Commitment to transparent functioning

We at Pardarshita strongly feel that while we demand the government departments to be transparent with everyone, we also have a duty of maintaining transparency in terms of our own work, expenditures, funding and so on. So, to re-iterate our commitment towards ethical and pardarshi work, we invite anyone to inspect our books of accounts.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

DCPCR working under pressure of Delhi Government

In the month of May 2010, many parents of New Seema Puri approached Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya (SKV), New Seema Puri with a written request for admission of their children. The Vice Principal of SKV denied admission to these children stating, in writing, that 'there is no seat available in the school, therefore admission cannot be given' to them.
 
The Right to Education Act 2009 (RTE) implemented since April 1 2010 ensures free and compulsory elementary education to all children. So now, it is the right of every child to get admission to school. A Commission in Delhi has also been set up under the Act for ensuring the rights of children. Hence it is the responsibility of the Delhi Commission for Protection of Childs Rights (DCPCR) to ensure the children get admitted to school.
 
A complaint was filed with DCPCR regarding the written denial for the admission of these children by the vice principal of the school. The Commission directed the Directorate of Education to admit these children or otherwise action would be taken against Department.
 
However, it is extremely surprising that after four months, DCPCR has sent a letter on September 1 2010 stating that “admission to these children cannot be given in SKV, New Seema Puri because of non-availability of seats in the school. The parents of these children are advised to take admission in other neighborhood schools.”
 
But, the fact is that in this particular SKV, there are 60-80 students who are studying in a single section of many classes. 

Now, four months have passed and the admissions are closed, question is where will these children study. Other questions we ask are:
 
  • For whom is this Commission functioning - the GOVERNMENT or the CHILDREN?
  • Is this Commission bound to work under pressure of the Government?
  • Are the appointments being made just to oblige the people who are closer to the Government?
  • Who is responsible for spoiling one year of these children?
  • How will the children be compensated for this one year's loss?

Rajiv Kumar
Pardarshita
F-185,186 New Seema Puri
Delhi-110095
Ph: 011-22356476, 9899358835

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Circular by education dept. regarding refund of Pupil welfare fund

Dear Friend
Greetings!
As we know that Right to Education has enacted since April 2010 which states that “Every child between the ages of 6 to 14 years has the right to free and compulsory education.” Despite of this the Delhi govt. has collected charges from students in the name of Parents Teacher Association and Pupil Welfare Fund. Therefore in this matter Pardarshita had filed a PIL in Delhi High Court. Hon’ble High Court has issued notice to Delhi Govt. on 9th July’10 and next hearing is scheduled on 20th Sept’10.
As a result of this PIL the Education Department has issued a circular to discontinue the collection of Pupil Welfare Fund up to class VIII w.e.f. academic session 2010-2011.
Not only this all the Head of Govt/Govt Aided schools are directed to refund the p.w.f. to students under proper receipt. The Delhi Govt. has awakened from long sleep and  has taken this initiative by  issuing the circular, we appreciate this; but we are also focusing that charges collected for PTA should be returned and should not be collected in future.
The circular of Education Department is enclosed with, kindly communicate this order among the parents and students and ensure that the school must return this amount to parents.
In Solidarity

Pardarshita

F-185,186 New Seema Puri
Delhi-110095

Ph: 01122356476, 9899358835


Sunday, 11 July 2010

Power of RTI

Dear Friends

Greetings!

Today around 25 children of SKV & GBSSS, J& K Block Dilshad Garden approached to our office and told us that they have secured D grade in English in class X examinations and the school authorities have given them Sanskrit forcibly in class XI, and despite of making several requests the principal is not giving them English in XIth class. The principal stated that we have been ordered from the higher Authorities that the students who secured D Grade in English should not be given English subject in class XI. When the parents asked for the orders, the principal stated the orders are not for the public it is for the principals only. More over as per the sec 4 (1)b, c) of RTI Act “all Public Authority have to publish all relevant facts while formulating important policies of announcing the decisions which effect the public; and has to provide reasons for its administrative or quasi judicial decisions to affected person;” therefore the department as well as the school authorities have to show & display the guideline for admission in public domain. Therefore a complaint to Central Information Commission for not following the Act has been drafted (Please see annexure 1).

We have also drafted individual complaints in the name of Education Director and Deputy Director for all the students that the school is not giving English subject in class XI. (Please see Annexure 2).

All the students approached to school to submit CIC complaint as well as application. As soon as the principal read the complaints she immediately called us. The principal stated that these students have secured less marks in English therefore they cannot be given English subject in Class XI, because it will effect to our result in long term. So we will only give Sanskrit to these students, there is no such order from the Director.

After that we asked the Principals to submit the applications. Then the principal stated that don’t submit these applications, we will give admission to these students only please don’t tell to other students. We stated that this is injustice with the students who are willing to take English as main subject in class XI. In the end the principals of both the schools got agreed to revise the admission list and are ready to give English subject to all the students who have been given Sanskrit forcibly.

In Solidarity

Pardarshita
F-185,186 New Seema Puri
Delhi-110095
Ph: 01122356476, 9899358835
Blog:http://pardarshita.blogspot.com

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Notice issued by Delhi High Court to Delhi Govt. against violation of RTE ACT

Article 21 A of Constitution states that “Every child between the ages of 6 to 14 years has the right to free and compulsory education.” Not only this RTE Act has also been enacted since 1st April 2010 and according to Section 3 (1) & 3(2) of Right to Education Act

Section 3(1)“Every child of age of six to fourteen years shall have a right to free and compulsory education in a neighborhood school till completion of elementary education”

Section 3(2)“no child shall be liable to pay any kind of fee or charges or expenses which may prevent him/her from pursuing and completing the elementary education”.

But surprisingly, Government schools Authorities, who are supposed to be aware of this Act, are not abiding by the same. Principals of Government Schools are collecting Rs 97 from the students of Class I to VIII in the name of Parents Teachers Association Fund and Pupil Welfare Fund. This is not one time collection but the students have to pay Rs 45 quarterly for pupil Welfare Fund

When such violations came to the notice of Pardarshita by the students, then more than 500 students were assisted by Pardarshita in raising their voice against violation. A complaint with the Delhi Govt. and Chairperson of NCPCR and DCPCR was filed. More than three months have been passed but no action by any of the Authority has been taken so far. Therefore Pardarshita has filed a PIL in Delhi High Court with the help of Divya Jyoti Jaipuriar, Advocate HRLN for violation of RTE Act and today Hon’ble High Court has issued notice to Delhi Govt. in this matter.

