Pune, October 14 Soon, awareness about the Right to Information Act (RTI) will course through the city, literally. In a bid to ensure that the city becomes RTI literate, the Public Concern for Governance Trust (PCGT) plans to launch cells and mobile kiosks, which will provide any information that citizens want to know about the Act.
The initiative comes in the wake of the rise in the number of RTI applications in the city. “PCGT was essentially set up to combat issues that impacted the society at large through the RTI, rather than individual petitions. Now, we have felt the need for specialised cells and kiosks aimed at addressing doubts of individuals,” said PCGT Pune head, Dinesh Castelino.
At present information on the Act is available at the PCGT’s office near Sancheti Hospital but dissemination will be on a larger scale once the cells and kiosks are set up on an areawise basis. “Most of these cells will be run by senior members of the Trust from their homes. Their contact numbers will be available through which interested appellants can contact them to discuss issues,” Castelino added.
As for mobile kiosks, they will be stationed in public places which are likely to see more people during peak hours. “While a similar initiative had been initiated in Mumbai where such kiosks were set up at the railway stations, a complete replication of that model won’t be possible as there is a difference between the two cities on many levels,” Castelino said.
While Pune railway station will be a definite spot, the kiosks will also halt at other locations like malls, multiplexes, colleges and so on.
As of now, the project will be up on a trial basis and based on public response and demand, the number of cells and kiosks will increase.
With retired citizens being among the most active in the PCGT at the moment, the Trust will now be focusing on harnessing the younger generation for its activities. “Our initial aim is to train around 50 such volunteers, and the number might increase later,” he said.
And while efforts are on to reach a larger audience, the Trust wants to ensure that the volunteers are fully armed to help citizens. There will be a training session called ‘Training the trainer’ where volunteers will be informed about the tenets of the Act as well as about the process involved in the application process.
“The real challenge is guiding the prospective appellants about the Act. Volunteers need to be adept at answering each and every probable query about the Act,” Castelino said.