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karira

Testing RTI: Govt vs activists, Pricewaterhouse vs Google

Is the decision of Government to conduct review of RTI is good?  

45 members have voted

  1. 1. Is the decision of Government to conduct review of RTI is good?

    • Yes
      25
    • No
      20


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colnrkurup

Are we planning anything ?

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shan

I guess, this debate is going to last for a long time & would probably remain confined to the people who know the ifs & buts of the Act & its pros & cons. The way to take it forward , to me as a lay man with little understanding of the act & its benefits , is to propagate its use , benefits & rationale to as many people as possible. So that , when the time for a national debate comes , people are aware of what the talk is all about.

 

Now , as they say , no idea is bad as long as it is discussed thoroughly. Can the elite veterans & the administrative section here , make a detailed pamphlet/ presentation( methodolgy can be discussed ). Each one of us , here , who is passionate about the act & its impact, then makes an attempt to e-mail it to as many people as possible, with a plea to forward it again to many people possible. We talk about the impact that it has made in the life of folks like karira mentioned in the above posts. Let us make it travel across the lentgh & breadth of the country & make a substaintal NOISE level, highlighting the relevant issues. Of- course the sender would be a certified member of rtiindia & all the relevant legal aspects be clarified first.

 

What do you think ? you can shoot it down & think of something else. This is just an impromto thought...

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Sunil Ahya

Kariraji,

 

Are we planning anything?

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karira

I actually posted those questionnaires and expected members to read.

They have many mistakes (like one question where someone is asked if payment was made by Credit Card).

 

Regarding propagation, the first would be to enlighten at least the Internet user base in India. That can easily be done by inviting people to this forum. Just use the invitation link (invitation system) available at the top of your user control panel.

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sidmis

Meghalaya leads the pack, Delhi has poorest record: RTI

as reported in Times of India, 17 Nov 2008, TNN

 

NEW DELHI: Meghalaya is the most RTI friendly state while Delhi and Rajasthan have fared the worst in a study undertaken by the National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI) and Right to Information Assessment and Analysis Group (RaaG).

 

Amongst public authorities, the Delhi police has the dubious distinction of the poorest record. Not only does it reject the most number of RTI applications but it also demands exorbitant payments for giving the information in the form, the study found. Elaborating on the performance of the Delhi police with respect to RTI, NCPRI member Shekhar Singh said,

 

‘‘The licensing authority in the Delhi police asked the organisation for Rs 41,832 for essentially a list of applications.’’

 

The Railways and the ministry of environment and forests have the best performance amongst Central public authorities with 90% and 74% responses respectively. The study interviewed 311 applicants in 192 villages spread over 10 states. The interim findings of the report — expected to be completed in December — were that one-fourth applicants had school education while 20% of them were from scheduled castes and 28% were OBCs. A profile of the applicants showed that an overwhelming number (90%) were male.

 

Judiciary also did not pass the close scrutiny of the research. According to the interim findings, HCs of Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Punjab and Haryana, and Delhi have provisions that seek to exempt information from public over and above the exemptions specified in the law.

 

In fact, the HCs of Delhi, Calcutta and Gujarat have specified the quantum of penalty that is much lower than in the state. The results of judging awareness levels amongst PIOs brought out disappointing statistics. About 50% PIOs didn’t even have a copy of the RTI Act while 37% lacked training and 27% pleaded unfamiliarity with the legislation.

 

Meghalaya leads the pack, Delhi has poorest record: RTI-India-The Times of India

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taurus

The study, it must be kept in mind, is conducted only in ten states. Not in all the states of India. Moreover, the interim findings are on the basis of preliminary assessment of details in respect of six states only. Nevertheless the findings make interesting reading. It is a good effort in the right direction. Of special interest are the details regarding the rules made by various states and High Courts!

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karira

As reported by Nitin Bramhe in punemirror.in on 15 Janaury 2009:

Pune Mirror - RTI doesn?t dig PWC, News - City,Pune Mirror

 

RTI doesn’t dig PWC

 

Ministry of Public Grievances and Pensions Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) for ‘Understanding the Key issues and Constraints in Implementing RTI Act’.

