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RTI - EGS - Citizen empowerment

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  • Karmayog.com
    From: shailesh Gandhi Dear Friend, Have initiated a campaign to empower Citizens in Maharashtra with RTI to curb the corruption in EGS. This is presently aimed
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 30, 2005
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      Dear Friend,
      Have initiated a campaign to empower Citizens in Maharashtra with RTI to curb the corruption in EGS. This is presently aimed as a focussed campaign until October 10 to get Citizens to file RTI applications for muster rolls of EGS works. RTI application templates have been made in Marathi langauage and are being sent to various organisations and Citizens with a request to file their own applications, and when they obtain these to conduct their own audits,'chawdi vachan', Jansunwai.
       
            Some friends and organisations have also xeroxed these applications and are reaching them to others. Kumar Ketkar has promised to print the Marathi template in all the Loksatta editions on Monday, 3rd. You could alert friends about this. If we can together manage to get a big rush of applications filed in different parts, a major change can occur. If this interests you, please read the slightly long post below and think of friends you can approach in rural Maharashtra or small towns. The Marathi form and the argument why the information has to be provided to the applicants,- should go on the reverse of the form,- are attached herewith.
       Please do help. If you use your considerable resource to pass on this message to others in this week, it  can make a major impact on EGS, RTI, People empowerment and good governance in Maharashtra. If we succeed the potential for applying this across India may open. Will you please lend your shoulder?
       
      Love
      shailesh
      We are actively distributing these papers to make an attempt to start a RTI movement to empower Citizens. .
       shailesh gandhi
      I am trying to put up the marathi file at www.satyamevajayate.info
       

      ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

      A CITIZEN’S CAMPAIGN TO ENSURE AN EFFECTIVE EGS

       

                                  All of us are aware of corruption being all pervading in our Country. One of the most despicable forms of corruption is looting the money from the poorest starving people of our country. Whereas all forms of corruption must be countered, the one affecting people’s livelihood must be our first priority.  By a confluence of circumstances, some unique events have occurred recently. The National Right To Information Act has been passed by the Parliament and notified. This will be operational from mid-October. The National Rural Empolyment Gaurantee bill has been passed by the Parliament, and there is chorus that the money will all go to the corrupt.

       

                         At this juncture  an honest Collector Manisha Verma has used the method of conducting public readings of muster rolls to verify if the money supposed to be given to people actually reaches them in Solapur. She has discovered proof of huge fraud and tried to punish the guilty. This was resisted, and infact the agriculture department,- where most of the fraud was discovered,- in an orchestrated move protested why only they were being caught, when corruption is a rampant practise! The CM of Maharashtra seized this as an excuse to order stopping of Manisha’s Public audit and has ordered an investigation by a handpicked team. This is a move to teach a lesson to all honest Public officials that any attempt to expose corruption will be resisted.

       

            Maharashtra has been one of the pioneers in the Livelihood (Empolyment) Gaurantee  Scheme. If this had been properly implemented, we would not have seen the shameful deaths of thousands of children due to acute malnutrition. The responsibility for these deaths lies at the doors of those who are denying livelihood to the poorest in the EGS. We have all known about massive fraud in the implementation of EGS. We would  like to reiterate that corruption and fraud are not unique to schemes trying to alleviate people’s poverty,- as has been argued by some fancy economists,- who have been arguing against any schemes which seek to alleviate abject poverty. For Citizens of Maharashtra this is a big opportunity to reinforce Right To Information, and Livelihood Gaurantee, and to make a major contribution for good governance. The way has been shown by Shivaji Raut of Satara. He has obtained EGS muster rolls of 43 villages using RTI, and NCPRI’s investigations in  Poolkoti, Shirtavo and Anphale  villages uncovered fraud. In Poolkoti all the 19 names shown on the muster rolls were bogus, whereas in Shirtavo people who could sign were shown as having put thumb impressions. In Anphale village also a lot of bogus names have been discovered He is now giving the copies from the other villages to other Citizens, to verify them in the other villages for which he has muster rolls.

