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Introducing RTI in School and College syllabi will prevent Misuse of Right to Information Act, says Goa’s Chief Information Commissioner Prashant Tendulkar

In the coastal state, officials from village panchayats and municipalities were more errant vis a vis dissemination of information sought by applicants under the aegis of the legislation

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Representational image. Flickr

Panaji, November 4, 2016: Misuse of the Right to Information Act can be prevented by introducing the RTI in school and college syllabi, Goa’s Chief Information Commissioner Prashant Tendulkar said on Friday.

The top official said that in the coastal state, officials from village panchayats and municipalities were more errant vis a vis dissemination of information sought by applicants under the aegis of the legislation.

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“We are targeting for the subject (RTI) to be taught in schools and colleges because they (students) will realise the importance of the rights of citizens…,” Tendulkar told IANS on the sidelines of a media event organised by the State Information Commission in Panaji.

Asked about the misuse of the RTI act, as alleged repeatedly by ruling politicians in the state, Tendulkar said: “We don’t dispute this. There is misuse to some extent. So, therefore there should be uniform awareness among youths, so that when they grow they become informed citizens of the state.”

“They should know that finally when they are going to file an application under RTI, they are going to drain the resources of the state. They should see that the person or PIO (Public Information Officer) is not there only for the purpose of imparting information. RTI should be used in a rational way,” Tendulkar added.

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The top official also announced the launch of the RTI Bharat Yatra, which will involve a specially customised vehicle, which will travel across Goa from November 5 to 18, to disseminate information about the RTI legislation and its practical uses, with the help of multi-media tools.

The vehicle has already travelled through the states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Jammu and Kashmir. PIOs in the state will also be trained as part of the RTI-on-wheels programme.

Tendulkar said that sometimes PIOs who are officially tasked with dissemination of information under the RTI act, withhold information on purpose. The commission should be given more powers to rein in such errant officials.

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“Whether you are pressurised or not, it is the PIO who is responsible for this. If any penalty is imposed, it is imposed on you (PIO) and not on the person who is pressurising you… Sometimes PIOs are doing this purposely too. In these cases, they deserve punishment,” Tendulkar said.

“(Government) departments which are prone for this (withholding of information) are village panchayats and sometimes municipalities,” Tendulkar said. (IANS)

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Was Taj Mahal Once a Shiva Temple? The Debate over the Tomb Continues

According to some historians, Taj Mahal was incipiently a Shiva Temple offered to the Mughals as a form of the gift by a Rajput king

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Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal. Wikimedia

New Delhi, August 16, 2017: The famous monument from the Mughal era, Taj Mahal is once more in contention as the Central Information Commission (CIC) has requested the Central government to clear up unequivocally whether it is a tomb or a Shiva Temple. An RTI came to the CIC regarding the same, in response to which the quasi-constitutional body solicited answers from the culture minister.

But where did this question come from and what is the source?

According to some historians, Taj Mahal was incipiently a Shiva Temple offered to the Mughals as a form of the gift by a Rajput king. The hypothesis says that the temple was later formed into the monument that dwells graves of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan and his adored wife Mumtaz Mahal, mentioned IndiaNews.

Also Read: Firozabad Glass Industry is Declining: Is Taj Mahal to be Blamed? 

In 2015, a case was recorded in Agra by six lawyers, requesting that the tomb ought to be given over to Hindus for worship. The litigation solicited to forbid Islamic religious actions performed in the monument and remove the graves.

PN Oak, a revisionist historian also made the claim in his 1989  book “Taj Mahal” that the name Taj Mahal was procured from a Sanskrit word “Tejo Mahalay’ meaning a Shiva Temple.

The Cultural Minister Mahesh Sharma denied the claims in response to the question put forward to him that the Seventh wonder of the world was a Shiva Temple.


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Raja Chari: Indian American Astronaut chosen by NASA

Raja Chari, an American of Indian descent, has been chosen by NASA as one of the 12 astronauts for a new space mission.

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Raja Chari. Twitter.
  • Raja Chari is an American of Indian descent chosen by NASA for the new batch of astronauts
  • Currently, he is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force
  • Chari will have to go through two years of astronaut training which begins in August

June 06, 2017: NASA has chosen 12 astronauts out of a record-breaking 18,300 applications for upcoming space missions. An American of Indian descent, Raja Chari, has successfully earned his spot in the top 12.

The astronauts were selected on the basis of expertise, education, and physical tests. This batch of 12 astronauts is the largest group selected by NASA since two decades. The group consisting of 7 men and 5 women surpassed the minimum requirements of NASA.

Born in Waterloo, Iowa, Chari graduated from Air Force Academy in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in Astronautical Engineering and Engineering Science. He went on to complete his master’s in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The astronaut is also a graduate of US Naval Test Pilot School.

Currently, Raja Chari is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force. He is the commander of 461st Flight Test Squadron and director of the F-35 Integrated Test Force at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

After Late Kalpana Chawla, Lt. Col. Raja Chari is the second Indian American astronaut chosen by NASA.

The 12 astronauts will have to go through two years of training. Upon completion, they will be assigned their missions ranging from research at the International Space Station, launching from American soil on spacecraft by private companies, to flying on deep space missions on NASA’s Orion Spacecraft.

The US Vice-President Mike Pence visited the Johnson Space Centre in Houston to announce and congratulate the new batch. Pence also said that President Trump is “fully committed” to NASA’s missions in space.

by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2393

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Over 5,000 Plant Varieties in Last 3 Years sent in by Tribal Farmers to protect the species : Minister

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Tribal Farmers
tribal farmers submitted more than 5,000 plant varieties in last three years (representational Image). Wikimedia

New Delhi, June 8, 2017: Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh on Wednesday said tribal farmers submitted more than 5,000 plant varieties in last three years through Krishi Vigyan Kendras for registration at the Protection of Plant Variety and Farmers Rights Authority.

It will play an important role in the development of climate resilient and sustainable varieties in future, he said at the National Workshop on Empowerment of Farmers of Tribal Areas here.

“New technological innovations in agriculture must reach to the fields of tribal areas but before taking such steps we must keep in mind the unique conditions of these areas, which are the gift of nature and therefore, we should promote natural farming in those areas,” he said, as per an official release. (IANS)

NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt.