Govt registers 4% dip in RTI applications: Report
New Delhi: The government has registered a four per cent dip in RTI applications in public sector banking (PSB) sector. According to the latest report of Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), it has come to the notice that 25 PSBs received more than 73,000 RTI applications in 2016-17, which is four per cent lesser than the previous year.
However, as per the report, the RBI has reported receiving more than 13,000 RTI applications in 2016-17 registering an increase of more than 14 per cent over the previous year.
As per the findings of the report, 25 PSBs and RBI account for more than half of the RTI applications, which amounts to 57.33 per cent as reported by Ministry of Finance.
"In 2015-16, PSBs accounted for less than half (48 per cent) of the RTI applications that the ministry reported. However, the overall number of RTI applications reported by the Finance Ministry remains in the range of 1.5 lakh (151,186) during 2016-17," the CHRI report stated.
The report also stated that 11 of 25 PSBs reported a fall in the number of RTI applications received in 2016-17 as compared to the previous year. Two PSBs such as Union Bank of India (58.25 per cent) and State Bank of Hyderabad (52.11 per cent) – reported a fall of more than 50 per cent RTI applications.
"Besides RBI, 14 banks have also reported an increase in the number of RTI applications as compared to the previous year. So, in 2016-17, more people sought information from banks as compared to other public authorities under the Finance Ministry," said Venkatesh Nayak, the programme coordinator at CHRI.
Highlighting the reasons leading to the reduction in RTI applications, Nayak said, "The prime cause of decreasing trend is the denial of even basic information in the name of 'other category' and long pendency before Chief Information Commission (CIC). These two factors have discouraged RTI activists a lot."
Among the PSBs, the State Bank of India (SBI) is the biggest grosser with more than 25,300 RTI applications received accounting for more than a third (33.20 per cent) of the total number of RTI applications received by PSBs in 2016-17, while of the remaining PSBs, Punjab National Bank (7,715), Bank of Baroda (4,809), Bank of India (4,295) and Canara Bank (3,918) claimed the next top four positions reporting the largest number of RTI applications.