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‘No decision-making powers for contract staff’

‘No decision-making  powers for contract staff’
Highlights

Hyderabad: In response to a query raised under the Right to Information Act, the public information officer of the Finance (HRM-1) Department of Telangana government has clarified that decision-making power is not vested with the contract employees working in various departments.

Hyderabad: In response to a query raised under the Right to Information Act, the public information officer of the Finance (HRM-1) Department of Telangana government has clarified that decision-making power is not vested with the contract employees working in various departments.

The RTI application was submitted to the Chief Secretary’s office on October 16, seeking details of disciplinary action taken against those contract employees who had taken wrong decisions without any powers.

The General Administration Department (GAD) forwarded the application to the Finance Department.

The PIO of the Finance Department made it abundantly clear that contract employees appointed in various posts have no decision-making power.

Should they commit any mistake, the contract would be repealed and the services of the contract employee are liable to be terminated.

For quite some time, the administration has been relying largely on contract employees who get meagre salaries, instead of appointing regular staff in thousands of posts.

In course of time, some of the contract employees started taking policy decisions, though they are not empowered.

Things have come to such a pass that high officials have started relying completely on contract employees.

For instance, an RTI reply revealed that there is not a single regular employee out of the 167 staffers of the Telangana State Medical Services Infrastructure Development Corporation.

All of them are either on deputation or on contract and outsourced employees. The Hans India also learnt through another RTI application that most of the employees in the AP Information Commission are outsourced and contract employees.

T Gopal Singh has been working as judicial officer of the AP Information Commission on contract basis from July 21, 2010.

The government and the Information Commissioners have entrusted him the duty of the first appeal officer under Section 19 (1) of RTI Act 2005.

Gopal Singh, as first appeal officer, has issued several orders, most of which are illegal.

For instance, according to Section 6 (1) of the RTI Act, if the applicant is not provided information by the Public Information Officer within 30 days on first appeal under Section 7 (6), he should be provided information free of cost.

However, the first appeal officer, T Gopal Singh, gave an illegal instruction supporting the decision of the PIO.

The reaction of the government to complaints of policy decisions taken illegally by contract employees remains to be seen.

Given the information provided by the Finance Department, hundreds of policy decisions taken by the first appeal officer of AP Information Commission have become null and void.

The people might complain against the policy decisions taken by various outsourced and contract employees in the 31 departments at the Secretariat, hundreds of departments, and even at the district and mandal level which would result in chaos.

The decisions taken by outsourced and contract employees during the last several years need to be scrutinised.

Civil society organisations and people affected by the decisions taken by outsourcing employees would surely react after the announcement by the Finance Department that contract employees are not empowered to take policy decisions.

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