Should expenditure details of police be marked as confidential?
The reply to an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act has revealed that the state government of Andhra Pradesh has spent huge amount in improving the police system of the state. The details of the government orders (GOs), initially marked as confidential, were furnished under the Right to Information (RTI) Act quite hesitantly by the home department of the state. The GOs show that over Rs. 1,500 crore have been spent between 2008 and 2012 on upgrading security, training police personnel and procuring arms and ammunition and sophisticated equipments.
The reply shows that for buying arms for counter-terrorist operations wing (OCTOPUS) in 2009-10, Rs. 7 crore was spent by the government while another Rs. 10 crore was spent in the same year on buying vehicles and equipments. The reply also shows huge amount being spent on the purchase of electronic devices including CCTVs which proved to be quite fruitless in the recent blasts in Hyderabad.
The RTI applicant claimed that the government orders were marked confidential despite most of them pertaining to amount spent on salaries of home guards, bundobast during festivals, maintenance and construction of buildings, training of personnel and sniffer dogs, etc.