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Archive for the ‘National Advisory Council NAC’ Category

Sonia unhappy with blow to RTI?

Posted by rtiact2005 on August 4, 2006

Sonia unhappy with blow to RTI?

HT Correspondent

New Delhi, July 22, 2006

http://www.htcricket.com/news/181_1750121,000600010001.htm

The controversial amendment to the Right to Information Act has virtually taken the heart out of Sonia Gandhi’s pet project of Right to Information Act.

Unlike the case of FTAs, when Sonia had openly come out against it by writing to the PM on the issue, this time there is no word from 10 Janpath so far to indicate what the Congress president feels about the amendment that restricts access to file notings.

But privately several Congress leaders admit that the Act that Sonia has often hailed as historic while urging everyone to make use of it to keep the administration, down the line, on its toes, virtually lies crippled — a fact that she cannot be happy about, they say.

Officially, the party walked the tightrope when asked whether it supported the Centre’s move. “There is no question of our endorsing or not endorsing. It is a government decision and we are not in a position to dissent from that so long as the heart and soul of the Act is preserved,” spokesman Abhishek Singhvi said.

The “heart and soul,” in his view, was that file notings dealing with social projects and development remained in the purview of RTI Act even after the amendment.

Yet at the same time, there was an effort to distance the party from the government’s stand was evident.

Asked whether the Congress was party to a decision, he said, “I don’t think it is a Congress decision in any manner. It is a collective coalition government and the government takes the decision.”

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NAC to be expanded: Manmohan

Posted by rtiact2005 on June 24, 2006

NAC to be expanded: Manmohan

Staff Reporter

http://www.hindu.com/2006/06/25/stories/2006062522560100.htm

BANGALORE: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has spoken of expansion of the National Advisory Council (NAC), as it was playing a constructive and useful role in implementing important national programmes such as the Rural Employment Guarantee Programme and giving the people the Right to Information.

Speaking to presspersons here on Saturday evening before leaving for Delhi after a two-day visit to Karnataka, he said: "There is no question of disbanding the NAC" considering the vital role it had been playing in the matter of social legislation in particular.

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Aruna Roy unhappy with NAC

Posted by rtiact2005 on June 22, 2006

Aruna Roy unhappy with NAC

http://www.ndtv.com/morenews/showmorestory.asp?category=National&slug=Aruna+Roy+unhappy+with+NAC&id=89356

 Rajan Mahan

Thursday, June 22, 2006 (Jaipur):

Social activist and Magsaysay Award winner Aruna Roy has spoken out on why she decided to quit the National Advisory Council (NAC).

Ever since she refused to renew her membership two days ago, there has been intense speculation on why Roy took this decision.

But in an exclusive chat with NDTV, she said that she was unhappy with the functioning of the NAC, which was set up to oversee the implementation of the government's common minimum programme (CMP).

She added that she was particularly upset over the lack of rehabilitation for tribals affected by the Narmada dam.

Aruna Roy had joined the NAC two years ago and was a prime mover in the enactment of the Right to Information (RTI) Act and the National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme (NREGP) Act.

For now, the activist plans to intensify her campaign for better implementation of these crucial acts.

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Aruna Roy declines Centre’s offer, Expresses anxiety over bid to dilute Right to Information and NREG Acts

Posted by rtiact2005 on June 21, 2006

 Aruna Roy declines Centre's offer, Expresses anxiety over bid to dilute Right to Information and NREG Acts

Special Correspondent

http://www.hindu.com/2006/06/22/stories/2006062204381300.htm

Expresses anxiety over bid to dilute Right to Information and NREG Acts

 

  • Government must have clear, unequivocal position in support of NCMP
  • `Development comes at great personal cost to certain sections of society'

    NEW DELHI: Expressing anxiety over attempts from "some quarters, within (the) Government" to dilute the Right to Information (RTI) Act and the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, Magsaysay Award winner Aruna Roy on Wednesday declined the Government's offer to extend her term on the National Advisory Committee.

    In a letter to the Prime Minister explaining her reasons for declining the offer, Ms. Roy said, "While there are many assurances in the National Common Minimum Programme (NCMP) that will take a while to implement, there must be a clear and unequivocal position of the Government in support of NCMP positions."

    Stating that "in the current euphoria about the performance of the economy, there is a great danger of not paying heed to the anguish of the poor and the marginalised," Ms. Roy in her letter reminded the Government that the results of the last Lok Sabha elections "are ample testimony to demonstrate how the majority of voters did not see an eight per cent growth rate as a case of India shining."

    Of the view that in some cases development passes by the majority of the people, the Magsaysay awardee said there were other cases where development comes at "great personal cost" to sections of society. As a case in point, she makes a reference to the Narmada dam and the situation of those it has displaced. "Despite better rehabilitation for tribals being an explicit assurance in the NCMP, even existing policy and Supreme Court orders were violated. As this Government considers adopting a new rehabilitation policy, it will have to come to terms with this crisis of credibility and confidence due to decisions taken that violated NCMP assurances."

