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Research Proposal: Practicing Transparency in Public Sector: The Role of Information Commission, Bangladesh

Right to information is the cornerstone of governance and human rights. Information is the power and it is an instrument to make an institution accountable and transparent to its client, customer, stakeholder and citizens. Many contemporary research finding reveals that discloser of information closely linked with control of corruption, rule of law, protection of human rights, raising people’s voice which have been observed in many developing and developed countries.[[#_ftn1|[1]]] Even when there is a free flow of information, the chances of famine is also reduced as transparency increased.[[#_ftn2|[2]]]

[[#_ftnref1|[1]]] Kaufmann, Daniel and Bellver, Ana, Transparenting Transparency: Initial Empirics and Policy Applications, Munich Personal RePEc Archive, Online at http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/8188/ MPRA Paper No. 8188, posted 09. April 2008 / 16:49, accessed 20 March 2011

[[#_ftnref2|[2]]] Sen, Amartya, Development As Freedom, Oxford University Press 1999

Who does the problem affect?
Citizen in general and the concerned service recipients of the public institutions

What are the boundaries of the problem? Which areas does the problem affect?
Lack of transparency breeds corruption, mismanagement and violates peoples rights to participate in the governance processes

What is the problem?
Lack of Transparency in Public Sector in Bangladesh

What is the impact of the problem?
The problem has negative impact upon the governance system in a country. Free flow of information is the key for transparency that has direct impact on reducing and curbing corruption and improving governance in a country.

What will happen when it is fixed?

If the problem has fixed, the policy makers and the Right to Information practitioners and human rights activist can use the data and recommendations for further improving the transparency situation in Bangladesh.

What would happen if we didn’t solve the problem?

In that case, the problem will remain unclear and assessing the level of transparency in public sector will not be measured.

When - When does the problem occur? - When and how does it need to be fixed?
The problem is continuously affecting the lives of people of Bangladesh in general. It need to be fixed at the shortest possible of time

Where - Where is the problem occurring? Only in certain locations, processes, products, etc.
The Problem has been occurring in all the public and private institutions in Bangladesh, in general.

Why - Why is it important that we fix the problem?

It is very important to fix the problem as it hindering good governance and violates peoples rights.

Research goal

IC is in the centre stage of ensuring proactive disclosure and providing information to the citizens as described in the Act. After inaction of the act, the years have been passed; therefore, this study intends to give a closer view of its role in practicing transparency through the implementing RTI act in Bangladesh. The specific goals of the study are:
1. Assessment the overall progress of proactive-discloser in the public institutions according to the RTI Act 2009
2. Capacity assessment of the Information Commission
3. Find out the gaps and challenges in practicing transparency in public institutions
4. Prepare a set of recommendations to overcome those gaps and challenges

The research questions

Practicing Transparency in Public Sector: The Role of Information Commission, Bangladesh

Research methodology

The study will use a number of methods for assessing the role of Information Commission in ensuring transparency in Bangladesh. This is a qualitative study combining desk research with field work and fact finding on IC and selected public (including autonomous and statutory body). Indirect sources of information included review of research reports, relevant published documents including books, project documents, evaluation reports, audit reports, monitoring reports and website.
Firstly, it will use the content analysis of RTI Act 2009. Based on this act, this study will analyze the formation, legal framework, functions and powers, vision and mission, strategic plan, operational framework and rules and procedures of IC. Comparative analysis of institutional efforts to ensure transparency in one south Asian Country will also be made.
Secondly, this study will systematically collect data from the selected public institutions in light of the objectives mentioned in this study thirdly, collected data will be analyzed and presented through using different diagram and graphs (like Bar Diagram, Chart, etc.). In brief, this study will follow the following methodology
1.1 Literature Review
Relevant books, documents, reports, articles and internet resources will be reviewed and analyzed in this study. A list of reports and books have attached here at the end of this proposal (please see the annexure 1).
1.2 Data collection method
I. In-depth interviews: Data will be collected from different sources. It includes officials of IC, different public authority, other concerned stakeholders and experts through in-depth interviews. In doing so, the researcher personally will visit relevant officials and persons and discussed with them. These interviews will help to understand various aspects of disclosure of information.
II. Focus Group Discussion: The study will conduct focused group discussions (FGDs) with the officials of IC for verification and validation of information collected from various sources. This will not only help to check the information and analysis, but also provided sound knowledge for preparation of the recommendations.
III. Sampling: In this study Total 10 institutions will be selected using purposive sampling technique. This 10 number will be dispersed as such 6 Public, 2 autonomous and 2 statutory institutions on the basis of type and nature of activities to analyze qualitative data on transparency measures taken complying the Right to Information Act 2009.

Research Title or Problem Statement

Practicing Transparency in Public Sector: The Role of Information Commission, Bangladesh