Right to information (RTI Act 2005) Odisha - 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 Odisha
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 :
" The undersigned regrets to express his inability, to furnish the information asked for in your Applications dt. 13/06/15 on account of the following reasons-
1. You have not applied in form 'A' (copy enclosed) as prescribed by, Govt. of odisha under Rure 4(l ) of odisha RTI Rules, 2005.
2. You have not submitted particular in respect of your identity. "
First, a few facts :
The document used for reference while filing this RTI was RTI Guidelines 2013
1. It was sent with a postal order of Rs. 10 as prescribed in clause 17.
2. There is no specific mention of a mandatory format or an ID proof in the RTI 2013 Guidelines. How ever, the states tend to formulate some of their own rules related to RTI. For Odisha, one of such rules is Filling up of form 'A' along with a requirement of an ID proof. Here, the point to be noted is that the Central government CIC doesn't ask for any kind of ID proof during online filing of an RTI.
We have number of observations about this response to our RTI application:
1. If there is no requirement of an ID proof by other state/central PIO's for filing an RTI Application, then why is Odisha making an exception?
As such, we fail to understand the basis of this rule as in the context of RTI, there doesn't seem to be a need to trace back an individual person thru his/her ID proof- Then why is it mandatory? The fact that most of the PIO's don't need this information confirms that it is not an essential part of an application, rather, an unnecessary thing!
2. The subject of our RTI application was very generic in nature (Whether the state RTI Application can be facilitated online, and if not - Are there any plans, with deadlines around it.) We understand our application was returned for a 'technical' reason (That it was not applied for in Form 'A' format) - but , with very little time and effort, the Odisha PIO could have easily answered our question. (something that Haryana PIO graciously did )
Just getting hung up on a Rule and not giving attention to the purpose does little justice to the spirit of RTI !
3. Even if we consider that there was a valid reason for Odisha SIC to accept an RTI ONLY in form 'A' format - It further strengthens our argument in favour of an online RTI portal. If such a portal would exist, there would NOT be any confusion regarding any specific application format- as the RTI application webpage would already be predefined in the prescribed state format itself (In this case, Form 'A') A lot of time, money and paperwork would be saved this way!
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 Odisha is complete and till the date (September 2016) there is no online, consistent facility to file an Right to Information to the state of Odisha.
Future course of action -
To carry this effort forward we are looking for coordinators in Odisha, who can work towards a transparent state of Odisha 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.