<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Madras High Court quashed the appointment of 11 people as members of the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission (TNPSC), holding that the process was “deeply flawed” and conducted without following any transparent process. A batch of petitions including one by TKS Elangovan of DMK had been filed challenging the appointment of these 11 members in a hurried manner by the AIADMK government.The vacancies for the posts had arisen from 2013 when members completed their tenure and demitted office and the last one demitted office on January 31, 2016.These posts were suddenly filled by a government order, dated the same day (Sunday/non-working day), in anticipation of the election notification for the state Assembly polls, which were ultimately held on May 16.The petitioners claimed that the Commission was sought to be packed with party loyalists “having no eminence and not possessing the requisite merit and abilities to function in the capacity as members of the Public Service Commission”. The First Bench, comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice R Mahadevan, in its 108-page judgment, said, “We are unhesitatingly of the view and conclude that the process of appointment of the eleven members of the State Public Service Commission was deeply flawed without following any transparent process and defeating the very constitutional scheme for such appointment, the result of which is natural, i.e., all these appointments are quashed.” The bench observed, “It is trite to say that from the very inception qualification of high moral values for the person recruited to the administrative service forming the very backbone of the nation was emphasised.””It is the selection based on merits. If this is the principle, then persons who are Chairman or Members of the Public Service Commission have to be equally, if not more, of such competence and high moral values as they are the ones who are conducting the selection process for the Administrative Service Officers.”The government, on its part, submitted that right to make appointment to the State Public Service Commission under Article 316 of the Constitution is left to the state government and the court ought not to interfere with the same, especially as there are no charges or allegations against any member. Quashing the appointments, the bench in its order said: “There was no comparative evaluation of merits, qualifications, administrative experience, competence or integrity of the pool of candidates. “The process was completed in one day, on 29.3.2013, and the file was placed before the Governor, who approved the proposal on 31.3.2013. No character or antecedent verification was really done and the issue which arose for consideration was whether the state could have said to have applied its mind to the relevant facts, i.e., suitability, competence and integrity of the candidate.”Thus, where the deliberative process suffered from constitutional infirmity of being arbitrary, the appointment had to be struck down, it said.”In our opinion, this appointing process or lack of it was on account of a misconception that the appointment to the post of members of the Public Service Commission was part of the spoils system based on the patronage of the state government and not requiring men who are ‘independent’.” “This lack of process appears to have escaped the attention of the Governor himself while making the appointments,” the bench said.Referring to Supreme Court judgments, the bench said: “It is an admitted position that there was nothing put in public domain to indicate that persons who were interested in this post could give material in support of their candidature and on our query, we were informed that the bio-datas may have been received from persons in normal course or may have been called for specifically from persons.”The bench referred to an apex court judgment which stated that the appointment to the PSC could not be equated with an appointment to a purely administrative position and in the context of appointment of a Chief Secretary or a DGP the question of Chief Minister of the state government having confidence in such a person may be a requirement.The bench said, “This would not arise in the appointment of a Chairman or Member of the Public Service Commission, as the Commission does not function at the pleasure of the Chief Minister or the state government, but has a fixed tenure and the oath of allegiance is to the Constitution of India and not to the Chief Minister.””In the case on hand, the bio-data alone was examined. Nothing was found to show that any background check was carried out to ascertain whether the Chairman appointed had come in for any adverse notice in a judicial proceeding or any police inquiry. It was, thus, held that inbuilt constitutional checks had, unfortunately, broken down.”
In a setback to Indian travellers, Hong Kong has withdrawn the visa-free entry facility for Indians and they will now have to complete a pre-arrival registration from January. There is also some good news in store — Thailand has halved the visa on arrival fees for Indian tourists.
“The pre-arrival registration for Indian nationals will be implemented from 23 January, 2017. The online service for it is now open,” the Hong Kong immigration department said in an announcement on its official website.
“Indian nationals must apply for and successfully complete pre-arrival registration online before they can visit or transit the HKSAR visa-free (if seeking to enter the HKSAR during transit). Pre-arrival registration is not required for Indian nationals in direct transit by air and not leaving the airport transit area,” it said.
This is a major set back for over half a million Indians who visit Hong Kong for business, trade and holidays.
Till now Hong Kong, which is now a Special Administrative Region of China, has permitted Indians to enter with valid passport for a period up to 14 days without a visa.
Indian officials say that Hong Kong is using the asylum seekers as a pretext to deny the visa-free entry to Indians who are one of the largest spenders contributing to the local economy.
There is also concern whether the move is being brought about by Hong Kong due to pressure from China.
For Indians visiting Thailand, the visa on arrival fees will now be 1,000 Baht (about Rs 2,000). The change was announced less than two months after visa fees was increased to 2,000 Baht on 27 September.
Thailand’s economy relies heavily on foreign tourists. The move is intended to boost tourist arrivals, which is a key economic engine for the country.
“The fees will be cut to 1,000 Baht,” the Thailand Tourism Ministry announced.
Thailand currently offers visa on arrival for citizens of India, Andorra, Bulgaria, Bhutan, China, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, the Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.
Meanwhile, the Cabinet extended to 10 years from one the long-stay visa for foreigners aged 50 or more.
However, they must report to immigration police every 90 days.
The visa will be valid initially for five years and could be renewed for another five, Col Apisit Chaiyanuwat, vice-minister at the Prime Minister’s Office, said.
The visa fee was set at 10,000 Baht (Rs 20,000), he said.
Apart from the age requirement, the visa requires eligible foreigners to have a monthly salary of at least 100,000 Baht or a bank deposit of at least 3 million Baht, to be maintained for at least one year after receiving the visa.
Besides, they must have health insurance coverage for at least $1,000 for outpatient care and $10,000 or more for inpatient care per policy per year.
The revised rule aimed to promote medical and wellness tourism in line with the government’s policy.
Indians can avail of visa on arrival facility in 43 countries, barring Hong Kong. Some of the countries that allow Indians to get a visa on arrival are Indonesia, Maldives and Cambodia in Asia; Mauritius and Seychelles in Africa; Ecuador in South America; Georgia and Macedonia in Europe and several tiny islands in the Atlantic and Pacific.
With inputs from PTI
First Published On : Dec 21, 2016 17:30 IST
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a setback to Indian travellers, the Hong Kong, a special administrative region of China, has withdrawn the visa-free facility for Indians and they will now have to complete a pre arrival registration from January.”The Pre-arrival Registration for Indian Nationals will be implemented on January 23, 2017. The online service for ‘Pre-arrival Registration for Indian Nationals’ is now opened,” the Hong Kong immigration department said in an announcement on its official website.”Indian nationals must apply for and successfully complete pre-arrival registration online before they can visit or transit the HKSAR visa-free (if seeking to enter the HKSAR during transit). Pre-arrival registration is not required for Indian nationals in direct transit by air and not leaving the airport transit area,” it said.This is a major set back for over half a million Indians who visit the former British colony for business, trade and holidays.Till now Hong Kong, which is now a Special Administrative Region of China, has permitted Indians to enter with valid passport for a period up to 14 days without a visa. But the facility has been withdrawn despite representations from India ostensibly on the ground that the number of Indian asylum seekers was on the rise, official sources sai.Indian officials say that Hong Kong is using the asylum seekers as pretext to deny the visa free entry to Indians who are one of the largest spenders contributing the local economy.There is also concern whether the move is being brought about by Hong Kong due to pressure from China.Hong Kong s Immigration department assistant director Ma Chi-ming has been quoted by South China Morning Post as saying that Indian visitors should not enter fake data to try to enhance their chance of entering Hong Kong to seek economic asylum as they would bear legal consequences.Ma, in-charge of visas and policies, said the measure would be reviewed soon after its launch and considered a pilot scheme.”We picked India as a testing point as it was one of the major source countries,” he said. “We do not rule out extending the scheme to other countries in the future.” Among the current backlog of 10,335 refugee applications in the city, 80 per cent are claimants from India, Pakistan, Vietnam, Bangladesh and Indonesia, he said.Except for India, other countries nationals including those from Pakistan needed visas to enter Hong Kong.Indian officials say that Hong Kong has become attractive destination for asylum seekers from the sub-continent as it offered facilities for food and stay free of cost until the asylum requests are processed.
