Knowledge empowers people. Every citizen has the authority to question the inefficient functioning of the public governing body.
Through Right to Information Act, one can identify the gaps and seek information to place a check on the delivery mechanism of the management, State Information Commissioner Lam Thantiya Kumari said.
Underlining the importance of effective implementation of Right to Information Act at the two-day University Grants Commission national workshop on ‘Awareness and Interaction on RTI Act 2005’ organised by Mrs. A.V.N. College’s Department of Commerce in association with United Forum for RTI Campaign (UF-RTI), Hyderabad that began on Thursday, she said: “Ignorance of the law cannot be tolerated. It is important for everybody, particularly for Public Information Officers (PIO) and assistant PIOs to have thorough knowledge of the subject and educate the students and the applicants.”
When Registrar of Andhra University K. Rama Mohan Rao, who attended the workshop as guest of honour, expressed concern that dissemination of information since 1929 involved a lot of effort and time, the Commissioner pointed out that as a university official he was bound to give the necessary information sought by the applicant.
“It doesn’t matter if the process requires extra time and effort but the primary responsibility of providing the information to the applicant should be met by all means. It is the responsibility of the administration to store the necessary data and build capacity to provide the information as and when requested,” she replied.
With an object to promote transparency, accountability and openness of public authorities, RTI Act was enacted in 2005. However, due to low awareness among the public, the effective implementation of the Act and various channels to approach and seek information need attention, Additional Director General of Prasar Bharati P.J. Sudhakar said.
“Digitalising the information and keeping the catalogue ready is the need of the hour,” he suggested.
Role of media
Ms Thantiya Kumari, Dr. Sudhakar and the participants appreciated the role of media in the smooth enforcement of RTI Act. “As an independent body, media plays a key role in identifying the issues existing in the administration of the public bodies and bring the abuse of the management to light,” they said. Democracy cannot exist without an independent media, they added.
A souvenir of the workshop with the details of RTI Act was launched.
Vice-Chairperson and Correspondent of Mrs. A.V.N. College A. Indrani Jagga Row, Principal Vedula Perraju, Vice-Principal J. Butchi Raju and convenor S.S.S. Durga Ganesh, member-donor’s family A.V. Adeep Bhanoji Row, former Vice-Chancellor of Acharya Nagarjuna University V. Balamohan Das, NCC Officer Captain N. Ramakrishna and coordinator Ch. Srinivas Rao, among others also participated.