Right to information (RTI Act 2005) Meghalaya - 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 Meghalaya
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.
We got the response as below in approx. 5 weeks (statements summarized for brevity):
" 1. On point 1 in the Application above - Meghayala DOESN'T have a Web portal on the lines of rtionline.gov.in , where an Applicant can file an RTI online.
2. On point 2 in the Application above - The definition of information can't include within it's fold answers to the question "why" . The information sought can't be classified as information.
3. On point 3 of the Application above - RTI Online is under examination. "
Our observations on the RTI response are:
1. The RTI was responded to in little more than a month's time, which is generally considered acceptable in case of RTI applications. However, add to this the time required for postal delivery (and delays) and this response time bloats further. Not to mention the extra efforts and paper usage, along with frustration on the part of applicant (waiting for long periods of time for a simple piece information )
All of this wastage and inefficiencies would have been avoided if the RTI application facility for Meghayala was available online.
2. We had raised this RTI to all the state PIO's . This was done for an issue about which we feel deeply , as it is related to the greater public good. We believe citizen's intervention in the right direction could save huge Public costs and make the RTI process very easy and transparent. Hence, we felt obliged to put up a detailed application with specific questions.
What we wanted to know was - whether any action was taken so far in this direction (of making the state RTI system online) Any dated records of meetings, memos, resolutions etc. would have been helpful. Instead, the State PIO choose to ignore out request as it was 'technically' a question, hence not information, which could be provided. May be our choice of words was not very exact, but does this response confirms to the spirit of RTI?
3. Despite specifically being asked for a specific time frame (on when the state RTI system would be online), the answer is a vague 'RTI Online is under examination.' - This statement doesn't give us any information - We could wait for years at end and still there may not be online RTI facility in Meghayala. Again, details of dated records of meetings, memos, resolutions etc would have been very helpful.
Perhaps Meghalaya could follow Haryana's lead on this point.
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 Meghalaya is complete and till the date (September 2016) there is no online, consistent facility to file an Right to Information to the state of Meghalaya.
Future course of action -
To carry this effort forward we are looking for coordinators in Meghalaya, who can work towards a transparent state of Meghalaya 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 firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get back to you as soon as possible.