An RTI application seeking the information about the winners of the UP government’s lucrative Yash Bharti awards between 2012 and 2017 has revealed that there was no defined process of application or selection, as per Indian Express. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister’s office sent many applications although the Culture Department was, officially, in charge of the awards. It was also found that many winners have close links with the Samajwadi Party, the report said.
The RTI query brought to light the fact that an officer at the Chief Minister’s Office even recommended his own name. Among others who got onto list were a TV anchor who conducted the Saifai Mahotsav for the Akhilesh Yadav government, a researcher who listed his two-month “field work” in the north eastern state of Meghalaya, self-styled founder of “the revolutionary ideology of manufacturing unique and handmade clothes based on jyotish and psychology,”. Some of the candidates were selected by the CM’s uncle and a local editor. A daughter of an IAS officer won the award at the age of 19, as per IE.
In fact, they won the UP government’s lucrative Yash Bharti awards between 2012 and 2017, an RTI reply said. It was also found after accessing the details of 142 of the estimated 200 winners between 2012 and 2017 17 under the RTI Act that it was largely an exercise in patronage and favours. At least 21 winners sought the awards for themselves by writing directly to the CMO. Among these winners, three of them were “endorsed” by Sunita Aron, Resident Editor in Lucknow of the Hindustan Times, via an email to the Chief Minister’s office, the report said. However, the Yogi Adityanath government is now reviewing these awards, specifically the provision of lifetime pensions introduced by the SP government in 2015.
“What was the basis for selecting awardees? Appropriate action will be taken after the review. The dignity of the awards should be maintained. Honouring undeserving people lowers the dignity of the awards,” Yogi Adityanath was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times.