Skip to main content

Public sector banks account for 33% of Govt of India's RTI rejections, coinciding with sharp rise in NPAs or bad debts

Counterview Desk
India’s 25 public sector banks (PSBs) received more than 73,000 Right to Information (RTI) applications in the financial year 2016-17, which is 9% of the total number of RTI applications received by all reporting public authorities of the Government of India. However, a new study has found that they accounted for a whopping 33% of the rejections, too.
Bringing this to light, the study by the well-known Delhi-based advocacy group Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), has said that this suggests resistance to transparency has “increased during this period, particularly when the banking sector is going through a difficult phase.”
Thus, the study finds that, in 11 PSBs, during the year 2016-17, both the number of RTI applications and the volume of net non-performing assets (NPAs) or bad debts increased.
These are: Andhra Bank (3.67% : 71.56%), Bank of Maharashtra (3.99% : 62.29%), Canara Bank (36.56% : 3.92%), Corporation Bank (34.93% : 27.64%), Dena Bank (2.19% : 47.88%), IDBI Bank Ltd. (1.63% : 72.13%), Indian Bank (7.65% : 3.45%) Indian Overseas Bank (5.71% : 2.79%), State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur (3.14% : 240.60%), Syndicate Bank (17.94% : 15.49%) and United Bank of India (608.89% : 7.87%).
“Only 2 PSBs, namely, Punjab National Bank (-5.70% : -7.68%), Bank of Baroda (-5.20% : -6.83%) reported a downward trend in the receipt of RTI applications and fall in the size of net NPAs”, the study says.
The highest rejections, says the study, was by the State Bank of Hyderabad, which rejected a record 71% RTI applications, followed by the Oriental Bank of Commerce 50% rejection rate, Corporation Bank 47.3%, Andhra Bank 45.9%, Dena Bank and Canara Bank both 40%, and so on.
Prepared by senior RTI activist Venkatesh Nayak, the study says, as for Punjab National Bank, which has been in the news recently because of the more than USD 1.8 billion- Letters of Undertaking (LoU) fraud allegedly committed in collusion with certain business houses, rejected almost 33% RTI applications.
The study reveals, a large number of PSBs and Reserve Bank of India rejected more RTI applications under “Others” category instead of the legally permissible exemptions to disclosure provided under the RTI Act. In the “Others” category, PSBs rejected 6,625 RTI applications, as against 6,616 RTI applications were rejected under Section 8(1)(j), relating to personal information and the protection available for privacy – the most frequently invoked of legally permissible exemptions.
The study, which is based on the data made available in the Chief Information Commission’s Annual Report, “RBI also rejected more than half (57%) of the RTI applications it received in 2016-17 under ‘Others’ category.”
Section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act was the most frequently invoked of legally permissible exemptions, says the study. Under this provision the disclosure of personal information of an individual whose privacy must be protected is exempt. State Bank of India invoked this exemption to reject more than 1,100 RTI applications along with 10 other PSBs that rejected more than 200 RTI applications by invoking this exemption.
While all 25 PSBs and RBI invoked Section 8(1)(e) of the RTI Act to reject between six to more than 900 RTI applications, State Bank of India invoked this Section to reject 902 RTI applications – almost three times more than Syndicate Bank and Canara Bank, both of which rejected more than 380 RTI applications each, the study says.
Section 8(1)(e) of the RTI Act exempts information that is available to a person in his fiduciary relationship. Fiduciary relationships are trust-based relationships such as those between a doctor and a patient, a lawyer and a client, parents and their children, managers of orphanages and the wards living there.
The study further says, Ten PSBs invoked the Cabinet-related exemption of the RTI Act [Section 8(1)(i)] to reject 223 RTI applications. Interestingly, Two thirds of these RTI applications were rejected by only two PSBs, State Bank of India and Corporation Bank.
Twenty four PSBs invoked Section 8(1)(d) more than 4,200 times to reject RTI applications in 2016-17. Section 8(1)(d) of the RTI Act protects information that is in the nature of commercial confidence, trade secrets or intellectual property rights (IPRs) where disclosure will harm the competitive position of a “third party”.

