Tuesday, October 30, 2007

GOACAN concludes Right To Information Awareness Fortnight

GOACAN organised an awareness action at the KTC Bus Stand, Panjim to conclude its Right To Information Awareness Fortnight being observed from 12th to 25th October. The fortnight long awareness activities were organised on the occasion of the second anniversary of the enactment of the Right To Information Act 2005.

Consumer Forum volunteers carrying placards with various messages on RTI distributed information slips to citizens calling for the use of RTI to curb the demand for bribes, to stop corruption and to avoid delays in getting their works done in Govt. Depts., Village Panchayats & Municipal Councils. Citizens were also informed that they can file their RTI applications to the respective Public Information Officer (PIO) alongwith a Rs.10/- court fee stamp or by cash.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
GOA CIVIC AND CONSUMER ACTION NETWORK
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promoting civic and consumer rights in Goa
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GOACAN Post Box 187 Margao, Goa 403 601, GOACAN Post Box 78 Mapusa, Goa 403 507
mail: goacan@bsnl.in

HC directs govt to clarify on exemptions under RTI

The Madras High Court on Tuesday directed the Tamil Nadu Government to clarify whether the exemption granted under the provision of Right To Information Act (RTI) and a government order could be made applicable to cases in which information relating to corruption charges were made. Justice V Dhanapalan gave the direction while disposing of a petition of one Vishwanath Swami, seeking a direction to the Commissioner of Police and Superintendent of Police, CBCID to supply information
sought by him and to take departmental acton against officials who failed to furnish the information.

Complete Article

CIC issues show cause notice to Delhi University

The Central Information Commission has slapped a showcause notice on Delhi University for a delayed response to an appeal under the Right to Information Act. Vandana Rai, a research associate in the university's department of plant and molecular biology, had filed the application seeking to know why she was not selected for the posts of lecturer and reader.

Complete Article

Taking RTI to the masses

Satish Shinde, cameraperson with Films Division of the Government of India, has demystified this act for you in his 20-minute-long documentary `Right to Information (Act-2005)', the first-ever feature to have been made on RTI. This documentary, released on October 12, marked the completion of two years of RTI in India.

Complete Article

Top cop summoned for ignoring RTI appeal

State information commissioner Suresh Joshi has summoned Navi Mumbai police commissioner, Ramrao Wagh, for an explanation after learning that an officer in his department had dismissed 74 appeals under the Right to Information Act without hearing arguments in a single case.

Complete Article

Saturday, October 27, 2007

BMC Engineer fined Rs 25000

Abstracts from DNA Mumbai Oct 27 2007

Mr Manoj Kamath, BMC Assistant Engineer, he was first in the civic body and fined for not revealing information, Kamath who now worked in the building and factory dept h/w ward was once again ordered to pay Rs 25000 and reveal the information within 5 days to the complainant Aftab Siddiqui as noted some officals do not care to pay fines as one of them stated what is Rs 25000, one can understand the meaning of such words.

Friday, October 26, 2007

RTI is development you can see

The villagers of Boru in Gujarat, under the stewardship of Gulambhai, decided they would no longer tolerate the lack of healthcare facilities in their village. Using the right to information, they fired off a series of questions to the PIO. And things began to change.

Complete Article

Information Commission imposes fine on Calangute VP secretary

The Goa State Information Commission has imposed a penalty of Rs 1000 on the secretary of the village panchayat of Calangute for not discharging his duties as Public Information Officer and for delay in producing the original documents when asked for by the Commission. The order, signed by the State Chief Information Commissioner Mr A Venkataratnam and State Information Commissioner Mr G G Kambli, was
issued on October 10, 2007.

Complete Article

CIC to focus on transparency and accountability

The Central Information Commission (CIC) was planning to establish an institute, which would focus on ways to bring about transparency and accountability in governance through Right To Information Act. "CIC was planning to establish an institute for transparency and accountability, the intentions of which have been conveyed to the union government", Central Information Commissioner A N Tiwari told
reporters, on the sidelines of a seminar on RTI.

Complete Article

Show tainted officers' list, govt told

In a boost to transparency, the Central Information Commission has ruled that government departments would have to come clean when they give sensitive assignments to employees with dubious integrity. As a result, the quaintly named "agreed list" of a department, containing names of employees kept under the gaze of CBI and internal vigilance on account of their questionable integrity, is liable to be disclosed under the Right to Information Act whenever such an employee is appointed to a sensitive post.

Complete Article

COAI uses RTI for details

COAI has used the Right to Information Act to make the DoT disclose information relating to spectrum. The move is likely to put pressure on DoT to place all documents, including the critical report of the Technical Engineering Centre (TEC) on efficiency of spectrum use by GSM operators, under public scrutiny. Unlike Trai, DoT is under no legal obligation to be transparent. However, COAI's demand changes this by forcing them to comply.

