Thursday, March 10, 2011

Bihar 1st state to make officials' assets public


Patna: Bihar has become the first in the country to make assets of government employees public by uploading the details of 80,000 officials on the government website, a step in line with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's anti-corruption initiatives.
Ten days after majority of the 450,000 government officials, including Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS) and Bihar Public Service Commission (BPSC) officers in the state, submitted their assets' details to the state government as per an official directive, they were uploaded on the government official website late on Wednesday.
"As of now, details of the assets of nearly 80,000 government officials are available online, it is first of its kind in the country," Deepak Kumar, principal secretary of general administration department, told IANS.
nitish kumar
He said it will take a month's time to upload details of all the officials.
According to him, asset details of 190 IAS officers, 169 IPS officers, 29 Indian Forest officers, 2,800 BPSC officers and 350 Bihar Police Service officers are online.
"It is part of (Chief Minister) Nitish Kumar's initiatives to weed out corruption," an official in the chief minister's office said.
Soon after assuming office following a historic poll verdict last November, Nitish Kumar had announced that corruption will not be tolerated in the state.
Setting an example, the chief minister and his Cabinet colleagues had declared their assets on December 31, 2010. The details are posted on the state government's official website.
The state government in its circular earlier this year warned officials that their salaries would be withheld if they fail to furnish the details of their assets within the stipulated time frame.
Bihar is also working to confiscate the properties of corrupt officials and turn them into primary schools.
Moreover, the state cabinet Tuesday approved introduction of the much-publicised Right to Service Bill to check rampant corruption and red-tapism in Bihar.
The move is seen as Nitish Kumar's commitment to hasten the service delivery system like issuance of caste certificate to ration card holders, police verification report for passport and new electricity connection to new ration card holder within a stipulated time.
The proposed act is likely to come into effect by April this year, officials said.
Nitish Kumar said the motive behind the legislation was to help people in getting work done within a given timeframe.
During the election campaign last year, Nitish Kumar had promised voters that the corrupt will be sent to jail and their property seized if he gets to rule for five more years.

Tight security measures in Imphal before President's arrival


Security and police forces were today deployed at all strategic and vulnerable points in Manipur capital complex here before the arrival of President Pratibha Patil, official sources said. She is expected to arrive here late afternoon from Kohima. Sources said extra precautionary measures were taken in view of the boycott of President's visit by Manipur People's Liberation Front (MPLF), formed by three major insurgent organisations of United People's Liberation Front, Revolutionary People's Front and People's Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak.
Patil would lay the foundation stones of some institutions tomorrow before leaving for Delhi. Sources said round-the-clock patrolling of security forces was on in view of the general strike called by the MPLF which has been fighting for what it called an 'independent Manipur' for decades and called for a general strike today saying president's visit would not bring 'anything good'.

Assam CM, Ulfa chief's communities, seek ST status

Guwahati ruled Assam for 600 years before the British took over in 1830s. They have been reigning since 1947 too, heading both democratically elected and underground governments. Still Ahoms are demanding Scheduled Tribe (ST) status. Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi and United Liberation Front of Asom (Ulfa) chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa are from Ahom community. Ethnic cousins Mataks, the community of Ulfa commander-in-chief Paresh Barua is not far behind.

Seven ethnic groups are seeking ST status, including Morans, Koch-Rajbongshis, Chutiyas, Karbi (Plains) and 'Tea Tribe'.
The six million Koch-Rajbongshis were a ruling community too. "The political parties promise us ST status before the elections .... We won't rest until we get what we deserve," said All Koch-Rajbongshi Students' Union president Biswajit Ray.
The four million Ahoms, dominate eastern Assam, are wealthier and politically potent. But Ahom student leader Moyur Borgohain disagrees. "We should be incorporated in the list of ST (Plains)," he said, adding that the constitutional safeguard was necessary against illegal Bangladeshi migrants.
The 'Tea Tribe' has been the most vocal and violent in its demand. Comprising 87 groups, such as Santhals, Kols, Bhils, their association with the tea industry gave them a 'tribal' identity.
At seven million they hold the key to at least 25 of the 126 seats. "All parties depend on us to be in power. How long can they ignore our demand?" said Adivasi leader Justin Lakra.