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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Govt finds new ways to dodge RTI


The government may have refrained from amending the Right to Information Act after Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s intervened, but it has found a subtler way to refuse information.
Public authorities can refuse information in a particular format on the ground that “it would disproportionately divert the resources of a public authority” or that it “can be detrimental to the safety or preservation of the records”.
The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), the nodal office for RTI law, has said the section 7 (9) of the RTI law gives right to a public authority to deny information if it leads to diversion of resources disproportionately.
In a circular issued this week, the department also rules out the possibility of the public authority asking the RTI applicant to pay for diversion of public resources to get the information in the sought format.
Seeking a charge for diversion of resources was often used by Central Public Information Officers (CPIOs) to deter RTI applicants. In one case, the Delhi Police had asked for Rs 20,000 for providing some information.
While that has been termed illegal, the DoPT has provided a more lethal tool to CPIOs —that is to deny information. The department said information sought in a particular format can be refused.
The circular was issued in response to transparency watchdog Central Information Commission asking the government to frame rules for charging fees for providing information that is priced and towards mailing charges.
“The government has not considered it desirable to charge fees towards expenditure involved in mailing information or overhead expenditure,” the circular said.

Rahul's healing touch for slain CRPF man's kin


LUCKNOW: Shiv Narain Yadav may finally sleep through the night without getting up every half an hour. The octogenarian father of constable Vinod Kumar Yadav — one among the 76 CRPF men killed during the Maoist strike in Dantewada — admitted to having turned an insomniac since the news of Vinod's gruesome death reached the little uneventful hamlet, Pure Khushal, last month. 

There has been a constant trickle of visitors ever since but none could bring the solace the family needed till Rahul Gandhi stepped in the modest little house at Pure Khushal in Sangrampur block of Amethi. 

"Though his son would not come back, Rahul's visit," says the old man, "could save the family particularly his daughter-in-law Savitri and two grandchildren from ruination". Rahul dropped in unannounced at 9am on Wednesday and spent nearly half-an-hour with the grieving family members. 

"He proved to be an extremely patient listener... senior Yadav was hardly coherent... women were wailing and would not calm down and there was quite a din..." says Brijesh Kumar Singh, block pramukh of Sangrampur, who accompanied the MP.  

IAF helicopters engaged in relief, rescue operations


Shillong, May 28 (PTI) Indian Air Force today engaged four helicopters for relief and rescue operations in the derailment of the Mumbai-bound Gyaneshwari Express in West Midnapore district in West Bengal in which over 71 people have been killed and hundreds injured.

Two MI-17 helicopters, one Advanced Light Helicopter and one Cheetah helicopter have been pressed into service, defence spokesman Wing Commander Ranjeev Sahoo said here.

The helicopters are operating from the Air Force Station, at Kalaikunda in West Midnapore district, he said adding an AN-32 aircraft had carried a surgical team from Jorhat in Assam to the Air Force Base in Kalaikunda.

He said a medical team from the Air Force base in Kalaikunda consisting of three doctors and seven paramedics were also despatched along with ambulances and coaches.

Two Indian Air Force engineers caught taking bribe



Two engineers attached to Military Engineer Services and posted at the Indian Air Force base at Nashik, were arrested for accepting a bribe of Rs 50,000 from a contractor.
The Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested Rajendra Kukkar, assistant garrison engineer (contracts) and Shashikant Patil, junior engineer attached to the office of garrison engineer (Indepe-ndent) in Nashik from Hotel Sai Palace, where Kukkar had thrown a birthday party.
Deputy Inspector General of Police, CBI ACB, Praveen Salunke said the contractor had done road construction work at the air force base, for which he was yet to be paid.
The engineers promised him money only if he paid the bribe. Initially, the engineers demanded a bribe of Rs 70,000, but the contractor negotiated and brought the amount down to Rs 50,000, the CBI said.
Last Friday, the contractor approached the Mumbai office of the CBI and lodged a complaint.
The CBI recorded telephone conversations between the engineers and the contractor to gather evidence. The engineers asked the contractor to deliver the amount on Monday but at the last moment postponed it to Tuesday.
The CBI found that the engineers had on earlier occasions taken a two to three per cent commission to clear bills of various other contractors.