With Regards

Rajiv Kumar

Pardarshita
F-185,186 New Seema Puri
Delhi-110095
Ph: 01122356476, 9899358835
Blog:http://pardarshita.blogspot.com
Email: pardarshita_india@yahoo.com

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Pardarshita filed writ petition with the support of HRLN in High Court for not issuing renewed BPL cards

Dear Friends
Greetings!
We would like to share the progress which has been done after the Bawana residents received rejection letter from the Food & supply Department in the month of August’09.
As this had never happened in the history of PDS that the people who had applied for ration card, get rejection letter from the department once their applications get rejected by the department.
All the aggrieved people filed appeal with the Assistant Commissioner of Food & supply department, but the appellate authority neither called the people for hearing nor sent any reply.
As a result, this matter was persuaded in the High Court. The high Court has accepted the case. The Court has issued notice to the Department and the proceedings are in process.
PDS Control Order 2001 section 11(2) states that “Any person aggrieved by an order of the designated authority denying the issue or renewal of a ration card or cancellation of the ration card may appeal to the Appellate Authority within thirty days of the date of receipt of the order”, but it had never happened in the history of PDS.
In 2007 around 4.4 lac people of Delhi applied for the renewal of their BPL ration cards.
Till 2009 around 1.25 lac people neither get their renewed ration cards back from the department nor get any information regarding the status of their cards. Whenever they go to their respective circle offices to enquire about the status of their renewed ration cards, they only get bad words from the employees of Circle office.
Pardarshita supported the people of Bawana in filing the RTI application to know the status of their ration cards. This resulted in issuing of Rejection letters to the people not only in Bawana but also in other District of Delhi.
When the people received the rejection letter with the reason for rejection, they found that the reason which the department has mentioned for rejecting the renewal of ration card is completely wrong.
Therefore people appealed before the appellate authority U/s 11(2) of PDS Control Order 2001, but the Appellate Authority neither sent any reply to complainant nor conducted any hearing.
Thereafter Pardarshita filed the Writ Petition in High Court with the help of HRLN. The High Court accepted the petition and issued notice to the Food & Supply Department on 23rd Feb’10. The hearing is scheduled on 11th March’10.
With Warm Regards
Ritu MehraWrit Petition against Food & Supply Dept. for not issuing Renewed BPL card.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Mockery of CIC Order

As a result of four complaints filed by Pardarshita, Central Information Commission (CIC) gave orders to all Assistant Commissioners of Food and Supply Department (F&S) and Public Information Officers regarding suo moto disclosure of information under Right to Information Act and Public Distribution System (PDS) Control Order of 2001.

Today was fourth day of field visit to F&S Circle Offices in East Delhi. The purpose was to inspect compliance of CIC order of December 2009, asking all Circle Offices to display basic information on notice boards that is legible, prominently placed and complete, for instance, names of BPL cardholders, list of officers and their duties, procedure of making a ration card and so on. We covered Circle No. 56, 57 and 59 today in Dayanand Vihar, Kalyanvas, and found that there was either no information or incomplete information displayed on torn A-4 size sheets (not big notice boards), pasted on walls/boards at places where people wouldn’t even notice it or won’t be able to read it because the sketchy information was in English!
A copy of the inspection report made by Pardarshita members has been sent to Assistant Commissioner of F & S Department (East) besides CIC, hoping for quick action by all departments so that they display important information under Section 4 of the RTI Act.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Power of RTI


(From R to L: Saroj, Pushpa, Firoza, Domni, Amma, Asmatara. These people now get kerosene oil at subsidised rates after utilising RTI)
It all began with an awareness camp organised by Pardarshita in 2008. About 250 residents of Bawana resettlement colony filled application forms demanding kerosene oil from the Food & Supply (F & S) Department. Even though they have ration cards, local shopkeepers would regularly scare them away each time they asked for their fair share of kerosene oil. Four months passed since the first complaint, still no action was taken by the Food and Supply Officer (FSO) or even the Assistant Commisioner (AC), despite repeated visits. Disheartened, they met the Joint Commissioner (Fuel) at his ITO office, again to be given verbal solace but no real oil to cook food with.
Each family in Bawana has about 6-7 persons on an average, using about 20 litres of kerosene oil per month, primarily for cooking purposes. As residents of this colony ran from one office to another, they had no other option but to purchase expensive oil from local markets at three times the cost of subsidised kerosene.
A year went by, still there was no hope of getting any kerosene on their ration cards till last year, in April 2009, when members of Pardarshita assisted them in filing complaints with the Assistant Commissioner under the Right To Information Act 2005, demanding to know status of their initial applications and reasons why they still haven't got the subsidised kerosene. The F & S Department didn't give any satiffying answer to any of these queries after which the issue reached the highest level i.e. to the Central Information Commissioner (CIC) for final resolution. The CIC promptly sent notice to the AC (North West) making it compulsory for him to answer queries raised by people, especially emphasising on reasons for delay in issuing kerosene to them.
Cutting a long story short, people of Bawana resettlement colony finally got kerosene oil at subsidised rates for the first time now in years, but only after they utilised RTI in their fight for securing basic human rights. Wish more people knew about the power of RTI.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Discussion on 'Implementation of EWS Quota' in Public Schools, 15 January, 2010



I am happy to have made it for at least some part of the meeting on 'Implementation of EWS Quota in Public Schools' at ISI, Lodhi Road, organised by Pardarshita, Sajag and Asha Delhi. I walked into a hall full of people from the poor community. Mothers spoke of their struggles with school administration and how it paid off while children spoke of how it feels to be poor, yet to 'fit in' at school with children from a better class. Poor children have made it to schools like GD Goenka and Sanskriti through EWS quota. This meeting was about lots of sharing and lots of bonding between people who have fought similar battles but from different locations. Their fight continues...





Friday, 15 January 2010

Concept Note for Better Education for Economically Weaker Section and use of RTI (2008)

An important area where the poor people are facing problems in Delhi is the education sector. Although this section of the population has access only to government schools, yet it is widely recognized that the quality of education provided in such schools is extremely poor and deficient. This problem becomes worse in resettlement colonies where slum dwellers are shifted as per the needs of the government in the name of urban development. Most resettlement colonies in Delhi lack basic amenities like infrastructure, water, electricity, transportation, employment opportunities and health facilities in the vicinity. The problem of the children is compounded in these areas due to lack of proper schools, and playgrounds.
Education being the fundamental right should be easily available to all the people of the community.
MCD Schools
The schools run by Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) have the principal responsibility with regard to Primary Education in the city of Delhi. There are 6 schools in Old Seema Puri and New Seema Puri, Delhi that are run by the MCD. The economically weaker section depend on these very “MCD Schools” for the education of their children inspite of sad state of affairs of these schools.
A study of the condition and the environment of these schools reveal that:

  1. A student of such school cannot even read nor write in Hindi properly.


  2. Many of the teachers and other staff employed to teach in these schools can often be found anywhere but in the classroom.


