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Showing posts from July, 2019

RTI Amendment Bill to result in forceful adoption of SICs by Central govt

By Venkatesh Nayak* The Bill to amend The Right to Information Act, 2005 ( RTI Act ) which the Lok Sabha approved (218 voting in favour and 79 opposing it) this Monday (22 July, 2019) is slated for introduction and passing in the Rajya Sabha today ( Click here and select 24/07/2019 for accessing the List of Business of the House). Despite the very vocal demand of the Opposition Benches who pointed out the flaws in the scheme and purpose of the Amendment Bill, the Government refused to accede. Will the Opposition MPs succeed in their efforts today to get the Bill referred to a Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha, remains to be seen. In his reply at the end of the debate, the Hon’ble Union Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions made a few points which indicated the Government’s mind in pushing for these amendments. These issues need elaborate discussion and hopefully MPs in the Rajya Sabha will take them up in right earnest. Meanwhile, I am sharing some of

Information Commissions would weaken if amended RTI bill is accepted

Excerpts “The Right to Information (Amendment) Bill, 2019: A Critical Review of the Amendment Proposals and the Underlying Reasoning”, prepared by Venkatesh Nayak, Access to Information Programme, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, New Delhi: *** The Government of India (GoI) has come up with a Bill to amend the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act). This is GoI’s third attempt to amend this seminal law since its enforcement in October 2005. First, in August 2006, the Union Cabinet approved proposals to amend the law in order to keep “file notings” or opinion and advice recorded on file by officers involved in a decision-making chain on issues other than those relating to development and social issues. Thanks to the very vocal and widespread opposition from the citizenry, the government was compelled to shelve the proposal without ever introducing it in Parliament. Second, in 2013, GoI tabled a Bill to amend the RTI Act in order to insulate from public scrutiny, all political pa

Faiz’s poems reverberate contemporary pathos, marked with historical changes

By Moin Qazi* Faiz Ahmed Faiz – the poet, teacher, editor, freedom-fighter, progressive writer and Lenin Peace Prize recipient – is one of the greatest poets of the Indian subcontinent. He was not a mere dreamer of dreams but was an iconoclast who inspired a million mutinies. Great poets like Faiz are warriors and serve as the sentinels of the collective conscience of their times. Countries have frontiers but the war against slavery and exploitation has no frontier. Faiz understood that a society without meaningful poetry is a society on the last legs of its wretched existence. It is a society bereft of dreams and thus, a society bereft of hope. Faiz’s verses wee redolent with prison terms, privation, exile, protest, resistance. Faiz espoused the cause of freedom and ranks with poets like Pablo Neruda, Nazim Hikmet, and Louis Aragon. His poetry, rich with the classical hue of Ghalib and Iqbal, acquired a characteristic tone and he excelled in the nazm and ghazal, the two major forms o