RTI hits awareness roadblock in Meghalaya

Shillong, Oct 14 (PTI) The Centre might be stressing on taking recourse to the RTI for exposing corruption but lack of awareness coupled with lax initiatives for imparting training to public information officers have retarded the success of the act in Meghalaya.
"There has not been any awareness campaign conducted by the government and its departments in the districts especially in the rural areas. As a result, public participation in the implementation of the law has not been as expected," the Meghalaya State Information Commission (MSIC) annual report tabled in the ongoing assembly session said.

According to the MSIC, the nodal department is supposed to conduct such awareness campaigns at district headquarters, but nothing happened during 2006.

Acknowledging the Right to Information Movement, an NGO, for taking initiatives in holding awareness campaigns in Shillong and other district headquarters, the MISC report underlined the need for more such programmes to ensure that every citizen was made aware of his Right to Information provided under the law.

Pointing to another roadblock, the report blamed it on the nodal departments of the government for failing to impart any meaningful training to public information officers, assistant public information officers and designated appellate authorities.

"As a result many PIOs still fight shy of the implementation of the new law," it said, adding that neither the matter of management of records nor the requirement of suo moto disclosure of information was being attended to with the seriousness it deserved