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'Lack of staff reason for CIC's under-performance'
February 24, 2009 17:06 IST
Citing lack of staff as a key reason for the under-performance of Information Commissions, the Central Information Commission has written to the government asking it to provide more staff and resources in order to fulfill the requirements of implementing the RTI Act satisfactorily.
In a letter written to Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions Prithviraj Chavan about the absence of adequate staff with the Central Information Commissioners, Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi said, "If adequate staff was provided, the average annual disposal of cases per Commissioner could be over 4,000 cases compared to less than 2,000 so far."
The Centre had in February this year sanctioned a staff of seven for each Information Commissioner after receiving a letter from CIC about inadequate staff with Commissioners.
"An Information Commissioner needs a staff of at least 16 people to deliver on all counts, and it is apparent that no systematic evaluation has been done in the last few years," he said.
The Information Commissioner had in November 2008 and February this year wrote letters to the Prime Minister in
In his recent letter to the government, he said: "Your government has the credit of giving the Right to Information Act to citizens...This refusal to provide needed inputs to the Information Commission can cause a serious setback to RTI and the RTI delivery system can be rendered dysfunctional."
While talking to PTI, he said: "I have realised that a key reason for the under-performance of the Information Commissions is lack of adequate staff. The government has decided that each Commissioner needs a staff of seven and this is completely inadequate. I have taken about five interns (on whom I spend around 70 per cent of my post-tax salary) and managed to clear 1,179 cases in the last two months."
"I have received only a letter from DOPT implying that a staff of only seven persons can be provided to the Commissioners to carry out all the functions, which is in fact insufficient," he said.
"Each Information Commissioner requires a staff of over 16 and a space of about 150 sq metres for the staff," he demanded in his letter.