Government Approves Massive Expansion of Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme 

To provide equitable treatment to all eligible Ex-Servicemen and their dependents under the Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) and to enhance the scheme’s coverage, the Union Cabinet today approved Establishment of 199 new polyclinics including 17 mobile medical facilities and 15 new regional centres at a cost of Rs. 141 crores. With this, the ECHS facility will now be extended to those areas, where Ex-Servicemen population is below 2,500 by setting up polyclinics which are within reasonable distance from Ex-Servicemen concentrations. 

The Cabinet also approved reorganization and strengthening the Central Organisation ECHS by suitably increasing the manpower. It has authorized additional manpower – 2263 in number on contractual basis, to man the additional 199 polyclinics. It has also authorized 315 serving personnel – 60 officers and 255 PBORs, for proposed regional centres and seven officers and 15 PBORs for Central Organisation ECHS. 

Financial implications towards creation of infrastructure will be about Rs.141 crore. This will entail a capital expenditure of Rs. 118.52 crore towards cost of land, construction and medical equipment. An amount of Rs. 22.25 crore of expenditure will cover purchase of furniture etc, and IT hardware. On the recurring side, an expenditure of Rs.43 crore per annum is envisaged. 

It may be recalled that the ECHS was introduced on April 01, 2003 to provide comprehensive medical coverage to Ex-Servicemen pensioners, war widows and dependents by establishing 227 polyclinics at stations with Ex-Servicemen population above 2500 throughout the country. 106 polyclinics are at military stations and 121 polyclinics are at non-military stations. Where the Ex-Servicemen population is less than 2,500, the Ex-Servicemen face hardships in reaching polyclinics because of the distance. There are over 30 lakh ECHS beneficiaries now. On an average 60,000 Servicemen retire every year and this results in a further addition of 60,000 Ex-Servicemen and 1,44,000 dependents to the list of beneficiaries each year. Over 7 lakh Ex-Servicemen, who retired prior to April 01, 2003 have not opted for the scheme primarily due to non-availability of polyclinics near their places of residence. There are also insufficient number of regional centres to monitor the polyclinics. 

Following is the list of additional polyclinics planned to be established:- 

Jammu & Kashmir

Baramulla, Doda, Poonch, Baribrahmna (Jammu), Kargil, Nagrota (Kathua) 

Himachal Pradesh

Rampur (Shimla), Nahan (Sirmaur), Shahpur (Kangra), Palampur (Kangra), Kullu, Dera Goppipur (Kangra), Jogindernagar (Mandi), Chamba, Ghumarwin (Bilaspur), Sarakaghat (Mandi), Barsar (Hamirpur), 


Mohali, Ajnala (Amritsar), Tarantaran (Amritsar), Beas (Amritsar), Nawansahar, Suranassi (Jalandhar), Uchi Bassi (Hoshiarpur), Abohar (Ferozpur), Jagraon (Ludhiana), Batala (Gurdaspur), Srigovindpur (Gurdaspur), Sultanpur Lodhi (Kapurthala), Phagwara (Kapurthala), Samana (Patiala), Barnala (Sangrur), Nabha (Patiala), Doraha (Ludhiana), Samarala (Ludhiana), Mahalpur (Hoshiarpur), Talwara (Hoshiarpur) 


Gohana (Sonepat), Mehan (Rohtak), Sampla (Rohtak), Loharu (Bhiwani), Kosli (Jhajjar), Bahadurgarh (Jhajjar), Gurgaon, Nuh (Gurgaon), Charki Dadri (Bhiwani), Mahendragarh, Narwana (Jind), Palwal (Faridabad), Hansi (Hissar), Dharuhera (Rewari), Narayangarh (Ambala), Kharkhauda (Sonepat) 

