RTI Judgement Series
RTI Judgement Series: One lakh families in Delhi were deprived rations due to non-entry of their data

In Delhi, rations of about one lakh families were stopped due to non-entry of the data into the computers. The CIC directed the Food Commissioner to look into the issue and send a compliance report. This is the 78th in a series of important judgements given by former Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi that can be used or quoted in an RTI application

 
The Central Information Commission (CIC), while allowing a complaint, directed the Food Commissioner at the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) to look into the disenfranchisement of over one lakh families in Delhi because of improper functioning of the computer systems.
 
While giving this judgement on 21 March 2011, Shailesh Gandhi, the then Central Information Commissioner said, “Since computer systems and connectivity was not proper, 44,172 families in Delhi that should get rations at a fixed price were unable to get it. Government policies appear to be the victim of a completely inefficient computer system. And this is scandalous.”
 
New Delhi resident Amlesh Gupta, on 13 July 2010, sought information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act from the Public Information Officer (PIO) of the Food and Supplies Department at the GNCTD. Here is the information he sought...
 
1. What action taken by the Deputy Commissioner on the application submitted on 13/04/2010 vide diary no. 1818/A/CFS/16/14/10.
2. If no action has been taken, give reasons thereof. If action is being taken, give progress report. 
3. Since June 2010 how many cards were by certified, give complete details with card number and names. 
 
Since the PIO did not give any information, Gupta then filed his first appeal. The First Appellate Authority (FAA) while disposing the appeal said, the respective PIOs have forwarded the complaint to the concerned assistant commissioners for taking necessary action. 
 
Not satisfied with this reply, Gupta then approached the CIC with his second appeal. During the hearing, he stated that rations have been stopped to 44,172 above poverty line (APL) cardholders in the eight zones as per information received by him in rely to a RTI query. It appears that the rations have been stopped due to non-entry in the database of the computers. Gupta had given a complaint about this and had sought to know the action taken on this. The number of cards for which rations were not being provided is as follows:
 

Sl.

Circle no.

Number of cards

1.

6

376

2.

11

4917

3.

21

25200

4.

28

926

5.

52

887

6.

61

3238

7.

64

1471

8.

70

7157

Total number of cards:

44172


The PIO in his reply stated that as per the Delhi Government Circular in 2008 APL ration cardholders with annual income less than Rs1 lakh were to be given rations at fixed rates. The applications were taken but 44,172 cardholders were not given rations because of non-entry in the database. This happened since the computer systems are not working properly and connectivity is unreliable and extremely poor, the PIO stated.
 
Gupta had been provided information only by erstwhile Circle-52 (51). The appellant had not been provided information from all the other circles. 
 
Shakti Bangar, food security officer (FSO) for Circle-51 informed the Commission that the entire information would be available with PK Mehresh, system analyst, Computer Branch at the Department of Food and Supplies.
 
The PIOs also informed the Commission that a large number of cardholders (around 70,000) in the category of un-reviewed cards were also suffering because of inefficient operation of the computer systems. 
 
While allowing the appeal, the CIC then directed PK Mehresh to provide the complete information about the restoration of foodgrain allocation to the 44,172 cards holders to the Gupta and the Commission before 10 April 2011. Mr Gandhi, also asked the food commissioner to send a compliance report to the Commission about the action taken about disenfranchisement of over one lakh families before 20 April 2011.
 
CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION
 
Decision No. CIC/SG/A/2011/000118/11570
Appeal No. CIC/SG/A/2011/000118
 
Appellant                   :                             Amlesh Gupta
                                                                    New Delhi - 110019
 
Respondent              :                            (1) Chokhe Lal
                                                                   Public Information Officer & 
                                                                   Assistant Commissioner (HQ)
                                                                   Food and Supplies Department, 
                                                                   Govt. of NCT of Delhi
                                                                   K- Block, Vikash Bhawa, 
                                                                   IP Estate, New Delhi - 110002
 
                                      :                           (2) PK Mehresh, 
                                                                   System Analyst, Computer Branch, 
                                                                   Department of Food and Supplies, 
                                                                   K-Block, Vikash Bhawan, 3rd Floor, 
                                                                   ITO, Delhi 
 

 

User

McLeod Russel India: Stock reaction appears overdone, says Nomura

Any concerns on the outlook for India tea prices for FY14 on the back of trends in Kenya may be a kneejerk reaction, says Nomura Equity Research

McLeod Russel’s stock price decline of 15% over the past two trading sessions is an excessive reaction, According to Nomura Equity Research in its Quick Note, to the recent tea price trends in Kenya, the outlook for domestic demand and prices in India remains robust at this point. This was reinforced during the brokerage’s discussion with J Thomas, the world’s largest auctioneer of tea. They suggested that any concerns on the outlook for India tea prices for FY14 on the back of trends in Kenya may be a kneejerk reaction. Key takeaways from the discussion:

 

  • The first flush tea crop is largely for the domestic market, and J Thomas indicated good demand visibility in the Indian market. They therefore do not see any impact on the first flush crop from Kenyan price trends. If at all, it is the second flush crop (starts from 10th May and continues to end-June) which gets exported, where there may be some impact (assuming the trend in Kenya doesn’t reverse).

