Citizens' Issues
'Private sector to play key role in Smart Cities mission'

The global urban population is set to rise over 66% by 2050, and India will be a significant contributor

 

The private sector will play a pivotal role in the development of smart cities though India's urban growth has not been accompanied by commensurate increases in infrastructure and municipal services, a study said on Sunday.
 
A joint report prepared by the World Economic Forum and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) said the private sector will play a key role in delivering the much-needed infrastructure and help address capacity issues across state governments and urban local bodies.
 
"The growth of India's urban population has not been accompanied by commensurate increases in urban infrastructure and service delivery capabilities. As a result, cities in India face a range of challenges in areas such as water, waste management, energy, mobility, built environment, education, healthcare and safety," it said.
 
It said the global urban population is set to rise over 66 percent by 2050, and India will be a significant contributor.
 
According to the report, India's urban population currently is around 410 million, around 32 percent of the total population, and is expected to reach 814 million, or 50 percent of the world population, by 2050.
 
"This is why the plan announced by the government of India for 100 smart cities and 500 Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation cities is so important," the study said.
 
However, taking the leap to smart cities requires more than just government proclamation, the report said, adding that the challenges may exacerbate if timely action is not taken, and if neglected, could even derail India's growth.
 
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.

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Needed: A zero-vacancy approach to top level appointments
The ‘Modi’ way of looking at the issue should have been to promise quick action to fill up existing vacancies in the judiciary at all levels and assure a solution to other issues flagged by CJI in a time-bound manner
 
As appointments in government get delayed for various reasons, vacancies at various levels keep increasing. Judiciary’s case is not different. Government and public sector should move forward to a ‘zero-vacancy’ concept sooner than latter.
 
It is comforting to see that Prime Minister Narendra Modi listened to the plea from the Chief Justice of India’s plea for quickly filling up the existing vacancies at various levels in Indian judiciary. Outsiders (a section of media included) have successfully smuggled into the public mind that all organisations in government and public sector are over-staffed and their inefficient function is primarily attributable to the job security infused laziness of the workforce and inefficient deployment of manpower. This aspect, we will revisit later in another article. For now, let us consider the passionate plea from the CJI.
 
The CJI T S Thakur, was addressing the inaugural session of the Joint Conference of Chief Ministers and Chief Justices of High Courts in New Delhi on Sunday, April 24, 2016. He said the Law Commission had recommended in 1987 that the judge-population ratio be increased to at least 50 judges per million population and lamented that three decades later, the ratio remained an abysmal 15 judges per million people in a country which had added 25 crore in population since 1987. Saying this, looking towards the Prime Minister, he became emotional and broke down.
 
"And therefore, it is not only in the name of a litigant or people languishing in jails but also in the name of development of the country, its progress that I beseech you to rise to the occasion and realise that it is not enough to criticise. You cannot shift the entire burden on the judiciary," the Chief Justice of India said in a choking voice, according to media reports.
 
CJI said that we have grown into one of the fastest growing economies of the world, we are inviting foreign direct investment into the country, we want people to come and make in India, we want people to come and invest in India. He felt that "Those whom we are inviting are also concerned about the ability of the judicial system in the country to deal with cases and disputes that arise out of such investments. Efficacy of the judicial system is so vitally connected with the development."
 
Justice Thakur said from a munsif to a Supreme Court judge, the average disposal in India is 2,600 cases per annum as compared to 81 cases per annum in the United States. Referring to the pendency of cases, Justice Thakur said the high courts have over 38 lakh cases to dispose of and the number is increasing.
 
Giving out statistics, Justice Thakur said when the apex court came into being in 1950, it had a strength of 8 judges, including the CJI with 1215 cases pending.
 
Then, he said, the pendency was 100 cases per judge.
 
In 1960, the strength of the SC rose to 14 judges and the cases also increased to 3247. In 1977, the strength was 18 and the cases were 14501. By 2009, as is the case today, the strength of SC judges rose to 31 and the pending cases spiralled by 77181.
 
