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Thread: Assets of ministers, kin exempted from RTI queries: PMO

  1. #17
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    Re: Assets of ministers, kin exempted from RTI queries: PMO


    As reported by Himanshi Dhawan of TNN in timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 06 May 2009:
    Guns, trucks among RS ministers' assets - India - The Times of India

    Guns, trucks among RS ministers' assets

    NEW DELHI: PM Manmohan Singh may jet across half the world to meet world leaders but he appears most comfortable in his Maruti 800. While the PM
    has retained the car long after it went out of fashion, law minister H R Bharadwaj's preoccupation appears to be guns -- he owns two of them -- when not parrying questions on Q.

    Civil aviation minister Praful Patel is on top of the world in more than one respect. He also happens to be the richest Cabinet minister from Rajya Sabha with a combined worth of Rs 46.8 crore. These include land holdings/flats owned by Patel, his wife and four dependent children in prime locations like Napeansea Road and Worli in Mumbai.

    These are part of the details disclosed by the Rajya Sabha secretariat on its members who are also in the Union Cabinet. The disclosure was made in response to a Right to Information query filed by applicant Subhash Chandra Agarwal asking for asset declaration of ministers' and their kin.

    There are 18 members of the Rajya Sabha who are currently in the council of ministers. Of the lot, water resources minister Saifuddin Soz has not filed his returns as the stipulated 90 day period prescribed for filing declaration of assets for him is not over yet while details submitted by G K Vasan were found incomplete.

    If Patel is on top of the heap, defence minister A K Antony has the least financial muscle with a combined worth of Rs 17.9 lakh. Petroleum minister Murli Deora follows Patel at the top with a combined worth of Rs 35 crore while minister of state for industry Ashwani Kumar is a distant third with assets worth Rs 8.7 crore. Kumar and sports minister M S Gill (worth Rs 2.5 crore) have larger investments in shares and mutual funds than others.

    If the PM's choice of vehicle is surprising despite his combined worth of Rs 4.3 crore, so is HRD minister Arjun Singh's. The latter owns four Tata trucks while parliamentary affairs minister Vayalar Ravi and power minister Sushilkumar Shinde own Fiats.

    Tourism minister Ambika Soni is not too badly off with a combined worth of Rs 7.5 crore including Rs 3.32 lakh in silver utensils and properties in Panchsheel Park in Delhi, land holdings in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh owned by her husband. MoS (Prime Minister's Office) Prithviraj Chavan has a combined worth of Rs 2.8 crore while MoS external affairs Anand Sharma, his wife and sons have assets worth Rs 2.5 crore.


    Twitter: @cjkarira

  2. #18
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    Re: Assets of ministers, kin exempted from RTI queries: PMO


    As reported in timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 10 Aug 2010
    ?Disclosure of minister?s assets is PMO?s call? - India - The Times of India

    ‘Disclosure of minister’s assets is PMO’s call’

    NEW DELHI: The executive on Monday lost another excuse to prevent disclosure of ministers' assets after the Lok Sabha Secretariat rejected a request from the Prime Minister's Office seeking the legislature's permission.

    The LS secretariat declined the request saying the RTI Act does not have any provision for giving such "clearances''. This means the PMO has to take a call on whether details of ministers' wealth should be disclosed or not.

    Incidentally, the reference to the LS secretariat came on the directions of the Central Information Commission.

    Chief information commissioner Wajahat Habibullah had in an order said, "PMO will refer the application with respect to those ministers who are members of the Lok Sabha to Speaker Meira Kumar and those who are members of the Rajya Sabha to Chairman Hamid Ansari for permission to disclose the information, on receipt of which the information will be provided.'' His order came on a RTI application filed by S C Agrawal.

    The secretariat asked the PMO to take a call under relevant sections of the RTI Act and the "spirit underlying" the order of the CIC but maintained the House is providing these details about ministers in their capacity as MPs.

    Responding to PMO's request, the LS secretariat said, "The RTI Act does not anywhere provide for giving clearance by one public authority to another public authority for providing information being maintained by that public authority to an applicant by the RTI Act. Under the circumstances, it is felt that the instant reference is not required to be placed before Speaker Lok Sabha.''

    The members of the House have to declare their assets and liabilities within 90 days of taking oath as MPs under Rule 3 of the Members of the Lok Sabha (Declaration of Assets and Liabilities Rules, 2004), it said.

    "On request for information regarding assets and liabilities regarding ministers being maintained by the PMO, they may take a considered view of the application keeping in view the provisions if any, pertaining to confidentiality of information furnished by the ministers to the PMO, provisions of the section 22 of the RTI Act and the spirit underlying the CIC decision,'' it said.
    Twitter: @cjkarira

  3. #19

    Re: Assets of ministers, kin exempted from RTI queries: PMO


    Thank you Shri Kariraji for posting the useful information and
    updating the information in its right perspective. In the given
    context of the salary hike of MPs, it is most relevant.

    MOHANDAS.

  4. #20
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    Re: Assets of ministers, kin exempted from RTI queries: PMO



    As reported by IANS in newkerala.com on 29 August 2010:
    Ministers' assets: RTI activist says PMO withholding details .:. newkerala.com Online News - United States 30793

    Ministers' assets: RTI activist says PMO withholding details

    New Delhi, Aug 29: A right to information (RTI) activist has urged the Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah to question the Prime Minister's
    Office (PMO) for not giving details of union ministers' wealth.

