4 info panels headless as RTI completes 15 years

Even amid Covid-19, only 12 states provide online facilities for registration of complaints: Transparency International India report

GN Bureau | October 13, 2020


#corruption   #activism   #civil society   #transparency   #RTI Act   #Transparency International India  
(Illustration: Ashish Asthana)
(Illustration: Ashish Asthana)

When it was launched on October 12, 2005, the Right to Information Act ushered in a revolution, empowering common citizens to ask questions on a range of government activities and seek accountability. Over the years, they – especially a new breed of activists – made good use of the new law, to demand their rights as well as to fight corruption. Fifteen years later, here is a review of its working, courtesy a report prepared by Transparency International India:

* Even after 15-16 years, Information commissions are perceived as burden on the government.  

* In Global Annual Rating of RTI Acts based on legislation published by Centre for Law and Democracy, RTI Act of India started with 2nd best in the year 2011 and dropped to 4th best in the World in the year 2016. India has further dropped down to 6th position in the year 2018 (Same in 2020).

Key Findings of State Transparency Report
 
1. Total Number of RTI applications as reported so far:
Total No. of RTI: More than 3,32,71,034 (3.32 crore)

· Top 5 governments receiving maximum No. of RTI
Central Information Commission (92,63,816)
Maharashtra (69, 36, 564)
Karnataka (30, 50, 947)
Tamil Nadu (26, 91, 396)
Kerala (21, 92, 571)

· Governments receiving fewer RTI applications among state having >10 million population    
West Bengal (98,323)
Assam (1,82,994)
 
· Top 2 Governments among states having <10 million population receiving maximum RTI applications:
Himachal Pradesh (4,84,356)
Tripura (42,111)
 
· Governments among states having <10 million population receiving fewer RTI applications:
Manipur (4,374)
Sikkim (5,120)

2. Post & Vacancy in Central /State Information Commission:
· In times of Covid-19, 4 information commissions (Union, U.P, JH & Goa) including the CIC are headless.
· Currently, 38 out of 160 posts of Chief Information Commissioner & Information Commissioners are vacant, whereas as per STR 2019 published in Oct, 2019, 24 out 155 (excluding J&K) posts were vacant.
 
3. Total Number of Second Appeals {Section 19 (3)} & Complaints {Section 18 (1)} at Information Commissions (Union & State) during 2005-06 to 2018-19:

Total Second Appeals &Complaints: More than 21,86,048

Top 5 governments receiving maximum Second Appeals & Complaints
Tamil Nadu (4,61,812) Second Appeals/Complaints/Grievances (Tappals)
Central Government (3,02,080),
Maharashtra (2,77,228),
Karnataka (1,64,627)
Bihar (1,58,218)
 
· Governments receiving fewer Second Appeals & Complaints among state having >10 million population    
Telangana (10,619)
West Bengal (20,106)
Jharkhand (32,481)
Kerala (33,218)
Uttarakhand (41,861)
 
· Top 2 Governments among states having <10 million population receiving maximum Second Appeals & Complaints
Himachal Pradesh (8,549)
Goa (4,579)
 
· Governments among states having <10 million population receiving fewer Second Appeals & Complaints
Mizoram (206)
Nagaland (338)
 
4. Penalty imposed on Public Authorities under Section 20 (1)} of the Act: No. of Cases & Amount Imposed
· 15, 834 cases of penalty were imposed by State Information Commissions (excluding Central Information Commission) during 2005-06 to 2018-19.
 
5. Cases of Threats & Harassments against RTI applicants as maintained by Information Commissions

· Only 5 Information Commissions have maintained data related to cases of threats and harassments whereas 24 Information Commissions maintain no data related to cases of threats and harassments.
 
Uttarakhand- 405 cases
Andhra Pradesh- 12
Odisha- 8
Manipur- 1
Arunachal Pradesh- 1
 
Initiatives undertaken during COVID-19 Pandemic
· 10 out of the 28 states as well as the CIC have been conducting hearings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

· CIC has been undertaking several measures during the pandemic like issuance of COVID-19 circulars and warnings; video/audio conferencing; action plan to deal with pandemic; online registration of complaints/appeals and has even conducted trainings, conferences and webinars to spread awareness of the pandemic and ways to deal with it.

· Only 7 states namely Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Punjab, Uttarakhand and West Bengal have been using video and audio conferencing to hear cases of appeals and complaints especially during the pandemic. While there are 6 others states which already had video conferencing facilities but have not been using it during the pandemic.

· Only 12 states have provided online facilities during the pandemic for registration of complaints/appeals etc. Out of these 9 states already had online registration facilities on their websites even before COVID-19.

Comments

 

Other News

Swachh Bharat Mission – Urban a way forward for sustainable sanitation

"Sanitation is more important than independence". --Mahatma Gandhi The world is moving towards global transformation and sanitation is an important aspect in the development of any country. The United Nations (UN) has observed in 2015-16 that 19.7%

Media taking advantage of a divided Bollywood: Shatrughan Sinha

Legendary film star and politician Shatrughan Sinha has said that friendship in Bollywood is limited to onscreen, and there is no unity and some news channels are taking advantage of this situation. “Groups within the industry or their supporters may sometimes come together for some c

‘2.40 lakh TB cases went unreported in India in 2019’

In India, only 2.40 million out of an estimated 2.64 million cases of tuberculosis were reported to the government, that is, 2,40,000 TB patients went unreported, in 2019, according to the WHO Global Tuberculosis Report 2020. The reporting of TB cases, however, has significantly increased ov

We must fight for Right to Information

Fifteen years back, the Right To Information (RTI) Act became operational on October 12, 2005. It was the auspicious day of Vijayadashmi. It appeared to herald a new evolution in Indian democracy. Citizens who had been advocating this law saw an opportunity of converting India’s defective elective de

Uddhav shoots back at governor’s sarcasm

As Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari went sarcastic and wrote to chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, asking him if he had turned ‘secular’ – an epithet he hated, as the places of worship remain closed amid the Covid-19 pandemic; the Shiv Sena chief replied he did not need certificat

All you want to know about stimulus package

To revive an economy badly hit by Covid-19 and the resulting long lockdown, the government has announced yet another stimulus package, putting more money in the hands of citizen just in time for the annual festival season. Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday announced measures of R

India Police Virtual Summit and Awards 2020

Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter