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Retention of the authenticated copies of Itemized material procurement bills submitted by the contractors made mandatory by CIC. Authenticated copies must be obtained by work executing agencies/ contractors before settling payments. The present directions of CIC shall be applied prospectively. Background of Itemized material procurement bills The copies of raw material procurement bills are submitted by private contractors to the PWD in course of execution of various road construction projects. But in most of the cases, the bills so produced are returned to the contractors by officers of PWD after endorsement in the Material on Site Register (MSB).The process lacked any mechanism to check the authenticity of the material procurement bill produced by the contractor. As per the decision of the Central Information Commission "Accordingly, considering the larger public interest and facilitation of the free flow of information relating to development of public infrastructure; the Commission in exercise of powers vested under Section 19(8)(a)(iv) of the RTI Act directs the respondent department as well as CPWD, MoUD, GoI to incorporate adequate changes in its information/ record retention practices as regards the itemized material procurement bills submitted by the contractors. In each case, it shall be mandatory for the PWD, GNCTD & CPWD to retain the authenticated copies of itemized bills on record invariably irrespective of existence of any terms & condition specified in work award contract." RTI Background RTI Was filled by ‘Road Anti–Corruption Organization’. In his endeavour to curb the alleged malpractices in road construction projects, the Appellant assumed the role of ‘private quality auditor’ and made as many as 11 RTI applications to respective divisions of PWD seeking information regarding the quality of material used in construction of respective road projects. The road building work contracts mandate the private contractor to produce bills of raw material procurement as proof of having purchased the specified quality of raw material. However, the road building contractors are alleged to produce ‘fake’ bills of raw material procurement before the PWD and escape the rigour of quality checks with connivance of few officers. The grievance of Appellant was focused on the practice of non retention of itemized material procurement bills by the PWD. CIC direction to Secretaries of MoUD, PWD (GNCTD & other UTs) Though, in past, it may not have been mandatory for the respondent PWD to retain record of itemized bills produced by private contractors in all instances of road construction works/ civil construction works; however, it is in interest of infusing greater transparency in functioning of a Govt. Department and erosion of faith of public at large; that best practices in Information Management may be incorporated in better interest of efficient Governance and administration. The decision of the CIC is attached. This decision has far reaching implication in ensuring transparency in public road construction departments. 2018-01-31-174720Rahul_Sharma_11_cases.pdf