Why I-T returns of Pawar, Jindal and Gandhi are exempted from #RT ?


Sharad Pawar speaks at BISA launch

 

 

 

VINITA DESHMUKH , Moneylife.com| 24/04/2013 

 

Income Tax authorities have denied information about I-T returns of 22 MPs, including Sharad Pawar, Naveen JindalManeka Gandhi, Sachin Pilot, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Navjot Singh Sidhu, Beni Prasad Verma, Ajit Singh and Lalu Prasad Yadav and 20 MLAs. After suspending the hearing 27 times for over three years, the CIC has given the MPs and MLAs three weeks to file their replies
It often takes just one election victory of five years—for Members of the Parliament and Legislative Assemblies to get stinking rich, what with their wealth increasing a 1,000 times, in some cases.
According to a research carried out by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR), the Lok Sabha MPs (2004-2009) have had an average increase in assets to the tune of 289% or Rs2.9 crore per MP within five years.
As for the MPs from the Rajya Sabha, BJP has 14 out of 16 candidates who are crorepatis, followed by Congress with 12 crorepati candidates out of 15 candidates. “There is also the issue of conflict of interest,” says Anil Bairwal of ADR. “58% of the Rajya Sabha members are ‘crorepatis’ with flourishing professional practices, shareholding in media, infrastructure, hospitality besides paid consultancy and other engagements,” he adds.
Thus, Bairwal says, “Going by the swelling in the pouches of our MPs and MLAs in the 2009 elections, it is extremely desirable that their I-T returns are made public. The recent increase in the assets of Members of Parliament (MPs) portrays some figures which appear lopsided and doubtful. There are parliamentarians who have increased their assets more than one thousand times over while in Parliament. Furthermore, what is the foundation of this breeding money among the political parties, nobody knows.”
Bairwal has filled innumerable RTI applications in the relevant Income Tax offices of the 22 MPs and 20 MLAs, which he zeroed on, considering the increase in their assets between 2004 and 2009.  His RTIs, which were filed in 2010 were stonewalled by all the respective Public Information Officers and Appellate Authorities. In fact, his second appeal with the Central Information Commission (CIC) was suspended 27 times until it was finally heard on 16 April 2013, a good three years later. Once again, three more weeks have been given to reply.
The prominent names in the list of 22 MPs and 20 MLAs whose I-T returns were asked for under RTI are Sharad Pawar, Naveen Jindal, Maneka Gandhi, Sachin Pilot, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Navjot Singh Sidhu, Beni Prasad Verma, Ajit Singh and Lalu Prasad Yadav.

Bairwal has asked for the following information in his RTI application:
1. Whether the MPs/MLAs who fall in your jurisdiction have filed their I-T returns for all the five years (2004-2009)
2. Please provide the years for which these MPs have not filed their returns
3. Please provide details of the -IT return & assessment orders for all the years for which they have filed.
Apart from the RTI application, Bairwal also separately requested all Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha MPs to disclose their I-T returns in larger public interest. Says Bairwal, “Some of these MPs sent us their I-T Returns and insisted that we make them public on our website whereas others uploaded them on their own website. We also came across some MPs and MLAs who have already submitted their I-T returns along with the respective chief minister’s office and the prime minister’s office.’’ In all, 28 of them including Anu Aga and Ambika Soni have revealed their I-T returns – (see box below).
As per the press release issued by ADR on 16 April 2013 “Of the 20 MPs whose I-T returns were asked for under RTI, the details of only three MPs—Mr Baju Ban Ryan MP from Tripura East constituency), Mr Shafiqur Rahman Barq (MP from Sambhal constituency of Uttar Pradesh) and Ms Usha Verma (MP from Hardoi constituency of Uttar Pradesh) were made available by the Public Information Officers (PIO). The I-T returns of others MPs were denied under various sections, like 8(1)(j), 8(1)(d), 11(1) and 11(3) of the RTI Act. TheRTIs of seven MPs were transferred but lost in transit hence no information was available.”
At the CIC hearing, representatives of 10 out of 20 MPs were present. The public information officers who denied the information stating lack of larger public interest and the representatives of MPs/ MLAs were invited for the hearing. The bench comprised Information Commissoners (IC) Mr ML Sharma, Ms Annapurna Dixit and Mr Rajiv Mathur.
The three CICs repeatedly questioned the representatives of the MPs as to how disclosing of their I-T returns was not in larger public interest. They repeatedly referred to the Supreme Court judgment which made declarations of assets and other details mandatory at thetime of contesting elections.. However, no arguments were put forth by the Public information Officers of the I-T department who had initially denied providing the information stating lack of public interest, states the press statement of ADR.
Mr Bairwal argued that there is overriding public interest in I-T returns of the MPs and that most of the requested information was already in public domain as the total income filed in the latest I-T returns of all candidates have to be provided in their affidavits along with their nomination papers to the Election Commission of India (ECI).
Mr Bairwal stated during the argument at the CIC that, “the Supreme Court has deliberated in detail on this issue while directing the ECI to collect and make public the information on assets of the contesting candidates at the time of elections through affidavits. The Supreme Court of India had specifically noted through its decision on 13 March 2003 (Writ Petition No. 490/509/515 of 2002) that asking for asset details of the parliamentarians/legislatures does not invade the privacy of the individual.”
Amongst the arguments put forth by representatives of MPs, Mr Ajith Singh’s senior advocate argued “that if the MPs are considered public servants, the I-T returns of every public servant should be requested for; lawyers of Mr Jyotiraditya Madhavrao Scindia argued that any tax payer serves larger public interest by paying tax hence their personal information cannot be made available in the public domain; the representative of Kumari Selja when asked if he would be willing to declare his/his client’s I-T returns, stated that “rule of privacy will prevail” and “I am not obliged under law to declare my I-T returns in the public domain”.
The attendees included lawyers, chartered accountants and representatives of Mr Uday Singh, Ms Maneka Gandhi, Mr Sachin Pilot, Mr Dushyant Singh, Kumari Selja, Mr Beni Prasad Verma, Mr Ajith Singh, Mr Lalu Prasad Yadav and Mr T R Baalu.
The CIC has given three weeks’ time for the representatives of the MPs to provide a copy of their written submissions after which it will give its decision.
Says Mr Bairwal, “Tax returns of Parliamentarians are voluntarily being disclosed in countries like the US and UK. Presidential tax returns in the United States are available online. Like all other citizens, US presidents also enjoy the protection of their privacy, but they chose to release their tax returns publicly. Tax returns of Barack Obama, George W Bush and others are available online. (www.Presidentsusa.net). Their tax returns are open for public scrutiny and such sort of a transparency is truly commendable. Our parliamentarians should also do likewise as this will underline the faith of the citizens in the representatives chosen by them…”

