Over 1.75 crore RTI applications filed in the country since 2005

A recent report shows the need for all information commissions to publish their annual reports for accurate RTI data

GN Bureau | October 6, 2016


#RTI data   #information commisions   #Right to Information   #RTI   #Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative  
Over 1.75 crore RTI applications filed in the country since 2005
GN Photo

India's Right to Information Act (RTI Act) will enter the 12th year of implementation on October 12. Under the law, all information commissions (ICs) established are obligated to report on the implementation of the law to the respective legislatures.

According to a report by Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), only a handful of annual reports were published this year. This makes it difficult to answer the most basic question – how many RTI applications are received from citizens all over the country in a given year?

Not all ICs come out with their annual reports in a timely manner. Few ICs have not published any annual report so far. A major reason for the delay in the preparation of the reports is lack of inputs from the public authorities through their parent ministries and departments. Although the ICs are known to press upon the respective governments to fulfill their reporting obligations, compliance is poor.

CHRI collated data on RTI applications from all the annual reports of the ICs which were available on their websites. Some of the major findings are:
 

  • Over 1.75 crore RTI applications are reported to have been made to the central and state governments between 2005 and 2015
  • The central government received more than a quarter (27.20 percent i.e., 47.66 lakh) of the 1.75 crore requests submitted by citizens. The government of Maharashtra received more than a quarter (26.40 percent i.e., 46.26 lakh) and Karnataka received 11.83 percent (i.e., 20.73 lakh). Together, the three account for almost two-thirds (65.43 percent) of the total RTI applications received.
  • RTI statistics published by 15 ICs during the period 2013-2015, a total of 26.60 lakh RTI requests were made by citizens every year in this period. By a conservative extrapolation of this data to other states which have not published annual reports during the same period, it is estimated that the total number of RTI requests submitted across the country in a year during this period is about 53-56 lakh.
    RTI activists show the figure of RTI applications to be 75-80 lakh per year.
  • None of the ICs that follow the financial year reporting cycle have published their annual reports for the year 2015-16.
  • Among the ICs that follow the calendar year reporting cycle, only Meghalaya and Sikkim have published their annual reports for the year 2015.
  • The Karnataka IC is the only body that has published online, all annual reports due since October, 2005.


The report also highlights the urgent need to ensure publication of annual reports by larger states like Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar. Without data from these states which have a large number of RTI users and activists, it is not possible to draw accurate statistical data on the number of RTI applications filed in the country.
 

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