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Thread: Simply dial up for RTI

  1. Simply dial up for RTI


    NEW DELHI, DECEMBER 22: Using your right to information could not get easier than this. Soon, Bihar will be the first and only state in the country where, instead of writing and submitting your RTI application on paper, you can ask your queries orally via phone as well as receive the information the same way.

    This facility assumes significance given the low literacy levels in the state helping the citizen bypass the need of drafting questions, filling oput the form and submitting it to the department.


    Once implemented, anybody seeking information under the RTI Act in Bihar can call on a specific phone number — which will be a routed to a call centre — from anywhere in the country and orally ask for the information she wants. The call will be answered by an executive trained in the use of RTI, who will draft and type the questions and send it to the department and public information officer (PIO) concerned.

    The information, once ready, will be sent by the PIO directly to the caller. In addition, it can also be delivered to the caller via phone.

    “We are working on the technical details. I have assigned some officers for the project. Once the details are worked out we will be able to tell when the facility will be ready,” Chief Minister Nitish Kumar told The Indian Express. Nitish, the prime mover of the project, is said to have been impressed with the idea when it was first proposed to him last month and immediately gave directions for its implementation.

    Language will not be a barrier in this new system. “The call center will be equipped to take calls in English, Hindi, Bhojpuri, Maithili and all other dialects spoken in Bihar,” Officer on Special Duty (OSD) to the Chief Minister Chanchal Kumar said.

    “The project will be an extension of the telephonic public redressal system that is already in place. It will involve the department of Personnel, National Informatics Centre and the telecom department who are jointly working on it,” he added.

    To implement this system the state government will require to make a few amendments to the RTI Rules. While the call center will have to be declared an assistant public information officer (APIO), acceptance of fee on phone will have to be included in the rules as an accepted mode of fee payment.

    The government will take assistance from Delhi-based NGO Parivartan. “This facility will take RTI to the illiterate masses in rural areas. Besides, RTI applications can be filed in a few minutes as against a few days it takes today,” said Parivartan founder Arvind Kejriwal. “One of the main problems that people are facing at present is not knowing which department to approach for which kind of issue. That problem will now be taken care of,” said Kejriwal.

    RTI on the phone
    A dedicated phone number called the RTI Application Number routed to a call centre in Patna.
    You may call this number for a fee of Rs 10 (the application fee) plus call charges for the duration of the call.
    Give your name, address and the information you want
    Phone conversation will be recorded and details typed into the computer which then is your application. Call centre forwards the application to the relevant authority, sends a copy to you.

    (Source: The Indian Express, Dec.23,2006)




  2. Its good step. But how the legal action in case of non furnishing information can be intiated.
    What about the receipt of RTI and the proof of calls being made?


  3. It has been reported that this is a pet project of Arvind Kejriwal and the full details of the same are still being worked out. Let us hope that Mr Kejriwal takes the necessary precautions to tie up all possible loose ends in this process and set an example for others to follow.



  4. Its really nice to learn that Bihar Govt. is promoting RTI. If this project succeeds then it is definitely going to strengthen RTI.
    All the best to Bihar Govt.

  5. RTI application – A call away in Patna


    NDTV.com has provided the following additional information as to how the system is going to work.
    = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

    From January 29, all you will need to do to file an RTI application in Bihar is pick up a phone.

    Here is how the system will work:
    • Calls to a dedicated RTI application phone number will be routed to a call centre in Patna.
    • A call may be made to this number for a fee of Rs 10, plus call charges for the duration of the call.
    • A person has to give his/her name, address and the information he/she wants.
    • The phone conversation will be recorded and details fed into a computer, which then becomes the RTI application.
    • The call centre forwards the application to the relevant authority, and also sends a copy to the applicant.
    Unique idea

    The Bihar government is using the services of a Delhi-based NGO to train its officers.

    "RTI information through phone is a unique concept not only in India but in the entire world. The RTI act would now reach the common people in the villages," said Manish Sisodia, RTI worker.

    On their part, officers attending the training session, feel this is a revolutionary idea. Due to this new system, 90 per cent of the irregularities in the government offices will be wiped out.

    "It is an effort to empower the poor people since there were many government projects and programmes that didn't reach the poor. The things that used to reach the poor very late, now will reach as soon as possible," said Amir Subhani, Secretary, Personnel Department.

    With Bihar becoming a pioneer of sorts, corrupt babus can expect some really tough times ahead.

  6. #6
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    Bihar is backward? Read this


    As reported by Rakesh Bhatnagar at dnaindia.com on 02 January 2009
    Bihar is one of the first states where people can lodge complaints or applications seeking information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act through phone calls.

    The financially-dilapidated state is one of the first to accept such (RTI) applications on phone to ensure transparency in the functioning of public institutions and also expand the reach of the RTI Act to villages, said the Central Information Commission in its analytical report, Tracking Right to Information in Eight States.
    Jankari (information) call centres set up by the Nitish Kumar government at different villages in the state is a boon to the illiterate aggrieved persons as it writes applications on their behalf. All they have to do is dial 155331 and report their grievances. The recorded grievances are then drafted in an appropriate manner and put up before the public information officers of various government departments. The applicant is then charged a nominal requisite fee of Rs10 under the RTI Act. The fee is automatically charged in the callers telephone bill, explained the study report.

    source :Bihar is one of the first states where people can lodge complaints or applications seeking information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act through phone calls.

    The financially-dilapidated state is one of the first to accept such (RTI) applications on phone to ensure transparency in the functioning of public institutions and also expand the reach of the RTI Act to villages, said the Central Information Commission in its analytical report, Tracking Right to Information in Eight States.
    Jankari (information) call centres set up by the Nitish Kumar government at different villages in the state is a boon to the illiterate aggrieved persons as it writes applications on their behalf. All they have to do is dial 155331 and report their grievances. The recorded grievances are then drafted in an appropriate manner and put up before the public information officers of various government departments. The applicant is then charged a nominal requisite fee of Rs10 under the RTI Act. The fee is automatically charged in the callers telephone bill, explained the study report.
    Source : DNA - India - Bihar is backward? Read this

  7. #7

    Re: Bihar is backward? Read this


    The idea in opening a useful RTI online number is really noble. The general publc should make use of it and derive information in order to weed out corruption, which, I presumbly hope rampant in Bihar. Probably in the state of Bihar the crime graph is very high and rampant corruption exists, which should be weeded out with the powerful tool of RTI Act 2005.

    Mohandsa.

  8. Re: Bihar is backward? Read this


    this is one of the greatest experiment in implementing RTI
    may the Govt of India's call centre start soon....

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