Complete Article

NSCW seminar to include talk on RTI

The Nagaland State Commission for Women (NSCW) today announced that it would organise a two-day national seminar - ''Towards a new Horizon'' - from October 30. Former Indian Ambassador to Belaruse Madhu Bhaduri, who is also a leading women activist, would speak on ''Right to Information and Gender Equity'', along with well known author, women activist and teacher from Delhi University Dr Nivedita Menon.

Complete Article

RTI exposes corruption in Bangalore City Corp

N Vikramsimha and Veera Belur, Right To Information (RTI) activists and trustees of the RTI Study Centre, pour over documents from the Bangalore City Corporation to find out where computers worth Rs 3.4 crore purchased in 2005 are.

Complete Article

Thursday, October 25, 2007

RTI expose: Irregularities in purchase of computers and software

The Bangalore Mahanagara Palike has committed serious irregularites in purchase of computers and software by utilising funds meant for and granted by WorldBank for developments accused Mahithi Hakku Adayayana Kendra (RTI Study Centre) Bangalore today in a press conference. S. Amaresh, Managing Trustee of The Kendra alleged that in this Muddle, the then Addln Commissioner (finance) P K Srihari who was on deputation from Income tax dept and an IRS officer and the IT Consultant S Ramani were directly involved and responsible during the year 2005. The Cheif Audit & Accounts officer BBMP made a very detailed Report on this affair of purchase of computers, software etc to the tune of 3.39 crores. This report was obtained through RTI by the Kendra.

Sanjevani
(An Evening NewsPaper),
Bangalore 25/10/2007

Holding Co-ops to Account

In September 2007, the Karnataka Information commission (KIC) passed an order stating that all Co-operative banks come under the ambit of RTI. Also, according to the notification by the Registrar of Co-operative Socities all co-operative institutions including banks, housing socities etc come under RTI Act. However the Poornaprayna Housing Socitety has challenged the order in Karnataka High Court.

S V Shobha,
Bangalore Mirror
25/10/2007

Haryana villages unaware of ammo they have

So low is the awareness about the Right to Information (RTI) Act in a number of Panchayats in Haryana that most of the sarpanches, especially women, do not even know that they have been appointed public information officers (PIOs) under the Act. No wonder they were receiving few applications seeking official information. While in urban areas, awareness has grown about the Act, which is in force in the state since October 14, 2005, the rural areas are yet to catch up, said a survey by an NGO, Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA). PRIA had recently held an orientation camp in Mahendragarh and Narnaul districts to create awareness about the RTI Act and how it could be used. The survey formed part of the orientation course, according to Krishan Kumar Tyagi, Haryana Coordinator, PRIA.

Complete Article

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Statistics of disposal of cases @ KIC for September 2007

The Statisstics of disposal of cases for the month of September 2007 @ Karntaka IC is given below for the information of the Activists:-

Cases pending at the end of August 2007 is 882
Number of Complaints and Appeals received during September 07 is 600
Number of Complaints & appeals disposed during September 07 is 350
Number of cases pending at the end of September 07 is 1132.
Appeals & Complaints pending less than 3 months is 849
Appeals & Complaints pending more than 3 months is 217
Appeals & Complaints pending more than 6 months is 66

[posted by Anil Kumar on HJ]

Technology fails to provide information under RTI in Bihar

Bihar Government established the 'Jankari' call centre on 29 January 2007 under the guidance of Ramon Magsaysay Award winning social activist, Arvind Kejriwal. Though it was not working in all the districts, but it was working well in the state capital. Vibhav of Parivartan, a social organisation, was monitoring the functioning of the call centre.

Soon after he left, the call centre adopted a laidback attitude. It is a user friendly ICT (Information and Communications Technology) based facilitation centre to help citizens of Bihar in getting governance related information from public information officers (PIOs) under the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI) within
stipulated time frame. But people are facing hurdles in framing applications with this service.

Complete Article

Misappropriation of PM's Relief Fund: CIC for remedial action

Expressing concern over alleged misappropriation of funds contributed to the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund (PMNRF), the Central Information Commission has sought remedial action on part of the PM's office. "In the light of the gravity of the information now disclosed, it is expected that the PMO will take remedial action in a matter where it would appear that the name of PMNRF has been invoked by a public
authority acting in a manner most unbecoming," Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah said in an order passed on Tuesday.

Complete Article

abir bagged First and second prizes at Chitra Katha Film Festival

Two of the films produced by Kabir has bagged first two prizes Chitra Katha RTI Film festival held at Mumbai. The Best film award went to the film "Road to Chandrapura" and second prize was awarded to "Public Distribution System". Both these films were directed by Priyanka Tyagi and produced by Manish Sisodia for Kabir.

