Chief Information Commissioner Current Affairs - 2019
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The CIC-Chief Information Commissioner and IC-Information Commissioner currently hold tenure of 5 years and their perks are similar to that of the Chief Election Commissioners as defined in Right to Information Act, 2005. According to the new draft rules from DoPT (Department of Personnel and Training), the terms and perks of the CICs and ICs are to be fixed as that of Cabinet Secretary and Secretary to the GoI level.
The Government believes that these jobs are becoming sinecures for the favored few. It also means that they are likely to be downgraded in the “Table of Precedence”. Their positions are to be several notches down the CAG and Chairman, UPSC. They are likely to be reached to position 23 as occupied by the Secretary to GoI. The Table of Precedence is a list prepared by the Ministry of Home Affairs based on the hierarchy and rank of government officials.
The tenure and perks of the CIC and IC officials are defined in the Right to Information Act. In July 2019, the GoI amended the act to lay down terms and conditions of services to the officials.
At present, according to the act, the CICs and ICs avail Rs 34,000 as allowance. It includes rent-free full furnished accommodation, 3 LTCs and unlimited medical allowances to their spouses and dependents. According to the new rules, the allowances are to be reduced to Rs 10,000.
In February 2019, SC on its landmark verdict, in a PIL filed by RTI activist Anjali Bhardwaj rules that the CICs should have same status as that of Chief election Commissioner thwarting the Centre’s bid to bring it under its ambit.
Tags: Chief Election Commissioner • Chief Information Commissioner • CIC • IC • RTI Act
Lok Sabha has passed Right to Information (Amendment) Bill, 2019 amidst strong objection from Opposition with 218 members voting in its favour and 79 against it.
Summary: The bill seeks to amend certain provisions of landmark transparency law- Right to Information Act, 2005 so as to empower central government on deciding terms of Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) and Information Commissioners (ICs) at both central and state levels, as well as have a say on salaries, allowances and other terms and conditions of service.
Key Features of Amendment Bill
Term & Conditions of Service: Bill allows Central government to notify term of office for Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) and Information Commissioners (ICs) while as per RTI Act, 2005, CIC at the central level and ICs at state level will hold office for a term of 5 years.
Quantum of Salary: Bill proposes that salaries, allowances, and other terms and conditions of service of CIC and ICs will be determined by central government. While as per RTI Act the salary of CIC and ICs will be equivalent to the salary paid to the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and Election Commissioners (EC) respectively.
Deductions in Salary: As per RTI Act, 2005 at time of the appointment of CIC and ICs, if they are receiving pension or any other retirement benefits for previous government service, their salaries will be reduced by an amount equal to pension. The RTI (Amendment) Bill, 2019 removes these provisions.