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PM Modi’s Twitter handle for tours, speeches, updates only; not for complaints, says RTI

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PMO Modi Twitter Handle RTI

When PM Modi’s household chorus is being looked after by the government staff, then his personal Twitter handle should also be looked after by the govt. staff, he argued.

New Delhi: The Office of the Prime Minister of India, in a reply to an RTI ,  said its official Twitter handle is not meant for entertaining the complaints or issues raised by the public. The PMO’s primary purpose of being on social media is to Tweet about his travels, speeches, and updates from Ministries, it said.

Interestingly, the claims of the PM regarding transparency were failed by his own office again. First, the activist was not given any reply. After the first appeal, the Office took 150 days to answer basic queries that could have been answered within 10 days, said the activist. 

The activist suggested the Office was reluctant in revealing the details. This information received by the RTI activist Dev Ashish Bhattacharya as reply to his queries related to the official (@pmo) and personal (@narendramodi) Twitter handles of the PM Narendra Modi opposes the flagship Digital India campaign launched by the NDA government.

Scroll Down to Read the Copies of Original RTI, Appeal, Orders and Reply 

Despite very regular activity on both the Twitter handles, the PMO said it does not have any designated staff to look after them.

The activist has questioned the functioning of the handle after several of his Tweets, in which the official as well as personal handles of the PM were tagged, were not attended. The activist argued that while he received a positive response from the Twitter handles of other cabinet ministers about the grievances and issues raised by him, the PMO did not even bothered to respond to them.

 The dream of digital India of the PM Narendra Modi is being demolished in his own office,

said the activist.

I used to take in loop the official and personal handles of the PM in my Tweets relating to various administrative lapses since long because I had a nice experience with respect to the Twitter handles of Suresh Prabhu (@sureshprabhu) and Sushma Swaraj (@sushmaswaraj). Everytime I looped in them for any query the response came at once,

the activist added.

Disappointed by the indifference shown by the PMO towards his Tweets, the activist sought information from the Chief Public Information Officer (CPIO) regarding the operation of the handles through an RTI application on May 03, 2017.

The activist sought the following information:

  • Who monitor the Twitter handle of PMO India and Narendra Modi (@narendramodi)?
  • How many Tweets were received by the PMO and personal handle of the PM Modi from Dev Ashish Bhattacharya (@rtidab) during last 15 days?
  • What action was taken on these Tweets from his Twitter handle @rtidab?

On June 7, the activist said, the CPIO of the PMO sent an interim reply stating that his RTI application was being processed by the PMO and the information shall be sent to him as soon as possible.

He waited till the end of July for a response that did not arrive. Then he filed the First Appeal on August 24 to the First Appellate Authority.

On his appeal, the First Appellate Authority of the PMO on August 10 directed the CPIO to release the information within 15 days.

I received the sought information on 13 October 2017 – after 150 days against the stipulated period of 30 days,

he said. 

The information provided by the PMO said that the personal Twitter handle of the PM is not maintained by the PMO or Govt. of India.

The reply further said there is no designated officer to handle the PMO’s social media presence.

The PMO primarily uses the official Twitter handle to disseminate news on PM’s travels, speeches and various updates received from various Ministries/Departments only, and that no complaints etc. are entertained on the official handle, said the Office in the reply.

The PMO further said that only the concerned officer dealing with the subject provides the inputs. For complaints, the Office said there are separate online portals to submit complaints/grievances. 

The activist argues that if there is no designated officer in the PM Office to handle the official Twitter account, then who updates or posts the inputs received from various Ministries and Departments.

When the Twitter accounts of other Ministers are responsive on various issues raised by the citizens, then why the Twitter account of the PMO is non-responsive, asks the activist.

Modi is the full time PM of India, and his personal Twitter handle cannot be an isolated private entity. When his household chorus is being looked after by the government staff, then his personal Twitter handle should also be looked after by the govt. staff, he argued.

Further, the activist said the CPIO gave a simple response to his RTI queries, which should not have taken more than 10 days.  He questions such unusual delay in responding to the RTI.

The activist concluded that this delay might have resulted due to time taken to manipulate facts.

However, in totality, the information provided by the CPIO of the PMO after 150 days seems to be a cover up, and it seems that the PM Modi does not know about this matter, said Bhattacharya.

The activist expressed doubts that the relevant issues and complaints are deliberately ignored by the PMO on social media.   

The PMO is, it seems, knowingly creating a one way conversation through the personal and official Twitter handles of the PM in order to remain out of touch from the sentiments of the citizens of India,

said the activist.

