Archive for the ‘Events and News’ Category

Unknown to many, Bhausaheb Rajaram Wakchaure, a Shiv Sena MP from Shirdi (Maharashtra) has introduced a Private Members Bill in Parliament, on 02 September 2011, seeking to amend the RTI Act 2005. He proposes the following amendments

1. That the applicant needs to give reasons for seeking information.
2. The PIO can reject the information under sec 8 if he thinks the reasons are not adequate in his opinion.

His profile


Loksabha Bulletin on 5th sep –

The proposed amendments bill is here.


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Notice to CPIO and FAA

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We received a reply to our RTI filed on NIT Director’s selection criteria. This was the second RTI which we filed on this line and our previous RTI too was the similar one. The second RTI had to be filed as the second appeal filed with the CIC is yet to come for hearing. The link to the information received from ministry has been attached in the below link and is also available in “Our Work” tab of this blog.


We sought various information related to the Director’s selection, right from applications received for the advertisement to file noting of various meetings held in the due process for selection. The reply received from ministry indicates that there was a purposeful delay and illegitimate use of various sections of RTI to provide the information sought within time.

1. The first paragraph of the reply contradicts ministry’s own statement on “Third party” and provides all contact information in a neatly tabulated sheet when we have asked for the copies of the application filed. The ministry makes a baseless statement, “due to tremendous pressure of work, it has not been possible for the NIT division to seek the opinion for furnishing copies of their personal details/applications.” The statement itself is inherent in its character for non compliance of the act and the double talk of the ministry. If the personal details form “Third party” data, why did the CPIO furnish all personal details in a separately prepared document and send it. Didn’t the CPIO know that he had to contact all the 147 applicants before disclosing their personal details? When all the personal contact information related to applicant was provided, how is it that the rest of information provided by applicant in the application a third party information? The sanity levels of CPIO need to be questioned?

2. The names of persons who applied for the post have been given under personal details and recommendations were highlighted along with the name who proposed them.

3. The list of committee members is also given. The interesting point to be noted is that the Directors of Institutes which are on par with few NIT’s are involved in selecting the directors and it is like ,” You select my friend I will select yours”.

4. The biggest flaw in the selection process comes here. No evaluation is done in short listing the 46 candidates from 147 applicants in first round and final short listing after interview.

5. The committee has listed 4 points for selection criteria and has relaxed norms to include few poodles in the final list who recently completed their terms at NIT’s.

6. The ministry refuses to disclose the vital information related to selection process quoting that the selection process has not yet been completed.

All these dilatory tactics are to pave roads for the corrupt to these premier institutes.  Over time ministry might forget about the selection process but Team Asthra would take up this issue again and again till all the details are disclosed and it is convinced that the selection process was a fair one. Professors, Academicians and volunteers who like to get associated with us on this issue please mail us at asthra@live.com

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National  Institute of Technology, Durgapur, One of the premier institutions of the country set up in 1965 with a great vision to promote a healthy academic and cultural environment. The motto of this institute:”udhyog purushasya lakshanam” is facing an identity crisis not just at the hands of the administration but also by the students.

As in many other colleges, this college too has an elected student body, Student Gymkhana. The gymkhana primarily comprises of:



General Secretary (Signatory)

Asst General Secretary (Cultural)

Asst General Secretary (Sports)

The gymkhana acts as a bridge between the administration and the students. Any student-related activity in the college is supervised or assisted by the gymkhana. Further, it is the sole body which conducts the national level cultural fest, Recstacy, of the college.

Now, the question arises. To whom is this student gymkhana answerable to? The Administration? The students?

As it so happens, all dealings regarding this body are vague. Nothing is transparent. Nothing seems to be accounted for by the administration. It is a body completely managed by the students. And, as in any other body with ample paisa and power, this one too is wrought with corruption. The lamentable part is that corruption over here is at the hands of the future citizens, the youth and not some grubby slimy politician.

Whatever has been stated above is not just hearsay. It is backed by tangible evidence. When we filed an RTI demanding the bills of the cultural fest Recstacy 2011, we were amazed and shocked at the four-lined laid back reply.

The authorities had clearly mentioned that they do not have any accounts of the expenditure incurred during the fest and that it managed solely by the students.

Further, there is reason to believe that the previous gymkhana body has made a “Profit” of  lakhs just from the one fest. The gymkhana had also been allotted lakhs to organize Fresher’s party on behalf of the college for the first year B.Tech and PG students last year. Suspiciously, the event never took place. What was even more suspicious was the fact that some members of the student body were spotted flaunting flashy new bikes. They were also spotted scooting off to tourist destinations and indulging in various pleasures disproportionate to a student’s budget.

Moreover even the budgets of all the clubs and other student related activities are finalized by Student’s Gymkhana. So there is no knowing what goes on behind the scenes during the process of fund-allotment. There is no fool-proof and established system to keep a tab on the activities. And this is not it. The Gymkhana is known to have demanded a certain sum of money from the various clubs to ensure the smooth functioning of their fests and other activities. And when the clubs refused, they were denied many basic necessities for carrying out their events(as stated by some students of NIT Durgapur).

This was just the story of Student Gymkhana. In addition to it, the college has 14 clubs. All of these clubs are allotted funds at the start of each academic year proportional to its scale of activities. At the end of each year, how much of these funds have been effectively utilized and how much has vanished into thin air is another burning question. Plus, there are 10 hostels in the campus, each of which has a hall-secretary and a few mess-secretaries. Even they have the power to acquire funds from the college to take up some restorative activities in the hostel. These funds too are unaccounted for.

