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Parliament: Govt Blocked Over 30,000 Web Links Since 2018, Says Vaishnaw

Over 9.79 lakh vacant posts in government, maximum of 2.93 lakh in Railways.
Information Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw

Information Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw. Image Courtesy: PTI

New Delhi: The government issued directions to block 30,310 web links, including social media links, accounts, channels, pages, apps, web pages, websites etc since 2018, Parliament was informed on Wednesday.

Electronics and IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Wednesday informed the Lok Sabha that the committee constituted under IT Rules examined a total of 41,172 URLs (Uniform Resource Locators) that were received from nodal officers in various ministries, departments and states for blocking under section 69A of IT Act 2000.

"The Government follows due process as envisaged in the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking for Access of Information for Public) Rules, 2009. From 2018 till 15th March 2023, blocking directions have been given for 30,310 URLs. These include social media URLs, accounts, channels, pages, apps, web pages, websites etc," Vaishnaw said in a written statement.

He said that section 69A of the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000, provides power to the government to issue directions for blocking access to information if it is necessary or expedient to do so in the interest of sovereignty and integrity, defence of India, security of the state, friendly relations with foreign states or public order or for inciting a cognizable offence.

Over 9.79 lakh Govt Vacancies, Maximum of 2.93 Lakh in Railways

Over 9.79 lakh vacancies exist in different Central government departments, including a highest of 2.93 lakh in Railways, as on March 1, 2021, Union Minister of State for Personnel Jitendra Singh said on Wednesday.

He said the occurrence and filling up of vacancies is a continuous process, as per the requirement of various ministries, departments and organisations of the Central government.

"Government has already issued instructions to all ministries/departments for timely filling up of the unfilled posts. Rozgar melas being organised by government of India are expected to act as catalyst in further employment generation," he said in a written reply.

Besides Railways, there were 2.64 lakh vacant posts in defence (civil), 1.43 lakh in home, 90,050 in posts, 80,243 in revenue, 25,934 in Indian audit and accounts department, and 9,460 in atomic energy department among others, Singh said, citing the annual report of the department of expenditure.

Govt non-committal on special category status to any state

The Centre on Wednesday remained non-committal on granting the Special Category Status to any state, saying the 14th Finance Commission has not made any distinction between the general category and special category states and it has increased the net shareable taxes to all states substantially.

The written reply of the Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai came in response to YSR Congress member V Vijayasai Reddy's question on whether the government has announced that henceforth no special category status would be given to any state.

 “The Fourteenth Finance Commission (FFC) had not made any distinction between general category states and special category states in the horizontal distribution of shareable taxes amongst the states,” he said. 

The minister said as per the recommendations of the FFC, the Union government had decided to increase the share of net shareable taxes to the states from 32% to 42% for the period 2015-20. 

He said the same has also been retained by the Fifteenth 15th Finance Commission at 41% (1% adjusted on account of creation of UT of Jammu and Kashmir) for the period 2020-21 and 2021-26.

 “The objective has been to fill the resource gap of each state to the extent possible through tax devolution. Also, Post-Devolution Revenue Deficit Grants have been provided to states where devolution alone could not cover the assessed gap,” he said.

Rai said the Central government has agreed to give special assistance to Andhra Pradesh to make up for the additional central share the state might have received during 2015-16 to 2019-20, if the funding of centrally sponsored schemes would have been shared at the ratio of 90:10 between the centre and the state.

The special assistance is to be provided by way of repayment of loan and interest for the Externally Aided Projects (EAPs) signed and disbursed during 2015-16 to 2019-20 by the state, he said.

For the eight North Eastern states, Himalayan states of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and UT of Jammu and Kashmir, Rai said, as per the recommendations of the sub-group of chief ministers on the rationalisation of centrally sponsored schemes, the sharing pattern of funding of core schemes under the centrally sponsored schemes is 90:10 between the Centre and the state.

For the rest of the states, the sharing pattern is 60:40, he said.

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