I just read about CIC opinion stating that employees in govt. sector should desist from asking details about promotions , report of pay anomaly committee , Travelling Allowance details etc of some officer . Commissoner opines that its for personal use . How can a govt. officer going abroad and spendig hundreds of thousands of Rupees from Govt. account is not answerable. Regarding promotions and service related matters how one can say these things are in prersonal perspective . Well RTI is meant to bring transparency which in turn is essential for principal of natural justice and equality. I fail to understand how a Information commissioner can say things like these.
The context of the CIC observation was different "I feel constrained to highlight the fact that civil servants and employees of public authorities, of various hues, have found in the RTI Act a prolific avenue for the redressal of their grievances".
Some of the points that you have raised in your post cannot fall under the same context.
Just for your information, a applicant filed a application under RTI Act asking:
- Copies of log book of a car being used by a officer
- Travel and work schedule of that particular officer
The information was duly supplied.
Then he sat down and compared the two and found:
- On one particular day the car travelled 480 Kms while the
officer was attending a conference the whole day.
- Another instance was when the officer was out of the State on some
work and the car travelled 236 Kms during those 4 days.
I cannot give you evidence for this because there is no news report or link on the web.
I asked this person as to how did he get the idea for such a querry under RTI Act and why did he follow it up ?
"I go to leave my child in the school every morning and find at least a dozen of white Ambassador Cars with "Govt. Vehicle" written on their number plates parked the whole day at the school. So I wanted to find out what was going on ? I did not have anything against the particular officer but his name was the first one I found in the Govt. Section of the Telephone Directory".
Having said that, the same (or probably worse) happens in the private sector. Doesn't the company car ferry Madam to the market or mall ? (probably a perk of the job). Even in the Private Sector, gifts are given and accepted during "Diwali" ? Doesn't the Senior Executive buy Pastries from the Hotel Coffee shop, to take home for his family and asks the Hotel to add the amount to his bill ? What about private calls made from office ?
Hence, Mr Chidambaram has imposed FBT. But unfortunately, the Government cannot tax itself, so does not pay FBT.
It's just a question of "ethics" and each individual is different. A question of laying down proper rules, following them and enforcing them. Also to have proper "control systems" in place.
Many Companies in the USA and Europe even go to the extent of looking down upon their employees who use the company photocopiers for personal purposes. That is why the new Xerox machines installed, have a "Smart Card" system attached, so that the Company knows who used the machine, when, for how long and for what purpose.
Do you know the District Magistrate gets the salary of around 18000/- per month as a gross salary, and deduct the License fees, and other deduction he gets around 9000/- as take home salary so effective tax deducted salary of less than 1 lakhs/year. If he is a two chappati officer, he will save 10000/- a year.
So if he wants to have own car he need to wait for 25 years to buy Maruti 800, by that time he is all most crossed his carrier.
And the administrative decisions an officer puts their family under threat always. So if you go by rule, the DM daughter need to go in a bicycle and I guess, we need to consider this all as necessary perk, and make it all official rather than just pointing it as left to be written as misuse and we pointing and em brassing the Officers by using RTI.
I completely agree with your comments and in fact want to take the argument a bit further.
The Salaries should be increased to a "realistic" level. That too, not in stages, but at one go. Sometimes it is better for shock therapy.
At the same time, there should be a complete overhaul of the Administration along with Administartive reforms. NO POLITICIAN should ever be involved in administrative reforms. Get professional advice from professionals. Bring in a system of responsibility, accountability alongwith proper "rewards" and recoginition for good performance.
In parallel, "educate" Government servants against corruption, Bring in very strict laws. No taking permission from Governor, fast track courts, courts only to try corruption.
I can assure you, that most tax payers in this country will be more than happy to pay that extra tax (which in any case is what they are paying today as "other means") just to see this happen.
Mr.true blue and Mr.karira, these are some wonderful thoughts. while rti is definitely a tool for the clientelle(the citizens if india) to fight against corruption, administrative reforms like the ones suggested above would help tackle the corruption at the root by preventing it at the very beginning. for prevention of corruption, administrative reforms and for curing corruption, RTI. i guess the combination will be the panacea to today's malaise.
Panacea? I doubt very much. As long as elections are fought on the strength of money, the spender will always be on the look out for innovative ways to regain his "investment". We require reforms in a few other areas as well.