State Average asset in 2007(Rs) Average asset in 2012(Rs) Percentage
Goa 2.91 crore 7.65 crore 163%
Punjab 5.73 crore 9.17 crore 60%
Uttar Pradesh 98.05 lakh 3.10 crore 217%
Uttaranchal 83 lakh 2 crore 177%
Manipur 20 lakh 1 crore 492%
The timeline of events for MP I-T returns case
1. 22 February 2010: An RTI was filed with the respective I-T departments to retrieve I-T Returns of 20 MPs with exponential growth in assets between two elections.
2. 6 May 2010: First Appeal with I-T department for follow up on information denied under Sections 8(1)(j), 8(1)(e) and 8(1)(d) of the RTI Act
3. 20 August 2010: Second Appeal with Central Information Commission.
4. 20 April 2012: Notice for the first hearing at CIC sent to concerned parties.
5. 3 May 2012: First hearing with the CIC takes place for MP Uday Singh and MP Dushyant Singh
6. 8 November 2012: Notice for second hearing of CIC was sent to concerned parties in the case.
7. 22 November 2012: Second hearing at CIC takes place. Press Release for this CIC hearing to make MP I-T Returns public.
8. 22 November 2013: Submission No. I filed with the CIC on the day of this hearing.
9. 7 March 2013: Notice for the hearing of the full bench of CIC sent to concerned parties.
10. 4 April 2013: Submission No. II filed with the CIC based on voluntary disclosure by MPs prior to the full bench hearing.
11. 12 April 2013: Larger Bench of CIC to hear the case on making income tax returns of MPs public.
12. 16 April 2013: Hearing with the larger bench at CIC takes place.

 

Those who voluntarily put their Income Tax returns in the public domain
S No Name State Constituency Party MP/MLA ITR
1 Neeraj Shekhar UP Ballia SP MP LS ITR
2 Sadashiv Dadoba Mandlik Maharashtra Kolhapur IND MP LS ITR
3 Abhijit Mukherjee West Bengal Jangipur INC MP LS ITR
4 Mirza Mehboob Beg J&K Anantnag J&K National Conference MP LS ITR
5 Bijoy Krishna Handique Assam Jorhat INC MP LS ITR
6 Arnavaz Rohinton Aga Maharashtra NIL Nominated MP RS ITR
7 Raju Anna Shetty Maharashtra Hatkanangle Swabhimani Paksha MP LS ITR
8 Dr Ajoy Kumar Jharkhand Jamshedpur JVM MP LS ITR
9 Mandagadde Rama Jois Karnataka Karnataka BJP MP RS ITR
10 Dinesh Trivedi West Bengal Barrackpur AITC MP LS ITR
11 Vilas Baburao Muttemwar Maharashtra Nagpur INC MP LS ITR
12 Baishnab Charan Parida Orissa Orissa BJD MP RS ITR
13 Tathagata Satpathy Orissa Dhenkanal BJD MP LS ITR
14 Baju Ban Riyan Tripura Tripura East CPI(M) MP LS ITR
15 Sudip Bandyopadhyay West Bengal Kolkata Utter AITC MP LS ITR
16 Subodh Kant Sahay Jharkhand Ranchi INC MP LS ITR
17 Pratik Prakashbapu Patil Maharashtra Sangli INC MP LS ITR
18 Mahadeo Singh Khandela Rajasthan Sikar INC MP LS ITR
19 Ajay Maken Delhi New Delhi INC MP LS ITR
20 AmbikaSoni Punjab Punjab INC MP RS ITR
21 Sadanand Singh Bihar Kahalgaon INC MLA ITR
22 Pramod Kumar Bihar Motihari BJP MLA ITR
23 Subodh Roy Bihar Sultanganj JDU MLA ITR
24 Virendra Beniwal Rajasthan Lunkaransar INC MLA ITR
25 Rajkumar Sharma Rajasthan Nawalgarh INC (contested on BSP ticket) MLA ITR
26 Rajendra Pareek Rajasthan Sikar INC MLA ITR
27 Murari Lal Meena Rajasthan Dasua INC (contested on BSP ticket) MLA ITR
28 Hema Ram Choudhry Rajasthan Gudamalani INC MLA ITR

(Vinita Deshmukh is the consulting editor of Moneylife, an RTI activist and convener of the Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She is the recipient of prestigious awards like the Statesman Award for Rural Reporting which she won twice in 1998 and 2005 and the Chameli Devi Jain award for outstanding media person for her investigation series on Dow Chemicals. She co-authored the book “To The Last Bullet – The Inspiring Story of A Braveheart – Ashok Kamte” with Vinita Kamte and is the author of “The Mighty Fall”.)

