Tuesday, February 17, 2009

TN State Information Commission's capacity utilisation

The State Information Commission of Tamil Nadu has 7 commissioners today. 3 of them have been from the beginning and 4 of them have added in 2008. Effectively, the new commissioners started working as independent commissioners from August (for some time before that they were getting "trained" by sitting along with the old commissioners for hearings). To look at the output of the 7 commissioners I looked at the number of hearings held in 2008. And here is what I found.

Capacity of the commission
To roughly calculate the capacity of the commission to conduct hearings, let us assume that a commissioner can conduct 10 hearings in a day. And assuming there are 20 working days in a month, this would mean that each one of them can conduct 200 hearings in a month. With 7 commissioners, this would mean that the capacity of the commission is 1400 hearings per month. Though the number 10 for the number of cases per commissioner per day is underestimated, I guess it would be compensated by the fact that hearings cannot really happen on all 20 working days, due to commissioners taking leave occasionally, or some other paper work in the commission. So the capacity of the commissions is 1400 cases per month. And now let us see what the actual performance look like.

The actual numbers
The number of hearings conducted in each month is given below.

Monthwise Number of hearings conducted by the TN State Information Commission in 2008
Month# hearings

The number of hearings held during the 5 months From Aug-Dec (the period when all the 7 commissioners were functioning) comes to 517. And their capacity in these 5 months is 7000 hearings (1400 x 5). So the capacity utilisation is about 7.5 %. This is the ridiculous state in which the State Information Commission is in today.

We can have a slightly more detailed look at this underutilisation. What really happens is that for each hearing a 2 or 3 member bench normally conducts the hearing. Which is really a waste. Most of the cases that come up are straight forward cases, where even half a commissioner would suffice. There is no denying that there will be come complicated cases where a bench will be needed, but there are very few such cases. This kind of allocation wastes the resources. It could be argued that there is only one court hall in the commission. But the solutions to that could be that hearings could be held right in the rooms of the Commissioners, since each commissioner is given a spacious enough room to hold 10 people easily. Another solution could be commissioners travelling to districts to hear cases (which is happening even now sometimes).

Monthwise % of hearings handled by a single commissioner benchin 2008
Month% of hearings handled by an individual commissioner

If you look at the percentages given above you can see that though the percentage of such individual commissioners handling cases was decent in the initial 4 months, then on it declined. The increase in commissioners saw an increase in the quantum of cases in August and September (refer to the first table) but after that the monthly number of hearings per month came back to almost the same numbers as it was before the appointment of the new commissioners.

If you look at the number of cases handled after the new commissioners have come, as seen before it would come to 517 (from Aug-Dec). So their monthly average is 517/5 = 103.4. So each commissioner's monthly average is 103.4/5 = 14.77. Assuming that there are 20 days in a month, each commissioner's daily number of hearings comes to 14.77/20 which is an incredibly ridiculous 0.74. This means that on an average each commissioner is not even conducting 1 hearing per day.

I request you to just spare a minute for this and think about it. Really think. Think of all the facilities that the commissioners get at the tax payer's expense. A car, an air conditioned office, a hefty pay packet, peons at your beck and call and lots more. And what do they do in return. Handle .75 cases per day.


gopalakrishnan said...

During the month of january, february 2009 in morning session two commissioners enquiry conducating 5 cases only. in afternoon session another two commissioners enquiry conducting 5 cases only.

Many 2nd appeals are missing in commission.

karira said...

Please see a similar study I did for the APSIC. This included the cost per decision of the APSIC. It is available at:
C J Karira