, Bhatia wrote. “We are so excited to receive the right today and just as we were beginning to move forward an enlightened Prime Minister openly justifies secret notes.”

Stating that this was the testing time for the Prime Minister, Bhatia wrote, “Kill the RTI amendment and disclose notings. Make us proud of you and ourselves. Please don’t take us back to the middle ages.”

Source: Times News Network, Pune, Saturday, August 12, 2006

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Protests against RTI amendment gain ground

Supreme court justices, students, ordinary Indians, and even members of Parliament came out against the government's decision to amend the Right to Information act on Wednesday.

As the movement to put pressure on the government to withdraw the proposed amendments, the MPs say that on Thursday they will kick start a signature campaign to put pressure on the government.

Robert Kharshiing joined thousands of Indians determined to block attempts by the government to get Parliament to amend the RTI act which has been hailed for combating corruption. Kharshiing says that he will vote with his conscience if the amendments are brought in Parliament. Kharshiing was joined by Trinamool MP Dinesh Trivedi. Both MPs now plan to rally other MPs on board.

Complete Artice

Proposed amendments unconstitutional

The cabinet has reportedly approved far-reaching amendments to the Right to Information Act, 2005, which among other things seeks to restrict access to "file notings" and allow access to only "substantial notings relating to social and developmental issues".

Mere information of the decision without disclosure of the reasons for it and the decision-making process is not enough to permit scrutiny of the decision made. The very purpose of the 'right to information' would be frustrated without the knowledge of the 'reasons' for the decision, emerging from the file notings.

Complete Article

You can now capture file inspection on film

Here is a good news for right to information activists. The central information commission has ruled that you can videograph the proceedings when you go to an office for file inspection under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, of course after filing a requisition and on receiving a response from the public information officer of the public authority giving you the date and the time when you can carry out the inspection.

This should come as a shot in the arms of activists like Vihar Durve in Pune who recently has been able to videograph a citizen interaction with officials of Pune Municipal Corporation on pathetic conditions of roads In the city. Durve earlier had written to the municipal commissioner seeking a blanket permission to videograph all citizen interactions with civic officials on all occasions. Hr chased it through the Right to Information Act, demanding every time the status of his representation.

What you mention

While filing a requisition for file inspection or demanding sample of material, however, make sure that you mention:

That you would like to get copies of documents identified during inspection or get copies done at your own expense, if this is allowed by the public authority;

That you would like to videograph both file inspection and the process of taking sample of the material;

That you would be accompanied by the videographer and also, if necessary, another friend to help you in file inspection.

Mention the August 3 decision of the central information commission in support of your demand.

Source: Pune Newsline, The Indian Express, Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

RTI users to protest proposed changes on Wednesday

Information activists and users of the year-old Right to Information Act are planning to voice their displeasure against the slated amendments to the legislation by protesting at August Kranti Maidan on Wednesday morning.

Activists say the proposed amendment bill, if passed, will effectively snuff out the power of RTI, which is gaining momentum among citizens: Over 20,000 applications were filed in July during a nationwide campaign.

"‘A recent application about an illegal gym inside a Sion public garden yielded file notings and minutes that showed civic officials willfully violating the laws,’’ said Vora. ‘‘Such information is crucial to the act.’’

On Wednesday, Vora will join the group protesting the amendments. ‘‘We will be at the maidan from 9 to 11. We will walk around the park to register our anger over the state tampering with our right to know,’’ he added.

Complete Article

Sunday, August 06, 2006

GOACAN steps up campaign against Bribe and Corruption

In continuation of the "Drive against Bribes" campaign, Goa Civic and Consumer Action Network (GOACAN) held its fifth information action near the offices of the Quepem Mamlatdar and the Quepem Municipal Council to highlight the use of The Right to Information Act 2005. Volunteers of the Quepem Civic and Consumer Forum armed with placards focused on the effective use of RTI to put an end to bribery and corruption taking place in various Government Departments.

Complete Article

RTI amendments will not be tabled this session: Karat

TIMES NEWS NETWORK
Times of India, 6.8.2006

Ahmedabad: CPM general secretary Prakash Karat has come out against the Centre’s controversial decision to amend the Right to Information (RTI) Act to place file notings in the exempt category of the Act.