 

It is interesting that on implementation of RTI Act 2005, Standing Committee on Personal, Public Grievences, Law and Justice had invited suggestions. RTI activists were already angry but now after the Satyam issue their anger has come to the surface. and they have demanded a review of the agreement with PWC.

 

Vihar Durve, RTI activist informed that DoPT had made the agreement with PWC on March 17, 2008. Despite full knowledge of the fact that PWC knows almost nothing of RTI, Ministry of Public Grievances and Pensions and DoPT went ahead with the appointment.

 

Durve said he felt that instead of PWC, DoPT should have appointed National Campaign For People's Right To Information India(NCPRI) founding bodyof RTI.

 

Durve had filed RTI application to know more about the agreement. In reply to this, DoPT’s Central Public Information Officer admitted that PWC had not been informed about the main hurdle in filing RTI Appli-cation i.e RTI Stamp, He said. Pune Mirror had published news about that.

 

He said, “If patients do not inform the doctor, how will the consultant would know what is illness is all about, especially when the doctor ( i.e. PWC) is a stranger to RTI? Now, PWC and Parliamentary Standing Committee are making suggestions for amendments to RTI Act 2005, there is a big question mark over the Govt of India's real intentions to-wards RTI,” he added.

 

Vijay Kumbhar, RTI activist said, “We do not know why they assigned the work to PWC nor we do not know about PWC’s contribution to RTI. We don’t even know if the Central government is unaware about RTI or they are doing this purposely? RTI is different from any other act and it has sprung from public demand. Multinational companies like PWC and their officials, sitting in their air-conditioned offices, do not know about RTI implementation.

 

He added, “Those who failed to know about Satyam, what would they know about the RTI. He said that he would send the letter to government demanding a review of the contract.

 

Vivek Velankar, RTI activist said that, four months ago PWC had given presentation on RTI in YASHADA. He said, “I had asked them about sec-tion 4, of the RTI but they could not answer. PWC also said that RTI im-plementation in Maharashtra is 26 per cent. Even RTI chief commissioner of Maharashtra Suresh Joshi was unhappy with that statement and sug-gested they check their parameters."

 

Velankar added that it was a doubtful decision to appoint PWC espe-cially now that PWC’s credentials are in question. The government should explain how they had given the contract to PWC and also declare PWC’s past experience of RTI,” he said.

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jps50

PWC has lost its credibility and no one will take its report seriously. They shoud be delinked from RTI assisgnment.In fact our govt is expert in generating reports after reports and do nothing on the ground. There is paper shuffling and no action-peculiarity of babudom in India. Satyam also prepared reports devoid of ground realities. One lac satyams would be nothing, if mismatch between what is on paper and that is on ground since 1947 of Govt expending is investigated. Mera bharat mahan hai.

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R K Garg

Appointment of PWC should not be apposed fr the sake of opposition only.Let us the terms of appointment.I think no harm is done in making a study by the govt itself.In India we do not have agencies who can fund this type of surveys.We are facing lot od teathing problems in implementation of RTI Act and let us see what happens.There is no interaction of RTI applicants with the Govt agencies as ther are seen as the one who is against the system and officers.No officer likes us.We have to start interaction in a healthy atmosphere.

 

R K Garg

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R K Garg

In Chandigarh PWC has been assigned the task of preparing Chandigarh Administartion for E Governance has been assigned to PWC few years back.The desired results have not been achieved.When I asked a simple question as to since when PWC has been engaged then other wise receptive Director Information & tEchnology chose to call me and inform that PWC has been engaged for making sampark centres possible in Chandigarh that too in 2004 but truth is that PWC has made a very big Contract and a study of over 100 pages( towards e governance of UT ) is available on the internet and I know PWC will not 100 page study without charging crores of rupees.I have filed a application under RTI Act to know more details.As such Govt of allocating the work of RTI Study is not a case to be read in isolation.THis will not be out of question that a former Director of IT of Chandigarh Administartion is Special Director in PWC and he has been assigned the PWC working of Northeren India.See for your self what must be happening.