  3. The basic infrastructure is often missing in the classrooms.


  4. A class, with a capacity for 40 to 45 students, has 100 to 125 students, squeezed in it. As a result children spend majority of their time either standing during the class or totally skipping it.

The people who are living in these areas belong to the low income strata of the society therefore they are too busy in trying to earn living for their families and are actually left with no time to get the basic education for themselves nor for their family. They lack awareness about their fundamental rights or the facilities, which they are entitled to from the government.

The government does contribute to the education sector by running MCD schools, some institutions are run by Delhi Govt. and there exists some which are known as Public recognized schools in locality/community.
Public Schools
On the other hand Public Schools are presented as non-profit undertakings. But the guardians of students of such Public Schools have reason to believe otherwise; donation worth lakhs of rupees are demanded along with school fees as building fund, cultural fund etc. An average middle class family aspiring to send their children to such schools has to seriously plan their budget and for the rest of us it’s an unattainable dream.
Approximately 397 schools in Delhi have received land from the Government at extremely subsidized rates on the condition that in return these schools would reserve 25% seats for the children of EWS in their schools, a condition continuously violated. The reasons given for not fulfillment of such conditions are that if such children are allowed to enroll in their school, they will destroy the school’s environment that caters to the needs of the elite class of the society. But the real reason for refusing the admissions to EWS is the drastic reduction in income that these schools make through donations.
State Failure
Apart from the schools, three other parties are guilty of violation of the Constitutional Right to education as well as the terms and conditions for allotting land at concessional rates.
• The Delhi Government and Municipal Corporation of Delhi have failed to ensure that all unaided Recognized Private Schools in Delhi (to which public land had been conditionally allotted) complies with the conditions of allotment of land with regard to admission of the children (25 per cent belonging to the EWS of society and grant free ship to them)
• The Delhi Government has further failed to frame rules or policies regarding provision for education to the children belonging to EWS of society by all Unaided recognized private schools in Delhi.
• The Union of India, Delhi Development Authority, Delhi Government and Municipal Corporation of Delhi were also unable to take action against erring unaided recognized private schools for noncompliance with the conditions on which public lands have been allotted to them.
Problems in Utilizing this EWS Clause:
Pressure groups not available
There exists no autonomous body which can exert pressure on the school authorities in case if they deny admission rights to any aspirant form EWS
Insensitive Decisions by judiciary.
The honorable system of judiciary did take efforts to pass the required directives to provide the basic rather a robust system of education to all the children of society. However unfortunately there exists no mechanism to ensure such availability.
Commercialization of education
The education system in our society has been commercialized so much that it has left behind the requirement of a basic good education being available to all the children of society, instead it has become a commodity to be available for haves' and not with have nots'
In societies like ours where the transparency in the system is yet to develop, the general public must learn how to make use of the right to information and government offices and administration must learn how to share information while safeguarding privacy and national interests. For both sides this requires an increased level of awareness of their rights, duties and obligations.
Proposal
The project, which we propose here; shall be a pilot project and will be carried out in the resettlement and slum clusters of Seema Puri in Delhi. The programme shall cater towards an improved state of living for people and will strive to set an example for other areas to replicate.
Strength of our organization
Pardarshita is a non-profit organization registered since December 2005, founded by activists associated with Parivartan. A separate organization has been formed to focus on setting up resource centers in several low-income areas and enabling education for children from low-income families. The main aim is to fight corruption and ensure transparency and accountability in the Public Governance systems thereby empowering the marginalized sections to improve their life conditions. The goal of this organization is to spread awareness about Right to Information and empower common people to use this awareness and the RTI tool to ensure access to his/her rights and entitlements. Being a active member of Parivartan we took the initiative and started with addressing the difficulties faced by people in dealing with the electricity department and further handled the issues like ration card, sewage, roads, water supply and so on. This was an empowering process – right to information has redefined the relationship between the people and the government.
Advocacy Element
Sustenance of free ship quota. The free ship quota earlier was 25% which had been continuously reduced and now it has reached to as low as 10%. We propose that the respective authorities should review their decision again and if not much this free ship should be revived back to 20% atleast.
Implementation of guidelines of Education Department at the grass root level: the people from EWS are neither educated nor aware of the rights available to them being a citizen of India. Therefore there arises a need to spread awareness in the society for the benefit of such people at large. This shall enable them to seek implementation of the guidelines of the respective authorities in their favour e.g the mid day meal which is provided to the children in schools the parents do not know the quantity and the menu for the same. The menu is not displayed on the board.
Facilities which are being sanctioned by the Govt should be made available to the children e.g a process should be formed to reimburse for the books and uniform to parents by the school authorities.
COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION
Pardarshita shall try to create awareness amongst the common people regarding their rights, duties and obligations being the citizen of India
Pressure groups/Watch groups: Some autonomous bodies should be designated as pressure groups to ensure that all the policies of the policies of the govt are followed not only in the letter but also in the spirit.
Our orgnisation aims to provide the much-needed support to the people living in slums to invoke RTI to use this right to the fullest and establish an effective system of governance. Members of this organization have been engaged in the process for last few years and have been active members of the RTI movement not only in the city but also in the country. The overall objective of this project is to provide a space to the slum communities where they could access information and know-how to use the Right to Information tool.
This tool not only creates awareness amongst the common people but also make govt officials and the community accountable.
Proposed Activities

  • Awareness Camps


  • Help line Number


  • Networking and Advocacy with NGOs


  • Voluntary support by community people


  • Camps organized in different colonies


  • Campaign in collaboration with Delhi Government.


Capacity building activity will focus on developing the understanding of the Community and the NGOs active in the area on accessing information, analyzing the government documents and utilizing the information to assist the admissions/enrollment process. The Capacity building will also focus on the use of Right to Information, studying the information accessed and putting it to use in understanding government processes to complete paper work for school admissions. In 2005 when we started working on EWS clause we were able to admit around 45 children in different schools of northeast district. In next year i.e. 2006 around 150 children were admitted, and in current year more than 400 children were admitted in 4 districts.

