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Right to Information ( RTI)
The Right to Information Act which replaces the Freedom of Information Act, 2002 received the assent of the President and has come into force on 21st June 2005. All public sector banks and other institutions, constituted by an Act of Parliament or owned and controlled by the Government are public authorities within the meaning of the above Act and are required to comply with the provisions of the Act. In terms of the provisions of the Act, certain parts of the Act have come into force with immediate effect. All the public authorities are required to take certain steps within 120 days from the date of commencement of the Act. One such requirement is that the public authority has to publish following particulars about its organisation:
i. the particulars of its organisation, functions and duties
ii. the powers and duties of its officers and employees
iii. the procedure followed in the decision making process, including channels of supervision and accountability
iv. the norms set by it for the discharge of its functions
v. the rules, regulations, instructions, manuals and records, held by it or under its control or used by its employees for discharging its functions
vi. a statement of the categories of documents that are held by it or under its control
vii. the particulars of any arrangement that exists for consultation with, or representation by, the members of the public in relation to the formulation of its policy or implementation thereof
viii. a statement of the boards, councils, committees and other bodies consisting of two or more persons constituted as its part or for the purpose of its advise, and as to whether meetings of those boards, councils, committees and other bodies are open to the public, or the minutes of such meetings are accessible for public
ix. a directory of its officers and employees
x. the monthly remuneration received by each of its officers and employees, including the system of compensation as provided in its regulations
xi. the budget allocated to each of its agency, indicating the particulars of all plans, proposed expenditures and reports on disbursements made
xii. the manner of execution of subsidy programmes, including the amounts allocated and the details of beneficiaries of such programmes
xiii. particulars of recipients of concessions, permits or authorizations granted by it
xiv. details in respect of the information, available to or held by it, reduced in an electronic form
xv. the particulars of facilities available to citizens for obtaining information, including the working hours of a library or reading room, if maintained for public use
xvi. the names, designations and other particulars of the Public Information Officers
xvii. such other information as may be prescribed; and thereafter update these publications every year
xviii. publish all relevant facts while formulating important policies or announcing the decisions which affect public
xix. provide reasons for its administrative or quasi judicial decisions to affected persons.
The Act also requires every public authority to designate Central Public Information Officers in all administrative units or offices under it as may be necessary to provide information to persons requesting for information under this Act.
Section 22 of the Act provides that the provisions of the Act shall have effect notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained in the Official Secrets Act 1923 and any other law for the time being in force. The effect of this provision is that the law overrides all provisions contained in the Banking Laws, which cast obligation on banks to maintain secrecy about the affairs of customers.