 

R K Garg

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Atul Patankar

As reported by Shyamlal Yadav at indiatoday.digitaltoday.in on January 20, 2009

 

Despite Satyam taint, PwC will advise govt on transparency

 

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the audit and consultancy firm which failed to detect the fraud in Satyam Computer Services, has been assigned to study the central government's transparency efforts by examining the issues and constraints in implementing the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

 

The department of personnel and training (DoPT) will pay Rs 69 lakh to PwC for this study and almost 55 per cent of the amount has already been given. Sources in DoPT said the final report of the study, which was commissioned on March 19, 2008, was expected in a few weeks. Discussions are in progress on PwC's interim report which was submitted a few months ago.

 

But the Satyam scandal has cast a cloud on PwC with questions being raised on whether the firm should go ahead with the study. The RTI Act was enacted to bring transparency and efficiency in governance, but PwC had lost credibility in the Satyam scam. Until Satyam's former chairman B. Ramalinga Raju came clean, nobody was aware of his fraud leave alone PwC, which despite being the auditor never pointed out any discrepancy in Satyam accounts.

 

PwC's RTI report is expected to teach the Central and State Governments how they can make this law effective. But the irony is that if PwC had lost anything, it is credibility and transparency. India Today tried to contact Joint Secretary (RTI) SK Sarkar but he was out of town. But DoPT sources confirmed that there is no proposal to review the PwC agreement in light of the Satyam scandal. PwC's officer Nilachal Mishra said the study will not be affected by the Satyam fiasco and that the report would be submitted within a month.

 

 

Source : India Today - India's most widely read magazine.

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Atul Patankar

As reported at Tax Guru :: Complete Tax solutions on January 21, 2009

 

Government will be advised by PWC on transparency

APricewaterhouseCoo pers (PwC), the audit and consultancy firm which failed to detect the fraud in Satyam Computer Services, has been assigned to study the central government’s transparency efforts by examining the issues and constraints in implementing the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

 

The department of personnel and training (DoPT) will pay Rs 69 lakh to PwC for this study and almost 55 per cent of the amount has already been given. Sources in DoPT said the final report of the study, which was commissioned on March 19, 2008, was expected in a few weeks. Discussions are in progress on PwC’s interim report which was submitted a few months ago.

 

But the Satyam scandal has cast a cloud on PwC with questions being raised on whether the firm should go ahead with the study. The RTI Act was enacted to bring transparency and efficiency in governance, but PwC had lost credibility in the Satyam scam. Until Satyam’s former chairman B. Ramalinga Raju came clean, nobody was aware of his fraud leave alone PwC, which despite being the auditor never pointed out any discrepancy in Satyam accounts.

 

PwC’s RTI report is expected to teach the Central and State Governments how they can make this law effective. But the irony is that if PwC had lost anything, it is credibility and transparency. India Today tried to contact Joint Secretary (RTI) SK Sarkar but he was out of town. But DoPT sources confirmed that there is no proposal to review the PwC agreement in light of the Satyam scandal. PwC’s officer Nilachal Mishra said the study will not be affected by the Satyam fiasco and that the report would be submitted within a month.

 

Source : Government will be advised by PWC on transparency | Tax Guru

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mjreddy

:)price water house cooper is one of the audit firm in satym fraud

As reported by Seema Chishti in indianexpress.com on 22 April 2008:

IndianExpress.com :: Testing RTI: Govt vs activists, Pricewaterhouse vs Google

 

Testing RTI: Govt vs activists, Pricewaterhouse vs Google

Govt asks PwC to study efficacy of RTI, wary activists launch own study backed by grant from Google Foundation

 

NEW DELHI, APRIL 21: The Department of Personnel and Training has decided to get international accounting firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers to study the efficacy of the Right to Information (RTI) Act as it marks its third year on October 13. The RTI Act has been showcased by the UPA Government as one of its key achievements.

 

Suspicious that this study could end up helping babus instead of citizens, leading RTI activists, including Aruna Roy and her Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) and Shekhar Singh and his National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI) have launched their own alternative study.

 

They have formed RAAG (RTI Accountability and Assessment Group) which will examine what they call “the RTI regime.” Significantly, Google Foundation has stepped in to make this study possible by offering $250,000 as an initial grant.