Expected Results
• Awareness among the parents, children and the schools.

• Working towards realizing the goal ‘Education for All’.

• Creating a Network with NGOs to formulate a future plan of action and organize opinion to influence policy level intervention.

• It tries to abridge the wide gap that exists between the two sides of Indian society– the haves and the have-nots – the problem of heterogeneity is also taken care.

• We have acted as catalysts in the correction of the system. On one hand the Deputy Director Education, some school principals have become receptive and on the other, there is awareness of the presence of the clause. For AY 2008-09 more parents reached out to the workers on their own to get their children admitted using this clause.

• Myths, that the parents in the EWS do not want to send their children to school and that children from this section cannot perform, have been broken.

• The resistance of the private schools was highlighted.

• Lastly, we have been able to implement the concept of a welfare state as defined in the Constitution of India [8] - a supreme form of correction from the first principles of India.

• The community empowerment will fix up the role of community in improving the conditions prevailing in Education system.

Back Ground note for Economically Weaker Section (EWS) Quota (2008)


There are 1160 public schools in Delhi, out of which around 397 schools have allotted land at subsidized rates from the Government on the condition of providing free education to underprivileged children. The agreement between the Government and schools availing of concessionary land rates was that the underprivileged children would be given fair and equal education without any prejudice and discrimination. However, no school has abided by this agreement.
Social Jurist filed a petition (W.P. (C) 3156/2002) in the Delhi High Court and a judgment was passed on 20th January 2004 which ordered schools who had been allotted land from Government, to give admission to children of unprivileged sections of society. The Court further ordered that in case its order was not followed, these schools would be derecognized, and lease deed provided to the schools would be cancelled. The High Court had also instructed the Education Department of Delhi to immediately issue rules and regulation pertaining to the admission procedure of unprivileged children.
Success in admission for session 2005-06, 2006-07, 2007-08
In July 2005 Delhi Govt. has published an order related to admission of the children belonging to economically weaker section in many newspapers, in which they have mentioned the guidelines for such admission. Therefore we realized that it was a good opportunity for the poor by which they can also give free and good education to their children in public schools.
Therefore for the admission for session2005-06 we spread the awareness among the people about such orders. In session 2005-06 we were able to admit around 45 children in three public schools of north east district. For session 2006-07 and 2007-08 we started off by spreading the awareness of this reservation clause in the JJ Clusters and Resettlement Colonies of North East, East and South Districts of Delhi. Many parents came forward to get ready for the admission process.
The whole lobby of management of different schools wanted to take stay from the courts on this reservation clause. Parents of the ‘rich’ children felt uneasy about having ‘such’ children in the same class; the teachers assumed that these children were not capable. The management of the public schools was under such resistance to educate Indian children was unimaginable!
The admission which were done in the sessions were not so easy The parents faced many problems in seeking the admission under this quota. The parents were not allowed to enter the school even. Several complaints were sent to the Deputy Director of Education of the Districts, and Director of Education. After filing the complaints when no action was taken against the school applications under the Right to Information Act (RTI), 2005 were filed for follow-up of complaints. All these problems came in to notice of the Chief Information commissioner during the hearing of those cases, therefore commission has also recommended departmental inquiry against some deputy directors of education.
Eventually, in the AY 2006-07 around 180 children and in AY 2007-08 around 400 children were able to get admission in public schools, who would have never dreamt of going to such schools.
Our efforts regarding admission for current session
We have been successfully working on this issue for three years. Therefore, now we wish to take up this issue at a wider level through out the Capital, so that we can spread awareness among the people in every part of Delhi. As a first step in this direction, we drafted a manual comprising each and every detail regarding the admission process.
We have organised a meeting in collaboration with Nehru memorial Museum and Library at Teen Murti and invited many NGOs working in Delhi, to discuss on the current policy of the Delhi Government on access of Economically Weaker Families to public schools. This meeting was also attended by Mr Wajahad Habibullah (Chief Information Commissioner), Mrs. Shanta Sinha (Chairperson, Protection of Child Rights Commission) and Mrs Mridula Mukherjee (Director, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library) Mr. Shekhar Singh (former convener of NCPRI)
Collaboration with Delhi Government: We had organized awareness camp with collaboration of Delhi Govt. in many DC Office complexes in different district. Hundreds of people approached to these camps regarding the admission procedure.
Help line Number: We have started a help line to guide the procedure for admission under EWS category. This help line Number was published in Newspapers like Navbharat Times, Amar Ujala, Dainik Bhaskar. In a span of two months we received around 1000 phone calls from all over Delhi regarding the enquiry of admissions process under EWS quota. The parents were guided about the procedure of admission and simultaneously they were guided about the process of complaints also.
Networking and Advocacy with NGOs: We are also networking with other NGOs like YMCA, ISST, Prabhatara, Amba Foundation, Social Jurist, Astha, Bal Vikas Dhara and Satarak Nagrik Sangathan in Delhi to extend this awareness programme at a wider scale.
Voluntary support by community people: The children who were admitted in the Public schools under EWS quota last year now their parents start mobilizing other people in their community.
Camps organised in different colonies: We organised awareness camps in different colonies and assisted them in completing their documentation process.
Success of this year in field of admission under economically weaker section
1. During our work experience in last three years we realized that the prescribed seats under EWS quota was hardly filled up, but this year especially in two districts i.e. East and North-East (Trans Yamuna) awareness spread among the parents by Pardarshita was to such an extent that, in each school of these two district more than 200 parents approached to the schools, for the admission of their child under this quota, which is quite remarkable in itself.
2. We assisted the parents in filing their complaints in the education department and as a result more than 500 complaints were filed in the department.
3. All these complaints were brought under notice of Hon’ble High court during the hearing held on 19.2.08.and with the result of this High Court had ordered the education department to file the status report of all these complaints. The education department has submitted the status report on 11.3.08
4. During the hearing conducted on 12.3.08 regarding this matter the Hon’ble Court has ordered to issue a contempt notice against these defaulted schools.
5. Now some school authorities are inviting parents for the admission.
6. In current session i.e. 2008-09 more than 300 students have been admitted in public schools.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

BPL BENEFICIARIES: CIC orders publication of PDS details

CIC Shailesh Gandhi orders that information about the public distribution system and its beneficiaries should be made public, offering hope that a corrupt system may finally see some reform. Shaweta Anand reports.