Bheema Naik, an officer of the Karnataka Administrative Services, was arrested on Sunday, days after his driver committed suicide, reported NDTV. In a suicide note, the driver, Ramesh Gowda, had accused Naik of laundering black money for mining giant and ex-BJP leader Janardhana Reddy.
Naik and his current driver Mohammed were arrested in Gulbarga on Sunday morning. According to the NDTV report, the police have filed a case against Naik for abatement of suicide. The driver is also named in the case.
Ramesh Gowda had claimed that Reddy had converted close to Rs 100 crore of black money into white, paying 20 percent commission to senior government officer. According to his suicide note, Gowda was also receiving regular death threats because he had information on how Reddy had converted his money.
Janardhana Reddy had recently come under criticism for the extravagant spending on his daughter’s wedding. The lavish wedding is estimated to have cost Rs 100 crore. Over 50,000 guests had attended the wedding with some big names in Karnataka politics but many from BJP didn’t attend the event. Reddy is a former BJP minister and had faced arrest in the 2012 illegal mining case. He was released on bail last year. He had been actively preparing for his daughter’s wedding soon after released on bail.
The high-cost wedding came under criticism as it was held soon after the demonetisation reveal by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and many leaders were told to keep away from the wedding. According to reports, Reddy spent Rs 500 crore on the wedding. The Income Tax department had visited Reddy’s residence in Bellary after the wedding.
First Published On : Dec 11, 2016 14:30 IST
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Accusing Karnataka mining baron Gali Janardhan Reddy and Karnataka Administrative Service’s (KAS) officer of harassing him, a driver has allegedly committed suicide on Tuesday, reported CNN-News18. The driver, Ramesh Gowda, was working for Bengaluru land acquisition officer Bheema Nayak.Gowda claimed in his suicide note that he was receiving constant death threats as he knew how Reddy had converted his black money into white— the Rs 100 crore used for the opulent wedding of his daughter held recently.In exchange, Bheema Nayak is said to have received a 20% cut of that amount as well help to get a ticket to contest the 2018 Karnataka elections.The suicide note also claims that before the wedding, Reddy and BJP MP Sriramulu met Bheema Nayak several times in Bengaluru.After the “100-crore wedding”, the Income Tax department visited Janardhan Reddy’s house in Bellary and asked him to produce details of the income for the money spent on the wedding.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Puducherry government has urged the employees of all government departments and public sector undertakings in the Union territory to support the Centre’s demonetisation move to do away with black money, by using debit cards or mobile banking for all transactions till normalcy is restored.Secretary to the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms here, S Sundaravadivelou yesterday issued a circular to all government departments and public sector undertakings and autonomous bodies, instructing the employees and staff to support the cause of the Centre ‘in the hour of difficulty.’The circular stated that the salaries and allowances of the government staff here have been credited to their bank accounts as per the system introduced some years ago under ECS mode and all the employees have been provided with debit cards.’It is the paramount responsibility of the employees to support the cause of the government of India in this hour of difficulty,’ it said adding the staff ‘should use debit or credit cards for all transactions without rushing to the banks to withdraw the cash,’ it added.It also pointed out that mobile phones might also be used for payment to utilities and purchases. All Departments heads, officers, Chief Executive Officers of public sector undertakings, autonomous and statutory bodies have been asked to notify their respective staff about the circular.
Ghulam Ali, a resident of Anantnag, is running from pillar to post to get his money exchanged even as banks in the area are running out of cash. He impatiently waits outside a bank in a nearby village. “I need money to book a ticket for my daughter who studies outside Kashmir,” he said. Ghulam used to book her tickets from home when internet services were functional in the valley.
Amid the ongoing cash crisis, Ghulam is also reluctant to send his daughter outside, as he doesn’t have enough cash to cover her expenses. “Her exams are approaching and I am worried whether she would be able to attend those,” he told Firstpost.
Ghulam said that his problem will be solved if he gets internet access as he would be able to make online payments. People like him are the worst affected by the internet ban and now the demonetisation crisis.
The central government’s move last week to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes has caused chaos in Kashmir, adding to people’s woes.
Almost everyone in the valley was affected in one way or the other due to the prolonged agitation, particularly people associated with transport, business and labourers. They have been living a miserable life for the last four months due to the absence of livelihood. And now the currency ban has added to their woes.
Businesses, which were looking to make some money after the four-month long agitation, are now distraught. Markets in cities and towns were shut on 9 July while public transport vehicles have remained absent from roads till date.
People, who have been going outside the state for business during winter, are reluctant to leave the valley this time due to the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. Many have decided to wait till the cash crisis settles down. “I had planned to leave the valley by 11 November, but due to this cash crisis, I have been forced to wait till the chaos is over,” said Manzoor Ahmad, a businessman, told Firstpost.
The government has undertaken steps to address the situation and has urged people to adopt online payment platforms to reduce reliance on cash-only transactions. However, for Kashmiris, it is a double whammy as internet services were blocked after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant commander Burhan Wani on 8 July and they continue to remain suspended. As a result, people in Kashmir Valley have been unable to make online transactions.
Not only businesses, but students who are preparing for their exams are very upset due to the internet blockade. “I completely rely on the internet for my exam preparations, but due to the internet ban, I fear I will fail in the exams,” said Azhaq Ibrahim. Not only Ibrahim, but many other students have similar faced hardships due to the internet ban.
Aijaz Ahmad is another such example. He lives in the rural area of south Kashmir and has been preparing for the Kashmir Administrative Services (KAS) for the last four years. But this time, when the vacancies were announced for the KAS, Ahmad couldn’t submit his form online due to the internet blockade. He is visibly frustrated. While talking to Firstpost, he said, “They should at least understand students’ problems. I have a dream of becoming a civil servant, but it seems with each passing day my dream is shattering. During these modern times, the internet is the major source of information, if that is blocked how can anyone prepare for any examination?” he asked.
Not only Ahmad, but many other job aspirants, are also facing similar difficulties in preparing and submitting their job applications due to the internet blockade and now due to the chaos at the banks.
Since there is no solution in sight, all those who can, are now curtailing their expenses, bracing for difficult times and preparing for a long harsh winter ahead.
(The author is a freelance journalist based in Srinagar. He focuses on the socio-political issues of the Kashmir Valley.)
First Published On : Nov 18, 2016 08:27 IST
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Maharashtra state forest department’s ambitious plan to map deforestation in Maharashtra through satellite-based monitoring is scheduled to be launched by year-end. The department is superimposing its digital maps of forest areas with satellite imagery and any deviations will be tracked using this geo-spatial platform.To be undertaken with the Maharashtra Remote Sensing Application Centre (MRSAC), the project will throw up details of net forest area added or lost, illicit tree felling, encroachments, area diverted for projects and also help track the survival rate of the around 50 crore plantations to be conducted across Maharashtra in three years.“By the end of this year, the digital maps for forests in the entire state will be uploaded on the MRSAC portal,” P.P Srivastava, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (APCCF- Information Technology and Policy) told DNA.Around 90 per cent of work has been completed in the Nagpur division, where the project was launched on a pilot basis. Forest boundaries and establishments like saw mills will be plotted on the maps. Administrative areas like divisions, ranges, rounds and beats will also be done on the geo-spatial platform. “We plan to do this once a year,” said Srivastava, adding that the master data which would be thrown up would be compared annually. “All international fora expect us to have credible and reliable data,” he noted, stating that it would also strengthen forest governance.Forest is the second largest land use after agriculture in Maharashtra.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two months after Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa announced enhancing maternity leave period for women government employees from six to nine months, the state government on Monday tissued an order to implement it.A Government Order (GO) of the Personnel and Administrative Reforms Department recalled that Jayalalithaa had made an announcement in the Tamil Nadu Assembly in September, promising to increase the leave period from the existing six months or 180 days to nine months, i.e 270 days. “The women government servants who proceeded on maternity leave, prior to the date of issue of this order and continue to be on this leave as of now, are also eligible for availing maternity leave upto nine months (270 days) in total,” it said.Necessary amendments to the Fundamental Rules will be issued seperately, it added. Woman employees “with less than two surviving children”, were eligible for the 9-month maternity leave with full pay, it added. The period may be “spread over from the pre-confinement rest to post-confinement recuperation, at the option of the woman government servant,” it said.On September 1, Jayalalithaa had said that maternity leave for women government employees will be increased from six to nine months, fulfilling her party’s electoral promise. She had earlier enhanced it from three to six months after assuming office in 2011.
