Yeomen service by Manjunath Trust
RTI helpline run by Manjunath Trust gets 100 calls daily on how the Act can be used to get things done.
GURGAON, JANUARY 25: “Hello, I’m calling from Fatehpur. The ration shop near my house is refusing to give me my ration. I was told you can help me out. My name is Ram Khiladi. I’m a fruit seller...”
“I am Dr Neeta Gupta calling from Jammu. I’m facing some problem in getting my voter ID done. Can you tell me if the Right to Information Act applies to my state?”
“My name is GV Manjunathan and I am calling from Bangalore. Some people are encroaching on the land in front of my house. I want a plan of the road in front. Can you tell me how I can get it using my right to information, and who should I contact?”
These are some of the 100 calls received every day by the first national RTI helpline (92504-00100 ) launched two months ago. Farmers or celebrities, residents of Kashmir or Kochi, people seek assistance on a range of problems — some want to know what RTI is and some ask how and where the form should be submitted.
The Gurgaon-based call centre, to which the helpline is routed, says it has received almost 6,000 calls so far.
“The response has been better than we expected. In the first month, almost all calls were from cities. But now, about a third come from small towns and villages,” said an assistant manager at the BPO, not wishing to be named.
The centre, financed by the Manjunath Shanmugam Trust, was set up to help people exercise their right to information, as many of those who knew about the RTI Act were not familiar with the procedure of using it.
“The number of calls coming in every day has been on the rise. A substantial number of callers are those wanting information from the municipal authority or the passport office,” said the leader of the 10-member team which answers the calls.
“We also get many calls from people complaining about the police,” he added.
The team has been specially trained by RTI experts on the provisions of the Act and on how to use them.
Infosys founder Narayana Murthy inaugurated the helpline on November 19, the first death anniversary of Manjunath Shanmugam in whose memory the Trust was set up. Manjunath, an employee of Indian Oil Corporation, was murdered on duty in 2005 for fighting corruption. The helpline operates between 8 am and 8 pm all seven days and is equipped to take calls in Hindi, English and Tamil.
The agents here have a database on RTI for reference as well as names and contact details of RTI volunteers living across the country. “When we feel that a caller needs more help than we can give, we put them through to the RTI volunteers living in their city or village for further assistance,” explained the team leader.
The team says it’s enthusiastic about this unique venture. “In the first month we got a call from Javed Akhtar who wanted help with filing an RTI application. We also got calls from people who wanted to become RTI volunteers,” said the manager.
The people behind the initiative are also pleased with the response. “When we set it up, we saw this more as a project. But after seeing the response and listening to the callers, we realised how useful this facility is,” says Anjali Mullatti, one of the founders of the Manjunath Shanmugam Trust.
IndianExpress.com :: ‘Hello RTI, I am a fruit seller, I have a ration card problem’
this is such committed service. THanks Manjunath Shanmugam Trust
great work Hats off keep it up
Kushal may be we can have a dial in service at our site as well where our members when online can take the call.
Let this go to feedback and suggestion forum too
Re: Yeomen service by Manjunath Trust
Can I be told if the Manjunath Shanugam Trust has any branch in Mumbai where I can approach them for help in RTI matters most importantly because we are being asked to pay a large sum to hire a lawyer to get out information pertaining to a Public Trust which we cannot get thru the office of the Charity Commissioner in spite of Section 2 (f) of the Act.
As most of us are senior citizens and retired we looking out for an organisation that will help us at a nominal cost which we prepared to contribute to.