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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.

 

Campus Watch

As major achievement, Nauni varsity scientists bag International project on oilseed research

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Nauni varsity scientists bags international project

Solan: Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni, was in news last week after Jagriti Thakur, a research scholar at the varsity, won US-based International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) Scholar Award for the year 2018.

This week, in a major achievement, the scientists of Department of Plant Pathology at the UHF, have bagged an International collaborative project on developing cutting-edge technology for inducing biotic and abiotic stress tolerance in mustard rape for economic and environmental sustainability.

The University will work with nine leading research organisations of the country besides seven renowned research institutes of United Kingdom in the project. The three-year project has a total budget outlay of more than Rs 7.27 crore as Indian component, which will be distributed to the 10 Indian institutes, which are part of the project. Each Indian institute will work on a different aspect of the project with a researcher working on the same area in the UK.

The project has been sanctioned under the prestigious NEWTON BHABHA Fund UK- India Pulses and Oilseed Research Initiative (PORI). The fund has been created by BBSRC of the Government of the United Kingdom and the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, GoI.

BBSRC which is a part of UK Research and Innovation, a body which works in partnership with universities, research organisations and government for promoting research and innovation is also making upto £3.5 million available to support the UK components of this research.

Dr HR Gautam, Professor and Head of Department of Plant Pathology informed that Dr Anil Handa, Professor of Plant Pathology will be the Principal Investigator and coordinator of this project while Dr Rajnish Sharma working in the Department of Biotechnology will act as the Co-Investigator.

He added that this achievement is one of the cherished moments in 55 years history of the department. Dr JN Sharma, UHF Director of Research, said that the University is making continuous efforts to get projects from various funding agencies and engage in collaborative work to strengthen the research capabilities and infrastructure.

India is one of the major producers and consumers of oilseeds crops in the world. The university scientists will work on ‘Genomics-led improvement of biotic and abiotic stress tolerance in mustard rape for economic and environmental sustainability’ by utilizing state-of-art advanced molecular approaches like CRISPER/Cas9 for mapping the genes conferring resistance to turnip mosaic virus (TuMV).

UHF Nauni Lab

The Plant Virology laboratory of the Department of Plant Pathology

The Plant Virology laboratory of the Department of Plant Pathology is an internationally acclaimed laboratory and has facilities for conducting molecular level research for determining the genetic diversity of TuMV in Northern India and developing a panel of Indian TuMV isolates for evaluating European and Indian sources of resistance.

Besides Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Nauni, the University of Delhi, South Campus; NIPGR, New Delhi; NBPGR, New Delhi; NRCPB, New Delhi; IARI, New Delhi; PAU, Ludhiana; CAZRI, Jodhpur; DRMR, Bharatpur and IIT Kharagpur will be a part of the project. The University of York, University of Hertfordshire, University of Warwick, University of Essex, Earlham Institute and Rothamsted Research will be the investigators from the United Kingdom.

While congratulating the scientists, UHF Vice-Chancellor Dr HC Sharma said that the project will go a long way in using the latest techniques in biotechnology for disease management to increase the productivity of oilseed crops. This project will also help train our students in using molecular markers for crop improvement.

Through this collaborative project, efforts are being made to encourage multi-institutional collaborations between UK and Indian researchers to undertake high-quality research aimed at increasing crop productivity, resilience, sustainability and quality of pulses and oilseeds grown for food or feed in India. Pulses and oilseeds are important crops in India.

Pulses are relatively under-used crops in the UK but are a major source of dietary protein in India. Oilseeds are grown in both countries and are a valuable source of oil for a variety of uses, as well as animal feed. This collaborative project aims to develop exploit genomic and bioinformatic resources to aid the development of improved varieties for sustainable crop production.

