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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.

 

Misc News/Press Release

CM Jairam Thakur Tests Positive for COVID-19, Quarantined

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HImachal Pradesh CM Tests Positive for COVID-19

Shimla-Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Jairam Thakur, have tested positive for COVID-19 and has been quarantined at his official residence. The report was confirmed by the Chief Minister through a tweet in which he informed that he was under quarantine at his residence after coming into contact with a COVID-19 positive person. On the appearance of symptoms, he got himself tested and the report was found to be positive, he informed.

According to the initial report, the Chief Minister had come in contact with some COVID-19 positive persons in Manali. MLA of Banjar, Surinder Shourie, who was positive for COVID-19 had participated in the event organized on the occasion of the inauguration of Rohtang Tunnel, had also tested positive. Shourie had spent the entire day with the Chief Minister, reports said.

His private secretary had also tested positive, and there are chances that the Chief Minister might have contracted the infection from him. However, there is no certainty regarding the contact who infected the Chief Minister.

Other than Chief Minister, three Cabinet ministers – Urban Development Minister Suresh Bharadwaj, Power Minister Sukh Ram Chaudhary, Jalshakti Minister Mahender Singh- have tested positive so far.  Over ten MLAs have already tested positive and some of them have recovered too.

Meanwhile, despite community spread, the testing and tracing seem to have fallen and the fatality rate has witnessed a steep rise. Till 12 pm today, the COVID-19 death tally for the state was 245, and the total number of cases registered was 17414. But these are official statistics and these numbers are likely to be much higher. 

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Himachal: COVID-19 Kills 59 in 9 Days, Govt Still Clueless About Actual Number of Cases

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Himachal PRadesh Jairam Thakur

Shimla-COVID-19 continue to wreak havoc in Himachal Pradesh as the death tally spirals upward rapidly. Currently, 240 people have lost their lives due to COVID-19. Fifty nine of these deaths have been reported during the last nine days of October month, which is quite alarming. But contrary to that, the attitude of the state government, as well as, the public is becoming more casual. The SOPs issued by the government are hardly being followed anywhere. The fact that with the community spread, the cases of COVID-19 are falling in the official information released by the state Health Department.

On October 9, the Department traced only 199 cases but reported seven deaths. The total number of active cases was cited to be 2856. The deceased included three females and four males aged between 49 -75 years. View details of the deceased in the below-given table:

Shimla-covid-19 deaths in himachal pradesh

The total number of cases, as per the official statistics, had reached 16977 till yesterday evening (9 PM). But these are official statistics and the real number is likely to be much higher due to a community spread. Similarly, the actual number of COVID-19 deaths could be higher than the official statistics. Despite it, the state government is reluctant to release any projection regarding the real numbers. No statements have been issued regarding the current situation and strategy to combat the rising fatality rate. Rather, the state appears to be refraining from bringing up the matter.

The oppositions, HP Congress and CPI (M), are targeting the government over its failure to combat the spread of COVID-19. However, this opposition is quite feeble and hasn’t resulted in any reforms in the attitude of the government.

In a statement to media, Sanjay Chauhan, former Mayor of Shimla and a senior CPI (M) leader, said that the rise in fatalities is the result of the government’s lackadaisical attitude. The suicide committed by a positive patient at the DDU COVID-19 hospital is evidence of it, he said. He said this approach has endangered health lives of ministers, officials, and the staff at their offices. Further, he said, health staff, paramedical staff, and police staff are getting infected, and even losing lives due to the government’s unpreparedness.  The government had even compromised the safety of the Prime Minister and Education Minister by violating norms set regarding COVID-19, he said.

HP Congress chief, Kuldeep Rathor also expressed shock over the presence of COVID-19 positive MLA of Banjar, Surender Shourie, in the event organized for the PM. He alleged that by violating all norms, the MLA concealed information regarding his COVID-19 positive status and did not quarantine himself, which reflects the state government’s attitude toward management of the corona pandemic. He had demanded registration of an FIR against Shourie and action against erring officials.

Sanjay Chauhan, further said that the government did not prepare itself to combat the pandemic the way it was expected to. The people of the state had followed the lockdown and sacrificed their livelihood with a hope that the government would prepare itself during this period to combat the spread and to strengthen the health infrastructure and services. But instead, the government indulged itself in making people clap and beat ‘thalis’.  The Chief Minister adopted and preached unscientific practices like performing a ‘havan’.  Despite a steep rise in fatalities, the government is still not serious about the situation, he said. 

He said the CPI (M) demands that the government starts working on war footing to prepare a strategy by involving health experts, strengthening the health services by recruiting doctors, para-medical and other staff, and constitute a task force to deal with the situation. The government should work diligently on following the norms set for prevention from COVID-19, he added.  

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Shocker for Himachal as Ex-CBI Chief & Governor Ashwani Kumar Found Dead at His Shimla Residence

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Himachal IPS Officer Ashwani Kumar found deat in shimla

Shimla-Ashwani Kumar – 1973 IPS officer from Himachal Pradesh cadre who had served as the Director-General of HP Police (2006-2008) and CBI chief (August 2008 to November 2010), and was later appointed the Governor of Nagaland in 2013-was found dead at his residence in Shimla on Wednesday evening. The news came as a shocker as Kumar was considered as one of India’s finest and honest officers.

Superintendent of Police, Shimla, Mohit Chawala, in statement to news agencies, confirmed the report. According to the initial report, he reportedly hanged himself and ended his life. However, no formal statement was issued regarding the suicide. According to the police, a suicide note was also recovered from the spot. However, the note was yet to be verified.

Kumar was a well known name as he had dealt with famous cases including that of Arushi Talwar murder and fake encounter of Sohrabuddin Sheikh in which current Home Minister Amit Shah was arrested in 2010.

He was one of the first appointees made to resign from the post of Governor, Nagaland, as soon as the current ruling party came into power in 2014. He also remained Governor of Manipur for a short period of time. After his retirement, Kumar was serving as the Vice-Chancellor of a private university in Shimla.

The officials who have served under Aswani Kumar have expressed shock over his demise in such a manner. 

Director-General of Police, Sanjay Kundu, and a team of medical staff was rushed to the spot. More details are awaited as the district police have not issued any formal statement regarding the incident.

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