Right to Information
Is This Slum Rehabilitation or Retired Officials’ Rehabilitation?
The Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) was created to rehabilitate slum-dwellers in Mumbai and make the city slum-free. However, almost 80% of the officers and staff at SRA are non-governmental and work on contract basis, reveals a reply received under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
 
The reply received by RTI activist Anil Galgali shows that out of the 403 officers and staff at SRA, almost 80% are working on contract. This includes those re-appointed after retirement from government service. "These external staff do not have any responsibility affixed on them thereby turning the SRA into Developer's Rehabilitation Authority, the latest being role played by SRA's Chief Executive Officer, who cleared hundreds of files just before his retirement," Galgali said.
 
As per the roster approved for Mumbai SRA, there are 99 posts, of which 65 have been filled up and 34 are vacant. Of the 34 vacant posts, one post each is of legal advisor and under-secretary, five posts of nayab tahsildar, and 18 of sub-engineer. There are 73 officers working in SRA on deputation. Apart from these, SRA hired the services of 75 clerks and 38 peons through Eagle Security and Personal Services. The SRA has appointed 98 clerks and peons on contract as well. 
 
Fifty four retired officers have been reinstated in SRA. This includes three Chief Legal Advisors, one Chief Coordinator, one Deputy Collector, nine Nayab Tahsildars, one Public Relations Officer, one Complaints Redressal Officer, two Collector's Land officers, two Deputy Auditors, and 13 Surveyors, the RTI reply shows.
 
Galgali, in a letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has demanded that the government give preference to staff and officers appointed through its own services, rather than appointing retired officers and staff on contract. Also the CEO and senior officials of the SRA should be made accountable for the slow progress of projects under SRA, the RTI activist demanded.

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COMMENTS

GLN Prasad

4 months ago

As a citizen I am only concerned with getting my job done, who does it, and how they does it not my issue. If only Govt. can deliver the services properly within time , I am happy and I do not have any grievance on the way they function.

No LPG connection in 6 northeast states till May; 4.3 million in UP, under Ujjwala, RTI reveals
In six out of eight northeastern states, the Modi government failed to provide even a single LPG connection under its flagship scheme Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY).
 
The Yojana is an initiative on whose success the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rode to power in Uttar Pradesh, having provided over 4.3 million connections in the state to BPL families.
 
The information was received from Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) through an RTI application by IANS in May.
 
According to the RTI reply, till May 8, 2017, not a single family benefitted from the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) in states like Arunchal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim.
 
Just the two BJP-ruled states in northeast India -- Assam and Manipur -- saw five and 27 LPG connections, respectively.
 
In Assam, Baksa district received one connection, Darrang got one, Dhemaji district one and Dibrugarh got two.
 
In Manipur, Kakching district received highest number of connections with 15, followed by eight in Thoubal, two in Imphal West and one each in Jiribam and Churachandpur.
 
The RTI reply also says that till May 8, 2017, a total of 75 districts in Uttar Pradesh have released 4,337,706 connections under the PMUY.
 
The scheme was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 1, 2016, in Ballia, Uttar Pradesh in the run up to the assembly elections in the state, which was held from February 11 to March 8 this year in seven phases.
 
The BJP swept through the assembly elections in Uttar Pardesh, bagging 325 seats out of 403 seats and dislodging the Samajwadi Party government, which along with the Congress could manage only 54 seats.
 
It is believed that women in UP were pleased with the central government's initiative and voted for the BJP.
 
The RTI reply also said that till May 8, 2017, a total of 21.933 million connections had been released in the whole country under PMUY.
 
However, to a question as to how much the government had spent under the scheme in Uttar Pradesh and in the whole country, the reply came that the information was not available with IOCL.
 
Meanwhile, on the website of PMUY under the ministry of petroleum and natural gas, it is mentioned that till July 1, 704 districts had been covered and 24.4 million BPL LPG connections had been released.
 
The BJP came to power also in Assam last year (2016) and Manipur early this year, uprooting the Congress governments.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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RTI Can Be Filed to Procure Exam Answer Sheets
I regularly receive emails seeking advice on filing RTI for procuring copies of answer sheets. Recently, a student wrote, “I am a student of Guwahati University, Assam. I am doing 5 years B.A. L.L.B. Hons. and I am in the 10th semester, that is the final semester. 
 
“The problem is that many of my friends failed in one paper of 9th semester, which is astonishing because they are really good in studies and they believe that they should have passed in that subject. But in the written exam they got 16-17 only out of 80 marks. So they want to re-evaluate the copies. But they have applied for universities of other states. So they are afraid that it will cost them one year as the result of re-evaluation is not given early. So they want to file RTI also.
 
“Therefore, I want to ask you whether we can file RTI and apply for revaluation at the same time. And can you please tell me the procedure for filing it.” 
 
In another mail, a student who had appeared for the civil services examination, wrote, “I had filed an RTI before UPSC seeking certified copy of skill test examination and separate merit lists of all skill test and interview in respect of all candidates. I know they will claim exemption u/s 8 & 9. Can you please give me some Supreme Court, High Court and CIC judgments.’’
 
Earlier, I had received mails from stressed CBSE students as they had to cough up Rs1000 per answer sheet -- Rs700 for revaluation and Rs300 for RTI application. However, thanks to young student activists who sought legal intervention, students appearing for all school board examinations, college examinations, public services and any other competitive examination have every right to ask for answer sheets under RTI and the relevant public authorities are bound by the RTI law to provide them the answer sheets.
 
