Right to Information
Delhi Metro asked to make public, reasons for frequent ‘technical snags’
The Central Information Commissioner’s order opens up the case for transparency in the operations of public transport in India
 
The Delhi Metro has been suffering 'technical snags' regularly. The recent one was absolutely scary because the doors of a coach remained open for a few minutes in the running train. In Mumbai, a ‘technical snag’ halted Mumbai Metro on the inaugural day recently. All this raises the concern and safety of lakhs of commuters, which makes the issue to be of larger public interest.
 
Gurgaon resident Aseem Takyar, has been filing Right to Information (RTI) applications since 2013 to the Delhi Metro, and demanding the list of the number of times that the various metro trains of Delhi halted because of technical snags, or otherwise. 
 
He was compelled to file his second appeal before the Central Information Commission (CIC), when he got inadequate reply from the Public Information Officer (PIO) of Delhi Metro despite an order from the First Appellate Authority (FAA) for providing the information. It is a fact that Takyar refused to pay Rs550, the amount for photostat copies for the required information. The CIC also noted that the fee of Rs550 for providinng photocopies of 275 pages was reasonable. 
 
But the CIC has also ruled that the Delhi Metro is legally bound to provide, free of cost, information on the number of trains that halted, reasons for the same and duration of the halts as asked by Takyar.
 
This is what Chief Information Commissioner of Delhi, MA Khan Yusuf has stated in his order on 22nd July, “…appellant has been asking a complete list of incidences when trains services are halted due to technical snag or due to other reasons on all routes/ lines within last one year, along with duration of halt and service. The Commission feels that respondents are under legal obligation to provide the complete list of the incidences, as asked for, free of cost to the appellant.”
 
This order would be extremely important to the 25 lakh-odd Delhites who travel by the Metro each day. In fact, this order will have a cascading effect, as it would apply to all such public transport systems like Mumbai suburban local trains, other local trains that ply on various routes as well as water ferries and air flights, all over the country. 
 
Manoj Pai, a member of the National Campaign for People's Right to Information (NCPRI), says, “Citizens might like to download this decision and explore further, as the same decision would also apply to unscheduled halts of local trains / rakes, inter-city trains besides bus and ferry services as well, which all fall under the public domain. Activists might like to take a step further and demand the cases where air lines cancelled, delayed, and  diverted flights, as well. 
 
The recent budget has allocated funds to develop metros in major towns and cities. This means there would be more citizens directly affected with any `failures’ of this techno savvy public transport system. We also witness the inconveniences faced by Mumbai citizens who patronise locals and are thrown off gear during rains and power short circuits. Flying too is sometimes irritating when flights are suddenly cancelled. 
 
Every affected citizen must take advantage of this CIC order (produced below) and make the authorities accountable by demanding information.
 
 
(Vinita Deshmukh is 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”.) 

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When the mighty I-T dept fears 'spam' or 'junk' labels
The I-T department has requested taxpayers to save and white-list its official email ID so that it will not go to spam or junk folders
 
All taxpayers, while filing their annual returns with the Income Tax (I-T) department, are mandated to provide and validate email IDs and mobile numbers. However, this time, it is the I-T department that is urging taxpayers to white list or help its official email ID avoid going into the spam or junk folders. 
 
The I-T department has suggested that taxpayers validate and include in the ‘white/safe list’ of their respective inboxes, its official email ID — '[email protected]', so that it does not land in the spam or junk folder of the taxpayer.
 
“What a taxpayer needs to do is to include this email ID in the safe-list of his or her email recipients. When an online tax assessee inputs his or her email ID and mobile-phone number on the department’s online portal, the system sends an auto-generated PIN to complete the secure process. If this email containing the PIN goes into the spam fodler, it will most likely be missed by the individual,” a senior I-T officer said.
 
The department has issued the advisory after it found instances of this validation email landing into the spam or junk folder of taxpayer’s inboxes thereby leading to trouble in e-filing.
 
The online tax filing season is on and as of now the last date is 31st July.
 
Once the email is received from this official handle, the taxpayers can use the PIN to go further with the online filing procedures of their I-T return (ITR).
 
Few years ago, there was a flood of spam mails claiming to give I-T refunds. It was found be sent by spamsters pretending to be from the I-T department. However, such mails contained a few obvious 'red flags' that are hard to hide. For instance, while we Indians use Rs or Rupees before the amount, the fraudsters use this after the amount, like 820.50 Rs. The most obvious was the email ID itself, which was not from the I-T department's official server. (Read:  Fraudsters want to give your I-T refund via mail!)
 
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the apex authority of the I-T Department, has recently notified new rules for online filing of ITRs, saying taxpayers filing their returns this year (assessment year 2014-15) will have to mandatorily share their personal email IDs and mobile numbers with the department.
 
The aim behind this latest move was to update and stay in touch with the taxpayer each and every time there is a tax related issue.
 
The CBDT also recently notified taxpayers that the I-T department does not send any communication from private email addresses such as Gmail and Yahoo to them.
 
“Taxpayers are cautioned that they should not respond to such phishing mails and avoid downloading any attachment which may contain virus or malicious software,” the CBDT had said. 
 

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Lupin Q1 jumps 56% to Rs625 crore on robust sales
During the June quarter, Lupin witnessed robust sales in US, its largest overseas market and India resulting in 56% jump in its net profit
 
Pharmaceutical company Lupin Ltd on Wednesday reported a 55.74% jump in its first quarter net profit mainly on robust sales in domestic markets as well as in the US.
 
For the quarter to end-June, the pharmaceutical company said its net profit rose to Rs624.7 crore from Rs401.1 crore, while its total revenues, including sales, increased to Rs3,284 crore from Rs2,420.7 crore, same period last year.
 
In a statement, Nilesh Gupta, managing director of Lupin, said, "Business is at an all time high with record revenues and profits driven by strong growth in the US and in India."
 
The company is doing well in all its businesses and focus on operational efficiencies and manufacturing excellence is helping it deliver even stronger margins, he added.
 
In the company's largest market US, formulation sales (including IP) grew by 57% to Rs1,605.5 crore during the Q1 of the current fiscal as against Rs1,025.6 crore for the same quarter of the previous fiscal contributing 49% to overall sales, Lupin said.
 
Revenues from the US increased by 46% during the quarter under consideration, it added.
 
India formulations business grew by 29% to Rs761.5 crore for the first quarter of FY 2014-15, as against Rs589.4 crore for the corresponding period of the previous fiscal, Lupin said.
 
The company also was able to achieve reduction in material cost, manufacturing and other expenses and personnel cost, it added.
 
During the quarter the company launched four products in the US. It is now the market leader in 31 products marketed in the US generics market, Lupin said.
 
The company continues to enjoy 'Debt Free' status, it added.
 
Lupin closed Wednesday 4.9% higher at Rs1,173 on the BSE, while the 30-share Sensex ended the day marginally higher at 26,087.

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