 

RTI activists, using foreign funds themselves, say they are not worried about money from a foreign source, but are annoyed at the way, a “foreign organization” (Pricewaterhouse) with “little or no expertise in the manner in which RTI works in India” is being asked to assess the efficacy of RTI.

 

Said Roy, formerly a member of the Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council and among the earliest campaigners for a Right to Information law: “The process itself adopted by the government to select such an agency for such a key audit, and the record so far of the DoPT makes us wary of the study. There is little point in just opposing it all, so we are doing our own study. All the material we collect in order to draw our conclusions will be available publicly, and then let us have a debate.”

 

Activists say they are worried the government, under pressure from bureaucrats, might use this study to cut back or restrain certain freedoms available under RTI. Says Shekhar Singh: “The government is only looking at the problems it faces because of the RTI making the bureaucracy answerable, and how they may have to amend the Act to ensure that applications are not too long, not vexatious or filed for frivolous purposes. How we look at RTI is completely different.”

 

The survey being planned by these groups will also involve the Centre for Studies of Developing Societies (CSDS which also does election surveys) and the Tata Institute for Social Service (TISS).

 

RAAG also hopes to get assistance from the Nehru Memorial.

 

Last week, DoPT hosted a seminar where Pricewaterhouse Coopers presented its Project Progress Report to members of the Central Information Commission and representatives from the State Information Commissions of Assam, Andhra Pradesh, UP, Maharashtra and Orissa, and some Public Information Officers from these states.

 

Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah said he was consulted by Pricewaterhouse Coopers when it was finalising the project report. He says: “Their earlier proposal did have some weak points. It was too urban-centric, for instance. I have asked them to take into account the RTI’s immense impact on rural India.” Asked about the parallel study, he said: “Activists are welcome to do their own study...Why are they angry with DoPT for getting active? Earlier, it was just the CIC and the activists, with the DoPT taking a passive role, at least now they are active and are taking interest in the functioning of the Act.”

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mjreddy

:)price water house cooper is one of the audit firm in satym fraud

As reported by Seema Chishti in indianexpress.com on 22 April 2008:

IndianExpress.com :: Testing RTI: Govt vs activists, Pricewaterhouse vs Google

 

Testing RTI: Govt vs activists, Pricewaterhouse vs Google

Govt asks PwC to study efficacy of RTI, wary activists launch own study backed by grant from Google Foundation

 

NEW DELHI, APRIL 21: The Department of Personnel and Training has decided to get international accounting firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers to study the efficacy of the Right to Information (RTI) Act as it marks its third year on October 13. The RTI Act has been showcased by the UPA Government as one of its key achievements.

 

Suspicious that this study could end up helping babus instead of citizens, leading RTI activists, including Aruna Roy and her Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) and Shekhar Singh and his National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI) have launched their own alternative study.

 

They have formed RAAG (RTI Accountability and Assessment Group) which will examine what they call “the RTI regime.” Significantly, Google Foundation has stepped in to make this study possible by offering $250,000 as an initial grant.

 

RTI activists, using foreign funds themselves, say they are not worried about money from a foreign source, but are annoyed at the way, a “foreign organization” (Pricewaterhouse) with “little or no expertise in the manner in which RTI works in India” is being asked to assess the efficacy of RTI.

 

Said Roy, formerly a member of the Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council and among the earliest campaigners for a Right to Information law: “The process itself adopted by the government to select such an agency for such a key audit, and the record so far of the DoPT makes us wary of the study. There is little point in just opposing it all, so we are doing our own study. All the material we collect in order to draw our conclusions will be available publicly, and then let us have a debate.”

 

Activists say they are worried the government, under pressure from bureaucrats, might use this study to cut back or restrain certain freedoms available under RTI. Says Shekhar Singh: “The government is only looking at the problems it faces because of the RTI making the bureaucracy answerable, and how they may have to amend the Act to ensure that applications are not too long, not vexatious or filed for frivolous purposes. How we look at RTI is completely different.”

