92% of Central Ministries Fail to Comply with CIC Directive

RTI Anniversary Special Feature:
Ninety-two per cent of central ministries and 82 per cent of the central departments have not displayed their Rule 10 monthly performance report, as per the directive issued earlier this year by the Central Information Commission (CIC).

Image: Tibetan Review

According to a survey conducted by a Right to Information (RTI) body, a majority of central ministries and departments have failed in complying with a CIC directive on making part of their Rule 10 reports public. Interestingly, the survey results coincides with the 11th anniversary of the Right to Information Act, 2005, which came into implementation on October 12, 2005.

Following a petition to make the Rule 10 reports of the central ministries and departments public by the RTI body, CIC had issued a recommendation to the Cabinet Secretariat (CS) in April 2016, asking it to consider the possibility of proactively disclosing the "unclassified" portions of the monthly reports on their websites.

In its decision, the CIC also advised the CS to put a mechanism in place for monitoring compliance of ministries and departments with their reporting obligations under Rule 10. The CS had according issued a circular instructing all the ministries and departments to put up their monthly reports on the websites.

However, the survey led by the RTI activist Venkatesh Nayak has revealed that only 7.6 per cent (4 out of 52) of the central ministries and 17.4 per cent (8 out of 46) of the Central Departments have complied with this directive.

It says, “Even where there is compliance, all reports due since the date of the Cabinet Secretariat's circular are not uploaded on their website. We checked not only the homepage of every website, but also the section like Sitemap, Media/Press, RTI and Citizen on each of these websites to ascertain the status of compliance.”

However, the survey came across several other types of performance reports uploaded by some of the ministries like e-books or two-year reports on their websites. “While the efforts made by the ministries and departments to inform the public about the progress of their work must be appreciated, there is a need for standardising the format and the periodicity of these reports. To start with, it is advisable to publish on the websites, the "unclassified" portions of the monthly reports submitted to the Council of Ministers, as advised by the CIC. This will reduce the burden on the ministries and departments of preparing a separate report to comply with the Cabinet Secretariat's Directive,” says the report.

What is a Rule 10 report?

Under Rule 10 of the Rules of Procedure Regard to Proceedings of the Cabinet, 1987, every ministry and department is required to send a report of the work done every month, to the Council of Ministers. These reports are required to be submitted through the Cabinet Secretariat by the 10th of the next month. Such a monthly report may have a classified portion (labelled "top secret" or "secret" or "confidential") containing 'sensitive matters' and an unclassified portion. With the exception of the Ministry of Coal, no other ministry or department proactively publishes any part of these monthly summaries prepared under Rule 10.




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