Thu, 3 Nov 2016-11:55pm , Thiruvananthapuram , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Veteran CPI(M) leader and Chairman of Kerala State Administrative Reforms Committee V S Achuthanandan was on Thursday admitted to a private hospital here after he complained of uneasiness.The 93-year old former chief minister felt uneasiness while taking a stroll in the evening and was rushed to the hospital, sources close to Achuthanandan said.”His health condition is stable,” hospital sources said adding he was under observation.Earlier in the day, the CPI-M leader attended the ongoing state assembly session and raised environmental pollution in Malampuzha.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Terming government as the “biggest litigant”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said there is a need to lessen the load on the judiciary which spends its maximum time in tackling cases where the government is a party. He also pitched for an All India Judicial Service on the lines of Indian Administrative Service.Addressing the golden jubilee celebrations of the Delhi High Court, Modi said the government is the “biggest litigant”. “The judiciary spends its maximum time on us. Us does not mean Modi, but the government,” he said.The Prime Minister said the load on the judiciary can be reduced if cases are filed after taking a considered view. He said if a teacher approaches court over a service matter and wins, then the judgement should be used as a yardstick to extend the benefit to thousands of others to reduce litigation at a later stage. Though there are no concrete figures, government is party to at least 46% of the court cases ranging from service matters to indirect taxes.While the Centre has so far failed to finalise the litigation policy, several states have gone ahead with their respective policies based on the 2010 draft of the Law Ministry. The draft litigation policy, which is being fine-tuned keeping in view the latest trends, makes it clear that the mindset that matters should be left to the courts for an final decision, should to be discarded.Recalling the role Sardar Patel on his birth anniversary on the formation of an All-India Civil Service, Modi said its officers work as a bridge between the Centre and the states in implementing policies. He said due to the training, an IAS posted in a district thinks on national lines. He said though “controversial”, the issue of an All-India Judicial Service should also be debated.Against the backdrop of opposition to the idea by some states and high courts, Modi said debate is the essence of democracy. The chief justices’ conferences in 1961, 1963 and 1965 favoured creation of an AIJS, but the proposal had to be shelved after some states and HCs opposed it. Subsequently, the Constitution was amended in 1977 to provide for an AIJS under Article 312.The proposal was again floated by the UPA government in 2012 when it got it vetted by a committee of secretaries and prepared a Cabinet note. But the draft bill was shelved after opposition from HC chief justices who felt it to be an infringement of their rights.AIJS is an attempt to ensure that younger judges are promoted to the SC and HCs. Modi also called for imparting training to young people in law universities in drafting laws, which he said can “narrow down” scope of discrimination and interpretation. However, he said the scope cannot be reduced to zero. He appreciated the role of the bar and the bench in giving time for alternate dispute resolution and said it can also help reduce pendency of cases in courts.Besides the Prime Minister, Chief Justice of India T S Thakur, Delhi High Court Chief Justice G Rohini, Delhi Lt Governor Najib Jung and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal were also present.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The civil services preliminary examination, to select IAS and IPS officers among others, will be held in June instead of August next year.It is after the gap of three years that Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) will be conducting the examination in June, rather than August.The civil services preliminary examination, 2017, is scheduled to be held on June 18, as per the Commissions’ calender for the examination.The preliminary tests for 2016, 2015 and 2014 were held during the month of August, a senior UPSC official said.”The preliminary exam will be held early in June this year. The decision has been taken to ensure that the entire process of the examination is completed in time,” he said.The preliminary exam for 2013 was held on May 26 that year.The civil services examination is conducted annually by the UPSC in three stages — preliminary, main and interview — to select officers for Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS) and Indian Police Service (IPS), among others.Thousands of candidates take the test every year at various centres across the country.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With Jayalalithaa continuing to remain in hospital since September 22, Tamil Nadu Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao on Tuesday allocated the portfolios held by her to Finance Minister O Paneerselvam but said the AIADMK supremo will continue to be the Chief Minister.”Under Clause (3) of Article 166 of the Constitution of India, the Governor of Tamil Nadu today allocated the subjects hitherto dealt by Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa to O Paneerselvam,” a Raj Bhavan press release said.Paneerselvam, who holds the Administrative reforms portfolio, in addition to Finance, “will also preside over cabinet meetings”, it said.”This arrangement has been made as per the advice of the Chief Minister and will continue until the Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa resumes her duties,” it said.”Jayalalithaa will continue to be the Chief Minister,” the release added.Jayalalithaa (68), was admitted to Apollo hospital on September 22 after she complained of fever and dehydration. On Monday, the hospital said she continued to be under treatment and was being constantly monitored by intensivists and other consultants in the expert panel, while respiratory support, antibiotics, nutrition, supportive therapy and passive physiotherapy were being given to her.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former Director General Corporate Affairs B K Bansal, who was facing a CBI probe in a corruption case, allegedly committed suicide along with his son at their residence in East Delhi.The incident comes two months after the suicide of Bansal’s wife Satyabala (57) and daughter Neha (27).Both the women left separate suicide notes, saying the CBI raid had caused “great humiliation” and they did not want to live after that. They, however, held nobody responsible for their deaths.Bansal, an additional secretary-rank officer in the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, was arrested by CBI on July 16 for allegedly accepting bribe from a prominent pharmaceutical company.CBI had carried out searches at eight locations in connection with the case during which the agency had claimed to have made cash recoveries.Bansal, Senior Administrative Grade officer of Indian Corporate Law Service (ICLS) was promoted to the post of Director General of Corporate Affairs (DGCA) last year.
IAS and IPS officers can now stay on foreign posting for seven-years at a stretch from existing five years with due permission from the ministers concerned.The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has relaxed rules to allow any ministry to further extend the tenure of an officer beyond seven years provided “recruitment rules for such deputation post” are amended accordingly. The move comes after various ministries approached the DoPT for relaxation of the five-year deputation tenure condition citing exigencies, officials said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It has now been decided with the approval of the competent authority that if the administrative ministries or departments and other borrowing organisations wish to retain an officer beyond five years, they may extend the tenure of deputation where absolutely necessary in the public interest, upto a period not exceeding seven years at a stretch, the new rules said.”This shall be done with the approval of the Minister of the borrowing ministry or department concerned and in respect of other organisations with the approval of the Minister of the borrowing ministry or department with which they are administratively concerned, keeping in view the exigencies and subject to fulfilment of all other requirements,” it said.In a directive to all state governments and central government ministries, the DoPT has said that no case of extension shall be referred to it. “In cases where the necessity to have deputation tenures longer than seven years is felt, the concerned administrative ministries, departments or borrowing organisations may amend the relevant recruitment rules of such deputation post accordingly, after following the requisite procedure.”No extension of deputation beyond 7 years is to be allowed unless provided in the relevant recruitment rules of such deputation post. It is reiterated that no case for extension beyond five years shall referred to DoPT,” the communique said.The new rules are applicable to the officers of all India services only–Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS) and Indian Forest Service (IFoS).
