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Ex-gratia Amount given to the Kin of Train Accident Victims remains Unchanged for 19 Years

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People gather as rescuers work after 14 coaches of an overnight passenger train rolled off the track near Pukhrayan village Kanpur Dehat district, Uttar Pradesh state, India, Nov. 20, 2016. VOA
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Bhopal, Nov 20, 2016: Even though the cost of living and medical treatment have shot up manifold in the last two decades, the ex-gratia amount given to the kin of those killed in rail accidents has remained unchanged for the last 19 years.

The Rs 4-lakh ex-gratia was fixed way back in 1997, and it continues to be the norm even today. This is in sharp contrast to the previous practice of upward revision of the amount every 10 years or so.

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In response to an RTI application filed by Chandrashekhar Gaur of Neemuch in Madhya Pradesh, the Railways Ministry informed that the ex-gratia amount was raised to Rs 50,000 in 1973, Rs 1 lakh in 1983, Rs 2 lakh in 1990 and made Rs 4 lakh in 1997.
[bctt tweet=”The Rs 4-lakh ex-gratia was fixed way back in 1997, and it continues to be the norm even today.” username=””]

Gaur made the information public as Rs 3.5 lakh ex-gratia was announced by the railway authorities on Sunday for the kin of those killed in the Indore-Patna Rajendra Nagar Express derailment at Pukhrayan near Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh. At least 120 passengers were killed in the accident.

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“If the previous practice of revision of ex-gratia money every 9-10 years had been followed, by now the amount would have become Rs 8 lakh,” he told IANS.

On his second RTI application earlier this year, the Ministry informed him that a proposal to raise the ex-gratia amount was pending consideration of the Railway Minister.

Gaur has sought an increase in the amount to Rs 25 lakh, suggesting that if Re 1 cess is imposed on every ticket, paying this much money would not be a problem for the government. (IANS)

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Aadhaar Helpline Mystery: French Security Expert Tweets of doing a Full Disclosure Tomorrow about Code of the Google SetUP Wizard App

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Google adds support for hashtags on Maps for Android devices. Wikimedia Commons

Google’s admission that it had in 2014 inadvertently coded the 112 distress number and the UIDAI helpline number into its setup wizard for Android devices triggered another controversy on Saturday as India’s telecom regulator had only recommended the use of 112 as an emergency number in April 2015.

After a large section of smartphone users in India saw a toll-free helpline number of UIDAI saved in their phone-books by default, Google issued a statement, saying its “internal review revealed that in 2014, the then UIDAI helpline number and the 112 distress helpline number were inadvertently coded into the SetUp wizard of the Android release given to OEMs for use in India and has remained there since”.

Aadhaar Helpline Number Mystery: French security expert tweets of doing a full disclosure tomorrow about Code of the Google SetUP Wizard App, Image: Wikimedia Commons.

However, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recommended only in April 2015 that the number 112 be adopted as the single emergency number for the country.

According to Google, “since the numbers get listed on a user’s contact list, these get  transferred accordingly to the contacts on any new device”.

Google was yet to comment on the new development.

Meanwhile, French security expert that goes by the name of Elliot Alderson and has been at the core of the entire Aadhaar controversy, tweeted on Saturday: “I just found something interesting. I will probably do full disclosure tomorrow”.

“I’m digging into the code of the @Google SetupWizard app and I found that”.

“As far as I can see this object is not used in the current code, so there is no implications. This is just a poor coding practice in term of security,” he further tweeted.

On Friday, both the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) as well as the telecom operators washed their hand of the issue.

While the telecom industry denied any role in the strange incident, the UIDAI said that he strange incident, the UIDAI said that some vested interests were trying to create “unwarranted confusion” in the public and clarified that it had not asked any manufacturer or telecom service provider to provide any such facility.

Twitter was abuzz with the new development after a huge uproar due to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Chairman R.S. Sharma’s open Aadhaar challenge to critics and hackers.

Ethical hackers exposed at least 14 personal details of the TRAI Chairman, including mobile numbers, home address, date of birth, PAN number and voter ID among others. (IANS)

Also Read: Why India Is Still Nowhere Near Securing Its Citizens’ Data?