Retired IAS officer Ramesh Kumar is Andhra's new Chief Information Commissioner

The selection committee, headed by Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy finalised two names and recommended them to the Governor.
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Andhra Pradesh Governor Biswabhusan Harichandan on Thursday appointed retired IAS officer P Ramesh Kumar as the State Chief Information Commissioner. 

The Governor also appointed Repala Srinivasa Rao as one of the Commissioners in the Andhra Pradesh Information Commission under the Right to Information Act, 2005. 

The selection committee, headed by Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy, last week finalised these two names and recommended them to the Governor for appointment. Leader of Opposition N Chandrababu Naidu, a member of the selection committee, abstained from the meeting. 

These are the first appointments the Jagan government made in the Andhra Pradesh Information Commission under the RTI Act. 

The Commission currently has four Information Commissioners, all appointed by the previous Telugu Desam regime. With the new appointments, its strength increases to six. 

The Chief Information Commissioner and the new Commissioner have been appointed for a tenure of three years or till they attain the age of 65 years (whichever is earlier), an order issued by Chief Secretary Nilam Sawhney said.  

In May last year, a decision by the TDP government to propose the names of Ilapuram Raja and Eerla Sriramamurthy -- considered close to the then ruling party, had triggered a row. 

Illapuram Raja is the son of former MLC of TDP Illapuram Venkiah, and was reported to be a hotelier and president of the Vijayawada Hotels Association.

On the other hand, Eerla Sriramamurthy was the personal secretary to a former minister. 

While Eerla Sriramamurthy's name was later dropped, Raja is presently one of the four commissioners already working in the state.  

Activists at the time said that the move violated Section 15 of the Right to Information (RT) Act, 2005, which deals with the constitution of the Information Commission and states that “The Information Commissioners shall be persons of eminence in public life with wide knowledge and experience,” besides "not holding any other office of profit or be connected with any political party or carry on any business or pursue any profession.”

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