[posted by DivyaJyoti Jaipuriar on HJ]

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

RTI Expose: Bhuj earthquake house allocation scam

More than seven years after the killer earthquake of January 2001 that had warranted a massive rehabilitation work in Bhuj, irregularities in allotment of compensatory plots to beneficiaries have come to light. Information obtained by an activist through RTI Act has revealed that Bhuj Area Development Authority (BHADA) had allotted plots to people who were not eligible under the scheme floated by the government.

Complete Article

Janwano Haq Programme - Back on Air

Doordarshan-Ahmedabad resumed the telecast of ‘Janwano Haq’ the popular show on Right to Information (RTI) from Monday. TOI had carried a report on Sunday about how DD Ahmedabad had suspended the telecast citing the election code of conduct. DD
officials on Monday however, “set aside” what they had claimed to be the “difficulties in procedural review” to ensure telecast of the show at its scheduled time on Monday evening.

Complete Article

Navi Mumbai cops too quick on the draw with RTI

The Navi Mumbai police commissionerate, it seems, is making its own rules while processing right to know applications. Of the 74 appeals it received under the Right to Information Act till September 15, it has dealt with all but without conducting a single hearing. Appeals are filed by RTI applicants if the information sought is
denied or is incomplete or inadequate.

Complete Article

Mumbai Cops budget: 85% goes in salaries

Details of the city police budget obtained under the Right to Information (RTI) Act show that the Mumbai police spent more than 85 per cent of its money just to pay salaries to its workforce of 40,000. Consequently, this left little funds aside for modernisation and intelligence gathering—which experts stress on as it is the need of the hour given the threat posed by terror outfits.

Complete Article

"Political affiliations considered in appointment of judges"

Besides the judicial calibre, political affiliations are a factor in the appointment of Supreme Court and High Court judges, the government has said in response to an RTI application. The reply came in respect to a Right to Information application of
Delhi resident Subhash Chandra Agrawal who had sought from the President's Secretariat details on eligibility requirement of judges of the apex court and the high courts.

Complete Article

CIC urges I-T dept to improve its refund disbursal function

The Central Information Commission (CIC) has asked income tax authorities to usher in quick improvements in its refund disbursal system. "The Commission would strongly urge the I-T department to rapidly effect improvement in its refund disbursal function... They will have vast amount of efficiency gains by ushering in transparency in such functions," Information Commissioner A N Tiwari said in a judgment.

Complete Article

Monday, October 22, 2007

We have right to be well informed

It is widely admitted that democracies die behind closed doors. They instead work on the premise that nothing shall be hidden because nothing can be hidden. The people have every right to know that their government acts fairly, lawfully and accurately. At the Central level we already have a fairly strong legislation called the Right to Information Act (RIT) that enables every citizen to force the men at the helm of the administration to dust off their pigeonholes. Unfortunately, however, in the State it remains a weak nstrumentality. We have chosen a dispensation in which we can't immediately gain from even the most beneficial Union laws. What a pity!

Complete Article

Sunday, October 21, 2007

CIC asks the Centre to provide all documents on the proposed amendments to RTI

The Central Information Commission (CIC) has asked the Centre to provide all documents on the proposed amendments to the Right to Information Act. The CIC order came on an appeal against a decision of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) to deny information with regard to the cabinet`s decision on proposed amendments in the act on the grounds that the matter was not yet complete. "DoPT is directed to produce relevant files for perusal on November five," Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah said.

Complete Article

Friday, October 19, 2007

SBI Cards says it's beyond RTI ambit

SBI Cards, a joint venture between the nationalised State Bank of India and a private company has approached the Delhi High Court contending it is a private entity and does not fall within the ambit of the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

Complete Article

Cops’ accountability to law seems nil

The case dates back to January 20, 2003. UT police receive complaint of a theft worth Rs 8 lakh, and a subsequent complaint regarding misappropriation of funds to the tune of Rs 6 lakh. In 2004, the complainant was told in writing his case was still under investigation. Making use of the Right to Information Act recently, the complainant discovered his case was settled by Lok Adalat in 2003 itself when the UT police allegedly made a ‘dummy’ appear in place of him.

Complete Article

JK Governor returns RTI Amendment bill

Without giving his assent, Governor S K Sinha has returned the Right to Information (Amendment) Bill 2007 to the State assembly, sources said. The senior officials of the State Government though confirm that the bill is pending with Governor for his assent but they decline to comment whether he has returned it without assent. Law Secretary Akhtar Kochak has this to say: “The bill is pending with the Governor and we are waiting for it.”

