In a stern directive, the Centre has told all departments to proactively put in public domain all information related to Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects, transfers, tours of ministers and officials, toll and other revenue collected by them among others.
In addition to enhancing transparency, the measure will also result in reduction in RTI applications, according to a directive issued by Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) to all central government ministries.
The initiative is part of a mandatory compliance of Section 4 of Right to Information (RTI) Act, enacted in 2005, which mandates disclosure of almost all matters of governance by all public authorities on a suo motu or proactive basis. “Since the promulgation of the Act in 2005, large amount of information relating to functioning of the government is being put in public domain. However, the quality and quantity of proactive disclosure is not up to the desired level,” the missive said.
The DoPT has asked all departments to suo motu make public all details of tender and award of bids, name of supplier of goods or services being procured or the works contracts entered upon among others. “All information relating to the PPPs must be disclosed in the public domain by the public authority entering into the PPP contract or concession agreement.
“This may include details of the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), if any set up, detailed project reports, concession agreements, operation and maintenance manuals and other documents generated as part of the implementation of the PPP project,” according to the guidelines issued by the DoPT for voluntary disclosure.
The DoPT has also directed ministries to disclose details of foreign and domestic tours being undertaken by central government ministers and officials. “A large number of RTI queries are being filed on official tours undertaken by Ministers or officials of various Government Ministries or Departments. Information regarding the nature, place and period of foreign and domestic tours of Prime Minister are already disclosed on the PMO’s website.
“Public authorities may proactively disclose the details of foreign and domestic official tours undertaken by the Minister(s) and officials of the rank of Joint Secretary to the Government of India and above and Heads of Departments, since January 1, 2012. The disclosures may be updated once every quarter,” it said adding that central government ministries or departments should ensure its compliance.
Further, information about fees, tolls or other kinds of revenue that may be collected under authorisation from the Government, information in respect of outputs and outcomes and process of selection of the private sector party may also be proactively disclosed, it said.
The DoPT has asked all departments to make public transfer policy and transfer orders of personnel working in different grades or cadres. “All transfer orders should be publicised through the website or in any other manner,” it said.
All public authorities may proactively disclose the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) & Public Accounts Committee (PAC) paras and the Action Taken Reports (ATRs) only after these have been laid on the table of both the houses of the Parliament.
However, CAG paras dealing with information about the issues of sovereignty, integrity, security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the State would be exempted from disclosure, it added.
“All discretionary or non-discretionary grants or allocations to state governments or NGOs and other institutions by Ministry or Department should be placed on the website of the Ministry or Department concerned,” the guidelines said.