 

The #Aadhaar registration mess and agony of citizens in Maharashtra #UID


 

MONEYLIFE DIGITAL TEAM | 25/04/2013 03:52 PM |   

Euro Finmart carried out enrolment work for Aadhaar number at a housing society in Mumbai. Oriental Bank of Commerce, which appointed the agency, said the work was illegal. Finally after a call to the OBC CMD’s office, the residents were issued registration acknowledgement receipts for theirAadhaar number

Close on the heels of Maharashtra’s information technology (IT) department losing unique identification (UID) data of about three lakh people collected for the Aadhaarnumber scheme, here is a first person account about the registration mess. This also highlights the dubious games being played by agencies and registrars appointed by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) led by technocrat Nandan Nilekani.

Moneylife reader registered for his Aadhaar number but could not even getacknowledgement receipt for the enrolment. In addition, when he raised the issue with top officials of the registrar, Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC) and the agency, Euro Finmart, he claims to have received abusive calls!

Here is what Subhash Malviya, the Moneylife reader (name changed to protect the reader from further harassment) says…

The UID or Aadhaar registration was carried in our society during the last week of February 2013. The way the work was carried out by the agency was complete mess. The employees of the agency (Euro Finmart, I came to know later) used to arrive in the afternoon. They always used to walk in without any proper equipment, so residents used to provide it to them.

Some of the residents from our society were not even provided registration receipts from the agency. Without the registration receipt, it is very difficult to track the progress of issuance and delivery of the Aadhaar number.

One of my neighbours told me the name of the agency, Euro Finmart and the registrar, Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC). OBC was appointed by the UIDAI to carry outAadhaar registration work across Maharashtra and it was the lender that appointed Euro Finmart to do the job on its behalf.

Since we were not given our registration acknowledgement receipts, on 27th February, I called up Euro Finmart’s nodal officer on his mobile. In addition, I also sent him a mail. The officer promised to call back after checking the details. However, the call never came.

On the same day, I called Kamal Seth from Delhi who was the chief manager at OBC looking after the Aadhaar registration project. He clearly told me that the registration carried out by the agency (Euro Finmart) in our society was illegal as it was done outside the OBC branch. However, he assured that we would receive our registration receipts after he checks the details.

Following instruction from Mr Seth, another officer, Mr Mathews from OBC’s regional office in Mumbai contacted me. He also gave the same assurance about the registration receipts.

Surprisingly, after my conversation with Mr Mathews, the registration work being carried out by Euro Finmart in our society was suddenly stopped.

After waiting to get registration receipts for over 15 days, on 14th March, I again called up Mr Seth. He repeated his assurance but nothing really happened till 26th March.

On 26th March, I called up the office of SL Bansal, chairman and managing director (CMD) of OBC, seeking assistance. The official on the other end asked me to send the details. Within hours after sending the details, several top officials from Euro Finmart and the chief manager from OBC called me assuring that we would receive our registrationacknowledgement receipts soon.

Meanwhile, I also received some abusive calls from ‘angry’ employees claiming to be from the agency. Fortunately, I recorded all such calls and then showed it to the top officials from both the agency and the bank.

Finally, on 28th March the registration acknowledgement receipts were delivered in our society office.

It took me over a month and call to the CMD’s office to get just the registrationacknowledgement receipts for the Aadhaar number.

Later I checked the terms and conditions of the memorandum of understanding between OBC and UIDAI. As per the terms and conditions, OBC was supposed to supervise the enrolment work being carried out by the agency. But from my own experience, I can say, the bank failed to do its job. Not a single employee from OBC was present during the enrolment in our society. In addition, they kept quiet for over a month, until the matter reached their CMD’s office.

It seems that OBC employees were protecting the agency for reasons best known to them. OBC is carrying the work with the agency for entire Maharashtra region. Imagine the plight of average citizens who cannot do the follow up. They would be in fix as all the cash subsidy depends on UID.

OBC has appointed Euro Finmart (L-1 bidder) and Shri Ram Raja Sarkar Lok Kalyan Trust (L-2 bidder) as empaneled agencies for UID enrolment in Maharashtra. Apparently, the L-2 bidder was asked to match the prices quoted by the L-1 bidder.

Rape threats on Rediff.com : Kavita Krishnan speaks out #Vaw #Online


by  , FirstPost Apr 25, 2013

 

Activist Kavita Krishnan is used to caustic abuse being flung at her. It’s part and parcel of organising and attending demonstrations and an occupational hazard of being Secretary of the All India Progressive Women’s Association. As one of the editors of Liberation, a monthly Marxist publication, she’s also used to getting unpleasant emails. Consequently, she knows how to fight back, which is what she did yesterday during a live web chat organised by Rediff.

However, does this exonerate Rediff from taking any responsibility for the abuse directed at Krishnan during a chat organised and moderated by the website? “My demands are simple,” said Krishnan when she spoke to Firstpost earlier today. “I don’t want more regulation or anything that curtails free expression. But I would like a formal apology from Rediff because they invited me and their moderators failed to restrain someone who repeatedly threatened me with rape.”

Krishnan was invited by Rediff to participate in a chat discussing violence against women. “They wanted me to speak as someone who has been part of anti-rape protests and I was happy to do this,” she said. Krishnan is among those who have been regularly called upon by various media outlets to speak about rape and its implications. “Onkar Singh from Rediff’s Delhi office came to set up the chat at my office in the afternoon,” said Krishnan. “Questions started coming in and as is the practice, I’d pick one and answer and so on. It was going fine at first.” A little later, someone with the handle “RAPIST” appeared. “They’d chosen to write the word in capitals, so it was very visible. You couldn’t miss it,” recalled Krishnan.

Screengrab of Kavita Krishnan's twitter feed where she has also posted about the Rediff incident.

Screengrab of Kavita Krishnan’s twitter feed where she has also posted about the Rediff incident.

