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Reply to RTI Applications filed with respect to Foreign Contractors and Vendors of IT and Telecommunication Enterprises

Posted by Lovisha Aggarwal at Feb 25, 2015 02:13 PM |
An RTI application was filed by the Sh. Matthew Thomas on August 06, 2014 enquiring about the details of the foreign contractors and vendors of certain Information Technology and Telecommunication enterprises. Mr. Mathews in his application asked some specific questions.

Information sought in the RTI Application

The specific questions asked are as follows:

1. Names, addresses in India and abroad of all their contractors and vendors who are foreign firms, even if they have registered offices in India.

2. Permission to inspect files pertaining to subject matter.

3. Details of the orders placed in each of the past 3 or more years on each of their contractors and details of the orders placed in each of the past 3 or more years on each of their contractors where the amount is for Rs. 50 crore or more.

Enterprises to which the RTI Application was addressed

The application was sent to the following enterprises:

1. Department of Electronics & Information Technology, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Government of India

2. Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Government of India

3. Information Technology Branch, Department of Food, Supplies & Consumer Affairs, Government of NCT of Delhi

4. Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT) - an Indian Government owned telecommunications technology development centre which designs and develops digital exchanges and intelligent computer software applications.

5. Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) - a research and development organization under the Department of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India.

6. Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL) - an Indian state-owned telecommunications company. It is India's oldest and largest communication service provider.

Reply to the RTI Application

The reply to the information sought in the RTI application by these enterprises is as follows:

1. Department of Electronics & Information Technology, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Government of India

The RTI application was addressed to the Deputy Director of the department who forwarded the application to the Joint Director directing him to provide the requisite information directly to the applicant or transfer the application to the concerned Central Public Information Officers (CPIOs) if the subject matter did not pertain to his division. In response, the Joint Director of the Department of Electronics & Information Technology said that the information on the subject matter was NIL as far as Engineering/BM section, Fire, Security and Protocol Sections of Department of Electronics and Information Technology is concerned.

2. Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Government of India

The RTI application was forwarded by the Deputy Secretary & Nodal Officer (RTI) of the Department of Telecommunications to the following divisions for providing the requisite information directly to the applicant or transferring the application to the concerned Central Public Information Officers (CPIOs) if the subject matter did not pertain to their division and their replies are as under:-

a. Investment Promotion Cell: The Director (IP Cell) & CPIO said that no information was available as the subject matter of the application did not pertain to IP Cell.

b. Access Services-I Division: Director (AS-I) & CPIO asked to treat the information as NIL.

c. Licensing Finance - II Branch: Director (IF-II) & CPIO asked to treat the information as NIL as the matter did not pertain to that branch.

d. Licensing Finance - III Branch: Director (IF-III) & CPIO asked to treat the information as NIL as the matter did not pertain to that branch.

e. Deputy Wireless Adviser: CPIO & Deputy Wireless Adviser to the Govt of India of WPC Wing, SACFA Sectt. said that the information sought was not available with that PlO.

3. Information Technology Branch, Department of Food, Supplies & Consumer Affairs, Government of NCT of Delhi

The Public Information Officer (HQ) of the Information Technology Branch of Department of Food, Supplies & Consumer Affairs forwarded the RTI application to Assistant Commissioner (Policy), Food and Supplies Department and Public Information Officer (HQ), Food and Supplies Department to provide the Para wise information directly to the applicant in accordance with section 5(4) of RTI Act as the record related to the information sought was said to be available with their office. Section 5(4) of RTI Act reads, "The Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, may seek the assistance of any other officer as he or she considers it necessary for the proper discharge of his or her duties." However, a reply hasn't been received from the Assistant Commissioner (Policy), Food and Supplies Department and Public Information Officer (HQ), Food and Supplies Department yet.

4. The Centre for Development of Telematics

Referring the information sought in the RTI application as vague, the Centre for Development of Telematics asked the applicant to clearly define the information requirements and the period for which it required. The Centre claimed that the information sought at present would lead to handing over of a large amount of data which would require application of significant resources of public authority, since the number of the vendors and contractors could be more than seven hundred in numbers of different categories, namely, component vendors, equipment suppliers, administrative service contractors, etc. The reply was in consistency with section 7(9) of the Right to Information Act which reads, "An information shall ordinarily be provided in the form in which it is sought unless it would disproportionately divert the resources of the public authority or would be detrimental to the safety or preservation of the record in question."

5. Centre for Development of Advanced Computing

The Centre for Development of Advanced Computing disregarded the information sought by the applicant and observed that theinformation sought was vague in nature, not specific and open ended, therefore, could not be termed as Information under the RTI Act without providing any further explanation in this regard.

6. Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL), Government of India Enterprise

The RTI application was referred to the MM cell of BSNL by the AdditionaI General Manager (MIS) & CPIO of BSNL (RTI Cell) who replied that no information with respect to the names, addresses in India and abroad of all their contractors and vendors who are foreign firms, even if they have registered offices in India was available. As far as the third question regarding details of the orders placed in each of the past 3 or more years on each of their contractors and details of the orders placed in each of the past 3 or more years on each of their contractors where the amount was for Rs. 50 crore or more was concerned, the AGM of MM cell said that the information could be provided for specific contractor.

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