Complete Article

RTI confusion: Ministry gives different answers to same question

The environment ministry, it seems, is so weighed down by its workload that it can’t get its facts right. Responding to two separate Right to Information applications, it has contradicted itself on formulation of new rules to regulate 7,500 km of Indian coastline. In one reply, it denied any attempt to rejig the rules and in another, it admitted that it was finalising a new set of rules to control development activity along coasts

Complete Article

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

CIC seeks more power for effective implementation of RTI

The Central Information Commission (CIC) and state commissions have sought more powers, including initiation of contempt proceedings against public authorities for not executing their orders, by amending the Right to Information (RTI)Act. "Specific provisions may be recommended to be included in the RTI Act itself for dealing with contempt proceedings," the CIC, in a list of recommendations submitted to the Centre today after a day-long conference here, said.

Complete Article

Over 2,200 RTI appeals pending

More than 2,200 appeals addressed to the divisional appellate authority under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005, are pending with the regional information officer in Pune division. The cases pertain to appeals filed over the last two years by individuals and organisations under the act, which were not disposed of to the satisfaction of the applicants. Disclosing this on Saturday, Vijay Kuvalekar, Maharashtra state information commissioner (Pune revenue division), called for faster disposal of cases at the lower level, as also for increase in the staff strength in the commissioner's office.

Complete Article

SIC asks state govt to implement provisions in 2 months

The State Information Commission has directed the Punjab government to implement all the provisions of the Right to Information Act within two months. A few days back, Rajan Kashyap, Chief Information Commissioner, Punjab, and Information Commissioner Lt Gen PK Grover (retd), acting on a complaint of Hitender Jain of Resurgence India, observed, “Taking a holistic view, we observe that the public authorities and the public information officers have not, as yet, taken action mandated under the Act for providing complete information to the public. We observe that suo motu disclosure, as required under Section 4(1)(b), should have been completed by October 12, 2005. That it has not been done even two years after the stipulated date is a matter of concern.”

Complete Article

Working of RTI to be reviewed on Oct 17!

The Central Information Commission (CIC) will take stock of the working of the Right to Information Act during the two years of its existence here tomorrow. Vital issues relating to implementation of the Act at the state and local level will be discussed at a 'Conference of Central Information Commission with the State Chief Information Commissioners and the Information Commissioners' here.

Complete Article

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Rejecting village land, Jharkhand MLAs went for prime HARP

Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda may claim his government has not taken any decision on building homes for legislators on land used by ICAR's Horticulture & Agroforestry Research Programme (HARP) for field trials of important crops. But documents accessed by The Indian Express under the Right to Information (RTI) Act reveal that the legislators' housing co-operative society - of which Koda is a member -first rejected land offered at another site, in Malsiring village. It was then that the government initiated the process of clearing HARP land for the society.
There's a big difference in the market price of land in Malsiring and HARP land that the state cabinet is in the process of clearing for the society: the former sells for some Rs 2 lakh per acre; the latter, along the busy Ranchi-Jamshedpur highway, could sell for as much as Rs 1 crore per acre.

Complete Article

CIC conference with SICs

Itinerary on the Conference of Central Information Commission with State Chief Information Commissioners and Information Commissioners at India International
Centre Auditorium, New Delhi on 17th October, 2007
http://cic.gov.in/Conference-2007/Programme.htm

Best wishes
Manoj Pai
Ahmedabad
[on the HJ group]

Few doctors from reserved category serve Parliamentarians

Barely 22 per cent of doctors, catering to Parliamentarians, belong to the reserved category, including only two in the super-speciality field. According to a reply to a Right To Information (RTI) application by the Central Government Health Services, as many as 49 doctors had been posted in VIP areas, including Parliament House, Parliament Annexe, Constitution House, North and South Avenue and V P House.

Complete Article

In some cases, we’re still in dark

While Right to Information has progressed in the fast lane in the state so far, be it training of public information officers, spreading of awareness among civil society or the information commission cracking the whip on errant officials by penalising them, in some cases still, public authorities are not giving access to information.

Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Police: RTI provides that its provisions would not apply to intelligence and security organisations established by and notified as exempt organisations by the state government. The home department has included in its notification the CID. This has been challenged before Gujarat
Information Commission (GIC) on the grounds that CID is an investigative wing of the police. GIC's decision is awaited.

Annual Confidential Reports (ACRs) of babus: GIC had in March this year allowed officers of the government access to their ACR's. But access to ACRs to citizens has been denied by the general administration department, giving the same reason it used to give to babus seeking copies of their own ACRs earlier.

Assets and liabilities of IAS officers: Information sought on the assets and liabilities of IAS officers in the state has been denied by the general administration department.

Two years of info power

The Right To Information Act Turns 2 Years Old This Week. TOI Looks At How It Has Changed Our Lives For The Better

9924085000, the Right to Information (RTI) help line started in May last year by Mahiti Adhikar Gujarat Pahel (MAGP), hasn't stopped ringing since then. Thousands of calls have been recorded at the helpline hosted by this citizens' collective. As if an indication of the successful emergence of a pragmatic regime of right to information in the state, calls received and assistance has been extended to citizens, government officers and also people from out of the state.