Does Maharashtra really need a Lokayukta? Perhaps not. A confidential annual report of the Lokayukta, submitted to the governor last Saturday, underscores how the corruption watchdog has been rendered powerless by powerful politicians and bureaucrats.Most recommendations made by the Lokayukta to prosecute corrupt government employees are never taken seriously by the government, forcing the institution to send reminders and then submitting “special reports” to the governor seeking attention, stated the report viewed by the dna. The confidential report mentioned “special reports” under section 12 (5) were sent to the governor in 154 cases, informing him about the government’s non-compliance. It, however, hardly helped. This is obvious from the fact that the Lokayukta’s annual reports have not been tabled in the legislature after 2011. Not surprising that the institution now seeks permission to make its report public immediately after submission to the governor.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In cases where the government was forced to take action following repeated reminders of the ombudsman, the action was too little and too late, serving neither as punishment for the accused nor as deterrent for others. “In many cases, it was observed that charge sheets were served to employees at the fag end of their service or on the date of retirement. Then the employees were placed under suspension. Departmental inquiries, however, don’t commence since inquiry officers are not appointed, and in some cases, inquiry officers are changed from time to time,” stated the report, adding that in many cases, the employees even died before the departmental inquiry could be completed.The report highlighted the need for a strict deadline for departmental inquiries, adding that such delays affected pension benefits as “many times, the retired employee dies before completion of the inquiry”. The report further mentioned, “It is imperative that the government established a regular in-house monitoring mechanism for such delayed departmental inquires and ensured that orders were passed by appropriate authority in time.”While the 700-page annual report gave a detailed description of corruption cases disposed off by the body in 2014, the first few chapters of it gave interesting insight into the happenings within the watchdog – how powerless the body is sans investigating and prosecuting power and how it has been made toothless, as it has to rely on the government to probe serious cases against its own employees and politicians.Referring to previous reports, and reference of states such as Karnataka, MP and UP, the Maharashtra’s ombudsman has reiterated its long pending demand that the police and ACB must be brought under them so that the institution could be made “effective”. The watchdog has also sought “financial autonomy” from the government. “The Godbole committee’s report of 2001 states that the institution completed 25 years, but its impact on the public life in Maharashtra has been minimal. The absence of an independent investigating agency, inadequate staff affects the functioning of this institution. Lokayukta in Karnataka, MP, Chhattisgarh, AP, UP have independent investigative agencies. Hence, entrusting the Lokayukta with overall responsibilities of overseeing the vigilance work in state, putting DG, ACB under the institution is needed,” the report added.The body has also demanded that their recommendations to sanction prosecution must be treated as “mandatory” and cited staff crunch owing to expansion of jurisdiction. Such a sorry state of the ombudsman was surprising.Maharashtra was the first state to enact the Maharashtra Lokayukta and Upalokayuktas Act 1971. The institution came into effect on October 25, 1972 headed by chief justice SP Kotwal. Over 903 cases were received in the very first year by the watchdog. Nearly 43 years down the line, the institution receives over 6,000 fresh plaints annually. That is when the institution doesn’t have a website of its own.It was 1966 when the concept of Lokpal was discussed in India for the first time. The credit goes to the Administrative Reforms Commission which recommended an institution of ombudsman on lines of Scandinavian countries.There was a public outcry against corruption in the country, existence of widespread inefficiency and unresponsiveness of administration to attend to public complaints in the country which was set-free from British rules barely 18 years ago.Top five districts in terms of cases (Jan to Dec 2014)Mumbai City 288Mumbai Suburbs 444Thane 469Nagpur 376Pune 373
In order to boost hiring, scores of all candidates taking various competitive examinations will be made available online for both public and private sector.The central government has approved the proposal of Niti Aayog for making available publically scores and ranking of candidates in recruitment examinations through a portal for increasing access of the unemployed to job opportunities, an order issued today by Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) said. The move comes nearly three months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement in this regard.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”As approved by the government, the candidates will have the option to opt out of the disclosure scheme. The option of opting out will have to be taken at the time of filing up the application. This, thus further indicates that the actual implementation can be done only on those examinations for which the application forms will be invited in future. Seeking option from candidates during the process of conduct of examination may neither be practical nor feasible,” it said.There are many recruiting agencies like Union Public Service Commission and Staff Selection Commission to select employees for various government jobs including for prestigious Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS) and Indian Police Service (IPS) among others.The results of government entrance examinations for engineering and medical colleges are already being used by private colleges for admissions.As per the proposal, the National Informatics Centre (NIC) will develop a website “Integrated Information System for Public Recruitment Agencies” which will have links to various recruiting agency’s own web pages.Each recruiting agency will develop its own web page. The home page will display the details of the recruitment examinations undertaken by them in the past one year and the date of announcement of the final results, the DoPT said in the proposal.The user can then click on the appropriate examination and then a search page will be displayed. The search page will include display of details of candidate along with their rankings and their scores in descending order of rankings. However, search can also specify name of candidates or any specific range of rankings which will then by displayed, it said.The details like category of candidates like General, Scheduled Caste or Minority, educational qualifications, marks obtained in the qualifying examination, rankings by which the merit is decided and complete address among others can be accessed through the proposed website. The Prime Minister had in March said that scores of candidates taking competitive examinations will be shared with prospective employers to help them choose quality talents.”The government and public sector undertakings conduct a number of recruitment examinations. So far, the scores in these examinations have been retained by the government. Hereafter, we will make available the results and the candidate information openly to all employers, wherever consent is given by the candidate. This will create a positive externality,” Modi had said.
All central government ministries have been asked to take a unified stand in all legal cases and iron-out inter-departmental differences through mutual consultation.In a stern missive, Cabinet Secretary Pradeep Kumar Sinha has asked all central government secretaries to ensure that counter-affidavits are filed in the courts only after being vetted by the Law Ministry.The move comes after it was observed that at times different departments take up divergent positions or make individual interpretations in court cases thereby causing avoidable confusion in the submissions.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”It may be noted that it is primarily the responsibility of the administrative ministry or department to take timely action at each stage including filing of a counter affidavit during a court case after completing necessary consultations with the other ministries or departments concerned,” Sinha said.If in any case, separate counter-affidavits are required to be filed by orders of the court, it should be ensured that this is done in consultation with the ministries concerned for a coordinated approach. In such cases, a short affidavit endorsing the views of the administrative department can also be filed, he said.Sinha told all the secretaries to ensure that differences, if any, in the stand of ministries or departments in any particular court matter are resolved through consultation.”It may also be ensured that the counter affidavits are filed only after appropriate vetting by the Department of Legal Affairs,” he said.Citing existing instructions, Sinha said all departments are supposed to ensure that “a unified stand is taken before courts of law rather than bringing out the point of view of each ministry or department in the counter affidavit or reply”.Also, a common counter-reply is filed on behalf of the Union of India by the ministry concerned instead of separate affidavits being filed by each department named as respondents, the top bureaucrat said, seeking “strict compliance” of his latest directive.
For the third time in past few months, the Central Administrative Tribunal has directed the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) to take decision on the inter-cadre deputation of IFS officer and Magsaysay Award winner Sanjeev Chaturvedi. The Tribunal has told the respondents, the ACC, the Department of Personnel and Training and the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate change, to decide within three weeks.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chaturvedi has been fighting to get his cadre to the Delhi government and the CAT express surprise that the ACC had not “complied with the pointed directions”. This, the order, dated June 2, read, that this caused the applicant, Chaturvedi to file the present application, and that he was “compelled to repeatedly approach this Tribunal for redressal of his grievance”.Chaturvedi’s period of deputation as the deputy secretary at AIIMS will end on June 28 and the order notes, “in the interest of justice” the respondents are “directed to decide the matter of inter-cadre deputation” before that date, else the applicant will suffer “irreparable loss in this regard”.The previous order by the Tribunal was issued on April 27, where the ACC had been directed to decide on the matter within two weeks but “in vain” as the recent order said. Previously, on November 5, 2015, the Tribunal had given the ACC a deadline of January 5. This order too came after an extended period of time, the matter of Chaturvedi’s cadre deputation to the Delhi government has been going on now for 15 months without a decision.In April, Chaturvedi had hit out against the ACC, saying that the committee lead by the Prime Minister, was handling his case in a “partisan and biased” manner.
