Technology
Shush! Ringer Restorer
Whenever we enter a meeting or a theatre, we tend to put our phone on silent; at least, all sensible and disciplined people do! But then, such people invariably forget to switch on the volume of their phone when the meeting is over. Shush! is a great help at such times. Once you install the app on your Android device, whenever you mute the volume on your phone, up pops a friendly reminder asking you when would you like to restore the volume to normal—after a few minutes or a couple of hours? Having set the time, you need not worry about the volume of your phone getting back to normal; it will be automatically reset, once the period is over! Of course, if your meeting ends earlier, you can restore the volume to normal, manually. A very handy app for everyday use. https://goo.gl/AeUOgN

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Students have no Right to Know about RTI in Rajasthan!
The lesson in the 8th standard text book on Social Sciences of Rajasthan State Board schools was titled `Kanuno ki samajh’ (knowledge of Laws) and the lesson was about the citizens’ historic movement to bring in the Right to Information (RTI) legislation in Rajasthan. Led by Aruna Roy, the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) in village Devdungri of Rajasthan had sowed the seeds of an era of transparency and right to information, inspiring enough, for Rajasthan’s education committee to include it in the Social Sciences curriculum.
 
The Rajasthan government, however, seems to think that this knowledge would empower citizens of tomorrow, who may demand accountability from the rulers and thus may have decided to nip this education, in the bud. RTI has been removed from the Rajasthan text books. Activists across Rajasthan are piqued with this decision and are demanding an explanation from the state government.
 
 
Aruna Roy, in a letter dated 15 May 2016, to CS Rajan, Chief Secretary of Rajasthan, writes, “In the hurry to re-write history and manipulate textbooks for political reasons, the government is hurting the sentiments of ordinary people, burying the truth and actually attempting to obliterate acknowledgement of a contribution that should be of pride to the whole state.”
 
Roy demanded that “the changes to the text book be put on hold and an open dialogue be established to determine if there is any need for amending text books, and if so, what these amendments should be.”
 
An RTI application has been filed by Kamal Tank, a citizen, on 10th May to the Primary School Department seeking copies of decision of the proposal to remove the chapter, report of the Committee, if it has been instituted for this purpose and copy of the decision of the fate of the second hand books, in case the chapter gets deleted.
 
The Suchna Evum Rojgar Ka Adhikar Abhiyan, in a press note, has stated that, this seems to be political motive and this decision has hurt the sentiments of the citizens, who are very proud of this historic campaign. The organisation protests against keeping people in the dark, before making an outrageous decision.
 
Noted RTI activist, Subhash Chandra Agrawal, states, “It is definitely a step in reverse direction. Rather Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT) should co-ordinate with Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (MoHRD) to ensure incorporating chapters on RTI in school text-books of all the states to develop student from schools to become informed citizens for not only availing their rights through RTI Act but also performing their duty to use the transparency-Act in larger national and public good.”
 
Agrawal suggested that the central government should modify RTI rules for copying charges to ensure that first 20 copied pages are part of basic RTI fees (say Rs50) but uniformly for all public-authorities and states with no provision for any more fees payable at stage of first or second appeals. “Attractive RTI stamps in denominations of Rs2, Rs10 and Rs50 can be introduced along the lines of erstwhile radio and TV license fees stamps not only to save funds on handling postal-orders (handling cost rupees Rs37.45 per postal-order) but also to popularise the Act,” he says.
 
It may be recalled that in the late 2000s, Maharashtra government had taken up the issue of including RTI lesson in the secondary school curriculum. However, after much media hype, the proposal went into oblivion.
 
Roy rightly reminds the government that, “I do not need to remind the government about the fundamental role played by ordinary people and peoples’ movements in Rajasthan, in fashioning the RTI for the whole country. This contribution is acknowledged and is part of many curricula the world over, including the Kennedy School of Governance in Harvard and in eminent universities in Europe and the Americas…We would like to know what was objectionable to warrant blacking it out.”
 
Sure, the government needs to provide a lot of explanation for removing RTI chapters from school textbooks.
 
(Vinita Deshmukh is 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”.)

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COMMENTS

B. Yerram Raju

1 year ago

More essential for students up to 10th class to learn is the lessons on spirit of oneness, nationalism, loyalty and the moral fabric of India. Several states have sacrificed this content. Learning in law should commence from the 11th class. Civics used to be an important subject in the past right from 8th standard. Today civics has become a matter of history. When civics is taught with civic sense, behavioural dynamics of youth will engage in useful societal activities with a spirit of voluntarism. Reading the Acts and understanding them would become a habit thereafter. It is time the activists turn their attention on kindling the enthusiasm of the youth into productive activities for a healthy society.

GLN Prasad

1 year ago

With due respects to the great activists, it is not proper to think that because it was removed from syllabus, RTI Act interest is sacrificed. There are many laws which are more relevant to students but are not included in syllabus. It is also not proper to conclude because it is not prescribed in 8th class text book, those students who care more general awareness miss the utility of RTI Act. It makes no difference and all this is much ado about nothing. How many of us remember and recollect those lessons studied in 8th class ? In how many cases such RTI Act help students in 8th class ?

Tata Communications sells majority stake in 17 data centres for $630 mn
Tata Communications on Thursday announced a "strategic partnership" in its 17 data centres in India and Singapore with the Singapore Technologies Telemedia, to whom it is selling 74% stake in the business for around $630 million.
 
Tata Communications will continue to hold remaining 26% stake, a company statement said.
 
The joint venture include Tata Communications' 14 data centres in key cities across India and three in Singapore. The data centres currently service a highly-diversified customer base, including blue chip enterprises in Asia, e-commerce platforms and global multi-national corporations, the statement said.
 
A regulatory filing by the company stated that the deal includes sale of a 74% stake in the company's 14 data centres in India for Rs.31.1 billion ($462.66 million), and similar stake sale in its three Singapore data centres for Singapore $232.4 million ($168.37 million).
 
“This new joint venture partnership will now allow us to hone our strategic focus on advanced services within the data centre that enable digital transformation for our customers, in addition to infrastructure services.
 
"Our new partnership also gives us the opportunity to redeploy capital behind other areas of our business, to further broaden the portfolio of services we can offer to meet our customers’ current and future requirements," said Tata Communications managing director and chief executive, Vinod Kumar.
 
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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