Times of India, Ahmedabad
13.10.2007

Sunday, October 14, 2007

CIC suggests Centre to treat Information Officers as its men

In an attempt to ensure "fearless" disclosure of information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has suggested to the Centre that information officers of all "public authorities" be considered as officers of the Commission.

"Just as vigilance officers in government departments who, though working in the department, are considered also to be officials of the Central Vigilance Commission ... the PIOs (Public Information Officers) of public authorities should be considered as officers of Central Information Commission...," the CIC said in its first annual report.

Complete Article

RTI hits awareness roadblock in Meghalaya

Lack of awareness coupled with lax initiatives for imparting training to public information officers have retarded the success of the act in Meghalaya. "There has not been any awareness campaign conducted by the government and its departments in the districts especially in the rural areas. As a result, public participation in the implementation of the law has not been as expected," the Meghalaya State Information Commission (MSIC) annual report tabled in the ongoing assembly session said.

Complete Article

Rlys didn’t want you to know: spent Rs 20 lakh on 2 visits by US students

Between December 2006 and May 2007, the Indian Railways rolled out red carpet worth Rs 20.38 lakh for students from Harvard Business School, Wharton, MIT Sloan School of Management and the US-based Industrial College of Armed Forces, playing host for Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav to narrate his turnaround story.

In response to a Right to Information query filed by The Sunday Express, the Railways Ministry first declined to give this information citing Clause 8, sub-clause (1) (j) of the RTI Act, 2005 which relates to "personal information the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest, or which would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual..." It was only
after The Sunday Express filed an appeal against that reply that the Railways finally released these figures.

Complete Article

Right use of information sought under RTI important

The real impact of the Right to Information (RTI) Act lies in how the procured information is used, was the general theme of discussion at an RTI workshop organised by the Public Concern for Governance Trust (PCGT), to commemorate the second anniversary of the implementation of the RTI Act at the Police Sanskrutik Bhavan on Saturday. State Information Commissioner, Pune division Vijay Kuvalekar spoke about the transition of the Act, citing examples of its reach in rural areas along with urban prevalence. "The process just begins with the RTI application and the implementation is another issue altogether," Kuvalekar said. "While individual applications reach a satisfactory conclusion when the information sought is acquired, for applications pertaining to the interests of the larger society, the
process does not end until some change has been brought about," he added.

Complete Article

Hazare releases documentary on RTI

A documentary film to mark the completion of two years of Right To Information Act (RTI) was released on Frdiay. Noted social activist Anna Hazare who is credited for Right To Information Act in Maharashtra released the film in the presence of leading RTI activists and the media. The documentary was produced by Films Division and directed by Satish Shinde.

Complete Article

Saturday, October 13, 2007

RTI reveals: 489 Gujarat farmers have committed suicide since 2003

The Gujarat government has admitted to 489 cases of farmer suicides across the State since 2003. Social activist Bharat Jhala got the information, taking recourse to the Right to Information Act. Junagadh district topped the list with 85 suicides, followed by Rajkot (62), Jamnagar (50) and Mehsana (48). “More tragic has been the apathetic and irresponsible attitude of the State government, which has not only failed to compensate these marginal farmers but also tried hard to suppress this information.”

Complete Article

Significant RTI decisions by Madras HC

Links to two good orders of Madras High Court delivered earlier this year. These orders deal with the applicability of RTI Act on the Substantially funded organisations; and the application of section 8 1)(d) & third party information respectively.


Diamond Jubliee School vs Education Dept


VV Mineral vs Geology and Mining Dept

Losing steam: RTI appeals pile up

Two years after it became a law, a huge backlog of appeals against decisions by the Information Commissioners and High Courts is perhaps weakening the law. The State Information Commission of Maharashtra has a backlog of 11,000 cases. Nearly 600 more are added every month, while they dispose off 400 cases every month. The Central Information Commission in Delhi has close to 4000 cases pending and on an average it takes each case 4-5 months to be heard. Moreover activists say most government departments and some companies have got stays from courts to avoid giving out information.

Complete Article

Thursday, October 11, 2007

GOACAN to observe Right To Information Fortnight from 12th to 25th October

The Goa Civic and Consumer Action Network (GOACAN) will observe a Right To Information Fortnight from 12th to 25th October. The program being organised on the occasion of the second anniversary of the enactment of the Right To Information Act 2005 seeks to address the need for awareness on RTI as well as to petition the Goa Govt. to fulfill its duties with respect to the Act.

Consumers are requested to send copies of their RTI applications/suggestions
by post to GOACAN, Post Box 187, Margao Goa 403 601 or
by email to during this fortnight.

