Friday, August 17, 2018

Foreign Ministry evades Right to Information (RTI) query on UK wartime dispatches from Colombo : By Shamindra Ferdinando

Lanka web: Sri Lanka: Friday, August 17, 2018.
Foreign Ministry has refrained from responding to a query whether it would brief the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) as regards wartime British High Commission dispatches that cleared the Sri Lankan military of alleged massacre of 40,000 civilians on the Vanni east front.
Sri Lanka brought the war to a successful conclusion in May 2009.
The Island recently sought clarification in this regard from C.A.H.M. Wijeratne, Senior Director General (Legal) in accordance with the Right to Information (RTI) Law enacted early last year. Wijeratne recently received approval from the parliamentary High Posts Committee to take up appointment as Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Poland.
British High Commission dispatches from its Defence Attache Lt. Colonel Anthony Gash’s Office during January-May 2009, placed the number of maximum killed at 8,000 with one fourth of them being LTTE cadres. They were placed before the House of Lords in Oct last year.
The Island submitted the following query to the Foreign Ministry: The HRCSL is in the process of vetting SLA personnel assigned for UN missions in various parts of the world. One hundred and one SLA personnel are awaiting clearance since early March this year to join UN mission in Lebanon. The Island learns that the HRCSL has not been officially informed of British military dispatches therefore still goes by unsubstantiated original accusations. May I ask whether the Foreign Ministry intends to brief the HRCSL in this regard?
The Foreign Ministry has sent us the following response: “The HRCSL was requested to carry out the local civilian screening process required for the deployment of personnel as required by UN Secretary General’s decision No 2012/18. The Foreign Ministry made available a copy UN document that dealt with human rights screening process of UN personnel.
However, the Foreign Ministry desisted from responding to the specific query regarding its duty to brief the HRCSL in respect of fresh information.
Meanwhile, a senior military official yesterday told The Island that the armed forces were awaiting the finalization of the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) meant to govern the deployment of officers and men under UN command. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official said that they (the military) along with HRCSL recently had a video conference with Geneva and New York based officials to discuss the available draft. “We are concerned about some aspects of the original draft and,therefore, certain amendments were suggested. We are confident an agreement can be reached soon to enable the HRCSL to begin the vetting process.”
A major section of the 150-man 12th Force Protection Company (FPC) assigned for United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNFIL) is awaiting the completion of the clearance process. The group comprising 101 personnel was originally scheduled to leave on March 6, 2018.
The UNFIL mission consists of troops from Sri Lanka Sinha Regiment (SLSR), Sri Lanka Engineers (SLE), Sri Lanka Signal Corps (SLSC), Mechanized Infantry Regiment (MIR), Commando Regiment (CR), Special Forces (SF), Corps of Engineer Services (CES), Sri Lanka Army Service Corps (SLASC), Sri Lanka Army Medical Corps (SLAMC), Sri Lanka Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (SLEME), Sri Lanka Army Ordnance Corps (SLAOC), Sri Lanka Corps of Military Police (SLCMP) and Sri Lanka Army General Service Corps (SLAGSC).
SLA joined UNFIL mission in 2010, a year after the conclusion of the conflict. Since then, 11 contingents has served there.
Responding to The Island query the official said that the military appreciated the HRSCL was in charge of the vetting process. Pointing out that previously contingents had been vetted by the UN, the official said that once consensus could be reached on SOP vetting process could be accelerated.

Kalyan man awaits Rs 10,000 compensation from Kalyan Dombivali Municipal Corporation

DNA: Mumbai: Friday, August 17, 2018.
A Kalyan resident is still waiting for Rs 10,000 compensation from the KDMC on the state information commission's order. The commission had directed the civic body to pay him the amount as the latter not only failed to provide him the information but also caused inconvenienced to the applicant.
In March 2017, Kalyan activist Shrinivas Ghanekar had sought information from the Town Planning department of the KDMC (Kalyan Dombivali municipal corporation) about the number of projects it had updated on its web portal. "Under the right to information (RTI) act 2005, all government bodies are supposed to publish information about their projects on their portals. Hence, I asked them about the list of such projects they had put on the website in the last 30 days," says Ghanekar.
However, the department did not provide any information and in May 2017 Ghanekar filed an appeal with the assistant director, town planning department. But there was no response.
Hence, in July 2017 he filed a second appeal with the state information commission, Konkan region. On February 14, 2018 during a fast track hearing the commission directed KDMC to pay Ghanekar Rs 10,000 as compensation for all the inconvenience caused to him.
In July this year, KDMC's deputy commissioner Vijay Pagare asked the town planning department to pay him the said amount. "But I am still waiting for my cheque and there is no correspondence from KDMC yet," he says. When contacted Prasad Thakur, public relations officer, KDMC said he is not aware of the issue.