 

The survey being planned by these groups will also involve the Centre for Studies of Developing Societies (CSDS which also does election surveys) and the Tata Institute for Social Service (TISS).

 

RAAG also hopes to get assistance from the Nehru Memorial.

 

Last week, DoPT hosted a seminar where Pricewaterhouse Coopers presented its Project Progress Report to members of the Central Information Commission and representatives from the State Information Commissions of Assam, Andhra Pradesh, UP, Maharashtra and Orissa, and some Public Information Officers from these states.

 

Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah said he was consulted by Pricewaterhouse Coopers when it was finalising the project report. He says: “Their earlier proposal did have some weak points. It was too urban-centric, for instance. I have asked them to take into account the RTI’s immense impact on rural India.” Asked about the parallel study, he said: “Activists are welcome to do their own study...Why are they angry with DoPT for getting active? Earlier, it was just the CIC and the activists, with the DoPT taking a passive role, at least now they are active and are taking interest in the functioning of the Act.”

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taurus

Any professional social science agency can do a study of this nature. The quality of the study depends upon the methodology adopted, the sample quality, the sample quantity, the method of interpretation and the skills of analysis that the agency possesses. One need not be opposing an agency simply because it has a foreign principal. As regards experience with RTI for conducting a study on RTI, it is a debatable point. A study is conducted in a dispassionate manner. Some times, deeper involvement in the matter may hamper a dispassionate analysis. Lack of experience in the subject may also mean lack of bias. That is why it is a debatable point. Much can be said both for and against it. Looking at the issue in this perspective, there appears to be nothing wrong in appointing PwC. But its lack of credibility in the backdrop of Satyam scandal raised many doubts whether it would, in deed, be conducting an impartial study or would dish out a report that is accetable to the bureaucracy!!

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taurus

Any professional social science agency can do a study of this nature. The quality of the study depends upon the methodology adopted, the sample quality, the sample quantity, the method of interpretation and the skills of analysis that the agency possesses. One need not be opposing an agency simply because it has a foreign principal. As regards experience with RTI for conducting a study on RTI, it is a debatable point. A study is conducted in a dispassionate manner. Some times, deeper involvement in the matter may hamper a dispassionate analysis. Lack of experience in the subject may also mean lack of bias. That is why it is a debatable point. Much can be said both for and against it. Looking at the issue in this perspective, there appears to be nothing wrong in appointing PwC. But its lack of credibility in the backdrop of Satyam scandal raised many doubts whether it would, in deed, be conducting an impartial study or would dish out a report that is accetable to the bureaucracy!!

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karira

Does anyone know whatever happened to the Report ?

They called me several times for asking questions, but haven't heard anything for the last few months.

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sidmis
Does anyone know whatever happened to the Report ?

They called me several times for asking questions, but haven't heard anything for the last few months.

 

Final Report

 

Here it is.

 

 

 

 

 

Final Report

How much these cost to us "We the people of India" ?

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karira

As reported by Vineeta Pandey in dnaindia.com on 15 July 2009:

Is RTI a good thing? No, say 75 pc of users

 

Is RTI a good thing? No, say 75 pc of users

 

New Delhi: Almost three years after the implementation of the Right to Information Act (RTI), over 75% of the information seekers have said that they were dissatisfied with the quality of information provided. According to an evaluation study carried out by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), poor quality of information, delay in getting replies, and an untrained and uncooperative staff were among the reasons for the RTI not being seen as a success story.

 

The study, commissioned by Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), found that a majority of the 5,000 people surveyed were not even aware of this law.. It also surveyed 2,000 people who had used the RTI at least once and 200 public information officers (PIO).

 

There were instances wherein citizens were discouraged from filing information requests. Approximately 89% of the PIOs had prevented citizens from inspecting the records despite a legal provision for the same.

 

There is huge backlog of RTI requests and the average waiting time varies form 4 months to 12 months. The survey said 47% of the citizens did not receive replies to their RTI application within the stipulated 30 days. The survey said there is a need to improve the convenience in filing requests. Since submission of an RTI request at the PIO's office was the most prevalent channel, over 26% of the citizens had to make more than three visits to submit applications, while 47% said no signboards were present to help them out.

