Right to information Gujarat - Is it in sync with Digital and One India.
We started researching on Right to information (RTI 2005) systems in India starting with Center then going to every state.
We got a citizen of India file an RTI with Chief Information Commission of Gujarat
To the chief Information Commissioner.
Please provide me with below information.
1. Does your state have a web portal supporting the spirit of Right to Information Act. Similar and at least providing the same functionality as https://RTIOnline.gov.in where
- Any Citizen of India can go online and file RTI appeal to Information Commission or any of the administrative unit's SPIOs electronically and get an RTI tracking ticket similar to RTIOnline.gov.in.
- Pay the prescribed fee online using Net Banking, Credit Cards.
- Track the status online and get the response on the online portal electronically.
- File First and Second appeal in case RTI response is not satisfactory electronically using the same portal.
2. If answer to query #1 is Yes for all the points, please provide the web portal name.
3. If Answer to all or any of the Query #1 is No.
a).Please provide details on why even after 10 years of RTI Act in place and after multiple years of RTIOnline.gov.in online and working as a benchmark developed by NIC for central government ministries (NIC or similar agencies manages all your state web portals as well) your state is not able to provide this service.
b.) If you have already planned for a similar or better service than RTIOnline.gov.in to serve RTI needs for your state please provide the expected time frame when Citizens of India can start using it.
The Above RTI is for public purpose.
Got the response fairly quick.
"With regard to your application dated 13/06/2015 seeking certain information from the Public Information officer of Gujarat lnformation Commission Gandhinagar, Gujarat it is hereby informed that as per the RTI rules 2010 of Gujarat State lnforntation Commission, the fees prescribed for RTI application is Rs.2O/-. Due to insufficient fee your application is hereby rejected. The postal order of Rs 10/ No 27F 6A2173 is return herewith in Original. "
Now here are a few facts:
The document used for reference while filing RTI is RTI Guidelines 2013
1. The application was sent to Chief Information commissioner.
2. PIO is supposed to supply information on any deficiency in fee (which was duly provided in this case) and wait for a reasonable time frame before rejecting the application- Which was not done.
Our observations on the RTI response are:
1. The RTI was out-rightly rejected, without giving ample time to the Applicant to furnish the remaining fees. Considerable efforts were put in to send this RTI, which were nullified by such a decision. This, we think, goes against the very reason RTI act exists - To provide information to citizens in a convenient manner.
2. If a facility to file an RTI application with Gujarat CIC was available online, such technicalities would not result in rejection, as information like Fees, Rules etc would be already prescribed with the payment gateway . Not to mention the savings in terms of physical effort and paper wastage.
We spent multiple days getting postal orders, physically mailing the RTI and it was rejected, just like that. There might be a very state specific requirement which was not fulfilled, but was the action of the PIO (of out-rightly rejecting the RTI Application) as per the spirit of RTI?
Any one reading the RTI request can see this was supposed to be treated with some sympathy or compassion and had good motives.
Reasons we are working towards fixing this issue:-
The details are in this thread. but briefly.
- A manual effort is a big barrier for a common man to seek information on any in-efficiency, corruption, violation in his/her community.
- Apart from being a barrier, it in-efficient wasting a lot of time of information giving agency and seeker.
- There are plenty of loopholes which can be used to suppress, deflect or deny the information.
-Its error prone and any redress, since tedious is pushing citizens in a state of defeated apathy.
-Digitizing the effort will not only make the process seamless but open opportunities to improve the process and streamline the feedback loop.
- Will minimize misuse from the information giver and seeker.
- Save taxpayers some scarce money.
- An informed citizen would be less prone to propaganda machinery and an active collaboration will bring down cost to development.
Our Aim -
Is to bring efficiency, accountability and transparency in the state RTI system by having all the states on board rti.gov.in or a similar platform working with efficiency similar to existing service by central government.
The research on the status of RTI for Gujarat is complete and till the date (September 2016) there is no online, consistent facility to file an Right to Information to the state of Gujarat.
Future course of action -
To carry this effort forward we are looking for coordinators in Gujarat, who can work towards a transparent state of Gujarat with our team.
Who can be a coordinator -
Any one with a zeal to improve communities using a non confrontational approach, ready to collaborate with multiple entities and is systematic and patient. A working professional, An activist, A politician, researcher, a housewife, a student. All he/she needs is an inclination for scientific ways, curious, respect and honor, and of course a few hours a week.
Are Coordinators Funded for their efforts?
Yes, BallotboxIndia is about bringing back the culture of detailed deliberations and research. We follow a tedious systematic approach and are actions and output based. To sustain such efforts the time and efforts spent has to be valued and incentivized.
I can't add value for this particular effort but been active for common good or want to work for better communities ?
Send in your details to email@example.com and we will get back to you as soon as possible.