Elite IPS Club
TRANSPARENCY TAKES A BEATING
New Delhi, June 23 : The guardians of law and order sadly don’t believe in transparency. Repeated reminders to a large number of Indian Police Service (IPS) officers to declare particulars of their immovable assets have gone unanswered. The shocking revelation comes from the Union Home Ministry, which seeks to carry forward the mandate of the Centre to check corruption in high places. Of the total 3,393 IPS officers, a stubborn 677 have missed the deadline, June 18, for submitting their Annual Immovable Property Return (AIPR) for 2011. This despite the warning that erring officers would be denied vigilance clearance for their promotion, empanelment for Central posting and shall not be in the running for service medals this Independence Day. It comes as no surprise that of these defaulters, the largest block belongs to Uttar Pradesh cadre (200) followed by Karnataka (79), Jharkhand (31) and Andhra Pradesh (27). The States with defaulters ranging between 23-20 officers are Maharashtra, Punjab, Bihar and Rajasthan, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu. Of the blow 20 slate are West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, with Kerala and Odisha having the lowest of 11 officers each. An upset Ministry is keeping its fingers crossed the numbers further go down, as some State home departments may have slipped in forwarding the details. Be that as it may, it has to keep the pressure and ensure that officers come clean.
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Darjeeling Peace In Doubt
The peace in picturesque Darjeeling Hills may take a beating if the West Bengal government fails to do its homework right. The former Chairman of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (now defunct) and President of the Gorkha National Liberation Front Subhas Ghising, who was ousted by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha is back in the reckoning. On Tuesday last, the Calcutta High Court admitted his petition challenging the constitutional validity of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) Act, accepted by the Morcha. According to Ghising, the DGHC, set up by an Act of 1988 was exempt from the operations of the Panchayat Acts and the Municipal laws under articles of the Constitution. However, with the GTA dismantling the DGHC, the entire region shall now come under the purview of the panchayat and municipal laws. The anomaly does not augur well for the Bengal government as it may affect the future of the GTA. This apart, it could lead to tension between the warring parties, which the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee can ill-afford at this time, in the midst of being sidelined royally in the ensuing Presidential poll.
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Dangerous Liaison in J&K
The Jammu & Kashmir Government has a major problem in hand. It is faced with a dangerous situation wherein its cases of its policemen having links with terrorist groups are coming to light. On Sunday last, a fourth constable, working with the CID wing, was arrested by the State police for allegedly leaking information to groups such as the Hizbul Mujahideen. Earlier, one of the three policemen arrested by a Special Investigation team, was accused of supplying SIM cards to Lashkar-e-Taiba for the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai. With these cases staring the National Conference government, it would need to be on the alert. More so as a few senior officers who had qualified for the State police examination have the background of being affiliated to militant groups before joining the service. Any laxity could play spoilsport with the normalcy that is settling in the troubled State.
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Justice For Tribals
There is good news for forest tribals in all States. Union Minister for Rural Development, Jairam Ramesh has shot off a letter to all Chief Ministers urging them to “correct the huge injustice” to forest-dwelling tribal families which have been excluded from the Below Poverty Line list. The directive comes after the Ministry was shocked to know that only 3,000 of the 7,000 tribals families in Saranda, Jharkhand were on the BPL list. The families, Jairam insists should automatically be in the list and has asked the CMs to direct their Collectors to use the 2002 BPL census criteria to determine the socio-economic status of each family. Every effort thus must be made to make these tribals eligible for the Indira Awaas Yojana and National Social Assistance Programmes “at the earliest.” Will the States comply with the directive at least that all administrative formalities must be completed by three months?
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States No To Centre
Centre’s bid to regulate the realty sector to bring in transparency and accountability has hit a roadblock. A number of States, including Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, have objected to the setting up such a regulatory authority and Tamil Nadu and West Bengal are dilly-dallying. The main objection so far is that the States would prefer to bring in their own legislations. As a result, attempts to check black money in this sector have gone awry, which obviously suits the promoters or buyers or builders interest. Worse, the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, 2011 has been delayed by over a year. New Delhi is upset with the States lackadaisical approach as the draft Bill allows a State to have more than one regulator or two or more States to have one controller. The Centre has further sought to dispel the States’ fears that the Bill shall regulate matters under their purview i.e. land or housing. Wonder whether there will be room for further cajoling?
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Chhattisgarh Success Story
Chhattisgarh is elated. Students from naxal-hit areas have made the State Tribal Welfare Department proud. While 149 students have cleared the AIEEE, two others have passed the IIT entrance exam this year. To top it all, most of these students are from tribal BPL families. The success follows after the department selected 251 students who had passed Class 10 exam from naxal-hit districts and enrolled then at its residential school-cum-coaching institute, Prayas, in Raipur. Not only were the students provided free education but the department funded their uniforms, board and lodging and other needs. With the young minds proving their ability, Chief Minister Raman Singh’s government has added another wing to the centre for girls. Additionally, he has gifted iPads to the successful students. Other States should take a cue, for if the success story repeats itself the nation’s problems with naxal districts could turn around. —INFA-
(Copyright, India News and Feature Alliance)