Right to Information
Home Ministry still refuses transparency in selection process of Padma Awards
The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), traditionally made public, the complete selection-process for Padma awards just after their announcement on Republic Day. Since the last two years, it refused information under RTI. CIC has directed the MHA to provide the information within four weeks
 
Delhi-based right to information (RTI) activist, Subhashchandra Agrawal, had filed RTI applications in 2014 and 2015, seeking information from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on 27 points pertaining to Padma Awards. These included, list of nominations received in the Ministry within the stipulated date along with names of those recommending nominations; authority through which MHA received such nominations; dates on which such nominations were received by the MHA; names of Search Committee Members; names considered by the  Search  and names recommended by the Search Committee.
 
The Public Information Officer (PIO) refused information on the grounds that some of the information was secretive in nature, some of it is not maintained in the office and that, the records have not been updated as yet and therefore information can be provided only in March or April when the Padma awards are given away.
 
Agrawal filed a second appeal in the office of Information Commissioner, Sudhir Bhargava in Delhi. The order on 16 February 2016, by him, makes it mandatory for the Ministry to provide all the information within four weeks of the order which would be mid-April.
 
Information must be made public on Republic Day itself:
 
The Commission after hearing both the parties and perusing the records observed that the name of the Padma awardees are declared on the Republic Day and information is uploaded on the website, hence, the information comes in public domain on the Republic Day itself. 
“Therefore, all information related to declaration of Padma Awards is part of the records as well as is under the control of the MHA and comes under the definition of ‘information’ as per Section 2(f) of the RTI Act.”
 
Non-completion of process no reason for denial of information:
 
“Once, an applicant seeks information as defined in Section 2(f) of the RTI Act, the CPIO, as per Section 7 of the RTI Act shall either provide the information or reject the request for any of the reasons specified in Sections 8 and 9 of the Act and cannot add or introduce new reasons or grounds for rejecting furnishing of information.” 
 
“However, the only reason put forth by the respondent in not providing the information is the non-completion of the process as the conferment of Padma Awards is done in March/April every year. The CPIO, is, therefore, unable to show any exemptions under the stated provisions of Sections 8 or 9 of the RTI Act under which the information can be denied. It being so, there is no ground for denying the information and the CPIO should furnish the same to the appellant.” 
“The Commission, therefore, directs the respondent to provide information to the appellant as sought by him in his RTI application dated 27 January 2015. With regard to the second appeal dated 12 May 2014, the Commission directs the CPIO to provide part information as sought in point nos. 17 and 24 of the RTI application to the appellant.”
 
“CIC directs MHA to restore practice of making public selection-process for Padma awards just after Republic Day (see attachments)”.
 
When contacted by Moneylife, Agrawal says, “There was a healthy practice in the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to make public complete selection-process for Padma awards just after their announcement on Republic Day when quizzed through an RTI petition filed on the following day on 27th January. But suddenly MHA declined information on RTI petitions filed on 27th January by taking excuse that ‘process is not complete and over’ meaning thereby that such information would be disclosed only after honouring done by President of India in a ceremony held at Rashtrapati Bhawan (New Delhi) sometime in March-April! Names of those recommending for Padma awards for the year 2015 could not be made public even after more than one year even though record-retention-schedule for selection-process is just one year.” 
 
Central Information Commission now through its various verdicts dated 16 February 2016 has directed MHA to restore practice of making public selection-process of Padma awards just after Republic Day. Newly appointed Central Information Commissioner having given the multiple verdicts in this regard deserves all compliments for his bold verdicts against MHA,” he added.
 
(Vinita Deshmukh is consulting editor of Moneylife, and also 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".)

User

11 start-ups graduate from GenNext Hub
Chennai : Eleven technology start-ups graduated from the GenNext Hub, the Mumbai based start-up accelerator, an initiative of Reliance Industries Ltd. and powered by Microsoft Ventures, a joint statement said on Friday.
 
The GenNext Hub is now accepting applications for third batch, which will start in April 2016.
 
The GenNext Hub initiative is an extension of what Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani is often heard saying: "The idea is to find the next Reliance."
 
According to the statement, the initiative is to catalyse the startup ecosystem for a digital India.
 
The event held in Reliance Corporate Park, Navi Mumbai, saw the start-ups showcase their businesses to more than 150 investors, influencers, corporate customers and leaders.
 
The GenNext Hub enables entrepreneurs to build their companies through an immersive, four-month-long programme.
 
"At GenNext Hub we are catalyzing a unique startup ecosystem, which rests on the tripod of talent, technology and trust. We spot and encourage 'talent', help them harness their 'technology' and back them up by putting total 'trust' in them," GenNext chairman and a board member in Reliance Industries Raghunath A. Mashelkar was quoted as saying in the statement.
 
"We are supporting several of our startups from the second batch with strategic partnerships that will help them scale-up rapidly," Mashelkar said.
 
"We have seen some amazing innovation in the two batches that have graduated thus far from GenNext. Some of these have already made a mark in the ecosystem and have even become business partners for Reliance and Microsoft and we hope this trend will continue," Bhaskar Pramanik, chairman, Microsoft India, was quoted as saying in the statement.
 
During the four-month programme, the start-ups were mentored on customer development, business models, operational planning, product roadmap, market traction, fund raising and pitching.
 
The workshops cut across B2B and B2C businesses in diverse sectors such as sports, energy, hospitality, advertising, fitness, financial services, logistics, healthcare, payments and enterprise software.
 
Domain expertise was provided in intellectual property, product development, online promotions, advertising, public relations, financial modeling, communication and pitching.
 
Going forward, GenNext Hub will focus on helping companies scale-up with its "Scalearator" model and evolve from a "Minimum Viable Product" to a "Minimum Viable Company".
 
According to the statement GenNext Hub is now accepting applications for third batch, which will start in April 2016.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

User

Secure mobile phones soon for soldiers: Minister
New Delhi : The government will soon provide secure mobile phones to soldiers along the international borders and in Naxal affected areas, Minister of State for Home Affairs Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhary said here on Friday.
 
"You would be surprised to know that even today our soldiers do not have a mobile phone, as such on a short-term period basis, we are planning to provide mobile phones to army personnel in the border areas and Naxal affected zones so that they can keep in touch with their family via 3G mobile connection," said Chaudhary.
 
He was inaugurating the '8th International Security Summit', organised by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham).
 
"The mobile phone would not be intercepted as we would be having the telephone exchange with us that can be carried by the battalion wherever it goes," the minister said.
 
"I had recently met a delegation of US-based company that claimed to provide us with telephone exchange in a box and instantly start over 1,000 secure mobile phone connections specifically for army personnel," he added.
 
The minister further informed that he had recently met another delegation of a US-based company providing blood testing equipment that could process blood samples in just a few minutes thereby saving invaluable time of the army personnel.
 
Regarding lack of a proper law aimed at cybercrime prevention in the country, Chaudhary said: "We have started a judicial process to transform the law in accordance with the technological advancement."
 
"We are fully prepared to thwart all types of security challenges. For cybercrime, we have constituted a high level committee of IT experts headed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh," he said.
 
"Besides,we have also constituted a committee to combat the hackers," the minister added.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

User

We are listening!

Solve the equation and enter in the Captcha field.
  Loading...
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email

BUY NOW

The Scam
24 Year Of The Scam: The Perennial Bestseller, reads like a Thriller!
Moneylife Magazine
Fiercely independent and pro-consumer information on personal finance
Stockletters in 3 Flavours
Outstanding research that beats mutual funds year after year
MAS: Complete Online Financial Advisory
(Includes Moneylife Magazine and Lion Stockletter)