Saturday, 5 September 2009

Abolish the Registrar of Newspapers

Some colleagues are launching a fresh publication. One of the colleagues happens to be an OCI.

After jumping through several hoops whose existence defies justification, and after coming to hope that all the formalities had finally been completed, my OCI friend received a letter from the RNI (Registrar of Newspapers, India), apparently prepared on a certain date, and posted a full week later but in such a way or at such a location as to take two and a half weeks to arrive. This letter basically simply questions whether my friend is in fact an OCI.

This is an interesting and curious question, considering that the papers submitted include (as required) a licence by the seniormost possible member of the police force, who had (of coure) to check with the Home Ministry about the status of the OCI before the licence could be issued by the police officer.

Interesting question: does the RNI have the authority to question anyone's OCI or citizenship status?

If they do have such authority, is that not a criminal offence and should RNI not take it up with the policy authority that issued the licence - or indeed with the Home Ministry itself?

Or is this not simply an effort to delay registration totally unnecessarily - or perhaps another attempt to get some payment "under the table"? (My friends have resolutely refused to pay any bribes).

Under India's Right to Freedom Act, some activist in India needs to take up the question of how many such letters have been issued by RNI over let us say the last 5 years, as a proportion of the total number of publication licences granted.

How many months or years DOES it take from the initial application for registration to the granting of registration.

Indeed, under RTI someone needs to raise the question of whether it is necessary for the RNI to exist.

Abolish the RNI, say I, along with a multitude of other such useless offices, which simply waste government money (that is, the money earned and handed over to government by taxpayers)

I will offer to create a list of other such offices or functions that should be eliminated in order to reduce public expenditure.

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