    RTI activist Subash Chandra Agrawal has asked Habibullah to issue a notice "for non-compliance of its (CIC) earlier order of providing the details of the assets of union ministers".

    In a letter to the CIC, Agrawal recalled that the CIC directed the PMO in June to provide "complete details of the wealth and assets of the ministers available with the PMO".

    The CIC order said the details could be shared after seeking the permission of the presiding officers of the two houses of parliament.

    "Despite getting a clearance from the two houses, the PMO is not complying with the order of the CIC, which is a de-facto denial of information under the RTI Act," Agrawal said.

    In such a situation, the CIC should issue a notice to the PMO for non-compliance of its order and denial of information, Agrawal said.
    Twitter: @cjkarira

  5. #21
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    Re: Assets of ministers, kin exempted from RTI queries: PMO


    As reported by PTI in ndtv.com on 06 September 2010:
    Showcause notice to PMO for non-compliance of CIC orders

    Showcause notice to PMO for non-compliance of CIC orders

    New Delhi: The Central Information Commission (CIC) has issued a show-cause notice to the Prime Minister's Office regarding "non-compliance" of its order relating to disclosure of union ministers' assets.

    "The Commission has directed the CPIO in Prime Minister's Office to dispose complaint within 10 days. ....the appellant has been repeatedly approaching the Commission stating...that the requested information has not been provided," the Commission said in its notice.

    It directed the Central Public Information Officer to "submit an action taken report specifically in regard to the non-compliance of the order" by September 10.

    The case relates to S C Agrawal who sought to know from the Cabinet Secretariat the information on assets, wealth and income of all union ministers. The matter was later referred to the PMO.

    The Commission had on June 7 this year directed the PMO to disclose the assets of union ministers after getting clearance from the Lok Sabha Speaker and the Rajya Sabha Chairman.

    The Commission had directed the PMO to complete the exercise within 10 days of receiving the decision.

    "Failure to receive a response within a reasonable time will, however, be construed as acquiescence in the light of previous decisions given by each of the heads of both Houses," Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah said on a plea of Agrawal.

    Habibullah directed the Prime Minister's Office to refer the RTI application with respect to those ministers who are Lok Sabha Members to Speaker Meira Kumar and those who are Members of Rajya Sabha to Chairman Hamid Ansari for permission to disclose the assets and liabilities of the ministers.

    The CIC has said that after getting requisite details the information would be furnished to Agrawal.

    But the PMO even after getting the necessary orders from the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha did not provide the details, alleged Agrawal before the Commission.
    Twitter: @cjkarira

  6. #22
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    Re: Assets of ministers, kin exempted from RTI queries: PMO


    As reported by Swaraj Thapa at indianexpress.com on Sep 08 2010

    RTI effect: Ministers will have to declare latest assets


    New Delhi : Forced by an RTI application, the government today decided to declare the assets and liabilities of Union ministers on demand by the public.
    The Union Cabinet approved a proposal to adopt norms for greater transparency after RTI activist Subhash Agrawal asked the Central Information Commission (CIC) to issue a notice to the PMO for not providing details of assets of ministers and their kin following an RTI application.

    Agrawal complained of “non-compliance” by the PMO after it failed to provide “complete details of wealth and assets of ministers” despite a CIC order.

    Sources said that the Cabinet approved the proposal without much discussion, though ministers have in the past ignored reminders by the PMO to annually update declared records of their wealth. The PMO had issued such a directive after the government was formed in May 2009.

  7. #23
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    Re: Assets of ministers, kin exempted from RTI queries: PMO


    Great news, if actually complied with.

  8. #24
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    Re: Assets of ministers, kin exempted from RTI queries: PMO


    As reported by Chetan Chauhan in hindustantimes.com on 10 September 2010:
    Ministers' assets made public - Hindustan Times

    Ministers' assets made public

    Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel is the richest cabinet minister in UPA-II whereas Railway Minister Mamta Banerjee is among the poorest. The Prime Ministers' Office has provided details of assets and liabilities of 77 ministers in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's council, submitted for the first
    time under the Right to Information Act.

    The ministers are required to submit details of their assets and liabilities to the Prime Minister's Office every year.

    Getting the information was not easy for RTI activist Subhash Chandra Aggarwal, who sought the information in January 2009. The PMO had initially refused, saying it was the ministers' private information and therefore, could not be shared under the law.

    Chandra filed an appeal with the Central Information Commission, which overruled the PMO's decision last month asked its Public Information Officer Sanjukta Rat to seek the consent of individual ministers on revealing the information.

    On Monday, the cabinet agreed to provide the data and by Thursday, it was delivered to Chandra.

    "It is victory for transparency and honesty of the Prime Minister," he said.

    Chandra also demanded that the annual details of assets and wealth of all Parliamentarians be put on a website to improve transparency in governance.

    As per the data, the top ministers of UPA-II who have assets of more than Rs 1 crore include Home Minister P Chidambaram, Finance Minister S M Krishna, Finance Minister Pranab Mukerjee and Commerce Minister Anand Sharma.
    Twitter: @cjkarira

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