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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.

Chief Guest : V V LAKSHMI NARAYANA CBI,DIG

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

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

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