Controversy over illegally occupied bungalow by LS Speaker deepens

Despite the Cabinet deciding on a complete ban on conversion of government bungalows to memorial sites, the 6, KM Marg bungalow houses the Babu Jagjivan Ram memorial, including a statue of the same person. The Delhi Municipal Corporation has even put up a board on that site announcing its name

After the Directorate of Estates gave out the details about the Rs2 crore bill served to Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar for defaulting on rent for the unauthorised occupation of government bungalow at 6, KM Marg, more skeletons have tumbled out of the closet.

Another RTI application by Subhash Chandra Agrawal has revealed that Ms Kumar had defied court order for 19 months, which directed her to vacate the bungalow. The bungalow, where Ms Kumar has set up a trust in the memory of her late father and former Parliamentarian Babu Jagjivan Ram, was ordered to be vacated by 31st March 1990. However, Ms Kumar persisted, and retrospectively, Cabinet Committee for Accommodations through its order dated October 1991 ‘regularised’ allotment of bungalow in name of late Indrani Devi with retrospective effect from 25th March 1990.

The CPIO of the Directorate of Estates in his reply to Mr Agrawal’s petition said, “On account of non-vacation of the premises by Meira Kumar, eviction proceedings were initiated. The estate officer passed the eviction order on 22nd January 1990, directing her to vacate the promises within 15 days. Ms Kumar however, has obtained a stay against the eviction order. The court dismissed her appeal and gave her time to vacate the bungalow by 31st March 1990.

Subsequently, the Cabinet Committee on Accommodation in its meeting held on 24th October, 1991, approved allotment of bungalow no. 6 at KM Marg in the name of late Indrani Devi with effect from 25th March 1990 for life on payment of normal license fee.”

However, Indrani Devi’s allotment was cancelled on 14th May 2002, one month after she expired. So, on basis of non-vacation by her family members, evictions were started once again. On 3rd July 2002, her family members were asked to move out.

In 2004, Ms Kumar was allotted the same bungalow when she became the minister for social justice. But she expressed her inability to move there, and requested that the bungalow be converted into a memorial for her father; and another house be allotted to her. But no decision was taken on the issue. When she was appointed Speaker, she was allotted another bungalow on Akbar Road; and has been staying there since.

In a 2000 meeting, the Cabinet decided on a complete ban on conversion of government bungalows to memorial sites. But today, 6, KM Marg bungalow houses the Babu Jagjivan Ram memorial, including a statue of the same person. The Delhi Municipal Corporation has even put up a board on that site announcing its name.

“Lok Sabha Secretariat should make public copies of all communications sent to various public authorities regarding information to vacate the said bungalow in the year 2002. Action taken against concerned ones for not taking cognizance of such communications. Enquiry should be made about the person/authority paying salary to one Ramsingh presently serving as care-taker of the bungalow,” says Mr Agrawal. He also said that the Supreme Court and Delhi High Court should take cognizance of the retrospective allotment to late Indrani Devi.

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COMMENTS

RNandakumar

5 years ago

A Speaker of the loksabha is equated with a Supremecourt Judge for the power the speaker holds over the parliamentarians. So having an exalted position should have made her more responsible and very strictly law-abiding. Lalbahadur Sastry or Abdul Kalam all have set examples of such a nice behaviour. Perhaps the present speaker is not yet out of her UPA culture where corruption is the way of life.

Extend Right to Education to anganwadi students as well say experts

RTE provides free and compulsory education for children aged between 6 and 14 years, therefore pre-schools should also be brought under it

In order to ensure better quality of early learning among anganwadi children, educationist and non-governmental organisations says that the Right to Education (RTE), which provides free and compulsory education, should be extended to the pre-school children.

Farida Lambey, educationist and RTE activist says, “According to the Article 45(A) of the directive principles all children below the age of 14 years are entitled for free and compulsory education. There is no outer limit mentioned and hence it is a fundamental right. However, RTE provides for the children between six and 14 years. This is the problem. Pre-schools should be brought under RTE.” Mrs Lambey is also the co-founder of NGO Pratham.

Government’s anganwadi programme, started in 1975 under the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS), focuses on child’s education and health related programme. Experts say that children have an ability to grasp the concepts quickly and hence RTE will ensure better learning of these children in their primary standards.

Currently, RTE is applicable to the children of the age of six to 14 years, which is from class one to eight. Anganwadi cover children up to the age of four years under ICDS of the ministry of child and women development.

National Advisory Council (NAC), recently, suggested to the ministry of human resource and development (HRD) to extend RTE to anganwadi programme.
“Anganwadi takes care of the pre-schooling for children up to four years. This is the age where there is maximum mental development and child learns concepts such shape, size, colours, easily. ICDS is under the centre government, while RTE is under state. So bringing pre-schooling under RTE will ensure better education for all the children,” says Shobha Murthy, founder of NGO Aarambh, which provides education to children from the slums of Navi Mumbai.

Experts point out that widening RTE to pre-school will also mean increasing the required budget and infrastructure along with human resource. However, some believe that only extending RTE to anganwadi programme will hardly have any impact of child’s learning development. “RTE will not make any difference. The biggest problem is the school drop out rate. Children come to anganwadi for the meal provided to them. Also they undergo informal pre-schooling,” says a child development programme officer from West Bengal.

An official from ministry of HRD says that there was task force which was set up for considering widening RTE to anganwadi programmes. However, a lot of consideration and consultation is required with the Ministry of Women and Child Development and Nothing can be said at this juncture, he said.

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No plans to lower Securities Transaction Tax: Finance ministry

The stock exchanges had asked the finance ministry to abolish STT, arguing that such a step would help boost investments in the stock market and promote an equity culture in the country

New Delhi: The government today said it has no plans to lower the Securities Transaction Tax (STT) levied on equity trades, even as collections dipped by about 18% drop during the April-October period this fiscal, reports PTI.

“No, Sir,” minister of state for finance SS Palanimanickam said in a reply to a query on whether the government proposes to lower STT in the country.

He, however, acknowledged that STT collections dropped during the April-October 2011-12, period.

Collections from STT declined by 17.9% to Rs2,958 crore in the April-October period of the current fiscal from Rs3,602 crore in the corresponding year-ago period, the minister said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.

The stock exchanges had asked the finance ministry to abolish STT, arguing that such a step would help boost investments in the stock market and promote an equity culture in the country.

The bourses also sought simpler compliance procedures and the imposition of lower costs on brokers to facilitate greater retail participation in the market.

The government had introduced STT in 2004 on transactions related to different types of securities. At present, the rate varies from 0.025% to 0.25%, depending upon the type of security traded and transaction—whether sale or purchase.

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COMMENTS

RNandakumar

5 years ago

There is a proverb " In the hurricane wind when stones are carried away what could the helpless cotton do". In the present crisis ridden UPA II even the much touted DTC has been swept off. How could the poor STT be noticed.

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