Bring corporates under RTI Act: Bihar CM

Last Updated: Saturday, October 15, 2011 - 20:12

New Delhi: Corporates and private sector
should be brought under the ambit of the Right to Information
Act as public invests through shares in them and suffers when
their fortunes sink, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar
suggested on Saturday.

The transparency law should be expanded to public-
private partnership projects as well because government
invests in them, Kumar said while addressing the annual
convention of Central Information Commission here.
He said, "The act should be strengthened and corporate
sector and private public partnership schemes should be
brought under its ambit. People invest through shares and they
have right to know what is going on in corporate sector."

"We have seen so many times that problems arise when
money of small investors sink. Governments have to intervene,
stimulus packages have to be issued," he said.

Asked about Prime Minister`s comments that a critical
look needs to be taken at Right to Information, Kumar said
there were no problems because of the transparency law.

"I don`t think that RTI is causing any problem to
Governments. Problems can be because of many reasons. In my
view, since RTI Act is new and we are passing through the
phase of evolution, there can be some discomfort but we can
overcome that with our mutual understanding," he said.

The Bihar Chief Minister, who has implemented Right to
Service in his state, also said that a similar law should be
enacted by the centre.

Kumar said governments should strive to place as much
information about the decision-making processes and projects
in public domain as possible.

"What is the problem in placing decision-taking process
in the public domain? We can understand concerns about
security and national issues but decisions which affect
people, their rights why such information should not be placed
in public domain?" he asked.

Kumar said information about decision-making process
of social schemes, infrastructure projects and welfare schemes
should be placed in public domain.
"How the decision was taken, why it was taken, it should
all be made public because people have right to know. It will
strengthen RTI Act...We are humans, errors can taken place in
decision-making but that should not be the criteria of hiding
the information from public," he said.

He said activists and experts in the transparency law
should be included in advisory councils at state and central
levels so that problems in implementing the act can be
identified and rectified.

Kumar advocated that outer age limit of information
commissioner should be increased from the existing 65 years.

The Chief Minister asked Chief Information Commissioner
Satyananda Mishra to organise a special global convention on
the RTI Act in Patna on the centenary celebrations of the
constitution of the state.

Kumar said people have right to know and disclosure of
information will strengthen democracy.

"Right to Information may not be a fundamental right but
it is a basic right of the people. This is the minimum. People
have right to know and they should know. It improves
Governance. It improves decision-making process," he said.
He said people now know that their decisions will be in
public domain.

"Earlier this was not the case. People used to ignore
complaints but now it is difficult," he said.

Kumar said Information Commissions should not limit
themselves to hearing appeals but also should spread
awareness.

PTI



First Published: Saturday, October 15, 2011 - 20:12

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