 

A survey of the PIOs showed that the government machinery is yet to gear up to handle the needs of the RTI Act. More than 38% of the PIOs surveyed blamed the ineffective record management system in use at present for the delay in processing information.

 

Also, 43% PIO said they were not aware of the record management guidelines while 45% admitted that they had not received any training.

 

Moreover, 89% said there was no additional allocation of staff to handle RTI queries, thus increasing their workload. Most of the current PIOs had taken up the job unwillingly, which in turn meant low motivation among them.

 

In the midst of all this is the good news: the survey found that there has been a significant shift in the mindset of government servants. While earlier they thought 'Official Secrets Act', now they think about the 'Right to Information Act' mindset, which is a major victory for the common man.

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Bimal Kumar Khemani

Now the final report of PWC has been published.

How many RTI activist's Group/association or individuals has been consulted before coming to a decision. This final report does not say a single word for these appointment of INFORMATION COMMISSIONERS particularly in various states.

Would PWC odicials or DOPT reply to it.

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karira

Bimal,

 

Please take time to read the PWC report completely.

 

1. It does have a list of people consulted and what happened during those consultations.

2. Regarding appointment of IC's it also has some recommendations - one of them is that SIC/CIC should have 50/50 from ex-beauraucrat and non beauraucrat.

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karira

As reported by Shamsheer Yousaf in expressbuzz.com on 15 July 2009:

Open CIC offices across the country: PwC report=

 

Open CIC offices across the country: PwC report

 

 

BANGALORE: Taking note of the difficulty for RTI applicants from across the country to come to New Delhi for appeal hearings at the Central Information Commission (CIC), a report commissioned by the Central government has recommended the CIC to open offices at locations across the country.

The report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), titled ‘Understanding the key issues and constraints in implementing the RTI Act,’ says that as appellants do not have enough time and money to reach Delhi for second appeal, the CIC should open offices at other locations so as to reach out to the masses.

 

PwC has recommended that CIC should seek approval of the Central government to open offices under Section 12(7) of the RTI Act.

 

This section states, “The headquarters of the Central Information Commission shall be at Delhi and the Central Information Commission may, with the previous approval of the Central government, establish offices at other places in India.” The report has also called for similar steps to be taken by State Information Commissions (SIC).

 

Currently, only the Maharashtra SIC, has offices outside the state capital, at Pune, Aurangabad, Amravati and Nagpur. The report has also asked Information Commissions to consider ehearings through video-conferencing.

 

At the village level, PwC recommends making use of Common Service Centres - a Central government initiative for frontend government services.

 

RTI envelopes

 

The PwC report also recommended the department of posts to introduce ‘RTI envelopes,’ which can be used for sending in RTI applications.

 

The envelope cost will have inbuilt fee for the RTI application, which will make it convenient for requesting information from remote places.

 

The other modes of payment that have been suggested to be adopted across all states are Indian Postal Order, Demand Draft and electronic payment gateways.

 

On Information Commissioners, the PwC report has recommended that people who have worked in the government should be restricted to 50 per cent, as recommended by the Administrative Reforms Commission.

 

“The composition should be such that it should have people with wide knowledge and experience in law, science and technology, social service, management, journalism, mass media, or administration and governance,” the report says.

 

Other recommendations

 

RTI implementation cell headed by a senior bureaucrat at the state/Central level

 

Capacity building through knowledge resource centre

 

Establish RTI as a brand, such as NREGS

 

Postal department should act as designated office of Assistant Public Information Officers (APIO) for state governments

 

RTI call centres, RTI portal and e-district kiosks should be used for accepting applications

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karira

As reported by Ashish Sinha in epaper.mailtoday.in on 15 July 2009:

Cliping Story

 

CIC is a dumping ground for ex- babus

1572009140265-large.jpg

 

 

A STUDY of constraints in implementing the Right to Information ( RTI) Act has criticised the government for treating the Central Information Commission ( CIC) and its state counterparts as a dumping ground for retired bureaucrats.

 

The government was rapped on the knuckles by a panel that it had commissioned.