Mumbai: RTI Activists Vs BMC Row Escalates

Mid-Day: Mumbai: Friday, August 17, 2018.
After the Kamala Mills fire tragedy, civic chief Ajoy Mehta had ordered all ward officers to prepare lists of RTI activists regularly lodging complaints against illegal constructions in their respective areas. Eight months on, ward officers still haven't finished the task; ironically, the activists themselves have made a list of corrupt civic officials and sent it to Mehta and CM Devendra Fadnavis.
As per the statistics RTI activists received from the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), 21 civic staffers were arrested in 2016 for taking bribes, while the number of those booked stood at 26 last year. This year, so far, the ACB has trapped 20-odd civic officials.
A group of RTI activists had earlier moved the high court and filed a petition against Mehta; the court had asked Mehta to submit his reply. RTI activists have mentioned more than 100 civic officials in the list, a copy of which is with mid-day, caught by the ACB during Mehta's tenure.
"Mehta has hit a century... Instead of taking action on corrupt officials, he keeps cracking down on citizens and activists, who are exposing illegalities. Compared to previous commissioners' track record, graft cases have seen a steep rise during Mehta's tenure," said RTI activist Mohammed Imran Shaikh, who has also complained to Fadnavis about Mehta still being allowed to continue in the post.
'Misuse of power'
Experts said there is no provision under the MMC Act, 1888, empowering the municipal commissioner to direct his officials to prepare such "frivolous" lists of citizens, who are exercising their bona fide rights conferred under the RTI Act 2005.
"[The order Mehta gave] is a misuse of power and [his] official position. On the contrary, it's under his leadership that graft cases have risen," said advocate Vijay Shukla.
Around 70,000 notices have been issued online to various illegal constructions; while some were taken to court and disposed of, there has been no action yet from Mehta. In fact, he, ironically, again granted permissions to restart the terrace pubs at Kamala Mills.
Promoting corruption?
Activists have also alleged that Mehta issued a circular to stop citizens from complaining against illegal construction. "This is a violation of Article 51A of the Constitution of India," said activist Sanjay Singh, president of Lok Vasundhara Samiti.
Shaikh said, "Hundreds of civic officials have been caught red-handed taking bribe to protect themselves from the consequences of Kamala Mills incident. Instead of cracking the whip on them, innocent citizens and activists are being harassed. This proves that Mehta wants to promote corruption and suppress activists." Despite attempts, Mehta remained unavailable for comment.

Corporation engineer booked for submitting fake certificate

Times of India: Coimbatore: Friday, August 17, 2018.
As per the Madras high court direction, the city police on Wednesday booked a suspended junior engineer of Tirupur corporation for obtaining a job by submitting fake diploma certificate.
The court gave the direction based on a case by filed G Kanagaraj.
Kanagaraj said, “When the civic body was functioning as municipality, V Chandrasekaran of Krishna Nagar had joined as work inspector on contract basis before his posting was confirmed. When there was a chance for promotion to JE, he applied for it, but the application was rejected by the commissionerate of municipal administration citing ‘he was educationally not qualified’ in July 2007.”
However, in December 2007, Chandrasekaran submitted a fake diploma certificate from a private polytechnic college in Pollachi. Without proper verification, the civic body promoted him as JE when it was upgraded to corporation in January 2008.
As per information obtained under the RTI Act, the polytechnic college where Chandrasekaran had enrolled in the diploma course confirmed that the certificate was fake. It was further revealed that Chandrasekaran had completed the diploma course only in June 2008. The corporation has earlier placed him under suspension, said the complaint.
Despite the complaint was lodged in November last, no FIR was registered. So, Kanagaraj moved the Madras high court, which recently directed the city police to register the FIR. So, Chandrasekaran was booked under Section 420 of the IPC.

