• Atul Patankar's Avatar
    4 Days Ago
    As reported at economictimes.indiatimes.com on 28 August 2014 NEW DELHI: The Centre has announced that it would provide financial aid to states to set up facilities for online filing of applications under the Right to Information (RTI) Act and others initiatives aimed at simplification and promotion of the transparency law. A fund of up to Rs 3lakh for celebration of RTI Week (October 5-12) and Rs four lakh for innovative awareness generation programme through street plays, folk troupes etc has been earmarked by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT). An amount of Rs four lakh per year has been earmarked for the states to set up helpline for answering queries of the general public regarding the RTI Act in their respective regional language. "Funds would be granted to Administrative Training Institutes (ATIs) based on their respective proposal subject to a maximum ceiling of Rs 4 lakh per annum in the first year which would include rental charges for a telephone line, computer system for data storage, salary for the person manning the helpline and stationery, etc. "The grants for the subsequent years would be restricted to Rs 2 lakh per annum. Such helplines could be set up in collaboration with NGOsworking in the field of RTI," the DoPT said in its detailed guidelines for the grant. The DoPT has also decided to give grant to states for simplifying the process of filing of RTI applications through an online system. "The facility of filing RTI applications and appeals online through RTI online web portal has been launched and is being implemented in all the ministries or departments of Government of India situated in New Delhi. "The same facility can be extended to the state government offices by sharing with them the software developed by NIC (Headquarters), New Delhi," it said. The Administrative Training Institutes may play the role of catalyst in the implementation of the facility in the public authorities located in the state. "Proposals in this regard are invited from ATIs and funds would be granted on the basis of such proposal," the DoPT said. The state governments are also being encouraged to improve record management and suo motu disclosure of information related to their working through financial grants proposed by it. Besides, Rs 5 lakh (per case basis) will be given to states for carrying out field-based research on RTI and Rs 1 lakh for organising workshops and seminars on promotion of the transparency law. The RTI Act, 2005, empowers the citizen to seek time bound response from a government department on governance matters.
    2 replies | 208 view(s)
  • Atul Patankar's Avatar
    5 Days Ago
    Atul Patankar started a thread RTI Happenings: Bollywood brought under RTI Act in RTI in Media
    As reported at timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 26 August 2011 In an unprecedented move that comes as a setback to Bollywood actors and artistes and brings cheer to their fans, stalkers and film journalists, the entire Indian film fraternity has been brought under the ambit of the Right to Information (RTI) Act. Reacting to the move, Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan said, "I have nothing to hide. I have even declared my slipper size (nine), and the fact that even today I don't pick up money thrown at me." Members of the public will be able to file a simple RTI application to know the details of which actor is having an affair with whom, why Sajid Khan is allowed to make films, which actress had a nose job and even the modus operandi of lifting plots from Hollywood films. One RTI plea regarding the Shah Rukh Khan-Wankhede Stadium incident has already been answered. According to the reply, the stadium guard asked SRK, "Wankhede kya kar rahe ho?" SRK responded with, "Guard doonga!" to which the guard said he was "already on his guard", infuriating the owner of KKR. Now a film is being planned on the incident called "Oh My Guard (OMG)!" A Bollywood aficionado was planning to file an RTI to find out why filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt scratches himself so much on TV. The witty producer-director responded with: "Everybody has to start from scratch but to itch his own" and proceeded to vigorously scratch himself on the spot. Sources say he is planning to make a film with a Chinese superstar called Khuj Lee. Interestingly, the following interaction from a court scene was also revealed by an RTI application: Sajid Khan: Yes, women are objectified in my films. Actress: I object your honour. Sajid: Yes you are. There are a number of RTI applications already piling up for Bollywood. Mocktale decided to list some of them: 1. Why are cops always late in films? 2. Why doesn't a hero's gun ever run out of bullets? 3. How do heroes (and SUVs in Rohit Shetty films) manage to defy gravity and physics? 4. Why does an actress/actor always die in a love-triangle? 5. How does a group of strangers know the exact dance moves when a hero/heroine starts dancing? 6. Why are people in films always struggling for money for some operation? Hasn't anyone heard of health insurance? 7. How is it that the villain's men die in a single shot but the hero's friend takes ages to die after taking some 35 bullets and mouthing some emotional lines and teary goodbyes? 8. Why is the sole honest politician usually an aged man who gets bumped off in the middle of the film? 9. Why is Salman Khan allergic to shirts? 10. One gentleman wants to file an RTI application to find out if Big B is his dad ever since he heard him say "Rishtey mai to hum tumhare baap lagte hain." Hopefully the film industry will answer these queries soon. Stories in Mocktale are works of fiction intended to bring a smile to your face. They bear no connection to events and characters in real life
    0 replies | 226 view(s)
  • Atul Patankar's Avatar
    06-23-2014
    Atul Patankar started a thread RTI Activism: UPA’s Last Minute Rewards in RTI in Media
