Take Public Grievances Online
Conscious citizens have been empowered by online grievance platforms. Use them!
 
Alot of things are wrong with our roads. We grumble about it and then move on, because ‘things will never change’. That’s not correct anymore. And the reason for this is simple—two of the three priority areas for the present government are: public grievances and Centre-state relationships. Both of these, in turn, impact us as owners and operators of motor vehicles in India. I am narrating personal experiences over the past few weeks.
 
1) Advertisements from automobile companies that insult our intelligence are quite common. An example is the series of Honda XTreme television commercials that had been running recently. The commercials showed people dressing up from head to toe while riding a motorcycle and, in the process, performing dangerous stunts.
 
Earlier, getting a complaint across would not have been easy. Now, we have an option—an online complaint to ASCI (Advertising Standards Council of India) on their website, or a written complaint sent in by post. 
 
Here’s the timeline of events when I complained about the above-mentioned ad:
19 June 2014 - Online complaint
20 June 2014 - Complaint accepted
07 July 2014 - ASCI’s response: “Dear Mr Malik, Re: Your complaint C.6655(a) against the advertisement of Hero Xtreme. A similar complaint regarding the ad for Hero Xtreme (C.6655) was considered by the Consumer Complaints Council (CCC). As per their decision, the complaint has been UPHELD as the advertisement contravened Chapter III.3 of the ASCI Code (“Ads shall not, without justifiable reason, show or refer to dangerous practice or manifest a disregard for safety or encourage negligence.”). The CCC viewed the TVC and concluded that the TVC shows ‘an everyday activity being performed on the bike in an irresponsible manner’. We have advised the advertiser to withdraw or modify the ad before July 15, 2014 and have received their assurance of compliance. Thank you for having referred this complaint to us.” Write to ASCI, if you don’t like the ad.
 
2) Citizens have always faced problems in dealing with regional transport offices (RTOs). Recently, I was trying to help the wife of a friend who had passed away. His car was to be transferred to her name. To begin with, it took about nine months to get all the documentation ready. Since the RTO ‘permits’ three months for transfers, which is not enough time to get death certificates and other required documents, usually some penalties are imposed. Then, additional fees are payable to multiple private agencies involved in making the smart cards. All this was done by April 2014, including a rigorous examination of the documents.
 
After eight visits to the RTO by my driver and three months of back and forth, I decided to go to the RTO at Sheikh Sarai in Delhi myself. No luck. I was informed by the staff and then by a consortium of three, sitting in the cabin of the MLO (motor licencing officer), that the signature of the owner did not tally, and I would have to get fresh signatures of the ‘seller’. This, when the owner had died in July 2013 and all documents like death certificate, legal heirs and many other documents were right in front of them in the file! That is when I decided to push the issue, took a few photographs and returned home. I filed a few public grievances online and, by evening, everything had changed.
 
I received personal visits and telephone calls from the MLOs at Sheikh Sarai, and the registration certificate was hand-delivered at home. A short while ago, a very senior government servant from the ministry called up and asked me a simple question: What systemic solution would I propose to improve the current one? I said that, in the case of a motor vehicle registered in the name of an individual, the registration form should have an additional column for ‘nominee in case of death’. This would facilitate easy transfer, at a fee if required. File an online grievance if you have any problem with the RTOs.

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COMMENTS

Anil Doshi

2 years ago

P&T Registered Article Tracking online facility is not updated until article is delivered. Even when I went to Post Office to track my Registered article they also faced the same problem and told me that the fault is because Post office at delivery destination do not update the latest activities.
Even when a complaint is lodged the complaint for some reason or other is not accepted. There is no toll free number to which a call can be made to enquire status and give suggestion/complaint. [email protected]

Amiit Gupta

2 years ago

Superb one ...

RAMESH VASWANI

2 years ago

A nice idea for solving the problems. But experience differs person to person. In case of online feed back Bank of India web sight, there is no mention of grievance/complain. In feedback form, the branch where u r holding account is so cumbersome that it takes 10-15 minutes to simply find the branch. The actual address of yours is taken as invalid and the form cannot be submitted. Similarly MAY WE REACH YOU also submit button cannot be clicked at all.

Adani advances in Australia! Why not in India?
Due to strong mining regulations, Australia has good regulatory and enforcement mechanisms in place and Adani group is required to follow 36 conditions for their coal mine. Can India also adopt and follow the same module?
 
It is gratifying to note that Adani Group has received the Australian Government's approval for Adani Minings' proposal to build a coal mine and a linked rail project at a total estimated cost of  $16.5  billion. This is expected to be established in Queensland. The Carmichael coal mine, when fully developed, will be able to produce some 60 million tonnes annually.
 
Located in the North of Galilee Basin, the mine is expected to involve open cut and underground mining operations. Sixty million tonnes of coal that will be mined there is expected to be shipped back to India, which will facilitate power supply to about 100 million people.
 
To facilitate this operation, it may be recalled that, recently, Adani group signed a partnership deal with Korea's Posco E&C, which would be responsible to build a 388kms long North Galilee Basin Rail.  Development of the port to move this large volume of coal will also be done simultaneously.
 
All these activities are expected to create employment opportunities for over 10,000 Australians. It would follow that when power is generated with these 60 million tonnes of coal, in India, it would help in establishing various business opportunities in India too.
 
