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No qualification? Apply for SIC job


June 13: You need to be at least a commerce graduate to become a junior accountant in a private firm, but to become a state information commissioner you need not have any qualification though the post is equivalent in rank to the chief secretary. To protest against the lack of specific criteria for selecting SICs, RTI activists have decided to flood the state government with hundreds of applications for the crucial post, once the present CIC, Mr C.D. Arha, and his three SICs, retire in the months to come.

“This is meant to force the government to examine all the applications in depth and not take unilateral decisions,” said Mr Krishnaraj Rao from Mumbai in India Together. As of now, no minimum education qualification or duration of experience in public service is stipulated for the job. The only condition laid down in the RTI Act is that the appointees should have ‘eminence’ and should not be MPs, MLAs or someone holding an office of profit.

This is suitably vague and has helped the government appoint its favourites, especially ex-bureaucrats, to the post. “All SIC’s appointed so far are either retired officials or close aides of politicians,” said an RTI activist. For instance, the present SIC, Mr K. Sudhakar Rao’s bio-data says that he participated in ‘student activities’ in college and school and did social service to help weaker sections of the society. The rest is all about his ‘interests’ in management, science and technology.

The state government appointed Mr C.D. Arha, a retired bureaucrat, as CIC in 2005 and later on, brought in three SICs, Mr A. Subba Rao, Mr R. Dileep Reddy and Mr Sudhakar Rao. However, the RTI activists argue that none of them can be termed ‘eminent’ in the real sense. “One can have eminence in building big complexes another in running power plants but being an SIC has something to do with public life,” said Mr Jithender Reddy, an RTI activist from Karimnagar.

Mr C.J. Karira, a noted RTI activist, said that one commissioner defended an SP who did not give reply to an RTI petition for more than one year citing the visit of Mrs Sonia Gandhi as reason and another misinterpreted law and issued orders. “How can a bureaucrat who has served 30 to 35 years bound by the Official Secrets Act change overnight?” asked Mrs Uma Challa, another RTI activist.

It is a committee comprising of the Chief Minister, the opposition leader and a minister who selects the SICs. Many RTI activists are disappointed that even the opposition leader, Mr Chandrababu Naidu, did not insist on suitably qualified people being selected.

Categories: Other news
  1. B.K.Agrawal
    July 7, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    No politicians or bureaucrate will ever oppose dilution of RTI as RTI ACT has become a noose on everybody’s neck. Like the swiss money even opposition’s vested interest is involved.

    Govt. will always want their Chamchas as Commissioners to save them at the time of need.

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