       

                The Chief Minister has publicly stated  that EGS muster rolls have to be given under RTI. We are now appealing to Citizens in various parts to apply under the Maharashtra  Right To Information Act for EGS muster rolls in a place close to where they are staying. For making the application please use the accompanying form. Put down the address of the

      __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 

       

       ‘Taluka Krishi Adhikari’ or the ‘Sahayak Upvan Sanrakshak’ covenient to you,  fill the application asking for EGS muster rolls for one EGS  work close to you. Affix a 10 rupee Court fee stamp on your application, take a Xerox of your application and submit it, taking care to take an acknowledgement on the Xerox copy. Insist that the date of receipt be mentioned when acknowledging the receipt of application. You should get the information in 15 working days (about 20 days). If Citizens across the State do this simple act, we will make a major impact. When you get the Xerox copy of the muster rolls, you will have to pay for this at the rate of 50 paise per page. For a month it may cost upto Rs.25. Gather a few friends and go to the village where the work is supposed to have been done and ask the villagers if the names on the muster rolls belong to people in the village. Verify if the work has been done, and whether people from the village who have worked have received  their wages as shown in the Muster. Make a report of the discrepancies that you find, contact people from the media and show it to them. You could also take people from the media along with you when verifying the data.

       

                This simple exercise which will require initially about one hour and a 10 rupee  Court fee stamp. Later on it might require upto fifty rupees for the cost of the Xerox copies of the muster rolls. If you wish to limit your expense, ask for information of only one month. Checking the record at a village will  take about  half a day at a village. You can also do this on a holiday. We are hoping that hundreds of Citizens will undertake this simple exercise, which can make a major change in the system of Livelihood generation and for RTI. Organisations can get their members to conduct this exercise, with very great benefits. Please apply as an individual for information. The later activities of checking can be done by a group. The other big benefit will be in terms of the strong signal Maharashtra will give to the whole Country that we the people are now empowered to ensure good governance and act as a shield against corruption.

       

           If possible, do send a postcard or inland letter to one of the  following addresses at the following times: 1. At the time of filing the application: a) Name of person filing the application   b) Date of acknowledgement  c) Information asked of which department and name of village. 2. Results of verification.    This will help to monitor the State wide campaign and suggest action for future.  This is a campaign run at each place independently. If we succeed, we will be on the way to true Swaraj, and an India we can be proud of. If you can please Xerox this set and spread it amongst friends.

       

      shailesh gandhi                                                                         Shivaji Raut

      B2, Gokul Apartment, Podar Road,                                          172/B/10; ST Colony,                                                                                            

      Santacruz(W), Mumbai 400054                                   Near Hotel Monarch, Satara 415001

      Tel: 022 26001003, 09820027305                               Tel: 0216 221556; 09423032256  

       

      Do translate these pages into Marathi, Xerox them and persuade Citizens to exercise this right, presently;  and later conduct an audit to verify the muster rolls. We can make a significant impact.

       

      pg.2

       _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

       

       


       

      Annexture A

      [See rule 6(1)]

      Format of Application form under

      the Maharashtra Right of Information Rules, 2002

      Affix court fee stamp of Rs 10

       

      To

       

      The Public Information Officer,

      Taluka Krishi Adhikari/ Sahayak Upvan Sanrakshak

       

      (Name of the office with address)

       

      (1) Full name of the applicant

       

      (2) Address

       

       

       

      (3) Particulars of information required, -

       

      (i) Subject matter of information: EGS muster rolls

       

      (ii) The period to which the information relates.  April and  May 2005

       

      (iii) Description of the information required :

      Xerox copies of  Muster rolls of EGS works carried out by your department during April and May, 2005

       

      Please see attached note attachment 1 at the reverse of  this application.

       (iv) Whether information is required by post or in person: person

      (The actual postal charges shall be included in additional fees).

       

      (v) In case by post (Ordinary, Registered or Speed).

       

      (vi) Purpose for which the information is required.

      To verify them the EGS muster rolls.

       

      Signature of the applicant.

      Place

      Date

       

      I would like to remind you that I am excercising my fundamental Right which has been properly codified by the Maharashtra Right To Information Act.

       

       

      Pg.3

      ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 

       

       

                                 Attachment 1

      Rule 8.2.5 (clause 3)of the EGS manual requires EGS muster rolls to be displayed publicly. This is based on GR no. 1082/80/desk-37 of 3 September, 1982. 

