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DoPTs new circular on strengthening the implementation of RTI Act

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As reported by Mathang Sheshagiri of TNN in timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 03 June 2011:



Now separate RTI chapter in all annual reports


Application Details To Be Published Online Every Month


Bangalore: How RTI friendly are public offices? Now you can track transparency of government departments and central ministries online.



To strengthen implementation of the five-year-old Right to Information (RTI) Act, the Centre has asked all ministries, departments and public sector undertakings to publish receipts and disposals of RTI applications on their websites by the 10th of every month. By July 10, public offices with official websites will start monthly reporting on RTI by publishing data for June 2011.



The department of personnel and training, the nodal agency to implement the act, in consultation with the cabinet secretariat, has directed all departments and ministries to tuck in a separate chapter on RTI in their annual reports starting this year.



“This chapter should detail the number of RTI applications received and disposed of during the year, including number of cases in which the information was denied... Also, efforts made to improve implementation of the act in their offices, including any innovation measures that have been undertaken should also be listed,” says the note sent out to chief secretaries, state information commissioners and central ministries/departments. The annual reports for 2011-12 will have dedicated chapters on RTI.



“Publication of monthly data on RTI applications will indirectly pressurize public authorities to stick to the 30-day deadline. Departments will know that they are constantly monitored on how effective are they in handling requests from information seekers,” N Vikramsimha , a Bangalore-based RTI activist, said.



All public information officers and appellate authorities of central ministries have been asked to undergo half-day training on the RTI Act annually. The Centre has also advised ministries and departments with more than one PIO to set up a dedicated RTI cell to streamline “receipt, disposal and follow up of RTI requests and appeals”.



A new scheme has been floated where departments which want to set up RTI Cells will be given one-time grant of Rs 50,000 for procurement of computers, scanners and printers.





• Annual reports of central ministries/departments to have a separate chapter on RTI from this year


• Starting this month, public authorities should publish data on monthly disposal of RTI applications online


• Departments with multiple PIOs to have RTI cell, as a singlewindow mechanism for receipt and disposal of requests

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