AAP to open its doors for online RTIs

In a first-of-its-kind initiative, the Aam Aadmi Party government will soon open its doors to Right to Information (RTI) queries online.

According to experts, the step would make the Capital the only State in the country to completely allow filing of RTI applications online.

At present, only Maharashtra allows for filing of such queries online. These, however, must be related only to affairs of the Chief Minister’s Secretariat.

Public Information Officers (PIOs) across departments, autonomous and local bodies under the government’s jurisdiction are being trained by the Administrative Reforms Department in a phased manner to contend with the technicalities related to the project which will go online “soon” according to an official privy to details of the initiative.

CM’s keen interest

The official said that while it was “rather difficult to put a deadline to the final rolling-out” of the facility, the “keen interest” shown by the Chief Minister, one of the architects of the RTI Act, indicates that it would not be delayed beyond the end of the ongoing calendar year.

Venkatesh Nayak, programme coordinator, Access to Information Programme, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, Delhi, said the step was welcome but low Internet literacy levels and issues related to online conversion of documents related to the daily functioning of the government, among others, would require attention after it is rolled out.

“Bihar, sometime in 2007-08, was the first State to completely revolutionise the RTI system through a programme called Jaankari, in the implementation of which Mr. Kejriwal had a significant role to play,” Mr. Nayak said.

The programme allowed for an RTI query to be placed on a pre-advertised landline number from a Public Call Office, at the end of which would be a group of trained government officials who would assist in the formalities related to it.

“Delhi does have relatively better Internet literacy levels, but to make the RTI more accessible to citizens living in slums and urban villages a similar approach may need to be taken,” Mr. Nayak added.

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Printable version | Oct 25, 2020 11:17:23 PM |

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