To a RTI query by this writer asking about the list of gift items loaned specifically to Pratibha Patil along with the evaluated price of each item, Rashtrapati Bhavan says information not necessary as it is a ‘temporary’ arrangement
The Rashtrapati Bhavan has officially admitted through a RTI (Right to Information) reply to this writer that “An MoU was signed on 15th June 2012 between Rashtrapati Bhavan and the Vidya Bharti Shaikshnik Mandal, Amravati, for display of 155 artifacts/mementos on a purely temporary basis, which in any case, cease to be operative with effect from 15th June 2013 and all the artifacts presently on loan shall be returned to the Rashtrapati Bhavan Museum thereafter” but refuses to divulge detailed information on the list of artifacts transferred to Ms Patil’s museum.
The Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) of the President’s Secretariat takes this ‘temporary’ arrangement as an excuse to not provide the list of artifacts given to Ms Patil to display it in her museum in her hometown, Amravati, along with their individual costs and countries that they were gifted from.
The RTI application filed by me on 3 August 2012, specifically asked the PIO of the President’s Secretariat, “List of gift items loaned specifically to Ms Pratibha Patil along with the evaluated price of each item; from which country did each gift item come from; what was the purpose of her visit when she received each of the gift item.” The reply is “do not arise in view of the answer at (3) above” (which is she would be returning artifacts by 15 June 2013 as the agreement would cease by then.
The RTI reply interestingly suggests that it was President Abdul Kalam who started the trend of moving out gifts received in the capacity of being President of India. The CPIO Saurabh Vjay states in his reply dated 6 September 2012, “No such requests have been made by any former President of India. It is, however, stated that in the past, 36 artifacts were handed over during the Presidency of Dr APJ Abdul Kalam for being displayed in the Brahmos Centre, New Delhi.” This reply came to the writer’s query under RTI seeking “copies of official requests made by Presidents of India for loaning of gifts from 1990 onwards. Provide copies of all such correspondence within the President of India office as well as between President of India office and the relevant district/city authority where the President of India may have resided or the place where she/he wants to display the loaned gift items, form 1990 onwards.”
The RTI reply also states that “no such rules and regulations are available for loaning of gift items received by the President of India. This was in reply to my query, “Copies of Rules/GRs/amendments/correspondence for rules and amended rules regarding gift articles and souvenirs which are received by Presidents of India from other countries and within the country; Copy of rules and regulations for ‘loaning’ official gifts received by President of India to presidents on their retirement or loaned to any other organisation.”
To the query, “How many gift items in total does the ‘Tosha Khana’ of the President’s office have at the moment and what is the total amount in value?” CPIO Saurabh Vijay states in his reply that “as per our records there are about 2,500 gifts in ‘Tosha Khana’ of the President’s Secretariat and as regards the value of these items, no such records are available in the Art section.” This is indeed shocking for, as per the ministry of home affairs, any contribution in the form of gifts received by President of India or other dignitaries must be valued within 30 days of receipt of gift.
It may be recalled that a museum is being specially set up in Pratibha Patil’s hometown by the family trust, Vidya Bharti Shaikshnik Mandal, run by her politician-son Rajendra Shekhawat.
The writer is filing a first appeal to the President’s Secretariat since the information received is inadequate.
Read the previous article here: Pratibha Patil’s Museum: Gifts received by VVIPs from foreign countries can be purchased by them but can they be loaned?
(Vinita Deshmukh is the 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. She can be reached at [email protected].)
The Nifty has closed positively for eight consecutive days, for the first time since 30 June 2011 and only the 3rd time since 2007, as it rallied from 5,238.4 to 5,577.65, up 6.48%. What does the past suggest about today’s close?
The current upmove is building, but buy only the dips
The market closed the week with a gain of over 4% on positive global cues and the government’s bold initiative to implement economic reforms, which were stalled earlier due to resistance from within the ruling UPA alliance as well from the opposition. In another courageous development on Friday, the government approved foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail, aviation and broadcast services.
The Sensex closed the week at 18,464, up 781 points (4.41%) and the Nifty gained 236 points (4.41%) to settle at 5,578. We see the uptrend in the market continuing, and one should use the dips as opportunities to buy.
On Monday the market was range-bound and settled with minor gains as investors adopted a “wait-and-watch” attitude ahead of the release of domestic economic numbers. The benchmarks picked momentum in the second half and settled higher on Tuesday on buying in blue chips. Optimism from the German Constitutional Court ruling on the Eurozone bailout fund helped the domestic market close higher on Wednesday.
The volatile market pared all its gains on Thursday but ended in the green following a report that the Inter-Ministerial Group recommended de-allocation of four mines to private companies and encashing of bank guarantees of three companies for non-development of the mines allotted to them in the stipulated time-frame. Domestic and global events saw the market closing around 2.5% higher on Friday and in the positive for the eighth day in succession.
All sectoral indices settled higher with the BSE Metal and BSE Realty, both up 6%, emerging as the top gainers.
The top gainers among the Sensex stocks were Hindalco Industries (up 12%), Tata Motors (up 11%), Tata Steel, Larsen & Toubro (up 9% each) and ICICI Bank (up 7%). The losers were Cipla (down 3%) and NTPC (down 2%).
The Nifty was led by Hindalco Ind (up 13%), Tata Motors (up 11%); IDFC, Tata Steel and L&T (up 9% each). Major losers on the benchmark were Cipla (down 3%), NTPC, Power Grid Corporation (down 2% each), Ranbaxy Laboratories and Siemens (down 1%).
India's industrial production growth rate slowed to just 0.1% in July due to poor show by manufacturing, mining and capital goods sectors, reflecting weak economic activity. Industrial output, as measured by the Index of Industrial Production (IIP), in the April-July period of this fiscal has thus contracted by 0.1%, according to the official data released on Wednesday.
Headline inflation rose to 7.55% in August as prices of potato, wheat and pulses as well as manufactured items soared. Inflation, as measured by the wholesale price index (WPI), was 6.87% in July.
Biting the bullet, the government on Thursday hiked diesel prices by a steep Rs5.62 per litre and restricted the supply of subsidised cooking gas to six cylinders per household in a year to fetch an additional Rs20,300 crore. It, however, left kerosene rates untouched and spared an increase in petrol price by cutting excise duty by Rs5.30 per litre.
The Inter-Ministerial Group (IMG) on coal blocks allocation has recommended de-allocation of four mines allotted to private firms and encashment of bank guarantee of three others on the ground of non-development of mines within a prescribed time. This is the first recommendation by the IMG ever since controversy broke out over the allocation of coal blocks after the recent Comptroller and Auditor General report that criticised the government for allotting them in a non-transparency.
In international news, global markets rallied after the US Federal Reserve on Thursday said it would start a third programme of purchasing $40 billion per month in mortgage-backed bonds, known as quantitative easing (QE3). The Fed added that it would continue with the scheme until it saw substantial improvement in the jobs market. The US central bank also pledged to keep its benchmark interest rate at ultra-low levels until at least mid-2015.
This apart, the German Constitutional Court earlier this week cleared the path for the creation of a 500 billion euro rescue fund to tackle the Eurozone’s debt crisis after a huge popular petition to block it was rejected. The decision allows Germany to ratify the treaty to establish the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) and will enable it to become effective next month. But an important condition attached to the ruling means that Germany's liabilities will be capped at 190 billion, unless parliament rules otherwise.