    While declining the offer, Ms. Roy, however, maintained that the space for wide-ranging public discussion that the NAC provided "needs to be preserved and strengthened." Lamenting the manner in which NAC's role has shrunk over the past four months, she said, "The effective implementation of the NCMP needs the inputs, experience and expertise of many people outside [the] Government." Her apprehensions about the Government's commitment to NCMP apart, Ms. Roy has also cited a personal reason for moving out of the NAC. Having helped draft the RTI and NREGA, she now sees for herself a greater role in their implementation at the grass-roots level. While signing out of the NAC, Ms. Roy points out that her decision to leave was taken in consultation with colleagues from the various peoples' movements she is associated with.

  • Posted in National Advisory Council NAC, RTI ACT 2005 | 1 Comment »

    National Advisory Council “NAC”, A forum of diminishing value – says Aruna Roy

    Posted by rtiact2005 on June 21, 2006

    A forum of diminishing value – National Advisory Council says Aruna Roy

    A forum of diminishing value – NATIONAL ADVISORY COUNCIL
    Two years after being appointed to the National Advisory Council, Aruna Roy has decided to decline a second term. While expressing happiness over some of the work the NAC has been able to do in the past, she now believes that the space for the advisory body to function as a forum for public consultation has diminished.

    http://www.indiatogether.org/2006/jun/gov-nacbye.htm
    The following is the full text of Ms.Roy's letter to the Prime Minister, declining a second term in the National Advisory Council.


    21st June 06

    Dear Shri. Manmohan Singhji,

    I joined the NAC two years ago encouraged by many of the assurances contained in the National Common Minimum Programme (NCMP) of the UPA government. Its primary task, as I understood it, was to advice the government on implementation of the NCMP. At a time when there has been a comprehensive assault on the poor and their rights, the NCMP seemed to bring some of their concerns centre stage.

    The passage of the Right to Information Act 2005 and the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act 2005 demonstrated that the NCMP was not a collection of empty promises. Without firm resolve, and a display of political commitment these two legislations would not have been passed. In my opinion, despite some inevitable shortcomings, they are both laws that India has reason to be proud of.

    Membership of the NAC did give me a chance to bring to the Government, the views, opinions and understanding of the peoples movements that I have had the privilege to have been associated with. It is to the credit of this government that this kind of grass root understanding helped shape these legislations. The clear stand of the NAC, backed by the firm resolve of the Chairperson, the acknowledgement of the NCMP as a benchmark for the passage of these legislations, as well as several other decisions related to the social sector, has been particularly encouraging. In fact my decision to accept membership of the NAC, was taken after wide consultation with many colleagues from these peoples movements.

    There have been no regular meetings of the NAC held in the last four months.
     •  NAC: A tentative beginning
     •  A moral breach in the dam

    I have now decided to decline the offer to renew and extend my term, after consulting them once again. There are several reasons for this decision. One reason is the greater role I see for myself in trying to work for the implementation of the RTI and the NREGA at a grass root level. It was of course always clear that the struggle would not cease when the legislations were passed, and that questions of implementation are crucial if these benefits are to reach the people.

    However, there has also been a growing cause for anxiety that I must put on record. While there are many assurances in the NCMP that will take a while to implement, there must be a clear and unequivocal position of the GOI in support of NCMP positions. In my opinion, the NCMP is an acknowledgement of some of the hopes and aspirations of ordinary people in India. I have also been concerned by the attempts from some quarters , within government, to dilute both the RTI and the NREGA through a variety of means. In fact, in the current euphoria about the performance of the economy there is a great danger of not paying heed to the anguish of the poor and the marginalized.

    The results of the Lok Sabha elections are ample testimony to demonstrate how the majority of voters did not see an 8% growth rate, as a case of India shining. There can be no doubt that in some cases, such development passes them by. But there are instances where it is at great personal cost to them. The Narmada dam and the situation of those it has displaced, is perhaps the most well known of these cases. Despite better rehabilitation for tribals being an explicit assurance in the NCMP, even existing policy and Supreme Court orders were violated as borne out by the report of the GOM constituted by you. Despite the report of the GOM, apparently for reasons of political expediency, construction on the dam continues at the cost of people yet to be rehabilitated even as per laid out norms. As this government considers adopting a new rehabilitation policy, it will have to come to terms with this crisis of credibility and confidence due to decisions taken that violated NCMP assurances.

    I do think effective implementation of the common minimum programme needs the inputs, experience and expertise of many people outside government. I think the NAC has played its most important role in bringing the benefit of that rich body of opinion to this government. The regularity of the meetings and the presence of the chairperson at each one of them, also contributed to the NAC being seen by citizens groups as a forum of public consultation. I do think this space has been reduced, there have been no regular meetings of the NAC held in the last four months.

    As my term in the NAC ends, I would like to thank you for providing me an opportunity for our views to be heard. As someone who sees a great value in the NCMP, I think the space for wide ranging public discussion needs to be preserved and strengthened. I hope that your government will ensure that there will be an increasing number of platforms, through which the opinions of people can become part of the policy formulation of the government.

