New Delhi: Corporates and private sector should be brought under the ambit of the Right to Information Act as public invests through shares in them and suffers when their fortunes sink, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar suggested on Saturday.
   
The transparency law should be expanded to public- private partnership projects as well because government invests in them, Kumar said while addressing the annual convention of Central Information Commission here.

 He said, "The act should be strengthened and corporate sector and private public partnership schemes should be brought under its ambit. People invest through shares and they have right to know what is going on in corporate sector."
   
"We have seen so many times that problems arise when money of small investors sink. Governments have to intervene, stimulus packages have to be issued," he said.
     
Asked about Prime Minister's comments that a critical look needs to be taken at Right to Information, Kumar said there were no problems because of the transparency law.
   
"I don't think that RTI is causing any problem to Governments. Problems can be because of many reasons. In my view, since RTI Act is new and we are passing through the phase of evolution, there can be some discomfort but we can overcome that with our mutual understanding," he said.

The Bihar Chief Minister, who has implemented Right to Service in his state, also said that a similar law should be enacted by the centre. Kumar said governments should strive to place as much information about the decision-making processes and projects in public domain as possible.

"What is the problem in placing decision-taking process in the public domain? We can understand concerns about security and national issues but decisions which affect people, their rights why such information should not be placed in public domain?" he asked.
   
Kumar said information about decision-making process of social schemes, infrastructure projects and welfare schemes should be placed in public domain.
   
"How the decision was taken, why it was taken, it should all be made public because people have right to know. It will strengthen RTI Act...We are humans, errors can taken place in
decision-making but that should not be the criteria of hiding the information from public," he said.

He said activists and experts in the transparency law should be included in advisory councils at state and central levels so that problems in implementing the act can be identifed and rectified.

Kumar advocated that outer age limit of information commissioner should be increased from the existing 65 years.

The Chief Minister asked Chief Information Commissioner Satyananda Mishra to organise a special global convention on the RTI Act in Patna on the centenary celebrations of the
constitution of the state.

Kumar said people have right to know and disclosure of information will strengthen democracy.

"Right to Information may not be a fundamental right but it is a basic right of the people. This is the minimum. People have right to know and they should know. It improves Governance. It improves decision-making process," he said.

He said people now know that their decisions will be in public domain.

"Earlier this was not the case. People used to ignore complaints but now it is difficult," he said.

Kumar said Information Commissions should not limit themselves to hearing appeals but also should spread awareness.

Corporates and private sector should be brought under the ambit of the Right to Information Act as public invests through shares in them and suffers when their fortunes sink, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar suggested on Saturday.

(Agencies)