 

  • Given that some of the land has been diverted for orthodox production in India, CTC (McLeod mainly sells CTC) supply has become tighter.

 

  • Opening tea prices will be visible in the 17th week auction and are expected to be higher. The current prices of very small quantities have been higher by Rs10-Rs15, but they are still not representative and the full impact will be visible from the 17th week. More than a single data point on opening prices, they remain positive on the outlook for tea prices in India.

 

  • Typically there used to be inventory in the system of the prior season which continued until the early part of the new season. But now inventory levels have been running extremely low.

 

  • Global demand supply is still tight and is expected to remain that way for the next three years.

 

As per Nomura’s observations, two months of higher production in Kenya (Kenya has produced 83.9 million kg in Jan-Feb2013 versus 54.6 million kg last year, when the crop was impacted by weather) has meant that tea prices in Kenya in CY13 have gradually come down from $3.08 at the end of CY12 to $2.49 in the 13th auction (average prices in Kenya in CY13 are at $3.02 still higher than last year similar period average of $2.96). Part of this is due to recovery of lost production in Kenya, which produced 369.2 million kg in CY12 (versus 377 million kg in CY11 and 398.7 million kg in CY10).

 

Ex-Kenya production is only marginally up in Jan-Feb, as Sri Lanka has produced 48.5 million kg in Jan-Feb (versus 45.3 million kg last year) and India has produced 34.9 million kg in Jan-Feb (versus 33 million kg last year), while Malawi and Indonesia put together have produced 20.2 million kg in Jan-Feb versus 23.8 million kg last year. Empirically in CY11 Kenyan tea price was down from $2.98 at the starting of the calendar year to $2.69 in the 13th week, but McLeod Russel average exports realization for FY12 closed at $2.93 versus $2.86 in FY11.

 

Nomura had a discussion with the CFO of McLeod Russel on the company’s outlook for Indian tea prices in FY14, especially in the context of recent production and price trends in Kenya. He highlighted the following points:

 

  • McLeod Russel expects Rs10-Rs15 increase on their own crop for FY14 as domestic demand remains robust, and in his view it would be premature to extrapolate production and price trends in Kenya.

 

  • April production in India has been good, and indications are that they may recover around 2.7 million kg of its own crop that the company lost last year in Q1.

 

  • The tea major plans to increase bought leaves production from around 18.5 million kg in FY13 to 25 million kg in FY14 (it is currently factoring in only a 2 million kg increase in bought leave tea production in FY14). Assuming an EBITDA/kg of rs35 (irrespective of prices), this alone could lead to incremental EBITDA of around rs210 million.

 

  • Normalized production in FY14 would mean a recovery of 6 million kg of lost production in FY13. This would mean that even if one assumes flat realization (own crop realization was around Rs176 in FY13), the company could generate incremental EBITDA of Rs950 million.

 

According to Nomura, McLeod Russel currently trades at 5.3x FY14F EBITDA (3.9x adjusted for treasury shares) and 7.2x FY14F EPS (5.7x adjusted for treasury shares). If one assumes that realizations remain flat, on normalized production the brokerage expects FY14 consolidated EBITDA close to around Rs5,549 million and EPS of Rs37.6.

 

The brokerage further adds, so in a flat realization scenario for FY14, the stock trades at around 5.8x FY14F EBITDA (4.3x adjusted for treasury shares) and 7.9x FY14F EPS (5.9x adjusted for treasury shares). “This is still a very attractive valuation, in our view, especially in the context of a strong free cash flow yield of around 9.8%,” said Nomura.

User

Why RBI is still dragging its feet over polymer currency notes?

The central bank must clarify whether we have the necessary technology and equipment to mint these polymer notes within the country and announce the timeframe within which these notes would be launched into the financial system

The Banking Ombudsman of Karnataka recently had organized a meeting in Mangalore. Reserve Bank of India (RBI) deputy governor, Dr KC Chakrabarty attended this Town Hall Meet, where, in reply to a question on plastic notes, he confirmed that these notes, in Rs10 denomination, “will be introduced on a trial basis”.

 

He stated that the average life of a paper currency note was about nine months, which got soiled and torn, whereas the plastic notes would last for several years. Besides, these notes will also prevent counterfeiting.

 

It may be recalled that Moneylife carried an article on the urgent need to introduce polymer currency notes (Polymer rupee notes: Slow or no progress? ) more than six months ago!

 

In fact, when that report appeared in Moneylife, the RBI had introduced polymer currency notes of Rs10 denomination in several selected cities, including Mysore in the south.

 

It is therefore surprising that KC Chakrabarty did not elaborate on this issue and say how this trial was received, not only in Mysore, but in other centres as well?  Why he did not share the news of this introduction for market testing in the selected cities is a mystery!

