CIC backlog grows as vacancies remain unfilled

Pending Issues
  • 24,302 cases related to information appeals pending with the Central Information Commission as on Thursday, according to the CIC website.
  • This backlog is in spite of the fact that the Commission is returning a majority of appeals coming to it, citing lack of documentation, premature appeals or forwarding of cases to the relevant State Information Commissions.
  • As per data available on the CIC website, in 2017 alone, of the 18,518 cases registered as appeals, the CIC returned 13,796 cases to appellants citing one reason or the other.
Why Pending Casese
  • Sources in the CIC blame the lack of sufficient staff strength as among the reasons why their backlog is increasing.
  • There is an understanding that every Information Commissioner handles approximately 270 cases a month, that is 3,240 cases per year.
  • So, when two ICs are not available, it adds a burden of up to 6,000 cases per year.
  • This is too much and it will definitely affect the quality of the judgment.
Members of the National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI) highlighted the lack of transparency in the process of appointment of information commissioners.
Central Information Commission
Basic Data
  • Formed under the RTI Act 2005. so it is not a constitutitonal body
  • The Central Information Commission is a high-powered independent body which inter alia looks into the complaints made to it and decide the appeals.
  • It entertains complaints and appeals pertaining to offices, financial institutions, public sector undertakings, etc., under the Central Government and the Union Territories
  1. The Commission consists of a Chief Information Commissioner and not more than ten Information Commissioners.
  • They are appointed by the President on the recommendation of a committee consisting of the Prime Minister as Chairperson, the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha and a Union Cabinet Minister nominated by the Prime Minister.
  • They should be persons of eminence in public life with wide knowledge and experience in law, science and technology, social service, management, journalism, mass media or administration and governance.
  • They should not be a Member of Parliament or Member of the Legislature of any State or Union Territory.
  • They should not hold any other office of profit or connected with any political party or carrying on any business or pursuing any profession.
  • The Chief Information Commissioner and an Information Commissioner hold office for a term of 5 years or until they attain the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.
  • They are not eligible for reappointment.
  • Removed by the president

Source : The Hindu

Topic : Polity


U.S. backs sale of fighters to India

  • Trump administration has told the U.S. Congress that it “strongly supports” the sale of F-18 and F-16 fighter planes to India, built by American companies Boeing and Lockheed Martin respectively.
  • Both companies have offered to assemble these planes in India, should New Delhi decide to buy them.
Why the support
  1. Deals that could reduce America’s trade deficit with India and create more jobs in America than they relocate issues that are on top of Mr. Trump’s agenda.
  2. Defence cooperation with India is so vital to U.S. interests because they need India to be a net security provider in the Indo-Pacific
  3. Exports to India support over 2,60,000 U.S. jobs across all 50 States.
About the fighter
  • F-16 and Gripen, built by Swedish company Saab, are competing for the proposed single engine fighter acquisition for the IAF.
  • French Rafale and Boeing’s F/A-18 are competing for the contract for the Navy’s twin engine fleet for its aircraft carriers.
  • Lockheed Martin and Tata have formed a joint venture to make F-16, while Saab announced a JV with the Adani group last week for Gripen.

Source : The Hindu
Topic : International Relation

NASA captures images of strong solar flares

What is a solar flare
  • A solar flare is a sudden flash of brightness observed near the Sun’s surface.
  • It involves a very broad spectrum of emissions, an energy release of typically 1020 joules of energy for a well-observed event.
  • A solar flare is basically a giant explosion on the surface of our Sun which occurs when magnetic field lines from sunspots tangle and erupt.
  • A solar flare is defined as a sudden, rapid, and intense variation in brightness.
  • A solar flare occurs when magnetic energy that has built up in the solar atmosphere is suddenly released.
About News
  • Two high-intensity solar flares were emitted
  • The second of which was the most intense recorded since the start of this sun cycle in December 2008
  • These radiation flares, which can disrupt communications satellites, GPS and power grids by reaching the upper earth atmosphere, were detected and captured by the US Space Agency’s Solar Dynamics Observatory.
  • Solar cycles last on average eleven years.
  • At the end of the active phase, these eruptions become increasingly rare but still can be powerful.
  • Solar storms result from an accumulation of magnetic energy in some places.

GS III  : Science and tech

Source : The Hindu