Women apathetic, ignore their right to information
Not caring: Women apathetic, ignore their right to information
As reported by Ranjani Raghavan in Express India on March 08, 2008
An Interesting Gender Based Survey on Women RTI Applicants
Pune, March 7 In its third year, the Right To Information (RTI) Act has opened doors for many, but few among the takers are women. A cursory survey of various government departments in the city reveals that the number of women invoking the RTI over the years have been glaringly few as compared to men filing applications.
“We have received around 60,000 RTI applications since the act was enforced. Less than 100 have been from women,” said Sudhir Joshi, who was the principal Information officer at Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) till about six months ago.
The airport, railway and bus authorities reported dismal response from women as well. Public Information Officer at the Lohegaon Airport since September 2006, P P Nikhar said that most of the queries under RTI were pertaining to the airport facilities and operational work as the Lohegaon Airport is currently undergoing runway renovation and re-carpeting work. While he has received less than 50 applications over the last year and a half, none have been from women. The PIO of the Pune Division of the Central Railways said that five women have filed for information in the present financial year, which will draw to an end with March.
“We have received 127 applications in all. Three of the five applications from women asked for information with respect to cleanliness, one wanted to know about unions and their functions while the other asked who had been awarded the contract to wash linen,” he said. “In my tenure as PIO, I have received just one application from a woman. Her husband had been evading alimony by telling her that the company had suspended him. She got information about how many hours he has been working. It worked well for her,” said Nitin Ghogare, PIO, PMPML.
The Pune Cantonment Board has eleven departments with separate PIOs. “We receive on an average about 50 applications each year in each department, but not more than three or four women have approached us under RTI,” said Asha Baglane, office superintendent and PIO for schools and elections at the PCB.
“Many women have come asking for information, but they do not put it in writing,” she said. Baglane said that perhaps the 30-day time period was a deterrent. “Even though we have 30 days, there is little time to spare. We end up working only in the last week. Perhaps, they do not have the time to spare or do not want to come to the office numerous times to check on the progress,” she said.