Section 4(1)(b) of the RTI Act lays down the information which should be disclosed by Public Authorities on a suo motu or proactive basis. Section 4(2) and Section 4(3) prescribe the method of dissemination of this information. The purpose of suo motu disclosures under Section 4 is to place large amount of information in public domain on a proactive basis to make the functioning of the Public Authorities more transparent and also to reduce the need for filing individual RTI applications.
Information relating to procurement made by Public Authorities including publication of notice/tender enquiries, corrigenda thereon, and details of bid awards detailing the name of the supplier of goods/services being procured or the works contracts entered or any such combination of these and the rate and total amount at which such procurement or works contract is to be done should be disclosed. All information disclosable as per Ministry of Finance, Department of Expenditure's O.M. No 10/1/2011-PPC dated 30th November, 2011 on Mandatory Publication of Tender Enquiries on the Central Public Procurement Portal and O.M. No. 10/3/2012- PPC dated 30th March, 2012 on Implementation of comprehensive end-to-end e-procurement should be disclosed under Section 4. At present the limit is fixed at Rs. 10.00 lakhs. In case of procurements made through DGS&D Rate Contracts or through Kendriya Bhandar/ NCCF, only award details need to be published. However information about procurement which fall within the purview of Section 8 of the RTI Act would be exempt.
If Public services are proposed to be provided through a Public Private Partnership (PPP), all information relating to the PPPs must be disclosed in the public domain by the Public Authority entering into the PPP contract/concession agreement. This may include details of the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), if any set up, detailed project reports, concession agreements, operation and maintenance manuals and other documents generated as part of the implementation of the PPP project. The documents under the ambit of the exemption from disclosure of information under section 8(1)(d) and 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act would not be disclosed suo motu. Further, information about fees, tolls, or other kinds of revenue that may be collected under authorization from the Government, information in respect of outputs and outcomes, process of selection of the private sector party may also be proactively disclosed. All payments made under the PPP project may also be disclosed in a periodic manner along with the purpose of making such payment.
Transfer policy for different grades/cadres of employees serving in Public Authority should be proactively disclosed. All transfer orders should be publicized through the website or in any other manner listed in Section 4(4) of the Act. These guidelines would not be applicable in cases of transfers made keeping in view sovereignty, integrity, security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the State and the exemptions covered under Section 8 of the Act. These instructions would not apply to security and intelligence organizations under the second schedule of the RTI Act.
All Public Authorities shall proactively disclose RTI applications and appeals received and their responses, on the websites maintained by Public Authorities with search facility based on key words. RTI applications and appeals received and their responses relating to the personal information of an individual may not be disclosed, as they do not serve any public interest.
Public Authorities may proactively disclose the CAG & PAC paras and the Action Taken Reports (ATRs) only after these have been laid on the table of both the houses of the Parliament. However, CAG paras dealing with information about the issues of sovereignty, integrity, security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the State and information covered under Section 8 of the RTI Act would be exempt.
Citizens Charter prepared by the Ministry/Department, as part of the Result Framework Document of the department/organization should be proactively disclosed and six monthly report on the performance against the benchmarks set in Citizens Charter should also be displayed on the website of public authorities.
All discretionary /non-discretionary grants/ allocations to state governments/ NGOs/Other institutions by Ministry/Department should be placed on the website of the Ministry/Department concerned. Annual Accounts of all legal entities who are provided grants by Public Authorities should be made available through publication, directly or indirectly on the Public Authority's website. Disclosures would be subject to provisions of Section 8 to 11 of the RTI Act.
A large number of RTI queries are being filed on official tours undertaken by Ministers or officials of various Government Ministries/Departments. Information regarding the nature, place and period of foreign and domestic tours of Prime Minister are already disclosed on the PMO's website.
As per DoPT's OM No. 1/8/2012-IR dated 11/9/2012, Public Authorities may proactively disclose the details of foreign and domestic official tours undertaken by the Minister(s) and officials of the rank of Joint Secretary to the Government of India and above and Heads of Departments, since 1st January, 2012. The disclosures may be updated once every quarter.
Information to be disclosed proactively may contain nature of the official tour, places visited, the period, number of people included in the official delegation and total cost of such travel undertaken. Exemptions under Section 8 of the RTI Act, 2005 may be kept in view while disclosing the information. These instructions would not apply to security and intelligence organisations under the second schedule of the RTI Act, 2005 and CVOs of public authoritiy
Section 4 lays down that information should be provided through many mediums depending upon the level of the public authority and the recipient of information (for example, in case of Panchayat, wall painting may be more effective means of dissemination of information), and that more and more proactive disclosure would gradually be made through Internet. There is need for more clear guidelines for web-based publication of information for disclosure.
While adhering to the standards of government guidelines as laid down by Department of Information Technology and Department of Administrative Reforms & Public Grievances, the following principles additionally should also be kept in view to ensure that websites' disclosures are complete, easily accessible, technology and platform neutral and in a form which conveys the desired information in an effective and user-friendly manner.
Guidelines for section 4(1)(b)(iii) - “the procedure followed in the decision-making processes, including channels of supervision and accountability”. The guidelines for detailing the decision making processes are as follows:
efining the quantitative and tangible parameters, (weight, size, frequency etc,) and timelines, that are applicable to the goods and services that are accessible to the public. Defining the qualitative and quantitative outcomes that each public authority/office plans to achieve through the goods and services that it was obligated to provide. Laying down individual responsibility for providing the goods and services (who is responsible for delivery/implementation and who is responsible for supervision).
The public authorities while disclosing their budgets shall undertake the following:
On the one hand, this clause serves as a means of proactively disclosing the progress made in computerizing information under Section 4(1)(a) of the RTI Act in a periodic manner. On the other, it provides people with clarity about the kinds of electronic information that, although not held by the public authority, is available to them. For example the stocks of ration available with individual fair price shops may not be held by the District Civil Supplies office, but may be available at a subordinate formation.
Keeping in view the varied levels of computerization of records and documents in public authorities, data about records that have been digitized may be proactively disclosed on the respective websites, excluding those records /files /information that are exempted under Section 8. The data about digitized record may include the name of the record and any categorization or indexing used; the subject matter and any other information that is required to be compiled in relation to a file as prescribed by Manual of Office Procedure (and to be prescribed by MOP for electronic records that is under finalization by DARPG), the division/ section/ unit/ office where the record is normally held; the person, with designation, responsible for maintaining the record; and the life span of the record, as prescribed in the relevant record retention schedule.