The RTI Regime: Retrospect and Prospect : By Rajvir S. Dhaka

Mainstream: Haryana: Friday, August 17, 2018.
Although the Right to Information has been declared by the Supreme Court of India, in various judgments, as a right inherent in Article 19(A) of the Fundamental Rights given in the Indian Constitutions, as is evident from the perusal of Aruna Roy and MKSS Collective, The RTI Story (2018), the RTI regime could be institutionalised in India only in 2005 after a long and sustained struggle by the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) and the National Campaign for People’s Right to Information on (NCPRI). The formation of the Left Front-backed UPA (I) Government in 2004 and the inclusion of committed persons, like Aruna Roy and Jean Dreze in the National Advisory Council, had also facilitated it.
The RTI Act (2005) granted all the citizens of India to seek information from all the public authorities within the stipulated time-frame. It not only set up an information regime comprising at the Assistant Public Information Officers (APIOs), Public Information Officers (PIOs), First Appellate Authorities (FAAs), but also made provision for Self-Disclosure of Information by all the public authorities at the sub-district, district, State, and national levels. Besides the Central Information Commissions and State Information Commissions were set up to not only act as the Second Appellate Authorities (SAAs) but also for acting as the watchdogs of the RTI Regime.
However, this game-changer, which aimed at the dawn of a transparent, responsible, responsive and people-friendly regime for ensuring good governance and for deepening democracy in India, has been facing clandestine resistence from the bureaucracy and the political elite right from the outset.
Moreover, it has been grappling with the operational problems like poor suo-moto disclosure, ambiguities in definitions, poor maintenance of records, appointment of junior and untrained officers as the PIOs and the pressures on them to not to discharge their duties honestly and denial of infrastructural facilities and incentives to them. The packing of the Information Commissions with loyal retired civil servants and the other faithful from various strata and the negative attitude of a section of the judiciary has further compounded the problem. But at the same time those information-seekers who misuse the provisions of the RTI Act for blackmailing the public servants and for harnessing their colleagues and those who have been seeking frivolous information have also brought a bad name to the RTI regime. The persistence of confusion in interpreting forms and the formats, lack of clarity on postal charges in the RTI rules of various States and the inadequacy of uniformity in these and heavy cost of information have been other impediments in the path of smooth functioning of the RTI regime.
It is being argued that activisation of public authorities, better management of records through computerisation, effective suo-moto disclosures by the public authorities appointment of senior officers as PIOs or creation of a separate cadre for them and improving their service conditions or giving them adequate incentives and protection may be able to retrieve the situation. The streamlining of the working of the Information Commissions through the appointment of persons with a legal bent of mind, and making it obligatory for them to undergo Induction Programmes before joining. Besides, the grant of financial autonomy as well as the power to punish non-compliers, the offenders under the Contempt of the Commission and such other steps that may prove functional for the RTI regime.
But these are very simplistic explanations of the malady and superfluous suggestions for a deep-rooted problem which is multi-dimensional in character. Its roots can be traced to the persistence of the colonial culture of the bureaucracy, continued absence of a civic culture among the citizens and the perennial reluctance of the particular elite for empowering the citizens. Likewise, capacity-building of the Information-seekers through awareness campaigns and of the Information-providers through systematic training would not suffice because the very mindsets of both needs to be changed by creating a culture of transparency among the former and the civic culture among the latter.
Above all, the civil society will have to remain vigilant for fostering the attempts of the political dispensation to weaken the Information regime in the name of reforming it by formulating the RTI Rules and by changing the service conditions of the Information Commissioners. Otherwise, the sacrifices of the RTI activists who lost their lives for protecting the RTI regime would prove to be exercises in futility. It is better late than never. Let us remember, it has been aptly said, “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” The media will also have to remain vigilant for acting as the watchdog of the RTI regime. Above all, the public intellectuals will have to play a pro-active role in this context. The protest by the RTI activists at New Delhi against the attempts to undermine the RTI regime alone would not be enough to dissuade those who are hell-bent upon doing so.
It may be added by way of a footnote that Prof Iqbal Narian, a doyen among the political scientists, had famously remarked that, in the ultimate analysis, it is the constitutional reality that determines the political reality. It may be supplemented by the observation that the institutional reality also depends on the political reality. The commitment of the ruling dispensation is the basic pre-requisite for the success of the RTI regime in India.
Dr Rajvir S. Dhaka is a Senior Faculty Member and In-charge, RTI Help Desk, Haryana Institute of Public Administration, Gurugram (Haryana).

