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HindustanTimes Sat,01 Nov 2014

Hooda's announcements: state machinery concealing details, alleges activist

Vishal Joshi , Hindustan Times  Karnal , January 24, 2014
First Published: 18:44 IST(24/1/2014) | Last Updated: 18:50 IST(24/1/2014)

An activist has accused the offices of the Haryana chief minister and chief secretary (CS) of concealing facts about following procedures and budgetary provisions of several welfare schemes announced by CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda at a rally in Gohana on November 10.

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The ruling Congress regime had called the political rally "the largest ever" organised in the state, and Hooda had made 31 welfare-related announcements.

Political observers had seen the announcements as "a calculated move to woo voters" ahead of the parliamentary elections, as the state government had claimed that the presence of a "massive" gathering was a firm indication of the Congress's popularity.

Hooda had showered sops on everyone from labourers to small-time businessmen, government employees and senior citizens, including a hike in the old-age allowance and pension for widows and physically-challenged to Rs. 1,000 per month, a one-time loan settlement scheme for farmers, and the enactment of new legislation for hawkers operating makeshift stalls.

However, the offices of the CM and CS are not willing to make details of these schemes public.
PP Kapoor, state convener of the Indian Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU), had filed a petition under the Right to Information (RTI) Act in the CM office on November 11 to find out the deadline for the implementation of and budgetary planning for schemes, besides the number of expected beneficiaries.

However, instead of furnishing information, the CM office directed the RTI petitioner to approach various departments to get details.

The reply did not mention the names of the departments concerned expected to execute the schemes.
On receiving an incomplete reply, Kapoor approached the chief secretary's office for the details, besides file noting and notifications of announced welfare projects.

In its RTI reply, the CS office said the petition had been forwarded to the CM office.

Kapoor has now approached the state information commission (SIC) against the CM office for "concealing" facts.

Accusing bureaucrats of "colluding" with the politicians, the activist alleged that the entire state machinery was "running away" from revealing the procedural and financial planning part of these announcements. He added that he suspected that due procedure was not followed in using the taxpayers' money, which was why information was not released in the public domain.

"On Thursday, Hooda had said if the announcements made during Gohana rally were not implemented in time, bureaucrats would be held accountable. On the contrary, CM's office is completely secretive about Hooda's announcements. Even the CS office is passing the buck on the "political announcements". It is important for the citizens to know if the announcements were feasible in the current financial condition of Haryana," he said.

The activist said that the public had every right to know how the welfare schemes were planned, the targeted beneficiaries and its complete financial planning.

Announcements galore

According to the RTI reply, since assuming power in March, 2005, Hooda had made 5,784 announcements till November 15, 2013, of which only 3,644 were fulfilled. "The rest of the projects are underway," claims the reply of the CM office.


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