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BIAL is public authority: SIC

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In a landmark judgment, the State Information Commission ruled on Monday that Bangalore International Airport Limited comes under the purview of the Right to Information Act. The judgment is expected to have far reaching effects on other PPP projects in the state. See: BIAL is public authority.

Acting on a petition referred by the high court, a full Bench of the commission declared BIAL as a public authority as defined by the RTI Act and held it was duty-bound to provide information to citizens.

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silkboard's picture

impact on other PPPs?

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Is BMIC a PPP? Does this ruling apply to only infrastructure/monopolistic type PPPs, or all types?

We know where this is headed next - appeal back to the high court and further up. A legal battle. But its an important one. Norms of transparency are simply not defined for these large PPPs. What would a PPP like BIAL (with no real trade secret or IP, nor competetion) be trying to hide? Perhaps their profit margins and planned gestation periods?

How do these PPPs hand out contracts? What stops them from favoring a public official or representative in 'return' for some favors?

How do these PPPs determine the extent of public grant or support needed (land, lease period etc)? Can't rule out possibility of "favors" being in the play here as well.

Watching with interest.

kbsyed61's picture

Long drawn battle out there!

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 This battle of bringing BIAL under the ambit of RTI act is going to be long drawn battle. I am very confident that this will go all the way to supreme court. I am bit optimistic that one day BIAL and all other PPP projects will be brought under RTI act .

 This is great oppurtunity for the governments to enusre that the upcoming PPP projects are brought under the RTI act right from day one.

 Benson Issac, deserves appreciation and our support for leading that necessary battle. Thank you Benson Sir.


A landmark judgement!

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I am very pleased to know the SIC has ruled that BIAL should be subject to RTI petitions.

In a few days from now, we will also know how the Honourable Supreme Court rules about the legal frameworkf of the Concession Agreement vis-a-vis the MRTP Act. 

kbsyed61's picture

RTI and MRTP runs counter to each other...

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The RTI and MRTP battle with BIAL will be interesting one. IF BIAL is declared a public authority/interest project for RTI purposes, then it can not be subjected to MRTP act. Because govt gencies/enterprises are exempt from MRTP provisions. Basically both (RTI and MRTP) runs counter to each other in BIAL.

 For more on MRTP read @


BIAL is not like BMRCL

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BMRCL is a public undertaking in the framework of the term government. BIAL is a private company involved more for profits rather than for value addition unlike BMRCL. For BMRCL, only an operational profit is suffecient, whereas sky is the limit for BIAL when it comes to profits.

Therefore, it makes sense to consider BMRCL and a stricter governmental undetaking and BIAL as a monopolistic predator.

BIAL signed a concession agreement with the Government of India and hence is a private concessionaire. According to Shri Vinod Dhall, former Chairman of the Competition Commission of India, all PPPs and Concession Agreements have to be subject to MRTP and other Competition acts.

silkboard's picture

BMRCL is okay, what about BMIC?

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BMIC is almost like BIAL, with a few differences.

  • Its a lot more land
  • There is competition - SH17, Railways
  • No GoI in picture, only GoK. No NHAI either
  • Govt is not paying anthing towards the project (only helping with kind - land)

But, there are similarities

  • GoK giving land at concession rates (same for BIAL, right?)
  • Like UDF, there is toll involved here. So far free on peripheral road, but would be tolled soon (whenever NICE decides)
  • PPP is lucrative because of "auxliary" land

So who is joining hands to demand RTI for BMIC? As I said, I have no idea on the costs involved in filing and following a PIL, badly need some legal folks to hang around on Praja and advise.

[PS: cadambi, monopolistic predator and all - bit easy my friend. Its GoK/AAI's mistake more than BIAL in handing out that 150 km no-airport clause. I would go after whoever signed off from GoK/AAI on that agreement first, BIAL later.]

kbsyed61's picture

Are we missing something core to the problem?

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Whenever any discussion or post about BIAL is thrown, we start responding on a war footing speed. That includes me also. After reading SB's post it occurred to me that somewhere in the discussion we are missing that important link that makes these public interestes projects successfull. Just being under RTI act and MRTP act doesn't make the project any better. It might point to the wrongs and who did it?

What is needed is a change in our approach to these projects. As elders say, prevention is better than cure. A provision/avenue where the public can participate in approving the project even before its get executed. I am sure our civil society has experts in abundance to evlauate and suggest the needed corrections. Bear in mind it is also a double edge sword. It might also give room for unnecessary delay in project approvals.

Also, it goes without saying that, in any public interest projects, provsions for public scrutiny and transparency should be built-in rather than public figthing for it. No matter who executes it.

  In software engineering world, it is an accepted norm that the cost of fixing problems/bugs increases exponentially as the project progresses from design to customer release phase.

 Can we campaign for such a change? 


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The Government was thankfully aware of the pitfalls of PPP when placing BMRCL under SPV (Special Purpose Vehicle). See this:


"The Commission is of the view that in case a SPV is set up, then the ownership is not clear and the functioning is not transparent. Therefore, the funding should be done as grants instead of the equity route, which would not require a SPV, an official told FE ."

By doing so, BMRCL will be more transparent and will not have the profit making haughtyness that BIAL is showing. comment guidelines

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