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karira

Bring all PPP projects under purview of RTI Act, says CIC

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karira

As reported by Manoj C G in indianexpress.com on 27 April 2012:

Govt may bring PPP projects under RTI - Indian Express

 

Govt may bring PPP projects under RTI

 

The government is considering bringing under the ambit of the RTI Act public-private-partnership projects. The Central Information Commission has been asking the government to bring PPP agreements under the RTI as public money is involved and it has written to the Planning Commission earlier in this connection.

Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions V Narayanasamy said that inclusion of PPP projects under the RTI is “being considered”. A “thinking is going on to include this (PPP) in RTI,” he said here on Thursday, without giving more details.

A public authority, as defined under Section 2(h) of the RTI Act includes a non-governmental body only if it is substantially financed by the Centre. The CIC had contended that since the government provided substantial resources for PPP projects, the PPP entity should be deemed as a public authority and hence, be made accountable under the Act.

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Sajib Nandi

Reported by Zeenews.india.com on July 12 2012

Montek wants PPP review report to be made public

 

New Delhi: Planning Commission on Thursday said that it will soon seek approval of the Prime Minister to make PPP monitoring reports public under the new mechanism which is aimed at expediting development of infrastructure projects.

 

"These reports should be available for public. I am in favour of putting these in public domain. I will get the Prime Minister's approval," Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia told reporters here.

 

With an aim of ensuring timely completion of projects undertaken in public-private partnership (PPP) mode, the government has decided to set up an institutional mechanism to oversee contract performance of the concessionaires.

 

"The moment it is institutionalised by the Cabinet, this entire reporting format would be available under the RTI. If it is under RTI, I am in favour of putting it on the website rather the making people spend money for filing RTI for that," he said.

 

Ahluwalia said, "It is government's job to monitor PPP projects and government should provide information regarding that. We can not be subjecting the private player to Right to Information (RTI) Act."

 

On the need for setting up new mechanism, he said, "PPPs have to perform according to predetermined standards... Rather than wait to see that there is a problem or an agitation. We should be monitoring it on more regular basis... So that we can anticipate problem and take necessary action".

 

The Commission, he said, "will also be writing to the Chief Ministers, saying that we are doing this for monitoring our projects. You can do whatever you want."

 

The Institutional Mechanism for Monitoring of PPP Projects, cleared by the Union Cabinet today, will have two- tier system -- Projects Monitoring Unit (PMU) and Performance Review Unit (PRU).

 

The proposal of the Planning Commission was approved at a time when an increasing reliance is being placed on PPP projects across many wings of the government.

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Sajib Nandi

Reported by Economictimes.indiatimes.com on 2 Oct 2012

Don't bring public-private partnership projects under CAG, RTI: GMR - The Economic Times

 

NEW DELHI: Airports-to-power conglomerate GMR Group has warned that bringing public-private partnership (PPP) projects under the ambit of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India and the Right to Information law could spell the death knell for private investments into infrastructure projects.

 

Sidharath Kapur, chief financial officer (airports) at the GMR Group, said the current policy environment makes it difficult for the private sector to chip in with half of India's $1-trillion target for infrastructure investments over the next five years.

 

"Infrastructure companies have suffered - bottom line and stock prices are down, foreign investors have lost faith in the Indian story," Kapur said at an infrastructure conclave hosted by the PHD Chambers of Commerce and Industry on Monday. "You have issues like CAG and government policy in newspapers everyday. In this environment, can a developer or a foreign investor stretch his neck out and look at an infrastructure investment?"

 

Referring to the 'talk' of bringing PPP projects under the CAG and the information disclosure law, Kapur warned that this is a "very retrograde" step. "If that happens, you will actually sign (away) the entire entrepreneurship and flexibility of a private entrepreneur... then why have PPPs? You might as well let the project be developed by the public sector," he said.

 

Stressing that he is not questioning the requirement of CAG audits, Kapur suggested that CAG approvals must come upfront before a PPP project starts rather than after their implementation has begun.

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karira

As reported in economictimes.indiatimes.com on 02 October 2012:

Don't bring public-private partnership projects under CAG, RTI: GMR - The Economic Times

 

Don't bring public-private partnership projects under CAG, RTI: GMR

 

NEW DELHI: Airports-to-power conglomerate GMR Group has warned that bringing public-private partnership (PPP) projects under the ambit of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India and the Right to Information law could spell the death knell for private investments into infrastructure projects.

