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Thread: Meet your new info chief

  1. #1

    Meet your new info chief

    Meet your new info chief
    As reported by Uma Upadhyaya in Hindustan Times, Mumbai on 26/02/08

    NO SOONER does 60-year-old Ramanand Tiwari retire from the Indian Administrative Service at the end of this week, he will become Mumbai’s first information commissioner, the man to whom you could turn if the government decides not to divulge to you a particular bit of information under the Right to Information Act (RTI).

    The Hindustan Times made dogged but fruitless attempts to prise information from Tiwari — now the additional chief secretary with the urban development department — about a government decision to allow a club to go ahead with constructions at recreational ground in Dadar east.

    On February 19, the Hindustan Times carried a report about how the government was allowing Dadar Club more construction rights. The decision comes at a time with citizens in Mumbai are trying to reclaim their open spaces. When we called him, Tiwari — the bureaucrat responsible for okaying the government decision — said he had been too busy to look at the files.

    As information commissioner, Tiwari will decide what information — including land deals and de-reservation of plots — can be made available to the public. Threatening protests, RTI activists said appointing retired bureaucrats on information commissions undermined the spirit of law aimed at obtaining information from the bureaucracy.

    The law is increasingly popular with citizens across Maharashtra filing an estimated 400 requests each day to probe how the government is managing public affairs making decisions and spending taxpayer money.

    “With the government stonewalling many requests, over 12,000 appeals are currently waiting to be decided by commissioners, which is why Tiwari plays a key role.

    “The state information commission has become a dumping ground of retired bureaucrats,” said Keval Simlani, RTI activist and founder of Mahadhikar, a NGO which works towards ensuring transparency in governance.

    “This move is one more nail in the RTI’s coffin. This is designed to kill the act. We have been protesting against bureaucrats being appointed as information commissioners. Now, we will come out on the streets,” he said.

  2. #2

    Re: Meet your new info chief

    The overwhelming number of ex-bureaucrats as Information Commissioners does not augur well for the future of RTI Act's success. It makes a mockery of Sec 15(5) of the Act which says that the SIC shall be persons of eminence in public life with wide knowledge and experience in law, science and technology, social service, management, journalism, mass media or administration and governance. It is a pity that the Government chooses to select persons from the last category of 'administration and governance' rather than from persons of eminence in other fields. The selection committee consists of the CM, the Leader of Opposition and a Cabinet minister! They all feel that there no persons of eminence in other fields in the State.

  3. #3

    Re: Meet your new info chief

    More interesting discussion on the above is here...
    Last edited by sidmis; 27-02-08 at 10:50 PM. Reason: Deletion of remark

  4. #4

    Re: Meet your new info chief

    An incisive editorial by DNA on the above issue is posted here.

  5. #5
    C J Karira
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    Re: Meet your new info chief

  6. Re: Meet your new info chief

    ya friends ex-ias officer are always having soft corner in punishing their erstwhile sub-ordinates i.e. PIOs let the state govts understand and act accordingly


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