Faculty, Department of Management
Mewar Institute of Management, Ghaziabad
India is a democratic nation. Here government and financial institutions work framed by the people, of the people and for the people. Even in our preamble of constitution it is clearly mentioned that here all citizens are totally secure and they must receive equality of status and opportunity, justice, having liberty of thought and expression and the dignity of the every individual is assures. So every citizen is legally having right of transparency and accountability of government overall system including banking sector also. These research papers contain analysis of the implementation status of RTI in Indian banking sector with special reference in State Bank of India. Bank is a financial institution which works for the general public. Its functioning is to accept deposits and saving of a common man and also allow them lending or credit facilities. The basic resource of banking sector is collected from the Indian citizen, it is the duty of banking sector to handle this resources very carefully and ensure their proper utilization. Even bank must create transparency and proper accountability in their process, for getting less chances for corruption. Even a lot of people do not know that any bank may public sector or private sector come under RTI and if customer have any issues with them, they can file a RTI against them and get any kind of information. Till now there is a need of awareness in Indian citizens to understand RTI and file RTI to get any information they need. Information which is available in any form material in banking sector comes under RTI. It includes records, documents, memos, e-mails, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic form. It also includes information relating to any private body which can be accessed by the public authority under any law for the time being in force. The present era of globalization and highly competativeness, public bodies are also spreading their wings speedly to become global brands rather in corporate field or banking industry in which State Bank of India possess good reputation in all over the world basically it covers maximum developed countries . Due to heavy involvement of public functions in banking sector, it is vital to fix their accountability and responsibility towards their customers.
Keywords: Right to information, State Bank of India, financial institute, globalization.
The Right to Information Act was introduced in the year 2005, it replaced the Freedom of Information Act, 2002. The motive behind the introduction of this act was to set up a government system to provide information to the citizen of the country. It was for the betterment of the right to information. Under this any citizen can ask for information from any public authority, and the public authority is oblige to provide the information within thirty days. It makes compulsive to public authority for maintaining a computerized record, so it is easier to provide information to anyone who is seeking it. But the earlier times, the information disclosure was restricted in India under the Official Secrets Act, 1923 and some other laws. But by the introduction of the RTI Act these restrictions were loosened up. This Act was passed by the Parliament in June 2005 and came into force from October 2005. it was a central Act. One thing is very interesting about this act was that before its lawfully act by the central government it was already in forced at the state level some of the well known examples are in 1997 Tamil Nadu and Goa, Karnataka and Rajasthan in 2001, Delhi in 2001, Maharashtra and Assam in 2002, MP in 2003, Jammu and Kashmir in 2004, and Haryana in 2005.
Under the RTI act Indian Legislature did not include private bodies directly. But due to public demand or under various different type of circumstances they bound to put certain part of this private regulatory bodies under their authority one of the landmark judicial pronouncement of Sarabjit Roy v. Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (1) it was reaffirmed by the Central Information Commission that privatized utility companies are also included under the umbrella of the RTI Act, regardless of their privatization. After studying various blogs and news article one of the finding came out that till now a general public have misunderstanding that those entities which are getting subsidies or are funded by the government are comes under the purview of the RTI Act. But the hidden fact is that any private bodies can falls under the RTI whether or not they are substantially funded or aided by the government. Private entities are fall under the range of the RTI Act by their registration under any public authority through which it comes. An individual can gain any information from a private body, just by identifying the concern Public Authority with whom the private entity is registered. As banks are register themselves through the Reserve Bank of India whether private or public bank and their regulatory functions are comes under RBI and Co-operative Societies register themselves through Deputy Registrar of Co-operative Societies.
Objective of Research:
- To select the India’s no.1 bank and find out its course of action and responses towards public under RTI.
- To focus the essential feature of RTI in India’s renowned and must trustable bank i.e, SBI.
- To find out the relationship of banking sectors with RTI.