 

It is well-known that Australia is the pioneer which introduced the polymer currency notes more than two decades ago and is one of the most successful exponents of this system.

 

While we appreciate that an attempt is being made in the right direction, we must not overlook that circulation of counterfeit currency has increased and the media reports appear, from time to time, that large quantities of supplies are coming through smugglers across the border. Arrests are also made and police reports indicate that distribution chains are well entrenched all over the country.  These reports also show that supplies are emanating from Pakistan and smuggled via the land borders of Bangladesh and Nepal.

 

In any case, with elections around the corner, this influx of counterfeit notes is likely to increase and disrupt our democratic election process.

 

What we need to do, on a war footing, is to obtain supplies of polymer notes of Rs500 and Rs1,000 denominations and introduce them immediately. It is believed that the counterfeit notes are mostly in these denominations, and so, if the ultimate intention is to stop these coming into circulation, the RBI must go hammer and tongs at getting the polymer notes.  Introducing polymer notes in Rs10 denomination would not be very useful.

 

RBI knows that Australia has the knowledge and expertise in polymer notes. It is not easy to counterfeit the polymer notes and our efforts should be to get the higher denominations in these notes rather than Rs10.

 

It is imperative that RBI must make a clear-cut statement on the progress made so far in the trial that was carried out in selected cities. The central bank must clarify whether we have secured the necessary technology and equipment to mint these polymer notes within the country and categorically announce the time-frame within which India will launch this into the financial system.

 

In the meantime, our security forces at the borders must be trained and intelligence system intensified to prevent large-scale smuggling of currency which goes undetected!

 

(AK Ramdas has worked with the Engineering Export Promotion Council of the ministry of commerce and was associated with various committees of the Council. His international career took him to places like Beirut, Kuwait and Dubai at a time when these were small trading outposts; and later to the US.)

User

COMMENTS

Naresh

3 years ago

Any note changing process will happen only after the general elections in 2014 which is the time when black money will change hands. Changing into a new note type will bring the black money to 0 which is why the politicians will oppose along with the businessman. I'm in Australia and found here that Polymer notes are more durable and they have enhanced the polymer formula for it to be more durable over the years. Indians are as good or as bad as anyone in the world so no offense to any race. If there is ever a change in currency notes the Indian cash economy will die a fast death.

BHALACHANDRA SINGDE

4 years ago

In Australia even $5 polymer notes are in currency. The notes may be costly, but it has a lifelong use.

anantha ramdas

4 years ago

In response to Mr Naresh, all I can say is that more than 20 countries are using polymer notes and are successful.

You appear to undermine the intelligence and responsibility of Indians and please do not say that they are not capable of using these polymer notes. If they are able to accept and use soiled and torn paper currency notes, they are perfectly capable of using the polymer notes.

The question here is stopping the counterfeit notes that will undermine our democratic system. Certainly, polymer notes will not reduce corruption, but that is because everyone who uses this system does it for expediency and irresponsibly.

Be proud, sir, Indians are a force to be reckoned, and it is our core responsibility to ensure that we do not fall into or encourage corrupt practices.

Naresh

4 years ago

Polymer notes are balderdash. They are more expensive, and once they tear from any end, the tear completes until the note is sliced into two! It is not for India. India and Nigeria are known in the world to have dirty, soiled notes because the populace does not handle notes well. Besides the RBI is concerned about farming out the note printing process to an Australian company.

SuchindranathAiyerS

4 years ago

Because China and Pakistan will do a better job than the Quota-Corruption Raj?

SuchindranathAiyerS

4 years ago

Because China and Pakistan will do a better job than the Quota-Corruption Raj?

PRABHAT

4 years ago

RBI MUST THINK TO PROMOTE USE OF CREDIT / DEBIT CARDS TO CURB BLACK MONEY IN THE COUNTRY AND TO SAVE COST OF CURRENCY IN CIRCULATION .

REPLY

bharati

In Reply to PRABHAT 4 years ago

Why have income tax? Why criminalize anyone making money? Or else have standard 10% for everyone over, say, 5 lakhs per year, with no debate or allowances. Make it easy for citizens to be honest, simplify rules so ordinary folks understand them clearly. Have a sales tax after exempting basic necessities.

Harish

In Reply to PRABHAT 4 years ago

Great Idea

Veeresh Malik

4 years ago

And then some more here please, again, we did not hear of this in the Indian media:-

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-08-20/fo...

Veeresh Malik

4 years ago

This may be of interest to MoneyLife and readers:- http://www.smh.com.au/national/salesman-...

""''Brown commented that agents had many expenses and were very well connected, with access to the highest levels of the central banks and often the government itself,'' he said in his statement.
''The actual word 'bribery' was carefully avoided,'' he said, but he was told ''Securency paid the agent in India $US120,000 on the understanding that his money would then be forwarded to a political party in the lead-up to the Indian national election''.""

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)