The Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions Shri Prithviraj Chavan launched the Logo on RTI and the RTI portal today in the presence of Shri. A N. Tiwari, Chief Information Commission and Shri. Shantanu Consul, Secretary, DoPT.
It is a simple and iconic logo depicting a sheet of paper with information on it, and the public authority – providing the information. This represents people’s empowerment through transfer and accountability in Governance. The logo’s shape and structure make it easy to remember, recall and replicate with minimal distortion.
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The YP Foundation is hiring!
The YP Foundation (TYPF) is a youth run and led organization that supports and enables young people to create programmes and influence policies in the areas of gender, sexuality, health, education, the arts & governance. The organization promotes, protects and advances young people’s human rights by building leadership, and strengthening youth led initiatives and movements. Founded in 2002, TYPF has worked directly with 5,000 young people to set up over 200 projects in India over the last 8 years, reaching out to 300,000 adolescents and young people between 3-28 years of age.
The 16th of October was World Food Day– a day to take the pledge to “unite against hunger” (as this year’s theme goes). And this couldn’t have come at a more pertinent time. Just last week, the Global Hunger Index (GHI) Report 2010 – a joint initiative of the International Food and Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Welthungerhilfe, and Concern Worldwide ranked India as 67 out of a total of 84 developing countries and countries in transition, with a value of 24.1 points from its earlier 31.7 points in 1990 – thereby placing India in the “alarming” range of hunger.
Janaagraha is a Bangalore based not-for-profit organisation that works with citizens and government to change the quality of life in India’s cities and towns. Janaagraha works toward changing the quality of urban life by improving urban governance, and seeks to do this by applying a well-defined framework of change that is based on a systems approach.
How come the government gets away with putting out data that is often inconsistent? How come our politicians get away without having to justify their 'performance' in any tangible way when they seek re-election?
Mandakini Devasher Surie
The cornerstone of the UPA government’s agenda when it was elected to government in 2004, the RTI Act celebrates its fifth birthday today, 12 October 2010. Some might say that five years is not a long time in the history of a law, but perhaps no other legislation has captured the imagination of the public in quite the way the RTI Act has. Today, the right to information or “Soochna Ka Adhikar” (as it popularly known) has made its way into the everyday lexicon of most Indians. A recent study conducted by RAAG (Right to Information Analysis and Assessment Group) estimates that some 2 million RTIs were filed across the country in the first 3 years after the Act was passed (RaaG, 2009). That’s a lot of RTIs! People have filed RTIs to redress individual grievances, probe government policies and decisions, expose corruption and misuse of government resources and access their basic entitlements whether its ration cards, wage payments or driver’s licenses. At the Accountability Initiative we’ve used the RTI extensively to get budget and expenditure related data on centrally sponsored schemes and to get information on how department’s are complying with the RTI. We are also currently undertaking a small research study on the kinds of information people are seeking under the Act. We hope this analysis will help in identifying people’s information needs and assist departments in responding to these needs proactively.
Elected politicians and bureaucrats are important pillars of governance. In India and in many other countries, politicians have very limited powers over the bureaucrats, at least in theory. For example, a politician in India does not have any control over the recruitment of IAS officers. He can’t change their wages, can’t dismiss them nor demote them. In some sense, this is desirable, to avoid the politicization of policy implementation. But then the question arises: how would a politician facing electoral pressures ensure that his pet projects are being implemented by the bureaucrats over whom he doesn’t have any control. Of course, a politician can offer the bureaucrat, non-monetary incentives or can pick somebody who shares his world view.
Social protection programmes have in the past (to a large extent) excluded the most vulnerable section of the Indian workforce; the unorganized sector. On 26th September the government sought to overturn this long-standing tradition by extending pension benefits to 85% of the workers who find employment in this sector. The scheme titled ‘Swavalamban’(meaning self reliance), covers unorganized sector workers between the ages of 18-55 years. This implies that any worker between the ages of 18-55 years can become a subscriber and is liable for receiving pension at the age of 60 years.
Mandakini Devasher Surie
Every year it’s the same story. The monsoons hit Delhi and life in the city comes to a grinding halt. For a city that so craves the rain every summer we are remarkably unprepared for it. Traffic snarls, blocked drains, flooded roads, power outages and road collapses make for an unpleasant experience. Couple these with the inevitable dengue, malaria and viral fever outbreaks and you’re in for a pretty rotten monsoon. And then there’s the Commonwealth Games…well I think enough's been said on that front. I don’t know about you, but I’m getting a little tired of the déjà vu. I mean we all know the score. Delhi + Monsoons X Flooding, Road Cave-ins, Disease etc = Chaos. Check. Okay so maybe we had record rainfall this year and the Yamuna is flowing at an all time high, but still, shouldn’t government agencies at various levels be prepared for this?