- To create attention of customer towards their right and duties in public sector bank with special reference of SBI
All the study has been based on secondary data from the website, published news paper articles, court orders related with banking and financial institutions and blogs of renowned authors.
Structure of RTI in the State Bank of India
- Central Assistant Public Information Officer (CAPIO) These officers send the application or appeal to the Central Public Information Officer or the concerned Appellate Authority for disposal. An Assistant Public Information Officer is not responsible for supply of any information.
- Central Public Information Officer (CPIO)Central Public Information Officers are responsible for giving information to a person who seeks information under the RTI Act.
- Appellate Authority (A A)If an applicant is not supplied information within the prescribed time of thirty days or 48 hours, as the case may be, or is not satisfied with the information furnished to him, he may prefer an appeal to the First Appellate Authority who is an officer senior in rank to the Central Public Information Officer.
RTI Applicability in SBI
- Application format :There is no prescribed format of application is given in RTI Act. The applicant can use plain paper which should contain the name and complete postal address of the applicant. However in cases information is sought electronically, the application should contain the name and postal address of the applicant. The mode of application should be English or Hindi or in the official language of the area in which the application is being made, accompanied by the prescribed fee and specifying the particulars of the information sought.
- RTI Fee : The RTI fee is to be paid by Demand Draft or Bankers Cheque or IPO in the name of ‘State Bank of India’ and payable at the centre where CPIO is located. Or in other condition applicant may deposit the prescribed fee in the ‘P & T Charges Recovered Account’ at any branch of the State Bank of India and will attach counterfoil thereof in original with the application / request while forwarding it to the CPIO / CAPIO. A specially designed voucher has been rescribed by the Bank for depositing the RTI fee / additional fee.
Format for the voucher is:
|Application fees ……………………. Rs. 10/-|
|Additional fee – as cost of information|
|a.||Rupees two for each page (in A-4 or A-3 size paper) created or copied.|
|b.||Actual charge or cost price of a copy in large size paper|
|c.||Actual cost or price for samples or models|
|d.||Information provided in diskette or floppy rupees fifty per diskette or floppy|
|e.||Information provided in printed form at the price fixed for such publication or rupees two per page of photocopy for extracts from the publication.|
Types of information can be taken from the SBI under RTI
Section 4(1)(b) of the Right to Information Act, 2005
Any citizen of country has a right to seek information from any public authority which works for the benefit of public and under its control. This right includes work inspection, any documents and records; taking notes, certified copies of documents and records also consider any certified samples of material held by or under control the public authority. One thing is important about the seeking information under the Act is that it allow only those information , which already exists and is held by the public authority or held under the control of the public authority. The Central Public Information Officer has no right to create information; or to interpret information; or to solve the problems raised by the applicants; or to furnish replies to hypothetical questions. Even any citizen has a right to obtain information from a public authority which already stored in computer or other device or in e-mail in the form of diskettes, floppies, tapes, video cassettes or in any other electronic mode or through print-outs provided. An applicant can received information ordinarily in the form in which it is sought. However, if the supply of information would disproportionately or divert the resources of the public authority or may cause harm to the safety or preservation of the records, that form of information may be denied by the public authority. The CPIO should not re-shape the information.
