Guidelines for mandatory disclosure of financial details to be issued
In order to address the issue of transparency in governance, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) had constituted a task force and based on its report guidelines were drafted mandating the government departments to put the details of financial decisions made by the departments in public domain. A committee of secretaries had seen the report and had prepared the draft guidelines which are awaiting approval from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).
The DoPT is likely to issue the guidelines for disclosing information in a particular format by updating the respective websites of each ministry and department. The information to be made public would include beneficiaries of grants-in-aid, utilization of discretionary funds, budget allocation and expenditure under different heads of the department, expenditure on foreign and domestic tours and names of sponsors. For the ease of access to information a unified format would be used by all departments.
Section 4 of the Right to Information (RTI) Act already provides for voluntary disclosure of information and Section 4(1)(b) Every public authority shall publish within one hundred and twenty days from the enactment of this Act,- (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 advice, 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 authorisations 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; recognizes 16 types of information that need to be disclosed. However, at present there is no uniformity in disclosure mechanism.