Monday, October 26, 2009
NOW, bureaucrats are under pressure to disclose their assets under the Right To Information Act (RTI). After agreeing to disclose file notings which civil servants successfully blocked for quite sometime, they may have to make public their total assets, a norm which is being routinely practised by politicians. Significantly, what's still hot in public domain is a debate on whether judges should disclose their assets or not. Senior bureaucrats in the government of India may participate in a DoPT-initiated meeting on November 3, 2009 in New Delhi to discuss the matter, a leading national daily reported on Sunday. The paper further indicated that bureaucrats would oppose such a disclosure and would make a strong case for it. In fact, the RTI has turned out to be the biggest challenge for bureaucrats, and if the recent case of CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat's gathering of information from a meeting of officials is any indication, the instrument could be repeatedly used by politicians for gathering information on officers. The Central Information Commission (CIC) found a number of officers guilty and imposed penalty in more than 200 RTI cases, minister of state in the ministry of personnel, public grievances & pensions Prithviraj Chavan said in Lok Sabha on July 29, 2009. Most cases, however, are related to delay in furnishing information. The Commission received 18,803 complaints and appeals during the period 2005-06 to 2007-08. A recent RTI application also revealed how the definition of family was expanded over the years for the purpose of getting free Air India tickets to its CMD. The RTI findings further revealed the number of free tickets availed by some of the previous Air India chiefs too. Read: RTI unearths no of free tickets doled out to Air India CMD’s family (October 5, 2009) India's CEC to meet Bhutanese politicians & officials The Chief Election Commissioner of India Navin B Chawla is leaving New Delhi on Monday on a four-day official visit to Bhutan mainly to discuss bilateral issues regarding election management. Apart from calling on Prime Minister of Bhutan Jigmi Y Thinley, the CEC will meet regional election officials of the country. India and Bhutan have a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) of Cooperation in the field of electoral management and administration that was signed in May 2006. Bhutan held its first parliamentary elections about a year ago and enacted its constitution.