Swift follow-up on last month’s CIC order
GN Bureau | June 30, 2016
The cabinet secretariat has issued a circular asking ministries and departments to disclose monthly reports of work done by them.
Acting on a central information commission (CIC) decision of last week, the cab secretariat sent out a circular on June 23 to all secretaries of all ministries and departments.
“In order to ensure greater transparency and availability of information in public domain about the activities of the ministries/departments, it has been decided that henceforth, all ministries/departments may upload, on a monthly basis, the major achievements, significant developments and important events for the month in respect of their ministry/department, on their official websites,” the circular said.
Venkatesh Nayak, RTI activist and programme coordinator, Access to Information Programme, at the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), noted, “The objective of this effort is not to facilitate propaganda for the central government. The purpose of this effort is to secure compliance with Section 26(1)(c) of the RTI Act.”
The section reads:
“26. (1) The appropriate Government may, to the extent of availability of financial and other resources,—
X X X X
(c) promote timely and effective dissemination of accurate information by public authorities about their activities;”
Section 26(1)(c) and Section 4(1) of the RTI Act which are about proactive information disclosure are very poorly implemented by most public authorities.
Meanwhile, in its April 2016 decision, the CIC directed the cabinet secretariat to continue to allow inspection of the agenda items of the meetings of the union cabinet. The cabinet secretariat has not issued any directive about the proactive disclosure of these items on its website.
“Last week I inspected the agenda items of the union cabinet meetings held between January 1 and May 12. I have sought copies of these papers as well as the minutes of these meetings. I will post them online as soon as the information is furnished,” Nayak noted in an email message. “I also asked that the Rules of Cabinet Procedure in regard to Proceedings of the Cabinet, 1987 be uploaded on the website. The Cab. Sectt. is yet to take a decision on this issue, I was told.”
For examples of summary monthly reports that Nayak first obtained under the RTI Act in 2014. See here
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