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Flunking the transparency test

delhi Updated: Sep 09, 2012 23:21 IST

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Flunking the transparency test
For a department that is right under the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's thumb and professes to promote transparency, it is a surprise how the Department of Personnel and Training can go into an overdrive to block transparency in the government.

Last week, it put the executive record of all Indian administrative officers on the chopping block, directing its IT wing to remove details about postings of the IAS officers from the website. So if you want to check the postings that the DoPT secretary Pradeep Kumar Misra served in his three-decade long career, well, you can’t.

It isn't very clear what the provocation was but this isn't the first time that the department — which has the prime minister as its cabinet minister — has taken two steps backwards.

MHA plays master of AGMU cadre officers
The home ministry's union territory division — that often plays god to AGMU cadre IAS and IPS officers — is back to its games. The ministry transferred out Delhi's Finance Secretary DM Spolia to Arunachal Pradesh, appointing him as the state's chief secretary.

The only problem, the Delhi government complains, was that the home ministry hadn't even bothered to consult them but had the babudom at the ministry's UT division throw the rulebook at them. Delhi is the country's only state where home ministry babus - and not the chief minister - has the last word to decide who the chief minister should work with. Home ministry officials insist they are well within their powers since Delhi was still a union territory.

Govt stonewalls RTI on CIC recruitment
How does inviting applications for the Central Information Commission's post, getting a panel of babus to select the "suitable candidates" and then refusing to divulge important details about the basis of the selection amount to bringing transparency in the selection? But this is almost the stand taken by the department of personnel in response to a parliament question last month. It patted itself on its back for raising the transparency bar but when a former defence officer, Lokesh Batra sought information under RTI, the officials showed him a stripped down version of the file. The rest, he was told, were classified documents that could not be put in public domain.