 

The most ambitious study yet on limitations in implementing the RTI Act recommends that 50 per cent — if possible, even more — of the information commissioners must be appointed from nonbureaucratic backgrounds. It took exception to the ‘ norm’ that most appointees are retired bureaucrats.

 

The study admits that former bureaucrats do bring in administrative or quasi- judicial expertise as information commissioners. But it asserts that civil servants are seen as “ soft” while passing orders on principal information officers who are government servants.

 

The department of personnel and training ( DoPT) had commissioned PricewaterhouseCoopers ( PwC) to conduct the study. The final report, prepared in association with IMRB International, was recently submitted to the government.

 

The report says more people with knowledge and experience in law, science and technology, social service, management, journalism and mass media should be appointed commissioners. Citing a rec- Omita Paul ( left) and Wajahat Habibullah.

 

ommendation of the administrative reforms commission ( ARC), the study proposes that “ the number of people who have worked in the government should be restricted to 50 per cent ( if not less)”. Four of the seven commissioners, including chief information commissioner Wajahat Habibullah, are former bureaucrats.

 

Omita Paul, appointed information commissioner in May, quit the constitutional post in June to become adviser to finance minister Pranab Mukherjee.

 

The study seconds the ARC’s proposal that the Chief Justice of India ( or the chief justice of the high court concerned) should be included in the collegium that recommends the appointment of information commissioners. At present, the Prime Minister ( or the chief minister) and the leader of opposition recommend the appointments to these quasijudicial commissions.

 

It also says information commissioners, especially those from non- judicial backgrounds, should undergo a three- month “ induction” programme as they often tend to deviate from the spirit of the RTI Act while passing orders.

 

“ In such cases, the new commissioner may work with one of the existing information commissioners to understand the procedure and processes. During this period, the information commissioner should not pass orders,” says the report.

 

It stresses that RTI should be promoted as a “ brand” through a mass awareness campaign on the lines of family planning.

 

It also recommends capacity- building through a knowledge resource centre ( KRC) at the national level to facilitate the central and state governments by providing guidelines and establishing templates for standard rules.

 

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karira

As reported by Vuidya Subramaniam in thehindu.com on 17 July 2009:

The Hindu : National : RTI not bureaucrats’ preserve, says report

 

RTI not bureaucrats’ preserve, says report

 

NEW DELHI: A recent report on the Right to Information Act has busted the myth that the Act was used mainly by government employees interested in accessing information relating to their careers.

 

The report, ‘The People’s RTI Assessment-2008,’ said only 15 per cent of the urban applicants and 6 per cent of the rural applicants were government employees. It also dispelled the notion that only the educated better-off accessed the Act: almost 60 per cent of the rural applicants and 40 per cent of the urban applicants were not even graduates.

 

Further, 30 per cent of the rural applicants and 15 per cent of the urban applicants were from below the poverty line families. However, the RTI users were overwhelmingly men.

 

Brought out jointly by the Right to Information Assessment and Analysis Group (RaaG) and the National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI), the report was based on interviews with 35,000 people in villages, towns and cities across 10 States.

 

The two RTI groups filed 800 applications and studied data relating to another 25,000.

 

The report found that four lakh villagers and 16 lakh urban residents used the Act in the first two-and-half years since its enactment. Forty per cent of the rural respondents and 15 per cent of the urban respondents to the survey said they were harassed and threatened by officials.

 

Many said they were discouraged by Public Information Officers (PIO) from filing applications. Sixty per cent reported success with getting information. Information Commissions rarely invoked the penalty clause to punish errant PIOs. Penalties were imposed in only 284 of the roughly 20,000 cases, in which supply of information was delayed.

 

The report concluded that the desire for information was huge and widespread. About 65 per cent of those surveyed, including those who had not heard of the Act, saw information as a vital tool and said it would help to solve basic problems.

 

Keeping this in mind, the report cautioned against the move (by the Department of Personnel and Training) to disallow single-bench hearings of applications. If full-bench hearings were made mandatory, they would adversely affect the functioning of those Information Commissions, including the Central Information Commission, which allowed hearings by single and multiple benches to ensure speedy disposal of cases, the report said.

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    • momita
      By momita
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