Speaking with a delegation of Mahiti Adhikar Gujarat Pahel (MAGP) on Saturday, following his public meetings in the city, Karat said the government had not consulted UPA partners and other stakeholders before taking the decision to amend the Act.

He also assured MAGP that his party will not let the amendments be tabled in the current session of the parliament without a proper consultative process. The UPA government has decided to amend the Act by dropping file notings, appointment details among other information from Act. The votaries of the Act feel the amendments go against the very spirit of the Act which demands transparency and accountability of the government and impinges on the citizen’s right to know.

Karat said in Kerala and West Bengal where his party was in power, they only withheld file notings where absolutely necessary. Gujarat state CPM secretary Arun Mehta said Karat indeed made his party’s displeasure on the issue known.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Outrage in Gujarat against attempts at crippling the Right to Know

Earlier in the day a delegation of the Pahel, called on the visiting CPI (M) Politburo Chief, Mr. Prakash Karat. During the meeting it demanded that as a constituent of the UPA, they oppose the proposed changes in the Act. Mr. Karat informed the delegation that their party is opposed to these changes. He further informed that their party is committed to ensure that the amendments are not tabled in on going session of parliament, and any decision to make any changes would be only after taking all members of the UPA in confidence and consultations with all stakeholders.

On 13th of August, 2006 from 4 pm to 8pm at Law Garden, Ahmedabad a public protest has been planned by organizing “Vote to Oppose”. Where it is envisaged that citizens in large numbers would turn up to vote their protest against the blatant attempt with tampering their right to know. These votes would be sent to the Speaker of Lok Sabha. On the same day, in Surendranagar, Jamnagar, along with other districts would conduct similar programmes. Simultaneously petitions would be sent in large numbers to the Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition, Lok Sabha Speaker, Chairperson of the UPA and other MP’s. These would be appeals asking them, as our elected representatives to protest, and block any changes to the Act.

To join in this campaign and or to know more, one can call on the RTI helpline –9924085000.
MAHITI ADHIKAR GUJARAT PAHEL
HARINESH PANDYA
9824048842

Friday, August 04, 2006

RTI Effect: Woman gets dead son's records

A 70-year-old woman from Haryana has used the Right To Information Act to gain access to file notings regarding the pension and other benefits of her son, a Delhi Traffic Police constable who was killed in a road accident over five years ago.

Laxmi Devi of Bhiwani district in Haryana had appealed to the Central Information Commission (CIC) for gaining access to file notings made by authorities on her son's dossier regarding the payment of terminal benefits totalling about Rs four lakh and his family pension.

Complete Article

Insiders add to AMC's RTI woes

Guess which applications under the Right to Information (RTI) Act are giving Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) bosses sleepless nights? The information sought by disgruntled elements within AMC!

Even as AMC officials struggle to adopt the virtues of transparency and accountability forced on them by the Act, they are anxious about suspended or victimised officials who might want to get back at them by asking uncomfortable questions.

"It has been noticed that some civic and government officers who have been suspended have been using RTI to harass public authorities. It should be brought to the notice of the State Information Commission (SIC), as well as the nodal RTI departmental officers," says RTI campaigner, Rahul Mangaonkar.

Source: Times of India, 5.8.2006

Thursday, August 03, 2006

RTI effect: House is allotted to Kejriwal

A day after filing an application under the Right to Information Act at the ministry of urban development for non-allotment of official residence, information commissioner O.P. Kejriwal got a house allotted to him.

The urban development ministry had not allotted Mr Kejriwal an official residence since the last nine months after he took charge as information commissioner and he was forced to live in government guest houses and at various friends places. Even though he was shown house No. 52 at Lodhi Estate for allotment two months ago, he was not allotted the house.

But as soon as he filed an application under the RTI Act after being fed up with all other efforts, he was allotted the same house he was shown earlier, in just a day.

Complete Article

RTI loses some more teeth

The government wants to introduce new exemption clauses in the Right to Information Act. These will not only block access to file notings but the entire decision-making process. RTI activists like Shekhar Singh say this will also curtail the powers of the Central Information Commission.

