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India's public sector banks with huge non-performing assets also saw high rejection of RTI pleas: Study

Counterview Desk
An analysis of right to information (RTI) data in the Annual Report of the Central Information Commission (CIC) has found that the proportion of rejection of RTI applications was quite high in public sector banks that had reported large volumes of net non-performing assets (NPAs) in 2014-15.
Carried out by Venkatesh Nayak of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), the analysis says, “Indian Overseas Bank, Bank of Baroda and Canara Bank, which had reported net NPAs ranging more than Rs 8,000 crore, rejected between a third to almost one half of the RTI applications in 2014-15, indicating a very high proportion of rejection of RTI applications.”
The analysis also found that “State Bank of India with the largest volume of net NPAs amongst the 24 public sector rejected 20% of the RTI applications during this period”, adding, however, “State Bank of Mysore and Vijaya Bank are exceptions to this trend as their rejections were very high – between 26-39% despite the volume of their net NPAs being less than Rs 2,000 crore.”
The analysis acquired significance because it comes against the backdrop of the recommendations of the PJ Nayak Committee report (May 2014), which said that public sector banks under The Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act) was hampering their ability to compete with their rivals in the private sector.
“No data was produced in support of this finding”, Nayak said, adding, “Ever since, we at CHRI have examined this claim year after year in the light of the Annual Reports released by the CIC, which contain RTI application statistics submitted by these PSU Banks under Section 25 of the RTI Act.”
Now uploaded on the CIC website, Nayak said, a rapid analysis of the RTI statistics of 24 public sector banks that they received a total of 79,148 RTI applications in 2014-15 (including the backlog from 2013-14). “This amounts to 56.4% of the total volume of RTI applications received by the Ministry of Finance in 2014-15 (140,324 RTI applications).”
“The State Bank of India being the largest banking network across the country received the most number of RTI applications - 24,783, i.e. more than 31.3% of the total number of RTI applications received by the 24 public sector banks. Bank of India with 9,080 RTI applications is in second place, followed by Punjab National Bank at third place with 7,779 RTI applications dealt with in 2014-15”, Nayak said.
“In 2014-15, 10 of the 24 public sector banks witnessed a significant decline in the number of RTI applications dealt with. In 2013-14 when data from 20 PS Banks was analysed, only six Banks witnessed a declining trend in the number of RTI applications dealt with when compared with the previous reporting year of 2012-13”, Nayak said.
He added, “This appears to be in tune with the overall trend of decline in the number of RTI applications dealt with by public authorities under the Central Government in 2014-15.”
Coming to the rejection, the analysis said, “Public sector rejected between one fifth and more than one half of the RTI applications during this period”, adding, “Andhra Bank reported rejecting every second RTI application during 2014-15. It had rejected 55.1%, i.e., more than half of the RTI applications dealt with during this period.”
It further said, “Canara Bank takes second place with a rejection of 49.1% (almost half) of the RTI applications dealt with in 2014-15. Corporation Bank takes the third place with a rejection of 45.8%. These 3 Banks rejected 4 or 5 of every 10 RTI applications they received during 2014-15.”

Comments

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