    As reported by Pramod Kumar at organiser.org Official documents, procured through RTI by this correspondent, reveal that even while the election results were being announced on May 16, the Finance Ministry was busy in issuing transfer orders of around 148 Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officers in Income Tax Department. Some officers of the Central Customs and Excise Service, serving as private secretaries to various ministers, also got new postings as soon as they realised that the game was over for their political masters. The Government also empanelled 45 IAS officers as Additional Secretaries. According to the information procured through an RTI dated May 21 (No. 4-1/2014-CLM), the Ministry of Minority Affairs appointed Prof Akhtarul Wassey as Commissioner for Linguistic Minorities (CLM) with effect from March 4, 2014, a day before the imposition of moral code of conduct for general elections. The notification to this effect was issued on April 4. The tenure of the post is three years. The designation is equivalent to the post of Secretary to the Government of India and he is paid a salary of Rs 80,000 per month plus other allowances as admissible. The appointments in other ministries or departments include that of Raghvendra Singh as Additional Secretary in Ministry of Information & Broadcasting. Dr Rajpal was made Medical Superintendent of Safdarjung Hospital on May 16. Later, on May 19, the Finance Ministry issued transfer orders of another 11 IRS officers to coveted posts of the Income Tax Department in Mumbai, Delhi and Hyderabad. Even on May 20, the Finance Ministry issued orders for promotion of 104 officers of Customs and Excise Department from Group B to Group A ranks of Assistant Commissioners. Similarly, Ashwin B Pandya was appointed Chairman of the Central Water Commission and ex-officio Secretary to Government of India. On May 6, Bhagwati Prasad Pandey was appointed as Additional Secretary and Financial Adviser to the Department of Commerce under Ministry of Commerce and Industry. Even being at the exit gate, the government hurriedly filled top positions and made major appointments. Interestingly, most vacancies filled were those lying unattended for several years. One such case is the appointment of Narendra Kothari as CMD of National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC). The post was lying vacant since 2011 and it was the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) headed by Prime Minister which cleared the appointment at the eleventh hour. Another post which was filled up was that of the Chairman of Housing and Urban Development Corporation Limited (HUDCO). Dr Medithi Ravi Kanth, a 1986 batch IAS officer, was put in the chair towards the end of April. Not just the appointment of Lt Gen Dalbir Singh as new Army Chief, many other key appointments in security establishments were made including that of Devendra Kumar Pathak as Director General of Border Security Force. The appointment of Jammu & Kashmir Police DGP Ashok Prasad as Special Director of Intelligence Bureau also came in first week of May. The appointment of Prof Mahesh Rangarajan as Director of Nehru Memorial Museum and Library is a classical case of obliging people of choice. Despite strong objections from the Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT) Dr Manmohan Singh, on May 5, approved his permanent absorption as Director of NMML. This extension was rushed through in a fortnight in the last days with the ministry putting up the proposal for approval of the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) on April 30 and was cleared just days ahead of the election results. The order was issued on May 14. Rangarajan’s three-year term ends in August but now after this permanent absorption he will serve as Director until his superannuation in April 2024. In the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes under Ministry of Tribal Affairs also some appointments on constitutional posts were made in November 2013. According to an RTI dated May 26 (F.No.11030/2/2014-C&LM-I), the Ministry appointed Dr Rameshwar Oraon as Chairperson on November 1, 2013, Ravi Thakur as Vice Chairperson on November 13, 2013, Smt K Kamla Kumari as Member on November 1, 2013 and Bheru Lal Meena as Member on November 1, 2013. Though the previous three names have graduation or post graduation degree but the fourth on, Bheru Lal Meena, is just matriculation pass. The term of all the four persons is three years. Not only this Sheila Dikshit was appointed Governor of Kerala just a day before the imposition of model code of conduct i.e. on March 4. RTI response from Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) confirmed that selection of Sheila Dikshit as Governor was a one-man verbal directive of the then Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde with all formalities from resignation of Nikhil Kumar, temporary posting of HR Bharadwaj followed by permanent posting of Sheila Dikshit on the post was completed within hours on the same day, March 4, 2014. Not only these appointments, the Congress showered largesse of spacious bungalows in the prestigious Lutyens' zone to its favourites a mere three days before the voters wiped it out of the power. On May 13, the government allotted bungalow at 5 Janpath to Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and allowed Nandan Nilekani, the former Chairman of Unique Identification Authority of India, to extend his occupation of a bungalow allotted to him as the Authority's chief. Sources say former Additional Solicitor General KTS Tulsi, who represented Robert Vadra in his land deal cases, was allotted a Type VIII bungalow at Motilal Nehru Marg. According to sources, there are hundreds of such other Congress nominees who were showered largesse just before the exit. Detail of all such appointments is yet to come out. It is yet to be seen whether these people continue or the new government removes them from the posts. It is undisputed fact that the Congress by appointing its people on key posts prior to leaving the office tried to ensure that it remains updated with what is going in the government. 10 Janpath confidant Sam Pitroda has already been shown the doors, but when the Congress leaders who were made Governors just to avoid their arrest in corruption cases, will be removed is yet to be seen. -Pramod Kumar
    0 replies | 167 view(s)
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