It refers to communication dated 24.05.2016 from Department of Posts following CIC-verdict dated 30-03-2016 in appeal-number CIC/MP/A/2015/001689/BS/10077, intimating constitution of a new committee to consider issue of much-needed RTI stamps on lines of erstwhile Radio & TV License fees stamps. Earlier committee rejected repeated CIC-recommendations on flimsy grounds in peculiar government-style of ‘jaisa chalta hei, vaisa chalne do’ putting big question-mark on wisdom of those super-knowledgeable committee-members who rejected the idea which could save crores of rupees annually to Department of Posts.
An RTI response reveals that handling cost of a postal-order to Department of Posts is rupees 37.45. How can it be sensible to spend rupees 37.45 to recover RTI fees of rupees 10? Documents received under RTI response reveal that red-tapism once made officers of Security Printing Presses expressing inability to print RTI stamps because of non-availability of paper used to print RTI stamps at a time when these very Security Printing Presses could print postage-stamps on a prominent living cricketer against postal-norms within few days of decision-taken to issue stamps!
Any idea of use of usual postal stamps including of definitive series was neither legal nor feasible, and must not have even been discussed also because of accounting purposes. Sale of suggested RTI stamps in a particular year can be taken as collected RTI fees and copying charges for that year. Attractive RTI stamps should be issued only in three denominations of rupees two, ten and fifty which will also serve as tool of popularising the transparency-Act. Chief Information Commissioner, Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT) and Department of Posts should ensure release of exclusive RTI stamps in inaugural session of annual CIC-convention to be held in October 2016.
CIC-verdicts resulted in decades-long pending reforms at Department of Posts like rationalising foreign-mail tariffs, abolition of hardly seen postal-orders in denominations of rupees 1, 2, 5 and 7 and even correction in printing commission-amounts on postal-orders. Otherwise Department of Posts kept on filing such suggestions after giving a polished reply “Your suggestions are valuable to us, and will be considered at time of next revision of tariffs”!
New committee should consider issue of exclusive RTI stamps (on lines of erstwhile Radio & TV License Fees stamps) and approve introduction of exclusive RTI stamps in denominations of rupees two, five and fifty on lines of erstwhile Radio & TV License Fees stamps.
Various Central Information Commissioners giving several verdicts in this regard are persons of great knowledge, and made strong recommendations after carefully studying all aspects and having lengthy discussions with officers from Department of Posts present at time of
Subhash Chandra Aggarwal
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