PPPs should come under RTI: Experts

Public Private Partnerships should have greater standards of transparency and accountability, since a public service is being passed on to a private body, said Right to Information activists in response to the speech made by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at Central Information Commission’s annual convention.

PPP should come under the purview of RTI, added activists.

“We are extremely alarmed by the PM’s statement that PPPs should not be held accountable to the standards of disclosure of the RTI Act because it might discourage private enterprises to enter into partnership with the government,” said an activist.

“Removing them from the purview of RTI in any way will make them unaccountable and opaque. We see no justification for this suggestion,” added the activist.

These activists include Aruna Roy, Nikhil Dey, Anjali Bhardwaj, Kuldeep Nayyar, Raju Garu, Bhaskar Prabhu, advocate Ibrahim, Balwinder Singh, Aber George, and Amrita Johri.

‘Frivolous’ not defined

They also raised objections regarding PM’s concern over “frivolous and vexatious” RTI applications.

Activists argue that the two terms are not defined which is why information officers can term any application frivolous as per their whims and fancies.

Activists welcome the government's decision to file a review petition on the Supreme Court judgement regarding the composition of information commissions.
“The SC judgement will result in inordinate delays, increase pendency and make information commissions ineffective,” said activists.

“Norms and standards for time-bound disposal of appeals and complaints in the information commissions and a transparent system of appointment of information commissioners are urgently needed,” they added.

An RTI mela was organised by several civil rights groups on Friday where people from across 16 states and even schoolchildren participated.

They shared their experiences on how they used RTI as a weapon to demand information and hold officials accountable through dance, plays and songs.

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