Sravani Sarkar, Hindustan Times Bhopal, October 09, 2014
Even as another Global Investors' Summit has gotten underway, the state industries department says it has no compiled records of subsidy provided to companies with whom the state government had inked memorandums of understanding in the past.
The assertion of the industries department came during a hearing of a right to information (RTI) case at the State Information Commission (SIC) last month. The final order of the commission on the case, containing this assertion, became available to RTI applicant Rolly Shivhare only last week.
In the final order, chief information commissioner (CIC) KD Khan has directed the industries department to ensure proactive disclosure of the information on subsidy provided to the companies under MoU and revenue losses to the government due to such subsidy on its website A copy of the order dated September 10, 2014, is available with HT.
The CIC also asked the public information officer of the industries department to allow the RTI applicant to view all the documents relevant to the information sought by her and then provide her with free copies of documents selected.
Shivhare had filed the RTI application in February, 2011, seeking information on the budget allocated for MoUs with different companies in 2009-10 and 2010-11 and also the details of the subsidy provided to such companies and revenue losses to the government due to such subsidy. The application was originally filed with state finance department from where it was transferred to industries department.
However, the applicant did not get any information and hence she moved to the SIC with her case. Due to huge pendency, the case was taken up for hearing on only on September 10 (2014) wherein the PIO Anil Bharatiya of industries department asserted that no budget was allocated for the MoUs. He further said that records on the subsidy matter were not available with the department and thus it could not be provided.
The PIO interestingly suggested that the information could be sought from TRIFAC (MP Trade and Investment Facilitation Corporation Limited), which was nodal agency for the investors' meet. The applicant informed during hearing that she had approached the TRIFAC but only got listing of the MoUs.
RTI applicant Shivhare, while talking to HT, said that it was indeed surprising that while the government was going all out to woo the investors, it was not ready to disclose the use of public money in way of subsidy to the companies and wasn't serious enough to even maintain such records.