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,
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.
HP Govt Employees to Get Higher Pay Scale on Completion of Two Years of Service: CM Jairam
Shimla-Himachal Pradesh Government employees working in different departments before January 3, 2022, would be given a higher scale at par with other employees on completion of two years tenure of regular service. A higher pay scale was also announced for the Junior Office Assistants (IT) on completion of two years of regular service.
Chief Minister Jairam Thakur made these announcements during the Karamchari Maha Sammelan of the Himachal Pradesh Non-Gazetted Employees Federation at the hotel Peterhof on Sunday.
He appreciated the role played by the employee especially frontline workers in the battle against the pandemic.
He said most of the government employees in the state have been given revised pay scales and on average, every employee has got the benefit of a 12 to 15 percent salary hike. There has also been an increase in the pension of about 1.50 lakh pensioners of the state. The financial benefits of Rs. 7801 crore have been given to state government employees and pensioners from the year 2018 to 2022. The pensioners who retired before 2016 are getting the benefit of a 15 to 20 percent increase in the pension while around 40 thousand pensioners who retired after 2016 would be benefitted soon, he said.
He said the daily wages were Rs. 210 in the year 2017 which has been increased by the present state government to Rs. 350. Similarly, 12 per cent interim relief annually has been provided to government employees and pensioners during the present government’s tenure. He said the Himachal government has provided Dearness Allowance to its employees and pensioners on the lines of Punjab and Central governments from the due date. The Punjab government has given only 5 percent interim relief to the employees while the Himachal government has provided 21 percent interim relief to its employees.
“Out of the total interim relief amount given to the employees and pensioners amounting to about Rs. 6500 crore, Rs. 3500 crore has been paid during the tenure of our government” added the Chief Minister.
He said that the state government has increased the government contribution for NPS employees from 10 percent to 14 percent benefitting more than one lakh employees. The NPS employees are being given the benefits of retirement and death gratuity at par with employees falling under the old pension scheme. The government has also increased the upper limit of death gratuity from Rs. 10 lakh to Rs. 20 lakh.
The Chief Minister said the state government has also increased the honorarium of para-workers working in various departments. The salary of outsource workers has been hiked by Rs 1,500 per month.
Non-Gazetted Employees Federation President Ashwani Thakur thanked the Chief Minister for providing various financial and other benefits to different categories of government employees.
Most Covid Restrictions to be Lifted From March 31, Mask and Hand Hygiene to Continue
New Delhi-The Centre has issued a notification to the States informing that the provisions of the Disaster Management (DM) Act, 2005 will not be invoked in the country after March 31. The Union Health Ministry said that the use of face masks and following hand hygiene will continue.
It implies that most of the Covid-related rules and restrictions would end.
Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla issued the notification which said that the decision was taken following the overall improvement in the situation and the preparedness of the government in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, local authorities and State police can still invoke fines and criminal cases against persons violating COVID-19 norms under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), a senior government official said.
The DM Act was invoked on March 24, 2020, due to the pandemic
“Over the last seven weeks or so there has been a steep decline in the number of cases. The total caseload in the country stands at 23,913 only and the daily positivity rate has declined to 0.28%. It is also worth mentioning that with the combined efforts, a total of 181.56 Cr vaccine doses have been administered,” the notification said.
“I would like to mention that in view of the nature of the disease, we still need to remain watchful of the situation. Wherever any surge in the number of cases is observed, the States/UTs may consider taking prompt and proactive action at a local level, as advised by MoHFW (Health Ministry) from time to time,” the notification said.
The Indian government had issued various guidelines and measures for the first time on March 24, 2020, under the Disaster Management Act to curb the COVID-19 situation in the country, which have been modified several times thereafter.
India currently has 23,087 active COVID-19 cases and recorded 1,778 new cases and 62 deaths in the last 24 hours. The daily positivity rate has also declined to 0.28%.
HP Cabinet Decisions: Country Liquor Made Cheaper in New Excise Policy, Read All Decisions
Shimla-A meeting of the Himachal Pradesh Cabinet was held on March 20, 2022, under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur.
The excise policy for the financial year 2022-23 was approved. Approval was also given for the renewal of retail excise vends in the state for the financial year 2022-23 at the renewal fees of 4% of the value of unit/vend.
The State Government said that wants to enhance the government revenue and curb the smuggling of country liquor from the neighbouring states by a reduction in its price.
The brands of Country Liquor will be cheaper as license fees have been reduced. This will help in providing good quality liquor at a cheaper rate to the consumers.
In the new excise policy, the 15% fixed quota of country liquor for manufacturers and bottlers to be supplied to the retail licensees has been abolished. According to the government, this step will give the retail licensees to lift their quota from the suppliers of their choice and further assure the supply of good quality country liquor at competitive prices. The MRP of country liquor will be cheaper by 16% of the existing price.
In this year’s policy, the Gaudhan Vikas Nidhi Fund has been enhanced by Re.1/- from the existing Rs.1.50 to Rs.2.50.
The fixed annual license fee of Bars has been rationalized by abolishing the area-specific slabs of license fee. Now throughout the State, there will be uniform license slabs based upon the room capacity in hotels.
Rates of the annual fixed license fee of Bars in the tribal areas has been reduced considerably.
Further, all the above stakeholders will have to install CCTV cameras at their establishments as it was made mandatory for them.
Wholesale vends and retail vends, the penalty provisions under the H.P. Excise Act, 2011 have been made more stringent.
An end to end online Excise Administration System would be established in Himachal Pradesh, the government said.
HP Government estimates a collection of Rs 2131 crore revenue during the year, which will be Rs. 264 crores higher than the financial year 2021-22 – growth of 14% in state excise revenues.
The Cabinet also gave its nod to amend Himachal Pradesh Disaster Relief Manual-2012 to include deaths due to biting of honey bees, hornet and wasps, accidental drowning and deaths due to accidents of vehicles (including land, water and air) under this Manual.
The Cabinet gave its approval for filling up 11 posts of ‘A’ Class Tehsildar in Revenue Department through direct recruitment on regular basis through Himachal Pradesh Public Service Commission.
HP State Toll Policy 2022-23
The HP Cabinet also gave its nod to HP State Toll Policy for the year 2022-23 which envisages auction cum tender for all the toll barriers in the State. During the year 2021-22, toll revenue has registered a growth of 20 percent of the previous year’s revenue.