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MoU to construct Naina Devi-Anandpur Sahib ropeway signed

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naina devi-anandpur sahib ropeway mou signed

Shimla: A Memorandum Of Understanding (MoU) to build ropeway between Shri Naina Devi and Shri Anandpur Sahib was signed by Additional Chief Secretary Tourism Ram Subhag Singh, Himachal Pradesh and Secretary Tourism Punjab Vikas Pratap Singh, in Chandigarh today.

The MOU in the presence of Himachal Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur and his Punjab counterpart Captain Amrinder Singh.

This ropeway will be constructed by Shri Naina Devi and Sri Anandpur Sahib Ji Ropeway Company Pvt Ltd with an estimated cost of Rs. 210 crores. The ropeway would cover a distance of 3.5 km.

A 10-member Board of Directors would be formed, and each government would nominate five members. The Chairman of the Board of Directors would be nominated by the Punjab government and the Managing Director would be appointed by the Himachal government. Both the governments will deposit 50 Lakhs each as an initial investment.

Chief Minister said that the lower terminal of this project would be at Rampur near Shri Anandpur Sahib, the Intermediate station will be at Toba in Himachal and the upper terminal point would be at Shri Naina Devi. The tourism departments of both the states would work as nodal agencies for this work.

The Tourism and Local Bodies Ministers Navjot Singh Sidhu said that inking of MoU by both the Chief Ministers on the auspicious birthday of Sheed-e- Azam Bhagat Singh is a big gift to the mankind.

In 2012-13, the efforts were made to build this ropeway and 14 acres of land was also acquired for this but due to some circumstances, the work could not be completed.

Naina Devi is one of the 52 famous Shakti Peethas of the country and is one of the most prominent religious places for not only the peoples of the country but the entire world. Likewise, Shri Anandpur Sahib is also a prominent international the religious place.

This project would boost the tourism sector in both the states alongwith strengthening the bond between two states besides facilitating the devotees visiting these two religious places.

It was informed that 80 percent pilgrims come to Shri Naina Devi from Punjab and during last one year, 20 Lakh devotees paid their obeisance in this Shakti Peeth.

The Chief Minister informed that for the construction of this impending ropeway, the matter had been taken up with his Punjab counterpart Captain Amarinder Singh on February 26, 2018.

The Chief Minister of Punjab said that with the construction of this ropeway the pilgrims of Punjab would get rid of the difficulty in reaching Shri Naina Devi.

He said that people of both the states would like to see this project completed at earliest and three year’s time frame has been fixed for its completion.

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Himachal suffers Rs. 1479 crore losses in 4 days alone, Centre releases Rs. 122 crore for rehabilitation

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Monsoon losses in Himachal pradesh in 2018

Shimla: Himachal Pradesh has suffered losses of about Rs. 1479 crore and during the last four days alone. Five choppers of Indian Air Force had been pressed into service to evacuate the stranded tourists and local people.

Chief Minister, who chaired a review meeting today, informed that the Centre Government has released Rs. 122 crore as the first instalment for the State for undertaking immediate rehabilitation measures.

himachal cm in meeting

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur during meeting held today

Over one thousand people have been rescued from Lahaul valley out of these 147 have been airlifted and remaining have been evacuated by road.

He said the road would be cleared upto Baralacha by this evening. All the rescued people were being taken for medical examinations. Efforts were being made to restore communication network in Lahaul valley.

He directed the officers to ensure adequate availability of essential commodities in the valley. He said that a team of BSNL would visit Sisu today for the restoration of communication in the area. The Government has assured all possible help to the BSNL in restoration work.

Out of 18 towers of BSNL in the valley, seven were working properly.

It was informed in the meeting that 18000-litre petrol and 27000-litre diesel was made available. LPG and other food items were also in sufficient quantity. It was informed in the meeting that water Supply to Manali has been restored and Lahaul valley was also almost restored.

Till the electricity supply was restored in the valley, efforts would be made to provide solar lamps and lights to the people, it was informed. Small transformers would be airlifted from Kullu to replace damaged transformers.

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