BENGALURU: A total of 316 applications, most of them from retired IAS and IPS officers, have been received for three vacant posts in the Karnataka Information Commission (KIC) – that of chief information commissioner (CIC) and two information commissioners.
“This is the first time that we have received so many applications for the posts,” said a senior official in the chief minister’s office (CMO). The selection committee headed by CM HD Kumaraswamy and comprising deputy CM G Parameshwara and opposition leader in the legislative assembly BS Yeddyurappa are scheduled to meet on Monday to finalise the names.
What makes the race exciting and tough this time is the presence of police and bureaucratic veterans who have held top-level posts in the government. Former chief secretary Ratna Prabha K and former director general of police Om Prakash, for instance, are among the applicants for the CIC’s post.
KIC posts are seen to be lucrative in terms of salary and perks so the number of applications has been growing over the years.
RTI expert: KIC has become rehab centre for retired bureaucrats
When the government appointed Suchethana Swaroop as CIC in August last year, the janaspandana wing of the department had received 175 applications. “At the outset it is heartening that so many people have shown interest in taking up responsible posts in KIC. It seems lucrative emoluments are the real attraction,” said BH Veeresh, trustee of RTI Study centre.
The CIC’s post fell vacant in September with Swaroop’s retirement. The two posts of information commissioners have been vacant for more than a year now in the KIC, which has 10 commissioners in all. “I have applied for the CIC post and if selected, I would be the first woman in Karnataka to occupy it,” said Ratna Prabha. Om Prakash, who applied last year as well, said he was waiting for the result.
Anybody aged below 65, with experience in administration, social service, science and technology and journalism can apply for the post of CIC. The post entails a monthly salary of Rs 2.5 lakh besides perks including house rent allowance of Rs 40,000. On completion of a five-year term, the CIC becomes eligible for retirement benefits as well.
Rank-wise, the CIC is on a par with the election commissioner, a Supreme Court judge and the chief secretary who earns a monthly salary of Rs 1.25 lakh plus perks.
“It is good that the information commissioners are being paid well, but the sad part is that the KIC has become a rehabilitation centre for retired bureaucrats for the same reason. It is desirable that the people from different walks of life are seen occupying the top position in the commission,” said YG Muralidharan, an RTI expert.