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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

Video: On Duty Policemen Thrashed by Group of Miscreants in Shimla

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Youth clash with shimla police on holi

Shimla- Two policemen were reportedly injured after a dozen of miscreants clashed with them during Holi celebrations on the Ridge Shimla today.  The celebrations were foiled with violence and hurling of vulgar abuses. The scene was captured by a local on a mobile phone, and the video is being circulated on social media.  

As per the Shimla Police, today some people were celebrating the Holi at the Ridge Shimla. At about 12.15 PM, a group of some youth were spotted creating a ruckus, and when the policemen tried to stop them, they clashed with the police and beat them brutally. Two of the policemen were reportedly injured.

Deputy Superintendent of Police, Shimla, Pramod Shukla confirmed the report. The youths were said to be drunk.

As per initial reports, one of the accused was detained, while remaining accomplices fled the scene. There was no word on the identity of the culprits yet. The police said the rush on the Ridge made it difficult to identify them.

An FIR was filed at the Sadar Police Station under Sections 353,332,147,149 of the IPC for the assault and obstructing on-duty police officials. The police said further investigation is in progress.  

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UHF Nauni Station Becomes India’s ‘Lead Centre of Dahlia Testing’

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Dahlia in full bloom at RHRTS Dhaulakuan

Solan- As good news for the farmers of Himachal Pradesh engaged in floriculture, the Regional Horticulture Research and Training Station (RHRTS), Dhaulakuan of the Dr YS Parmar University and Forestry (UHF), Nauni, has been designated as the ‘Lead Centre of Dahlia Testing’ in the country.

As per the university, this is a big shot in the arm for Dahlia cultivation in the state as the flower has been introduced in Himachal for the first time under the project. The research conducted at the station could pave the way for its adoption by farmers for commercial cultivation.

The Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority (PPV&FRA) of the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers’ Welfare, GoI has given the prestigious national level designation to the research station.

The status of National level Lead entre of dahlia testing is a big achievement for the station as Dahlia is among the most admired winter flowering plant. It is a recognition of the work carried out at the research station and is expected to catalyze commercial cultivation of this flower in the state,

said Dr AK Joshi, Associate Director RHRTS, Dhaulakuan.

He added that several cultivars will be added to the present germplasm and farmers will be able to get rooted plants in the future. UHF Vice-Chancellor Dr HC Sharma and Director Research Dr JN Sharma congratulated the scientists.

The research station forayed into floriculture in 2012, mainly in ornamental plants, but has since made rapid strides in this area. In 2016-17, under a PPV&FRA funded project worth Rs. 18 lakh, over 50 cultivars of dahlia of different shapes, colours, sizes and categories were introduced at the station from different reliable nurseries and departments from Uttarakhand and adjoining areas.

Elaborating on the research, Dr Priyanka Thakur, Principal Floriculturist and main investigator of the project told that the objectives were the development of Distinctness, Uniformity and Stability (DUS) testing guidelines of dahlia and evaluation of species/ cultivars. The morphological characterization, development of DUS testing guidelines and the establishment of DUS centre for dahlia at the station is presently underway.

The farmers of Himachal can adopt this new crop for cut flower as well as pot plant production, which can not only help in diversification but also boost the economy and raise farm incomes.

The newly introduced dahlia cultivars are suitable for pot plant production, borders, mass plantations and cut flowers etc. Cultivars like Matungini, Mother Teresa, Sister Nivedita, Tenzin, Suryadeva, Jishu, Gilody, SP Kamla have been found suitable for low hill conditions. Matungini, Jishu, Sohini, Black Eternity, Surya Deva, Maa Sharda have been found suitable for cut flower production.

Often called the ‘King of flowers’, Dahlia is grown both for indoor and outdoor elegance. The height of plants differs with variety and can vary from two-inch lollipop style pompoms to the giant 10-15 inch ‘dinner plate’ blooms growing to a height of 4-5 feet.

These cultivars remain in flowering from Feb to May. Farmers can reap rich dividends by selling cut flowers, pot and as landscape plants and through the production of rooted plants. The students of the university are also working on the evaluation of dahlia varieties for the low hill conditions of Himachal Pradesh.

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Holding Clean Elections India’s Biggest Challenge as Misuse of Money Increases By Leaps And Bounds: EC

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Multi-Departmental Committee on Election Intelligence

New Delhi: Conducting clean elections is now one of the biggest challenges in our democracy given the prevalent abuse of money power, particularly when it manifests in the inducement of voters, the Elections Commission of India said today.

Unfortunately, the use of the money during the elections has increased by leaps and bounds in recent times. Mischief mongers are ever devising more ingenious ways to beat the system, said the EC Larger seizures have been made by our enforcement teams in successive elections.

To address this paramount problem, the Election Commission of India headed by Chief Election Commissioner  Sunil Arora along with Election Commissioners Ashok Lavasa and Sushil Chandra today held a meeting of Multi-Departmental Committee on Election Intelligence.  Heads of Tax Boards, Law enforcement agencies, Central Paramilitary Forces and representatives of Financial Institutions attended the meeting.

The Chief Election Commissioner, Sunil Arora along with the Election Commissioners, Ashok Lavasa and Sushil Chandra at Meeting of Multi-Departmental Committee on Election Intelligence, in New Delhi on March 15, 2019.

He said Commission is determined to curb this menace and has issued detailed guidelines to monitor election expenditure incurred by candidates and political parties.  He said individually and collectively the agencies participating in the meeting are the bulwarks of clean elections. The outcome of synergised action should exceed the commitments made. 

To ensure clean elections, it is vital keeping track of the legal expenditure incurred by candidates and political parties for election campaigns. More importantly, it is imperative to ensure that there is no illegal use of money and other items for buying of votes, said Election Commissioner Chandra.

Issues Discussed at Committee on Election Intelligence

  • Ways of Curbing of covert expenditure by candidates and political parties
  • Sensitisation of the law enforcement agencies about their role during elections
  • Co-operation and sharing of intelligence of economic offences amongst law enforcement agencies for effective action
  • Preparation of road map for action during the elections
  • Mapping of constituencies by concerned agencies to check transportation of smuggled goods, drugs, liquor, and cash, including fake currency, through seaports, inter-state borders and international borders and pro-active and preventive action by each law enforcement agency

The Heads of Tax Boards, Law enforcement agencies, Central Paramilitary Forces and representatives of Financial Institutions assured the Commission of prompt 24X7 expenditure monitoring and surveillance action.

The Commissions said a greater synergy amongst various enforcement agencies is needed to develop a collective strategy to fight this menace.  Therefore, the Commission expects that all enforcement agencies should have proper sharing of information for taking coordinated action rather than working in silos.

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