 

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Himachal Records a Sharp Spike in Daily New Covid Cases and Deaths, Two More Test Positive for Omicron

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Shimla-Himachal Pradesh on Monday witnessed a major jump in the number of both daily Covid-19 positive people and Covid-19 related deaths. While the state recorded 2446 new cases, six people died due to Covid-19 related illnesses in the last 24 hours. The Kangra district reported four of these days. The Covid-19 death toll has jumped to 3880 in the state and the active cases to 12142.

Further, Solan (359) reported the highest number of cases, followed by Kangra (348), Mandi (312), and Sirmaur (310). The capital reported 289 new cases.

Himachal Pradesh has also reported two new cases of the Omicron variant. Both cases were reported from the Una district where two people had returned from foreign countries. Reportedly, one of them had returned from Dubai and the other from France. So far, the state has recorded three cases of the Omicron variant, according to the official statistics.

Daily Covid-19 Report Issued by HP NHM for January 17, 2022 (Till 7 pm)

Omicron cases in Himachal pradesh

The daily sampling, however, remains low despite a rise in positivity rate. On Monday, according to the statistics of the HP Health Department, 12,850 samples were taken. Chief Minister Jairam Thakur had been directing the officials to increase testing, but the number remains below 15, 000 per day.

According to the official statistics, last week (10 Jan – 16 Jan), Himachal Pradesh had reported 11280 new cases and the positivity rate rose to 14.1%.

Though the HP Government has imposed some Covid-19 restrictions, the entry of visitors to the state was yet to be restricted or regulated.

The surge is likely to continue till the third wave of the pandemic peaks in Himachal. Health experts and the state government had already warned about the advent of the third wave.

The government and experts had been urging the people to follow Covid-appropriate behavior and follow related protocols strictly to minimize the impact of the third wave. However, the compliance was reported to be quite low among all sections of the society and within the government itself.

The daily sampling, however, remains low despite rise in the positivity rate. On Monday, according to the statistics of the HP Health Department, 12,850 samples were taken. Chief Minister Jairam Thakur had been directing the officials to increase testing, but the number still remains below 15, 000.

According to the official statistics, last week (10 Jan – 16 Jan), Himachal Pradesh had reported 11280 new cases and the positivity rate had risen to 14.1%.

Though the HP Government has imposed some Covid-19 restrictions, the entry of visitors to the state was yet to be restricted or regulated.

The surge is likely to continue till the third wave of the pandemic peaks in Himachal. Health experts and the state government had already warned about the advent of third wave.

The government and experts had been urging the people to follow Covid-appropriate behavior and follow related protocols strictly to minimize the impact of the third wave. However, the compliance was reported to be quite low among all sections of the society and within the government itself.

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HP Cabinet Decisions Jan 14, 2022: No New Covid Restrictions, Nod to Tax Waiver for Transporters & Other Decisions

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HP Cabinet Decisions January 14, 2022

Shimla-A meeting of the Himachal Pradesh Cabinet was held on January 14, 2022. It was expected that the state government could take a decision on imposing more Covid-19 restriction considering the sudden surge in daily new cases, however no such decision was taken. 

The Cabinet took various decisions including a nod to dispense with the process of 15 marks evaluation and enhancement of weightage of written test from 85 to 100 marks for direct recruitment to Class-III posts.

Tax Waivers for Transporters

The Cabinet gave its ex post facto approval for 100 percent waiver/ exemption of Token Tax, Special Road Tax and Passenger Tax of various categories of vehicles to provide relief to the transporters keeping in view the effect due to corona pandemic.

HP Cabinet decided to waive of remaining 50 percent Token Tax on Stage Carriage, Taxi, Maxi, Auto and Contract Carriage buses, Institutional Buses and 100 percent Token Tax on Contract Carriage Buses and Special Road Tax on Stage Carriage with effect from 1st August 2020 to 30th June 2021. I

The Cabinet also decided to waive off 100 percent Token Tax on Stage Carriage, Contract Carriage and Institutional Buses and Special Road Tax of Stage Carriage with effect from 1st July 2021 to 30th November 2021.

It also decided to waive off 100 passenger tax on contract carriage and institutional buses with effect from 1st April 2020 to 30th November 2021.

The HP Cabinet gave its approval for restructuring of State Taxes and Excise Department. Creation and filling up of posts would be carried out by the Department in a phased manner in consultation with the Finance Department and sync with the restructuring proposal.