Complete Article

RTI impact: Registrar faces fine

Not even educational institutions have been able to escape the clutches of the Right to Information Act (RTI). The Central Information Commission (CIC) has imposed a penalty of Rs 13,750 on the registrar of Jamia Hamdard University, Akhtar Majeed, for denying information to one Asgar Khan.

Khan wanted to know the name of the public information officer (PIO) in the varsity and the prescribed proforma for seeking information from the university about the reasons for terminating the services of a non-teaching staff member.

Complete Article

Manipur State RTI still in a fog

An instrument of governance that can qualify to be the most potent weapon against the scourge of official corruption that the Indian constitution has adopted in all its history, the Right to Information Act, RTI, is still in a fog in Manipur.

But that is another matter, the moot point is, for the RTI to be effective there will have to be a monitoring, autonomous institution, and this is precisely what the RTI Act requires the Central and State governments to constitute. This is where the Manipur government has chosen to keep the matter nebulous.

Till date, not many in the state, including the media, know the state has formed such a State Information Commission under the RTI. Yet, the Government of India RTI website states clearly that Manipur has already formed such a commission naming S Sunderlal Singh, secretary (DP&AR) as the State Chief Information Commissioner.

Complete Article

Govt plans to reduce powers of CIC

In another blow to the RTI act, the government plans to further reduce the powers of the Central Information Commission by now transferring the right to take a final decision on complaints against officers who do not give out information to citizens.

Till now the commission had the final say in most matters and enjoyed the powers of a civil court and could summon officers, ask for documents and even impose fines.

The proposed amendment may end up reducing the CIC to only giving recommendations to the state and central government, which would have the final say.

Complete Article

Info boss 'homeless', invokes RTI

He sits in judgement on the merits of RTI applications but has no home to go back to. Tired of living out of a suitcase for eight months, information commissioner O.P. Kejariwal on Wednesday took refuge under the RTI law. He filed an application under the information law to ask the government why he was still homeless.

The urban development ministry had identified a Lodhi Estate bungalow for him two months ago but never got around to allotting him the bungalow. In his RTI request filed before the urban development ministry’s PIO, Kejariwal asked what was keeping the ministry from issuing the orders.

Complete Article

Save RTI: CALL AN INDIAN CONSULATE OR THE INDIAN EMBASSY TODAY

A landmark and progressive Right to Information (RTI) Act, passed by the Indian parliament in October 2005, had ushered in a new hope for a nation under seige by the corrupt public officials. The enthusiastic use of the RTI Act by the citizenry to reveal scores of illegeal dealings by the public authorities, promised the beginning of an era of true participatory democracy.However in an arbitrary manner, the government introduced an amendment on July 20, 2006, that would exempt "file notings" from the purview of the act - which means that the identity of the guilty officials will remain concealed under the garb of secrecy. This move dashes any hopes of accountability and transparency in the functioning of the government, thus allowing corruption to thrive unchecked.
Call an Indian Consulate ot the Indian Embassy and express your disappointment at the proposed amendment. Tell the Indian Government not to play hide and seek with our RIGHT TO INFORMATION.

TODAY's GOAL: 50 CALLS!!!

Here are the numbers
1. Mr. Roonen Sen Ambassador to the US, Ph: (202) 939-7010
2. Ms. Neelam Deo Consul General, NY Consulate Ph: (212) 774-0600
3. Mr. B.S.Prakash Consul General, San Francisco Consulate Ph: (415) 668-0998
4. Mr. Arun Kumar Consul General, Chicago Consulate Ph: (312) 595-0405
5. Shri S.M.Gavai Consul General, Houston Consulate Ph: 713-626-2148/9

We're keeping track! Send us a blank email at rti-campaign@aidindia. org to let us know you took action.
MORE ABOUT THE SAVE THE RIGHT TO INFORMATION CAMPAIGN

No RTI, No Vote

NDTV has launched a simple but effective campaign: NO RTI, NO VOTE

Please sign the Petitions to the President, Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister and Leader of Opposition available at:

http://www.ndtv.com/rti/petition.asp

Fight for RTI: No Amendments

It could be your last chance to save the Right to Information Act. On Friday, Parliament will begin the effort to amend the RTI Act.