For the third time in past few months, the Central Administrative Tribunal has directed the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) to take decision on the inter-cadre deputation of IFS officer and Magsaysay Award winner Sanjeev Chaturvedi. The Tribunal has told the respondents, the ACC, the Department of Personnel and Training and the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate change, to decide within three weeks. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chaturvedi has been fighting to get his cadre to the Delhi government and the CAT express surprise that the ACC had not “complied with the pointed directions”. This, the order, dated June 2, read, that this caused the applicant, Chaturvedi to file the present application, and that he was “compelled to repeatedly approach this Tribunal for redressal of his grievance”.Chaturvedi’s period of deputation as the deputy secretary at AIIMS will end on June 28 and the order notes, “in the interest of justice” the respondents are “directed to decide the matter of inter-cadre deputation” before that date, else the applicant will suffer “irreparable loss in this regard”.
ALSO READ All you need to know about whistleblower and Magsaysay award winner Sanjeev ChaturvediThe previous order by the Tribunal was issued on April 27, where the ACC had been directed to decide on the matter within two weeks but “in vain” as the recent order said. Previously, on November 5, 2015, the Tribunal had given the ACC a deadline of January 5. This order too came after an extended period of time, the matter of Chaturvedi’s cadre deputation to the Delhi government has been going on now for 15 months without a decision.In April, Chaturvedi had hit out against the ACC, saying that the committee lead by the Prime Minister, was handling his case in a “partisan and biased” manner.
In what resembled ‘high drama’, the Karnataka government, along with the police higher-ups swung into damage control mode to prevent the proposed strike by constables in the state on Thursday.
First, they arrested Shasidhar, the president of the All-Karnataka Police Association in a midnight operation, then they filed cases of treason against him and Basavaraj Koravankar, member of the retired and serving police families’ welfare committee. Both the union leaders were booked under Essential Services Maintenance Act, Police Act and treason under the Indian Penal Code Section 124(a). Senior police officers across the state also summoned their rank and file for a Friday parade and got them to take a pledge that they wouldn’t strike work on Monday.
On Saturday, the gates of the police quarters were locked to prevent families of the constables from protesting. But this was not all. There were reports of senior cops posing with their constables in the police stations and posting them on Twitter to show that the rank and file under them had all reported for duty.
In an effort to stop the constables from going on strike, senior officials undertook an instant survey across the state,to check the cops’ living conditions in the police quarters and listen to theirs and their families’ grievances.
The 60,000-strong contingent of constables in Karnataka had planned to go on mass leave today to protest against poor living and working conditions. Low pay, no fixed weekly-offs, no vacation time were some of their complaints. Their demands also included pay hikes, better working conditions, regular weekly-offs and proper implementation of welfare schemes like Arogya Bhagya and canteen facility. There were also complaints of some of the senior police officials using them to do domestic labour in their homes. Complaints of disparity in pay vis-à-vis the neighbouring states was another grievance. Adding to their woes were the pathetic living conditions of their quarters, some of which were 40-years-old. There were issues of water supply, drainage and sanitation and leaky roofs.
Now, on whether the police constabulary assigned to maintain law and order in the state, is allowed to go on strike, is another debate for another day.
What is the crux of the matter is that these thankless and hapless constables in Karnataka only echoed what their compatriots face across the country. The only extra thing on their bucket list is a wage disparity between the states.
What is interesting is that it is not as though the Centre, state and the police administration were not aware of the problems the cops face. Several studies have been undertaken over the years on the working conditions of the constables, yet no corrective measures have been taken.
The Hindu reported as early as 2008 about, “A profile of junior ranks of Karnataka police — a survey of their attitudes, behaviour, mental makeup and stress levels” that was commissioned by then additional director-general of police (Recruitment and Training) DV Guruprasad and submitted to the state government.
The study found that the constabulary was harassed by higher-ups and despite long working hours, they took home paltry pay. The study also found that women constables did not get proper rest during their pregnancy. Often the leave quota of the police personnel lapsed after a year, as they couldn’t take it.
As recent as 2014, another Central-level study was undertaken, called the National Requirement of Manpower for Eight-Hour Shifts in Police Stations. The study sponsored by the Central government’s Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD), and done by the Administrative Staff College of India, spanned 23 states and Union Territories. The ASCI stated, “That police station staff in India have unduly long and irregular working hours is a widely-perceived phenomenon. The need for shift-working in police stations has also been widely recognised as a much-awaited reform in police functioning.”
The study found that 90 percent of police station staff across states and across various police stations worked more than eight hours a day, some even upto 11 to 14 hours a day. Over 73 percent of police station staff said they could not take their weekly-offs even once a month and were often recalled to duty during their off time to deal with emergency law and order issues. ASCI suggested eight-hour work shifts, but this would require additional manpower.
Now, it’s no mind-bender that long working hours can hardly be productive and over-exhausted police personnel can hardly be expected to be bright and chirpy while policing the state. There’s enough research to show that long hours lead to several health issues. So why has this wound been allowed to fester? Why have successive governments at the Centre and state not done anything about it?
In 2013, The New York Times reported that India was the second lowest among 50 countries ranked for police personnel per capita. India has 129 police personnel for 100,000 people, according to 2011 data from the United Nations office on drug and crime. The UN body cites a world average of 350 and India stands lower than many developed economies around the world and is just higher than Uganda.
This does not augur well for the establishment that has to man the country’s law and order situation. Traffic chaos, road rage, riots, strikes, and crime against women, children and senior citizens are all steadily on the rise in our cities. And we definitely cannot have a sleep deprived and exhausted constabulary manning our police stations and guarding our cities. This does not make for efficient policing.
It’s time that the Centre, state governments and the police administration sat up and took notice of the growing dissent in the constabulary. The Karnataka Police stir has to be seen as a warning, and police reforms have to be implemented on a war-footing across the nation.
Today, it is Karnataka, tomorrow it will be the rest of India.
IAS and IPS officers, who have retired before 2006, will get a hike in pension, in addition to the arrears, as the Centre has done away with a provision of 33-years of service for earning full pension. The move comes after the Department of Pensions and Pensioners Welfare decided that the revised consolidated pension of pre-2006 pensioners shall not be lower than 50 per cent of the minimum of the pay in the pay band and the grade pay even if they had served for less than 33 years at the time of retirement. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Necessary orders directing concerned authorities to calculate the revised pensions in respect of central government pensioners, excluding retiree officers of three all India services — Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS) and Indian Forest Service (IFoS) — have already been issued. It has been now decided that the same provisions “shall be applicable mutatis-mutandis (as mentioned in earlier order issued in this regard) to all India service pensioners of pre-2006”, said a communique sent to all chief secretaries of state governments and union territories administration by the Personnel Ministry. As per rules, a central government servant is entitled to receiving superannuation pension on completion of at least 10 years of service. With effect from January 1, 2006, pension is calculated with reference to average emoluments — the average of the basic pay drawn during the last 10 months of service or last basic pay drawn whichever is higher. Before 2006, for service of less than 33 years, amount of pension was proportionate to the actual service broken into completed half-year periods.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday congratulated successful candidates of civil services examinations and conveyed good wishes for their new and exciting phase of lives.Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal congratulated the exam’s topper Tina Dabi, who hails from the national capital.The results of 2015’s civil services examination, which is conducted by Union Public Service Commission annually in three stages– preliminary, mains and interview — to select candidates for the elite Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS) and Indian Police Service (IPS), among others, was declared on Tuesday.Delhi’s Tina has achieved first rank. Railway service officer Athar Aamir Ul Shafi Khan from Jammu and Kashmir and Delhi-based Jasmeet Singh Sandhu, an Indian Revenue Service officer, have secured second and third rank respectively.
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday congratulated successful candidates of civil services examinations and conveyed good wishes for their new and exciting phase of lives.