13 January 2010 - Musmat Musarrat has two children to support on her own - she is a widow - but she earns a mere Rs.1000-1200 each month to run her family's finances. One source of succour for people like her is the Below Poverty Line (BPL) card she is entitled to from the government. But getting and keeping this document has proved quite difficult.
In Bawana'a JJ Colony in Delhi, Musarrat and many others have been hopelessly pursuing government officials, enquiring about the status of BPL cards that were deposited with them for renewal back in 2007, during a 'renewal drive' by the Delhi government. If the card were with her today, she could have purchased basic food items at subsidised rates under the government’s Public Distribution System (PDS), which is one of the largest welfare distribution systems in the world. But having surrendered the old card for renewal, she is caught between the loss of that card and the yet-to-be-issued new one.
Musarrat represents not only the plight of people of Bawana Colony but also that of poor people spread out in various parts of the city, who are fighting a PDS that is both corrupt and functions dismally.
The ration shops, which should open for 25 days a month, are in fact open only for about five days.


Pardarshita, a non-profit organisation, has been working to make various governmant departments in Delhi more transparent and accountable through extensive use of the Right to Information Act 2005, and also including communities in this struggle for social justice. "Like Musmat, about 1.5 lakh poor people in Delhi are struggling to make ends meet and running around government offices to find out status of their card. [This is the case with] not only those who have applied for renewal of BPL cards but also those who have applied for new ration cards, the status of which they should ideally know within 45 days of the first application," says Ritu, an activist with Pardarshita.
"This is not the only problem with PDS," adds her fellow activist Rajiv Kumar, "even the ration shops, which should open for 25 days a month, are open only for about five days, if you enquire!"
With complaints piling up from people of many resettlement colonies - Bawana, New Seemapuri, Sundernagari to name a few - Pardarshita filed a complaint under Section 18 of RTI Act 2005 to the Central Information Commission that the Delhi Food & Supply Department is not following Section 4 of the RTI Act, which mandates government departments must sou moto disclose information about their work. Pardarshita sought the list of people whose BPL card applications were cancelled, as well as the reasons for their rejection. Additionally, a list of beneficiaries of PDS system was also asked for.
Following this complaint, Central Information Commission member Shailesh Gandhi notified the Food Secretary, and held a hearing on 21 December. The meeting was followed by an order the following day, directing all concerned to display the following information online and outside 70 ration shops/circles of Delhi, before 31 January. A complaince report detailing how much of this order has been carried out, has also been demanded by CIC, to be provided by 5 February 2010.
The information to be published includes:
  • Entitlement of essential commodities for all type of Ration Cards.
  • Scale of issue of each essential commodity for all types of ration cards.
  • Retail price of each essential commodity for all types of ration cards.
  • Working hours of Fair Price Shops.
  • Stock of essential items received during the month.
  • Opening and closing stock of essential commodities.
  • Name, designation and contact numbers of officials for redressal of grievances with respect to quality and quantity of essential commodities.
  • Daily updating of stock position information.
  • Information about inspection of records by any citizen on every Saturday except for second Saturday as per the PDS Control Order 15/06/06.
  • Display of samples of food grains being supplied through Fair Price Shops.

Soon after these directions by the Commission, its impact can already be seen, at least on the Government of India's Food & Supply Department website, which now provides some information on the above-mentioned lines. According to the order, such information is also to be provided at the points-of-delivery of the rations (i.e. the fair price shops themselves), and that will be an even bigger boost to the transparent functioning of the distribution system.

Disclosure of all this information will be an important milestone in larger struggle for effective PDS in India, which has been going on for many years now. When information regarding the quality and price of grains and other essential commodities becomes available at every FPS, daily, including lists of bonafide card holders and people to contact for grievance redressal at Circle Offices, then there will be much less scope for corrupt officials to deny proper rations to the beneficiaries, or to seek bribes from them to give them what is their due. This should also bring down the practice of shop-owners hoarding essential items for sale in the open market, after diverting them from the beneficiaries.

Moreover, an increasing number of citizens and activist groups will know what to do about unjust practices rampant, and they can in turn intervene on behalf of the poor, even if the beneficiaries themselves are not confident of taking on the system. "The other advantage," says Rajiv Kumar, "is that through the new lists of beneficiary card holders, all bogus card holders will stand exposed. A lot of essential items were earlier taken away from the PDS under the guise of distribution to such fake beneficiaries, and these are instead sold at market rates for earning hefty profits,".

This CIC's order promises to cast new rays of light on the dark corruption of the PDS, and offers hope that poor people like Musmat Musarrat will be able to get the rations they desperately need. ⊕

Shaweta Anand is a freelance writer and a volunteer with Pardarshita.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Career Counselling Session at Youth Group Meeting, 30th June, 09

Date: 30.06.09
Place: Pardarshita, F-185, New seema Puri, Delhi-95
Resource person: Mrs. Saraswati
On 30.06.09 we organized career counseling for the youth of Seema puri. Counseling is started with the introduction of youth with the recourse person, In which every member of the youth told about himself/herself i.e. about name, class school name, hobbies, courses they want to do, etc. after that the resource person Mr. Sarswati Nayar introduce herself with the youth group. She also told that she doing social work from last many years.
After that she starts counseling with the student who enter in the tenth class and the student who clear tenth class. She told that the student of tenth class can do the following courses:
                                              
After that she completely gave a speech on these topics then she told the students who are interested in math, those students can take commerce..
After that she told that the students who take science can choose medical line, student that take commerce can choose CA line, and the student who choose arts have many line e.g. Govt. jobs, political party etc. Then the students asked many questions from Resource person and she reply very smoothly to students.
Then she starts counseling with the 12th class students.
She explain the three steams fully- Engineering, Commerce and Medical
Then the resource persons inform that after 12th you all can enter in the collage according to the choice of your course.
Even you all can do these courses from the private collage.
B.P.P:- Bachelors Preparatory Programme
Then she briefly told about this course, she told that the student who is failed in 10th, and the 11th, 12th student can also do this course,
This course is done from IGNOU and the age limit of this course is above 17.
Fees structure: Rs. 2000.
Duration: 2Years
She also told that this course is equal to 12 pass.
IGNOU: - Indra Gandhi National Open University
Indra Gandhi National Open University can start lots of courses. Center of the IGNOU is open in all states of India.It also start vocational courses i.e. moter viding, book viding, radio and TV, Plumbing etc. along with all other courses are running i.e. B.A, M.A, PhD etc. IGNOU can also send for the training for many courses i.e. BSW, MSW, B.ed etc. The fee structure of all couses is different i.e. starting from 800 to 25000. And the exam of these courses is held in June and December.
                 
