Citizens' Issues
Check existence of info before seeking exemption: CIC to PMO

CIC asked the PMO to first find out if the information itself exists and only then to decide if the information could be disclosed or not, instead of routinely seeking exemption under one or the other provisions of the RTI Act

New Delhi: The Central Information Commission (CIC) has directed the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) to first ensure existence of information within the department before seeking exemption under the Right to Information (RTI) Act for not disclosing them, reports PTI.

 

The CIC's observation came recently while it was hearing a plea by Delhi-based RTI activist Vivek Garg, who sought to know the details of correspondence made by the PMO with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) in connection with the 2G spectrum allocation.

 

The PMO has declined to give information citing exemption clause of the transparency law.

 

"In the scheme of things, it is very unlikely that the Prime Minister of India or the PMO would enter into correspondence with individual investigating or intelligence agencies on any such matters.

 

"Instead of routinely seeking exemption under one or the other provisions of the RTI Act, it would always be better to first find out if the information itself exists and only then to decide if the information could be disclosed or not," the CIC said in its order.

 

In the present case, the CIC said, there was a feeling that the concerned office in the PMO had not verified the records to find out if indeed such correspondence had ever been made.

 

"Needless to say, if any report or letter written by any of these organisations to their respective nodal departments had been forwarded to the PMO by the respective department in connection with any query from the PMO, that information is not what the Appellant has sought.

 

"All that he has wanted is to get the copies of the correspondence and other related documents directly arising between the PMO and those organisations," Chief Information Commissioner Satyananda Mishra said.

 

The CIC asked the PMO to address each queries raised by the appellants separately and confirm if the desired information exists and whether it can be disclosed.

 

"If the information or some of it can be disclosed, the Central Public Information Officer shall send the same to the Appellant," Mishra said in his order.

 

Garg had sought copies of correspondences made with the investigating agency by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh or the PMO over the allocation of second generation spectrum to certain telecom companies.

 

The 2G spectrum allocation is being investigated by the CBI for alleged irregularities. Trial in the 2G case is also continuing in a court in the national capital.

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No sign of GDP rebound in the next two quarters

GDP growth for the quarters ending September 2012 and December 2012 will be sub 5% as weak agriculture and slowdown in external demand hamper growth, says Morgan Stanley Research

 
GDP (gross domestic product) growth for the quarters ending September 2012 and December 2012 will be sub-5% as weak agriculture and slowdown in external demand hamper growth, according to Morgan Stanley. “The poor agriculture growth, weak investment trend, a sluggish DM (developed market) growth outlook and weakness in the service sector are the key reasons affecting our base case outlook for FY13. We maintain our GDP growth forecast for FY13 at 5.1%,” says Morgan Stanley Research.
 
While IP (industrial production) growth has improved in August, this pickup in IP growth has been largely factored in the GDP growth estimates, says Morgan Stanley. Industrial production growth accelerated to +2.7% y-o-y (year-on-year) in August 2012 from -0.2% y-o-y in July 2012, revised downwards from +0.1% y-o-y stated earlier, reports Morgan Stanley. This was higher than consensus expectation as per Bloomberg survey of a growth of 1% y-o-y and the Morgan Stanley expectation of 1.5-2.5%. On a seasonally adjusted sequential basis, the IP index grew by 2%month-on-month (versus -0.4%m-o-m in July). On a 3-MMA (three months moving average) basis, IP growth remained steady at an average of +0.2% y-o-y during the three-months ended August 2012 compared with the three months ended July 2012. 
 
In the manufacturing segment, output growth accelerated to 2.9% y-o-y, as compared with a fall of 0.4% y-o-y in July. Within manufacturing, industry group publishing, printing and reproduction of recorded media contributed most to the improvement, growing by 15.4% y-o-y followed by radio, TV and communication equipment and apparatus (14.5%), medical precision and optical instruments, watches and clocks (14.4%) and wearing apparel; dressing and dyeing of fur (10.3%). On the other hand, office accounting and computing machinery contributed most to the weakness, declining by -13.1% y-o-y, followed by motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers (-9.5%), other transport equipment (-7.6%) and tobacco products (-5.1%). Mining output also improved, growing by 2% y-o-y versus -1.6%  y-o-y in July whereas electricity output growth slowed to 1.9% y-o-y compared with 2.8% y-o-y in the previous month, reports Morgan Stanley Research.
 
Consumer goods output growth rebounded sharply to 5% y-o-y in August versus 0.5% y-o-y in July, reports Morgan Stanley Research. Within consumer goods, consumer durables output improved to 4% y-o-y in August, versus 0.6% y-o-y in July, and consumer non-durables output rebounded to 5.8% y-o-y in August versus 0.3% y-o-y in July.
 
Capital goods output declined by 1.7% y-o-y in August, as compared with the 4.5% y-o-y decline that we saw in July. Moreover, this improvement has been there despite an unfavourable base effect, as capital goods output grew by 4% in August 2011, as compared with a 13.7% decline in July 2011, reports Morgan Stanley Research. Nonetheless, capital goods output remained a drag on overall IP as IP ex-capital goods grew by 3.4% y-o-y in August versus 0.5% y-o-y in July.
 
Basic goods output growth accelerated to 2.8% y-o-y in August versus 1% y-o-y in the previous month, and intermediate goods output recovered to 1.9% y-o-y in August versus fall of -1.2% y-o-y in the previous month, adds Morgan Stanley Research.
 

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