Proving the point that the ministry of external affairs has outsourced passport work to TCS and has given authorization, permission as well as 100% funds for the work, TCS is a public authority under the RTI Act. A complaint has been filed with the Central Information Commission, Delhi by the Pune Passport Grievance Forum
The Pune Passport Grievance Forum (PPGF) which continues to receive several complaints everyday regarding non-issuance of passports to eligible applicants and has been trying to resolve problems through interaction with TCS and MEA officials, is now gearing up for the next step of taking the campaign forward.
On 11th March, at 9.30am, the PPGF will hold an agitation at the TCS’s Passport Seva Kendra office in Mundhwa, Pune. It will also hold an on-the-spot citizen meeting there. Complaint forms will be made available for affected passport applicants. The PPGF will demand streamlining of the passport issuance system; making a friendly and easily accessible online appointment system; putting up of boards at the entrance to list the exact nature of documents required for normal and tatkal passports so as to avoid unnecessary harassment to citizens and; demand ousting of passport agents who are given easy entry into the Passport Seva Kendra whereas citizens can enter, strictly by appointment. A deadline of 15 days would be given to TCS as well as MEA’s Passport Office at Senapati Bapat Road to rectify the above faults.
The PPGF will also demand from TCS to put the Master Service Agreement between the company and MEA in the public domain. TCS has put up the Master Service Agreement in the public domain for its venture with an American firm, AC Nielsen (US) Inc. If it can do it in the case of a multi-national company why not in the case of Indian government’s Public Private Partnership venture. Master Services Agreement, by and between Tata America International Corporation & Tata Consultancy Services Limited and ACNielsen (US), Inc. Effective as of October 1, 2007.
Meanwhile, Vijay Kumbhar, one of the conveners of the PPGF has filed a complaint with the Central Information Commission, demanding transparency from TCS, which is a public authority under the Right to Information (RTI) Act as the Government of India has given authorization, permission as well as 100% funds for the work in the public private partnership (PPP) venture.
Kumbhar, in his complaint has made the following arguments, which makes it mandatory for TCS to disseminate information under the RTI Act:
“1) As a public authority named ministry of external affairs of India (MEA) performs passport related work as per the Passport Act, through its division consular, passport and visa (CPV);
2) As MEA has outsourced above work and has given authorisation as well as permission to Tata consultancy services (TCS) for the same;
3) As MEA gives 100% funds for above work, mode of funding is built, operate, transfer;
4) As per RTI Act 2005 “public authority” means any authority or body or institution of self-government established or constituted—
by notification issued or order made by the appropriate government, and includes any body owned, controlled or substantially financed;
5) As per above provision TCS is a public authority;
6) As MEA has entered in to master agreement with TCS and such an agrreement is called authorisation or permission;
7) As per section 2 (i) ‘record’ includes—
(a) any document, manuscript and file;
(b) any microfilm, microfiche and facsimile copy of a document;
(c) any reproduction of image or images embodied in such microfilm (whether enlarged or not);
(d) any other material produced by a computer or any other device;
8) As per Section 4 (1) (b) (v) of the RTI Act, it is duty of the public authority to publish the rules, regulations, instructions, manuals and records, held by it or under its control or used by its employees for discharging its functions;
9) As per Section 4 (1) (b) (xiii ) of the RTI Act, it is duty of the public authority to publish particulars of recipients of concessions, permits or authorisations granted by it;
10) As per Section 4 (c) a public authority has to publish all relevant facts while formulating important policies or announcing the decisions which affect public;
11) As per Section 4 (d) a public authority has to provide reasons for its administrative or quasi-judicial decisions to affected persons;
12) As information covered in point no 7, 8, 9 and 10 is always available in permits authorisations called agreement or work order,
13) As lot of other information is available on websites of MEA and TCS;
14) As none of the above authorities have sou motu disseminated above mentioned agreement between MEA and TCS;
15) As, I personally along with Ms Vandana Chavan , MP (Rajya Sabha) , Vinita Deshmukh and Sandeep Khardekar from Pune, went to Regional Passport Office, Pune and requested for above agreement, but it was not available with them;
16) As, I am the person, who has been denied access to records under this Act,
I am filing this complaint u/s 18 (1) (f) of the RTI Act, I request you to initiate an inquiry u/s 18 (2) of RTI act and compel both the public authorities to disseminate the said agreement and all other transactions between them and publish it on their websites.”
To a question about the role of the TCS in the passport project posed by MP Laxmant Naik in the Rajya Sabha in August 2012, E Ahmed, minister of state in ministry of external affairs had replied, “As per the agreement, it is the duty of TCS to ensure ‘Under the contractual obligations, the role and responsibilities of service provider include provision/ setting up of
Vinita Deshmukh earlier wrote about problems faced by applicants at the Pune Passport Office. Please access these stories through the following links:
(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 and is the author of “The Mighty Fall”.)
PNB has received Rs1,247.99 crore while BoI received Rs808.99 crore from the government through the preferential allotment
The government has picked up preference shares in two state-owned lenders Punjab National Bank (PNB) and Bank of India (BoI), leading to a capital infusion of over Rs2,050 crore.
PNB, in a filing with the exchanges said that the bank has received allotment money of Rs1,247.99 crore from the Government of India on 4 March 2013. It allotted 1.42 crore equity shares of the face value of Rs10 each at a premium of Rs863.05 on preferential basis to the government.
BoI, on the other hand, received Rs808.99 crore from the government following allotment of 2.21 crore shares at a price of Rs365.70 per unit on preferential basis.
Meanwhile, shareholders of the UCO Bank have approved the capital infusion of Rs681 crore by the government on 4 March 2013.
The exercise is part of the Rs12,517 crore capital infusion plan announced by the government in January.
Last year, PNB received capital infusion of Rs1,285 crore.
The government infused about Rs20,117 crore in public sector banks during 2010-11, and Rs12,000 crore in 2011-12.
This offer is for those who buy the car in the next two months. The car should have a clean accident record and have a valid insurance cover, Tata Motors said
Passenger car maker Tata Motors has launched a new scheme for its Manza sedan buyers, who will get back 60% of the purchase value if they re-sell the car to the company after three years. The move is seen as an attempt to revive the decline in sales
“Tata Manza has introduced the “Club Class Buyback Assurance”. With the Club Class Buyback Assurance, Tata Motors offers its customers 60% of the purchase price after three years,” the company said in a statement.
This offer is for those who buy the car in the next two months. The car should have a clean accident record and have a valid insurance cover, the company added.
Earlier this week, the car maker had slashed prices of its Indica and Manza range of passenger cars by up to Rs50,000 in order to arrest falling sales in recent months. With this, the Manza is now available for Rs6-Rs8.14 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi).
Tata Motors' sales have been falling drastically in the recent months. In February, the total passenger vehicle sales in the domestic market stood at 10,613 units, down 69.53% from 34,832 units in the same month last year.
The company on Wednesday also introduced another offer, under which customers can now swipe their credit card and drive out in a Nano on the same day and convert the entire amount in monthly instalments at no interest over a period of 12 months at an EMI of Rs8,333 per lakh.