Day 70 – Q 4. Transparency and confidentiality are generally accepted principles of probity. Do you think the two concepts are against each other? Elaborate.
4. Transparency and confidentiality are generally accepted principles of probity. Do you think the two concepts are against each other? Elaborate.
Probity is the act of strict adherence to highest principles and ideals (integrity, good character, honesty, decency) rather than just avoiding corrupt or dishonest conduct. Transparency as a general principle of probity refers to openness in the working of government whereas Confidentiality as general principle of probity refers to keeping or maintaining secrecy of certain matters from public view for larger public interest.
The relationship between transparency and confidentiality needs to be examined in the light of arguments where both support each other at times and are in opposition to each other at other times.
Transparency and Confidentiality as opposite poles:
- Transparency supports freedom to access the information whereas confidentiality puts restriction on such freedom. Example – Right to Information Act (RTI) provides access to information whereas Official Secrets Act (OSA) denies access to information for general public.
- Transparency builds the trust of the public for the government whereas Confidentiality generates doubt and suspicion in the minds of people. Example – Non-disclosure of Rafale Deal price details by the government.
- Transparency is citizen centric whereas Confidentiality is state centric.
- Transparency encourages accountability of government towards people whereas Confidentiality dilutes accountability of government.
- Refusal of Judiciary to be brought under RTI act shows the opposition of transparency and confidentiality.
- Transparency helps in reducing corruption whereas confidentiality in procedures to corrupt practices.
Transparency and Confidentiality working together for ensuring probity:
- Protection of Whistle-blowers by not disclosing their identity.
- Non-disclosure of certain sensitive information under section 8 of RTI Act for larger public interest.
- Both can act for the benefit of larger public. Example – RTI Act (related to transparency ) and Data Protection Bill( for maintaining confidentiality about public data) both are beneficial for citizens.
- Betterment of international relations requires both transparency and confidentiality. Example- Sharing of hydrological data between India and China even in times when relations are bitter between both.
Probity is an essential and vital requirement for an efficient and effective system of governance and for socio-economic development which is maintained through combined roles played by transparency and confidentiality while maintaining a fine balance between the two.
Best answer: AyushDubey