Himachal working on modalities of RTI Act

Staff Correspondent

SHIMLA: The Himachal Pradesh Institute of Public Administration organised a high-level workshop on the Right to Information for the Government Principal Secretaries, Secretaries, various heads of departments and senior officials here on Thursday.

Presiding over the workshop, State Chief Secretary S. S. Parmar said that the Act would ensure access to information to the citizens under the control of public authority and that would promote transparency and accountability in the government working.

The Chief Secretary said that the State Government was finalising the rules and fee structure under the Act's provision.

The Act, which came into force in October this year, needs better understanding and similar workshops are required at the district level officials and for other field officers in the hill state.

Suthanu Behuria, Financial Commissioner Appeals and Principal Secretary Administrative Reforms, gave details about the provisions of the Act. Mr. Parbodh Saxena, Secretary Home, gave a detailed presentation on the Right to Information Act.

He said the BPL families had been exempted under the Act to pay the fee while getting any information.

The State Information Commissioner would look into the all aspects of the Act, he said, adding that there were 16 mandatory items under the Act and all public authorities would be expected to maintain their records duly catalogued and indexed in a manner to ensure availability of the information.

H.P. Institute of Public Administration director Ajay Mittal said that all departments should prepare the data material and information in advance so that it could be supplied in the time bound manner.

He stressed the need for cataloguing, indexing, computerizing and networking of the information.