Right to information for Competitive Exams Part 17

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Details of the Progress of Right to Information in 12 States-

The status of progress of the Right to Information Act in 12 states was assessed by Participant Research (PRIA) in Asia. These twelve states were included in Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Gujarat and Bihar. In these states, the formation of State Information Commissions, their role, the role of nodal (central) agencies (the branch), appointment of Public Information Officers, experience of obtaining notice from them, under section IV of the RTI Act and under section 26 of the obligations the disclosure The role of the government in educating people about RTI was studied.

  • The formation and role-study of the State Information Commission found that out of these 12 states, except for Arunachal Pradesh the notification commission in all the 11 states had been constituted till August 2006. But in some of these states, such as Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, establishment of the State Information Commissions was delayed for a few months. They were not provided enough infrastructure such as office, computers, staff, and funds. For example, in the UP State Information Commission, the workforce was more and only two suggestions were appointed by the commissioner. The Bihar State Information Commissioner had recently taken the oath, but the address of the office was not available on the website. The Rajasthan Information Commission was working in a room. The State Information Commission was reluctant to punish them even by the Public Information Officers overriding duty. In such a case, there were very few examples of penalization (only in Uttarakhand, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, only some penalty cases were reported). The rural regional people felt that the appeal process was very expensive. (There was a provision for appeals in Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh). Although there was a provision to appeal through the post But the people felt that In their absence, their side can not be maintained correctly. The application fee was highest in Haryana (Rs 50) and photocopy fees were highest in Himachal Pradesh (Rs 10 per page)

  • Role of Nodal (Central) Agencies (Branch) - The process of training of Public Information Officers in Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Kerala was initiated through the Nodal Agencies of the State, for the good governance, Yashada and Public Administration Under the supervision of the institute, training work was being done for the Public Information Officers of Survey States. The training of formula departments and block development officer and Public Information Officer was not satisfied. Many of them were not even aware of the act. How the training will be given by the Nodal Agencies of Block Development Officers and Panchayat Secretaries was not clear. There was no time limit and roadmap prepared. In Uttar Pradesh only 52 thousand village panchayats, Panchayat secretaries were to be trained and the budget was only one million annual. Nodal agency of Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, etc., has circulated the information through RTI learning material. The same speed was very slow in other states. In Kerala, the RTI Act was Malayalam which was having trouble understanding the educated people.

  • Appointment of Public Information Officers There was a lot of doubt about the definition of public authority in many places. In some states like Kerala, many public authority-operative bank-assisted educational institutions were declaring that they did not come under the RTI Act. Central and State Information Commissions are required to clarify this issue. In the High Court of Haryana and Punjab, which were Public Authorities, there were no Public Information Officers. In many places, such persons were appointed Public Information Officer, whose instructions could not reach easily to the people. In Uttarakhand, Sarpanch was made Public Information Officer. In Himachal Pradesh, PIO was appointed for Block Panchayat of Block Development Development Officer. PIOS were generally made to the department's junior officers, who had difficulty in getting information from senior officials, the PIOS were appointed, but not according to the requirement of the authorities. In most of the public authorities (even at the district level), the absence of plaques in the name of PIOS showed that the people were not getting the information that the application should be submitted.

  • Experience of getting information from PIOS - State and district levels were not mostly PIOS affiliates, many times they used to come back to the applicant's application. Such an example was found in Haryana. Some such examples were seen in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. Most of the PIOS did not know that the application fees should be deposited under the authority. They were mostly absent and there were no other applications in their absence. The fee could be taken through postal order, but most of the PIOS had returned such fees by saying that there is no provision for fee to be charged through postal order. In the Bahraich district of Uttar Pradesh, the PIOS were giving a tip-off to many people without asking for money. In order to be sensitive to the needs of the people, PIOS should be given special training and should be punished for refusing to give a notice to the PIO, who deliberately defective or refuses to give the information.

  • Obstacles manifested in section 4 of the PIOS Act - The offices of Ministry and Directorate level of Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Andhra Pradesh were given information about their procedures in their website. While in the Government Departments of Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Jharkhand, Rajasthan and Bihar, no action was taken for the implementation of Section IV of the RTI Act. The Department of Agriculture, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Andhra Pradesh had adopted many issues of Section 4 of the RTI Act. The list of office and PIOS was not in the ministries and the directorates. Also the details of expenses were only in the hands of the superiors, the details of District and Block level funds were not available, date etc. was not included. It was also seen that in these 12 states, the District Block and Panchayat level did not start self-disclosure.

  • The role of the government to educate people under Section 26 of the RTI Act - RTI exposure and training programs show that nearly 90 percent of people are not conscious of the act, and they are not aware of the application. Reduced use of RTI for educated people, especially government servants, is restricted. The use of RTI in rural areas was significantly lower than in urban areas in all the states. The government did not use the electronic and print media to make RTI popular among people and did not run any campaign. Both central and state governments did not fund any RTI campaign nor did any assistance to the Nodal agencies.