Jawed Usmani lists the priorities before the UP State Information Commission
Jawed Usmani has joined as the chief information commissioner at the State Information Commission (CIC) at Uttar Pradesh (UP). The oath of office and secrecy was administered by the Shri Ram Naik, governor at Raj Bhawan on Feb 17. He is a bureaucrat (IAS -1978 batch of UP cadre) and has served in various capacities during his 36 year long tenure as a civil servant. Due for superannuation in January 2016, he took a voluntary retirement as the Chairman of Board of Revenue to join at the new assignment. He has worked as the Chief Secretary of Uttar Pradesh apart from the experience of working as Joint Secretary to the Prime Minister, Senior Advisor to the Executive Director at the World Bank in Washington, D.C.and Minister, and Economic Cooperation at the Embassy of India in Nepal.
He called for a meeting of the information commissioners to discuss measures for the effective implementation of the RTI Act. He seems to have set his agenda and pointed to a series of measures planned by him for ensuring that information is provided to the applicants at the earliest.
1. He said that if the information is provided at the first level of contact i.e. Public Information Officer (PIO), the number of appeals coming to the appellate authority and the Commission for will automatically reduce.
2. He gave hints that the SIC plans to make amendments in the Appeal Procedure Rules to make them more comprehensive by using the powers under section 27 of the RTI Act. Under Section 27 of the RTI Act, the state government has the powers to formulate the rules for implementation of the Act. A draft in this regard is likely to be presented to the state government in 3 months.
3. The SIC website upgrade is on his priority which would provide comprehensive information such as facility to check the status of the appeals and copy of orders passed by the Commission.
4. The SIC plans to hold detailed training sessions for PIOs at zonal and district headquarters. The Commission will also put together literature for the purpose of training.
5. Other changes planned for the SIC include better linkages with the CIC and implementing other successful models being implemented in other states.
6. The SIC plans to established a more structured relationship with the press, with regular updates of work done by it.