Right to information Act ushered in a new era in making functioning of government and government-aided institutions transparent, accountable and responsive to the needs of the society at large. The basic object of the Right to Information Act (RTI) is to empower the citizens, promote transparency and accountability in the working of the Government, contain corruption and make our democracy work for the people in real sense.
RTI facilitates access to information held by the public authority, inspection of government documents and records including having photocopy and taking samples of any material with public authority. It helps the government offices to index and catalogue every record and documents which ultimately helps the Public Information Officer to retrieve the data whenever asked for.
ASPECTS OF RTI
Every individual should be well acquainted with the rights provided so as to make efficient use of it. People have the right to question and obtain information with respect to public authority and their transaction of funds. It increases transparency which is essence of democracy.
Another important aspect of RTI is that applicant seeking information need not give reason. Further, the Public Information Officer is time bound (within 30 days) to give information, else he has to give reasons for delay or for grounds of rejection of the appeal.
The RTI act influences the people and impact on Indian Administration with greater transparency in functioning public authorities to maintain all records duly and carry out a policy to maintain it indexed in a manner and the form which facilitates the information under RTI.
The right to information is a potent tool to oppose corruption. The huge public debate and dissent was sought to be suppressed by this use of law. Through this act, the citizens of India have been given powers to question, audit review, examine and assess the governmental acts and organization and keep a data and knowledge of the progress and working of the act. It gives citizens a surety about the consistency of the principle of public interest, good governance and justice.
EXCEPTIONS TO RTI
Under RTI act, there are list of exemption which contains information which cannot be obtained through an RTI application. Most of the Intelligence agency are exempted from the RTI act.
No information shall be shared related to national security, which reveals whistleblower or generally threatens citizen life. Thus, a list of exception contained under section 8(1) of the RTI act, 2005 are exempted to provide any such information asked for.
It is important that even when a request is covered under exemption of RTI, the information be disclosed to the applicant if the public interest in the specific area requires it.
A BIG QUESTION ABOUT AAROGYA SETU
Mr. Das, an RTI activist, filed a request for information on the app with three separate government institution. Mr. Das who claimed to have approached the National Informatics Centre (NIC), The Ministry of Electronics and information technology (MEIT) and National e-Governance Division (NGED). Mr. Das filed the complaint seeking information about the creator of the Aarogya Setu App which has been downloaded by millions of Indian citizens during the Pandemic.
For two months his query bounced from one table to another. Das on requesting urgent hearing with Central Information Commission (CIC). The CIC also enquired NIC to provide further information, which issued an unsigned press release with no official seal.
Therefore, I would conclude that the ecosystem created through RTI has resulted in the delivery of public services and also act as a deterrent against arbitrary use of power by public authorities.
Though there’s a huge gap between action and words, but the act is believed to be the most progressive laws in the country since independence.
Thus, RTI has proved beneficial not only in terms of theoretical understanding of transparency and accountability in governance, but in actual delivery of important government services. We can say that Right to Information Act has not only helped the society to become more aware but has also helped in reforming functioning of the government by making them transparent and accountable for the work done by them in their respective fields.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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We also have a Facebook Group Restarter Moms for Mothers or Women who would like to rejoin their careers post a career break or women who are enterpreneurs.
We are also running a series Inspirational Women from January 2021 to March 31,2021, featuring around 1000 stories about Indian Women, who changed the world. #choosetochallenge