Comments

TRENDING

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

"Misleading" satellite images being shared on Balakot surgical strike on Jaish camp

By Dr Vinay Kate*
With every passing day more questions are being raised about the surgical strike India did in Balakot as a response to Pulwama attacks. So far the Indian media has claimed mass casulaty of 300+ terrorists of Jaish-e-Mohammad in this surgical strike, but there is hardly any report from foreign media about the same.

Extreme repression, corporate loot, cultural genocide "characterise" India's tribal belt

Counterview Desk
As Lok Sabha polls approach, there is considerable ferment in one section of the population -- India's Adivasis, forming about 8.6 per cent of India's population. Things became particularly critical following the February 14, 2019 Supreme Court order, allegedly seeking to evict lakhs of tribals from their forest lands.

Industry in India "barely growing", export growth 0%, whither moral anchors?

Counterview Desk
In a sharp critique of the Modi government, the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A), one of world renowned economist Prof Kaushik Basu, who is Professor of Economics and Carl Marks Professor of International Studies at Cornell University, has told students at the IIM-A’s 54th Annual Convocation on March 16, 2019 that they have a “special responsibility” on their shoulders, “the responsibility to reject narrow sectarianism, uphold scientific thinking, openness to new ideas, and freedom of speech.”

Congress would win just 9 of 26 Lok Sabha seats: Gujarat Assembly segment-wise analysis

By Rajiv Shah
Even as the Congress plans its first working committee meet in Gujarat on February 28 after an almost 58 year gap, there is reason to wonder what is in store for India’s grand old party in a state which has been long been a BJP bastion – in fact ever since mid-1990s. Ahead of the then assembly polls in late 2012, talking with me, a senior Gujarat Congress leader, currently Rajya Sabha MP, frankly said he saw no reason why Congress would win.

Financial inclusion? Not micro-loans; India's poor "need" investment in health, education

By Moin Qazi*
India has grown into a global powerhouse. Its economy is soaring but the picture on the ground is still quite arid. The green shoots that you see are only a patch of its landscape. Most Indians are hapless victims of inequity. India is one country where intense poverty abounds in the shadow of immense wealth.

"Pro-corporate" Supreme Court order on FRA would further marginalize Adivasis

By VS Roy David, JP Raju*
For millions of Adivasis and other traditional forest dwellers February 13, 2019 will go down in history as the day of apocalypse. This is like the proverbial Black Friday where millions of most marginalized people of India were ordered by malicious anti-people draconian Supreme Court order depriving them the life and livelihood by evicting them from their habitats.

India, Pakistan told to eliminate nuclear weapons: N-war "would kill" 2 billion

Counterview Desk
The International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), a non-partisan federation of national medical organizations in 64 countries, representing tens of thousands of doctors, medical students, other health workers, and concerned citizens, claiming to share the common goal of creating a more peaceful and secure world freed from the threat of nuclear annihilation, has warned that “an unprecedented global catastrophe” awaits the globe against the backdrop of warmongering in India and Pakistan.

Modi wants Pak govt be held responsible for JeM terror strike: World doesn't agree

By Sandeep Pandey*
I went to participate in a candle light homage paying event at Dr BR Ambedkar's statue organised by about 200 Dalit students on Hazratganj main crossing in Lucknow on February 16, 2019 evening, two days after the dastardly terrorist act in Pulwana, Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), in which 44 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel was killed.

Women, business, law: India scores worst among all BRICS, several African nations

By Rajiv Shah
A new World Bank report ranks India 125th in its Women, Business and the Law (WBL) index among 187 economies it seeks to analyse across the globe. The report's main aim claims to be to "gain new insight into how women’s employment and entrepreneurship choices are affected by legal gender discrimination. On a scale of 100, India's score is 71.25, worse than the global average of 74.71.