The National Informatics Centre (NIC) has removed the option to create new accounts on the Union government’s RTI Online portal, where citizens can file Right to Information applications to central government organizations, due to the “heavy load” on the website, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) said in an RTI response obtained by The Hindu. In addition to this, existing user accounts that are inactive will be deleted in six months, the website warns users in a message.
Having an account on the portal allows users to avoid having to fill in all their personal particulars, such as their name, address, mobile number, and email address, for each RTI application they file. Without an account, new users on the portal, or those whose accounts have been deleted, will have to fill in all their personal particulars from the beginning.
A Dehradun-based programmer, who created a browser extension to allow users to auto-fill their details to speed up RTI applications, told The Hindu that the portal’s time limits to fill in all this information may discourage people from filing applications. “When there is some error while filling in forms on Indian government sites, the entire data is lost,” the programmer, who asked not to be named, said.
The DoPT said in its response that “as it was observed that due to the heavy load/traffic on RTI online portal, portal is not responding smoothly and leads number of RTI requests failing to succeed, therefore, in order to increase the response time and decrease the server load of RTI online portal, remedial actions” such as removing the option to create a new account were taken. There was no internal order or circular documenting the change, the department said.