------------------------------------------------------------
GOA CIVIC AND CONSUMER ACTION NETWORK
-----------------------------------------------------------
promoting civic and consumer rights in Goa
-----------------------------------------------------------
GOACAN Post Box 187 Margao, Goa 403 601
GOACAN Post Box 78 Mapusa, Goa 403 507
mailto: goacan@bsnl.in

RTI pushes Sebi to hand over files in IndiaBulls case

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) will soon issue an order relating to the handing over of files that deal with a ban imposed on Indiabulls Securities in April 27, 2006 by the capital market regulator, and its immediate withdrawal within 24 hours. This follows an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act by YP Singh, a former IPS officer. While over 200 entities were banned by the market regulator, in what has now come to be called as the IPO scam, only Indiabulls was let scot-free the next day. The scam related to the connivance of broking entities and some others to corner large chunks of the retail portion of IPOs, using fictitious accounts.

Complete Article

Two years on, RTI Act a big hit

As it completes two years on Friday, the Right to Information (RTI) Act is creating history in Maharashtra. With a 70 per cent hike in applications in the past eight months, the state is now leading in information applicants across the globe.

Complete Article

The RTI movement will lead India to Swaraj

In its true sense, the RTI is a citizen's search for the truth about how his government functions -- a satyagraha. The movement is growing relentlessly and will lead India to the 'Swaraj' which we missed in 1947. A quiet peaceful revolution called the 'Right To Information' campaign is sweeping across the nation.

Complete Article

6,669 cases of child labour detected so far

A total number of 6,669 cases of children working in eateries and houses has come to light since the ban came into force last year.While not a single employer has been convicted, only 18 cases came to light in the states of Chattisgarh, Haryana, Goa, Meghalaya and Tripura. Andhra Pradesh reported the largest number of cases at 4,308. The state was ahead of others in rehabilitation of the children as it pulled 4426 kids out of illegal employment.

Complete Article

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

SBI Cards under RTI net: Delhi HC

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday stayed the Central Information Commission order which had held that SBI Cards, a joint venture between SBI and GE, is a "public authority" and hence customers can seek any information about the entity under the Right to Information Act. Justice S Ravinder Bhatt passed the interim stay order on a petition filed by the SBI Cards and Payments Services Pvt Ltd challenging Commission's order.

Complete Article

Punjab official fined Rs.20250 for delaying info under RTI

The Punjab State Information Commission has fined an Executive Officer of Rs 20,250 for not providing information under Right to Information Act. Information commissioners R.K. Gupta and P.P.S. Gill imposed fine on Sukhdev Singh, Executive Officer, Municipal Council, Rampura Phul in Bathinda district. Bathinda Deputy Commissioner has been asked to recover the amount from the EO's salary in four equal monthly equal installments and report compliance on Monday of third week of
February, 2008.

Complete Article

CIC pulls up University Grants Commission

The Central Information Commission has pulled up the University Grants Commission for its failure to release money under a government scholarship awarded to a girl over one year back and not disclosing the reasons for the delay.

The Commission's order came on an RTI application filed by S K Sharma, a resident of Kashipur in Uttaranchal, that his daughter did not receive the scholarship amount as per the Indira Gandhi Post Graduate Scholarship under the Single Girl Child Scheme.

Complete Article

Monday, October 08, 2007

MP wants officials to be sensitised on RTI

Congress MP Vundavalli Arun Kumar on Sunday faulted officials for failing to promptly furnish information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act and wanted the administrative machinery to implement the statute in letter and spirit.

Responding to queries, he said he was not at all happy with the progress in his "struggle" against Margadarsi Financiers and its chit fund business as the results were not encouraging. Officials concerned were reluctant to act against Eenadu group chairman Ramoji Rao, probably, because of the latter's influence. In this context, he alleged that promoters of Margadarsi Financiers were yet to open an escrow account as assured to the Supreme Court.

Complete Article

PMO confirms PM Relief fund fraud

The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) has confirmed that Coal India Ltd, a public sector undertaking, has illegally diverted at least a quarter of the funds that it had collected for over a decade and meant for the Prime Minister's Relief Fund. Responding to a right to information (RTI) application, the PMO said it received only Rs 30 crore out of Rs 40 crore that Coal India claimed to have collected towards the fund by deducting a day's wages from its 80,000 employees.

