Race apace for juicy jobs at KIC

Race apace for juicy jobs at KIC

Ex-bureaucrats, others eye, vie for posts that offer Rs one lakh a month

The vacancies: One post of the Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) and seven of Information Commissioners (ICs). The pay package: Rs 1,00,000 in salary for the CIC and Rs 90,000 for ICs. Plus of course, residential bungalows, car with pennant, secretarial staff and security. The term: Six years (for KIC), five years (IC) up to the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.

The aspirants: The usual suspects - retired IAS officers (40 of them), serving KAS officers (30) and some RTI activists and other assorted carpetbaggers. Such jobs are zealously held within the masonic lodge of retired bureaucrats, but the RTI Act has opened up the field to non-bureaucrat aspirants, adding spice to the race.

In no hurry

The State Government, however, appears to be in no hurry to fill the vacancies. After the retirement of K K Mishra, the job of the Chief Information Commissioner has been vacant, with K A Thippeswamy holding charge as acting CIC. Thippeswamy is on his way out, set to retire on October 20.

Of the sanctioned 10 posts of Information Commissioners, only three have been filled since the creation of the Commission. The Government has not filled the seven other posts, despite the volume of the pending RTI applications with the KIC going up to about to 12,000. Every month, approximately 1,200 cases come up before the KIC, according to sources. Such is the work load that no new case will be taken up for hearing over the next eight months.

The inability of the committee to appoint the Information Commission is what is preventing the government from filling the posts, say informed sources. The Committee includes the Chief Minister, Information Minister Katta Subramanya Naidu and the Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Siddaramaiah.

Meeting cancelled

Both - the Chief Minister Yeddyurappa and Siddaramaiah have not been able to attend the meeting due to their busy schedule. The meetings were convened a couple of times over the past several months, but were cancelled due to Siddaramaiah’s absence.

Such inaction has allowed the public information officers (PIO) in Government departments and agencies to wilfully deny information to applicants. Aware that the KIC would not be able to hear appeals for at least a year, Public Information Officers are stonewalling applications “in all brazenness,” says an RTI activist.

Veeresh Belur, a RTI activist and an aspirant for the top job in KIC, said the shortage of staff in KIC was delaying response to RTI applications. A noted RTI activist, even he could not get information within the stipulated deadline of 30 days. The situation has worsened as Public Information Officers are not being punished with penalty as provided for in the act.

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