In what comes as shocker to some and obvious to others, one of the departments of the state government admits that it is unaware about details of monetary assistance provided to families under various schemes of Garib Kalyan Mela.
Records show that Gujarat Government is notorious in not providing information to applicants who demand it under their right to information. Several organisations and activists are awaiting response to their queries regarding expenditure on Sadbhavna Mission and foreign trips of the chief minister among others.
Information either is denied under a specific clause of RTI Act, or their files are lost in the corridors of babudom.
Take for instance, Garib Kalyan Mela, an initiative of the state government to help the downtrodden in the state.
Advertisements about it were published in January, following which Kutch Ladayak Manch (KLM) filed an RTI application with chief minister’s office (CMO) seeking information about who are the 57 lakh families, who as part of the anti-poverty drive, will receive benefits worth Rs7,900 crore.
KLM also queried about what schemes are in play here, and which department of the state government is providing assistance.
This application was filed on February 6, 2012. CMO forwarded this application to two departments, Panchayat & Rural Housing Development and Women & Child Development, before it finally landed in the office of the development commissioner of the state government.
However, joint commissioner of Women & Child Development denies any knowledge in this regard.
“Garib Kalyan Mela wasn’t organised by the development commissioner and hence, it has zero information in this regard,” said the joint commissioner in its letter to KLM on March 2, 2012.
“Modi government is known for such gimmicks,” said Ramesh Joshi, president of Kutch Ladayak Manch.
“I believe state government has no information in this regard. There is information about houses provided to poor families under Centre’s Indira Aawas Yojna but despite repeated
attempts, state government has failed to honour my requests (about Garib Kalyan Mela),” added Joshi.
He adds that there have been instances where government has given him information on a blank sheet without any signature or seal of any official.
“Even in case of Garib Kalyan Mela, I’d to return a paper not signed by any authority,” said Joshi.