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Thread: Now you will know why and how Govt rejects foreign scholars, asks them to change subjects

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    Now you will know why and how Govt rejects foreign scholars, asks them to change subjects


    indianexpress.com



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    Re: Now you will know why and how Govt rejects foreign scholars, asks them to change subjects


    For the benefit of readers I am posting the full article (referred by murgie) in the following post.

    The Indian Express asked for similar information to the Home Ministry, which was a bit more forthcoming.

    The Home Ministry did give a list of 9 research subjects of US Fulbright scholars, which the Government rejected “after due consideration of the sensitivity of the research proposals.”

    Want to know which were the proposals rejected ?

    Prospects and problems of outsourcing for India’s economic growth
    Is tourism a win-win for local livelihoods and forest eco-systems in the Central highlands of India
    The Imaginary Princess: A Muslim girl’s story
    Language ideologies in Mumbai schools
    India’s energy security
    Women’s struggle for empowerment
    Democratization in Kerala
    Political Empowerment and Biodiversity in Kerala
    Politics of land privatisation and access in Delhi.

    Please see the full story in my post:

    http://www.rtiindia.org/forum/677-wh...-security.html

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    Re: Now you will know why and how Govt rejects foreign scholars, asks them to change subjects


    Now you will know why and how Govt rejects foreign scholars, asks them to change subjects

    Citing even national security, twice the Govt denied information on its academic thought police to The Sunday Express. It has been ordered to reveal all.

    NEW DELHI, DECEMBER 1:Twice stonewalled by the Government over the last nine months, The Sunday Express has finally been able to get the Human Resource Development Ministry to agree to reveal how many foreign research scholars it has rejected and why.

    The Central Information Commission this week ordered the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry to reveal the list of all foreign research scholars — who applied for a research visa in the last two years — with their subjects, dates of application and visas, and reasons for asking some of them to change their subjects.

    Calling this a matter of “national prestige”, Information Commissioner O P Kejriwal directed the Ministry to give the entire information to this newspaper by December 28. He also said that application filed by this newspaper under the Right to Information (RTI) Act had been refused on “completely flawed grounds”.

    The “flawed grounds” given by HRD’s joint secretary Sunil Kumar, the first appellate authority, and director Anupama Bhatnagar, the Public Information Officer, ranged from “violation of intellectual property of research scholars” and “affecting the national security, strategic interests and foreign relations” to “you are not an affected party, so can’t give information” and “this is a third-party information, so have to take consent from every scholar at your cost”.

    Kejriwal also expressed “surprise” that the government chose not to attend the hearing.

    Between February 10 and February 17 this year, The Indian Express — in a series of investigative stories — had exposed how the Indian government was delaying granting of visas to US research scholars, coming under the Fulbright scholarship programme.

    The delays were upto 21 months, while officially they were supposed to be given in three months. More shockingly, some research scholars were also being asked to change their subjects. An investigation revealed that the situation was the worst during the last two years of UPA regime in the 57-year-old Fulbright programme.

    That series prompted a flood of requests from scholars in India across the world to find out what was the method of selection that the Government followed and its rationale for changing research subjects. Responding to this, The Sunday Express filed an RTI application on February 15 asking to reveal the list of research scholars, irrespective of nationality, who applied for research visas between January 1, 2005 and February 15, 2007.

    HRD Ministry’s PIO, Director Anupama Bhatnagar, on March 19 cited Section 4 of the RTI Act, saying that information cannot be given since this reporter is not an affected research scholar. She also said that disclosure of this information would affect the security of India, strategic/economic interests and also might have adverse implications on foreign relations.

    Refused by the CPIO, the newspaper appealed to the joint secretary in HRD Ministry, Sunil Kumar, who is the first appellate authority, and he said that the information sought is “third-party information” and a research scholar’s subject of research is an intellectual property. Kumar, therefore, said that information can be given if every scholar gives their permission and the entire exercise of seeking permission from them will be done at this reporter’s cost.

    However, on November 28, the CIC, accepting the newspaper’s submission that invoking of this clause is “grossly misplaced” and one need not be an affected person to seek information under the RTI Act since it outlines the obligations of public authorities, said that Section 6 (2) of the RTI Act doesn’t require an applicant to give any reason for seeking any information.

    The CIC also rejected Sunil Kumar’s order that this was a “third party information” and accepted the newspaper’s submission that “a research paper is an intellectual property — but a research subject is not.”

    The CIC ordered the Ministry that information should be given or the applicant can be called at a “mutually agreed date”, when the relevant files have to be opened for inspection and photocopied free-of-cost.
    Watch this space.

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