Complete Article

Seminar on RTI in Pune

Public Concern for Government Trust is celebrating the second anniversary of the
enactment, on 12 Oct. 05, of the RTI Act, 2005 on Sat. 13 Oct. 2007 at the Police Sanskrutic Bhawan, Police Grounds, Shivaji Nagar, Pune 411005. I, on behalf of PCGT, extend an invitation to all of you to attend this workshop. The programme is as follows:

9.30 a.m. - 10 Tea
10 - 10.15 Introduction by Mr. Dinesh Castellino, Convenor RTI Committee, PCGT
10.15 - 10.45 Inaugural Address by Mr. Vijay Kuwalekar, State Information Commissioner
10.45 - 11 Key Note address by Mr. B. G. Deshmukh
11 - 11.30 Presentation - 'Use of RTI to curb Corruption' by Maj. Gen. SCN Jatar, Retd
11.30 - 2 p.m. RTI Workshop by Mr. Arvind Kejriwal (Film, features of the Act, facilitating participants to file RTI requisitions)
2 - 2.10 Prize Distribution (for Best Essay and Slogan)
2.10 - 2.15 Vote of Thanks - Ms. Pallavi Keluskar
2.15 p.m. Lunch (also Street Play by Students of Karve Institute of Social Sciences)

Please do attend.
Thanks and Regards,
Maj. Gen. S. C. N. Jatar, Retd

Sunday, October 07, 2007

How large projects are 'managed'

I have heard about ways in which open bidding and tendering processes are manipulated and rigged to ensure preordained results. One martyr who brought this to our attention in the case of the NHAI was Satyendra Dubey. In September, 2007 there was news that the Supreme Court had ruled that the disqualification of Anil Ambani’s Company for the bidding of the Mumbai Trans Harbour Sea Link Project (MTHL) was bad and that ‘ the decision to exclude REL/HECL is arbitrary, whimsical and unreasonable’.

I was curious to know some details about this, and asked for copies of the minutes of meeting at which the decision to disqualify REL/HECL was taken using RTI. I have received the minutes and they reveal some really disturbing matters.

1. Anil Ambani’s REL with Hyundai was disqualified on grounds of financial inadequacy! The discussions show that REL itself had adequate financial standing to qualify.

2. Crisil was involved in the evaluation of the bids. The meeting brings out the fact that Crisil was a consultant to Ms. Seaking which was linked with Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance group. This was qualified on financial criteria by Crisil, whereas Anil Ambani’s group was disqualified by Crisil who were also consultant’s to the Mukesh Ambani Company Seaking! This was discussed at the meeting and the issue of conflict of interests was raised and forgotten!

3. Another very curious aspect is that a Company China Harbour was disqualified on what appear to me to be absurd! A Company which has made a longer bridge in China is disqualified, and the ground that it has not charged high enough prices!

I quote, “ He ( Chief Engineer) informed that M/s China Harbour does not meet criteria of construction of bridge costing more than Rs.850 crs. Though bridge is very long. This is due to lower construction costs in China. In view of bid stipulation, China Harbour is considered as non-responsive.” China Harbour was disqualified as it had not charged enough for a longer bridge! Perhaps, the bribes then cannot be factored.

More importantly, this throws into doubt the absurd qualifications by the Consultants.

Crisil was involved in financial evaluation and was consultant to the Company which was qualified and it disqualified the rival REL. A Company was disqualified though it had made a longer bridge at lower cost! RTI gives an insight about how large contracts are managed.

Anybody who wishes can take copies of the Minutes from me.

posted by shailesh gandhi on the HJ group

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Notice to Gurdaspur DC under RTI

Punjab state information commission has issued a notice to Gurdaspur DC, under the Right to Information Act, on the complaint of Gauree Dayal Sharma. The DC has been asked to appear before a bench constituted by the state iinformation commissioner, Chandigarh, on November 6, 2007, at 10 am or
send some authorised officer of the district administration who is
conversant with facts of the case.


Complete Article

RTI Act empowers masses: Judge

The Right to Information Act, 2005, is a potent tool in the hands of the people to keep an eye on the government machineries. The Act that seeks to empower the masses helps bridging the gap between the rulers and the ruled, said Dakshina Moorthy, retired judge. Moorthy was speaking after inaugurating one-day seminar on ‘Right to information Act 2005’ organised by Raja Lakhamgouda Law College in association with
Karnataka Institute for Law and Parliamentary Reform (KILPAR), here on Friday.

Complete Article

Now, grades for Union ministries too!

Two years after the introduction of the Right to Information Act 2005 in the country, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has decided to grade ministries and departments to indicate how well they fare on its implementation. We have decided to start the grading system in order to improve the efficiency of the ministries," said Central Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah. "When we have a report card in which grades are given, we have a criteria to gauge their performance on the transparency front. Implementation of RTI Act would gradually become a matter of prestige," he added.

Complete Article

Petition challenges right to seek information from court

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has issued notices to Union Law Ministry on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) challenging the powers of various Information Commissioners in seeking information (under RTI Act) from High Courts and the Supreme Court. Filed by an advocate, the PIL has challenged the powers of even the Chief Information Commissioners at state and central level, as such power interferes
with the independence of the Judiciary, which is part of the basic structure of the Indian Constituion.