RTI Has Proven to be an Empowering Tool for the Poor in India - Anjali Bhardwaj

News Click: New Delhi: Friday, August 17, 2018.
The Right to Information Act 2005, was put in place to ensure greater transparency and accountability about the functioning of the state machinery, but has it delivered on this promise? In this interview with Paranjoy Guha Thakurta for Newsclick, RTI Activist Anjali Bhardwaj discusses the implementation and effectiveness of this act.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Residents want ‘illegal’ borewell in Sushant Lok C-block sealed

Hindustan Times: Gurugram: Thursday, August 16, 2018.
The residents of Sushant Lok are alleging that the district hydrology department has not sealed the ‘illegal’ borewell installed at Queen Plaza commercial complex in C Block of Sushant Lok.
The residents said that the hydrology department on July 24 had granted 15 days time to the owner of the Queen Plaza complex asking for proof that the borewell was legal.
The hydrology department said that the owner of the complex submitted a reply and it is under examination.
The residents, however, said more than 20 days have passed, but the borewell has not yet been sealed.
SS Rai, a complainant, said, “We fail to understand why the hydrology department has not initiated action. We objected to the 15 days’ time granted to the complex owner and soon after officials inspected on July 24, we filed a complaint at the CM Window. We have met the district town planning (DTP) enforcement officials. Despite our efforts, no action has been taken.”
In January 2017, the residents had lodged a complaint with the deputy commissioner’s (DC) office, stating that the Queen Plaza commercial complex had got installed an ‘illegal’ borewell, is running a hotel in the basement and encroaching public utility spaces.
In October 2016, the residents’ welfare association (RWA) of the colony had filed an RTI and obtained the layout plan of the complex and information of the borewell.
In the RTI reply, the district hydrology department had confirmed that the borewell in question did not have permission from the department.
The residents said that the commercial complex has appeared as big nuisance for them as it is surrounded by thickly populated residential houses.
“The hotel remains open till late night, visitors park vehicles on the road around the complex and this all creates a big nuisance for all of us,” said Anil Sharma, former RWA member of Sushant Lok, adding that the borewell water is being used by the hotel.
“We cannot seal the borewell as owner contended that it was installed much before 2011, when the area was notified for extraction of groundwater by the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA). We are examining the documents submitted by the owner in this regard,” said BS Lamba, district hydrologist.
Amit Madholia, assistant town planner, enforcement, said, “We will examine the documents of the owner and take action as per the law.”
Devender Pal Singh, the owner of the complex, denied that borewell is illegal. “We have submitted our reply to the departments concerned.”

Monorail arbitration documents has no relation to public interest: MMRDA in RTI reply

