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Modi government systemically derailed RTI: Rahul Gandhi

The Modi government has proposed to amend the RTI Act seeking to remove statutory safeguards ensuring the independence of information commissioners at the Centre and in the states.

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Rahul Gandhi

New Delhi, Oct 12 : Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Friday accused the Modi government of systematically derailing the RTI Act and asserted his partys commitment towards resisting governments further attempts to dilute the law.

“In the UPA years, the RTI was a powerful instrument in the hands of citizens, forcing the government to be transparent in its decision-making,” Gandhi said on Facebook on the 13th anniversary of The Right to Information Act.

“Unfortunately, since 2014, the RTI has been systematically derailed by the BJP government. Lakhs of RTI queries remain unanswered.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seeking to dilute the RTI Act. The Congress party will resist any attempt to dilute the Act, and lends its support to all those organisations and individuals who are standing shoulder to shoulder in protest,” added Gandhi.

The Modi government has proposed to amend the RTI Act seeking to remove statutory safeguards ensuring the independence of information commissioners at the Centre and in the states.

Pending in Parliament, the Right to Information (Amendment) Bill, 2018 empowers the Central government to decide the tenure, salaries, allowances and other terms of service of information commissioners at the Centre and states.

Currently, their salaries and tenures are statutorily protected and at par with those of the Chief Election Commissioner and election commissioners.

RTI activists and opposition parties have been expressing strong reservation against the proposed amendments.

IANS

Politics

Lok Janshakti Party should also leave NDA, says Upendra Kushwaha

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Upendera Kushwaha

Lucknow, Dec 19: Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) chief Upendra Kushwaha supremo on Wednesday advised the Lok Janshakti Party to the NDA as soon as possible.

Speaking to media, Kushwaha blamed the BJP and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for quiting the NDA.

“The arrogance of BJP and Nitish Kumar was one of the reasons why we left NDA, others will also face the same arrogance. Lok Janshakti Party should also leave NDA as soon as possible”, he said.

“Otherwise, they’ve(BJP) made their mind to destroy the smaller parties”, the RLSP leader added.

Kushwaha stpped down as the Minister of State for Human Resource Development On December 10.

He had been at loggerheads with the Bharatiya Janata Party over the seat-sharing in Bihar for the high stakes 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

WeForNews 

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Election

EC notice to Gujarat BJP in crucial Dec 20 Assembly by-election

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Election Commission

Gandhinagar, Dec 18 : Even as campaigning for the prestigious by-election to Gujarat’s Jasdan assembly constituency ended on Tuesday evening, the Election Commission issued notices to the state government on electricity bill exemptions announced on Tuesday for rural consumers.

The model code of conduct is in force in the Rajkot town since the by-election was announced.

The state government on Tuesday simultaneously made an announcement on setting up of a branch of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences at Rajkot.

The canvassing for the by-election to the seat in Rajkot district in the Saurashtra region concluded at 5 pm. Cabinet minister Kunvarji Bavaliya, who is a turncoat from the Congress, is contesting from Jasdan which he vacated after he quit the Congress to join the BJP recently.

The veteran Congress leader from the Koli community was inducted in the Vijay Rupani Cabinet within hours of joining the BJP.

Both the parties, the BJP and the Congress, have made it a prestige election since the opposition party as well as Bavaliya have seldom lost from there. While the BJP is trying to woo the influential Koli community in Gujarat through Bavaliya, the Congress feels energized after its recent poll victories in the neighbouring Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

The Election Commission’s notices to the state energy as well as health departments seek state government’s explanation on making the announcements when the model code of conduct was in force in Jasdan.

The BJP government announced pending electricity bill waiver for all categories of rural consumers and the BPL families in urban centres in the state.

Energy minister Saurabh Patel said the state government had decided to exempt the rural consumers from pending electricity bills amounting to over Rs 650 crore.

In addition, the defaulters would also be provided new power connections on a payment of only Rs 500.

The opposition Congress promptly described it as a “lollipop” by the ruling BJP compared to the relief the Congress governments had granted in the other states.

On a trip to the constituency, cricketer-turned-politician and Punjab minister Navjot Singh Siddhu said: “It is as impossible to make the BJP speak the truth as to put an elephant in your lap and feed it.”

He cited the farm loan waiver by newly-formed Congress governments in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, reminding the voters that Prime Minister Modi, despite making similar election promises, did nothing to waive the farmers’ debts in Gujarat.

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Politics

‘All women’ political party launched

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National Women's Party
National Women's Party, Image : Twitter

New Delhi, Dec 18: A “National Women’s Party” was launched here on Tuesday with the aim of ensuring 50 per cent representation for women in Parliament and other places.

Announcing the launch, the party’s national President Swetha Shetty said: “In a male-dominated political system, an all women’s party is important. Women and their issues are only raised during the mother’s day, the women’s day or during the election time. NWP will be a platform for women to raise their voices.”

The party, which started its ground work in 2012, was launched with the aim of getting 50 per cent reservation for women candidates in the Lok Sabha Election, she said adding they have applied for registration with the Election Commission.

With no prominent names to mention, the party claimed it has the support of 1.45 lakh women members of Hyderabad-based Telangana Mahila Samiti, “and their numbers are persistently increasing across India”.

“Even in 2018, women rights are avoided. I invite all the women, who feel the party can be a platform to improve the condition of women in present time, to join it,” Shetty said.

A doctor by profession, 36-year-old Shetty also heads an NGO in Telangana where she realised “the acute need to be a part of the system to bring the change”.

“We won’t be quiet until we see that women are represented equally in the Parliament.

“My initial aim will be to ensure 50 per cent reservations inside the parliament and slowly in all walks of life,” she said.

She also said the party will contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and will support and seek backing from like-minded parties.

She said that the party also welcomes political support from men, “if they agree with our ideology”.

IANS

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