"In 2014, the number of cases was 81582 which was reduced to 60260. On December 2 when I took over as CJI and now, 17482 cases were filed out of which 16474 cases were disposed of," he said.
 
According to latest Law Ministry figures, the approved strength of the subordinate judiciary is 20,214 with 4,580 vacancies. The approved strength of the 24 high courts is 1,056 and the vacancy was pegged at 458 as on March one.
 
In the apex court, there are six vacancies against the sanctioned strength of 31 judges, including the CJI.
 
There are more than 38 lakh cases pending in the high courts of the country, said the Chief Justice, wondering if it could be found out “like a mathematical question” in schools as to how many judges should be required to decide them. ”There are 470 vacancies in the high courts. Over six weeks after the judgment (in the NJAC case), we cleared all proposals. So as far as we are concerned, there is no pendency. I have also written to the chief ministers. How much time is required to process appointments when there is an avalanche of cases, and lakhs of undertrials are languishing in jails?” asked Justice Thakur.
 
Prime Minister said if constitutional barriers do not create any problems, then top ministers and senior Supreme Court judges can sit together to find a solution to the issue. A very guarded consolation, of course. The ‘Modi’ way of looking at the issue should have been to promise quick action to fill up existing vacancies in the judiciary at all levels and assure a solution to other issues flagged by CJI in a time-bound manner.
 
In my article posted @moneylife.in on February 5, 2013, I had observed in a different context as under:
 
“There is urgency to fast-track justice not only when sensational issues come up and media/ popular protests highlight them. The immediate measures could include:
• Segregating cases which need to be decided within a year and taking them on a priority basis by the courts now in position.
• Leaving the remaining cases to new Special Courts to be put in place at all levels depending on the number of pending cases.
• Ensuring vacancies of judges are filled in time
• Making it compulsory for government and public sector organizations to expedite procedures where they are on either side of matters before courts. This is necessary as there is laxity on their side as cost and delay seldom affects the individuals who handle cases in government and public sector. This position is slowly creeping into big corporates also.
• Making necessary legislative changes to reduce procedural delays
• Simultaneous efforts to encourage concerned parties to settle issues out of court. This method would bear fruit where party on one side of the dispute is government or quasi-government organizations.
 
It seems, these observations hold good even today. As new vacancies are sanctioned in government and public sector after due deliberations and most of the time a year or two later from the initiating of processes, the large number of vacancies at various levels directly mean heavy pendency of work. Judiciary’s case is not different. Government and public sector should move forward to a ‘zero-vacancy’ concept sooner than latter.
 
(MG Warrier is author of the 2014 book "Banking, Reforms & Corruption: Development Issues in 21st Century India")
 

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COMMENTS

Meenal Mamdani

1 year ago

I suspect that the judiciary has been starved deliberately by the politicians.

Who gains when justice is delayed to such an extent that it is meaningless? It is the pols who are corrupt and unaccountable in their actions. If there was swift justice, people would be hesitant to commit wrongdoing. Now the criminals are brazen because they know that high powered lawyers will keep the court cases going on for years while the criminals continue to enjoy life outside prison.

If Modi is sincere about doing a better job as a PM, he should have the courage to stand up to the lobby of pols and the wealthy who want to leave matters status quo. Congress managed to drag its feet to appease their patrons now we will see if BJP is the same or better.

REPLY

MG Warrier

In Reply to Meenal Mamdani 1 year ago

Moneylife gives us lots of space to express our thoughts. It is not just 'pols'behind all these games. I have earlier gone on record saying that it is the BPL (Businessmen-Politicians-Lawyers) Combine that is preventing literacy, progress and development. But AAM AADMI is waking up. I have faith in the new generation which is in the age group of 20-50 now. As regards judiciary and the legal system, a lot remains to be done.Believe me, some days the lawyers appearing before one single bench take home more money than a year's salary of the judges before whom they argue cases. Lawyers are not interested in 'closing' cases!