National Capital Territory of Delhi

Shakurbasti, Timarpur, Khanpur, Preetvihar


Neem Ka Thana (Sikar), Shergarh (Jodhpur), Dausa, Sanganer (Jaipur), Bhuwana (Jhunjhunu), Bhilwara, Suratgarh (Hanumangarh), Dungarpur, Rajsamand, Rajgarh (Churu), Chirawa (Jhunjhunu), Behror (Alwar) 

Uttar Pradesh

Bagpat, Gonda, Basti, Jaunpur, Greater Noida (GB Nagar), Lakhimpur, Moradabad, Bijnaur, Rampur, Hardoi, Banda, Roberts Ganj (Mirzapur), Barabanki, Unnao, Hathras 


Joshimath (Chamoli), Dehradun, Vikas Nagar (Dehradun), Tehri, Rudraprayag, Ranikhet, Almora, Bageshwar, Banbasa (Champavat), Rudrapur (Udham Singh nagar), Dharchula (Pithoragarh), Lansdowne (Paurigarhwal), Uttarkashi, Ramnagar (Nainital) 


Bhagalpur, Kathiar, Motihari, Siwan, Samastipur, Madhubani, Buxar, Vaishali, Sasaram (Rohtas) Khagaria, Munger, Sitamarhi 


Deoghar, Gumla, Chaibasa (West Singhbhoom), Daltonganj (Palamu), Dhanbad 

Madhya Pradesh

Satna, Ujjain, Amla (East Nimar), Pachmarhi (Hoshangabad) 


Jagdalpur (Bastar), Bilaspur, Raigarh 

West Bengal

Berhampore (Murshidabad), Baruipur (South 24 Pargana), Bankura, Howrah, Raiganj (North Dinajpur), Cooch Behar, Kalimpong (Darjeeling), Binaguri (Jalpaiguri) 


Lanka (Naugaon), Bongaigaon, Tinsukia, Tezpur (Sonitpur), Misamari (Darrang), Dibrugarh, Goalpara, Dhubri, Lakhimpur 


Chura Chandpur 





Arunachal Pradesh

Tezu (Lohit), Along (West Siang)


Puri, Sambalpur, Koraput, Angul, Bhawanipatna (Kalahandi), Dhenkanal 

Andhra Pradesh

Srikakulam, Anantapur, Karnool, Cuddapah, Nellore, Karimnagar, Eluru (West Godavari), Secunderabad (Rangareddy), Khammam, Mehbubnagar 

Tamil Nadu

Erode, Sivagangai (Sivaganga), Kumbhkonum (Tiruvallur), Chennai, Ramanathapuram, Tambram (Kanchipuram)


Mavelikara (Alleppey), Kanhangad (Kasargode), Kalpetta (Wayanad), Thodupuzha (Idukki), Thiruvananthapuram, Changanacherry (Kottayam), Moovattupuzha (Ernakulum), Iritti (Kannur), Kunnamkulum (Trichur), Kottarakara (Kollam), Ranni (Pathanamthitta), Killimanur (Thiruvananthapuram) 


Kolar, Tumkur, Hassan, Shimoga, Bangalore, Gulbarga, Bidar, Virarajendrapet (Kodagu) 


Beed, Nanded, Karad (Satara), Wardha, Navi Mumbai (Mumbai), Pune, Khadki (Pune), Yavatmal, Dhule. 


Vasco – Da – Gama 


Gandhidham, Surat, Rajkot 



In addition to these polyclinics 15 regional centres will also be set up at Shimla, Jalandhar, Dehradun, Ambala, Hissar, Meerut, Allahabad, Ranchi, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Nagpur, Vizag, Bangalore, Coimbatore & Trivandrum.