In approving the project, according to press reports, Greg Hunter, Minister for Environment in Australia has laid 36 stringent conditions for Adani Mining Pty Ltd to comply with. Not an easy task! The requirements have been laid bare to follow. They will be strictly enforced by the Australian government.
 
Greenpeace is up in arms against this project, which believes that this coal mining activity will immediately affect 28,000 hectares of bushland. It will affect some 60 threatened species. It will consume 12 billion litres of water that would be extracted from local rivers and aquifers and all other similar issues affecting the environment.
 
At every stage, Adani Mining may expect the strictest vigilance (and also protests?) from the Greenpeace activists. The Australian Environment Ministry is also taking every known precaution to ensure that ground water is protected in all possible ways, which is a major cause for worry.
 
Press reports also indicate that, by this development, Queensland's economy will grow richer by $2.97 billion annually.
 
Apart from ensuring Adani Mining to comply with all 36 conditions, the Environment Ministry expects them to make available 730 mega litres of water to the Great Artesian Basin, besides monitoring changes in the ground water level.
 
This project, though acquired in 2010, has taken all these months to get the final clearance. It was expected to go on stream by 2016 - at that time. It could take a little longer now. Knowing the keen interest and the work culture at Adanis, one may expect the project to progress reasonably well. The support that they expect to get from the Queensland government is good.
 
In a separate development, Melanie Stutsel, a Director of Minerals Council of Australia, during a recent visit to India, appears to have had some serious discussions with the Ministry of Coal with regard to mining. She has indicated that Australia would welcome investment opportunities. She also expressed her willingness for technology transfer. In the case of the coal mining industry, she had discussions on coal technology, coal washing and other matters of environmental concerns, including social obligations. Hinting that, now, there are no "illegal mining activities" in Australia, unlike India, she explained that due to strong mining regulations the Australian industry has good regulatory and enforcement mechanisms in place. India could find it useful to study how they have been able to achieve this, so that we could employ similar methods to suit Indian conditions.
 
According to press reports, she has further indicated that opening up the Indian mining industry to bigger global players could bring about development and improved performance. She has suggested that, perhaps, India could use satellite monitoring to get a better handle on the level of deforestation. Maybe, the MoEF could apply this technique to assess the ground reality in the country.
 
As a matter of interest, India should applaud the efforts of Adani group in making headway in Australia, and request the Ministry of Coal and MoEF to make available a virgin coal mine to them to develop the same in the India.
 
India needs this development more than ever before. 
 
(AK Ramdas has worked with the Engineering Export Promotion Council of the ministry of commerce. He was also 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.)
 

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European Union slaps economic sanctions against Russia
The package of punitive measures from EU will also restrict Russian banks’ access to the European financial markets and curb the export of high technology for the Russian armed forces
 
The European Union (EU) has for the first time slapped comprehensive economic sanctions against Russia and banned the export of military goods and sensitive technologies in the energy sector for its failure to de-escalate the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
 
A package of punitive measures agreed at an emergency meeting of the EU ambassadors in Brussels will also restrict Russian banks’ access to the European financial markets and curb the export of high technology for the Russian armed forces.
 
These measures will ensure that some key sectors of the Russian economy will be brought under the sanctions regime for the first time since the EU began imposing penalties on Russia following its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in March.
 
The EU’s sanctions so far have been limited to visa ban on top Russian government officials and various individuals allegedly involved in the Ukraine crisis, freezing of their assets and suspension of partnership dialogue between the EU and the Russian Federation.
 
More than 80 Russian and Ukrainian individuals and entities are currently on the sanctions list of the EU.
 
The EU is hoping that the new measures will put pressure on Russia to change its course on Ukraine and to seek a negotiated settlement to the crisis, which was sparked by the refusal of the former pro-Russian government in Kiev to sign an association agreement with the EU in November, last year.
 
These measures represented a “powerful warning” to the Russian Federation that destabilising Ukraine or any other eastern European neighbouring state will bring heavy costs to its economy, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and European Council President Hermann Van Rompuy said in a joint statement.
 
Russia will find itself increasingly isolated by its own actions, they said.
 
They offered the European Union’s readiness to reverse its decision and to re-engage with Russia “when it starts contributing actively and without ambiguities to find a solution to the Ukraine crisis’’.
 
The Russian Federation and the EU have important common interests. The two sides will benefit from an open and frank dialogue, from increased cooperation and exchanges, the statement said.
 
“But we cannot pursue this important positive agenda when Crimea is illegally annexed, when the Russian Federation supports armed revolt in eastern Ukraine,” it said.
 
The new measures will come into force after they are endorsed by the heads of state and government of the EU in the coming days.
 
The EU had so far shied away from imposing tough economic sanctions because of its strong economic ties with Russia, especially its heavy dependence on Russian natural gas and petroleum imports.
 
Russia is one of the leading markets for several EU member nations and there has been concern that retaliatory sanctions by Russia could hurt their economies.
 
However, the pressure on the EU to take tougher actions against Russia mounted after the apparent downing of the Malaysian Airlines plane over eastern Ukraine two weeks ago.
 
Western nations allege that it was brought down by a Russia-supplied surface-to-air missile fired by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, a charge which Russia strongly denies.
 
The rebels have been denounced by EU nations for blocking access to the crash site for international investigators. 

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