Transparent govt online: New guidelines issued

Task force set up in May 2011 had come up with the guidelines


Pratap Vikram Singh | April 17, 2013

Almost a year after a task force submitted its report on monitoring of the proactive information disclosure under section 4 of the RTI Act, the government has issued a set of guidelines to all central government departments and ministries, instructing them to put information related to procurement, public private partnerships, transfer policy and transfer orders, RTI applications received and their responses, CAG and PAC paras, citizens charter and discretionary and non-discretionary grants on their web portals.

The task force, which included representatives of civil society organizations active in the field of right to information, was set up by department of personnel and training (DoPT) in May 2011, to provide their recommendations on guidelines for disclosures to be made at various levels of administration, explore the possibility of prescribing simple templates for disclosing specific category of information, mediums through which such disclosure is to be made at various levels, including disclosure through electronic means. 

The guidelines provides for putting, among other things, all RTI queries and their responses on the web portal, except those relating to the personal information of an individual. "All public authorities shall proactively disclose RTI applications and appeals received and their responses, on the websites maintained by public authorities with search facility based on key words," the guidelines said.

The memorandum stated that "it should be the endeavor of all public authorities that all entitlements to citizens and all transactions between the citizen and government are gradually made available through computer based interface".

The departments have also been asked to upload orders on the website immediately after they have been issued. Besides, it has instructed departments to update their websites with detailed directory of key contacts and details of officials.

"To maintain reliability of information and its real time updation, information generation in a digital form should be automatically updated on the basis of key work outputs, like a muster roll and salary slip (NREGA in Andhra Pradesh) or formalization of a government order (Andhra Pradesh). Such an approach will lead to automation of proactive disclosure," the memorandum said.




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