“Congrats to all those who cleared the civil services exam. My good wishes as they commence a new & exciting phase of their lives.
“To those who couldn’t clear – the disappointment is understandable but you must look ahead & work hard for your
future endeavours. Good luck,” Modi tweeted.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal congratulated the exam’s topper Tina Dabi, who hails from the National Capital.
“Congrats to Delhi girl Tina Dabi, topper of UPSC exam. I wish her a bright career,” he said on Twitter.
The results of 2015’s civil services examination, which is conducted by Union Public Service Commission annually in
three stages — preliminary, mains and interview — to select candidates for the elite Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS) and Indian Police Service (IPS), among others, was declared today.
Delhi’s Tina has achieved first rank. Railway service officer Athar Aamir Ul Shafi Khan from Jammu and Kashmir and
Delhi-based Jasmeet Singh Sandhu, an Indian Revenue Service officer, have secured second and third rank respectively.
Delhi girl Tina Dabi has topped the 2015 civil services examination, while railway officer Athar Aamir Ul Shafi Khan from Jammu and Kashmir has got second rank in the results which were declared on Tuesday.Besides them, Delhi-based Jasmeet Singh Sandhu, an Indian Revenue Service officer, has secured third position. Topping the list in her first attempt, a beaming 22-year-old Tina, who graduated from Lady Shri Ram College here, said, “It is indeed a proud moment for me”.Twenty-three-year-old Athar, who hails from Anantnag in South Kashmir, got through the test in his second attempt. In his first attempt in 2014, he had got Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS) and is presently undergoing training in Indian Railways Institute of Transport Management, Lucknow. It is a dream come true,” an elated Athar said, adding, “I will not leave any stone unturned to work for the betterment of people”. “I have opted for Jammu and Kashmir cadre also. I will be happy in case I get chance to work there. I think there is a lot of scope to fulfil aspirations of people of my state,” he said. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jasmeet, whose father works in Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) here, thanked his parents and teachers for his success. “It is all because of my family, friends and Mukul Pathak sir (who runs a coaching class) that I could secure third rank in the exam,” he said. Jasmeet was also selected in 2014 civil services exam and had got Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Central Excise). He is undergoing training at National Academy of Customs, Excise and Narcotics in Faridabad. This was his fourth attempt.A total of 1,078 candidates, including 499 in General category, 314 belonging to Other Backward Class, 176 from Scheduled Caste and 89 from Scheduled Tribe, have been recommended for appointment to various central government services, the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) said. There are 172 other candidates in the waiting list. The civil services examination is conducted by the UPSC annually in three stages– preliminary,mains and interview– to select candidates for the elite Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS) and Indian Police Service (IPS), among others.
The Central Administrative Tribunal has asked the Centre to submit afresh the proposal regarding the deputation of IFoS officer Sanjiv Chaturvedi to Delhi government.The CAT bench headed by Justice M S Sullar pronounced the order while directing the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) and the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) to submit the proposal within two weeks and said that the “Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC) may take a decision in the matter as expeditiously as possible.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The request for the deputation posting of Ex CVO of AIIMS and Uttarakhand cadre officer Chaturvedi to Delhi government is pending for a year now. “Undoubtedly a lot of delay has taken place in processing this case considering the fact that the request letter of the Chief Minister of GNCTD to Minister of State, MoEFCC, is dated February 16, 2015… “Regarding waiving off cooling of requirement of applicant (Chaturvedi) for his proposed inter-carder deputation to GNCTD as OSD to the Chief Minister, we would like to say that it is solely the domain of the ACC to grant special dispensation, as has been in quite a few cases in the past or take a decision otherwise.”What really important is that the ACC should take a decision in this matter,” the tribunal said.The officer had moved the tribunal against the pendency of his deputation proposal to Delhi government.
The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) on Thursday released the notification for the 2016 civil services and Indian Forest Service (IFS) examination.The candidates can apply for the exam online by visiting the official website: www.upsconline.nic.inThe last date to file application is May 27.The preliminary exam is scheduled to be held on August 7 and the main examination is likely to be held in December, 2016. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Those who want to appear for the Indian Forest Service Examination will have to appear in the preliminary examination. Once the candidate qualifies, he/she will be allowed to write the main examination followed by an interview.For people who want to apply for both IFS and civil services examination, will have to apply through a common online application form subject to meeting the requisite eligibility criteria.A general candidate gets only six attempts to clear the exam and must do so by the time he turns 32. For Other Backward Class (OBC) category candidates, the age limit is 35 years and the number of attempts is nine while for candidates belonging to Schedule Cast (SC) and Schedule Tribe (ST), the age limit is 37 years, while the number of attempts is unlimited.A total of 1,079 vacant posts in various government services will be filled through the exam.UPSC conducts the exams annually in three stages – preliminary, main and interview – to select candidates for the prestigious Indian Administrative Service, Indian Foreign Service and Indian Police Service, among others.One can visit the official website to get more information about UPSC examinations.
In a first-of-its-kind meeting with NITI Aayog on social sector schemes, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took stock of the social sector projects with the organisation. Discussing a wide range of education issues, the PM is learnt to have raised concerns over the quality of education and teaching at the school level. He has suggested a timely review of teaching-learning outcome programs and has also insisted on including skill development courses within school curriculums.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The human resource development ministry has assured the PM that from the academic year 2017-18, 800 identified skills from National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF) will be adopted in school curriculums. The ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship will provide the services of contracted vocational trainers for government schools for this.“The PM was concerned about high drop-out rates at schools. He suggested that if a student picks up a skill of his interest at the school level, he/she will be able to find a market for himself/herself,” explained an officer of HRD ministry.In a presentation made by Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant, the commission has also suggested that instead of increasing the number of primary schools, focus should remain on improving the learning outcomes of students. “There are some schools which do not even have 50 students. Other schools are running with a single teacher. 3,000 blocks have been identified as educationally backward, which need to be re-evaluated. Intensive and all-inclusive planning is needed for re-evaluating these schools. It was decided to review the existing schools,” said a ministry source.In the meeting that lasted for about two-and-a-half hours, Modi is also learnt to have suggested that the ministry improve the quality of teachers at schools.Amongst the various suggestions made by the PM, was the timely filling of the 9.5 lakh teaching posts that are lying vacant in schools. On the lines of the five-year integrated law program, Modi is also learnt to have suggested introducing a four-year integrated course for teachers training. He also suggested the setting up of a teacher training university. HRD ministry and Niti Aayog have been advised to conduct a feasibility study for setting up All India Education Services on the lines of Indian Administrative Service. The ministry is to submit its report on these issues by the end of this year.Raising concerns over the high drop-out rates at school levels, the ministry has also been directed to compile the best education practices followed by various states to retain students in school. “The best practices followed by states including Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Gujarat and Odisha were pointed out. We are evaluating these practices to see if they can be implemented at an all-India level,” said a ministry official.The PM also expressed his dissatisfaction over government school teachers being utilised for non teaching activities – such as being roped in for election duty or on census related work. The ministry is now formulating a report to suggest the adverse effects on teachers who render their services for non-teaching activities. It will be submitting its report by the end of September.
In a major bureaucratic reshuffle, 67 Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers have been transferred in Uttar Pradesh. The move comes ahead of the assembly election scheduled next year.The term of the incumbent Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party Government in the state ends on March 8, 2017.The Samajwadi Party last week released its first list of 143 candidates for the 2017 polls.