AFMC:- Air Force Medical Collage
The student can be eligible in this course after 12th. This course can be done after clearance of entrance test.

                 
Vocational Courses: -
These courses can be done with the continue of 8th, 9th, 11th, and 12th.these courses can be applicable for girls and boys, the fee structure of the courses are different. These courses art promoted by, Ngo’s, private institute and collages.
• Steno
• Typing
• Beautician
• Airhostess
• Modeling
• Photography
• Nursing
Courses Related to Agriculture:
• Dairy Technology
• Portly Technology
• Rural Management
Courses related to Mass Communication:
• Advertising
• Film Making
• Public Relation
• Journalism
Courses Related to computer and IT (information Technology)
• Animation (cartoons)
• Call center training
• Web designing
• Web Developer
• Out Recourses
For the entire above course English is must and the fee structure of these courses is near about 1 lakh
In the end of the session she told about the some good collages.

WOMEN'S CAPACITY BUILDING TRAINING, BAWANA & SEEMA PURI, JUNE 2009

27th JUNE, 09
Women capacity building training of Bawana & Seema Puri was held on 27th June, 09. A resource person Mrs. Jyotsana Batra was invited to take the whole day session of training, 30 women from Seema Puri & Bawana attended the training.
A round of introduction of the all participants was conducted.
The meaning of capacity building was explained: It is to do self-management in limited resources.
Firstly, personality development was taken as a theme. What we are, we are forgetting all these we need to know the self development, and positive attitude has to be there. We should not think negative so it is must to think positive rather than thinking negative.
Secondly, the importance of creativity was explained. You feel confident if you have made some thing new out of the existing one.
An activity was given to the women for testing aptitude. All the participants were given a sheet to fill.
The third important thing which was explained was self-confidence. We have inbuilt fear that I can not do, but every one has some kind of talent, but we need to recoganise that talent, the example of CM Mayawati and Ex MP Rabri Devi.

Following five points were broadly discussed during the training:
  • Thought (Positive Attitude)
  • Self esteem
  • Creativity (Confidence)
  • Leadership
  • Motivation                         
    Importance of this pyramid was explained
                                     
The group was divided into two and all the women from the both community was merged after lunch. The session after lunch was started by the communication skill.
Communication Skills: After the lunch the group was told about the communication skill. We express our selves in three ways acting, speaking and writing just to communicate our expressions to others. Communication skills are very important just to convey our message, therefore while communicating to others.

A plot was given to the women groups to act. The plot was for the literacy of the girl child and to prohibit child marriage.
The group developed the story themselves and acted so well. It shows that once they are given the opportunity and proper training, they can do well in future.
Through this act it was tried to explain the importance of unity because in one group only 3 people participated and in other group all the women participated so it seems that all are equally responsible for the cause. One group raised the point of importance of girl education and abolition of child marriage; where as the other group took the issue of Sanitation, PDS, Electricity, MCD, Hospital. The address for Free legal cell was also given to the women: Member Secretary, Room No. 1, Patiala House, New Delhi.
Although it takes much time to build up the confidence, but it was more prominent on the faces of that group who came to attend the training, one of them stated to the resource person that we will try to implement this in our life and next time when you will come for the training you can feel the change in among us yourself. The primary focus of such kind of training is that to build self confidence and the way that women stated, I think that it is the right beginning.
This capacity building of women group was ended with thanks note of Mrs. Ritu. In this training women of Bawana & Seemapuri were learnt many things which will help them to build their capacity. 32 women attended the said training at ISI, Lodhi Road, New Delhi on 27th June, 2009.

Report on Protest against the MCD Teacher (Shanoo case)

An eleven year old girl child was punished by the MCD teacher and her punishment ends Shanoo’s life. On 16th April Afternoon we received a call from our volunteer from Bawana and he informed that a girl named Shanoo, 11 is very serious. Shanno, a girl student of IInd class studying in MCD School, E-Block, Site-5, J J Colony Bawana, went to school yesterday i.e. 15th April,09, but she failed to do her homework. When her class teacher Mrs. Manju asked about the homework and came to know that Shanno has not done her work, the teacher beat her and made her stand like a cock, put 2-3 bricks on her back for a long time. Suddenly after some time, Shanno got unconscious and fell down on the floor. Her teacher did not pay any attention towards her.

Shanno’s two sisters also study in the same school and when they came to know about this, they immediately rushed home to call their mother. Her mother took her to the hospital. When we came to know about this, we enquired the matter with the local people of Bawana and immediately sent a press release across the media and also to other NGO informing about the incidence.
A letter was also written to the Chairperson of National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, MCD Commissioner, Police Commissioner, Sh. Vijender Gupta Chairman of Standing Committee (MCD) and Director of Primary education demanding for lodging an FIR against culprit teacher and school principal, for demanding action against the teacher and sensitization of teacher to stop corporal punishment. An appeal was also made appeal to the people and other NGOs through emails for raising voice against such actions of teachers.
The police filed FIR U/s 304 A of IPC against the teacher after a long protest by the community people, but police has not arrested the teacher after four days of Shanoo’s death, therefore all the community people and other organizations of Delhi planned to organize a protest and in front of DCP’s (outer Delhi) office, Pitam Pura, at 11.00am on 21st April, 09 and demanding arrest of Mrs. Manju.
All the people and NGOs came together and raise demand for the arrest of teacher and strict laws against such kind of merciless corporal punishments being given in MCD schools.

A protest was organized on 21st April, 09 with the help of community people and other NGOs; Pahal, Nirmana, Navsrishti, Janwadi Morcha, Kabari Kamgar Union.
Protest at two places was organized; firstly more than 60 people and NGO representatives went to DCP (outer Delhi) office for peaceful protest and with a demand to arrest the guilty teacher.
The DCP met with the people in his office and assured that the teacher will be arrested soon once they get the PM report. He further stated that the investigations are in full swing, the SHO himself is investigating the case and they are enquiring the matter from the community as well as the classmates of Shanoo.
Secondly, a protest was organized at Police Commissioner Head office with a demand to arrest Ms Manju and stop the series of brutally killing series of children in the school. Hundreds of people from the community participated in the peaceful protest. The Jt. Commissioner met the people and he also assured that in inquiry is going on and the teacher will be arrested soon.

We have also met Mrs Shantha Sinha the chairperson of NCPCR regading this matter and also requested to frame some norms regarding protection of Child’s right, demand for trainings to sensitize teachers and arrest of the guilty teacher.