RAPIST’s first message to Krishnan was to tell women to dress properly. “He wrote something like, ‘Tell women to not wear revealing clothes, then we will not rape them’ followed by gaali.” Krishnan replied to RAPIST, saying he was proving her point rather than making a counter-argument. “There’s no way that the person monitoring the chat in Mumbai could not have seen this exchange,” said Krishnan. “This person was writing in all caps. You couldn’t miss it. Also, I did respond. Whoever was monitoring must have seen me replying to that handle.”

After Krishnan’s reply, there was silence from RAPIST for some time. He returned after a bit with, “Kavita tell me where I should come and rape you using condom”. Again, the message was written in capital letters. “It popped up at least three or four times, all in CAPS,” said Krishnan. “I was very taken aback that this person, with a handle like that, could keep posting something like this.” Krishnan reacted sharply. “I wrote something like, ‘Give me your name and address, and I’ll show you’. I was disgusted.” The response didn’t stop RAPIST, who kept repeating his threats.

At this point, it was Rediff’s Onkar Singh who told Krishnan to log off. “He behaved with the utmost decency and had great presence of mind,” recalled Krishnan. “I was too taken aback to react properly, but he was the one who told me to get out of the chat. Before leaving, I wrote that this shouldn’t be the kind of offensive comments you should have to field and that I was leaving because of it.” That was the end of the chat and the beginning of a more tangled debate on intimidation, free speech and responsibility.

Immediately after the chat, Rediff promised Krishnan that an FIR would be lodged. “Ganesh Nadar of Rediff told me they had great connections with the Worli cyber crime lab, that they had a screenshot and they would lodge an FIR,” said Krishnan. She asked if the chat would be edited so that the abusive comments are removed. Nadar said yes. Krishnan told him that she wanted her last lines to remain because she wanted readers to know why she’d left the chat abruptly.

Nadar agreed. He also told her that it wasn’t possible to screen who left a comment because it was a live chat. Nadar changed the story later and told Krishnan that the person monitoring the chat had missed RAPIST because there were so many people sending questions.

Neither explanations seem particularly plausible to Krishnan. “I know that’s not true because I’ve done these chats before,” said Krishnan. “Screening can and is done. As for not noticing, it’s not possible to miss someone who calls themselves RAPIST, especially since I did respond to him.” Krishnan asked Nadar for a screenshot of the offending section. He said he’d send it to her along with the FIR number. He also gave her the editor’s email and suggested she write a letter detailing the incident. Krishnan did so. She also recounted her experience on Twitter and Facebook, and urged others to write to the email she’d been given about Rediff’s comment moderation policy.

This is the unedited text of Krishnan’s email to the editor of Rediff.

“Dear editor,
Rediff.com

Sir,
Mr. Ganesh Nadar fom Rediff had contacted me yesterday to participate in a live chat today, and I agreed. Mr. Onkar Singh from Delhi’s rediff office came to my office today to facilitate the chat, which was to take place from 2 pm to 3 pm. The chat had been advertised as an opportunity to chat with me as one of the activists involved in the recent anti-rape protests.

During the chat, someone with a handle ‘RAPIST’ repeatedly intervened in capital letters. In one ‘question’ he said, “Kavita tell women not to wear revealing clothes then we will not rape them.” The same man then posted another question several times: “Kavita tell me where I should come and rape you using condom.” Both questions were in block capitals and very visible. Mr Nadar initially said live chats cannot be ‘screened’ – which I know for a fat is not true since I have been in such chats with other media groups. Later Mr Nadar said that the man in the Rediff Mumbai office monitoring the chat failed to spot the ‘RAPIST’ because there were ‘so many questions.’ I find this difficult to believe since this was the only handle in capital letters and the questions were also in capitals.

Yet, no one from Rediff did anything to screen the guest – me – from such offensive questions, or to block someone with a handle of ‘RAPIST’ from the chat!

Mr. Ganesh Nadar has informed me that Rediff has taken a screenshot of the chat and is filing an FIR and sending the screenshot to Worli cyber crime labs to identify the ‘RAPIST.’ But I am yet to get a copy of the screenshot though I have asked for it; excuses are being made. I am also yet to receive the FIR number. Mr Nadar is very vague and contradictory about why the transcript of the chat is yet to be posted; whether the RAPIST’s questions will be screened there; whether I will receive a screenshot or only the transcript (which will only have the questions I responded to); and other queries that I have.

I demand a public apology from Rediff for its failure to ensure that a chat organised by them was a safe space for me, a woman. Condoning and allowing such intimidatory behaviour against women keeps women out of the online space – just as rape keeps women off the streets. I resent this intimidation, and in this instance, hold Rediff squarely responsible for failing to keep ‘RAPIST’ out of the chat.

Expecting a public apology from you.

Kavita Krishnan,

Secretary, AIPWA”

So far, the only response Krishnan has got from Rediff is an aggrieved email from Nadar asking why she’d put the editor’s email in the public domain. It’s a perplexing question to Krishnan. “The email I was given is not a personal email,” said Krishnan. “It’s not a violation of privacy. I don’t even know who the editor is. What I have and what I’ve circulated is a generic, professional email. It’s the kind of email to which people write letters to the editor, which is what I and a few people did.”

Krishnan has not received either the screenshot or the number of the FIR that they promised they’d lodge. The chat has not been uploaded. Some have urged Krishnan to file an FIR herself but Krishnan doesn’t think it’s her place to do so. “I think it’s for Rediff to do because they organised the chat and it was during something they organised that I received these personal threats,” she said. “It’s their responsibility. I’m more than happy and willing to appear and testify should they need me to, but I think it’s their responsibility to take measures that will give their guests a sense of security.”

On hindsight, Krishnan has just one regret: “I should have taken a screenshot of that transcript. Not because I want to make it public – I shouldn’t have to. Rediff told me it was a public chat, so it’s in any case public – but because I should have kept my own record of this man’s behaviour towards me. But I was just too taken aback and disgusted then. I just shut my computer.”