Aditya G

1 year ago

It's not just the judiciary and the public sector enterprises that require staffing but the civil services as well. I believe income-tax department is also short-staffed by a large number. If at all, we need "more government"!

I wonder though, why aren't these chaps using technology to become more efficient? Or are they? I'm not sure. No data.

REPLY

MG Warrier

In Reply to Aditya G 1 year ago

You are right. Definitely, there is a case for using technology in several areas, if not to reduce manpower, at least to make life comfortable for those who work. having said that, technology also needs human hands and brains to work efficiently.Otherwise, TCS and INFOSYS would not be employing this many!

Gupta

1 year ago

Instead of crying, why not simply abolish summer vacations in courts????? It would instantly increase capacity by 15-20% and it is in the hands of the chief justice. But who wants to withdraw these perks of British times. No other job in the world gets summer vacation, not even a construction worker in Rajasthan's heat. Crying is easier!

RAVI RAM PV

1 year ago

The same CJI wants only Judges to appoint themselves through the farce called collegium. Why did they throw out the NJAC?

REPLY

nagendra kamath

In Reply to RAVI RAM PV 1 year ago

Ravi Ram PV,
Every person who will be a PM or a Law minister in future may not have same level of respect for law as Modi or Manmohan . And this List of future PM aspirants is long .. and it is necessary that Judiciary needs to be protected .. Law are not just for today .. they need to be framed with worst of scenarios in mind

CIC asks IB & Environment Ministry to share reports on harassed officer, Sanjiv Chaturvedi, with him
The CIC order describes in detail the phenomenal harassment faced by Chaturvedi from the Haryana government for just doing his job including implementing Supreme Court order and stopping the use of public funds to create private assets
 
The Central Information Commission (CIC) has asked Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to submit a copy of a report on Sanjiv Chaturvedi with him. "The Commission approves that the copy of the IB report concerning the appellant, as sought by him is the information pertaining to allegations of corruption and human rights violations and thus shall be given to the appellant. Hence the Commission directs the IB or MoEF to provide certified copy of IB report relating to Mr Sanjiv Chaturvedi, sought through RTI dated 5 December 2015 as soon as possible not beyond 6 May 2016. The Commission would like to bring it to the notice of two public authorities that the petitioner has every right under RTI Act to complain and the Commission has a duty to initiate penal proceedings against non­-compliance of this order," Information Commissioner M Sridhar Acharyulu, said in an order issued on 21 April 2016.
 
The order notes the ordeals that the IFS officer has to go through. It says, "...this may be the first instance in the administrative history of the country, when a State Government suspended and charge-sheeted an officer for the implementation of the orders of the Supreme Court; even when the officer represented against the illegal warning in this case, his submitting the representation was itself considered as a misconduct by the State Government and was inserted as a charge in the charge-sheet; the open use of public funds to create private assets on the private land of politically influential persons; preparing a highly fabricated, illegal charge-sheet by a state government against its own official, in which, even the compliance report of the officer was concealed to create the charge of insubordination."
 
"During his five year tenure in the state, the officer was kept without any cadre posting for two and a half years and served 11 posting orders, routinely after exposing scams, while no action seems to have ever been taken against the officers involved in the various scams which include the case of Jhajjar Forest Division, where out of 37 beats of the whole division, fake payments were detected in 26 beats, but even then no action was taken by the State Government against the concerned DFO responsible for these irregularities. The mere allegations of a forest encroacher were thought to be enough by the State Government to charge-sheet the officer under major penalty, and the charge still not being removed despite exoneration by State Vigilance Bureau and departmental inquiry, more than two years back; even the personal life of the officer was dragged, into the said charge-sheet despite the charges being quashed by High Court," it added.
 
In his second appeal, Mr Chaturvedi submitted before the CIC that he needs a copy of IB report, which was sent to Cabinet Secretary and the Ministry of Environment and Forests in August, 2014, on the issue of foisting false cases against him in retaliation against his investigation and reports against major corruption in Haryana.
 
