Citizens' Issues
Government asks ministries to make public tour details of ministers

This 'suo motu' decision was taken following several applications under the RTI Act seeking details of official tours undertaken by ministers and other officials

New Delhi: In a move aimed at increasing transparency, the Union government on Tuesday asked all its ministries to make public details of official foreign and domestic tours undertaken by ministers and senior officers, reports PTI.
The details will include nature of the official tour, places visited, the period, number of people included in the official delegation and total cost of such travel undertaken by a minister or senior officers.
The "suo motu" decision was taken after central government departments received frequent applications under the Right to Information (RTI) Act seeking details of official tours undertaken by ministers and other officials.
"It has been brought to the notice of this Department that public authorities are receiving RTI applications frequently asking for details of the official tours undertaken by ministers and other officials of the ministries or departments concerned.
"In compliance with the provisions of Section 4 of the RTI Act, 2005, it is advised that public authorities may proactively disclose details of foreign and domestic official tours undertaken by minister(s) and officials of the rank of Joint Secretary to the Government and above and Heads of Departments, since 1 January 2012," according to a directive issued today by Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT).
The disclosures may be updated once every quarter starting from 1 July 2012, it said.
The decision, official say, was in compliance of Section 4, sub section 2 of the RTI Act, 2005 which mandates a public authority to take steps for providing as much information suo motu to the public at regular intervals through various means of communications, including Internet, so that the public has minimum resort to use the transparency law to obtain information.
However, the directive will not be applicable on security and intelligence organisations including RAW, IB, CBI and Enforcement Directorate among others which are exempted from providing information under the RTI Act.
Besides, Chief Vigilance Officers (CVOs) of government departments and public sector units have been kept out of this directive, the DoPT said in an official memorandum sent to all ministries, chief secretaries and union territories.
"The information will be put on the concerned department or ministry's website," a DoPT official said.


Punjab forms committee for regularisation of marriage palaces

The committee would frame a policy aimed at regularisation of marriage palaces in Punjab

Chandigarh: Punjab government on Tuesday constituted a four-member committee to frame a policy for the regularisation of marriage palaces in the state, reports PTI.
The committee would frame a policy aimed at regularisation of marriage palaces within and outside the municipal limits of cities and towns in accordance with the directions issued recently by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
It would be headed by Chief Secretary and include Principal Secretaries of Housing and Urban Development, local government and finance departments officers, an official spokesman said.
The committee has been asked to submit its report within two weeks.
It was constituted following a meeting between Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and a delegation of Marriage Palace Welfare Association led by its president SS Sidhu.
Badal has asked the committee to have detailed deliberations with all stakeholders before implementing a policy for regularisation of marriage palaces.
He also asked the members of the committee to examine the entire issue in a holistic manner within the already laid down norms for seeking requisite sanctions from the designated development authorities.


SC refuses to frame guidelines for reporting court proceedings

The apex court said temporary ban on publication of court proceedings is necessary to...

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