The incident has reiterated to Krishnan how concerted an effort there is to corner and threaten women in the virtual space. “It’s a reflection of the intimidation and lack of security that we talk about in the physical space,” she said. “We can’t let this happen. Women, much like Dalits, Muslims and other minorities, must be free to access and make use of the virtual space without fearing for their personal safety and without the threat of this kind of abusive and personal intimidation.”

Despite the ugly trolling she’s faced, Krishnan is unequivocally against any kind of increased Internet regulation that could be manipulated to curb free speech. “There’s many kinds of hate speech and it exists in the real and the virtual world, but that’s no reason to impose any kind of government regulation of the internet,” she said. “Whatever someone says, I believe they’re free to say it. The difference on the Internet is that anonymity offers security to the victimiser rather than the victim, which is the concern. It falls upon all of us, individually and collectively, to uphold the norms that will ensure security and encourage debate, rather than intimidation. That’s why all I’m asking for from Rediff is a public, formal apology. It’s just churlish to invite me to a chat, to do nothing when I’m exposed to this kind of intimidation and to not even enquire after my wellbeing afterwards.”

 

Chain Fencing work by NPCIL begins at proposed Nuclear plant in Fatehabad, Haryana


Work on fencing starts at region’s first N-plant

Awaiting final environment impact assessment by the expert appraisal committee (EAC) of the Centre, the ambitious Fathebad nuclear plant in Gorakhpur is set to roll.

The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) — nodal agency for the project — has already started work on chain fencing the property that spans 1,313 acre where the plant will be situated and 187 acres where the residential colony will come up. The EAC, which has already taken stock of the ground level situation at the site, has forwarded certain queries on land compensation award and flooding of the area to the plant officials.

Over 10 senior officials of the plant have shifted their base to the site in Fatehabad. The plant will have two residential colonies — one for its employees and another for Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel.

Once the Ministry of Environment and Forest gives green signal to the project, the project will go to the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board for final approval.

T R Arora, Project Director of the plant, said: “We are ready with details to answer the queries. All formalities are now complete. The land is in our possession and is currently being chain-fenced. Once the MoEF clears the project in another two months or so, we will move for final clearance by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board. Most probably, will be able to start construction by year end.”

According to the policy, the home state is eligible to get 50 per cent share from the plant. This will majorly help the Haryana government, which is struggling to meet power demand of its consumers. The state that lacks enough own resources of power generation, has to buy power from private players during peak season.

Haryana is also vying to get its share in the plant on the basis of development indicators. If the NPCIL agreed to the demand, then the government will get another 5.6 per cent of power share from the plant. However, the NPCIL authorities are non-committal over the state’s claim on extra share.

Meanwhile, the state has given compensation to farmers whose land has been acquired for the project at the collector rate of Rs 20 lakh per acre besides a solatium at 30 per cent and interest at 12 per cent per annum under section-4 of the Land Acquisition Act-1894. The landowners have also received non-litigation incentive at 20 per cent in addition to the floor rate. The NPCIL had deposited the requisite amount of Rs 460 crore in June 2012 to the state for distribution of compensation.

The first phase (2X700 MW) of the project is expected to be commissioned during 2020. Under the first phase, 2×700 MW units (1,400 MW) are proposed to be set up at an estimated cost of Rs 14,500 crore.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/work-on-fencing-starts-at-region-s-first-nplant/1107370/0

 

Mumbai ​Soon, enroll for #aadhaar at six bus depots #UID


, TNN | Apr 25, 2013, 03.02 AM IST

MUMBAI: The government, after stopping Aadhaar registrations at housing societies and private-sector offices, will soon use BEST bus depots to double up as registration centres.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has shortlisted six bus depots at Borivli, Bandra, Wadala, Anik, Mulund and Mumbai Central for the Aadhaar centres.

These depots will cater to the BEST employees working there and also people living in the vicinity.

“These bus depots have been shortlisted because they see a lot of commuters and also have many employees working there. We plan to have at least 5-7 machines at these centres so that the enrolment is fast and without any waiting time,” said a senior civic official.

Currently, the BMC has 145 centres and plans to add more than 300 centres soon.

So far, only 68% of people have been registered with the Unique Identification Authority of India. To increase the number of registrations, the BMC has decided to hunt for more government premises where the centres can be set up. This was necessitated after the state government issued a new circular barring UID centres on private premises.

The rule has been changed so that limited amount of resources can be used to first enrol the middle and lower middle class population as they are the beneficiaries of the various government schemes for which the UID will be required. Hence, these camps must be set up on government premises.

Several government schemes, such as cylinder subsidy, disbursement of provident fund for state employees and receiving free educational items for civic schoolchildren will require a UID card to be submitted and linked to bank accounts. However, for such schemes to kick into effect, about 80% of a district’s population needs to be registered for Aadhaar.

 

Extracts from the NHRC Report on Gujarat 2002


EXTRACTS ….


Former Chief Justice of India, JS Verma as Chairperson National Human Rights Commission in his Preliminary Report, April 1, 2002:-

