Delhi to put details of legislators’ development fund online


New Delhi : The Central Information Commission (CIC) has directed the Delhi government to put up information on the utilisation of the legislators’ development funds on its website.

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The decision came on a complaint filed by an NGO, Satark Nagrik Sangathan (SNS), which has demanded that information about development funds should be available in the public domain in compliance with the provisions of the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

The CIC also issued a show cause notice to S.K.S Yadav, the public information officer (PIO) of Delhi’s urban development department, asking why he should not be penalised under the RTI Act.

The NGO, which had prepared “report cards” on the performance of all legislators and how they had used their development funds prior to the Delhi assembly polls December 2008, had complained to the CIC that they faced a number of difficulties and delays in obtaining the information.

“The PIO, S.K.S Yadav, is guilty of not making any effort to meet the Section 4 requirements (of the RTI Act) even after reminders from the complainant. It also appears that all the information has been provided to him and yet he stubbornly refuses to ensure that this is displayed as per the requirements of Section 4 (of the RTI Act). This is a violation of the RTI Act,” RTI activist turned Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi said in his order Thursday.

Yadav was also directed to ensure that the information is put up on the website of the Delhi urban development department, which is the nodal agency for implementation of the Delhi Member of Legislative Assembly Local Area Development (MLALAD) Scheme, by Sep 15.

“Over Rs. 700 crore is allocated under the Delhi MLALAD Scheme over a five-year period, yet the government has not taken any steps to pro-actively inform people about the existence and utilisation of these funds. As a result, these funds are often spent on non-priority works while basic development needs of people remain largely unaddressed,” Anjali Bhardwaj of SNS told IANS.

“Information accessed using the RTI Act shows that in many constituencies, funds have been allocated for constructing fountains while residents face acute water shortage,” she said.

“We had just requested the CIC to direct the government that project-wise information about MLALAD Scheme should be put up on the government’s website and on boards in each constituency in compliance with the RTI act,” Bhardwaj added.

She said the CIC order will ensure that development funds are utilised in a “consultative, participatory and accountable manner.”

“Having access to information on these funds will enable people to meaningfully engage with their legislators to ensure that funds are spent on their area’s most pressing development needs,” Bhardwaj said.