Skip to main content

Modi govt "diluting" anti-corruption legislations in order to "protect" bureaucrats, politicians: NCPRI

By Our Representative
The National Campaign for Peoples’ Right to Information (NCPRI), India's apex body of RTI organizations, has accused the Modi government, in office for two years, of failing to make any progress on anti-corruption legislations, insisting, “Even the existing legislations and mechanisms are being undermined.”
The Whistle Blowers Protection Act (WBP Act) was passed in 2014, after 12 years of the murder of whislteblower Satyendra Dubey after families of whistleblowers and activists of NCPRI held protests for over 20 days. The Act provides protection of identity for whistleblowers and safeguards against their victimization, NCPRI activists said in a media press conference in Delhi.
Instead of promulgating rules to operationalise the WBP law, the government has “moved an amendment bill in Parliament which seeks to severely dilute the Act”, activists pointed out, adding, the amendments seek to “remove safeguards available to whistleblowers from prosecution under the Official Secrets Act.”
Further, the amendments have introduced “wide-ranging exclusions by stating that disclosures should not contain information which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty, integrity, security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the State.”
“The current status of the WBP Amendment Bill is not clear”, NCPRI co-convener Anjali Bharadwaj said, adding, “Whereas the debate on the bill in the Rajya Sabha and the proposal to refer it to a select committee was not concluded, on April 28, 2016 the concerned Minister, in reply to a question in Parliament, stated that the Amendment Bill had been sent to a committee.”
Dhananjay Dubey, Satyendra Dubey's brother, said, “Despite assurances from BJP leaders Arun Jaitley and Ravi Shankar Prasad that they were committed to the WBP Act, the government had taken no steps to prevent deaths of whistleblowers. Close to 60 people have been killed in the last few years for exposing corruption and wrongdoing in the government.”
NCPRI's senior activist Sanjay Sahni added, lives of whistleblowers like his colleague Ram Kumar Thakur could have been saved if the WBP Act was operationalised. “Ram Kumar Thakur wrote to the
Police and the state government seeking protection, however no action was taken”, he said.
As for the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act (LL Act), activists said, instead of operationalizing it, the activists said, as amendment bill, called the the Lokpal and Lokayuktas and Other Related Law (Amendment) Bill, 2014, was deliberated upon by the Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice, which presented its report in December 2015.
“Among other issues, the amendments seek to dilute the Act by exempting bureaucrats from declaring assets and liabilities of their spouses and dependent children”, activists said.
“Further, the amendment does away with the requirement of public disclosure of the asset declarations on the grounds that disclosure of such information might expose public servants and their families to threats and kidnappings”, they added.
Nikhil Dey, the other co-convener of the NCPRI, said, despite public disclosure of asset declarations of lakhs of candidates contesting elections across the country and of judges of the Supreme Court and high courts, “no evidence of threats/blackmail had come to light and, therefore, there is no
rationale for this amendment.”
Similarly, Dey said, the grievance redress (GR) Bill, which the the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said in July 2014 that it was “part of Immediate Thrust Areas of the Government”, is likely to be dropped.
“In March 2016, in response to a question in Parliament, the government made no reference to the legislation and instead stated that it was preparing a scheme known as Delivery of Services and Grievances Redressal Scheme”, he said.

Comments

TRENDING

Green revolution "not sustainable", Bt cotton a failure in India: MS Swaminathan

Counterview Desk
In a recent paper in the journal “Current Science”, distinguished scientist PC Kesaven and his colleague MS Swaminathan, widely regarded as the father of the Green Revolution, have argued that Bt insecticidal cotton, widely regarded as the continuation of the Green Revolution, has been a failure in India and has not provided livelihood security for mainly resource-poor, small and marginal farmers.
Sharply taking on Green Revolution, the authors say, it has not been sustainable largely because of adverse environmental and social impacts, insisting on the need to move away from the simplistic output-yield paradigm that dominates much thinking. Seeking to address the concerns about local food security and sovereignty as well as on-farm and off-farm social and ecological issues associated with the Green Revolution, they argue in favour of what they call sustainable ‘Evergreen Revolution’, based on a ‘systems approach’ and ‘ecoagriculture’.
Pointing out that Evergreen Revol…