The state information commission has given itself three vacations in a year. The decision and its criticism has come to light at a time when the judiciary, with which the commission is generally compared to, is talking about reducing its vacation.State chief information commissioner Ratnakar Gaikwad has issued a circular dated March 11, mentioning vacations for all benches of the commission, including his own bench. The three vacations were – summer vacation from May 9 to June 5, Diwali vacation from October 28 to November 6 and Christmas vacation from December 25 to January 1. Fuming activists are now questioning why the commission was thinking of vacations when over 30,000 hearings were pending.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The vacations will not include the days on which the commissioners get weekly offs, public holidays that do not fall in their vacation and other leave period. Information commissioners, who get all the benefits as per the All India Service rules, are entitled to three kinds of leaves otherwise – earned leave or paid leave of 30 days, half-pay or sick leave of 15 days and casual leave of 8 days.”The order is bad in law and comes at a time when over 30,000 hearings are pending at the commission. Tomorrow, they will declare other benefits for themselves as well,” said activist Vijay Kumbhar, who has written a letter to the governor to cancel the order.When dna contacted Gaikwad, he defended the decision. He said in an SMS reply, “The decision to introduce vacations for court hearings on the lines of Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal (MAT) and other state information commissions, was taken by the commission unanimously. Our disposal of appeals is the highest in the country. Though no norms have been fixed, efforts are made to dispose around 400 cases per month. The central information commission’s rate is nearly 250. Vacation to courts and pendency of cases are not correlated. Last year also we had a court vacation, as decided by the commission.”Meanwhile, former central information commissioner Shailesh Gandhi said, “Since we have a tradition of courts taking vacations, it will be difficult to grudge this to the commissions.”
New Delhi: Employees of autonomous institutions like central universities and AIIMS will come under government scanner now which will keep track of their performance.
Under Fundamental Rule 56(J), the government has the “absolute right” to retire, if necessary in the public interest, any Group A and B employee who joined service before the age of 35 and has crossed the age of 50.
Also, a Group C government servant, who has crossed the age of 55, can be retired prematurely under the rule.
The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) on Friday asked all administrative ministries to ensure that autonomous institutions have adopted the provisions of FR 56 (j) and that they are strictly followed.
In case where the autonomous institutions have similar provisions in their rule books, the administrative ministry may ensure that they are followed in letter and spirit, it said.
In case there is no such provisions exist in regulations governing their working, the administrative ministry may ensure that the action is taken to put in place such rules as may be necessary, the DoPT said in a communique to all central government secretaries.
There number of autonomous institutions and bodies under the administrative control of central government that include Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) and All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), as per a government directory.
The Centre is conducting review of its employees working in ministries. While addressing a conference here in November last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said 45 senior officers have either been removed or faced pension cuts for “unsatisfactory performance and delivery in public service”.
New Delhi: Former bureaucrats Bimal Julka and Amitava Bhattacharyya and former police officer Divya Prakash Sinha were on Thursday appointed as information commissioners at the Central Information Commission (CIC), said an official statement.
With their induction, the total number of information commissioners in the CIC including the chief information commissioner has gone upto 11.
Julka, a retired Indian Administrative Service officer, last held post of secretary, information and broadcasting, and Bhattacharya was the chairman of the Staff Selection Commission prior to retirement, while Sinha, a former Indian Police Service officer, was secretary, security in the union home ministry.
All three of them were administered oaths by the Chief Information Commissioner Radha Krishna Mathur, said the statement.
The Centre on Wednesday eased norms to allow officers to stay on foreign posting and central deputation for a maximum period of seven years from the existing five years.It has been decided that if the administrative ministries and other borrowing organisations wish to retain an officer beyond five years, they may extend tenure of deputation, where absolutely necessary in public interest, upto a period not exceeding seven years at a stretch, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>This shall be done with the approval of the minister of the borrowing ministry or department concerned with which the officers are administratively concerned, it said. The move comes after various ministries and organisations approached DoPT for relaxation of the five-year deputation tenure condition citing “exigencies”.DoPT has now asked all ministries that “no case of extension shall be referred to it”. Further, in cases where the necessity to have deputation tenures longer than seven years is felt, the administrative ministries, departments or borrowing organisations concerned may amend the relevant recruitment rules of such deputation post accordingly, after following the requisite procedure.”No extension of deputation beyond seven years is to be allowed unless provided in the relevant recruitment rules of such deputation post. It is reiterated that no case for extension beyond five years shall be referred to DoPT,” the latest directive issued to all central government ministries said.DoPT had last year issued a directive and warned officers that they may lose their job for overstaying on foreign posting. Some babus had termed it as a harsh rule and were allegedly lobbying for its revision, official sources said. In a related development, the Finance Ministry recently issued guidelines on foreign tours. Bureaucrats can go on a maximum four overseas trips in a year, as per the new norms.
Jammu: Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra has directed Chief Secretary B R Sharma to finalise a relief scheme by 21 February for traders and small business establishments hit by floods last year.
The Governor directed Sharma to finalise the scheme for interest subvention for restoration of livelihoods for traders, self-employed and business establishments by 21 February, a spokesman said.
Vohra reviewed relief being provided to the flood-affected traders and small business enterprises in the state at a meeting held at Raj Bhawan here on Saturday.
The Reconstruction Plan for Jammu and Kashmir announced by the Prime Minister on 7 November last year includes a provision of Rs 800 crore as central assistance for interest subvention on the support provided for the restoration of livelihoods for traders, self-employed and business establishments, he said.
The State-Level Bankers’ Committee had earlier approved restructuring of loans of traders and small businesses affected by floods with an extended moratorium period for repayment, he added.
The Governor also directed that the proposal for disbursement of assistance for completely damaged, severely damaged and partially damaged houses, approximately 73,000 kutcha houses and 1,58,000 pucca houses, for which a central assistance of Rs 1,194 crore was released under the PM’s reconstruction plan be also finalised urgently and brought up before the State Administrative Council for approval.
New Delhi: The father of the six-year-old boy, who was found dead in Ryan International School, on Sunday alleged that the boy was sexually assaulted before being done to death and that there were injury marks on his private parts, a charge discounted by the police citing preliminary reports.
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who said that there were enough indications to suggest that it was a “heinous crime”, promised action against the guilty.
Ramheet Meena, father of Devansh Kakora who was a class I student at Ryan in south Delhi’s Vasant Kunj, said he saw cotton swabs on the child’s private parts and alleged that the principal of the school has warned the family that they should remain quiet over the issue. He renewed his demand for a CBI probe into the case.
“There was sexual assault. He was done to death,” he alleged.
“I saw the body. There were some injury marks and cotton on his private parts. The principal has been threatening me since the beginning saying that keeping quiet will be good for me,” he said, demanding cancellation of the school’s license.
However, a senior police officer, handling the probe, ruled out sexual assault on the basis of the initial post-mortem report and investigation so far.
Police sent notices to Ryan International Group’s Chief Administrative Officer Ryan Pinto and northern zone head Francis Thomas seeking details about the underground reservoir of the school where Devansh’s body was found floating on 30 January.
An official privy to the investigation said they have also been queried on “charter of duty” related to responsibilities of the staff members employed by the school’s management and the protocol to be followed at times of emergency.
School’s principal Sandhya Sabu and four other staff were arrested by the police in the case. But all of them had got bail earlier this week.
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who has the education portfolio, said the magisterial probe into Devansh’s death indicated towards a “heinous crime” and that the investigation so far has “ignored” the observations of the child’s parents.
“The observations of the parents are being ignored that the private parts of the child had cotton on them.
The report is indicating towards a heinous crime. And saying that he had a disorder amounts to running away from responsibilities,” Sisodia told reporters.
Sisodia termed as “conspiratorial” the alleged attempts on the part of the school management to give an impression that the six-year-old was a “special child”.
A magisterial probe ordered by the Delhi Government into the case said the “deliberate” inaction by the school authorities amounted to “gross criminal negligence” which led to the death of the child. It slammed the authorities for “insinuating” that he was a special kid.
The school principal had claimed that Devansh was a “hyperactive” child who had “tendency” of running away from the classroom.
The probe report said that on 30 January, the teachers and other staff at Ryan International School risked the life of a class XI student, Prajwal Sehrawat, as he had jumped into the reservoir to pull out the body of Devansh. The SDM who conducted the probe recommended Prajwal’s name for bravery award.
Promising action against the school authorities, Sisodia said the findings of the report raise a “lot of questions” as to how the school could be so “careless”. The government is studying its contents and would take appropriate action, he said.