 

Sidharath Kapur, chief financial officer (airports) at the GMR Group, said the current policy environment makes it difficult for the private sector to chip in with half of India's $1-trillion target for infrastructure investments over the next five years.

 

"Infrastructure companies have suffered - bottom line and stock prices are down, foreign investors have lost faith in the Indian story," Kapur said at an infrastructure conclave hosted by the PHD Chambers of Commerce and Industry on Monday. "You have issues like CAG and government policy in newspapers everyday. In this environment, can a developer or a foreign investor stretch his neck out and look at an infrastructure investment?"

 

Referring to the 'talk' of bringing PPP projects under the CAG and the information disclosure law, Kapur warned that this is a "very retrograde" step. "If that happens, you will actually sign (away) the entire entrepreneurship and flexibility of a private entrepreneur... then why have PPPs? You might as well let the project be developed by the public sector," he said.

 

Stressing that he is not questioning the requirement of CAG audits, Kapur suggested that CAG approvals must come upfront before a PPP project starts rather than after their implementation has begun.

 

 

 

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karira

As reported by Prasanna Mohanty in governancenow.com on 17 April 2013:

GovernanceNow.com | Out of shadow, PPPs at last come under RTI ambit

 

Out of shadow, PPPs at last come under RTI ambit

 

 

DoPT issues guidelines providing for suo motu disclosure of all information relating to PPPs under RTI Act

 

In a dramatic turnaround, the union government has now opened up public-private partnership (PPP) projects to public scrutiny.

The move comes in the way of a fresh set of guidelines issued by the department of personnel and training (DoPT) on April 15. Till now any information sought through the RTI Act was stonewalled not only by the union government but also the state governments.

DoPT guidelines make it clear that “all information relating to PPPs must be disclosed in the public domain” henceforth suo motu, as per provisions of section 4 of the RTI Act.

This will gladden the hearts of all those fighting for accountability and transparency in the way PPP projects are being implemented in the country. Most big-ticket projects in the infrastructure sector, like roads, ports, airports, power, water supply, irrigation and telecommunication are being carried out under the PPP model. And for a while PPP projects are being seen as “public money for private profit”.

Social activists have been fighting for years to get information about PPP projects in vain. The fight that started in January 2011, with RTI activist Venkatesh Nayak approaching the CIC to get information about PPP projects, has succeeded in breaking down the wall.

DoPT’s guideline of April 15 says: “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.”

It adds: “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 payments”.

The stumbling block

In issuing guidelines for suo motu disclosures, the guideline admits that “the quality and quantity of proactive disclosure is not up to the desired level” and a part of the problem is that certain provisions of the RTI Act “have not been fully detailed”, and that in case of some “there is need for laying down detailed guidelines”.

Seen as the biggest stumbling block, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, deputy chairman of the planning commission, has publicly opposed every attempt to throw PPPs open to RTI by stating that it would inhibit private investment. He also contended that since PPPs are contracts with private entities they don’t come under the purview of the RTI Act.

The planning commission is the nodal body for PPPs.

Things took a turn for better when CIC wrote to the planning commission in January 2011 and sought modifications within PPP agreements to ensure public disclosure of details related to infrastructure projects being funded by the public exchequer. The DoPT supported CIC, but instead of legal changes suggested that the planning commission should draft the PPP agreement in a way that allows the government agency to disclose information on behalf of the private entity.

The planning commission opposed this and referred the matter to the law ministry.

In March 2011, Ahluwalia issued a statement clarifying his position. The statement said: “It is further clarified that concession agreements are executed by the respective ministries and not by the planning commission. So far as the planning commission is concerned, it has published several model concession agreements (MCAs) for PPP projects. These MCAs provide for full disclosure of the concession agreement, the maintenance manual, the maintenance programme and maintenance requirements in respect of each project.

Where an MCA is followed, any person can obtain certified copies of these documents from the respective concessionaires.” (emphasis added)

But even after this statement, Ahluwalia publicly opposed throwing open PPPs to provisions of the RTI Act.

But DoPT set up a task force to look into the issue. In August 2011, the task force, which included civil society activities, favoured suo motu disclosure. The report was then referred to the PMO.

Apparently, after the PMO’s clearance, DoPT issued the guidelines on April 15.

 

 

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