DNA: Mumbai: Thursday, August 16, 2018.
After spending around Rs 3,000 crore of public money on India's first Monorail between Chembur and Jacob Circle, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) in a Right To Information (RTI) reply to DNA said that allowing inspection of documents under RTI application relating to the legal dispute (arbitration) of Monorail has no relation to public interest or public activity, and will cause unwarranted invasion of privacy.
The documents of arbitration are over the construction cost of Monorail for which the MMRDA is in dispute with Larsen & Toubro (L&T) and Malaysian based Scomi Engineering (LTSE) who have constructed the Monorail and are also involved in the operations of Monorail that is shut since November 2017 owing to the fire incident.
However, Shantanu Wagh, Transport Engineer of MMRDA has quoted exemption under Section 8 (1) (J) under the RTI Act for denying to allow inspection of arbitration documents of Monorail. Information under section 8 (1)(J) of RTI Act is denied when, "information which relates to personal information the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest, or which would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual."
The MMRDA denied allowing the inspection of arbitration documents of Monorail after DNA filed the first appeal to MMRDA's earlier reply of RTI citing that considering the process of arbitration is ongoing, it would hamper the process. DNA had filed the first appeal citing that Central Information Commission has ruled in the past that pending arbitration cannot be the reason for not sharing its information.
Meanwhile, RTI activists have slammed MMRDA for denying the inspection of Monorail arbitration documents. Bhaskar Prabhu, Convenor of Mahiti Adhikar Manch said, "How can allowing inspection of documents relating to arbitration of Monorail invade privacy and not be in public interest? The Monorail as a project is for the public, and it is of public interest. One should file a second appeal against the reply of MMRDA."
While Shailesh Gandhi, Former Central Information Commissioner, said, "Monorail arbitration is not personal information but a part of the public activity, and Section 8(1)(J) of RTI Act cannot be applied here. One should file an appeal against this reply."
The construction contract of Mumbai Monorail was given in 2008, and the first phase between Chembur and Wadala was made operational in 2014 but services were suspended in November 2017 after a fire incident. The second phase between Wadala-Jacob Circle has not been operational yet.
The project has been in controversy since its inception due to technical glitches and has also come under the scanner of Comptroller Auditor and General of India (CAG) over irregularities.
MMRDA SLAMMED
Meanwhile, RTI activists have slammed MMRDA for denying the inspection of Monorail arbitration documents, saying that since monorail is of public interest, Section 8(1)(J) of RTI Act cannot be applied.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

RTI reply clears Dr Kafeel; revealed Yogi govt admits to oxygen shortage

The Siasat Daily: Gorakhpur: Wednesday, August 15, 2018.
An RTI query reveals that Dr. Kafeel Khan, who was allegedly held responsible for the deaths of 60 children in the BRD Medical College in Gorakhpur last year actually arranged for oxygen cylinders to save lives of infants.
According to a report published in News 18, the RTI response dated April 19, 2018, also revealed that Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government admits to the reality of a shortage of oxygen on the night of August 11, 2017, and accepted that Dr. Kafeel, the then nodal officer arranged six oxygen cylinders from other hospitals and managed to get four oxygen cylinders on his own.
The RTI query corroborates the stand of Dr. Kafeel and claimed that the UP government strongly denied all the reports to hide their monumental administrative failure.
“The same administration now admits through RTI query that Dr. Kafeel had brought four oxygen cylinders to help the children who were in distress,” said Lucknow-based activist Sanjay Sharma.
Dr. Kafeel, a pediatrician and was in-charge of the encephalitis ward of BRD Medical College was hailed as ‘hero’ of the country for saving the lives but was branded a villain after he goes against the UP administration.
He was among nine, who were accused of deaths and was booked under Sections 120-B, 308 and 409 of the IPC.
Dr. Kafeel spends nearly 8 months in jail in connection with the death of infants. He was granted bail on April 24, 2018, by the Allahabad High Court.