“….9. The Commission would like to observe that the tragic events that have occurred have serious implications for the country as a whole, affecting both its sense of self-esteem and the esteem in which it is held in the comity of nations. Grave questions arise of fidelity to the Constitution and to treaty obligations. There are obvious implications in respect of the protection of civil and political rights, as well as of economic, social and cultural rights in the State of Gujarat as also the country more widely; there are implications for trade, investment, tourism and employment. Not without reason have both the President and the Prime Minister of the country expressed their deep anguish at what has occurred, describing the events as a matter of national shame. But most of all, the recent events have resulted in the violation of the Fundamental Rights to life, liberty, equality and the dignity of citizens of India as guaranteed in the Constitution. And that, above all, is the reason for the continuing concern of the Commission.
*
The term ‘human rights’ is defined to mean the right relating to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual guaranteed by the Constitution or embodied in the International Covenants and enforceable by courts in India (Section 2(1)(d)), and the International Covenants are defined as the “International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 16th December 1966” (Section 2(1)(f)).
(ii) It is therefore in the light of this Statute that the Commission must examine whether violations of human rights were committed, or were abetted, or resulted from negligence in the prevention of such violation. It must also examine whether the acts that occurred infringed the rights guaranteed by the Constitution or those that were embodied in the two great International Covenants cited above.
(iii) The Commission would like to observe at this stage that it is the primary and inescapable responsibility of the State to protect the right to life, liberty, equality and dignity of all of those who constitute it. It is also the responsibility of the State to ensure that such rights are not violated either through overt acts, or through abetment or negligence. It is a clear and emerging principle of human rights jurisprudence that the State is responsible not only for the acts of its own agents, but also for the acts of non-State players acting within its jurisdiction. The State is, in addition, responsible for any inaction that may cause or facilitate the violation of human rights.
(iv) The first question that arises therefore is whether the State has discharged its responsibilities appropriately in accordance with the above. It has been stated in the Report of the State Government that the attack on kar sevaks in Godhra occurred in the absence of “specific information about the return of kar sevaks from Ayodhya” (p. 12 of the Report). It is also asserted that while there were intelligence inputs pertaining to the movement of kar sevaks to Ayodhya between 10-15 March 2002, there were no such in-puts concerning their return either from the State Intelligence Branch or the Central Intelligence Agencies (p. 5) and that the “only message” about the return of kar sevaks, provided by the Uttar Pradesh police, was received in Gujarat on 28 February 2002 i.e., after the tragic incident of 27 February 2002 and even that did not relate to a possible attack on the Sabarmati Express.
(v) The Commission is deeply concerned to be informed of this. It would appear to constitute an extraordinary lack of appreciation of the potential dangers of the situation, both by the Central and State intelligence agencies. This is the more so given the history of communal violence in Gujarat. The Report of the State Government itself states:
“The State of Gujarat has a long history of communal riots. Major riots have been occurring periodically in the State since 1969. Two Commissions of Inquiry viz., the Jagmohan Reddy Commission of Inquiry, 1969, and the Dave Commission of Inquiry, 1985, were constituted to go into the widespread communal violence that erupted in the State from time to time. Subsequently, major communal incidents all over the State have taken place in 1990 and in 1992-93 following the Babri Masjid episode. In fact, between 1970 and 2002, Gujarat has witnessed 443 major communal incidents. Even minor altercations, over trivial matters like kite flying have led to communal violence.” (p. 127).
The Report adds that the Godhra incident occurred at a time when the environment was already surcharged due to developments in Ayodhya and related events (also p. 127).
Indeed, it has been reported to the Commission that, in intelligence parlance, several places of the State have been classified as communally sensitive or hyper-sensitive and that, in many cities of the State, including Ahmedabad, Vadodara and Godhra, members of both the majority and minority communities are constantly in a state of preparedness to face the perceived danger of communal violence. In such circumstances, the police are reported to be normally well prepared to handle such dangers and it is reported to be standard practice to alert police stations down the line when sensitive situations are likely to develop.
(vi) Given the above, the Commission is constrained to observe that a serious failure of intelligence and action by the State Government marked the events leading to the Godhra tragedy and the subsequent deaths and destruction that occurred. On the face of it, in the light of the history of communal violence in Gujarat, recalled in the Report of the State Government itself, the question must arise whether the principle of ‘res ipsa loquitur’ (‘the affair speaking for itself’) should not apply in this case in assessing the degree of State responsibility in the failure to protect the life, liberty, equality and dignity of the people of Gujarat. The Commission accordingly requests the response of the Central and State Governments on this matter, it being the primary and inescapable responsibility of the State to protect such rights and to be responsible for the acts not only of its own agents, but also for the acts of non-State players within its jurisdiction and any inaction that may cause or facilitate the violation of human rights. Unless rebutted by the State Government, the adverse inference arising against it would render it accountable. The burden is therefore now on the State Government to rebut this presumption.
(vii) An ancilliary question that arises is whether there was adequate anticipation in regard to the measures to be taken, and whether these measures were indeed taken, to ensure that the tragic events in Godhra would not occur and would not lead to serious repercussions elsewhere. The Commission has noted that many instances are recorded in the Report of prompt and courageous action by District Collectors, Commissioners and Superintendents of Police and other officers to control the violence and to deal with its consequences through appropriate preventive measures and, thereafter, through rescue, relief and rehabilitation measures. The Commission cannot but note, however, that the Report itself reveals that while some communally-prone districts succeeded in controlling the violence, other districts – sometimes less prone to such violence – succumbed to it. In the same vein, the Report further indicates that while the factors underlining the danger of communal violence spreading were common to all districts, and that, “in the wake of the call for the ‘Gujarat Bandh’ and the possible fall-out of the Godhra incident, the State Government took all possible precautions” (p. 128), some districts withstood the dangers far more firmly than did others. Such a development clearly points to local factors and players overwhelming the district officers in certain instances, but not in others. Given the widespread reports and allegations of groups of well-organized persons, armed with mobile telephones and addresses, singling out certain homes and properties for death and destruction in certain districts – sometimes within view of police stations and personnel – the further question arises as to what the factors were, and who the players were in the situations that went out of control. The Commission requests the comments of the State Government on these matters.