The Cabinet gave its approval to fill up 108 posts of different categories in the Revenue Department on a contract basis.

The Cabinet decided to fill up 42 posts of Silk Inspectors in the Industries Department on a contract basis.

The Cabinet decided to fill up 13 posts of different categories in the Printing and Stationery Department.

It decided to fill up three posts of Statistical Assistant in Revenue Department on contract basis.

Relief to Flood Affected Farmers of Lahaul-Spiti

The Cabinet gave its nod to provide relief to flood-affected farmers of Lahaul-Spiti district for current agriculture and horticulture losses caused due to extensive rains on 27th to 30th July last year. The farmers would be provided Rs.2000 per bigha for losses between 25 to 50 percent, Rs. 2500 per bigha for losses between 50 to 75 percent and Rs. 3000 per bigha for losses to agricultural and horticultural crops above 75 percent. Rs. 3000 per bigha would also be provided to farmers for losses to their lands caused due to landslides/flash floods/avalanches etc. and Rs. 1000 per bigha would be provided for the desilting of agricultural and horticultural lands. 

It also gave planning permission for the construction of the PHC building between Lions Club and Housing Block No. 46 in Sector 6 New Shimla with relaxation beyond permissible norms in the public interest.

HP Swaran Jayanti Energy Policy-2021

HP Swaran Jayanti Energy Policy-2021 for clean and green energy development through expeditious of full energy potential especially hydro and solar. The Government aims to add 10000 MW of green energy through hydro, solar and other green energy sources by 2030 and the development of green energy sources

It also aimed at developing a transmission Master Plan to facilitate planning and timely execution of hydro and solar projects. It also lays stress on renewal energy sources viz. solar, wind, biomass and other non-conventional energy sources.

HP Swarnim Jayanti Sports Policy 2021

The Cabinet gave its approval to the Himachal Pradesh Swarnim Jayanti Sports Policy 2021 to develop and maintain sports infrastructure, encourage public-private participation in creating sports infrastructure, coordinate with educational institutions for the promotion of sports and to encourage, train and support sportspersons for participation and excellence in national and international championships with high standards of ethics. 

 

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Covid Restrictions Increase as Himachal Reports a Big Spike With 1200 New Cases in 24 Hours

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covid restrictions in himachal pradesh 2022

Shimla-Himachal Pradesh is witnessing a sudden spike in the number of daily Covid-19 positive cases as warned by the health experts and the government. In a span of eight days, the rate of new cases has jumped to more than double.

On Monday, of the total 9942 samples tested for Covid-19, 1200 were found to be positive with two Covid-19 deaths.  This number was below 500 on Sunday.

The surge has come ahead of the `warning of the third wave which is expected to peak by the March-end.

The state government has begun to increase restrictions as a precautionary measure. But the most crucial measure – restrictions on visitors from outside the state- is yet to be attended. Currently, Hill state is reporting a huge footfall of tourists due to snowfall. All tourist destinations are crowded with tourists as it’s the peak season. The imposition of restrictions on visitors would affect the tourism industry.

Also Read: HP Govt Closes Educational Institutes in State in Wake of Surge in Daily Covid-19 Cases

The HP Government has already imposed a night curfew, closed all educational institutes, banned all social and religious gatherings and imposed conditions on the number of people for those which have been allowed, shifted to a 5-day week for the government offices with only 50% attendance. Further, timings of the opening of the markets/shops have also been modified. However, these restrictions wouldn’t apply to chemists/medical stores. These restrictions would remain in force till January 26, 2022. 

Also Read: HP Govt Offices to Operate 5-Days a Week with 50% Attendance, Ban on Social and Religious Gatherings

In the Shimla district, the shops/markets would be allowed to open between 10 am to 7 pm.  However, motor mechanics are allowed to remain open till 11 pm. Similarly, restaurants can remain open till 10 pm, and those located along the National Highways till 11 pm.

In the Una district, all shops/markets except some would be allowed to open only till 6:30 pm and will remain closed on Saturday.

The district administration of Hamirpur has decided this timing to be between 6 am to 6 pm. The markets would remain closed on Saturday and Sunday except for those selling essentials.

For the Kullu district, shops/markets would remain open till 6: 30 pm and 6 pm in Solan. Similarly, administrations of respective districts have the liberty to create their roaster for these timings.

The return of these restrictions to the state and the warning of more daily cases during the next couple of months is causing a panic in the public, worsened by speculations of a possible lockdown in stock.

 

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