“Many small investors buy shares and PPP entails huge investment”

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday called for inclusion of the corporate sector as also projects under the public-private partnership mode within the ambit of the Right to Information Act.

Stressing that right to information was a basic right that underpinned good governance, apart from helping eradicate corruption, he said that while the corporate sector must be covered under the legislation since a large number of small investors bought shares and they had a right to know what was happening within the companies, projects under the PPP mode involved investment of large amount of public money. “People have a right to have information about the PPP projects being implemented.”

Delivering the valedictory address of the 6th annual convention of the Central Information Commission, Mr. Kumar urged public authorities to disseminate information in a pro-active manner by putting them in the public domain on their own and said they should also put out information on how and why a decision on any scheme or project was taken.

“The Right to Information Act mandates both ways of information sharing: pro-active dissemination by bringing out and sharing the information voluntarily in the public domain and the second is the reactive disclosure of information against an application submitted by the information seeker.”

Mr. Kumar also suggested that Central and State Information Commissions take steps to create public awareness on how to make use of the Act, and set up advisory councils consisting of activists to ensure that it was implemented more effectively.

He further urged introduction of a Central law to promote the right to public services on the lines of a law enacted in Bihar and several other States under which government officials were bound to provide various services to the public within a set of timeframes, failing which they were liable for fine and disciplinary action.