Several universities like Delhi University and Savitribai Phule Pune University, were also charging exorbitant fees and putting difficult terms and conditions for providing copies of answer sheets. In Pune, RTI activist Vivek Velankar filed a  complaint with the CIC, which ordered Pune University to abide by the Supreme Court ruling. Also, heads of educational institutions take cover under `fiduciary’ relationship – trust between an educational institution and the student and hence such information is not public information. The Supreme Court has rejected this excuse.
 
So, what should the students do?
Not every State has a format for RTI application. If your State has one, then file it as per the format. This is for the State Board examinations. In case of centrally held public examinations, there is no particular format. However, the following format procured from www.rti.org seems ideal. It is as follows:
1. Central Public Information Officer, O/o Registrar of University, [Name of the University] [Full Address]
2. Subject: Information under Right to Information Act 2005
3. Dated: [Enter the Date of RTI Application]
4. Dear Sir,
5. Kindly furnish certified copies of my answer-sheets, the details of which are as under:
6. 1. Name of the candidate: [Enter Your Name]
7. 2. Roll Number : [Enter the Roll Number]
8. 3. Name of Exam : [Write the name of the examination, say B.Sc 2nd year]
9. 4. Date of Exam : [Date of the Examination]
10. 5. Name of the Subject: [Give the names of the subjects for which you want the copies]
11. 6. Exam Centre: [Exam centre location]
12. 7. Subject Code: [Write the Subject Code of Exam]
13. 8. Centre Code: [Write the Centre code as available in hall ticket]
14. [If you are attaching the copy of the hall ticket, and write, that you are attaching the copy of the hall ticket]
15. I am attaching the prescribed fees of Rs [Write the fee amount deposited. Check from the University website for the correct RTI Fees]  paid through [Write the Mode of Payment Cash /Cheque/Postal Order etc.] dated [Write the date of the examination].
16. With Regards,
17. [Your name]
18. [Date of writing RTI Application]
19. [Full Postal Address along with email & Telephone number]
 
So, here’s why students should not be afraid to ask for answer sheets under RTI Act:
 
1. Supreme Court Order of 2011: In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court allowed the disclosure of the answer-sheets under Right to Information (RTI) Act to the examinee. The bench dismissed the petitions filed by different public authorities and affirmed the judgment of the Calcutta High Court allowing the disclosure of answer-sheets. The case was filed by Central Board of Secondary Education, West Bengal Board of Secondary Education, West Bengal Council for Higher Education, University of Calcutta, Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, West Bengal Central School Service Commission and Assam Public Service Commission challenging the common order and judgment passed by division bench of the Calcutta High Court. 
 
2. Law students file contempt of court against CBSE for defying Supreme Court order:
Despite the Supreme Court order, CBSE continued to stonewall students in gross violation. This led a group of law students, Whistle for Public Interest, to file a contempt of court case, after they used RTI and discovered that CBSE accepts no application under RTI for obtaining the copy of evaluated answer-sheets. The Supreme Court, in the contempt petition, ordered that CBSE should not only ensure that students get access to their answer-sheets under RTI but it should also help students learn and use RTI as a tool in the matters involving public authorities. This would help them become responsible citizens.
 
Note: All the state run institutions falling under the meaning of Public Authority defined under section 2(h) of the RTI Act, are obliged to provide answer-sheets under Right to Information. 
 
Some earlier links of stories in Moneylife
 
 
 
 

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COMMENTS

auvietco

5 months ago

Thank you very much for providing an excellent tuning experience

Sisir

5 months ago

I have two queries in this regard:

1. PIO refuses to provide copies of answer sheets. FAA orders PIO to provide copies. PIO then states that RTI Applicant has to visit the University to collect the copies in person. Can such condition be imposed?

2. As per the rules of a particular University, the retention period of answer sheets is just one month. What is the liability of the University if a student's answer sheet is destroyed before his RTI is replied to with a copy of his/her answer sheet?

Thanks

REPLY

Vinita Deshmukh

In Reply to Sisir 5 months ago

1. No, the PIO cannot impose regarding personal visit to collect it although one would think in this case, the applicant would be eager to get it at the earliest
2. If the RTI application is before the retention period, the univ must preserve the record until it provides the information. The university must also prove that it has destroyed records after the retention period for if it hasn't for some reason, then it should provide the information. Here is the extract of the 2016 CIC decision to this effect ``The Public Authority is expected to receive the RTI applications and provide information/answer sheets until the records are weeded out as per their policy. If they have retained the answer sheets, even after the prescribed retention period for any reason, they cannot deny if it is not destroyed as on the date of RTI application. If the same were already weeded out as per their retention policy, then there is a justification for denying the information to the appellant, as the same was not ‘held’ by them. But the Public Authority has to prove the date of destroying by a copy of the relevant register, wherein the providing weeding out of records were recorded/diarised.
The Public Authority is also required to hold the records, if an RTI application/grievance/complaint is pending before the authorities such as, CIC/PGC/NHRC/Courts, etc even though the prescribed retention period was exhausted and until the said proceedings before the above authorities, are disposed of finally. In this case, PGC had observed that answer sheets were weeded out even though the applicant’s RTI request and grievances were under consideration. The Dean of the University represented to the Commission that they have already taken necessary steps to prevent removal of records when the requests for such records/complaints are pending. The Dean assured that such things will not happen again.

Vinita Deshmukh

In Reply to Vinita Deshmukh 5 months ago

Mr Sisir, here is the CIC order: http://ciconline.nic.in/rti/docs/cic_decisions/CIC_SA_A_2015_001407_M_178318.pdf

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