CUTS IN MEDIA-April 2007

 

 

NGO gives lessons on combating corruption with RTI Act
Hindustan Times, April 30, 2007

Prepare inter-active websites, CIC tells PMO
The Hindu, April 20, 2007

WTO Leaders Attempt To Revive Stalled Negotiations In New Delhi Trade Talks
All Headline News, April 11, 2007

Big plans for B-school faculty
All at 25: Conducting satellite classes to introducing a course at XLRI

The Telegraph, April 05, 2007

Archives


NGO gives lessons on combating corruption with RTI Act

Hindustan Times, April 30, 2007
India

An NGO in Jaipur has launched a unique project to generate awareness among people at the grass-roots level about using the Right to Information (RTI) Act as a tool to combat corruption in Rajasthan.

 

The project was launched earlier this month by the Centre for Consumer Action, Research and Training (CART), an initiative of Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS), a body that focuses on consumer rights issues. CUTS will work jointly with the Partnership for Transparency Fund in their venture.

 

"This one-year project will focus on awareness generation at the grassroots, empowering civil society organisations, and encouraging common citizens to apply the RTI Act as a tool in addressing corrupt practices in the governance," Pradeep S Mehta, secretary general of CUTS, said.

 

The initiative aims at creating a conducive environment at the grassroots that will make governance more transparent, accountable and within the reach of the common people, he said.

 

The RTI Act, enacted by parliament in 2005, has huge potential in ensuring greater public participation in the country's governance, eliminating corruption and empowering the people.

 

But even after one-and-a-half years, the general awareness about the Act is abysmally low, especially among the rural populace.

"There is a need to generate awareness and train people on how to seek information and use the RTI Act to their benefit ... so we thought of this project," Mehta said.

 

CUTS was started in Rajasthan in 1983 and works on several areas of public interest as a research, advocacy and networking organisation. Its CART initiative works towards enabling people to assert their rights through a strong consumer movement.

URL: http://www.hindustantimes.com/
http://www.kerala.com/
http://www.nerve.in/
http://www.teluguportal.net/
 

Prepare inter-active websites, CIC tells PMO

The Hindu, April 20, 2007
India

Special Correspondent
JAIPUR: The Central Information Commission has asked the Prime Minister's Office to direct Government departments to prepare inter-active websites for the benefit of information seekers under the Right to Information Act. There should be a format on the websites of the Central departments which the information seekers could fill in and send so that they could get a reply without going through the present set of procedures, it has said.

"It is a government programme to computerise the relevant records with all the departments. We have asked the Government to keep in mind the RTI aspect while doing this," said Central Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah here on Wednesday. "NIC has already made a format for seeking and providing information on the websites," he said, adding that the PMO had taken note of his suggestion.

Mr. Habibullah was delivering the inaugural address here at the launch of a new project, "Combating corruption in Rajasthan by applying the RTI Act as a tool". The project is being carried out by CUTS Centre for Consumer Action Research and Training (CUTS CART) in collaboration with Partnership for Transparency Fund for the next one year.

"Ever since Rajiv Gandhi as Prime Minister introduced computers, the country has made rapid progress in this sector. Yet the advantage of computer application is not fully utilised for bringing in transparency in governance," Mr. Habibullah observed. While asserting that despite initial hiccups the RTI Act, passed in October 2005, was well in place, he said: "It is working smoothly now. Situations may differ from State to State but things have started working." "There is no need to treat the RTI Act as a weapon," he said. "The law is not a stick to beat those in Government. It is a useful tool and should be used for the benefit of the public."

The CIC, he added, was not happy to penalise erring persons though it had imposed penalties in 27 cases so far. Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Information Commissioner of Andhra Pradesh, C.D.Arah, described the RTI Act as an epoch-making legislation. "There is no pro-forma for applying for information. Also there are no questions asked about the information seeker or the intent. The only question asked is the address to which the sought information could be sent," he noted. Talking about the track record of the Andhra Pradesh State Information Commission, Mr. Arah said there continued problems with both demand and supply.

There was a big urban-rural divide in Andhra Pradesh when it came to the RTI Act with urban centres accounting for 88.8 per cent of the applications. A maximum of 39.7 per cent of the information seekers were from the media while social workers comprised the next biggest chunk (17.8 per cent).

WTO Leaders Attempt To Revive Stalled Negotiations In New Delhi Trade Talks
 

All Headline News, April 11, 2007
India

New Delhi, India (AHN) - After the Doha rounds were stalled last July, negotiations have shifted from Geneva to New Delhi over the course of the next two days, with six members of WTO meeting in the Indian capital to revive trade talks.India, Brazil, the European Union - referred to as the G3 - have combined in their efforts to offer smaller tariff cuts, whereas, the U.S., Australia, and Japan have restricted themselves to bilateral meetings.

The U.S. is seen as a big player in the negotiations since it has taken a tough stand against pruning its farm subsidies. Although services are a key area for nations such as India, it will take a back seat in the discussions, where agriculture and industrial tariffs will play out a major role. "It will not be easy since everyone is playing the waiting game," an Indian negotiator told the Times of India daily.

"We will use our persuasive powers on our home ground. We do not intend to agree to anything unless our concerns are met," added the Indian official in Delhi. Its vital that negotiators speed up negotiations so that there's some kind of framework to work with by June before President Bush's so-called fast track trade negotiating powers run out. If that's the case, an agreement can be set in place by March.

EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson said before the meeting, "If we are to use the remaining window of opportunity open to us, we need to intensify and accelerate the process of negotiation. If we fail, Doha's prospects for this year will be lost." However, the Indian side is seem to be in a rush to get things done. The Times of India cited sources saying that it will put more pressure on the developing nations to conform to what the "Big Daddies of international trade" - namely, the U.S. and the EU - would like to achieve. Another complicating factor is the U.S. presidential polls next year. Analysts say that will leave U.S. trade representative Susan Schwab more adamant against cutting farm support.

Commerce minister of India, though not highly popular with some developed nations for his uncompromising stand, has said that he prefers a no deal to a bad deal. Most trade analyst say that it is unlikely that anything significant will come out of the talks in New Delhi. "The scene is quite dismal. There seems to be very little meeting ground on some of the major issues," said Pradeep Mehta, head of CUTS International, an Indian trade research group, reports AP.

URL: http://www.allheadlinenews.com/articles/7007015522

http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2007/04/11/ap3601269.html

http://www3.whdh.com/news/articles/business/BO48720/

http://www.mercurynews.com/breakingnews/ci_5641724?nclick_check=1

http://wcbstv.com/worldwire/India-WTOTalks_a_i_-----/resources_news_html

http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/54E38606-F7FB-4DDC-9E37-57D1209B0A5D.htm
 

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