WOMEN CAPACITY BUILDING TRAINING BAWANA & SEEMA PURI, NOV 2008

Date: 27th and 28th Nov, 08
Place: ISI, Lodhi Road, New Delhi
Objective: To build the capacity of the community Women groups and nurture multiple leadership among them so as to enable them to provide leadership and guidance to the larger community in accessing their basic rights.
Background: Community level meetings with the women groups are regularly being organized in the office of Bawana & Seema Puri. During the meetings the groups are being sensitized on their entitlement issues and build their capacity, with the result of these meetings Ration Samiti, Monitoring Group on EWS issue, group on public work department are also formed in Seema Puri.
Process: Keeping these points in view the existing women groups needs to be strengthen with enhanced capacity building initiatives to inform them about their rights and the means to assert them.
The major focus was on intensification of the informal collectives so that they can tackle local level issues themselves without any external technical facilitation.
There were three capacity building trainings; two in Bawana and one in Seema Puri were proposed. Therefore two combined capacity building trainings were arranged on large scale, in which fifteen women from Bawana and 10 women from Seema Puri were invited for training on each day. The trainings were organized on the issue of PDS, Education, health and responsibility.
The resource persons on Day 1, 08 were Mrs Amita Joshi & Mrs. Kalyani.
Focus area of discussion: Responsibility, Need of Community, How to ensure the responsibility of State, SWOT Analysis and Mapping
Morning session by Mrs. Amita Joshi
The training was started with the self introduction of participants followed by the discussion about what they need to lead a good life.
The women replied Employment, education, sanitation, good environment.
They were told that above all we need to have good health because until unless we are healthy we would not be able to do anything in our life.
We can borrow every thing from others, but health could not be borrowed, therefore foremost thing we need to concentrate is SELF-RESPONSIBILITY.
For this we need to take care of surrounding healthy atmosphere, nutritious food, initial care if any problem arises, timely vaccination and self hygiene.
The importance of good eating habits was also told to them. If there is any problem like itching, or any rash on the body it should not be taken lightly, proper care should be required.
Importance of Community: What is community? Why there is a need to live together? Is a crowd of people is community?
The importance of community was discussed. Broadly community means: common interest, unity, responsibility, resolution of problem peacefully.
So we have to take up our issues collectively so that we could achieve the results of our efforts and if we work or think on a common platform, in that case we could have more solutions. Therefore there is importance of community.
Example; there is an group in Mumbai Sewa which is actively working in the community and if there is any case of women violence or any kind of dispute in the family then this group helps in resolving the issue.
Ensuring state responsibility: It is the responsibility of state to give proper food, clothing, shelter and occupational chances to the citizens, and to avail such facilities we need to have information about such responsibilities of state.
A woman from Bawana shared that the ration shopkeeper is charging much for the ration which he distributes. At once another woman from Bawana extended her support and asked her which ration shopkeeper dose this. She stated so because they have got the information about the cost at which the ration is allocated and they have formed a group to assist the people who so ever are facing problem in the community.
This was a nice learning about the importance of self responsibility and how we can fix the responsibility of state. The importance of information and need of community was also very well explained.
After noon session by Mrs. Kalyani:
This session was started by a song
“MERE SAMUH KI PANCH LADIYA SANGATHAN BANAUNGI JAROR CHAHE LAG JAYE HATHKADIYAN”
Firstly they were asked do they know each other because a round of introduction was over in the morning session the group was quite which shows that they have not participated during the introduction round, then they were asked to sit alternately i.e. one woman from Bawana & other from Seema Puri and an exciting round of introduction was initiated by Mrs. Kalyani. This kind of introduction subside the hesitation and it gives a chance of better understanding and feeling of confidence too.
After this they were again divided in to two groups Seema Puri & Bawana and were asked to recall on which issues they have worked so far.
SWOT Analysis was done with the women group of two areas.
The Seema Puri group stated that they are working on 14 issues in their areas and Bawana group stated that they are working on 12 issues in Bawana.
The threats which they face while doing these social works were also discussed.
Power and weakness of group formation was also discussed.
The threats which they face are family, why to attend meetings, greed what we could get, attending the meetings is not considered respectable.
But the women were encouraged that because of attending meetings you get information and the information which they gain gives them strength and guidance for further efforts.
They were also told the importance of mapping of the organisation which are working in their area. Mapping helps in resolving the other issues beside the right based issues like: domestic violence, informal education, crèches etc.
The session was ended with an assignment that was given to the women to form a mapping chart based on the organisations which are working in their communities, which could help in alliance building too.
In the end a song was sung by Mrs. Kalyani:
“PAR LAGA LIYE HAI HUMNE KI PINJRE MAY KAUN BETHEGA, JAB TOD DIYE HAI JANJIRE TO KAMYAB HO JAYEGE JARA SUN LO.”
The whole discussion of first day encouraged moral of the women group, they were told how to overcome their hesitation whenever they interact with each other. They were also told about the importance of responsibility and organizing themselves in community.
WOMEN CAPACITY BUILDING TRAINING BAWANA & SEEMA PURI
Day 2, the resource persons were Mrs. Ritu Mehra from Pardarshita & Advocate Sh. Ashok Aggarwal from Social Jurist.
Morning Session: Ritu Mehra
The women from Bawana & Seema Puri were asked to sit in a manner so that they could interact with each other and could introduce her partner rather then introducing her. This method was adopted just to overcome their hesitation and they could know each other.
After the introduction there was an open discussion about the problems in PDS which the people are facing specifically in Bawana. The problems which came to notice are:
• Ration shopkeeper give less quantity of ration.
• Ration shopkeeper misbehave with the people.
• Kerosene oil on their ration card is replaced by cooking gas during renewal process.
• Ration shopkeeper distribute ration once a month only.
It was quite interesting that the women group from Seema Puri told the women group of Bawana that they have to unite together and need to talk to the ration shopkeeper.
In Seema Puri women group have formed Mahila Ration Samiti which is actively working on the problems which ever they face with the ration shopkeepers. They also shared that how they formed the group and how actively they are fighting with ration shopkeepers. This Mahila Samiti is continuously asking for the records of ration dealers on monthly basis, with the result of this now ration shop keepers are giving proper quantity and ration is being distributed timely.
Shehnaj from Seema Puri also shared that the ration shopkeeper had not distributed ration to the Antodaya Ration Card holders for last 2 months and when those women filed complaint against the ration dealer in the food & supply office, the vary next day the ration dealer went to their home and gave ration of two months which he had siphoned off.
After listening to the problems of the group the suggestions which were suggested to them were:
 Strength of group
 Checking of ration dealer records on every Saturday except second Saturday from 2.00pm to 5.00pm.
 Filing of complaints in Food & Supply Department.
 Use of Right to Information.
The process of filing complaint in the office of FSO was also explained that they have to file their complaints in the register and have to take the copy of complaint too.
The process of filing RTI application to know the status of their complaint was also explained.
The capacity Building training was well taken over by the women group of Seema Puri when they shared their success with the women group of Bawana. This all sharing increased moral of the Bawana group also and they decided that they would also form a group and would also fight for their rights.
After Noon Session by Advocate Sh. Ashok Aggarwal
The focused areas of discussion were Right to Education, Health and Laborers.
He stated that although Right to Education is a Fundamental right but at the ground level the scenario is very bad, the underprivileged groups are always discouraged. We need to fight for our Fundamental Rights.
Major threats are; lack of unity, lack of confidence and people deceive each other for the sake of small benefits. Just to avail our rights education is the only media through which we can win our fight.
Education brings changes, it gives freedom of speech. Poverty is not the reason for depriving the child from education, but lack of awareness is the basic root cause for illiteracy.
Our Government is responsible for quality education and for everything be it the infrastructure in schools, drinking water facility, toilets, good teachers; but children face many difficulties in this.
Therefore there is a need of raising demand from the govt. to provide all the facilities in the schools and provide good atmosphere so that the future of the nation which is nourishing in the school could flourish.
He also told about the admissions under economically weaker section quota in Public schools.
It was also discussed that the child labor should also be prohibited and Govt. must take prompt action against the child labor.
Health: Poverty, improper nutrition, child labor leads to bad health. Our Govt. is also responsible for providing good health to the citizens. The health facilities in Govt. hospitals are provided free, but the patients are forced to pay for various tests and medicines.
It was also told that there are 38 Private hospitals which provide free treatment to those patients whose monthly income is less than Rs.4000. He gave the list of 38 hospitals. There are around 1000 beds available for the economically weaker section of the society who could avail free treatment in these hospitals.
Labor and their rights: The minimum wage for the unskilled labor is minimum Rs.3700-3800 a month, but people are not being properly paid for their hard work, they are being exploited by their owners. Therefore Sh. Aggarwal also invited such people who are being exploited by their owners.
It was a great informative session beside lots of information Sh. Aggarwal ji extended his legal support to the deprived labor class who are continuously being exploited by the employers.
Both the women groups learnt a lot from these training and committed that they will form group in their own area and would take lead in resolving their problems which they are face in the government machinery. They will use RTI Act too to get the information.

