Citizens' Issues
RTI should be circumscribed if it encroaches on privacy: PM

According to Manmohan Singh, citizens' right to know should definitely be circumscribed if disclosure of information encroaches upon someone's personal privacy

Delhi: Voicing concern over frivolous and vexatious use of Right to Information (RTI) Act, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Friday said the citizens' right to know should definitely be circumscribed if it encroaches on an individual's privacy, reports PTI.
"There is a fine balance required to be maintained between the right to information and the right to privacy, which stems out of the fundamental right to life and liberty.
The citizens' right to know should definitely be circumscribed if disclosure of information encroaches upon someone's personal privacy. But where to draw the line is a complicated question," he said.
Addressing the seventh Convention of Central Information Commissioners (CICs), the Prime Minister said, "There are concerns about frivolous and vexatious use of the Act in demanding information disclosure of which cannot possibly serve any public purpose." 
Singh said such queries besides serving little productive purpose are also a drain on the resources of public authorities, diverting precious man-hours that could be put to better use.
"Sometimes information covering a long time-span or a large number of cases is sought in an omnibus manner with the objective of discovering an inconsistency or mistake which can be criticised," he said.
Touching upon the area of public-private partnerships, the Prime Minister said blanket extension of the RTI Act to such bodies may discourage private enterprises to enter in partnership with public sector whereas blanket exclusion may harm accountability of public officials.
The Prime Minister's remarks come close on the heels of the Supreme Court as also the Central Information Commission's adverse criticism of frivolous RTI applications.

Stressing on the privacy issue, Singh said the issue of a separate legislation on privacy is under consideration of an expert group under Justice AP Shah.

Referring to a recent Supreme Court order terming Information Commissions as judicial bodies, the Prime Minister said the government has decided to go in for review of the verdict before the apex court.

Singh said there was also a need to change perceptions about the right to information, noting that it should not be viewed as an irritant "but something that is good for us collectively".

"Rights cannot stand in isolation and must always be accompanied by reciprocal obligation...I believe that all of us share a responsibility to promote more constructive and productive use of the Right to Information Act. This important legislation should not only be about criticising, ridiculing and running down public authorities," he said.

Singh said the Act should be more about promoting transparency and accountability, spreading information and awareness and empowering the citizen.

"I believe that the right to information can be utilised for even better results to the benefit of our country and the people. It needs to be remembered that the ultimate goal of the legislation is to induce more efficiency in the work of the government and help it serve the people better," he said.

Earlier, speaking on the occasion, Minister of State for Personnel and Training V Narayanasamy said there is a need to create awareness about responsible use of the Act.

"It has to be ensured that it (information) does not infringe upon personal sensitive information of individuals.

Personal liberty is very important. Each society has its own concept of privacy. There is need to define what is personal information and what is sensitive information," he said.

He said people using the RTI Act to expose corruption must be protected and Whistleblowers' Protection Bill is a step in that direction.



nagesh kini

5 years ago

It is in deed sad that a person of Dr. Man Mohan Singh's stature, apart from being the PM of India, should make such statements. Let the PMO clarify what exactly he has in mind

Yes, the RTI has indeed been abused by so-called pseudo intellectuals as a tool of harassment, but never by the common man. At the same time it has benefited many. The results have been positive all along.
Only the guilty oppose it.


5 years ago

The Hon.PM may limit RTI queries to SIX in a year!!

India's industrial growth slows to 2.7% in August

Industrial output during April-August was 0.4%, down from 5.6% in the same period last year

New Delhi: India's industrial growth slowed to 2.7% in August due to poor show by the manufacturing sector and contraction in capital goods output, which may prompt the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to cut key interest rates in its second quarter policy review later this month, reports PTI.
Industrial output in the April-August period this fiscal was 0.4%, down from 5.6% in the same period in 2011-12, according to the official data.
Growth in overall factory output, as measured by the Index of Industrial Production (IIP), was 3.4% in August last year.
The manufacturing sector, which constitutes over 75% of the index, grew at slow rate of 2.9% in August, as against 3.9% in the same month last year.
The production growth in the manufacturing sector in April-August was flat, as against 6% growth in the same period in 2011-12.
Capital goods output contracted by 1.7% in August, as against 4% growth in August, 2011.
Output of capital goods contracted in the April-August period by 13.8%, as against growth of 7.3% in the 2011-12 period.
However, mining output in August grew by 2% as against contraction of 5.5% in same month last year.
The sector's production in April-August declined by 0.6%, compared to a contraction of 0.5% in same period a year ago.
Consumer goods production was up 5% in August as compared to a meagre growth of 2.1% in same month last year. During the April-August period of this fiscal, the growth in the segment was 3.5%, compared to 4.4% in the five month period a year ago. .
In all, 13 of the 22 industry groups in the manufacturing sector showed positive growth in August.
Consumer durables production growth slowed to 4% in August, compared to 5% in the same month last year.
The output of these goods registered a growth of 5.7% during April-August, as against 4.5% in the same period in 2011-12.
The consumer non-durables output growth improved to 5.8% in August, as against a contraction of 0.7% in the same month last year. This segment grew by 1.6% in first five months of this fiscal, as against 4.3% in the same period of 2011-12.
The basic goods production growth slowed to 2.8% in August, as against 5.8% a year ago. During April- August period, this segment recorded a growth of 2.8% compared to 7.6% in the five months of last fiscal
Power generation witnessed a dip in growth rate as it declined to 1.9% during August, compared to 9.5% in the same month a year ago.
Electricity generation increased by 4.8% in the April-August period of this fiscal, as against 9.5% in the same period in 2011-12.
The Reserve Bank will come out with second quarter monetary policy review on 30th October. The central bank has been holding key interest rates for some time in view of sticky inflationary pressures.


BNP Paribas, Srei invest Rs200 crore in equipment finance JV

The fresh investment by BNP Paribas and Srei Infra will take the net worth of their joint venture Srei Equipment Finance to over Rs1,660 crore

Mumbai: BNP Paribas and Srei Infrastructure said they have invested about Rs200 crore in their equal joint venture, Srei Equipment Finance (Private) Ltd to expand business, reports PTI.
"Both the shareholders are equally committed to the growth of the infrastructure equipment finance business. Enhanced equity will strengthen the capital base of Srei Equipment Finance and with additional leveraging, will lead to further growth," Srei Equipment Finance CEO DK Vyas said.
The fresh investment will take the net worth of Srei Equipment Finance to over Rs1,660 crore, according to a release issued here.
"Being a leader with over 30% market share in infrastructure and construction equipment financing, Srei Equipment Finance mirrors industry growth," Vyas said.
Srei Equipment Finance is into equipment financing in the infrastructure, agriculture, medical, information and technology space.
The company is expected to grow by 10-15% over last year when the disbursement stood at Rs12,710 crore.
The asset under management of Srei Equipment was over Rs18,492 crore as of June this year.


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