Sunday, November 18, 2007

Right to Information Act

In one of my previous posts I spoke about the Economics of Corruption which explains the root causes of corruption and how the issue relates to the economic progress of various countries. With a slew of foreign enterprises looking to do business in India ,the Indian Government has taken a number of steps to reduce corruption. Not many people are aware that the Indian parliament has enacted the "Right to Informaction Act 2005" giving citizens of India access to public records.
  • Under the provisions of the Act, any citizen may request information from a "public authority" which is required to reply expeditiously or within thirty days.
  • The Act also requires every public authority to computerize their records for wide dissemination.
  • Proactively publish certain categories of information so that the citizens need minimum recourse to request for information formally.
The Act specifies that citizens have a right to:
  • request any information
  • take copies of documents
  • inspect documents, works and records
  • take certified samples of materials of work.
  • obtain information in form of printouts, diskettes, floppies, tapes, video cassettes or in any other electronic mode or through printouts
The official website is website explains the procedures to request information from various government agencies in a comprehensive manner. It also provides details of Public Info Officers who are designated to receive the Request for Information Applications on behalf of the government. Each Ministry and Government of various states have their own Public Info Officers.

I searched on various search engines and was surprised to see the amount of information posted by various government agency websites about the RTI process ( Some of them are listed below).

There are a number of reports in the media about proposed legislation that may weaken the RTI application. Assuming the RTI Act is not weakened , its a great tool in the hands of the citizens to make governmental offices accountable for their actions. When used collectively by all citizens it will force transparency in the government processes and slowly but surely reduce corruption.

Now,its up to the citizens of India to play their part in using this tool to address the issue of corruption.

Here are some useful links that I have found related to RTI

Indian Government RTI Official Website
Department of Commerce
Ministry of Personnel ,Public Grievances and Pensions
Information Service Portal
Government of Puducherry
Kerala Government
Hindustan Organic Chemicals Ltd
Indian Council of Agricultural Research

Ministry of Environment and Forests

The State of Maharashtra

Controller General of Patents Designs and Trade Marks
Ministry of Communications and Technology
Government of Assam
Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority
India Meteorological Department
Department of Information Technology

Ministry of Corporate Affairs
Government of Andhra Pradesh
Commercial Taxes Department

Government of Kerala
National Institute of Fashion Technology
Ministry of Food Processing Industries

Rajasthan Governemt
Coir Board

Doordarshan India

Ministry of Finance
Ministry of Revenue
Government of Haryana
Bureau of Indian Standards
Ministry of Steel
Government of Delhi
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
India Meteorological Department
Government of Uttar Pradesh
Government Of Karnataka
Ministry of Environment and Forests
National Consumer Disputes Redresal Commission
Government of Gujrat
Commissionerate of Higher Education

Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment
Government of Meghalaya
Ministry of Earth Sciences
Software Technology Parks of India
Ministry of Power
Ministry of Finance Department of Expenditure
Ministry of Textiles

No comments: