Thiruvananthapuram

Use IT for implementing RTI, says Governor

Governor Arif Mohammed Khan inaugurating a workshop on the Right to Information Act in the city on Wednesday.

Governor Arif Mohammed Khan inaugurating a workshop on the Right to Information Act in the city on Wednesday.  

‘Transparent governance is possible only with active involvement of civil society’

The Right to Information Act (RTI) should be reworked in terms of use of information technology (IT) in the implementation of the Act and disclosure of information, Governor Arif Mohammed Khan has said.

He was inaugurating a workshop on ‘RTI – Duties and responsibilities of local self-government institutions’ organised by the State Information Commission (SIC) here on Wednesday.

The Governor said electronic means of communication should be encouraged in the implementation of the Act. Electronic authentication through e-payment should be considered by the State Information Commission.

Vivekananda’s ideals

Quoting Swami Vivekananda’s ideals of renunciation and service, Mr. Khan called on those in government to introspect on information shared with the public as per disclosure mandatory in the RTI. A system to renew information and make it available was needed.

He also called for sensitivity and compassion towards the needy, adding that transparent governance was possible only with active involvement of civil society.

The maximum number of second appeals received by the State Information Commission in relation to departments such as Revenue, Local Self-Government and the Police which had contact with the people indicated that handling of the petition and first appeals by the officers concerned was not to the satisfaction of the persons seeking information.

It also pointed to a wide gap between people and officials in understanding what the Act defined as information.

Citizens should also have a clear idea of the information concerned so that disputes could be avoided. Sensitisation about the RTI should be extended to as many as people as possible, he stressed.

All citizens enjoyed rights but duties too, Mr. Khan said. RTI was enacted to ensure transparency and empower people with information so that they could be heard. Officials had the duty to assist in this process, he said.

Chief Information Commissioner Vinson M. Paul, who delivered the presidential address, said one of the biggest impediments in the implementation of the RTI was lack of interest on the part of public authorities with regard to suo motu disclosure of information as warranted under the Act.

The provision would help the people access information without putting in any application.

Local self-government had a huge role to play in suo motu disclosure of information.

Not much effort was also put into updating or digitising information to be made available to the public, he said.

He called for training all officials and employees on the RTI as they were connected with imparting information one way or the other, he said.

Ill-feelings

Mr. Paul also called on officials to desist from any ill-feeling towards applicants as their duty was to furnish information.

In cases of repeated applications on the same subject, the applicants should be directed to peruse documents and files to convince themselves about veracity of information furnished to them.

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Printable version | Jul 7, 2020 7:05:15 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/use-it-for-implementing-rti-says-governor/article29966461.ece

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