(viii) The Commission has noted that while the Report states that the Godhra incident was “premeditated” (p. 5), the Report does not clarify as to who precisely was responsible for this incident. Considering its gruesome nature and catastrophic consequences, the team of the Commission that visited Godhra on 22 March 2002 was concerned to note from the comments of the Special IGP, CID Crime that while two cases had been registered, they were being investigated by an SDPO of the Western Railway and that no major progress had been made until then. In the light of fact that numerous allegations have been made both in the media and to the team of the Commission to the effect that FIRs in various instances were being distorted or poorly recorded, and that senior political personalities were seeking to ‘influence’ the working of police stations by their presence within them, the Commission is constrained to observe that there is a widespread lack of faith in the integrity of the investigating process and the ability of those conducting investigations. The Commission notes, for instance, that in Ahmedabad, in most cases, looting was “reported in well-to-do localities by relatively rich people” (p. 130). Yet the Report does not identify who these persons were. The conclusion cannot but be drawn that there is need for greater transparency and integrity to investigate the instances of death and destruction appropriately and to instil confidence in the public mind.
(ix) The Report takes the view that “the major incidents of violence were contained within the first 72 hours.” It asserts, however, that “on account of widespread reporting both in the visual as well as the electronic media, incidents of violence on a large-scale started occurring in Ahmedabad, Baroda cities and some towns of Panchmahals, Sabarkantha, Mehsana, etc” in spite of “all possible precautions having been taken” (p. 128-129). The Report also adds that various comments attributed to the Chief Minister and Commissioner of Police, Ahmedabad, among others, were torn out of context by the media, or entirely without foundation.
(x) As indicated earlier in these Prceedings, the Commission considers it would be naïve for it to subscribe to the view that the situation was brought under control within the first 72 hours. Violence continues in Gujarat as of the time of writing these Proceedings. There was a pervasive sense of insecurity prevailing in the State at the time of the team’s visit to Gujarat. This was most acute among the victims of the successive tragedies, but it extended to all segments of society, including to two Judges of the High Court of Gujarat, one sitting and the other retired who were compelled to leave their own homes because of the vitiated atmosphere. There could be no clearer evidence of the failure to control the situation.
(xi) The Commission has, however, taken note of the views of the State Government in respect of the media. The Commission firmly believes that it is essential to uphold the Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression articulated in Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution, which finds comparable provision in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966. It is therefore clearly in favour of a courageous and investigative role for the media. At the same time, the Commission is of the view that there is need for all concerned to reflect further on possible guidelines that the media should adopt, on a ‘self-policing’ basis, to govern its conduct in volatile situations, including those of inter-communal violence, with a view to ensuring that passions are not inflamed and further violence perpetrated. It has to be noted that the right under Article 19(1)(a) is subject to reasonable restrictions under Article 19(2) of the Constitution.
(xii) The Commission has noted the contents of the Report on two matters that raised serious questions of discriminatory treatment and led to most adverse comment both within the country and abroad. The first related to the announcement of Rs. 2 lakhs as compensation to the next-of-kin of those who perished in the attack on the Sabarmati Express, and of Rs. 1 lakh for those who died in the subsequent violence. The second related to the application of POTO to the first incident, but not to those involved in the subsequent violence. On the question of compensation, the Commission has noted from the Report that Rs. 1 lakh will be paid in all instances, “thus establishing parity.” It has also noted that, according to the Report, this decision was taken on 9 March 2002, after a letter was received by the Chief Minister, “on behalf of the kar sevaks,” saying “that they would welcome the financial help of Rs. 1 lakh instead of Rs. 2 lakhs to the bereaved families of Godhra massacre” (see p. 115). This decision, in the view of the Commission, should have been taken on the initiative of the Government itself, as the issue raised impinged seriously on the provisions of the Constitution contained in Articles 14 and 15, dealing respectively with equality before the law and equal protection of the laws within the territory of India, and the prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth. The Commission has also noted the contents of the Report which state that “No guidelines were given by the Home Department regarding the type of cases in which POTO should or should not be used” and that, subsequent to the initial decision to apply POTO in respect of individual cases in Godhra, the Government received legal advice to defer “the applicability of POTO till the investigation is completed” (pp. 66-67). The Commission intends to monitor this matter further, POTO having since been enacted as a law.
(xiii) The Commission has taken good note of the “Rescue, Relief and Rehabilitation Measures” undertaken by the State Government. In many instances, strenuous efforts have been made by Collectors and other district officers, often acting on their own initiative. The Commission was informed, however, during the course of its visit, that many of the largest camps, including Shah-e-Alam in Ahmedabad, had not received visits at a high political or administrative level till the visit of the Chairperson of this Commission. This was viewed by the inmates as being indicative of a deeper malaise, that was discriminatory in origin and character. Unfortunately, too, numerous complaints were received by the team of the Commission regarding the lack of facilities in the camps. The Commission has noted the range of activities and measures taken by the State Government to pursue the relief and rehabilitation of those who have suffered. It appreciates the positive steps that have been taken and commends those officials and NGOs that have worked to ameliorate the suffering of the victims. The Commission, however, considers it essential to monitor the on-going implementation of the decisions taken since a great deal still needs to be done. The Commission has already indicated to the Chief Minister that a follow-up mission will be made on behalf of the Commission at an appropriate time and it appreciates the response of the Chief Minister that such a visit will be welcome and that every effort will be made to restore complete normalcy expeditiously.
(xiv) In the light of the above, the Commission is duty bound to continue to follow developments in Gujarat consequent to the tragic incidents that occurred in Godhra and elsewhere. Under its Statute, it is required to monitor the compliance of the State with the rule of law and its human rights obligations. This will be a continuing duty of the Commission which must be fulfilled, Parliament having established the Commission with the objective of ensuring the “better protection” of human rights in the country, expecting thereby that the efforts of the Commission would be additional to those of existing agencies and institutions. In this task, the Commission will continue to count on receiving the cooperation of the Government of Gujarat, a cooperation of which the Chief Minister has stated that it can be assured.

