Special Correspondent

Few are implementing it, say stakeholders

NEW DELHI: Stakeholders have expressed serious doubts over the Government's resolve to fulfil its responsibilities in implementing the Right to Information (RTI) Act. The opinion emerged at the first national convention held here last week to mark the first anniversary of the implementation of the Act.

Judging from the attendance, the Act has interested primarily residents of big cities, among them mostly men. Most of those utilising it are in government, according to a survey conducted by the Centre for Media Studies (CMS).

Responding to a survey conducted by the Transparency Studies Unit of the CMS during the convention, more than half of those who attended the three-day meet felt that few government departments were implementing the Act.

Not satisfied

In fact, two-thirds were not satisfied with the responsiveness of the front-end implementers the Public Information Officers (PIOs). Half of them could not recall any specific initiative taken by their respective Information Officers to promote the Act. As many as 160 of the participants from all parts of the country responded to the questionnaire.

Nevertheless, 45 per cent of those from civil society and 70 per cent from the government sector thought that people in their respective areas were "generally satisfied" with the provisions of the Act. Two-thirds believed that the Act would promote good governance and bring down corruption if implemented seriously. Seventy per cent of all who responded and 90 per cent of those from civil society were convinced that access to `file notings' should be available under the Act.

On the role of the news media, 60 per cent were of the opinion that they had not done a good job of promoting the Act.

According to the survey, newspapers were the primary source of information about the RTI for most of the people. Television was mentioned by 40 per cent of delegates as their source. More than two-thirds wanted news media also to be brought under the Act.