New act to better RTI
As Reported By : Radheshyam Jadhav,TNN, 14 Jan 2008

PUNE: The common man will soon be able to get information from civic bodies pertaining to contracts and other things such as building permissions and issuing of various licences without having to undergo the trouble of filing an Right To Information (RTI) Act application.

The Public Disclosure Act (PDA), which will make this possible, will be implemented in all the municipal bodies of the state within a month.
Implementation of PDA is mandatory for seeking funds under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). According to the JNNURM norms, that states should ensure meaningful association, engagement of municipal bodies in planning the functions of self local governing bodies.

"The Act was promulgated at the Nagpur session of the state assembly in December. Now, the legislature will complete further process and within a month, all urban local governing bodies will be asked to implement the PDA," Urban Development (UD) principal secretary T C Benjamin told TOI on Sunday.

Benjamin said the central government has fixed the deadline of March 31, 2008 for implementation of Act.

Once PDA is implemented, apart from the municipal bodies, government departments and public-owned companies will have to disclose annual performance statements, duties and functions. The PDA will ensure that urban local bodies prepare medium-term fiscal plan and release quarterly performance information to all the stakeholders.

“One of the major benefits of the PDA is fixing accountability of municipal officials. The officials will be answerable to public about the expenditure and all other dealings regarding JNNURM funds,” said civic activist Vijay Kumbhar.