       

       

       

      Thus there is an obligation to display the muster rolls publicly, under EGS. The EGS muster rolls are ‘information’ as defined under MRTI and since the EGS manual has a provision for public display, there can be no reason to claim any exemption from giving the information.  Also, the Chief Minister has stated categorically that EGS musters have to given against RTI applications . Thus any attempt to delay or deny the information will result in the penal provisions of Section 12 of MRTI being applied. For your convenience, I quote the relevant section:

      12. Penalty

      ( 1 ) Where any Public Information Officer has without any reasonable

      cause, failed to supply the information sought, within the period

      specified under sub-section (2) of section 6, the appellate authority

      may, in appeal impose a penalty of rupees two hundred fifty, for each

      days delay in furnishing the information, after giving such Public

      Information Officer a reasonable opportunity of being heard.

       

      I am sure you will do your duty as per the law of providing the information within 15 working days. For a delay also reasons are required to be provided, and there is no possible reason which can be given for inability to give Xerox copies in the mandated period.

      Pg.4


      Some guidelines for using MRTI for Public audit of EGS muster rolls. You are using a great right,- which is your fundamental right,- to enforce transparency in Governance, your fundamental Right To Information, Livelihood generation and the rule of law. If a lot of us do this, we will have Swaraj. First identify a village convenient to you. Consider  geographical proximity, or where you know some people as important points. Please also find out if EGS work has been undertaken there during April/May of this year, and if so of which department. In most places Agriculture and Forest department works are conducted, but you can also find out if the substantial work in your selected area is from other departments. In that case, apply to the other departments                                                                                                        

      Step1: Fill Annexure A –page no.3. At the top, below the ‘Shasakiya Mahiti Adhikari’ put the designation Taluka Agricultural Officer or Asst. District forest Officer, if it is for EGS works in that department, and their address. You will have to find out the address of this officer. If you like, you could use the form attached with this.

       Fill your name in 1 and your address in 2.  Copy the rest of the form; please sign the application, fix a ten rupee court fee stamp in the top right corner, and take a xerox copy of this. You can submit the application in person and take the acknowledgement from the office on the Xerox copy.

      In about twenty days time, the Public Information officer will intimate to you that you have to pay 50 paise per page of Xerox copy of EGS muster roll. The number of pages for a month, is usually less than 50. Please pay the amount at the designated office and take delivery of the muster roll and get ready for your Jansunwai. Go to the village at a convenient time and try to verify its accuracy. A few tips are given here:  You can ask people if they received the wages given in the muster. The wages shown in the muster are paid partly in terms of wheat- 5 kg. Per day worked and this is valued at Rs.5 per kg. The daily rate is mentioned in the muster as also total number of days worked by the individual. Check if they received the wheat and the money as stated in the muster. Sometimes bogus names are put on the muster. Ask villagers who had worked on the EGS site if the names mentioned belong to their village or a neighbouring village. Also, ask them if the work was done by people or by machines. Another way of checking is whether the total number of workers shown on the muster is close to the number which they confirm were working at the site. There may be other methods of defrauding that you might discover. At some sites everything might be alright. Please realize that even then, this will be a worthwhile exercise, since it will lead to Citizen empowerment and result in a move towards greater transparency. Also, this will act as a guard against future corruption.

      If you discover any major discrepancies during your public audits, please try and explain to those whose Livelihood has been affected illegally, the extent and amount which has been denied to them, provide this information to the local press and send us the information at the address provided. After some time, do try and repeat this exercise.

       

      shailesh gandhi                                                                         Shivaji Raut

      B2, Gokul Apartment, Podar Road,                                          172/B/10; ST Colony,                                                                                            

      Santacruz(W), Mumbai 400054                                   Near Hotel Monarch, Satara 415001

      Tel: 022 26001003, 09820027305                               Tel: 0216 221556; 09423032256  

      Email: shailesh@...

        pg.4
      ___________________________________


      Please join
      National Campaign for People's Right To Information -NCPRI
      Mera Bharat Mahaan...
                           Nahi Hai,
      Per Yeh Dosh Mera Hai.
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