    With warm regards,

    Aruna Roy

    India Together
    21 Jun 2006

    Posted in Administrative Reforms Commission ARC, National Advisory Council NAC | 67 Comments »

    Aruna Roy opts out of National Advisory Council

    Posted by rtiact2005 on June 21, 2006

    Aruna Roy opts out of National Advisory Council
    New Delhi | June 20, 2006 8:15:02 PM IST

    http://news.webindia123.com/news/Articles/India/20060620/368735.html

    Aruna Roy, a renowned social activist, has decided to quit the National Advisory Committee (NAC) overseeing the implementation of the government's common minimum programme (CMP), as she is "unhappy" with its functioning.

    "Of late she has been unhappy with the functioning of the NAC as there has been several violations of the CMP. So, when her membership came up for renewal this month, she opted out," said Nikhil Dey, a close associate of Roy.

    Roy, a recipient of the Magsaysay award for community leadership and international understanding, joined the NAC two years back and was a prime mover in the enactment of the Right to Information (RTI) Act and the National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme (NREGP) Act.

    "There were a combination of many factors that has led her to take this decision. Also, there has been no chairperson of the NAC for the last three months after (Congress president) Sonia Gandhi resigned," said Dey.

    On earlier occasions, Roy and another NAC member, economist Jean Dreze, had voiced their concerns contending there was a "big inconsistency" between the CMP and the union budget presented in February, as the finance minister had been tight-fisted about certain allocations.

    Dreze resigned from the committee earlier.

    According to Roy, important steps needed to be taken to create a climate of commitment to the CMP so as to chalk out a comprehensive rehabilitation policy for those displaced by developmental projects.

    "The Narmada dam controversy was also an issue that factored in her decision not to stay on," said Dey.

    The NAC was set up in June 2004 after the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government was sworn into office. It has been meeting periodically, forwarding recommendations on many subjects and programmes to the government.

    Roy moved to Devdoondri in Rajasthan in 1990 and set up the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathana that succeeded in getting the Rajasthan Right to Information Bill passed.

    The other members of the NAC include C.H. Hanumantha Rao, chairman, Centre for Economic and Social Studies, Jairam Ramesh, Congress member of the Rajya Sabha, Jayaprakash Narayan, national coordinator, Lok Satta, V. Krishnamurthy, a former secretary, Madhav Chavan of PRATHAM, A.K. Shiva Kumar, adviser, UNICEF, D. Swaminadhan, president, Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Research and Social Action, N.C. Saxena, a former IAS officer, Sehba Hussain, member-secretary and executive director, BETI Foundation (Better Education through Innovation) and Mrinal Miri, vice-chancellor, North Eastern Hill University.

    (IANS)

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    Aruna Roy to leave advisory council

    Posted by rtiact2005 on June 20, 2006

    Aruna Roy to leave advisory council

    http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1661447.cms

    AARTHI RAMACHANDRAN
    TIMES NEWS NETWORK[ TUESDAY, JUNE 20, 2006 01:20:40 AM]

    NEW DELHI: In what signals a growing disaffection between civil society activists and the ruling arrangement at the Centre, the 'right to information' activist, Aruna Roy, has decided to leave the National Advisory Council (NAC).

    Ms Roy, who is widely believed to be the force behind getting the Right to Information Act adopted under the UPA regime, has said she will not seek a renewal of her NAC membership.

    "Membership to the NAC has to be renewed every year. I will not seek renewal this year. I want to focus on the RTI and NREGA, which are both big programmes," Ms Roy told ET.

    Ms Roy is the second high profile appointee to move away from the NAC after economist and activist Jean Dreze, who had authored the draft of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) – left the advisory body in protest last year.

    With Ms Roy's decision to leave the NAC, the Congress' attempts to spread its influence over a constituency represented by the civil society may be in trouble.

    After the UPA government came to power in '04, it had yoked a number of eminent activists such as Ms Roy, Mr Dreze, Dr Jayaprakash Narayan and others to the banner of the NAC in a bid to cultivate the party's new-found constituency.

    Given the composition of the NAC and the authority it derived from the leadership of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who was its chairperson, it was widely believed that the civil societywallahs had become powerful in Delhi's power circuit once more.

    However, there has been a steady erosion of the extra-governmental power associated with the NAC since Ms Gandhi resigned from the body in the wake of the office of profit controversy. Under pressure from the Opposition, Ms Gandhi resigned from the NAC and her Lok Sabha membership.

    Though she has been re-elected by a decisive margin from her parliamentary constituency, Rae Barely, the prospect of going back to head the NAC has evaded her with President APJ Abdul Kalam declining to give his assent to the office of profit bill. The last meeting of the advisory body was held in mid-February.

    While Ms Roy's ostensible reasons for not wanting to seek a renewal of her membership in the NAC might be to devote more time to the mega projects RTI and NREGA, sources indicated that she might not have been too happy with the manner in which the government has gone about the implementation of the RTI.

    Ms Roy, it may be recalled, had demanded the publication of the government's report on the Narmada rehabilitation exercise under the RTI Act. But the Prime Minister's Office refused to make the report public. The decision was taken when the Congress leadership realised that backing the case of the civil societywallahs could hurt the party's political interests.

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