Maharashtra home department concedes in its reply to an RTI application that it has not implemented the nearly three-year-old directive of the Supreme Court to constitute the proposed security and police authorities to facilitate accountability and better governance
It's no more a question of a 'tenacious', 'patient' or 'tolerant' Mumbai-it's been stretched beyond the elasticity of a rubber band. However, while Mumbai may have reached its breaking point, it seems that the powers-that-be would continue to let time pass and public memory fade, perhaps even do a bit of good to themselves by upgrading their own police protection.
The reason for such cynicism and underlying anger lies in the reply given by Maharashtra's home department to a query through the Right to Information Act by California-based activist and software techie Vishal Kudchadkar.
Post the co-ordinated terror attack on the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Taj Mahal Palace and Tower hotel, the Oberoi Trident hotel, Cama Hospital and Nariman House (a Jewish community centre) in November 2008, Mr Kudchadkar filed an RTI application asking for details of the implementation of the State Security Commission; the Police Establishment Board and the Police Complaints Authority, as well as details of the implementation of the Model Police Act 2006. All these reforms have been made mandatory by a Supreme Court directive in order to enhance efficiency of the police force, enforce accountability and keep political interference in the functioning of this department at bay. However, the state government has slept over these vital reforms despite another directive by the highest judicial authority, as recently as in September 2008.
Mr Kudchadkar's application, which dates back to February 2009, asks for:
1. The names and designations of the officials who are part of the above mentioned bodies.
2. The procedure laid out for monitoring the above mentioned bodies.
3. The dates and minutes of meetings conducted by the above mentioned bodies.
4. With respect to the Police Complaints Authority (both state and district),
a. The number of complaints received.
b. The date on which each of the complaints was received.
c. The action taken on each of the complaints.
d. The action taken by the state government on the recommendations made by the Police Complaints Authority (both state and district).
5. The reports sent to the Supreme Court regarding the performance of the above mentioned bodies.
6. The steps taken by the government to publicise the constitution and workings of the above mentioned bodies.
In its reply to Mr Kudchadkar, the public information officer of the state home ministry has admitted that, "the Government of Maharashtra received the directions from the Supreme Court on 29 September 2008 on a writ petition (number 310/96) Prakash Singh versus the Union of India. As per the directives of the Supreme Court, the Government of Maharashtra has issued a government resolution (GR) dated 25 July 2008 for 'Constitution of Police Establishment Board', 'Constitution of Police Establishment Authority' and 'State Security Commission'. These orders are available on the official website of the Government of Maharashtra. If you are not satisfied with this information, you may appeal to the appellate authority, deputy secretary, home department.''
This establishes that for vested reasons, which clearly supersede the horrendous history of seven terror attacks in 12 years and the near war-like situation in the 26/11 attack, political will has been nullified. This despite the Supreme Court ordering the state government that, "The Hon'ble Supreme Court of India, while deciding the said writ petition by its judgement dated 22.9.2006, has held that it is essential to lay down guidelines to be operative till the new legislation is enacted by state governments.'' (It is necessary to mention here that the state government received a reminder in 2008.)
In its judgement, the Supreme Court has also said that the establishment of the three boards is to "ensure that the police is accountable essentially and preliminarily to the law of the land and the people". (And, not to politicians!)
Mr Kudchadkar subsequently filed a first appeal, but without satisfactory results. He is now awaiting a reply to his second appeal to the chief state information commissioner, Maharashtra, submitted back in July 2009. Mum's the word.
What would be the implication of the establishment of these boards?
Constitution of the State Security Commission
The State Security Commission will exercise powers and function as follows:
1. Advise the state government on policy guidelines to promote efficient, effective, responsive and accountable policing of the state.
2. Assist the state government in identifying performance indicators to evaluate the functioning of the police force. These indicators shall inter alia, include the operational efficiency, public satisfaction, victim satisfaction vis-à-vis police investigation and response, accountability, optimum utilisation of resources and observance of human rights standards.
3. Review periodically the performance of the police force.
4. Recommend steps to be taken for efficient performance of preventive tasks and service-oriented functions of the police force against (a) the performance indicators as identified and laid down by the Commission itself, (b) the resources available with and constraints faced by the police.