#India -SC slams cops for assault on women, says police have gone berserk #Vaw


, TNN | Apr 25, 2013, 12.57 PM

0
SC slams cops for assault on women, says police have gone berserk
A file photo of cops manhandling protesters, including women, during an anti-rape demonstration in Aligarh.
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has taken suo motu cognizance of police assault on unarmed women in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh and has sought action taken report against the errant cops in both the cases.Slamming the action of cops, the apex court said the police in India have gone berserk and asked UP chief secretary and Delhi Police to explain how they think women should be treated by the police force.

The way a 65-year-old lady was pushed to the ground with brute force by a DSP in UP and the way another cop slapped a young girl in Delhi making her bleed from ears shows their mindset towards women, the court said.

The apex court has asked the UP chief secretary and Delhi Police commissioner to file the action taken report against the erring cops in both the cases.

A woman protester was slapped by a policeman during protests outside a hospital in northeast Delhi against the brutal rape of a 5-year-old girl.

The cop involved in the incident was suspened after the ‘slap’ footage was aired by the TV channels.

In another case, women protesting against cops refusal to file an FIR on a missing six-year-old girl were beaten up mercilessly by policemen in Aligarh on Thursday, with TV cameras recording visuals of several activists being brutalized by men in uniform.

 

Rediff.com Publicly apologise for failure to ensure safe chat space for women #Vaw #Online


Dear editor,
Rediff.com

Sir,
Mr. Ganesh Nadar fom Rediff had contacted me yesterday to participate
in a live chat today, and I agreed. Mr. Onkar Singh from Delhi‘s rediff
office came to my office today to facilitate the chat, which was to take
place from 2 pm to 3 pm. The chat had been advertised as an opportunity
to chat with me as one of the activists involved in the recent
anti-rape protests.
During the chat, someone with a handle ‘RAPIST
repeatedly intervened in capital letters. In one ‘question’ he said,
“Kavita tell women not to wear revealing clothes then we will not rape
them.” The same man then posted another question several times: “Kavita
tell me where I should come and rape you using condom.” Both questions
were in block capitals and very visible. Mr Nadar initially said live
chats cannot be ‘screened’ – which I know for a fat is not true since I
have been in such chats with other media groups. Later Mr Nadar said
that the man in the Rediff Mumbai office monitoring the chat failed to
spot the ‘RAPIST’ because there were ‘so many questions.’ I find this
difficult to believe since this was the only handle in capital letters
and the questions were also in capitals.
Yet, no one from Rediff
did anything to screen the guest – me – from such offensive questions,
or to block someone with a handle of ‘RAPIST’ from the chat!
Mr.
Ganesh Nadar has informed me that Rediff has taken a screenshot of the
chat and is filing an FIR and sending the screenshot to Worli cyber
crime labs to identify the ‘RAPIST.’ But I am yet to get a copy of the
screenshot though I have asked for it; excuses are being made. I am also
yet to receive the FIR number. Mr Nadar is very vague and contradictory
about why the transcript of the chat is yet to be posted; whether the
RAPIST’s questions will be screened there; whether I will receive a
screenshot or only the transcript (which will only have the questions I
responded to); and other queries that I have.

I demand a public  apology from Rediff for its failure to ensure that a chat organised by
them was a safe space for me, a woman. Condoning and allowing such
intimidatory behaviour against women keeps women out of the online space
– just as rape keeps women off the streets. I resent this intimidation,
and in this instance, hold Rediff squarely responsible for failing to
keep ‘RAPIST’ out of the chat.
Expecting a public apology from you.
Kavita Krishnan,
Secretary, AIPWA

April 24, 2013 n

 

MGNREGA inefficiently managed, finds CAG


Issue Date: 

2013-4-23

Government spent Rs. 1,26,961 crore but hardly 30 per cent works are completed

Exactly five years after the employment guarantee programme’s pan-India roll out, the programme seems to have lost favour with the rural poor. The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) office submitted its latest audit report on the programme to Parliament on April 23. The audit shows around 20 per cent decline in employment generation under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) in the last two years.

The rural employment programme guarantees 100 days of manual work if a rural household demands it. Government first implemented the programme in 200 districts in 2006. On April 1, 2008, it was extended to all rural districts in the country. This is the second such audit by CAG. The recent audit covered implementation during 2007-12 in 182 districts.

The latest audit report brings out the usual concerns associated with the programme: forgery in job cards, late payment of wages, declining job demand and non-completion of works.

Going by the extracts of the report tabled in Parliament, CAG found that lack of close monitoring of the programme has led to widespread irregularities. Many states have not been able to spend the allocated funds under the programme. Interestingly, states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar having large rural population have spent the least.

Under MGNREGA, around 13 million works were taken up at an expense of Rs 1,26,961 crore, most of them related to water and soil conservation, useful to small and marginal farmers. But, the CAG report finds, only 30 per cent of these works have been completed.

Cover Story Related Articles:

Source URL: http://www.downtoearth.org.in/content/mgnrega-inefficiently-managed-finds-cag

 

HC stays trial against Sanjiv Bhatt in custodial torture case


Ahmedabad. April  23, 2013

The Gujarat High Court today temporarily stayed the trial against suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt in a 16-year-old case of custodial torture in Porbandar.

Justice S R Brahmabhatt ordered stay till further orders and fixed the hearing in the first week of May.

Bhatt, who was posted as SP in Porbandar in 1997, and constable Vajubhai Chau, are facing a trial for alleged custodial torture of a history-sheeter called Naran Sudha Jadav.

Jadav was arrested by Inspector M J Parmar while investigating a case of smuggling of weapons and RDX from Pakistan, and taken to Porbandar from Sabarmati Central jail in Ahmedabad in July 1997.

Jadav later filed a complaint before the judicial magistrate in Porbandar, accusing Bhatt and Chau of custodial torture.

Last year, Bhatt had filed an application before the magistrate, seeking case diaries of the investigation officer.

The magistrate, in September, rejected Bhatt’s application, against which he went to the high court.

Bhatt has been in news in the recent past for making allegations against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi regarding handling of the 2002 riots.

 

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