In the CCS critique of the proposed Right to Information Bill, one suggestion is to expand the scope of information accessible under the Bill. Many studies of international agencies contracted by Indian governments on Indian policy issues are not available to the public. A recent example is of the World Bank study of the Delhi Jal Board, which seems to have suggested privatisation of the agency, as per media stories. Delhi government had commissioned the study but it is outside the perview of the Delhi Right to Information Act.

So we suggested the following change in the proposed central government Bill: “The public access should also be to the reports, advisories, or documents produced by consultants hired by the public authority directly or indirectly through multilateral or bilateral governmental agencies or financed directly or indirectly through international agencies or NGOs, or charitable associations. Please include the above line in Section 1, sub section (d).”

My quick reading of similar acts in many of the western democracies indicates that even they do not have a similar requirement. The Bank of course doesn’t do any studies on US government policies. Knowledge imperialism?!

Read more abut Right to Information:

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The opinions expressed in this essay are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of CCS.

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Parth Shah

Parth J Shah is founder president of Centre for Civil Society, a think tank that promotes choice and accountability across public and private sectors. He is co-founder and Director of Indian School of Public Policy. Parth’s research and advocacy work focuses on the themes of economic freedom, choice and competition in education, property rights approach to the environment and new public governance. He recently edited Liberalism in India.