Information which is not to be Disclose under RTI (Exempted information)
The Act provides under Sections 8 and 9, certain categories of information that are exempt from disclosure to the citizens. The following categories of information are exempt from disclosure under Section 8(1)
|a.||information, disclosure of which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the State, relation with foreign State or lead to incitement of an offence.|
|b.||information which has been expressly forbidden to be published by any court of law or tribunal or the disclosure of which may constitute contempt of court;|
|c.||information, the disclosure of which would cause a breach of privilege of Parliament or the State Legislature;|
|d.||information including commercial confidence, trade secrets or intellectual property, the disclosure of which would harm the competitive position of a third party, unless the competent authority is satisfied that larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information;|
|e.||information available to a person in his fiduciary relationship, unless the competent authority is satisfied that the larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information;|
|f.||information received in confidence from foreign Government;|
|g.||information, the disclosure of which would endanger the life or physical safety of any person or identify the source of information or assistance given in confidence for law enforcement or security purposes;|
|h.||information which would impede the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of offenders;|
|i.||cabinet papers including records of deliberations of the Council of Ministers, Secretaries and other officers;|
|j.||information which relates to personal information the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest, or which would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual;|
Rules for the prescribed time limit or disposal and Appeals Requests:
|S.No||Situation||Time limit for disposing off applications|
|1.||Supply of information in normal course||30 days|
|2.||Supply of information if it concerns the life or liberty of a person||48 hours|
|3.||Supply of information if the application is received through CAPIO||05 days shall be added to the time period indicated at Sr. NO.1 and 2.|
|4.||Supply of information if application / request is received after transfer from another public authority:
(a) In normal course
|(a) Within 30 days of the receipt of the application by the concerned public Authority.|
|(b) In case the information concerns the life or liberty of a person.||(b) Within 48 hours of receipt of the application by the concerned public authority|
|5.||Supply of information if it relates to third party and the third party has treated it as confidential.||Should be provided after following the procedure given in Section 11 of the RTI Act.|
|6.||Supply of information where the applicant is asked to pay additional fee.||The period intervening between informing the applicant about additional fee and the payment of fee by the applicant shall be excluded for calculating the period of reply.|
Prescribed rules for Appeals :
- In the normal case the appeal should be disposed off within 30 days of receipt of the appeal.
- In exceptional cases, the Appellate Authority has a power to take 45 days for its disposal with considering reasons for which it recorded.
Acceptance and rejection of RTI applications in SBI and other Banks
There were data taken from the RTI foundation of India website which the present analysis of RTI application in Banking sector and it gives last data updated up to 2012-13. It present that Only three Banks, Bank of Maharashtra, State Bank of India and Bank of India, showing a trend of increasing number of RTI applications in 2012-13 in comparison to 2011-12. In which Bank of Maharashtra recorded the highest increase in no. of application received it was more than 25%. On the other hand data of 17 other Banks has shows decreased data of RTI requests in 2012-13 in comparison of previous year. On the other hand, both State Bank of India which having top NPA grosser amongst the 20 Banks and Bank of India which is the 3rd largest bank witnessed a slight growth in the number of RTI applications received and they also shown slight declining in the percentage rejected RTI applications in 2012-13 as compared to 2011-12. But the trends of rejection rate studied more than doubled in Allahabad Bank, United Bank, UCO Bank and the Bank of Baroda in 2012-13. Even a Corporation Bank which did not reject any RTI application in 2011-12, had rejected more than one third of its RTI applications received in 2012-13. This study focused that Rejection rates trends were showing decreased rate in 2012-13 in the Bank of India, Indian Bank and Vijaya Bank as compared to the previous year. The latest NPA figures for Banks as in March 2014 on the RBI website despite are not available.
There was article presented by Chetan Chauhan in Hindustan Times, New Delhi, has presented an analysis which is presented by one of the Delhi based advocacy group containing over 80,000 applications who filed under the Right To Information Act against 24 major public sector undertaking (PSU) banks it shows huge percentage of rate of rejection increased in 2015-16 as compared to the previous 3 years. It shows approximate 50% rejection rates of the public sector banks. Which is strongly a sign of indication that the banks are more reluctant for providing the information sought. These 24 banks, were blamed for the transparency related to governance constraint enacted law in 2005, reportedly about 40% of the RTI applications filed with the finance ministry. A Reserve Bank of India appointed PJ Nayak committee had cited RTI as one of the “constraints” on the governance in the banks.