The father of the six-year-old boy, who was found dead in Ryan International School, on Saturday alleged that he was sexually assaulted before he died and that there were injury marks on his private parts, a charge discounted by the police citing preliminary reports.Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who said that there were enough indications to suggest that it was a “heinous crime”, promised action against the guilty.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ramheet Meena, father of Devansh Kakora who was a class I student at Ryan in south Delhi’s Vasant Kunj, said he saw cotton swabs on the child’s private parts and alleged that the principal of the school has warned the family that they should remain quiet over the issue. He renewed his demand for a CBI probe into the case.”There was sexual assault. He was done to death,” he alleged. “I saw the body. There were some injury marks and cotton on his private parts. The principal has been threatening me since the beginning saying that keeping quiet will be good for me,” he said, demanding cancellation of the school’s license.However, a senior police officer, handling the probe, ruled out sexual assault on the basis of the initial post- mortem report and investigation so far. Police sent notices to Ryan International Group’s Chief Administrative Officer Ryan Pinto and northern zone head Francis Thomas seeking details about the underground reservoir of the school where Devansh’s body was found floating on January 30.Delhi Police has sent notices to two top officials of Ryan Group, querying them on the underground reservoir in its school where Devansh’s body was found and guidelines for handling any emergency, even as it ruled out the possibility of sexual assault on the boy.”Notices have been sent under relevant CrPC provisions…We have sought information on the charter of duty and construction of the underground water reservoir where the boy was found dead,” DCP (South) Prem Nath said. The notices were sent on Friday to Ryan International Group’s Chief Administrative Officer Ryan Pinto and northern zone head Francis Thomas, a senior officer said. An official privy to the investigation said they have also been queried on “charter of duty” related to responsibilities of the staff members employed by the school’s management and the protocol to be followed at times of emergency.School’s principal Sandhya Sabu and four other staff were arrested by the police in the case. But all of them had got bail earlier this week. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who has the education portfolio, said the magisterial probe into Devansh’s death indicated towards a “heinous crime” and that the investigation so far has “ignored” the observations of the child’s parents.”The observations of the parents are being ignored that the private parts of the child had cotton on them. The report is indicating towards a heinous crime. And saying that he had a disorder amounts to running away from responsibilities,” Sisodia told reporters.Sisodia termed as “conspiratorial” the alleged attempts on the part of the school management to give an impression that the six-year-old was a “special child”. A magisterial probe ordered by the Delhi Government into the case said the “deliberate” inaction by the school authorities amounted to “gross criminal negligence” which led to the death of the child. It slammed the authorities for “insinuating” that he was a special kid.The school principal had claimed that Devansh was a “hyperactive” child who had “tendency” of running away from the classroom. The probe report said that on January 30, the teachers and other staff at Ryan International School risked the life of a class XI student, Prajwal Sehrawat, as he had jumped into the reservoir to pull out the body of Devansh. The SDM who conducted the probe recommended Prajwal’s name for bravery award.Promising action against the school authorities, Sisodia said the findings of the report raise a “lot of questions” as to how the school could be so “careless”. The government is studying its contents and would take appropriate action, he said.
Jammu and Kashmir seems to be headed for a longer spell of governor’s rule after NN Vohra appointed two advisors who were assigned the powers of ministers under the Jammu and Kashmir government business rules.This follows the stalemate over the government formation after the death of chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on January 7. PDP president Mehbooba Mufti put the ball in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s court seeking concrete assurances and J&K-specific confidence-building measures before any government formation.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even as the deadlock continued, the governor N N Vohra appointed two retired IAS officers — Parvez Dewan and Khurshid Ahmed Ganai — as advisors.In a notification issued on Thursday, Vohra ordered that Parvez Dewan shall be in-charge of around 12 departments, including School Education, Higher Education, Technical Education, Youth Services and Sports, Health and Medical Education, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution, Transport, Public Works (R&B), Information Technology, Floriculture, Garden and Parks, Tourism and Culture.Similarly, Khurshid Ahmed Ganai shall be incharge of the departments of Agriculture Production, Horticulture, Animal/Sheep Husbandry, Co-operative, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Forest, Environment and Ecology, Labour and Employment, PHE, Irrigation and Flood Control, Social Welfare and Tribal Affairs.”The advisors shall exercise the powers of Minister under the Jammu and Kashmir Government Business Rules”, an official spokesman said.A Raj Bhavan spokesperson said the Governor had held detailed discussions with Chief Secretary BR Sharma on Wednesday to discuss restructuring of the present decision making process with a view to ensuring that every important matter receives timely attention.The departments have been bifurcated in four clusters keeping in view the need for synergy and convenient transaction of government business.”The Chief Secretary shall function as the Secretary of the State Administrative Council. The Administrative Secretary of Planning and Development, General Administration, Finance, Law or any other department may be invited as may be required from time to time,” the spokesman said.Former chief minister and working president of main opposition party National Conference Omar Abdullah said the governor’s rule indicate that Vohra doesn’t see an early end to central rule in the state. “This clearly indicates that Gov Vohra doesn’t see an early end to central rule in the state. Elections this year???” Omar tweetedNizamudin Bhat, PDP general Secretary said the party will stand by the people in tune with party’s tradition. “Mehbooba Mufti has well shouldered the responsibility to carry forward and accomplish the agenda of peace, reconciliation economic development, which alone can provide conducive space for resolution of all impending problems,” he said.
Soon, doctors will be freed from managerial responsibilities at Delhi government hospitals as there is a proposal for recruiting MBA degree holders to look after administrative and managerial matters at these facilities.Under the Delhi State Health Mission, the government has initiated the process of recruiting 29 managers and 39 assistant managers for this purpose. It will be the managers’ responsibility to ensure quality treatment for patients while also attending to administrative work, a senior government official said. These managers will report to medical superintendents, the official added.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At present, in addition to treating patients, doctors are also required to attend to administrative and managerial responsibilities, because of which deputy superintendents and assistant superintendents are appointed under medical superintendents, said a senior government official.”Besides, doctors are expected to buy and keep adequate stocks of medicine and also look after the security and sanitary aspects and kitchen duties at the hospitals. The nursing staff, too, is pressed into service to look after these responsibilities, as a result of which the process of treating patients gets affected. The idea behind appointing managers is to relieve doctors of administrative duties,” said the official.There are 34 hospitals under Delhi government of which three are autonomous and one is within the Tihar Jail premises. Besides, there is one eye hospital on Lawrence Road.Except for these five hospitals, the rest of the 29 hospitals will get these managers and assistant managers, the official added.
A Dalit PhD scholar was found hanging at a central university’s hostel room located on the varsity campus on Sunday, police said.”V Rohit (around 26) was found hanging in the hostel room. He was among the five research scholars who were suspended by Hyderabad Central University (HCU) in August last year and also one of the accused in the case of assault on a student leader,” Cyberabad Police Commissioner C V Anand told PTI.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The suspension was revoked later. Further investigation in the case is on.Earlier, the five research scholars were suspended from the hostel for rest of their study period for allegedly attacking an ABVP leader.Meanwhile, mild tension prevailed on the campus today after scores of students gathered and held demonstration along with Rohit’s body and raised slogans.They demanded police to register a case under SC/ST Atrocity Act against Union minister and BJP leader Bandaru Dattatreya while alleging that he had written to HRD ministry seeking action against these research scholars.A section of students had last week laid a siege to the Administrative Building of the HCU against the suspension of the research scholars.The students under the umbrella of a Joint Action Committee (JAC) had termed the suspension as “undemocratic” and as a “social boycott” since the five research scholars were denied access to hostels and were forced to sleep in a makeshift tent on the campus.Based on the recommendations of a sub-committee of the Executive Council, the five were denied access to hostels on the campus except their classrooms and workshops related to their subject of study.The council had recommended the punishment based on a Proctorial Committee inquiry. The committee was constituted after an ABVP activist was attacked on the campus, police said.