The objective of the article is not to crucify the wrong-doers (who in this case are the ‘Yuva’) but to make them answerable. The future of these students is invaluable. It can not be jeopardized by an inefficient and opaque system which has become something of a heirloom passed on from one batch to the next. The minds of these youngsters can not and must not be corrupted at such a precious age and such a precious institution. If there is no conscience, there should at least rise a fear in the minds of the students that they are accountable to someone. They are answerable to someone. There is a law which is not some silly college rule and is not meant to be broken, but to be respected, feared and abided by! What we want is to clean up this slime, finish off the pests at the roots before it manifests itself into that venomous monster crippling the entire system of the country. What we want is what the entire nation wanted when one man Anna Hazare spoke up.What we want is justice. What we want is a new and shining India!

Below is what we got in response to the RTI filed.

Link: Reply

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The first state level meet of alumni and students of colleges from AP was held at Maheshwari Complex, Masab Tank, Hyderabad from 10am to 2pm on the 12th of June 2011. It was a wholesome first time experience for Team Asthra to see students and alumni from various colleges.

Minutes of the meeting:

10:20Am- Introductory remarks by Navya

10:25Am- Introduction to Asthra was given by Rakesh and tried to give first hand impression of what we want.

10:35Am- Nutan Thakur told the audience on how RTI can be effectively used and how larger issues can be dealt by networking with other social activists.

10:55Am- Amitabh Thakur asked students to be more vigilant and broad in looking, how the society runs and get updated with the happenings around oneself. He opined that in current situation it is inevitable to be ignorant on issues which have been jeopardizing society. He also questioned the students, “How can corrupt people live in beautiful buildings, spend lavishly with money that is siphoned and have dirt all around their building?” He urged for a community development rather than individual selfishness. He reminded the immense potential students have and what they can achieve if acted together.

11:20Am– V V Laxmi Narayana has urged Asthra to be a active part in policy making and decision making mechanism in a supportive way. He asked Asthra to take up the issue of syllabus revision and try to see that new electives beneficial for society development are brought out in curriculum. He also suggested Asthra not to be a fault finding mission as the authorities will get defensive. Instead, ask them to post all the information on their websites and minimise use of RTI act. He urged citizens to approach ACB and CBI if there are any cases of embezzlement of funds and irregularities.

Though he was on a different note with general perception of students, he said he is an optimist and said, will always encourage transparency in governance. He said implementation of section 4 of RTI act at educational institutions should be first step and rest should follow.

11:45 Am: Rakesh clarified some of the doubts raised by V V Lakshmi Naryana,

1. Is Asthra working on section 4(1)?- Rakesh showed the 5 page document prepared and submitted to registrar of NITW. The same document is more or less applicable to all colleges.

2. Approach of Asthra- Rakesh clarified Lakshmi Narayana on how we were approaching administration at college. Rakesh assured that it was always a healthy dialogue and not a fault finding one.

Meanwhile one of the audiences asked why was CBI trying to join in the list of exempted institutions from RTI?

12:10Pm: Umesh Varma spoke about his experiences in social space and how RTI improved things. He also cautioned citizens to work collectively when working on sensitive issues and not to fall prey to the system.

12:25Pm: Rajendra Lingam gave an introduction what Asthra is doing and illustrated tools which Team Asthra has come out with on its website and also spoke why we need to network and work together.

12:45Pm: The forum was made open to audience to discuss action plan for coming 6 months.

The following points we discussed:

a. Friends from Osmania have asked for awareness sessions at Osmania Universtiy and other colleges. They complained about mess bill and scholarship issues

b. Friends from JNTU Karimnagar too raised the same issue and have mentioned how funds were being diverted at JNTUK

c. Other friends raised issue of illegal tuition fee being collected at private engineering colleges.

After discussion it was concluded to bring RTI awareness sessions among students, get section 4(1)b implemented at colleges, take up the issue of scholarships and mess bills and  lastly bring out more awareness about tuition fee collection at private colleges. 

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Corruption has become the household topic these days with almost everybody talking about corruption and how much money our country is loosing because of it. While this is a welcome change, systemic changes will only happen when we stand up and put up a united front against the institutionalized form of corruption system. Towards this, the role of youth and especially students from prestigious colleges becomes very critical. This very thought has and the problems we faced in trying to correct the system at NIT Warangal (previously REC Warangal) has inspired us to start “Asthra”. Our motto is to make the current education system “Transparent and corruption free”. (www.theasthra.org). We started as a group forming members from alumni of NIT Warangal.

We started our initiatives at NIT warangal and were partly successful in making a few changes.

We believe Right to Information is a very potent tool to cleanse our education system. It can unearth a lot of issues in our system and pave way for much needed transparency. This change is possible only when all of us join hands and stand United. We invite you to join us for the first ever state level conference of Asthra on 12th June 2011. The theme of the convention is “Corruption free Education system and the role of RTI.”

Let us all come together to root out corruption from our education system.


VENUE: Sri Ramanujachari hall,1st floor,Maheswari complex,Masab Tank ,Hyderabad

Email:asthra@live.com; asthranitw@gmail.com
Ph:9885419012(Rakesh Dubbudu) ; 9885789908(Rajendra Lingam);9347840224(Manali)

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