This committee has also find out that on the total number of application received by the bank, most of the applications are related with the information of non-performing assets and others are related with the discrepancies of applicants regarding bank account and reasons for not opening an account. According to Nayak committee review related to the RTI load on public sector banks, it was presented that each bank is receiving the average applications in its branch is not more than 2. This committee has projected the debunking constraint theory of banking sector. He supported this theory with a argument basis that most banks have sufficient staff to deal with rising RTI applications received and taking suitable action on that but banks are reluctant to provide information citing constraint on resources. Even this committee has cleared in its report that there is no any co-relation between non-performing assets of the banking industries and the volume of the RTI applications filed. The banks had opposed RTI applications seeking information about loan defaults citing privacy provisions but the Supreme Court in 2016 directed them to provide information citing larger public interest. Among the banks, the State Bank of India received one-third of the total information requests followed by the Punjab National Bank and Bank of Baroda.
One of the most adorable article was Written by Utkarsh Anand | Amitabh Sinha & Ravish Tiwari New Delhi | Published: December 17, 2015, As On 16th December 2015 the supreme court of India strictly bounded the apex body of banking sector i.e., RBI regarding giving up the information by private and public sector banks under the RTI should be taken as the action of trying to covering up the banking action of underhand from the public gaze . A bench of Justices M Y Eqbal and C Nagappan has mentioned that “RBI is supposed to uphold public interest and not the interest of individual banks. We have summarized that many financial institutions have resorted to such acts which are neither clean nor transparent. The RBI in association with them has been trying to cover up their acts from public scrutiny”. Even this committee has given very strong verdict about the RBI attitude toward ignorance of various orders of Central Information Commission and high courts over suspicious disclosure of information relating to banks.
Even court has totally rejected RBI’s arguments for fiduciary relationship with other bank and withholding them to disclose various such informations those will be exempted under the RTI Act and it is also clearly mentioned by the court that RBI is not legally authorize to create fiduciary relationship with any bank or to maximize the benefits of any public or private sector banks. It is the statutory duty of RBI is to uphold the public interest priority basis. It must be act with transparency without hiding any information and give full disclosure all the informations seek by any applicant.
After reading various articles I came on this conclusion that RTI is a powerful tool in the hand of every citizen and it would deliver significant social benefits. It gives a strong support to the national democracy, provide good governance by empowering the rights of citizens to participate effectively and hold the government officials accountable. This act is not made for just providing the information only, as in most of the countries it act as an effective watchdog which ensure that everyone is coming in purview of the Act to work in accordance with rules and regulations, without any irregularities. However, it should be strictly require to implement not only political or government authorities but also on active civil societies and private authorities .Currently, the RTI Act is implemented in India and accepted by the peoples but it is passing through a decisive phase, it strongly require very much more efforts to increase its growth and development. Only doing protest against the lack of implementation of this law alone is not sufficient, even it requires encouragement for the intiatator for its full implementataion, growth and better result. As currently as per court verdict RBI must be fully support the common people, national economy and government by accepting the full norms of RTI and to create transparency and quick response towards applicants.
- Unavailability of any previous study which has been conducted to find out the role of RTI and its effective functioning in banking sector.
- As in this research availability of published data from State bank of India is not available. All data has been taken from the website of well known authors of renowned newspapers.
- Relevancy of data has not be supported by any authorized published data. Insufficient availability of current data related to RTI applications position in SBI.
Some of the recommendations regarding the role of RTI in banking sector are mentioned below:
- This act needs more clarification for implementation of specific provisions .As it require step by step action detail for each specific provision.
- As India is well technofied and having good strength of educated people but till now there is a huge requirement of Mass awareness campaign at Central and state levels. The main objective behind this awareness program is to increase public interest and knowledge about their right to informantion from any public authority, to encourage citizen involvement; and also to increase transparency within the government system.
- To compulsion all public authorities and training institutions for the incorporation and implementation of training module based on RTI in all training programs related with public awareness.
- To Develop a consensus on a common set of rules and norms that would enable and encourage public to apply for information from residing in one state from any other state, rather than going firstly to study and understand the rules of each state and competent authority separately.
- Application No: CIC/WB/A/2006/00011 (Right to Information Act – Section 19). 2006