The changes suggested will leave the Act crippled and rob you of one of your most powerful tools to fight corruption.

The Right to Information Act, in its original form, stands for everything that's best about India as a democracy. Fight for it!

So if your MP votes to amend the Right to Information Act, he or she has you to answer to in the next election. NDTV.com will make details available of what your MP chose to do.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Info war puts panel chief in a tight spot

The war for information, fuelled by Central Information Commission (CIC), has finally reached the doors of Commission itself with a social activist demanding to now from the government the criteria followed while appointing five information commissioners (including Chief Information Commissioner).

Social activist Vishaish Uppal wrote to Prime Minister's Office in January this year, seeking papers relating to the appointment of five commissioners. The PMO through its CPIO (Central Public Information Officer), first said the information sought had no relation to public interest and so could not be shared.

Complete Article

Sikkim gets its first CIC

Mr DK Gazmer was today appointed as the first chief information commissioner (CIC) of Sikkim. Mr DK Gazmer, an IAS officer of the 1984 batch, had served in various
capacities in the state government, including the secretary of social welfare department. He also has the credit of establishing the pay and accounts office. Mr Gazmer had and retired from his services in 2003.

Speaking to repoters after assuming office as the state IC, Mr Gazmer said that although the Right to Information had been enacted in 2005, the ordinary people has not utilised it as comprehensively as desired. He cited that the reason of lack of awareness among the people for not using it more. He also expressed his desire to work diligently and in a transparent manner for providing information to the people as per the principles and provisions of the Act.

Complete Article

2006 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Emergent Leadership goes to Arvind Kejriwal!

The brazen corruption of the high and the mighty may grab headlines, but for ordinary people it is the ubiquity of everyday corruption that weighs heaviest. And that demoralizes. Arvind Kejriwal, founder of India’s Parivartan, understands this, which is why his campaign for change begins with the small things.

Thirty-eight-year-old Kejriwal reminds Indians that the boons of collective action, such as the honest delivery of services, have already been paid for through taxes. Citizens are entitled to them. The spirit of his movement was aptly captured by the women of Sundernagari as they rallied to protest cheating in neighborhood ration shops: "We are not begging from anyone!" they chanted. "We are demanding our rights."

In electing Arvind Kejriwal to receive the 2006 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Emergent Leadership, the board of trustees recognizes his activating India’s right-to-information movement at the grassroots, empowering New Delhi’s poorest citizens to fight corruption by holding government accountable to the people

Complete Article

MPs' train tickets, ride for others

BJP MP from Damoh, C B Singh has an amazing ability: On October 12, 2005, Singh travelled in five different trains using 10 berths. Of course, he was not on those trains. Using the Right to Information Act, CNN-IBN has found that many serving and former Members of Parliament are selling train tickets they get on concession or giving them away to supporters. October 12, 2005, was not an exception for Singh. Between September 2005 and February 2006, Singh made 117 train journeys. Singh was travelling from the same location to different destinations.

Complete Article

RTI Workshop for deprived sections in Mangalore

Dear All,
A workshop exclusively for the SC/ST people on RTI was arranged at Mangalore by the Dakshina Kannada Police on 30/07/06. The background is that the district police has been organizing monthly dalit meetings on every last sunday of the month regularly for the last one year mainly to hear the grievances of these people and redress the same to the extent possible. However during these meetings, mostly problems relating to the other departments were cropping up. Though the other department officers were requested to attend the meetings, they did not respond positively. Hence it was felt to empower these people with the RTI so that they can approach these departments more confidently. Nearly 100 people participated.

For details see http://spdk.blogspot.com/2006/07/workshop-on-right-to-information-act.html and http://www.hindu.com/2006/07/31/stories/2006073114990300.htm

Regards,
B.Dayananda
Indian Police Service
1994 RR, Karnataka Cadre
Mobile: +919448130100
http://spdk.blogspot.com
bdayananda1@yahoo.com

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