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Thread: Can absence of policy be claimed as an excuse to provide information?

  1. Can absence of policy be claimed as an excuse to provide information?


    I sought from CSIR, supposedly a premier national research organisation, its safety policy for employees. I also asked a few questions on what is the responsibility of CSIR towards the safety of its employees while at work, what is the budget allocated yearwise in the last 5 years and actually spent etc. I get a reply stating that as there is no document/instructions called safety policy in CSIR hence the questions 1-10 are not answered. What should be done when such attitude prevails in socalled elite institutions?

    Another sad experience is with respect to stores policy. In all CSIR institutions scientists are made to hold the apparatus/instruments/machinery etc as personal inventory. It means that most of the assets of the organisation exist as personal inventory of employees and they are made responsible to that property. CSIR in its accounting policy has a asset depreciation rate table and makes annual finance reports based on depreciated value of the assets. But the stores says there is no depreciation allowed in the stores policy and hence the original price of the asset is the price after any number years of use. If it is not traceable, the employee in whose personal inventory it is listed has responsibility to meet the original price. Can there be a dual policy in the same organisation? Is it not descriminatory? Can this matter be taken for second appeal or will it be treated as an internal policy matter?

    Baburaok



  2. #2
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    Re: Can absence of policy be claimed as an excuse to provide information?


    baburaok,

    As per your post there seem to be two separate issues:

    1. Safety policy in CSIR Labs
    2. Policy regarding accounting of assets

    For the first issue, you cannot do much since if there is no ;policy in the first place, there is no question of giving you information. Probably you have to look at some other avenues/fora to highlight this issue.

    Regarding the second issue, you will have to first file your RTI application before you can go for First Appeal.
    From the accounting viewpoint , it is strange that if the asset is a personal inventory of the employee, the organisation is claiming depreciation on it.

  3. #3
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    Re: Can absence of policy be claimed as an excuse to provide information?


    I think that it may be a misinterpretation. By personal inventary, they may be meaning that it will be on the direct personal charge of the employ. It is a good system to pin point responsibility to prevent neglect. By splitting the law too much one may have to accept that the employee may not be responsible for the cost of a particular equipment in his charge beyond its book value. But I would not recommend to that view. Some time the book value of a particular very costly rare equipment might land up very low that it could be very tempting for the employee to steel that equipment and pay the book value. I think what the theCSIR is following is very correct in the interest of CSIR. Why should the employee bother about it ?

  4. Re: Can absence of policy be claimed as an excuse to provide information?



    I think there is a communication gap. Personal inventory here means - the apparatus/equipment/machinery of the organisation are held in the name individual employee for use while performing assigned jobs. It is not private property. I may digress a little here to clarify though it is not relevant to this website. There is a security system and no individual can takeaway any thing outside the premises without a valid gatepass. It is unfortunate that colnkurup thinks that if the value is depreciated the employees may be tempted to steal and pay depreciated book value. It is unfair to brand employees as likely thieves, and it is not expected from rights activists. In the process of their career on various projects use of even hundreds of items right from screwdriver are indented and enter the personal inventory. is it humanly possible for any employee to keep a watch all the time on all these units to prevent misplacement during work. At the time of retirement it takes several months of futile exercise to trace all the items and manytimes without success. Who will account for the salary of the several months spent in tracing things from spanner to tanks. There is also a system to beat this thoughtless process. Say you have 4 items of an equipment in your inventory but unable to trace one - if you return three you are charged for the fourth, but if you break one of them and give it as parts of two units all four are cleared. So this process of personal inventory devoid of appropriate methods of keeping track of inventory is a nightmare for retiring employees. There are cases of persons retiring at Head of the department level too not being paid their retirement benefits in time. I know one case of a person who died even before he got his gratuity. I may add that during a CBI raid a former Director of a lab was found to possess a chemical that was gifted to the institute at his residence but every effort was made to hush it up, while less mortals get all the trouble for using the equipment as part of their duties.

    baburaok

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    Re: Can absence of policy be claimed as an excuse to provide information?


    Dear Mr.baburaok,I understood the aspects brought out by you very well. The CSIR is absolutely right. That is the only way to make the employees accountable. Iam not alleging that every employee is a thief. If one assume that all cityzens are innoscent and not liable for committing any crime what is the meaning of enactment of IPC where penalty for theft, murder, and offences relating to public servants etc are given. It is not possible to explain the issue in detail through this forum. I will bring out one simple example. I had come across Libraries where the depreciation of books is shown and the borrower or even the Librarian who is entrusted with the inventary of books taking away precious books paying the depreciated value. Now consider as to why the PIOs are often stating that a particular page of a file is missing. If they are made fully accountable i.e., the entire file inventary is entrusted to him he cannot say that a particular file or letter is mising. He become punishable for loosing byneglect thepropertyof government entrusted in his custody. Such entrustment is a legal requirement. Heis paid pay and pension from public fund for that only. He become accountable. In well run ofices the inventry is handed/taken over whenever an incumbant is changed and the handing/taking over report is countersigned. This report has no destruction period.Not only in CSIR, but in all well managed institutions, every piece of equipment is on someone's inventary charge so that he is responsible to its safty. Breaking one piece into two and showing it as two piece is a method which has become obsolete even when I was in service. Every equipment has a critical portion. The quantity of it is identified with that part. There is an old practice of Killing Dogs in Municipality. The Dog Catchers have to show the tails of the dog to get remuneration for killing it. One dog cannot have two tails. I am defenitely not arguing that what you had stated is wrong. But the above is my view.
    Last edited by colnrkurup; 14-10-07 at 07:19 AM.

  6. #6

    Re: Can absence of policy be claimed as an excuse to provide information?


    Dear colnkurup,
    Really this is very good thread to discuss. This thread shows that the Auditing body of our country is not working properly so that these issues comes under discussion. Please go through section 4 of RTI Act 2005 and try to implement the same everry where it will provide answer of so many querries. Mrs Aruna Rai expressed same views on occassion of second anniversary of Rajasthan Information Commission.

  7. #7
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    Re: Can absence of policy be claimed as an excuse to provide information?


    Had you come across my postings at various RTI forums you would have been aware of my repeated cry on the importance of Section 4, especially Section 4(1)(d) of theRTI Act. I maintain that Section 4(1)(d) can expose almost all types of lapses and corruption.

  8. #8

    Re: Can absence of policy be claimed as an excuse to provide information?


    Dear Mr. colnrkurup,
    I could not access the posting. Actually I want to emphasize the section 4 which is very imprtant to implement the RTI. On implementation of section 4 there will be good discussion for us. So many problems indian citizen will over on implementation of section 4. This thread is asking us Re: Can absence of policy be claimed as an excuse to provide information?. Section 4 indirectly establishing liability to form policies and display them. Effective implementation of section 4 will make society more systemetic. I am also trying to access you post.<!-- google_ad_section_end -->

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