Panaji, July 12 (IANS) Goa got its Right to Information (RTI) law almost a decade ago but its citizens are now pressing for greater transparency in governance under India's federal law on RTI passed in 2005.

While there has been some debate about how the two laws compare with each other, and whether the old state law (passed in 1997) has been repealed or not, campaigners here are largely agreed that the state could do with more transparency in its governance.

The New Delhi-based Media Information and Communication Centre of India (MICCI), the International Centre, Goa, and the German foundation Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), which has its branches in New Delhi, held a state-wide in Goa meet to take RTI initiatives forward.

This saw the setting up of a Goa RTI Forum at the end of a two-day seminar.

Goa's former chief minister and currently assembly speaker, Pratapsinh Rane, argued that RTI laws need to be used but not misused. But he conceded that not many even among the educated were aware of its existence and how it was to be deployed.

Salgaocar Law College principal M. Pinheiro said government officials fail to adequately acknowledge that if official information is suo motu made available to people, then a lot of time - of the people as well as government officials - will be saved instead of taking resort to applications under RTI.

Journalists from Mumbai and Goa noted how the media could do much more to create awareness about the act and its success stories.

It was also felt that the media itself should use RTI more than before, particularly in a state where the Right to Information Act has been under implementation for 10 years.

It was strongly felt that the Goan government should voluntarily maintain a fair share of transparency and should index, catalogue and disclose all relevant information as required under the 2005 central Right to Information Act.

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