Rejoinder: Inescapable to have Central Water Commission as strong technical body in India

By BN Navalawala*
This is with reference to Counterview Blog (December 5, 2018), "Modi govt 'shelves' water reforms report, shows 'no interest' in its recommendations", below mentioned are my comments/observations thereon:
A committee was constituted under the Chairmanship of Dr. Mihir Shah, Former Member, Planning Commission, for restructuring of Central Water Commission (CWC) and Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) for optimal development of water resources in the country in the backdrop of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM).

Some Hindu bodies in US defending BJP-RSS' divisive, violent activities: Agnivesh

Counterview Desk Last week, Washington DC saw speakers at a religious freedom roundtable, chaired by the US Ambassador for Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback, express concern over "eroding" space for religious freedom in India. Dr Mike Ghouse, executive director, of the Center for Pluralism in Washington DC, referring to the roundtable, said in an email alert that Indian-Americans have "a moral duty to prevent India from being labeled as a Country of Particular Concern by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)".

Preventing childhood deaths: India performs worse than Bangladesh, "equals" Pakistan

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released study, “The Pneumonia and Diarrhea Progress Report 2018”, prepared by the International Vaccine Access Centre (IVAC) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, has identified India among 15 other countries which are still far off the mark in achieving the targets of the Global Action Plan for the Prevention of Pneumonia and Diarrhea (GAPPD).

Karnataka: NGO Akshay Patra "not sensitive" to nutrition demands of school children

Counterview Desk
Well-known civil rights organizations, Right to Food Campaign and Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, have sent a letter to the Union minister of human resource development, the Chief Minister of Karnataka, other concerned ministers and officials of the state expressing concerns regarding the mid-day meal (MDM) to school children, insisting, all contracts to the Akshay Patra for supply of MDM should be immediately terminated.

India's rewritten textbooks talk of demerits of democracy, praise Hitler, underrate Mughals

Counterview Desk
A detailed, 3,800-word review of the books rewritten under directions of the BJP rulers across India since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in May 2014 has suggested that one of aims of the books is to instill a sense of doubt about India’s democratic polity among the country’s young minds. Reviewed in the prestigious US journal, “The New York Review of Books”, in its latest issue (December 6, 2018) by Alex Traub, the scrutiny insists, the effort has also been to paint Indian history from the angle of “Hindu triumphalism”, even as creating “Islamophobia”.

Govt of India "tarnishing" NGO reputation, dossier leaked selectively: Amnesty

Counterview Desk
Amnesty International India has said that a deliberate attempt is being made to tarnish its reputation by leaking a dossier, supposedly made by investigating agencies, to media without giving it access to any such information. The high profile NGO’s claim follows a Times Now report about proceedings launched by investigative agencies, including Enforcement Directorate (ED) against the rights body for “violations” of rules pertaining to overseas donations.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Four children die after poor UP Dalit, Muslim families forced to flee to forest area: PVCHR

Counterview Desk
Peoples’ Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) has said that the forest department police’s crackdown, allegedly without any prior notice, on Dalit and Muslim households in Dakhin Tola, Churk Bazaar, Sonbhadra district, Uttar Pradesh, beating up “children and old people, women, and men in an inhuman way”, has led to “forced displacement, starvation and discrimination”. This has reportedly affected about 350 people.

Vedanta is out but corporate loot continues in Odisha: Local activists tell NAPM yatra

By Our Representative
Lok Shakti Abhiyan leader Prafulla Samantara, winner of the Goldman Environmental (also known as Green Nobel) Prize in 2017, has regretted that though Sundergarh in Odisha, like other forest areas, is a fifth schedule area, where Forest Rights Act (FRA) and Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA) is applicable, but these laws are being “outrightly violated to facilitate corporate loot.”