Saturday, November 19, 2016

Complaint against wasteful expenditure on coffee table book by CIC

While Prime Minister Narendra Modi is engaged in taking steps to curb corruption, many agencies are involved in encouraging corrupt practices. Wasteful expenditure of public money to impress authorities is also corruption. Recently a coffee table book on success stories of Right to Information “Trust Through Transparency” was unveiled at central information commission’s (CIC ) annual Convention. CIC has spent more than 17 lakh rupees on that book, but only 6 copies of the book were ready at the unveiling function. 

Copies of the book could not be distributed amongst Information commissioners or other participants present at the Convention for the reasons best known to CIC only. However, a soft copy of the book was published on the CIC web site on the same day. Big question is where was the need to print the book at an exorbitant cost of Rs. 17 lakhs when it was to be published on line? This is complete waste of public funds because the only purpose served was to uplift the image of the Chief Information Commissioner.

Normally coffee table book is an oversize, large, expensive book with a lot of pictures, intended to be looked at rather than read. As mentioned in book itself it was printed for limited circulation and academic purpose only. However coffee table books are not meant for academic purpose.

As well as per the press and registration of books act, 1867, every book or paper printed within India must have printed legibly on it the name of the printer and the place of printing. The coffee table book does not mention any of it. The book was unveiled at the hands of union home minister

Over 800 copies of the book are​ ​now being sent to the CIC by Yashavantrao Chavan Academy of Development Administration (YASHADA) from Pune.​​ ​Transportation will cost about Rs. 8000 by rail. However, copies of the book now to be sent (If at all sent) to individual dignitaries from Delhi by any mode will cost over Rs. 4 lakhs, thus making the total cost of the project at over Rs. 21 lakhs. Despatching the book of just 124 pages but costing over​ Rs. 1700 ​ ​per copy and weighing over a 1.6 kilo will thus put additional burden on the finances.

Although the stories published in this Coffee Table book are no doubt ​​inspirational. ​Spending  ​Rs. ​21 lakhs on this project, especially when book is available online is complete waste of resources and funds.

In nut shell, CIC​ ​in collaboration with YASHADA​ ​has wasted Rs. 17 lakhs of public money because it has not turned out to be cost effective .Therefore, Major general (retd) SCN jatar and this writer from Pune have   requested Prime minister Narendra Modi to recover this money from the officials of CIC who approved this expenditure. 

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