5. Suggest policy guidelines for gathering information and statistics relating to police work.
6. Suggest ways and means to improve efficiency, effectiveness, accountability and responsiveness of the police.
7. Such other functions as may be assigned to it by the state government from time to time.
(The Board would have the deputy chief minister/minister in charge of the home department as chairperson; and leader of the opposition in the state legislative assembly, chief secretary and additional chief secretary as members as well as two non-official members-one of them preferably a woman and the director general of police.)
Constitution of the Police Establishment Board
1. The Police Establishment Board shall decide all transfers, postings, promotions and other service-related matters of officials of and below the rank of inspector of police. However, transfers will be decided within the purview of the Maharashtra Government Servants Regulation of Transfer and Prevention of Delay in Discharge of Duties Act, 2006.
2. The Board shall be authorised to make appropriate recommendations to the state government regarding postings and transfers of officers of and above the rank of deputy superintendent of police and the state government shall give due weightage to those recommendations.
3. The Board shall also function as a forum of appeal for disposing off representations from officers of and below the rank of police inspector regarding their promotions, transfer, disciplinary proceedings, or their being subjected to illegal or irregular orders subject to the provisions of further appeal to the government under existing rules and regulations.
4. The Board shall be authorised to make appropriate recommendations to the state government on the grievances received from the police officer of and above the rank of deputy superintendent regarding their promotions, disciplinary proceedings and other service matters after analysing the same according to prevailing rules and regulations.
5. The Board shall generally review the functioning of the state police.
6. The Board shall exercise such other functions as may be assigned to it by the state government from time to time.
(The Board would have the director general of police as chairperson, and additional director general of police (establishment); additional director general of police (law & order); commissioner of police, Mumbai; inspector general of police (establishment) as members. Such a Board should also be established at district levels.)
Constitution of police complaints authorities
1. Look into the complaints against police officers of the rank of deputy superintendent of police/asst commissioner of police and above in respect of misconduct, dereliction of duty, misuse of power, corruption, negligence, or any other matter which may be referred to it by the state government.
2. Require any person to furnish information on such points or matters as in the opinion of the authority may be useful for or relevant to the subject matter of inquiry.
3. Make appropriate recommendations to the state government on any case inquired into by it.
(The chairman of the Board will be a retired judge of the Mumbai High Court or a retired police officer of the state government who has held a post in the rank of director general of police, or a retired officer who has worked as chief secretary/additional chief secretary/principal secretary in the state government. The members will include an officer of the rank of secretary to the state government, a person of eminence appointed by the state government and an officer not below the rank of additional director general of police nominated by the government.)
Clearly, while heads must roll and the home ministry must be grilled for yet another terror attack, police reforms are the key to improving governance and law enforcement. However, most state governments are dilly-dallying, despite the strong Supreme Court order. For the record, former IPS officer Prakash Singh and others had filed a writ petition after the central government slept over an eight-part report of the National Police Commission (NPC) 1981.
(Vinita Deshmukh is a senior editor, author and convener of Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She can be reached at [email protected].)
The majority of potential investors in this still-struggling scheme do not have an online platform for making payments. More points of presence are needed at various banks. Apart from these issues, the Bajpai Committee (set up by the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority) proposals need to be implemented soon
In August 2010, the PFRDA (the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority) constituted a committee to review the performance of the NPS (New Pension System) scheme which was headed by GN Bajpai, former SEBI Chairman. The committee submitted its report at the beginning of this month, suggesting various measures to improve the NPS. However, there are still some issues that require attention.
There is no online platform available for the majority of investors. As of now, only those investors who have registered for the NPS through ICICI Direct POPs (Points of Presence) can make online payments to their NPS accounts, which are debited from their linked bank accounts with ICICI Bank. The committee suggested that all bank POPs should make this kind of online facility available for their customers. Other banks—if they implement this feature (as suggested by the Bajpai Committee)—will make this feature available only to their subscribers from their respective POPs. But subscribers from non-bank POPs would be left in the lurch.