Farmers in Jammu suffering losses, reveals RTI query

Greater Kashmir: Jammu: Wednesday, August 15, 2018.
The farmers in Jammu region are suffering losses as they are getting fewer rates for selling their crop to government.
As per RTI revelation, production cost of wheat and paddy grown in border areas of the region is much higher than government’s minimum support price (MSP) to the crop.  
The data said farmers in Jammu have suffered heavy losses in last four years by selling their produce at marginalized rates to the government.
The average cost for wheat production in Jammu is Rs 18.56 per kg, but as per government MSP sale price has been kept at Rs 15.56 per Kg.
Similarly production cost of rice is at Rs 14.39 per kg, whilst as per MSP selling price has been kept at Rs 15.20.
“In year 2014-2015, the production cost of wheat in Jammu province is Rs 2735 per quintals (27.35 per kilogram), while the minimum support price set by government to sell the ready crop in market is Rs 1450 per quintal (Rs14.50 per Kg). The farmers have suffered loss of Rs 12.85 per kg on its production,” revealed an RTI.
The data was provided by Joint Director Agriculture Jammu after an RTI filed was by activist and national president Kisan Welfare Organization Rohit Choudhary.
“In 2015-16 production cost of wheat was kept Rs 1450 per quintal, while MSP was Rs 1525, with marginal profit of Rs 75 per quintal. In 2016-17, the production costs again gone up to Rs 1630, while MSP was 1625 and farmers suffered loss of Rs 5 on every quintal. During 2017-18, the production cost for wheat was Rs 1611, while selling price was set at Rs 1625 earning farmers a marginal profit of Rs 14 on every quintal,” it said.
Similarly, MSP for rice for year 2014-15 was kept at Rs 1450 per quintal, while production cost for these two years was Rs 1731 and Rs 1255 respectively with farmers suffering a loss of Rs 87.
For 2016 and 2017 MSP was kept at Rs 1590 per quintal, whilst production cost ranged from Rs 1387 and Rs 1383 respectively, with farmers earning a marginal profit of Rs 205.
The reply also mentioned revised MSP announced by union government recently for wheat and rice for 2018-19 with MSP of rice raised by Rs 200.
“We know about ‘sarkari daam’ (MSP) but production cost is much higher so it’s not beneficial for us,” said Choudhary.

No details on Maldives ‘US$40 mn loan’ from OPEC body

Maldives Independent: Maldives: Wednesday, August 15, 2018.
The Maldives government has been unable to answer basic questions about a US$40 million loan, including when it was granted and if the money is in place, despite ministers announcing it a month ago.
On July 16, hours after the European Union said it was imposing sanctions on the Maldives over human rights abuses, two ministers said the country was getting a US$40 million loan from the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID).
There was no record of a new US$40 million loan at the time of going to press from OFID, which did not confirm or deny the funding existed.
OFID’s full response to the Maldives Independent’s questions about the ministers’ remarks can be found at the bottom of this article.
It does not say if the Maldives received a US$40 million loan for the projects mentioned by the ministers, when the Maldives last received OFID funding, what this funding was for and what communication OFID had received from the Maldives about the loan statement from the ministers.
The Maldives Independent contacted the Housing Ministry and Environment Ministry with questions about the loan, including when it was granted and why there was no information about it on the OFID website, but no answers were available at the time of going to press.
Right to Information (RTI) requests were filed on Tuesday with these ministries to ask when the US$40 million loan was approved, when it was granted, why there was nothing about the loan on the OFID website, why OFID did not deny or confirm the loan’s existence, if the loan exists or the ministers lied, and the start and finish date for the projects to be funded by this loan.
According to the Right to Information Act the ministries have 21 days, including weekends and public holidays, to respond.
A senior project coordinator at Transparency Maldives, Ahid Rasheed, previously said there was “a general tendency to restrict information as much as possible, or make it as hard as possible for the public to access information.”
Although the Maldives RTI Act is “very progressive, the enforcement and implementation is nowhere near to the spirit of that law,” he said.
Last December five government ministries broke the law by not responding to RTI requests from the Maldives Independent, which wanted to fact-check claims made by President Abdulla Yameen.
A housing ministry media official was contacted by phone and email about the US$40 million loan, but no response was given at the time of going to press.
A media official for the environment ministry said he would be able to respond after returning from an atoll tour with Yameen on Thursday.
OFID has a US$159.6 million project portfolio in the Maldives.
There are 15 projects listed and four are ongoing: two are related to sanitation, one to regional hospital development and the fourth to the development of the Maldives’ main international airport.
The water and sanitation projects began in March 2013 and December 2014, with combined funding of more than US$73 million. The ministers said the money would be used to fund harbour construction projects but no such OFID-backed projects are ongoing.
Full OFID response:
Please kindly note that OFID does not disclose information pertaining to projects under consideration.
However, we would like to take this opportunity to mention that our organization maintains a positive relationship with the government of the Maldives.
As a result of this, nearly US$160m has been committed in public sector lending, covering different areas, ranging from water and sanitation, transportation and health, to agriculture, education and telecommunications, among others.
Funding has also supported the country’s private sector. This funding includes loans and lines of credit to the Maldives Finance Leasing Company; Wataniya Telecom Maldives and Villa Shipping and Trading Company.
Under its Trade Finance Facility, OFID has participated under the International Islamic Finance Corporation’s syndication of US$25m to assist the State Trading Organization, Maldives, in importing refined petroleum products. In addition, grant funding has provided emergency aid for tsunami victims and supported healthcare programs.
As you can see, the relationship between OFID and the Maldives involves different facilities with a variety of partners. Our organization supports developing countries across the globe and new loans and grants are continually being appraised and approved.
This process is constant and dynamic. We encourage you to seek any clarification that you may need with the government source that issued the initial statement. That way, we will avoid creating any further confusion.