Complete Article

Thursday, October 04, 2007

CIC upholds investor-interest paramount under RTI Act

Public interest outweighs all other interests in allowing access to information under the two-year old Right To Information (RTI) Act. The Central Information Commissioner (CIC), while dealing with an appeal for information related to a 2006 Sebi order that had suspended brokerage firm Indiabulls from trading, was keen that the matter be examined in the context of an RTI section that provides access to information if there is public interest in the disclosure.

Complete Article

MP Information Commission pushes PIOs to follow the Act

The Madhya Pradesh State Information Commission in a fresh and important decision (serial no.A-0447/7September 2007) on the appeal of Right to Information applicant Rolly Shivhare against the PIO and First Appellate authority of Department of Women and Child Development, in order to make the right to information more effective
has made it clear that any application received by a department can not be rejected or dismissed even if it is not pertaining to that public information officer (PIO) or office of the department but will be forwarded to the concerned PIOs of the department for information. It will be the responsibility of the public information officer to forward the application to the concerned department within a period of five days and inform the applicant. At the same time The Chief Information Commissioner Padmapani Tiwari has given a show cause notice to the Public Information Officer in the State Directorate of Women and Child Development Department as to why they should not be penalized under the provisions of Right to Information Act 2005.

[sent by Rolly Shivhare of MP Right to Food Movement]

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

RTI pics and reports on campaigns in UP and Assam

All the RTI pics and reports are on the website:
http://ashaparivar.org/cms/rtinews

Here you will also find detail of each activity. All of these are photos and reports authored by Mahesh in recent months. Asha parivar volunteers are running the campaigns under the 'Right to Information U.P." umbrella name in UP and Assam.

[posted by shirish on the aid-rti list]

Right to Information Act, going rural

Having woven many a success story in cities, the (RTI), which completes two years of coming in the statute books in October is reaching the rural areas too with villages using its provisions to redress their grievances.

Sidhakahna Jot Keshav village in Bahraich district of Uttar Pradesh is one such example. Five inspired residents of the village filed RTI applications and questioned the district administration about the conditions of the village roads and drains. They also raised questions as why there were no allotments under the 'Indira Awaas Yojna'.

Complete Article

Ideas of Bhagat Singh through RTI!

In the present era, when India boasts of being the biggest democracy in the world, the youth of India have a noble and even more effective tool in their hand which is capable of eliminating the iron wall between the 'lord and his servant'. "We are a democracy and in this system the real lord is public and not the officers and politicians. The difference can be bridged by using RTI. And this would be the real tribute to martyrs like Bhagat Singh," said Manish Sisodia, an RTI activist. He was speaking at a function organised by Navjavan Bharat Sabha on the occasion of the birth centenary of Bhagat Singh on Friday.

Complete Article

Jaano Re Abhiyaan in Madhya Pradesh

We have initiated Jano Re Abhiyan (A campaign for accessing RTI) in the state of MP with the active involvement of many organizations from 40 districts. This group is an informal group and due to our interest we were desperately interested in celebrating the 2 nd year of RTI. This time we are celebrating it by filing application under RTI. We try to continue this type of processes later also. We need
your cooperation & support to take it forward in your respective work areas/states. All the partner organizations will be filing at least 4-5 application under RTI during the month of October 07. We hope that 150-200 Applications were being filed by the Campaign in the month of Oct.

JOIN HANDS WITH THIS CAMPAIGN

In solidarity
Prashant Dubey / Rolly Shivhare
For "Jaano Re" Abhiyan
09425026331, 09425466461
jaanoreabhiyaan@gmail.com

[sent to my personal email]

Student uses RTI to avail marksheet

That the Right to Information (RTI) Act is indeed a powerful weapon in the hands of a commoner has been upheld once again. On September 18, the claim of Anil Kumar to get the copy of marks in theory fetched by his son Kishlay in biology pertaining to the 2006 examinations conducted by National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) for the XII standard was finally conceded.

Complete Article

Phone taps not covered under RTI

If you suspect the government machinery is tapping your phone and you want to get information about it under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, you may be in for a disappointment. The State Information Commission (SIC) in Maharashtra, in a landmark order, has turned down the final appeal of an applicant who felt that his two mobile phones were being tapped.

Complete Article

Notice from UP CIC to Big B on ad campaign

Mega Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan is once again in controversy as the Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) has issued notice to Big B on his claim that jurm (crime) in Uttar Pradesh was less as compared to other states. The Big B had played the lead role in a series of TV campaigns on the crime situation in the state during the previous Mulayam Singh Yadav government. CIC, Justice (Retd) M A Khan, issued notice under a Right To Information (RTI) application moved by one Braj Bhushan Dubey of Gazipur district.

Complete Article

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