Citizens' Issues
Anna Hazare ‘mad’ and ‘communal’:FM’s aide gave orders to publish a letter that targeted Anna

The letter was one among some 22 that the government published on the website of the Department of Personnel and Training.

A few days ago, news of a letter published on the website of the Department of Personnel and Training (DOPT) received much media attention, because it labelled Anna Hazare as 'mad' and 'communal'. According to the reply to an RTI query by activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal, the letter was published on the orders of the officer on special duty (OSD) to finance minister Pranab Mukherjee.

"In the letter written by Shri Mohammed Aasim Khan, it has been alleged that Anna Hazare is communal. The above letter was posted on the website of the 'Lokpal' as per the directions issued by the OSD to the honourable finance minister," reads the reply Mr Agrawal received from the DOPT.

The reply of the principal information officer says, "only those suggestions were uploaded on the website for which orders were given by the higher authorities."

The said letter, written in Hindi, created a stir, as it termed Mr Hazare's campaign as a "disruptive movement that seeks to displace institutionalised democracy with mobocracy". It also accused Mr Hazare of being mad and communal. This letter was among a bunch of letters written by others like Arvind Kejriwal, Loksatta party chief and general secretary of the Foundation for Democratic Reforms Jayaprakash Narayan and Delhi Lokayukta Justice Mohammad Sarin.

On the Lokpal Bill itself, the principal information officer yhe DOPT has received 706 written proposals in hard copy and 14,875 suggestions by email. However, the "suggestions received are yet to be examined by the section concerned," the PIO told Mr Agrawal.

Mr Agrawal has also demanded a detailed response from the office of the finance minister, along with relevant correspondence and file notings regarding the publication of the letter. He has also filed a first appeal, as not all his questions were answered by the PIO. In his first appeal application, he says, "It is not clear how the OSD to the union finance minister could intervene in an aspect being handled by an officer of the DOPT as referred to in the response to the query."

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COMMENTS

P M Ravindran

6 years ago

How one wishes it was only scum as one reader has commented! I hold these criminals to be thugs, scoundrels and outright traitors!

rprtr

6 years ago

A lot of scum seems to have accumulated in Government offices.

Rajesh

6 years ago

(1) What is King Ravan remembered for? (2) What is King Kansh remembered for? (3) What are the Kauravs Brothers remembered for? (4) What is Hitler remembered for? (5) What will the Congress Party be remembered for?

Nagesh KiniFCA

6 years ago

My comments and suggestions emailed followed by 2 hard copies by surface mail pursuant to an advt. by the Parliamentary Committee has not even been acknowleged
. In fact mail to one email ID bounced.
So much for importance to public debate!

K B Patil

6 years ago

The govt. is so used to the line of thinking that people ought to be grateful to the "Mai baps" i.e The sphinx and the Yuvraj that any questioning is regarded as heresy. The mindset is the same as that of the Spanish Inquisition. You have to thank us for giving u some rotting grain at subsidised rates, a couple of hours of electricity and some hours of employment every day. That is the messaqe of Messrs. Manmohan, Kapil and Chidambaram to the aam aadmi.

Telcos fear new guidelines on VAS will hurt business

According to an industry source, if this proposal is implemented, it will, in effect deny the customers their right to consume entertainment content they wish to, which will become the reality as a result of the unviable business model

New Delhi: Value-added-services (VAS) providers are up in arms against the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's (TRAI) proposed directives on the procedure for providing VAS to users as the former feel that this could kill the industry and may also cause a revenue loss of Rs1,500 crore to the government, reports PTI.

"It's not clear why TRAI would back such a move... it would result in a revenue loss of Rs1,500 crore to the government. Besides crumbling a Rs10,000 crore eco-system that employs over 12,000 people," one of the leading VAS providers told PTI.

TRAI had proposed directives in July to service providers on the procedure for providing VAS to users in a move to protect the interest of consumers.

As per the proposals, the service providers need to obtain confirmation from the consumer through SMS or e-mail or fax or in writing within 24-hours of activation of the VAS.

The service provider should charge the consumer only if the confirmation is received and in case they did not receive any confirmation services should be discontinued.

However, the service provider feels that such directives are not consumer friendly. Mobile subscribers like to have a simple user experience to enjoy their favourite services such as music songs, cricket scores, among others.

According to an industry source, if this proposal is implemented, it will, in effect deny the customers their right to consume entertainment content they wish to, which will become the reality as a result of the unviable business model.

TRAI's move is seen as restricting the growth of these services because the proposed directive expects the mobile users to send SMS as confirmation of subscription service every month.

The Indian mobile market has less than 45% SMS penetration rate and this gets as low as 20% in rural areas. The country has a very low literacy rate and the English literacy rate is even lower at 15% and such directive does not take into consideration any of these ground realities.

"Such a move, if implemented, will impact the mobile content industry adversely. As content partners, we invest to constantly bring sports, entertainment and other utility services to the mobile consumers while on the move, enriching their lives," said Jatin Ahluwalia, the founder of vRock Mobile, a start-up in the inmobile VAS space.

Last year, TRAI had floated a paper seeking comments from telecom operators on measures for protecting consumers' interest and redressal of customer grievances.

The consultation paper aimed to strengthen the regulatory framework and provide adequate protection to telecom consumers.

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CAG seeks powers to evaluate SEBI, TRAI, IRDA

Once the Bill is approved, public private partnership projects and regulators like the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority might also come under the CAG scanner

New Delhi: The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) is seeking to widen the scope of its powers to audit the performance of regulators such as SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India), TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) and IRDA (Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority) as part of the new legislation that will replace the CAG Act, 1971, reports PTI.

The proposed CAG Bill, now under consideration of the finance ministry, is likely to be tabled in Parliament in its next session.

"CAG is looking into the books of regulators like TRAI, SEBI and IRDA, but now wants to audit their performance also," official sources told PTI.

The CAG has already submitted a draft Bill to the finance ministry for replacing the CAG Act. The new law is aimed at significantly expanding the scope of the CAG's audit responsibilities.

"We are looking at auditing the regulators. We have asked in the draft Bill to replace the CAG Act of 1971 to allow audit of the financial (statements) and performance of regulators and public-private partnerships (PPPs). We are hoping that the Bill would be tabled in the Winter Session," the official said.

The draft Bill is likely to have provisions for punitive action against companies that delay submission of details sought by the auditor.

"We do not have powers to ensure that records are presented to us as and when we ask for it... We do not have punitive powers and our resources are limited," he said.

Once the Bill is approved, public-private partnership (PPP) projects and regulators like the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) might also come under the CAG scanner.

Under the Companies Act, 1956, the CAG can audit the books of only those companies in which the government owns more than a 50% stake.

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