Subscribers do have an option to enrol for an ECS (electronic clearing services) facility where the payments would be debited from their requested bank account on a predefined date. However, withdrawal and deposit would be cumbersome for those who have applied for an NPS Tier II from where an individual can deposit and withdraw money at will (however, their contributions do not enjoy any tax benefits). Data indicates that nearly half of the investors for these accounts are from non-bank POPs. The number of branches are also fewer compared to bank POPs, meaning that investors would have to travel longer distances, causing a lot of inconvenience.
As of April 2011, there were approximately 13 non-bank POPs having almost 19% share in the total number of POP branches. They contribute around 25% to the total form collections and a whopping 49% of the total NPS Tier-II activations.
When Moneylife contacted the PFRDA, we were informed that it may introduce an online payment option for all subscribers through a payment gateway mechanism in the near future. No specific date was mentioned. Until then, subscribers will have to make do with the present options.
The NPS has been hampered by low participation ever since its launch in January 2004. In the past 7 years, only 12 lakh government employees have been registered with the NPS, a number which is on the lower side. The NPS was thrown open for all citizens in May 2009, and has failed to attract buyers as less than 50,000 (as of May 2011) individuals have subscribed to it so far. In terms of money managed by the PFMs (policy fund managers), as of 31 March 2011, the total assets under management by all PFMs amounted to Rs8,585 crore. Of this, the contribution from the non-government sector does not exceed Rs100 crore, of which a bulk has been contributed by two corporates-NALCO (National Aluminium Company Ltd) and NTPC (National Thermal Power Corporation), which have migrated their employees' pension schemes to NPS. This reflects the sluggish growth of NPS.
Some of the suggestions by the committee to increase penetration included that the postal department should increase the number of branches selling NPS, the mobile telecom service providers could extend NPS services through their customer care centres or through their extensive network of distributors-and PFMs should be allowed to have POPs to sell NPS. Along with this, the high cost of NPS was highlighted and a suggestion to lower costs and to increase the incentive to the distributor was given.
You may also want to read:
The company said it expects its revenues from the IT services business to be in the range of $1,436 million to $1,464 million for the second quarter ending 30 September 2011
Mumbai: Wipro, the country's third largest software exporter today reported a growth of 1.23% in consolidated net profit for the quarter ended 30 June 2011 to Rs1,334.9 crore compared to Rs 1,318.6 crore in the first quarter of the last fiscal, as per international accounting standards.
Net income from sales during the reporting quarter stood at Rs ,564 crore, as against Rs7,236.4 crore in Q1, FY10-11, up 18.34%, reports PTI.
"We are seeing early signs of positive momentum after the re-organisation. Clients continue to focus on optimising operations, creating new products and getting access to newer markets. We will continue to make investments that bring superior value to our clients as they try to win in this market," Wipro chairman Azim Premji said in a statement.
IT services, which contributed 75% to the company's revenues in Q1, FY11-12, stood at $1,408 million, a sequential increase of 0.5% and a year-on-year increase of 16.9%.
The company said it expects its revenues from the IT services business to be in the range of $1,436 million to $1,464 million for the second quarter ending 30 September 2011.
The IT services division hired 4,105 new people this quarter, taking its total headcount to 1,26,490 employees as of 30 June 2011. It added 49 new customers during the reporting quarter.
"Our investments in client mining are starting to show results, with four customers contributing more than $100 million of revenues. We have maintained our operating margins in the current quarter despite one month impact of salary revision," Wipro executive director and chief financial officer Suresh Senapaty said.
On a standalone basis, the company has reported a net profit of Rs1,219.3 crore for the quarter, a growth of 9.84% from Rs1,110 crore in the same period last year.
The company's cash and cash equivalents stood at Rs5,075.2 crore as of 30 June 2011.
Sales of IT products accounted for 12% of total company revenue in Q1, FY11-12, at Rs1,006 crore, a growth of 21% year-on-year.
Wipro's consumer care and lighting business recorded revenues of Rs755 crore in Q1, FY11-12, an increase of 18% y-o-y and accounting for 9% of Wipro's total revenues during the quarter.
The stock was trading 3.45% lower at Rs400.70 on the Bombay Stock Exchange in late morning trade. It was down 3.54% at Rs400.50 on the National Stock Exchange.