The IFS officer told the CIC that he urgently needs the copy of the IB report, because the harassment meted out to him is directly linked to his exposure of corruption both in Haryana Government and AIIMS, and the IB report would become very crucial in ascertaining the reality. 
 
Alleging that he was being harassed by the Haryana government, Mr Chaturvedi in 2010 had requested a Central Government deputation. He complained of harassment to the then President Pratibha Patil, who referred his case to the Cabinet Secretariat. Acting on the directions of the Cabinet Secretariat, the MoEF in 2010, constituted a two-member panel to study the accusations. The Ministry's in-house inquiry found merit in Mr Chaturvedi's allegations, and referred the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), whose preliminary analysis found the allegations worthy of investigation. The MoEF then referred the case to Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), and recommended a CBI investigation. The Ministry also confirmed the harassment of the IFS officer and recommended quashing of cases against him. On 19 January 2011, the President quashed the chargesheet against him.
 
The Haryana government rejected the Ministry's findings, and asked it to take a fresh look at the case. However, this demand was rejected by the ministry. The Haryana Government refused to relieve Chaturvedi for Central deputation, but in May 2012, an order from the Ministry overruled the Haryana Government. Between years 2008 to 2014, the President passed four orders in support of Mr Chaturvedi, quashing the Haryana Government's orders.
 
Mr Chaturvedi was also hounded by the state government in a case related with suicide by Sanjeev Tomar, a Haryana forest range officer. Multiple special investigation teams (SIT) formed to probe the case gave a clean chit to Chaturvedi. However, in February 2015, the Punjab and Haryana High Court recommended formation of a new SIT to probe the allegations that Sanjeev Tomar had committed suicide due to harassment by Mr Chaturvedi. His counsel stated that constituting a fresh SIT would amount to hounding the officer who had exposed several scams. In April 2015, the Court accepted the petition, and recalled its earlier order. The Court also dismissed the writ petition of Rampal Singh, father of Sanjeev Tomar.
 
On 29 June 2012, Mr Chaturvedi was made the Deputy Secretary of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi. He was also given the additional charge of Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO) at AIIMS. As a CVO, Chaturvedi took action against the doctors who were making unauthorized foreign trips. During his tenure, the police seized banned drugs worth Rs6 crore from a vehicle supplying drugs to an on-campus pharmacy owned by a Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) from Congress party. 
 
Mr Chaturvedi initiated actions in around 200 corruption cases during his stint as AIIMS CVO where punishment was imposed in 78 cases, chargesheet was issued in 87 cases and more than 20 cases were referred to CBI for criminal investigation. In 2014, after the Modi government came to power, Chaturvedi was relieved from the additional charge of CVO, although he continued to retain the Deputy Director post at AIIMS. 
 
In 2015, the media reported that Aam Admi Party (AAP) was planning to appoint Mr Chaturvedi as the chief of Delhi anti-corruption bureau. On 17 February 2015, and again on 28 February 2015, Delhi's Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal wrote to Cabinet Minister Prakash Javdekar, asking for deputation of Mr Chaturvedi to Delhi, as an Officer on Special Duty. 
 
Citing extreme hardship including frequent transfers, suspension and false police and departmental cases, in October 2012, Mr Chaturvedi sought cadre change to Uttarakhand from Haryana. Finally, on 13 August 2015, the Appointment Committee of Cabinet (ACC) headed by the Prime Minister approved the cadre change in compliance with the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) orders.
 
Over the years, Mr Chaturvedi had received several awards including Ramon Magsaysay Award for emergent leadership (2015), Manjunath Shanmugam Integrity Award (2009) for his work in Haryana, SR Jindal Prize in 2011 for 'Crusade against Corruption'. After completion of training at Dehradun-based Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy, in August 2005, Mr Chaturvedi received two medals in “People and Forest” and “Biodiversity and Wildlife Management”, from the then President of India, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam.
 
Here is the order passed by the CIC…
 

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