Show us our marks and cut- off marks

The Arunachal Times: Arunachal: Wednesday, August 15, 2018.
Dear Editor,
I appeared APPSCCE (prelims) 2018 with Geography optional and I have tallied my score with all the possible sources and it is around 247.75/400 (61%) – after deducting negative marks, also I considered negative marks for all the FIVE WRONG QUESTIONS of my optional paper and ONE WRONG QUESTION of GS.
Yes, I did mark my OMR very carefully and cross checked it twice – as I had learned my lesson from my last year UPSC which I missed by 0.66 marks due to my callousness in OMR marking.
I am not quibbling about the “copy pasting” or the “out of syllabus” remarks of the Geography paper. Unless there is a reform of the examination process itself this thing will happen every time.
My only concern is that there are some candidates like me who were expecting to qualify – getting around 55 % to 60 % after tallying their marks – but couldn’t. All I am requesting is for APPSC to declare the cut off marks and our scores at APPSCCE (prelims) 2018 for which we had submitted our applications to APPSC and put our concern at rest. There is a route via RTI Act but I know it will end up in court for which we don’t have time or the energy.
As for the examination process, I think it’s time to remove optional subjects in prelims and introduce aptitude paper instead (every state has amended their PSC examination pattern taking a cue from the UPSC pattern). Optional subjects have too much subjectivity – like allegation of one optional being too easy or tough and also there is a huge chance of some mistakes in one or more optional papers. Also, papers common for all would be economical since it can be delegated to a single agency to set the common papers which in turn will bring in more accountability since the cost of making mistakes in those common papers is very high.
Yours,
A candidate

Medical seats: Plea filed against NTR university

Times of India: Hyderabad: Wednesday, August 15, 2018.
A review plea was filed before the Hyderabad High Court on Monday, contending that NTR University of Health Sciences has submitted two conflicting sets of information - one to the court and another to students - about how it was maintaining 50:50 ratio between merit and reserved candidates for filling MBBS seats in AP's medical colleges.
Kurakula Urjitha Yadav of Anantapur filed the plea, stating that in the name of implementation of GO 550, authorities have done gross injustice to reserved candidates. The authorities' information furnished to the court had shown that reserved candidates were eating into the 50% merit space, she said. "But when we sought the same information under RTI Act, the varsity registrar furnished us information in writing that SC, ST and BC candidates have lost a lot of seats on account of showing meritorious among them as reserved candidates instead of showing them as open category candidates," she contended in her plea.
Because of the false information they furnished, the court was misled into believing that injustice was done to merit candidates, the petitioner contended. The 50% merit quota was not affected at all as painted by the varsity's authorities, she alleged. "Moreover, the authorities were not supposed to allow sliding by merit reserved candidates as the same was stayed by a bench of the High Court last year," she said, and added that the authorities allowed sliding this year also, contrary to the court's order and this has resulted in miscarriage of justice.
She urged the court to direct authorities to fill the merit 50% seats first as per GO 550 and clause 5(1) and then let them fill the reserved 50% seats. The petitioner also gave details of the OC, SC, ST and BC candidates shown as selected in this year's MBBS admissions and narrated how the varsity officials have misled the court by showing merit reserved candidates as reserved candidates when in practice they are supposed to be shown in OC category.

