Now, grades for Union ministries too!

New Delhi: Two years after the introduction of the Right to Information Act 2005 in the country, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has decided to grade ministries and departments to indicate how well they fare on its implementation.

"We have decided to start the grading system in order to improve the efficiency of the ministries," said Central Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah.

"When we have a report card in which grades are given, we have a criteria to gauge their performance on the transparency front. Implementation of RTI Act would gradually become a matter of prestige," he added.

The grading system, which would classify even PSUs and government-aided bodies, will be introduced next year.

The CIC is following Canada's example, in grading the ministries.

In Canada, the Commissioner's Office has introduced a grading system and a department is chosen each year for a review. The grades are A for ideal, B for substantial where the department has minor deficiencies and refuses information in 10 per cent of the cases, C for borderline, D for below standard and F grade for red alert where the deficiency in service is so high that it needs departmental effort to improve the situation.

However, the CIC in India would first grade all the ministries and then review their progress periodically.

The terminology might change, but the grading system introduced by CIC in India would be on similar lines.

Various parameters would be used to grade ministries and departments. These would include time required to process an application, refusal of requests for information, training of staff, quality of mechanism for implementation of RTI Act and feedback of the common man.

Habibullah said: "We are trying to work out the modalities for introduction. We should be able to introduce it by next year."

The system would be introduced to indicate the extent to which a department is meeting its responsibilities under the RTI Act.

Now, grades for Union ministries too! -