RTI helped in the admission of children belonging to Economically Weaker Sections of society in Private Schools- In-House Report by Ritu


Approximately 397 schools in Delhi have received land from the Government at subsidised rates on the condition that in return these schools reserve seats for the children of Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) in their schools. The allotment of land started in 1967 but none of the schools followed the condition of the Lease Deed. The worse part is that our Government did not take any action against this violation. This matter was highlighted when a PIL was filed in the High Court and the judgement stated that all the schools which had been given land by the government have to follow the conditions of lease deed and simultaneously ordered the Delhi Government to frame rules and guidelines for the admissions.
In 2004 the rules were framed and since then the case is in the High Court and in consecutive proceedings, very good rules were framed.
Despite good orders, however, it was not easy to take admission. The Right to Information played a great role in this admission process, because this is the only tool which could make the department move. Oral requests and written complaints did not make the authorities work, but because of using RTI the department awoke from a long sleep and the admission of poor children become possible in Public Schools.
Case Study I
Shakila, a labourer, who hails from a jhuggi cluster; works in a factory to raise her two children. Her husband lives in another state and does not provide any financial support for the upbringing of the children.
In the beginning of this year when volunteers of Pardarshita initiated mobilising people for admission under EWS quota, she also realised that inspite of her low status in society, her children can avail better quality of education. After being aware of this information, she had approached 5 schools (Dayanand Model School, Arwachin Bharti Bhawan, New Oxford Public school, Siddhartha International School, Vivekanand Public school) where she was insulted by the gatekeepers and was not allowed to enter the school for the admission forms.
She had filed a complaint against these schools with the office of Deputy Director of Education (DDE) but no action was taken for a long period of three months. But suddenly in the month of April her child got admission in three public schools (New Oxford Public school, Dayanand Model School and Vivekanand Public school) and some officials from Education Department (East District) had visited her and requested her to withdraw her complaint.
This had not only happened with Shakila, but with more than 300 parents who were seeking admissions of their wards in public schools under this quota and were denied by the school authorities. The officials who could hardly be bothered to take any action against the complaints have now come out of their air conditioned rooms and started visiting the complainants. Moreover the principals from the schools which had taken money for forms under this scheme have visited the slum and returned their money. This had become possible only because of the complaints followed by the RTI applications which insist the officials to come out from their AC rooms to the jhuggi cluster of these people. In the RTI application they have asked for:
1. the daily progress report on their complaints which they have filed with the department,
2. the enquiry report which the department was supposed to do on her complaint.
Although she did not get the reply, the government machinery moved and admission process started
Case Study II
Radha, Malti, Foolbano and Afsaan got their children admitted in a reputed school in East Delhi but the administration asked them to submit Rs.3466/- as admission fees if they were to attend classes. These perplexed women requested the principal, and they showed the order by the Education Department in which it was mandated that children from unprivileged section of society do not have to pay any registration fees, prospectus fees or tuition fees, but the school did not concede to it.
When these women were left with no hope they approached the director, the Deputy Director and an officer of the Education Department with a written complaint. They would meet these officers everyday after filing these complaints. Even after 2 months of the lodging of these complaints their children were not allowed to sit in the classes.
After all these efforts, these women enquired of the Director of Education Dept., Mr. Vijay Kumar, under the Right to Information. They asked that in response to the complaint filed by them about a school demanding Rs.3466 from unprivileged children, which officer is working upon the matter and they also demanded the investigation report. They also asked for a photocopy of the show cause notice issued to the school and their response to the Education department based on the complaint filed by them.
After filing this complaint under RTI Act, we got the response within 15 days that they have investigated that school has not only seeking money from them but has collected money from 16 other underprivileged students. On the basis of the complaint departmental action is being taken against the concerned officer of the Education Department and the school has been ordered that students be given admission within one week and the Education Department be notified about it. The next day, the school authorities themselves came to request these people to send their children to school. With that, they sent a written notice to 16 people who paid Rs.3466 to come and collect that money from the school
In the last three years more than 700 children had been admitted because of the employment of RTI.