Anna varsity V-C denies admission malpractice

The Hindu: Chennai: Wednesday, August 15, 2018.
Anna University Vice-Chancellor M.K. Surappa and Higher Education Secretary Sunil Paliwal on Tuesday denied allegations that the premier institution had fudged student admission records.
Referring to media reports about discrepancies in admission of students based on documents provided under Right to Information Act, the officials told journalists that the figures pertained only to admissions made under the Tamil Nadu Engineering Admission process. The RTI data did not include the names of students who had been admitted under various quotas.
“All the students in the 3rd semester were there at the end of the second semester also,” said Mr. Surappa.
He said the 39 candidates in the ECE department who did not figure in the list furnished under the RTI Act, were those who had been admitted under categories such as wards of NRI, wards of employees in gulf countries, foreign students and industry-sponsored candidates.
The ECE department has sanctioned intake for 180 seats of which 158 were surrendered to counselling.
All those who were in the second semester were also in the third semester in the mining department, Mr. Surappa said.

SIC upholds appellant request seeking access to judicial service exam papers

Greater Kashmir: Srinagar: Wednesday, August 15, 2018.
The State Information Commission has asked the Jammu and Kashmir Public Service Commission to allow an appellant see all the sought information about judicial service competitive examinations of 2013 after hearing two appeals about denial of the same.
In response to the appeal the SIC asked the Public Information Officer (PIO) of Jammu and Kashmir Public Service Commission (PSC) not to deny the appellant information sought by her under the J&K Rights To Information Act, 2009.
The SIC said that the decision of the PSC was not in consonance with the provisions of the RTI Act in force in the state, also citing the law laid down by the Apex Court in this respect.
The appellant had filed an RTI with the PIO, asking for complete merit list with breakup of marks obtained by the candidates who have qualified Jammu and Kashmir Civil Service (Judicial) Competitive examination 2013.
She had also requested for the breakup of marks secured by a particular applicant who had appeared in the exams and copy of the answer scripts of the mains examination of all the subjects of the applicant.
The PIO vide his communication no. PSC/Exm/RTI/53/2017 dated 24-10-2017 informed the applicant in response to point that the marks cards were already available on the Commission’s website.
To another part of request for information, the PIO informed the appellant that PSC does not provide the Xerox copies of evaluated answer scripts.
Aggrieved by the response of the PIO, the appellant filed an appeal before the First Appellate Authority (FAA), Secretary J&K PSC on Nov 25, 2017 arguing the PIO has refused to provide information sought about the answer scripts.
The appellant also contended that the information sought by her pertained to the appellant and that the requested information was not exempted from disclosure under section 8 of the J&K RTI Act, 2009.
The appellant accordingly prayed that the PIO be directed to furnish the requisite information and a reference under section 16(3) of the Act be made to the SIC.
The FAA disposed of the 1st Appeal on February 2, 2018 stating the providing information about answer scripts would reveal details of the evaluators which is kept secret.
“The PIO (Exams) has already provided the information sought by the applicant except the Xerox copies of answer scripts as providing of Xerox copies of answer scripts which usually bears the initials/signatures of evaluators and the same i.e. Xerox copies may lead to disclosure of their particulars to the candidates/Public,” the response to the RTI request reads.
“The applicant is not entitled to have the names/particulars of evaluators as has been held by the Supreme Court in SLP titled Kerala Public Service Commission and ors Vs. State Information Commission and ors. However, the PIO (Exams) will allow the inspection of answer scripts by the appellant under the close supervision of the officer designated by the Commission for the purpose.”
The appellant challenged the orders of PIO denying the specific information and also the order of FAA disallowing Xerox copies of answer scripts but allowing just a supervised inspection in the 2nd Appeal filed before the State Information Commission.
The SIC finally reached the conclusion that a public authority was under statutory obligation to provide the information sought by the appellant in this case under the provisions of RTI Act.
“Under this Act, a public authority is under a statutory obligation to provide every kind of information to an information seeker that comes within the ambit ‘information’ as defined in section 2(d) of the J&K Right to Information Act, 2009. Section 2(d) defines the expression ‘information’ as any material held by a public authority in any form including records, documents, e-mails, opinions, advices, reports, papers etc. Answer script of a candidate is available with an examination body in the form of record/document. Therefore, answer script qualifies to be ‘information’ held by the examining body within the meaning of section 2(d) of the J&K RTI Act to which a candidate can seek access under the RTI Act,” the SIC directive reads.